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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 729-753
 Header Item Meat Processing Plants
 Header Item EU Funding
 Header Item European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
 Header Item EU Regulations
 Header Item Departmental Bodies
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Aquaculture Licences
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Animal Diseases
 Header Item Beef Exports
 Header Item Felling Licences
 Header Item Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme
 Header Item Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme
 Header Item Health Promotion
 Header Item School Milk Scheme
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Departmental Staff
 Header Item Poultry Industry
 Header Item Poultry Industry
 Header Item Animal Diseases
 Header Item Veterinary Inspection Service

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate

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Written Answers Nos. 729-753

Meat Processing Plants

 729. Deputy Joan Collins Information on Joan Collins Zoom on Joan Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed his plans to improve scrutiny and inspection at meat plants in view of the specific threat of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11009/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed All meat processing and slaughter plants whose meat is destined for human consumption must meet the requirements set out in detailed EU regulations relating to food safety, animal health and welfare. Large scale slaughter plants operate under the supervision of my Department, while smaller scale abattoirs are supervised by the Local Authority Veterinary Service.

In accordance with EU Regulation No. 625 of 2017, food processing plants and cold stores under the supervision of my Department are subject to a risk-based official control strategy which is determined by my Department, based on the activity of each individual Food Business.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Food Business Operators have put in place a range of protective practices and equipment to protect employee safety and these measures may vary slightly from plant to plant, but may include the reduction of throughput rates at the plant, temperature checks on entry into the plant, the extension of operating hours and other safeguards such as “podding”, the provision of additional PPE, the use of perspex screens and the provision of additional facilities to support physical distancing measures.

A national Outbreak Control team has been established by the HSE to deal with all issues relating to Covid-19 in meat plants and provide recommendations. My Department is represented on this committee. Any clusters of cases in individual meat plants, in common with clusters in other workplaces, are dealt with by local HSE-led outbreak control teams.

Department staff in export approved Meat Food Businessesare been supporting the work of the public health authorities and the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) in relation to Covid 19 measures in meat plants since the start of the pandemic and they will continue to be available to support their work in the context of ensuring that the Government’s “Return to Work Safely” protocol is operating effectively in all locations where the Department has regulatory oversight.

EU Funding

 730. 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 if there will be a budget allocated to farmers from within the just transition fund with respect to the latest EU Commission revised multi-annual financial framework, MFF, budget and Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, funding proposals. [10508/20]

 731. 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 amount allocated to the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund, respectively, for rural development at EU level for the multi-annual financial framework, MFF, programme 2014 to 2020 excluding funding that was allocated to the UK; the amount proposed by the EU Commission in 2018 to CAP and pillar 1 and 2 funds, respectively; and the latest amount proposed to CAP and pillar 1 and 2 funds, respectively, under the latest EU Commission revised MFF budget and CAP funding proposals, in tabular form. [10509/20]

 732. 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 amount allocated to Ireland under the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and the European Agricultural Fund, respectively, for rural development for the multi-annual financial framework, MFF, programme 2014 to 2020; the amount proposed by the EU Commission in 2018 to CAP and pillar 1 and 2 funds, respectively, for Ireland; and the latest amount proposed for CAP funding and pillar 1 and 2 funds, respectively, for Ireland under the latest EU Commission revised MFF budget, in tabular form. [10510/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 730 to 732, inclusive, together.

The European Commission recently published its proposal for a revised European Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 alongside the emergency European Recovery Instrument (‘Next Generation EU’). Both instruments are inextricably linked and when considered together, represent a significant advance compared to the Commission’s original MFF proposal in May 2018.

Under the 2014-2020 MFF, the total amount allocated to the 28 EU Member States under the CAP, in current prices, was €404 billion (€302.8 billion for the EAGF and €101.2 billion for the EAFRD). Adjusted to reflect the departure of the UK from the EU, the corresponding figure for the EU27 was €375.4 billion (€280.3 billion for the EAGF and €95.1 billion for the EAFRD). The amount originally allocated to Ireland in that period was €10.680 billion - €8.49 billion for the EAGF and €2.19 billion for the EAFRD.

