Medical Card Eligibility

Questions (502)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

502. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will be considered for a discretionary medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25614/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Directive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Cross-Border Health Initiatives

Questions (503)

Micheál Martin

Question:

503. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health if he or his officials have met with their counterparts recently to discuss shared health services in the North-South area; if there is room for expansion of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25617/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

When the Deputy refers to counterparts I assume he is referring to counterparts in Northern Ireland. There is currently no Health Minister in Northern Ireland as the Executive is not in place. However, health co-operation between North and South is very important and there is co-operation on a range of matters between the two jurisdictions. As a result of this co-operation there is ongoing communication between officials in my Department and their counterparts in Northern Ireland and indeed between the relevant agencies.

Co-operation makes sense. The challenges facing health and social care providers, planners, and policy makers on both parts of the island of Ireland are similar. There is no doubt that patient benefits will accrue from pooling expertise, resources and exchanging good practice. I am committed to strengthening and growing North South health cooperation where it is mutually beneficial.

Forestry Sector

Questions (504)

Martin Kenny

Question:

504. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the technical standards for the design of forest entrances from public roads will be reviewed; if clear guidelines will be developed for the granting of planning permission for design and construction of forest entrances from public roads especially in the vicinity of dwelling houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24988/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The creation of forest entrances to and from public roads currently requires planning permission from the relevant local authority under the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended.  It is now proposed to introduce  a Single Consent System, whereby my Department would issue a  single licence for such entrances to public roads, with the exception of national roads which would still require planning permission.   This new consent system will be introduced once the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government  commence the relevant section of the Planning and Development Act.  At the same time, my Department will, by way of Statutory Instrument, assume responsibility for the consent system.

Under this system, a series of measures aimed at minimising the impact of forestry activity on the public road network while also supporting the economic benefits that the forestry sector offers at local level will be introduced.  These measures include:  

- Adherence to the Technical Standard agreed by my Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport  for the design of forest entrances from public roads (http://www.dttas.ie/roads/publications/english/technical-standard-design-forest-entrances-public-roads). This Technical Standard will be subject to regular review to ensure it remains up to date;

- Consultation with local authorities and other relevant prescribed bodies in relation to forest road licence applications;

- Promotion of DAFM's grant scheme  to encourage the use of central tyre inflation technologies on timber transport vehicles.  

Once the new consent system is in place, clear guidance on the  application process will be published on the Department's website and will notified by means of a circular to stakeholders.

Harbours and Piers Funding

Questions (505)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

505. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application for funding (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25066/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department owns, operates and maintains six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl under statute. In addition, my Department also has responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of North Harbour at Cape Clear, as well as the maintenance of a small number of specific piers, lights and beacons throughout Ireland, in accordance with the 1902 ex-congested Districts Board piers, lights and Beacons Act.

The responsibility for the development, and maintenance of Local Authority owned piers, harbours and slipways rests with each Local Authority in the first instance and their parent Department, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government thereafter.

However, as part of its annual Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, my Department has provided limited funding to assist coastal Local Authorities in carrying out small scale projects for the development and repair of piers, harbours and slipways in their ownership. Between 2011 - 2018, €1.6 million in funding has been granted under the programme to Kerry County Council. The pier at Ballinskelligs received funding of €337,380 under this programme between 2016 and 2018. 

Kerry County Council has secured €127,500 of funding for two projects under this year’s programme, namely Tarbert Pier and Dromatoor Pier.  

A key element in the determination of the projects to be funded is the priority placed on them by the Council, and while applications were received for Glen Pier, Ballinskelligs and Fenit, the two projects at Tarbert and Dromatoor received a higher prioritisation by the Council.

These two projects remain on a reserve list of eligible projects which would only progress should additional funding become available during the year.

Should any application be submitted by Kerry County Council in relation to Glen Pier, Ballinskelligs under any future programme, it will be given due consideration, taking into account the terms and conditions of the scheme, the priority attached by the Council and available funds.

