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Coveney, Simon

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Rural Development Programme Funding

Was asked: the total projected spend under the Rural Development Programme 2007-13; the approximate spend that would occur under Pillar 2 of the rural development programme in the event of the Government only...More Button

Under the rural development programme for 2007-13, there is a total allocation of some €4.8 billion over the lifetime of the programme. Of this allocation, over €4 billion has been spent to date. ...More Button

I would like to make a correction. The €4.8 billion figure is the wrong figure.More Button

I said that the spend to date is €4 billion.More Button

That is the intention.More Button

I would not accept that thesis. Perhaps the Deputy has not noticed, but we now have 28 member states in the European Union and they all have different priorities. In order to get an agreement on ...More Button

Was asked: if he will confirm the level of national co-financing in the current RDP 2007-2013; if he will confirm his proposals for national co-financing in RDP 2014-2020; and if he will make a statement on t...More Button

Under the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007 - 2013 over €4.8 billion is currently allocated to fund the support measures under the Programme. Various co-financing rates have applied at differe...More Button

In relation to the new RDP, 2014-2020, the European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides some €313m per year, or a total of €2.19bn, for Ireland under Pillar 2...More Button

A general EU co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operat...More Button

There are a number of conditions attached to Ireland’s allocation of €313 million per annum. The draft Regulation provides that at least 5% of EAFRD funding must be reserved for LEADER while the...More Button

Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the r...More Button

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Refo...More Button

Rural Development Programme Funding (Continued)

With respect, I am not going to confirm anything today until I have concluded an agreement with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform who is working with me on this matter and has been ver...More Button

The option that Ireland can and will take is an ambitious option. I do not know where the Deputy is coming from when he said that we did not achieve our goals. We did achieve our goals in the neg...More Button

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Was asked: his plans to oppose cuts to quota in forthcoming negotiations for a new EU Common Fisheries Policy; and if he accepts that his acquiescence to the cutting of fishing quotas would damage small coast...More Button

If the Deputy and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle will allow me, I would like to use the opportunity to correct the record on something I said a number of weeks ago in the House to Deputy Martin Ferris's...More Button

In terms of the response to the question, our approach will be as predicted and as we did last year and the year before. I will try to derive the highest commercial return possible from fishing ...More Button

We are taking a team of people, including marine scientists from the Marine Institute, to the negotiations. I will attempt to construct arguments for minimising the effect of quota reductions, i...More Button

-----whereby we are going to introduce an obligation to land everything the fishermen catch. Therefore, we need to balance the issues. If we simply have dramatic cuts to quotas, particularly for ...More Button

There will be some very positive news on this, particularly on the pelagic side but there will also be some challenges on the whitefish side. We will certain do our best for the industry.More Button

I can understand where the Deputy is coming from on this issue. There is much concern in the fishing industry, particularly in the whitefish fleet. Last year and the previous year there was also ...More Button

I would issue a word of caution here. Sometimes people expect the Minister to perform some kind of Houdini act each year and to overturn the science. The negotiations next week will be difficul...More Button

We are working intensively to prepare for next week's negotiations and put a case together that stands up from a scientific point of view but which can get a better outcome for the fishing industry...More Button

May I come back in again?More Button

The Deputy is right on his last point. There is a perception among some people who, in my view, do not understand the fishing industry that all fishermen just want to go out and catch as much as t...More Button

The industry is very progressive in Ireland. Yes, there are some people who are breaking the rules and we need to enforce the rules and hold those people to account. Unfortunately, we have witn...More Button

It is important to say that but regardless of the pressures we must have a level playing field for everybody. I need to enforce the rules in order to be fair to every fisherman in the same way. O...More Button

Was asked: when he will make an announcement in relation to Pillar 1 of the EU Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020; when he will convey details of the selected options under Pillar 1 of the CAP to the EU; if...More Button

In respect of Pillar 1 of the CAP I initiated a process of consultation in July 2013 with all relevant stakeholders and interested parties to ascertain their views on the most appropriate applicati...More Button

As regards Pillar 2, work on the development of the next rural development programme is already well under way. An initial consultation process was launched in 2012, and written submissions were ...More Button

A general co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operation...More Button

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Refo...More Button

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations (Continued)

If we are to take the hard decisions to protect stocks on the back of science that suggests we need to do so, that is one matter, but we are certainly not going to ask fishermen to make significant...More Button

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Was asked: if he will outline his efforts to address the land eligibility problems farmers are facing; the concession he will apply; and the argument he has put to the EU Commissioner to prevent the impositio...More Button

I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. A number of farmers, particularly in the Deputy's county, are concerned about it. We have a problem we need to deal with. Since mid-summer, there has b...More Button

We have the capacity technologically to proceed accurately. I have no intention of penalising farmers but simply of asking them not to accept payments on land deemed ineligible in 2013. In some...More Button

It is important to send some very clear messages to farmers. First, we are not asking for any retrospective payments from farmers who have had a big problem. The only payments we decided we would...More Button

