Pesticide Use

Questions (697)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Question:

697. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application for a pesticide control service, PCS, number by a person (details supplied). [2426/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Biocidal products may only be marketed and used in Ireland once they are registered with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and are entered on the “Product Register” in accordance with Regulation 20 of Statutory Instrument 427 of 2013.

On 5th June 2020, my Department received an application for registration of a hand sanitiser product from a Turkish company bearing the trade name referred to. Following receipt of the application processing fee, officials from my Department contacted the company on 2nd November to seek clarification on some of the information that was submitted and to request necessary data that had not been submitted with the application. The requested data was not provided in several further communications during November.

Officials contacted the applicant again on 1st December outlining the data and information that was still outstanding and asked the company to address the deficiencies in the product application. To date, this information and data has not been received. As a consequence, this application is refused.

Brexit Issues

Questions (698, 699)

Neale Richmond

Question:

698. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps being taken to maximise Irish food exports to the Single Market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2458/21]

View answer

Neale Richmond

Question:

699. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if planned post-Brexit diversification of food exports includes increasing exports to EU member states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2459/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 698 and 699 together.

Developing increased market access and furthering trade opportunities abroad is an integral part of my Department’s response to the ongoing challenge of Brexit. We have been particularly active on the European dimension of this response. For example, additional funding provided to Bord Bia has been used to further its Market Intensification Programme, and to support promotional campaigns for Irish beef in Germany and the Netherlands. Bord Bia has also been providing information to companies on how to establish a presence in other EU countries, and using its network of offices to build long-term relationships in those markets, including through participation in trade fairs.

Trade missions have always played a key role in customer relationship building. Of course, the traditional "in person" visits are not currently feasible, so my Department, in collaboration with Bord Bia, led a series of virtual Trade Missions and business meetings during the 4th quarter of 2020. As part of this exercise, Minister Heydon and I addressed a number of events organised by Bord Bia, including a webinar with key German customers that involved its top six retailers, and a virtual trade reception hosted by the Irish Embassy in Paris.

This highly innovative approach has been met with positive feedback from all participants, with more such events planned for 2021. We will continue to avail of every resource in furthering market access and trade advancement in Europe and further abroad. Indeed, the Government's focus on, and commitment to, this objective has also been illustrated by its appointment of my colleague, Martin Heydon T.D., as Minister of State with specific responsibility for this area. In addition, my Department's International Trade activities are being re-organised and further developed, as we deal with the twin challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Brexit Issues

Questions (700)

Neale Richmond

Question:

700. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the countries that are the main focus of Irish food exports and trade diversification post Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2460/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Gaining access to new markets and opening new trading opportunities for Irish exports while simultaneously strengthening established export markets has been and remains integral to my Department’s strategic approach to the development of the agri-food sector.

According to the latest figures from the CSO, exports of agri-food products from Ireland to the 26 EU countries has grown by 26% in value in recent years, from €3.8 billion in 2016 to €4.75 billion in 2019. Final year-end figures for 2020 will be available in mid February. I consider that there is significant room for further growth in Irish agri-food products to EU markets. While Europe's overall food demand is not forecast to increasing dramatically, due to stable or falling populations, these are stable, affluent markets which are well placed to appreciate our premium quality food and drink offering.

Between 2016 and 2019, Irish agri-exports to third country markets (those outside of the EU and the UK) increased by nearly €700 million to a value of €4.3 billion. In that same period, the value of Irish meat exports to third country markets grew by nearly 50% to a value of €575 million. The growth of exports to third countries has occurred in concert with my Department’s market diversification efforts which have been considerably increased since the Brexit vote in 2016. Market access or enhanced access for various products has been achieved in a variety of key markets including China, USA, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Ukraine.

Ministerial-led trade missions are an important feature of the development and diversification strategy for the agri-food sector. As announced recently, our trade mission agenda for 2021 is planned to include the following priority markets:

- In Asia - China, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam

- In North America – the United States of America and Mexico

- key European destinations such as Italy and the UK

- and an exploration of markets in West Africa.

The format of each mission will be adapted to suit the prevailing Covid conditions, but I am hopeful that it will include in-person trade missions.

Our enhanced focus on market development is a key part of my Department’s response to the twin challenges of the economic impact of Covid-19 and Brexit.

Brexit Issues

Questions (701)

Neale Richmond

Question:

701. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he foresees room for growth in Irish food exports to the continental EU post Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2461/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Exports of agri-food products from Ireland to the 26 EU countries has grown by 26% in value in recent years, from €3.8 billion in 2016 to €4.75 billion in 2019. Dairy products, at €1.76 billion in 2019, are our largest export and have increased in value by almost 50% since 2016. Final year-end figures for 2020 will be available in mid February.

I consider that there is significant room for further growth in Irish agri-food products to EU markets. While Europe's overall food demand is not forecast to increasing dramatically due to stable or falling populations, these are stable, affluent markets which are well placed to appreciate our premium quality food and drink offering.

