Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (187)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

187. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if a review will be carried out on a decision in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51470/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Commencement of Legislation

Ceisteanna (188)

Stephen Donnelly

Ceist:

188. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Health when sections 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Act 2018, as amended, will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51485/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Children and Family Relationships (Amendment) Bill 2018 was enacted on 24 July 2018. This Act was introduced to correct typographical and technical errors in the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which will facilitate the subsequent commencement of Parts 2 and 3 of the Act. Parts 2 & 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 contain provisions relating to the regulation of donor-assisted human reproduction (DAHR) procedures carried out in the State, including dealing with the rights of children born as a result of those procedures. There are important administrative and operational arrangements to be put in place to facilitate the implementation of Parts 2 & 3, including the establishment of the National Donor-Conceived Person Register and the appointment of authorised persons under the Act. It is my intention that Parts 2 & 3 of the Act will be commenced as soon as possible.

Beef Industry Irregularities

Ceisteanna (189)

Michael Collins

Ceist:

189. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the factories that were penalised to date in 2018 for excessive carcase trimming; when the farmers whose cattle were wrongly trimmed and as result have not been fully paid will be informed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51348/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Carcase classification and carcase presentation (Trim) controls in slaughter plants are carried out by a dedicated team of specialist staff in the Beef Carcase Classification Section within my Department.

Their remit under EU legislation is to carry out un-announced inspections to ensure that meat plants comply with these legislative requirements for classification, weights and trim.

The checks carried out are system checks that explore whether factory systems and processes in the area of carcase grading and trim are in line with legislation.

The sale of a bovine to a Meat Factory and the price that is determined is a business transaction between the farmer and factory.

As part of on-going dialogue with the industry both within the Beef Forum and directly with Meat Industry Ireland, I have stressed the need for positive engagement between suppliers and processors and I understand that Meat Industry Ireland has accepted that no individual farmer should be at a loss from a mistake made in a factory in relation to the application of carcase dressing procedures. I understand that processors will introduce a payment to the farmer supplier to reflect any loss, in each case where my Department has applied a trim fine on a particular carcase. Such payment will be identified on the payment remittance docket, so that farmers will be aware of the penalty.

Young Farmers Scheme

Ceisteanna (190)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

190. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the temporary draw down of stamps by a parent at the cessation of an employment is considered in the calculation of farm income for a young farmers scheme application for funding from the national reserve fund; if so, the justification of same in view of the temporary nature of the income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51243/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A gross off-farm income limit of €40,000 was applied to all applicants to the 2018 National Reserve. Applicants could choose to use either the full 2016 or 2017 tax year, whichever was more advantageous to the applicant. Certain Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection payments including, Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit are reckonable as off-farm income.

For those applicants under the National Reserve who are farming as part of a group or as a Company, off farm income is determined as follows:

- Joint herd number - the gross off-farm income of all members of the group is taken into consideration (€40,000 limit applies to the group);

- Company - the gross off-farm income of the Directors is taken into consideration;

- Registered Farm Partnership - off-farm income of all participants on the herd number to which the Young Farmer(s) is associated is considered.

In determining the off farm income of the applicant(s), the complete tax year of 2016 or 2017 is considered and the applicant must provide supporting documentation to cover the entire period i.e. 52 week period.

Forest Roads Scheme

Ceisteanna (191)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

191. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a forestry contract (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51269/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application for the Forest Road scheme was received on 26 September. There were a number of queries on the initial application but these have been resolved by the Registered Forester. The application will now be advertised on my Department’s website and referred to a forestry inspector. The inspector will assess the application taking into account the submissions received and make recommendations. The applicant will be advised of the decision on the application when it is finalised.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (192)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

192. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number, date of publication and details of post-enactment reports published by his Department since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51365/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I wish to inform the Deputy that since March 2011 one post enactment report has been published by my Department. That Report is in respect of the Forestry Act, 2014 and was laid in the Parliamentary Library on 25 September 2018.

Legislative Measures

Ceisteanna (193)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

193. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of Acts passed since March 2011 that his Department is responsible for; the date each Act was signed into law in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51381/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has overseen the drafting and enactment of 6 Bills in the relevant time period. Information on these enactments can be found in the following table.

