Regional Development

Questions (1035)

Marian Harkin

Question:

1035. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development allocated to each NUTS 3 region in Ireland during the 2014-20 programme; the proposed allocation to each NUTS 3 region during the 2021-27 programme; and if the European Commission's downgrading of the northern and western region has been taken into account in his Department's planning for the 2021-27 programme (details supplied). [8843/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The EAFRD funding for 2014-2022 is programmed through the Rural Development Programme for the same period. The Rural Development Programme is not programmed at a NUTS regions level but rather Ireland is considered as one region. Therefore, the programme allocation and expenditure is not available at NUTS level. Beneficiaries under the programme are primarily farmers and rural communities in rural regions of Ireland. The RDP provides funding based on specific schemes - there is no variation in the payment rates based on location with the exception of the Areas of Natural Constraints scheme, where higher rates are applicable to off-shore farms.

The CAP Strategic Plan will programme the EAFRD expenditure for the period 2023-2027. The plan, which is under development, will consider Ireland as one region along the lines of the current Rural Development Programme. It will be based on a strategic planning process and will consider the needs arising from a SWOT analysis. It is open to Member States to allocate the EAFRD funds to address the needs in accordance with the priorities of the Member State.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Questions (1036)

Marian Harkin

Question:

1036. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund allocated to each NUTS 3 region in Ireland during the 2014-20 programme; the proposed allocation to each NUTS 3 region during the 2021-27 programme; if the European Commission's downgrading of the northern and western region has been taken into account in his Department's planning for the 2021-27 programme (details supplied). [8844/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Programme 2014-20 is the principal source of development funding for the fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood processors sectors and for the socio-economic development and economic diversification of coastal communities.

The Programme is implemented through a broad range of support schemes, mostly implemented through Bord Iascaigh Mhara. Funds are allocated at a scheme level and are not allocated by NUTS region.

I anticipate that the same national level approach will be proposed in the implementation of the forthcoming Seafood Development Programme 2021-2027 under the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund.

Veterinary Medicines

Questions (1037, 1038, 1041, 1042)

Matt Carthy

Question:

1037. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the action he plans to take in response to recent media revelations outlining the current ease at which veterinary antimicrobial products may be improperly acquired in both the North and the South; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8850/21]

View answer

Matt Carthy

Question:

1038. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the safeguards in place to ensure that veterinary practices adhere to all regulations when dispensing antimicrobial products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8851/21]

View answer

Matt Carthy

Question:

1041. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the safeguards in place to ensure that veterinary prescriptions are issued by vets only to animals under their care; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8854/21]

View answer

Matt Carthy

Question:

1042. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the communication he has had with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on ensuring regulations pertaining to the dispensing of antimicrobial products are adhered to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8855/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1037, 1038, 1041 and 1042 together.

My Department implements a range of regular and systematic inspection and control measures along the animal production and food supply chain to protect consumers of Irish food, and the health and welfare of animals by providing for effective regulation of the supply, distribution and use of Irish veterinary medicines.

My Department officials met recently (November 2020) with the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland. Resulting from this meeting a commitment to establish regular formal meetings between the regulatory authorities in Ireland - DAFM, Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) & the Veterinary Council of Ireland (VCI) and UK/NI (VMD, DAERA & the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) counterparts was agreed. The next meeting of officials from these bodies is scheduled for April 2021.

Veterinary Inspection Service

Questions (1039)

Matt Carthy

Question:

1039. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of investigations carried out by the special investigations unit or its successor investigations division within his Department with regard to the supply of veterinary antimicrobial products in each of the years 2011 to date in 2021, by county in tabular form; the number of prosecutions carried out as a result of those investigations by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8852/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

To limit the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance, my Department employs a range of regulatory mechanisms aimed at curbing the excessive or inappropriate use of anti-microbial products in farming. These include residue monitoring and risk-based inspections and investigations.

Controls on the suppliers of anti-microbial products include risk based inspections and investigations. Possible sanctions for non-compliant suppliers and end-users range from forfeiture of the product, financial penalties, to prosecution through the courts and, in the case of professionals suspected of misconduct, possible referral to a professional body.

In some of these cases, the Investigations Division of DAFM carries out investigations with a view to prosecution through the courts. As the Division does not breakdown investigations and prosecutions below the category of veterinary medicines related cases, I cannot provide figures for veterinary antimicrobial products per se. I am, however, providing the Deputy with the number of Veterinary Medicines related investigations carried out in the years in question, by County, and the number of prosecutions which arose from those investigations.

