Aquaculture Licence Applications

Questions (2070)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

2070. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if e-mail correspondence from a person (details supplied) concerning aquaculture licence applications has been received; if so, when a reply will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32638/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has received a communication from the person named which relates to aquaculture licence applications in Ballyness Bay, Co. Donegal.

My Department responded to the communication last week.

Pesticide Use

Questions (2071)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

2071. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on the use of glyphosate on food crops; if he is examining banning glyphosate further to the decision of the Austrian Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32680/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Regulatory decisions on the approval and use of pesticides are based on the scientific consensus view of all the relevant technical information from all sources. In regard to glyphosate, my Department is guided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), who have both concluded, on the basis of extensive reviews, and involving public consultation, that glyphosate can be used safely without putting consumers or users at risk. The EFSA review included an assessment of potential dietary exposure that could result from pre-harvest use. This process guided the decision to renew the authorisation of glyphosate within the European Union in 2017.

Following the approval of active substances at EU level, plant protection products (formulations containing the active ingredient) are assessed thoroughly at a national level on the basis of detailed scientific evaluations conducted in accordance with agreed EU standards and taking account of local agronomic and environmental conditions. This process is currently on-going at Member State level and may result in some changes to the authorised uses for glyphosate based products. My Department will only authorise plant protection products on the basis of robust scientific evidence indicating high levels of protection for human and animal health and the environment.

The EU process for consideration of a further renewal of approval of glyphosate will begin in December 2019 and a full dossier will be submitted to the Member States Assessment Group on Glyphosate (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) by 15 June 2020. This process will involve a comprehensive scientific evaluation of all relevant data from all sources and will include a public consultation period. My Department will continue to monitor international peer-reviewed scientific evidence and the guidance provided by EFSA and ECHA.

Maritime Safety

Questions (2072)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

2072. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the outrage among fishing communities and emergency services in Greencastle, Inishowen, County Donegal, and elsewhere at the decision not to proceed with the sea survival centre at the National Fisheries School at Greencastle, County Donegal, despite it being officially announced, planning permission attained and tenders issued for construction; and if the decision will be reviewed and reversed. [32789/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

This proposed project is currently under review in the wider context of the provision of the existing professional sea survival training facilities within the State and the significant cost, both construction and operational, of such an additional facility. The existing modern 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, state of the art, 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 Mharas's (BIM) Vote in 2019, for this proposed additional facility. Technical details in relation to the proposed project are a matter for BIM including in relation to announcements, planning and tendering for the project.

Beef Exports

Questions (2073)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

2073. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has been requested by the Iranian ambassador to do a beef deal with Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32845/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Total Irish agri-food exports to Iran in 2018 were around €1.9 million. According to the CSO, no beef was exported to Iran in 2018.

A veterinary health certificate for the export of beef from Ireland to Iran was agreed in March 2013. Therefore, the Iranian beef market is open at present but the resumption of exports is a matter for the industry.

Trade Agreements

Questions (2074)

Danny Healy-Rae

Question:

2074. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a beef trade agreement with Iran is not being sought in order to help beef farmers here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32854/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Total Irish agri-food exports to Iran in 2018 were around €1.9 million. According to CSO statistics, no beef was exported to Iran in 2018.

The primary role of my Department is to open up markets for the industry and it is then up to the industry, with the support of my Department and Bord Bia, to avail of these opportunities. However, the actual levels of exports will depend on a range of factors, including global supply and demand dynamics, currency fluctuations and individual customer requirements.

A veterinary health certificate for the export of beef from Ireland to Iran was agreed in March 2013. DAFM officials participated in a successful trade mission to Iran and Turkey in April 2016. While the trade mission was primarily dairy-focused, DAFM officials had the opportunity to meet with their Iranian counterparts in order to progress and ultimately agree sheepmeat access to the Iranian market and also to explore other common areas of interest. Therefore, the Iranian beef market is open at present but the resumption of exports is a matter for the industry.