Fur Farming

Questions (506)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

506. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the value of mink skins (details supplied) exported in each of the years 2014 to 2018. [25203/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) collect statistics on exports of goods and services from Ireland. Products and Raw goods are categorised using combined nomenclature codes, a European harmonised system used to classify goods for customs and trade purposes.

The following table details the total value and weight of mink skins exported in each of the years 2014 to 2018, as reported by the CSO, based on these combined nomenclature codes.

#

Exports

Exports

€ 000

Tonnes

2014

3,118

20

2015

4,681

118

2016

1,672

15

2017

3,176

15

2018

1,628

13

TAMS Appeals

Questions (507)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

507. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a TAMS II TCIS review for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24871/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The applicant in this case has requested a review of the decision in relation to a payment claim submitted in respect of the TAMS II Tillage Capital Investment Scheme.

The case will be reviewed in accordance with the usual internal review process. The applicant will be advised directly, once the review process is completed and, if unsuccessful, will have the option of appealing the decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

GLAS Payments

Questions (508)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

508. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 1194 of 8 May 2019, when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal under the GLAS 2 scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24945/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The applicant named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and has received all payments in respect of scheme years 2016 and 2017.

My officials are working to resolve an issue relating to a cross-compliance penalty which has delayed the processing of the 2018 payments. Once this application clears the pre-payment validations, the 2018 GLAS payments will be processed. GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.

Animal Identification Schemes

Questions (509)

Peter Burke

Question:

509. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to allow farmers to use up and phase out their remaining stocks of mart tags and non-EID factory tags rather than throwing them out in view of the waste involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24972/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The extension of electronic identification to all sheep was first announced in May 2018. In an effort to facilitate keepers in using up stocks of conventional tags, the implementation date for the new rules was extended to 1 June 2019, thereby allowing the use of single conventional tags for the movement of lambs under 12 months up to 31 May. Tag suppliers approved under the National Sheep Identification System (NSIS) have generally only been permitted to sell electronic tags since 1 October 2018.

Officials at my Department have written to keepers on a number of occasions since September last year, advising them of the new rules and encouraging them to use existing stocks of conventional tags by 31 May. However should any farmers still have unused stocks of conventional yellow marts tags they can purchase matching single EID tags from their chosen tag supplier to create full EID tag sets.

The new sheep identification rules that came into operation on 1 June 2019 require that all sheep moved from any holding from that date must be identified electronically. S.I. 309 of 2011, which transposes Council Regulation (EU) 21/20014 regarding the identification of sheep into national law, has been amended by S.I. 243 of 2019, giving legal effect to this change. Accordingly, there are no circumstances under which farmers can move sheep that are identified only with a single conventional (non-electronic) tag.

Basic Payment Scheme Data

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A

Questions (510)

Martin Kenny

Question:

510. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers in each county in receipt of the basic farm payment; the number who receive less and more than that amount respectively, the national average payment per hectare in their basic farm payments in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24994/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested is currently being collated and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy once it is available.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
I refer to the information requested in Parliamentary Question No. 510, Ref. PQ24994/19, concerning the number of farmers in each county in receipt of the basic farm payment; the number that receive less than and above respectively, the national average payment per hectare in their basic farm payments in tabular form.
The information requested is set out in the following tables. The average payment for 2018 amounts to €254.08 and was calculated by dividing the total monies paid by the number of hectares declared for all paid applicants.
The average payment details for 2018 include amounts paid under the greening scheme.

