Agriculture Schemes Data

Questions (177)

Denis Naughten

Question:

177. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applicants under agri-environment option scheme 3 who were deemed ineligible on the basis that they were still in another environmental scheme; the number who were in the National Parks and Wildlife Service corncrake scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29509/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Agri-Environment Option Scheme (AEOS) 3 Terms and Conditions specifically states that existing AEOS applicants together with participants of both the Rural Environment Protection Scheme and the National Parks and Wildlife Service’s Farm Plan Scheme are ineligible to participate in AEOS 3. The total number of applicants under AEOS 3 who were deemed ineligible on the basis that they were still in another environmental scheme was 63. This figure is broken down as follows: AEOS I Participant, 5; AEOS II Participant, 14; Participant in NPWS Scheme, 7; and REPS Participant, 37.

Fodder Crisis

Questions (178)

Michael Creed

Question:

178. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 782 of the 11 June 2013, if he will consider under the fodder transport scheme reimbursing the verifiable transport costs incurred whilst importing fodder by individual farmers who imported fodder independent of the Dairy Co-operatives and prior to the announcement of his Department's initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29515/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The principal purpose of the fodder transport scheme that I announced in April was to contribute to the transport costs of importing fodder into the country and to provide assistance to farmers to secure adequate fodder to feed their animals. The Scheme provided financial assistance to farmers for the purchase of fodder and was operated largely through the Dairy co-operatives. The scheme operated very successfully and has contributed significantly to alleviating the difficulties encountered by many farmers. The scheme is now closed but the ongoing availability of fodder is being monitored by my Department. It is not proposed to extend retrospectively the scope of the scheme.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (179)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

179. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to introduce regulations or legislation here that will ensure compliant standards are achieved with regard to the testing and use of agricultural sprayers here in accordance with European Directive 2009/128/EC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29520/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Directive in question was transposed into Irish legislation by way of Statutory Instrument 155 of 2012. The principle aim of these regulations is to achieve a more sustainable use of pesticides in both the farming and the amenity/landscaping sectors.

With regard to the “testing and use of agricultural sprayers”, these regulations enable me to establish a register of “inspectors of pesticide application equipment” and make it a legal requirement for all pesticide application equipment in use, to be tested by a registered inspector by November 2016. The registered inspectors, when inspecting such equipment, shall apply the standards as set out in EN Standard 13790-1:2003 for Boom sprayers and EN Standard 13790-2:2003 for Orchard and Blast sprayers.

Officials in my Department are currently working on the mechanisms to facilitate this process and it is planned to have a coherent system in place by early 2014.

Coillte Teoranta Lands

Questions (180)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

180. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will outline his policy surrounding the charging of members of the public to gain access to State owned forests; if he will consider issuing guidelines in respect of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29540/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Coillte Teoranta was established as a private commercial company under the Forestry Act 1988 and day-to-day operational matters, such as the management of the State’s forestry estate, are the responsibility of the company.

I understand that Coillte welcomes responsible users who practice ‘Leave No Trace’. Since its establishment in 1989, Coillte has operated an Open Forest Policy which allows permissive access on foot. I am advised that, under this policy, the general public are permitted and welcome to use forest lands for non-commercial, informal, recreational purposes subject to visitors taking due care for their safety, having consideration for other forest users and respecting the nature of Coillte's commercial operations. This policy is applicable to the individual user and small user groups. The company also advises that, where car parks are in place in Coillte forests generally access is free of charge.

Coillte advise that it has entry fees for vehicular access to its forest parks. The company has also advised that a fee of €5 per car applies but that a Coillte Outdoors Access Card provides unlimited access to all their forest parks for the period of one year and can be purchased online at Coillteoutdoors.ie with a new card costing €40, a renewal €35 and a replacement €20. I understand that the Coillte Outdoors Access card will allow entry though the entry barrier at Dún a Rí Forest Park (Cavan), Farran Forest Park (Cork), Gougane Barra Forest Park (Cork), Ards Forest Park (Donegal), Donadea Forest Park (Kildare), Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Centre (Limerick), Curragh Chase Forest Park (Limerick), Rossmore Forest Park (Monaghan) and Avondale Forest Park (Wicklow). It does not permit entry to the car-park at Lough Key Forest Park. I am advised that Coillte has no plans to remove entry fees for vehicular access to its forest parks but that it should be noted that pedestrian access is free.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Questions (181)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

181. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the agri-environment option scheme in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29609/13]

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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 30th November 2012.

The process of ranking and selecting all AEOS applicants was clearly set out in the scheme documentation. Acceptance into the scheme was established using the pre-determined selection criteria as follows:

1. farmers in the Boora region of Co. Offaly who chose Wild Bird Cover Option B (Grey Partridge) as one of their selected options,

2. farmers with a minimum of 0.5 hectares of designated land,

3. farm partnerships,

4. farmers who previously participated in REPS commencing with smallest farms. and

5. others based on farm size (again favouring smaller holdings).

The person named was a previous participant in REPS. Based on the funding available farmers in category 4 with 22.06 hectares of utilisable agricultural area and below were successful. As the farm size of the person named is 28.52, the application was unsuccessful. On 27th May 2013, a letter issued to the person named informing him that he was not successful and setting out the reasons. The letter also notified the person named of his right of appeal to the Agriculture Appeals office.

Aquaculture Licences Appeals

Questions (182)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

182. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding appeals against aquaculture licences (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29611/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board is an independent authority for the determination of appeals against decisions of the Minister on aquaculture licence applications. In view of its independent status it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the work of the Board.

Common Agricultural Policy Reform

Questions (183, 184, 189)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

183. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which he has succeeded in achieving the desired level of agreement in the context of Common Agriculture Policy in order to ensure the future developments of the European and Irish agricultural and food sectors in view of the need to maximise food production worldwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29634/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

184. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he expects the beef, dairy, pig meat, lamb and poultry sectors to develop in the future arising from Common Agricultural Policy reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29635/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

189. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views regarding the future development of the beef, lamb, dairy, pig meat and poultry sectors in the future in the aftermath of his discussions at EU level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29640/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183, 184 and 189 together.

Recent months have seen very positive developments in the negotiations on reform of the CAP. The agreement by the European Council on the Multiannual Financial Framework on 8 February provided the necessary clarity to enable the CAP discussions to move forward. This was followed by the adoption by the European Parliament of its overall position on the reform proposals at its plenary session on 12 March. This was in turn followed by the agreement by the Council of Agriculture Ministers on 19 March on its so-called ‘General Approach’ to the reform package, following the tabling of compromise proposals by the Irish Presidency.

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. Of course, the big question is whether the three institutions can come to an agreement on these and other issues by the end of June. My strong belief is that they can. The vehicle will be the so-called “trilogue” process. 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.

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. Progress has been achieved on a number of technical issues, facilitated by technical discussions which are running in parallel to the trilogue meetings. In addition, more politically sensitive points that have been encountered so far have been discussed in a preliminary or exploratory way in the trilogues and parked for further consideration later. In this regard I have agreed with the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, Paolo de Castro, on a further parallel process aimed at making progress on the big political issues that are likely to form the basis of the final political agreement.

The final target for that political agreement is 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.

The reformed CAP will set the policy framework for the future development of the Irish agricultural sector. I am confident that we can secure a political agreement on the CAP before the end of June that will be good for Irish and EU agriculture and that will allow enhanced development of all of the sectors of importance to the Irish agri-food industry.