GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (499)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

499. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1 October 2015 and has received payments in respect of 2015, 2016 and 2017.

All GLAS claims must pass validation checks before a payment can be made. The 2018 advance payment has not been made for this case as the claim has not cleared the GLAS validations. The final assessment of the case will be concluded this week after which the Department will be in direct contact with the applicant.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (500)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

500. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the date on which a request (details supplied) was made to the European Commission seeking emergency aid for the farming sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit (details supplied); if he brought the matter to the attention of the Commission; if not, the person or body that did; and the EU legislative provision under which the request was made. [5354/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors, and to the likelihood of specific supports being required in order to deal with these impacts. The institutions of the European Union are very well aware of the likelihood of a significant impact of a disorderly Brexit on Ireland’s economy because this has been part of the discussion from the beginning, and indeed this is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

Most recently, I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, and increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Brexit Preparations

Question No. 502 answered with Question No. 479.

Ceisteanna (501)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

501. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has formally made a request to the European Commission under a regulation (details supplied); and if so, when the application was made. [5355/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The agrifood sector is of critical importance to the Irish economy, and its regional spread means it underpins the socio-economic development of rural areas in particular. As such, Brexit has the potential to have a very significant impact on farmers and on the agrifood sector throughout Ireland.

At this stage, Ireland has not formally notified the Commission of its intention to seek emergency aid for the farming sector through the Agriculture Block Exemption Regulation. However, there are on-going discussions with the Commission regarding the difficulties facing Ireland, and all options are being considered, including those under the state aid rules and regulations governing the agriculture sector.

I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, and increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Question No. 502 answered with Question No. 479.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (503)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

503. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of preparations under way in his Department for a hard no-deal Brexit; the schemes being operationalised with other Departments; when these will be ready to be deployed; and when such plans will be published. [5359/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has been actively participating in the Whole-of-Government approach to preparedness and contingency planning. We have fed into the overall Government Contingency Action Plan which was published on 19 December, and we have been working very closely with colleagues in other Departments and agencies to address in particular the requirements that will arise in relation to the implementation at ports and airports of import controls on agrifood products coming from the UK.

These requirements are significant, and arise in relation to the carrying out of documentary, identity and physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin, as set out in EU legislation.

Work in this regard has been focused on three key areas, namely, infrastructure, staffing and information technology, and in three key locations, that is Dublin Port, Rosslare Port and Dublin Airport.

On infrastructure, we have been engaging very closely with the Office of Public Works, the Department of Transport, the Department of Health and the Revenue Commissioners in relation to the physical facilities that will be required to carry out import controls at the three locations. Areas being addressed here include inspection facilities, staff accommodation, parking, and logistics and traffic management. This work had been proceeding in any event in the context of dealing with the central case scenario, and has been adapted in order to meet the requirements in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

On staffing, the Department is working very effectively with Customs and others to provide the resources needed to apply the necessary controls, and I am confident that the state will be in a position to apply controls at the appropriate time.

On information technology, my Department has established a project to coordinate the identification and delivery of ICT Infrastructure and systems to support the additional requirements of staff engaged in control processes in Dublin Port, Rosslare and Dublin Airport. The delivery timelines in the event of a disorderly Brexit are extremely challenging, but officials are working with the greatest urgency to ensure that the required ICT services are in place by 29 March 2019.

Throughout all of this work, the focus of the Department will continue to be on the need to discharge its legal responsibilities while ensuring the minimum possible disruption to trade.

In addition, I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors, and to the likelihood of specific supports being required in order to deal with these impacts. The institutions of the European Union are very well aware of the likelihood of a significant impact of a disorderly Brexit on Ireland’s economy because this has been part of the discussion from the beginning, and indeed this is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

Most recently, I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, and increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Young Farmers Scheme

Ceisteanna (504)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

504. 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. [5382/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application to my Department under the 2018 Young Farmers Scheme. My Department is currently finalising the required administrative and on-farm checks in relation to a small number of Young Farmers Scheme applications and it is expected that these cases will be completed shortly.

