Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals

Questions (208)

Dan Neville

Question:

208. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29771/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

On 7th May 2013, the person named sought a review of the penalty decision which was made following a REPS inspection in 2011. This review is currently under way in the Department. A decision will be made as quickly as possible and the person named will be advised of the position. Following the Department’s review process, the person named will have the option of referring the case to the Agriculture Appeals Office if she is unhappy with the outcome.

Credit Availability

Questions (209)

Michael Creed

Question:

209. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will outline the negotiations, if any, he has had with the lead financial institutions involved in agri lending; if he will outline the progress that has been made regarding securing finance for on-farm investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29778/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I and my Department engage on a regular basis with the various national banks and the Banking Federation on credit related matters including the availability of new capital for on-farm investments. I am aware that, like many other sectors, farmers can find it difficult to get investment credit due to the stricter assessments introduced as a result of the recent banking crisis. Ensuring that farmers have access to financing for farm investments is a crucial issue for me as ongoing new investment will have a major role to play in improving overall competitiveness at farm level by improving productivity and thus help contribute in meeting our ambitious targets set out in Food Harvest 2020.

Despite some concerns expressed about lack of investment credit, a relatively small number of cases from the agri-food sector have come before the Credit Review Office. I would encourage farmers to make use of this system should they have difficulty in accessing credit for farm investments. I am aware that a number of banks have designed new credit facilities specifically tailored for the agri-food sector in recent times. In addition, the most recent Central Bank data for lending to SMEs, covering Q1 2013, shows that the primary agriculture sector was top of the list in value terms for new lending to SMEs during the quarter. With a total of €149m, it was far ahead of the second placed wholesale/retail sector on €92m and represented 32%, excluding Financial Intermediation and Property Services, of all such new lending during the period.

I will continue to meet with relevant lenders on a regular basis to discuss agri credit issues including the need for them to continue to ensure new credit lines are available for investments in the farming sector.

Commonage Framework Plans

Questions (210)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

210. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding commonage plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29863/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Commonage lands form an important part of the farming enterprises of many farmers, particularly along the West Coast. They also form an important part of the local environment from the point of view of bio-diversity, wildlife, amenities and economic returns e.g. tourism. However, there is a substantial risk of land abandonment as under-grazing becomes more of a problem.

Under-grazing leads to an increase in ineligible land under Direct Aid and Agri-Environment Schemes and leads to risk of financial corrections being imposed by EU Commission. It is vital, therefore, to maintain the commonages in GAEC (Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition), or where there is under-grazing, to return the habitat to GAEC. It is my stated aim that this will be achieved by working with the farmers directly managing the lands, relevant State Agencies, the farming organisations and all other interested stakeholders.

I readily acknowledge that it will not be an easy task, but it is achievable if all stakeholders work in a co-operative basis. If action is not taken now, the areas will continue to deteriorate and will lead to more land abandonment. If this is allowed to happen, Ireland will lose a valuable resource from the point of view of farming, rural economy, bio-diversity and wildlife. While grazing is the only method of managing these lands, the task facing us is how to ensure that these grazing levels are appropriate to the individual commonages.

In order to ensure that the achievement of this objective, as already stated, we need the input of individual shareholders. Grazing plans, at the level of each commonage, will allow for greater flexibility for shareholders and will enable the active farmers to increase their stock to cater for dormant and inactive persons. It will be matter for agreement between the shareholders – as was always the case – to decide how best to reach the stocking levels. Professional assistance will be required, in particular where the commonage has been damaged by under-grazing.

The Grazing Plan will have to cater the traditional farming methods for the area, with provision made for sheep and other animals, such as cattle, providing that they are appropriate to the habitat. An appropriate time-scale will have to be put in place but the Plan should include the incremental steps to achieve GAEC. The whole concept will be output driven, in that the assessment of the Plans will be based on whether the commonage is in GAEC or not or whether the appropriate progress has been achieved.

Apart from ensuring that the Grazing Plan is valid, there are a number of other complications, including:

- Dormant shareholders – in the majority of cases, these persons are no longer farming;

- Current claimants on the commonages, who do not farm or manage the lands. The issue of whether the latter claimants will continue to be eligible for payment will have to be examined.

There are other issues that will need to be considered. These include the fact that many commonage habitats have been significantly damaged by under-grazing, with resulting problems that must be addressed including land abandonment, spread of scrub and invasive species.

While it is generally accepted that this is a very complex matter and requires a very detailed action plan to cover the various issues, I intend to set out proposals on how these matters will be progressed in the near future.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Questions (211)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

211. 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. [29867/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases are impacted by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare on their holding in 2011 and who applied for and initially were refused derogation in this regard.

However, following further recent contact and clarification, the holding concerned has been confirmed as satisfying this requirement. Accordingly, processing of the file has recently been completed, with payment due to issue shortly, directly to the nominated bank account.

