Irish Prison Service

Questions (214)

Clare Daly

Question:

214. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide details regarding the development of a specific strategy to deal with prisoners requiring protection, in view of the inspector of prisons findings; the way the IPS intends to deal with prisoners requiring protection going forward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33909/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that at the end of June 2013, there were 608 prisoners on protection, of which 155 were on a restricted regime. Those not on a restricted regime can associate with other protection prisoners and have normal out of cell time during the day.

The Deputy will be aware that protection prisoners are those who are considered to be under threat or at risk in the general population. The Irish Prison Service must ensure in so far as possible the safety of prisoners, which is why those seeking protection are immediately separated from the general prison population or from specific prisoners identified as presenting a threat.

It is at the committal stage that the majority of prisoners are identified as being in need of protection. In many instances, the prisoner will request protection and in other instances, either intelligence or the assessment of the Governor will identify a prisoner as requiring protection. Allowing prisoners to be accommodated in protective custody clearly demonstrates prison management's commitment to ensure safe and secure custody for offenders.

The Deputy will be aware that I published the Irish Prison Service Strategic Plan 2012-2015 in April last year. The Strategic Plan includes a number of Strategic Actions one of which is a commitment to develop a specific strategy for prisoners requiring protection. The Strategy also commits the Prison Service to introducing appropriate assessment procedures to inform their prisoner placement policy, to ensure that prisoners are accommodated appropriate to their security status. I am advised by my officials that the concerns regarding protection prisoners outlined in the Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2012 will be addressed in the development of this strategy and that the target of completion by 2015 will be met.

Garda Investigations

Questions (215)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

215. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the Garda Commissioner has presented a report from the serious crime review team in relation to the death of a person (details supplied); if the SCRT has found evidence of criminal wrongdoing resulting in the death of this person; if An Garda Síochána has submitted a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33934/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the findings of the examination by the Serious Crime Review in relation to the case referred to by the Deputy have been forwarded to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. I am sure that the Deputy will appreciate that, in the circumstances, it would not be appropriate for me to make any further comment at present.

Military Archives

Questions (216)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

216. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Defence the position in regard to the military service pensions archive project; when he expects that the public might have access to these records; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33636/13]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The Military Service Pensions Archive project is part of the Government Centenary Commemorative Programme. Approximately 300,000 files relating to the period from Easter Week 1916 through the War of Independence and Civil War comprise this collection. The files relate mainly to the applications by individuals and/ or their dependants for the award of pension and gratuities for veterans who served as members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, the Hibernian Rifles, the Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann, the National Army on active service or who were casualties or wounded while on duty during the period from April and May 1916 through to 30 September 1923. The membership records of these organisations (less that of the National Army) as on 11 July 1921 and 1 July 1922 will also be released along with selected administration files and material to put the entire collection in context. This is a significant element of the collection.

No date has been set yet for the launch of the inaugural release, which is web-based and concentrated on 1916 participants. However, arrangements for the launch are under active consideration. The first release contains files relating to in excess of 3,000 individuals (2,397 of these individuals are veterans of Easter Week 1916) and comprising some 452,000 scanned images giving background and context to the individual applications. Databasing and digitising of these files is complete. Testing of the website is nearing completion.

A phased release of material into the public domain is planned with regular releases relating to the War of Independence and Civil War occurring in the run up to 2016. Subsequent releases will have a web element but it is important to note that not all files will be available online. Physical visits to the Military Archives will be required to see the full material. It is envisaged that the provision of accommodation for people wishing to access the Military Archives records and for the storage of the archives will be progressed further under the Government Centenary Commemoration programme.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions

Questions (217)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

217. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an appeal regarding on overclaim for a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33624/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The inspection process identified an over claim of 0.86 hectares in this case. The governing EU Regulations require that where an over claim of greater than 3%, but less than 20%, is identified, as was the case here, a penalty of twice the difference between the area claimed and that found must be applied. The person named appealed the penalty applied. The initial internal appeal process resulted in no change to the original findings and the appellant has been advised of this and of the right of appeal to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

