Single Payment Scheme Payments

Questions (171)

Pat Breen

Question:

171. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42627/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As this applicant has no entitlements established under the Single Payment Scheme, there is no payment due to issue to the person named under the 2013 Single Payment Scheme.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Questions (172)

Pat Breen

Question:

172. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when headage payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42753/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

While the application of the person named under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme has been fully processed, the payment cannot issue, as a conditional Garnishee Order (a Court order obtained by a third party) has been received by my Department. Compliance with such a Court Order is not a matter of policy for me to exercise at my discretion, as it is a legal requirement.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications

Questions (173)

Willie Penrose

Question:

173. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take to have disadvantaged area payment paid to a person (details supplied) in County Longford, immediately, as same is being held up due to digitisation problems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42757/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named submitted a Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme application on 8 May 2013. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases on-farm inspections, be completed before any payments issue. The application of the person named was selected for a ground eligibility inspection. This inspection has been completed and the results are now being finalised. In the event that any queries arise officials in my Department will shortly be in contact with the person named.

Rural Development Policy

Questions (174)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

174. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding special recognition being given to island agriculture with the inclusion of a fourth category under the less favoured areas scheme, as well as a specific environment scheme for island farmers and the island sub-thematic programme designed with the new funding programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42782/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I understand that the Deputy’s Question is in the context of the preparation of a new Rural Development Programme. Preparatory work for the next RDP 2014 – 2020 is well underway. Measures to be included in the new programme will be considered in the context of the governing European Union Regulations, the outcome of the consultation process, the challenges we continue to face in terms of the public finances, and the requirement to balance competing needs both within the agricultural sector and in the economy as a whole.

An initial consultation process was launched in 2012, and written submissions were received from over 80 stakeholders. A second consultation was held in July, where stakeholders attended a full day workshop on the draft SWOT and needs analyses. Based on the outcome of these processes, the drafting of a new programme is being advanced in my Department, and it is intended that further stakeholder consultation will form part of this. Any submissions in relation to island agriculture will be considered in this context and in light of competing demands in the RDP.

Fisheries Protection

Questions (175)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

175. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to recognise and adjust the one-size-fits-all approach of the EU to national fisheries legislation that is inappropriate for small-scale island fisheries part of the Irish Islands Federation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42783/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The issue of ending the ‘one size fits all’ approach to fisheries management was a key aspect of the recently concluded negotiations on the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy. In the new CFP Reform we have, for the first time, introduced a regionalised approach to fisheries management. We have moved away from the old system of an EU decision making approach centralised in Brussels. The new policy puts fishermen at the core of developing conservation measures for fisheries in which they are involved and also makes specific references to the needs of small scale fishermen and small offshore islands. I will be working closely with my counterparts in the new regional forums to ensure that decisions that reflect the real issues in our region are developed and implemented.

Many of the stocks fished by island communities are not subject to an EU TAC and quota management regime, although other requirements may be specified in EU law, such as minimum landing sizes. For such non TAC and quota species, management measures applying to Irish registered vessels fishing within inshore waters are developed nationally, though the EU Commission must be consulted before enactment. In the development of such national management measures, I always seek and fully consider any submissions from industry representatives. I am presently seeking views on proposed national management measures for lobster and shrimp. The closing date for submissions is 25 October 2013.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (176)

Seán Fleming

Question:

176. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reduction in staff numbers that will be achieved in 2013 and 2014 from targeted redundancy and early retirement in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43028/13]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

22 staff will have retired from my Department in 2013 without reaching the maximum retirement age. It is estimated that approximately 70 staff will retire in similar circumstances in 2014. The Government has approved the principle of a targeted Voluntary Redundancy Scheme for my Department, should this be required in the progression of the Department’s major re-organisation and re-structuring programme which commenced in 2005. This has been the subject of discussion with the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform during the course of the last year. To-date, the Scheme has not been rolled out for 2013 and it is unlikely that it will impact on numbers in 2014. Our Reform Programme has yielded viable re-deployment opportunities for a significant number of staff who have transferred to other Government Departments/Offices in the last number of years. This process is continuing and will take precedence over any Voluntary Redundancy Scheme.