Hospital Charges

Questions (984)

Emer Higgins

Question:

984. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health the number of HSE bills for cancer patients outsourced to debt collectors in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8978/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Patient charges are a key element of the overall funding envelope of the Irish health system and are taken into account when agreeing the Annual Estimates and the subsequent preparation of the annual National Service Plan.

These charges typically include:

- Out-patient charges;

- Emergency Department charges;

- Daily in-patient charges; and #

- Long-term stay charges.

There are cohorts of people who are exempt from these charges, including, but not limited to persons with full eligibility, women receiving services in respect of motherhood, children up to the age of six weeks, children suffering from diseases prescribed under section 52 (2) of the Act, and persons receiving services for the diagnosis or treatment of infectious diseases.

In addition, patients who opt for private in-patient services in public hospitals are liable for a range of private accommodation charges. There are no exemptions from these charges.

Non collection of debts owed directly impacts on the affordability of services provided by the Health Service Executive in any year. It is therefore incumbent on the HSE to take all reasonable steps to pursue amounts owed for services delivered. Debt collection agencies are engaged when normal billing arrangements have been unsuccessful

The operational detail of this question is a matter for the HSE and I have asked them to respond to you directly in relation to that detail.

Hospital Charges

Questions (985)

Emer Higgins

Question:

985. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Health the support available to cancer patients who cannot pay their HSE bills; and if help through MABS is offered. [8979/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

Patient charges are an important element of the overall funding of health services in Ireland. These include out-patient charges, Emergency Department charges, daily in-patient charges and long-term stay charges.

As is the case for all patients, cancer patients can apply for a range of supports, including medical cards, and are assessed under the criteria applying to all applicants.

Similarly, access to support from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) is available for anyone who is in debt, or at risk of going into debt.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme, in conjunction with the Irish Cancer Society and Cancer Care West, has operated the Together 4 Cancer Concern support service. This service provides psychological and emotional support for cancer patients during the pandemic.

Disease Management

Questions (986)

Holly Cairns

Question:

986. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to research (details supplied) that nearly half of the Irish population admit to having little to no knowledge of epilepsy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8984/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Epilepsy is a chronic disease characterized by unpredictable, sometimes lifelong seizures. The condition affects about one in every 100 people and is second only to stroke as the commonest chronic neurological disorder in Europe.

There are approximate 40,000 sufferers in Ireland, approximately 70% of whom are well controlled on medication, leaving about 12-15,000 people who have breakthrough seizures, and are in regular contact with secondary and tertiary hospital services.

The HSE National Clinical Programme in Epilepsy Care has 3 main goals: the delivery of improved quality of care and, improved access to specialist care for patients with epilepsy while at the same time delivering on value which will ensure the sustainability of the programme into the future. The programme aims to promote the management of epilepsy at the primary care level by improving the communication between primary and specialist services, and the development of access to guiding information.

Specifically, the National Clinical Programme for Epilepsy will deliver these goals by addressing each aspect of care with a specified care pathway and delivered by a multidisciplinary team of experts in epilepsy care, leading to benefits for patients, carers and families. These include: establishment of network of Epilepsy Centres; population-based nurse-led service; structured primary care programme led by GPs in association with the primary care team and the Advanced Nurse Practitioner in epilepsy; seizure care pathway for acute hospital based seizure management in Emergency Depts and hospital wards; expanded, appropriately resourced, pre-surgical evaluation programme in Beaumont and Cork University Hospital; delivery of care in the most appropriate setting through access to clinical information when and where needed via an electronic patient record (EPR) (e.g. for community outreach, primary care and hospital-based); countrywide telephone direction for health professionals.

Further operational details on the HSE Clinical Programme in Epilepsy can be obtained directly from the HSE.

Vaccination Programme

Questions (987)

Holly Cairns

Question:

987. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Health if there is a pathway to be recruited as a vaccinator without registering with an agency (details supplied) for employees of the HSE who wish to register as a vaccinator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8985/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to the deputy directly, as soon as possible.

Health Screening Programmes

Questions (988)

Alan Kelly

Question:

988. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health the number of the recommendations of the Scally report that have been implemented; if an itemised list will be provided of the recommendations that have been completed and the expected completion date of recommendations yet to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8987/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government has accepted all 50 recommendations made in Dr Scally’s Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Programme, which was published on 12 September 2018. An implementation plan for all recommendations was published on 11 December 2018 on the website of the Department of Health.