Year

Average Payment per Hectare

2018

€254.08

County

Year

Under National Average

Over National Average

Totals

CARLOW

2018

497

1,105

1,602

CAVAN

2018

2,566

2,149

4,715

CLARE

2018

3,660

2,280

5,940

CORK

2018

5,196

7,566

12,762

DONEGAL

2018

6,366

1,937

8,303

DUBLIN

2018

331

290

621

GALWAY

2018

6,771

5,006

11,777

KERRY

2018

5,111

2,468

7,579

KILDARE

2018

899

1,141

2,040

KILKENNY

2018

1,014

2,318

3,332

LAOIS

2018

1,017

1,876

2,893

LEITRIM

2018

2,690

679

3,369

LIMERICK

2018

2,750

2,241

4,991

LONGFORD

2018

1,188

1,133

2,321

LOUTH

2018

602

875

1,477

MAYO

2018

7,481

3,808

11,289

MEATH

2018

1,574

2,159

3,733

MONAGHAN

2018

1,797

2,168

3,965

OFFALY

2018

1,480

1,491

2,971

ROSCOMMON

2018

3,255

2,342

5,597

SLIGO

2018

2,747

1,124

3,871

TIPPERARY

2018

2,689

4,093

6,782

WATERFORD

2018

912

1,453

2,365

WESTMEATH

2018

1,551

1,412

2,963

WEXFORD

2018

1,184

2,798

3,982

WICKLOW

2018

1,074

1,029

2,103

TOTAL

66,402

56,941

123,343

Teagasc Administration

Questions (511)

Shane Cassells

Question:

511. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of times each Teagasc regional advisory council has met in each year from 2012 to 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24996/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is an operational matter for Teagasc.

Accordingly, my Department has passed the question to Teagasc who have been requested to respond directly to the Deputy within 10 days.

Organic Farming Scheme

Questions (512)

Alan Kelly

Question:

512. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if notice was given to farmers prior to the 19 November 2018 launch of the organic farming scheme; if so, the date of the notice; if there will be an opportunity to apply for the scheme in 2019; his plans to expand the scheme in view of its positive impact on the environment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25012/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Following the recommendation of the Organic Strategy Group, my colleague Minister Doyle announced the re-opening of the Organic Farming Scheme on a targeted basis on the 19 November 2018. The Scheme remained opened for applications up to the 19 December and a total of 225 applications were received. The re-opening of the scheme was widely publicised at the time and all groups and their representatives on the Organic Strategy Group also publicised it to their members.

The Organic Farming Scheme, under the current RDP, has more than achieved its targets in terms of new land converted and the maintenance of organic land. The current budget allocation for the Organic Farming Scheme is now fully committed based on the current level of farmers in the scheme and I have no plans to re-open the scheme beyond last year's re-opening.

The Organic Strategy Group, in their deliberations considered the question of the Organic Farming Scheme post-2020. The inclusion of an Organic Farming Scheme in a new Rural Development Programme was considered essential to stimulate and support increased organic food productions. As there will be more scope for adjustments to the scheme under a new Rural Development Programme, consideration was given by the Group to how it might operate more effectively in stimulating organic production in areas where market opportunities are greater.

CAP negotiations, currently in progress, will ultimately guide and shape the Organic Farming Scheme under the new RDP.

Organic Farming Scheme

Questions (513)

Alan Kelly

Question:

513. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the assessment he carried out in 2018 prior to his announcement to immediately reopen the organic farming scheme; if he will provide a report on the work of the organic sector strategy group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25013/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The new Organic Farming Scheme under the current Rural Development Programme has proved extremely successful, attracting more new applicants than any scheme previously, and encouraging a significant number of Irish farmers to convert to organic farming systems.

The Organic Sector Strategy Group, which Minister Doyle established in March 2018, was tasked with developing a strategy for the development of the Organic Sector for the period up to 2025 and with assessing the justification for a targeted reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme, looking to best economic and environmental outcomes, in accordance with the Group’s terms of reference.

A public consultation process provided an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute to the development of the new strategic plan. This public consultation process combined with an Organic Processing Survey ensured that stakeholders had their views considered in building on the progress made and providing clear direction for further development of the Organic Sector for the next seven years.

