Animal Welfare

Questions (411)

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

411. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the problem of a skulk of foxes in the Dun Laoghaire - Rathdown area; the service provider or assistance that is available to persons to solve this health and safety issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11516/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The legislative responsibility of my Department covers farmed animals only. However, while foxes do not come under the remit of my Department, I am nevertheless aware of reports of the number of foxes living in urban areas in recent times. The fox is not a protected species under the Wildlife Acts (1976-2012). My Department does not have plans to implement a control programme for foxes. However, the Deputy may wish to explore this issue further with the relevant local authority.

Animal Welfare

Questions (412)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

412. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress of the Animal Welfare Bill; the effect the bill will have on the live export of cattle; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11703/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Animal Health & Welfare Bill has been passed by the Senate and has completed Committee Stage in the Dail. While the Bill is for the most part general in its application, its provisions do apply during the transport of animals.

In view of the fact that the transport of animals is governed by Council Regulation No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport, which is implemented in Ireland via Statutory Instrument No 675 of 2006, the Bill, when enacted, will not have any immediate or direct effect on live exports. These regulations allow Member States to operate stricter rules than those applied by the EU regulation in relation to the transport of animals by sea. In that context, my Department has retained the rules that it has applied in relation to sea transport of animals since 1996. These are significantly stricter than the EU rules and set a higher standard than that which applies in other EU Member States. This is justified not only on sound animal welfare reasons but also because it reflects the nature of the shipping routes from this island.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Questions (413)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

413. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2012 area based payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10936/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, the holdings of eligible applicants were required to have met a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units for a retention period of six consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year. As the applicant has not as yet demonstrated that the holding satisfies the scheme minimum stocking density requirements, as of now, no payment is due in respect of the 2012 Scheme. My Department has been in direct contact with the person named to clarify the matter.

Aquaculture Licences Applications

Questions (414)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

414. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide the number of foreshore and aquaculture licences processed to completion by his Department in 2012; the average waiting times for the processing of the applications; the number of applications still awaiting determination; the steps taken by his Department to expedite the processing of the applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10940/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The number of licence applications awaiting determination largely arises because the majority of areas for which aquaculture licences are sought are located in areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and/or Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive (known as ‘Natura 2000’areas). All applications in 'Natura 2000’ areas are required to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of environmental compliance with the EU Habitats/Birds Directives. An additional factor is that all aquaculture applications now undergo Environmental Impact pre-screening assessment which requires significant input from my Department's scientific and technical advisors.

The average timeframe for processing each particular application varies depending on location, species, scale and intensity of production, statutory status of sites, potential visual impact etc. Other factors include consideration of any submissions or observations raised during the public consultation period. There were 115 Ministerial determinations in 2012 in relation to aquaculture licence applications. At present there are in the order of 580 aquaculture licence applications awaiting determination. My Department continues to make every effort to expedite the determination of all aquaculture applications having regard to the complexities of each case and the need to comply fully with all national and EU legislation.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Questions (415)

John O'Mahony

Question:

415. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo received their suckler welfare scheme payment for 2011; the reason the payment was not paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10952/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named registered 10 animals for the 2011 Suckler Welfare Scheme. The Terms and Conditions of the Scheme require that applicants undertake to carry out and notify to my Department the requisite measures for the full 5 year duration of this Scheme. In August 2011, applicants were informed of the requirement to notify the details of such measures within one year from the date of birth of the animal. In this particular instance, 9 animals were born between May and June 2011 and data in relation to the measures carried out on these animals has not been received to date. The remaining animal was born on 29 October 2011 and the weaning information was not received in the ICBF (Irish Cattle Breeders Federation) until 28 November 2012, which is outside the one-year notification time limit.

The onus lies with the participant to ensure that all data is submitted within the specified timeframe and given the nature of the Scheme, the varying ages at which animals are weaned and the notification timeline, of necessity, a time lag occurs before the herdowner can be advised by my Department that specific data have not been received. If the applicant wishes the decision to be reviewed on the basis that information had been submitted in sufficient time, an application should be submitted to; the Review Officer, Suckler Welfare Scheme, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Government Offices, Portlaoise, Co. Laois, setting out the circumstances and provide any supporting information and evidence.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Questions (416)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

416. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will receive their sheep grassland payment, suckler welfare payment and agri-environment options scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11027/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named registered 32 animals for the 2012 Suckler Welfare Scheme. The required events information has been submitted for 14 animals and payment of €560 was approved. However, a then outstanding overpayment of €261.16 in respect of the Grassland Sheep Scheme 2011 was set off against the Suckler Welfare amount, resulting in payment of €298.84 being made on 19 December 2012. The remaining 18 animals will be considered for payment when the required events information has been received and found to be in order.