The Implementation Plan was revised to take account of the formal observations submitted by Dr Gabriel Scally on 26 February 2019 and the then Minister approved the revised Plan on 21 May 2019. A further revision of the Implementation Plan took place to encompass the two further recommendations identified by Dr Scally in the Supplementary Report, which was approved on 11 June 2019. A small number of further actions were incorporated into the Plan.

Quarterly progress reports on implementation are published on the Department of Health website since Q1 2019. The Q4 2020 report will be published this week.

As of the end of 2020, there were 148 of 170 actions, arising from the 58 recommendations, completed.

There has been significant progress in implementing the recommendations, with just 22 of 170 actions now remaining to be completed. Of the outstanding 22 actions, 12 are marked ‘in progress’, 8 are marked as ‘overdue to finish’ or and 2 ‘overdue to start’ at end 2020. The published action plan details the stage this work is at. The actions marked ‘overdue to start’ relate to ongoing work in the HSE on document management, and the NCRI on the development of data systems, which are dependent on other linked actions being completed first. The COVID-19 situation throughout 2020 impacted on the progress of some of the actions.

Work will continue in 2021 to continue to progress, and/or complete, the remaining actions. Quarterly progress reports will continue to be published on the Department of Health website.

Health Screening Programmes

Questions (989)

Alan Kelly

Question:

989. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Health if his Department is still retaining the services of a person (details supplied) to oversee work on the recommendations of the Scally report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8988/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

The Government accepted all 50 recommendations made in Dr Scally’s Scoping Inquiry into the CervicalCheck Programme, which was published on 12 September 2018.

An implementation plan was published in December 2018 on the Department of Health website. The Minister for Health requested Dr Scally to undertake an independent review of the Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan was revised to take account of further formal observations submitted by Dr Gabriel Scally. A further revision of the Implementation Plan took place to encompass two further recommendations identified by Dr Scally in the Supplementary Report, which was approved in June 2019.

Dr Scally was requested to undertake a further implementation review, and this took place in late 2019. The report of this Review of the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Scoping Inquiry into CervicalCheck was received by the Department in April 2020. The Minister published it on the Department’s website on 21 December 2020. In this review report, Dr Scally says that substantial progress has been made, the vast majority of actions were on track or were completed, and he is satisfied with the approach and structures in place for implementation.

Quarterly progress reports on implementation are published on the Department of Health website since Q1 2019. The Q4 2020 report will be published this week. As of the end of 2020, there were 148 of 170 actions, arising from the 58 recommendations, completed.

The Department of Health engages on an ongoing basis with the HSE and the National Cancer Registry of Ireland as part of the oversight of the implementation of the remaining recommendations and actions. The CervicalCheck Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Anne Scott, will also have a role in oversight of the implementation of the remaining recommendations.

Agriculture Schemes

Questions (990)

Joe Flaherty

Question:

990. Deputy Joe Flaherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the trade assurance scheme for combinable crops scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8743/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The role of my Department, as the competent authority for official controls along the animal feed chain, is to ensure the implementation and enforcement of EU and National feed legislation, including those requirements relating to hauliers and the transport of feed.

The Trade Assurance Scheme for Combinable Crops (TASCC) is a voluntary scheme developed, owned and implemented by the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), which is UK-based. My Department, therefore, has no role in the operation of this Scheme.

The status of the Scheme now that the United Kingdom has left the EU, and the certification of EU participants, is a matter that would have to be considered by the Confederation itself.

Animal Sales

Questions (991)

Carol Nolan

Question:

991. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the scheme to provide marts with up to €5,000 to assist with the installation of online bidding equipment is operational; the number of marts that have applied for support under the proposed scheme; the number of applications that have been rejected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7885/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The scheme to provide support to marts in relation to their ICT infrastructure is not yet operational. My officials are currently examining the details of a potential scheme.

I gave a commitment to support the livestock mart sector through this package and I am looking forward to seeing the package come to fruition.