I assure the Deputy that we are trying to work through this in as farmer-friendly a way as possible. Anybody who believes we will just put our head in the sand and ignore this issue, thus result...More Button

If the Deputy is concerned about individual cases, he should let us hear about them and we will consider them. On the broader issue, we have been working overtime since the summer to try to ensure...More Button

Was asked: the reason the second part of the single farm payment was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; if the person has been informed of the reason for this non-payment; if they ha...More Button

The penalty applied in this case is as a result of a multi-annual sanction applied to a 2012 ground inspection as required under the terms and conditions of the scheme. The outcome of the ground i...More Button

Was asked: the number of farmers who received penalties under the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 single farm payments scheme respectively; the number of these penalties that relate to the over-declaration of eligi...More Button

As it is not possible to compile the full information requested in the available timescale, I am arranging for it to be provided directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Fish Farming

Was asked: if the European Union has re-opened pilot investigation 764/09/ENVI; the reasons for same; the possible consequences for Ireland arising from this investigation; if any questions have been raised w...More Button

I hope the Deputy will understand that I am somewhat limited in what I can say in response to his question. It is not worth reading out the official reply because it does not provide any informati...More Button

It is not appropriate for me to provide any further detail. The Department is preparing a file for consideration by the European Ombudsman and Commission. I am confident both bodies will be sat...More Button

Two entirely separate issues arise. The first is the way in which Ireland manages its control protocols for sea lice. In my view, we do so to a very high standard. The second is a series of appl...More Button

The Department will do what is required by the Commission to provide clarity on this issue. We will proceed in a proper, independent and rigorous manner to assess all outstanding aquaculture lic...More Button

I expect this case to be clarified and closed in the next six or eight weeks and it is highly unlikely that I will make a decision on the licensing of any salmon farm in that period. As a former m...More Button

Aquaculture Licences Applications

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the salmon farm proposed for the Aran Islands would have a capacity of 15,000 tonnes and that this size would make it the largest such facility in E...More Button

I am fully aware of what is proposed in the project in question. The proposal relates to a new type of salmon farming which would involve moving salmon cages further offshore into much deeper wate...More Button

My job is to assess whether the proposal holds up from a scientific, environmental and commercial point of view. I must also consider weather factors such as exposure to the elements on the west...More Button

While the proposed salmon farm is larger than projects elsewhere in Europe, we have some large projects off the west coast. The salmon farm off Clare Island, for instance, is of a significant sc...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in processing licences for oyster and salmon farmers whose livelihood is threatened by lack of current, appropriate licensing. More Button

The delay in processing these applications has arisen for a number of reasons, primarily the location of aquaculture operations in Natura 2000 areas.

  The European Court of Jus...More Button

Aquaculture Licences Applications (Continued)

I do not think people should be criticised for ambition. If this project is doable, we have an obligation to consider it. If it does not make sense from an environmental or management perspective...More Button

In regard to the exposure, I understand the benchmark for levels of exposure is the Clare Island site. The salmon farm there is well run and is considered to have levels of exposure with which w...More Button

On the final point-----More Button

I accept the Deputy has raised genuine concerns, which I share and which is why we must be rigorous in our assessment of proposals of this nature. It is important to put Scotland in context. Scot...More Button

Other Questions

  Question No. 6 replied to with Written Answers.More Button

Live Exports

Was asked: the steps he has taken to ensure that live exports of cattle continue in view of the demise of TLT; the steps taken by him in the past two months to open the British market to Irish live exports of...More Button

Deputy Ó Cuív's question pertained to TLT in particular. While TLT has been a significant player in the export of live cattle to the Continent, accounting for 20% of total exports, the export of l...More Button

Live cattle exports from Ireland amounted to 160,000 head in 2012 and were worth €143 million. To date this year, shipments have reached 202,000 head, which represents a very substantial increas...More Button

On the Deputy's first question, part of the problem in Italy is the level of demand and the price purchasers are willing to pay compared with the prices prevailing in the domestic market in Ireland...More Button

They do not take them because of previous experiences of protests against live cattle exports on roll on-roll off ferries. A technical labelling issue also arises in respect of country of origin l...More Button

Was asked: the steps he is taking to develop the live export trade to the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy makes a fair point but both pork and poultry products on sale in Ireland and across the EU will have a country of origin label requirement in future, in the same way as beef products do ...More Button

This is about supplying what the market wants. It is not about what we want. We must provide product that the market will pay for. In Italy there has been a demand for a certain age and quality ...More Button

We must respond to the market. We export between 85% and 90% of all of the food produced on this island. We target markets where we can make a profit on the basis of what those markets want. T...More Button

There are genuine issues in terms of what the market wants in the United Kingdom, which is the biggest market for Irish beef by a long mile. It is not, however, the biggest market for live Irish...More Button

I do not understand what the Deputy means when he says my Department is washing its hands of it.More Button

Live Exports (Continued)

That is a valid question and is an issue we are working on currently. I have spoken to my Northern Ireland counterpart, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O'Neill, who is...More Button