Veterinary Inspection Service Staff

Questions (2075)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

2075. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of veterinary inspectors, portal inspectors and plant health inspectors recruited in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32902/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Veterinary Inspectors carry out a wide variety of duties within my Department in the areas of animal health and welfare, disease control, physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin etc. The table below details the number of Veterinary Inspectors recruited in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019:

Veterinary Inspector Recruitment

No. of Staff

2017

VETERINARY INSPECTOR

Hire

22

2018

VETERINARY INSPECTOR

Hire

21

2019

VETERINARY INSPECTOR

Hire

17

Rehire

5

Grand Total

65

Breakdowns in terms of the other grades referenced will be provided directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Surveys

Questions (2076)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

2076. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of feasibility studies conducted by his Department in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the names of each project being studied; the amount allocated and drawn down for each study; the person or body that sought each study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32934/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department did not conduct any feasibility studies in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019.

Young Farmers Scheme Eligibility

Questions (2077)

John McGuinness

Question:

2077. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an appeal by persons (details supplied) for an application for inclusion in the young farmers scheme will be reopened; if consideration will be given to the poor health of a person and the input to the farm of a person since 2011; if further analysis will be undertaken as to the way in which the farm accounts and banking arrangements are operated; and if a further investigation into the matter will be expedited. [33052/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named was an applicant for the Young Farmer Scheme (YFS) in 2018 and was selected for an Inspection under that scheme. The inspection was carried out on the 07/03/2019. A Control Report issued on the 16/05/2019 to the applicant, outlining the findings of the inspection. In this case, the applicant was found not to be in financial control of the holding as per the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme. Section B of the Control Report was returned by the applicant with comments on the 31/05/2019 and these were examined prior to finalisation of the inspection outcome.

The Formal Notice (FN) letter issued on the 24/06/2019, upholding the findings detailed in the Control Report. As detailed in the FN letter, the applicant could seek a review of this decision. To date, my Department has no record of a review being sought by the applicant. They may wish to seek such a review and also may wish to submit any new facts or fresh evidence relating to farming financial transactions backed up with supporting documentation where relevant. Addressee details are given in the FN letter mentioned above. An outcome of the review will issue by letter to the person named once completed.

In the event that the person named is not satisfied with the outcome of the review, they can appeal the decision to the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

Fishing Vessel Licences

Questions (2078)

John Brassil

Question:

2078. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a proposed ban applies to the registered length or the actual length of a vessel with regard to a six-mile limit for fishing vessels over 18 metres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33093/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The information the Deputy has requested is contained in Sea Fishing Boat Licensing Policy - Policy Directive 1/2019, which provides that vessels over 18m LOA (Length Overall) will be excluded from trawling activity inside six nautical miles, including inside the baselines, from 1 January 2020.

It also provides that, without prejudice to an existing licence condition restricting access to this zone, Polyvalent and RSW Pelagic Vessels over 18m LOA targeting sprat shall be permitted to operate trawl or seine nets inside the six nautical mile zone, including inside the baselines, up to and including 31 December 2021 subject to the following catch limits - up to 2,000 tonnes of sprat will be permitted for over 18m LOA vessels inside 6 nautical miles and the baselines during 2020, reducing to 1,000 tonnes in 2021, with all trawling activity by over 18m LOA vessels inside six nautical miles, including inside the baselines, being entirely curtailed from 2022 onwards.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

Questions (2079)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

2079. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the terms and conditions of the €100 million beef fund; the eligibility criteria for the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33196/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am 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 adverse weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the on-going 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 were invited to give an opinion on the draft Regulation through the Commission’s Common Market Organisation (CMO) Management Committee, the Regulation is within the Commission’s own legal competence, and was not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other Member States, in terms of its content. The Regulation was published on 2 July 2019.

The draft proposal on the Measure as presented to stakeholders during the recent consultation process is available on my Department's website at:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingschemesandpayments/beefexceptionalaidmeasure/190710EAMPresentationStakeholderConsultationCompressed110719.pdf .

Details of the measure must be submitted to the European Commission before 31 July 2019, and are also the subject of consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Full details, including terms and conditions, will be issued as soon as this process has concluded.