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (505)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

505. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if consideration will be given to a report (details supplied); when this consideration will be completed; his plans to publish a response to the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5417/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department is aware of the report to which the Deputy refers and which the Department has just received. My Department is currently in the process of examining the report.

Fish Landings

Ceisteanna (506)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

506. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to approve the port of Rathmullan, County Donegal, as an approved designated port (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5442/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under EU regulations, vessels from a non-EU country may only land fish at a limited number of ‘designated’ ports. This is to aid control and compliance and to deter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity.

There are currently two Irish ports that have been designated for landings by vessels from a third country: Killybegs in Donegal and Castletownbere in Cork.

When the UK formally becomes a third country and the Common Fisheries Policy no longer applies to it, UK registered vessels will be restricted to landing fish at those two ports. The vast majority of current UK fish landings are to those ports. Consequently, at the moment there are no plans to designate additional ports.

However, if, as I very much hope will be the case, the Withdrawal Agreement is concluded, a transition period will apply where there will be no change to current practices for Irish or UK vessels for at least 2 years.

If, in the worst case scenario, no agreement is reached and there is a disorderly Brexit, then the UK will leave on the 29th of March 2019. In that scenario, UK vessels would be restricted to landing in the two designated ports only from that date.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (507)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

507. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if contingency plans have been put in place for the supply of potatoes in the event of a no-deal Brexit in view of the fact that Ireland is one of the largest importers of UK potatoes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5555/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under Annex III of EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29/EC, seed potatoes are banned from entering the EU from third countries, with the exception of Switzerland. Switzerland has equivalency in terms of applying the EU Plant Health Directive.

Trader notices have issued to the Potato trade in this regard, and all advice to Irish growers is to ensure that UK seed is supplied before the end of March in order to facilitate the 2019 planting season. There will then be at least another 9 months before the 2020 planting season for the European Commission to consider requests from the UK for amendment to Annex III of the Plant Health directive based on a detailed scientific justification as to why the amendment is warranted.

Under that same EU Plant Health Directive, ware potatoes (for consumption) are banned from entering the EU from third countries, with certain exceptions. For ware potatoes to enter the EU from the UK in a no deal exit scenario, all consignments of such potatoes must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the UK Plant Health authorities and notified in advance, on the basis of being a third country recognised as free from Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. Sepedonicus (Ring Rot), as well as complying with EU Plant Health Directive Annex IV requirements for various other pests and diseases. These procedures are well established for other third countries trading into Ireland.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (508)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

508. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if Ireland has formally applied for a relaxation of agricultural state-aid rules as a result of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5557/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The agrifood sector is of critical importance to the Irish economy, and its regional spread means it underpins the socio-economic development of rural areas in particular. As such, Brexit has the potential to have a very significant impact on farmers and on the agrifood sector throughout Ireland.

I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors, and to the likelihood of specific supports being required in order to deal with these impacts. The institutions of the European Union are very well aware of the likelihood of a significant impact of a disorderly Brexit on Ireland’s economy because this has been part of the discussion from the beginning, and indeed this is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

Most recently, I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, as well as increased flexibility under State Aid regulations, which has already been the subject of discussions with the Commission. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Beef Exports

Ceisteanna (509)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

509. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of exports to Egypt since the Egyptian market reopened to Irish beef; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5594/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My officials continue to work towards opening and enhancing access to as many markets as possible. This is a key part of our response to the challenges and uncertainty posed by Brexit, and is in line with the market development theme of the Food Wise 2025 strategy.

In relation to Egypt, the market was re-opened in early 2017 and there is an agreed veterinary health certificate for beef. The certificate covers bone in beef, boneless beef and certain offals including liver, heart and kidneys. Five Irish beef establishments are approved to export to Egypt.

While some trade commenced in early 2017, Central Statistics Office (CSO) trade data show that only 84 tonnes, or €226,000, was exported in 2017. There were not any beef exports to Egypt in 2018, up to the end of November.