Having said that, I am supportive of-----More Button

I am supportive of trying to facilitate a situation whereby food producers in Northern Ireland, who are Irish people and are producing Irish produce, can label it as Irish. However, protocols must...More Button

I agree.More Button

I want cattle to be slaughtered and processed in Ireland. There are jobs in these value-adding activities. The same thing applies in the case of seafood. It is important for farmers who do not f...More Button

The Department has not been asked by the receiver-----More Button

Agriculture Schemes Data

Was asked: if the mapping and digitisation of uplands takes account of the fact that hill areas contain inclines and slopes that cannot be correctly measured by a mapping system which has regard only for the ...More Button

One of the challenges faced by those involved with the mapping system is that they have to rely on an image from space. The move from getting images from high-flying aircraft to getting images fro...More Button

The measurement of land area within the land parcel identification system respects all national surveying conventions with regard to slopes or hill land. The area quoted on Ordnance Survey Ireland...More Button

We are changing our software systems all the time. We have practically designed a new system.More Button

It is working, by the way.More Button

That may be so, but it is because we are in the middle of a correction period. Other countries in the EU that are far bigger than Ireland are unable to do what we are doing. Since the middle of t...More Button

Was asked: the number of farmers who applied for the disadvantaged areas scheme and single farm payment scheme, broken down by county in 2013; the number that were paid their disadvantaged area payment to dat...More Button

A total of 120,551 have received the first payment of their 2013 SPS and 117,716 have received the second instalment. To date, 9,187 farmers have had a penalty applied.

  The fi...More Button

Was asked: the amount of money that would be available to transfer to lower paid farmers under Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 if the single farm payment was capped at €800-ha for the first 10ha and €400...More Button

Was asked: the level of ceiling on the single farm payment that would be required to save the €108 million to be transferred to farmers with low payments under Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 184 together.

  The statistics requested by the Deputy are contained in the following tables. Each scenario is based on the 2012 Paymen...More Button

  Question No. 185 withdrawn.More Button

Departmental Publications

Was asked: the amount of staff time and the estimated cost, including staff time, associated with the production of ministerial newsletters since he became Minister; the grounds on which he believes this expe...More Button

While this is a valid question, I think it is a strange one. The Department issues newsletters on a reasonably regular basis to update farmers who want to get that information. They are sent out ...More Button

Departmental Publications (Continued)

Nobody in my Department is being paid anything extra for this and we are not bringing in any extra staff for it. People are doing it as part of their function within the Department to inform farme...More Button

I have no idea. I trust my Department to put these newsletters together. It is my job to be the political face of Irish agriculture and I have no intention of shying away from that. It is my job...More Button

Part of any newsletter will give coverage to what we are doing. If the Deputy dismisses that as party politics, that is fine, but I do not see it as party politics. I see it as me doing my job ...More Button

I trust the corporate affairs division in my Department to put together a newsletter that is non-party political but unapologetically advocates for our sector and informs people of what we are doin...More Button

This year has been an extraordinary year for agriculture. We have had to deal with a horsemeat crisis and a fodder crisis. We have designed and delivered a new Common Agricultural Policy and a ...More Button

I am confident there are no issues here.More Button

If the Deputy wants to challenge that with SIPO, he is more than welcome to do so.More Button

Agrifood Sector Issues

Was asked: the progress made to date on joint agricultural development and agribusiness investments in Ethiopia and Ireland; other opportunities being explored for agribusiness in Africa; and if he will make ...More Button

Ireland has strong links with Ethiopia which have been developed over many years. Eighty five percent (85%) of employment in Ethiopia is currently provided by agriculture, therefore it is clear th...More Button

  Questions Nos. 7 to 10, inclusive, answered orally.More Button

Food Harvest 2020 Strategy

Was asked: the extent to which the objectives set in the context of Food Harvest 2020 are being met to date; his expectations in this regard in the medium to long term; the extent to which he envisages greate...More Button

I am confident that the industry developed targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 are achievable and can be met. The main targets in the Food Harvest report are by 2020 to increase the value of:
More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the targets set in Food Harvest 2020 continue to be met throughout each sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am confident that the industry developed targets set out in Food Harvest 2020 are achievable and can be met. The main targets in the Food Harvest report are by 2020 to increase the value of: More Button

Agriculture Schemes Payments

Was asked: if he will amend the system in his Department to facilitate the release of 75% of rural environment protection scheme and agri-environment option scheme payments to all farmers in December and not ...More Button

Area-based schemes under the Rural Development Programme, 2007-13, are subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications, including cross checks with the La...More Button

All of the 29,253 REPS 4 and the 13,746 AEOS 1 and 2 applicants who are eligible to receive a payment in 2013 have to be subjected to a full administrative check before the first phase of payment...More Button

The LPIS Review exercise which will be completed shortly, resulted in area changes for some applicants, but has not held up the 75% payment in respect of either the REPS or the AEOS schemes and a...More Button

Was asked: when the mapping of forage hectares will be completed for Irish farmers; his views that these annual mapping issues are causing a lot of concern to farmers; if he acknowledges that some lands in RE...More Button

