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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 431-451
 Header Item Aquaculture Licences
 Header Item Aquaculture Licence Applications
 Header Item Animal Welfare
 Header Item Agriculture Industry
 Header Item Research and Development Funding
 Header Item Forestry Sector
 Header Item Afforestation Programme
 Header Item Afforestation Programme
 Header Item Forest Roads Scheme
 Header Item Afforestation Programme
 Header Item Flood Relief Schemes Funding
 Header Item Departmental Staff Recruitment
 Header Item Shared Services
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes
 Header Item Tillage Sector
 Header Item Media Mergers
 Header Item Climate Change Policy
 Header Item Departmental Bodies Data

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 960 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 431-451

Aquaculture Licences

 431. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed further to Question No. 166 of 4 October 2017, the reason he is of the view that extreme weather conditions prevented the operators notifying his Department of 1 February 2014 storm damage to a fish farm (details supplied) until an email at 5.31 p.m. on 7 February 2014, six days after the accident, in view of the fact that telecommunications were restored within hours.  [43718/17]

 432. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed further to Question No. 166 of 4 October 2017, the reason he is of the view that extreme weather conditions delayed the investigation of storm damage to a fish farm on 1 February 2014 (details supplied) in view of the fact that his Department’s reports record that marine contractors spent the two days of 3 February and 4 February reshooting anchors, restoring cages and rearranging nets with the result that no conclusions as to mortalities or escapes could subsequently be reached.  [43719/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 431 and 432 together.

  As the Deputy has been advised, the extreme weather conditions prevalent at the time delayed the immediate investigation of the damage and whether escapes or mortalities had in fact occurred.

  At all times, site surveys must be conducted in a manner which takes due account of the health and safety of the personnel involved.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

 433. 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 aquaculture licence for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43726/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed My Department’s records indicate that two applications have been received for Aquaculture Licences from the person referred to by the Deputy. The first application was received in November 2016 but it was subsequently returned to the applicant as it was incomplete. The completed application form and the necessary supporting documentation were returned to my Department in June 2017 and this application is being processed in the normal way.

My Department received a further application for an Aquaculture Licence from the same applicant in June 2017. During the verification process, my Department discovered an error of a technical nature with this application. This has been communicated to the applicant and a response is awaited.

Animal Welfare

 434. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the maximum penalties available for convictions for animal cruelty; his plans to raise them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43851/17]

 435. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of prosecutions there have been for animal cruelty in the past five years; the number of these which resulted in a conviction; the most stringent sentence imposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43852/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 434 and 435 together.

  The introduction of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provided for increased levels of penalties for animal welfare offences committed. For major cases taken on indictment, the maximum penalty was increased from €100,000 to €250,000, with a maximum custodial sentence of five years imprisonment. These penalties are in keeping with Irish jurisprudence and therefore I do not envisage further changes at this time.

  Penalties imposed upon successful conviction vary at the discretion of the court, with the Act containing provisions that where an individual convicted of serious animal welfare offences may be banned by the courts from keeping animals, or indeed have the numbers of animals they may keep restricted.

  The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 however has importantly changed the basis upon which animal owners must treat their animals and is specifically designed to allow early intervention in a much wider range of cases than the previous legislation allowed for. Thus minor cases can be tackled before they escalate and the Act is a vehicle to encourage and educate animal keepers. This new approach means that Authorised officers are addressing problems while they are relatively minor, reducing the risk of escalation.

  Enforcement is a complex issue, so a progressive aspect of the Act is that it does not just focus on prosecution, which is only appropriate in cases where there have been serious welfare issues that can be clearly demonstrated to the courts. The new enforcement approach reflects the need to intervene as early as possible in animal welfare situations. This approach is aided by The Early Warning/Intervention System (EWS) initiative introduced by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council involving, amongst others, my Department, the Irish Farmers' Association and the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which provides a framework within which farm animal welfare problems can be identified before they become critical or overwhelming.

  The Act provides for Animal Health & Welfare Notices to be issued by Authorised Officers. This means that minor situations can be addressed at an early stage and that encouragement, guidance and best practice are introduced rather than just punishment. It also provides for Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued in minor cases and allows authorised officers to seize and re-home animals where the owner’s capacity to care for their animals is being overwhelmed.

  The provisions of the Act are enforced by Authorised officers of my Department, An Garda Siochana, officers of Customs & Excise and authorised officers of ISPCA and DSPCA, along with individual officers of the Turf Club. This approach provides a large cross section of experienced officials whom are aware of welfare issues and can flag them up as and when they arise.