Title of Enactment

Date of Enactment

1

Welfare of Greyhounds Act 2011 (No. 29 of 2011)

16th November, 2011

2

Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Act 2012 (No. 25 of 2012)

18th July, 2012

3

Animal Health & Welfare Act 2013 (No. 15 of 2013)

29th May, 2013

4

Forestry Act 2014 (No. 31 of 2014)

26th October, 2014

5

Johnstown Castle Agricultural College (Amendment) Act 2014 (No. 10 of 2014)

22nd June, 2014

6

Horse Racing Ireland Act 2016 (No. 2 of 2016)

8th February, 2016

Departmental Schemes

Ceisteanna (194)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

194. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the grant and funding schemes operated by his Department; the value of each scheme; and the basis or criteria used for the allocation of funding in respect of each scheme. [51397/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My department prioritises its spending in line with government policy to promote the development of a competitive and efficient primary agriculture, forestry and seafood sector to support rural and coastal communities to underpin economic development and to ensure that our natural resources are managed in a sustainable way

The main grant schemes operated by my department and their financial allocations for 2018 before adjustment by supplementary estimate are set out in the following table. The table does not include funding to state agencies some of which is in turn distributed to other bodies by way of grant schemes.

Animal Health & Welfare

€000

Compensation for TB Scheme

11,000

Fallen Animals Scheme

6,975

Animal Welfare Organisations Scheme

2,475

Farmer Payments Scheme

Agri-Environmental Schemes

232,820

Of which

Green Low-carbon Agriculture Scheme(GLAS)

203,000

Locally Led Agri-Environment Schemes

11,320

(i.e. Burren, Hen Harrier, Pearl Mussel)

Organic Farming Scheme

10,500

Agri Environment Scheme (AEOS)

5,893

Traditional Farm Buildings

1,000

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

227,000

Targeted Agricultural Measures Scheme

69,965

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

49,500

Knowledge Transfer Programme

23,000

Animal Welfare Scheme for Sheep

20,000

Early Retirement Scheme

1,210

Afforestation Scheme

91,490

Forestry Support Scheme Schemes

13,116

Horticulture Development Scheme.

5,000

Organic Sector Development Scheme

1,200

Other

Brexit Response Loan Scheme

25,000

Food Industry Support Schemes

17,600

Research Support Schemes

18,600

Beef & Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme

6,400

Rural Innovation and Development Fund

1,500

Aquaculture Licences

Ceisteanna (195)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

195. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51425/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department received a request for the assignment of the licence referred to by the Deputy on 14 November 2018. This request is currently under consideration by my Department and is being processed in the normal way.

Food Exports

Ceisteanna (196, 213)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

196. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to encourage new markets for Irish food and food products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51449/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

213. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he and his Department continue to encourage new markets for Irish food and food products; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51492/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 196 and 213 together.

In 2018 my Department continued to open new markets and deepen trade within existing markets for Irish agri-food exporters, the highlight of which was the decision of the Chinese authorities to open their market to Irish beef imports by listing a number of approved Irish beef establishments. Other notable achievements were agreements with Qatar and Kuwait which allowed for the importation of Irish beef, sheepmeat and poultry to their markets.

Against the backdrop of EU-agreed trade deals such as those completed with Canada, Japan and Mexico, my Department continues to prioritise efforts to gain access to new third country markets and, equally importantly, to deepen existing markets for Irish dairy products.

We have also had success with exports to emerging markets. The value of exports to Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America stood at almost €2.8 billion in 2017. The value of trade to these markets increased by 159% since 2009. These markets now account for over 20% of total agri-food exports. Growth to emerging markets has been led by Asia, with exports of €1.6 billion in 2017, of which just under €1 billion went to China. Exports to other Asian markets grew by 85% since 2012 to €659 million in 2017. Trade to Africa has also grown to €606 million, while exports to the Middle East have also grown significantly, to reach €370 million.

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is of course an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agri-food sector, as evidenced by its placement right at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming decade. Food Wise 2025 outlines the huge potential for growth in agri-food exports to new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region. This is where our efforts will be focused for the foreseeable future, particularly given the need to diversify our markets and to reduce our reliance on traditional destinations such as the UK.

