Beef Industry

Question No. 327 answered with Question No. 317.

Ceisteanna (326)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

326. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the European Commission was lobbied to increase state aid to the beef industry here; if so, the grounds for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22561/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy will be aware, I have held a number of discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit on the sector. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on agri-food and fisheries, including through traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation (Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013), as well increased flexibility under State Aid regulations.

Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

I am also keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is really welcome in this context. I have been making the case for some time for an exceptional aid package from the EU Commission for Irish beef farmers, at EU Council of Agriculture Minister meetings, and in direct consultation with the Commission.

The announcement by the Commissioner is another example of the importance of EU solidarity when it comes to facing significant economic challenges.

Details of the proposal are being discussed with the Commission and I will make information available to farmers as soon as possible. The legal provisions used to provide the aid (Council Regulation 1308/2013) were put in place by the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2013. It is expected that this decision will be given effect through an Implementing Regulation. My officials will examine its provisions, when published, and engage with the Commission on the next steps.

Question No. 327 answered with Question No. 317.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (328)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

328. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a farm payment will be resumed for a person (details supplied) in view of their successful appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22578/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Department received the appeal decision from the Agriculture Appeals Office in this case on 21 May 2019 and officials have commenced processing the case.

Once the payments concerned clear all validations and pre-payment checks, the outstanding GLAS payments will issue.

Afforestation Programme

Ceisteanna (329)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

329. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of afforestation grant due to a person (details supplied) for 2018; the amount paid to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22587/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted an afforestation grant application in 2003 under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme for an area of 4.10 hectares. The first grant instalment was paid in 2004 and the second grant instalment was paid in 2011. To date, 17 annual forestry premiums for the years 2003 to 2019 inclusive have also been paid. The 18th annual forestry premium is due for payment in January 2020. As this contract has a duration of 20 years, in total 20 annual forestry premiums will be paid to the person named, provided that all scheme terms and conditions have been complied with.

The person named should contact my officials directly to discuss any further details about this contract, including payments made to date. All contract related queries can be directed to the Forestry Premium Helpdesk, tel. No. 076 106 4437, e-mail: forestservicepremiums@agriculture.gov.ie.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (330)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

330. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a matter regarding farm payments will be addressed in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The draft CAP Post-2020 regulations, involve significant changes, including the end of the Basic Payment Scheme and the start of the Basic Income Support Scheme (BISS). The proposed BISS, as it stands, will see a number of changes from the current Basic Payment Scheme.

Since the launch of the draft CAP Post-2020 regulations in June 2018, officials from my Department and I have been engaging with our European colleagues and analysing the effects of all of the proposed changes, including changes to the transfer of Payment Entitlements via lease. As the negotiations in relation to the draft regulations are currently on-going, my Department are not in a position to provide specific advice on individual cases beyond 2020 at this time. Farmers will however be notified of any changes which are being introduced by the new CAP legislation when the negotiation process has been finalised.

For my part, I will continue to consult with stakeholders as the negotiation process for the new CAP continues, having regard to the need to deliver on national strategic priorities and to make the most effective use of the funds available.

Greyhound Industry Data

Ceisteanna (331)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

331. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of greyhounds rehomed directly by an organisation (details supplied); and the number of greyhounds rehomed indirectly by the organisation through Irish rescues during the past seven years. [22644/19]

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 and therefore it has been referred to Bord na gCon for direct reply to the Deputy.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (332)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

332. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount spent by an organisation (details supplied) on greyhound dental treatment and injury repair treatment at veterinary clinics during the past seven years. [22645/19]

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 and therefore it has been referred to them for direct reply to the Deputy.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (333)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

333. 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. [22659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was approved into GLAS 1 and has received payments for scheme years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The 2018 advance payment has been delayed due to a validation issue with one of the parcels claimed for the Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) action. This parcel has a zero reference on BPS for 2018. The Terms and Conditions of the Scheme require that all GLAS actions, with the exception of Bird, Bat and Bee Boxes, must be undertaken on land parcels that have a reference area.