Payments to farmers under EU Direct Schemes amount to over €1.5 billion annually. Approximately 130,000 farmers benefit from these schemes and these supports will continue under the next CAP, recen...More Button

At a meeting between the Department of Agriculture and the EU Commission in July 2013, the Commission indicated that this practice of claiming on ineligible features has to be regularised, to avo...More Button

As part of that review, 950,000 eligible land parcels (belonging to approximately 130,000 farmers) are being examined; ineligible features have been identified in some cases (a minority) in the c...More Button

As the review progresses, letters are issuing to farmers indicating that there is a discrepancy with regard to their eligible land declared and the farmers in question are being offered a desk re...More Button

It is important to note that while this review is underway, payments to farmers under the Single Farm Payment Scheme and the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme are on track and on a par with 2012. A 50% ...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which the various farm support payments in respect of the current year have been met to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In respect of the 2013 Single Payment Scheme, 120,551 cases have received payment thus far. This represents 98.04% of eligible applicants. The total amount paid to date is €1,164,127,448.10. Pay...More Button

Bord na gCon Remit

Was asked: the steps he has taken to address issues of concern regarding corporate governance in the Irish Greyhound Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Bord na gCon is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. Operational matters are ...More Button

Fish Quotas

Was asked: if he will indicate his intended position at the December Fisheries Council meeting in relation to member states that do not catch their total allowable catch in the nephrod fishery in Irish waters...More Button

The annual fishing opportunities for the Community’s fishing fleets are traditionally agreed at the December Fisheries Council. This year, the arrangements for 2014 are due to be negotiated at the ...More Button

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the EU calculation of fishing quotas is not supported by adequate research and that in these circumstances the calculations of maximum sustainable y...More Button

The annual fishing opportunities for the Community’s fishing fleets are traditionally agreed at the December Fisheries Council. This year, the arrangements for 2013 are due to be negotiated at the ...More Button

The Commission’s proposals are based on formal advice received from ICES, the independent international body with responsibility for advising on the state of fish stocks. It also takes account of...More Button

As a general principal, Ireland is committed to having Total Allowable Catches set at levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015, where possible and by 2020 at the latest. T...More Button

The basis for Ireland’s assessment of the biological impacts of the Commission’s proposal for fixing 2014 fishing opportunities is the Stock Book. The Stock Book is produced annually by the Marin...More Button

Data collection and evaluation to support the advice provides is collected by Ireland and other Member States involved in a fishery. I consider that the EU should support increased funding for ...More Button

International Agreements

Was asked: in relation to the recent meeting of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives where the majority of EU member states consented to send a letter to the EU Parliament to ask its consent for the ...More Button

Ireland has always been a firm supporter of the right to self-determination of the people of the Western Sahara and the Irish Government remains firmly committed to this principal. When the process...More Button

Ireland considers that the new agreement addresses concerns raised. We welcome the introduction of provisions to the Protocol on the planning and reporting duties of Morocco in respect of the re...More Button

Ireland has joined with like minded Member States, and has asked the Commission to inform the Council comprehensively and regularly on the returns received by the West Saharan population as a res...More Button

Ireland joined with Germany and Austria in a Statement emphasising the importance of having regard to human rights & self determination in terms of the implementation of the agreement. The Euro...More Button

Plant Science

Was asked: the steps he has taken for developing plant science here.More Button

The reply is as follows.

Research

  My Department remains committed to funding plant science through our competitive funding programmes: Stimulus and CoFoRD (Comp...More Button

EU Funding

Was asked: if he will commit himself to matching funding, 50-50, for Pillar 2 schemes under the Common Agricultural Policy. More Button

The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides some €313m per year, or a total of €2.19bn, for Ireland under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 – 2020.More Button

A general EU co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operat...More Button

There are a number of conditions attached to Ireland’s allocation of €313 million per annum. The draft Regulation provides that at least 5% of EAFRD funding must be reserved for LEADER while the...More Button

The funding set aside to the performance reserve will be allocated to each Member State following a performance review in 2019. Finally, the draft Rural Development Regulation sets out that 30% o...More Button

Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the ra...More Button

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Refo...More Button

Was asked: if funding will remain available under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development for the rural broadband scheme should suitable projects be identified between now and the end of 2014; if...More Button

Under the current Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013, a Rural Broadband Scheme (RBS) was launched in 2011 in recognition of the fact that, despite the widespread availability of broadband ...More Button

During the scheme development process existing commercial internet service providers indicated their ability to provide a broadband service to almost all of the qualifying applicants under the sc...More Button

In relation to the new RDP for the period 2014-2020, work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing t...More Button

I expect to make decisions in relation to the measures to be supported under the new RDP by the end of this year, and to submit a draft programme to the Commission in early 2014.More Button

Food Exports

Was asked: the extent to which new markets for Irish food products have been entered into in recent times with particular reference to countries outside the European Union; and if he will make a statement on ...More Button

In line with the Food Harvest 2020 strategy, export led growth in agri-food and related sectors, is being actively pursued in my Department. This strategic approach has resulted in the following sp...More Button