Trade Missions play an important role in market development, and I have been very active on this front in recent years as we strive to gain, and then develop, a presence in as many global markets as possible. I have led very successful missions to the Gulf Region, the US, Mexico, Japan and Korea in 2017, and to the US, Canada, China, Indonesia and Malaysia in 2018. These missions included participants from across the agri-food sector and featured extensive trade contacts as well as high-level political discussions.

These and the other missions that my Department are planning for 2019 will serve to enhance and improve our existing levels of market access in these destinations. The destinations are also in keeping with Bord Bia's market prioritisation exercise that I mentioned earlier, which identified opportunities in new and more mature markets, and will provide valuable market intelligence both for industry operators and policy makers.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (197)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

197. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he continues to make preparations to capitalise on Brexit with particular reference to the opening up of new opportunities for Irish food production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51450/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Market diversification work continues with the industry in order to increase the sector’s global footprint across the world, as well as helping to reduce the sector's exposure to the UK market. Against the backdrop of EU-agreed trade deals such as those completed with Canada, Japan and Mexico, my Department continues to prioritise efforts to gain access to new third country markets and, equally importantly, to deepen existing markets for Irish dairy products.

In 2018 my Department continued to open new markets and deepen trade within existing markets for Irish agri-food exporters, the highlight of which was the decision of the Chinese authorities to open their market to Irish beef imports by listing a number of approved Irish beef establishments. Other notable achievements were agreements with Qatar and Kuwait which allowed for the importation of Irish beef, sheepmeat and poultry to their markets.

We have also had success with exports to emerging markets. The value of exports to Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America stood at almost €2.8 billion in 2017. The value of trade to these markets increased by 159% since 2009. These markets now account for over 20% of total agri-food exports. Growth to emerging markets has been led by Asia, with exports of €1.6 billion in 2017, of which just under €1 billion went to China. Exports to other Asian markets grew by 85% since 2012 to €659 million in 2017. Trade to Africa has also grown to €606 million, while exports to the Middle East have also grown significantly, to reach €370 million.

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is of course an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agri-food sector, as evidenced by its placement right at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming decade. Food Wise 2025 outlines the huge potential for growth in agri-food exports to new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region. This is where our efforts will be focused for the foreseeable future, particularly given the need to diversify our markets and to reduce our reliance on traditional destinations such as the UK.

My Department will continue to seek out and identify new markets, and I am ready to respond as appropriate to other opportunities that may arise.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (198)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

198. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which he remains satisfied regarding the future development and expansion of the beef sector with particular reference to its ability to compete on world markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51451/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I am satisfied that there is significant potential for the Irish beef sector to add value all along the supply chain.

I recognise that 2018 has been a difficult year for many beef farmers, with higher input costs due to the unprecedented weather events, and prices under pressure towards the back end of the year. At the last meeting of the Beef Roundtable on 3rd October I highlighted the need for stakeholders to recognise their inter-dependency. I urged processors to engage positively with their farmer suppliers to build the sustainability of the sector as a whole and to ensure a reasonable return for the farmers upon whom the sector relies for its development. It is essential that the position of the primary producer in the supply chain be improved if the industry is to build a sector for the future.

Global demand for beef is expected to rise by 1.9% this year, with China and east Asia once again being the main drivers of this trend. Irish beef exports grew by 5% in 2017 to reach a value of €2.5 billion, and live exports increased by approximately 30%, giving beef farmers a vital alternative market outlet. These are positive developments for Ireland as a beef exporting country, which remains the fifth largest net exporter of beef in the world and the largest exporter of beef in the EU, and should provide ongoing opportunities for the development of the sector domestically and for growth in Irish exports both within the EU and to third countries.

Securing new market access and enhancing existing Irish beef access has been a particular priority for many of the trade missions in 2017 and 2018. The opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef earlier this year was the culmination of significant work, over a number of years. Other notable achievements this year were agreements with Qatar and Kuwait which allowed for the importation of Irish beef. Against the backdrop of EU-agreed trade deals such as those completed with Canada, Japan and Mexico, my Department continues to prioritise efforts to gain market access to new third country markets and, equally importantly, to deepen existing markets for Irish beef products.

