Single Payment Scheme Eligibility

Questions (613)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

613. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a person (details supplied) in County Offaly will qualify under the single farm payment scheme for 11.72 hectares for lands worked for over seven years. [22902/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named established 4.42 entitlements under the Single Payment Scheme in 2005 with a unit value of €755.68 and a total value of €3340.11. As the person named farmed and received a direct payment in 2013 he has established an allocation right whereby he will be allocated entitlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme in 2015. The number of entitlements that will be allocated to the person named will be based on the number of eligible hectares he declares in 2013 and 2015, whichever is lower. In 2013 he declared 11.72 eligible hectares. If he declares the same number of eligible hectares in 2015, he will be allocated 11.72 entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme, if he declares less than 11.72 hectares in 2015, the number of entitlements allocated will be based on that lesser figure.

Bord na gCon Administration

Questions (614)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

614. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 459 of 11 March 2014 if the external review commissioned by his Department on matters relating to Bord na gCon was completed within the expected timeframe, given that the Minister indicated that he expected he would receive a final report by 31 March 2014; if there has been a delay in completing the review, the reasons for same; and the expenditure incurred to commission the review. [22908/14]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The “Review of certain matters relating to Bord na gCon” is progressing very well but more detailed investigations were considered appropriate by the external consultants conducting the review on a number of specific issues that arose as part of the analysis undertaken. The consultants have agreed to undertake this additional analysis at no extra cost to the Exchequer. It is anticipated that a draft report, including the additional analysis, will be completed by mid June. On receipt of the draft report, my Department will have to review and consider the contents and any action required prior to publication. The cost of the report is €60,885 which is the figure agreed when the report was commissioned, following the completion of a public procurement process.

Fishery Harbour Centres

Questions (615)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

615. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to set out his plans to improve anglers' facilities in Howth Harbour, as, at present, fish are being gutted on the pier; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22930/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Howth Fishery Harbour Centre is one of the six designated Fishery Harbour Centres, which are owned, managed and maintained by my Department. While first and foremost a working fishery harbour, there are a wide range of recreational users of the harbour, including anglers.

My Department conducts regular Harbour Users Fora at the Fishery Harbour Centres, where Harbour Users and stakeholders are given the opportunity to put forward suggestions for the development and improvement of the facilities in the harbours. The most recent Harbour Users Forum in Howth was held on 23 January this year, and while this issue was not raised then, if proposals are brought forward, I will consider them.

I am happy to advise that in the last 3 years €3.2 million has been invested in maintenance, development and upgrading works at Howth Fishery Harbour Centre as part of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme. Most recently, I have made €1.18 million available in 2014, for improvement of facilities, maintenance and development and upgrading works in the harbour.

Forestry Grants

Questions (616)

Tom Fleming

Question:

616. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider reintroducing the reforestation grants and take into account the fact that several forests were badly damaged during the recent storms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22937/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The storm earlier in the year has indeed been damaging to Irish forests particularly in the south of the country. In order to establish the most appropriate response for forest owners and the forest industry a taskforce, chaired by Mr Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State, and comprising of the Irish Forest and Forest Products Association, the Irish Timber Growers Association, the Irish Farmers Association, Coillte Teoranta and Teagasc has been put in place to assess the damage nationally and to identify the various issues arising.

The taskforce has issued a guidance note for forest owners, laying down the steps to consider in safely harvesting and selling the fallen trees and giving advice on a range of other associated issues. Teagasc, in association with Coillte and my Department recently held two very successful events on managing storm damage in farm forests. These events were attended by over 400 forest owners. Teagasc forestry advisers continue to be available to discuss the issue with forest owners affected. Forest owners are also urged to get professional advice from qualified foresters to guide them through this process. Whilst direct financial support is not being provided to those whose forests were destroyed in the storm, I can confirm that any premium payments that have not yet been paid for 2014 will be paid even if these forests have been affected by this windblow event.

Control of Horses

Questions (617, 618)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

617. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide details of the number of horses that were put down in 2013 by each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22938/14]

View answer

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

618. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to provide details of the number of horses that were seized in 2013 by each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22939/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 617 and 618 together.

My Department provides funding under the Control of Horses Act 1996, to assist local authorities implement the provision of the Act in relation to stray, abandoned and wandering horses. The following table, which is based on the information provided to me by local authorities, shows the number of horses seized and euthanised in their operation of the Control of Horses Act in 2013.