However, following further examination of the 2011 Grassland Sheep Scheme application, the outstanding issue was resolved and the monies previously recouped in respect of 2011, as well as all monies due under the 2012 Grassland Sheep Scheme, issued to the nominated bank account on 4 March 2012. The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 September 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. During these checks a query arose in relation to a parcel used for Wild Bird Cover. This issue has now been resolved and payments for 2011 have issued to the nominated bank account. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. These checks have now been completed and following the payment for 2011, the payment in respect of 2012 will be finalised.

Commonage Division

Questions (417)

Arthur Spring

Question:

417. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 519 of 15 June 2011, the type of documents that need to be provided by a group (details supplied) to him in order that he could appoint trustees to the commonage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11119/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The commonage in question is a private trust set up in 1907 between the landlord and local trustees, for the cutting of turf and the depasturage of cattle, sheep or horses. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine as successor to the Land Commission has no function in this private trust except as a matter of last resort. The trust deed gave the former Commission power to appoint trustees where no other trustee remains to perform this task.

In this type of private trust, before I appoint trustees under the residual powers given to me in the originating trust deed and the legislation dissolving the Land Commission, the following actions and documentation are necessary. A public meeting of beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries should be held. Notice of such meeting should be published in a local newspaper. At least three names should be nominated by the meeting in writing, such nomination to be signed by all in attendance, requesting that I appoint such persons as trustees.

Those who are nominated as trustees should swear an Affidavit stating that there are no surviving or continuing trustees and that they are willing to serve as trustee and that they intend to faithfully carry out the functions of trustee as set out in the trust deed. They should also as part of the Affidavit indemnify the Minister and Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine against the cost of any legal action that may be taken by any person as a result of the actions of the trustees.

Horse Slaughtering Data

Questions (418)

John O'Mahony

Question:

418. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of animals in a category (details supplied) that have been slaughtered by the Department of Agriculture in 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11166/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The number of horses slaughtered in slaughter plants approved by my Department in each of the years since 2010 was as follows: 2010 – 7,296; 2011 – 12,575; 2012 – 11,402. I understand from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland that the following numbers of horses were slaughtered in local authority approved slaughter plants since 2010: 2010 – 2,494; 2011 – 4,985; 2012 – 12,960.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (419)

John O'Mahony

Question:

419. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their agri-environment option scheme payment for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11169/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 September 2011. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. These checks have been successfully completed and 75% payment totalling €604.55 issued on 4 March 2013. The balancing 25% payment will issue shortly. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. These checks have now been completed and following the payment for 2011, the payment in respect of 2012 will be finalised.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Questions (420)

Dara Calleary

Question:

420. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an agri-environment option scheme application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11171/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 4 December 2012. The initial processing of the applications has been completed and acknowledgement letters have issued to all applicants. The detailed actions listed in each application are currently being recorded and all applications will be ranked and selected according to the predetermined selection criteria. This process is expected to take several weeks and letters will issue to all applicants informing them of the outcome of the selection process in due course. In the event that any queries arise on the application of the person named during this process officials in my Department will be in direct contact with the person named.

Animal Identification Schemes

Questions (421)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

421. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider the introduction of mandatory micro-chipping of cattle and if he will give permission to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry to micro-chip their stock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11174/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The identification and registration of bovine animals is governed by Council Regulation (EC) No 1760/2000/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council which established a common EU system for the identification and registration of bovine animals. This Regulation provides for the use of ear tags to identify bovine animals and there are no provisions contained therein with regard to micro chipping of bovines. Proposals to amend this regulation to include electronic identification as an official means of identification for bovines are currently being discussed at EU level. These proposals do not include microchipping.

My Department has no plans to unilaterally introduce micro chipping for bovine animals. However, I should point out that, under the bovine identification system in Ireland, keepers may choose to source electronic ear tags from the approved tag supplier as an official means to identify their bovines. Alternatively, the keeper may use an electronic rumen bolus as a supplementary means of identification.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Questions (422)

Dara Calleary

Question:

422. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when an agri-environment option scheme application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11175/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 28 November 2012. The initial processing of the applications has been completed and acknowledgement letters have issued to all applicants. The detailed actions listed in each application are currently being recorded and all applications will be ranked and selected according to the predetermined selection criteria. This process is expected to take several weeks and letters will issue to all applicants informing them of the outcome of the selection process in due course. In the event that any queries arise on the application of the person named during this process officials in my Department will be in direct contact with the person named.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Appeals

Questions (423)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

423. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding a review of a decision to apply a penalty to the agri-environment options scheme 2 payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11250/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1 September 2011. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. During these checks an overclaim was identified in relation to claimed areas on the Natura action which will result in a penalty being applied. Also the person named requested the withdrawal of an action from their application which will result in a further penalty of 10% on their 2011 payment. Officials in my Department are now finalising the application of the person named on this basis and arrangements are being made to issue payment for 2011 as soon as possible. Payments in respect of the 2012 scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process. Following the payment for 2011, this process will get under way in respect of 2012.