These figures include a significant number of investigations and prosecutions relating to the misuse of veterinary medicines in the horse and greyhound sectors. The Deputy will note that a number of counties in Northern Ireland are included in the list, and while the Investigations Division does not carry out investigations in Northern Ireland, these addresses relate to the address of the individual or the entity under investigation. It is important to note when reviewing these figures that it can take some time for prosecutions to arise, following an investigation.

Veterinary Inspection Service

Questions Nos. 1041 and 1042 answered with Question No. 1037.

Questions (1040)

Matt Carthy

Question:

1040. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of full-time equivalent staff assigned to the special investigations unit or its successor investigations division within his Department in each of the years 2011 to date in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8853/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Investigations Division within my Department was established in 2014. Prior to the establishment of this Division, investigations and prosecutions were carried out by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Although investigations are carried out by many line divisions within my Department, the Investigations Division is the specialist Division with responsibility for the more complex and serious cases.

Investigations Division is a key element of my Department’s enforcement capability, underpinning the quality and traceability standards which facilitate trade and provide reassurance in relation to food safety and authenticity to consumers and customers in Ireland and abroad. All such investigations are carried out with a view to meeting the standard of proof required for prosecution through the courts.

The table below shows the staff numbers in the Investigations Division from 2014 to date. The figures given are the number of staff assigned as of year end.

Year

Number of staff

2014

9

2015

7

2016

12

2017

8

2018

7

2019

8

2020

7

2021 - to date

8

The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) was a component of an another Division prior to 2014, without a full time Head of Division, so exact staff numbers for the area are difficult to pinpoint for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. Investigations Division has been a full Division of the Department, with a full time Head of Division allocated to it, since 2014.

The Review of Investigations and Prosecutions within DAFM, completed in 2018, made a number of recommendations for the staffing of the Division which have been implemented over the course of the last two years. The staffing of the Division is reviewed regularly to ensure that it is adequately resourced and has the range of skills required to meet requirements.

Questions Nos. 1041 and 1042 answered with Question No. 1037.

Agriculture Scheme Data

Questions (1043)

Matt Carthy

Question:

1043. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of entitlements under the basic payment scheme that are leased for a consecutive period of three, four and five years or greater; and the value in each of these cases. [8856/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The detailed information requested here is currently being compiled and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Beef Industry

Questions (1044)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1044. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of times the beef task force has met since it was established; the achievements of the task force to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8871/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Beef Taskforce was established to provide the leadership to develop a sustainable pathway for the future of the beef sector. The Taskforce provides a robust implementation structure for commitments entered into in the Beef Sector Agreement of 15th September 2019, with timelines and stakeholder engagement.

At the last meeting of the Taskforce in December, the discussion centered on Grant Thornton's market transparency studies (commissioned as part of the beef sector agreement) after an update on progress to date.

There have been seven meetings of the Taskforce to date and the next meeting is due to be held next month at a date to be confirmed. The agenda will include a further update on the market transparency studies as they near finalisation and the current market situation will be discussed.

Information relating to the work of the taskforce including minutes and updates on progress is available on my Department's website:

gov.ie - Beef Taskforce (www.gov.ie)

Beef Industry

Questions (1045)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1045. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the 30-month rule and the four-movement rule for beef farmers and in particular the fact that the first of the four-movement rule is the birth of the calf; his views on whether this is fair; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8872/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There is no rule limiting the age of cattle or the number of movements for beef production. Such specifications are entirely a commercial matter and are not conditions imposed by my Department. However, in-spec bonus payments are made in respect of cattle which meet certain market specifications demanded by retail customers. The 30-month age, four movement specification and 60-day residency to which you refer are all examples of this.

It should be noted however that certain third countries have imposed a 30 month age limit in respect of beef imports, and this will be specified in the veterinary health certificate which will accompany beef exports to those countries.

As regards the numbers of movements, birth registrations are not classified on the Department's AIM system as a movement. For example, when an animal moves from its herd of origin to another farm, it enters its second residency, but has only made one movement.

In September 2019, consensus was reached between stakeholders on the Irish Beef Sector Agreement. Two elements of this relate to the specifications cited:

- the introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;

- an independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.

The details of this agreement are publicly available on my Department’s website.