Was asked: the progress made during the trade visit to Nigeria in agribusiness potential, given that some of the fastest growing states in the world are in Africa; and if he will make a statement on the matte...More Button

The trade mission to Nigeria took place from 13 to 15 November last. It was organised by Enterprise Ireland and led by my colleague Minister of State for Trade and Development, Joe Costello. The ...More Button

Irish food and drink exports to Africa were €526 million for 2012, representing an increase of 7.3% on the 2011 figure of €490million. The main components of the trade are Dairy Ingredients (Ski...More Button

Farm Inspections

Was asked: if he will publish the inspection penalty rate for randomised on-farm inspections; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department, in the context of delivering the Single Payment Scheme, Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme and other area related schemes, is required to carry out an annual round of inspections covering b...More Button

Land Issues

Was asked: the steps being taken to support young farmers, farm restructuring, transfer of farmland and competitiveness; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

There are a number of measures in place in my Department where the issues of supporting young farmers, farm restructuring, the transfer of farmland and competitiveness are being addressed.More Button

Firstly, in relation to Pillar 1 there are several innovative features of the new Common Agricultural Policy, including support for young farmers. This is incorporated in two elements of the new ...More Button

On the taxation side, I have had on-going contact with the Minister for Finance in order to make progressive amendments to support young farmers and to facilitate land mobility. This is reflected...More Button

- Retirement relief on Capital Gains Tax where an individual over 55 years disposes of some or all of his land once certain criteria are met. A number of changes have been made to this relief in ...More Button

- Reductions in stamp duty rates for land transfers in recent budgets;More Button

- 100% stock relief on income tax for young trained farmers.More Button

Finally, the development of a new Rural Development Plan (RDP) for the period 2014-2020 represents an opportunity to further develop a comprehensive set of measures that will seek to address the ...More Button

Departmental Staff Recruitment

Was asked: if he will consider increasing the number of staff to facilitate appropriate assessment for oyster farm licensing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The majority of areas for which oyster licences are sought are designated Special Areas of Conservation and/or Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive (Natura 2000 sites). More Button

To ensure compliance with the Birds and Habitats Directives, all applications in ‘Natura 2000 areas’ are required to be appropriately assessed. This has required the putting in place of a signifi...More Button

It is expected that successful completion of the Appropriate Assessment process will facilitate a significant increase in the number of licence determinations. In the region of 45 aquaculture li...More Button

The Appropriate Assessment process represents a significant financial, administrative and scientific investment by the State in resolving this issue. My Department continues to make every effort...More Button

Parking Charges

Was asked: the position regarding his proposal to introduce paid parking at Howth harbour.More Button

The House will be aware that I have been considering introducing a charge for parking facilities within Howth Fishery Harbour Centre for some time:

  - to assist in operating How...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: if he will publish the findings of the review conducted into Coillte initiated in 2010; his plans for the future of the organisation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Coillte has been the subject of a number of reviews over the last number of years. The review of Coillte, to which the Deputy refers, is one which was undertaken on foot of a commitment in the prev...More Button

This analysis, undertaken by NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department, in relation to a proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights was quite extensive an...More Button

My plans for the future of Coillte will be informed by the progress on the restructuring of the company. As I mentioned, a restructuring of Coillte is currently being undertaken on foot of the G...More Button

As part of that exercise, NewERA is currently undertaking a financial evaluation on behalf of the relevant Government Departments, namely my Department, the Department of Public Expenditure and R...More Button

I am cognisant of the important role Coillte plays within the forestry sector. Coillte, as the State forestry company, manages an estate of over 440,000 hectares, the bulk of which is under fore...More Button

Departmental Schemes

Was asked: his plans to introduce a scheme to deal with unwanted horses and equines around the State to ease the burden on animal welfare groups that are inundated with rescues and the costs involved in deali...More Button

My Department is keeping the horse welfare situation under review and, in particular, the need for additional welfare measures. However, there is no evidence of a major welfare problem in the horse...More Button

My Department, in conjunction with the local authorities and the Gardai are adopting a pro-active approach in relation to welfare issues in the horse sector and this has reduced the numbers of ab...More Button

My Department devotes considerable resources to issues relating to the welfare of animals including horses. To date this year, my Department has paid some €2.5m to the Local Authorities under th...More Button

In conclusion, I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to work with local authorities and Gardai in other areas if similar cases occur and intervention is required. I urge the p...More Button

Was asked: the payments made under each of the following schemes for 2012 and 2013, broken down on a county basis, rural environment protection scheme, agri-environment options scheme, disadvantaged area sche...More Button

In the time available it has not been possible to provide the information requested. The material is being compiled and will be sent directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Fisheries Offences

Was asked: the number of inspections and detentions of Dutch pelagic fishing vessels that have taken place in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Control of the fishing within Ireland’s Exclusive Fisheries Zone is a matter for the Irish control authorities. Under the Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 2006, operational issues conc...More Button

