Freedom of Information Data

Questions (538)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

538. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of freedom of information requests granted, part granted, refused, transferred to an appropriate body, withdrawn or handled outside freedom of information in 2018, in tabular form. [26384/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The data requested by the Deputy for 2018 is set out in the following table. 

Number of FOI requests

2018

Granted

260

Part granted

120

Refused

61

Transferred

4

Withdrawn

50

Handled outside FOI

40

Forestry Data

Questions (539)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

539. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on comments by an organisation (details supplied) regarding the delay in processing forestry applications; the number of applications received in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of applications that remained to be processed and a final decision made by 31 December in each year; the number of applicants waiting in excess of 12 months for a decision from the moment an application was received in each year, in tabular form. [26477/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is the competent authority for the granting of licences for afforestation, tree felling, forest road works and aerial fertilisation. There are a number of considerations that are taken into account when assessing an application for forestry licences, and I would like to take this opportunity to outline these to you.

General Guidelines and Assessments

All forestry licence applications undergo a comprehensive vetting process to ensure that inter alia the landscape, environment and our archaeological heritage are protected. Every application is treated on its own merits and is examined with regard to its effect, if any, on its surroundings. There are a number of guideline documents, such as Forestry and Water Quality Guidelines; Forestry and the Landscape Guidelines; which are available on my Department’s website. Further, the Code of Best Forest Practice is a listing of all forestry operations and the manner in which they should be carried out to ensure the requirements for Sustainable Forest Management in Ireland are maintained.

Since the commencement in May 2017 of the Forestry Act, 2014, applications must be advertised to provide for 30 days public consultation. The public consultation process is assisted by the erection of site notices for all afforestation and forest road works licence applications.

A registered forester must complete an application for all afforestation, forest road works or aerial fertilisation licences. Applications for tree felling licences are accepted from private individuals or registered foresters and other agents. Applications are accepted throughout the year. An application may be commenced but will not be finalised until certain mandatory documents are received and acknowledged. It is at this point that the application is considered complete and advertised on my Department’s website. There is an average of 30 days between when an application is started and advertised.

In addition to this, referrals may be made to the local authority, Inland Fisheries Ireland, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and An Taisce depending on the specific characteristics of the site concerned. These can include its proximity to water courses, designated European sites, or sensitive landscapes as defined by the local authority. Where an application wholly or partly falls within a designated site, no decision may be made until an opinion is received from NPWS.

I am aware that the introduction of the independent Forestry Appeals Committee, the associated appeals process and more complex Appropriate Assessment requirements have resulted in increased processing timeframes for forestry licences. In recognition of this and of the complexity involved, training both internally and with registered foresters took place in January and April this year. I anticipate that this training will, among other things, lead to an improvement in the quality of initial applications and lands being put forward for consideration, as this is so important in terms of processing time.

I know there have been delays issuing licences due to archaeological and ecology issues. Additional resources have been provided to undertake the archaeological review with two new archaeologists employed; significant work has been done to clear backlogs arising for this reason. In terms of ecology, the recruitment process for a new ecologist will shortly commence with a view to putting resources in place to meet the increased demand. Furthermore, parallel referral processes have been put in place in order that both the forestry inspector and the specialist archaeologist/ecologist may view a file at the same time; this is expected to lead to more timely communication with applicants where additional information is required.

Refinements have been recently introduced to the Department's mapping tool which may reduce the number of cases referred to archaeology. My officials have also issued a circular to registered foresters and other stakeholders encouraging the submission of Harvest Plan with tree felling applications; this will form part of the assessment itself, will be taken into account as part of the Appropriate Assessment process and could lead to a speedier assessment process.

Licence Applications

The following tables show the afforestation and forest road works licence applications received for the years indicated (*to 31st May 2019). This is the most accurate information available since the Forestry Act, 2014 was commenced in 2017, when the application process changed. Statistics for the period 2015/2016 are not readily available but will be supplied to the Deputy separately, however they are not comparable in that the environmental requirements, among other things, are now different.

Afforestation Applications

Year

Received (1)

Received & decided in that year (2)

Not available for decision at 31st December (3)

Available for decision at 31st December (4)

2017

1,409

828

514

67

2018

1,074

796

278

100

2019 *

409

109

N/A

N/A

Note: The table outlines decisions on applications received in the same year only; other decisions for previous periods also issued.

