Suckler Welfare Scheme Application Numbers

Questions (12)

John McGuinness

Question:

12. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers who had applied under the suckler cow welfare scheme in 2012, broken down by county; the number of successful applicants broken down by county; the reason he abolished the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55969/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In the first instance I would like to set the record straight in that no decision was made to abolish the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, which, in fact, is due to end on 31 December 2012. This Scheme was a five-year Scheme for beef animals born in herds owned by eligible participants during the period, which commenced on 1 January 2008 and ending on 31 December 2012. In that regard, I have made funding of €10 million available in 2013 to continue to make aid payments on calves born in 2012. The primary objectives of the Scheme are summarised as follows:

- Enhance welfare standards for animals produced from the suckler cow herd.

- Improve husbandry standards at weaning time leading to reduced illness and mortality and enhanced health of the National herd.

- Provide education and knowledge building among farmers on best practice in suckler herd health and welfare.

- Improve the genetic quality of the national suckler herd.

- Improve the competitiveness of the Irish beef industry and the quality of the beef produced.

A Value for Money Audit, which was undertaken in accordance with the Department of Finance Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative, established that the Scheme has largely achieved these objectives. The 34,000 participants, who continued in the Scheme over its five-year duration, are fully aware that following best practice in the breeding, animal health/welfare aspects and rearing of suckler calves leads to better prices and demand at weanling sale time.

In addition, I have allocated €10 million in 2013, financed from unspent Single Farm Payment Funds for a new support programme for suckler beef farmers to participate in a new Beef Data Programme. This programme will assist farmers in improving the genetic quality of Irish cattle and will maintain the data flow into ICBF in order to build further knowledge and more rapid progress in breeding and ultimately in profitability for farmers.

In total, I have made provision for the payment of aid amounting to €25 million to the beef sector in 2013. I announced the establishment of a Beef Technology Adoption Programme in 2012, which will be retained in 2013. This Programme is built on the lessons of the Dairy Efficiency Programme and provided a €5 million financial stimulus to encourage, through the medium of professionally facilitated discussion groups, and a task oriented approach, the adoption of a more focussed commercial approach to beef farming.

In relation to the information sought by the Deputy, I would like to clarify that farmers, who are participating in the Suckler Cow Welfare, are not required to submit an application under the Scheme on an annual basis. The vast majority of farmers submitted an application at the commencement of the Scheme in 2008. It was only necessary for new entrants to suckler production to submit an application form when they commenced participating in the Scheme since 2008. Furthermore, payment cannot be made on all eligible calves until the participant has registered all of the events, including birth, pre and post-weaning information, required under the Scheme. Payment will not become due on many calves until they are weaned in 2013 and only when all of the measures are registered by the participants. In addition, payment will not be made on 2012 weaned calves where the measures have yet to be registered by the participant. However, I have arranged for the data in the format sought to be made available to the Deputy for calves born in 2011.

Ash Dieback Threat

Questions (13)

Barry Cowen

Question:

13. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the discussions he has had with his Northern Ireland counterpart and EU colleagues in relation to combatting the ash dieback disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55961/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I recently met with the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle O'Neill MLA, at a joint North South Ministerial Council where we shared information on actions taken in both jurisdictions in relation to Chalara fraxinea. My colleague Minister of State Shane McEntee TD, has also met with Minister O'Neill and has been in regular direct contact to ensure that the legislation that both jurisdictions introduced was compatible in relation to both our treatment of plant imports and our treatment of wood imports, and also to continue to brief each other on the situation with the disease north and south of the border.

Officials from my Department are also in regular direct contact with officials from the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and have met on a number of occasions recently to co-ordinate an all island response to prevent the spread of ash dieback disease as the island of Ireland maintains a harmonised plant health regime under the EU Plant Health Directive. There is a very good working relationship and strong dialogue between our officials and those dealing with this disease in Great Britain.

My officials are in regular contact with their EU counterparts in relation to ash dieback disease, primarily through the EU Standing Committee on Plant Health. At the most recent meeting on 22/23 November 2012 Ireland made a presentation to the Commission and the Member States outlining the situation concerning Chalara fraxinea in Ireland and the national protective measures which have been introduced to combat the disease. Department staff and Teagasc are also members of a European research cooperation group called 'Fraxback' that exchange scientific information concerning the Ash dieback disease.

These contacts are especially important after my Department announced yesterday a significant stepping up of its eradication measures based on the results of its ongoing Chalara survey. The interim results from the major winter survey currently being undertaken has confirmed further positive samples for the presence of Chalara. This brings the number of positive cases to 22, including 15 in young plantations, 6 in horticultural nurseries and 1 planted ornamentally in a garden. There have now been incidents of the disease in forest plantations in Counties Leitrim, Meath, Tipperary, Kilkenny, Waterford, Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Longford and Galway.