Dairy Sector

Ceisteanna (199)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

199. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the future prospects for the dairy sector with particular reference to export markets; the extent to which the sector continues to achieve its high quality and competitiveness on international markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51452/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In 2017, Ireland exported dairy products, including dairy powders to 147 countries totalling over €4.6 billion worth of produce, an increase of over 17% compared to 2016, representing high-quality value-added produce.

Irish dairy products have a highly rated and hard earned reputation in terms of quality, safety and sustainability, and this gives them a competitive edge in markets over the world.

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish dairy exports is of course an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the dairy sector, as evidenced by the objectives set out for the industry in Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development over the coming years. Food Wise 2025 outlines the huge potential for growth in dairy exports to new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region. This is where our efforts will be focused for the foreseeable future, particularly given the need to diversify our markets and to reduce our reliance on traditional destinations such as the UK.

The long-term fundamentals of the global dairy market are strong, with growing global demand projected from fast developing countries with increasing middle classes and more westernised diets. Whilst significant challenges have continued throughout recent years, in particular price volatility, there is confidence that the Irish and EU dairy sector is well placed to gain from the opportunity presented by expanding global demand.

Other factors impacting on the future of dairy farming include evolving consumer demands. As consumers evolve from generation to generation so too do their demands in terms of the standards they require from their food producers.

Whilst hugely important, these demand led factors will not of themselves underpin the success of our efforts if we are not best in class in terms of the quality of the products that we supply. Both business and retail customers for Irish dairy products will continue to demand that the Irish dairy industry operates to the highest standards of food safety, environmental sustainability and animal welfare. In addition to the high standards by which Irish dairy farmers operate, we will need to credibly verify these standards to the satisfaction of our international customers. Programmes such as Origin Green and the Sustainable Dairy Assurance Scheme, the Dairy Sustainability Ireland Initiative as well as my own Department's initiatives such as GLAS, TAMS and the KT programme will allow farmers to continue to demonstrate the overall sustainability of Irish dairy products.

My Department and I, in conjunction with other stakeholders, including the Irish dairy companies and agencies such as Bord Bia, will continue to play a key role in building the market opportunities for Irish dairy.

Brexit Issues

Ceisteanna (200)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

200. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the degree to which the poultry sector here is set to compete with or gain from issues arising from Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51453/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Brexit, no matter what format it takes, will have a negative impact on Irish agri-food across all sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market. This is particularly true of the poultry sector, in terms of export dependence on the UK market.

The overall value of Irish poultry exports have increased by around 3 percent for 2017 to €295 million in value, with volumes rising by 1 percent during the same period. The number of poultry birds processed in Ireland reached record levels at 96m birds. During the same period Irish imports decreased by 7 percent reflecting increased preference for Irish product in the foodservice channel. The great majority of Irish poultry exports continue to go to the UK which records almost 80 percent market share for 2017 or some €240m. The share of Irish poultry exports going to other EU markets has edged upwards to 10 percent, with France maintaining its position as the most important market especially for leg meat that is not consumed on the home market.

Increasing market access is a key priority for the sector and will support further export reach. Some recent trade developments could lead to new opportunities, such as the EU-Japan free trade agreement. In addition, access for Irish poultry formed a key part of discussions on the recent trade missions to Malaysia and Indonesia.

Animal Slaughtering Data

Ceisteanna (201)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

201. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which adequate slaughtering facilities remain readily available to meet the needs of beef, lamb and pig producers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51454/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The slaughter of livestock in this country for human consumption is carried out at facilities which are approved by either the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine or by the relevant local authorities.

There are currently 49 meat plants approved and supervised by my Department to slaughter animals for human consumption. The numbers of animals slaughtered from the main species in Department-supervised plants in 2017 were 1.63m cattle, 2.67m sheep, 3.29m pigs, 95.5m poultry. Smaller abattoirs are supervised by local authorities and a full list of them can be found on the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s (FSAI) at https://oapi.fsai.ie/LAApprovedEstablishments.aspx.

The establishment of a slaughtering plant is a commercial decision made by individuals or companies. At present I have not been alerted to any issue with the capacity of the processing industry to meet the throughput requirements for the various sectors outlined by the Deputy.

