Equine Industry

Ceisteanna (560)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

560. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a guarantee (details supplied) will be provided that equines have not yet received prohibited substances since their registration in order that the food chain be protected. [9897/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Officials of my Department considered this issue as soon as they became aware of the report. 

The matter relates to a cohort of passports issued in 2010 following the introduction of new legislation relating to equine identification and arose from a bone fides attempt on the part of Horse Sport Ireland to inform horse owners of the new requirements. The effect of this approach was that veterinary practitioners treating such animals, on examining these passports, acted in the belief that the animals in question had already been excluded from the food chain. Accordingly, they did not deem it necessary to record the medicinal treatments on the passports of the equines in question where they were treated with certain 'restricted' animal remedies.

As it is not possible to confirm from the identification documents in question that the corresponding equines have not been administered such medicinal treatments that are prohibited for use in equines entering the food chain, my Department is of the view that, in order to protect the food chain and public health, the equines corresponding to the passports in question must be excluded from the food chain irrevocably.

My Department has therefore written to Horse Sport Ireland, directing that they discontinue this practice.

Equine Industry

Ceisteanna (561)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

561. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an organisation's (details supplied) licence will be suspended until a matter is resolved and assurance provided by it that its database is rectified and the data uploaded to AIMS is correct. [9898/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A small scale problem with discrepancies between the data base used by Horse Sport Ireland and the Department's AIM system has arisen. Horse Sport Ireland and the Department are actively working to resolve apparent discrepancies between data held on a very small number of animals in the Department’s database and the Horse Sport Ireland’s studbook records. These relate to horses registered several years ago in the wake of the introduction of requirements to microchip animals and record their medicinal treatments.

Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (562)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

562. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in persons (details supplied) receiving the young farmer top up payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9911/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The persons named submitted an application to my Department under the Young Farmers Scheme, with the second named person as the young farmer.  My Department is currently finalising the necessary administrative and on-farm checks in relation to this application and it is expected it will be completed shortly.

Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (563)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

563. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in a person (details supplied) receiving the young farmer top up payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9912/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application to my Department under the 2017 National Reserve and also under the Young Farmers Scheme.  My Department has written to the person named on a number of occasions, most recently on 20th February 2018, requesting additional information required to further process these applications.  To date the person named has not replied to this correspondence.  Once the requested information has been provided by the person named his applications can be finalised.

Hardship Grant Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (564)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

564. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9914/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Hardship Grant eligibility period runs from 1st November to the 30th April. This Scheme is designed to alleviate the additional feed costs incurred by herdowners whose holdings are restricted during this period. Payment is linked to the date of receipt of a completed application form with reference to the scheme criteria.

One of the scheme criteria clearly states that the herdowner cannot be in receipt of any off-farm income at the time of application. In this case the herdowner specified on the application that they were in receipt of off farm income and therefore were ineligible for receipt of the grant.

The person named is not named as the herdowner for the herd in question.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (565)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

565. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an ANC payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9923/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Applications under the 2016 and 2017 Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme were received from the person named on 14 May 2016 and 21 April 2017 respectively.

Under EU Regulation 21 of 2004 all flock owners are obliged to count the Sheep/Goats present on their holding at a specific date, record this number in the flock register and return this number to this Department via the annual Sheep/Goat Census return. Under the Terms and Conditions of the ANC scheme these returns must have been received by 15 May the following year, which is the closing date for scheme applications.

The person named has not received payment for the 2016 or 2017 ANC scheme years as he did not return the census for December 2015 and December 2016 until 21 February 2018. An official from my department has recently been in direct contact with the person named to fully explain the situation and to advise him of his rights regarding appeal to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

GLAS Applications

Ceisteanna (566)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

566. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive a GLAS payment for 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9942/18]

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 full payments in respect of the 2015 and 2016 scheme years.

The 2017 advance payment has now passed all validations and is expected to issue in the coming week.  GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.

GLAS Applications

Ceisteanna (567)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

567. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a GLAS payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9990/18]

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 full entitlements in respect of the 2015 and 2016 scheme years.

The Department is aware of an issue with this case that is preventing the 2017 advance payment being made. It is expected that the payment will be made in the coming weeks. GLAS payments are continuing to issue on a weekly basis.

Basic Payment Scheme

Ceisteanna (568)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

568. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason persons who are informed of an overclaim on parcels of land under the BPS and the ANC schemes are not also informed of the specific penalties that will apply in each case if the overclaims are upheld in order that persons can make an informed decision on receipt of such letters as to whether they will appeal or not; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10040/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As part of the processing of the 135,000 applications for the Basic Payment Scheme received by my Department each year, a series of rigorous administrative checks is carried out on all applications to identify possible errors. One such error can be an over-claim on an application.

Where such an error is identified, an over-claim notification letter is issued to the applicant by my Department as soon as it is identified. However, due to the on-going processing of applications by my Department, an applicant's definitive position may not have been established at the time of issue of the over-claim notification letter. For example the processing of entitlement trade applications and the processing of dual claims may have a further impact on a given application status.

