Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (270)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

270. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the breakdown of the €85 million capital allocation in information services and related services for health agencies, that is, Vote 38 of the budget 2019 expenditure report within his Department for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44557/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Capital ICT provision in 2019 of €85m will fund a large range of projects that support my Departments eHealth strategy for Ireland as well as the HSE's Knowledge and Information Plan as part of a rolling annual programme of work. 

In broad terms, the expenditure on ICT projects in 2019 is planned to be:

- Technical Infrastructure

- Replacement of existing communications, server and client hardware.

- Deployment of additional hardware to support delivery of clinical and non-clinical applications and to digitally connect clinicians, support staff and patients.

- Systems

- Funding for major initiatives such as the Electronic Health Record, National Children’s Hospital Systems, the National Financial Management System, Individual Health Identifier, the Maternal and Newborn Information System, the Acute Floor Information System etc.

The detail that the Deputy is requesting is not yet available. The ICT Capital Plan for 2019 is currently under review by the HSE and will be subject to further review and approval by my Department in the coming weeks. It will become available following approval of the 2019 National Service Plan and the Deputy will be supplied with detail of the planned projects subsequent to that process being finalised.

The provision of the capital funding allows the ICT enablement of health services.  It will ensure that Ireland can benefit from the potential of ICT and eHealth to improve the health and wellbeing of all its patient/citizens, the working environment of its health professionals/care providers, the efficiency and effectiveness of its delivery services and the realisation of significant economic development potential.  

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (271)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

271. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the breakdown of the €250,000 capital allocation in other HSE services, that is, Vote 38 of the budget 2019 expenditure report within his Department for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44558/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Revised Estimate for Vote 38 (Health) includes a provision for the Health Service Executive of €2.7m under Subhead J6 Economic and Social Disadvantage (Dormant Accounts Funding).  This provision comprises €2.45m current and €0.25m capital.

Measures approved under the Dormant Accounts Action Plans are delivered on behalf of the Department by the HSE.  Exact details in relation to expenditure on the measures during 2019 remain to be finalised.  I will revert directly to the Deputy on the matter in due course.

Home Care Packages

Ceisteanna (272)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

272. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if home care hours will be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44563/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Extension

Ceisteanna (273)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

273. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the agri-environment options scheme, AEOS, will be extended; if not, if the GLAS scheme will be reopened for those farmers exiting AEOS in the next twelve months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44245/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

There are no plans to extend the the Agri-Environment Options and Natura Schemes (AEOS). The subsequent agri-environment scheme the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) opened in three tranches commencing in 2015. It was open to AEOS participants to apply to join GLAS, such applicants were required to exit their existing AEOS contract before a GLAS contract could commence. GLAS is now fully subscribed with the target of 50,000 participants met well ahead of target. There are no plans to re-open this scheme to new applications.

Agri-environment policy is included in the CAP negotiations currently underway and any future scheme will be dependent on the outcome of these negotiations.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (274)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

274. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers who are not on target to meet their 20% star rating under the beef data and genomics programme, BDGP, by the end of October 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44273/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

There are approximately 22,700 BDGP herds on target to meet the requirement to have 20% 4 or 5 star females by 31st October 2018. Currently 509 herds are failing to meet this requirement; my Department issued letters to these herds on the 16th of October reminding them of their responsibilities under the program and advising them to source replacement females.

Forestry Data

Ceisteanna (275)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

275. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the acreage of land planted for forestry for the public and private sector by county; the species of trees in each of the years 2015 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44291/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme is the main afforestation scheme, it is operated by my Department and is available to private land owners. The Scheme provides for a number of different grant and premium categories and within those categories, for the planting of a number of different species. It sits within the Forestry Programme 2014 to 2020, which takes into account the aims and objectives of the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy; certain commitments are provided for, including a target of 30% broadleaf planting on an annual and national basis. As part of the mid-term review of the Programme I increased the broadleaf component in proposed sites to 15%, as well as increasing the rates payable to encourage broadleaf planting. These changes are already showing results, with broadleaf planting now at an average of 25%.

My Department compiles various statistics annually, which are made available on my Department’s website. Table 1 below shows the area planted under forestry by both the public and private sectors in the years 2015 to 2017.

