TAMS Administration

Ceisteanna (481)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

481. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the suggestion that heat recovery technology grant aided under the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme, TAMS, be omitted in order that future applicants would be considered under Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland dairy farm energy grants; and if he will liaise with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in this regard. [4942/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Heat transfer units are currently grant aided under the Dairy Equipment Scheme and Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme of TAMSII. 253 approvals have issued for this investment item with a further 35 recent applications for approval currently being assessed. My Department and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland already work together to avoid the risk of double funding and to coordinate and streamline the respective schemes available.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (482)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

482. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when all green low-carbon agri-environment scheme, GLAS, payments in respect of 2017 and 2018 will issue to a farmer (details supplied) in County Galway; if a penalty has been applied; and if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4965/19]

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 all payments due for 2016.

The participant received a zero net payment for 2017 due to penalties applied resulting from the findings of an on-farm inspection. The applicant was notified of the inspection findings on 28 August 2018.

The 2018 advance payment will issue shortly. GLAS payments continue to issue on a weekly basis.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (483)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

483. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when green low-carbon agri-environment scheme, GLAS, payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5002/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 3 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017 and has received payments in respect of 2017.

Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. This case has not yet cleared the required validation checks. Once this case clears validations the 2018 advance payment will be made. GLAS payments are issuing on a weekly basis.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (484)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

484. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if payments relative to commonage in County Kilkenny will be paid to a person (details supplied). [5040/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application under the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) on 2 May 2018. He declared the lands at Brandon Hill on his BPS application and has indicated (based on an affidavit) that he has grazing rights. An over claim has arisen in relation to this land and officials from my Department have been in touch with the person named regarding this over claim. It should be noted that payment has issued to the person named in relation to all his other eligible lands.

As this over claim involves a number of claimants and is a complex issue, my Department is currently reviewing the entire claim on Brandon Hill.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (485)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

485. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans that have been developed to assist the equine industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit, in particular plans to address issues relating to the landbridge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The current position is that EU rules on the movement of equidae between EU Member States require that the animals being moved are inspected by an official veterinarian and accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued under the EU TRACES system and a horse passport issued by an approved horse passport issuing body.

However, these rules also allow Member States which have implemented alternative but equivalent health control systems in their respective territories, to grant one another derogations from the standard movement rules. The derogation provided for under Community rules on the movement of equidae is applicable to movements between EU Member States only. It is not inclusive of movements between the EU and Third Countries.

Currently Ireland is part of a Tripartite Agreement (TPA), along with the UK and France which allows for the movement and trade of horses between the three countries without undergoing veterinary inspections and without health certificates. As the TPA is based on EU legislation on the movement of horses within the EU, the UK cannot be part of the Agreement once it becomes a Third Country.

The current focus of our 'no deal' contingency planning is on the arrangements that will be necessary for the Department to fulfil its legal obligations with respect to import controls on live animals and agri food products as efficiently as possible while also ensuring the minimum possible disruption to trading arrangements.

As part of this planning we are upgrading existing Border Inspection Posts (BIPs) and developing additional BIPs to cater for the increased volume of inspections necessary, including in respect of equines being imported from the UK, and making arrangements to facilitate the certification of horses to the UK as necessary. Horses moving via the UK landbridge will do so in accordance with Customs internal transit rules.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (486)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

486. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive outstanding payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5046/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into the AEOS1 with a start date of 1 September 2010. The contract was for a five years and four month period up to 31 December 2015. As part of the application, the person named chose the option to plant 155 standard trees.

A separate claim for payment of the non-productive capital investment element of the scheme was submitted by the person named in October 2011, which was accompanied by a receipt. Payments on the capital investment claim were made to the person named in respect of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 scheme years.

The person named was written to in January 2015 to inform them that a scheme wide investigation had been initiated and that their 2014 payments were being held pending the outcome of the investigation. The Department subsequently sought alternative proof of the expenditure claim submitted by the person named but such alternative proof was not received. The Department wrote to the person named on 1 April 2016 to inform them that the claim submitted was not accepted and that as the claim far exceeded the verified costs, in accordance with the relevant EU Regulation, the person named was to be excluded from the scheme for the remaining two years and all previous capital investment payments would be recouped.

The person named unsuccessfully requested a review of this decision to the Department, unsuccessfully appealed the decision to the Agricultural Appeals Office and unsuccessfully raised the issue with the Office of the Ombudsman.

There are no payments due on the person named in relation to their AEOS contract.

Hazardous Waste Removal

Ceisteanna (487)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

487. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the remediation work on Haulbowline Island; the completion date for the remediation works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department assumed responsibility for remediation works at Haulbowline Island on behalf of the Irish Government in 2012 with a particular focus on bringing about compliance with the terms of a CJEU judgment (Case C-494/01) under the Waste Framework Directive concerning the East Tip site. Funding for the remediation project is currently provided to my Department, in accordance with the specific conditions set out by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, on an annual basis up to the completion date of the remediation works.