In October 2009, the EU adopted a new regulation dealing with fisheries controls in the EU. Council Regulation 1224/2009 establishes a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the ...More Button

As part of this common approach provided for in the Control regulation, I will shortly introduce a statutory instrument to provide for a points system which will apply to license holders of fish...More Button

The accumulation of points for persistent serious infringements of the Common Fisheries Policy will lead to the suspension of a sea fishing boat license for a period from 2 months to one year. I...More Button

I am confident that this measure which is confined to serious infringement combined with the deterrent level of sanctions for such serious offences will help address persistent overfishing by al...More Button

Finally, as I advised the Seanad recently, I intend to introduce a fixed penalty notice system, modelled on the points system for traffic offences, for minor fishery offences in the near future.More Button

Herd Numbers

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the current reduction in the number of suckler cows and the 7.5% reduction in calves registered, down by 65,000, compared to 2012 levels; and his views that the a...More Button

I am fully aware of the issues facing beef producers at present, and despite the budgetary constraints in which I and other Ministers must operate, I recently announced a package of Budget measures...More Button

Challenging production conditions over the last two years undoubtedly impacted on the size of the beef cow herd and this may result in a diminution in overall suckler cow numbers. The data referr...More Button

As evidence of my commitment to the future of beef production, I can point to a number of targeted structural supports that I have put in place to enable the industry to meet future market requir...More Button

With a total fund of €23 million, the BGS will provide participants with a payment of €40 per calf subject to an overall scheme limit. I have already indicated that in order to be eligible for en...More Button

In addition to the BGS, a further €10 million in funding will be disbursed under the Beef Data Programme (BDP) in 2014. The objectives of the BDP are to improve the genetic quality of the nationa...More Button

In addition to the BGS and the BDP, a further allocation of €5 million has been earmarked for the continuation of the Beef Technology Adoption Programme (BTAP) in 2014. Last year, some 5,500 farm...More Button

Animal Welfare

Was asked: the steps he has taken to deal with some recent shocking cases of animal cruelty, neglect and abandonment; and if he is satisfied that the relevant authorities have sufficient resources to ensure c...More Button

Recent issues in relation to abuses of animal welfare, particularly in the case of horses, highlight the need for intervention before animal welfare is threatened. My Department, in conjunction wi...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which pig and poultry producers have been able to upgrade their accommodation in line with animal welfare regulations; if any specific issues remain outstanding in this regard; and if...More Button

The new EU animal welfare rules for the pig sector came into force on 1 January 2013. Grant-aid was made available under the TAMS Sow Welfare Scheme in order to assist farmers to bring their facil...More Button

As a small number of farmers were unable to complete the investment works concerned by the previous closing date of end-September 2013, I recently agreed to extend the deadline concerned until en...More Button

Food Marketing Programme

Was asked: the various visits undertaken since 2013, including the Japan visit, that have promoted Irish food and agricultural produce, agreements and developments to date in accessing those markets; and if h...More Button

In the second half of 2013 I undertook trade promotion and inward investment visits to Switzerland, the United States, the Gulf States and Japan. These resulted in the following developments in ac...More Button

Organic Farming

Was asked: his plans to use the new Common Agricultural Policy measures to increase the area of land in use for organic farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I believe that the proposals presented by the European Commission in the CAP reform package are very positive in relation to the Organic Sector. For the first time in the Common Agricultural Policy...More Button

Preparatory work for the next Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 – 2020 is well underway and the question of a new organic scheme is being considered in that context. Under the draft Rural De...More Button

An initial consultation process was launched in 2012, and written submissions were received from over 80 stakeholders. These submissions have been analysed by my Department and have fed into the...More Button

Farm Household Incomes

Was asked: the plans he has put in place to address the serious income problems arising for farmers who are leaving REP scheme 4 at the end of this year; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While there are no plans to extend the current REPS 4 Scheme I am pleased to say that the revised CAP 2014 – 2020 gives priority to agri-environment schemes and requires that the new Rural Developm...More Button

I am, of course, conscious of the financial pressures on many farm families and of the importance of grant and scheme payments to their incomes and cash-flow. In view of the challenges we continu...More Button

Single Payment Scheme Administration

Was asked: the position regarding all 2013 CAP payments (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 15 May 2013. He was the subject of a cross report from this Department's ERAD D...More Button

Payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme issued on 17 October 2013 and an advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme issued on 16 October 2013 in respect of the above herd number.More Button

As these payments were made prior to the finalisation of the cross compliance penalty my Department will initiate a process to recoup any overpayment that has been made. A letter will issue shor...More Button

While payments were made to the herdowner concerned under the FWM Scheme in 2010/11, there is nothing more due to him under that Scheme. More Button

Finally the person concerned is not a participant in either AEOS or REPS 4.More Button

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

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

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st November 2010 and full payments have issued in respect of the 2010, 2...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons due payment in 2013 under the agri-environment options scheme and the REP schemes; the number paid to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There are a total number of 29,240 persons eligible to be paid under the 2013 REPS4 Scheme. A total number of 14,113 persons have been paid their 2013 REPS4 to date. Payments are continuing on a ...More Button

