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Tuesday, 14 Dec 2021

Written Answers Nos. 778-794

Question No. 778 answered with Question No. 774.

Forestry Sector

Questions (779)

Matt Carthy

Question:

779. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he plans to introduce a statutory period in which applicants for forestry-related licences will be entitled to receive a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61465/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Deputy will be aware of Project Woodland, which is tasked with improving the forestry licensing system and the creation of shared vision for forestry into the future.

In terms of licensing, an important initiative is the in-depth review of the forestry licensing system being carried out by a consultant with legal and environmental expertise.

It will review the existing statutory framework for the licensing of forestry activities in relation to environmental and public participation obligations in order that practical advice can be provided to the Department on how to work more efficiently within the existing legal framework.

As part of this review the question of a statutory timelines for the issuing of decision on licences will be considered. That report is expected at end February next.

We continue to work towards delivering licences in an acceptable timeframe and we have in recent months seen improvements in licence delivery and a reduction in the backlog. It is my intention that we will build on this momentum in 2022 so that we can meet the needs of applicants for forestry licences and of the wider forestry sector and society as a whole.

Forestry Sector

Questions (780)

Matt Carthy

Question:

780. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the period of activity for which already issued licences will meet the demand of Coillte; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61466/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In March this year, my Department received a batch application of some 1,800 licences from Coillte. These applications were for their clear fell programme for 2022 and 2023.

Coillte has now received nearly 90% of their licensing requirement for 2022 and I understand they recently held their contract event, where sawmills received half of their supply of logs from the company for 2022.

To 10th December 2021, a total of 2,782 tree felling licences at a volume of 7.9 million cubic metres have issued. The Coillte/private tree felling breakdown is 1,477 Coillte and 1,305 private. This is 60% higher than last year and the highest volume ever licensed in a single year. This increased supply of licences to industry over the past 12 months has allowed processors to rebuild their inventories, putting them in a much better position to respond to fluctuating demand from customers.

We are committed to sustaining and building on this momentum in 2022 and to continue supporting the sawmilling and timber processing sector which is such an important part of our rural economy.

Forestry Sector

Question No. 782 answered with Question No. 766.

Questions (781)

Matt Carthy

Question:

781. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he plans to allocate further ecologists and foresters towards the processing of farmer and private individual afforestation applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61467/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Tackling the backlog in forestry licenses remains a key priority for my Department and I am pleased to report significant progress has been made in the past year, particularly on felling and road licences.

The investment in resources and continual improvement has had a positive impact with a significant increase in licence output in recent months. This has brought our output to 3,894 licences issued to date this year. I am confident that we will meet our target of 4,000 licences by year end which will be a 60% increase on last year.

In terms of afforestation, outputs are not where I’d like them to be but there are signs of improvement. My Department is prioritising the assessment of afforestation licences on hand, using the same system as was applied to felling licences. Ten ecologists are now dedicated to afforestation, with more to be recruited. A tender has issued last week for additional ecological services to assist my Department. In addition to recruiting new staff, I am also reallocating existing Administrative, Forestry Inspectorate and Ecology resources to afforestation licensing files. I expect these changes to result in a higher level of output of afforestation licences than before.

We will build on this year’s momentum in 2022 and will implement any and all practical process improvements which result from the review and analysis in train under Project Woodland. I remain fully committed to delivering a licensing system which meets the needs of farmers and other land owners who wish to plant trees, as well as delivering for the wider forestry sector and society as a whole.

Question No. 782 answered with Question No. 766.

Agriculture Schemes

Question No. 784 answered with Question No. 766.

Questions (783)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

783. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the introduction of an equine census that includes donkeys will cease with the need to forward passports for donkeys to his Department for the purposes of the ANC scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61507/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

In keeping with my commitment to review and enhance the equine identification and tracing system, as set out in Ireland's Animal Welfare Strategy 2021-2025, I initiated the undertaking of the first annual equine census in November 2021.

The initial purpose of the census is to establish a link between each equine kept in the State and the premises on which it is kept on census date. The information submitted will provide important information in the event of an equine disease outbreak, in addressing public health concerns and in dealing with lost, straying or stolen horses.

This census data will be built on in 2022, when I propose to provide equine keepers with limited access to my Department's Animal identification and Movement (AIM) system, which houses the central equine database, allowing them to notify the Department directly when an equine moves residence. This will facilitate compliance with the EU Animal Health Law requirement to record the habitual residence of all equines on the central equine database.

It is expected that the linking of each equine to its place of residence will further enhance compliance with equine legislation where equine keepers are responsible for the health and welfare of all equines in their care.

With the introduction of the equine census, my Department is considering how the information that will now be gathered through both the equine census and the AIM system from 2022 can support the livestock checks that are a necessary requirement of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme.

Question No. 784 answered with Question No. 766.

