Agrifood Sector

Ceisteanna (212)

John Deasy

Ceist:

212. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the discussions he has had with the farming organisations, industry and relevant agencies regarding the shortage of farm workers, particularly in the dairy sector; his plans to address this in terms of recruitment initiatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7597/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A shortage of labour has been building up in certain sub-sectors of the Irish agri-food sector in recent times. The Deputy is correct to refer to the dairy sector, but labour pressures also exist in the horticultural and meat processing sectors. The reasons for the shortages include: the significant value added growth expansion of the sector in recent years; the growth in the economy as a whole, now approaching full employment; and also economic growth in other EU countries which have traditionally supplied workers for the sector.

My Department and I have had extensive engagement with the industry on the shortage of labour in the dairy, horticulture and meat processing sectors. The issues within the Horticulture sector have been discussed at the Horticulture Industry Forum which my colleague, Minister of State Doyle, co-chairs, while the challenges faced by the meat processing industry in securing labour have also been raised with me by meat industry representatives. I am aware of the impact that these labour shortages are having, and I am committed to helping the sectors involved find appropriate solutions.

In relation to the dairy sector, last November I established a multi stakeholder industry group with a view to ensuring that Irish dairying has access to the human capital it requires to achieve future growth. The Chair, former Secretary General of my Department Tom Moran, expects to finalise an action plan towards the end of this month which will address the short term and medium term labour issues facing the dairy sector. This action plan will be submitted to the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC) for approval.

In addition to the work of this group, a range of other measures are being pursued by the dairy sector to try to attract and retain labour, including exchanges with New Zealand; and efforts at regional level to engage with and attract people on the live register, homemakers and drystock farmers to avail of opportunities on dairy farms.

My Department and I are also engaged in discussions with my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation and her officials in relation to employment permits for non-European Economic Area nationals, as a further strand in the range of options available to address the labour gap. These discussions are ongoing and I do not want to pre-empt their outcome.

GLAS Payments

Question No. 214 withdrawn.

Ceisteanna (213)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

213. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7621/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named is fully up to date with all GLAS payments.

Question No. 214 withdrawn.

TAMS Payments

Ceisteanna (215)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

215. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application by persons (details supplied); the reason the remainder of the grant has not been paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7627/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

There is no record of the submission of a TAMS II application to the online TAMS II system from the persons named.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (216)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

216. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in a payment for a person (details supplied); when the next payment process will occur; the reason the person had a penalty on a payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7628/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2016 and has received full payments in respect of the 2016 scheme year and the 2017 advance payment.

A penalty was applied to the 2017 advance payment due to an over declaration by the applicant on one of his actions.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (217)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

217. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the preparedness of his Department in the context of the incoming general data protection regulation, GDPR, (EU) 2016/679; if staff in his Department have undertaken or been offered specific training or briefing on the GDPR; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7638/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has a dedicated Data Protection Unit in place since November 2015, which has been promoting Data Protection and GDPR awareness since its inception.  This Unit has been leading the preparation in advance of May 2018 and actively informing staff of their obligations under GDPR utilising our internal communications systems, circulating easy read guides, FAQs and updates via email, a poster campaign, and targeted Data Protection talks. 

A GDPR project group is in place since May 2017, led by a Management Board sponsor and with representation from key stakeholders across the Department.  This group meets regularly and has examined the GDPR text with a view to its implementation in this Department.  The legal and IMT teams are both key partners in the work of this Project Group.  A risk based approach has been adopted and is focusing on those areas within the Department which process a high volume of personal data.

Training for all staff in the area of Data Protection has been ongoing since 2016.  My Department’s Learning and Development Unit have provided courses in Data Protection and GDPR in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to date. Further Data Protection training will be provided throughout 2018.  An online Data Protection package for staff is currently being examined.

GDPR preparation is also included as part of the Business Planning process in my Department. 

The appointment of a Data Protection Officer is actively under consideration and it is expected that this appointment will be made shortly.

In addition my Department has been certified for ISO 27001 (international information security standard) since 2016 for all areas involved in EU scheme payments.  ISO 27001 compliance is currently being rolled out to other areas of the Department. My Department is also planning to implement a records management system to assist with its future GDPR obligations.

Farms Data

Ceisteanna (218)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

218. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of suckler beef farmers by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7702/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information sought by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded as soon as available.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (219)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

219. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the financial allocations on an annual basis under the 2014 to 2020 RDP to the beef data and genomics programme, in tabular form; and the amount expended on the programme in each year since it was established. [7703/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) commenced in 2015 and will run for six years until 2020. Allocations for BDGP in the Department's vote and payments per year are set out in the following table. Allocations have not yet been made beyond the current year.

Year

Allocation (€million)

Expenditure (€million)

2015

35

34.82

2016

52

62.10

2017

49

47.27

2018

49

 

 

The increase in expenditure over allocation in 2016 is attributable to additional costs incurred, and paid, in the provision of the mandatory training courses and completion of carbon navigators for 2016.

Veterinary Inspection Service

Ceisteanna (220)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

220. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of a proposal (details supplied), in tabular form. [7704/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Last year my Department reduced the veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves under three months of age to €1.20 per animal, from €4.80.  This gave an important boost to the trade, and brought greater equity in the fees payable for calves, weanlings and adult cattle. 

The cost of reducing the veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves under three months of age can be illustrated as follows:

Veterinary inspection fees for a load of say 100 calves under three months of age come to €120.  If reduced by €0.20, the inspection fees would come to €100.  If reduced by €0.40, the inspection fees would come to €80.  If reduced by €0.60, the inspection fees would come to €60.  If reduced by €0.80, the inspection fees would come to €40.  If reduced by €1.00, the inspection fees would come to €20.