Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (24)

Micheál Martin

Question:

24. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers that have not yet been paid their 2011 and 2012 agri-environment options scheme 1 and AEOS 2 payments; the percentage in each case, broken down on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21475/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the EU Regulations governing the scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue.

Successive EU audits have made it absolutely clear that compliance with the Regulations must be strictly adhered to and that all administrative checks must be passed and eligibility conditions met before payment issues. As a result, my Department is obliged to ensure that individual payments will not issue until all aspects of a farmer’s application are in order, all outstanding documentation provided and all queries resolved.

Outstanding payments under both AEOS I and AEOS II are largely due to unresolved queries associated with applications and in most instances officials in my Department will have contacted the applicants concerned with the intention of issuing payment as soon as possible. There is a specific issue delaying payments under AEOS 2 related to non productive capital investments. In order to facilitate the 2012 payment applicants must have submitted a valid claim form, if they have selected a non-productive capital investment action. However a significant number of applicants have either not submitted a claim form or have outstanding queries associated with submitted forms. Officials in my Department have been in contact with all these farmers and are dealing with the responses received with the intention of clearing any backlog as soon as possible.

The payment information requested by the Deputy is provided as follows.

AEOS 1 - 2011

County

Total

%

Carlow

4

1.65

Cavan

9

3.70

Clare

9

3.70

Cork

33

13.58

Donegal

14

5.76

Dublin

1

0.41

Galway

29

11.93

Kerry

14

5.76

Kildare

6

2.47

Kilkenny

8

3.29

Laois

6

2.47

Leitrim

5

2.06

Limerick

17

7.00

Longford

2

0.82

Louth

1

0.41

Mayo

10

4.12

Meath

6

2.47

Monaghan

6

2.47

Offaly

8

3.29

Roscommon

7

2.88

Sligo

6

2.47

Tipperary

15

6.17

Waterford

5

2.06

Westmeath

8

3.29

Wexford

7

2.88

Wicklow

7

2.88

Grand Total

243

AEOS 1 - 2012

County

Total

%

Carlow

13

1.13

Cavan

40

3.49

Clare

42

3.66

Cork

103

8.99

Donegal

66

5.76

Dublin

4

0.35

Galway

157

13.70

Kerry

46

4.01

Kildare

14

1.22

Kilkenny

52

4.54

Laois

30

2.62

Leitrim

64

5.58

Limerick

44

3.84

Longford

16

1.40

Louth

4

0.35

Mayo

120

10.47

Meath

16

1.40

Monaghan

29

2.53

Offaly

22

1.92

Roscommon

46

4.01

Sligo

27

2.36

Tipperary

61

5.32

Waterford

24

2.09

Westmeath

37

3.23

Wexford

43

3.75

Wicklow

26

2.27

Grand Total

1146

AEOS 2 - 2011

County

Total

%

Carlow

4

0.70

Cavan

13

2.26

Clare

18

3.13

Cork

55

9.57

Donegal

56

9.74

Dublin

3

0.52

Galway

92

16.00

Kerry

28

4.87

Kildare

5

0.87

Kilkenny

14

2.43

Laois

7

1.22

Leitrim

19

3.30

Limerick

22

3.83

Longford

12

2.09

Louth

4

0.70

Mayo

76

13.22

Meath

12

2.09

Monaghan

10

1.74

Offaly

4

0.70

Roscommon

37

6.43

Sligo

24

4.17

Tipperary

24

4.17

Waterford

9

1.57

Westmeath

4

0.70

Wexford

13

2.26

Wicklow

10

1.74

Grand Total

575

AEOS 2 - 2012

County

Total

%

Carlow

13

0.52

Cavan

72

2.90

Clare

105

4.23

Cork

170

6.84

Donegal

251

10.10

Dublin

4

0.16

Galway

359

14.45

Kerry

128

5.15

Kildare

21

0.85

Kilkenny

67

2.70

Laois

24

0.97

Leitrim

94

3.78

Limerick

100

4.03

Longford

50

2.01

Louth

12

0.48

Mayo

300

12.08

Meath

51

2.05

Monaghan

59

2.38

Offaly

40

1.61

Roscommon

163

6.56

Sligo

92

3.70

Tipperary

152

6.12

Waterford

30

1.21

Westmeath

50

2.01

Wexford

51

2.05

Wicklow

26

1.05

Grand Total

2484

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Application Numbers

Questions (25)