Harbour Fees

Questions (424)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

424. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on the paid parking arrangements that are in place at Rossaveal Harbour, County Galway and Dingle Harbour, County Kerry; if he will also confirm if there are no businesses located within the paid parking area within Rossaveal Harbour and if users of Dingle Harbour use a code system that allows them to enter and depart the paid parking area for free; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11254/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department operates a car park at Rossaveel Fishery Harbour Centre as a public amenity serving tourists and other members of the public using the ferries to the Aran Islands. There are a number of businesses operating within the boundary of the Fishery Harbour Centre at Rossaveel. The car park is also located within the boundary of the Fishery Harbour Centre. There are 276 spaces in this car park, which is managed by a professional car parking company on a revenue sharing basis. There are also three private pay car parks within the Fishery Harbour Centre operated by the ferry company, and the current parking rates for those car parks are not known.

Dingle was designated as a Fishery Harbour Centre in 2007. A paid parking arrangement is in place the Harbour, operated by Kerry County Council on lands leased to Kerry County Council by the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. The Department has no role in controlling access to the Kerry County Council parking areas, or collecting parking dues.

Harbour Fees

Questions (425)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

425. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on paid parking arrangements for Kilmore Quay Harbour, County Wexford and if it is true that paid parking at the harbour had to be discontinued because of the impact on local businesses; in view of this, if he will urgently reverse his decision to introduce paid parking in Howth Harbour, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11255/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Kilmore Quay, although an important fishing harbour and marina, is not a designated Fishery Harbour Centre under the Fishery Harbour Centres Act, 1968, and accordingly I have no responsibility for its management. The Deputy should address any enquiries as to the management of parking at Kilmore Quay to Wexford County Council. As I have said in response to a number of questions recently, I am considering the introduction of paid parking in Howth Fishery Harbour; I am reviewing all aspects of the matter at present and I will let the Deputy know the outcome as soon as decision is made.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (426)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

426. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a REP scheme 4 payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11262/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named commenced REPS 4 in May 2008 and received payment for the first four years of their contract. REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. These checks have been completed and the 75% 2012 payment issued to the person named on 10 December 2012 for the amount of €7,286.22. The balancing 25% payment amounting to €2,428.74 issued dated 18 December 2012.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Questions (427)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

427. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a disadvantaged area scheme payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11263/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The holding of the person named has recently been confirmed as having met the minimum stocking density requirements of the Scheme, following receipt of outstanding evidence relating to sheep on the holding. This enabled processing of the application to be finalised, with payment issuing on the 14 February 2013, directly to the nominated bank account.

Fisheries Protection

Questions (428)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

428. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 549 of 22 January 2013 and the vote of the European Parliament on the 6 February 2013 to adopt a legislative resolution on the proposal of a regulation amending Council Regulation (EC) No 850/98 regarding the conservation of fishery resources through technical measures for the protection of juveniles of marine organisms, when the amendment to the regulation is likely to become law; the outstanding procedures to be completed to allow the amendment to become law; the implications and opportunities this amendment will have for our small fishermen, particularly in the offshore island of Arranmore, County Donegal surrounded by the waters of ICES Division VIa and when the provisions of the amendment are likely to come into effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11284/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1288/2009 of 27 November 2009 established transitional technical measures for the 1 January 2010 to 30 June 2011. Subsequent measures were established by Regulation (EU) No 579/2011 of 8 June 2011 for the period 1 July, 2011 to 31 December 2012. In June 2012, the EU Commission brought forward a proposal to extend the provisions of the Regulation. In October 2012, following triologues on the issue facilitated by the Cyprus Presidency, the PECHE Committee of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers agreed to the adoption of the Commission proposals with a number of amendments. The European Parliament voted in early February on the adoption of the new extension and it was also adopted by the Council in February. It will be formally signed by the Council and Parliament this month. The provisions of the Regulation will come into force on the third day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The main changes in the regime of importance to Irish fishermen are: the introduction of a closed area at EU level off north Donegal, known as the “cape” to protect juvenile cod. This closure covers the period 1 October to 31 March each year. It replaces a closure in place at national level in previous years: a saithe fishery by means of mechanised jigging will be permitted; new arrangements to allow for a lesser spotted dog fishery off the north Donegal coast are being introduced. The fishery is subject to a number of technical restrictions including a restriction on the area, length of gill net that may be deployed, maximum period of soak time, restrictions on by-catches and a gill net fishery sought of 59 degrees north, subject to specified conditions.

In the eastern part of Area VIa, an effort regime, restricting the number of days at sea each year in the area is in place to protect cod. The effort levels available for 2013 were rolled over from 2012 and a reduction was not applied. Gill net fishing and trawl fishing for whitefish stocks and for nephrops are subject to the effort regime. Vessels must have access to fishing effort under the Cod Recovery Plan which is based on historic track record.