Forestry Sector

Questions (992)

Carol Nolan

Question:

992. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if concerns that Coillte forestry licensing applications are being prioritised ahead of private sector licensing applications will be addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7889/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I fully acknowledge the importance of felling licences to the forestry sector in supporting rural employment, forest owners, sawmills and the market for timber products. All felling licences are important as they all supply material and support jobs and my Department aims to take a balanced approach to issuing them. In this regard, it is worth noting that 1,719 felling licences issued in 2020 representing a volume of just over 5 million cubic metres. Of this, 2.7m m3 issued to Coillte and 2.3m issued to private owners.

The same legal framework and referrals applies to Coillte and private felling licences. Coillte have invested heavily in ecologists and supply NISs to my Department to support applications that require Appropriate Assessment. Likewise private forest owners may, where appropriate, and at their own expense, submit an NIS prepared by a suitably qualified person and this can reduce the waiting time for a decision to two to three months.

I am committed to increasing the level of output and would point out that in order to do so we have invested heavily in resources including the recruitment of additional ecologists, forestry inspectorate and administrative staff, with extra resources to be added in 2021. This has already resulted in an increase in the number of licences issued, and in the last quarter of 2020 felling licences to the amount of 2m cubic metres issued, representing 40% of annual output. This upwards trend has continued this year with felling licences for just over 1m cubic metres issued to 5th February. The aim is to sustain and build substantially on that output in order to ensure the consistent high level of output and volume which the sector needs.

I would like to reiterate my commitment to supporting the forest sector and to building on the recent progress, so that a continual improvement in delivery is achieved.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Questions (993)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

993. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter regarding an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7912/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application under the 2020 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) on 11th April 2020. During the processing of this application, a commonage parcel was deemed to be over claimed. The over claim deduction was applied to his BPS advance payment in October 2020.

Subsequently, a review was carried out and the overclaim was removed. The BPS application was updated and the person named was paid in full in the BPS balancing payment in December 2020.

Based on the 6.83 entitlements held by him, the total BPS and Greening payment due was €1,499.08. In October 2020, a total of €974.07 was paid in the advance payment. This included the deduction in respect of the overclaim. In December 2020, a further €525.01 issued in the balancing payment. This included the reversal of the previous reduction in October. Therefore, the full payment for the 2020 BPS has issued in this case.

Similarly, the ANC payment has been made in full in this case. The initial penalty applied at advance payment stage was reversed at balancing payment stage.

A full breakdown of this detail will issue to the person named.

Horse Racing Industry

Questions (994)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

994. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which assistance will be given to Horse Sport Ireland which may be in a position to locate its headquarters (details supplied); if negotiations have taken place or are in the course thereof to assist the organisation with relocation which would be of major benefit to the horse sport industry and its future development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7970/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The location of the headquarters of the HSI is a matter for its Board. The HSI has examined a number of sites, as a location for its Headquarters and National Centre of Excellence, as part of a selection process carried out by a sub-committee of the Board.

HSI advise that the work of the sub-committee has been ongoing for two years and has involved the consideration of many different locations. It engaged with a range of potential sites and hired a property valuer and advisor to review property and land offerings as well as availability of property to purchase, rent or develop. The sub-committee examined options not involving state funding.

My Department does not provide capital funding to the HSI.

Teagasc Activities

Questions (995)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Question:

995. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost per green cert place; the additional cost of increasing places to meet the currently level of demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7980/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

This is an operational matter for Teagasc who deliver the Green Cert Programme.

I have requested Teagasc to forward the relevant information directly to the Deputy within 10 days.

Forestry Sector

Questions (996)

Michael Creed

Question:

996. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a forestry licence application by a person (details supplied); if the application requires an ecology report; if the report will be provided by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8006/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

An application for a tree felling licence was received in January 2020 for the person named and has been referred to my Department’s Ecology Unit. The application site is near seven designated sites including the Killarney National Park SAC. Therefore, the impact of any felling operations on the sites and the surrounding area, must be carefully considered before deciding on the licence application.

If the applicant wishes, and at their own expense, they may provide a Natura Impact Statement (NIS). The NIS must be prepared by a suitably qualified person. A NIS can considerably reduce the time taken to assess the application, as once received, the NIS will be examined by an ecologist within two to three months and a decision will issue once the assessment of the application is complete.

Felling Licences

Questions (997, 998)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

997. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of tree felling licences awaiting a decision that require a Natura Impact Statement. [8036/21]

View answer

Seán Sherlock

Question:

998. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of Natura Impact Statements requested from tree felling applicants by county in 2020, in tabular form. [8037/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 997 and 998 together.