The over-claim notification letter that issues from my Department explains the over-claim and identifies the relevant parcels on which the over-claim has arisen. The letter gives an outline as to the potential impact an over-claim can have on an applicant, such as a reduction in the area amount and the imposition of penalties. The notification letter also advises applicants to consult the Terms and Conditions of the Basic Payment Scheme and other Area-Based Schemes, which is issued to all applicants and which provides details of the possible deductions and penalties involved. The letter also advises applicants on steps to take should they wish to seek a review of the reduced area.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ceisteanna (569)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

569. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the changes in greenhouse gas emissions from Ireland that are predicted to result from the implementation of the infrastructure elements included in the national planning framework. [9488/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with producing annual projections of greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland, in collaboration with relevant State and other bodies. The latest EPA projections, published in April 2017, which reflect the implementation of policies and measures as of the end of 2015, indicate that Ireland is expected to exceed its annual non-ETS sector emissions limits under the EU Effort Sharing Decision from 2017 onwards, and that emissions could be between 4% and 6% below 2005 levels by 2020.

The projected shortfall to our targets in 2020 reflects both the constrained investment capacity over the past decade due to the economic crisis, and the extremely challenging nature of the target itself. It is now accepted that Ireland’s 2020 target was not consistent with what would be achievable on an EU wide cost-effective basis. In the light of this, Ireland’s 2030 target will present a very significant challenge.

As a means of addressing this challenge, I published Ireland’s first statutory National Mitigation Plan last July. It provides a framework to guide investment decisions by Government in domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A key objective of the Plan is to close the gap to Ireland's 2020 EU target and to prepare for the EU targets that Ireland will take on for 2030. The Plan sets out over 70 individual mitigation measures and 106 related actions to reduce emissions in the four sectors with the most significant contribution to national emissions (Electricity Generation; the Built Environment; Transport; and Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use). Although the Plan does not provide a complete roadmap to achieve either Ireland’s proposed 2030 target or the 2050 transition objective, it has established the framework for the development and implementation of medium-to-long-term policy options so as to achieve progressive emissions reductions in each of its four key sectors.

The Plan is also a living document that will be updated as on-going analysis, dialogue and technological innovation generate more and more cost-effective sectoral mitigation options. The most recent list of measures currently in place in the context of National Mitigation Plan is set out in the 2017 Annual Transition Statement, which I laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 8 December last. This Statement details the key measures in place in the respective sectors, the objective for each measure, estimated mitigation potential and funding information, where appropriate.

Building on the approach set out in the National Mitigation Plan, the Government’s recently launched ‘Project Ireland 2040’, comprising the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan 2018-2027, which will support significant progress towards Ireland’s National Transition Objective for 2050. National Strategic Objective 8 of The National Development Plan commits funding of €21.8 billion towards climate action investments, including some €14 billion to be invested by Ireland’s semi-state companies and by the private sector. This means that almost €1 in every €5 to be spent in the framework of the National Development Plan over the next decade will be on climate action, with a strong focus on strategic investments in the areas of transport, renewable energy, grid development and interconnection, the built environment, and flood risk management, to address the significant climate change challenges that Ireland faces.

This funding commitment provides a clear opportunity for significant upscaling in our investments to deliver deep emissions reductions in the coming decade and to further develop and implement the National Mitigation Plan. This will be essential both in order to meet Ireland’s targets, under the draft EU Effort Sharing Regulation, for a 30% reduction in non-ETS  sector by 2030, relative to 2005 levels, as well as to make significant progress towards Ireland’s National Transition Objective for 2050 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Ireland by at least 80% (compared to 1990 levels) and, in parallel, to pursue an approach to carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land-use sector, including forestry, which does not compromise capacity for sustainable food production.

Energy Efficiency

Ceisteanna (570)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

570. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the cost of the dairy sector pilot project (details supplied) that was conducted in 2017; the number and scale of recipients to the scheme; and his plans to sustain and expand the scheme; and the funding allocated for same in 2018. [9851/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Energy efficiency has been described as the 'first fuel' and a key contributor to meeting our climate goals.

SEAI developed the Dairy Sector pilot scheme in partnership with Teagasc and rolled it out during 2017 as part of a new suite of pilot measures for the SME sector.  Payments amounting to €187,500 of grant support were made in 2017 to 47 successful grantees by the SEAI from funding provided by my Department. The scheme targeted the high electricity use associated with milking parlours by funding upgrades to high efficiency pumps and variable speed drives (VSDs). These measures can reduce electricity consumption for milking by 60% which can result in savings of over 10% on total farm energy costs. SEAI are reviewing possible new technologies with Teagasc with a view to launching the new scheme in April with c.€400,000 of funding from my Department. 

There is a range of other supports for energy efficiency and emissions reductions available through the SEAI which may be of interest to the agricultural sector. These include energy management training for SMEs; free information and best practice guides on energy management; and the EXEED (Excellence in Energy Efficiency and Design) scheme.  The SEAI also produces the “Triple E” Register of products approved as being energy efficient.  Coupled with the Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme, this allows businesses to identify and buy the most energy efficient equipment and write down the cost of such equipment in the year of purchase rather than over 8 years.  More detail of these supports can be found on the SEAI website at www.seai.ie.

Emergency Services

Ceisteanna (571, 572)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

571. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if 999 calls handled by a company (details supplied) are archived; and if so, the timeframe for which the archived recordings are retained. [9269/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Clare Daly

Ceist:

572. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if the metadata of 999 calls handled by a company (details supplied) are archived; and if so, the timeframe for which the archived recordings are retained. [9270/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 571 and 572 together.

The Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) is responsible for all 112 and 999 calls to the emergency services. It records all emergency calls to the service and retains the recordings and related metadata for seven years.