Table 1:

Year

Private (ha)

Public (ha)

Total

2015

6,284

8.53*

6,293

2016

6,500

-

6,500

2017

5,536

-

5,536

* Planted in Co. Roscommon

Table 2 below shows the breakdown of private planting by county.

County

2015 (ha)

2016 (ha)

2017 (ha)

Carlow

82.35

45.72

62.37

Cavan

276.77

425.07

316.67

Clare

567.90

552.00

518.38

Cork

662.95

608.08

419.69

Donegal

72.09

36.15

54.13

Dublin

8.42

2.75

10.80

Galway

431.73

331.14

400.32

Kerry

430.38

404.98

377.66

Kildare

28.62

13.49

33.02

Kilkenny

264.41

181.34

89.55

Laois

198.24

163.35

98.57

Leitrim

512.90

433.78

536.22

Limerick

176.81

328.80

99.48

Longford

286.15

272.01

200.70

Louth

22.39

39.84

21.85

Mayo

454.99

428.55

531.78

Meath

73.34

104.73

122.04

Monaghan

37.92

88.83

61.38

Offaly

156.26

135.76

165.63

Roscommon

334.35

435.04

431.11

Sligo

268.13

301.73

189.96

Tipperary

340.77

305.14

161.65

Waterford

125.29

240.13

163.40

Westmeath

204.14

281.48

206.88

Wexford

128.17

89.29

114.36

Wicklow

138.81

250.62

148.15

Total

6,284.28

6,499.80

5,535.75

County

Sitka spruce

Pines

Norway spruce

Other Conifer

Total Conifer

Carlow

56.22

1.46

1.3

4.31

63.29

Cavan

205.26

2.5

2.37

9.47

219.6

Clare

448.43

0.63

0

12.41

461.47

Cork

486.14

14.83

9.46

4.93

515.36

Donegal

52.81

0.15

0

8.97

61.93

Dublin

6.91

0

0

0

6.91

Galway

255.18

4.42

45.3

11.86

316.76

Kerry

299.84

17.04

0

9.68

326.56

Kildare

3.01

0

20.84

0

23.85

Kilkenny

105.77

0.46

78.16

7.37

191.76

Laois

148.42

4.29

21.07

2.29

176.07

Leitrim

421.84

2.78

3.51

14

442.13

Limerick

141.54

0.96

0

9.96

152.46

Longford

146.27

1.83

44.94

4.8

197.84

Louth

2.98

1.3

0

0.37

4.65

Mayo

335.95

7.53

13.47

35.64

392.59

Meath

33.32

0.18

12.96

1.68

48.14

Monaghan

29.26

0.02

0

0.18

29.46

Offaly

13.9

1.39

111.89

0.1

127.28

Roscommon

253.26

1.08

22.99

5.63

282.96

Sligo

218.51

8.32

0

13.11

239.94

Tipperary

248.44

0.15

9.84

9.76

268.19

Waterford

83.8

9.78

0

5.6

99.18

Westmeath

40.34

7.78

106.65

5.24

160.01

Wexford

85.42

1.61

10.78

1.79

99.6

Wicklow

107.93

4.95

5.06

3.84

121.78

Totals

4,230.75

95.44

520.59

182.99

5,029.77

table cont.

