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Coveney, Simon

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Was asked: when he intends re-opening the agri environment options scheme to new applicants; the conditions that will apply to the scheme; the maximum payment that will be provided for in the scheme; if there...More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising this question. I am very conscious that I have been talking about putting an AEOS III in place for some time. Therefore, I am pleased, in the week that is in it and...More Button

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications (Continued)

We have been working with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in recent weeks to try to finalise an AEOS III model. I am allocating €20 million for AEOS III next year. I expect to be ...More Button

I will give an exact figure for the estimated expenditure on REPS in response to a later question. I do not want to give a figure off the top of my head. We are ahead of schedule in terms of gett...More Button

I have already said it will be €4,000.More Button

With respect, the Deputy did not table that question.More Button

If the Deputy knew how the schemes were structured, he would know that REPS payments are always made in the last three months of year.More Button

It is also normal in multi-year schemes such as the REPS that payments are carried over from year to year. We will be trying to ensure we make significantly more REPS payments this year, including...More Button

Severe Weather Events

Was asked: his views on the recent announcement by the Irish Farmers Association that inclement weather may cause yields to be reduced by up to 25% or the loss of 500,00 tons in potential grain production whi...More Button

Was asked: the actions taken to date and the proposed actions to assist farmers affected by the bad weather this summer, in view of the effect also of the drought in the USA; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48 and 49 together.More Button

I thank the Deputies for raising this very significant issue. We have had the worst summer rainfall on record since 1962. Rainfall for most of the country was twice the average for the months o...More Button

In addition, I met on a bilateral basis the Commissioner to discuss the consequences of the wet summer and made a request to him for an advance payment of 50% of the single farm payment. It is t...More Button

Severe Weather Events (Continued)

Again, I am conscious that farmers need money in their hands because of the poor summer and because of cash flow problems that some are experiencing at the moment. We are doing what we can and tod...More Button

They are getting it this week.More Button

Many of those farmers are getting their disadvantaged area payments this week.More Button

I wish to give the House some figures on the schemes, because Deputy Ó Cuív raised the issue earlier and sought such data. Payments worth some €154 million under the disadvantaged areas scheme wil...More Button

We are prioritising getting payments out to farmers ahead of schedule and we are currently well ahead of schedule in comparison to last year. I am more than conscious of the pressures that farme...More Button

Unfortunately, there has been a significant reduction in yield and quality this year and although approximately 2 million tonnes of grain will be harvested we could do with more than that. As the ...More Button

I did not make a virtue out of it.More Button

I had nothing to do with it.More Button

Deputy Ó Cuív asked a lot of questions. I totally reject that we have done nothing. It is quite the opposite. I have met all the banks in this country and I met a number of them on more than one...More Button

Having said that, I would like to see more from the banks, in particular for sectors that are currently in crisis. The pig sector, and to a certain extent the poultry sector, are under severe pr...More Button

No, we are not making any changes to the stocking density requirements. We made changes last year on eligibility in an effort to try to avoid cutting the scheme for everybody. We wanted to try ...More Button

-----when we need to support real farmers in disadvantaged areas.More Button

That is why we also have a fair derogation system, which is being applied at present, and will have a fair appeals system with an independent chair, who is currently the chair of Connacht Gold. I ...More Button

This has been a very difficult year and for many farmers continues to be so. It is true that farmers will not get the kind of bumper year's harvest they got last year. Farming has peaks and tro...More Button

I will not start to give assurances one way or the other in regard to schemes for next year because that is a budget debate and I will not make early budget promises. However, I am very conscious ...More Button

In regard to what the Deputy termed State-controlled banks, we may own them but we do not entirely control them. Banks make decisions on the basis of business plans and proposals around loans. ...More Button

-----and farmers, and the amount of money being spent in terms of the percentage of loans being made. The amount being spent on agriculture, agrifood and farming is considerably above what it woul...More Button

In answer to Deputy Ó Cuív's question, we are doing a great deal on live exports. We have opened up an entire series of new markets, the most recent example being Libya, which is now available f...More Button

Aquaculture Licences Applications

Was asked: the position regarding licensing of bays for aquaculture around our coast; the number of bays that have already been licensed and the names of these bays; when he expects the remaining bays to be l...More Button

Deputy Fleming's question relates to a real frustration I have, namely, to try to issue aquaculture licences as quickly as possible. I have a long answer here to his question which he will receive...More Button

Essentially, what has happened in this situation is that the Commission has taken Ireland to court for not having a proper, functional and sustainable system in place for the licensing of aquacul...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Questions Nos 334 of 11 May 2010 and 405 of 18 January 2011, the timeframe for the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As indicated in my previous replies the area for which the licences are sought is a designated Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and a Special Protection Area under the E...More Button

In the case of aquaculture sites located within Natura 2000 areas my Department, in conjunction with the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, He...More Button

The area in question remains part of the package of prioritised areas under assessment. This package continues to be reviewed on a regular basis with a view to expediting the appropriate assessme...More Button

