Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 315-324
 Header Item Overseas Missions
 Header Item Defence Forces Properties
 Header Item Defence Forces Properties
 Header Item Air Accident Investigations
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Applications
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Sea Lice Controls
 Header Item Sea Lice Controls

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 315-324

Overseas Missions

 315. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the extent to which payment for costs incurred by the Defence Forces in respect of UN or EU overseas deployments remains up to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21556/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The UN reimburses some personnel and Contingent Owned Equipment costs in respect of contributions of personnel to UN led operations. Rates of reimbursement, fixed in accordance with UN categories of equipment and personnel, are agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Ireland and the UN for each mission. The only mission for which Ireland is currently entitled to reimbursement of some troop and equipment costs, is the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Since 1 January 2012, the total amount received from the United Nations in respect of contributions towards troop and other costs associated with the participation of Defence Forces personnel in UNIFIL is calculated at €13.4m. The amount currently owing to the Department of Defence by the United Nations is calculated at €9.9 million approximately. This amount includes €3.5 million in respect of the current UNIFIL mission and €6.4 million in respect of repatriation costs of equipment from the MINURCAT mission in Chad. The amount owing in relation to the MINURCAT mission is currently the subject of ongoing negotiations with the UN. Ireland is not entitled to any reimbursement in respect of Defence Forces participation in EU-led missions as all troop contributors to such missions are responsible for their own costs.

  Question No. 316 answered with Question No. 85.

Defence Forces Properties

 317. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he expects to be in a position to maintain the comprehensive network of military installations throughout the country in order to ensure adequately and a high level of preparedness for any eventualities of a security or national emergency nature; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21558/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter My Department's property portfolio is kept under constant review to ensure that adequate facilities are available for the Defence Forces to carry out the duties assigned to them by Government. As the Deputy is aware I have indicated to the House previously there are no plans for further barrack closures.

Targeted recruitment will ensure that into the future the Permanent Defence Force can continue to deliver all operational outputs required by Government in the domestic environment as well as for overseas peace support operations. The full spectrum of Defence Forces personnel and equipment is also available for deployments in response to emergencies and crises. To this end I am satisfied that the Defence Forces are adequately resourced.

  Question No. 318 answered with Question No. 85.

Defence Forces Properties

 319. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the number and location of the various military installations throughout the country which are currently fully operational, those that have been earmarked for closure in the coming years; the extent of the savings projected arising from proposed closures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21560/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The military installations including permanently occupied barracks currently fully operational are set out in the following table. Whilst my Department’s property portfolio is kept under constant review, as I indicated to the House previously there are no plans for further barrack closures. In addition to these installations a number of other smaller properties are used by Reserve Defence Force (RDF) Units throughout the country. As the Deputy is aware a major re-organisation of the Reserve is being implemented which has resulted in a new organisational structure for the Army Reserve based on a “Single Force” concept where Defence Forces Units have Permanent and Reserve elements. These Units are based in Permanent Defence Force (PDF) installations throughout the country and in 16 locations outside of those installations. As a result a number of smaller properties currently occupied by the Reserve are being closed and will be disposed of. In accordance with standard practice my Department has contacted the various Government Departments and State Agencies to establish if those bodies have an interest in acquiring any of these properties. When my Department has exhausted all possible sales to other State Agencies and Government Departments the remaining properties will be disposed of by public tender/auction with the proceeds being used to fund the upgrading of Defence Forces equipment and infrastructure. As a result of these closures there will be some small savings on utilities and maintenance but it is not possible to quantify those savings at this stage. However, this new model for the Reserve will offer significant advantages in terms of training, improved interoperability and will enhance the overall capability of the Defence Forces. These changes will reduce direct expenditure on the Reserve by €11 million, whilst maintaining the budget for Reserve training activity.    

     

  FULLY OPERATIONAL MILITARY INSTALLATIONS

County Installation
Cork Kilworth Camp, Kilworth
  Naval Base, Haulbowline
  Collins Barracks
Donegal Finner Camp, Bundoran
Dublin Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel
  Cathal Brugha Barracks
  McKee Barracks
  St. Bricin’s Hospital
Galway Renmore Barracks
Kildare Defence Forces Training Centre, Curragh Camp
Kilkenny Stephens Barracks
Limerick Sarsfield Barracks
Louth Aiken Barracks, Dundalk
Meath Gormanston Camp
Westmeath Custume Barracks, Athlone
Wicklow Glen of Imaal
  Kilbride Camp

Air Accident Investigations

 320. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if the Defence Forces have completed their investigation into the heavy landing by the Air Corps air ambulance on 19 June last; the results and recommendations on foot of the investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21563/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter In accordance with relevant legislation, my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I agreed that the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport should investigate this accident. The AAIU has now completed its investigation and its Report, which was published on 4 April 2013, is now available on the AAIU website (www.aaiu.ie).     

