Animal Welfare

Ceisteanna (249)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

249. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the person or body that has the authority to exterminate stray cats; the sanctions that exist if an unauthorised person or company attempts to exterminate cats; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4695/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The practice of trap/neuter and release (TNR) is a well recognised way of dealing with feral cat problems. It is also noteworthy that certain animal rescues take in feral kittens, from operators following their removal, for re-homing where domestication is feasible. It is understood that operators dealing with the removal of feral cats generally seek to capture and use humane injection where such a course of action is deemed necessary, taking account of the particular circumstances and the age and condition of the animals.

This approach accords with the principles set out in section 12 of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 which sets out the principles which seek to protect all animals from cruelty - requiring the avoidance of any unnecessary suffering and the minimisation of suffering. Summary offences under this section of the Act are liable to fines of up to €5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (250)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

250. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive a GLAS payment, an organics payment for 2017 and a balancing BPS payment for 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4698/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application in respect of the 2016 Basic Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 9 April 2016. This application was processed and payment issued on 17 October and 1 December 2016. Subsequently, following an Organics Inspection an over claim was identified which will result in an overpayment for 2016. The Department has been in direct contact with the person named and has clarified the position.

The 2016 OFS balancing payment for the person named will be processed for payment this week.

In relation to GLAS, the above named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October  2015. The applicant has received all payments in respect of scheme years 2015 and 2016.

Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims.  All cases must clear these checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete the checks required and once this case clears validations the 2017 advance payment will be made.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (251)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

251. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment of the basic farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [4769/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2016 Transfer of Entitlements application to my Department seeking the transfer of entitlements by sale.  My Department has been unable to process this transfer as there is outstanding documentation required from a third party which needs to be submitted before the transfer can be processed. This information has been requested on a number of occasions and to date has not been submitted.

Following receipt of the required information my Department will process the Transfer of Entitlements application for the person named.

Farm Retirement Scheme

Ceisteanna (252)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

252. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on reopening the early retirement scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4774/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Early Retirement Scheme was suspended in 2008. It was reopened briefly in September 2009, with limited additional funding, to accommodate farmers who had applications completed or close to completion at the time of suspension. I can confirm that as there is no funding available for a new Early Retirement Scheme at this time, I have no plans to re-open this scheme or introduce another similar scheme.

In recent years the priority of my Department has shifted to the encouragement of generational change for farmers. There are a number of supports specifically available for young farmers under my Department schemes in order to incentivise this generational renewal. For example, under the 2014 - 2020 Rural Development Programme there is for an enhanced capital investment scheme for young trained farmers.

This new Scheme provides grant aid at a rate of 60% of the cost of the investment, compared to the standard grant rate of 40%, and I believe it is an important support and encouragement to young farmers starting in agriculture for the first time.

Agriculture Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (253)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

253. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of appeals and reviews waiting to be processed by the appeals section of his Department; the year the appeal or review was lodged; the scheme it relates to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4775/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Appeals when received are processed through a number of stages including requesting the Department statement and file for the appeal submitted, organising an oral hearing where one was requested, requiring, where necessary, additional information from an appellant or the Department, analysing and finalising the appeal decision and, in certain cases, obtaining legal advice.  There may be cases where appeals have been received but the appeal has not progressed due to legal proceedings or the non availability of the appellant.

The statistics requested for the number of appeals received by the Agriculture Appeals Office by scheme by year show the number of appeals that were received that are currently being processed that have not been closed/decided at this time. The statistics for the years 2013 to 2017 are included in the following table.

In regard to the number of reviews, the information is not readily available within the given timeframe for the years 2013 to 2017.  A reply will issue directly to the Deputy with the details of the number of reviews not finalised for those years.

Number of Appeals by year received and by scheme currently being processed not yet closed/ decided

Scheme ID

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme

4

Agri-Environment Options Scheme

3

9

Areas of Natural Constraint

7

Basic Payment Scheme

3

10

Basic Payment Scheme/ANC Inspection

2

Beef Data Genomics Programme

1

24

BPS - Admin - Nitrates

6

BPS - National Reserve 

3

BPS - Review of Entitlements 2015

1

BPS - Scottish Derrogation Scheme - 2015

2

BPS/ANC  - Cross Compliance

23

GLAS

1

24

Non-Valuation Aspects of Reactor Scheme

3

Organic Farming Scheme

1

Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS)

