Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission Reports

Question No. 448 answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (447)

Niall Collins

Question:

447. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the mechanisms his Department has to assess Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission reports and recommendations contained therein; the number of GSOC reports his Department has received since March 2011; if he has seen same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15406/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Section 80 of the Garda Act 2005 sets out a number of statutory reports required to be submitted to the Minister for Justice and Equality. These include annual reports, a five year report, and any other reports GSOC considers appropriate to draw to the attention of the Minister because of their gravity or other exceptional circumstances.

Annual reports have been received for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The GSOC five year report, reviewing the general performance of its functions, was received in 2011. In addition to these GSOC considered two reports as appropriate to be brought to the attention of the Minister. The first, in 2011, related to an investigation of alleged comments by members of An Garda Síochána regarding female protestors arrested at a "Shell to sea" demonstration and the second, in 2013, related to informant handling procedures in An Garda Síochána. All reports submitted under section 80 are laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as practicable after their receipt in accordance with section 80(6) of the Garda Act 2005.

Section 106 of the Garda Act provides that, for the purpose of preventing complaints arising or of reducing the number of complaints, I as Minister may request the Ombudsman Commission to examine a practice, policy or procedure of the Garda Síochána. This request may be made on my own initiative or following a recommendation by the Ombudsman Commission. To date, only one section 106 report has been completed by GSOC, this was in relation to the Garda fixed charge processing scheme and the report was submitted in 2009. I published this report on my Department's website last week.

Section 103 of the Garda Act 2005 requires GSOC to provide information to certain parties to keep them informed of the progress and results of investigations. In cases where an investigation resulted from a complaint, these parties include the complainant, the member of An Garda Síochána whose conduct is the subject of a complaint and the Garda Commissioner. It does not include the Minister although there is provision for "any other person that the Commission considers has a sufficient interest in the matter". Where the investigation arises from a referral from the Garda Commissioner (s.102(1)), a decision by the Ombudsman Commission that an investigation is desirable in the public interest (s.102(4)), or a referral by the Minister (s.102 (5)), the Act provides that the Minister is one of the parties to be kept informed of the progress and results of investigations.

With regard to the receipt of GSOC reports of investigations, all reports received from GSOC are initially assessed by officials of my Department who will consider whether any additional action is required. This would include considering whether there are issues in the report which should be brought to my specific attention or to the attention of another area of the Department or other relevant body.

Records are not maintained in a manner that would enable me to readily provide the Deputy with a detailed breakdown of such reports received. As an indication of the number of such reports, the GSOC annual reports show they received 72 referrals in 2012 from the Garda Commissioner under s.102(1), with 90 in 2011 and 103 in 2010.

Question No. 448 answered with Question No. 413.

Garda Commissioner Resignation

Questions (449)

Niall Collins

Question:

449. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in correspondence sent by the former Garda Commissioner, Mr. Martin Callinan, being handed to the Minister. [15408/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am advised that on the same day as the letter was received there was a legal consultation on the Bailey case held at Garda Headquarters to discuss the implications of the recordings in that case, chaired by the Garda Commissioner and attended also by other Garda personnel, the senior counsel representing the State, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Chief State Solicitor.

I am further advised that on the following day, 11 March 2014, there was a follow-up meeting between the Garda Commissioner, officials from the Department of Justice and Equality and officials from the Office of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitors Office.

I am informed that during the course of the consultation on 10 March and the meeting of 11 March the emphasis was firmly concentrated on the Bailey case, in particular the content of the transcripts of the telephone conversations between members of An Garda Síochána at Bandon Garda Station, between members of An Garda Síochána and Journalists and between members of An Garda Síochána and a third party who was ostensibly providing information to the Gardaí. Even though the Commissioner's letter of 10 March had referred to the systemic issue, I am also informed that there was little discussion of that particular issue and certainly not in any red flag manner. It may be the case that the explosive nature of the recordings in the context of the high profile Bailey case deflected the attention of those present at the meeting from the systemic issue. I understand that from the 10 March onwards, the matters covered in the Commissioner's letter were being considered by officials in the Department of Justice in the context of the ongoing legal consultation in relation to the specific case in question. It should be also noted that the following day, 12 March I published the Garda Síochána Inspectorate Report into the Fixed Charged Processing System. On the morning of 12 March I was taking Committee Stage of the DNA data Bill. I was scheduled at 1:30 p.m. to attend a meeting of Fine Gael Ministers and at 2:15 p.m. to attend the Cabinet meeting. After the Cabinet meeting the Garda Inspectorate report together with an accompanying statement was issued and at 6 p.m. that evening I was scheduled to launch a book on divorce law at the Distillery Building. I was present at the book launch until 8 p.m. that evening. The day after that, 13 March the Secretary General was appearing at the Public Accounts Committee, I was in the Department of Defence on 14 March and left for Mexico on 15 March to fulfil my Government duties for St Patrick's Day. I understand that subsequently, on 19 and 20 March 2014 Garda Headquarters copied the Department with correspondence between the Garda Síochána and both the office of the Attorney General and the office of the Data Protection Commissioner and further legal correspondence was received in the Department on 24 March. Due to a family bereavement the Secretary General was away from the Office from Saturday 15 March and did not return to work until Monday 24 March. The Secretary General briefed me on the matter on Monday evening. Subsequently, I and then the Secretary General, was called over to the Office of An Taoiseach to discuss the matters at hand.