Brendan Smith

Question:

25. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers who applied under the disadvantaged areas payment scheme for 2012; the number who have received their payments; the number who have had their payments rejected; the number still under consideration broken down by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21481/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Payments under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme commenced, on target, on 26 September 2012 and, to date, payments worth in excess of €207 million have issued to 94,671 of the total of 102,072 who applied. I must emphasise that at this stage all applicants that were eligible for payment under the 2012 Scheme have received their payment under the Scheme. Therefore, it is clear that no undue delay currently exists in processing cases and payments continue to issue twice weekly, as individual cases are confirmed eligible.

Many applicants, who declare land situated in a Disadvantaged Areas are not eligible for payment under the Scheme. Many of these applicants do not maintain any animals and those that do maintain animals do not keep sufficient livestock to meet the minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units per hectare. This is a normal feature of the Disadvantaged Area Scheme. For example, in excess of 2,100 applicants under the 2011 DAS Scheme were found to be non-compliant, as they had insufficient stocking density on their holdings. The figure for 2012 is over 5,000, which is accounted for by the more focused requirements for establishing the minimum stocking density introduced under the 2012 Scheme. In addition, there are in excess of 3,000 applicants who held no stock during 2012.

As is illustrated by these figures, the vast majority of applicants, who were eligible for payment under the 2012 DAS Scheme, have been paid. Bearing in mind the new provisions introduced in 2012 and the need to process almost 10,000 cases under the Derogation measure, I am satisfied with the efficiency of the payments. It should be borne in mind that payments commenced on 21 September 2012, which is much earlier that in the vast majority of Member States across the European Union.

Turning to the 2013 DAS Scheme, I would like to remind farmers that the deadline for receipt of applications in 15th May 2013. I would urge all farmers to submit their applications as quickly as possible. I would also urge them to use the on-line filing facility. This reduces the number of errors that an applicant can make and, therefore, reduces the risk of payments being delayed in what has been a very difficult year to date for farmers in view of the weather conditions.

A Table outlining the county breakdown in relation to payments will be provided directly to the Deputy.

Single Payment Scheme Expenditure

Questions (26)

John Browne

Question:

26. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he intents as President of the Council of Ministers of the EU that each country would have the flexibility to put a national cap on the maximum single payment at a level appropriate to that country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21464/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In line with its budgetary proposal to limit the level of direct income support that large agricultural holdings could receive, the Commission’s original CAP reform proposals contained a mandatory cap of €300,000 on the amount of direct payments that could be paid to an individual farmer, together with provision for further cuts in payments between €150,000 and €300,000.

Ultimately, as part of the European Council's agreement on the MFF, it was agreed that capping of payments would in fact be introduced by Member States on a voluntary basis. The Irish Presidency therefore proposed amendments to the Commission text which reflected the balance of opinion among Member States that they should be allowed to decide whether to apply reductions to payments exceeding €150,000. In addition, the scale of any reductions, together with the tranches of payments to which reductions might apply, would be a matter for Member States to decide. These provisions were included in the Council General Approach agreed on 19 March.

The European Parliament position is close to that of the EU Commission and this issue will now be the subject of further negotiations between the three EU institutions in the trilogues process.

Horse Passports

Questions (27)

Michael Creed

Question:

27. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the changes that he proposes to introduce regarding control of horse stud books; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21404/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There are currently eight organisations approved under EU and National Legislation by my Department to maintain equine studbooks. These studbooks are subject to regular inspections by my officials. The role of studbooks includes the registration of animals, the operation of breed improvement programmes and the pursuit of measures to preserve and promote the breed for which the approval is held.

In the context of registering animals, studbooks are authorised to issue horse passports and my Department is presently engaged with Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs), including studbooks, with a view to the enhancement of security controls surrounding the issuing of passports and the security of the passport document.

My Department is also currently developing a central database which will involve the migration of selected data from Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) to the Department. The intention is that as it develops, this database will facilitate the recording of changes of ownership and other status changes. It will also be populated with information provided from records obtained from slaughter plants and knackeries.

