Fish Farming

Questions (168)

Clare Daly

Question:

168. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if Bord Iascaigh Mhara, as the proposed licence holder, will underwrite any damage or claims for escapees from fish farms. [14398/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) for an aquaculture licence for the cultivation of finfish near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay was received by my Department in 2012. The application and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement are being considered under the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act.

The assessment process will take full account of all national and EU legislative requirements and will reflect the full engineering, scientific, environmental, legal and public policy aspects of the application.

There is always a strict separation between my Ministerial role as decision maker in respect of aquaculture licence applications and my Ministerial duty to promote the sustainable development of the industry. This separation of duties is strictly observed.

As the application is under active consideration as part of the statutory process it would not be appropriate for me to comment further at this time.

TB Eradication Scheme

Questions (169)

Willie Penrose

Question:

169. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he will take to ensure a person (details supplied) is paid the appropriate compensation due for their reactor animals and is now called to sell as per the clearance furnished on 14 February 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14411/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The holding in question was restricted due to a TB breakdown with effect from 22 March 2013. A total of 93 reactor animals were identified and removed during this breakdown. The herd has been de-restricted since 20 February 2014.

However, a number of discrepancies were identified in the context of the restriction relating to identification of animals on this holding. Officials of my Department have been in ongoing contact with the herd owner with a view to having these resolved. Compensation payments are being withheld pending resolution of the outstanding discrepancies.

Beef Industry

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 166.

Questions (170, 171)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

170. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he can expect to be in a position to monitor activities in the beef sector with a view to ensuring that bull beef production is in some way aligned to market opportunities and requirements, with particular reference to the elimination of an oversupply in a particular sector leading to losses for producers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14430/14]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

171. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which his Department has examined the circumstances which resulted in an oversupply of bull beef resulting in serious loss to the producer; if any steps are likely to be taken to address a repetition of any such situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14431/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 171 together.

Market conditions in the beef and cattle sector are monitored on an on-going basis by my Department. Under Regulation 1249/2008, DG AGRI of the European Commission receives beef carcase prices from all Member States, including Ireland on a weekly basis. The European Commission chairs a Management Committee on Animal Products and the trends and variations in cattle prices are outlined on a monthly basis.

The information supplied at the management meeting includes details of prices paid in each EU Member State as well as information on the level of imports into and exports from the European Union, for all meat products (beef, pigs, poultry, and sheep) on an ongoing basis. Officials of my Department attend these management committee meetings. In addition, Bord Bia issues a weekly commentary on cattle prices and supply and demand trends in our main export markets including the United Kingdom.

While my Department has a role in monitoring and reporting on cattle prices I have no function in relation to commercial transactions between meat factories and their suppliers. However, as the Irish beef industry is highly export dependent the need to ensure that it is producing efficiently for overseas markets cannot be ignored. The relationship between processors and farmers is an interdependent one. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of both sides working together to manage the type and volume of cattle being brought to market so that the supply chain does not undermine the viability of beef production systems for either beef finishers or suckler farmers.

The current situation clearly underlines the need for industry operators to improve communication on market trends and signals throughout the supply chain and to address supply chain issues in such a context. An industry-led solution to the current uncertainty is essential to restoring confidence in the sector and I would encourage the various stakeholders to continue their efforts to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 166.

Beef Exports

Questions (173, 174)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied that Irish beef producers have ready, unimpeded and equal access to all EU member state markets without restriction or price variation; if the Single Market concept is being observed in all such situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14433/14]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

174. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which he has been made aware of the extent to which Irish beef producers can expect a lower price for their product on some European markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14434/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 173 and 174 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, commercial enterprises in Ireland have benefited greatly from the introduction of the Single European Market, giving them tariff free access to a European market of almost 500m consumers. The free movement of goods and services within the Single Market means that Irish enterprises now have access to export markets which previously were not an option because of the costs involved and additional cross-border bureaucracy.

All Irish beef producers have ready, unimpeded and equal access to all EU Member State markets without restriction. Articles 34 to 36 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibit Member States from maintaining or imposing barriers on intra-EU trade in goods. These provisions give rise to the principle of mutual recognition whereby each Member State is obliged to accept onto its market products which are legally manufactured or marketed in another Member State. Member States can only refuse to apply this principle in cases where there is an overriding public interest (e.g. public safety, public or animal health or the protection of the environment). Even then, all trade restrictive measures taken must be necessary for, and proportionate to, the protection of the public interest concerned.

The Deputy will be aware there are no official controls in the European Union for beef prices. Cattle and beef prices are determined by the dynamics of supply and demand in the marketplace and neither I nor any agriculture Minister in the European Union have any function in that regard. That is a commercial matter between beef producers, beef processors and retailers. Furthermore, successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy have involved a shift to more market oriented policies that move away from price supports and towards direct payments to farmers.