asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a headage grant will be approved and paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and the reason for the delay in approving and issuing payment.
Written Answers. - Grant Payments.
The person named will be paid his 1988 cattle and equines headage, calf premium, special beef premium, ewe premium and his 1989 sheep headage schemes grants when the pay directions involved are processed by computer. He was not an applicant under the 1988 suckler cow scheme.
The delay in this case arose because of an inquiry regarding ownership of a holding purchased by the person named but possession of which was retained by the previous owner.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason for the delay relative to previous years in the processing and timing of ewe subsidy payments to farmers in County Wexford both on the lowland and in the disadvantaged area scheme; if he will make the necessary staff changes to ensure that these delays are not repeated; and if he will make a statement on staffing levels in this area.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the fact that sheep producing farmers have experienced long delays in the processing of headage applications; and if he has taken any measures to alleviate the difficulties.
I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 132 together.
There have been no serious delays this year relative to previous years in processing sheep headage and ewe premium applications to the payment stage. Sheep headage payments which commenced in 1988 on 21 October and this year on 23 October, are on schedule while ewe premium payments totalling 44,781 have been made so far compared to 41,429 at the same time last year.
In County Wexford 2,484 premium payments have been made to date and this number is almost identical to the 2,490 payments at the same time last year. The remaining 300 cases in that county will be paid as soon as possible.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food in relation to ewe subsidy payments if he will issue a clear directive regarding the maximum and minimum numbers which an eligible farmer can have at the inspection stage relative to the numbers applied for; and if he will simplify the application forms next year for this scheme.
The EC Regulations governing the ewe premium schemes provide that the minimum number of ewes on which the premium may be claimed is ten. There is no upper limit under existing arrangements. However, the premium from the 1990 marketing year will be payable at 50 per cent of the full amount for ewes in excess of 1,000 in disadvantaged areas and 500 in lowland areas.
Each applicant has to undertake to keep on his holding for 100 days from the closing date for receiving applications the number of eligible ewes on which he is claiming the premium. The EC Regulations also provide that any shortfall between the number of ewes applied for and the number presented at inspection that does not occur as a result of force majeure or natural circumstances relating to the life of the flock will result in the loss of premium on all ewes.
The application form for this scheme is reviewed each year and the Deputy's request for simplification will be considered in the context of that review.
asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his attention has been drawn to the fact that at its meeting of 25 September 1989 Mayo County Council approved a resolution adopted by the Mayo Sheep Dipping Advisory Committee held on 11 September 1989 that the sheep dipping period for 1989 be the same as last year, that is, from 15 September 1989 to 20 December 1989; and if sheep dipped in County Mayo within this period will be eligible for the appropriate subsidies and payments.
I am aware that the Sheep Dipping Regulations 1989 adopted by Mayo County Council provide for all sheep in that county to be dipped in the period 15 September 1989 to 20 December 1989.
Applicants for sheep support payments in County Mayo will qualify for payment provided the relevant terms and conditions, including dipping within the period mentioned, are met.