1. The total number of applications received in the year

2. The number of applications received and decided in that year.

3. The number of applications that were commenced in the year and were still with the agent or withdrawn and therefore unavailable for decision at 31st December.

4. The number of applications in available for decision on 31st December

Of the applications received in 2017:

- 72% of those that received a decision were within 100 days.

Similarly, for applications received in 2018:

- 57% of those that received a decision were decided within 100 days.

The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme is voluntary and applicants who receive approval to afforest are not obliged to plant. The conversion rates show that of the approved applications, less than 60% were actually planted.

Forest Road Works

Year

Total received

(1)

Received & decided in that year (2)

Not available for decision at 31st December (3)

Available for decision at 31st December (4)

2017

566

319

90

157

2018

728

288

98

342

2019 *

327

79

N/A

N/A

Note: The table outlines decisions on applications received in the same year only.

1. The total number of applications received in the year

2. The number of applications received and decided in that year.

3. The number of applications that were commenced in the year and were still with the agent or withdrawn and therefore unavailable for decision at 31st December.

4. The number of applications in available for decision on 31st December.

Of the applications received in 2017:

- 75% of those that received a decision were within 100 days.

Similarly, for applications received in 2018:

- 71% of those that received a decision were decided within 100 days.

Felling applications

Data on felling applications for 2017 - 2019 is as follows. Statistics for the period 2015/2016 are not readily available but will be supplied to the Deputy separately.

Year

Total received

Decisions Issued

2017

3,301

3,003

2018

5,969

3,603

2019 *

2,404

2,779

Felling licences can be obtained for a duration of up to 10 years. For this reason, applicants are now seeking one licence to cover several felling events scheduled for a number of years in the future. Previously, they would have sought several licences of shorter duration for each individual felling event.

The number of tree felling licence applications received up to the end of May 2019 has increased almost 93% on the same period in 2018 – 1,587 (2019) compared to 823 (2018). In turn, the number of licences issued has increased by 288% in the year to the end of May 2019 – 2,899 (2019); 747 (2018).

Afforestation Programme

Questions (540)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

540. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the actions for afforestation for the agricultural sector in the Climate Action Plan 2019; the annual emission reductions via carbon sequestration; the total reduction over the period of the plan; and the annual net cost for each forestry action covered by the plan. [26478/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Climate Action Plan is a comprehensive Government response to the risks associated with climate change and outlines actions and strategies to reduce and manage those risks through a combination of mitigation and adaptation responses. Afforestation has a significant role to play in mitigation particularly, through carbon sequestration. Under current rules agreed as part of the EU Effort Sharing Regulation, forestry can contribute some 2.1 million tonnes of CO2 per annum of carbon towards Ireland’s emissions targets under the next climate mitigation period 2021-2030. Planting achieved under successive afforestation programmes will contribute to this emissions reductions figure. The Climate Action Plan now sets a target of an average of 8,000 hectares of new planting per year. In addition, the land use sector will provide a total of 0.58 million tonnes of CO2 per annum over the period 2021-2030.

While this will mostly yield benefits in the longer term post-2030, it will also contribute to our 2030 target through carbon sequestration. Achieving these levels of afforestation will be challenging, as recent trends have not delivered new planting at this rate. I am, however, committed to meeting this challenge through the continued provision of generous grants and premiums, engagement with a range of stakeholders from farmers to public bodies, a dedicated promotion and communication campaign, and by examining ways in which farm forestry can be better integrated into the new CAP. Knowledge transfer programmes and other initiatives which raise awareness of the economic and eco system benefits of forestry will continue to play an important role in tackling some of the barriers to planting.

An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030 by Teagasc demonstrates a range of mitigation options across the agricultural sector and shows that afforestation is a cost efficient land use abatement option. The cost of forestry measures included in the Climate Action Plan will be fully examined as part of the development of the next National Forestry Programme.

GLAS Issues

Questions (541)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

541. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding GLAS grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26523/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The GLAS scheme is now fully subscribed and there are no plans to reopen the scheme to new applications.

Agri-environment policy is included in the CAP reform negotiations currently under way and any future schemes will be dependent on the outcome of these negotiations.

