Immigration Status

Questions (170)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

170. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update on an application submitted by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 to extend their leave to remain here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29612/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The person concerned has had her permission to remain in the State renewed for a further three year period, valid to 25th June, 2016. This decision was conveyed in writing to the person concerned by letter dated 17th June, 2013. Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda Communications

Questions (171)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

171. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm that an inspector, acting on behalf of the superintendent at that Garda station (details supplied) in County Offaly, has instructed a member of the public in writing, on 10 May 2013, that in future all correspondence should be forwarded here through his or her solicitor; if this is acceptable practice; if he will undertake to investigate the circumstances surrounding this case and the reason a member of the public cannot address the gardaí directly; and if this request could impact on any subsequent legal case with regard to the statute of limitations. [29693/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy. I will contact the Deputy directly as soon as the report is to hand.

European Council Meetings

Questions (172)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

172. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Defence the preparations he and his Department have made to date in advance of the European Council summit in December 2013 that will play host to a substantive debate on European security and defence matters; if he can outline at this juncture what stage discussions within his Department have reached; his views on whether this summit may change the nature of public debate here regarding collective security and defence in the EU given the recent comments by President of the Council, Herman Van Rompuy that the EU needs a long-term and more systematic approach to cooperation in this policy field; if pooling of Irish defence resources is going to be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29618/13]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The European Council meeting in December next will include, for the first time in five years, a thematic discussion on defence issues. The European Council will discuss three clusters of issues. These are (a) increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP; (b) enhancing the development of defence capabilities; and, (c) strengthening Europe’s defence industry.The process is divided into two phases an informal and then a formal phase. The informal phase, which will continue until September, consists of a number of meetings such as Ministerial meetings, and others with Policy Directors, European Defence Agency (EDA) Steering Boards and the Political Security Committee. These meetings will allow the European External Action Service (EEAS) to explore with Member States which topics and priorities should be addressed as part of the European Council debate. The second phase, which will be more formal, will commence in September when a number of reports due will be available. The High Representative Report will be drafted by September 2013 (based on EEAS' and EDA's inputs), and the Commission’s Global Strategy for strengthening Europe's defence industry (in the form of a Communication) is expected to issue shortly. On this basis, recommendations will issue with a view to debate and conclusions next December.

In relation to discussions within my Department, as part of Ireland’s Presidency of the European Council, I hosted a seminar in Dublin Castle on 17th May, 2013, to discuss these issues. The seminar formed an integral part of the preparatory process of developing the agenda for the European Council discussion, with presentations from the European External Action Service, the European Defence Agency, the European Commission, Member States, academia and industry.

In my own address, I underlined the importance of this Council meeting and the need for clarity and consensus at EU level to ensure that the EU can effectively respond to emerging international crises. I pointed out that achieving the EU’s ambition in Common Security and Defence Policy requires a greater willingness amongst Member States to coordinate their efforts, rather than continuing to act individually. There is also a need to ensure that the Union has the requisite resources and military capabilities, able and willing to effectively respond to emerging international crises that could ultimately have an adverse effect on the EU and on the security of our States and our citizens. Having capabilities is one thing, but as I said at the seminar, the political will to deploy them is a key and missing component, which Heads of State and Government will need to address in December. I also pointed to the important role which the Defence Industry plays in support of jobs, growth, leading edge technology and innovation and, with a particular focus on our own national capacity, the contribution which SMEs can make in this regard.

During this preparatory stage it is difficult to foresee what public debate on collective security and defence may occur as no concrete proposals have yet been finalised.

The European Defence Agency, in consultation with participating Member States and the EU Military Committee, bring forward projects under the Pooling and Sharing initiative. Ireland is keen to continue to explore all aspects of this evolving initiative and will continue work to develop specific opportunities for Pooling and Sharing, where appropriate. However, the decision to participate in any specific Pooling and Sharing project is a sovereign decision to be taken by individual Member States.

Coillte Teoranta Harvesting Rights Sale

Questions (173)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

173. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision will be made in relation to the proposal to sell the forest crop of Coillte; the reason for the delay in making the decision despite his previous undertaking to Dáil Éireann on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29489/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Further to the Government decision that a concession for the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests be considered for sale, NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department examined the financial and other implications of developing the potential of Coillte’s forest assets. This examination included the identification of the forestry assets involved, the determination of their value and the consideration of a number of issues associated with the proposed sale of the harvesting rights. These included, inter alia , the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land and potential impacts, both environmental and social.

The overall analysis on the proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights was finalised recently, the outcome of which was then considered by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and myself. I am bringing a Memorandum with recommendations to Government today for consideration.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Questions (174)

Pat Deering

Question:

174. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide an update on the Common Agricultural Policy reform negotiations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29459/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Since the Council of Agriculture Ministers agreed the general approach of the Council on 19 March last, negotiations have moved to the final phase with so-called trilogue discussions between the three EU institutions. We have therefore moved from a narrower focus on the finalisation of a Council position to the point where the Council position is itself just one of three different perspectives being brought to the table.

Typically, this represents the final phase of negotiations in areas where the European Parliament has a co-decision role. Indeed, this is the first time that the Parliament has had such a role in relation to a CAP reform package. As President of the Council, Ireland is representing Member States in these negotiations with the Parliament and the Commission.

I am happy to report that progress has been very good so far. The trilogues have been held in a very positive, constructive atmosphere. All of the institutions have responded to the Presidency’s call for a collaborative endeavour, and for a spirit of compromise to inform the process. Good progress has been made on a substantial number of technical issues and we are now in the “end-game” where we are considering the important and politically sensitive points.

I said from the start of the Irish Presidency that the final target for political agreement was the end of June. It is clear that the European Parliament and the Commission are committed to achieving this objective. The Member States have also demonstrated their commitment, and as President of the Council of Ministers, I intend to do all I can to ensure that the deadline is met.

I need to be clear however that the timeline for political agreement by end June is extremely tight and ambitious. It can only be achieved with a fair wind and an exceptional effort by all three institutions.

Coillte Teoranta Harvesting Rights Sale

Questions (175)

Pat Deering

Question:

175. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the decision on the sale of Coillte's harvesting rights will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29460/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Further to the Government decision that a concession for the harvesting rights to Coillte’s forests be considered for sale, NewERA, Coillte, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and my Department examined the financial and other implications of developing the potential of Coillte’s forest assets. This examination included the identification of the forestry assets involved, the determination of their value and the consideration of a number of issues associated with the proposed sale of the harvesting rights. These included, inter alia , the possible impact on the timber industry, public access to recreational land and potential impacts, both environmental and social.

The overall analysis on the proposed sale of Coillte harvesting rights was finalised recently, the outcome of which was then considered by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and myself. I am bringing a Memorandum with recommendations to Government today for consideration.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (176)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

176. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Offaly has to repay the grant they received through REP scheme 4 on leased lands of 14.35ha which have been sold by the owner of the lands; if an appeal will be allowed in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29477/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named 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.

Under the terms and conditions governing the Scheme, the participants undertake to implement their farming activities for a minimum period of 5 years under an agri-environmental plan which includes all lands farmed whether owned, leased or rented. It now appears that this was not the situation in the case of part of the lands included in the REPS plan of the person named. Officials in my Department will investigate the matter further and will shortly be in contact with the person named.