These measures will facilitate better regulation and control of horses generally with particular reference to their slaughter for human consumption.

Food Labelling

Questions (28, 49)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

28. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the changes made by him following the recent horse meat crisis; the further changes proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21487/13]

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Michael McGrath

Question:

49. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proposed regulatory or legislative changes arising from the recent horsemeat scandal; when it is proposed to make such changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21495/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 28 and 49 together.

I refer the Deputies to the report I presented to the Dáil on 14th March last on the 'Equine DNA and Mislabelling of Processed Beef Investigation', which includes a section on the actions taken and proposed to be taken both at national and at EU level.

Key action points included the following:

- The introduction of a national DNA testing regime implemented by industry under FSAI protocol to continue to provide additional assurances to consumers;

- Additional phenylbutazone (bute) testing of horsemeat produced in Ireland;

- All traders/agents of meat operating in Ireland to be registered as Food Business Operators(FBOs);

- Controls relating to horse identification are being strengthened and my Department is taking responsibility for the supervision of all horse abattoirs;

- EU labelling regulations should be reviewed with a view to introducing provisions in relation to intermediate labelling. Furthermore a mandatory requirement should be introduced on FBO's to notify competent authorities about incidences of mislabelling;

- EU regulations relating to the accessibility of complex internal traceability need to be reviewed;

- EU regulation relating to the identification and traceability of horses should be reviewed.

In my role as President of the Agriculture Council, I arranged last February to have the issue of adulteration of beef products which was shown to be a pan European issue. The matter discussed at EU level. The Commission promptly proposed the EU DNA and 'bute' testing programmes, the results of which were published on 16th April.

The EU Commission is now pursuing an action plan over the remainder of 2013 and into 2014 which includes specific actions and measures on the following basic elements: fighting food fraud, testing programmes, horse passports, official controls and origin labelling. It is important that controls in this area are strengthened on a pan European basis, not just at national level, and as stated in the report some of the measures envisaged will require legislative change at EU level.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (29)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

29. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers that have not yet paid their single payment for 2012; the number paid; the percentage paid broken down on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21470/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The figures requested by the Deputy are set out in the following table.

COUNTY

No. Paid

No. Not Paid

% Paid

CARLOW

1625

8

99.51%

CAVAN

4713

12

99.75%

CLARE

6013

20

99.67%

CORK

12797

46

99.64%

DONEGAL

7994

25

99.69%

DUBLIN

623

3

99.52%

GALWAY

11763

93

99.22%

KERRY

7557

28

99.63%

KILDARE

2014

11

99.46%

KILKENNY

3413

6

99.82%

LAOIS

2907

11

99.62%

LEITRIM

3337

26

99.23%

LIMERICK

5048

21

99.59%

LONGFORD

2331

8

99.66%

LOUTH

1483

3

99.80%

MAYO

11247

83

99.27%

MEATH

3693

22

99.41%

MONAGHAN

3937

21

99.47%

OFFALY

2994

8

99.73%

ROSCOMMON

5602

29

99.48%

SLIGO

3880

20

99.49%

TIPPERARY

6858

32

99.54%

WATERFORD

2381

21

99.13%

WESTMEATH

2900

16

99.45%

WEXFORD

3981

9

99.77%

WICKLOW

2054

15

99.28%

123,145

597

99.52%

As the data demonstrate, the vast majority of applicants have been paid. Those, who have not as yet been paid, have been informed by my Department of the case-specific reason(s), relating to compliance with the terms and conditions of the Scheme, as to why payment has not issued. Regular payment runs are carried out by my Department to ensure that, as outstanding issues are resolved, payments are issued as quickly as possible.

Horse Slaughter Statistics

Questions (30)

Niall Collins

Question:

30. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of horses slaughtered each month in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21485/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The numbers of horses slaughtered for human consumption since 2011 in plants approved under the EU Food Hygiene regulations are set out in a table on a monthly basis.

-

2011

2012

2013

January

1124

2153

2432

February

1368

2099

1179

March

1459

2006

775

April

1260

1505

779

May

1450

1694

June

1535

1606

July

1121

1529

August

1179

1864

September

1833

1955

October

1540

2917

November

2320

3415

December

1371

1619

Total

17,560

24,362