My Department, working with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, continues to make every effort to expedite the determination of these cases having regard to the complexities of these cases a...More Button

Aquaculture Licences Applications (Continued)

In response to that, having lost the court case we are in the process of putting in place what is essentially a gold plated system of licensing for aquaculture and fin fish farming, and that is tak...More Button

We are doing many things to answer the issues raised in the Deputy's questions. The Minister, Deputy Deenihan, has been very helpful on this issue and the Minister and myself have put extra resour...More Button

We are trying to be as comprehensive as we can to put more resources into this area to get the job done properly and we have taken strategic actions, for example, in south Connemara, as Deputy Ó ...More Button

We approved the assignment of aquaculture licences from five separate operators into one operating company under the management of Údarás na Gaeltachta. This move made a great deal of sense to me.More Button

We are also creating new opportunities in the context of salmon farming. I asked BIM and the Marine Institute to consider locating new sites for salmon farms in much deeper waters that are furth...More Button

We are moving into new territory in the context of the scale of this industry. We are also trying to resolve existing difficulties in respect of Natura sites by ensuring that the relevant assess...More Button

I agree with the Deputy's final comment but it must be remembered that not every licence application will be successful. Some of them will be inappropriate and others will relate to areas which ar...More Button

I agree with the Deputy that many more people could be employed in this sector. Scotland produces approximately 150,000 tonnes of salmon per year, while Norway produces in the region of 1.2 mill...More Button

We are determined to do both.More Button

Fishing Industry Development

Was asked: the actions he intends to take in relation to developing a sustainable fisheries policy, following the Our Ocean Wealth Report.More Button

I am delighted Deputy Clare Daly is showing an interest in our ocean wealth.More Button

That is not to suggest that she should not be doing so. I am pleased with her interest in this area. During the summer we launched a document, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth, which is going to be as...More Button

Was asked: the degree to which he will ensure the viability of the fishing industry with particular reference to families dependent on the sector; if he can identify a means whereby negative developments in t...More Button

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union which was first put in place in 1983 and has been subject to reviews every 10 years. The current CFP is under review ...More Button

My overarching goal for the new CFP is for a sustainable, profitable and self reliant industry that protects and enhances the social and economic fabric of rural coastal communities dependent on ...More Button

In the current economic climate, we need a policy that both simplifies and reduces the administrative burden while at the same time strengthens and supports the industry’s capacity to maximise em...More Button

In particular, I will be pursuing initiatives that will deliver and sustain jobs in coastal communities rather than those that promote the concentration of wealth and delivery of excessive profit...More Button

The Council of Fisheries Ministers under the Danish Presidency reached a general approach on the Basic CFP Regulation and the Common Organisation of the Markets at the June Fisheries Council (12 ...More Button

The new CFP will have to be agreed by the European Parliament and Council for adoption under the ordinary legislative process (co-decision). More Button

The intention of a general approach is its message for stakeholders and to the European Parliament as to the direction in which the Council feels the reform of the CFP should go. The Parliament’s...More Button

I will continue to work with the Commission and my European colleagues to deliver a new fisheries policy that will underpin the economic and social integrity of our coastal communities dependent ...More Button

Was asked: if he will indicate arising from the evolution of the European Fisheries Policy over the years, to what extent specific efforts at identifying the job losses in the catching and processing of fish ...More Button

I am not aware of any studies specifically identifying job losses in the catching and processing of fish and fish products carried out at EU level. However looking specifically at the Irish situa...More Button

Both Food Harvest 2020 and Action Plan for Jobs 2012 recognise that most of the future growth and employment potential in the seafood sector is in the areas of processing and aquaculture. Food H...More Button

Fishing Industry Development (Continued)

It is a business plan to bring about a turnover for the economy of €6.4 billion by 2020 from our ocean resource. In my view, we can surpass that target if we realise the full potential of this res...More Button

Deputy Clare Daly asked a specific question about the sustainable fisheries policy. That is where the ambition of the ocean wealth strategy meets the Common Fisheries Policy. We are in the proce...More Button

That type of immoral waste cannot continue. We are working with the industry to use technical measures as well as new fishing methods to avoid by-catch.More Button

We are also working with the European Commission and other member states to establish an anti-discards policy over the next three to four years, which I think will be very effective, along with a s...More Button

I am very interested in fish farming but I am also absolutely committed to the broader fishing industry. I am upbeat about the industry because it has a bright future. However, we need to manage ...More Button

With regard to the Deputy's point about the collection of data, in many ways the European Commission uses Ireland and the Marine Institute as the example of how data should be collected. The Mar...More Button

We will, where possible, put measures in place to ensure stocks can recover and the fishing industry can grow. We are unusual in Europe in that only some 20% of the fish caught in the waters we co...More Button

I reject the contention that our ocean wealth has not been properly researched. If one includes the Attorney General's office, ten Departments were involved in putting this report together. For t...More Button

On the issue of data collection and enforcement of the rules in terms of quotas, catches and so on, this is primarily a matter for the Naval Service, in co-operation with the Marine Institute and...More Button

