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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 654-673
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Greyhound Industry
 Header Item Forestry Sector
 Header Item Horticulture Sector
 Header Item Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
 Header Item Herd Number Applications
 Header Item Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
 Header Item Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme
 Header Item Coillte Teoranta
 Header Item Fishing Industry
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Beef Industry
 Header Item Teagasc Activities
 Header Item Poultry Industry
 Header Item Tuberculosis Eradication Programme
 Header Item Forestry Sector

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1002 No. 5
Unrevised

First Page Previous Page Page of 88 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 654-673

Greyhound Industry

 654. 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 the number of racing greyhounds microchipped annually between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42998/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) 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. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. RCÉ is not authorised to microchip greyhounds.

  The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been the keeper for the Irish Greyhound Stud Book since 1923.

  Microchipping for dogs commenced on 1st September 2015 and MicrodogID and other authorised parties hold information on more than one breed.

Year Namings
2010 16,467
2011 15,908
2012 16,224
2013 15,575
2014 14,898
2015 15,388
2016 13,987
2017 13,649
2018 13,327
2019 12,793
  The number of named greyhounds in the period 1st January 2020 to 30th November 2020 is 12,443.

Greyhound Industry

 655. 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 the number of greyhounds registered on the race management system annually between 1 January 2010 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42999/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) 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. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  Data relating the greyhound dog pool at final dog pool count at year end 2010 – 2020 is set out in the table below. RCÉ has informed my Department, that given the nature of the process, there is an element of fluidity in relation to such data as greyhounds enter, leave and re-enter the system and, therefore, it does not compile details of greyhounds registered on the Race Management System on an annual basis.

Year Greyhound Dog Pool at Final Dog Pool Count at Year End
2010 5,675
2011 5,317
2012 4,681
2013 4,116
2014 4,134
2015 3,876
2016 4,008
2017 3,616
2018 3,642
2019 3,829
2020 4,850 (at 2nd December)

Greyhound Industry

 656. 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 greyhound racing trainers who have been banned from racing greyhounds in other jurisdictions are permitted to train and race greyhounds in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43000/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) 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. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

RCÉ operates under the Greyhound Racing Acts 1958 – 2019 and regulations made thereunder. In addition, the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act of 2013 also apply to greyhound racing. No transfer of sanctions is imposed by RCÉ from another racing jurisdiction within Irish greyhound racing. It is a matter for the appropriate regulatory authorities to assess the circumstances of any particular case, apply due process and deal with any issues arising as part of the statutory framework governing greyhound racing in Ireland.

RCÉ has informed my Department that it has undertaken such processes in recent years. Such actions have been challenged in the High Court and Court of Appeal but have been upheld by both courts.

Greyhound Industry

 657. 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 the number of recorded injuries and deaths of greyhounds that have occurred at greyhound racing stadiums and events organised by the Irish Greyhound Board between 1 January 2011 and 30 November 2020, in tabular form. [43001/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) 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. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

  The table attached sets out details of injuries and deaths relating to racing greyhounds for the period July 2014 to October 2020. This data is published by RCÉ on a periodic basis.

  Table of Injuries

Greyhound Industry

 658. 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 forthcoming greyhound traceability system will record racing greyhounds from birth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43002/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) 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. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) has been the keeper for the Irish Greyhound Stud Book since 1923.

The registering of any greyhound currently lies with the ICC as the keepers of the Irish Stud Book. The function of the ICC is provided for in legislation and all greyhounds regardless of their future involvement in any activity must be registered by way of registration of the litter with the ICC.

RCÉ is mandated with the responsibility for greyhound racing and racing greyhounds. The traceability system being devised by RCÉ will track racing greyhounds from birth through key life stages up to retirement/rehoming. Where a greyhound is presented for racing, the greyhound will be tracked on the traceability system through all life stages including birth, microchipping, registration, racing career, changes of ownership/trainer, location, export, retirement and end of life.