In this regard, my Department has received a submission from the Federation of Irish Beekeepers Associations (FIBKA) which will be considered in the context of the CAP Post-2020 consultation process.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (542)

Carol Nolan

Question:

542. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the contract for a company (details supplied) to collect the foal levy was put out for tender; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26524/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (543)

Carol Nolan

Question:

543. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for a company (details supplied) being given an €80,000 lump sum when the contract for the collection for the foal levy was being renewed in addition to €24,000 administration costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26525/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (544)

Carol Nolan

Question:

544. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason Horse Racing Ireland does not collect the foal levy itself in view of the fact it has a large number of staff and this would save unnecessary costs. [26526/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (545)

Carol Nolan

Question:

545. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a stud (details supplied) is permitted to continue the practice of collecting money from breeders in view of another stud making the changes from the advertised fee to the general applicable fee. [26527/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (546)

Carol Nolan

Question:

546. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he and Horse Racing Ireland are giving back the money to breeders who have already overpaid the levy in 2019 in addition to repaying the persons who were overcharged the levy in previous years in view of changes at a stud (details supplied). [26528/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (547)

Carol Nolan

Question:

547. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the foal levy should be suspended until there is an investigation and full review of the levy in respect of all the irregularities and the overpayment of the levy and the uncertainty of the legislation to the user. [26530/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The current Foal Levy scheme, which was introduced in 2000 on a statutory basis, applies to all thoroughbred foals registered in Ireland. The Foal Levy is currently calculated with reference to SI 735 of 2011, which is the governing legislation.

HRI's Foal Levy Committee reviews the rates, bands and structures of the levy on an annual basis and has also considered potential alternative methodologies to calculate the levy due. They have concluded that the current banded/tiered approach represents the most equitable and appropriate way of securing the vital funds needed for the breeding sector. I understand that the majority of foals registered fall into the two lower bands of €35 and €50, and that there is a very high compliance rate of circa 98.3%.

The levy generates vital funding for the Irish Equine Centre, Irish Thoroughbred Marketing and the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association. Without the levy funding, these organisations would be unable to provide the services that they do. As such, I have no plans to alter the current arrangements for the levy.

If the Deputy is aware of irregularities relating to the overcharging of the levy, I would be grateful if she would provide evidence to that effect to my Department.

GLAS Payments

Questions (548)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

548. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26544/19]

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 payments in respect of 2015, 2016, 2017 and the 2018 Advance. The 2018 Balance payment is currently being processed and will issue shortly, once all validation checks have been passed.

Land Issues

Questions (549)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

549. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when consideration of a request to the lands branch (details supplied) for the release of a burden on a folio in favour of the Land Commission will be completed; the date the request was received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26550/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Following a site visit on 18th June last to establish the position on the ground, officials in the Lands Branch of my Department are now in a position to progress the discharge of the burden concerned. The solicitor representing the registered owner of the folio referenced by the Deputy has been advised of the position.

Aquaculture Regulation

Questions (550, 551)

Clare Daly

Question:

550. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether the system operated by his Department for the award of organic status to Irish food production is not fit for purpose in view of the fact that organic status was awarded to a major salmon product that was under investigation by his Department for three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26673/19]

View answer

Clare Daly

Question:

551. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the meaningful assurance that can be given to consumers that salmon from farms under investigation by his Department is actually being produced organically. [26674/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 550 and 551 together.

At the outset, I wish to make very clear that the procedures operated by my Department are designed to ensure that the highest standards apply to all areas of Irish organic production. The award of organic status is secured by a formal certification process delegated by my Department to various Organic Control Bodies in accordance with the relevant EU regulations. The certification process involves regular inspection of all organic operators, production techniques and sampling of organic produce to ensure compliance with all EU requirements.

The inspection process for producers of organic salmon is extremely detailed and includes adherence to a range of core organic principles, as well as stocking levels, feeding practice, caging standards, traceability and fish-welfare & husbandry amongst other things. Organic aquaculture sites are also subject to the standard inspection regime applying to conventional producers by the Marine Institute and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. In addition, all Organic Control Bodies are independently accredited by an external accreditation body.

In 2016, the certification system for organic salmon in Ireland was included in a comprehensive audit by the EU of the controls applied by Ireland in the Organic Sector generally. The EU audit team made some recommendations which have been implemented and which further strengthened our control system across the board.