Forestry Sector

Questions (785)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

785. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if statistical information in relation to felling licences will be provided for 2020 and to date in 2021 (details supplied). [61652/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

My Department is the consent authority for tree felling licences, which are a legal requirement before the felling of any tree or trees. In the years in question, my Department issued 1,717 (2020) and 2,711 tree felling licences. These are broken down by county and whether they are issued to Coillte Teo or private landowners in the tables below.

Tree felling licences issue with varying validity periods up to and including 10 years. After the expiration of the validity period, a landowner has two years in which to replant the felled site. Therefore, no reforestation inspections would be carried out on tree felling licences issued in 2020 and 2021 as they would be within the timeframe by which the replanting is required to take place. Information on ad hoc inspections is not compiled centrally and therefore not readily available, as they usually arise from complaints received by letter, email or by phone call. All such complaints are followed-up, with action taken as appropriate.

Every application for a forestry licence, including tree felling licences is assessed for its potential impact on the surrounding countryside and environment. This examination – Appropriate Assessment (AA) Procedures – is in the following stages AA screening, followed by stage 2 AA where required. Where following AA screening the potential impacts cannot be readily excluded, the application goes for stage 2 AA. The number of tree felling licence applications that progressed to stage 2 AA will be forwarded to the Deputy under separate cover.

Felling licences issued by count in 2020 and 2021 for both Coillte and Private landowners

2020

Private

Coillte

2021

Private

Coillte

Carlow

5

11

Carlow

11

21

Cavan

38

35

Cavan

45

34

Clare

54

66

Clare

92

78

Cork

97

106

Cork

159

166

Donegal

6

54

Donegal

30

141

Dublin

3

7

Dublin

2

14

Galway

54

64

Galway

46

111

Kerry

61

31

Kerry

85

56

Kildare

4

6

Kildare

26

4

Kilkenny

43

40

Kilkenny

57

35

Laois

14

64

Laois

50

52

Leitrim

54

41

Leitrim

61

58

Limerick

29

28

Limerick

64

36

Longford

18

5

Longford

23

3

Louth

0

6

Louth

4

7

Mayo

36

21

Mayo

64

63

Meath

5

2

Meath

25

5

Monaghan

17

7

Monaghan

11

2

Offaly

32

25

Offaly

68

23

Roscommon

82

15

Roscommon

67

29

Sligo

41

14

Sligo

47

44

Tipperary

39

71

Tipperary

90

189

Waterford

31

45

Waterford

45

104

Westmeath

7

11

Westmeath

18

6

Wexford

29

18

Wexford

19

21

Wicklow

53

72

Wicklow

41

159

Fishing Industry

Questions (786)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

786. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the share of the fish quota in the Irish EEZ under the CFP for the Irish fishing fleet on a species basis in tabular form; the overall share or percentage of the fish quota in the Irish EEZ under the CFP allocated to the Irish fishing fleet; and the overall share and percentage of the fish quota in the Irish EEZ under the CFP allocated to the fishing fleet of all other EU member states on a member basis. [61668/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under the Common Fisheries Policy, EU fishing fleets are given equal access to EU waters and fishing grounds subject to allocated fish quotas and the rules of the CFP. There are restrictions on access within the 12 nautical miles zones of Member States including Ireland.

Quotas for the various stocks are allocated for management areas - that is, ICES areas, rather than Member States' EEZs. For example, the Total allowable Catch (TAC) area for the Hake Stock is ICES Areas 6 and 7 which stretches from the north of Scotland south to the north coast of Brittany, and into the English channel. This area includes parts of the UK EEZ, the Irish EEZ, part of the French EEZ and some international waters. Ireland's quota may be fished in any part of this area. Ireland's main mackerel quota covers ICES Areas 6 and 7 stretching from north of Scotland to the north coast of Brittany and the full quota may be fished in UK waters of the northern North Sea. The access to the northern North Sea in particular is economically important for our fleet.

In relation to Ireland's 200 miles zone, the outtake has been estimated by the Marine Institute. It has estimated the landings from the Irish EEZ for the top 25 species over the period from 2015 to 2019. The tables at the following link show that, overall, Irish vessels take 35.5% (by weight) and 38.8% (by value) of the landings from the Irish EEZ. The data sets for 2020 and 2021 are not available yet.

Irish Fishing Fleet

The total value of Ireland's fish quotas for 2021 is approximately €229 million.

Nitrates Usage

Questions (787)

Carol Nolan

Question:

787. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there are supports available from his Department for farmers who wish to use organic fertilisers or fertiliser pellets that are biologically composted and 100% organic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61721/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The application of fertilisers to land is regulated by the Nitrates regulations SI 605 2017. These regulations provide for the use of organic fertilisers as well as chemical fertilisers to growing crops when ground and weather conditions allow. Certified analysis of any fertiliser used should be available to farmers so that they can optimize the use of nutrients.

There are currently no supports available for the use of fertiliser . Support through capital aid scheme or TAMS are available to farmers for the purchase of low emission slurry spreading equipment and GPS enabled fertilizer spreaders.

The use of organic fertilisers in 2022 will be particularly cost effective for farmers in light of the current price of chemical fertilisers.

