Tuberculosis Eradication Programme Administration

Questions (231)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

231. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost and the number of outside research agencies contracted by ERAD in efforts to eradicate bovine TB in 2017 and 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12453/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

€3.1 million was spent on TB-related research by my Department in 2017 and 2018. This relates to work undertaken by Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and University College Dublin.

It is critical that Irish TB eradication policy is guided by scientific research, as this ensures that the programme delivers protection to farmers and their cattle in the most effective way, with decisions underpinned by strong evidence and informed expertise. The Irish TB research community plays a vital role in this, investigating the specific challenges we face with TB in the context of Irish agriculture, ecology and epidemiology.

Many significant improvements in the TB eradication scheme over the years have come about thanks to the rigorous research carried out to address specific policy challenges and disease issues. My Department continues to have a very strong relationship with the Irish TB research community. The work carried out on TB research, funded by my Department, will continue to be essential to the eradication of bovine TB from Ireland.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

Questions (232)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

232. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of progress of the badger vaccination programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12454/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

From January 2018, the formal badger Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination programme commenced in the areas which formed part of the field trials, i.e. in parts of counties Monaghan, Longford, Galway, Tipperary, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork and in all of Louth.

Badgers in a vaccination area are captured, vaccinated and released instead of being captured and culled. The vaccination program is continuing on an annual basis, so each year’s births in vaccination areas are vaccinated as they are captured. It is intended to expand the vaccination area incrementally to all parts of the country during the 2019-2022 period. Badger vaccination will commence in parts of Co Roscommon in 2019, and will continue in Co Galway where it has been carried out in some areas for several years during the field trials which demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach.

Vaccinating badgers with BCG is a way to deliver protection to cattle and thereby to farmers from the risk of a TB breakdown, and is a key part of the strategy to eradicate bovine TB.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme Administration

Questions (233)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

233. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if communication and counselling type courses are provided for PVP or officials who deliver the distressing news to herd owners in the event of a bovine TB outbreak; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12455/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In order to be authorised to undertake TB testing in Ireland, PVPs must sign up to certain terms and conditions with my Department which govern how TB tests are carried out. In advance of a PVP being authorised to undertake TB testing for the first time, they must attend specific training provided by DAFM. As well as covering the technical aspects of TB testing, the training also involves experienced DAFM vets providing advice to PVPs on how to communicate the disclosure of a reactor animal to a herd-owner.

Department officials who engage with herd owners in the event of a TB breakdown are experienced in this type of communication and are aware of the significant stress it can cause. Communication training is also available to my staff from the Department’s Learning and Development team.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme Administration

Questions (234)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

234. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the promptness with which information is relayed to local regional ERAD offices in the event of positive bovine TB samples identified by the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory; if affected herd owners are given an appraisal of the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12456/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

When a sample is found to be positive for TB in the Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, the results are transferred to the Animal Health Computer System. This process takes place on a daily basis by file transfer. The Animal Health Computer System is available to staff in every Regional Veterinary Office in the country.

When laboratory investigations are complete, the results are followed up in the Regional Veterinary Office. The relevant documentation is automatically created from the Animal Health Computer System and is sent to the herd owner concerned.

Live Exports

Questions (235)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

235. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when his attention was first drawn to lairage capacity issues at Cherbourg port in 2018; when he first raised same with his ministerial colleagues and industry representatives; when he first discussed with the French authorities the need to increase lairage facilities at Cherbourg to increase live calf exports; and the number of meetings on this issue in 2018 and to date in 2019 with live exporter companies. [12476/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I called a meeting with livestock exporters on the issue of exports, which included lairage capacity at Cherbourg, in July 2018. In September 2018, officials of my Department visited Cherbourg to discuss this matter with their French counterparts, and with the owners of the two Cherbourg lairages. My officials also provided a briefing to the IFA before its visit to Cherbourg earlier this year on this matter.

In January, officials of my Department attended the annual meeting between livestock exporters, Bord Bia and my Department, where the lairage issue was again discussed. In February departmental officials met with the IFA and officials of the French Embassy in Dublin that focussed on this issue. I met with Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in February, and raised the issue of lairage capacity with him. I held a further meeting with live exporters earlier this month.

I welcome the approval this week by the French authorities of an increase in the holding capacity of one of the lairages at Cherbourg. Based on current ferry sailing schedules, the additional daily capacity for 400 animals provides increased capacity of some 1,200 animals per week. I would like to acknowledge the co-operation of the French authorities, who, understanding the importance of this route for Irish exports, have moved quickly to approve the facility.