2

2

SFPS - Cross-compliance

3

5

SFPS - Other

1

SFPS - Over declaration of land/setaside

1

1

2

1

SFPS - Transfer of Entitlements

4

Sheep Welfare Scheme

3

TAMS II - Animal Welfare, Safety & Nutrient

1

TAMS II - Dairy Equipment Scheme

2

TAMS II - Low-Emission Slurry Spreading

1

TAMS II - Organic Capital Investment Scheme

1

TAMS II - Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme

5

Young Farmers Scheme

4

Grand Totals

0

1

1

17

147

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (254)

John Brassil

Ceist:

254. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for delays in GLAS 2 payments (details supplied) being issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4778/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

GLAS payments cannot issue until all regulatory requirements are met. Each GLAS payment claim must be put through a suite of checks for each action and where any individual check fails the issues must be investigated and resolved before being cleared for payment.

2017 advance payments commenced on schedule in November 2017 and to date the Department has issued advance payments to 41,676 farmers totalling €149m. This represents over 90% of all eligible farmers.  GLAS pay-runs are continuing on a weekly basis with further payments scheduled to issue this week as cases are cleared for payment.

In addition to the checks outlined above, in approximately 3,000 of the outstanding cases, applicants remain ineligible for payment until they complete the steps they must take before the Department can process their payment. The general issues preventing payments taking place include the non-submission of nutrient management plans, commonage management plans, low emission slurry spreading forms, rare breeds forms and 2017 BPS application issues that remain to be resolved.

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

Ceisteanna (255)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

255. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has spoken to his French counterpart regarding CAP policy recently. [4326/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Discussions on the future of CAP post-2020 have been afoot since the middle of 2016 at many forums. Since then, CAP post 2020 has been discussed at many Agri Fish Councils during both the Maltese, Estonian and now the Bulgarian Presidencies.

In July 2017, I held a bilateral meeting with Minister Travert in Paris where the future of CAP was discussed.

I also spoke at the Conference on the future of CAP organised by my French counterpart on 19 December 2017. Commissioner Hogan along with Ministers of Agriculture from Spain, Poland and the Netherlands also spoke. This was an opportune time to discuss the European Commission's CAP Communication which was published on 29 November 2017.

My Department is continuing to engage with officials in other Member States, including France, in relation to this matter.

I look forward to working with the institutions of the European Union and with  Ministerial colleagues from other Member States, including France, to deliver the best possible Common Agricultural Policy for the citizens of the European Union into the future.

Basic Payment Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (256)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

256. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4845/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

This PQ relates to illegal burning which was determined by my Department to have taken place during the period 1st March to 31st August 2017.

My Department actively investigates incidents of illegal burning using satellite imagery.  Where land has been burned between the period of 1 March and 31 August of any given year it is not eligible for payment under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).

The person named submitted an application under the 2017 BPS on 24 April 2017.  In order to qualify for payment under the BPS an applicant must have an eligible hectare of land in respect of each entitlement held. 

As part of the process of determining land eligibility, parcels declared by the person named on his 2017 BPS application have been identified as having been burned outside of the permitted timeframes.  Accordingly, such lands are not eligible for the purpose of a BPS payment and this has created an over claim on the named person’s BPS application.  The over claimed land has been excluded from the his BPS application and he was paid on 14 December 2017 in respect of the remaining eligible hectares.

The person named was notified by my Department on 4 December 2017 about the burned land parcels and has submitted an appeal. This appeal will be examined with a view to an early decision.  Should additional information be required, my Department will contact the person named directly.

Ministerial Advisers Data

Ceisteanna (257)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

257. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the names of advisers he has appointed to his office since becoming Minister; the responsibilities of each; the previous employment of each; the salaries of each; and if he plans to make further additional appointments. [4860/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the Appointment of Special Adviser (Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine) Orders, 2016 and 2018 the following special advisers have been appointed since I became Minister: Ms. Áine Kilroy (re-appointment), Mr. Jonathan Hoare (re-appointment) and Mr. Ultan Waldron. 

Two advisers, Mr. Hoare and Mr. Waldron, are currently serving, in line with Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997.

Mr. Hoare is the Political Adviser, while Mr. Waldron is the Policy Adviser. 

Additional information relating to the appointment of advisers is provided to the Oireachtas upon their appointment.

The current salary scale for Ministerial Advisers is: Special Adviser (Principal Officer) €79,401.00 - €91,624.00.