According to 2017 Bord Bia research, categories with the greatest growth potential in the domestic market are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. Notwithstanding the fact that a large proportion of the total organic tillage crop is dedicated to oats, there is insufficient supply to meet demand. Furthermore, the insufficient supply of organic cereals and proteins is inhibiting the growth of the organic dairy, meat, and aquaculture sectors. This deficit in supply also necessitates importation which increases costs of production and therefore impacts competitiveness. The overriding challenge is to ensure that the development of production of organic food products is in line with market requirements and consumer demand. This will be the key to long term sustainable growth of the Irish Organic Food Sector.

Based on this assessment, the Group considered that there was sufficient market demand to justify the reopening of the Organic Farming Scheme on a targeted basis focussing on areas that are in deficit and where market demand is growing. In addition, the reopening of the Scheme was perceived as one of the most important steps in the future direction and development of the Sector. The Group unanimously agreed that the areas to be targeted should be organic horticulture, cereals and dairy.

The Organic Farming Scheme was re-opened on 19 November, 2018 on a targeted basis. The closing date for submission of completed on-line applications was 19 December 2018.

The report of the Organic Sector Strategy Group 2019 - 2025 was published in January 2019. A copy of the report is available on my department's website with updates regarding progress made on a quarterly basis from the Organic Strategy Implementation Group.

GLAS Payments

Questions (514)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

514. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) has not received a 2018 GLAS payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25069/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received payment in respect of scheme years 2015, 2016 and the 2017 advance.

The 2017 balance payment has been delayed as the Commonage Management Plan has not yet been submitted as required under the scheme. An appeal to the Commonage Implementation Committee has been submitted in respect of one of the commonages on the application. The position is that the Committee has written to the Commonage Advisor in question and a reply is awaited.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Questions (515)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

515. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of oyster licences for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25082/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department considers all applications for aquaculture licences in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation. The licensing process involves consultation with a wide range of scientific and technical advisers as well as various Statutory Consultees. The legislation also provides for a period of public consultation.

In addition, the legislation governing aquaculture licensing provides for an appeals mechanism. Appeals against licence decisions are a matter for the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) which is an independent statutory body. Full details of the appeals process can be obtained at: http://www.alab.ie/appealsprocess/.

The persons referred to by the Deputy submitted a number of licence applications with other parties for the cultivation of Pacific Oysters on sites in Castlemaine Harbour. Negative determinations were made in respect of these licence applications in Autumn 2018. The reasons for these determinations are set out on my Department’s website at this link:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/seafood/aquacultureforeshoremanagement/aquaculturelicensing/aquaculturelicencedecisions/kerry/.

I understand that the applicants and other parties involved have made a number of appeals to the licensing determinations in question to ALAB. As the Board is currently considering these appeals as part of a statutory process, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter pending the conclusion of that process.

Common Fisheries Policy

Questions (516)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

516. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the EU fixed total allowable catches for all fish species in tonnage in Irish waters, that is, the exclusive economic zone of Ireland for 2018 and 2019; and the total allowable catches for Irish vessels in tonnage in the same waters for each year [25085/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the CFP, total allowable catches (TAC) for stocks to which the Irish fleet have access to are decided annually based on the scientific advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The scientific advice and, in turn, the TACs for the year are based on ICES area divisions and subdivisions, not any particular EEZ. The majority of Irish fishing takes place in ICES areas 6 and 7.

I have attached a table for the Deputy's information with the Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and the Irish quota for 2018 and 2019 for TACs caught partially in the Irish EEZ. These areas are not exclusive to the Irish EEZ as they cover a number of different ICES areas and sub areas. The figures do not include the valuable inshore fisheries which are not managed by way of a TAC system.