The East Tip works are the most significant element of the remediation project. In the period up to 2017 expenditure was focussed on preparing for and securing the necessary planning and waste licence consents for the East Tip remediation and upgrading the island infrastructure in anticipation of works. Following the signing of contracts in July 2017, the remediation of the East Tip commenced and in December 2018 I visited the site to see that the works had been substantially completed. I understand that there are some minor finishing works on the site to be completed early this year and the access road leading into the site is also being upgraded.

While the priority has been remediation of the East Tip, work on assessing a suitable solution for the former steelworks factory site has also been advanced in preparation for the next phase of the remediation project. Detailed site investigations have been undertaken and the preparation of an application for planning consent has also been advanced. The Government has decided that the Minister for Defence will be the ultimate owner of Haulbowline Island, in keeping with the main occupancy of the island, being the headquarters for the Irish Naval Service. Any remediation solution for these areas will need to be cognisant of their likely long term use. The Department of Defence has advised that it has engaged specialist engineers to examine the areas in question in order to explore the potential of these areas for naval operations in the future which will inform and direct remediation works in the first instance. Information from site investigation studies and assessments to date has been made available to the Department of Defence to assist in this work.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (488)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

488. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an areas of natural constraint scheme, ANC, payment for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5141/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has recently concluded the redesignation of eligible lands for the 2019 Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme, as required under the EU Regulations. I can confirm that the lands referenced in the townland of Kilcooly North are no longer eligible under the new designation of eligible ANC lands. This is the correct position as outlined in the letter issued to the person named.

The person named holds land in Kilcooly North townland, with the unique identifier H13911. Separately, Kilcooly South with the unique identifier of H13912 was listed on the Department's website as eligible. While the unique identifier numbers are listed on the website, H13912 was originally labelled as Kilcooly North in error. This will be corrected on my Department's website.

An independent appeals process is in place for any farmer who wishes to query the eligibility status of a townland. Further details are available on my Department website: www.agriculture.gov.ie

Departmental Projects

Ceisteanna (489)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

489. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of research that has been carried out nationally since 2010 on grey seals; the costs under research headings (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5179/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has not carried out research on grey seals nationally in the requested time period.

Seals are a protected species under the EU Habitats Directive and seals are also protected under the Wildlife Acts. I am advised two species of seals, grey seals and harbour seals, are common in Irish waters. In so far as the management of the seal population is concerned, I wish to clarify for the Deputy that this is the responsibility of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and it is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

I will forward your question to both the Marine Institute and Bord Iascaigh Mhara for direct reply to provide the requested information in respect of these agencies.

Fishing Industry Data

Ceisteanna (490)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

490. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of commercial gill-netting boats that are operating nationally. [5182/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Registrar General of Fishing Boats informs me that the Irish fishing fleet comprised 2,005 registered vessels at year end on 31 December 2018.

Of the 2,005 registered vessels, 43 owners categorised their vessels as gill-netters on registration.

However, there are currently 1,373 registered polyvalent general vessels in the fleet which include the 43 gill-netters referred to above. All of these 1,373 polyvalent general vessels are not precluded from fishing activity by means of gill nets.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (491)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

491. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an area (details supplied) in County Cork has been included for areas of natural constraint scheme, ANC, purposes. [5213/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has recently concluded the redesignation of eligible lands for the 2019 Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme, as required under the EU Regulations. The lands referenced in the question, in Killeagh, Glanworth East were not eligible for the ANC Scheme prior to this redesignation, and are also not eligible under the new designation of eligible lands. An independent appeals process is in place for any farmer who wishes to query the eligibility status of a townland. Further details are available on my Department website: www.agriculture.gov.ie

Sheep Welfare Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (492)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

492. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a sheep welfare payment will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [5230/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application was received under the 2017 Sheep Welfare scheme from the person named on 20 January 2017 and he has been paid in full for 2017. Under the terms and conditions of the scheme, applicants who wished to continue in the scheme for 2018 were required to complete a Sheep Welfare Scheme continuance sheet prior to a closing date of 2nd February 2018. In this case, no continuation sheet was received in respect of the 2018 scheme year.

The person named contacted the Department on 15 January 2019 seeking a review of his case. He was advised to provide proof of postage for the Sheep Welfare continuance sheet in order to clarify the position.

Following this correspondence, the person named has informed officials that he did not obtain proof of postage in this case. Accordingly, he has been advised of his right to have this case further reviewed by the independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (493)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

493. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The commonage land in question is currently being updated and this may have an impact on a number of farmers who declared this parcel on their Basic Payment applications. Once the required update has been completed, any outstanding payments due to the person named will issue.

In addition, the person named submitted an application to my Department under the 2015 National Reserve ‘Young Farmer’ category. The application was successful and the applicant was informed of the allocation from the 2015 National Reserve in a letter dated the 27th of July, 2016. Once the land area for 2015 has been updated, the allocation under the 2015 National Reserve will be reviewed to take account of any additional eligible land area and the person named will be notified in writing of the outcome.

