Foreshore Licence Appeals

Ceisteanna (720)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

720. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the process of appeal when there is a dispute with regard to foreshore licence applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23178/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has responsibility for foreshore licensing functions in respect of designated fishery harbour centres, activities wholly or primarily for the use, development or support of aquaculture, and activities which are wholly or primarily for the use, development, or support of wild fisheries.

Applications for aquaculture licences are considered in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable EU legislation. The licensing process involves consultation with a wide range of scientific and technical advisers as well as various Statutory Consultees. The legislation also provides for a period of public consultation.

In the case of Aquaculture licensing, a foreshore licence is issued as a companion licence to an Aquaculture licence. Legislation governing aquaculture licensing provides for an appeals mechanism. Appeals against licence decisions are a matter for the Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) which is an independent statutory body.

The Foreshore Act sets out how reviews of decisions regarding foreshore licence applications which are unrelated to aquaculture may be pursued, i.e. a person may question the validity of the Foreshore Licence determination by way of an application for judicial review, under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (S.I. No. 15 of 1986). This review mechanism is also specified in Public Notices published by my Department regarding decisions on relevant foreshore licence applications.

Responsibility for all other foreshore licensing functions rests with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Laboratory Facilities

Ceisteanna (721)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

721. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the relocation of laboratories under the aegis of his Department; and the timeframe for completion of the relocation. [23210/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department commissioned a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of options that were proposed by a Working Group in 2016 for the future development of the Regional Veterinary Laboratories (RVLs). The team conducting the CBA included internationally-recognised, independent experts in economic analysis and animal disease surveillance. My Department has been presented with the CBA report and senior officials are currently considering the recommendations. Due consideration is also being given to feedback we received following consultation on two separate occasions with our stakeholders - following publication of the 2016 Working Group report and during the CBA process.

A proposal on how best to redevelop the RVLs over the next few years will be informed by both of those consultative processes and by the findings of the CBA. The focus of my Department is now on securing and improving the service to the sector at best value to the tax payer and on securing the necessary capital funding for investment.

Departmental Properties

Ceisteanna (722)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

722. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number, location and value of lands acquired by his Department by way of CPO in the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23243/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has not acquired any land by way of CPO in the past three years.

Harbours and Piers Funding

Ceisteanna (723)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

723. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to an application by Waterford City and County Council for funding under the harbour and coastal infrastructural programme to undertake work at Helvic Harbour; the reason the application has been unsuccessful to date; if his attention has been drawn to the economic importance of the harbour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23313/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department owns, operates and maintains six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl under statute. In addition, my Department also has responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of North Harbour at Cape Clear, as well as the maintenance of a small number of specific piers, lights and beacons throughout Ireland, in accordance with the 1902 ex-congested Districts Board piers, lights and Beacons Act.

The responsibility for the development and maintenance of Local Authority owned piers, harbours and slipways rests with each Local Authority in the first instance and their parent Department, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government thereafter.

However, as part of its annual Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, my Department has provided limited funding to assist coastal Local Authorities in carrying out small scale projects for the development and repair of piers, harbours and slipways in their ownership. Between 2011 - 2018, €2.6 million in funding has been granted under the programme to Waterford County Council.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that I have approved funding of €2.2m for the Local Authority element of my Departments 2019 Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme. Waterford County Council has secured €225,000 of funding for two projects under this year’s programme.

One of the approved projects is for repairs to be carried out on Helvick Pier. This project has received the maximum available funding for an individual project under the programme, this being €112,500. The priority attached to project applications by the relevant Local Authority was taken into consideration when the final suite of approved projects was prepared by my Department.

Should any application be submitted by Waterford County Council in relation to Helvick Harbour under any future programme, it will be given due consideration, taking into account the terms and conditions of the scheme, the priority attached by the Council and available funds.

Harbours and Piers Development

Ceisteanna (724)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

724. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the improvement works and pier extension at Killybegs fishery harbour centre; when works will commence; the stage the tender processes are at in the entire project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23330/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department owns, operates and maintains six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl under statute. In addition, my Department also has responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of North Harbour at Cape Clear, as well as the maintenance of a small number of specific piers, lights and beacons throughout Ireland, in accordance with the 1902 ex-congested Districts Board piers, lights and Beacons Act.

