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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 335-344
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications
 Header Item Departmental Properties
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals
 Header Item Fodder Crisis
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Expenditure
 Header Item Farm Inspections
 Header Item Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

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. 335-344

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

 335. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a decision will be made in relation to an agri-environment option scheme 3 plan lodged by a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21235/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application under the Agri-environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 7 December 2012 and an acknowledgement letter has issued to the person named. The processing of all applications is nearing completion and I expect to be in a position to inform all applicants of the outcome shortly. In the event that any queries arise on the application of the person named during this process officials in my Department will be in direct contact with the person named.

Departmental Properties

 336. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his Department and agencies under its aegis, who own or rent property in commercial developments are in compliance with their responsibilities under the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011; if he will outline those agencies who have representation on the boards of owners management companies; if he will provide a list of the agency, the relevant management company and its associated property but not the name of the individual representing the said agency; and his views on the implementation process of the Multi-Unit Development Act within his Department.  [21238/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Neither my Department nor the non commercial State Bodies funded by my Department, own or rent any properties in commercial complexes in which management companies are in place at this time.

  In relation to the commercial State Bodies, this is an operational matter for the bodies themselves.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

 337. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a decision will be made on the application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare for the disadvantaged area scheme 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21257/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted by the requirement of a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011 and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard.

The person named subsequently availed of the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. My Department has recently been advised of the successful outcome of this appeal. The person named is being notified of this in writing and payment will issue at an early date.

Fodder Crisis

 338. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will extend the transport subsidy scheme for the importation of fodder in view of the continued difficulties being faced by farmers; if he will extend this scheme to cover marts and private merchants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21346/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney In light of the continuing fodder problem, I announced last week that the duration of the Imported Fodder Transport Scheme has been extended until Friday 10 May.

I am satisfied that the volume of imported fodder is making a real difference on farms and assisting farmers through the current shortage. The extension of the scheme for a further week will build on this and ensure that further supplies are imported with the benefit of the transport subsidy.

Apart from this initiative on the fodder transport scheme, I have addressed the issue of credit facilities with the banks and the co-ops. The banks have been requested to take a flexible approach towards extending credit to farmer customers at this difficult time. The co-ops responded already with the introduction of interest free credit to farmers for the purchase of fertiliser in the month of May, which will be a key component in addressing this year’s fodder problem.

I am keeping the matter under constant review.

Single Payment Scheme Expenditure

 339. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the allocations made from the National Reserve for the years 2007 to 2012; and the numbers applying for such allocations on a county basis for each year. [21375/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The following table details the National Reserve allocations made by my Department for the scheme years 2007 – 2012. In addition this table includes the number of individual applications made on a county basis.

  2007 2007 2008 2008 2009 2009 2010 2010 2011 2011 2012 2012
County Applications Amount Allocated Applications Amount Allocated Applications Amount Allocated Applications Amount Allocated Applications Amount Allocated Applications Amount Allocated
             