The role of DAFM is to open up markets for the industry and it is then up to the industry with the support of DAFM and Bord Bia, to avail of these opportunities. However, the actual levels of exports will depend on a range of factors, including as global supply and demand dynamics, currency fluctuations and individual customer requirements.

Trade Promotion

Ceisteanna (510)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

510. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the efforts being made to increase trade between Ireland and Egypt, including live cattle exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5595/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agrifood exports is an ongoing and central component of the strategic development of the agrifood 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 agrifood 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.

Ireland’s main exports to Egypt are dairy products and fish. Bord Bia's recent market prioritisation report - which was compiled at my request and identified export opportunities in new and more mature markets - identified Egypt as an important dairy market, so we will continue to engage with the dairy industry to enhance these exports.

My Department has also engaged with the Egyptian authorities on several occasions in relation to live trade, including receiving an official delegation from Egypt in June 2018. In January this year, Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD, discussed the issue of animal health certificates with the Egyptian Deputy Minister for Agriculture. The Egyptian authorities indicated willingness to consider amending existing health certificates and putting a new certificate for breeding stock in place. My Department's Chief Veterinary Officer wrote to his counterpart on 18th January with three proposed health certificates for the export of fattening, slaughter and breeding cattle. This engagement with the Egyptian authorities will continue, with the aim of re-establishing live exports as soon as might be possible.

Forestry Premium Payments

Ceisteanna (511)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

511. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application for a forestry payment by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5598/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for a 2nd instalment grant on 18/04/2018 in respect of a forest established in 2013 under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme. Payment of the 2nd instalment grant was issued on 10/07/2018 to a nominated forestry company, in accordance with the mandate assignment instruction submitted to the Department by the person named.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (512)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

512. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has put specific proposals to the Council of Agriculture Ministers and to the European Commissioner on the need to provide assistance to the farming and agrifood sectors in the event of trading difficulties and market disturbance due to Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5615/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The agrifood sector is of critical importance to the Irish economy, and its regional spread means it underpins the socio-economic development of rural areas in particular. As such, Brexit has the potential to have a very significant impact on farmers and on the agrifood sector throughout Ireland.

I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors, and to the likelihood of specific supports being required in order to deal with these impacts. The institutions of the European Union are very well aware of the likelihood of a significant impact of a disorderly Brexit on Ireland’s economy because this has been part of the discussion from the beginning, and indeed this is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

Most recently, I held a bilateral meeting with Commissioner Hogan last week to discuss the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the Irish agrifood and fisheries sectors. We discussed the unique exposure of these sectors to the threat of a disorderly Brexit, and the challenges that it could present. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, and increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

Brexit Preparations

Ceisteanna (513)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

513. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the work being carried out by his Department at national and EU level to protect the bloodstock trade that will be severely affected by Brexit particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4123/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The current 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.

Felling Licences

Ceisteanna (514)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

514. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a thinning licence was issued and then rescinded due to local opposition and reissued without notice to the opponents for a woodland (details supplied); the reason the licence was granted but the clearing was not overseen to protect an area that was a proposed special area of conservation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5667/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In this case a General Felling Licence was issued under the Forestry Act 1946 on the 7th April 2017 to thin a forest area. This licence conferred on the licensee the right to uproot or cut down trees in the specified area of land in the ordinary course of thinning, in accordance with the general practice of good forestry.

The felling licence on the site was suspended following receipt of reports from third parties. As there is an on-going review into the circumstances surrounding the felling at this location, I am unable to comment further on this individual case. I expect this review to be finalised shortly and my Department will then take appropriate action based on the outcome of that report.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (515)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

515. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2018 area of natural constraints payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme by online application on 7 May 2018. Processing of this application has now been completed and payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named shortly.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (516)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

516. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a 2018 area of natural constraints payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme on 3 April 2018.

Processing of this application has now been completed and payment will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named shortly.