I am satisfied that the measures outlined above are robust enough to provide meaningful assurance to consumers who purchase salmon from organic farms.

With regard to investigations by my Department, as legal proceedings have been initiated in a certain instance, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Questions (552)

Clare Daly

Question:

552. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether his recent decision to revoke a salmon farm licence for breach of licence conditions demonstrates that the award of organic status for farmed salmon is just a marketing exercise designed to achieve premium prices. [26675/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In light of the fact that legal proceedings have been initiated in respect of the decision referred to, it would be inappropriate for me to make any comment on the matter at this stage.

Aquaculture Regulation

Questions (553)

Clare Daly

Question:

553. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason his Department relies on voluntary reporting by salmon farmers of chemical treatments used for disease control meaning that attention is not being drawn to the type of chemicals being applied to the fish stocks. [26676/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Regulation of the use of veterinarian-prescribed treatment chemicals on salmon farms lies with my Department’s veterinary inspectors.

The supply and use of medicines in Ireland is governed by the Animal Remedies Regulations 2005 (SI No 734/2005, superseded by SI No 786/2007). Treatment chemicals registered for use are prescribed by private veterinarians overseeing stock health on salmon farms.

In accordance with paragraph 34 (a) and (b) of this legislation, veterinarians are obliged to maintain records of chemicals purchased, sold and administered for a period of 5 years. Paragraphs 39 and 40 of this legislation further detail the conditions and requirements to be upheld for the administration of an authorised animal remedy.

In addition, salmon farm operators, under conditions outlined in paragraph 42 of this legislation, are required to maintain records of the animal remedies applied. My Department’s veterinary inspectors review the animal remedy use outlined in these records and confirm whether operators are operating in accordance with the legislation. These inspections are undertaken by veterinary inspectors at the same time as the Fish Health inspections undertaken on behalf of the Marine Institute.

Aquaculture Regulation

Questions (554)

Clare Daly

Question:

554. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which organic status can be awarded to salmon farms in view of the fact that his attention has not been drawn to the type of chemicals being used by the operators to control disease. [26677/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The organic status of operators in Ireland is certified by rigorous on-going assessment undertaken on behalf of my Department by designated Organic Control Bodies. My Department is the Competent Authority under EU regulations but has delegated the certification function to independent Organic Control Bodies, in accordance with the relevant EU regulations and in common with the practice in many other countries across the EU. The Organic Control Bodies in question act under formal service agreements with my Department and are themselves subject to audit by my Department, by INAB (the Irish National Accreditation Board) and by the various EU audit authorities.

The Organic Control Bodies implement audit procedures for the certification of organic operators to the regulatory requirements of Council Regulation 834 of 2007 and to the detailed rules in respect of organic aquaculture as set down in Commission Regulation 710/2009. Article 25 of that Regulation provides for the use and control of allopathic treatments which are deemed permissible.

All fish farms are required to have a veterinary health plan in place. This health plan is checked at the annual inspection of each organic operator by their respective Organic Control Body. Furthermore, any veterinary treatments required by fish farms must be approved in advance by the relevant Organic Control Body and a copy of a veterinary prescription must be submitted with each request. Detailed records must be maintained by the organic operator and are verified by the relevant Organic Control Body at inspection stage. All cleaning and disinfection substances are noted at inspection stage by the relevant Organic Control Body who verify that they are in compliance with organic regulations.

Aquaculture Licence Data

Questions (555)

Clare Daly

Question:

555. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the density of fish per cage necessary to qualify for organic status; and the evidence provided that this is complied with by salmon farmers before organic status is granted. [26678/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 lays down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. The density of fish per cage to qualify for organic status is stipulated in Annex XIIIa of the above regulation and can be found in the attachment provided.

When applying for the award of Organic status and before an organic licence is granted to an Organic Salmon Farmer, a report form must be completed which requires the applicant to record the stocking density per cage. As part of the certification process an inspection is carried out by the Organic Control Body to verify the stocking density per cage which appears on the application. The fish are placed in separate cages based on their age. The stocking density is verified by using the age of the fish and the anticipated weight rate gain and the size of the cage to work out the stocking density. If the inspector is satisfied that the Organic farming practices meet the organic regulatory requirements, a recommendation is made to grant a licence to the operator concerned.

