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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 559-579
 Header Item Defence Forces Deployment
 Header Item Defence Forces Recruitment
 Header Item Animal Welfare
 Header Item Commonage Framework Plans
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Foreshore Licence Applications
 Header Item Single Payment Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments
 Header Item Live Exports
 Header Item Common Agricultural Policy Reform
 Header Item Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 821 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 83 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 559-579

Defence Forces Deployment

 559. Deputy Lucinda Creighton Information on Lucinda Creighton Zoom on Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he will provide in tabular form the total number of Defence Forces personnel deployed to the Golan Heights since March of 2011; if he will breakdown the figures by each six month deployment during that period; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [49042/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter A total of one hundred and twenty-six (126) members of the Permanent Defence Force are currently deployed to the Golan Heights in Syria. Full details of all personnel deployed to the Golan Heights since March 2011 are listed in the tabular statement attached. The main Defence Forces deployment is with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria. The Irish 43rd Infantry Group comprises one hundred and nineteen (115) personnel and was deployed to UNDOF in September 2013. The Irish 43rd   Infantry Group is tasked primarily to serve as the Force Reserve Company within the UNDOF Area of Responsibility on the Golan Heights. Their duties include the provision of a Quick Reaction Force which is on standby to assist with on-going operations within the UNDOF Area of Responsibility. The Force Reserve Company also carries out patrols and convoy escorts as necessary. Four (4) members of the Permanent Defence Force are also deployed at UNDOF’s Headquarters.

  Major General Michael Finn was seconded to the United Nations to fill the post of Head of Mission and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) with effect from 01 July 2013 for an initial period of one year. There are a total of twelve (12) members of the Permanent Defence Force serving with UNTSO, seven of whom are currently based in Syria as part of Observer Group Golan (OGG).   

  Defence Forces personnel deployed to the Golan Heights in Syria

UN Mission Average Number Serving Length of Deployment
UNTSO

United Nations Truce Supervision Organisation - Observer Group Golan (OGG)
Since March 2011 an average of between 6 and 8 personnel have been serving with UNTSO’s OGG. Irish personnel are deployed with UNTSO for 12 months initially with possible extension of up to 24 months
UNDOF

United Nations Disengagement Observer Force
3 personnel serving since June 2013

1 personnel serving since September 2013. All 4 personnel are based at UNDOF HQ at Camp Faouar in the Golan Heights
12 month deployment
  115 personnel are serving since 28 September 2013 as members of the 43rd Infantry Group UNDOF 6 month deployment

Defence Forces Recruitment

 560. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Defence Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter if he expects recruitment for the armed forces to recommence; the date on which this might happen; the application process involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49078/13]

Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter I am advised by the Military Authorities that the strength of the Permanent Defence Force, at 30 September 2013, the latest date for which details are available, was 9,188 comprising 7,379 Army, 784 Air Corps and 1,025 Naval Service personnel. The September 2013 strength figures have been calculated on the basis of actual numbers serving on that date, excluding those members who are on secondment to, and being paid by other organisations, or on career breaks. All future strength figures will be calculated on this basis. General Service recruitment recommenced in September 2013, from the existing competition panels, from which it is expected there will be an intake of approximately 400 recruits. In addition 20 Apprentices for the Air Corps and 15 Engine Room Artificers for the Naval Service are due to be recruited from current competitions. As the Permanent Defence Force is currently below the agreed stabilised strength of 9,500, it is my intention that targeted recruitment will continue within the resource envelope allocated to Defence. It is planned to run a new General Service recruitment competition in the first half of 2014. Details will be made available on the Defence Forces website www.military.ie when the competition commences.   

  Application for recruitment to the Defence Forces is conducted on-line and all correspondence is conducted via e-mail. Candidates must successfully complete psychometric testing, fitness testing, and interview in order to progress through the competition. Following these stages of the recruitment process, successful applicants may be placed on panels and offered a position, subject to successfully completing a medical examination and obtaining Garda Siochána Security Clearance.

  

  Question No. 561 answered with Question No. 557.

