Defence Forces Medicinal Products

Questions (585, 586, 587)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

585. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence if he will confirm figures provided to RTE that there have been 11 suicides or self-inflicted deaths among soldiers who had deployed between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2012 and had previously been prescribed lariam, of which nine occurred within five years of their final deployment; and that there have been four suicides or self-inflicted deaths among soldiers who had deployed overseas between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2012 and who had not previously been prescribed lariam, of which all occurred within five years of their final deployment. [32085/13]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

586. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence without divulging names or other personal information, if he will confirm for each of the 15 suicides or self-inflicted deaths among soldiers who had deployed overseas between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2012, the date of the soldiers' last overseas deployment; if they had previously been prescribed lariam; and the date of the suicide or self-inflicted death, with the understanding that the families of each of the 15 soldiers have already provided this information to RTE to aid in the previously broadcast RTE investigation. [32086/13]

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Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

587. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Defence if he will confirm figures provided to or cited by RTE that the total number of soldiers who deployed overseas between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2012 to areas where lariam was the prescribed anti-malarial comprised 4,293 individuals, and that the total number of soldiers who deployed overseas between 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2012 only to areas where lariam would not have been prescribed comprised 6,444 individuals. [32087/13]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 585 to 587, inclusive, together.

In May 2013 RTÉ asked the Defence Organisation for statistical information but used different figures when it broadcast the programme which forms the basis of your questions.

The information that was provided to them in relation to deaths from self-inflicted injuries is as follows:

“The Defence Forces Personal Management System does not capture data on the number of suicides. A review by the Defence Forces into 156 non-service related deaths among members of the Defence Forces in the period January 2000 to December 2010 shows that 25 were apparently of self-inflicted injuries. Of these, only one is recorded by a coroner as being “suicide”. Of these 25 deaths by self-inflicted injury, 9 had previously been prescribed Lariam. There is no evidence in any coroners’ inquests, nor any other evidence whatsoever, linking these deaths to Lariam. Moreover, according to expert advice, given the limited period of time during which Lariam remains in the bloodstream after a person stops taking it, it is extremely unlikely that Lariam could have been a contributory factor in practically all of these cases. Of the 25 deaths by self-inflicted injury, 16 were not prescribed Lariam and 4 of these had not served overseas.”

I am not in a position to disclose any information about individual deaths due to the relatively small number of individuals involved because it could lead to potential identification (or misidentification) of deceased service members.

RTÉ were informed that at least some of the information they sought is not easily accessible and has to be drawn from multiple databases. They were also told that it is not possible without manual checking to eliminate accurately multiple tours of duty. This would involve significant resources which are not available. Subject to that reservation, they were informed that for the period 1st January 2000 to 31st December 2012 approximately 6,498 tours of duty involving 4,293 individuals deployed to malarious areas where Lariam would have been the malaria chemoprophylaxis. For the same period, approximately 9,754 tours of duty deployed to areas where Lariam was not prescribed. No figure was given for the number of individuals involved on these tours.

Agrifood Sector Issues

Questions (588)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

588. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will ensure that any deal reached on the Common Agricultural Policy will ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials at a competitive price for processors; that competitiveness within the agri-food sector is improved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31459/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Last week under the Irish Presidency of the EU, we achieved political agreement in the CAP Reform negotiations with the European Parliament and the Commission in Brussels. The agreement represents a package of measures that will set the framework for the development of the EU agri-food sector up to 2020. I believe this is a well balanced package, that will maintain sustainable and competitive farming in the EU, and is a very good outcome for Irish farmers. Direct payments are maintained providing stability to farmers against market uncertainties and 30% of a farmer’s payment is made conditional on meeting greening criteria thus contributing to environmental sustainability. More targeted support is provided for under Rural Development and market management mechanisms are also retained to support the market, particularly in time of crisis.

Overall I am satisfied that the reformed policy will secure strong and sustainable growth in the agriculture and food sectors into the future delivering sustainable intensification of production, environmental stewardship and the maintenance of a vibrant rural economy.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (589)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

589. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of fisheries officers employed currently in the country that are working on land and not at sea; the number of fisheries officers employed in County Kerry; the number in north and south Kerry respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31503/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Operational issues in relation to sea fisheries control are a matter for the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA). I have asked the SFPA to respond directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (590)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

590. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of temporary clerical officers that have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public-civil servants; his views on whether his Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31566/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In response to the Deputy's question, I have detailed all Temporary Clerical Officers employed in my Department over the past three years. Two retired staff were re-employed in 2012. Temporary Clerical Officers are recruited by Public Appointments Service with sanction from The Department of Expenditure & Public Reform.