The granting of the licence must be approved by the Certificate Panel in the Organic Control Body. If the inspector has any concerns following the inspection or if any paperwork was not supplied to the Control Body then the licence will not be granted until the Certificate Panel is satisfied. As part of the application process the applicant must provide the planned stocking density for the following year.

An annual inspection is subsequently carried out by the Organic Control Body concerned. Detailed records must be maintained by the applicant which include the details of inputs/output and mortality rate. These records are examined and verified as part of the annual inspection process to ensure that all regulatory requirements including stocking density are adhered to.

Annex XIIIa

Aquaculture Licences

Questions (556)

Clare Daly

Question:

556. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if in view of a recent television programme (details supplied) that showed breaches of licence conditions in some salmon farmers in Scotland, he is satisfied that the situation is different here. [26679/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Aquaculture licensing is administered by my Department in accordance with the provision of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU Legislation.

Salmon farms are inspected on a regular basis by my Department's Marine Engineering Division and breaches of license conditions are examined by my Department in accordance with the applicable legislation.

Aquaculture Regulation

Questions (557)

Clare Daly

Question:

557. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, in view of the complaints in Scotland that the Government there has been too close to the salmon industry, he will cease perceived conflicts of interest in his Department by which responsibility for the development of the industry and its regulation reside with the marine division. [26680/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department has five distinct Marine Divisions. These are - the Sea Fisheries Administration Division, the Sea Fisheries Policy & Management Division, the Marine Programmes Division, the Marine Engineering Division and the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division. The marine related policy functions which fall under the aegis of this Department are managed in accordance with relevant applicable legislation and are located within a number of separate Divisions (as specified above) within the Department.

The Marine Agencies Governance Unit, located within the Sea Fisheries Policy & Management Division of my Department, is responsible for corporate governance oversight of the following marine agencies - Marine Institute (MI), Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Sea Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) and the independent Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board (ALAB). The oversight role of the Department in this respect is to ensure that each of the marine agencies is and remains compliant with the revised code of practice for the Governance of state bodies (2016).

Aquaculture policy is within the remit of the Marine Programmes Division, a separate Division to the Division that is responsible for corporate governance. Aquaculture licence applications are considered by the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division of the Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation. The legislation provides for a period of statutory and general public consultation in respect of every application. Decisions on applications are made following the fullest consideration of all environmental, technical, legislative and public interest aspects of each application.

In addition, it is open to any member of the public to appeal the Minister’s decision to the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB), an independent authority for the determination of appeals against decisions of the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine on aquaculture licence applications. A person aggrieved by a decision of the Minister on an aquaculture licence application, or by the revocation or amendment of an aquaculture licence, may make an appeal within one month of publication (in the case of a decision) or notification (in the case of revocation/amendment). The secretariat of the board is located in Kilminchy Court Dublin Road Portlaoise Co. Laois. Email: info@alab.ie

The regulation of aquaculture is managed by my Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation.

As referred to above, my Department operates five distinct Marine Divisions dealing with the various marine policy functions assigned to it and I am satisfied that the issue of any conflict of interest does not arise.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (558)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

558. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which the integrated all-island agrifood supply chains could be impacted in a no-deal Brexit; the provisions that have been put in place should this occur; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26700/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Brexit poses enormous challenges for the integrated all-island agri-food sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market. The Government is committed to ensuring no hard border on the island of Ireland in any Brexit scenario.

In advance of the Brexit deadlines of 29 March and 12 April, discussions with the Commission intensified on how we might meet our shared twin objectives of protecting the integrity of the Single Market and Ireland’s place in it, and avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland in the case of a no deal Brexit. This engagement is continuing. There are no easy answers here. A no deal Brexit will have severe economic and political implications for Ireland North and South but the backstop can fully protect the Single Market, avoid a hard border and protect the all-island economy.

I am working with my Departmental officials in a whole-of-Government effort to ensure the best possible outcome for the agri-food sector. I wish to assure the Deputy that the Government remains very focused on supporting the agri-food industry through the challenges ahead. We will be firm in arguing that any agreement reached between the EU and the UK must take account of the very serious challenges presented by Brexit for the sector, particularly given the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland and the importance of our economic relationship with the UK. And, of course, ultimately Ireland's objective in the negotiations is to have a trading relationship with the UK which is as close as possible to the current arrangements.