Grant Thornton was successful in tendering for the transparency studies including the review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused some initial delays to progress on these studies. This work is expected to be concluded soon.

Beef Industry

Questions (1046)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1046. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the 30-month rule imposed on beef farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8873/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

There is no rule limiting the age of cattle for beef production. Such specifications are entirely a commercial matter and are not conditions imposed by my Department. However, in-spec bonus payments are made in respect of cattle which meet certain market specifications demanded by retail customers. The 30-month age to which you refer is an example of this.

It should be noted however that certain third countries have imposed a 30 month age limit in respect of beef imports, and this will be specified in the veterinary health certificate which will accompany beef exports to those countries.

In September 2019, consensus was reached between stakeholders on the Irish Beef Sector Agreement. Two elements of this relate to the specifications cited:

- the introduction of a new bonus of 8c/kg for steers and heifers aged between 30 to 36 months, which meet all non-age related existing in-spec criteria, and which up to now have not received any bonus;

- an independent review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the four in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.

The details of this agreement are publicly available on my Department’s website.

Grant Thornton was successful in tendering for the transparency studies including the review of market and customer requirements, specifically in relation to the in-spec bonus criteria currently in operation in the Irish beef sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused some initial delays to progress on these studies. This work is expected to be concluded soon.

Agriculture Industry

Question No. 1048 answered with Question No. 1026.

Questions (1047)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1047. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a review of an association (details supplied) will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8874/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Meat Industry Ireland (MII) represents the meat processing sector in Ireland under the umbrella of the business representative group IBEC.

My Department does not have any function in relation to the oversight of business representative or lobby groups.

Question No. 1048 answered with Question No. 1026.

Beef Industry

Questions (1049)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1049. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has considered setting up a beef regulator given the issues raised by farmers regarding beef prices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8876/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

As the Deputy will be aware, there is a commitment in the Programme for Government to the establishment of a new authority, to be called the National Food Ombudsman (NFO) or similar, to enforce the Unfair Trading Practices (UTP) Directive. The new authority whose remit will include the beef sector, will have a specific role in analysing and reporting on price and market data in Ireland. It is important to be aware, however, that this authority will not have a role in determining price.

Establishment of the NFO is ongoing and firstly requires the drafting of a statutory instrument to transpose the UTP directive before the deadline of May 2021. Legislation is then required to establish the new office of the NFO. It is intended that there will be a national consultation process on the functions of the NFO prior to the primary legislation being enacted.

In addition, the Beef Taskforce work on price transparency and the completion of the three market transparency studies commissioned by my Department will be an important step towards improving visibility of the complex supply chain which is integral in fostering trust and enhancing supply chain relationships. These studies will act as an important starting point for driving increased transparency. It is more important than ever that we all work together given the unique set of challenges currently faced by the sector. Continued strong and constructive engagement in the Beef Taskforce is key to meeting these challenges.

Beef Imports

Questions (1050)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1050. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of beef imported into Ireland and the country of origin in each of the years 2018 to 2020, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8877/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Ireland exports more than 90% of the beef it produces amounting to approximately €1.9 billion in value terms in 2020. The total value of beef imports in 2020 was just under €130,000.

The table below shows the latest figures from the CSO for beef imports to Ireland for the period requested.