In May 2018, the EU Commission proposed an allocation of €365 billion, in current prices, for CAP in the period 2021-2027. This equates to €286.2 billion for the EAGF and €78.8 billion for the EAFRD.

The revised MFF proposal for the CAP, presented in May 2020, brings funding levels to some €375 billion, in current prices. A further allocation of €16.5 billion to EAFRD spending from the new Next Generation EU fund brings the total allocation to €391.5 billion for the period 2021-2027 - €290 billion for Pillar I and €101 billion for Pillar II.

It is also important to note that the latest budgetary proposals have been set out only at the overall EU-27 level, with the breakdown for Member State allocations not yet clear.

The latest proposals from the Commission also set out a reinforced Just Transition Fund, with substantial additional funding of €30 billion being added, bringing the total amount to €40 billion. This funding is intended to alleviate the socio-economic impacts of the transition towards climate neutrality in the most affected regions, and forms part of the EU’s overall Green Deal. Details of the new proposals are still being examined, but the current understanding is that the European agriculture sector will not benefit from funding under the Just Transition Fund.

My Department is continuing to thoroughly analyse the proposals so that we can fully understand the precise implications for our agri-food sector.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

 733. 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 revised MFF allocation over the 2021 to 2027 period for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund compared to the 2014 to 2020 allocation, excluding funding that was allocated to the UK; the 2018 EU Commission proposal; and the corresponding allocations to Ireland under each scenario in tabular form. [10511/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation for the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the period 2021-27 was published on 12 June 2018.  The Commission proposed to maintain budgetary stability for the EMFF and proposed allocations to Member States in the same proportions as for 2014-20, albeit with a lower overall budget available for the EMFF because of the loss of the UK contribution.  Ireland’s proposed allocation was €142.4 million compared to €147.6 million for 2014-20. 

  The Commission’s Proposal in its entirety was subject to examination by the European Council and European Parliament and the Trilogue negotiations, which are ongoing.  The budgetary elements of the Commission’s Proposal were subject to EU negotiations on the Multi-annual Financial Framework, which are also ongoing. 

  On 2 June 2020, Virginijus Sinkevicius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, announced that, as part of the EU Recovery Plan being proposed by the European Commission, an additional €500 million would be proposed for addition to the EU budget for the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) 2021-2027.  This is €500 million proposed to be added to the 2021-27 budget proposed by the European Commission.  This is a Commission proposal and would fall to be funded as part of the Multi-annual Financial Framework.  The proposal is subject to negotiations and approval by the Council and European Parliament.

  Should the Commission proposal be adopted in due course, Ireland like other Member States, will expect to see an increase in its allocation under the EMFF/EMFAF 2021-27.  The Commission proposal for a €500 million increase in the 2021-27 budget does not specify the distribution key for these additional funds.  The tabular presentation of this data requested by the Deputy is set out as follows.   

€147.6 million EMFF overall allocation 2014-20
€142.4 million Commission 2018 Proposal for 2021-27 period if approved by Council and European Parliament and in the context of MFF.

EU Regulations

 734. 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 revised EU fisheries control regulation proposal; his views on same; his further views regarding the regulation of super trawlers with respect to the proposed introduction of CCTV and remote electronic monitoring; if further information will be provided regarding the points raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if background information will be provided on the next EU Fisheries Ministerial Council to discuss the draft regulation. [10525/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Council Regulation 1224/2009, known as the Control Regulation, establishes a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy and establishing a level-playing field across the EU on fisheries control.  In 2018, the Commission published a proposal to amend the Control Regulation.  The negotiations on the revised EU Control regulation are currently ongoing at the Council Working Party. The European Parliament is also discussing the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation and is in the process of preparing its own recommended amendments to the text. When both the Council and the Parliament have formally adopted their positions, trilateral negotiations will commence involving the EU Council, the European Parliament and the Commission. 

I am supportive of many of the proposed changes in the Commission proposal that strengthens the EU arrangements for control, inspection and enforcement.   I am also seeking that measures introduced are proportionate, support simplification, cost efficiency and reducing administrative burden for Member States and industry.   