To address the threat to our ash woodlands, there will be a major eradication programme on sites where there are ash trees from confirmed positive imported consignments. My Department will supervise the destruction and re-establishment of these sites. A re-establishment grant will be made available to the owners of private plantations which are part of the Department’s current afforestation programme. Ash plants from the infected batches supplied to other sites will also be destroyed.

The intensive winter surveys will continue until a full picture has been obtained and my Department will continue to review the situation and take the necessary actions to deal with the disease. The situation in other European countries is being monitored also.

Calafoirt agus Céanna

Question No. 15 answered with Question No. 11.

Questions (14)

Seán Fleming

Question:

14. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Sean Fleming den Aire Talmhaíochta, Bia agus Mara an bhfuil sé i gceist aige airgead a chur ar fáil in 2013 agus 2014 do chalafort domhain-uisce i Ros an Mhíl; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [55984/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Cuireann an Clár Forbartha Caipitil Infreastruchtúir Cósta agus Chuanta Iascaigh, a ndéanann mo Roinnse riaradh air ar bhonn bliantúil, maoiniú ar fáil d’oibreacha caipitil ag sé Ionad Cuain Iascaigh lena n-áirítear Ros an Mhíl.

Tá dul chun cinn déanta le blianta beaga anuas ar chlár céimithe d’fhorbairt infreastruchtúir ag Ionad Chuan Iascaigh Ros an Mhíl faoinar déanadh infheistíocht shuntasach (suas le €14 milliún) sa chuan. Infheistíocht faoinar déanadh báisín an chuain a dhreidgeáil, pontúin nua-aimseartha do bháid farantóireachta a dhéanamh agus a fheistiú a chuireann áit bordála den chéadscoth ar fáil do mhuintir Árann agus do chuairteoirí chomh maith leis an gcuan a réiteach ina chuan d’árthaigh bheaga. Ó bhliain go bliain a leithroinntear maoiniú faoin gClár Forbartha Caipitil Cósta agus Chuanta Iascaigh de réir mar a bhíonn acmhainní Státchiste ar fáil. Breithnítear tionscadail, lena n-áirítear cé domhain-uisce ag Ionad Chuan Iascaigh Ros an Mhíl, do mhaoiniú gach bliain de réir an mhaoinithe Státchiste a bhíonn ar fáil chomh maith le tionscnaimh eile tús áite a bheadh i gcomórtas leo.

Question No. 15 answered with Question No. 11.

Common Fisheries Policy Negotiations

Questions (16)

Micheál Martin

Question:

16. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress made to date on fishery discussions at EU level for 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55981/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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 Council scheduled for 18th to 20th December. The levels of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) and the quotas for Ireland will be determined at that meeting following negotiations with Member States and the EU Commission. The Fisheries Council will also decide on the fishing effort, which determines days spent at sea, available for the Irish fleet in the Irish Sea and off the north-west coast for 2013.

The process of preparing for the Council is now well under way with the publication of the European Commission's detailed proposals for TACs and quotas of key stocks of interest to Ireland in October. The proposal covers stocks which are not subject to third party international agreements and are, in the main, whitefish and prawn stocks.

Since the publication of the proposal I have conducted a number of bi-laterals with the EU Commission, a number of Member States and the Irish fishing industry. I have also formally commented on the Commission proposal in advance of negotiations. I have had an assessment of the impacts of the Commission proposal through the preparation of a Sea Fisheries Sustainability Impact Assessment which is provided for in the Programme for Government. To facilitate and inform these deliberations, I initiated an open consultation process whereby stakeholders were asked to submit their comments and observations on the Commission proposal for fishing opportunities for 2013. From November 2nd an online web portal on www.fishingnet.ie was activated to enable the transmission of electronic submissions for consideration.

In addition, I convened a meeting of stakeholders on the 15th of November which gave a further opportunity to key stakeholders to outline their position on the many aspects of the Proposal. The Marine Institute and BIM have also undertaken an evaluation of the Commission’s proposal which is contained in the Sea Fisheries Sustainability Impact Assessment.

The Impact Assessment acknowledges that while many stocks in which the Irish fleet have an interest are not in a healthy biological state, there has been an improvement in 2012 on the state of the resource base in relation to pressure and state indicators.

The Commission subsequently published their Proposal for a Council Regulation fixing for 2013 the fishing opportunities available in EU waters and, to EU vessels, in certain non-EU waters for certain fish stocks and groups of fish stocks which are subject to international negotiations or agreements in November.