Beef Industry

Questions (2080)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

2080. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the beef forum last met; the outcome of its discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33197/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Beef Roundtable (Forum) was established in April 2014 in order to facilitate open discussion between industry and farming organisations on the strategic path for the beef sector. There have been eleven meetings of the Roundtable, the most recent being on the 3rd of October 2018.

In particular, the last forum focused on discussions relating to the potential for producer organisations and the development of new technologies as ways of adding value along the whole supply chain. The Beef Roundtable also heard updates on the new CAP post-2020, and the market outlook for 2019.

A press release summarising the discussions and presentations made at that meeting is available on my Department's website.

Pesticide Use

Questions (2081)

Seán Haughey

Question:

2081. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the practice of spraying glyphosate on food crops before harvesting from a public health point of view; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33466/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Regulatory decisions on the approval and use of pesticides are based on the scientific consensus view of all the relevant technical information from all sources. In regard to glyphosate, my Department is guided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), who have both concluded, on the basis of extensive reviews, and involving public consultation, that glyphosate can be used safely without putting consumers or users at risk. The EFSA review included an assessment of potential dietary exposure that could result from pre-harvest use. This process guided the decision to renew the authorisation of glyphosate within the European Union in 2017.

Following the approval of active substances at EU level, plant protection products (formulations containing the active ingredient) are assessed thoroughly at a national level on the basis of detailed scientific evaluations conducted in accordance with agreed EU standards and taking account of local agronomic and environmental conditions. This process is currently on-going at Member State level and may result in some changes to the authorised uses for glyphosate based products. My Department will only authorise plant protection products on the basis of robust scientific evidence indicating high levels of protection for human and animal health and the environment.

The EU process for consideration of a further renewal of approval of glyphosate will begin in December 2019 and a full dossier will be submitted to the Member States Assessment Group on Glyphosate (France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden) by 15 June 2020. This process will involve a comprehensive scientific evaluation of all relevant data from all sources and will include a public consultation period. My Department will continue to monitor international peer-reviewed scientific evidence and the guidance provided by EFSA and ECHA.

GLAS Appeals

Questions (2082)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

2082. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS appeal application by a person (details supplied). [33643/19]

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.

Aquaculture Licence Administration

Questions (2083, 2084)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

2083. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the aquaculture licence applications being considered at a location (details supplied); if written observations from stakeholders are still being accepted with respect to each in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33707/19]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

2084. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he is taking to ensure that activities for which permission is sought through the formal aquaculture licence application process are commensurate to the local environs; if decision makers consider the possible implications which such marine based activities pose to the tourism potential of scenic locations such as along the Wild Atlantic Way when making determinations on such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33708/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2083 and 2084 together.

Applications for aquaculture licences are considered by my Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable national and EU legislation. The legislation includes a period of public and statutory consultation in respect of each application.

Decisions in respect of aquaculture licence applications are only taken following consideration of all technical, scientific, environmental, legislative and public policy aspects of each application, including observations received as part of the public and statutory consultation phase of the process.

In relation to aquaculture licence applications referred to by the Deputy, the public and statutory phase of the licensing process is now closed. Observations received following the closure of the public and statutory phase cannot be considered as part of the licensing process, as to do so would be in breach of the applicable legislation.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (2085)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

2085. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans with regard to food imports from the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33871/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I and my officials have been working hard, in conjunction with other Departments and Agencies, to ensure the minimum possible disruption to trade in agri food products between Ireland and Great Britain, while at the same time discharging our obligations under EU legislation.

The requirements in this area 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.

Work in this regard has been focused on three key areas, namely, infrastructure, staffing and information technology, at three key locations, that is Dublin Port, Rosslare Port and Dublin Airport. I am confident that the state will be in a position to apply the relevant measures at the appropriate time.

Among the priorities set by the Irish Government at the outset in relation to the Brexit negotiations was the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, and the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland. The only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU is for the UK Parliament to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, with its backstop provisions, as already endorsed by the UK Government and the European Council.