RCÉ will receive a data feed from the ICC in relation to racing greyhounds that have been microchipped under the microchipping regulations. Microchipping of a greyhound is a mandatory requirement. This data feed will capture details of location, ownership, pedigree, sex and whelp date.

The welfare of racing greyhounds is a key priority of mine and funding to the sector is predicated on the highest animal welfare standards.

Forestry Sector

 659. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue his plans for the winding down of the state aid agreement for the forestry sector due to end on 31 December 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43019/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The current Forestry Programme has State Aid approval under the EU's State Aid Guidelines for the agriculture and forestry sectors (2014/C 204/01). These guidelines are currently under review and the revised version will largely depend on the final shape of the CAP post-2020 proposals and the CAP Strategic Plans in particular.

As part of the process to ensure that existing State aid schemes, including the Forestry Programme, that expire on 31/12/2020 can continue beyond this period, the Commission offered Member States the opportunity to extend existing schemes by 15 October 2020. My Department submitted its block notification to the Commission within the appropriate timeframe and included the measures under our Forestry Programme. We are waiting on a final decision on this application.

This extension is needed as otherwise we would have to cease all schemes under the National Forestry Programme at the end of this year. These schemes, including those which involve planting trees for example, are a key part of our national climate mitigation measures. This would be unfair to all stakeholders and farmers who are applying or who intend to apply for these schemes under the Programme.

In parallel with this extension, we will be commencing work soon on preparations for the next Forestry programme. I have established a Forestry Policy Group encompassing the main stakeholders from NGOs, farm bodies and the forestry sector to help inform the design of the next Programme amongst other activities. This Group met last week and will meet again shortly.

Both Minister of State Pippa Hackett and I continue to engage with representatives of the forestry sector on their concerns.

Horticulture Sector

 660. 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 the requirement will be relaxed that needs planning permission granted rather than pending before submitting an application under the scheme of investment aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector due to the effects of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43094/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I am very aware of the ongoing need for investment in the horticulture sector and my Department provides direct support through the Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector. This Scheme is operated on a competitive application basis. To ensure that funding can be drawn down by horticultural producers in 2021, the closing date of the scheme for applications is December 18th 2020.

  To ensure maximum expenditure of budgetary allocations, one of the key requirements for valid applications is that for projects requiring planning permission, full planning approval must be in place at the application stage. This condition is necessary since planning permission may or may not be ultimately granted for a project and applies under other schemes where planning permission is required such as TAMS.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

 661. Deputy Seán Canney Information on Seán Canney Zoom on Seán Canney asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue when his Department ceased posting letters to farmers regarding problems with ANC payments; his views on whether this is reflected in the steady rise in eligible farmers missing out on ANC payments for reasons other than stocking density since 2016; if he will consider reverting to posting letters to farmers in such cases given the age profile of the farmers involved and their associated lack of broadband and computer skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43188/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue  In June 2020, my Department introduced a change in the approach to the issuing of certain error letters in relation to the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS). These changes were introduced following consultation with the farm organisations in accordance with the Farmers Charter of Rights. While these error letters related to BPS, they could also impact on an ANC application where that error was linked to ANC eligible land.

Letters in relation to over claims, overlaps and dual claims were no longer posted where the farmer had:

(a) employed an agricultural agent to act on their behalf,

or

(b) had registered for the Department's Online Services themselves and had also signed up to receive text message alerts from the Department.

Farmers received a text message notification when these error letter issued electronically and, where they had an agent, their agricultural agents received an email notification. Instead of receiving a hard copy, farmers could log in to www.agfood.ie, view these letters and respond to them instantly, thereby helping to speed up processing of their applications.

These three letter types (dealing with over claims, overlaps and dual claims) continued to be posted to farmers who did not satisfy at least one of the two conditions (a) and (b) outlined above. In addition, where a required response was not received to these notifications, a follow up letter was posted. Therefore, farmers would still be able to correspond in writing if they had difficulty in using the online system.