Farm Enterprises

Ceisteanna (202)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

202. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he plans to take in conjunction with his EU colleagues to protect the concept of the viability of the family farm enterprise throughout Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51455/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The 2013 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) provided Irish farmers with policy certainty and financial support to increase sustainability and enhance competitiveness. Member States and the Council of Agriculture Ministers continue to consider the EU Commission’s post CAP 2020 proposals, which were published earlier this year. Ireland is working closely with our EU colleagues to ensure that we continue to engage in policies that promote the interests of the EU agricultural sector and to ensure that these policies are strongly funded as part of the EU Budget.

Direct payments from my Department serve to support family farm income. Direct payments amounted to almost €1.8 billion last year. Figures from Teagasc’s National Farm Survey 2017 show that average payments per farm represented by the survey amounted to almost €18,000, accounting for 56% of family farm income.

In addition, Food Wise 2025, the ten year strategy for the Agri-food sector, identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the entire sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow it to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness; as well as specific sectoral recommendations. The implementation process is driven by a High Level Implementation Committee, which I chair.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (203)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

203. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which all farm support payments already due in 2018 have been paid up to date; the number outstanding for technical or other reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51456/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I am very aware of the significance to farmers and the wider rural economy of the payments that issue to farmers from my Department under a range of schemes. With this in mind, my Department continues to issue payments under these schemes as a matter of priority.

Under the 2018 Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme some 100,828 applicants hold eligible designated lands. The ANC Scheme is subject to a range of eligibility and compliance criteria such as having successfully fulfilled all scheme requirements. To date some 91,190 applicants have been paid a total of €219.2m under the 2018 ANC Scheme.

It is not possible, at this point, to accurately ascertain the total number of applicants who will be paid under the Scheme. In particular, this is due to the fact that individual farmers who have yet to meet their stocking density requirements may or may not do so by the end of the year depending on their farming practice/decisions.

In relation to the 2018 BPS, the European Commission agreed to my request for a higher advance payment of 70% under the 2018 Scheme. This is an increase on the standard 50% rate allowed for under the EU regulations. Payments under 2018 BPS and Greening commenced on schedule on 16 October with payments worth €732 million issuing to 113,000 farmers.

This represented an increase over the 111,000 farmers paid at the same stage in 2017, and some 93% of eligible applicants for the BPS were paid in this first tranche. The success of our move to full online applications this year has helped us to deliver further efficiencies in the processing of payments which are of direct benefit to farmers.

The balancing payments for BPS and Greening also commenced on schedule on 3 December, bringing the total paid under BPS and Greening to €1.2bn to 120,607 farmers which represents 98.3% of all eligible farmers. Twice weekly pay runs will take place to ensure all cases that become clear for payment are paid as quickly as possible. In cases where material required in response to queries from my Department is outstanding, I would urge farmers to respond to any outstanding queries at their earliest convenience.

Payments under the 2018 National Reserve and the Young Farmers Scheme have also commenced alongside payment of the 2018 BPS balancing payment.

Advance payment for the Sheep Welfare Scheme also issued on time at the end of November with €15.1 million paid to 18,600 participants which represent’s 99% of eligible applications. This was the first payment run for the 2018 scheme year and additional cases will be paid as they become clear following resolution of outstanding queries such as on reference numbers and completion of actions.

The processing of the Organic Farming Scheme payments will commence this week. Validations on applications are currently being carried out and it is estimated that 1,160 participants will receive an advance payment in the first payment run. Payment runs will continue thereafter on a weekly basis.

In December, further payments will commence on schedule under the Beef Data and Genomics Programme and the Protein Aid scheme. Payments under the TAMS II capital investment scheme are also continuing, with €94.8m paid in respect of 6,503 claims to date.

To date, 40,841 GLAS participants have received their 2018 advance payment. This equates to over 96% of eligible GLAS participants. A number of cases remain ineligible for payment as the GLAS participant and/or their Advisor need to take action. I would encourage any GLAS applicant with outstanding obligations, such as the submission of a Nutrient Management Plan, GLAS Training or finalisation of a Commonage Management Plan to speak to their Advisor and ensure that this work is completed as a priority. Without the submission of all the required information, these applicants will remain ineligible for further GLAS payments.

