Departmental Funding

Questions (261)

Denis Naughten

Question:

261. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding his Department, or agencies under the remit of his Department, have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years from 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12502/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the information requested is set out in the tables.

2016

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down €

Ros An Mhíl FHC

2,170,100

2,050,976

Cleggan Pier

82,500

82,500

Bunowen Pier

60,000

60,000

Céibh Tuairin Pier, Carraroe

75,000

63,503

Fahy Pier, Clifden

112,500

112,500

Annaghvaan Pier

75,000

65,639

Canower Pier

90,000

86,469

Dooneen Pier, Letterfrack

78,750

46,423

Piers, Lights and Beacons

10,000

5,498

Forestry - Afforestation

4,900,558

Forestry - Forest Roads

45,195

Forestry - Reconstitution

35,208

Forestry - Native Woodland

34,602

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

20,706

2017

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down €

Ros An Mhíl FHC

2,643,938

2,612,185

Bealcarra pier

112,500

84,375

Crumpán Pier

112,500

0

Roundstone Pier

75,000

0

Piers, Lights and Beacons

33,000

19,783

Forestry - Afforestation

4,915,052

Forestry - Forest Roads

148,983

Forestry - Reconstitution

116,667

Forestry - NeighbourWood

72,373

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

13,432

2018

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down €

Ros an Mhíl FHC

1,039,000

1,006,754

Crumpan Pier, Muigh-Inis, Carna

112,500

0

Droim Pier, Leitirmoir

112,500

0

Piers, Lights and Beacons            

15,000

12,196

Forestry - Afforestation

4,523,996

Forestry - Forest Roads

181,433

Forestry - Reconstitution

82,949

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

6,577

2019

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down €

Ros An Mhíl FHC

940,000

25,049

Piers, Lights and Beacons

20,000

0

NOTE: Figures are provided for expenditure on the forestry schemes available under the Forestry Programme as these are funded out of the Department’s capital budget. The amounts entered as ‘drawn down’ are the amounts paid on the relevant forestry contracts to end of 2018 (as the breakdown by county of amounts paid to date in 2019 is not currently available).

As regards the twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, the information requested is an operational matter for the State Bodies themselves. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Agencies and have requested that a response should issue within 10 days.

Departmental Funding

Questions (262)

Denis Naughten

Question:

262. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding that his Department, or agencies under the remit of his Department, have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years from 2016 to 2018 and to date 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12519/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the information requested is set out in the tables.

2016

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down

Forestry - Afforestation

4,621,673

Forestry - Forest Roads

37,180

Forestry - Reconstitution

7,400

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

6,495

2017

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down

Forestry - Afforestation

4,686,660

Forestry - Forest Roads

72,114

Forestry - Reconstitution

49,453

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

1,417

2018

Name of Project

Funding Allocated

Funding Drawn down

Forestry - Afforestation

4,674,209

Forestry - Forest Roads

122,200

Forestry - Reconstitution

15,893

Forestry - Woodland Improvement

1,207

NOTE: Figures are provided for expenditure on the forestry schemes available under the Forestry Programme as these are funded out of the Department’s capital budget. The amounts entered as ‘drawn down’ are the amounts paid on the relevant forestry contracts to end of 2018 (as the breakdown by county of amounts paid to date in 2019 is not currently available).

As regards the twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department, the information requested is an operational matter for the State Bodies themselves. I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Agencies and have requested that a response should issue within 10 days.

Farms Data

Questions (263)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

263. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the latest data regarding matters (details supplied). [12627/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The table shows the number of farms with at least one suckler cow and numbers of cows per county as of the end of 2018 derived from the Department's Animal Movement and Identification (AIM) database.

Counties

Farms

Suckler Cows

Carlow

750

15,013

Cavan

3,115

43,625

Clare

4,297

67,299

Cork

5,250

69,482

Donegal

3,747

38,607

Dublin

198

3,552

Galway

7,430

96,959

Kerry

3,592

43,227

Kildare

903

16,995

Kilkenny

1,572

30,966

Laois

1,521

32,380

Leitrim

2,445

25,591

Limerick

2,469

32,493

Longford

1,535

24,591

Louth

618

11,117

Mayo

6,480

71,276

Meath

1,751

31,254

Monaghan

2,327

30,325

Offaly

1,536

29,640

Roscommon

3,545

50,298

Sligo

2,474

29,316

Tipperary

3,061

52,594

Waterford

1,027

18,959

Westmeath

1,745

33,748

Wexford

1,602

30,699

Wicklow

1,079

21,391

Totals

66,069

951,397

Beef Industry

Questions (264)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

264. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to update average Irish beef prices relative to the EU average price as recorded by the EU Meat Market Observatory. [12628/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department reports the price paid for cattle in Ireland on a weekly basis and reports these prices to the European Commission in accordance with Regulations 1182 and 1184 of 2017.