SPECIES

AREA

TAC 2018 (tonnes)

Irish Quota 2018 (tonnes)

TAC 2019 (tonnes)

Irish Quota 2019 (tonnes)

Greater silver smelt

5, 6 and 7

4,661

329

4,661

329

Boarfish

(all waters)

20,380

14,084

21,830

15,086

Herring

5b and 6b; 6aN (1)

4,170

630

4,170

630

Herring

7bc ; 6aS (1)

1,630

1,482

1,630

1,482

Herring

7a (1)

7,016

1,826

6,896

1,795

Herring

7g, 7h, 7j and 7k (1)

10,127

8,751

4,742

4,097

Cod

6b 5b 12 and 14

74

16

74

16

Cod

6a 5b

0

0

1,735

385

Cod

7a

695

459

807

530

Cod

7b-c,e-k, 8, 9 & 10; & 34.1.1

3,076

757

1,610

650

Megrims

6; 5b; 12 and 14

5,432

704

5,782

749

Megrims

7

12,310

2,038

18,132

3,001

Monkfish

6; 5b; 12 and 14

9,180

918

11,453

1,145

Monkfish

7

33,516

2,540

32,999

2,501

Haddock

6b; 12 and 14

5,163

429

10,469

824

Haddock

5b and 6a

4,654

762

3,226

528

Haddock

7b-k, 8, 9 and 10; 34.1.1

6,910

1,536

8,329

1,851

Haddock

7a

3,207

1,388

3,739

1,619

Whiting

6; 5b; 12 and 14

213

64

1,112

324

Whiting

7a

80

46

727

419

Whiting

7b - 7k

22,213

6,176

19,184

5,334

Hake

6 and 7; 5b; 12 and 14

62,536

3,449

79,762

4,400

Blue whiting

1 - 7, 8a,b,d,e, 12 & 14

401,363

47,451

319,727

37,800

Blue Ling

5b, 6, 7

10,463

30

11,378

33

Ling

6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 14

12,696

935

12,196

898

Norway lobster

6; 5b

12,129

164

15,092

204

Norway lobster

7

29,091

10,729

19,784

7,296

Plaice

6, 5b ; 12 and 14

658

261

658

261

Plaice

7a

1,793

1,255

3,075

1,499

Plaice

7b and 7c

74

63

74

63

Plaice

7f and 7g

511

204

1,662

243

Plaice

7h, 7j and 7k

128

56

109

47

Pollack

6; 5b; 12 and 14

397

56

397

56

Pollack

7

12,163

929

12,163

929

Saithe

6; 5b; 12 and 14

9,575

428

11,753

454

Saithe

7, 8, 9 and 10; 34.1.1

3,176

1,491

3,176

1,491

Skates/Rays

6a, 6b, 7a-c 7e-k

9,699

1,266

10,184

1,329

Mackerel

6, 7, 8a,b, d and e; 5b; 2a; 12 and 14

326,014

69,141

260,813

55,313

Common sole

6; 5b ; 12 and 14

57

46

57

46

Common sole

7a

40

17

414

74

Common sole

7b and 7c

42

36

42

36

Common sole

7f and 7g

920

29

841

26

Common sole

7h, 7j, and 7k

382

171

382

171

Horse mackerel

4b, 4c, 7d

12,629

376

12,629

376

Horse mackerel

2a, 4a, 6, 7a-c, 7e-k, 8a,b,d,e ,5b, 12, 14

99,470

25,625

117,518

30,306

Albacore

Atlantic Ocean N of 5N

26,094

2,845

25,862

2,854

Fish Exports

Questions (517)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

517. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount and value of fish exports that are in commodity form in tonnage and as a percentage of total exports from the latest data. [25086/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The following table shows the total export figures from 2016 to the 1st Quarter 2019. These figures include live, fresh and frozen seafood products.

Year

Tonnes

Value (€)

2016

201,254

555,039,271

2017

239,856

617,388,067

2018

222,214

577,382,092

2019 – Q1

77,327

173,365,214

Data Source: CSO

While the CSO is responsible for collecting and reporting statistics on such matters, Bord Bia monitors and reports on the performance of all Irish food exports, including seafood. The Deputy may be interested to read further detail on the performance and projections of such exports in the annual reports, published online.

https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/insights/export-performance-and-prospects/.