In relation to AEOS, 1514 participants have been paid their 2018 Advance payment. A further 286 cases have passed validation and are due to be paid shortly. 321 cases continue to be processed.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (204)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

204. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which indicators in respect of Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025 remain in line with expectations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51457/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The main targets set out in the Food Harvest report published in 2010 were, by 2020, to increase the value of primary output by 33% and agri-food exports by 40% (both from a 2007-09 average baseline); and to increase value added production by 40% (from a 2008 baseline). In addition to these value increases, a target was set for a 50% increase in milk production by 2020, to be progressed following the abolition of milk quotas in April 2015.

Progress on those targets is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis. The latest data available show growth of 36% for both primary production and exports (based on 2016 data), and 47% for value added (latest available data 2014), versus the baseline period, demonstrating excellent progress. The target of a 50% increase in milk volume has already been achieved.

Food Wise 2025, the latest ten year strategy for the agri-food sector published in July 2015, is the successor to the Food Harvest strategy. It identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow the sector to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness; as well as specific sectoral recommendations.

If these recommendations are implemented, the expert committee, which drew up the Food Wise 2025 Strategy, believed that the following growth projections are achievable by 2025: increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion; increasing value added in the sector by 70% to in excess of €13 billion; and increasing the value of primary production by 65% to almost €10 billion. With regard to employment, Food Wise foresees the creation of 23,000 additional jobs in the agri-food sector all along the supply chain from primary production to high value added product development.

In July this year, I launched the third annual progress report of Food Wise 2025: Steps to Success 2018. This showed that by 2017 exports had increased by 15.9% and primary production by 8.9% compared to the baseline. The CSO’s Labour Force Survey has replaced the Quarterly National Household Survey which has resulted in a recalculation of employment figures. The agri-food sector continued to make a significant contribution to employment at national and regional levels accounting for 174,400 (7.9%) of total employment based on the 2017 average.

Steps to Success 2018 also showed that, of the 375 detailed actions which were due to commence by 2018 or are on-going actions; 74% have been achieved or substantial action has been undertaken; and a further 26% have commenced and are progressing well.

Agrifood Sector

Ceisteanna (205)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

205. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which he expects the agrifood sector to develop over the next ten years with particular reference to the need to remain competitive on world markets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51458/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Food Wise 2025, the latest ten year strategy for the agri-food sector published in July 2015, is the successor to the Food Harvest strategy. It identifies the opportunities and challenges facing the sector and provides an enabling strategy that will allow the sector to grow and prosper. Food Wise includes more than 400 specific recommendations, spread across the cross-cutting themes of sustainability, innovation, human capital, market development and competitiveness, as well as specific sectoral recommendations.

If these recommendations are implemented, the expert committee, which drew up the Food Wise 2025 Strategy, believed that the following growth projections are achievable by 2025: increasing the value of agri-food exports by 85% to €19 billion; increasing value added in the sector by 70% to in excess of €13 billion; and increasing the value of primary production by 65% to almost €10 billion. With regard to employment, Food Wise foresees the creation of 23,000 additional jobs in the agri-food sector all along the supply chain from primary production to high value added product development.

There are a number of competitiveness recommendations and actions that are being progressed through the Food Wise High Level Implementation Committee (HLIC). I chair the Committee, which is made up of high-level representatives from all the relevant Departments and State agencies and reviews progress on the detailed actions on a quarterly basis. Stakeholders regularly present to the Committee on priorities for particular sectors or themes, and competitiveness was discussed at the Committee in June this year.

In July this year, I launched the third annual progress report of Food Wise 2025: Steps to Success 2018. This showed that, of the 375 detailed actions which were due to commence by 2018 or are on-going actions, 74% have been achieved or substantial action has been undertaken,and a further 26% have commenced and are progressing well.

Food Safety Standards

Ceisteanna (206)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

206. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if all meat and meat products available here and throughout the EU continue to accurately reflect their ingredients, country of origin and relevant quality standards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51459/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Food products placed on the European marketplace are covered by a range of legislation designed to ensure that products supplied to consumers are of the highest safety standards. My Department plays a part in the enforcement of this legislation along with Competent Authorities in other Member States, other Irish Government departments and State Agencies such as the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Health Service Executive.