Cases Taken From 2013 - 2017*

  Taken - 105

  Current - 29

  Prosecuted - 42

*As the Deputy has requested figures covering the last five years, it should be noted that the Animal Health and Welfare Act commenced in March 2014 so some of the information in this reply pre-dates the Act. The maximum ban on keeping animals handed down by the courts since 2013 is two years while the maximum fine incurred was €6,000 plus costs. The Deputy should also be aware An Garda Síochána may initiate cases independently of my Department.

Agriculture Industry

 436. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of persons directly and indirectly involved in agriculture and agriculture-related employment in each of the years 2011 to 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43917/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The CSO published four Quarterly National Household Surveys (QNHS) for 2016, the fourth of which was released in February 2017. These showed that employment in the agri-food sector overall, including all its component parts, averaged 173,400 throughout the year. The agri-food sector represented circa 8.6% of national employment as measured by the QNHS.

  The average figures for the years 2011 to 2016 are in the following table. Annual figures for 2017 will be available with the release of the QNHS for Q4 2017, in February 2018.

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
000s 000s 000s 000s 000s 000s
140.2 141.4 163.7 166.7 165.7 173.4
  Source: CSO Quarterly National Household Survey

  It should be noted that after each Census of Population the sample of households for the QNHS is updated to ensure that it remains representative. The sample based on the Census of Population 2011 was introduced incrementally from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013. The CSO's Employment in Agriculture Information Notice (June 2016) stressed that such changes in sample can lead to some level of variability in estimates, particularly at more detailed levels such as the above. Therefore, the CSO says caution is warranted in the interpretation of trends over the period of new samples being introduced and particularly so for the Agriculture sector figures.

  Food Wise 2025, the new ten year strategy for the agri-food sector published in July 2015 identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow the sector to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness; as well as specific sectoral recommendations.

   If these recommendations are implemented, the expert committee which drew up the Food Wise 2025 Strategy believes that the following growth projections are achievable by 2025: increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion; increasing value added in the sector by 70% to in excess of €13 billion; and increasing the value of primary production by 65% to almost €10 billion. With regard to employment, Food Wise foresees the creation of 23,000 additional jobs in the agri-food sector all along the supply chain from primary production to high value added product development.

Research and Development Funding

 437. Deputy John Lahart Information on John Lahart Zoom on John Lahart asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the proportion of the annual agriculture budget which is allocated for research and development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43918/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The funding provided for my Department's competitive research programme in 2017 amounts to €18.2 million. This funding covers the Food Institutional Research Measures (FIRM) €5.4m, Research Stimulus Funds (RSF) €11m and Competitive Forest Research for Development funds (CoFoRD) €1.8m.

The funding is provided, on a competitive basis, to public institutes in Ireland with a proven research performing capability, mainly Higher Education Institutes and research institutes and involves inter-institutional collaboration.

The research topics under FIRM cover food areas such as product development, processing, safety, nutrition and health encompassing both land and marine derived resources. Most of these projects are of 1-5 year duration.

Projects funded under RSF support sustainable and competitive agricultural production practices and policies and contribute to building and maintaining a knowledge economy and research capability in the agriculture sector. Most of these projects are funded for 3-5 years.

CoFoRD forestry research seeks to develop a scientific foundation and support for sustainable competitive, market orientated and innovative forestry industry. Projects are from 2 to 5 years duration.

I also provide €31.5m in funding to the Marine Institute to enable it to perform its core functions which include research and data collection underpinning the Common Fisheries Policy, coordinating, promoting and assisting in marine research and development and providing such services related to marine research and development that facilitate marine economic development while protecting the marine environment.

I have made a further €128.1m available to Teagasc which accounts for approximately 70% of its overall income in 2017. Its statutory role is the provision of integrated research, advisory and education services to the agriculture sector. An estimated €61.5m of Teagasc expenditure in 2017 is attributed to its research activities.

Forestry Sector

 438. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his views on removing the restrictions on planting productive marginal land to ensure greater regional spread; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43925/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Most productive marginal land is already eligible for planting and many farmers avail of the generous grants and premiums on offer to plant their productive marginal land. There are some restrictions on planting land in designated areas and other environmentally sensitive areas. There is also a restriction on the proportion of unenclosed land, Grant Premium Category 1(GPC1) planted, capped at 20% in any one application.

