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. 475-497
 Header Item GLAS Applications
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Bord na gCon
 Header Item Bord na gCon Administration
 Header Item Bord na gCon
 Header Item Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Bord na gCon Funding
 Header Item Bord na gCon Contracts
 Header Item Bord na gCon Staff
 Header Item Bord na gCon Staff
 Header Item Bord na gCon Administration
 Header Item Bord na gCon Expenditure

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 944 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 475-497

GLAS Applications

 475. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when payment under GLAS will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in issuing this payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15254/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received full entitlements in respect of the 2015 scheme year.

During the 2016 prepayment checking process an issue presented on the computerised crosscheck of Department databases. Department officials are actively working to resolve this issue with a view to further processing the application for the 2016 payment as soon as possible.

Greyhound Industry

 476. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason there is no greyhound racing at Shelbourne Park which is the headquarters of greyhound racing. [15304/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established in 1958, under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

Bord na gCon has informed me that Shelbourne Park Stadium remains open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for greyhound racing. The current wave of protests has prevented entries for racing, therefore inhibiting the opportunity for customers to enjoy the live racing content.

Bord na gCon

 477. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the former chief executive officer of the Irish Greyhound Board (details supplied) was requested to leave; and the compensation for the loss of office. [15305/17]

 482. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the way in which a person (details supplied) was selected for their current post with the Irish Greyhound Board; and the person or body that appointed the person. [15315/17]

 484. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the amount a person (details supplied) is being paid. [15324/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 477, 482 and 484 together.

Bord na gCon is a commercial State Body, established in 1958 under the Greyhound Industry Act 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The matter raised by the Deputy regarding the circumstances surrounding the early departure of the CEO is an operational matter for Bord na gCon. However, I am assured that the arrangements surrounding the departure were in accordance with Bord na gCon's contractual obligations and in accordance with its own legal advice.

Regarding the employment of the interim CEO, Bord na gCon has informed me that it engaged in a process with the purpose of selecting an individual to carry out the duties of the CEO in a strictly interim capacity. In selecting an interim CEO, the requirement for a proven record in company restructuring and change management skills were criteria used in that selection. I understand that a number of people were interviewed and that the successful candidate was offered a six month fixed term contract for services. The matter regarding the amount being paid to the interim CEO is an operational matter for Bord na gCon.

Bord na gCon Administration

 478. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if there was an ordinary directors' meeting called regarding the closure of Harold's Cross greyhound stadium. [15306/17]

 479. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason no notice was given to Harold's Cross stadium regarding its closure in view of the fact that it was booked out for Valentine's Day. [15308/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 478 and 479 together.

  Bord na gCon is a commercial State Body, established in 1958 under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  The operation of greyhound stadia is an operational  matter for Bord na gCon.

Bord na gCon

 480. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason a single target was not met in the Irish Greyhound Board’s strategic business plan 2013–2017. [15309/17]

 481. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the Irish Greyhound Board has a current five year plan for the industry. [15311/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 480 and 481 together.

In 2013 Bord na gCon (BnG) submitted a strategic plan to my department, however following the publication of the Indecon report in 2014 this became the road map for the industry. Bord na gCon followed up with timelines for implementing the 27 recommendations in the Indecon Report. This report dealt with governance, finance, regulation and welfare. This action plan is published on the BnG website.

  Question No. 482 answered with Question No. 477.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

 483. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the area of natural constraints payment will be restored to pre-2009 levels in the upcoming review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15319/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Under the Rural Development Regulation each Member State must designate areas eligible for payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme. The ANC scheme replaces the previous Disadvantaged Areas Scheme/Less Favoured Areas Scheme. The designation of eligible areas under these schemes to date has been based on a range of socio-economic factors. From 2018 eligible areas must instead be designated using a set list of bio-physical criteria. In cases where a Member State does not introduce this new system for payment, the old scheme remains in place but payments must phase out on a digressive basis.