  The Report contains seven Safety Recommendations of which five relate to the Air Corps. Of these, two were implemented prior to the publication of the Report, whilst the remaining three are currently in the process of being implemented by the Air Corps.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

 321. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will allow farmers to submit their single farm payment applications to their local district veterinary offices in view of the fact that it will speed up the process, as farmers are under pressure as a result of the fodder crisis, many of whom have to currently travel very long distances to be able to hand in their forms at central offices; if he will take into consideration that the online service is not a viable option for a large number of farmers who need a Department office within a realistic commutable distance for applications as complex and as important as the single farm payment and who urgently require their payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21095/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In order to improve its service to farmers, the Department has decided that it will acknowledge – either by text message or by post – all SPS application forms received in 2013. This is intended to assist those farmers, who had forgotten to submit their application as happens in many instances every year. In some instances, farmers are unaware that they had forgotten to submit their application until they are informed that no application has been received when they make enquires about the non-issue of their payments during the autumn.

In order to be in position to carry out this process, it was necessary to provide that 2013 SPS forms together with entitlement related applications should be submitted directly to the Department’s Single Payment Unit, Portlaoise.

Forms may be submitted on-line, hand delivered or returned by post in the pre-addressed envelope sent out to every 2012 applicant under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme. An Express Post receipt is attached to each return envelope sent out and provides an acceptable proof of postage for retention by the applicant. A registered post receipt is also an acceptable proof of postage if such is required by my Department.

The submission of on-line Single Payment Scheme application forms has increased dramatically since the introduction of this facility in 2007 and amounted to over 65,000 applications in 2012 about half of all application forms. I am hopeful that the upward trend in the number of such applications will be maintained this year and I strongly urge farmers to use this option themselves or with the assistance of an approved agent. Such applications are easily traced, are acknowledged electronically and are more readily processed for payment.

The change in the procedure for the submission of paper applications will mean that many application forms will be received on an earlier date in the Single Payment Unit than in previous years. This in turn will greatly assist the early scanning of forms and the issuing of acknowledgements to farmers and indeed the processing to completion of such applications.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 322. 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 if the remaining and outstanding agri-environment option scheme payments will be issued to farmers in consideration of the crisis the farmers are currently experiencing regarding the fodder shortages; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21103/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Under the EU Regulations governing all area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any AEOS payment can issue.

Successive EU audits have made it absolutely clear that compliance with the Regulations must be strictly adhered to and that all administrative checks must be passed and eligibility conditions met before payment issues. As a result, my Department is obliged to ensure that individual payments will not issue until all aspects of a farmer’s application are in order, all outstanding documentation provided and all queries resolved. In most instances where payments are outstanding there remains an outstanding query on the application. These queries are being resolved on an ongoing basis and officials in my Department will have contacted the applicants concerned with the intention of issuing payment as soon as possible. I am of course conscious of the difficulties facing the farming community at present and this is why I am prioritising outstanding payments, including AEOS, and ensuring that they issue as soon as possible.

I am conscious that farmers are experiencing difficulties given the current fodder shortage. Payments are being processed as promptly as possible. Approximately 1,500 AEOS payments issued over the last 10 days, while close to a further 600 AEOS payments valued at just over €1.3m is expected to issue within the next week.

Sea Lice Controls

 323. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney in the years that the lice control protocols have been in place for salmon cage installations, the number of cases in which there has been legal action or financial penalties brought against salmon cage operators that repeatedly fail to keep to the required levels; the penalties that can be imposed by his Department for such breaches; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21108/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Ireland’s sea lice control protocols are operated by the Marine Institute and involve regular inspections of marine fin fish sites by Marine Institute Inspectors (sites are inspected 14 times per annum). Results of inspections are provided to the farm operators within 5 working days. Results are also reported to my Department and to other interested parties such as Inland Fisheries Ireland. Overall results and trends are published annually. Notices to treat are issued to operators if lice levels are found to be above treatment trigger levels.

These protocols are considered to be more advanced that those operated in other jurisdictions for the following reasons:

- The inspection regime is totally independent of the industry.

- Data obtained as a result of inspections is published and made widely available.

- Treatment trigger levels are set at a low level.

In 2008, the State introduced a new Pest Management Strategy, supplementing the control regime already in place. This has resulted in a steady decline in average sea lice numbers on farmed salmon since its inception.

Ireland’s sea lice protocols have been the subject of detailed investigation by the EU Commission in response to a complaint from a member of the public in respect of the effects of sea lice on wild salmon. On 11 October 2012, the Commission closed its investigation of this complaint in the State’s favour following its examination of all relevant matters. The Commission has also indicated that it regards the sea lice protocols operated in Ireland as representing best practice internationally.

Fish farm operators are required to comply fully with directions to treat fish and with other directions regarding lice control. In situations where treatment has not been sufficient to bring lice levels below treatment trigger levels the operators have been directed to take additional measures. These actions include additional sustained treatments, early fallowing of sites and accelerated harvesting. My Department is advised by the Marine Institute that fish farm operators have complied with all directions issued on this matter.

Sea Lice Controls

 324. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the reason data of lice levels relating to salmon cage installations is only available from the Marine Institute two to three years after the event; if the data can be made publicly available within a month; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21109/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Reports regarding the results of sea lice inspections are circulated on a monthly basis to stakeholders, including Inland Fisheries Ireland, Fishery owners representatives and Salmon Watch Ireland.

  In addition, all data in relation to sea lice inspections is published annually. The complete results for the inspection programme in 2012 has been published (Irish Fisheries Bulletin No. 41) and is available in printed form or to download from the Marine Institute website at www.marine.ie. All previous reports are also available for download.

  The annual reports are made freely available and contain all the inspection results, details of trends and issues and a full explanation of the monitoring and control process.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:19:00 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page