The valuation of Ireland's total allowable catch went beyond €250 million for the first time last year.More Button

I am getting to the Deputy's question. The value of fish caught in Irish waters by non-Irish vessels represents some 20% of that total. In fact, it probably represents slightly more in value term...More Button

No, because discards are not included in the total allowable catch - that is the point.More Button

If one does not have a quota, one cannot catch fish. That is the essence of the problem.More Button

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: the timeline for the receipt of applications in respect of derogation in stocking density under the disadvantaged areas scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the date on which payments will be made under the disadvantaged areas scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the expected savings from changes to the stocking density ratio in the disadvantaged area scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 54 and 61 together.More Button

The budgeted expenditure under the 2012 disadvantaged areas scheme, DAS, was reduced from €220 million to €190 million. To make the necessary savings it was proposed to make technical adjustment...More Button

It was decided that real efforts should be made to focus the scheme on those farmers who are most actively contributing to achieving the aims of the scheme, namely, ensuring continued agricultura...More Button

Payments will start issuing tomorrow, on schedule. These payments are worth in the region of €150 million to 70,000 farmers and payment runs will continue on an ongoing basis, with individual ca...More Button

In terms of savings for 2012, it is too early to give precise figures. Given the approach taken in adjusting the terms and conditions of the 2012 scheme, with the changes designed to better focu...More Button

Last year, we could have taken the option taken by the previous Government, namely, reduce the payment per hectare to all farmers or reduce the number of hectare for which farmers could apply for...More Button

We will make savings, although we may not achieve the target of €30 million. If we do not achieve this target, we will have to examine the issue in the context of the budget.More Button

They all add up.More Button

I have pointed out about three times that people will not have to wait an inordinate length of time for their cheques. Many of those who qualify for a derogation will receive cheques this week. I...More Button

They have applied for a derogation and if they qualify, they will receive a payment.More Button

Yes, if that is the case. I will provide the figures. Almost 9,500 applications were received, of which decisions have been made on-----More Button

Some 9,500 farmers applied for a derogation.More Button

I do not have a precise figure on that.More Button

Given that 9,500 people sought a derogation, that figure appears to be reasonably accurate. What is the Deputy's point?More Button

A fundamental misunderstanding has arisen and it needs to be clarified because Deputy Ó Cuív is either deliberately trying not to understand the position or has not read the rules. Those who apply...More Button

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility (Continued)

This committee will be chaired by Padraig Gibbons who has kindly agreed to chair it and whom I am confident will have much credibility with farmers, particularly in the west. Deputy Ó Cuív cannot ...More Button

Where is the Deputy's evidence for that?More Button

The Deputy cannot back that claim up with facts.More Button

No.More Button

What is the Deputy's point?More Button

To be honest, the Deputy is trying to find fault where there is none.More Button

Regarding the timing of this, it is a bit ridiculous to ask when will the appeals be finished when they actually have not come in yet. We must wait and see how many appeals come in before we decide.More Button

One cannot decide how long it will take to hear appeals until one knows with how many appeals one has to deal. Will the Deputy ask a rational question?More Button

I understand that more than half of the cases of derogations have been successful but I can get the exact figure for the Deputy later.

  It is imminently sensible that if one is ...More Button

I do not believe farmers have a significant problem with ticking a box as to whether they are farming in a commonage area if they are successfully getting a derogation. The Deputy is trying to cre...More Button

The whole point of doing this is so we are not hitting the poorest and the weakest. While the Deputy gets up on his soapbox, trying to create an impression that the Minister for Agriculture, Food ...More Button

However, the Deputy would not even think to look at the detail. Instead, he is trying to paint a picture of a Minister who is only interested in commercial farming because he talks much about Fo...More Button

The Deputy does not want to hear the facts.More Button

We have focused our payments on small farmers in genuinely disadvantaged areas. It does not suit the Deputy's argument to look at the facts on what we have actually done and the choices we have ...More Button

Forestry Sector

Was asked: his plans to sell off the Coillte Teo forest crop; the progress made regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way he will ensure that the rural recreation aspect of the work of Coillte Teoranta will be protected in the event of the forest crop being sold to private interests; and if he will make a stat...More Button

Was asked: the steps that have been taken to ensure the continued viability of the timber industry here in the event that the forest crop is sold to private interests; and if he will make a statement on the m...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53, 55 and 60 together.