-

2011

2012

2013

Temporary Clerical Officers:

27

25

10

Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments

Questions (591)

John O'Mahony

Question:

591. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their cow suckler payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31588/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named registered ten beef breed animals for the 2012 Suckler Welfare Scheme. Payment issued in respect of six animals on 20 December 2012. Issues identified with the remaining four animals have recently been resolved and payment will issue in the near future.

Animal Identification Scheme

Questions (592, 606)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

592. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the law regarding micro-chipping of horses only applies to horses born after 2009; his plans to apply it to horses born prior to 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31605/13]

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Brian Stanley

Question:

606. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the consideration he has given to dealing with horses that were registered late, for example, later than six months after birth, but that are micro chipped and have passports; and if he will put in place a scheme for culling these animals. [32137/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 592 and 606 together.

The identification and registration of equidae is governed by EU Council Directives 90/426/EEC and 90/427/EEC and Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008 of 6 June 2008. The EU legislation has been transposed into national legislation via S.I. No. 357 of 2011 - European Communities (Equine) Regulations 2011 (as amended). Regulation 504/2008, which came into effect on 1 July 2009, provides that if an equine animal has not been identified within six months of the date of its birth, or by the 31st of December in the year of its birth, whichever date occurs later, it cannot be admitted to the food chain. It also provides that all equine animals registered from 1 July 2009 must be identified with a passport and a microchip. However, equines identified prior to this date were not required by previous EU legislation to be microchipped and it is not open to me to impose such a requirement. The exemption of equines registered prior to 1 July 2009 from the microchip requirement is in line with normal practice in relation to EU legislation that animals which have been correctly identified in accordance with existing legislation are not obliged to be re-identified under new legislation.

With regard to horses which were registered late but are micro chipped and have passports, the position is that, as stated above, these horses are ineligible for the human food chain. I have no plans to introduce a cull scheme for these horses. It is the responsibility of horse owners to ensure the welfare of horses in their care and to provide for their disposal. The Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) has recommended the option of humane disposal of an equine where an owner can no longer adequately provide for it or where the equine can no longer fulfil the purpose for which it was bred as such action will help prevent the emergence of long-term animal welfare problems. My Department supports this advice as the most appropriate means of dealing with unwanted horses and I would ask owners of unwanted horses to avail of this option.

Horse Slaughter Statistics

Questions (593, 598)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

593. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the minimum time required for a local authority to keep a horse before putting it down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31606/13]

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Michelle Mulherin

Question:

598. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of abandoned horses that have been put down in each of the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; the cost of putting down a horse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31658/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 593 and 598 together.

Matters relating to stray or abandoned horses in urban and rural areas come within the scope of the Control of Horses Act, 1996 under which Local Authorities have been given extensive powers. These powers include the making of bye-laws for the control and welfare of horses in the local authorities’ functional area, together with provisions on licensing of horses within control areas and seizure and detention of stray or abandoned horses.

My Department agreed a protocol with Local Authorities in 2012 which outlined the need for greater uniformity in how Local Authorities apply the Control of Horses Act in their respective areas with a view to achieving savings and efficiencies in implementation of the Act. The protocol recommended that all local authorities amend their bye-laws to allow persons five days to reclaim their horse(s) and, if not reclaimed within that period, the Local Authority should be permitted to re-home or euthanize the animal. The reasoning behind the five day retention was to reduce costs but also to emphasise to individuals who abandon or allow their horses to stray that animal welfare depends on frequent human attention and animals should be inspected frequently to avoid suffering. In my view, responsibility for ensuring that horses do not stray rests with their owners and owners who do not reclaim their horses within 5 days cannot be considered to be responsible owners.

My Department provides extensive funding to assist Local Authorities in control of horses operations. Some Local Authorities operate their own Pounds and others engage private contractors to carry out control of horse activities which sometimes involves humane disposal of horses. In view of this, it is not possible to determine an exact cost for euthanizing per horse, as veterinary expenses, transport etc differ between local authorities.

The table, which is based on the information provided to me by local authorities – shows the number of horses seized and euthanazed under the Control of Horses Act in the period 2008 – 2012.

Year

Horses Seized

Horses Euthanazed

2008

1069

284

2009

1467

104

2010

2418

659

2011

2936

1592

2012

2969

2123

Farm Improvement Scheme Payments

Questions (594)

John McGuinness

Question:

594. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a payment will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [31612/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person concerned is an applicant for grant-aid under both the Farm Improvement Scheme (FIS) and the Dairy Equipment Scheme (DES). The grant-aid under the FIS was paid to the applicant on 15 May 2013. To date, my Department has no record of having received a payment claim from the applicant under the DES.