The Deputy will be aware of the delays caused by changes to the licensing system which means that a significant number of cases now need ecological input to comply with environmental requirements. We are tackling these delays by means of a systematic project plan. We have invested heavily in resources including the recruitment of additional ecologists, forestry inspectorate and administrative staff, with extra resources to be added this year.

There are currently 1,890 files referred to our ecology team. Most files referred to Ecology will likely require an Appropriate Assessment. Without a detailed examination of each file referred to ecology it is difficult to give a precise number.

Of these, 1,123 are for tree felling licences from private landowners. Where files require an Appropriate Assessment, the Department is required to carry out an Appropriate Assessment Determination (AAD). This can be done by the Department itself carrying out an Appropriate Assessment Report to inform the AAD or by the applicant providing a Natura Impact Statement (NIS) to inform the AAD. The Department prioritises files where the applicant has provided an NIS.

When the NIS is received, it is assigned to an ecologist and is normally processed within two to three months of receipt. My Department has received a NIS from individual landowners for 120 tree felling applications since the establishment of the project to deal with the ecology backlog in July 2020, of which, 80 have been processed by the ecologists.

There are currently 39 felling applications assigned to ecologists for which a NIS has been received and which are being processed.

The following table shows a county breakdown of the 39 applications assigned to ecologists, for which a NIS has been received.

County

No. Assigned

Cavan

1

Clare

5

Cork

2

Donegal

1

Galway

7

Kerry

6

Kildare

1

Laois

2

Limerick

4

Mayo

4

Roscommon

1

Tipperary

2

Waterford

2

Westmeath

1

This table shows a county breakdown of the 1,123 tree felling licences awaiting assessment by an ecologist.

County

Screened In

Carlow

21

Cavan

29

Clare

100

Cork

130

Donegal

27

Dublin

3

Galway

54

Kerry

100

Kildare

30

Kilkenny

40

Laois

56

Leitrim

14

Limerick

90

Longford

2

Louth

6

Mayo

54

Meath

22

Monaghan

2

Offaly

30

Roscommon

24

Sligo

26

Tipperary

111

Waterford

35

Westmeath

36

Wexford

43

Wicklow

38

Total

1,123

Animal Sales

Questions (999)

Paul Murphy

Question:

999. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department monitors advertisements for the sale of puppies on websites such as a website (details supplied) or other advertising websites to check that dog and puppy vendors are licensed as a registered breeding establishment or that the puppies offered for sale are from a licensed registered breeding establishment; if his Department has received reports in the past two years of unlicensed breeders or vendors offering puppies for sale; if so, the number of such reports; the number of inspections; and the number of prosecutions carried out by inspectors of his Department or other inspectors since 1 January 2019 of unlicensed breeders or vendors who are offering puppies for sale. [8039/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Animal Health and Welfare (Sale or Supply of Pet Animals) Regulations 2019 came into effect in February 2020. Extracts from the Register of Sellers have been published on www.gov.ie/registered-pet-sellers, including the pet sales registration number, the name of the seller or supplier and the county in which the premises connected to the sale or supply of pets is located.

The requirement to register as a seller or supplier of pet animals with my Department does not apply to a person who is required to register with their local authority under the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. Dog breeding establishments are regulated under that Act and fall under the remit of the Minister for Rural and Community Development.

My Department is working to achieve full compliance with the regulations on advertising pet animals. My Department participates in the Irish Pet Advertising Advisory Group (IPAAG), a group of animal welfare organisations, veterinary professionals and advertising platforms that address issues in relation to advertising pet animals, and engages with advertising platforms both through that group and bilaterally on the new regulations.

No prosecutions have been taken under these Regulations to date.

Greyhound Industry

Questions (1000)

Paul Murphy

Question:

1000. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the fact that organisations (details supplied) are presenting misleading information on their websites to the effect that greyhounds exported to China are still owned by persons in Ireland; if such sales or transfers of ownership from Ireland to China have been recorded in line with section 10 of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011; if prosecutions and or penalties have been imposed on persons who failed to comply with section 10 of the Act; if he will cease such exports to China; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8040/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Irish Coursing Club (ICC) is the organisation charged by statute since 1923 with the role of Keeper of the Irish Stud Book. The stud book records pedigrees, ownerships, breeding data and transfers of ownership primarily. The ICC is subject to the general control and direction of RCÉ.

