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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 210-219
 Header Item Brexit Issues
 Header Item Fisheries Protection
 Header Item European Council Meetings
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes
 Header Item Agriculture Schemes
 Header Item Basic Payment Scheme
 Header Item Agriculture Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Animal Sales
 Header Item Brexit Issues

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1001 No. 1
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 77 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 210-219

Brexit Issues

 210. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue his views on whether Brexit will have a positive impact on any policy area or sector under the remit of his Department; and if the details of same will be provided. [37171/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Brexit poses enormous challenges for the agrifood and fisheries sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market.  The UK is our largest market, with exports of €5.5 billion in 2019. This represents 38% of total agrifood exports in 2019. The UK also remains our largest import market, with imports of €4.6 billion in 2019. 

If there is no agreement in the EU-UK negotiations, tariffs will apply on exports to and imports from Great Britain. My Department estimates a total tariff burden of €2 - €2.5 billion on overall trade (exports and imports). This would have a very negative impact across the entire sector. 

Even with an agreement, the need to comply with the new customs and regulatory requirements will increase the cost of trade and will result in delays in the movement of animals and goods, although every effort will be made to ensure the minimum possible disruption to trade flows and supply chains. 

With fewer than 50 days until the end of the transition period, time is very short and businesses in the agrifood sector need to urgently take action to ensure they are prepared for the enduring changes that will arise on 1st January 2021. 

Fisheries Protection

 211. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue his plans to have the Navy board any of the factory vessels currently fishing off the west coast for mackerel to check them for compliance with the Common Fisheries Policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37197/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I should advise the Deputy that the monitoring and control of fishing vessels within Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone are law enforcement matters for the Irish control authorities.  Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006, all operational issues of this nature are exclusively for the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the Naval Service.  I am expressly precluded from getting involved in operational matters such as those referred to by the Deputy.

 Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's requests to the SFPA for attention and direct reply.

European Council Meetings

 212. Deputy Thomas Pringle Information on Thomas Pringle Zoom on Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the way the position of Ireland fared at the AGRIFISH Council negotiations on CAP reform; and if any of the key positions of Ireland were accepted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37198/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The Agri-fish Council of Ministers reached an agreed general approach on the CAP Reform Package on 21st October, after more than two years of negotiations. The Council now has a political mandate and trilogue negotiations are underway with the European Parliament and Commission.  However, until overall agreement has been achieved we will not have certainty on the final shape of the CAP.

The Council position includes the proposed introduction of mandatory ECO schemes into the system of direct payments, and an enhanced baseline for environmental conditionality. A ring-fenced budgetary amount for ECO schemes of 20% of the direct payment budget has been agreed by Agriculture Ministers, with a two-year so-called 'learning' period permitted at the start of the CAP Strategic Plan, to allow Member States avoid any loss of unspent funds due to lower-than-expected take-up of ECO schemes.

I welcome the proposed introduction of new ECO schemes. Farmers will access these funds by undertaking additional actions which go beyond the basic environmental  requirements.  Member States will design schemes based on their own analysis of needs. 

The Council position also provides Member States with an option to cap the basic income support for sustainability at €100,000.  There will also be flexibility to reduce such payments above €60,000.  There is a focus on  support for young farmers and an amount equal to 2% of the Direct Payments envelope must be spent on attracting and sustaining young farmers.

I am satisfied that Ireland's interests have been protected in the Council agreement. My officials will continue to monitor progress in the trilogue negotiations, and to progress work on the development of Ireland's CAP Strategic Plan, including through ongoing consultation with stakeholders via the CAP Consultative Committee.

Agriculture Schemes

 213. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if a court order in favour of a bank regarding a single farm payment can be transferred to another lending institution that subsequently purchased the loan and the legislation that is relied upon for such a transfer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37210/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The granting of court orders is a matter for the Courts and my Department is obliged to comply with any court order which is served on it in accordance with the terms of that order.  The legislation underpining the decision in relation to any court order is a matter for the Court.