Animal Welfare Issues

Questions (595)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

595. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when legislation on the compulsory neutering-spaying of cats and dogs will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31614/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There is no legislation planned on compulsory neutering/spaying of cats and dogs. However, my Department provides in excess of €1million annually to animal welfare organisations involved in the provision of animal care. In the context of the allocation of these funds, I have put in place a code of practice for welfare organisations with the aim of assisting them achieve high standards of animal welfare. All recipients of funding involved in the re-homing of dogs and cats must demonstrate that they are participating in a neutering programme in order to assist in controlling numbers of animals and minimise cases of animal distress.

Harbour Authorities Expenditure

Questions (596)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

596. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 786 of 11 June 2013, the reasons the audit of financial statements of the fishery harbour centres are not up to date; his views on whether it is acceptable that these accounts have not been completed since 2007; if he will provide the unaudited amounts for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31635/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The following table sets out the provisional figures for income earned in each of the six Fishery Harbour Centres in the years 2008 to 2012:

Harbour

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Castletownbere

608,478

564,124

588,554

663,366

788,568

An Daingean

412,208

398,698

444,911

397,585

431,330

Dunmore East

235,103

248,123

231,710

222,068

238,633

Howth

727,939

658,520

639,779

673,389

928,761

Killybegs

2,175,876

1,844,946

2,015,094

1,809,362

2,219,069

Ros an Mhíl

490,760

546,113

406,470

415,205

301,064

Total

4,650,364

4,260,524

4,326,518

4,180,976

*4,907,425

(* Please note that the 2012 figures do not include accruals adjustments)

There were issues identified with the billing of fees in some of the Fishery Harbours in 2007 and 2008, following handover of responsibility from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to my Department in 2007. Resolution of these issues delayed both the production and the audit of these and subsequent years’ annual accounts. Officials in my Department are actively engaged with officials of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General to complete all outstanding accounts this year.

Aquaculture Development

Question No. 598 answered with Question No. 593.

Questions (597)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

597. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 798 of 11 June 2013, if he will provide in tabular form the 91 bays-estuaries subject to appropriate assessment under EU rules; the current stage of the assessment for each bay-estuary; the likely timeframe for the completion of the assessment in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31636/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The table lists the ninety one bays/estuaries subject to the Appropriate Assessment process under the EU Birds/Habitats Directives. In excess of 200 marine sites have been designated by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the EU Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) under the EU Birds Directive (‘Natura 2000’ sites). Multiple ‘Natura 2000’ sites are located in some bays and some sites are located offshore and not associated with any particular bay.

The European Court of Justice declared in case C418/04 that, by failing to take all the measures necessary to comply with Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43 (Habitats Directive) in respect of authorisation of aquaculture programmes, Ireland had failed to fulfil its obligations under that Directive.

In the negotiations to address the judgment a process was agreed with the European Commission which would lead to full compliance by Ireland with the relevant EU Directives. This process includes the following steps:

- a detailed data collection in 91 Bays/Estuaries

- detailed analysis of raw data collected

- setting of Conservation Objectives by NPWS in respect of each ‘Natura 2000’ site

- carrying out Appropriate Assessments (by the Marine Institute, on behalf of the Department) on each licence application/fishery plan against the detailed Conservation Objectives set, and

- determination of Licences/Fisheries on the basis of the Appropriate Assessment and other relevant factors.

The data collection programme is substantially complete. Analysis of the data, together with the setting of appropriate conservation objectives by the NPWS, enables all new, renewal and review applications to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. This work represents a significant financial, administrative and scientific investment by the State in resolving this issue.

Conservation Objectives had been set for over forty ‘Natura 2000’ sites and Appropriate Assessments are being progressed taking account of the need to facilitate the use of scientific and other resources on a flexible basis across the full range of bays. At present, Appropriate Assessments have been carried on four bays (Castlemaine Harbour, Dundalk Bay, Roaringwater Bay and Lough Swilly). The first aquaculture licence determinations in respect of ‘Natura 2000’ sites have recently been made with over 40 licence determinations being made in respect of applications located in Castlemaine Harbour SAC/SPA.

In parallel with the work done in relation to ‘Natura 2000’ sites significant progress was made in 2012 on licensing in non-Natura areas. 115 licence determinations were made in 2012 and depending on the availability of Appropriate Assessments and other measures it is expected that overall determinations well in excess of this figure will be possible in 2013.

Addressing the issue of aquaculture licensing in Natura 2000 areas is a key priority for my Department and the Deputy can be assured that every effort is being made to expedite the completion of the overall process having regard to all the complexities involved.