  The Deputy will get my official answer, so I will deal with what I suspect will be-----More Button

I would like to give the Deputy added value if I could.More Button

Maybe the Deputy might try and put me under pressure with his questions rather than heckling.More Button

The Government has made a decision to look at the possibility of selling harvesting rights for Coillte forests. This autumn we are in a process of working with NewERA and the company to see how ...More Button

We are looking at ways of meeting a commitment to the troika to realise value from State assets that do not have to be strategically in State ownership. We have made it clear in the case of Coil...More Button

Forestry Sector (Continued)

We need to do a series of other things to ensure we minimise job losses from this potential sale. That process is being worked through with the company and NewERA and we will seek any other advice...More Button

That is a series of valid questions. The Deputy is correct in respect of the mills in that most commercial mills are at full production. Many of them obtain 80% or more of their timber from Coill...More Button

On the management of the crop, it may well be the case that Coillte will continue to manage its forests, but it will no longer own them on behalf of the State. A series of financing models for a...More Button

The valuations have differed. In truth, we will not know what the amount of money is until we go to the market, but the most recent valuation through NewERA is between €400 million and €600 million.More Button

Ministerial Meetings

Was asked: if he will meet with Iascairí Intíre na hÉireann, a fishermen's organisation representing inshore fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Inshore fisheries form an important part of our overall fishing sector and I am well aware of the wide range of issues which people who are making their living from this type of fishing face on a r...More Button

I am not aware of having received a request for a meeting from Iascairi Intire na hEireann but I know that members of this group have previously met with Bord Iascaigh Mhara, who are responsible ...More Button

Was asked: if the Irish Farmers' Association has requested to meet with him; if he intends to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since my appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, I have met the Irish Farmers Association formally and informally on a regular basis. I meet regularly with the various farm o...More Button

Tax Code

Was asked: if he has considered taking action to incentivise longer term leases of farm land over the current widespread practice whereby most land offered by rental is in conacre, 11 month rental, a system o...More Button

Exemption from income tax on the net rental profits arising from the lease of farmland has been available since January 1996 in certain circumstances and with defined limits. The eligibility and re...More Button

The objective of this measure is to provide the leasee with more security of tenure and thereby promote the proper maintenance and development of the land. Most recent figures available from Reve...More Button

The Department recognises that conacre or short term rental arrangements are not a desirable basis upon which medium or long term farm business planning can be founded upon. Many commercial full ...More Button

The issue of possible tax incentives in Budget 2013 is a matter in the first instance for the Minister for Finance. The taxation measures announced in Budget 2012 reflected the Government’s commi...More Button

Was asked: having regard to the targets set out in Harvest 2020, if his attention has been drawn to the disincentive if land ownership transfers to family members, under the stamp duty and gift and inheritanc...More Button

I am aware of the importance of improving land mobility and of encouraging greater transfer of land, and of the existing challenges in this regard. In order to assist meeting the ambitious targets...More Button

  Questions Nos. 360 to 362, inclusive, answered with Question No. 354.More Button

Agriculture Schemes Expenditure

Was asked: the underspend in the agri environment options scheme and the REP scheme to date in 2012; if the full budgeted allocation will be spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I would like, first of all, to acknowledge the importance of the agri-environment schemes in environmental terms and also from the point of view of the contribution which they make to farm incomes....More Button

Common Fisheries Policy Reform

Was asked: his key priorities for the process of reforming the common fisheries policy which will more than likely conclude during the Irish Presidency in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the fisheries policy of the European Union which was first put in place in 1983 and has been subject to reviews every 10 years. The Commission proposals invol...More Button

  Question No. 60 answered with Question No. 53.More Button

  Question No. 61 answered with Question No. 52.More Button

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Was asked: the progress that has been made in the common agricultural policy negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since their publication, the EU Commission’s proposals for reform of the CAP have undergone detailed examination at Council Working Groups, the Special Committee on Agriculture and the Council of A...More Button

Negotiations on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for the EU budget for the period 2014 to 2020 are being progressed in parallel, primarily through the General Affairs Council, althou...More Button

My key concerns as regards the reform proposals arise in four areas. These are the overall CAP funding, the method for distributing CAP funds between Member States, the method for distributing d...More Button

On the budget, the funding proposals in the MFF maintain CAP spending at current levels in nominal terms post-2013. The agriculture heading is the one showing the greatest restraint, and in my vi...More Button

As to the allocation of CAP funds between Member States, the current Commission proposals for Direct Payments in Pillar 1 take a pragmatic approach to redistribution and are broadly satisfactory,...More Button

As to the distribution of direct payments within Member States, the Commission proposal is to gradually move towards a system of uniform per hectare payments, or flat rates, by 2019, in each Memb...More Button

Under a national flat rate, although the overall allocation to Ireland would not change, around 76,000 Irish farmers would gain an average of 86% on their current payments, while around 57,000 wo...More Button

I have accordingly been pressing for the maximum possible flexibility to be given to Member States to design payment models that suit their own farming conditions. I also want a more gradual, bac...More Button

I have been very active in seeking allies for this position and I have been making significant progress, particularly with a group of Member States with somewhat similar concerns. However, it sh...More Button

The negotiation process on CAP is a complex and difficult one, but all of my efforts are focused on achieving the best possible outcome for Ireland. These efforts will be continued over the comin...More Button

Was asked: if he is satisfied that sufficient measures are in place and any necessary steps are taken through the medium of the common agricultural policy to ensure the viability and the future development of...More Button

I believe there is a good commitment within the EU to a strong agri-food sector and an increased recognition of the importance of the sector’s contribution to the achievement of economic, social an...More Button

The three key principles underpinning the EU Commission’s proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy are to preserve food production potential in the EU, to ensure sustainable managem...More Button