Live Exports

Ceisteanna (494)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

494. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a matter raised in correspondence (details supplied). [5291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department implements a stringent system of controls on the welfare of animals being exported, in particular through a comprehensive legislative framework relating to the transport of animals by sea (The Carriage of Livestock by Sea Regulations 2016 (S.I. 356 of 2016). Only ships approved by my Department can load cattle for export from Ireland. Cattle being exported are monitored during the prescribed isolation period by Department Veterinary Inspectors and in some cases by Official Veterinarians from the importing countries. This is in addition to work carried out by Private Veterinary Practitioners who carry out the testing required prior to export to enable certification. Animals are inspected and certified by Official Veterinarians from the Department with regard to their health status and fitness for travel. Due regard is taken to weather conditions in respect of long distance transport. This was the case this December when the departure of the MV Sarah was delayed to avoid expected rough seas.

I can confirm that my Department continues to work closely with other EU Member States and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), with a view to improving animal welfare practices worldwide. For its part Ireland has committed to additional allocation of €75,000 to the OIE in the period 2017-20 to support its activities aimed at enhancing animal welfare worldwide.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (495)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

495. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if farmers can continue to receive payments under the beef data and genomics programme, BDGP, scheme if they have switched from suckler farming to dairying in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In submitting an application to participate in the BDGP, applicants gave an undertaking to adhere to the terms and conditions that govern the Programme. Payments under BDGP are based on the full completion of specified actions over the course of six years which were designed to improve the genetic merit of a beef farmer’s herd. Section 13 of the scheme’s Terms and Conditions refers to applicants who may withdraw from the scheme prematurely and it states that:

‘Where a contract is terminated by an applicant all monies paid under the Programme shall be repaid to the Department except in cases of Force Majeure.’

BDGP participants who switch from a suckler to a dairy enterprise are in clear breach of the scheme’s Terms and Conditions and as such will no longer be eligible for payment under the Programme and will have to repay all the monies they received under the BDGP.

Beef Exports

Ceisteanna (496)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

496. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if beef from a herd with a history of tuberculosis can be exported to China; if there are restrictions in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5297/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In April 2017 I agreed a Protocol on the export of frozen boneless beef from Ireland to China with the Minister responsible for the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), following negotiations between both Departments. This Protocol contains the terms and conditions for the export of beef to China

This Protocol states that the live cattle from which the frozen beef to be exported to China is derived, should originate from farms where there has been no clinical cases of various diseases, including tuberculosis (TB), detected within the past 12 months. Therefore beef can be exported from herds that historically have had TB, as long as it was not within the last 12 months.

The opening of the Chinese market for Irish beef in 2018 was the culmination of significant work, over a number of years, and I am delighted that six Irish beef plants are currently approved to export beef to China. Exports of Irish beef to China commenced during the summer in 2018. By the end of November, according to the CSO, around 1,250 tonnes (€2.4 million) had been exported, which is an indication that companies are beginning to gain a foothold in the market.

My officials are currently working towards progressing applications for additional beef plants approvals, in order to increase Ireland's ability to supply the market, and this was the subject of a bilateral technical meeting at Senior Official level in Beijing at the start of November. Total Irish agri-food trade exports to China were €974 million in 2017, our third largest market overall for agri-food exports, according to the CSO.

Food Safety Standards Regulation

Ceisteanna (497)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

497. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if beef imported from Poland in 2018 originated from the plant which is the subject of an investigation for illegally slaughtering sick cattle and allowing the meat to enter the food chain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), managed by the EU Commission, is the key EU level tool used to ensure the flow of information to enabling swift reaction when risks to public health are detected in the food chain. RASFF enables information to be shared efficiently and swiftly between its members - EU Commission, European Food Safety Authority, national food safety authorities for the EU-28 and EFTA countries - with the objective of ensuring the highest possible level of consumer protection. In Ireland’s case, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland is the responsible authority.

RASFF members must immediately notify the Commission via the system when they have information regarding a serious health risk deriving from food or feed. Once a notification of the existence of a serious, direct or indirect, risk to public health linked to food or feed is made by a member of the RASFF network, this information reaches the European Commission (as manager of the system), which in turn verifies the notification and immediately transmits it to the other members of the network. This rapid exchange of information allows all RASFF members to check in real time whether they are also affected and if urgent action is needed.

Poland submitted a notification on the RASFF system on 29 January 2019, in relation to veterinary controls not properly carried out on bovine meat at slaughter premises in Poland, potentially creating a food safety risk. The RASSF notification listed 11 member states which were affected, and advised that implicated product should be withdrawn from the market.

Ireland was not one of the affected member states.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (498)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

498. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a payment can be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5300/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy would be aware from previous recent PQ's a review by the Director of Agriculture Appeals Office of the decision of the Appeals Officer has been requested in this case in accordance with the provisions of the Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001. The Agriculture Appeals Office has indicated that requests for reviews are generally dealt with in order of receipt and that both the Department and the person named will be advised of the outcome when the review has been completed.