All other BPS letters continued to issue by post to all farmers. The number of farmers not receiving ANC payments for reasons other than stocking density remains low as a percentage of eligible applicants, and the change in the approach to issuing BPS letters has contributed to the increased levels of payments issuing across the ANC scheme and BPS in 2020.

Herd Number Applications

 662. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if he will clarify the entitlement and procedure for transferring a herd number from one named person to joint names for married couples; if this is a uniform arrangement throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43193/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue A Herd number is an administrative device, issued by my Department for the purposes of disease control.

A herd number, therefore, does not infer ownership of lands, ownership of any animals tested or kept under that herd number or entitlement to payments under any schemes operated by my Department.

  Where more than one person has an interest in the herd, there is a standardised process in place for registering the interests of other persons, companies or institutions in the role of Herdowner. The form ER1.1 used for this purpose can be found here gov.ie - Apply for a flock or herd number (www.gov.ie)

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

 663. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the number of farmers by county and by each payment band who received ANC payments in 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43265/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The information requested by the Deputy is provided below.

  The Deputy should be aware that, in some cases, portions of an applicant's overall ANC payment may involve elements of payments across multiple categories. Where this happens, for example, an individual receiving payment under Category 1 Higher rate and Category 1 Lower rate and Category 3 Higher rate, they will be counted in each of the relevant categories.

https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/debates/questions/supportingDocumentation/2020-12-15_pq663-15-12-20_en.docx ">ANC Payments

  The payment rates for the 2020 ANC Scheme are as follows

Land Category Area 2020 Rate
Category 1 1st 12 ha €148.00
Category 1 13 - 34 ha €112.00
Category 2 1st 10 ha €111.00
Category 2 11 – 30 ha €104.00
Category 3 1st 8 ha €93.00
Category 3 9 – 30 ha €88.25
  The rates payable for offshore island holdings are €250 for the first 20 hectares, €170 for hectares 21 to 34, and €70 for hectares 35 to 40

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

 664. Deputy Matt Carthy Information on Matt Carthy Zoom on Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the number of farmers who will see increase in ANC payments in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43266/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The budget for the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme has received a number of significant increases in recent years. €25m was allocated to the budget with effect from the 2018 scheme year and an additional €23m funding was added to the scheme from the 2019 scheme year. This increase of €48 over the two years has brought the total budget allocation of the scheme to a total of €250m.

  I was pleased to confirm that as part of the transitionary phase in advance of the introduction of the new CAP, the ANC scheme has been extended and retains the allocation of €250m for the 2021 scheme year.

  The payment rates under the scheme, which were increased in 2018 and 2019 to reflect the additional budget allocation, also remain unchanged for the 2021 scheme year.

Coillte Teoranta

 665. Deputy Jackie Cahill Information on Jackie Cahill Zoom on Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the status of the removal of a gate (details supplied) which is preventing access to walkers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43279/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Coillte CGA was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act, 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of their forest estate, are the responsibility of the company.

  I have therefore passed the questions raised to Coillte for response and direct reply to the Deputy.

Fishing Industry

 666. Deputy Mairéad Farrell Information on Mairéad  Farrell Zoom on Mairéad  Farrell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if his attention has been drawn to the anger amongst the fishing community regarding large trawlers catching juvenile fish and sprat; and if he will mediate between the groups pending the outcome of the appeal to the High Court. [43320/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue As the Deputy may be aware, in December 2018, following a public consultation process in which over 900 submissions were received, the then Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine announced that vessels over 18m will be excluded from trawling in inshore waters inside the six nautical mile zone and the baselines from 1st January 2020. A transition period of three years for vessels over 18m targeting sprat was allowed to enable adjustment for these vessels, as the sprat fishery is concentrated inside the six nautical mile zone.   

  A Policy Directive was issued by the Minister to give effect to these changes. A Judicial Review was taken by two applicant fishermen to the High Court challenging the validity of the Policy.

  On 6th October 2020, the Judge held, in summary, that the High Court’s final order should be, among other matters, a declaration that Policy Directive 1 of 2019 was made in breach of fair procedures and is void and/or of no legal effect.