My own view is that food security in the European Union is the essence of what the new Common Agricultural Policy is about. Growing populations and increasing demand for protein-based foods, whic...More Button

As to the WTO Doha Development Round, talks are stalled at present and the prospects for conclusion of an agreement are uncertain at this point in time. Nevertheless, I will continue to maintain...More Button

Fisheries Protection

Was asked: his plans regarding the lobster stock numbers; his plans to provide for access to stock in a limited and sustainable way; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Analysis of lobster stocks over recent years has shown that lobster stocks are over exploited in many areas around the coast. The catch per pot haul has declined in those areas and while the stock...More Button

Present measures to protect the lobster stock include Council Regulation (EC) No. 850/98, which prescribes a minimum landing size of 85mm for lobster and the Lobster Conservation of Stocks Regul...More Button

My policy for all sea-fisheries is to promote sustainable fishing, good environmental practice and compliance with law. In the case of inshore fisheries, in light of the judgement of the Europea...More Button

The Habitats Directive requires that an appropriate assessment consider the potential impact of the proposed activity on the conservation objectives for each Natura 2000 site affected. Given the...More Button

The resource intensive Natura 2000 compliance project will ultimately lead to appropriate assessment of all of our Natura sites. That multi annual, multi-agency project is continuing to address ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm, as per the Sea Lice Monitoring Protocol for Offshore Fin-Fish Farms, if a Notice To Treat was issued to the salmon farm operator (details supplied) following a sea lice inspecti...More Button

As part of my Department’s sea lice control strategy a series of treatment trigger levels have been specified to ensure that lice control on offshore salmon farms is optimised. This management reg...More Button

Ministerial Correspondence

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the submission of the newly formed United Farmers' Association in relation to reform of the common agricultural policy; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the proposals for reform of the single farm payment put forward by the newly formed United Farmers Association; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 64 and 76 together. More Button

I received the submission from the United Farmers Association in relation to the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and reform of the Single Farm Payment late last week. I very much welcom...More Button

I am still examining the detailed points made in the submission but I would be happy to provide some preliminary comments at this stage. More Button

I fully accept and can endorse many of the points made in the submission concerning the need for equity, fairness and balance in reform of the CAP. I agree with the concept of full decoupling an...More Button

My priorities in the negotiations on the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy arise in four key areas. These are the overall level of CAP funding under the EU budget, the method adopted for ...More Button

In that respect I do have some difficulty with some of the points made in the UFA submission, notably the suggestion to set payments at fixed rate per hectare. I recognise that we cannot continu...More Button

Under a national flat rate, although the overall allocation to Ireland would not change, around 76,000 Irish farmers would gain an average of 86% on their current payments, while around 57,000 w...More Button

I have accordingly been pressing for the maximum possible flexibility to be given to Member States to design payment models that suit their own farming conditions. The ‘approximation’ approach, b...More Button

The negotiation process on CAP is a complex and difficult one, but all of my efforts are focused on achieving the best possible outcome for Ireland. These efforts will be continued over the comin...More Button

Marine Tourism

Was asked: his plans to bring forward proposals to enhance marine tourism opportunities at the six national fishery harbours; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has responsibility for the management and development of the six Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Killybegs, Castletownbere, Dunmore East, Howth, An Daingean and Ros An Mhíl. Loca...More Button

The Fishery Harbour Centres are unique in that they have been set up to provide a dedicated service to the Fishing Industry. It is policy at each Fishery Harbour Centre that priority is always g...More Button

However, in addition to serving the Fishing Industry, they also play an important role in the Irish tourist and marine leisure industry and also provide facilities for the support of passenger an...More Button

My Department will continue to take every opportunity to facilitate and promote marine tourism at the Fishery Harbour Centres subject of course to its compatibility with the needs of fishermen an...More Button

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

Was asked: if he will state, as Chair of the High Level Implementation Group, if it is still his view that Food Harvest 2020 is not a plan or programme as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2001/42/EC and ther...More Button

Since becoming Minister, and as Chair of the High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) for Food Harvest 2020, I have whole-heartedly embraced the Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) strategy and I am total...More Button

Milk Quota Purchases

Was asked: his plans to ensure that there will be adequate processing capacity to process the increased milk output expected after the ending of the quota regime in 2015; and if he will make a statement on th...More Button

Food Harvest 2020 is a strategy for the development of the Agri-Food sector drawn up by industry stakeholders, in conjunction with my Department. Specifically within the dairy sector, the stakehold...More Button

The setting of the target that the volume of milk produced in 2020 will be 50% greater than that produced in the 2007-2009 baseline period, reflects the confidence of the industry, as represented...More Button

My Department and its agencies are playing their part through the monitoring, and implementation where relevant, of the 55 actions identified by the Dairy Expansion Activation Group’s Roadmap as ...More Button

While we are all aware that the supply management arrangements that currently exist under the Milk Quota regime will no longer apply after 2015, I am confident that the processing industry will w...More Button