Food Safety Standards

Questions (2086)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

2086. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding risk management proposals being put forward by his Department for agreed polymerase chain reaction screening of random samples of raw milk with reference to test method and recommendations (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33876/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The risk management approach adopted by my Department in relation to the issue highlighted by the Deputy is outlined in the Raw Milk Industry Guide to Legal Requirements and Good Practice publication which is available on my Department's website combined with the outcome of the FSAI 2019 Scientific Opinion on the detection of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli) in food and the accompanying risk management infographic which details the actions required when a positive result is obtained.

The testing method that is to be used is the International Standardization Organisation method recommended for use in testing for STEC in sprouted seed which is currently the only food product for which a requirement to test for STEC is specified in EU law and for which a specific method is prescribed.

The recommendations of the FAO WHO 2018 Report supports the approach of my Department in this regard.

Beef Exports

Questions (2087)

Robert Troy

Question:

2087. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the quantity of beef sales derived from trade missions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33937/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports, including beef, is a constant and central component of the strategic development of the industry, as evidenced by its placement at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development.

Trade Missions play an important role in this market development. I have been active on this front over many years and in 2019 to date have had successful trade missions completed to Turkey, China, Japan and Korea.

Overall, agri-food exports to countries outside the EU have increased from around €2.7 billion to €3.6 billion in the period 2014 to 2018. This represents very rapid growth of 36% in that four-year timeframe.

In relation to beef, notable achievements on the foot of several trade missions have seen Ireland gain access for beef products to the US and China. Following the announcement of Irish beef access in April 2018 to China, exports of Irish beef commenced in the summer 2018 and by the end of 2018 around €2.8 million (1,400 tonnes) had been exported. More recently, Ireland was the first EU country to have the 30 month restriction on beef removed by Japan.

The CETA agreement in 2015, allows for Irish beef products to be exported to Canada and the Japan EU Economic Partnership Agreement offers significant opportunities for future growth also.

Irish beef exports globally have increased steadily from 486,000 tonnes exported in 2015 to the 534,000 tonnes in 2018.

These achievements reflect the increased focus of my Department on opening and enhancing access to key markets. This success has entailed detailed work by our market access experts, audit and inspection visits by competent authorities from international markets, and an intensified agri-food trade mission agenda. This work is informed and supported by Bord Bia’s market insights, strategic marketing and promotion programme. This intensive work programme reflects our shared Food Wise strategy and represents a fundamental and practical response to the challenges posed to our industry particularly Brexit.

Beef Industry

Questions (2088)

Robert Troy

Question:

2088. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the percentage that goes to the retailer, processor and primary producer for every €1 of beef sold; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33938/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the deputy will be aware, as Minister for Agriculture, I have no role in determining the price of any market commodity, nor do I have any role in dictating the setting of margins of operators within a supply chain. Neither can I, as Minister, intervene in these commercial matters. As such, this is not data that my Department collects.

Cattle prices are influenced by a variety of factors such as the level of consumer demand, production levels and exchange rate differences. The UK's decision to leave the EU also presents enormous challenges for the entire beef sector.

I am, however, very conscious that the beef sector is currently facing a difficult period. I am deeply committed to fully supporting and developing Ireland’s beef sector. I am strongly of the view that the existing range of supports available to beef farmers, together with ensuring access to as many markets as possible, both for live animals and beef exports, are appropriate for the continued development of the sector. According to National Farm Survey data, suckler farmers receive support equivalent to approximately €500 per suckler cow on average.

Additionally, I welcome initiatives to improve market transparency on EU agricultural markets. The establishment of Market Observatories for the various commodities has been widely recognised as having a beneficial effect and have resulted in a significantly improved market overview in terms of increased transparency, dissemination of market data, and analysis.

The draft Commission implementing regulation, published on 22 May, aims to further increase market transparency by collecting more detailed price data at various points along the food supply chain. It is currently under consideration by my Department.

One of the unique strengths of the agri-food sector has been the shared vision for the sustainable development of the sector in Food Wise 2025. It is crucial that we all continue to work together. At the last Beef Round table meeting, I highlighted the need for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency and to support the sector through examination of mechanisms to add value along the supply chain and increase the strength of all links in the supply chain, including Beef Producer Organisations.

Officials in my Department are currently engaging extensively with stakeholders in relation to Beef Producer Organisations which have strong potential to help strengthen the position of the primary producer in the supply chain.