  The breach of fair procedures as referenced above related to a failure with obligations to consult with the applicants in accordance with, and to the extent required by, the consultation process and in particular by failing to consult with them once a preferred option had been identified.

  The High Court’s ruling has been appealed by the State to the Court of Appeal and a stay is was sought on the orders granted therein. A stay on the orders was refused by the High Court on 10th December.

At the Court of Appeal hearing regarding directions on 11th   December, a hearing date of the 22nd and 23rd June 2021 was assigned to the case. Counsel sought a priority date and was advised that the June date was effectively a priority date given the current backlog before the Court. However, the case is on a waiting list and the State will be advised if an earlier date becomes available. The Minister is considering with his legal advisors if the State should seek to appeal the High Court decision on a stay on the orders.

As this matter is sub judice  , I am not in a position to comment until the matter can be resolved before the Courts.

Beef Industry

 667. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if an appraisal has been carried out of the outworking of the mandatory reduction obligation contained within the BEAM scheme; if he will amend the criteria in view of the challenges created by Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43339/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) provided temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland, subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132. BEAM was funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support. It was provided to support Irish beef farmers who saw beef prices fall in light of the Covid-19 market disturbance.

  One of the conditions under which the €50 million was granted by the EU was that there had to be a slight element of reduction or re-structuring built in to the scheme. In return for the payment of exceptional aid, participants agreed to reduce the production of bovine livestock manure nitrogen on their holding by 5% for the period 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021 as compared with the period 1st July 2018 to 30th June 2019.

  Obligations under the measure were developed based on analysis of the herd profile and nitrates profile of the national herd. It was designed, in consultation with farmer representative organisations, to make the measure as easy to participate in as possible, whilst maintaining the requirement under the implementing regulation for temporary market adjustments. Since 2019, 33,445 farmers have received some €77.72M as part of the scheme.

  It is not intended to amend the scheme requirement because the exceptional aid was granted to Ireland on the basis of this nitrogen reduction being implemented. However, my Department continues to put in place supports for farmers to assist them in managing their commitments under the Scheme and my Department will shortly be writing to all BEAM applicants in this regard.

  I have also instructed agri planners to engage with their clients to continue to inform and assist them around the requirements of the scheme.   

Beef Industry

 668. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the status of the PGI application for grass-fed beef; if the PGI will operate on an all-Ireland basis; if he will proceed with a separate proposal for a suckler beef PGI; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43341/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue Following detailed scrutiny by my Department, including a National Opposition Procedure and extensive stakeholder engagement, my Department submitted the application from Bord Bia for a PGI for 'Irish Grass Fed Beef' to the European Commission on 27th November 2020. The specification includes qualifying product from sucker beef herds.

  The application will now be subject to detailed scrutiny by the EU.

  At the time the application was submitted to the EU, I advised Commissioner Wojciechowski that Ireland strongly supports the PGI being extended on an all-island basis, when a verification system is in place in Northern Ireland.   

  I wrote recently to my counterpart in Northern Ireland, Minister Edwin Poots, to emphasise that my Department and Bord Bia are ready and willing to further assist Northern Ireland counterparts with the development of a verification system for grass-fed. The scheduling of a joint seminar on this topic is currently under discussion.

  Other applications for a PGI for beef are currently being assessed by my Department.

  I strongly support extending the PGI application on an all-island basis for the benefit of beef and suckler farmers.

Teagasc Activities

 669. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if it will be ensured that agriculture students attending Teagasc colleges will be eligible for the same financial supports as other third-level students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43342/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue My Department has been working closely with Teagasc to develop Covid related supports for Teagasc learners that are broadly similar to those recently announced by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science for the wider education sector. To establish parity with comparable learners, in the region of €0.2 million is being provided to fund the combined cost of a COVID payment to Teagasc learners and a Teagasc Laptop Assistance Scheme.