My Department has been engaged fully in the negotiation process and continues to be actively involved in the ongoing discussion with the Presidency, other Member States and the Commission on the new proposals.

Regarding Remote Electronic Monitoring (REM), Ireland is supportive of the introduction of a risk-based REM system.  As a Coastal Member State, we are seeking access to the data gathered within this system on a near real time basis to support the work of the Naval Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.  I consider that this is a critically important tool given the control obligations that Ireland has in respect of all vessels operating in our 200 mile zone.  In that regard, over the period 2011 to 2015, average landings of all species from the Irish EEZ amounted to just under 387,000 tonnes with an approximate value of €444 million.  Ireland accounted for 42% of those landings by weight followed by the UK (16%), the Netherlands (15%), France (10%) and Spain (7%).  By value, Ireland accounts for 36% of the average value of landings from the Irish EEZ followed by France (18%), the UK (16%), Spain (15%) and the Netherlands (8%).  Responsibility for the control of all fishing activity in Ireland's 200 miles zone rests with the control authorities, the Naval Service and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.  

The next meeting of the Council of EU Fisheries Ministers will take place on 29 June.  The Presidency had indicated that it would bring a partial general approach on specified Articles in the proposal to this Council meeting.  However, the Presidency has now clarified that it will not seek a general approach but will present a progress report to Member States. Work on the proposal will continue under Germany’s presidency in the second half of this year.  My Department has consulted with stakeholders during this process and will continue to keep them apprised of developments.

Departmental Bodies

 735. 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 membership of a cross-departmental group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10543/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Membership of the interdepartmental working group referred to by the Deputy includes officials from my Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment and the Attorney General’s Office.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 736. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae Information on Danny Healy-Rae Zoom on Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if the good agricultural and environmental condition, GAEC, 2 rule (details supplied) will be amended in order that farmers in hill areas will have to intentionally wet working farmland or lose payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10545/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The CAP post-2020 legislative proposals were launched in June 2018 by Commissioner Hogan.  The proposals outline a greater environmental ambition in the next programming period and recognise the role the agriculture sector has to play in helping Member States achieve their environmental and climate change targets.      

The CAP proposals are detailed and complex and negotiations are ongoing.  While significant progress has been made, decisions on a number of key issues have still to be agreed upon, particularly when it comes to the proposed CAP Strategic Plan Regulation.  One of the issues still to be decided upon by Member States is the proposed new green architecture, which is aimed at achieving a higher level of climate ambition.

The proposed CAP Strategic Plan Regulation introduces GAEC ll in Annex lll with a view to protecting wetland and peatland ecosystems.  As negotiations are still ongoing, this text is still subject to change. Ireland has requested clarification of the meaning of “protection” from the Commission and this will help to inform the implementation of measures at farm level. 

I can assure the Deputy that I will continue to actively participate in the negotiation process and work with my European counterparts to secure the best possible outcome for the Irish agri-food sector.

Aquaculture Licences

 737. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of oyster farm licences granted to persons for such activity in Redcastle foreshore in Lough Foyle, County Donegal; if further licences have been applied for; the consultation period relating to same; the steps being taken to ensure that such licensing applications are commensurate to the local environs; if decision makers are mindful of the threat such marine-based activities pose to the tourism potential of scenic locations such as along the Wild Atlantic Way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10556/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Applications for Aquaculture licences are considered by my Department under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act, and applicable EU legislation.

In the case of Lough Foyle, Section 2 of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act disapplies the Act to the Moville Area, as it is defined in the Foyle Fisheries Act, 1952. My Department therefore does not issue aquaculture licences and related foreshore licences in respect of Lough Foyle. 

The Good Friday Agreement provided for the establishment of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (FCILC). This body is one of the six North South Implementation Bodies created under the Agreement. The Loughs Agency, as part of the FCILC, has been given responsibility for fisheries related matters in respect of both Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough and the legislation envisages that the Agency will enter into a management agreement with the relevant authorities in both jurisdictions with a view to assuming responsibility for aquaculture licensing within the loughs. Discussions in respect of the management agreement are ongoing.