The non agreement at the Coastal States talks on mackerel, blue whiting and atlanto scandian herring aligned to the inconclusive second round of bilateral negotiations between the EU and Norway, now means that some stocks where Ireland have an interest including mackerel , horse mackerel, blue whiting, ling & saithe will be subject to provisional quotas at the December Council.

Coastal States negotiations on blue whiting and atlanto scandian herring will resume on December 14th, in London. The discussions with Norway are scheduled to reconvene in Clonakilty on the 16th January, it is expected that final quotas will be determined early in the Irish Presidency.

Common Fisheries Policy Negotiations

Questions (17)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

17. Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress made to date on the renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55982/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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 and will not now be completed during the Cypriot Presidency and accordingly will fall for delivery during the Irish Presidency of the EU.

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 the seafood sector, while balancing these objectives with the need to deliver a sustainable and eco centred fisheries landscape for future generations.

Ireland's priorities include maintaining the Hague preferences, long term management of stocks, reducing and eliminating discards where possible, rebuilding stocks to Maximum Sustainable Yield and a non-mandatory system of Transferable Fishing Concessions.

The new CFP will be agreed between the European Parliament and the EU Fisheries Council under the ordinary legislative process (co-decision).

The Council of Fisheries Ministers under the Danish Presidency reached a partial general approach on the Basic CFP Regulation and the Common Organisation of the Markets (CMO) at the June Fisheries Council (12 June). This is a significant, though informal, step in the process of working towards final agreement with the European Parliament under the ordinary legislative procedure. At the October Fisheries Council, a partial general approach of the Council on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was secured.

The European Parliament has completed its first reading of the CMO proposal and is currently conducting its first reading of the basic CFP Regulation and the EMFF proposal. It is expected that these first readings will be completed in the early part of next year.

As it is now clear that adoption by 31 December 2012 will not happen, it is my intention to actively endeavour to reach agreement on the Reform package during the Irish presidency in the first half of 2013. I have recently had a series of meetings with Fisheries Ministers, Commissioner Damanaki and with key MEPs to lay the groundwork for achieving agreement.

One issue which has arisen with regard to progressing the reform is an inter-institutional one, and refers to the interpretation of Article 43 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union. Article 43.2 states that the EP and the Council in accordance with the ordinary procedure shall establish the provisions necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the CAP and the CFP, while Article 43.3 states that the Council shall adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on the fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.

The Council has sole remit to set the annual TAC/Quota regulation under article 43.3, however Multi-annual plans which are a cornerstone of the CFP reform fit within the broad parameters of being a measure necessary for the pursuit of the objectives of the CFP so are to be introduced under Article 43.2 by co-decision by EP and Council. The issue is that the treaty wording did not foresee of the overlap between the Multi Annual Plans as usually designed and the TAC setting process leaving the roles of each of the institutions in question.

I will prioritise securing final agreement between the EU Fisheries Council and the EU Parliament on the CFP during the Irish Presidency during the first half of 2013.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes

Questions (18)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

18. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the discussions he has had in relation to the decision to abolish stamp duty on land transfers for young farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55957/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am pleased to inform the deputy that there was no decision to abolish the relief on stamp duty on land transfers for young farmers. This important relief was due to end this year but is once again being extended. The relief plays a vital role in encouraging the timely inter-generational transfer of family farms. Irish and EU agricultural and rural development policies are consistent in providing support and encouragement for the transfer of farms to young farmers.

In recent years we have seen a large increase in the number of young people entering agricultural training courses and we need to encourage the early transfer of land to this generation of skilled farmers. Otherwise the worsening demographic trend within the sector will continue. Young trained farmers are vital to the smart green strategy being promoted by Food Harvest 2020, which recommended upskilling at all levels within the sector. They are the farmers that will drive the planned expansion at farm level and play a vital role in ensuring the achievement of Food Harvest 2020 targets. Given the poor age demographics that exist in the industry there is a need to maximise incentives to encourage more highly trained young people to take up farming as a career. That is why the stamp duty relief for young trained farmers is being extended in the Finance Bill.

Single Payment Scheme Expenditure

Questions (19)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

19. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will explain the 0.9% linear reduction to the single farm payment imposed in 2012; the number of farmers this will affect; the total amount of the reduction and where these funds go; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55971/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Single Farm Payment is one of the most important payments received by farmers each year. The amount of funding available for payment to Irish farmers under the 2011 and 2012 Schemes was €1.263 billion and €1.255 billion respectively. These funds were used to pay the Single Farm Payment and the Article 68 Schemes namely the Grassland Sheep Scheme, the Dairy Efficiency Programme and the Burren Farming for Conservation Programme.