Jan-Dec 2018

Jan-Dec 2019

Jan-Dec 2020

Imports

Imports

Imports

Category

Country

€000

Tonnes

€000

Tonnes

€000

Tonnes

Beef

United Kingdom

120,431

30,691

111,104

25,765

108,315

24,834

Spain

1,776

493

4,824

1,117

6,825

1,634

Netherlands

2,451

573

4,371

1,204

4,390

889

Poland

4,730

1,311

4,017

1,023

3,949

909

Belgium

194

38

835

174

1,750

372

Germany

1,772

410

1,067

175

1,347

250

Lithuania

622

277

645

287

705

314

Denmark

135

32

292

71

556

159

Italy

284

36

178

27

297

49

Sweden

424

107

480

124

274

66

Brazil

61

11

107

26

121

34

France

1,219

308

543

110

102

22

Singapore

86

25

China

239

42

39

26

59

25

St Pierre and Miquelon

53

12

Romania

2.9

0.6

27.5

5.4

19.7

3.9

Slovakia

7.5

1.8

14

3.5

Switzerland

9.1

1.6

9.1

1.6

11.4

2

Uruguay

2

0.2

3.7

0.4

Japan

3.3

0.2

3.5

0.3

Bulgaria

5.7

0.7

3.4

0.8

Australia

3.1

2

New Zealand

2.8

0.2

2.3

0.3

United States

95.9

21.1

0.1

1.7

0.1

Vietnam

21.3

1.5

0.7

0.1

Austria

82.8

52.3

0.6

0.1

Canada

0.1

Argentina

4.6

1

10.6

1.5

Latvia

1.3

0.3

2

0.6

Bangladesh

0.8

0.1

Iceland

0.1

Czech Republic

29.1

2.6

Senegal

24.1

26

Peru

7.9

0.6

Gabon

6.7

1.5

India

1.2

0.2

unspecified

406

72

359

116

Beef Total

134,633

34,439

128,971

30,212

129,252

29,724

Beef Environmental Efficiency Scheme

Questions (1051)

Claire Kerrane

Question:

1051. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will consider flexibility regarding the dates for the BEEP scheme given farmers are under pressure to have animals weighed in time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8878/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The objective of the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), which was piloted in 2019, was to further increase economic and environmental efficiency in the suckler herd through better quality data on herd performance supporting decision making on farm. The key measure of the scheme is aimed at measuring weaning efficiency and this objective determines the timing of weighing. The 2019 budget allocated a total of €20 million for BEEP. A total of 16,556 farmers participated in the pilot with payments totalling €15.4m. Building on the success of the BEEP pilot of 2019, its successor BEEP-S of 2020 included optional animal health and welfare measures and provided payments of over €40 million to over 24,000 beef farmers.

Both of these schemes are now closed and payments have issued.

The details of the Beef Sector Efficiency Pilot announced in Budget 2021 are currently being finalised and this process includes consultations with key stakeholders including the main farm organization representatives. This scheme will build on the success of the BEEP-S scheme, aiming to improve the weaning efficiency of suckler cows and calves by recording weights and also optional animal health and welfare measures. This provides for a maximum payment per suckler cow/calf pair of €90 per head for the first 10 suckler cows, and €80 thereafter. The 2021 scheme will also contain €5 million for a new calf weighing measure to support beef farmers rearing dairy beef calves.

Departmental Contracts

Questions (1052)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1052. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the contracts for public relations advice and consultancy entered into by his Department over the cost of €10,000 since January 2021; the nature of the contract; and the length of the contract in tabular form. [8885/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has not entered into contracts for public relations advice or consultancy in 2021.

Ministerial Communications

Questions (1053)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1053. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there has been any contact with his counterpart in the United States Administration. [8905/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

To date, I have not had contact with my US counterpart, as the position of Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not been formally filled.

In December 2020, then President-elect Biden announced that he would nominate Mr. Tom Vilsack to serve as the Secretary of Agriculture. On 2nd February 2021, Mr. Vilsack appeared before the US Senate Agriculture Committee - which is the first stage of the confirmation process - and was unanimously approved.

If Mr. Vilsack is formally confirmed, this would be his third term as Secretary of the USDA. During his previous tenure, a strong relationship was built between the USDA and my own Department. This culminated in a visit to Ireland in June 2014. It was also while he was Secretary that Ireland gained access for our beef to the US market, which at that point made us the first EU Member State to do so.

When the position is formally confirmed, I will, of course, be in contact at the earliest possible date, with a view to strengthening what is a very important relationship in the context of the challenging international trading environment in which the Irish agri-food sector operates.

Horse Sport Ireland

Questions (1054)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1054. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the proposed location for a centre of excellence representing Horse Sport Ireland; his views on the necessity for its location in a prominent horse industry location in which it can visibly develop as required (details supplied); if he will encourage the use of such prominent and established locations as the location for the onward development of the industry; if he has received a request for funding in this regard; his views and plans regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8963/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I am aware that Horse Sport Ireland is considering re-locating to a new site as part of the establishment of a new headquarters and a national centre of excellence.

HSI is a company limited by guarantee. It is not a State Body established by legislation and it is operationally independent of my Department. The location of a site for its headquarters is a matter for its Board. It would be inappropriate for me to express a view on the merits of any specific location in a way that might prejudice its deliberations.

My Department has provided funding to HSI over a number of years with, a €5m grant provided in 2021. Such spending is based on a service level agreement and is intended for current expenditure on areas such as breeding. It does not include capital funding. The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media also provides funding to HSI.

HSI did make a budget submission to my Department last year for capital funding but the figure concerned was indicative, was not specific to any particular site or venue and involved the development of a green field site.