Along with my colleague Minister of State Martin Heydon, I will be supporting Bord Bia's engagement with key retail and food service customers in key markets during 2021.

Animal Welfare

Questions (702)

Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

702. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of animals currently being tested on nationwide; the types of tests taking place; the steps he is taking to move away from the practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2593/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has no responsibility for or data on scientific procedures involving animals in Ireland

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) is the state agency with responsibility for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, the regulation of human and veterinary clinical trials, and the regulation of human and veterinary medicines, medical devices and other health products, amongst other regulatory functions.

From 1 January 2013, an EU Directive to protect animals used for scientific purposes came into effect in Ireland and, at that time, the HPRA became the competent authority responsible for the Directive’s implementation, and has been publishing statistical data on animals used from 2013 onwards.

These reports are available on their website at the following link https://www.hpra.ie/homepage/veterinary/scientific-animal-protection/statistical-reporting

Harbours and Piers

Questions (703)

Holly Cairns

Question:

703. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress regarding the upgrading of Dinish Pier, Castletownbere, County Cork; the reason construction has stalled; and the expected completion date. [2666/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine 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.

Following a competitive tender competition, my Department awarded a contract to L&M Keating Ltd. to construct a 216 metre quay extension on Dinish Island, Castletownbere. Work commenced on the €25m project in October 2018 and to date there has been significant progress in the delivery of the project, with a substantial element of the works now completed.

The contractor applied to the High Court to enter voluntary examinership and this was granted on 12th October 2020. In accordance with the Public Works Contract, my Department terminated it’s contract with L&M Keating Ltd. on 22nd October 2020.

My Department has been working closely with our Consulting Engineers since the termination of the contract to plan the completion of the works. The site has been secured and made safe, emergency works have been completed on the breakwaters and a tender for completion of the Northern Quay has been advertised. It is expected that works will be completed in early 2022, however this timeline is, of course, subject to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

Forestry Sector

Question No. 705 answered with Question No. 682.

Question No. 706 answered with Question No. 704.

Questions (704, 706)

Holly Cairns

Question:

704. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of felling, afforestation and forest road licences issued monthly between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2020, inclusive, in tabular form. [2667/21]

View answer

Holly Cairns

Question:

706. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of tree planting rates and numbers conducted through afforestation by licence under the Forestry Act 2014, in tabular form. [2669/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 704 and 706 together.

My Department publishes forestry statistics on its website, which include licences issued; hectares planted and whether they were broadleaf or conifers. My Department does not publish information on the number of trees planted. However, at establishment, the stocking density is normally 2,500 trees per hectare for conifers and 3,300 trees per hectare for broadleaves.

Afforestation

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

January

151

122

160

84

63

41

February

151

124

99

104

78

58

March

183

158

154

109

69

56

April

169

182

170

120

87

69

May

152

135

140

67

57

33

June

126

86

106

47

32

22

July

92

68

51

31

30

26

August

104

85

54

35

60

30

September

114

107

55

71

22

30

October

152

113

64

78

42

48

November

223

176

101

55

26

61

December

134

110

89

54

22

52*

Felling

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

January

271

235

232

232

513

81

February

222

274

152

106

1079

177

March

108

185

163

203

664

180

April

99

114

111

130

568

127

May

124

234

174

212

124

149

June

83

177

53

149

272

85

July

106

206

442

83

356

101

August

72

275

404

704

124

121

September

234

497

536

738

156

90

October

788

324

163

579

73

230

November

232

2927

356

386

134

185

December

179

1283

217

81

117

182*

Road

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

January

54

47

48

35

101

19

February

22

27

37

31

59

32

March

29

36

29

28

39

40

April

26

24

37

21

51

38

May

31

39

31

36

48

37

June

22

41

44

37

47

24

July

43

50

38

26

48

27

August

53

80

43

60

46

26

September

49

62

35

38

25

21

October

37

48

41

62

24

24

November

50

43

64

53

22

32

December

59

32

33

34

32

29*

*December 2020 figures are provisional

Hectares Planted FP 2014-2020

Hectares

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Broadleaf

1,263.04

1,270.30

1,161.14

1,069.63

893.17

818.53

Conifer

5,029.77

5,229.50

4,374.61

2,955.85

2,656.72

1,615.79

Total

6,292.81

6,499.80

5,535.75

4,025.48

3,549.89

2,434.32

Question No. 705 answered with Question No. 682.
Question No. 706 answered with Question No. 704.

Beef Industry

Questions (707)

Holly Cairns

Question:

707. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the current organic beef stocking rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2670/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

A minimum stocking level is considered important in organic production systems for effective grassland management, to ensure productive swards and to maintain and improve biodiversity. Livestock on the organic farm facilitates effective organic manure and nutrient recycling, thereby improving soil fertility and productivity.

The Organic Farming Scheme payment is computed on the basis of a minimum stocking rate of 0.5 Livestock Units per Hectare, which equates to 32.5 kg Organic Nitrate per hectare/per annum. Farmers with a stocking level of 0.5 livestock units or greater per hectare receive full payment. However, farmers not achieving this stocking level do receive payment on a pro-rata basis.