The management of aquaculture and associated foreshore licensing functions in Lough Foyle gives rise to legal and jurisdictional complexities. Negotiations regarding the jurisdiction of the Lough Foyle area are, in the first instance, a matter for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

My Department organises and participates in an inter-departmental working group which is pursuing a way forward in terms of the future management of aquaculture and associated foreshore activities on Lough Foyle, in parallel with a workable resolution of the complex jurisdictional issues involved.

Beef Industry

 738. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of beef producer organisations that are now approved and recognised by his Department. [10579/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed There are two approved producer organisations for the beef sector. 

  Further information relating to Beef Producer Organisations can be found on my Department's website at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/beef/beefproducerorganisations/.

Beef Industry

 739. Deputy Brian Stanley Information on Brian Stanley Zoom on Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the steps being put in place to support the development of beef producer organisations. [10580/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Producer Organisations have the potential to strengthen the position of the primary producer in the supply chain. Officials in my Department have had ongoing engagement with stakeholders in relation to Beef Producer Organisations in the past few years in reponse to queries and at various events nationally.

  Progressing and facilitating the formation of Beef producer organisations is one of the key action points of the FoodWise 2025 strategy and has, more recently, been discussed with stakeholders in the context of the Beef Taskforce.

  My Department is proactively engaging with and providing guidance to several potential beef Producer Organisations. 

  Further information relating to Beef Producer Organisations can be found on my Department's website at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/beef/beefproducerorganisations/

Animal Diseases

 740. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when the epidemiological report into the discovery of atypical BSE in a cow in County Tipperary will be finalised; when his attention was drawn to the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10631/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed On 14 May, my Department identified a suspected case of 'Atypical BSE' in a 14-year old cow as a result of its surveillance of ‘fallen’ animals – these are on-farm deaths which are sent to a collection centre (knackery) for sampling and destruction. On 22 May, confirmatory tests carried out at my Department’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory verified the suspect case as one of Atypical BSE. 

   I can confirm that the epidemiological report on the animals has been completed and that a summary of the key findings will be made available in due course.

Beef Exports

 741. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when beef exports to China will recommence; the estimated financial loss due to the suspension of exports; the discussions he has had with Chinese officials regarding the suspension of exports; if he has meetings scheduled with Chinese officials about the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10632/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed On 14 May, my Department identified a suspected case of 'Atypical BSE' in a 14-year old cow as a result of its surveillance of ‘fallen’ animals – these are on-farm deaths which are sent to a collection centre (knackery) for sampling and destruction. On 22 May, confirmatory tests carried out at my Department’s Central Veterinary Research Laboratory verified the suspect case as one of Atypical BSE.  Atypical BSE is believed to occur spontaneously in all cattle populations at a very low rate and has only been identified in older cattle.  There is no public health risk associated with this occurrence.  

The OIE has determined that the incidence of Atypical BSE is not considered in determining a country’s BSE risk status. Hence, the discovery of this case has no implications for Ireland’s 'controlled risk' status which has been in place since 2008. This classification recognises that Ireland’s BSE controls are effective and that, under OIE rules, Irish beef can be safely traded internationally.

Nevertheless, on a temporary basis and in line with the specific protocol agreed with the Chinese authorities, Ireland voluntarily suspended beef exports to China from 22 May, until the epidemiological report on this case has been considered by the Chinese authorities.

The epidemiological report in this case has been forwarded to the Embassy of Ireland Beijing for onward transmission to the Chinese authorities.  Our Embassy is liaising closely with relevant Chinese officials with a view to seeking an early resumption of the beef trade to China. The decision to resume trade is a matter for the Chinese authorities. 

It is not possible at present to estimate what potential losses, if any, might result from the temporary suspension of the beef trade with China. The available data shows that beef exports to China have grown significantly in the short time that the market has been open. According to the latest CSO data, almost 8,200 tonnes of Irish beef worth approximately €40m were shipped in 2019, the first full year the market was open. Shipments in the first quarter of 2020 amounted to some 2,200 tonnes and were worth approximately €11m.