Agriculture Schemes

 214. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if a garnishee order can be granted in respect of a single farm payment; if this order will be transferred to discharge a debt that has been purchased by another lending institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37212/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The granting of court orders is a matter for the Courts and my Department is obliged to comply with any court order which is served on it in accordance with the terms of that order. 

Basic Payment Scheme

 215. 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 Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue when BPS payments will issue to farmers (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37223/20]

 216. 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 Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the number of farmers awaiting BPS payments due to software issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37224/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

My Department received over 129,000 applications in 2020 for the basic payment scheme, of which just over 122,000 are currently eligible. To date, over 120,000 farmers have received almost €800m in advance payments and payments have continued since they commenced on the 16th October. This represents a greater amount of money paid to more farmers than in any year of the current CAP programme.

There are many issues which may delay a payment to a farmer and, unfortunately, there are always a number of complex cases that take somewhat longer to resolve than usual. My Department is committed to continuous improvement of service and we are acutely aware that resolving such complex cases in the past has lead to such delays in issuing payments to farmers. Continuous systems development is required to improve payment delivery and customer service.

Officials in my Department are currently working to address the issue highlighted by the Deputy and will have it resolved in the near future. It is estimated that fewer than 1,000 farmers in total are affected by this issue, with a significant number of these having more than one issue to resolve.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

 217. Deputy Noel Grealish Information on Noel Grealish Zoom on Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if there are circumstances which allow a person older than 35 years of age to apply for a green cert in order to ensure continuity of a family farm; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37276/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Teagasc deliver the Green Cert Programme on a full-time, part-time and distance education basis in the Agricultural Colleges and Regional Education Centres. I am advised by Teagasc that there is no upper age limit on the Green Cert course entry.

Promoting generational renewal is a priority and there are supports available for young farmers, both under the CAP and through national measures. Taxation measures for young trained farmers, such as 100% Stamp Duty relief and 100% Stock Relief, require the farmer to be aged under 35 years.

Animal Sales

 218. Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if a list of the marts registered under the AIMS system including the Eircode will be provided; and if he will report on the operation of the system in marts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37304/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Livestock Marts approved by my Department interact with the Animal, Identification and Movement (AIM) database via a webservice system. Animals presented for sale at marts are notified in real time to the AIM database. The marts own web service system identifies those bovines which move into the mart and interacts with AIM. Relevant information relating to each bovine is returned from the AIM system via the webservice to the marts computerised system prior to commencement of the sale.

  The details of the outward movement of bovines from the livestock mart must be returned within seven days of the movement but this process is generally closed off by the mart within a 24-hour period.

  A list of livestock marts is attached whereby the eircode is provided in respect of those marts that supplied this information to the Department.

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-11-18_pq218-18-11-20_en.xlsx">List of Marts

Brexit Issues

 219. Deputy Cormac Devlin Information on Cormac Devlin Zoom on Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys her views on whether Brexit will have a positive impact on any policy area or sector under the remit of her Department; and if the details of same will be provided. [37184/20]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Information on Heather Humphreys Zoom on Heather Humphreys On 1 January 2021, the transition period following the United Kingdom's departure from the European Union will have ended and many aspects of our relationship with our nearest neighbour will change fundamentally. 

However, the Government remains committed to protecting and strengthening the Ireland-UK relationship. Strong and vibrant connections are vital with our closest neighbour and trading partner.  Both Ireland and the UK remain co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement and are committed to the ongoing maintenance of the Common Travel Area and its associated rights and privileges which is of particular importance to those living and working in border communities.

While we will work with our UK colleagues on strengthening this relationship, it is also clear that Brexit, in any form, will have significant impacts on economic sectors and communities in rural Ireland.

The supports and funding provided by my Department to build up resilience in communities to withstand negative Brexit impacts is more important than ever and we will continue to retain flexibility within our programmes to ensure we can respond to emerging needs in communities in all parts of the country as they arise.


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