An official from my Department has been in contact with the applicant and his advisor and outlined the options available to resolve this issue. Processing of the 2018 GLAS payment will resume once this issue has been resolved.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (334)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

334. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he and his officials and all State bodies with functions in relation to agricultural policy and advice accept and endorse the findings of the IPCC fifth Assessment Report, Working Group I in relation to the emissions metric values used to describe the global warming impact of methane, CH4; his views on and if he endorses the use of global warming potential to capture the global warming potential of methane; his views on the statement (details supplied) in AR5; his further views on whether the failure to address methane emissions in agriculture here in the short-term means that more stringent measures will have to be deployed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in other sectors of the economy instead; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department recognises the importance of global consensus provided by the various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We also acknowledge that that rising concentrations of methane are a significant driver of global warming. However it is also important to understand that while the Global Warming Potential (GWP) was introduced in the IPCC First Assessment Report, the report also used the metric to illustrate the difficulties in comparing components with differing physical properties using a single metric.

The 5th assessment report states, “There are significant uncertainties related to metrics, and the magnitudes of the uncertainties differ across metric type and time horizon”. Therefore careful consideration must be given to the metric used. The IPCC’s special report on 1.5 degrees further highlights the importance of reaching and sustaining net zero global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and declining net non-CO2 radiative forcing would halt anthropogenic global warming on multi decadal time scales. As a result national policy seeks to divide fossil CO2, the key driver of climate change, from other non-CO2 gases and the managed natural carbon cycle.

Every sector, including agriculture, will need to do its part in contributing to the Paris agreement goals and stakeholders in each sector will equally be challenges in addressing these emissions. Where zero emissions technologies are available they need to be implemented as soon as possible. Every effort will also need to be made to reduce the impact of sustainable food systems on the climate while still ensuring food production objectives are met.

In response to meeting our Paris Agreement targets, the Government is currently developing an “All of Government Plan to Tackle Climate Disruption” to supplement and expand upon the ambition set out in existing plans with a view to addressing the 2030 climate targets in particular with this process led by my colleague, Minister Bruton.

Departmental Funding

Ceisteanna (335)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

335. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the grants awarded to a company (details supplied) since 2012. [22667/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Údarás na Gaeltachta jointly administer financial supports to the aquaculture sector as part of my Department's European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programme. They performed a similar role under the previous programme.

I am informed by both agencies that no grants have been provided to the company named from my Department's programmes since 2012.

Afforestation Programme

Ceisteanna (336)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

336. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on the progress and projections of afforestation targets and plans in A Programme for A Partnership Government; if the targets are being met; the proportion of new forest planting that is native broadleaf species and single species conifer plantation, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Programme for Partnership Government committed to increasing planting from 6,000 hectares in 2015 to 8,290 hectares in 2020, under the Forestry Programme 2014 - 2020. Progress to date is shown in the following table:-

Scheme

2015 target

2015 Actual

2016 target

2016 Actual

2017 target

2017 Actual

2018 Target

2018 Actual

Afforestation, ha

6,000

6,293

6,660

6,500

7,140

5,536

7,205

4,036

While targets overall have not been met, the level of native woodland planting has been increasing steadily. In fact the total area of new native woodlands established in 2018 is the highest on record at 374 hectares. Based on current levels of planting and approvals, 2019 should see an even higher rate of native woodland planting.

Our target is to reach 30% broadleaves as a % of new planting. In 2018, this figure was 27%. This was an increase on the previous year when it was 21%. This increase is directly related to the higher grant and premium rates for broadleaves introduced under the midterm review of the Forestry Programme 2014 -2020, accompanied by a mandatory requirement that all new conifer plantations have 15% broadleaves.

With regard to the level of afforestation, while there are many challenges in reaching the targets set, not least competing land uses, I am committed to promoting planting, especially amongst farmers. To this end, I am hopeful that the increases in payment rates introduced under the mid-term review in 2018 will have the desired incentive effect and result in increased uptake. As 2018 was a particularly difficult year for planting because of inclement weather conditions, the full effect of these changes has yet to be seen. Active promotion of afforestation is also key to achieving our target which is why I recently granted support in the amount of €830,000 to 15 innovative promotion projects which will run over the next two years; their efforts will be complemented by Teagasc’s promotional activities and information days, as well the Department’s own communication strategy.