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their disadvantaged area scheme and single farm payment scheme payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As processing of the application of the person named under the 2013 Disadvantaged Area Scheme has recently been finalised, payment will issue shortly, directly to the nominated bank account of the ...More Button

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

As processing of the appeal received from the person named under the 2013 Disadvantaged Area Scheme has recently been successfully finalised, payment will issue shortly, directly to the nominated b...More Button

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme Applications

Was asked: if he will extend the latest date for accepting applications under the TAMS scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) form part of the 2007-2013 Rural Development Programme. I have, therefore, no plans to extend the current closing date and farmers must lodge...More Button

The determination of the farm sectors in which investment aid will be made available in the next rural development programme is currently under consideration within my Department.More Button

Commonage Framework Plans

Was asked: if he intends to issue an official response to the document on commonages prepared by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine; his view on the proposals made by the committee; and i...More Button

The report of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture is a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate regarding the issues surrounding commonage lands, the views of the various stakeholders ...More Button

With regard to the specific recommendations of the Committee contained in their Report, I can confirm that these will be included among the range of issues to be addressed in the process that wil...More Button

Commonage lands form an important part of the farming enterprises of many farmers, particularly along the West Coast. They also form an important part of the local environment from the point of ...More Button

Under-grazing leads to an increase in ineligible land under Direct Aid and Agri-Environment Schemes and leads to risk of financial corrections being imposed by EU Commission. It is vital, theref...More Button

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Was asked: when he will announce the rate of Exchequer co-funding for Pillar 2 of the Common Agricultural Policy programme 2014-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the extent to which rural development is likely to be facilitated in the aftermath of Common Agricultural Policy reform with particular reference to the utilisation of all funding available from th...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 192 together. More Button

The European Council agreement on the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) provides a total of €2.19bn, or some €313m per year, for Ireland under Pillar 2 of the CAP for the period 2014 - 2020....More Button

A general EU co-financing rate of 53% is set out in the draft Rural Development Regulation but this rate may rise to a maximum of 80% for measures such as farm and business development, co-operat...More Button

There are a number of conditions attached to Ireland’s allocation of €313 million per annum. The draft Regulation provides that at least 5% of EAFRD funding must be reserved for LEADER while the...More Button

Work is currently ongoing in my Department to design the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) for the period from 2014 – 2020. In designing the new RDP, my Department must take account of the r...More Button

While final decisions in relation to what measures are to be included in the new RDP have not yet been made, my Department is in ongoing contact with the Department of Public Expenditure and Refo...More Button

Market Access

Was asked: the extent to which new markets for beef, lamb, pig meat or poultry or products thereof continue to be established; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I have been very active in developing relationships in new and expanding markets for beef, lamb and pigmeat, raising the profile of Ireland and guaranteeing confidence in Irish production and contr...More Button

Since my appointment, I have led trade missions to China, the US, Algeria and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East. I recently accompanied the Taoiseach on a trade mis...More Button

My Department engages on a daily basis with many countries, in collaboration with Bord Bia and Irish embassies’ personnel on market access issues. More Button

These initiatives have led to a number of notable successes in securing agreement to import from authorities in Japan, Singapore, Egypt and Iran which allow the import of Irish beef; with Singapo...More Button

Whilst the UK, as the largest single destination, and Continental Europe together account for the majority of pig meat exports, there has been a continued shift in recent years towards Third Coun...More Button

Irish beef is now listed with more than 75 high-end retail chains across EU markets. This wide portfolio of customers has contributed significantly to higher returns for Irish beef in recent yea...More Button

Last week a delegation from my Department visited China for discussions with authorities there on the lifting of the beef BSE ban which prohibits imports from any EU country. While there are a n...More Button

There is a strong demand for meat globally and my focus is to enable Irish exporters to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.More Button

Animal Disease Controls

Was asked: the extent to which veterinary or laboratory facilities anticipated at Backweston, Celbridge, County Kildare have been put in place to date; the degree to which this provides adequate facilities su...More Button

The laboratory facilities at Backweston are capable of meeting the vast majority of my Department’s analytical and diagnostic requirements. Amelioration works in one area, the category 4 containme...More Button

These additional works will provide my Department with the additional containment facilities necessary to control the presence of exotic animal diseases that may be introduced into Ireland and is...More Button

Food Labelling

Was asked: the extent to which full enforcement of traceability in respect of all meat and meat products imported into this country including description and origin is now applied; the number of breaches of a...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which food and food products labelling continues to be enforced; the extent to which any breaches were identified in the past 12 months to date; and if he will make a statement on the...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which a means can be found to ensure that where a combination of meat or meat products exists in a particular form, clear indication of the content is provided on the label in a trace...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

  Food production and labelling rules in the European Union operate in accordance with harmonised rules and memb...More Button

Transport Costs

Was asked: the extent to which it has been possible to alleviate the extra transport costs imposed on the agri-sector arising from the maximum permissible vehicle height restrictions; and if he will make a st...More Button