Bovine Disease Controls

Questions (212)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

212. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if compensation will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29868/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department introduced a compensation scheme for herdowners, who have 2 or more eligible beef breed calves, in suckler herds born on or after 1 January 2013. To qualify, the herdowner must comply with the conditions of the BVD Eradication Programme, the statutory basis for which is set out in S.I. 532 of 2012. In particular, the calves must have had an initial positive or inconclusive test for the Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVD), and be removed from the herd, with a date of death notified to the Animal Identification Movement System (AIM). Payment will be made at a rate of €100 in respect of the second and subsequent P.I. calves in suckler herds.

I have decided to confine the scheme to calves from suckler herds because the “payback period” in suckler herds is more than twice that of dairy herds.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

Questions (213)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

213. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an appeal under the disadvantaged area scheme 2012 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29886/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named is one of a number, their derogation applications having been unsuccessful, who were offered the option to appeal to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee. To date, this option has not been availed of.

However, the appeal option remains open; any appeal should, of course, be supported by relevant documentary evidence, where appropriate.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Question No. 215 withdrawn

Questions (214)

Pat Breen

Question:

214. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision on a suckler welfare scheme will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29895/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Details of the measures required under the Terms and Conditions of the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme were not received within the one year deadline for 2011-born animals. As a result, the applicant was deemed to no longer be participating in this scheme.

However, following receipt of a request for a review, together with supporting documentation, the applicant has been re-admitted to the Scheme. The case is now being progressed with a view to payment in the near future, subject to final confirmation of compliance with all Terms and Conditions.

Question No. 215 withdrawn.

Public Sector Staff Data

Questions (216)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

216. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons employed within the public sector by his Department or agency and by grade for each year of the five consecutive years for which the most recent data is available. [30448/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The staffing breakdown requested by the Deputy in respect of my Department is contained in the Table below. The figures are based on the actual full-time equivalent (FTE) position as recorded at the end of each year from 2008 to 2012. Provisional figures for end-May 2013 are also given.

In relation to the position in the non-commercial agencies under the aegis of my department, this query should be addressed with each of the agencies separately.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND THE MARINE

-

-

-

-

-

-

FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT (FTE) STAFFING AT END OF:

-

-

-

-

-

-

GRADE DESCRIPTION

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

MAY 2013

(PROVISIONAL)