City/County Co's

No. of Horses seized

2013

No. of Horses Euthanised 2013

Carlow Co. Council

82

65

Cavan Co. Council

0

0

Clare Co. Council

47

37

Cork Co. Council

227

144

Cork City Council

173

120

Donegal Co. Council

40

29

Dublin City Council

332

303

South Dublin Co. Council

324

285

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown Co Council

61

40

Fingal Co. Council

117

96

Galway City Council

0

0

Galway Co. Council

327

283

Kerry Co. Council

37

32

Kildare Co. Council

322

308

Kilkenny Co. Council

99

81

Laois Co. Council

220

171

Leitrim Co. Council

22

20

Limerick Co. Council

130

125

Limerick City Council

222

206

Longford Co. Council

25

6

Louth Co. Council

145

107

Mayo Co. Council

202

101

Meath Co. Council

172

161

Monaghan Co. Council

96

86

Offaly Co. Council

60

45

Roscommon Co. Council

235

197

Sligo Co. Council

89

70

Tipperary (North Riding) Co. Council

92

83

Tipperary (South Riding) Co. Council

123

103

Waterford City Council

59

44

Waterford Co. Council

18

16

Westmeath Co. Council

118

69

Wexford Co. Council

163

127

Wicklow Co. Council

354

319

Totals

4,733

3879

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Questions (619)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

619. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to explain the position regarding an appeal to the agricultural appeals office in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; when a decision will issue; and if same will be expedited. [22941/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Agriculture Appeals Office received an appeal from the above-mentioned on 14 January 2014. The appeal was acknowledged and a request was sent to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for the Department file and a statement on the issue on the same date. The Department file was received on 26 March 2014 and was assigned to an Appeals Officer. As an oral hearing has not been requested in this case, the Appeals Officer has been in direct contact with the appellant in relation to the issues raised in the appeal and a decision letter will issue shortly.

Rural Development Programme Projects

Questions (620)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

620. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the targeted investment scheme TAMS II will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22953/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The recent consultation paper prepared by my Department in relation to Ireland’s Rural Development Programme for 2014-2020 set out a number of priorities in the case of possible on-farm investment schemes under the new Programme, including further support to encourage investment in the dairy sector in view of the forthcoming abolition of milk quotas; an enhanced scheme of grant-aid for young farmers; investment in low-emission slurry-spreading equipment; improvements in certain pig and poultry facilities; bio-energy; and a new farm building measure to support the construction of animal housing and slurry storage.

I intend to include further details in relation to these grants in the Rural Development Programme itself when it is finalised in the near future. EU Commission approval for the Programme will be required before any new national measures are introduced on the basis of the Programme. Accordingly, it is not possible at this stage to fix definitive dates for the introduction of the schemes concerned.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

Questions (621)

Pat Breen

Question:

621. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision on single farm payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22962/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A review of the lands declared by the person named under the Single Payment Scheme in 2012 and 2013 revealed that a number of land parcels declared contained ineligible features. In order to clarify the position regarding the area of any ineligible features my Department arranged for a ground verification check to be undertaken. This verification check has been completed and the results are now being finalised. The person named will be notified of the outcome shortly and, if successful, any monies owing will be processed for payment as soon as possible. In the event that the person named is dissatisfied with the outcome of this verification check, the decision can be appealed to the independent LPIS Appeals Committee, within 3 months of the notification letter.

Single Payment Scheme Eligibility

Questions (622)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

622. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a person (details supplied) in County Carlow is deemed eligible for a top-up payment for a single farm payment under the Scottish derogation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22995/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The so-called Scottish Derogation provides for an allocation of entitlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme in 2015 to persons who never held entitlements, either owned or leased, under the current Single Payment Scheme. In addition such persons must provide verifiable evidence that they produced an agricultural product in the beef, dairying, sheep or arable sectors in 2013.

Department records indicate that the person named did not establish Single Payment entitlements in 2005 nor held entitlements in any subsequent year of that Scheme. The person named did participate in the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme for a period including the 2013 scheme year and therefore there is evidence of active farming for that year. While this initial assessment indicates that the person named complies with the conditions required for the Scottish derogation, the question of eligibility can only be confirmed once the Terms and Conditions of the scheme have been published.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Questions (623)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

623. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the appropriate assessment of a site for an aquaculture licence application will be carried out in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22999/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The application for the aquaculture licence referred to by the Deputy is in respect of a site located in Castlemaine Harbour, which is designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive (Natura 2000 site).

All applications in ‘Natura’ areas are required to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of environmental compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. My Department, in conjunction with the Marine Institute and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is engaged in a comprehensive programme of gathering the necessary baseline data appropriate to the conservation objectives of ‘Natura’ areas. This data collection programme is substantially complete. This is followed by data analysis and the setting of appropriate Conservation Objectives by the NPWS. Once this process is complete all new, renewal and review aquaculture applications can be appropriately assessed for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.

The Appropriate Assessment of Castlemaine Harbour has been completed and the relevant licensing determinations have been made. The specific application referred by the Deputy was submitted to my Department subsequent to the completion of the Appropriate Assessment process of this harbour. Accordingly, the application has not been assessed against the designated conservation objectives of the harbour. This assessment will take place as soon as possible having regard to the need to use the available scientific and technical resources across a wide range of bays.