Aquaculture Data

Questions (518)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

518. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of aquaculture production carried out in each of the years 2005 to 2018, by value and tonnage in tabular form. [25087/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

Volume (t)

62,838

57,422

52,504

45,006

47,407

46,959

44,785

Value (€'000)

110,229

124,660

117,711

93,893

106,568

122,771

128,450

[Table cont]

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Volume (t)

36,441

34,629

31,589

40,198

44,012

45,738

37,118

Value (€'000)

131,119

117,415

116,110

148,664

167,718

199,928

179,629

GLAS Issues

Questions (519)

Michael Lowry

Question:

519. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the dissolution of a farming partnership into a limited company has caused the dissolving of a GLAS contract (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25095/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The above-mentioned partnership was approved into GLAS 1 on 31 October 2015. The partnership subsequently requested to dissolve their partnership and transfer their GLAS contract to a limited company. Having regard to the governing regulations and the terms and conditions of the scheme, the Department decided that the GLAS contract could not be transferred in this case and this decision was communicated to the above mentioned partnership on 26 May 2019.

A request for a review of the decision of the Department was received on 6 June 2019 and the case is currently under review, in accordance with the usual internal review process. The applicant will be advised directly, once the process is complete and, if unsuccessful, will have the option of appealing the decision to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (520)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

520. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the submission made by his Department to the European Commission for emergency Brexit funding for the beef sector will be published; if a copy of same will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25104/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I have been having ongoing discussions with Commissioner Hogan and other senior EU officials regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit for some time now following up on the considerable work of my Department on this issue. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agrifood and fisheries sector. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

I am also keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The recent announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is very welcome in this context. I have been making the case for some time for an exceptional aid package from the EU Commission for Irish beef farmers, at EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings, and in direct consultation with the Commission. The announcement by the Commissioner is another example of the importance of EU solidarity when it comes to facing significant economic challenges.

This exceptional aid provision will be given effect through a Commission Implementing Regulation. While Member States will be invited to give an opinion on the draft Regulation through the Commission’s Common Market Organisation Management Committee, the draft Regulation is within the Commission’s own legal competence, and is not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other Member States, in terms of its content.

Further details on the aid package will be announced in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.

Tuberculosis Eradication Programme

Questions (521)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

521. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason he has not invited representatives from the beef plan group to attend meetings of the TB forum; when the next meeting of the forum will take place; if beef plan representatives will be invited to contribute at future meetings of the forum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25105/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The TB Forum was established in mid-2018 and has held a number of meetings to date. The next TB Forum is scheduled for 25 June 2019.

It is envisaged that an Interim Report, based on discussions over the past number of months, is expected to issue shortly after the upcoming meeting. Part of the deliberations have focussed on the principle of "Working in Partnership" as outlined in the National Farmed Animal Health Strategy. Reflecting that, the discussion papers issued in advance of establishing the TB Forum proposed enhanced governance arrangements with regular stakeholder meetings to monitor progress in eradicating bovine TB and considering amendments to the Programme, where appropriate.

Following receipt and consideration of the Interim Report, I will decide on the future workings of the Forum.

Brexit Supports

Questions (522)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

522. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the distribution of the €100 million Brexit fund for farmers will be subject to preconditions and-or specific categories of farmers such as beef finishers as has been reported; if the fund will be available to farmers at any stage along the beef chain whether calf, weanlings, store or finished; or steer, bull, heifer or cow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25158/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I have had ongoing discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agrifood and fisheries sector. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

I am also keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The recent announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is very welcome in this context. I have been making the case for some time for an exceptional aid package from the EU Commission for Irish beef farmers, at EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings, and in direct consultation with the Commission. The announcement by the Commissioner is another example of the importance of EU solidarity when it comes to facing significant economic challenges.

This exceptional aid provision will be given effect through a Commission Implementing Regulation. While Member States will be invited to give an opinion on the draft Regulation through the Commission’s Common Market Organisation Management Committee, the draft Regulation is within the Commission’s own legal competence, and is not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other Member States, in terms of its content.

Further details on the aid package will be announced in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.