Bord Bia Expenditure

Questions (2089)

Robert Troy

Question:

2089. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the annual Bord Bia budget for food promotion internationally. [33939/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In the context of the annual budgetary process, I make provision for a total Grant (formerly Grant-in-Aid) for Bord Bia. As a State Body with direct fiduciary responsibility, it then disposes of this annual sum according to its own annual Plans and Programmes as approved by its Board in line with its Statement of Strategy.

The annual Grant sum allocated to Bord Bia in respect of 2019 amounts to €49,619,000.

Fisheries Offences

Questions (2090)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

2090. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to consult with Opposition parties and the marine sector before he introduces another statutory instrument concerning serious fishing infringements as per the European Union regulations; if further consultation is planned and required in order to reach a consensus on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34037/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I signed into force the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2018, S.I. No. 89 of 2018 on March 20th 2018 which fully met the requirement of the relevant EU regulation insofar as the licence holders were concerned. However, the S.I. was annulled by Dail Eireann on 29 May 2018.

Given this annulment of the Statutory Instrument that met the EU requirements and the infringement proceedings taken against Ireland by the EU Commission, I requested legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter. This advice was received and I am, at present, considering, with my legal advisors, the next steps.

As the Deputy is aware, the 2009 EU Fisheries Control Regulation 1224//2009 and EU Commission Implementing Regulation 404/2011 introduced points systems for serious infringements of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy committed by the licence holder of a fishing vessel and also separately the master. These are intended to complement sanctions and promote compliance and were required to be in place on 1st of January 2012.

Both of these EU regulations went through the ordinary legislative procedures at EU level which would have included widespread consultation with interested parties including the Member States, Advisory Councils, NGOs and the fishing Industry. The matter has also been discussed at industry liaison meetings over the years. Notwithstanding the situation that the EU regulations are highly prescriptive in relation to licence holders, leaving little room for further amendment, the Deputy will be aware that I did meet him and certain other Deputies recently to discuss their concerns pertaining to this matter. It is important to note that any amendments to the 2018 SI that has been annulled must not render the points system ineffective. I identified at our recent meeting some amendments that I consider may be made to help meet the concerns raised.

I can assure the Deputy that I am fully committed to delivering on Ireland's legal obligations in this regard at the earliest possible date. However, I must ensure that any further amendments do not render the points system ineffective and it is within this guiding principle that I am considering the additional points raised by the Deputy at our recent meeting.

Harbours and Piers Development

Questions (2091)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

2091. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a contractor has been appointed for the proposed works at Killybegs Harbour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34039/19]

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.

Between the years 2010 to 2018, as part of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, in excess of €20 million has been invested in maintenance, development and upgrading works at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre.

The Harbour has been attracting increasing levels of fishing, commercial cargo and cruise liner activity and the need for additional berthage has been recognised. The Smooth Point project, when complete, will provide a much needed additional 120 metres quay space.

Because some of the material to be dredged was contaminated, the project was divided into two phases. Work on phase 1 of the project, which entailed the dredging and removal of the contaminated material, commenced in 2017 and was completed in 2018. The total cost of this phase including preparation, permitting and design costs stands at approximately €6.5m.

I have announced the details of a €35.7m Fishery Harbour and Coastal Development Capital Programme for 2019. Killybegs has been allocated in excess of €5m this year, of which €4m is earmarked for phase 2 of the Smooth Point project. Phase 2 involves the dredging of the remaining uncontaminated material and construction of the 120 metres of berthing space.

The tenders for the construction of the project were received on the 20th May. The assessment of the submissions has been advanced and the process is moving towards finalisation.

Fish Quotas

Questions (2092)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

2092. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has received advice or proposals from ICES concerning the proposed 2020 fish quota; if he has taken additional action in conjunction with his EU colleagues to correct the inaccurate advice provided to the EU coastal states in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34040/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) provided advice on a series of fish stocks of importance to Ireland at the end of June. The advice covers many of our demersal stocks and some of our herring stocks. Advice on other important stocks including mackerel, horse mackerel and nephrops is expected to be published later in the autumn.