According to RCÉ, a direct data transfer is undertaken by the ICC to RCÉ on a frequent basis. Information appearing on RCÉ’s website reflects data held by the ICC at a point in time. According to the ICC, in order to effect a change of ownership of a greyhound, the necessary details are required from the purchaser prior to such transfer.

Obligations under the Welfare of Greyhounds Act, 2011 and any alleged breaches, are only enforceable against parties located within the state. The Welfare of Greyhounds Act, 2011, therefore, does not apply to persons outside the state who purchase greyhounds from Ireland.

I understand from RCÉ that if breaches of Section 10 of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act, 2011, by a seller, are identified by RCÉ and the offence was committed within the previous 12 months, its welfare officers will issue a fixed payment notice. Information on the number of fixed payment notices issued over the last 5 years for breaches of Section 10 of the Welfare of Greyhounds Act, 2011, are available on the RCÉ website.

With regard to the exportation of greyhounds, rules covering the movement of all breeds of dogs, including greyhounds, between EU Member States, are set at a European level. My Department does not certify exports to the country referred to.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Questions (1001)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

1001. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a TAMS application will be processed for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8065/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application under the Young Farmer Capital investment Scheme of TAMS II on 11th January 2021 under Tranche 20 of the scheme.

All applications in a given tranche are subject to initial administrative checks before the ranking and selection process is applied to all applications. The process of administrative checking is currently under way for Tranche 20. If the application is selected for approval, the applicant will be notified directly.

Fishing Licences

Questions (1002)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1002. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a meeting will be arranged with a person (details supplied) to discuss the issuing of fishing licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8067/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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

As Castlemaine Harbour is designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive (Natura 2000 site), all applications in the area are required to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of environmental compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. My Department has requested that the Marine Institute undertake an updated Appropriate Assessment for Castlemaine Harbour. Once the finalised Appropriate Assessment Report is received my Department will be in contact with the applicants concerned regarding the next stage of the licensing process.

Specific queries in relation to individual applications can be referred by the applicant to the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division of my Department. As applications in Castlemaine Harbour are currently under consideration as part of the statutory process outlined above, it is not possible to facilitate a meeting at this time.

Agriculture Schemes

Questions (1003)

Michael McNamara

Question:

1003. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 483 dated 21 January 2021, when payment will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8069/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application under the Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme in tranche 18 of TAMS. Approval to commence investment works in this case was awarded on 10th February 2021. The approval letter has been uploaded to the application on the TAMS online system where the applicant can now view it. The applicant will also receive confirmation, in writing, of the approval of their application. The payment claim can be submitted once the work is complete.

Nitrates Usage

Questions (1004)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

1004. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a decision has been made on a review of a nitrates' penalty in respect of a farmer (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8070/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named received a letter on 8th October 2020 advising him of a breach of limits under the Nitrates Regulations in respect of the 2019 year and detailing that a penalty that would be applied to his 2020 scheme payments.

Following a request for a review, the person named submitted additional information in relation to sheep on his holding. This new information has been reviewed but the penalty band of 15% remained unchanged.

A review decision letter issued to the person named on the 22nd October 2020 informing him that in this case the penalty remained. The letter also outlined the procedures for lodging an appeal to the Agricultural Appeals Office within 3 months of the review decision letter.

Common Agricultural Policy

Questions (1005)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1005. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address concerns that proposals for increasing co-financing for the second pillar of the CAP would most disadvantage the poorest farmers, less developed regions and rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8115/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Co-financing for Pillar II in the CAP was agreed by Heads of State and Government at the European Council in July 2020, as part of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) proposals for the 2021 - 2027 programming period. The overall MFF was subsequently agreed with the European Parliament in December 2020.

The MFF agreement sets out the EAFRD contribution rates to be established in Member States' CAP Strategic Plans. This includes 43% of the eligible public expenditure in what is known as 'other regions'. Ireland fought very hard to maintain the current EU co-financing rate of 53%, but, as with any negotiation process, compromises had to be made. The MFF agreement also sets out that the minimum level of EAFRD co-financing is 20%, while a higher 80% co-financing rate will apply for environmental and climate related commitments. Therefore, the overall level of co-financing for the EAFRD in the next programming period will be very much dependent on the types of measures Member States wish to support in their CAP Strategic Plans for the 2023-2027 period.

