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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 233-246
 Header Item Genetically Modified Organisms
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Public Sector Staff
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Harbour Fees
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments
 Header Item Farm Inspections
 Header Item Harbours and Piers Funding
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Payments
 Header Item Forestry Grants
 Header Item Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 858 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 233-246

Genetically Modified Organisms

 233. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding genetically modified organisms and pesticides (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44066/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney There are no genetically modified (GM) cultivars of any crop grown in Ireland. This technology has been concentrated on the development of useful agronomic traits in the production of grain maize, cotton, sugar beet, etc.

  The EU has authorised the cultivation of only one GM cultivar of maize (predominantly grown in Spain). The trait in that cultivar is aimed at the control of the corn borer pest and the use of this variety negates the need for multiple applications of insecticides.

  The Seralini study quoted in the question has been discredited with the European Food Safety Authority ( EFSA ) finding that the methodology used in the study was flawed and the conclusions drawn not justified by the data provided.   

  Regarding the use of glyphosate on herbicide tolerant crops outside the EU, both the GM trait utilised in the crop seed and the herbicide glyphosate have undergone rigorous testing throughout the world.

  Glyphosate was reviewed in 2002, as part of the EU plant protection product review programme which has allowed its use to date. The initial review in 2002 was carried out by Germany acting as the Rapporteur Member State (RMS) and this evaluation was peer reviewed by the other EU Member States. A re-review is currently underway, with Germany again acting as the RMS with Slovakia acting as a Co-RMS. The process of peer reviewing the evaluation is coming to a conclusion and it is expected that this process will be completed within the next 6 months.

  All uses of glyphosate approved in Ireland are in line with approved uses in all other EU Member States. Uses are only granted if the appropriate risk assessment indicates that safe uses are possible under normal conditions. Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 regulates the authorisation, marketing and use of plant protection products (PPPs) and as such each registration must conform to the norms, methodologies and principles contained therein. Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) are currently in place facilitating all currently registered uses.   

  Regulatory Authorities throughout the world have assessed its safety for human health through oral, dermal and inhalation toxicity studies involving single, repeat and lifetime exposure in rats, mice, rabbits and dogs. Additionally, there are highly specific tests that evaluate whether glyphosate has any impact on genotoxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental parameters and to assess if glyphosate has any carcinogenicity potential following long term exposure.      

  The comprehensive health assessments conducted by public authorities over the past 40 years have consistently concluded that glyphosate does not pose any unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 234. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 401 of 4 November 2014, if revised reference areas in maps sent to two separate shareholders (details supplied) are the reference areas that will be used for further applications to his Department. [44070/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under the provisions of the Single Farm Payment Scheme, ineligible areas/features and area where there is no agricultural activity are not eligible for payment. My Department has completed a review of the reference areas of the commonages referred to. All the claimants of these commonages will be written to informing them of the outcome of the review and informing them of their right to appeal if they do not agree with the findings of the review.

Public Sector Staff

 235. Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of staff that are drawing down retirement pensions from the public sector or Civil Service and that have been brought back on contract work or temporary contracts to work in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44109/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney A total of 10 retired staff from my Department are currently engaged on temporary contracts to carry out veterinary and laboratory management functions within my Department pending the recruitment of permanent replacements.

  In addition, 35 retired veterinary inspectors are rostered by my Department to provide meat inspection services in meat plants as and when required and are paid on a fee per shift basis. Since December 2011 no new applications for engagement in this capacity have been accepted.      

  Normal pension abatement rules are being applied in all these cases.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 236. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a single farm payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44146/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the 2014 Single Farm Payment has been received from the person named on 9 May 2014. Processing of this application has recently been finalised and payment issued to the nominated bank account of the person named on 14 November 2014.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

 237. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding an over-claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44154/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted a 2014 Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application on 14 May 2014.

Following initial processing, a dual claim was identified in respect of one of the land parcels declared by the person named. The person named subsequently confirmed that they did not have a right to claim the parcel in question. As the area over-claim is greater than 50%, based on the terms and conditions of the schemes, this results in no payment in respect of the 2014 Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Schemes and the application of an administrative fine to be offset against any future EU payments.

The person named has recently submitted an appeal to my Department. A decision is expected to be made on this appeal shortly. A member of my Department has been in direct contact with the person named to clarify the position, and discuss the matter further.

Harbour Fees

 238. Deputy Seán Kyne Information on Seán Kyne Zoom on Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason a new business (details supplied) being established in County Galway has not had its craft classed under Statutory Instrument No. 214 of 2012, which provides under charge no. 10 (c) that use of a harbour by small passenger boats licensed to carry up to 12 passengers should be €17 per entry, or €1150 per calendar year, payable in advance but is instead being charged the higher rates being laid out for a yacht; the reason consideration has not been given to the fact that the boat can carry 12 passengers; the appeals mechanism there may be; his views on whether this charge is anti-business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44164/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney While Ros a' Mhíl Fishery Harbour Centre is first and foremost a working fishery harbour there are commercial and other users of the harbour including passenger vessel operators. The Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates & Charges) Order, 2012 (S.I. 214 of 2012) came into effect on 1 July 2012 and sets out the fee schedule for the use of the facilities at each of the six Fishery Harbour Centres. Different rates apply according to the type and nature of the vessel, the different use made of the facilities by the vessel, the size of the vessel and the quantity and species of fish landed (where applicable).

  Charge 10 of Schedule 1 provides inter alia for a rate or charge of €17 per entry or €1,150 per calendar year payable in advance for use of a harbour by small passenger boats licensed to carry up to 12 passengers.

  Charge 17 of Schedule 2 provides inter alia for an annual rate of €180 per metre in length in connection with the berthing of yachts or pleasure craft.