Harbour Fees

Questions (218)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

218. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has had any contact with cruise ship operators in relation to the cost of visiting Killybegs Fishery Harbour, County Donegal; if concerns have been expressed to him that the cost could be a factor in whether they continue to use the harbour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33639/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Cruise ship operators availing of the facilities at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre generally book the various harbour facilities through a shipping agent of their choice. The Harbour Master at the harbour makes every effort to accommodate the specific requirements of the visiting cruise liners. A revised Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order was issued in 2012 and I am happy to advise that there has been no increase in the level of charges levied in respect of visiting cruise liners from the level set in 2003. Indeed it is worth noting that the number of visiting cruise ships in the year ended 31 December 2012 represented a 100% increase on the figures for the previous year.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Questions (219)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

219. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there are genetically modified crop trials taking place here; if his attention has been drawn to Round Up, a freely available pesticide which contains a hormone disrupter called glyphosate, which is highly prevalent in cases of breast cancer. [33681/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Responsibility for the approval for the undertaking of field trials of genetically modified (GM) crops in the State rests with my colleague the Minister for Environment and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan TD, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency. In July 2012, the EPA granted consent to Teagasc to carry out a field trial with GM blight resistant potatoes in Carlow over a four year period from 2012 to 2016 inclusive. The field trial was granted subject to conditions and will be subject to ongoing inspections and reporting requirements. Apart from this GM potato trial, there are currently no other GM crops cultivated in Ireland either for field trial or commercial purposes.

Round Up and variants of Round Up (each containing the active ingredient glyphosate) have been available on the European market since the mid 1970’s. Glyphosate has been scientifically reviewed previously by the EU and a number of OECD countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia etc. Reviews in each of these countries have established that products containing glyphosate can be used safely and without deleterious health effects on humans or the environment. Glyphosate is currently being reviewed again to determine its continued use in the EU in light of the most up-to-date evidence and analysis techniques. This review will encompass and involve all data currently available on the chemical and will involve all EU Member States and the European Food Safety Authority.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Conditions

Questions (220)

Ciara Conway

Question:

220. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will allow hay to be cut a week earlier this year under the agri-environment options scheme due to the recent fodder difficulties, in view of the current good weather spell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33712/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Participants in AEOS 2 and AEOS 3 who selected traditional hay meadow action, with the exception of Corncrake sites in the Shannon Callows, may commence cutting the meadow for hay immediately for the 2013 cutting season only. Where this earlier cutting date is availed of the conserving of the meadow as silage is not permitted.

International Bodies Membership

Questions (221)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

221. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on future reform of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Food Programme; his views on the possibility of a merger between the two UN organisations given their ability to conduct joint reports, such as that in 2012 when they completed a joint rapid food security needs assessment mission in Syria, and that both the organisations are based in Rome, Italy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33845/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The FAO is one of the largest technical bodies of the UN. A large-scale reform began several years ago that included changes to the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), and decentralisation. Ireland and our EU colleagues have been instrumental in ensuring a more focussed strategy and increased budgetary control within the FAO in recent years. A new Programme of Work and Budget was agreed at the recent conference in Rome, attended by the Minister of State, Mr. Tom Hayes, TD. This is available to download at http://www.fao.org/docrep/meeting/027/mf490e.pdf. The programme outlines the five strategic objectives and the main work to be undertaken by the organization in the coming years.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is mainly involved in alleviating hunger worldwide. It is the world’s largest humanitarian agency. The FAO is more involved with setting standards (e.g. via the Codex Almentarius and the various expert committees on genetic resources and animal health) and evaluating global policy for agricultural production. Their work is complementary and they are encouraged to cooperate wherever possible. While such cooperation is to be welcomed it is unlikely that there will be a merger between the two organizations in the immediate future, given their different roles.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals

Questions (222)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

222. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the outcome of a REPS appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33848/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A request for a review of the decision to reduce the eligible area, following an inspection under the 2012 Single Payment Scheme, is currently being examined. The person named will be notified of the outcome of this initial review as soon as possible, which can be appealed to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office within 3 months.

