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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 606-612
 Header Item Forestry Sector
 Header Item Walks Scheme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item Rural Recreation Policy
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
 Header Item CLÁR Programme
 Header Item Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 999 No. 2
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 606-612

Forestry Sector

 606. Deputy Holly Cairns Information on Holly Cairns Zoom on Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if the cost benefit analyses of the forestry programme 2015 to 2020 included the tax treatment of forestry; and his plans to include this income forgone by the tax exemption status of forestry in the cost benefit analyses for the new application for permission for state aid 2021 to 2025. [30349/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue A cost benefit analysis was not undertaken specifically for the proposals as set out in the Forestry Programme in 2014. Amongst the many sources of information referred to during the development of the Programme was 'Forests, products and people, Ireland’s forest policy – a renewed vision'. This document include a cost benefit analysis of afforestation and road operations and included the funding available at the time under the Department's afforestation and forest roads schemes. This analysis did not include the cost of tax revenue forgone associated with the exemptions in place at the time for forestry.

Work on the new forestry programme is due to start in the coming months and will involve a public consultation process as well as engagement with stakeholders from across the forest sector. It is likely that a cost benefit analysis will be the economic appraisal tool used for the new programme in line with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Public Spending Code. If so, the aim will be to include as many of the social and economic costs and benefits as possible including the cost of tax exemptions.

Walks Scheme

 607. Deputy Carol Nolan Information on Carol Nolan Zoom on Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if she will seek an increased allocation of €2 million for the walks scheme with an increase in the number of walks supported to 120; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29584/20]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys My Department administers the Walks Scheme under which landholders receive modest payments for maintenance works on approved trails in line with agreed work plans.

There are currently 39 trails included in the Walks Scheme and, in December last, it was announced that 10 new trails will be added as part of a phased expansion of the scheme. Work Plans are currently being finalised with the landowners on these trails so that they can be formally included under the scheme.

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to expand the Walks Scheme to achieve a target of 80 trails. This will require a further 31 trails to be included in the scheme, over and above the 10 announced in December last.

It is my intention, at present, to meet the commitment in the Programme for Government to expand the scheme to 80 trails before consideration is given to expanding it beyond that number. We have already set a very ambitious target which will result in the number of trails being doubled compared to the position at the start of 2019.

A decision in respect of further trails to be added to the scheme will be taken following the completion of an external review of the Walks Scheme which is currently in train.

Trails that wish to be added to the scheme are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to my Department. There is no closing date for Expressions of Interest at this time, and interested parties can continue to submit proposals for additional trails to be included in the scheme, through their Local Authority or Local Development Company. A trail must meet specific qualifying criteria in order to be considered eligible for the scheme, including being of a suitable standard to be included in Sport Ireland Outdoors' trail register.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 608. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys when a company (details supplied) in County Donegal can expect a decision for the community and voluntary stability scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29664/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development (Deputy Joe O'Brien): Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

  The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19.

  This fund is providing up to €35million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the criteria aligned with DAF objectives to support:

  1. The personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged; or

  2. The educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

  3. Persons with a disability.

  My Department received 1,060 applications during the application periods. To date, four tranches of successful applications have been announced, allocating funding of €30,073,923 to 568 organisations. This funding is now supporting the delivery of many critical front line services in every part of the country.

  In this context, I can confirm that the organisation in question was included in the most recent tranche of funding, which was announced by my colleague, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, on 5th October.

  Lists of successful applicants are available on my Department’s website at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3957e-covid-19-stability-fund-successful-applicants/

Rural Recreation Policy

 609. Deputy Duncan Smith Information on Duncan Smith Zoom on Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the status of the Barrow blueway; the timeline for opening the blueway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29813/20]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys Arising from the first and second calls under the Rural Regeneration scheme, 63 Category 1 projects have been approved for funding of €131 million and 76 Category 2 projects have been approved for funding of €35 million. Category 1 relates to major projects that can drive sustainable rural regeneration and development, while Category 2 supports projects that require development funding to bring projects to a stage where they are ready to apply under Category 1 calls.

The Barrow Blueway project was approved for funding of €5,067,941 under the second call for Category 1 applications. The lead party in the proposal is Kildare County Council. My Department is updated on a quarterly basis on the progress of approved RRDF projects by the lead party for each project. Based on these reports, I understand that work commenced on the project in July 2020, with an estimated completion date of Q2 2022. If more detailed information is required on the progress of the project, I would advise the Deputy to contact the Council directly.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 610. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys if a decision has been made on a Covid-19 stability fund appeal by an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30058/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development (Deputy Joe O'Brien): Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

  The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. The criteria of the scheme stated that any grants awarded would be dependent on the need identified and organisations approved for funding were prioritised on that basis.

  This fund is providing up to €35million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the criteria align with DAF objectives to support:

  1.The personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged; or

  2.The educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

  3.Persons with a disability.

  My Department received 1,060 applications during the application periods. To date, four tranches of successful applications have been announced, allocating funding of €30,073,923 to 568 organisations. This funding is now supporting the delivery of many critical front line services in every part of the country.

  Lists of successful applicants are available on my Department’s website at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3957e-covid-19-stability-fund-successful-applicants/

  Regrettably some organisations were unsuccessful in their application for various reasons. These reasons have been communicated to each unsuccessful applicant individually. I understand some organisations may be disappointed with the outcome, or may have additional or updated information they wish to be reviewed. For that reason, there is a Stability Scheme Appeals Process, which is being administered by this Department. The organisation in question is currently engaging in this process and a decision will be made shortly.

CLÁR Programme

 611. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the status of an application by a county council (details supplied); when a decision is likely; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30187/20]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys I can confirm that the application referred to by the Deputy has been received by my Department .

  Over 300 applications have been received by my Department under the programme in question.

  My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and I hope to be in a position to announce the successful projects over the coming weeks when the assessment process is fully complete.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

 612. Deputy Niall Collins Information on Niall Collins Zoom on Niall Collins asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys the status of an application (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30241/20]

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development (Deputy Joe O'Brien): Information on Joe O'Brien Zoom on Joe O'Brien The Government is aware of the challenges facing community and voluntary organisations and is committed to working closely with the sector in managing through these, recognising that it will require a whole of Government approach.

  The Community and Voluntary Sector Covid-19 Stability Fund was intended to be a targeted once-off cash injection for organisations and groups currently delivering critical front-line services to the most at need in our society and in danger of imminent closure due to lost fund-raised or traded income as a direct result of restrictions to counter the spread of COVID-19. The criteria of the scheme stated that any grants awarded would be dependent on the need identified and organisations approved for funding were prioritised on that basis.

  This fund is providing up to €35million of funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) and the criteria aligned with DAF objectives to support:

  1.The personal and social development of persons who are economically or socially disadvantaged; or

  2.The educational development of persons who are educationally disadvantaged; or

  3.Persons with a disability.

  My Department received 1,060 applications during the application periods. To date, four tranches of successful applications have been announced, allocating funding of €30,073,923 to 568 organisations. This funding is now supporting the delivery of many critical front line services in every part of the country.

  Lists of successful applicants are available on my Department’s website at https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/3957e-covid-19-stability-fund-successful-applicants/

  I can confirm that an application for stability scheme funding was received from the organisation in question and I understand that the outcome of that application has recently been communicated to the organisation by Pobal.


Last Updated: 20/01/2021 16:44:44 First Page Previous Page Page of 100 Next Page Last Page