Castlemaine Harbour

Tralee Bay

North Dublin Bay

Roaringwater Bay

Ballysadare Bay

Carlingford Lough

Blacksod/Broadhaven

Blaskets

Glengarriff Harbour

Lough Swilly

Boyne Estuary

Duvillaun Islands

Clew Bay

Carnsore Point

River Nanny Estuary

Kenmare River

Cumeen Strand

Inishboffin and Inishark

Dungarvan Harbour

Drumcliff Bay

Inishkea Islands

Wexford Harbour

Gweedore Bay and Islands

Horn Head and Rinclevan

Dundalk Bay

Hook Head

Achill

Wicklow Reef

Kerry Head

Baldoyle Bay

Wicklow Head

Kilkieran Bay and Islands

Ballymacoda

Waterford Estuary

Killala Bay/Moy Estuary

Ballyness Bay

Tramore Backstrand

Malahide Estuary

Ballyteigue Burrow

Long Bank

Shannon Estuary

Barleycove

Bannow Bay

Broadmeadow/Swords Estuary

Blackhead

Blackwater Estuary

Mulroy Bay

Bunduff Lough

Donegal Bay

Rutland Island and Sound

Carrowmore

Galway Bay

Saltee Islands

Clonakilty Bay

Inner Galway Bay

Slyne Head and Islands

Courtmacsherry

Trawbreaga Bay

Valencia Harbour/Portmagee Channel

Connemara Bog Complex

North Inishowen

Bull Island

Great Island Channel

Cork Harbour

Inisheer Island

Inishmaan Island

Kilkee

Ladys Island

Lambay Island

Lough Hyne

Rathlin O’Birne Island

Rogerstown Estuary

Sheephaven

Slieve League

Slieve Tooey

South Dublin Bay

St. Johns Point

Streedagh Point

Tory Island

Tranarossan & Melmore Lough

West of Ardara/Maas Road

Ballycotton Bay

Ballycotton Bay

Lough Foyle

Mid Clare Coast

Ballinskelligs Bay and Inny Estuary

Mannin Bay

Slaney R. Valley

The Raven Spa

Raven Point Nature Reserve

River Barrow and River Nore

Question No. 598 answered with Question No. 593.

Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (599)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

599. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment will issue under the 2012 single payment scheme and the 2012 disadvantaged area based scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; the reason for the delay in issuing this payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31702/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the person named holds no Single Payment entitlements, no payment is due under this Scheme.

As regards the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, the person named is one of a number of applicants whose cases were impacted by the requirement to have achieved a minimum stocking density on their holding in 2011 of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard. However, a subsequent appeal was received, which is currently under consideration; once this review is finalised, the person named will be notified in writing of the outcome.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions

Questions (600)

John McGuinness

Question:

600. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a Department official will call to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will expedite a decision. [31751/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In the particular circumstances, my Department will shortly make contact with the person named to arrange for a further farm visit to verify the area of the plot of land claimed under AEOS 1.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (601)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

601. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment of agri-environment option scheme 2, 2012 will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31795/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st September 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. The person named was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 3rd May 2012. During this inspection, areas of non-compliance with the terms and condition of the scheme were noted in relation to the Alternative Water Source for Bovine action which resulted in this action being ineligible for payment and furthermore a penalty of 10% will be imposed. On 20th June 2012, a letter issued to the person named informing her of this and outlining her appeal option. To date, there is no record of an appeal having been received by officials in my Department. The application is being finalised on the basis of the inspection findings and payment will issue shortly.

Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. These checks have now been completed and following the payment for 2011, the payment in respect of 2012 will be finalised.

Parking Charges

Questions (602)

John Browne

Question:

602. Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a full cost benefit analysis of the proposals to introduce paid parking at Howth Harbour, County Dublin, has been carried out yet; the factors it took into account; if it will be published; the current position regarding his Department's controversial proposal to introduce such charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31825/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I have been considering introducing a charge for parking facilities within Howth Fishery Harbour Centre for some time,

- to assist in operating Howth Fishery Harbour Centre on a financially-sound basis,

- to provide a source of revenue for further investment in Fishery Harbour Centre facilities,

- as part of an overall traffic management plan, and

- in order to maximise the return on this significant State asset.

A broad range of factors are being considered and will influence my decision in this matter. Firstly, Howth Fishery Harbour Centre is first and foremost a working fishery harbour, one of 6 operated by the State, each of whose primary purpose is to provide facilities and services for the fishing industry and fisheries-related activities. Funding for operating, management and development costs in the fishery harbours is ring-fenced in the Fishery Harbour Centres Fund, which is the only source of revenue available for that purpose.