As I have indicated I received a copy of the letter of 10 March at 12.40 p.m the following day. It was not until receipt of the letter that I learned of the various meetings detailed above taking place and of the background circumstances to my not being fully informed of these matters earlier nor receiving the letter of the 10 March 2014 shortly after its receipt in the Department.

Departmental Correspondence

Questions Nos. 451 and 452 answered with Question No. 413.

Questions (450)

Niall Collins

Question:

450. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the mechanisms in place for the transfer of information and correspondence between the Secretary General of his Department and him; if he has previously raised concerns over delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15409/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

Standard Departmental arrangements for the transfer of information and correspondence between staff of my Department and my Office are in place in my Department, utilising a broad range of mechanisms for the purposes of communication.

The Secretary General and myself share a concern that all matters be dealt with appropriately and without undue delay.

Questions Nos. 451 and 452 answered with Question No. 413.

Defence Forces Personnel

Questions (453)

Denis Naughten

Question:

453. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Defence the position of members of the Permanent Defence Forces recruited since 1994 who have not reached the rank of sergeant and who, therefore, remain on contracts that may not exceed 21 years; and if he will review this policy in view of the fact that it may lead to many committed men and women of the Defence Forces being dismissed despite excellent service records. [14734/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The unsatisfactory age and fitness profile of the Permanent Defence Force was an issue of serious concern during the 1990's and was the subject of severe criticism by a series of external reports, mainly Price Waterhouse Consultants and the Efficiency Audit Group (EAG). One of the key areas identified for urgent action by the EAG was the development of a manpower policy with an emphasis on lowering the age profile of Permanent Defence Force personnel. The EAG's report was accepted by Government in 1995. In an effort to alleviate the situation, the Government had already decided in 1993 to enlist personnel on a five year contract basis, following consultation with Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA). In 1997 agreement was reached with PDFORRA on a new manpower policy for the Defence Forces. This policy, applying to personnel enlisted after 1 January 1994, provided that service for Private Soldiers would initially be for five years with the option to be extended to a maximum of twelve years, subject to meeting standards of medical and physical fitness and conduct. Longer periods of service were envisaged for Non Commissioned Officers.

In 2004 PDFORRA submitted a claim under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for a further review of the terms of service applying to personnel enlisting in the Permanent Defence Force after 1 January, 1994. A set of criteria was agreed with PDFORRA to provide longer careers for those who enlisted post 1 January 1994 while continuing to address the Government's objective of having an appropriate age profile to meet the challenges of a modern Defence Forces. The criteria require that any person re-engaging after 12 years service must be able to continue to operate at their current level both at home and overseas on an ongoing basis. Re-engagement is subject to the individual soldier meeting specified criteria in regard to physical fitness, medical category, successful completion of military courses of instruction, service overseas and conduct ratings.The maximum service period for these personnel is as follows:-

- Enlisted Personnel, up to and including the rank of Corporal (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may not serve beyond 21 years service.

- Enlisted Personnel, in the rank of Sergeant (and equivalent Naval Service rank), may be permitted to continue in service up to the age of fifty years.

- Enlisted Personnel in all higher ranks may serve to the age of fifty-six. With the approach of 2015 the first effects of the agreement, whereby Privates and Corporals may not serve beyond 21 years, will be felt by Permanent Defence Force members in those ranks. A claim has been received from PDFORRA for a further review in relation to this matter. In accordance with normal procedures the Association's claim is being dealt with under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for members of the Permanent Defence Force. As discussions under the Scheme are confidential to the parties involved it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this time, other than to emphasise that in dealing with this issue the manpower and operational needs of the Defence Forces must be the primary consideration. It is intended to finalise negotiations with the Representative Association within the next few weeks.

