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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 191-97
 Header Item Human Trafficking
 Header Item Naturalisation Applications
 Header Item Sugar Industry
 Header Item EU Directives
 Header Item EU Directives

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 809 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 191-97

  Questions Nos. 191 and 192 answered with Question No. 181.

Human Trafficking

 193. Deputy Joe McHugh Information on Joe McHugh Zoom on Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will update Dáil Éireann on European Council dialogue in respect of trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32541/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The issue of human trafficking and the rights of victims of this abhorrent crime was a focus of discussions at the European Council during the Irish Presidency. The discussions centred on the Commission publication in April 2013 of a document entitled 'The EU rights of victims of trafficking in human beings' as provided for by Priority A, Action 4 of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings (2012 - 2016). This document does not provide for the establishment of any new rights under EU law. Its purpose is to ensure that the rights of victims that already exist are set out clearly and, insofar as possible, in simple language that could be understood by a victim. It also provides for the first time in a single document all of the relevant EU legislation with an overview in simple language.

  The European Council adopted Council Conclusions at its Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council meeting in June 2013 welcoming the Commission publication and inviting Member States to: Take into consideration and utilise the Commission document 'The EU rights of victims of trafficking in human beings' for the purpose of drawing up or, if necessary, amending Member State specific document(s). Such document(s) should provide clear, user-friendly information on labour, social, victim and migrant rights that victims of trafficking in human beings have under EU law in their jurisdiction with special attention being given to child victims; supplement the information on the labour, social, victim and migrant rights that victims of trafficking in human beings have under EU law with any other rights of victims of human trafficking that exist under the domestic law in their jurisdiction, in/when drawing up such document(s); ensure, as far as possible, where the information is to be provided in more than one document, that such documents are collated into a single dossier to facilitate victims' easy access to comprehensive information on their rights; ensure that such document(s) outline(s) in a clear and user-friendly manner how such rights can be exercised by victims in their jurisdiction; disseminate such document(s) to all relevant actors that work with victims of human trafficking in their jurisdiction (e.g. police, border guards, immigration and asylum officials, health and social work professionals, Non-Governmental Organisations, etc.); utilise such Member State specific document(s) in training to all relevant actors working in combating trafficking in human beings to ensure a human rights' perspective; satisfy themselves that the objective of these Council Conclusions have been met by June 2014.

Naturalisation Applications

 194. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has lived here for 13 years and is married to an Irish citizen has to pay €980 for an Irish passport; his views on whether this is a very exclusionary fee and would limit those with limited resources to gain an Irish passport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30654/13]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The prescribed fees to be paid by applicants on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation were last increased by the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Fees) Regulations 2008, which came into effect on 1st August 2008. The standard certification fee is €950 while a reduced fee of €200 applies in the case of an application made on behalf of a minor or in certain circumstances when the application is made by a widow, widower or surviving civil partner of an Irish citizen. In the case of refugees and stateless persons no certification fee is charged.

In November 2011, I signed into law Statutory Instrument 569/11, which introduced an application fee of €175 for new applications for a certificate of naturalisation. The application fee was introduced to contribute towards the costs of processing those applications that do not attract any certification fee and to help reduce the proportion of invalid and ineligible applications being lodged. The fees are designed to reflect the effort and cost involved in processing applications for a certificate of naturalisation. As the Deputy will be aware I have introduced formal citizenship ceremonies at no extra cost to applicants. These have been universally well received by participants as the ceremonies provide a sense of occasion that serves to underscore the importance to both the State and the applicant of the granting of Irish citizenship.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Sugar Industry

 195. 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 steps he proposes to take to ensure the re-establishment of the sugar industry here (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32371/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I would like to give the Deputy the background to this issue. The EU Sugar Regime underwent a radical reform in 2005 following major EU decisions to restructure the industry. A temporary restructuring scheme was introduced with the aim of reducing EU sugar production. Greencore, the holder of the entire Irish sugar quota, availed of this voluntary scheme, dismantled its facilities and ceased production in 2006. Ireland secured €353 million as part of the reform package of which €220 million went to beet growers, €127million to Greencore and €6 million to machinery contractors. There is no mechanism under the present EU Regulations to allow for the re-instatement of the sugar quota for Ireland.

I know you will be aware that in 2011 I met with two separate groups which had conducted feasibility studies, into the possibility of establishing a new sugar/bioethanol facility in the country. I understand from figures published by the interested groups who are investigating the possibility of building a new facility, that the overall capital cost costs involved could range from €250 million to €400 million, depending on what type of facility will be constructed.

I have previously indicated that any venture to develop a combined sugar/bioethanol production facility would have to be a viable commercial proposition, and supported by a business case which is sufficiently robust to attract the funding from investors for the very substantial capital investment required. I am pleased to confirm to the Deputy that at the recent Council of Agriculture Ministers, which I chaired under Ireland’s EU Presidency, I secured agreement as part of the overall CAP reform package to abolish sugar quotas by 30 September 2017. This agreement removes, with effect from 1st October 2017, the quota barrier for operators in Ireland or other Member States wishing to re-establish a sugar industry. This agreement has been welcomed by those who are interested in seeking to re-establish a sugar industry here.

EU Directives

 196. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if new legislation will be required to implement required standards for the testing and use of agricultural sprayers in accordance with European Directive 2009/128/EC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32366/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Statutory Instrument No. 155 of 2012 which transposes Directive 2009/128/EC into Irish law, makes it a legal requirement for all “agricultural sprayers” over 3m wide, as well as orchard sprayers and other pesticide application equipment to be tested by November 2016. Officials in my Department are currently working on the mechanisms to facilitate this process and it is planned to have a coherent system in place by early 2014. It is not foreseen that any additional legislation will be required to progress these systems.

EU Directives

 197. Deputy Paudie Coffey Information on Paudie Coffey Zoom on Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney when standards for the testing and use of agricultural sprayers here in accordance with European Directive 2009/128/EC will be published; the way these standards will be enforced and if sanctions will apply where required standards are not reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32367/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Statutory Instrument No. 155 of 2012 which transposes Directive 2009/128/EC into Irish law, makes it a legal requirement for all “agricultural sprayers” over 3m wide, as well as orchard sprayers to be tested by November 2016. Schedule 1 of the legislation prescribes the standard to which the above equipment will be tested i.e. boom sprayers in excess of 3m wide must conform with EN Standard 13790-1:2003, while orchard and blast sprayers must conform with EN Standard 13790-2:2003. These standards are published on the website of the European Committee for Standardisation and are available for purchase.

All legal requirements placed on various people through regulations mentioned above will be monitored and measured by officials from my Department. This includes inspection at farm level under Statutory Management Requirement No. 9 (pesticides). There will not be any additional inspections at this level but rather the scope of the inspections will be enhanced to include issues such as end-user training, certification of sprayer and operation of the principles of integrated pest management. Statutory Instrument No. 155 of 2012 allows for the application of penalties. Where a breach is detected to a Single Payment Scheme recipient, a disallowance through this scheme may also apply.


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