Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (324)

Charlie McConalogue


324. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding the BEAM scheme and the eligibility of farmers that had animals sent for slaughter to plants located in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40524/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The definition of eligible animal in the terms and conditions of the scheme https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/beam/ ) defines eligible animals as follows:

Eligible animal shall mean those bovine animals identified on AIM (Animal Identification and movement system) at midnight on 29 July 2019 as either those aged over 12 months presented to a slaughtering establishment approved under the European Communities (Food and Feed Hygiene) Regulations (SI 432 of 2009) in the period 24 September 2018 to 12 May 2019 inclusive, and/or those beef breed female animals with progeny born in the year 2018, which were sired by a beef breed bull.

In the first instance, the case made to the European Commission for an exceptional aid package for Irish beef farmers was based on the price reduction in Ireland, over the period of September 2018 to March 2019. The price received for export of animals to Northern Ireland was not included in this analysis. A clear link was required between the analysis supplied to the Commission in support of the package and the subsequent scheme notified to the Commission once that package was granted.

In devising a framework for the Scheme, a key aim was to ensure that the Scheme would be as easy to apply for and to administer as possible in order to minimise the burden on applicants and ensure the money could be paid out as quickly as possible in light of the financial difficulties being experienced. To this end, the scheme was designed around ensuring all eligibility criteria could be verified rapidly from the Department records. The Deputy should be aware that my Department only has access to records on the AIM system of animals slaughtered in Ireland.

An Appeals system is available under the scheme. Details of this can be found on the Terms and Conditions document for the scheme on the Dept of Agriculture Food and the Marine website: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/beam/.