Single Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (143)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

143. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if lands in special areas of conservation are considered as eligible areas for single farm payment applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21763/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In order to draw down payment in respect of SPS entitlements, applicants must have an “eligible hectare” to accompany each entitlement. In this context, an “eligible hectare” is land that is used for an agricultural activity and includes land used to grow cereals, oilseeds, short rotation coppice, miscanthus sinensis, protein crops, sugar beet, maize, fodder beet, turnips, mangolds, kale, vegetables, potatoes, grass for silage or hay or grazing.

In the case of each hectare declared, the eligible area excludes any areas under roads, paths, buildings, farmyards, woods, scrub, rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, sand, areas of bare rock etc.; boglands unfit for grazing; sand/gravel pits, areas used for quarrying; areas fenced off from grazing use, inaccessible areas, land that is not being farmed by the applicant, areas used as sports fields, golf courses, pitch and putt courses, etc.

Some farms, or part of farms, have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC’s). All of these areas that are considered eligible in line with the requirements as already outline above can be declared for payment under the Single Payment Scheme and Disadvantaged Areas Scheme. It is each applicant’s responsibility, however, to establish if any of the eligible land being applied on for payment under the SPS is in a Special Area of Conservation and to be aware of the particular requirements attaching. Applicants requiring further information are advised to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Single Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (144)

Dan Neville

Ceist:

144. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21764/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In order to qualify for payment under the 2013 Beef Technology Adoption Programme participants were required to attend six meetings and satisfactorily complete two Tasks, chosen from a menu of 10 Tasks. One of the two Tasks chosen by the person named (Task 4, relating to soil sampling) did not comply with the requirements of the Programme, as the person named was also a participant in AEOS 2. The Terms and Conditions of the 2013 Programme clearly precluded AEOS 2 participants from selecting Task 4 as one of their qualifying Tasks under the 2013 Programme. Accordingly, no payment is due to the person named under the 2013 Programme.

UN Conventions Ratification

Ceisteanna (145)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

145. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans for Ireland to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the near future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21662/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I refer the Deputy to the response given by my colleague, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch on 27 February 2014, in which she informed the House that the Government intends to proceed to ratification of the Convention as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure all necessary legislative and administrative requirements under the Convention are met. As the Deputy may be aware, Ireland does not become party to treaties until it is first in a position to comply with the obligations imposed by them, including the amendment of domestic law as necessary.

An interdepartmental committee on the Convention is reviewing the remaining legislative and administrative actions required to enable ratification. As part of its work programme, the committee has identified issues to be considered by various Departments and examination of these issues is ongoing. At the request of the committee, the National Disability Authority, the lead statutory agency for the sector, is also assisting in assessing remaining requirements for ratification to ensure that all outstanding issues will be comprehensively addressed.

For my Department, one of the key requirements is the enactment of capacity legislation. The programme for Government contains a commitment to introduce a Bill in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill, published on 17 July 2013, provides a series of options to support people with impaired capacity to make decisions and exercise their basic rights in line with the principles of the UN Convention. It undertakes a comprehensive reform of existing legislation governing capacity. The Bill will go to Committee Stage shortly. The enactment of this legislation is one of the core elements of the remaining work to be completed to enable ratification by the State of the UN Convention.

Firearms Licences

Ceisteanna (146)

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

146. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on a centralised model of licensing for firearms with a dedicated localised vetting mechanism remaining with the Garda; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21614/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

In light of public safety concerns highlighted by An Garda Síochána and difficulties in the interpretation of the legislation expressed by members of the judiciary, my Department is currently examining key policy, legislative, administrative and other issues relating to firearms licensing in conjunction with An Garda Síochána. I expect to receive and consider a report in relation to these matters within 2 months. When I have considered that report I will consider what further action is necessary in relation to the firearms licensing system, including in relation to the proposals for a centralised model of firearms licensing.

Airport Security

Ceisteanna (147)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

147. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason gardaí regularly need the assistance of the Army to ensure law and order is upheld and that the internal security of the State is protected when US military planes land at Shannon; and if the decision of gardaí to have the Army present is one which they themselves make or one which occurs following a request from the US authorities. [21661/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

An Garda Síochána has the primary responsibility for law and order, including the protection of the internal security of the State. Among the roles assigned to the Defence Forces is the provision of Aid to the Civil Power (ATCP). In practice this means that they provide assistance to An Garda Síochána when requested by the Gardaí to do so. It is a decision for the Garda authorities alone whether they should call on the Defence Forces for assistance. In this regard, there is ongoing and close liaison between An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces regarding national security matters.

For obvious reasons I am not going to disclose operational matters related to the protection of national security. It is the case however that on-going protest action in and around Shannon Airport has meant that measures have to be put in place to protect this vital part of our transport infrastructure. Some of this protest action has, at times, potentially put lives at risk. In the circumstances, the Garda authorities make the decision on whether to call in the Defence Forces for assistance based on their assessment of the threat posed to Shannon Airport and for the protection of passengers, staff and others in and around the airport.

Human Trafficking

Ceisteanna (148, 164)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

148. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will advance the unanimous recommendations of the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality 11 months ago to introduce laws targeting the buyers of sex to curb exploitation, abuse and human trafficking; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21669/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

164. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when she will conclude the review of the laws on prostitution, in view of the fact that it is now almost 12 months since the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality unanimously supported targeting demand to end exploitation, abuse and human trafficking; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21745/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 164 together.

The Deputies will appreciate that I have not yet had an opportunity to review this matter.

Following the publication of the report of the Justice Committee in June last year, the committee was requested to clarify and elaborate some of its recommendations for a new approach to prostitution legislation. The relevant correspondence with the committee was concluded in December.

The advice of the Attorney General and the views of the Minister for Health on the committee's recommendations were received in February and March, respectively. The issue of prostitution has also been the subject of recent debate at EU and Council of Europe level.

Prostitution raises a wide spectrum of issues. When I have had the opportunity to properly consider all of these, legislative proposals will be brought to Government in the usual way.

Immigration Policy

Ceisteanna (149, 150, 155, 156, 160, 161, 162)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

149. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the heads of the long awaited immigration, residence and protection Bill will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21670/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niall Collins

Ceist:

150. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the immigration, residence and protection Bill will include an independent appeals mechanism for the immigration system, as sought by the Immigrant Council of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21671/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

155. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality following this week's judgment of the European Court of Justice in Case C 604/12 H. N. v. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ireland, Attorney General, if she is considering introducing a single procedure for international protection by way of statutory instrument or amending legislation in advance of the immigration, residence and protection Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21682/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Dowds

Ceist:

156. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update on planned legislation relating to the asylum process. [21687/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

160. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the heads of the new immigration, residence and protection Bill will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21741/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

161. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the new immigration, residence and protection Bill will enshrine the right of family reunification in primary legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21742/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Ceist:

162. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will include provisions for clear rules and guidelines in the immigration system under new legislation promised for later this year and end an overreliance on discretion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21743/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 149, 150, 155, 156 and 160 to 162, inclusive, together.

As Deputies are aware, the Government is committed under the Programme for Government to comprehensively reform the current immigration, residence and protection systems, including an independent appeals system in immigration cases. I will be reviewing the work done to date in respect of the Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill in consultation with my officials, following which I will decide on how best to progress the implementation of the Government's priorities, particularly those relating to the establishment of a single application procedure in the area of international protection. I will consider all the issues raised by Deputies as part of that process and I am anxious to ensure that there is no avoidable delay in bringing forward legislation for a modern immigration system that is in line with national priorities and meets best international practice in this area.