We also continue to engage with stakeholders especially through the Forestry Implementation Group and a Forestry Promotion Group, which discuss implementation and ways to promote afforestation. Furthermore, my Department is engaging with Coillte to agree a model whereby Coillte may contribute to afforestation rates, in order to support the Government in its climate change mitigation effort. We will also explore all opportunities under the new CAP to encourage farm forestry.

Forestry Data

Ceisteanna (337)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

337. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the proportion of forest estate here that is single species conifer and native broadleaf plantation, respectively; the breakdown of the two plantation types between publicly owned and privately owned forests, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The National Forestry Inventory gathers information on tree species composition within Ireland’s forests. In 2017, 23% or 157,589 hectares of the stocked forest area was comprised of single species conifer stands. In terms of ownership, 62% of the single species conifer stand area is publicly owned and the remaining 42% privately owned.

A relatively high proportion of native tree species are present in the national forest estate, occupying 26.6% of the total stocked forest area or almost 178,981 hectares. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of these native tree species are in private ownership and the remaining 36% in public ownership.

It is worth noting that the mid-term review of the Forestry Programme 2014 to 2020 resulted in higher grant and premium rates been introduced to encourage more broadleaf and diverse conifer planting. The minimum mandatory requirement per site has been increased from 10% to 15% broadleaves. These changes have resulted in the proportion of broadleaves planted in the afforestation programme rising from 21% in 2016 to 27% in 2018.

Basic Payment Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (338)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

338. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a payment under BPS will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22822/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The number of entitlements allocated to a farmer in 2015 under the new Basic Payment Scheme was based on the number of eligible hectares the farmer declared in either 2013 or 2015, whichever is the lesser.

The person named did not submit applications under the Basic Payment Scheme during the period 2015 to 2018 inclusive and therefore does not hold entitlements under the scheme.

Documentation in relation to an appeal was recently received and is currently being reviewed. An official from my Department will be in direct contact with the person named to clarify the position.

Horse Racing Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (339)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

339. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a company (details supplied) was given €81,000 by Horse Racing Ireland for a 30 day foal notification project in view of the fact that breeders were not consulted in relation to this project despite the money for the project being provided by them through the foal levy. [22884/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Horse Racing Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (340)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

340. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which the €81,000 provided by Horse Racing Ireland to a company (details suppled) for a 30 day foal notification project was spent. [22885/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a commercial state body established under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, and is responsible for the overall administration, promotion and development of the horse racing industry.

The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for HRI and I have requested my officials to refer the question to them for direct reply.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (341)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

341. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if imported hybrid electric vehicles will be included in the outdoor charge point grant scheme. [22542/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

A grant of up to €600 is available to support the purchase and installation of an electric vehicle home charger, for purchasers of new and second-hand electric vehicles since 1 January 2018. All models of Battery Electric Vehicles and Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles which are (or were previously) eligible for grant support under the EV Grant Scheme are eligible for the home charger grant. This includes electric vehicles purchased new in Ireland or imported (as new or second hand) and registered in Ireland. Further information can be found on the SEAI's website or at www.drivingelectric.ie.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (342)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

342. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of cases in which he estimates that connections will cost over €5,000 in relation to the national broadband plan; the proposed additional payment in such circumstances beyond the flat €100 fee suggested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22810/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Through the analysis conducted to date, National Broadband Ireland (NBI) does not anticipate that there will be many premises that will involve a high cost to connect. The Department and NBI have completed high level designs to determine the quantities of existing infrastructure that can be re-used and quantities of new infrastructure that will need to be deployed to deliver the NBP State intervention. In addition, NBI has completed a number of low-level designs to corroborate the assumptions made in the high level designs. My Department has separately completed several network models and associated cost models down to the premises level. The high level designs take into account the various passive infrastructure databases (i.e. buildings, poles and ducts) as well as the Eircode database of premises. This analysis indicates that nearly 99% of the premises in the intervention area are 150 metres or less from the road and the vast majority of these are less than 50m.