The import of products of animal origin from third countries is governed by a comprehensive and robust legislative framework laid down at EU level, controlled by Member States in the first instance, and audited by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Food Safety (formally the FVO), to ensure compliance with all of the relevant food safety standards. The legislation imposes health and supervisory requirements designed to ensure that imported products meet standards equivalent to those required for production and trade between Member States. Border Inspection Posts are operated by my Department. Import control procedures on products of animal and fish origin are highly prescriptive and strictly audited by the Directorate to ensure compliance. Inspection finding reports are published on the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety’s website. Veterinary checks are carried out on consignments of foods imported from Third countries outside the EU. 100% of consignments are documentary and identity checked, and physical checks, including sampling of products, are carried out according to European regulations.

Primary responsibility under EU law for the safety and traceability of food placed on the market lies with food business operators. The role of National Competent Agencies is to verify compliance with this requirement. This is done via a combination of inspecting establishments and auditing the food safety management systems which operators have in place. These controls are applied at different stages in the food supply chain. Regulation (EC) No. 178 of 2002 sets out the general principles and requirements of EU food law and stipulates that food business operators must, at all stages of production, processing and distribution within their business, ensure food law requirements are satisfied.

I am satisfied that the controls and checks in place and enforced by my Department ensure that EU consumers are protected and correctly informed when they purchase and consume food products.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (207)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

207. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the future national consultative forum arranged by a board (details supplied) will have members from other associated interests. [51460/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

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.

As per the recommendations of a report into the greyhound industry by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and following a stakeholders consultative forum held in December 2015, Bord na gCon established a National Greyhound Consultative Forum.

A cross-section of groups are invited to the forum on the basis that they are mandated to represent their members.

As the controlling body of some, but not all, Greyhound Owners & Breeders Associations (GOBAs), the Irish Greyhound Owners & Breeders Federation (IGOBF) is included to represent those affiliations. Other groups, including but not limited to GOBAs no longer affiliated to the IGOBF, are included on the same basis.

The National Greyhound Consultative Forum is held on a quarterly basis with the last meeting having taken place in September 2018. The next meeting will take place in January 2019 with the above cross-section of groups invited to participate.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (208)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

208. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he is satisfied that the employment arrangements in a specific area (details supplied) are satisfactory. [51461/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

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.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for Bord na gCon.

I have requested officials in my department to refer the question to Bord na gCon for direct reply to the Deputy.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (209)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

209. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if persons (details supplied) in County Cork have qualified for participation in the reviewed ANC. [51469/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application under the Basic Payments Scheme (BPS and the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme was submitted by the persons named on 12 April 2018. Under the Terms and Conditions of the ANC scheme applicants must have at least 3 hectares of eligible designated lands. My Department's records show that the persons named have not declared any designated lands and therefore are not eligible for payment under the ANC scheme.

The townland of Gortnasna is not eligible under the 2019 ANC Scheme.

GLAS Data

Ceisteanna (210)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

210. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons in receipt of GLAS 1, 2 and 3 who have received the 85% advance payment of the 2018 payment; the number of persons who have passed all payment approval checks and are awaiting the 85% portion of the 2018 payment; the number of GLAS recipients who have yet to receive this portion of payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51481/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

To date, over 96% of eligible GLAS participants have received their 2018 advance payment. A number of cases remain ineligible for payment as the GLAS participant and/or their Advisor need to complete a certain action or actions. I would encourage any GLAS applicant with outstanding obligations, such as the submission of a Nutrient Management Plan, GLAS Training or finalisation of a Commonage Management Plan to speak to their Advisor and ensure that this work is completed as a priority. Without the submission of all the required information, these applicants will remain ineligible for further GLAS payments.