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

Questions (454)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

454. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Defence if any request was received from the Department of Justice and Equality to utilise the signal intelligence section of the Defence Forces communication and information services corps so as to establish whether the offices of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission had been bugged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15324/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

I can confirm that no request was received from the Department of Justice and Equality in relation to whether the offices of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission had been bugged.

Ministerial Travel

Questions (455)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

455. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide clarification as to what exactly was involved in the US customs pre-clearance carried out at Dublin Airport before the departure of the ministerial air transport flight on 16 March 2008; if this procedure involved US custom officials boarding the Irish Government aircraft and asking the aircraft crew any questions or checking the list of passengers; if a similar US customs pre-clearance is still carried out at Dublin Airport prior to ministerial air transport flights to the USA; if so, the reason no similar procedure applied to US military aircraft transiting through or arriving at Irish airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15342/14]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

As outlined in my answer to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question on 26 March 2014, the US Customs pre-clearance carried out at Dublin Airport before the departure of the Ministerial Air Transport Service (MATS) flight on 16 March 2008 took place at the request of the Air Corps. This was to avoid possible logistical difficulties that may have arisen at the airport of arrival in the US, which had some restrictions in terms of its customs facilities. A similar requirement has not arisen since then. I have been informed by the Air Corps that normal immigration and customs procedures were carried out in the terminal building and that the aircraft was not boarded. My Department has no role in relation to customs or pre-clearance procedures applying to aircraft transiting through or arriving at Irish airports.

Animal Welfare

Questions (456, 471)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

456. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an investigation is pending regarding the recent reports of an incident where the carcases of dead horses were left in a field in Clonmel, County Tipperary, earlier this week until locals became aware of same and that carcases were then moved to a halting site and put into a shed where staff of the local council found them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14757/14]

View answer

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

471. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to an incident last week involving the carcases of dead horses found in a field in Clonmel, County Tipperary, and the subsequent removal of the carcases to a site which was later discovered by local councillors; if he will commit to reinforcing animal protection for horses in view of the burning of a horse in Dublin last November; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15086/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 456 and 471 together.

I understand that South Tipperary County Council received a report over Saint Patrick's weekend of a horse carcase in a field within its jurisdiction and the Council's Environmental Section dealt with the matter and had the carcase removed to a local knackery for disposal.

On the general matter of protecting animal welfare, the position is that the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which I commenced recently, applies to all animals including horses. The Act imposes clear obligations on owners to protect animal welfare and obliges persons with an animal in their possession regardless of whether they are the owner of the animal to not cause unnecessary suffering to or endanger the health or welfare of the animal. The Act provides for increased penalties for offences, with fines of up to €5,000 on summary conviction and €250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years on indictment. It also provides for fixed penalty payments for lesser offences.

My Department continues to work closely with the local authorities, the Gardai Siochana and animal welfare bodies with a view to addressing horse welfare issues.

Coillte Teoranta Activities

Questions (457)

Dara Calleary

Question:

457. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way Coillte is empowered under legislation to develop and build wind farms; the way this activity can be reconciled to its other responsibilities as set out in applicable legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15175/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am advised that Coillte is empowered to develop and build wind farms having regard to the company's objectives as set out in Section 12 of the Forestry Act 1988 and the objectives in the company's memorandum of association.

The Forestry Act 1988 provided for the establishment of Coillte Teoranta as a company to be registered under the Companies Acts. Section 12 of the Forestry Act 1988 provided inter alia that the principal objects of the company shall be stated in its memorandum of association to be:

a) To carry on the business of forestry and related activities on a commercial basis and in accordance with efficient silvicultural activities,

b) To establish and carry on woodland industries,

c) To participate with others in forestry and related activities consistent with its objects, designed to enhance the effective and profitable operation of the company, and

d) To utilise and manage the resources available to it in a manner consistent with the above objects.

The vires of a statutory company, such as Coillte Teoranta, are governed both by its memorandum of association as registered in the Companies Registration Office and by the statute that has required or permitted the registration. As a commercial company, Coillte's remit includes the optimisation of the commercial potential of its assets.

Coillte Teoranta Activities

Questions (458)

Dara Calleary

Question:

458. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the provisions in legislation that allow Coillte Teoranta to engage in activities other than forestry; the investments made to date by Coillte in wind energy; the amounts paid out by it, outlined in a tabular form on a project-by-project basis, to consultants and contractors regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15232/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Forestry Act 1988 provided for the establishment of Coillte Teoranta as a company to be registered under the Companies Acts. Section 12 of the Forestry Act 1988 provided inter alia that the principal objects of the company shall be stated in its memorandum of association to be:

a) To carry on the business of forestry and related activities on a commercial basis and in accordance with efficient silvicultural activities,

b) To establish and carry on woodland industries,

c) To participate with others in forestry and related activities consistent with its objects, designed to enhance the effective and profitable operation of the company, and

d) To utilise and manage the resources available to it in a manner consistent with the above objects.