The European Commission established the Meat Market Observatory in July 2016 covering the beef and pigmeat sectors. The aim of the Observatory is to provide the pigmeat, beef and veal sectors with more transparency by means of disseminating market data and short-term analysis in a timely manner.

Live Exports

Questions (265, 266, 267)

Carol Nolan

Question:

265. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if supports will be put in place for live exports with no further restrictions on trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12639/19]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

266. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the initiatives that will be pursued to get the international live export trade operating at capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12640/19]

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Carol Nolan

Question:

267. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to ensure there is full stakeholder engagement to increase ferry and lairage capacity for live exports, especially calves; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12641/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 265 to 267, inclusive, together.

Live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry. They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers. My Department facilitates this trade, recognising its critical importance to the agri-sector, while ensuring that live animal exports meet the highest welfare standards.

In 2017, I reduced the veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves less than three months of age to €1.20 per animal. This brought greater equity in the fees payable for calves, weanlings and adult cattle and gave an important boost to the trade. A significant increase in live calf exports resulted in the number of calf exports reaching 159,000 in 2018.

Other initiatives in developing the international export market include the issuing of new health certificates for the export of cattle to Libya which were agreed in November 2018. This increases the range of cattle that can be exported there. My Department is also engaging with the Egyptian authorities to secure the finalisation of agreement on health certificates for the export of fattening, slaughter and breeding cattle.

I have extended an invitation to my Algerian counterpart to visit Ireland in early 2019. This follows earlier contact with Algeria, in an effort to reach agreement on revised and separate slaughter, fattening and breeding certificates. Furthermore, following my visit to Turkey last week, I am confident that consideration will be given to the reopening of the live export market to Irish cattle by the Turkish authorities.

My Department officials are in on-going communication with the Irish exporters with regard to the need for co-operative management between each other to ensure that the lairage capacity at Cherbourg is optimised. I had a recent meeting with the exporters where these issues were discussed. I have also met with farming organisations in recent weeks on the issues. The provision of additional facilities depends on commercial decisions by private industry.

I welcome the recent approval by the French Authorities of an increase in the holding capacity of one of the lairages at Cherbourg. This additional capacity of 400 places is an important boost for Irish calf exports to Continental Europe.

Animal Disease Controls

Questions (268)

Carol Nolan

Question:

268. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will resist EU proposals to impose a 30 day pre-movement tuberculosis test and tighter assembly periods for live exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12642/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In March 2016, the European Parliament adopted the new Animal Health Law (Regulation (EU)2016/429). This involved the amalgamation of a multiplicity of legal texts into a single law with the aim of supporting the EU livestock sector in terms of competitiveness, food safety and ease of trade. The Animal Health Law is a key output of the EU animal health strategy ‘Prevention is Better Than The Cure’.

Under the Animal Health Law, several Delegated Acts have been drafted by the Commission, and a consultation process has been undertaken with Member States. One of the Delegated Acts sets out the legislative framework for disease eradication programmes throughout the European Union including specifically that for bovine TB.

The Delegated Acts dealing with TB and Animal Movement (to become operational in April 2021) have not been finalised, and are still undergoing scrutiny at Commission level. Ireland is continuing to engage with the Commission on this matter. It is anticipated that a public consultation process on the Act will be undertaken circa April 2019.

Common Agricultural Policy

Questions (269)

Carol Nolan

Question:

269. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will reject the proposed €97 million cut to the CAP budget; if he will seek to secure a budget increase to provide for inflation and new measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12643/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

At the outset, I would like to point out that in discussing the funding of the Common Agricultural Policy, we should bear in mind that this funding forms part of a broader EU budget which is negotiated by Finance Ministers and then agreed by Heads of State and Government at the European Council.

The European Commission has proposed, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027, that funding for the Common Agricultural Policy should be set at €365 billion. This equates to a cut of approximately 5% to the CAP budget in the next MFF period of 2021 - 2027. I have previously stated that the proposed cut is unacceptable for Ireland. The retention of an adequate budget for the CAP post-2020 is a key priority for Ireland.