The Laptop Assistance Scheme will provide digital devices to assist disadvantaged Teagasc learners with remote learning. I understand that Teagasc are now accepting applications for the devices. Teagasc has also paid a €250 grant top up to learners currently deemed eligible for the Teagasc maintenance grant. A rebate of €100 per learner is being made available to learners not in receipt of the maintenance grant and who paid the €990 Level 5 and 6 fees for fulltime courses in the academic year 20/21.

Overall it's expected that circa 1,000 Teagasc learners will benefit from these supports. I am confident that the supports will assist Teagasc full-time Level 5 and 6 learners to adjust to the impact of COVID on their education in the same manner as learners in the wider education sector.

Poultry Industry

 670. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue if compensation will be provided to poultry farmers affected by avian influenza; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43343/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 provides that compensation to owners of animals may be payable if a cull of those animals is directed by my Department in the event of an outbreak in that herd or flock of certain diseases, including Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

  Compensation may relate to the animal that is culled, or to an animal product, animal feed or similar item that is desposed of in relation to the outbreak. The compensation may not exceed the open market value of the animal or item. In 2017, my Department engaged a firm with specialised knowledge of the poultry industry to develop valuation tables relating to the most common species and types of poultry in Ireland. These formulas are to be used in determining compensation payable in the case of an outbreak of poultry disease that necessitates a direction by the Minister to cull. These valuation tables are updated on a six-monthly basis.

  My Department continues to closely monitor the situation and maintains close contact with stakeholders on the matter. My priority is working proactivately with the sector to ensure that commercial flocks are protected.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

 671. Deputy Patricia Ryan Information on Patricia  Ryan Zoom on Patricia  Ryan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue the proposed measures to be enacted under the tuberculosis eradication programme in 2021; the estimated costs of the measures; the level of funding that will be provided from the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43338/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I will shortly launch a new Bovine TB eradication strategy which will be a roadmap to reduce disease levels over the next ten years. I am pleased to say that the draft strategy was broadly welcomed by stakeholders at the most recent meeting of the Bovine TB Stakeholders Forum on 8th December. I would like to thank the members of the Forum for their work in bringing forward proposals to reduce disease levels which form the basis of the strategy.

  The proposed measures outlined in the strategy will be developed and deployed over the coming years in consultation with the TB Forum. The strategy is not set in stone and it will be subject to amendment and refinement on an on-going basis. The costs of the various measures therein will be assessed by a financial working group under the auspices of the TB Forum.

  The EU has co-funded the TB Eradication Programme since 2008. This funding is provided a year in arrears and relates to the performance of the programme towards the objective of eradication.   The Commission has clearly indicated that funding for TB will continue to reduce and is in their bottom priority category for co-funding of veterinary programmes.   Therefore, there is an onus on everyone in the sector to reduce TB infection rates as quickly as possible.

  Following a meeting in Brussels in late December 2019 between my Department and Commission officials, the Commission approved the 2020 Programme. However, the funding allocation was reduced from an anticipated €7.5m to €5.42m. Based on Programme metrics to date for 2020, my Department is expecting a further funding reduction to be imposed in respect of 2020. This will be subject to decision by the Commission in mid-2021.

Forestry Sector

 672. 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 if an issue of title raised by a person (details supplied) on a forestry road licence application was fully considered; if there is a record of this consideration; if this was communicated to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43361/20]

 673. 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 status of a forestry road licence application by a person (details supplied) which has been referred back to his Department by the Forestry Appeals Committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43362/20]

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Charlie McConalogue): Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue I propose to take Questions Nos. 672 and 673 together.

A Forest Road Works licence was issued and subsequently appealed to the Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC). The decision of the FAC was to set aside and remit the licence decision to my Department.

  The application has been returned to my Department’s Forestry District Inspector for review and reassessment. The question of right of way will be considered as part of that reassessment. A new decision, when available, will be issued to those concerned, and will, as with all decisions, be subject to the statutory public consultation and appeals process.


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