Once the deployment commences a detailed design process will be conducted by NBI which is referred to as the low-level design. This low level design includes a detailed site survey of each route and each premises to be served on that route. The site survey will confirm what infrastructure is in place and what infrastructure will be required in order to enable a connection to be made to each premises. Every effort will be made to reduce costs by utilising existing infrastructure. In cases where there are ‘difficult to serve’ premises that could involve a high cost to connect, NBI will consider alternative solutions to deliver the high speed broadband service.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (343)

Brian Stanley

Ceist:

343. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to use a cable (details supplied) to benefit communities across the west of Ireland. [22286/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The transatlantic subsea fibre optic cable referenced by the Deputy extends from the United States of America to Killala, County Mayo. This is privately owned infrastructure. The installation and operation of commercial telecommunications infrastructure in Ireland is undertaken by commercial companies operating in a liberalised market and I have no function in this area.

Additionally there is another fibre optic subsea cable project called Havfure/AEC-2 which will link America with Ireland (landing at Old Head Co. Mayo) and onwards to Northern Europe. This cable is expected to be ready for service in Q4 2019.

The combined Emerald Express/AEC-1 and Havfure/AEC-2 will create a resilient, ring-based infrastructure between US, Ireland and Northern Europe.

This additional security of infrastructure is welcome and supports the wider policy goals of the National Broadband Plan which is to provide access to high speed broadband to every premises in Ireland regardless of location through a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

National Broadband Plan

Ceisteanna (344)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

344. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he will publish the documentation on the various alternatives which were considered to the national broadband plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22297/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

My Department has published key documentation on the National Broadband Plan including the alternatives considered in 2018 and 2019 and these are available at the following link: www.dccae.gov.ie/en-ie/communications/topics/Broadband/national-broadband-plan/Pages/Key-Procurement-Documents--.aspx.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (345, 347, 357, 358, 359, 360, 361, 362)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

345. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the efibre broadband roll-out with specific reference to a location (details supplied). [22342/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

347. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the efibre broadband roll-out to a location (details supplied). [22361/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

357. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22424/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

358. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22425/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

359. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22426/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

360. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22427/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

361. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22428/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

362. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans to ensure fibre broadband is rolled out to a property (details supplied). [22429/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 345, 347 and 357 to 362, inclusive, together.

The purpose of the National Broadband Plan is to ensure that over 1.1 million of our citizens in rural Ireland have the same opportunity to participate in the digital society as citizens living in urban areas. The availability of ubiquitous high speed broadband will bring significant benefits in areas of e-Health, e-Education, smart farming, regional development and tourism.

All of the premises referenced by the Deputy are in the AMBER area on the National Broadband Plan (NBP) High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie.

The AMBER areas represent the target areas for the proposed State led Intervention under the NBP.

This intervention is the subject of the procurement process to engage a company to build, operate and maintain the NBP State intervention network. Following rigorous evaluation by my Department, I recently brought a recommendation to Government to confer Preferred Bidder status on Granahan McCourt, the remaining bidder in the NBP procurement process and Government agreed to this at its meeting on 7 May.

The Government Decision means that it is intended to award the State Intervention contract to the Bidder. This award is subject to contract close including finalisation of financial and legal documents. Deployment of the NBP State Intervention network will commence shortly after that.

The Bidder has indicated that the NBP State intervention will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment

In the first year of this roll out, the Bidder will deploy approximately 300 Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) across all counties. It is anticipated that between 7 and 23 BCPs will be deployed in each county. BCPs will provide a community based high speed broadband service, enhancing online participation and allowing for the establishment of digital work hubs in these locations.

A deployment plan will be made available by the Bidder once the contract is signed. The Bidder is aiming to pass 133,000 premises by end of the second year of the overall deployment, with 70-100,000 passed each year thereafter until roll out is completed.