Medical Card Applications

Ceisteanna (462)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

462. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Health the reason, in the case of a medical card application, a notice of assessment must be provided for the purpose of demonstrating tax liability but in which a letter of tax exemption from the Revenue Commissioners has already been provided; if the case of persons (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12323/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy

Long Stay Residential Units

Ceisteanna (463, 464, 465, 466)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

463. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health the status of plans for a unit (details supplied) in County Roscommon. [12335/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

464. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of residents occupying a centre (details supplied) in County Roscommon. [12336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

465. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if plans to close down a centre (details supplied) in County Roscommon will be reconsidered. [12337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

466. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Health if a unit (details supplied) will be reopened to full capacity in order to deal with the rising numbers of Alzheimer and dementia patients in County Roscommon. [12340/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 463 to 466, inclusive, together.

As these are service matters I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Health Services Provision

Ceisteanna (467)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

467. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the way in which victims of terrorism who live here could receive specific supports, in particular counselling, from the health service; if they receive support in accessing health services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12366/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Car Parks

Ceisteanna (468)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

468. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Health the number of cars clamped by an operator at a facility (details supplied) in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [12329/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this is an operational issue, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond to you directly as soon as possible.

HSE Staff Recruitment

Ceisteanna (469)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

469. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if a contract (details supplied) is a temporary rolling contract which is being recruited at present; if it is recruitment for the permanent position of registrar at a hospital; if persons can still apply for same; the location they can apply to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12401/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Civil Registration Service is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the General Register Office under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection.

As this is a service matter I have referred your question to the HSE for direct response.

Mental Health Services Data

Ceisteanna (470)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

470. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health the hours resourced and cost per hour of the number of professionals providing dialectical behaviour therapy through HSE funding by area in tabular form. [12416/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Psychological Services

Ceisteanna (471)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

471. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health his plans to further support access to dialectical behaviour therapy across the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12417/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Psychological Services

Question No. 473 answered with Question No. 264.

Ceisteanna (472)

Pat Buckley

Ceist:

472. Deputy Pat Buckley asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the high demand for dialectical behaviour therapy access in the north Lee area of County Cork and the surrounding areas; and his plans for supporting access in this area further in view of the fact that there are currently no psychologists providing the therapy in the area. [12418/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Question No. 473 answered with Question No. 264.

Beef Data and Genomics Programme

Ceisteanna (474)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

474. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason deductions were made to payments of a person (details supplied); if the matter can be appealed; when full payment will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11489/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In submitting an application to participate in the Beef Data Genomics Programme (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.

Participants are required to take genomic samples from a prescribed number of animals at a cost to the participant of €22 per genomic sample. €220 was deducted from the payment of 12th February 2018 to the person named for ten genomic samples and €176 was deducted from the payment of 17th December 2018 for eight genomic samples.

€297.50 was deducted from the payment of 17th December 2018 to the person named for a failure to submit the survey data as required under the Programme. A further €238 was deducted as at the time of payment as there was no record of the required annual carbon navigator update being submitted at that time.

A member of staff from my Department has contacted the person named regarding these requirements as, while the Carbon Navigator has now been submitted, the survey data requirement is not yet fully completed.

The Programme provides for further payments to issue once sufficient compliance with the programme's requirements has been verified.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (475, 481)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

475. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether it is appropriate to continue funding the greyhound industry in view of the recent assessment by sports information services (detailed supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11540/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mick Wallace

Ceist:

481. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on continued funding for the greyhound industry in view of a recent report from the company which broadcasts Irish greyhound racing globally that informed the Irish Greyhound Board in October 2018 that greyhound racing here has a serious integrity problem due to doping and irregular betting patterns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11695/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 475 and 481 together.

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.

In relation to the comments made in the article on betting, any patterns of irregular betting that are brought to the attention of Bord na gCon are investigated and if necessary, the results of any investigation are forwarded to An Garda Síochána.

I consider the greyhound sector to be an integral part of many regions within Ireland and as a source of pride and enthusiasm for participants and spectators. A report by Economist Jim Power in November 2017 calculated that there are 5,058 full and part-time jobs within the sector, with a further 7,313 greyhound owners deriving economic benefit from the industry. The impact of this employment creates €171 million in additional spending while the greyhound owners contribute €135 million in spending. The national industry therefore contributes €300 million in additional economic activity.

For these reasons I have no plans to cease funding for the sector.