Given the level of the funding involved annually and the importance of the monies paid to farmers’ income, it is absolutely vital that all of the funding available from the EU is fully drawn down and utilised. Therefore, it is my priority that payments be maximised, both for the benefit of the individual farmers concerned and, on a broader level, the benefit of the country in general.

Essentially, the linear reductions to payments under both the 2011 and 2012 Single Payment Schemes are necessary in order to ensure that the National Ceilings for the Scheme for the years in question are respected.

However, in pursuing this objective, the budget for the 2011 Scheme was marginally exceeded and the projections for the budget for the 2012 Scheme are similar. In light of this, the only prudent course of action is to apply linear reductions to both years’ payments. These reductions, at a rate of 0.45% on the payments made, are being applied to the balancing payments now issuing under the 2012 Scheme. The reductions are applicable to all Single Payment Scheme beneficiaries.

There are technical issues involved in relation to the overshoot of the National Ceiling, in that under the EU Commission requirements it is necessary payments under earlier SPS schemes must be accounted in the year in which they are paid. My Department’s officials are pursuing this matter with the Commission.

Turning to payments in respect of the 2012 SPS Scheme, I am delighted with the level of payments that have been made by my Department since balancing payments commenced less than two weeks ago. In what has been a difficult year for farmers due to the impact of the weather conditions, over €1,193 million was paid to 121,290 farmers (or over 98% of all applicants). Payments continue to be made as soon as cleared of errors and fully processed.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

Questions (20)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

20. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the penalties that have been imposed on farmers that have not been able to comply with the rushes control criteria for their single farm payment; if he has looked at extending the period of time for introducing an appeal mechanism for the cutting of rushes to enable farmers to comply with the criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55949/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department, in the context of delivering the Single Payment Schemes, Disadvantaged Areas’ Scheme and other area related schemes, is required to carry out a programme of annual inspections. This inspection regime covers both the eligibility of land declared to drawn down payments and also cross compliance aspects, to ensure adherence with EU regulatory requirements in the areas of public, animal and plant health, environment and animal welfare.

In order to be eligible under the Single Payment Scheme and other area based schemes, an applicant must ensure that all agricultural land is maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAEC). Issues relating to control of rushes must, therefore, be seen in this overall context.

Farmers can keep grassland in GAEC by conducting an agricultural activity on it, such as grazing, harvesting forage crops, or by topping. Grasslands continue to be eligible where it is evident that the stocking rate on the land is sufficient and, for example, keeps rushes under control and avoids their proliferation. In such situations, the reality is there may not be a necessity to cut rushes. However, where a farmer cuts rushes as part of management practice, with the exception of certain designated lands, there are no restrictions on when this is done, enabling the task to be carried out at any time throughout the year once conditions are suitable.

I am acutely aware of the weather related difficulties being experienced by farmers and of their concern in respect of their ability to meet the various compliance requirements. When conducting inspections, my Department’s personnel take prevailing weather conditions into account. For example, where the practice is to cut rushes and it has not been possible to top them in the current year, inspectors will take a broader assessment including whether there is evidence that they have been cut in previous years.

Where land is deemed ineligible, this, in the main, is a result of the inclusion of ineligible areas/features and where it is not being used for an agricultural purpose. In cases where land with rushes is rejected, it will be seen that this is due to the broader issue of insufficient agricultural activity being undertaken on it to keep it in GAEC. My Department therefore does not maintain records specifically on the presence of rushes since the issue has to be seen in the broader context.

In the event that a penalty is applied as a result of an inspection, an individual applicant can look for the decision to be reviewed. The applicant may subsequently appeal the outcome of any such review to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office. Finally, the applicant has the right to pursue the matter further with the Office of the Ombudsman. I should state that there is no specific provision in the EU Regulations concerned governing the right of farmers to seek a review of decisions. The review and appeals mechanism was introduced by my Department with a view to ensuring that every decision to impose a penalty could be challenged by individual farmers.

In this context, it is important that I stress the importance of the Direct Payment Schemes to both the farmers who receive these payments and also the wider rural economy. Annually these payments amount to some €1.8 billion. Therefore it is incumbent on my Department to ensure that the EU regulatory control environment is comprehensively implemented to protect these payments, allow the payments to be made quickly and to avoid substantial EU disallowances.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Eligibility

Questions (21)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

21. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) may expect to receive their headage payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55810/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Payment under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has not issued as the holding concerned has not satisfied the Scheme minimum stocking density requirements for 2012.

