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. 660-75
 Header Item GLAS Payments
 Header Item Fur Farming
 Header Item Organic Farming Scheme Payments
 Header Item GLAS Payments
 Header Item Departmental Staff Retirements
 Header Item Aquaculture Licence Appeals
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item GLAS Payments
 Header Item Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Registration of Title
 Header Item Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Rural Development Programme Funding
 Header Item EU Funding

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 946 No. 2

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 660-75

GLAS Payments

 660. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when a person (details supplied) will receive a GLAS payment. [17620/17]

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 payment in respect of the 2015 scheme year.

During the 2016 prepayment checking process an issue presented on the computerised crosscheck of Department databases in relation to commonages. Department officials have examined this issue and the application is now being further processed for payment in respect of the 2016 scheme year.

Fur Farming

 661. Deputy Seán Haughey Information on Seán Haughey Zoom on Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his views on the treatment of minks in mink farms; if he will consider revoking licences for this activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17634/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed In 2011, a Review Group was established to examine all aspects of fur farming in Ireland. The Terms of Reference of the Review Group were:

  (i) To review fur farming in Ireland taking into account existing legislative provisions for the licensing of mink farming

  (ii) To comment on the economic benefits of the sector

  (iii) To consider the effectiveness of existing welfare controls, and

  (iv) To make appropriate recommendations.

  The Review Group invited submissions from the public and interested parties and considered over four hundred submissions which were received.

  On foot of the Review Group’s deliberations, my Department introduced more rigorous controls on licence holders in the areas of animal welfare, animal accommodation, security and nutrient management. Licensees are subject to regular inspections, including unannounced inspections by Department officials.

  My Department has statutory responsibility for the welfare and protection of farmed animals under the European Communities (Welfare of Farmed Animals) Regulations, 2010(Statutory Instrument No 311/2010) and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. Irish fur farmers are subject to the same animal welfare legislation as any other livestock farmer.

  There are currently a total of three operators in Ireland licensed to keep mink.

Organic Farming Scheme Payments

 662. Deputy Mary Butler Information on Mary Butler Zoom on Mary Butler asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the position regarding organic farm payments; the reason there is a delay in payment; the expected timeframe for recipients to receive those payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17638/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed At present, 80% of Organic Farming Scheme participants have received their 85% advance payment in respect of 2016. Balancing payments have also started to issue in respect of the old Organic Farming Scheme.

The outstanding Organic Farming Scheme payments relate to cases where issues have been identified and follow up is required. These issues are being investigated and dealt with on a case by case basis. Once the outstanding issues are resolved, payment will issue.

GLAS Payments

 663. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when a GLAS payment will issue to a person (details supplied). [17679/17]

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 the balancing payment in respect of the 2015 scheme year has now issued and processing of payment in respect of the 2016 scheme year has commenced.

Departmental Staff Retirements

 664. Deputy Jim Daly Information on Jim Daly Zoom on Jim Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if employees in his Department who reach the age of 65 must retire or if they can work to 66 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17687/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is responsible for central policy making, and retirements in my Department are carried out in line with these policies. The retirement age depends on the conditions of employment in place when the employee joined the service.

Aquaculture Licence Appeals

 665. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the status of an independent review on the granting of a licence (details supplied); when he expects a decision to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17722/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) has statutory functions assigned to it in accordance with the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1997. The function of the Board is to provide an independent authority for the determination of appeals against decisions of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on aquaculture licence applications. A person aggrieved by a decision of the Minister on an aquaculture licence application, or by the revocation or amendment of an aquaculture licence, may make an appeal within one month of publication (in the case of a decision) or notification (in the case of revocation/amendment).

Section 56 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 provides that the Bord should endeavour to determine an appeal within a period of four months beginning on the date of the receipt of the appeal. In the event that the appeal is not determined within this time because of the particular circumstances of an appeal there is provision in the Act to extend this period. The Board will inform (in writing) parties and persons of the reasons why an appeal would not be determined within that period and shall specify the date before which, or the period within which, the Board intends that the appeal shall be determined.