County

Ash

Syc

Oaks

Beeches

Other B/L

Total B/L

Grand Total

Carlow

0

0.45

8.6

1.04

8.97

19.06

82.35

Cavan

0.27

0.95

22.21

0

33.74

57.17

276.77

Clare

0.91

0.52

10.28

0

94.72

106.43

567.9

Cork

0.16

0.4

72.94

0.32

73.77

147.59

662.95

Donegal

0

0.1

2.76

0.19

7.11

10.16

72.09

Dublin

0

0

0.47

0

1.04

1.51

8.42

Galway

0

16.58

18.08

4.92

75.39

114.97

431.73

Kerry

0.38

0

33.82

0

69.62

103.82

430.38

Kildare

0

0

2.31

0

2.46

4.77

28.62

Kilkenny

0

0

20.88

0

51.77

72.65

264.41

Laois

0

0

4.23

1.71

16.23

22.17

198.24

Leitrim

0

0

6.63

0

64.14

70.77

512.9

Limerick

0

0

12.68

0

11.67

24.35

176.81

Longford

2.28

5.6

38.07

0

42.36

88.31

286.15

Louth

0

0

6.72

0

11.02

17.74

22.39

Mayo

0

0.66

9.79

0

51.95

62.4

454.99

Meath

0

0

9.51

1.31

14.38

25.2

73.34

Monaghan

0

0

0.49

0

7.97

8.46

37.92

Offaly

0

1.66

10

0

17.32

28.98

156.26

Roscommon

0.41

1.57

21.8

0.25

35.89

59.92

342.88

Sligo

0

0

2.44

0

25.75

28.19

268.13

Tipperary

0

1.55

32

0.59

38.44

72.58

340.77

Waterford

0

0.48

9.37

0

16.26

26.11

125.29

Westmeath

0

1.8

11.11

0.59

30.63

44.13

204.14

Wexford

0

0

6.19

0.03

22.35

28.57

128.17

Wicklow

0

0

4.25

0

12.78

17.03

138.81

Totals

4.41

32.32

377.63

10.95

837.73

1,263.04

6,292.81

Forestry Management

Ceisteanna (276)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

276. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of water samples taken under the acid sensitivity protocol in each of the years 2008 to 2017 in acid sensitive areas such as County Leitrim and north County Roscommon which account for 700,000 acres of acid sensitive land or 10% of acid sensitive land here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44292/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the DAFM/EPA Acid Sensitivity Protocol, afforestation applications within certain defined areas of the country must be accompanied by water sampling at pre-approval stage, to assess the sensitivity of receiving waters to acidification.

In summary, sampling and analysis by an accredited laboratory must be carried out on at least four separate occasions within the period 1st February to the 31st May inclusive, with each sample taken at least 28 days apart. Where the minimum alkalinity of any one of the four samples taken is <8 mg CaCO3 / litre, no afforestation is permitted. If the result is 8-15 mg CaCO3 / litre, full, partial or no afforestation may be approved, following discussion and agreement between DAFM, EPA and Inland Fisheries Ireland. If the result is >15 mg CaCO3 / litre, afforestation may be licensed. Where landowners or foresters get negative water sample results they may not proceed with applications.

It should be noted that, since early 2013, water sampling under the Acid Sensitivity Protocol is not required for afforestation applications which relate to native woodland creation, as these are not considered to have the same potential acidifying effect as other categories of afforestation.

The defined areas of the country, where water sampling is required in accordance with the DAFM/EPA Acid Sensitivity Protocol, are listed in Appendix 11 of the Forestry Standards Manual and are given in the table below and do not include Counties Leitrim and Roscommon.

Six inch Ordnance Survey sheets designated as being acid sensitive areas

All ranges listed are inclusive.

County

OS Sheets

Clare

Southern half of 31

Southern half of 32

39 to 41

Northern half of 48

Northern half of 49

Donegal

34 to 36

41 to 44

49 to 51

57 to 60

67 to 69

77

Galway

9 to 13

21 to 27

34 to 40

48 to 55

62 to 68

75 to 81

89 to 93

Kerry

56

62 to 64

69 to 72

78 to 83

87 to 92

96 to 100

105 to 107

Offaly

Southern half of 16

23 to 24

Sligo

24 to 25

Wicklow

7 to 8

11 to 13

17 to 19

23 to 25

29 to 31

33 to 36

39 and 40

Exports Data

Ceisteanna (277)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

277. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the percentage level of exports to the UK by county of beef, dairy, poultry and pig, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44312/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Trade Statistics are produced by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on a national basis only, so unfortunately a breakdown by county is not available.

Agrifood Sector

Ceisteanna (278)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

278. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the €25 million announced in budget 2018 for farmers, fishermen and agri-food producers will be made available; and the conditions that will be attached to same. [44313/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In his Budget speech my colleague the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, formally announced progress in relation to the development of the “Future Growth Loan Scheme” for SMEs, including the primary agriculture and seafood sectors. As I announced on Budget day, this is the Scheme for which I had provided €25 million in funding in 2018. This is a key Government Brexit response that has been under consideration and development throughout 2018.