  The biophysical criteria set out in the legislation to underpin the new system of designation are:

  - Low temperature

  - Dryness

  - Excess soil moisture

  - Limited soil drainage

  - Unfavourable texture and stoniness

  - Shallow rooting depth

  - Poor chemical properties

  - Steep slope.

  My Department has commenced work on this project, and relevant technical experts are currently working on sourcing and analysing the data in relation to the new criteria. Department officials have also been in contact with the Joint Research Centre  and DG Agri in the EU Commission in relation to technical issues arising.

  Over the coming months this analysis will identify areas deemed to be facing natural constraints, which will in parallel be subjected to a refinement process. 

  In parallel to the above process, the Programme for a Partnership Government sets out the commitment to increase the budget for the Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme by €25m in Budget 2018.

  Question No. 484 answered with Question No. 477.

Greyhound Industry

 485. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason only 33% of the funding received by the Irish Greyhound Board, which is the betting levy tax, is going into prize money while Horse Racing Ireland invest 68% of its equivalent funding back into prize money. [15326/17]

 486. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason there is such a drop off in prize money from the Irish Greyhound Board in view of the fact the figure for prize money payments previously stood at €12 million and is currently only €6 million; and the areas where this difference is being spent. [15331/17]

 487. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the Irish Greyhound Board is paying bookmakers to attend meetings (details supplied). [15333/17]

 489. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason the Tote Gold Cup (details supplied) was abandoned. [15335/17]

 490. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the residents of Shelbourne Park were informed of the extra meetings scheduled in Shelbourne Park greyhound stadium as a result of the closure of Harold's Cross greyhound stadium. [15336/17]

 502. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason a company (details supplied) was allowed to sponsor the Greyhound Derby when it had not commenced to trade. [15368/17]

 503. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason the Irish Greyhound Board spent €1.3 million in a marketing budget in view of the fact that persons in the marketing department do not regularly attend tracks on race nights. [15372/17]

 506. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if persons from a company (details supplied) are attending racing and returning the SP like in horse racing. [15376/17]

 507. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of greyhound track supporter clubs that have been provided the money that was allocated to them. [15377/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 485 to 487, inclusive, 489, 490, 502, 503, 506 and 507 together.

  Bord na gCon is a commercial State body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

  The details requested by the Deputy are operational matters for Bord na gCon. 

  In line with Dáil procedures, this information can be requested directly from Bord na gCon using the dedicated email address: oireachtasqueries@igb.ie.  The Deputy’s questions have already been passed on by my Department via this mechanism.

Bord na gCon Funding

 488. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if a bank (details supplied) agreed a write-down on the Irish Greyhound Board’s debt. [15334/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Bord na gCon is a commercial State body, established in 1958, under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

  The matter raised by the Deputy is an operational question for Bord na gCon.

  Bord na gCon has informed me that it has paid down some €2m in bank debt between 2015 and 2016. I understand that circa €1.3m of this total was completed from operational cash flows while the remainder was achieved through the disposal of their former Head Office located on Henry Street Limerick.

  I am advised that there has been no write down of debt by the bank. However the Board has recently entered discussions with AIB in respect of the remaining debt due.

  Questions Nos. 489 and 490 answered with Question No. 485.

Bord na gCon Contracts

 491. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the person or body that made the decision to award the drinks monopoly to a company (details supplied) in Irish Greyhound Board stadia. [15338/17]

 492. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the way in which the drinks contract to a company (details supplied) in Irish Greyhound Board stadia was tendered and procured. [15339/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 491 and 492 together.

Bord na gCon is a statutory body responsible for the regulation of greyhound racing under the Greyhound Act, 1958. Bord na gCon operates the hospitality service at each of the greyhound stadia, and the purchase of goods and services in that regard is an operational matter for them.

Bord na gCon is bound by the Code of Governance for State Bodies and is required to adhere to national and EU procurement rules. In the case of the contract referred to by the Deputy, I am advised that the Board sought proposals from all three suppliers in this country and that the named company was the successful tenderer.