The vires of a statutory company, such as Coillte Teoranta, are governed both by its memorandum of association as registered in the Companies Registration Office and by the statute that has required or permitted the registration. As a commercial company, Coillte's remit includes the optimisation of the commercial potential of its assets.

In relation to the investments made to date by Coillte in wind energy, I understand that Coillte has a portfolio of nine “Gate 3” development projects with the potential to generate over 500MW of renewable electricity. I am advised that, in 2013, the company continued to add value to its portfolio of “Gate 3” projects, lodging planning applications in Laois, Tipperary and Mayo respectively and also secured planning consent for a project in Cork.

The company also provided the following summary of its projects:

- Projects with planning consent include a 105MW co-development with SSE Renewables and Finnavera at Cloosh Valley Galway and a 36MW co-development project with ESB Wind Development called Raheenleagh in Co. Wicklow.

- A positive planning decision was issued by Roscommon County Council for Coillte's 58MW Sliabh Bawn project and An Bord Pleanala has granted planning consent for a wind farm development totalling 33 MW at Castlepook in the Ballyhoura Mountains in Co. Cork.

- Other projects with planning include Straness, Co. Donegal (56MW) and Boggeragh, Co. Cork (47MW).

The company advises that it also has a development pipeline beyond Gate 3 of c 1000 MWs.

As regards the amounts paid out by the company to consultants and contractors regarding the various wind energy projects, Coillte advises that the company does not disclose financial details relating to specific contracts, joint venture agreements or investments in wind projects for reasons of commercial sensitivity.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme Payments

Questions (459)

John O'Mahony

Question:

459. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a rural environment protection scheme 4 payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14727/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named commenced REPS 4 in February 2008 and received payments for the first five years of their contract.

REPS 4 is a measure under the current 2007-13 Rural Development Programme and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before any payments can issue. This process has now been completed for 2013 payments and the above named has now been authorised for payment. The 75% and 25% payments will issue shortly.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Payments

Questions (460)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

460. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment under the 2013 disadvantaged areas scheme will be issued 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. [14731/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Applicants under the 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme were required, inter alia, to have achieved a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare in 2011, or have successfully applied for derogation. As the person named was unsuccessful in their derogation application, no payment is due to the applicant under the 2013 Scheme.

Beef Technology Adoption Programme Payments

Questions (461)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

461. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway did not receive full payment for the beef technology adoption programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14802/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In order to be eligible for payment under the 2013 Beef Technology Adoption Programme applicants were required to attend six meetings (applicants were permitted to attend one approved national event as one of their six meetings). In addition to attending the required number of meeting/events all applicants were also required to select and successfully complete two tasks from a menu of ten.

One of the tasks selected by the person named was Task 4, this task relates to soil sampling but unfortunately this task is not available to applicants who are participants in AEOS 2. This condition is explicitly outlined in the scheme terms and conditions.

The onus on task selection rests with Programme participants to ensure that they chose Tasks that are appropriate to them. As the person named is a participant in AEOS 2 he is not permitted to select task 4 and therefore not entitled to payment under BTAP 2013.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Questions (462)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

462. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the single farm payment and disadvantaged areas scheme payment for the past three years that issued to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; the outstanding disadvantaged areas scheme payment and single farm payments due for the past three years to this person; the reason these grants have not been paid; the penalties imposed on this person for non-compliance for the past three years; the details of all outstanding documents sought by his Department before payment can be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14821/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for a Cross Compliance inspection in 2010. This inspection was initiated on the 15 December 2010. During the course of this inspection breaches were recorded in relation to four separate Statutory Management Requirements (SMR).

Breaches relating to Nitrates were recorded, specifically the inadequate collection of livestock manure, the stockpiling of manure on lands during the prohibited period and inadequate storage capacity for organic fertiliser. These breaches resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded under that SMR for 2010.

Breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Bovines were recorded, specifically in relation to tagging, passports and the requirement to notify the Department of the movement of animals. These breaches resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded under that SMR for 2010.

Breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Ovines were recorded, specifically in relation to tagging, and the failure to maintain a flock register. These breaches resulted in a 5% penalty being recorded under that SMR. However, as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection the previous year which had resulted in a 15% penalty the rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 45% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2010.