I might add that the changes introduced for the 2012 Scheme did not in any way impact on this case since the stocking density would not have met the pre-existing requirements either. The facts of this case are that the applicant concerned, in 2012, declared a forage area of 18.03 hectares. This area would require a minimum stocking density of 2.7 livestock units in order to satisfy the Scheme. However, it is understood that only one animal is present on this holding, representing 1.0 livestock unit.

The appeal process is, of course, available, and should there be particular reasons which have prevented the person concerned having a higher stocking density on the holding in 2012, my Department will further consider the matter. Any such appeal should clearly outline the basis and be supported by relevant documentation, if appropriate.

Land Transfers

Questions (22)

John Browne

Question:

22. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to encourage land transfers to young farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55958/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Recent analysis shows that there are more farmers over 80 than under 35. The situation has been deteriorating for many years, both in Ireland and in the rest of Europe.

I have been working to encourage more young people to take up farming as a career. Budget 2013 saw the extension of key reliefs that were already in place for young farmers (such as the 100% relief from Stamp Duty and the 100% stock relief for Young Trained Farmers). Extending these reliefs is not straightforward given that there is a requirement for EU State Aid approval for such measures. The deputy will also be aware that changes were made to retirement relief in budget 2012 to encourage inter-generational land transfers.

I am delighted that the number of applicants for Teagasc courses has greatly increased the last two years. Teagasc has responded well to this demand and have introduced new courses to cater for a variety of needs. For example Teagasc has recently launched a new Professional Diploma in Dairy Farm Management (Level 7) in association with University College Dublin (UCD). Teagasc have also developed recently a new Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration course to help meet the training requirements for full-time or part-time farmers. In addition, They have also consulted with the banking sector to make sure that their students know how to prepare business plans and detailed cash-flow plans in support of credit applications.

Measures to provide targeted support to young farmers are part of the current negotiations on the reform of the CAP and will I hope form part of any final agreement. I have strongly supported the proposal for a top-up for young farmers under pillar 1 of the CAP, and indeed Ireland was one of the first countries to suggest this measure in the negotiations.

I am also happy that the new restructuring relief has been announced in the 2013 budget. This is the result of detailed work which analysed the reasons why the old consolidation relief was not working. I am confident that the new relief in relation to Capital Gains Taxes will be more effective, especially given that Stamp Duty rates have been reduced. Re-structuring is essential for us to meet the Food Harvest 2020 targets. We need to use land more productively and encourage more young farmers to make the best use of the land. A recent EU Commission study found that

younger[farm] managers tend to perform better than the EU average, with 46% more area and 57% more economic potential for 21% more labour force’ [[1] Commission Staff Working Paper, Impact Assessment, CAP towards 2020, Annex 1: Situation and prospects for EU agriculture and rural areas , p. 25. Brussels, 12/10/2011.1]

Ireland has a very low level of land sales, with most land staying within the same family for generations. Only 0.4% of land changes hand in any given year. Young farmers that want to expand need to be able to access land. According to the latest census of agriculture the average farm has 3.8 land parcels. This means that our farmers are wasting time and diesel driving between plots of land, increasing the stress and the risk of accidents. Young farmers will now have an opportunity to consolidate their holdings and increase efficiency.

I am hopeful therefore that the measures that I have introduced will encourage more young people into farming and address the age profile imbalance in Irish farming.

Live Exports

Questions (23)

Robert Troy

Question:

23. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress he is making on the resumption of the live export trade to the Middle East and North Africa, Libya, Lebanon, Egypt; the position regarding veterinary certificates for live cattle to these markets; the availability and certification of boats suitable for transport to these markets; when he expects exports to resume; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55974/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

While the three markets in question are open to exports of live cattle from Ireland, no trade is currently taking place. The question of when trade will begin is dependent on a number of factors, including commercial factors such as price and demand and the availability and cost of suitable sea transport. My Department has made every effort to facilitate ship approval and I am hopeful that a ship will be approved early in the New Year. Other non-EU countries open to cattle from Ireland and to which trade is taking place are Kazakhstan, Morocco and Tunisia.

Coillte Teoranta Dividend

Questions (24)

Barry Cowen

Question:

24. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of dividend paid by Coillte Teoranta to the State in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55986/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Coillte Teoranta paid a dividend of €2 million to the State in September 2012. This was an interim dividend in respect of the period January to June 2012. Discussions regarding final dividend for 2012 are not concluded.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Questions (25)

John Browne

Question:

25. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if it is mandatory under the proposed regulations for the Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020 to divide the country into regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55989/12]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The CAP reform proposals provide an option for Member States to apply a regional approach but there is no obligation on Member States to do so.