Medical Aids and Appliances Provision

Ceisteanna (222)

Noel Rock

Ceist:

222. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Health his plans to extend the FreeStyle Libre blood glucose monitor to persons with diabetes under the long-term illness scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5287/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health (Pricing and Supply of Medical Goods) Act 2013, the HSE has statutory responsibility for the administration of the community drug schemes; therefore, the matter has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Greyhound Industry Data

Ceisteanna (223, 224)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

223. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied with the statistics produced in relation to greyhound injury and deaths by the Irish Greyhound Board, IGB, for 2017 for Enniscorthy and Lifford in particular in which some of the columns in the statistics produced have been left blank. [5065/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

224. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the full statistics for 2017 to include November and December which were missing from the original greyhound race injury and deaths report by the Irish Greyhound Board July to December 2014. [5066/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 223 and 224 together.

Bord na gCon 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.

Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Bord na gCon has advised that the statistical report referred to by the Deputy was submitted to her in November 2017 and therefore statistics for November and December would not have been available at that time. Bord na gCon will furnish the information requested directly to the Deputy.

Bord na gCon has informed me that retrospective records are not available at the privately owned Lifford and Enniscorthy stadia. However race injury information will be available going forward at these stadia.

Tax Code

Ceisteanna (225)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

225. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to introduce a scheme for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5080/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

While taxation policy is primarily the responsibility of the Minister for Finance, I have on-going contact with him to ensure that taxation policy reflects the Government’s commitment to agriculture and, in particular, to the policy objectives set out in the Agri-taxation Review and Food Wise 2025.

Income averaging for farmers is an important agri-taxation measure and it assists in addressing income volatility. I negotiated a change in the system in 2016, whereby a farmer can opt out of the system following a year of reduced income, resulting in improved cash flow. However I realise that the income averaging system is not suitable for all farmers and that it can only partially contribute to addressing income volatility. I have received a number of proposals modelled on income deferral schemes operated elsewhere and have been engaged with the Minister for Finance and various farm & industry organisations in this regard.  

There are significant issues with these proposals, especially around EU State Aid rules and cost. Also there is no CAP direct payment equivalent in the countries in which this particular type of scheme currently operates and direct payments in themselves mitigate the effects of income volatility.  

Nevertheless my concerns regarding income volatility and ongoing consultations with the Minister for Finance in this regard led to his announcement in the last Budget of a review of progress on the Agri-taxation Review, with a particular focus on the issue of income stabilisation. Our Departments have begun this process with a view to reporting later this year.

Agriculture Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (226)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

226. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of increasing the grant rate available for low emissions slurry spreading equipment to 60%. [5173/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Low Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme under TAMS II is a demand led Scheme. To date €3.14m has been paid to 283 approved applicants under the Scheme. It should be noted that under the relevant EU regulations the grant rate is set at 40% for eligible investments except in the case of eligible Young Farmers where the grant rate increases to 60%.

It is not possible therefore to fully quantify the cost of this proposal as it would depend on the level of demand and the category of applicants.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (227)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

227. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a GLAS 2016 payment will issue to a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in rectifying the issue with regard to commonages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4996/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received the payment in respect of the 2015 scheme year.

The Department is aware of an issue with this case that has delayed the 2016 and 2017 payments. This case is prioritised for payment and I expect will be sorted in the very near future. GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (228)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

228. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5004/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The above named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016. All payments owed to the applicant in respect of scheme year 2016 have issued.

Administrative checks must take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete these checks. Once this case clears the validations the 2017 advance payment will be made. GLAS 2017 advance payments are being made on a weekly basis.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (229)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

229. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if payments to a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5010/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application in respect of the 2017 Basic Payment Scheme/ Areas of Natural Constraints was received from the person named on 11 May 2017. Processing of this application has recently been finalised with payments scheduled to issue under both schemes in the coming days.

Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete the checks to allow for the issue of payments. Once this case clears validations the 2017 advance payment will be made. GLAS payments are being made on a weekly basis.

Knowledge Transfer Programme

Ceisteanna (230)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

230. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to problems with issued knowledge transfer payments particularly for partnership farms; the steps he will take to rectify the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5021/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Knowledge Transfer is one of a suite of measures included under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and involves the formation of knowledge transfer groups across the beef, dairy, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors. Farmer participants attend group meetings and produce a Farm Improvement Plan in consultation with their KT Facilitator. For each year of the three year programme participants receive a reimbursement in the amount of €750 for a primary sector and €375 for a secondary sector where all requirements of the programme have been met.

Payments under the programme commenced in late October 2017. To date circa €10.1 million has issued to 13,700 farmers. Officials in my Department are currently examining a number of partnership cases to ensure that there is a data match between individual Farm Improvement Plans and the individual farmer within the Register of Farm Partnerships. Every effort is being made to complete this process quickly with a view to paying affected farmers as soon as possible.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (231)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

231. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme, GLAS, payment for a person (details supplied); when the payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5022/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The above named was approved into GLAS 3 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017.

Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete the checks to allow for the issue of payments. Once this case clears validations the 2017 advance payment will be made. GLAS payments are being made on a weekly basis.

Flood Relief Schemes Payments

Ceisteanna (232)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

232. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal under the Inishowen flood relief measure 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5060/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application to receive financial aid under the Flood Damage Relief Measure was received in the Department on 28th September 2017. The processing of this application is on-going and is expected to be finalised shortly.

Internal Audits

Ceisteanna (233)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

233. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department has completed an external quality assurance assessment of its internal audit function as required by the Institute of Internal Audit standards that were introduced in 2012 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5103/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Internal Audit Unit in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is subject to an annual external quality assurance assessment. This assessment is carried out independently by one of the larger accounting firms in the context of that firm’s role as Certifying Body for the Department.