Negotiations on the MFF proposals have commenced and are running in parallel to the CAP post-2020 negotiations. The European Commission's intention is to reach overall agreement on the MFF before the European Parliamentary elections in 2019.

The MFF is a critical matter for all Member States and its agreement requires unanimity at the EU Council. It is clear that there are divergent views among Member States on the appropriate level for the budget. While some Member States (including Ireland) have indicated their willingness to increase their contributions, once they contribute towards areas of added European value, there are others who feel equally strongly that the current proposals, such as they are, are too costly.

The departure of the UK from the EU further compounds the budgetary issue, with some €12 billion per annum in UK net contributions being removed from the budget post-2020. Against this background, agreeing the MFF will make these negotiations a particularly challenging task.

The new CAP proposals point to a more significant environmental ambition than the current CAP schemes, including in Pillar I. It is a new departure for Member States that they will be required to design a specific climate and environment scheme in Pillar I. This is something that I support as it is consistent with my Department's long term strategy for the agriculture sector, which recognises the critical importance of environmental sustainability. I believe that protecting the environment and the sustainable development of agriculture are two sides of the same coin.

I believe that farmers play a vital role in the provision of public goods and need to be adequately recognised and recompensed for this role. It is important that the overall level of the budget acknowledges the public goods being delivered from farmers.

I continue to work towards building consensus among my agriculture colleagues in Europe with regard to maintaining the CAP budget. I co-signed a Joint Memorandum in Madrid in May last year, which calls for the CAP budget to be retained at current levels for the EU 27 post-2020. The memorandum has been supported by up to 20 other EU Agriculture Ministers. We will continue to work together on this issue as the negotiations for the CAP post 2020 and its budgetary allocations progress.

I have also sought to continue this work as part of ongoing bilateral meetings. Since May 2018, my colleague Minister Doyle and I have met initially with the EU Agri Ministers from Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Hungary, inter alia to support a strong CAP Budget after 2020. I have also met with Ministers from the Netherlands, Estonia, Belgium, Poland, Luxembourg, and Austria, and my officials engage regularly with counterparts in other Member States on this issue.

Ireland needs to work closely with its EU colleagues to build a consensus around the need to reverse the proposed cuts in CAP. I would like to reassure the deputy that I will continue to do this, and to fight for a strong CAP budget as the negotiations progress.

Agriculture Industry

Questions (270)

Carol Nolan

Question:

270. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans and incentives to encourage young persons to take up farming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12644/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department currently has a range of measures, both under the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and nationally, to encourage and support young farmers.

Under the CAP, the National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme provides financial support to young farmers and new entrants to farming during the crucial early years immediately following the setting up of a farm enterprise:

- 8,245 applications were received for the Young Farmers Scheme in 2018, with payments totalling €18.4 million issued to young farmers throughout Ireland.

- A further €31 million has been allocated since 2015 to young farmers under the National Reserve.

- Additionally, under the TAMS II Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, co-funded under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, young farmers can avail of the enhanced grant rate of 60% as compared to the standard rate of 40%. Under this Scheme, €12.5 million was paid to approximately 1,300 young farmers in 2018.

There are also a number of national taxation measures specifically aimed at young farmers, specifically ‘100% Stock Relief on Income Tax for Certain Young Trained Farmers’ and ‘Stamp Duty Exemption on Transfers of Land to Young Trained Farmers’. The Agri-taxation Review set out the main policy objectives for continuing support to the sector through agri-taxation measures including:

- Increasing land mobility and the productive use of land; allowing young farmers and new entrants to the sector gain access to land by providing a cheaper means of long-term access to land, as opposed to the relatively high cost of land purchase.

- Assisting succession and the transfer of farms, which continues to be a central part of the Government’s agri-taxation policy. Agricultural Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Retirement Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax, Retirement Relief from Capital Gains Tax and the stamp duty exemptions on the transfer of land all facilitate the early inter-generational transfer of farms.

In addition, in 2017 I launched the 'Succession Farm Partnership Scheme'. This provides for a €25,000 tax credit over five years to further assist with the transfer of farms within a partnership structure, promoting and supporting the earlier intergenerational transfer of family farms. This scheme also encourages important conversations within farm families regarding succession planning.

Teagasc’s recent publication “Teagasc Education Vision – meeting future needs” outlines the importance of education for young farmers and the development of their skills through education and training. This core function of Teagasc is supported and funded by my Department.

Furthermore, supporting young farmers and generational renewal continues to be a priority and will form an important part of the CAP post-2020. My Department and I are actively engaging with other Member States and the EU on these issues during the current negotiations on new CAP proposals.