Grassland Sheep Scheme Expenditure

Questions (624)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

624. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to outline the extent to which various categories of sheep farmers have lost or gained from the CAP review, with particular reference to the extent to which such payments have fluctuated annually in the course of the past five years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23028/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Sheep farmers have benefited under the Single Payment Scheme, the old Ewe Premium having being incorporated into SPS entitlements from the inception of the Scheme in 2005. Mindful that the sector required additional, focused support, the Upland Sheep Payment (USP) was introduced, on a once-off basis, in 2009, with payments worth some €7 million. The USP was replaced for the period 2010 to 2014, inclusive, by the Grassland Sheep Scheme, total payments in the period totalling €83 million. Going forward, these GSS payments are being incorporated into the new Basic Payment Scheme, under which the vast majority of sheep farmers will also benefit from convergence in the initial five years of the BPS, beginning in 2015. In tandem to these measures, sizeable numbers of sheep farmers have benefited under the €3 million Sheep Technology Adoption Programme since its inception in 2013 and will continue to benefit into the future.

The Grassland Sheep Scheme is based on Article 68 of the current EU Regulation 73/2009 which governs direct payments in the form of the Single Payment Scheme. As of 1 January 2015 that Regulation is superseded by EU Regulation 1307/2013 and consequently there is no longer any legal basis for the continuation of the Grassland Sheep Scheme in its present form. In developing the shape of the new system of Direct Payments in Ireland, I have been very conscious of the needs of sheep farmers, in particular those who farm on hill and commonage land. In general, sheep farmers hold low value entitlements under the current Single Payment Scheme and will benefit significantly from the model of convergence that is to be applied in Ireland where those with a low Initial Unit Value will see the value of their entitlements increase over the period of the scheme.

When determining the Initial Unit Value of a farmer’s entitlements under the Basic Payment Scheme in 2015, Regulation 1307/2013 gives Member States the option to take into account any payment the farmer received in 2014 under Article 68 schemes such as the Grassland Sheep Scheme. This option is only available where the Member State is not applying voluntary coupled support to the sector concerned under the new CAP.

I am considering applying this provision in Ireland as a means of safeguarding the value of the payments received under the Grassland Sheep Scheme for those farmers concerned. The Grassland Sheep Scheme is the only Article 68 scheme that is being incorporated into the calculation of entitlements under the new Basic Payment Scheme. If such incorporation does not take place the value of such payments would simply remain in the national fund and would be redistributed generally among all farmers who establish entitlements.

The incorporation of the Grassland Sheep Scheme payment into the calculation of a farmer’s Initial Unit Value in 2015 will obviously result in a higher entitlement value for the farmers concerned from the start of the Scheme rather than relying solely on the gradual process of convergence to increase the unit value over the five year period up to 2019. Our analysis confirms that as a result of this provision the group of farmers who receive the Grassland Sheep Scheme will have an immediate financial benefit in 2015 as part of their payment under the Basic Payment Scheme. This is an outline of the approach I intend to take.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Questions (625)

John O'Mahony

Question:

625. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive an agri-environment options scheme payment; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23050/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS 3) with effect from 1 May 2013. 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. These checks have been successfully completed in respect of 2013 and payment will issue shortly.

Suckler Welfare Scheme Applications

Questions (626)

Dara Calleary

Question:

626. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to explain the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is yet to receive a suckler welfare scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23094/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The above herdowner was not an applicant to the 2008-2012 Suckler Scheme. However, he is an applicant to the 2013 Beef Data Programme. Payments to all eligible participants under this scheme will commence in June this year when all of the required notifications on calves born during the late autumn will be submitted by participants in the Programme and the related verification checks are completed by my Department.

Animal Welfare

Questions (627)

Clare Daly

Question:

627. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to explain the reason members of groups involved in cruelty to animals, such as hunters, were invited to the animal welfare conference in Dublin Castle, though several well-established animal rights groups were not invited. [23095/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A wide cross section of individuals was invited to attend the conference, including some members of animal rights groups. A member of National Animal Rights Association was invited to the conference but chose not to attend, while the President of Irish Council against Blood sports was in attendance. Delegates from the Hunting Association of Ireland were also in attendance.

Beef Data Programme

Questions (628)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

628. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to detail the estimated number of farmers in each county with suckler cows; the number of applications received in 2014, broken down by county, for the beef genomics scheme 2014 and the beef data programme scheme 2014 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23133/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested is set out in the tabular statement.

County

Number of suckler cow herds

Number of applications for both the Beef Genomics Scheme and Beef Data Programme

No of applications for Beef Data Programme only

Carlow

881

474

20

Cavan

3,336

1,791

59

Clare

4,621

2,763

112

Cork

5,854

2,350

93

Donegal

4,069

2,008

86

Dublin

218

81

4

Galway

8,176

4,173

160

Kerry

3,888

1,824

95

Kildare

989

451

23

Kilkenny

1,849

903

40

Laois

1,638

877

37

Leitrim

2,614

1,578

76

Limerick

2,770

1,065

74

Longford

1,680

984

51

Louth

663

322

19

Mayo

7,145

3,868

238

Meath

1,932

863

36

Monaghan

2,446

1,237

61

Offaly

1,735

843

43

Roscommon

3,878

2,160

128

Sligo

2,697

1,471

105

Tipperary

3,545

1,490

75

Waterford

1,242

487

37

Westmeath

1,866

979

45

Wexford

1,821

881

52

Wicklow

1,124

569

29

-

72,677

36,492

1,798