CARLOW 193 214178.86 25 75196.86 12 61359.34 12 27578.99 13 38299.76 16 34782.62
CAVAN 163 117550.21 33 35341.68 31 52943.48 20 31667.66 21 14539.9 17 17695.66
CLARE 90 59875.55 55 157094.27 29 39915.39 21 50085.34 19 35205.92 21 41654.28
CORK 598 485401.17 155 521200.62 124 276311.02 79 129785.84 65 173973.64 45 66693.61
DONEGAL 2129 1253557.11 96 124504.17 69 59910.92 61 47846.69 53 72304.52 39 32988.59
DUBLIN 55 47079.47 14 22340.04 3 10000 1   4 12900.8 9 11413.66
GALWAY 1115 695276.46 67 157164 45 57552.5 50 52139.07 52 92701.6 36 48790.9
KERRY 1044 582362.45 96 164017.41 77 128331.76 52 74363.1 57 66037.14 37 19535.02
KILDARE 155 136504.48 15 67400.05 9 47760.86 9 27608.72 7 18488.67 22 63818.02
KILKENNY 124 127337.3 36 135370.51 20 33090.04 17 38189.71 17 37380.4 25 39305.07
LAOIS 75 79741.34 23 135754.31 16 42728.87 20 54783.01 18 37662.22 14 10147.23
LEITRIM 311 182915.29 28 30148.45 32 15015.36 22 18642.46 23 18566.56 18 7509.61
LIMERICK 55 85869.37 27 120269.12 31 70429.69 20 25468 29 35257.04 20 28873.81
LONGFORD 51 31172.69 17 35122.77 17 58942.24 12 18103.48 11 21252.47 11 15532.42
MAYO 1415 736766.9 66 83121.49 41 15423.49 43 56686.27 61 69173.03 38 32305.2
MEATH 204 168165.41 21 57965.52 12 42840.25 25 60568.77 28 72667.22 29 61704.72
MONAGHAN 98 77431.58 51 50429.28 32 42738.88 16 24978.93 21 34818.14 19 28056.32
OFFALY 103 82720.93 20 74934.87 19 37355.46 17 26769.34 18 42345.52 13 36633.37
ROSCOMMON 434 339150.12 49 77065.08 31 34031.63 24 25089.62 21 44691.34 22 34630.6
SLIGO 280 195177.97 42 59651.83 22 26764.32 19 12699.62 13 14155.62 27 32107.33
WATERFORD 120 129078.49 23 82847.66 22 52508.13 21 49641.21 5 14117.55 13 25086.38
WEXFORD 265 321176.48 40 103867.76 28 73308.85 33 99493.03 29 66344.38 33 58121.56
WICKLOW 311 259847.49 15 18801.11 7 29215.63 9 29724.84 9 15222.2 5 15750.15
LOUTH 112 73850.09 13 35099.21 11 22326.18 7 24529.73 9 7151.4 13 38547.94
TIPPERARY 221 295812.18 76 302894.59 53 230479.24 53 135459.59 43 89853.81 49 96695.74
WESTMEATH 163 173136.43 24 80082.83 24 65817.17 22 44450.92 19 45885.37 15 17317.19
Totals 9884 6951135.82 1127 2807685.49 817 1627100.7 685 1186353.94 665 1190996.22 606 915697

Farm Inspections

 340. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the number of farm inspections that have taken place in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; and the amount of moneys which have been expended by his Department in relation to these inspections in each year. [21386/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Due to the volume of the information requested by the Deputy, it was not possible to provide it in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

 341. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he has carried out any study or assessment to quantify any mitigating effects that arise regarding greenhouse gas emissions due to open grassland farming, the extensive hedgerow system and forestry in the State. [20502/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney My Department, on an ongoing basis, provides funding to Teagasc and to Irish third level institutions for research into the best ways to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through the land based sectors and forestry. In 2012 I announced the provision of more than €30 million to fund the latest round of research projects, €7M of which is climate related.   The Department continues to monitor ongoing research both nationally and internationally in an effort to find suitable mitigation technologies and approaches.

  One of the larger projects my Department has funded is the ‘Gaseous Emissions and Land Use Network – GHG Ireland’  . This network aims to bring together, for a 4 year initiative, all principal investigators working in the field of agricultural climate change research. The main focus of the network is to improve our understanding of carbon stock changes in agricultural soils so that we can contribute to the development of a more robust inventory, and underpin future accounting for these categories. My Department, together with Dept of Environment Community and Local Government, has put a huge effort into negotiating a more favourable outcome on this decision.

  There is close co-operation between my Department and the EPA to ensure that our respective environmental research programmes on greenhouse gas emissions are complimentary. Ireland is also engaged with the EU Joint Programming Initiative – Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (JPI-FACCE). The first multi-country research under the JPI FACCE programme was launched at the start of 2013. Ireland is involved with other EU countries, and the USA, Canada and New Zealand also participate.   

  Ireland is a founder member of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases which was established in December 2009. The objective of this Alliance is to pool the resources of like-minded countries and so enable the agriculture sector to continue to reduce emissions. The work of the Alliance is focused on three Research Groups; Livestock, Crops and Rice. Teagasc represent Ireland on the Livestock and Crops Research Groups.

  In recent years, a number of important reports have been initiated on these issues including the project ‘Celticflux’   was funded by the EPA under STRIVE. It provided measurement and modelling of greenhouse gas fluxes from grasslands and a peatland in Ireland; a hedgerow mapping project by Teagasc where all mature hedgerows wider than 2m have been mapped. This project found that approximately 450,000 Ha, or 6.4%, of the country is covered by hedgerows, individual trees, small woodland patches and scrub - nearly the equivalent area of Co. Tipperary. This map database will be freely available via the Teagasc website in the near future.