The advice will be carefully examined and the Marine Institute will compile all the advice on fish stocks of importance to Ireland and any additional information and analysis in its annual “The Stock Book” later in the year. When the EU Commission publish its proposal for TACs and quotas for 2020, I will undertake a public consultation for a Sustainability Impact Statement following consultation with stakeholders and will present my report to the Oireachtas in advance of the December Fisheries Council to hear the views and concerns of the Oireachtas.

The situation in relation to mackerel is that new advice for 2020 is expected in late September and the Coastal State consultations will resume in October.

In relation to advice for the mackerel stock for 2019, ICES advised in September 2018 that the 2019 TAC should be 318,403 tonnes - a reduction of 68% compared to 2018. ICES did, however, warn about sensitivity of the assessment to some of the data inputs.

Following five meetings in October/November 2018, the Coastal States party to the 2014 Mackerel Sharing Agreement (European Union, Norway and the Faeroe Islands) decided on a precautionary reduction of 20% and requested ICES to conduct an inter-benchmark review to look at the sensitivities in the data inputs especially tagging data. ICES completed the review in March 2019 and re-evaluated the state of the stock. New advice was published on the 15th May and this revised the advised catch figure from 318,403 tonnes to 770,358 tonnes – an increase on the current TAC of 18%. For Ireland, if applied, this would equate to an increase in our quota of just under 10,000 tonnes.

Following the publication of the new advice, two further Coastal States meetings were held in London on the 20/21 May and 12/13 June. Ireland, as did other Member States, sought to revise the 2019 mackerel TAC in line with the new advice. Unfortunately, it did not prove possible to achieve agreement between the Coastal States on a revision to the TAC.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (2093)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

2093. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of capital projects within the remit of his Department; the amount spent on each project to date; and the anticipated completion date. [34194/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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

2017

Capital Projects

Amount Spent To Date

Status/Anticipated Completion Date

Haulbowline Island Remediation Project*

€4,099,317

See below

2018

Capital Projects

Amount Spent To Date

Status/Anticipated Completion Date

Haulbowline Island Remediation Project*

€9,701,046

See below

Dredging Works at An Daingean FHC

€5,218,307

Completed December 2018

Landing Pier Dolphins and Fendering Killybegs FHC

€2,122,141

Completed December 2018

Smooth Point Enabling Works Killybegs FHC

€4,609,453

Completed December 2018

Dinish Wharf Extension Castletownbere FHC

€11,399,629

February 2020

2019

Capital Projects

Amount Spent To Date

Status/Anticipated Completion Date

Haulbowline Island Remediation Project*

€576,903

August 2019

Smooth Point Pier Extension, Killybegs F.H.C (tender action stage/ contract not yet awarded)

0

December 2020

* Figures on the Haulbowline Island Remediation Project reflect all expenditure by DAFM on the project including costs reimbursed to Cork County Council in its role as the Minister’s Agent.

Agriculture Scheme Eligibility

Questions (2094, 2095)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

2094. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the decision to exclude prime beef cattle from dairy farms to applying to the beef emergency aid measure will be reversed. [34216/19]

View answer

Jackie Cahill

Question:

2095. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the beef emergency aid measure is only covering the reference period of September 2018 to May 2019; if it was set down by the EU Commission; and if he will give consideration to permitting farmers that had cattle indoors throughout May 2019 to be eligible to apply to the scheme. [34217/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2094 and 2095 together.

I am 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 adverse weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the on-going 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 were invited to give an opinion on the draft Regulation through the Commission’s Common Market Organisation (CMO) Management Committee, the Regulation is within the Commission’s own legal competence, and was not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other Member States, in terms of its content. The Regulation was published on 2 July 2019.

The draft proposal on the Measure as presented to stakeholders during the recent consultation process is available on my Department's website at:

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/farmingschemesandpayments/beefexceptionalaidmeasure/190710EAMPresentationStakeholderConsultationCompressed110719.pdf .

Details of the measure must be submitted to the European Commission before 31 July 2019, and are also the subject of consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Full details, including terms and conditions, will be issued as soon as this process has concluded.