Payment runs will continue each week to clear the completed cases. As of today, the payment rates so far are:

GLAS1

GLAS2

GLAS3

County

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Carlow

271

225

€838,472.31

123

99

€352,778.24

126

98

€362,145.45

Cavan

899

833

€3,022,470.89

425

386

€1,378,361.97

529

452

€1,598,086.89

Clare

1598

1,423

€5,101,293.51

684

601

€2,189,832.65

795

622

€2,175,677.35

Cork

2113

1,746

€6,008,377.12

984

814

€2,854,918.15

926

732

€2,465,336.27

Donegal

1916

1,583

€5,220,031.01

987

781

€2,530,763.70

1,400

1,033

€3,194,016.65

Dublin

57

46

€165,712.17

17

14

€52,831.28

19

15

€50,574.67

Galway

3029

2,577

€9,232,382.99

1,272

1,019

€3,524,716.46

1,574

1,278

€4,415,440.65

Kerry

1756

1,348

€4,742,753.46

864

658

€2,374,413.31

761

562

€1,949,642.06

Kildare

239

194

€724,424.29

75

58

€205,712.65

113

78

€288,323.67

Kilkenny

422

346

€1,260,629.58

205

156

€583,473.77

185

134

€498,837.69

Laois

365

312

€1,119,825.33

189

164

€577,476.89

228

187

€681,039.81

Leitrim

1011

886

€3,185,603.61

419

382

€1,386,176.56

523

438

€1,525,139.08

Limerick

1039

920

€3,309,996.18

294

264

€936,658.49

401

334

€1,180,766.90

Longford

508

444

€1,601,529.43

338

295

€1,082,230.41

326

271

€993,164.51

Louth

144

128

€464,133.84

77

68

€237,229.67

92

70

€249,533.86

Mayo

2523

2,168

€7,619,447.93

1,310

1,107

€3,773,102.64

1,652

1,359

€4,532,562.27

Meath

416

361

€1,302,511.87

195

160

€581,624.47

245

175

€618,255.97

Monaghan

571

521

€1,705,827.67

142

131

€449,543.76

332

270

€908,117.00

Offaly

472

420

€1,484,012.14

274

247

€933,117.37

290

217

€799,307.96

Roscommon

1511

1,332

€4,839,287.98

544

479

€1,711,804.49

711

568

€2,022,722.91

Sligo

928

805

€2,836,363.76

357

296

€1,012,116.87

488

392

€1,384,688.29

Tipperary

1111

974

€3,568,030.48

492

408

€1,501,947.65

493

367

€1,362,308.85

Waterford

349

259

€913,013.45

130

93

€330,085.42

119

85

€301,227.66

Westmeath

636

567

€2,055,357.12

258

236

€874,045.22

277

232

€852,540.27

Wexford

744

597

€2,220,944.07

256

212

€794,122.78

310

212

€802,863.08

Wicklow

324

267

€1,010,210.39

150

111

€433,003.43

196

139

€531,094.13

TOTAL

24,952

21,282

€75,552,642.58

11,061

9,239

€32,662,088.30

13,111

10,320

€35,743,413.90

GLAS

Totals

Cases

49,124

Paid Adv

40,841

Paid Bal

0

Amount

€143,958,144.78

Fish Quotas

Ceisteanna (211)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

211. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on the recent international fisheries negotiations in Bergen, Norway, between the European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands and on the management of mackerel in the north-east Atlantic; and the impact the quotas fixed will have on fishermen and coastal communities here. [51482/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The negotiations the Deputy refers to are those concerning the management of mackerel in the North East Atlantic which is Ireland’s single most important fishery. The negotiations concluded in Bergen last week after five separate rounds and the parties to the final agreement were the European Union, Norway, and the Faroe Islands.

Ireland is the second largest EU quota holder and my officials participated in every stage of the talks. The countries involved in the negotiations have agreed to a 20% reduction in their Mackerel quotas for 2019. The reductions reflect the available scientific advice that the abundance of this stock has declined. This level of reduction is seen by all parties as essential to ensure that the stock is fished sustainably.

Irish fishermen will now have a quota worth over €55m directly to our catching sector for 2019.

Agreement was also reached on a two year extension of the sharing arrangement between the main parties – the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands. This provides a welcome degree of stability for this hugely important fishery.

Mackerel is Ireland’s single most valuable fishery and, in my view, this agreement provides stability combined with a precautionary approach to help ensure the long term sustainability of the stock.

The scientific advice is currently being reviewed and assessed by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The Coastal States will meet again to consider the outcome of that review when it becomes available. This is expected to happen early in 2019.

While the quota for Ireland is less than that of recent years, those quotas were unusually high by historical standards. The quota of 55,000 tonnes for 2019 is in line with our historical average quota. Ireland will continue to be cautious with this crucially important stock.