Written Answers. - Extension of Disadvantaged Areas.

Frank Crowley

Question:

129 Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food, in view of his failure to extend the disadvantaged areas during the Irish Presidency of the EC, when he expects the Italian Presidency will consider this matter.

Ivan Yates

Question:

136 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will examine the records of the surveys carried out by his Department in an area (details supplied) in County Wexford for the reclassification and extension of the disadvantaged areas; if a thorough investigation of this area was carried out; whether this was carried out by one inspector or two, in view of the fact that local farmers concerned objected to the first surveyor; if he has satisfied himself that the criteria and assessment for this area were the same as every other area in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Paul Bradford

Question:

142 Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will give an assurance that all applicants for inclusion in the disadvantaged area scheme whose townlands came within the criteria for inclusion have been included in the recent extension.

Frank Crowley

Question:

145 Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food, in view of the failure to obtain an extension to the disadvantaged areas during the Irish Presidency of the EC, when he expects the Italian Presidency will give due consideration to the matter.

Frank Crowley

Question:

146 Mr. Crowley asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when an application for an extension of the disadvantaged areas was submitted to the EC Commission; when queries raised were sent for answer to his Department; and if replies to these queries have been returned to Brussels.

Colm M. Hilliard

Question:

155 Mr. Hilliard asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if a decision has been made yet on the submission for reclassification of disadvantaged areas; if not, when it is expected that a decision will be made; and if he will give details of the townlands in County Meath which are to be reclassified.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

156 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if, in relation to the proposed reclassification and extension of the disadvantaged areas, a portion of land known as Cullohill Mountain and incorporating townlands in the vicinity of Durrow and Attanagh in County Laois have been surveyed; if so; if he will publish the results of this survey; and if he will give an indication whether these areas have been included in the Government package submitted to Brussels, on the matter.

Máirín Quill

Question:

162 Miss Quill asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when it is proposed to officially announce the new boundaries of the extended disadvantaged areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Phil Hogan

Question:

163 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if he will list the townlands in County Kilkenny which have been submitted to the EC Commission for inclusion in the disadvantaged area scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I propose taking Questions Nos. 129, 136, 142, 145, 146, 155, 156, 162 and 163 together.

The Irish proposals for the extension and reclassification of our disadvantaged areas were submitted to the EC Commission on 8 June 1990 and the Commission was asked to deal with them as quickly as possible. A visit of Commission officials to Ireland on 29 August 1990 for the purpose of discussing the submission was arranged but cancelled at the behest of the Commission on 21 August 1990. On 5 September 1990 the Commission forwarded a request instead for specific survey data which were supplied at a bilateral meeting with the Commission in Brussels on 25 September 1990. Information was then requested in a new format and this was supplied at a further bilateral meeting on 11 October 1990 in Brussels.
We are pressing the Commission services for swift completion of consideration of our submission. The services have limited staff resources and are also under pressure of work arising from submissions from three other member states. They have promised, nevertheless, to complete consideration of the technical aspects of our case in the near future to clear the way for a proposal to be put to the Council of Ministers.
As regards the questions dealing with specific areas, I cannot disclose details of areas included in the submission nor can I announce any new boundary extensions until EC approval of new and reclassified areas is obtained.
As regards the methodology and accuracy of the survey, I must stress that areas for which requests were received, were surveyed in a fair and equitable fashion on the basis of a 50 per cent random sample of farms and the accuracy of the results double-checked to the extent that entries made by departmental surveyors on the survey form were verified by the farmer when he/she countersigned the form on the completion of the survey of each farm.
This was the most extensive nationwide survey undertaken and was completed in the shortest time period since 1975.