Agriculture Schemes Administration

Questions (223)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

223. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33914/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Officials in my Department have commenced reissuing notifications of the outcome of applications to all farmers in Limerick.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Appeals

Questions (224)

Dan Neville

Question:

224. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will undertake a review of an application under agri-environment option scheme on appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33924/13]

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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 22 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 53.16, the application was unsuccessful. On 27 May 2013, a letter issued to the person named informing him that he was not successful and setting out the reasons. The person was also informed of his right of appeal to AEOS Section. An appeal was received from the person named and it is currently being considered. The person named will be notified in writing of the outcome of this appeal once a decision has been made.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Appeals

Questions (225)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

225. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a decision has been made on a review of a decision on a penalty on a REP scheme payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33932/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Officials in my Department are examining the issues involved and are currently conducting a review of the penalty imposed on Mr O’Connor’s REPS payment. They will contact Mr O’Connor directly once the review is complete.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Eligibility

Questions (226)

Dara Calleary

Question:

226. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an agri-environment options scheme 3 application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33933/13]

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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 28 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 29.13, the application was unsuccessful. On 27 May 2013, a letter issued to the person named informing her that she was not successful and setting out the reasons. The person was also informed of her right of appeal to AEOS Section. An appeal was received from the person named and it is currently being considered. The person named will be notified in writing of the outcome of this appeal once a decision has been made.

Children's Rights Referendum

Questions (227)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

227. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide an update regarding the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the Study of Young Carers in the Irish Population, which was funded by her Department in 2010 and the recommendations outlined in the national carers' strategy which specifically support young carers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33604/13]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The Study of Young Carers in the Irish Population, published by my Department in 2010, highlights the importance of creating a better understanding of children as carers in Ireland. It found that it is very difficult to identify young carers in the population.

In order to learn more about children that undertake caring roles, my Department requested the Central Statistics Office to include a question in the Census of Population 2011. People of all ages were asked whether they provide any unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long term-term illness, health problem or disability. The Census of Population 2011 found that 6,449 children provided regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problems or disability. Overall, 5.6 per 1,000 children provided regular unpaid personal help for a friend or family member with a long-term illness, health problem or disability. Rates ranged from 4.3 per 1,000 in Co. Louth to 8.2 per 1000 in Co. Leitrim. It is further planned, under the National Strategy for Research and Data on Children’s Lives published by my Department in November 2011, that a detailed analysis of those children who report in the 2011 Census that they undertake caring roles, will be carried out by the end of 2013. It is anticipated that the analysis will inform future policy as to how best to address the support needs of children and young people who undertake caring roles.

In 2012 the Department of Health published The National Carers’ Strategy – Recognised, Supported, Empowered. The strategy recognizes that although the needs of young carers can be similar to carers of any age, they may have additional needs, which include support in education to help them to achieve their full potential.

My Department has been supporting the implementation of this strategy by ensuring that the children strategies which it is developing are cognisant of the necessity to make them as ‘carer friendly’ as possible. However, given the young age that the Childcare Directorate is dealing with, the number of cases where children might be carers is very small.

In preparation for the establishment of the new Child and Family Agency (CFA) the following actions have been taken that are relevant to the Carers Strategy: - Child care staff have been alerted to the strategy and its relevance to children with carer responsibilities; - Strategy disseminated to key children and family services staff; - Linkages between carer responsibilities and child protection issues have been highlighted to staff.

The National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) is developing national guidelines as a practical support for schools in the preparation of School Attendance Strategies as outlined in Section 22 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000. The guidelines will assist schools to implement effective measures to support children at risk of poor attendance and participation, including those with caring responsibilities.

The NEWB has made significant progress towards delivering an integrated school support service based on the principle of “One Child, One Team, One Plan". This streamlined national approach will enhance education support services and enable the NEWB to respond appropriately to the circumstances in which children and families need help from NEWB. Consultation on the practice model started in October 2012 and concluded early in 2013. The model is also being developed to complement and link with models of practice and methods of working proposed by the new Child and Family Agency (CFA) within its proposed National Service Delivery Framework.