Killybegs Harbour has been attracting increasing levels of fishing, commercial cargo and cruise liner activity and the need for additional berthage has been recognised. Between 2010 - 2018, as part of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, in excess of €20 million has been invested in maintenance, development and upgrading works at Killybegs Fishery Harbour Centre.

The Smooth Point project, when complete, will provide a much needed additional 120 metres quay space. As some of the material to be dredged was contaminated, the project was divided into two phases. Work on phase 1 of the project, which entailed the dredging and removal of the contaminated material, commenced in 2017 and was completed in 2018. The total cost of this phase including preparation, permitting and design costs stands at €6.5m.

I have announced the details of a €35.7m Fishery Harbour and Coastal Development Capital Programme for 2019. Killybegs has been allocated in excess of €5m this year of which €4m is earmarked for phase 2 of the Smooth Point project. Phase 2 involves the dredging of the remaining uncontaminated material and construction of the 120 metres of berthing space.

The tenders for the construction of the project were received by my Department’s Engineers on the 20th of May and are currently undergoing assessment. Following completion of the tender assessment process, it is hoped to award a contract to the successful tenderer in July, with mobilisation on site to begin in August or early September subject to the successful contractor’s availability. It is anticipated that this phase of the project will have a duration of twelve months. However, the final costs and timeline will only be determined following the competitive tendering process.

Statutory Instruments

Ceisteanna (725)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

725. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a commitment will be given to the representative bodies of the entire seafood sector in addition to the spokespersons for marine of the various parties within Dáil Éireann that he will consult them before he takes his next step in drafting an alternative to Statutory Instrument No. 89 of 2018, which Dáil Éireann rescinded, relating to serious fishing infringements in May 2018; his planned strategy for dealing with the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23331/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy is aware, on 20th March 2018, I signed into force the European Union (Common Fisheries Policy) (Point System) Regulations 2018, S.I. No. 89 of 2018 which fully met the requirement of the relevant EU regulation insofar as the licence holders were concerned. However, the S.I. was annulled by Dail Eireann on 29 May 2018.

Given this annulment of the Statutory Instrument that met the EU requirements and the infringement proceedings taken against Ireland by the EU Commission, I requested legal advice from the Attorney General on the matter. This advice has been received and I am, at present, considering, with my legal advisors, the next steps.

As the Deputy is aware, the 2009 EU Fisheries Control Regulation 1224//2009 and EU Commission Implementing Regulation 404/2011 introduced points systems for serious infringements of the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy committed by the licence holder of a fishing vessel and also separately the master. These are intended to complement sanctions and promote compliance and were required to be in place on 1st of January 2012. Both of these EU regulations went through the ordinary legislative procedures at EU level which would have included widespread consultation with interested parties including the Member States, Advisory Councils, NGOs and the fishing Industry. The matter has also been discussed at industry liaison meetings over the years. The EU regulations are highly prescriptive in relation to licence holders, leaving little room for further negotiation.

I can assure the Deputy that I am fully committed to delivering on Ireland's legal obligations in this regard at the earliest possible date.

Single Payment Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (726)

Martin Kenny

Ceist:

726. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the decision to disallow an SPS application by a person (details supplied) from 2014 on the grounds of land not recently farmed, as the same plot of land in question has always being farmed and continues to be allowed for BPS application in each subsequent year to date, will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23346/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A 2014 Single Farm Payment/Disadvantaged Areas’ scheme application in respect of the herd number provided was submitted on 14 May 2014. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including in some cases on farm inspections be completed to confirm eligibility under the schemes.

The application was selected for a ground eligibility inspection. The inspection identified discrepancies between the areas declared and the area found resulting in an over-declaration in area of greater than 20%. Under the Terms and Conditions of these schemes, this resulted in no payment in respect of the 2014 scheme year. The applicant was notified of this decision on 17th December 2014.

The applicant requested a review of this decision, and the outcome was to up-hold the inspection findings. A letter detailing this decision issued to the applicant on 24th July 2015.

The applicant was also advised that the decision could be appealed to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office, within 3 months. No appeal was received in that office.

The review process within my Department has been exhausted. However, the Director of the Agriculture Appeals Office may accept an appeal after the 3 months deadline if it is considered that there are exceptional circumstances. The applicant should contact that office in this regard.

