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Coveney, Simon

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform: Statements

My apologies for being a couple of minutes late. I am pleased to have the opportunity to address the House today on the Common Agricultural Policy reform proposals. Our debate is timely given tha...More Button

The proposed reform of the CAP arises in the context of the revision of the EU multi-annual financial framework, MFF, for the EU budget for the coming years. This is a seven-year budget. The ref...More Button

As the current holder of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Ireland is at the centre of the negotiations. Good progress was made by previous Presidencies on technical issues, w...More Button

My aim is to finalise the Council position and negotiating mandate by the end of March, leading to inter-institutional trilogues with the aim of overall political agreement by the end of June. A...More Button

The agreement was generally positive from a CAP perspective. The CAP will continue to account for almost 39% of the overall budget in year one. It incurred a cut of 3% compared to the Commissio...More Button

Another crucial issue in the MFF agreement is the distribution of CAP funds between member states. The formula agreed by the Heads of State and Government for the distribution of direct payment ...More Button

Now that the EU budget has been decided, although it has still to be confirmed by the European Parliament, the main issue for many member states, including Ireland, is the distribution of direct ...More Button

The February Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting broadly endorsed a package of measures which I tabled, aimed at achieving a compromise on this rather difficult issue. The package included...More Button

The reality is that Ireland is facing two sets of demands on this issue. On the one hand, there are farmers on low payments per hectare who are arguing for a larger share of the available fundin...More Button

Under the Commission proposal, we have estimated, using our 2010 database, that €280 million would be transferred between farmers. Under the Irish proposal, a minimum of €74 million would be tra...More Button

Common Agricultural Policy Reform: Statements (Continued)

A second major issue for member states is the Commission's proposal on greening the CAP. There is broad support for the Commission's approach of adopting three basic greening criteria. However,...More Button

In essence, our proposals on greening retain the three greening criteria proposed by the Commission, namely, crop diversification, maintenance of permanent grassland and establishment of ecologic...More Button

A number of other complex, difficult and potentially divisive issues are included in the compromise proposals and will be put to Ministers next Monday and Tuesday. These concern matters such as ...More Button

I am not defending it.More Button

That is why we are proposing redistribution.More Button

We have a national reserve factored into the reform process for new entrants.More Button

I agree with the Deputy.More Button

Yes. I hope to return to it either next week or the week after.More Button

Interim Report on Equine DNA-Mislabelling of Processed Meat: Statements

I apologise for the fact that Opposition spokespersons did not receive the interim report a little earlier. When I briefed them yesterday, I stated they would receive copies by 11 a.m. today. How...More Button

They have literally just come off the presses. I will have copies distributed to Members immediately.More Button

Two months ago to the day - 14 January - my Department was first informed by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, FSAI, of its finding of 29% equine DNA in a single beef burger sold in Tesco and...More Button

Today, I am publishing a report on the official investigation and related matters. It will demonstrate both the complexity of the problem uncovered and the thoroughness with which it was approac...More Button

I wish to highlight a number of points. The equine DNA found in consignments of frozen beef products was labelled to be of Polish origin. The investigation has not found any evidence of adulter...More Button

Details of the investigation outcome in respect of the main companies involved are provided in the report.More Button

Interim Report on Equine DNA-Mislabelling of Processed Meat: Statements (Continued)

The investigation concludes that in the case of Silvercrest and Rangeland Meats, there was no evidence that they deliberately purchased or used horsemeat in their production processes or that these...More Button

B&F Meats was found to be involved in mislabelling of a limited quantity of horsemeat for export to the Czech Republic. While the company claims that no fraudulent intent was involved, the placi...More Button

When the problem widened to include other member states, I convened a meeting of other Ministers and the Commission in Brussels, which led to the establishment of an EU-wide testing programme bot...More Button

Acting in my role as Chairman of the Council, I also arranged a special debate on this matter under the Irish Presidency at the Council of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers meeting. The Counci...More Button

Apart from the EU response, a range of additional actions have been put in place in Ireland at my instigation. In addition to the EU programme, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, FSAI, and my...More Button

In addition to the EU-wide control programme for residues of phenylbutazone, my Department introduced a positive release programme for horses destined for the food chain, in other words, we are n...More Button

Although the Department will continue its involvement with investigations being carried out in other member states and pursue any issues arising, the report draws a series of conclusions and iden...More Button

This episode has revealed the extent and complexity of the involvement of traders and agents in the food supply chain. With the legal power already in place I have decided that all such intermed...More Button

A number of changes are warranted regarding EU labelling regulations such as provisions covering intermediate labels and the reporting of mislabelling incidences, as well as practical steps on th...More Button

I want to refer to the related but separate issue of the horse identification and traceability problems. I should first express my concern at the incident which occurred only last Friday in Osso...More Button

In general, while the investigation did not uncover any illegal introduction of horsemeat into the food chain in Ireland, we have accelerated our review of procedures in regard to horse identific...More Button

Regarding this entire problem, the fact the official control system in Ireland uncovered what is a global problem in terms of the serious mislabelling of beef and the manner in which we have addr...More Button

I thank everybody in my Department, in the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, and in the Garda fraud squad who have worked night and day on this problem for two months and who have provided us, at...More Button