Our analysis, based on previous planting figures, is that by lifting this 20% rule there will only be a modest increase in overall level of planting. This is also because the definition of GPC 1 land has narrowed, reducing the amount of land in this category. Also, the establishment grants do not cover the establishment costs for this GPC and annual premiums are much lower for the applicant. It follows therefore that removing the restrictions on planting this category of land will not lead to a significantly greater regional spread. However, my Department has held discussions with European Commission with the aim of removing the 20% rule and a final position has yet to be reached by the Commission. A further high level meeting between my Department and the Commission is scheduled for November 2017.

Afforestation Programme

 439. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his views on the re-introduction of farm forest premium differentials; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43927/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The current forestry programme does not differentiate between a “farmer” and “non-farmer” but targets funding at all landowners who wish to convert lands to forestry. It is important to note that the non-farmer category also includes recently retired farmers and the family members of existing farmers and on that basis I am satisfied that the vast bulk of forestry payments remain in rural Ireland. Reinstating the farmer/non-farmer forest premium differential is not an option being considered by the Department.

The reintroduction of such a differential could only be achieved either by an increase in the farmer rate or a reduction in the non-farmer rate. An increase in the premium rate for farmers is no guarantee of increased planting levels by farmers. The other option of reducing the non-farmer rate to create the differential could impact significantly on overall planting levels. This is borne out by planting figures in 2016 where the proportion of land planted by landowners classifying themselves as non-farmers was 36%.

The Forestry Programme 2014-2020 will continue to pay the same premium to all landowners to ensure that the maximum amount of land is available for afforestation. All lands proposed for afforestation are assessed to the same silvicultural and environmental criteria irrespective of who owns the lands.

Afforestation Programme

 440. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if there is a way to proportionally compensate farmers for the land they are obliged to set aside for environmental enhancement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43928/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I understand that this question relates to land set aside as part of a forestry application. I believe the existing provisions to pay landowners for areas left unplanted for environmental reasons are proportionate and adequate.

Under the current Environmental Requirements for Afforestation, between 10-15% of the afforestation site must be treated with particular regard to biodiversity, comprising a combination of open spaces and retained habitats and this includes setbacks beside habitats, watercourses, setbacks beside public roads and archaeological monuments that are not planted.

Up to 15% of this land set aside as Areas for Biodiversity Enhancement or ABE’s as they are known are fully eligible for grant and premium payments.

Where the area within an application has many areas not planted for environmental reasons, the Department under the afforestation scheme is limited to only paying on that amount of the unplanted area that amounts to 15% of the total project area. Situations do exist where, due to multiple sensitivities, the amount of area eligible for payment may exceed the 15% eligible area threshold, resulting in a landowner receiving a payment based on an area less than the gross area of the project. However, these represent a minority of cases and often, with good design, these ineligible areas can be excluded from the afforestation application and left as part of the open farm enterprise.

Forest Roads Scheme

 441. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his plans to reduce red tape in the forest roads scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43929/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Forest Roads Scheme is offered to farmers to facilitate harvesting of their crop of trees. The scheme which grant aids farmers to build private forest roads on their holding is important to enable the sector to fully mobilise the volume of timber in private hands.

Currently consent is required from my Department to build a forest road and in addition if the forest road requires a new entrance onto a public road planning permission from the Local Authority is also required. Following some negotiation with the relevant Departments there is consensus to have a single consent system operated by my Department. Following the commencement of the Forestry Act 2014 in May this year, my Department has been able to put in place an independent appeals mechanism which is an important step on the way to establishing a single consent system for forest roads. In order for the single consent system to take effect, a legislative change is required to the Planning and Development Act and this is expected to take place in 2017. This change in the regulations will facilitate the transfer of responsibility for granting permission for forest entrances from local authorities to the Deaprtment under the Forest Consent System. It is expected that these changes will reduce the administrative burden on applicants and foresters alike when it comes to submitting an application under the forest roads scheme..

Afforestation Programme

 442. 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 Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his plans to fund the establishment of a national network of forest producer groups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43930/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Forestry Programme 2014-2020 includes a specific measure to fund the establishment of new producer groups for private forest owners. Applicants would need to submit a detailed business plan providing a description of the project, including objectives, timelines and projected expenditure. So far the Department has received no applications under this measure. However, my Department is aware of a single application that might materialise in 2018. The reason for the poor up take of this scheme is that there are already in existence 19 producer groups across the country with 960 members (Spring 2017). It may be the case that the existing network is, in the most part, sufficient for the demand that currently exists for this type of local organisation.