Genetically Modified Organisms

Was asked: if he will state his precise policy in relation to the outdoor field trials of GM potatoes currently underway in County Carlow; the ultimate goal of conducting the research trials; the implications...More Button

Within Ireland the issue of genetic modification is dealt with by three Government Departments, as follows: GM foods come under the Minister for Health and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland; GM ...More Button

Policy on genetic modification across Government Departments is that Ireland’s general stance at EU level and in international fora should be positive but precautionary, recognising the potential...More Button

The field study being carried out by Teagasc on genetically modified potatoes resistant to late blight is part of a publicly funded EU research project being carried out by a consortium of 22 par...More Button

The Aarhus Convention recognises the need for increased transparency and greater public participation in decision making. Teagasc are committed to disseminating all their research findings on the...More Button

Was asked: his views on the growing of experimental GM crops; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Within Ireland the issue of genetic modification is dealt with by three Government Departments, as follows: GM foods come under the Minister for Health and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland; GM ...More Button

Accordingly, my Department’s sole responsibility with regard to the cultivation of GM crops is in relation to coexistence measures in the event that commercial GM crops are grown alongside conven...More Button

Given that GM crops are not cultivated commercially in Ireland and are unlikely to be for the foreseeable future, the issue of cultivation and coexistence does not arise at present. In relation ...More Button

In regard to the recent approval granted by the EPA to Teagasc, to carry out field trials on a genetically modified potato, with improved resistance to late potato blight, it must be pointed out ...More Button

Was asked: if Teagasc developed any genetically modified organisms such as potato, barley or wheat seeds, or other important vegetable or fruit species here; if the State through Teagasc retains any patents o...More Button

Teagasc have not developed any genetically modified organisms in Ireland, but were recently awarded a licence by the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out field research on a GM potato desig...More Button

Responsibility for issues relating to the cultivation of GM crops in Ireland rests with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, whil...More Button

Given that GM crops are not cultivated commercially in Ireland and are unlikely to be for the foreseeable future, the issue of cultivation and co-existence does not arise at present. In relation...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm who owns the intellectual property or patent of the genetically modified potatoes which Teagasc is field trialling; if he will clarify if Teagasc had any role in the development ...More Button

Teagasc were recently awarded a licence by the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out field research on a GM potato designed to resist potato blight disease. The field study is part of a pub...More Button

The GM potato variety which Teagasc are researching was generated by scientists in Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and has been made available to Teagasc via a standard material transfer ...More Button

EU Funding

Was asked: if he has made an application to the European Institute for emergency funding to assist farmers in the aftermath of severe and harsh weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The European Union Solidarity Fund is aimed primarily at providing funding to Member States in the event of a natural disaster. Following the bad weather this summer, I sought and received EU appro...More Button

I also fully appreciate the value and importance of the other scheme payments to farmers and I remain committed to ensuring that the maximum numbers are paid at the earliest possible date, mindfu...More Button

Payments worth some €154 under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme will begin tomorrow, 26th September. This funding will provide a boost to the rural economy and will benefit all areas of the country....More Button

The closing dates for spreading of chemical and organic fertiliser have been extended to 30 September and 31 October respectively. This will help farmers to make the most of the grass growing se...More Button

Teagasc have been very active in providing advice and assistance for farmers affected by the bad weather. All Teagasc offices are taking calls from concerned farmers. A series of public meeting...More Button

Was asked: the emergency assistance available to Ireland from the EU in the event of near disaster scenarios, such as the appallingly wet summer and autumn that has adversely affected farms throughout the cou...More Button

The European Union Solidarity Fund is aimed primarily at providing funding to Member States in the event of a natural disaster. Following the bad weather this summer, I sought and received EU appro...More Button

I also fully appreciate the value and importance of the other scheme payments to farmers and I remain committed to ensuring that the maximum numbers are paid at the earliest possible date, mindfu...More Button

Payments worth some €154 under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme will begin tomorrow, 26th September. This funding will provide a boost to the rural economy and will benefit all areas of the country....More Button

The closing dates for spreading of chemical and organic fertiliser have been extended to 30 September and 31 October respectively. This will help farmers to make the most of the grass growing se...More Button

Teagasc have been very active in providing advice and assistance for farmers affected by the bad weather. All Teagasc offices are taking calls from concerned farmers. A series of public meetings...More Button

World Trade Negotiations

Was asked: the degree to which progress can be reported in the context of any World Trade Organisation discussions to the effect that Ireland and Europe’s food-producing sectors are given every encouragement ...More Button

The WTO Doha Development Round talks are stalled at present and the prospects for conclusion of an agreement are uncertain at this point in time. Nevertheless, I will continue to maintain pressure...More Button

At European level, the future shape of the Common Agricultural Policy will be a key driver for the continued viability and competitiveness of the food industry in Ireland and throughout the EU. ...More Button

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Was asked: if he has received submissions from the Irish Farmers' Association and other farming organisations requesting earlier payment of all farm supports in view of the difficulties faced by the farming c...More Button

Was asked: if he has had any discussions with the banking sector with a view to addressing issues arising from the extremely inclement weather conditions during the summer such as animal feed shortages and/or...More Button