EAFRD spending for 2021 and 2022 will be programmed under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2022. The EAFRD allocation for 2021 and 2022 of €692m and EURI funding of €190m is now available for programming in the extended transitional period. The RDP provides funding based on national programmes and all farmers have an equal opportunity to apply for funding regardless of their location.

The 2023-27 CAP Strategic Plan will see a strategic planning process at a national level, with funding available to farmers in all parts of the country, as before. All expenditure under current and future programmes will be subject to the national budgetary process.

Agriculture Industry

Questions (1006)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1006. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department has conducted an analysis of the trend of rural depopulation specifically with respect to the idea that the future of farming may involve the concentration of job creation around urban centres with resulting declines in rural service provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8116/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department has not conducted an analysis of rural population trends but is aware of work carried out in this regard by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC).

My Department does monitor population trends in farming and the Census of Agriculture and the Farm Structure Survey, both carried out by the CSO, are particularly important. In Ireland there are around 137,500 farms and that total number has remained remarkably stable over the past 20 years.

My Department funds a wide range of research projects including one led by Teagasc titled “Rural Generational Renewal 2050”, which is examining what future drivers of change and challenges will matter most to renewing rural jobs in agriculture and forestry in the period to 2050. Other research funded by my Department includes agricultural research projects, innovative food processing projects and forestry research projects. These research projects and others will assist in developing policy on ensuring a viable future for rural Ireland.

Meanwhile my Department is engaged with the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), which is currently finalising a new whole-of-Government rural development policy for the period 2021-2025. The policy recognises the importance of balanced regional development, and the interdependency of rural and urban areas. Through this policy the Government will deliver innovative solutions to address challenges affecting rural areas, including in relation to job creation, sustainable population growth, access to services, social inclusion, and adapting to the challenges of climate change.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Questions (1007)

Niall Collins

Question:

1007. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a TAMS grant application by a person (details supplied) submitted in summer 2020 will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8119/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application under the Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme under tranche 17 of TAMS. Approval to commence investment works in this case was awarded on 11 February 2021. The approval letter has been uploaded to the TAMS online system, where the applicant can now view it. Written confirmation will also issue to the applicant concerned.

Equine Industry

Questions (1008)

James Lawless

Question:

1008. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is confident that every foal is being issued with an equine passport; the checks and regulations being made to ensure that this is the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8225/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The rules regarding the identification of equines across the EU are governed by Commission Implementing Regulation 262/2015 (CR 262/2015), which came into effect on 1 January 2016. This legislation was transposed into national legislation in Ireland via S.I. No 62 of 2016.

Article 12(1) of that Regulation provides that all equine animals must be identified with a passport no later than 12 months from the date of birth of the animal and, in any event, before the equine moves permanently from the holding of origin.

Equine passports are issued by Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) approved by my Department. Information available from these organisations suggests that high rates of compliance with the identification rules are being achieved.

Enforcement of equine identification legislation is primarily undertaken by authorised officers in my Department's Regional Office network who engage in checks at sales venues including marts and fairs, as well as at horse slaughter plants and at export points including ports and airports. These officers work closely with veterinary colleagues in Local Authorities and liaise with An Garda Síochána and Revenue Commissioners Officials, as required.

In addition, inspection of equine passports forms part of the equine identification validation processes at competition venues to ensure that all intended participants are identified properly and accompanied by a valid identification document.

Where breaches of equine identification legislation are identified, my Department's policy is to adopt a fair and proportional approach to resolving such issues. In this regard, authorised officers engage with keepers making them aware of their responsibilities and generally issue a compliance notice in the first instance to ensure compliance with the legislation.

Greyhound Industry

Questions (1009)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

1009. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if Rásaíocht Con Éireann covers the cost of vaccination, neutering and a pet passport before the greyhound is rehomed as part of the Irish Retired Greyhound Trust and funded through the Greyhound Care Fund. [8236/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) is a commercial state body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958 chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry. RCÉ is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for RCÉ and, therefore, the question has been referred to the body for direct reply.