Bord na gCon Staff

 493. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of employees who were in the Irish Greyhound Board in 2004 when the turnover was €60 million. [15340/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Bord na gCon is a commercial State body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.  In that context, it runs commercial operations in a number of greyhound stadia.

  I have been informed by Bord na gCon that there were 122 full time and 564 part time employees in 2004.

Bord na gCon Staff

 494. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of employees who are in the Irish Greyhound Board currently when the turnover is €30 million. [15343/17]

 495. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason so many extra staff have been hired by the Irish Greyhound Board during a period when it was evidently struggling financially. [15344/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 494 and 495 together.

  Bord na gCon is a commercial State body, established in 1958, under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

  Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  Bord na gCon has informed me that it currently directly employs 128 full time staff and approximately 720 part time staff. The number of full time equivalent staff has increased from 176 in 2012 to 240 in 2015, and 243 in 2016.

  Of the increase in staff numbers between 2012 to 2016 the following analysis reflects the position:

  - Total increase in full time equivalent staff between 2012 to 2016 was 67 positions.

  - EHS (Food Services Division) accounts for 58 of these positions

  - Five of the remaining nine positions catered for deficiencies in resources that were highlighted within the Indecon review.

  - Additionally in that time BnG undertook the operation of Newbridge Stadium which involved an additional 5 full time equivalent staff.

  The majority of the staff increase is due to the organisation bringing its catering function in-house (Food Services Division); a service previously provided by outside catering companies at various stadia.

  The catering services were brought in-house due to the failure of external catering companies to successfully tender for the business in December 2014. The rates offered by the companies applying for the business were substantially below the rates paid in the previous contract, and these terms were below the minimum requirements outlined in the tender process. Acceptance of the rates offered would have meant a dramatic decrease in concession fee income to the group from 2015 onwards.

Bord na gCon Administration

 496. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason it has taken five years to get a new laboratory when the Irish Greyhound Board was made aware in 2012 that the laboratory did not test for oil-based Stanazol. [15345/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed This is an operational matter for Bord na gCon .

  However, I understand from Bord na gCon  that the core issue with stanazol is that the detection limit obtained using older equipment was not as low as that obtained using newer generation equipment.  It did not mean that Bord na gCon couldn’t test for this drug but that it was an issue of sensitivity. 

  In 2014 testing was outsourced to a UK laboratory but ultimately this cost proved prohibitive.

  Following a cost and regulatory review, a tender process was undertaken which resulted in the purchase of a new state of the art analytical system that allows for the detection of substances, including anabolic steroids, at very low levels in samples taken from greyhounds.   

  The new top of the range equipment belongs to the triple-quadrupole liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) class of systems. It is very sensitive allowing for the detection of drugs such as anabolic steroids which may have been administered a considerable time before the greyhound was sampled and thus have very low levels of residues remaining in the sample. It will, for example, greatly improve the laboratory’s ability to detect metabolites of the anabolic steroid stanazol in samples from greyhounds.

Bord na gCon Expenditure

 497. Deputy Alan Kelly Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason it costs the Irish Greyhound Board €1.8 million annually to carry out its testing procedures when the GBGB carries out its testing procedures for £300,000 sterling. [15347/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.

  This is an operational matter for Bord na gCon. I am advised that the €1.8M is the full expenditure on all racing matters in the areas of race regulations, welfare expenditure and laboratory expenditure.

  The National Greyhound Laboratory operated to a total outlay of circa €400,000 in 2016 which included the following approximate costs:

  - Laboratory Salaries €185k

  - Repairs, renewals and supply of lab consumable €212k

  - Collection of samples €65k

  The annual sampling contract cost for GBGB is approximately Pounds Sterling £640,000 not including point of registration samples.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 15:23:29 First Page Previous Page Page of 84 Next Page Last Page