Beef Industry

Questions (236)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

236. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of producer organisations in the beef sector that have registered with his Department; and the name of each such organisation. [12477/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

To date, my Department has not received any formal applications for the establishment of beef Producer Organisations. However, a number of interested groups have been in contact with my Department about their potential and officials from my Department have had very positive engagement with key stakeholders across the beef sector on this issue over recent months.

My Department has consulted with stakeholders in relation to potential barriers to take-up and is currently examining options in relation to the feedback received.

I would urge any other interested groups to engage with my Department as soon as possible to explore the potential of producer organisations.

Beef Exports

Questions (237)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

237. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of beef exports to China in 2018, in tabular form. [12478/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible. This is a key part of our response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy.

The opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef in 2018 was the culmination of significant work, over a number of years, and I am pleased that six Irish beef plants are currently approved to export beef to China.

Exports of Irish beef to China commenced during the summer 2018. According to CSO trade statistics, Ireland exported approximately €2.8 million (1,400 tonnes) to China in 2018. In addition, Ireland has had beef access to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for some time, and exported €62 million (19,000 tonnes) to that market in 2018.

€000

tonnes

Hong Kong

62,186

19,289

China

2,842

1,437

China including Hong Kong

65,028

20,726

Farms Data

Questions (238)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

238. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of famers nationally by enterprise (details supplied) in tabular form. [12479/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Farm Structure Survey (FSS) 2016, published by the Central Statistics Office, provides insights into the number of farms and farm demographic in Ireland. The FSS also covers animal numbers and crop areas, which is updated in annual CSO surveys.

In 2016, there were 137,500 farms in Ireland, of which 137,100 (99.7%) were classified as family farms. More than half of these were located in the Border, Midland and Western region. The average farm size in the state was 32.4 hectares. Farms located in the Southern and Eastern region were larger than those in the Border, Midland and West with an average farm size of 38.3 hectares compared to 27.1 hectares.

The farm types listed in the publication are broken down in the table. Organic farms are included in these figures as the CSO makes no differentiation between organic and non-organic farms in this report.

Specialist beef production was the most common farm type in 2016, accounting for over half of all farms. Specialist beef production was more common in the BMW region, where it accounted for 59.7% of all farms.

Over two thirds of specialist sheep farms were located in the Border, Midlands and Western region. The South East region contained almost 80% of specialist tillage farms and 77.2% of specialist dairy farms.

Farm type

000's

Specialist tillage

4.7

Specialist dairying

16.1

Specialist beef production

78.3

Specialist sheep

15.1

Mixed grazing livestock

11.6

Mixed crops and livestock

2.1

Mixed field crops

8.2

Other

1.3

Total

137.5

*Rounding in operation

Source: Farm Structures Survey, 2016, CSO

Imports and Exports Data

Questions (239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 247, 248)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

239. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of cheddar imports from the UK excluding Northern Ireland in 2018; the latest data for 2019 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12480/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

240. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of cheddar imports from Northern Ireland in 2018 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12481/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

241. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of cheddar exports to Northern Ireland in 2018. [12482/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

242. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of cheddar exports to the UK excluding Northern Ireland in 2018; the latest data for 2019 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12483/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

243. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of liquid milk exports to Northern Ireland in 2018. [12484/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

244. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of liquid milk imports from Northern Ireland in 2018. [12485/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

245. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of dairy ingredient exports to Northern Ireland in 2018. [12486/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

246. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of dairy ingredient imports from Northern Ireland in 2018. [12487/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

247. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of dairy ingredient exports to the UK excluding Northern Ireland in 2018; the latest data for 2019 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12488/19]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

248. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the volume and value of dairy ingredient imports from the UK excluding Northern Ireland in 2018; the latest data for 2019 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12489/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 to 248, inclusive, together.

The following table, based on Central Statistics Office data, outlines details in respect of values and tonnage to the United Kingdom, broken down for Great Britain and Northern Ireland for dairy exports for 2018. Year to date figures for 2019 have not yet been released by the CSO.

Exports of dairy ingredients from Ireland

Product

€000

Tonnes

€000

Tonnes

Great Britain

Exports

Exports

Imports

Imports

Total Dairy

908,158

273,269

371,167

196,198

Cheddar

265,932

85,202

48,996

14,767

Liquid milk

6,885

9,117

15,650

29,654

Northern Ireland

Exports

Exports

Imports

Imports

Total Dairy

113,600

134,271

260,429

754,642

Cheddar

513

78

450

104

Liquid milk

25,273

108,585

241,353

732,317