Single Payment Scheme Applications

Question No. 226 withdrawn.

Questions (225)

Dara Calleary

Question:

225. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide an update on a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [18123/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Payments for the 2008 scheme year have issued to the legal personal representatives of the person named.

The herd number was then transferred to a son of the person named and another person and they have submitted the applications from the 2009 scheme year to date. No further payments became due to the person named because the applications were made by the current holders of the herd number.

The person named held single payment entitlements but they were not transferred to the current holders of the herd number.

An official from my department wrote to the current holders of the herd number on the 30th June 2009 advising them of the need to transfer the entitlements from the account of the person named to their account. The necessary form to make the application was also provided. The current holders did not make an application. As they hold no single payment entitlements they do not qualify for any single payments.

An official from my department wrote to the solicitors administering the estate of the person named on the 18th January 2011 cautioning that the single payment entitlements were at risk because of non usage. No response was received. The official wrote again on the 11th January 2012 advising that the entitlements had reverted to the National Reserve for non usage.

One of the current holders of the herd number wrote to my department on the 13th February 2012 appealing the reversion of the entitlements, but as the appeal did not disclose any force majeure case, the appeal was refused.

Question No. 226 withdrawn.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Question No. 228 withdrawn.

Questions (227)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

227. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if interim funding will be made available to farmers in the Twelve Bens/Maam Turk area of Connemara, who left the REP scheme in 2012 and were paid interim funding until November 2012 and who have applied for agri environment options scheme 3, for the period from November 2012 to the commencement of the AEOS 3 programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18157/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has not made any interim payments to farmers in the Twelve Bens/Maam Turk area of Connemara who left the Rural Environment Protection Scheme in 2012 and I have no plans to provide for such payments. Applicants with designated land, including those in the areas mentioned will receive priority in the selection process for the Agri-environment Options Scheme. The processing of applications is nearing completion and I expect to be in a position to inform all applicants of the outcome in the next few weeks. Payments under the scheme will issue to successful AEOS III applicants from the commencement date of their AEOS contract.

Question No. 228 withdrawn.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (229)

Tom Hayes

Question:

229. Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if final payment under REP scheme 4 has been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if not, when payment will issue. [18170/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person mentioned commenced REPS 4 in October 2007 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 subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. Administrative checks in respect of 2012 have been finalised and the Year 6 75% payment totalling €3,632.86 issued for payment on 22nd March 2013. The balancing Year 6 25% payment totalling €1,210.95 issued on 12th April 2013.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

Questions (230)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

230. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to concerns in the farming community in County Kerry that application forms for the single farm payment are no longer being accepted in the Tralee office of his Department and instead are being sent to Portlaoise; his views assuring the farming community in County Kerry that clerical work, that has been carried out in Tralee in the past, will continue to be carried out in the future therefore ensuring the future viability of his Department's offices in Tralee. [18197/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The closing date for receipt of applications under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme has been set as Wednesday, 15 May 2013 and, by way of further improving the service offered to farmers in 2013 and in recognition of the significant contribution of the Single Farm Payment to the incomes of farmers, it has been decided to individually acknowledge receipt of each application form, as soon as possible after receipt. Consequently, applications under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme must be posted/delivered to my Department's SPS Payments Unit in Portlaoise and can, therefore, no longer be lodged in Department Local Offices. This has been clearly stated in the information provided to the farming sector that SPS forms in respect of 2013 Single Payment Scheme. My Department will be emphasising this message through ads in the farming press next week.

With regard to clerical work in the Tralee local office, following on from the successful restructuring of my Department's local office network, which reduced the number of local offices from 58 to 16, my Department has reviewed the business processes and procedures and, in particular, the administrative support requirements, in its 16 Regional Offices. Arising from this review, the Department has recently introduced a number of significant changes to the procedures in relation to the implementation of controls in the context of the TB eradication programme. In light of this and having regard to the significant efficiencies which have already arisen as a result of the investment made by the Department in IT in recent years and the substantial reduction in the incidence of disease, the number of administrative staff required to deliver the service in the local offices has been considerably reduced. The review concluded that further substantial efficiencies would accrue from the centralisation of adminstrative functions and, in light of this, my Department has decided to centralise this support in one or more centralised office(s).

Centralising administrative procedures will enable my Department to reduce the number of administrative staff it requires to support Veterinary Office operations and, accordingly, the cost of providing its services. This is in line with Government policy. In addition, the centralisation of administrative functions will facilitate the re-deployment of staff from the regional offices to other State agencies and, thereby, enable the Government to provide services more efficiently through these agencies.

I should emphasise that frontline services will be fully maintained and public access for all of the Department's stakeholders will continue to be available at the 16 regional offices. The Department vets, inspectors and technical officers will remain in place at these offices to service our clients across all of the schemes that are provided from our Regional Offices.

In line with my Department's decision to centralise administrative services, administrative functions have already been transferred out of a number of regional offices (notably, Clonakilty and Limerick), without any negative implications for the provision of services to farmer clients. The administrative staff in the Tipperary office will also be transferred to the Garda vetting office shortly. It is not possible for me at this stage to give any indication of the time-frame for the transfer of the administrative functions out of other regional offices, such as Tralee, because this will depend on the availability of opportunities to redeploy the staff concerned to support other critical public services. However, I can assure the Deputy that administrative support work in the local offices will not be transferred to a central office unless the staff concerned can be redeployed to other State services.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (231)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

231. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding a rural environment protection scheme payment in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18213/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person mentioned commenced REPS 4 in June 2008 and received payments 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. Administrative checks in respect of the 2012 payments have been finalised and the Year 5 75% payment totalling €8611.38 issued on 16th April 2013. The Year 5 25% balancing payment will issue shortly.

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Questions (232)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

232. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide details of all pay increases awarded to special advisers in his Department over the last two years. [18305/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In response to the Deputy's question, I have detailed below the information requested in respect of Special Advisors employed in my Department over the last two years.

Name

Title

Current Salary

Salary on appointment

Ross MacMathúna (from 16/01/2012 to date)

Special Advisor to Minister Coveney

€110,000

€110,000

Aine Kilroy (from 18/4/2011 – to date)

Special Advisor to Minister Coveney

€86,604

€80,051

Fergal Leamy (from 11/04/2011- 09/09/2011)

Special Advisor to Minister Coveney

N/A

€130,000

Mr MacMathúna was placed on a single point salary scale, while Ms Kilroy was placed on the Principal Officer standard scale in accordance with the Guidelines on Staffing of Ministerial Offices issued from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Since her appointment Ms Kilroy has progressed to the third point of this scale.

Ministerial Advisers Remuneration

Questions (233)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

233. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide in a tabular format a list of all his special advisers pay and that of his Minister of State, to include each salary, name of employee above principal officer standard scale salary rate; and if he will supply the total pay bill for all his special advisers for 2012. [18319/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In response to the Deputy's question, I have detailed below the information requested in respect of Special Advisors employed in my Department and paid above Principal Officer standard scale.

Name

Title

Salary paid in 2012 

Ross MacMathuna (from 16/01/2012 to date)

Special Advisor to Minister Coveney

€110,000

The total pay bill for Special Advisors in my Department for 2012 is €110,000.

State Bodies Establishment

Questions (234)

Niall Collins

Question:

234. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of new State bodies that have been established under the aegis of his Department since February, 2011; the number of such bodies subject to a sunset clause; the number of new public bodies currently being planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18333/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

No new State Bodies have been established since February 2011.