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER

24.6

21.6

22.6

25

24

25

ADVISORY COUNSEL GRADE 3

1

1

1

1

-

-

AGRICULTURAL INSPECTOR

94.1

85.9

75.2

70.6

75.7

76.3

AREA SUPERINTENDENT

21

16

14

14

11

11

ASSISTANT SECRETARY

10

7

6

6

6

6

ASST AGRICULTURAL INSP AGRIC

108.4

104.4

103.8

107.9

93.9

94.9

ASST PRINCIPAL

141.9

135.5

122.7

123.3

122.7

120.8

AUDITOR

-

-

-

-

1

1

CHEMIST

3

2

2

2

2

2

CHIEF INSPECTOR AGRIC

1

1

1

1

1

1

CHIEF TECHNOLOGIST

1

1

1

1

-

-

CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER

1

1

1

1

1

1

CIVILIAN DRIVER

4

5

2

4

4

2

CLEANER

19.4829

19.8

16.8

14.8

10.6

9.6

CLEANER PART- TIME

12

10.5

8

9

6

5.7

CLERICAL OFF

1,098.1

1,006.6

922.7

889.6

826.2

775.6

CLERICAL OFFICER - TEMPORARY

-

-

-

-

-

15

Craftsman

6.5

7.5

7.5

7.5

7.5

7.5

DAIRY PRODUCE OFFICER

9

6

4

4

3

3

DEPUTY CHIEF INSPECTOR

0

1

1

1

1

1

DEPUTY CHIEF TECHNOLOGIST

3

2

1

1

1

1

DEPUTY CHIEF VETERINARY OFF

3

2

3

3

3

3

DIRECTOR IMT

-

-

1

1

1

1

DEPUTY DIR VET RESEARCH LAB

1

-

-

-

-

-

DIRECTOR AGRIC. LABORATORIES

-

1

1

1

1

1

DIRECTOR ANIMAL HEALTH

-

-

-

-

1

1

DIRECTOR VET RESEARCH LAB

1

-

-

-

-

-

DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT

121.7

104.1

98.6

83.6

70.6

71.6

DRIVER TESTER

-

-

-

2

1

1

Dublin General Operative Band 2

1

1

-

-

-

-

Dublin General Operative Band 3

4

4

4

4

4

4

ENGINEER GRADE 1 CIVIL

7

5

3

3

3

3

ENGINEER GRADE 2 CIVIL

4

5

5

5

5

5

ENGINEER GRADE 3 CIVIL

11

9

6

6

8

8

EXECUTIVE OFFICER

496.5

460.6

437.8

428.7

399.3

394.5

EXECUTIVE OFFICER - TEMPORARY

-

-

-

2

-

1

FIRST ASST SOLICITOR AGRIC

2

2

2

2

1

1

FORESTRY INSPECTOR GRADE 1

5

4

3

4

7

7

FORESTRY INSPECTOR GRADE 2

11

12

13

12

9

9

FORESTRY INSPECTOR GRADE 3

15

17

16

19

16

16

GENERAL OPERATIVE

1

1

1

-

-

-

Harbour Constable

2

2

2

2

2

2

HARBOUR MASTER

6

7

5

6

3

4

HEAD LABORATORY ATTENDANT

1

1

1

-

-

-

HEAD OF LEGAL SERVICES IN AGRI

1

1

1

1

1

-

HEAD SERVICES OFFICER

1

1

1

1

1

1

HIGHER LEGAL EXECUTIVE

-

-

1

1

1

1

HIGHER EXECUTIVE OFFICER

290.2

268.4

254.8

250.2

231.3

222.5

HIGHER SEED ANALYST

3.8

3.8

3.8

3.8

3.8

3.8

Industrial Foreman

6

5

5

5

5

6

INSPECTOR & ENG FISHERIES

2

2

1

1

1

1

-

-

-

-

-

-

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOOD AND THE MARINE

CONTD. (2/2)

-

-

-

-

-

FULL-TIME EQUIVALENT (FTE) STAFFING AT END OF:

GRADE DESCRIPTION

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

MAY 2013

(PROVISIONAL)

INSPECTOR GRADE 1

1

1

1

1

1

1

INSPECTOR GRADE 2

11

9

5.8

5.8

4.8

4.8

LABORATORY ANALYST

65.6

61.1

64.3

67.3

69.2

69.2

LABORATORY ATTENDANT AG&MAR

35

33

30

28

29.8

29

LIBRARIAN

1

1

1

-

-

-

PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT

-

-

1

-

-

-

PERSONAL ASSISTANT (MINISTERIAL)

2

1

1

2

2

1

PERSONAL SECRETARY (MINISTERIAL)

2

2

2

2

2

1

POULTRY OFFICER

6

5

4

4

1

1

PRINCIPAL

39.6

36

30

32

30

32

PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT GR 1 -

1

1

1

1

1

1

QUALITY MANAGER

-

-

3

3

4

4

RESEARCH OFFICER

20.8

20.2

18.2

20.7

18.1

17.1

Rural General Operative Band 1

5

5

5

6

6

6

Rural General Operative Band 2

23

20.5

21.5

20.5

18.5

18.5

Rural General Operative Band 3

29.8

24.8

19.8

19.8

19

19

SECRETARY GENERAL AGRICULTURE

1

1

1

1

1

1

SEED ANALYST

10.93

10.9

11

10.4

10.6

10.6

SENIOR AUDITOR

1

1

1

1

1

1

SENIOR DAIRY PRODUCE OFFICER

4

3

2

2

1

1

SENIOR INSPECTOR

14

12

12

12

12

12

SENIOR LABORATORY ANALYST

44.9

45.9

40.9

40.9

37.2

37.3

SENIOR LEGAL CLERK

1

1

-

-

-

-

SENIOR RESEARCH OFFICER

14.6

14.8

9.8

10.8

9.8

9.8

SENIOR SEED ANALYST

1

1

1

1

1

1

SENIOR SEROLOGICAL ASSISTANT

1

1

1

1

-

-

SENIOR SUPERINTEND VET INSP

12

11

9

8

7

9

SENIOR SURVEYOR

1

1

1

1

-

-

SEROLOGICAL ASSISTANT

33.6

31.5

31.1

31.1

31.1

30.1

SERVICES ATTENDANT

9

7

5

5

5

5

SERVICES OFFICER

40

41

38

35

36

36

SPECIAL ADVISOR (MINISTERIAL)

-

-

-

1

2

2

STAFF OFFICER

118.2

92.6

80.4

74

65.7

56.5

STOREKEEPER

1

-

-

-

-

-

SUPERINTEN SEN RESEARCH OFF

3

3

4

4

4

4

SUPERINTENDENT SURVEYOR

1

1

1

-

-

-

SUPERINTENDING VET INSP

54

52

48

41

36

34

SUPERVISING POULTRY OFFICER

1

-

-

-

-

-

SUPERVISING SEROLOGICAL ASST

9

10.8

7.8

8.3

8.4

8.4

SUPERVISORY AGRIC OFF

284.5

256.5

244.5

227.5

205.5

205.5

TECHNICAL AGRICULTURAL OFF

548.9

489.4

477.3

457.8

417.2

409.2

TECHNICAL GRADES LEVEL 4

6

6

5

5

4

4

VETERINARY INSPECTOR

227

207.2

203.9

199.1

195.5

193.7

VISUALLY IMPAIRED TELEPHONIST

3

3

3

3

2

2

WILDLIFE INSPECTOR GRADE 2

1

-

-

-

-

-

Grand Total

4,245

3,881

3,632

3,525

3,276

3,206

Foster Care Provision

Questions (217)

Clare Daly

Question:

217. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason complaints made about the foster care of children (details supplied) in County Kildare have not been thoroughly investigated and the reason a relative of the children has not been authorised as a foster parent. [29738/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I have requested the information from the HSE and I will revert to the Deputy when this information is to hand.