Animal Welfare

 562. Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if the docking of dogs' tails will still be permitted, even though section 16 of the Animal Welfare Act would appear to prohibit such practices for cosmetic purposes.  [48825/13]

 563. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if he will ensure that draft regulations under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, will not allow the docking of tails and removal of dew claws of dogs under four days old without anaesthetic for cosmetic purposes, as this is completely prohibited by the Veterinary Council of Ireland. [48843/13]

 609. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if his attention has been drawn to the concerns, raised by the ISPCA and others, that the provision to allow for the docking of tails and dew claw removal by non-veterinary trained persons for cosmetic reasons should be excluded from the Animal Health and Welfare Act regulations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49497/13]

 614. 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 if he will consider ending the unnecessary cruel practice of tail docking and dew claw removal in certain dogs. [49606/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 562, 563, 609 and 614 together.

The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (Section 16) prohibits the carrying out of procedures that may cause pain/suffering to animals, including certain husbandry related procedures, unless provided for under Regulations to be made under the Act. I propose to commence the Act shortly and, in this context, a number of draft regulations covering a wide range of issues are in the course of preparation to coincide with its commencement.

With regard to the specific issue on tail docking of dogs’ tails, the current legislation (the Protection of Animals Amendment Act (1965)), allows for tail docking of all dogs up to 1 month old by any person. My officials have met with a number of groups who made representations in relation to an appropriate approach to the docking of dog’s tails. The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 specifically prohibits the docking of a dogs tail for cosmetic purposes and under no circumstances will this be allowed. I am currently considering whether tail docking should be permitted in very limited circumstances in relation to working dogs, specifically terriers, spaniels and pointers. A fundamental element involved in drafting the regulations mentioned above will be to ensure the welfare of all animals, including dogs.

Commonage Framework Plans

 564. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney further to Parliamentary Question No. 184 of 7 November 2013, if he will identify each commonage that was subject to a ground inspection; the date of each inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [48851/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The data sought is being compiled and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy immediately it becomes available.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 565. 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 when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will have their area based payment processed; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48853/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Payment under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has not yet issued to the person named as their holding has not yet satisfied the Scheme minimum stocking density requirements. As soon as the holding is confirmed as having met these requirements, the case will be further processed with a view to payment issuing at the earliest possible date thereafter.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 566. 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 reason payments have been held up in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48854/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney With processing of the application of the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Area Scheme expected to be completed shortly, payments will then issue directly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 567. 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 reason payments have been held up in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48855/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following a review of the land submitted by the person named on his Single Payment Scheme application it was found that two of the parcels declared contained ineligible features. The person named has recently sought a review of the decision to exclude the ineligible features. This request will be examined in the near future and my Department will be in contact with the person named regarding the outcome in the coming weeks.

Agriculture Schemes Payments

 568. 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 reason payments have been held up in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48856/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the application of the person named has recently been finalised, payment will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 569. 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 reason a person (details supplied) has not received farm payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [48857/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney Following a review of the land declared by the person named on his Single Payment Scheme and other area-bases schemes it was found that several of the land parcels delcared contained ineligible features. The person named has sought a review of the decision and this review is currently being undertaken. My Department will be in direct contact with the person named regarding the outcome of this review shortly.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 570. 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 when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a disadvantaged area aid payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48904/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the application of the person named has recently been finalised, payment will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 571. 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 the reason a penalty was applied under the disadvantaged area based scheme against a person (details supplied) in County Galway; the way this penalty was calculated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48932/13]

 572. 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 the reason a penalty was attached to the single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway when the land was awarded aid for forestry and the person was entitled to payment on those hectares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48933/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I propose to take Questions Nos. 571 and 572 together.

During initial processing of the 2013 Single Payment Scheme application of the person named, a number of errors relating to parcels claimed under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme and also claimed by the person named under the Forestry Scheme were identified. As subsequent validations have now confirmed this land as eligible under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme, the application of the person named will be further processed to ensure that this will be reflected in the balancing payment due to issue to farmers from 1 December 2013.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 573. 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 if he will advise how much longer it will take for maps to be digitised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49001/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney As processing of the application of the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was recently finalised, payments issued, directly to the nominated bank account of the person named, on 7 November and 15 November 2013 in respect of each Scheme, respectively.

Foreshore Licence Applications

 574. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the position regarding the foreshore application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; the reason for the delay in granting the application; the length of time it will take for this application to be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49016/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney An application for an Aquaculture Licence was received by the Department from the applicant referred to in respect of a site located in Inver/Donegal Bay in November 2011. The application is for cultivation of Pacific Oysters using bags and trestles.