Departmental Bodies

 666. 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 his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17725/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Sea Fisheries Protection Authority was set up by the Oireachtas under the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 as the independent authority for, inter alia, the implementation of sea-fisheries legislation. Sea-fisheries control issues are matters for the independent Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority and queries relating to fisheries control and enforcement should be directed to the Authority.

GLAS Payments

 667. Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if he will issue a GLAS 2 payment to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17727/17]

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 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016.

  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.

Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility

 668. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if 70% of the land needs to be retained for entitlements when using solar panels; if solar farming will be taxed or if it will come under renewal such as in circumstances that apply with regard to forestry; the amount of land a person has to retain to keep the single farm payment if using some land for solar panels; and if the Minister will make a statement on the matter. [17744/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Support under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) is payable upon activation of an eligible hectare per payment entitlement. In general terms an eligible hectare is one that is used for an agricultural activity or, where the area is also used for a non-agricultural activity, is predominantly used for such activities. An area is predominantly used for agricultural activity if that activity can be exercised without being significantly hampered by the intensity, nature, duration and timing of the non-agricultural activity.

While cases involving solar panels will be examined on an individual basis, it is currently envisaged that the area covered by the solar panels will be deemed ineligible for the purposes of claiming BPS. Furthermore, in line with the Department’s current approach on land eligibility, where the area of a parcel covered by solar panels is 70% or greater of the overall parcel, that parcel will be wholly ineligible. If less than 70% is covered by solar panels and the agricultural activity is not hampered by the presence of the solar panels, the area not covered by solar panels may be eligible.

With regard to entitlements it is important to note that a farmer must use all entitlements every 2 years. Therefore if the land is deemed ineligible for BPS the farmer would lose the entitlements after 2 years unless he (a) got more land (b) leased out his entitlements or (c) sold the entitlements.

It is also worth noting that all agricultural land used to claim BPS must be owned/leased, used and managed by the applicant. If the applicant is not the owner of the land, they must have a lease or rental agreement in place with the owner of the land. There must be independent and suitable access for animals and/or machinery for the farming enterprise being conducted. Independent access means access by public or private roadway or by a defined right of way. Access over adjoining landowners land, or over land which is subject to a lease or rental agreement to another person, is not acceptable. 

With regard to taxation it is primarily an issue for my colleague the Minister for Finance. An inter-departmental committee, including representation from my Department, is currently considering the taxation implications of the installation of solar panels on farmland, with a view to achieving clarification on various issues from the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners later this year.

Registration of Title

 669. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the status of obtaining the required consent from his Department for the transfer of property to persons (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17824/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed My Department has been in correspondence with the solicitors for the persons referred to by the Deputy regarding this transfer. The case has been prioritised by my Department, however there are a number of complex legal issues which need to be addressed before this matter can be progressed. My Department is currently consulting with its legal advisors in this regard.

Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility

 670. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the current ceiling in place for annual basic scheme payments under pillar 1 in CAP 2014-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17910/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Please see the following information requested in respect of current ceilings in place for annual Basic Payment Scheme payments under Pillar 1 in CAP 2014-2019 under the Single/Basic Payment Scheme.

YearNet Ceiling
2014€1,340,869,000.00
2015€1,214,800,000.00
2016€1,213,500,000.00
2017€1,211,900,000.00
2018€1,211,500,000.00
2019€1,211,100,000.00

Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility

 671. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the current ceiling in place for the greening portion of payments under basic scheme payments of pillar 1 in CAP 2014-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17908/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Single Payment Scheme (SPS) was replaced by the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening with effect from 2015. All farmers eligible for payment under the BPS Scheme are subject to Greening. However, certain exemptions apply meaning, in very broad terms, that it is the arable sector that have obligations under Greening.