Felling Licences

 742. 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 the status of an application for a felling licence by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10633/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed An application for a tree felling licence was received from the person named in October 2019.  Every application for a forestry licence must undergo careful assessment for the potential effects the proposed operations may have on their own or in combination with other plans or projects in the area. 

The Deputy will be aware that my Department made changes to the assessment procedures used when examining all forestry licence applications.  These changes were introduced in response to important Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions and their subsequent interpretation by the Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC).  These findings meant that, in order to grant licences which fully meet environmental requirements, fundamental changes to the licensing system were unavoidable. These changes, which are substantial, have led to delays in processing applications. My Department has devoted considerable time and energy to introducing a robust and workable system and is now recruiting significant extra resources, both ecologists and forestry inspectors, to address the backlog.

On initial examination of this application, it was determined that 10 designated sites were proximate to the tree felling site.  The possibility that the proposed tree felling may have an impact on any one of these sites cannot yet be excluded.  Therefore, officials of my Department will complete the Appropriate Assessment report and determination.  It is also open to the  person named to have a Natura Impact Statement completed by a suitably qualified person at their own expense and submit it for review by my Department’s Ecology Unit which can considerably speed up consideration of the file.

Once the assessment of the application is complete, the forestry inspector will make their recommendations, which will form the decision on the application.  The decision will be issued to the person named and any person who made a submission on the application.  The decision may be appealed to the Forestry Appeals Committee within 28 days.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

 743. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive a decision on an application for a targeted agricultural modernisation scheme, TAMS, grant for young farmers. [10726/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The person named submitted two applications under Tranche 17 of the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme of TAMS II on 16 March 2020 which closed on 5 June.   

  The required administrative and technical checks will now be carried out on these applications before the ranking and selection process. If the applications are successful, approval will issue in writing to the applicant concerned.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

 744. Deputy Cathal Crowe Information on Cathal Crowe Zoom on Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) and address the issues raised directly. [10777/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed An application for grant aid under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme of TAMS ll was submitted by the person named on 5 June 2020.

The planning process is entirely outside of the remit of my Department and any issues must be raised directly with the relevant Local Authority. In response to concerns raised over delays being experienced in securing full planning permission, as required under the Terms and Conditions of TAMS ll, temporary measures were put in place in respect of applications submitted under Tranche 17. The next tranche of TAMS II closes on 7 August 2020.

If the person named is ineligible for grant-aid under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, it is open to them to apply for 40% grant-aid under the other TAMS ll Measures.

Health Promotion

 745. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the level of funding provided over the past five years for healthy food initiatives; the budget and participation rates for these programmes in tabular form; the evaluations that have taken place on these programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10961/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The material requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables attached.

  Both schemes are run in accordance with the six-year Statement of Strategy for the implementation of the School Scheme in Ireland (August 2017 – July 2023) as approved by the EU Commission.  They both form part of the Single School Scheme, the aim of which is to encourage and develop healthy eating habits in schoolchildren at an early age. Funding for the scheme is via an EU national envelope which Ireland utilises in full every year together with any supplementary allocation available, together with supporting national Exchequer funding.

  Both Schemes have been evaluated over the years and details can be found on my Department's website at the following link  https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/customerservice/euschoolscheme/  

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-06-16_pq745-16-06-2020_en.doc ">Table 1

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-06-16_pq745-16-06-2020_en.doc ">Table 2

School Milk Scheme

 746. Deputy Louise O'Reilly Information on Louise O'Reilly Zoom on Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if research has been undertaken on the reason schools do not, or have ceased taking up, the school milk scheme; if there are links to issues relating to facilities and equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10963/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The EU School Milk Scheme merged with the EU School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme on 1 August 2017 to form a Single School Scheme under a joint EU legal and financial framework.  Under this new Regulatory framework, Ireland submitted a six-year Statement of Strategy for the implementation of the School Scheme in Ireland covering the period 1 August 2017 -31 July 2023.  My Department as the Competent Authority stated its key objective was to halt the decline in the participation in the School Milk Scheme in Ireland. Participation had decreased by over 50% in the eight years preceding the 2017/18 school year.