Funding available under producer groups could also be made available for amalgamating existing groups where a new group is formed with a new business plan..

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

 443. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if funding is available to assist farmers in County Donegal who have lands located near a river (details supplied) to clear it as their farms were flooded in August 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43933/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Arterial Drainage Acts of 1945 and 1995 provide the Office of Public Works with powers for drainage and improvement of agricultural land and the undertaking of localised flood defence schemes to reduce flood risk in urban areas. The Arterial Drainage Acts and SI 122 of 2010 Regulations also introduced OPW consent requirements for the creation and modification of watercourses, embankments, weirs and bridges. As such, any request for funding to assist in the clearing of the relevant river should be made to the Office of Public Works.

Departmental Staff Recruitment

 444. 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 the publicjobs.ie recruitment campaign for technical agricultural officers; the number of candidates who have been employed nationally; the number of candidates who have been recruited in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [43943/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Public Appointments Service (PAS) initiated a Technical Agricultural Officer (TAO) recruitment campaign on behalf of my Department in May 2016. To date, 36 new Technical Agricultural Officers have been recruited to my Department nationally.

Business needs in my Department’s offices in Co. Donegal are filled in the first instance through an internal transfer system, whereby serving staff are given the opportunity to transfer to a different work location. Under this system two TAOs will move into offices in Co. Donegal in the coming weeks and arrangements are in train to transfer a further two officers. Two new recruits have been appointed to offices in my Department in Co. Donegal to date.

  Question No. 445 withdrawn.

Shared Services

 446. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the reason for the delay in issuing a P45 for a person (details supplied); if it will be issued as a priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43984/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The Payroll Shared Services Centre (PSSC), which was established in 2013, is part of the Government's National Shared Services Office with overall responsibility for payroll processing functions, including the issuing of P45s to former staff of my Department.

I understand from the PSSC that the delay in issuing the P45 to the individual in question is due to a backlog with the issuing of P45s and I am assured that the P45 will issue to this individual within the next two days.

Agriculture Schemes

 447. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the supports and schemes available to a person setting up their own milk processing unit based on local suppliers for tillage and basing their output on nutritional value rather than yield; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44011/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) a suite of seven measures are available. Support is available under the following measures:

  - Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme;

  - Dairy Equipment Scheme;

  - Organic Capital Investment Scheme;

  - Animal Welfare, Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme;

  - Low Emission Slurry Spreading;

  - Pig and Poultry Capital Investment Scheme; and

  - Tillage Capital Investment Scheme.

  A wide range of investment items are available to help Irish farmers improve their farms under these measures. Young Farmers can avail of an enhanced grant rate of 60% and for all other farmers the grant rate is 40%.

Tillage Sector

 448. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if he has examined ways to limit reliance on imported genetically modified crops to support tillage farming here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44012/17]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed In Ireland, up to 80% of animal feed for ruminants is provided by grass, hay and silage, complemented where appropriate, by compound feeds. In the case of pigs and poultry, virtually all their nutrition is derived from compound feeds. Ireland imports approximately 2.8 million tonnes (2016 figures) of animal feed materials per annum and the total annual usage of feed materials is approximately 4.9 million tonnes. Given our dependence on imported sources and the predominance of GM crops internationally, this has impacted on the volume of GM feed used on Irish Farms. However, significant quantities of non-GM maize and oilseed rape meal are also imported from continental Europe, including Ukraine.

Ireland, due to its high proportion of livestock production compared to tillage area, is especially dependent on feed imports relative to other EU Member States. The pig, poultry and dairy sectors are particularly dependent on imports of GM soybean and GM maize by-products as these are essential ingredients in the formulation of these feed rations.

The European Union is only 35% self-sufficient in high-protein supplement supplies for animal feed. Soybean is the most favoured vegetable protein because of its nutritional efficacy and competitive cost. A significant quantity of soybean and maize from North and South America, where GMO cultivation is widespread, is essential therefore to satisfy the protein requirements in animal nutrition within the EU.

My Department supports increased domestic production of native protein crops primarily through the national coupled protein support payment. Since its introduction in 2015, the area of protein crops, mainly beans, has increased from an average of 4,000 ha to 11,000 ha.

Supporting the tillage sector is an important strategic objective of my Department. Through a range of measures including access to low cost finance (SBCI loans), support for investment in efficient mechanisation (TAMS) and favourable tax incentives for land leasing upon which the sector is particularly dependent, have all been introduced to support the sector..