Live Exports

Questions (788)

Brian Leddin

Question:

788. Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of animal deaths and injuries that occurred on the voyage of a livestock vessel (details supplied); if a vet was on board the vessel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61748/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department only permits animals to be transported in compliance with the legislation. Department officials and inspectors monitor compliance through a system of official controls, including advance checks of paperwork and veterinary checks, of the livestock vessel, and of all animals before they travel, along with retrospective checks on GPS and temperature records.

In the case of the voyage referred to, the operator provided Department officials with a Masters Report following the completion of the journey. That report indicates that there were no mortalities on board, and that twelve animals were treated for ailments over the course of the voyage. The report further indicates that all animals responded to treatment.

There was no official veterinary presence on board for this voyage - the resurgence of COVID-19 in Ireland and throughout Europe has made such accompaniment hazardous. It is planned to resume such accompaniments once it is deemed safe, and to meet the commitment outlined our Programme for Government.

Live Exports

Questions (789)

Brian Leddin

Question:

789. Deputy Brian Leddin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of livestock vessels leaving Ireland in 2020 and to date in 2021 that had a vet on board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61750/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Department only permits animals to be transported in compliance with the legislation. Department officials and inspectors monitor compliance through a system of official controls, including advance checks of paperwork and veterinary checks, of the livestock vessel and of all animals before they travel, along with retrospective checks on GPS and temperature records. In general, animals travel well and arrive in good condition.

There were nine voyages of dedicated livestock vessels departing from Ireland during 2020 and four to-date during 2021. Of those, an official veterinarian accompanied one voyage during 2020 and one voyage during 2021. The resurgence of COVID-19 in Ireland and throughout Europe during 2021 has made such accompaniment challenging. It is planned to resume such accompaniments once it is deemed safe, and to meet the commitment outlined our Programme for Government.

My Department is conscious of the need to ensure the welfare of the animals in transit and, as the regulator in this area, we are satisfied that the systems in place in respect of the intra-community movement and extra-community movement of these animals are supportive of the welfare of the animals and in compliance with the relevant legislation. The Department continues to monitor and enforce compliance, to ensure the welfare of animals transported.

Forestry Sector

Questions (790)

Joe Carey

Question:

790. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a farmer in receipt of, and who has repaid, subsidies for land (details supplied) must apply for a felling licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [61752/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Any person who wishes to fell a tree or trees must first apply for and be granted a tree felling licence in accordance with the Forestry Act, 2014. This is irrespective of whether the forestry was in receipt of grant aid and if that grant aid has been refunded on the sale of land.

It is an offence to fell a tree or trees without first obtaining a tree felling licence.

Greyhound Industry

Questions (791)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

791. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a detailed breakdown of expenditure of the €1.76 million spent by Rásaíocht Con Éireann on welfare, laboratory, integrity and governance will be provided in tabular form. [61835/21]

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.

As part of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund in Budget 2020, €16.8m was allocated to Rásaíocht Con Éireann (RCÉ) in accordance with Section 12 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001.

It was stipulated as part of the parameters and conditions of the funding that a minimum of 10% of the total fund was to be spent on welfare measures including integrity.

RCÉ has informed my Department that it has spent in excess of the required 10% on welfare and integrity from the Horse and Greyhound Fund and has spent a total of €3.18m, including spend on welfare and integrity from its own income, as set out in tabular form below.

Welfare, Integrity, Racing Regulation, Laboratory & Governance

Item

Value

Comments

Payroll & Travel

1,047,401

Control Stewarts, Stipendiary Stewarts, Welfare Officers, Testing Teams etc

Control Committee

39,135

Laboratory

309,473

Testing Consumables & DNA

32,791

I.R.G.T. & Welfare

129,261

Veterinary

188,504

1,746,565

Greyhound Care Fund

COVID19 Welfare Payment

994,176

COVID19 Trial & Litter Supports

12,694

Contribution to Welfare Initiatives

184,677

I.R.G.T., Care Centre, Injury Support Scheme, Rehoming cost etc.

1,191,547

Traceability & Scanning Project

247,800

Capital outlay for system development

Welfare Including Integrity Total

3,185,912

Greyhound Industry

Questions (792)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

792. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the recently purchased greyhound utility vehicles are available for use at official and unofficial trials; and if they will be available at all racetracks. [61836/21]

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.

Greyhound Industry

Questions (793)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

793. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of death certificates submitted to the welfare department of Rásaíocht Con Éireann since the new code of practice for the care and welfare of greyhounds came into force. [61837/21]

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.

Animal Breeding

Questions (794)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

794. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of veterinary certificates that have been lodged with an organisation (details supplied) in 2020 to allow for a greyhound bitch to have a seventh and-or eighth litter; and if a list of said greyhound bitches will be provided. [61838/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

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

The ICC has informed this Department that there were 24 litters whelped in 2020 (18 on their seventh litter and six on their eighth litter) for which they received a veterinary certificate. Further information relating to these dogs is available from the Irish Coursing Club.

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