School Milk Scheme

Ceisteanna (476)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

476. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of schools in receipt of the EU school milk scheme; the number of students who received an allocation from the scheme in each of the past five academic years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11570/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The number of schools and the number of children participating in the School Milk Scheme for the last five academic years, is as follows.

-

*2017/18

2016/17

2015/16

2014/15

2013/14

No. of Schools

* 531

691

782

899

1,061

Approx. No. of Children

* 69,514

38,536

42,544

47,791

51,160

It should be noted that not every child in every school is participating in the school milk scheme.

* It should be noted that there was a change in the methodology of calculation by the Department following the change in the EU Regulatory framework with effect from August 2017.

School Milk Scheme

Ceisteanna (477)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

477. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if research has been undertaken on the reason schools do not, or have ceased taking up, the school milk scheme; if there are links to issues relating to facilities and equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11571/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department commissioned UCD, in April 2018, to carry out research to identify the barriers to the uptake of the School Milk Scheme.

The background to this decision is that the EU School Milk Scheme merged with the EU School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme on 1 August 2017 to form a Single School Scheme under a joint EU legal and financial framework. Under this new Regulatory framework, Ireland submitted a six-year Statement of Strategy for the implementation of the School Scheme in Ireland covering the period 1 August 2017 -31 July 2023. As regards the School Milk Scheme, my Department as the Competent Authority stated its key objective was to halt the decline in the participation in the School Milk Scheme in Ireland. Participation had decreased over 50% in the eight school years preceding the 2017/18 school year.

The research identified a number of reasons for the decrease in participation levels, including: increase in water consumption (31%); price perceived as too expensive (15%); parental contribution required for non-DEIS schools (15%); children do not consume milk at home (23%). The research also highlighted some issues regarding facilities and equipment, including the frequency of delivery, particularly in rural areas, and the quality of milk where deliveries of milk are made outside the school grounds in the early hours of the morning.

Following the research, my Department has undertaken a number of actions to deliver an improved School Milk Scheme in the current school year i.e. the 2018/19 school year, including:

- Targeted recruitment campaign in advance of the commencement of the new school year by the National Dairy Council (NDC) (Sept 18).

- Enhanced accompanying measures/educational resources in the form of a new School Milk Week delivered (February 2019), with associated publicity campaigns and competitions to raise awareness.

- Increasing the parental subsidy by 60% (Sept 18) to make the scheme more affordable for parents.

- Trialling of a new method of delivery of milk to schools.

- The NDC is addressing the issue of frequency of deliveries in contracts with individual suppliers.

I would anticipate that, as a direct consequence of these additional measures, the numbers of participating schools and the volume of milk distributed in the school year 2019/2020 will increase compared to school year 2018/2019. However, final figures will not be available until the end of 2019.

EU School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

Ceisteanna (478)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

478. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of schools in receipt of the EU school fruit and vegetables scheme; the budget allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11572/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In accordance with the six-year Statement of Strategy for the implementation of the School Scheme in Ireland (1 August 2017 – 31 July 2023) my Department projects that 700 schools and 120,000 children will participate in the School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme in the current school year (2018/19). 692 schools participated in the school year 2017/2018. Subject to available funding, the number of participating schools and children will scale up to 1,400 schools and 240,000 children in the 2019/20 school year and 2,100 schools and 360,000 children in the 2020/21 school year.

As regards funding, Ireland has been allocated an annual envelope of EU funding of €1.758 million for the scheme. This funding will be utilised in full in the 2018/19 school year. My Department also plans to apply to the Commission for a share of the unused EU aid allocated to other Member States.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

Ceisteanna (479)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

479. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the process by which the areas of natural conservation were identified; the methodology used; if an appeal process is in place for landowners left out of the scheme who are of the view they fit the criteria for inclusion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the current Rural Development Regulation (and subsequent amendments under the Omnibus Regulation), Member States are required to change the approach to the designation of land under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme. Before this year, my Department had been identifying eligible areas using a range of socio economic indicators such as family farm income, population density, percentage of working population engaged in agriculture and stocking density.

From 2019, eligible areas must instead be designated using the following list of bio-physical criteria:

- Low temperature

- Dryness

- Excess soil moisture

- Limited soil drainage

- Unfavourable texture and stoniness

- Shallow rooting depth

- Poor chemical properties

- Steep slope

This process has now been completed and details in relation to the outcome have been published following a series of consultation meetings with key stakeholders.