As a result, my Department commissioned research in April 2018 to identify the barriers to the uptake of the School Milk Scheme. The research identified a number of reasons for the decrease in participation levels, including an increase in water consumption, price perceived as too expensive, parental contribution required for non-DEIS schools and that children do not consume milk at home.  The research also highlighted some issues regarding school facilities and equipment, including the frequency of delivery, particularly in rural areas. 

In light of the findings, my Department has undertaken a number of actions to deliver an improved School Milk Scheme over the last two school years including:

- Targeted recruitment campaign in advance of the commencement of the new school year by the  National Dairy Council (NDC) ).

- Enhanced accompanying measures/educational resources in the form of a new School Milk Week delivered, with associated publicity campaigns and competitions to raise awareness.  

- Increasing the parental subsidy to make the scheme more affordable for parents.

- Trialling of a new method of delivery of milk to schools.

I would anticipate that these targeted measures will result in increased participation numbers over the lifetime of the current six year strategy.

Greyhound Industry

 747. 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 reason the Irish Greyhound Board has not met with a federation (details supplied) in respect of a report review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10975/20]

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

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Bord na gCon and therefore the question has been referred to the body for direct reply. 

Departmental Staff

 748. 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 further to Parliamentary Question No. 914 of 13 May 2020, if additional information will be provided regarding a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10993/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Correspondence in respect of the individual named is being prepared currently and will issue shortly. 

Poultry Industry

 749. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of registered poultry premises here as of 1 June 2020; the number of premises issued with closure orders as a result of non-compliance with registration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11034/20]

 750. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of reports made to his Department in respect of possible non-compliance with poultry premises registration to date in 2020, by county; if the premises were in a commercial or residential setting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11035/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed I propose to take Questions Nos. 749 and 750 together.

  The number of active poultry premises registered with my Department is 7,259. 

  To date in 2020, no closure orders have been issued to poultry premises, and no non-compliances have been reported in relation to poultry premises registration.

Poultry Industry

 751. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of outbreaks of avian flu detected at poultry premises in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11036/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed No outbreaks of Avian Influenza were detected in Ireland in 2019.

  In 2020 to date, 13 outbreaks of Low pathogenic Avian Influenza (LPAI) of the H6N1 subtype were detected in poultry farms in Co Monaghan. It should be noted that these outbreaks were of the subtype LPAI H6N1 which is non-notifiable. 

  As a result, these outbreaks do not affect Ireland’s official disease status and Ireland therefore remains free from notifiable Avian Influenza.

Animal Diseases

 752. Deputy Catherine Murphy Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed the number of calls received on the avian flu hotline in the past two years to date; the number of calls received by the out of office hours line in the past two years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11037/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed The number of calls to the Department's Animal Health and Welfare Helpline in relation to poultry or wild birds was 17 in 2018, 13 in 2019 and 7 to date in 2020.  All of these calls related to sightings of sick, injured or dead birds across the country and mainly related to wild bird deaths. Additionally, there have been 335 calls to the out-of-hours line in the past 2 years, of which a small number related to suspicion of avian influenza.

Veterinary Inspection Service

 753. Deputy Michael McNamara Information on Michael McNamara Zoom on Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed if assurances will be provided that the expanded border inspection post at Dublin Airport will not lead to the downgrading of the level of service being provided at Shannon Airport which is one of three approved border inspection posts here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11053/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed Border Control Posts (BCP) are the facilities at which import control inspections are undertaken on products and animals entering the European Union from Third Counties before they are allowed to be placed on the Single Market.  A range of controls are carried out to ensure that the products or animals pose no dangers to human, animal or plant health.

Shannon Airport BCP plays an integral part in Ireland's network of controls applied to imports from third country products. My Department has no plans to downgrade the levels of service it provides at Shannon Airport due to the opening of the product BCP in Dublin Airport.


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