Was asked: the extent he has engaged with farm organisations and the banking sector with a view to alleviating any difficulties arising from inclement weather conditions throughout the year; and if he will ma...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 74, 369 and 376 together. More Button

Following the bad weather this summer, I sought EU approval for the advance payment of the 2012 Single Payment. This was approved and will enable payment to issue immediately following 16 October...More Button

Also I appreciate fully the value and importance of the other scheme payments to farmers and I remain committed to ensuring that the maximum numbers are paid at the earliest possible date, mindful,...More Button

Teagasc have been very active in providing advice & assistance for farmers affected by the bad weather. All Teagasc offices are taking calls from concerned farmers. A series of public meetings a...More Button

I am very aware of the difficult situation with regard to winter fodder this year. A survey conducted by Teagasc identified a shortage on many farms, particularly dairy farms and also highlighted...More Button

In addition, I approached Minister Hogan who is responsible for the Nitrates regulations and agreed extensions to the period allowed for spreading of both chemical and organic fertilisers this Au...More Button

My officials are in regular contact with the banking sector with a view to discussing the credit needs of the sector. I am also pleased that a number of banks have recently announced new lending...More Button

Was asked: the number of farmers who receive more than €1,000 per hectare under the single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The number of farmers in receipt of payments of over €1,000 per ha under the 2011 Single Payment Scheme was 620.More Button

  Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 64.More Button

Was asked: if he will provide the most recent statistics on the number of farmers receiving less than €5,000 in single farm payment, the number receiving payments below €50,000, the numbers receiving more tha...More Button

The numbers of farmers in receipt of payments under the 2011Single Payment Scheme in the categories requested were as follows:

More Button

Marine Accidents

Was asked: his views on the investigation into the loss of the Pere Charles; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The investigation into the loss of the fishing vessel MFV Père Charles was carried out by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, which has the statutory responsibility for investigati...More Button

Harbour Fees

Was asked: with regard to the proposed increase in charges in harbour fees, if he will intervene to ensure that the boatmen who take visitors out to see Fungi the dolphin in Dingle Bay, will not be put out of...More Button

The Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2012 was signed by me on 21st June 2012 and came into effect on the 1st   July 2012. The Rates and C...More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: the amount of money that has been allocated to Ireland to implement the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC since the start of implementation.More Button

My colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan TD has primary responsibility for the implementation of the Habitats Directive. More Button

As regards funding for the Rural Development Programme for Ireland, an overall amount is allocated to my Department under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development [EAFRD] which may be...More Button

Under the current Rural Development Financial Plan an indicative amount of €528m has been allocated to Natura and an amount of €1.8bn has been allocated to agri environment. These two amounts are...More Button

Bovine Disease Controls

Was asked: his policy regarding the culling of badgers; the extent of TB outbreak here amongst badgers; the potential impact that this outbreak could have on the national herd; and if he will make a statement...More Button

Research carried out in Ireland indicates that, up to 2008, using a detailed post mortem and histological examination, 35-50% of badgers in high cattle TB prevalence areas were infected with TB com...More Button

Forestry Grants

Was asked: if forestry payments will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; the reason for the delay in payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This site has a history of poor maintenance and, thus, has failed two previous inspections. The latest remedial works notified to the applicant were “The oak plot has recently been filled in with o...More Button

Was asked: when forestry payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This contract relates to a single tract of land which is owned by two separate applicants. The land is registered in the names of both of these applicants but it was divided equally to be the subje...More Button

Agriculture Schemes Appeals

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A request for an appeal was received by the independent Agriculture Appeals Office on the 12th   of July of this year. The request is currently being processed and staff f...More Button

Sale of State Assets

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No 642 of 17 July 2012 if he will provide an update in relation to Coillte; if a final valuation has been determined and if this is the case, the next steps that w...More Button

As advised in my reply on 17th July 2012, the Government decided, in the context of the State asset disposal programme, that consideration would be given to the sale of certain asse...More Button

Departmental Bodies

Was asked: the action he will take to revamp and reassess the Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board (details supplied) and make it fit for purpose for a modern and efficient licencing system in order that the aqu...More Button

The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) is an independent statutory body, with its own funding provided for by the Oireachtas under Section 36 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1997. The fun...More Button

The fact that the majority of locations for which aquaculture licences are sought are in areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and/or Special Protectio...More Button

The Secretary General and senior officials from my Department have met with the Chairman and members of the Board to review its resourcing and operational issues. An experienced officer from the...More Button

Fish Landings

Was asked: if he will provide in tabular form, the total fish landings including those from aquaculture and from visiting fishing vessels at each of the major fishery harbour centres in terms of total tonnage...More Button

The following tables set out details of landings supplied by the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority into Irish Fishery Harbour Centres, including landings by Irish vessels in respect of 2011. Aquac...More Button

Harbours and Piers Funding

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No 148 of 10 May 2012 and Parliamentary Question No. 413 on the 10 July 2012, if he will report progress on the studies on the Bull Nose Pier on Cape Clear Island,...More Button