In summary, the vast majority of land that was eligible under the existing Scheme will remain eligible under the new approach and over 2,000 townlands will now be eligible under the new approach and will be eligible to receive a payment for the first time in 2019. Some 700 townlands that would have previously been eligible are not eligible under the new designation. Farmers impacted financially by this change will receive a degressive phasing out payment in 2019 and 2020.

Farmers who hold land in townlands that are no longer eligible in 2019 have been written to, and included in this letter, is an application form to begin the process of an appeal should they wish to take up this option. This form is also available on the Department's website.

I have put an independent appeals process in place for any farmer who wishes to appeal the status of a particular townland following this process. This committee is chaired independently and also has an independent technical expert on it.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme

Question No. 481 answered with Question No. 475.

Ceisteanna (480)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

480. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an Area of Natural Conservation 2019 appeal by persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11669/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Further to the completion of the review of eligible lands under the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme, which was required by EU regulation, my Department wrote to all impacted farmers advising of the status of their lands under the 2019 ANC scheme. These letters included a form to instigate an appeal. The appeals form is also available on www.agriculture.gov.ie. For any farmer who wishes to appeal the status of a particular townland under the 2019 ANC scheme, an independently chaired appeals process is available.

My Department has received a notification of appeal from the persons named in relation to the townlands of Ballykelsh, Ballysampson, Shilmaine and Ballycorboys Big in County Wexford. On foot of this notification, my Department has provided further information in relation to the data underpinning the status of these townlands to the persons named so that they can base any appeal to the independent Appeals Committee on full information.

Question No. 481 answered with Question No. 475.

Plant Protection Products

Ceisteanna (482)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

482. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the impact on agriculture of the ban of a chemical (details supplied) introduced in France in January 2019; his plans to introduce a similar ban on the weedkiller here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In January of this year, the French authorities responded to a ruling of a French administrative tribunal in Lyon by removing the product “Roundup Pro 360” from its register of authorised plant protection products. The tribunal ruled that ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety) should have given more weight to potential safety risks when initially authorising the use of “Roundup Pro 360”. However, all other products containing glyphosate continue to be unaffected by the ruling and consequently the official register of approvals in France contains over 60 glyphosate containing products. This particular trade name, “Roundup Pro 360” has never been placed on the Irish market.

Regulatory decisions on the approval and use of pesticides are based on the scientific consensus view of all the relevant technical information from all sources. Regarding the use of plant protection products containing glyphosate in Ireland, I continue to be guided by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), who have both concluded, on the basis of extensive reviews involving public consultation, that glyphosate can be used safely without putting consumers or users at risk. This process guided the decision to renew the authorisation of Glyphosate within the European Union in 2017.

My Department will continue to monitor international peer-reviewed scientific evidence and the guidance provided by EFSA and ECHA.

Horse Racing Ireland

Ceisteanna (483)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

483. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he last met the chairperson of an organisation (details supplied); the issues discussed; when he will next meet the chairperson; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11728/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial State Body responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

I last met officials from Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), on Thursday 28th February 2019 with officials from my Department. HRI's Chairperson, Mr Nicky Hartery, joined the discussions via teleconference from London.

The items discussed during the meeting were the current re-development of the Curragh Racecourse, the draft HRI Strategic Plan 2019 to 2023, and the potential re-development of the Irish Equine Centre.

No further meetings between the Chairperson of HRI and myself have been scheduled for the present.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (484)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

484. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to change the rules to allow a beef animal which is fit for slaughter and from a quality assured farm to be sold in a mart and killed no more than three days later by the new owner to retain its quality assurance bonus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11776/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The standards required for participation in the Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS) are set out on the Bord Bia website:

https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/farmers/quality/BeefSchemeStandards/Sustainable_Beef_and_Lamb_Assurance_Scheme_Standard.pdf

Requirements for cattle to meet the SBLAS standard include that the animal must have spent the last 70 days (unbroken) in the Quality Assured Chain - this does not preclude movements from one SBLAS farm to another SBLAS farm, including through a mart.

However, I also understand that meat processors make bonus payments in respect of cattle which meet market specifications, determined by them in conjunction with their retail customers. In order to obtain the bonus payment, animals supplied must meet these specifications. One such specification relates to residency.

Such specifications are entirely a commercial matter and are not conditions imposed by my Department.