Agriculture Industry

Questions (1055)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1055. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures that will be implemented to address the difficulties for the mushroom, horticulture and nursery sectors due to the difficulties arising from the cessation of peat production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8989/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In relation to peat extraction, my Department has no involvement in its regulation. This is a planning process under the remit of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and an Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) license process, under the remit of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Regarding the future use of peat moss in the horticulture sector, on 7th September 2020, Malcolm Noonan T.D., Minister for Heritage and Electoral Reform in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, published a report on the review of the use of Peat Moss in the Horticultural Industry. The review report was prepared by an inter-agency working group following on from the submissions from stakeholders.

After the publication of this report, Minister Noonan proposed the establishment of a working group to include representatives from relevant Government Departments and State Agencies, Environmental Non-Governmental Organisations and industry stakeholders under an independent chairperson to examine the issues identified during the review. In this respect, the working group will address the key issues raised in the report itself, including future use of peat by the horticulture sector. The position of Chair for the Independent Working Group will be filled shortly. Once the Chair is in place, the setting up of the working group members can take place.

In addition to these developments, my Department is actively looking at alternatives to peat and has funded two research projects to date. It has also recently sought further research be conducted here to explore alternatives to peat based growing media for horticultural production in this area in its latest Research Call for 2021. These must be available, affordable and sustainable and meet quality as well as environmental requirements.

Beef Industry

Questions (1056)

Brendan Smith

Question:

1056. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the next meeting of the beef task force will take place; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8990/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The next meeting of the Beef Taskforce is due to be held next month, the exact date to be confirmed. It will be held virtually as was the case with the previous three meetings, given the current public health restrictions.

The main item on the agenda will be an update from Grant Thornton on the transparency studies commissioned as part of the Beef Sector Agreement, which are reaching a conclusion after delays caused by COVID-19.

A market update and discussion on the current market situation is also a standing item at all Taskforce meetings.

Information relating to the work of the taskforce including minutes and updates on progress is available on my Department's website: gov.ie - Beef Taskforce (www.gov.ie)

Local Improvement Scheme

Questions (1057)

James Browne

Question:

1057. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the position regarding the local improvements scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7914/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Local Improvement Scheme, or LIS, is a programme for improvement works on small private or non-public roads in rural areas which are not under the normal maintenance of the Local Authorities. It is funded by my Department and administered through the relevant Local Authorities.

Since the LIS was re-launched in 2017, over €58 million has been allocated for improvement works on over 2,300 qualifying roads. It has significantly improved access to agricultural land, homes and public amenities in rural areas, benefitting over 10,000 people.

An allocation of €10 million was available for the scheme in 2020 and this was fully utilized. Recognising that many counties have lists of eligible roads that still require improvement works, I secured an increase in the budget for the LIS this year. The allocation for 2021 is €10.5 million, an increase of 5% on last year.

I will be launching this year's LIS shortly and will announce the funding distribution to each Local Authority at that stage.

Animal Welfare

Questions (1058)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

1058. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the procedures available for persons who wish to complain about standards operating in puppy farms. [7926/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department has overall policy responsibility for the Dog Breeding Establishments Act 2010. The Act provides a robust regulatory framework for, inter alia, the licensing, monitoring and inspection of dog breeding establishments by local authorities and, where a serious and immediate threat exists to public health or animal health and welfare, for the closure of such establishments.

As the day to day regulation of dog breeding establishments to ensure compliance with the Act is a matter for local authorities, complaints or issues regarding standards in individual dog breeding establishments should be addressed directly to the relevant local authority.

Dog Licences

Questions (1059)

Michael Ring

Question:

1059. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of dog licences that have issued in each of the past five years by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8000/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department publishes annual statistics in respect of a range of the dog control responsibilities of local authorities. Information up to and including 2019, by county and in tabular form, is available at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/879d4c-dog-control-statistics/. The 2020 dog control statistics will be published later this year.

The total number of dog licences issued in 2019 was 217,261. This includes 212,559 individual dog licences, 4,378 lifetime of dog licences and 324 general dog licences. The general dog licence covers an unspecified number of dogs in the one premises. The annual dog licence and general dog licence are valid for one year while the lifetime of dog licence is valid for the dog’s lifetime.

Under the Control of Dogs Acts, local authorities are responsible for licensing services in their areas and my Department is not involved in this operational activity.