The Scheme, which will be administered by the SBCI and backed by a European Investment Fund counter-guarantee, will bring previously unavailable 8 to 10 year unsecured investment finance to the Irish market at competitive interest rates. I am working with colleagues, the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and Minister Donohoe, to bring up to €300 million of loans to the market.

My Department is providing 40% of the funding so an overall agri-food package of up to €120 million will be available. However, unlike previous similar Schemes, this can be reviewed and adjusted according to demand.

Loans will be available to farmers, the seafood sector and to agri-food businesses.  This will be a long-awaited source of finance for young and new entrant farmers, especially the cohort who do not have high levels of security. It will also serve smaller-scale farmers, who often do not have the leverage to negotiate for more favourable terms with their banking institution. Along with the likes of Milk Flex, this Scheme will form part of a comprehensive investment package for farmers.

Food companies have identified long term investment finance of up to ten years as a critical need which is currently unavailable in Ireland. I am pleased that the Government have been able to deliver this product and its effects will be felt all along the food production chain.

Further details will be provided in the coming months.  The Scheme is expected to be in place in early 2019 and will run for three years from its launch date. 

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (279, 280, 281)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

279. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to prepare and protect the agri-food industry from the impact of Brexit. [44314/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

280. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if specific regional supports in the context of Brexit will be made available to the worst affected sectors, in particular the agri-food sector in the west of Ireland; and his plans in this regard. [44315/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

281. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the contingency planning for Brexit his Department has undertaken; and if he will release the details of same. [44316/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 279 to 281, inclusive, together.

The Government is seeking to minimise the impact of Brexit in the first instance through a negotiated outcome which delivers trading arrangements in the future which are as close as possible to those that prevail at present.

In line with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-coordinated ‘whole of Government’ approach to Brexit, my Department is planning for an orderly Brexit which involves, inter alia, a transition period to the end of December 2020. Key Government decisions in this regard have been made in July and September 2018 in relation to staffing and IT resources, and engagement with the relevant ports and airports is ongoing in relation to the infrastructure needed to carry out import controls and customs checks.

In Budget 2019, €7m was provided for the commencement of a phased process of Brexit-related recruitment of additional staff, as well as the procurement of ICT hardware and software to carry out the anticipated increased volumes of import controls and export certification - €4m for staffing and €3m for ICT.

The Budget also provided for capital funding of €27 million in Brexit-related supports for the food industry, comprising:

- €13 million in supports for food industry competitiveness and innovation;

- €3 million for Artisan and Micro food and beverage programmes through the Leader Programme and for LEAN manufacturing initiatives designed to improve competitiveness

- an additional €5 million for Bord Bia, bringing the total Grant in Aid to €46.6 million. This is a 60% increase in funding for marketing and promotion of our food offering since 2014;

- €6m in funding to progress an €8 million Food Innovation Hub in Teagasc Moorepark, of which €2 million was provided in 2018.

A further €44m has been provided in direct aid to farmers through increased spending on areas of natural constraint, the introduction of a Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot Scheme and additional funding for the horticulture sector.

These measures are in addition to those contained in the 2017 and 2018 Budgets. 2017 saw the introduction of farm-gate business cost reduction measures in order to enhance competitiveness, including a €150m low-cost loan scheme, while the 2018 Budget included a dedicated €50m Brexit package containing additional funding for Bord Bia and Teagasc, as well as a substantial contribution to a joint (DAFM and DBEI) €300m “Brexit Loan Scheme”, at least 40% of which is available to food businesses.

In addition, market and product diversification work continues with the industry in order to increase the sector’s global footprint across the world. In the last two years I have led trade missions to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, China, Hong Kong, Canada, USA, Mexico, Japan and Korea. Further missions to China, Indonesia and Malaysia will take place over the next two weeks.

TAMS Administration

Ceisteanna (282)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

282. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason meal bins are only funded under the targeted agricultural modernisation schemes, TAMS, grant for dairy farmers and not for suckler cow and sheep farmers; if meal bins will be covered by TAMS for all farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44319/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Over 16,800 approvals have issued under the TAMS Schemes to date and until such time as these approvals mature to payment claims there is an outstanding financial commitment that has to be provided for in the budget. The inclusion of any new investment items in TAMS has to be considered in the light of the available budget.