In light of the difficulties experienced by farmers in sourcing fodder supplies, earlier this year I announced the allocation of funding for an imported fodder transport scheme, designed to reduce ...More Button

While the scheme operated through the co-operatives, marts and other approved agencies, the actual beneficiaries are the individual farmers and primary producers who needed urgent supplies of fee...More Button

The Minister for Transport, who is responsible for road traffic law, introduced Statutory Instrument 366 of 2008 - Road Traffic (Construction and Use of Vehicles) (Amendment) Regulations, 2008 wh...More Button

Following public consultation undertaken by the Department of Transport, prior to the completion of the relevant Regulations in 2008, the intention to introduce a 4.65m limit was announced in Jan...More Button

Given the lead-in time that this height limit has had, extending the derogation would have the effect of penalising those operators who have adjusted their fleet to ensure compliance with this we...More Button

Fishing Industry Development

Was asked: the extent to which adequate provision has been made to ensure the survival of families dependent on the fishing industry in the context of EU fishing policy review; and if he will make a statement...More Button

The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will provide the framework for the long term sustainability of fish stocks around our shores, the continued economic viability of our fishing fleet and fish pr...More Button

The commitment to develop and strengthen biologically sensitive areas, with spawning grounds and high populations of juvenile fish, will protect the livelihoods of coastal communities by ensuring...More Button

I am committed to continuing the path set out in Food Harvest 2020 for the development of the seafood sector in Ireland into 2014. The strategy set out in Food Harvest involves both the processi...More Button

I am fully supportive of implementing appropriate measures to achieve the objectives set out in the CFP reform and food Harvest 2020 which will bring real and meaningful reform and development in...More Button

Fisheries Protection

Was asked: the extent to which wild trout and salmon stocks continue to be safeguarded in the context of marine aquaculture; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

 All applications for marine based aquaculture licences are considered by my Department in accordance with the provisions of the following legislation:

- Fisheries (Amendment) Act 199...More Button

Was asked: the efforts his Department is making to prevent British ships from fishing in Irish waters; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Access arrangements for all EU fishing vessels are set down in the Common Fisheries Policy. As the deputy is aware, UK fishing vessels have access to fishing quotas in ICES Areas VI and VII under...More Button

Food Safety Standards Regulation

Was asked: if he is satisfied that any poultry or poultry products entering this jurisdiction comply with all Irish and or EU regulations in respect of hygiene, husbandry, production or handling; and if he wi...More Button

International trade in agri-food products is a reality with which we must live and as a general proposition, as a country with a strong export focus, it is clearly in Ireland’s broader economic int...More Button

Common Fisheries Policy Review

Was asked: the degree to which conservation measures already adopted in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy or otherwise continue to improve fish stocks in traditional Irish fishing waters; and if he w...More Button

This Department’s recent Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) summarises the pressure on the 59 stocks dealt with in the 2013 Stock Book and compares with the same evaluation presented last year....More Button

The newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy prioritises conservation measures and environmental issues and implements the ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management to ensure the negative im...More Button

The SIA also notes that the activities of the fleet have other impacts on the wider marine ecosystem. Greater efforts are necessary to achieve a more harmonious and eco-friendly interaction with...More Button

As a general principal Ireland is committed to having Total Allowable Catches set at levels that can produce Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2015, where possible and by 2020 at the latest, thi...More Button

A practical and phased discards policy is now being introduced where in the early years of implementation, TACs and quotas will be set to take account of current levels of discards, which should...More Button

I am fully supportive of implementing appropriate measures to achieve the objectives set out in the CFP reform. The new Common Fisheries Policy reform agreement will bring real and meaningful re...More Button

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Was asked: when REP scheme 4 payment will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Equine Industry Issues

Was asked: the actions he will take to deal with the issue of oversupply of horses in the country and with the large number of abandoned horses both in urban and rural areas; and if he will make a statement o...More Button

My Department is keeping the horse welfare situation under review and, in particular, the need for additional welfare measures. However, there is no evidence of a major welfare problem in the hors...More Button

My Department, in conjunction with the local authorities and the gardaí are adopting a pro-active approach in relation to welfare issues in the horse sector and this has reduced the numbers of ab...More Button

My Department devotes considerable resources to issues relating to the welfare of animals including horses. To date this year, my Department has paid some €2.5m to the Local Authorities under th...More Button

In conclusion, I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to work with local authorities and gardaí in other areas if similar cases occur and intervention is required. I urge the p...More Button

Horse Slaughtering Data

Was asked: the number of registered horses in the country at present; the number slaughtered at registered premises during the past five years; the estimated number of unregistered horses in the country; and ...More Button

It is not possible to provide the exact number of registered equines resident in the country at present due to the absence of precise figures for exports and unrecorded deaths in the information pr...More Button

Pigmeat Sector

Was asked: his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding DNA testing on pigmeat; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2011, the European Union passed a new Council Regulation on Food Information for the Consumers (FIC), Regulation 1169/2011, which has updated the requirements for consumer information and labell...More Button