  My Department is in receipt of correspondence from the Deputy regarding the individual concerned and his proposal to establish a small business operating from Ros a' Mhíl Fishery Harbour Centre.

  A final decision will be taken as to the appropriate applicable charge upon receipt of a full proposal and once it has been established on an ongoing basis the precise nature of the activity to which the proposal relates. If that activity is related to a small passenger boat licensed to carry up to 12 passengers, then Charge 10 of Schedule 1 would apply; if the vessel operates as a pleasure craft, then Charge 17 of Schedule 2 would apply.

  The Deputy should also be advised that, given that the current allocation of berths is scheduled to remain in place for some time, the availability of berthing spaces to new entrants at Ros a' Mhíl Fishery Harbour Centre in 2015 is uncertain.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

 239. Deputy Timmy Dooley Information on Timmy Dooley Zoom on Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive their single farm payment and their disadvantaged areas payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44182/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted a 2014 Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application on 3 April 2014. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases Remote Sensing (i.e. satellite) inspections, be completed before any payments issue.

  The application of the person named was selected for a Remote Sensing inspection .   

  This inspection has been completed and the results are being finalised with the intention of issuing any payment due as soon as possible. In the event that any queries arise officials in my Department will be in contact with the person named.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

 240. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when the 2014 rural environment protection scheme payments will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44185/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney REPS 4 is a measure under the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process is nearing completion and arrangements are well advanced to issue payments in respect of 2014. I expect that these payments will commence shortly.

Farm Inspections

 241. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the progress on the charter of rights for farm inspections; when it will be available for publication; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44202/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The Farmers Charter Review Group is chaired by an Assistant Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and comprised of senior Department officials and representatives of the main farmer representative organisations. The aim of the Review Group is to agree standards and delivery targets for the schemes and services including on-farm inspections, provided by the Department to all its clients including farmers. Negotiations on the new Farmers Charter are at an advanced stage and it is anticipated that the new Charter will be in place early in 2015 and will cover the period to the end of 2017. A Charter Monitoring Committee will be established under an independent chair to monitor Charter targets/commitments.

Harbours and Piers Funding

 242. Deputy John O'Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the progress of an application for funding for storm damage for a pier (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44225/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Kilcummin Pier is in the ownership of Mayo County Council and responsibility for its development, repair and maintenance rests with the Local Authority in the first instance.

  On 20 March this year, as part of the Governments overall co-ordinated response to the damage caused by the winter storms, I approved funding of €63,000 in respect of storm damage at Kilcummin Pier.   

  To date my Department has not received an application from the County Council for payment of the funding allocated in respect of the Kilcummin Pier project.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 243. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if a person (details supplied) in County Galway will be eligible for a single farm payment and a disadvantaged areas payment from 2015 onwards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44226/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named did not receive a direct payment in 2013 under the Single Payment Scheme, Grassland Sheep Scheme, Burren Farming for Conservation Programme or the Beef Data Programme and therefore does not have an automatic allocation right to receive an allocation of entitlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme which takes effect in 2015.

Based on the date on which the person named established her holding, and on other information supplied by the person named, she will neither qualify as a New Entrant nor as a Young Farmer and therefore will not be eligible for an allocation of entitlements from the National Reserve under those categories.

As of the 2016 scheme year, it will be possible for entitlements to be transferred between farmers in a variety of ways including by purchase and lease.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

 244. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received their disadvantaged area payment and single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44227/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the 2014 Single Payment /Disadvantaged Areas scheme was received from the person named on 15 May 2014. Processing of this application has recently been finalised and payment under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme will issue directly to the nominated bank account of the person shortly. The 50% advance payment under the Single Farm Payment was issued to the applicant on 16 October 2014.

Forestry Grants

 245. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason an application for afforestation was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44230/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named first made an application under the Scheme in 2008 under reference CN48539. This application was refused on appeal because of its location, the potential negative impact of a development on the landscape, and the elevated and exposed nature of the site. The person named submitted a further application in 2010 (CN53154) and again he was notified that the application could not be approved because of its impact on the landscape, its proximity to a national scenic route and the exposed nature of the site. A third application (CN61147) was also refused on the same basis.

The Department carried out a further review of the decision but remains of the view that the decision to refuse the application should stand. My officials will be in touch further with the person named to suggest what further options might be open to him.

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

 246. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if additional funding will be made available in the forthcoming budget for a specific entity (details supplied) for the overall food industry, taking into consideration Food Harvest 2020, as this funding is required to promote Irish food products abroad and secure new markets abroad for such products; the reason this entity is sponsoring a beef and cattle seminar to be held shortly, which is not relevant to the remit of this entity; and if he will urgently consider putting a policy in place whereby sponsorship should be sought from stakeholders from within the industry to sponsor such seminars or events. [44256/14]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The measures I announced as part of Budget 2015 send a clear signal of the importance I attach to the agri-food sector and its contribution to the economy as a whole. Next year, the budget allocation for Bord Bia, which has a central role to play in improving the profitability of the beef sector across the range of its activities, will increase to almost €30 million. The Government has prioritised agriculture and food as a major economic driver for the Irish economy and much has been achieved. Food and drinks exports reached an all-time high of some €10 billion in 2013, a 40% increase in value terms since 2009.

In terms of support for individual events, Bord Bia reviews and assesses its annual participation in trade fairs, conferences and industry events using criteria including sectoral priorities and client company interest, within the limits of its available budget. Participation at individual conferences, trade fairs and industry events is an operational matter for Bord Bia and the Deputy may wish to contact Bord Bia directly for particulars with regard to the matters he has outlined.


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