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Thursday, 28 Mar 2013

Written Answers Nos. 209-216

Immigration Status

Ceisteanna (209)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

209. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an updated Stamp 4 will be approved in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15945/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I refer the Deputy to my detailed reply to his earlier Parliamentary Question, No. 197 of Tuesday, 28 February 2013 - copied beneath. The position is unchanged since then:

The person concerned was granted leave to remain in the State, on Stamp 4 conditions, for the two year period ending 17 May, 2013. This decision was conveyed in writing to

the person concerned by letter dated 18th May, 2011. The person concerned is required to apply in writing for the renewal of this permission one month in advance of its

expiry date. As a result, any such renewal application should be made in mid-April, 2013. It will be open to the person concerned to apply to the Citizenship Section of

my Department for a Certificate of Naturalisation when he is in a position to meet the lawful residency criteria applicable to the lodgement of such applications. Details

on the criteria to be met by persons lodging such applications are available from my Department's Website (www.justice.ie).

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to the INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from the INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Air Ambulance Service Provision

Ceisteanna (210)

Heather Humphreys

Ceist:

210. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Defence if he will consider putting an agreement in place with the Gaelic Athletic Association whereby GAA pitches are made available as a suitable emergency landing pad for a helicopter in the case of a medical emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15805/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I have no plans to seek an agreement with the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) as I understand that there is an existing arrangement in place between that organisation and the National Ambulance Service which covers, inter alia, the Air Corps' use of GAA pitches in the context of their air ambulance role. The continued assistance of the GAA is appreciated.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (211)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

211. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an agri-environment options scheme application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15739/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1 September 2011. Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue. During these checks an overclaim was identified in relation to the claimed areas on both the Traditional Hay Meadow and Species Rich Grassland actions. 75% payment totalling €986.94 has issued in respect of 2011 and the balancing 25% payment for 2011 will issue shortly. Payments in respect of the 2012 Scheme year are subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investments through checks on receipts. These checks have now been completed and following the payment for 2011, payment in respect of 2012 will be finalised.

Commonage Division

Ceisteanna (212)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

212. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress made in the past month in concluding the vesting of a commonage (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15834/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

All outstanding matters have been resolved and my officials are awaiting the completion of a signature by one shareholder on one document. On receipt of this the vesting order will be served on all the shareholders.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (213)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

213. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the single payment and disadvantaged area payment will be paid in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15836/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has written to the representatives of the person named requesting the usual testamentary documents and bank account details and also outlining procedures for the transfer of schemes in which the person named was involved. My Department awaits further instruction on the matter. The representatives of the person named should continue to communicate with the Inheritance Enquiry Unit so as to progress all outstanding issues. Contact details are as follows: Inheritance Enquiry Unit, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Eircom Building, Knockmay Road, Portlaoise.

Correspondence from my Department relating to transfer of the herd number concerned is also outstanding and the case cannot be progressed until these matters have been resolved. As regards the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, unfortunately, stocking density requirements in relation to both 2011 and 2012 were not met in this case and an appeal, in relation to the former year, to the independently chaired DAS Appeals Committee was unsuccessful. Written notification of this outcome issued on 14 March 2013.

Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (214)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

214. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision on a derogation application appeal will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15847/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named is one of a number of applicants under the 2012 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, whose cases were impacted by the requirement of a minimum stocking density of 0.3 livestock units per forage hectare, and who applied for and were refused derogation in this regard. The appeal of the person named was recently forwarded to the DAS Appeals Committee for consideration; immediately when that Committee has adjudicated on this appeal, the person concerned will be notified of its decision, in writing.

Fish Farming

Ceisteanna (215)

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

215. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the public disquiet regarding plans to develop two salmon fish farms totalling 456 hectares in the Galway Bay area; the long-term consequences that this development will have on angling and tourism in the vicinity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15875/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) has submitted an application to my Department for an Aquaculture and a Foreshore Licence for the cultivation of Finfish near Inis Oirr in Galway Bay. The application and its accompanying Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently being considered in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act and the 1933 Foreshore Act as amended. The legislation provides for extensive consultation with stakeholders, including Inland Fisheries Ireland, which has responsibility for wild salmon stocks. The legislation also provides for a period of general public consultation.

The public consultation stage of the process is now complete and a total of 410 valid submissions have been received by my Department and are currently under active consideration. All matters associated with the application including the impact, if any, on angling and tourism, will be given very careful consideration by my Department. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on this application which is under consideration as part of a statutory process.

Fish Farming

Ceisteanna (216)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

216. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if, in view of the Irish Seafood National Programme 2007-2013 published as part of the national development plan, which states that the targets for increased productive capacity of salmon will now have to be deferred until the sea lice problem issue has been satisfactory resolved, he is satisfied that this issue is now removed; if he or his Department has had discussions with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources regarding this issue and if it agrees that the issue is now resolved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15894/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Irish Seafood National Programme 2007-13 is a framework programme under the National Development Plan covering supports to the seafood sector that are not co-funded by the EU. Most support to the seafood sector is co-funded by the European Fisheries Fund and is covered by the Seafood Development Programme 2007-2013. Financial supports for the construction, installation and modernisation of aquaculture enterprises are provided by BIM and Údarás na Gaeltachta through the Commercial Aquaculture Development Scheme. This Scheme was originally part of the Irish Seafood National Programme, but was moved into the co-funded Seafood Development Programme in 2012, as part of a revision of that Programme following its 2011 interim evaluation. As part of the original development of both programmes, a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was conducted. During the course of the public consultation on that SEA, the Central and Regional Fisheries Boards (now Inland Fisheries Ireland) raised concerns about the possibility of sea-lice emanating from salmon farms negatively affecting migrating wild salmon. The Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources supported these concerns. Rather than delay the finalisation of the programmes, it was agreed to exclude salmon farms from financial support under the Irish Seafood National Programme until such time as the sea-lice issue has been satisfactorily resolved. This temporary restriction on development grants was included in the text of the Irish Seafood National Programme (page 99). While my Department has kept this matter under review with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the matter has not been resolved and the position remains that salmon farming is excluded from the financial support programmes for commercial aquaculture.

With the transfer of the Commercial Aquaculture Development Scheme into the co-funded Seafood Development Programme in 2012, the text of that Programme was amended to provide for the continuation of the temporary restriction on financial support to the salmon farming sector. The temporary restriction was also included in the eligibility criteria approved earlier this month for the next call for applications under the Commercial Aquaculture Development Scheme. My Department's policy on sea lice controls is strictly evidence based. The control protocols are operated by the Marine Institute on behalf of the State and are more advanced that those operated in other jurisdictions for the following reasons: the inspection regime is totally independent of the industry; data obtained as a result of inspections is published; treatment trigger levels are set at a low level.

In 2008, the State introduced a new Pest Management Strategy, supplementing the control regime already in place. This has resulted in a steady decline in average sea lice numbers on farmed salmon since its inception. The protocols have been the subject of detailed investigation and testing by the EU Commission in response to a complaint from a member of the public in respect of the effects of sea lice on wild salmon. On 11 October 2012, the Commission closed its investigation of this complaint in the State's favour following its examination of all relevant matters. The Commission has also indicated that it regards the sea lice protocols operated in Ireland as representing best practice internationally.

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