Officials from my Department attended a public information meeting at Cape Clear on 24th   August 2012 where the Department's proposals for the development works at the Bu...More Button

Food Labelling

Was asked: the plans he has, if any to protect food labelling terms such as artisan, farmhouse, local and traditional to ensure they are not open to abuse or misuse, and that small producers are protected; an...More Button

The only method to protect a designation of the type referred to by the Deputy is through the EU Scheme of Geographical Indications (GIs). Under that scheme Protected Designation of Origin, Protec...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which he continues to monitor the labelling of various food products with particular reference to indicating the country of origin in respect of meat, fish and poultry products; and i...More Button

The Minister for Health has overall responsibility for the general food labelling legislation and the new EU food information regulations were adopted by the Council of Health Ministers.

&...More Button

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision had been made on an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision had been made on an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County KerryMore Button

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantage area scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantage area scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal under the disadvantage area scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 354 to 358, inclusive, and 360 to 362, inclusive, together.More Button

The persons concerned are applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. Currently, they are part of a larger group, whose cases are impacted by a requirement of a minimum stocking densit...More Button

On a more general level, I can also confirm that payments under the 2012 Scheme are scheduled to begin issuing as and from 26 September, directly to the nominated bank accounts of Scheme applicants...More Button

Departmental Staff Data

Was asked: if his Department still grants leave of absence; and if not, the reason this is not considered as a neutral cost saving exercise; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department grants leave of absence on an unpaid basis in accordance with the regulations which govern such leave. Each application for such leave of absence is considered on its own merits.More Button

Grocery Industry Competition

Was asked: if, arising from recent protests by farming representatives, he is satisfied that the various supermarket chains are fully committed to a fair price structure for the producer and that the use of l...More Button

The negotiation of commercial contracts is essentially a matter for the contracting parties. Prices paid for products in the marketplace are a function of a number of market forces.More Button

The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to enact fair trade legislation in the retail sector so as to ensure balance between various players in the grocery goods sector. This ...More Button

At EU level the high level group on better functioning of the Food Supply Chain has asked the Expert Business to Business Platform to make recommendations on a Community wide approach. The Platfo...More Button

Animal Welfare Issues

Was asked: the extent to which he has had discussions with producer representatives in the pig industry with reference to matters arising from meeting extra accommodation costs associated with animal welfare ...More Button

Was asked: the extent, if any, to which he has had discussions with pig producers, the banking sector and local authorities with a view to the coordination of efforts to comply with animal welfare legislation...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 367 and 368 together.More Button

The pig sector remains the third largest individual component of the agri-food sector, with production, prices and exports all growing significantly during 2011. Prices have continued to increase...More Button

New EU Animal Welfare rules set down new standards in relation to the housing of sows and will come into force on 1 January 2013. A significant number of producers have undertaken the necessary w...More Button

Notwithstanding this, my Department is aware of the scale of the challenge facing pig farmers in respect of the new requirements. To this end, the Department introduced a Targeted Agricultural Mo...More Button

Following discussions with producers and the evidence of the initial stages of the scheme my Department modified and improved some elements of the scheme. Grant-aid is now available at a rate of ...More Button

I, together with officials from my Department met with the IFA during the summer to discuss a number of issues including the new animal welfare measures. My officials continue to engage with all ...More Button

Improving access to credit is a priority on the business agenda and is an issue which the Government is addressing in a comprehensive and co-ordinated manner. To address the issue the Department...More Button

I am also working to improve access for Irish pigmeat to 3rd Country markets, and indeed in 2011, exports of Irish pigmeat to international (non-EU) markets increased by 25% to 43,000 tonnes. I ...More Button

  Question No. 369 answered with Question No. 74.More Button

Credit Availability

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to any particular trends whereby the banking sector has reduced or in some cases removed overdraft or other lending facilities available to the farming community res...More Button

I and my Department are in regular contact with farm bodies, various national banks and the Banking Federation concerning the availability of credit to farmers. I am aware that, like many other se...More Button

Over the last year some of the banks have been involved in organising information sessions and conferences to explain the credit facilities available in the sector and just this month one of the ...More Button

Potato Sector

Was asked: the extent to which the potato crop has been negatively affected by weather conditions in the current year; if he will intercede with the European authorities and the banking sector with a view to ...More Button

Potato yields have suffered due to the very wet weather over the summer period. In addition, quality has also been negatively affected. There are significant problems with blight in this year’s c...More Button

These poor yields are being offset somewhat by higher prices. In addition, improved weather has provided good harvesting opportunities over recent days. Unfortunately, the EU Commission does not...More Button

Agrifood Sector Issues

Was asked: the extent to which he has continued to monitor developments in the beef, lamb and dairy sectors in the context of world trade with a view to ensuring the future well-being of Irish and European pr...More Button

In addition to meeting my European counterparts at Council level on policy matters periodically throughout the year, developments in agricultural commodity markets are constantly monitored and disc...More Button

Question No.376 answered with Question No. 74.More Button


 

 

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