  The Greening ceiling is calculated as a fixed % (30%) of the annual National ceiling. The Greening ceiling that currently applies for the relevant years is as set out as follows:

20152016201720182019
€364,501,000.00€364,041,000.00€363,570,000.00€363,445,000.00€363,320,000.00


  The value of the Greening payment per eligible farmer is calculated as a fixed percentage of the total value of entitlements activated by that farmer. Currently the fixed percentage stands at approximately 44%. This fixed percentage is calculated annually by dividing the Greening ceiling for that year by the total value of all payment entitlements activated in that year and as such the fixed percentage may vary from year to year.

Rural Development Programme Funding

 672. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed further to Parliamentary Question No. 267 of 1 December 2016, if the ex-ante evaluation was completed in December 2016; if not, when; the quarter in which it will be completed in 2017; if the evaluation will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17864/17]

 673. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed further to Parliamentary Question No. 246 of 16 June 2016, the number of the seven ex-ante assessment steps provided that have been completed to date from the financial instruments in question (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17865/17]

 674. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of member states that have implemented a financial instrument for the current rural development programme period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17866/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 672 to 674, inclusive, together.

  The contract for an Ex-ante Assessment for the use of Financial Instruments (FIs) within Ireland’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programmes was awarded to Indecon on 31 August, 2016. A draft report of the Ex ante assessment examining all 7 required steps was completed and sent to the Steering Committee on 15 December 2016. A presentation on the draft report of the ex-ante assessment was also given to the Steering Committee on 22 December 2016. Following this presentation, written comments and suggestions from the Steering Committee members were sent to the evaluator and a revised report was submitted on the 3 March 2017. The Steering Committee have requested further clarification on a number of issues addressed in the revised report and are awaiting a response from the Evaluator.

  Once an ex-ante assessment is complete a decision can be made on whether or not to implement a FI and the possible budgetary implications. If a decision is made to proceed with FIs then an agreement must be reached between the Department and any other potential stakeholders/financial institutions on a clear investment strategy that is developed from the gaps, if any, identified in the ex-ante assessment. Following this, an appropriate amendment would have to be made to the Rural Development Programme. The summary findings and conclusions of the Ex ante assessment must be published within 3 months of their date of finalisation and the final report will be submitted to the RDP Monitoring Committee for information.

  To date Estonia is the only EU Member state that have implemented a Financial Instrument for the current RDP period. Further Details on this FI can be found at: https://www.fi-compass.eu/sites/default/files/publications/case-study_Estonia.pdf.

EU Funding

 675. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the total amount of assigned revenues in the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund on an annual basis over the period 2011 to 2016, inclusive, in tabular form (details supplied); the annual breakdown of expenditure of assigned revenue; the amount of assigned revenue expected to be available in 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17867/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The following table sets out the amounts of assigned revenue reported in my Department’s Annual Accounts for EAGF Financial Years 2011-2016. It is not possible to estimate amounts which might arise under Conformity Clearance and Irregularities for 2017 as a wide variety of factors can impact on these figures, however, just over €1 million has been allocated to cover any such eventualities in the 2017 estimates. Some or all of this may or may not be required.

  Assigned Revenue

YearItem 6701 - Conformity ClearanceItem 6702 - EAGF IrregularitiesItem 6703 - Superlevy from milk producersItem 6802/6803 - Temporary Restructuring Fund
2011€0.00€4,389,862.46€18,481.23€4,871.81
2012€140,894.00€5,060,431.65€0.00€2,026.46
2013€6,765,497.14€6,318,602.93€16,436,685.45€0.00
2014€93,156.54€5,531,407.38€0.00€0.00
2015€1,080,014.33€4,537,497.56€9,930,001.87€0.00
2016€58,386,725.50€3,477,990.15€70,476,618.18€0.00
2017 estimate--€0.00€0.00


  Conformity Clearance decisions can take a significant period of time to be finalised and the figures for each of the years shown in the table generally relate to matters which arose a number of years previously. Consequently a year by year comparison is not necessarily appropriate.


Last Updated: 03/03/2020 14:00:23 First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page