Capital investment in the Fishery Harbour Centres in recent years has underpinned both fisheries activities and their expanding use for leisure and marine tourism and other maritime enterprises. In the current economic climate, the State must be fully committed to maximising the return on that investment.

Moreover, my Department is required to ensure that the Fishery Harbour Centres are run on a financially-sound basis. The 500+ parking spaces within the boundaries of the Harbour would assist in balancing the books, and in providing funding for re-investment that would not otherwise be available.

A wide range of groups use the parking facilities of Howth Fishery Harbour – harbour business customers, yacht club members, sport fishermen, Dart users, tourists, walkers and many others.

This combination of uses and the range of users of the Harbour brings its own inherent dangers and safety must be a paramount consideration. A consequence of the large volume of cars using the Fishery Harbour Centre has been huge pressure on parking, and that pressure has on a number of occasions led to a situation where emergency access to the Harbour area has been seriously compromised. The Harbour authorities have in the past received specific complaints from elements of the emergency services in that regard - fortunately no serious incident has arisen yet.

There was widespread public consultation when pay parking at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre was originally examined in detail in 2007 in conjunction with Fingal County Council. All of the various views that were expressed and submissions and analyses that were made then are still available and I am well aware of and acknowledge their concerns. I have received new correspondence on this matter from a wide range of harbour users. My officials have consulted with officials of Fingal Council, and with An Gárda Síochána, about this and related matters, and my Department’s engineers have met some of the Harbour’s business tenants individually about new traffic management and road markings etc. My officials also attended the Harbour Users Forum in February where pay parking was on the agenda and heard the views of the harbour users at first hand.

I am examining all aspects of the matter at present. I can assure the Deputy that the views of the various harbour users, the potential earnings, the possible impact on the harbour businesses and on recreational users, the impact on the local economy and local jobs, and the impact on overall traffic management within the Fishery Harbour, are all matters that I will take into account in coming to a decision. I can also assure the Harbour users in Howth that I am committed to continuing investment in and development of Howth for the future.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Questions (603)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

603. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Wexford may expect to receive their agri-environment option scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32036/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1st September 2011.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme, a comprehensive administrative check of all applications, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. The person named was also selected for a ground inspection which took place on 11th May 2012. During this inspection, areas of non-compliance with the terms and condition of the scheme were noted in relation to the Planting of New Hedgerow and Tree Planting – Standard options which resulted in a penalty of 20% being imposed. The application has been processed on this basis and full entitlements totalling €655.62 issued in respect of 2011 – 75% payment issued on 5th June 2013 and the balancing 25% payment issued on 11th June 2013.

Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process. These checks have now been completed and 75% payment totalling €1,834.56 issued on 28th June 2013. The balancing 25% payment will issue shortly.

Dairy Sector

Questions (604)

Áine Collins

Question:

604. Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps and opportunities-grants that there are available for a beef farmer who wants to switch to dairy farming when milk quotas are abolished. [32061/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the Deputy is aware my Department will no longer have any direct involvement in milk supply management after 31 March 2015 when the Milk Quota regime ends. At that point supply will be a matter between the producer and the purchaser and, subject to contractual arrangements with milk purchasers, beef farmers or others who wish to switch to dairying, will be unconstrained by the quota system.

My Department has in recent years operated a number of support measures to facilitate beef and other farmers who wish to change to dairying.

These include the allocation to new entrants of 14 million litres of milk quota per annum, that is one quarter of the 1% quota increase allocated to Ireland under the Commission’s Milk Quota transition arrangements. To date 56 million litres have been allocated to just over 300 new entrants and a further 14 million litres will be allocated to about 75 applicants this autumn.

In addition, at the beginning of the year my Department introduced a new Development Programme for Dairying, which was aimed at new entrants to dairying among others, to encourage them to join local Dairy Discussion Groups. Earlier Department support for such groups under the Dairy Efficiency Programmes has shown these gatherings to be a very effective method of information transfer. My Department also operates a Dairy Equipment Grant Scheme, which has among its objectives the encouragement of new entrants in dairying by providing them with support to meet capital costs associated with establishment of their enterprise. New entrants must have a minimum number of production units in order to be eligible. In addition Teagasc run a series of courses aimed specifically for new entrants to dairying.

As milk quotas and the current phase of the CAP come to a close, my Department is at present engaged in a consultation and evaluation process to determine the measures that might be co-financed under the new Rural Development Programme (RDP) that will run to 2020. While this exercise is still ongoing, I expect that support for new entrants to dairying after April 2015 will be among the items that will be discussed.