I hope this report will be welcomed by Members of the House. I will be bringing it before the Oireachtas committee when we will have a detailed discussion on it, and its consequences, to allow u...More Button

Absolutely not.More Button

This was the first country in the European Union to uncover this because this was the first country in the European Union to use DNA testing in the food system.More Button

I suggest the Deputy read the report before making ill-informed comments.More Button

For the record, it did not have intelligence.More Button

That is what we are planning to do.More Button

Directly.More Button

If we choose, they may act as agents. The Deputy has not read the report and should do so if he has the chance.More Button

Outsiders could not investigate it.More Button

It would have.More Button

Just to clarify that, of the 957 tests recently taken by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, only seven tested positive for traces of horsemeat. These were all known products already.More Button

I agree.More Button

Just to be accurate. It did not deny it but it did not tell us either. That was the problem.More Button

I thank all the Deputies who contributed to this debate. Several Members asked if we could have a detailed discussion on this report, its consequences and its policy implications at the agricultur...More Button

When we replied to parliamentary questions on the passport issuing system for horses, we gave the factual position. In recent years, we have introduced a system of microchips and passports. The...More Button

I thank Deputies Martin Ferris and Ó Caoláin's supportive comments as I know there is always a temptation in opposition to sling political shots. I have tried to keep all Members up to date on t...More Button

I am pleased that others see the frustrations I have expressed especially with regard to QK Meats and its lack of forthcoming information.More Button

Deputy Ó Caoláin asked some specific questions about legislation on compulsory reporting. We have made a commitment that we would do this and examine it and we will do so. I am somewhat restric...More Button

I have been working with the industry, including ABP Food Group, to try to ensure that we have a future for a large, modern burger-making facility at Silvercrest. It is probably the best plant o...More Button

The issue of bute or testing for phenylbutazone was raised. We decided to release no meat into the market until all horses being slaughtered had been screened for phenylbutazone or bute. That p...More Button

Deputy ‘Ming’ Flanagan read into the record a detailed set of proposals. I believe we will do much of what Deputy Flanagan is proposing. Deputy Ó Cuív raised this issue as well. We are conside...More Button

I will finish presently but I am keen to ensure Deputies get answers. I put it to Deputy Boyd Barrett that it is not true to say we jumped to conclusions at the start of this. Initially this in...More Button

Our conclusions have been on the basis of the facts that we can establish through gathering information, interviews, audits of invoicing and order forms, interviewing transport companies and test...More Button

Departmental Staff Redeployment

Was asked: the number of years employees of his Department have been seconded to two private companies, the Irish Horse Board Cooperative Society Ltd and Horse Sport Ireland Ltd; if there are any current empl...More Button

One Superintending Veterinary Inspector has been seconded to Animal Health Ireland as its Chief Executive in September 2009 and my Department continues to pay his salary as part of its annual subve...More Button

Horse Passports

Was asked: his plans, if any, to enforce the transfer of ownership regulations in relation to horse traceability, in order that horse ownership changes are recorded; and if he will make a statement on the mat...More Button

EU legislation 504/2008 provides that equine animals must be identified from 1 July 2009 with a passport and a microchip. The relevant national legislation is S.I. No. 357 of 2011 - European Commun...More Button

There is no provision in the EU or national equine legislation relating to the transfer of ownership; however, my Department is currently exploring options in relation to the introduction of obli...More Button

My Department is also developing a central database of horses which will involve migration of selected data from Passport Issuing Bodies (PIOs) to the Department. The central database will be pop...More Button

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive payment in respect of their 2011 suckler cow grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person named registered 2 animals in 2011 and 3 animals in 2012 for the Suckler Welfare Scheme. Errors were identified in relation to both of the 2011 born animals and following correspondence ...More Button

One of the 2012 born animals is ineligible for payment as it was not registered within the statutory 27 days of birth. Details of the measures required under the Scheme have not yet been received...More Button

Was asked: when payment of the suckler cow welfare scheme will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person named registered 5 animals under the 2012 Suckler Welfare Scheme. Errors have been identified in respect of all of these animals and the applicant has been written to with a view to reso...More Button

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Was asked: when a REP scheme payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person named commenced REPS 4 in April 2008 and received payments for the first four years of their contract. REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is s...More Button

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be paid their agri-environment options scheme grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st September 2011. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-ba...More Button

Forestry Sector

Was asked: the reasons for the hold up in granting approvals for forestry planations in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In the absence of specific details of the applications that are considered to be unduly delayed it is not possible to comment further on the matter. If the Deputy wishes Forestry Division in Wexfo...More Button

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Was asked: the position regarding disadvantaged area aid in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork.More Button

The person named was recently confirmed as having satisfied the minimum stocking density requirements under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, following a review of the agri-enviroment plan for the ho...More Button

Live Exports

Was asked: the procedure involved in the transport of live animals to a destination (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

All animals exported to destinations outside of the European Union are required to be accompanied by a veterinary certificate attesting to animal health requirements as stipulated by the importing ...More Button

The requirements in relation to the transport of live animals on a commercial basis are laid down in Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 of 22 December 2004 on the protection of animals during transpo...More Button

The transport of animals by air is also governed by Council Regulation (EC) 1/2005 as well as by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Live Animals regulations, which set out the req...More Button