Brexit Staff

Questions (559)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

559. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of additional veterinary and phytosanitary inspectors expected to be in place by 31 October 2019, in tabular form, in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26701/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department continues to participate actively in the Whole-of-Government approach to preparedness and contingency planning for Brexit. The Government sanctioned in the region of €4m for the commencement of a phased process for the recruitment of additional staff to carry out increased volumes of import controls and export certification arising from Brexit.

These requirements are significant, and arise in relation to the carrying out of documentary, identity and physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin, as set out in EU legislation. The Department had previously carried out an extensive analysis exercise, based on examination of trade and container movement data, to establish the potential volumes of controls that will need to be carried out. This exercise has been used to guide relevant planning in relation to putting in place the staff that will be required.

Regarding staffing requirements in the run up to potential Brexit deadlines in March and April, my Department sought to use a combination of recruitment, redeployment and temporary flexible solutions where appropriate and as necessary. My Department worked with our recruitment partners, the Public Appointments Service to engage Veterinary Inspectors, Portal Inspectors, Plant Health Inspectors and Administrative support staff. Mechanisms to temporarily redeploy experienced people within my Department were also initiated and the engagement of contracted temporary service arrangements was also progressed to address contingencies.

My Department will have up to 230 staff resources available for deployment across a range of disciplines in both front line control, where the majority of resources will be deployed, as well as back up administrative spheres.

Overall, I remain confident that my Department is in a position to deliver the services required in terms of both imports and exports at the appropriate time.

GLAS Appeals

Questions (560)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

560. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS appeal application by a person (details supplied). [26704/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was rejected from GLAS following the results of an inspection.

A request for a review of the inspection findings was received in the Department on 6 June 2019. The Department will inform the applicant, in writing, of the outcome once the review is completed.

Harbours and Piers Development

Questions (561)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

561. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which he plans to honour the commitment in Project Ireland 2040 to develop the potential of Greencastle Harbour, County Donegal. [26715/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Greencastle Harbour is owned by Donegal County Council and responsibility for its maintenance and development rests with that Local Authority in the first instance and its parent Department, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government thereafter.

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.

As indicated, my legislative remit does not extend to Greencastle Harbour, and given that the ownership of, and overall responsibility for Greencastle Harbour rests with the County Council and their parent Department, it is the Council in conjunction with their parent Department who will decide if they wish to carry out any further development, repair or maintenance of Greencastle Harbour.

When Donegal County Council decide on the exact programme of works they wish to carry out, and the costing and timescale for those works, and notify their full intentions in this respect, the matter can be considered further in the context of Government priorities.

My Department does provide limited funding to assist coastal Local Authorities in carrying out small scale projects for the development and repair of Local Authority owned piers, harbours and slipways under the annual Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, subject to available Exchequer funding and overall national priorities.

Donegal County Council successfully secured funding of €9,000 under the 2018 Programme for development works at Greencastle Harbour.

While Donegal County Council submitted a project application for works at Greencastle under the 2019 programme, the proposal did not meet the criteria of the Local Authority scheme.

Should any application be submitted by Donegal County Council in relation to Greencastle Harbour 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.

Maritime Safety

Questions (562)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

562. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the decision by Bord Iascaigh Mhara not to proceed with a €1.5 million sea survival training centre for the National Fisheries College in Greencastle, County Donegal; if the financial resources will be provided for the centre to proceed as officially announced in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26716/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

This project is currently under review in the wider context of the provision of existing professional sea survival training facilities within the State and the cost, both construction and operational, of such a facility. The existing professional sea survival training facilities based at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, are unique in Ireland and designed both for fundamental safety training and specialised survival training, to increase survival ability in emergency situations. Those purpose built facilities are available for the provision of all necessary and required training for fishermen.

At the present time, there is no provision or plans to proceed with this additional project and funding has not been provided in Bord Iascaigh Mhara's Vote in 2019, for this proposed additional facility within the State.

Departmental Investigations

Questions (563)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

563. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the investigation into the alleged contraventions of environmental laws at a location (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26717/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is currently conducting an investigation under the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations ( SI 456/2011) in County Donegal but cannot comment further while matters are under investigation.