  An ‘Additions and refinements to the Irish forest carbon accounting and reporting tool’   project which involves multidisciplinary collaboration between several national institutions, will focus on applying improved estimates of CO2 emission factors to afforested organic soils and organo-mineral soils; refining the modelling of soil carbon stocks and changes in mineral soils using a spatial framework; detecting deforestation and disturbance events from medium resolution hypertemporal optical satellite imagery and characterising them using higher spatial resolution optical and microwave images; developing methodologies to investigate the fate and management of forest deadwood carbon pools after disturbance events; and constructing algorithms to quantify changes to deadwood carbon.

  The combined outputs from these research activities will be assimilated into CARBWARE, thereby improving the national reporting capacity. Close collaboration with the Irish GHG network will ensure standardisation of outputs, with delivery of geodatabases derived from the research to support DAFM and Forest Service forest management.

  The results of this research, allied with data on land and forestry activity that is supplied by my Department through the Central Statistics Office, inform the work of the Environmental Protection Agency which has responsibility for the development and maintenance of the national inventory for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One of the most important components of this inventory is the estimation of carbon sequestration of Irish land use.

  Clearly, Ireland is deeply committed to research that is aimed at improving parameters of production, environment, and socio-economics. It is vital that the results of this research are implemented with the help of our stakeholders in agri-food, so that we can guarantee the supply of sustainable food into the future. while combating climate change.

  International and EU Focus:

  At the highest international level, the Department of Agriculture has actively participated in meetings and conferences of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) over the past number of years. Throughout this process, Ireland has been the main driver within the EU for a UNFCCC decision on agriculture and is leading the EU effort which seeks the establishment of a work programme on agriculture.

  Ireland has also been raising the issue of agriculture at EU Commission level. In this regard Minister Hogan and myself as well as officials of our two departments, have worked closely together. We both met with the Commissioner for Climate Change in September 2011 and both our departments have continued to press the issue in 2012. In October the Commission said that they “understand and acknowledge” the “nature and carbon efficiency of the agriculture sector in Ireland, as well as its importance on economic and social grounds”. This represents a significant step forward for Irish agriculture following a great deal of work in the past 18 months.

  Ireland, through my Department currently holds the lead negotiator role for the EU on agriculture for the UNFCCC sessions. The Bonn session, in June 2013 during our Presidency of the EU, presents an opportunity to further raise the profile of agriculture both within and outside the EU, with the aim of advancing the discussion further, including to Ministerial level at the next UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Warsaw next November.

  It is important to acknowledge the help and assistance of the D/ECLG, as lead Department on climate change, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Teagasc and the EPA in this regard. Significant advances have been made as a result of a great deal of work by all concerned. There is a lot more work to do, but we are seeing some positive movement at UNFCCC and EU levels and I can assure you that we are fully committed to continue this work in meeting the challenges ahead.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 342. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive their agri-environment options scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21417/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 November 2010 and full payments totalling €237.59 and €3,786.06 issued in respect of 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. The person named was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 20 September 2012. During this inspection, issues of non-compliance with the terms and conditions of the scheme were noted in relation the Tree Planting – Standard action which resulted in a penalty being imposed. A letter issued to the person named informing his of this penalty and giving him the option to appeal the decision. My Department is currently processing the application on this basis and I expect payment in respect of the 2012 scheme year to issue shortly.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

 343. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will take steps to expedite an application for agri-environment options scheme payment due to a farmer (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [21436/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 November 2010 and full payments totalling €830.24 and €4,928.07 issued in respect of 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. During these checks for the 2012 scheme year issues were identified in relation to the claimed areas on the Natura action which resulted in a penalty being imposed. Officials in my Department are currently finalising the application on this basis and I expect payment in respect of the 2012 scheme year to issue shortly.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 344. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21438/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following recent direct contact by my Department with the person named, an outstanding matter regarding the application of the person named under the 2011 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has been resolved. Payment will issue in the coming days directly to the nominated bank account.


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