Breaches relating to the requirement to maintain land in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) were recorded, specifically in relation the poaching of land and the failure to control the encroachment of invasive species. These resulted in a 1% penalty being recorded under that SMR for 2010.

Overall, these breaches resulted in a 49% penalty being recorded against the relevant Direct Payments to the person named for 2010. He was notified of this outcome on 4 February 2011 and of his right to seek a review of the decision. To date no such review has been requested.

As payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme and Single Payment Scheme had already issued for 2010 the Department initiated a process to recoup these payments and a letter issued from the Accounts Department of the Single Payment Unit informing the person named of the overpayment and how it could be repaid. It also explained how, should the person named choose not to repay the amount directly, the debt and any associated interest would be deducted from any future payments due to him from the Department.

As part of the aforementioned inspection process the person named was also required to submit Nitrates records. A subsequent check revealed that he had failed to submit any records as requested despite a reminder letter issuing in November 2011. As a result of this breach the initial 3% Nitrates breach was increased to 20% resulting in a total cross compliance penalty of 66% for 2010 (up from the 49% notified to the person named on 4 February 2011). The person named was informed of this outcome on 3 September 2013 and of his right to seek a review. To date no such review has been requested.

Subsequently a further letter issued from the Accounts Department of the Single Payment Unit informing the person named of the increased overpayment and how it could be repaid. It also explained how should the person named choose not to repay the amount directly, the debt and any associated interest would be deducted from any future payments due to him from the Department.

In 2011, in order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for a Cross Compliance inspection. This inspection was initiated on 30 May 2011. At this inspection breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Bovines were recorded, specifically in relation to tagging, passports and the requirement to notify the Department of the movement of animals. These resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded however, as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection the previous year which had resulted in a 5% penalty the rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 15% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2011.

Breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Ovines were also recorded, specifically in relation to tagging and dispatch dockets. These resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded under that SMR. However, as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection the previous year which had resulted in a 45% penalty the rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 100% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2011.

The person named was informed of this outcome on 14 September 2011 and of his right to seek a review. The person named requested a review of this decision. Following a further examination of the case, a letter dated 11 September 2012 issued indicating that the original decision was upheld. This letter also outlined how the person named could appeal this outcome to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office within 3 months of the date of the latter. The Agriculture Appeals Office has no record of any appeal from the person named.

In 2012, in order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for a Cross Compliance inspection. This inspection was initiated on 12 December 2012. During the course of this inspection breaches were recorded in relation to 3 separate Statutory Management Requirements (SMR).

Breaches relating to Nitrates were recorded, specifically the inadequate collection of livestock manure and the stockpiling of manure on lands during the prohibited period. These resulted in a 1% penalty being recorded but as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection within the previous 3 years rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 3% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2012.

Breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Ovines were recorded, specifically in relation to the requirement to notify the Department of the movement of animals and the requirement to maintain a herd register. These resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded under that SMR but as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection within the previous 3 years which had resulted in a 15% penalty the rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 45% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2012.

Breaches relating to the Identification and Registration of Bovines were recorded, specifically in relation to tagging and dispatch dockets. This resulted in a 3% penalty being recorded under that SMR. However, as similar breaches had been recorded at an inspection within the previous 3 rules relating to repeated non-compliances were applied, as per the regulations governing the scheme, and a 100% penalty was recorded under that SMR for 2012.

Overall, these breaches resulted in a 100% penalty being recorded against the relevant Direct Payments to the person named for 2012. The person named was notified of this outcome on 14 May 2013 and of his right to seek a review of the decision. To date no such review has been requested.

As payments under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme and Single Payment Scheme had already issued for 2012 the Department initiated a process to recoup these payments and a letter issued from the Accounts Department of the Single Payment Unit informing the person named of the overpayment and how it could be repaid. It also explained that, should the person named choose not to repay the amount directly, the debt and any associated interest would be deducted from any future payments due to him from the Department.

In 2013, in order to comply with EU requirements, the application was one of a number which was selected for a Cross Compliance inspection. This inspection was initiated on 25 November 2013. A number of discrepancies have been recorded and officers from my Department will be in touch with the person named this week to detail any documentation that they require to finalise the inspection process.

In 2013, payments due under the Single Payment Scheme, Disadvantaged Area Scheme and Grassland Sheep Scheme were netted against existing overpayments. The total outstanding amount owed as of 31 March 2014 is €1,927.48. A letter detailing this position will issue in the coming weeks, the letter will also outline how the debt can be settled manually should the person named so choose.