  The application area is located adjacent to Donegal Bay (Murvagh) Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and within the Donegal Bay Special Protection Area (SPA) (Natura 2000 sites). All applications in ‘Natura’ areas are required to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of environmental compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

  The assessment process of aquaculture applications is being dealt with on a bay-by-bay basis. This process includes the following:

(a) a detailed data collection in 91 Bays/Estuaries

(b) detailed analysis of raw data collected

(c) setting of Conservation Objectives by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) in respect of each site

(d) carrying out Appropriate assessments of each licence application/fishery plan against the detailed Conservation Objectives set, and

(e) determination of Licences/Fisheries on the basis of the Appropriate Assessment and other relevant factors

  The appropriate assessments are being carried out by the Marine Institute on behalf of the Department and to date five bays have been assessed, including Inver/ Donegal Bay.

  The Department is currently examining the outcome of the Appropriate Assessment with a view to formulating policy recommendations in respect of aquaculture activity in Inver/Donegal Bay. Such policy recommendations will take account of all national and EU legislative requirements and will reflect the full engineering, scientific, environmental, legal and public policy aspects of each licence application. This process, which is very detailed in nature, is ongoing.

  Addressing the issue of aquaculture licensing in Natura 2000 areas is a key priority for my Department and the Deputy can be assured that every effort is being made to expedite the completion of the process in Inver/Donegal Bay having regard to all the complexities involved.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

 575. 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 payments in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49020/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The person named submitted a Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme application on 9 May 2013. EU Regulations governing the administration of the schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases on farm inspections, be completed before any payments issue.

  The application of the person named was selected for a ground eligibility/cross compliance inspection. This inspection has been completed and the results finalised.

  Payments under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme issued directly to the nominated bank account of person named on 14 and 15 November 2013, respectively.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

 576. 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 a disadvantaged areas payment for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49022/13]

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 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted upon by the requirement to have achieved 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 appealed unsuccessfully to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee; the person named was informed accordingly and was advised of his right to pursue the matter with the Office of the Ombudsman.

Live Exports

 577. 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 if his attention has been drawn to the fact that recently an export company got into trading difficulties which has resulted in many marts being exposed financially, as they are owed a lot of money; if he has any proposals to be of assistance to these marts and to provide emergency funding to help them through this difficult period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49026/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney I am aware that a company involved in the live export trade has been placed in receivership. However, I understand from various public statements that, while significant amounts may be owed to marts, the marts have signalled their commitment to continue to pay Irish livestock suppliers on a weekly basis. I should also point out that under agricultural state aid guidelines, Member States are precluded from assisting firms in difficulty.

The Deputy will be aware that my Department attaches considerable importance to the live export trade and, over the years, has done all in its power to facilitate this trade. The reality is that the live export trade provides alternative market outlets for certain categories of livestock, particularly weanlings, thereby serving a market demand and providing increased competition in the market place for cattle. I am always keen that Irish meat and livestock producers can access as many global markets as possible and, to that end, my Department will continue to seek to ensure market access from Irish produce, including live exports.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

 578. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney the actions he will take in the context of the rural development plan to address the income concerns of many farmers who depend to a great extent on Pillar II payments, particularly in the vulnerable sectors and regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49036/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides a total of €2.19bn, or some €313m per year, for Ireland under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 - 2020. The development of a new Rural Development Programme under Pillar 2 will be a key support in enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, achieving more sustainable management of natural resources and ensuring a more balanced development of rural areas.

Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the range of requirements set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation and the need to support key policy aims for the agri-food sector in the light of the Food Harvest 2020 strategy. In undertaking this work, a number of ex-ante analyses are being undertaken and a public consultation process has also taken place.

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the overall financing that will be required. I expect to make decisions in relation to the measures to be supported under the new RDP by the end of this year, and to submit a draft programme to the Commission in early 2014.

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

 579. Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney if it is his intention that investment aid will be available across sectors to help farmers meet Food Harvest 2020 targets, fulfil higher environmental and welfare standards and improve on farm efficiency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49037/13]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Information on Simon Coveney Zoom on Simon Coveney The new EU policy framework for rural development for the 2014-2020 period is being finalised at present. In the determination of the farm sectors in which investment aid will be made available in the next rural development programme, I will be examining all options and consulting relevant stakeholders to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from the financial resources which will be available.


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