I have no plans currently to amend these stocking rates.

Beef Industry

Questions (708)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

708. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers with suckler cows who take all or some of their progeny to slaughter, excluding beef cows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2790/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

This information is being compiled and will be sent directly to the Deputy as soon as available.

Brexit Issues

Questions (709)

Neale Richmond

Question:

709. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans that have been made for Irish companies and Irish exports to replace UK exports to the continental EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2819/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Developing increased EU trade opportunities continues to be an integral part of my Department’s response to the challenges posed by Brexit.

Encouragingly, exports to our more traditional and existing markets such as other EU Member States exceeded €4 billion in 2019, for the third year running. Notably strong growth was evident in pigmeat, poultry and dairy exports, with values increasing to the Netherlands, Italy and Spain in particular.

Over the last number of budgets additional funding has been provided to Bord Bia to support our market diversification efforts. These resources have been used to further Bord Bia’s Market Intensification Programme and to support promotional campaigns such as for Irish beef in Germany and the Netherlands. Bord Bia has also been providing information to companies on how to establish a presence in other EU countries, and using its network of offices to build long-term relationships in those markets, including through participation in trade fairs. This work is supported by my Department's network of agriculture attachés in the EU.

Trade missions play a key role in customer relationship building, but of course the traditional "in person" visits are not currently feasible. Therefore, my Department, in collaboration with Bord Bia, led a series of Virtual Trade missions and business meetings during the fourth quarter of 2020. These had a strong European dimension, including a webinar with key German customers which included their top six retailers, and a virtual trade reception hosted by the Irish Embassy in Paris to engage with key customers in France.

These highly innovative events have been met with positive feedback from all participants, and more such events are planned for 2021. We will continue to avail of every resource in furthering market access and trade advancement in Europe and further abroad, and I am ready to respond as appropriate to other opportunities that may arise.

Fishing Licences

Questions (710)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

710. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the criteria put in place to register the 140 vessels allowed to fish in UK waters since 31 January 2020 with the European Commission; the number that were selected; when the remaining vessels can expect to be registered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2823/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Within the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and UK, access arrangements are set out in Article 8 Fish. This Article sets out: provided that TACs have been agreed, each Party shall grant vessels of the other Party access to fish in its waters in the relevant ICES sub-areas that year. Access shall be granted at a level and on conditions determined in those annual consultations. In relation to the main access arrangements, the Agreement also provides that the outcome of the consultations should normally result in each Party granting:

(a) access to fish stocks listed in the Annex to the Agreement - these are the stocks that are shared between the EU and UK at a level that is reasonably commensurate with the parties respective shares of the TACs;

(b) access to fish non-quota stocks in each others EEZ's at a level that at least equates to the average tonnage fished by that Party in the waters of the other Party during the period 2012-2016; and

(c) access to waters of the Parties between 6 and 12nm in ICES divisions 4c (southern North Sea and 7d-g (English Channel, south - west coast of England and part of south - east coast of Ireland) to the extent that Union fishing vessels and UK fishing vessels had access to these waters on 31 December 2020.

I have asked my Department to work to ensure that fishing vessels which traditionally fished in UK waters will be granted such access by the UK authorities.

While authorisation for access for all licensed and registered fishing vessels has been sought from the UK authorities, at this time, approval has been granted to tranches of fishing vessels which have been identified as requiring such access.

The UK Authorities authorised access on a staged basis initially on 31 December for 141 vessels which were identified, in consultation with the Producer Organisations, taking into account vessels that were most likely to fish in the first week of January. The vessels were identified in the days before the end of the year taking into account the Department's understanding of the fisheries and in consultation with the four Producer Organisations (Killybegs Fishermen's Organisation, Irish Fish Producers Organisation, Irish South & East Fish Producers Organisation and the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation).

Vessels targeting mackerel in the RSW Pelagic segment and in the Polyvalent segment were specifically identified because mackerel is fished only in UK waters at the start of the year. In addition, for the first tranche of 141 vessels, I understand that the POs identified vessels in their organisations which they were aware of as likely to fish in the start of the year in UK waters.

Since the 31st December 2020, further lists of Irish vessels have been sent to the Commission to request authorisation by the UK authorities for these vessels to fish in the 12- 200 nm UK EEZ based on licence holders who contacted the Department seeking such access and those that had fished in UK waters in 2019 or 2020 based on relevant records.

As of Monday 18th January, a total of 214 vessels have now received an authorisation from the Department for access to the 12-200 NM UK EEZ. Another list of six vessels, requesting authorisation to fish in the 12- 200 nm UK EEZ, was sent to the Commission on the evening of Friday 15th January. The Department awaits to hear from the Commission regarding the status of the request for these six vessels.

The Department is also considering how smaller fishing vessels that do not have a Vessel Monitoring System to record activity maybe appropriately identified and will be consulting the National Inshore Fisheries Forum in that regard.