Media Mergers

 449. Deputy Micheál Martin Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if his Department's officials have a role in media ownership and diversity policy formation. [43638/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The Media Mergers process was created as a result of amendments made to the Competition Act 2002 by the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014. All media mergers must be notified to me as Minister, and I must make a determination whether or not the proposed merger may proceed based on an assessment of its impact on the plurality of media in the State.

This process cannot be applied retrospectively and only concerns proposed transactions.

The amendments to the competition Act also require the BAI to prepare a report every three years which describes the ownership and control arrangements for media businesses in the State; describes changes to ownership and control arrangements over the previous three years; and analyses the effect of those changes on the plurality of media in the State.

The first such report "Report on Ownership and Control of Media Businesses in Ireland 2012-2014" is available on my Department's website along with full details of the Media Mergers process.

Separately the Broadcasting Act requires the BAI to ensure the provision of open and pluralistic broadcasting services; to promote diversity in viewpoint, outlet and source, and to promote diversity in control of the more influential commercial and community broadcasting services.

One way in which the BAI achieve these goals is to assess licence applications and proposals for ownership and control changes under the BAI ownership and Control Policy 2012. Further information regarding the work of the Authority can be found on its website..

Climate Change Policy

 450. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten if provision has been made for expected fines in 2021 owing to Ireland not meeting its EU climate change and carbon emissions reduction targets in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44053/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten The 2009 Effort Sharing Decision 406/2009/EC established binding annual greenhouse gas emission targets for EU Member States for the period 2013 - 2020. For the year 2020 itself, the target set for Ireland is that emissions should be 20% below their level in 2005. This will be Ireland’s contribution to the overall EU objective to reduce its emissions by the order of 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Ireland’s target is jointly the most demanding 2020 reduction target allocated to EU Member States under this Decision, which is shared only with Denmark and Luxembourg.

The latest projections of greenhouse gas emissions by the Environmental Protection Agency indicate that emissions from those sectors of the economy covered by Ireland's 2020 targets could be between 4% and 6% below 2005 levels by 2020. The projected shortfall to our targets in 2020 reflects both the constrained investment capacity over the past decade due to the economic crisis, and the extremely challenging nature of the target itself. In fact, it is now accepted that Ireland’s 2020 target was not consistent with what would be achievable on an EU wide cost-effective basis.

Notwithstanding this projected shortfall, Ireland's first statutory National Mitigation Plan, which I published in July of this year, provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Plan sets out what Ireland is currently doing, and is planning to do, to further the national transition objective as set out in the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, 2015. Although this first Plan will not provide a complete roadmap to achieve the national transition objective to 2050, it begins the process of development of medium to long-term options to ensure that we are well positioned to take the necessary actions in the next and future decades.

The legislative framework governing the EU’s 2020 emissions reductions targets includes a number of flexibility mechanisms to enable Member States to meet their annual emissions targets, including provisions to bank any excess allowances to future years and to trade allowances between Member States. Using our banked emissions from the period to 2015, Ireland is projected to comply with its emission reduction targets in each of the years 2013 to 2018. However, our cumulative emissions are expected to exceed targets for 2019 and 2020, which will result in a requirement to purchase additional allowances. While this purchasing requirement is not, at this stage, expected to be significant, further analysis will be required to quantify the likely costs involved, in light of the final amount and price of allowances required. Provision for any expenditure required will be determined in the context of the annual Estimates and Budget process..

Departmental Bodies Data

 451. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Information on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire Zoom on Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten the State bodies or boards that fall under the remit of his Department; and the number of members of each State body or board who are not qualified within the field in which the board or body has oversight. [43411/17]

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten There are 17 State bodies under the aegis of my Department operating in the commercial, non-commercial and regulatory spheres. The Board members of these bodies are suitably qualified to carry out their roles on the respective Boards.

  All appointments to State Boards are made in accordance with the 2014 Guidelines on Appointments to State Boards. A Public Appointments Service (PAS) process has been put in place with the aim of recruiting suitably qualified board members for the positions to which they have been appointed.

  The bodies are as follows:

  An Post

  Bord na Móna

  EirGrid

  Electricity Supply Board

  Raidió Teilifís Éireann

  TG4

  Digital Hub Development Agency

  Environmental Protection Agency

  Loughs Agency

  Inland Fisheries Ireland

  Irish National Petroleum Corporation

  Mining Board

  National Oil Reserves Agency

  Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

  Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

  Commission for Communications Regulation and

  Commission for Regulation of Utilities.


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