GLAS Applications

Ceisteanna (727)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

727. 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. [23389/19]

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.

An issue arose in relation to a validation check which has delayed the processing of this 2018 Advance payment. Department officials are actively working to resolve this issue.

Once this application clears the pre-payment validations, the outstanding 2018 payments will be processed.

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (728)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

728. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a payment for a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Processing of the payment for this GLAS 3 application commenced immediately following the receipt of the appeal decision from the Agriculture Appeals Office.

To give effect to this decision, the GLAS contract requires amendment as a Low Input Permanent Pasture (LIPP) action was declared by the applicant on the GLAS application as Traditional Hay Meadow. Department officials are working to complete the required amendment.

Once this issue is resolved and the application clears pre-payment validations, the GLAS payments will be processed. GLAS payments continue to issue weekly.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (729)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

729. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a decision will be made on the 2019 ANC appeal submitted by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23459/19]

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 was also available on www.agriculture.gov.ie. I have put an independently chaired Appeals Committee in place for any farmer who wishes to appeal the status of a particular townland under the 2019 ANC scheme.

My Department received a notification of appeal from the person named in relation to the relevant townland. On foot of this notification, my Department provided further information in relation to the data underpinning the status of the townland of Lackaneen (D35125) to the person named by letter of 8 May 2019 so that he can base any appeal to the independent Appeals Committee on full information.

The deadline for submission of any such appeal to the Appeals Committee was 4 weeks from the date of issue of said letter. However, if the person named submits a full appeal without delay it will be forwarded to the Appeals Committee.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (730)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

730. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application by a person (details supplied) to the reconstitution scheme (windblow); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23460/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An application for the Reconstitution Scheme (Windblow) on behalf of the person named was submitted by their registered forester in February 2017. Approval issued that August, with works to be completed by 31st December 2017. The approval letter was sent to both the applicant and their registered forester.

The applicant has made no further contact with my Department, neither to advise that works had been completed, nor to seek payment.

TAMS Data

Ceisteanna (731)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

731. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of grant aid funding requested from TAMS II applicants that submitted their applications prior to 5 April 2019. [23481/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

TAMS II is a demand-led scheme under which payments valued at €135m have issued to date to over 9,180 farmers.

Approximately 10,000 farmers currently have an approval, where a payment claim has not yet been submitted. This represents a potential outstanding liability of €128m. These figures do not include the Tranche which closed on 5 April 2019 as these approvals have not yet issued. A further announcement on the implementation of this Tranche will be made in due course.

The grant rate applicable for TAMS is 40%, with an additional 20% on top of that for young trained farmers. The current tranche is open to new applications.

TAMS Applications

Ceisteanna (732)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

732. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when applicants under the TAMS II category, which closed on 5 April 2019, will be given initial approval in order that relevant works can commence. [23492/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

All applications received in any given tranche of TAMS II are subject to an initial administrative check. All of the applications received that pass this initial check, are then subject to the computerised Ranking and Selection process as set out in the terms and conditions pertaining to each of the seven measures available under the scheme.

The administrative checking of these applications is currently proceeding and it is expected that the Ranking and Selection process will commence this week with approvals to those selected through this process commencing shortly.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (733)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

733. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if other avenues of supporting beef farmers will be examined through the upcoming €50 million to €100 million aid by channelling some of the funding towards smaller suckler farmers that could benefit greatly from subsidies towards AI fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I have had ongoing discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sector. 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 recent announcement by Commissioner Hogan of EU exceptional aid for the Irish beef sector is very 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.

This exceptional aid provision will be given effect through a Commission Implementing Regulation. While Member States will be invited to give an opinion on the draft Regulation through the Commission’s Common Market Organisation Management Committee, the draft Regulation is within the Commission’s own legal competence, and is not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other Member States, in terms of its content.

Further details on the aid package will be announced in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation.

TAMS Applications

Ceisteanna (734)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

734. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a TAMS application by a person (details supplied). [23531/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted an application for grant-aid under the Animal Welfare, Nutrient and Storage Scheme of TAMS II in the last tranche which closed on 5 April 2019. The application has been checked and a query arose which was issued to the applicant on 28 May 2019. When a reply is received, the application will be examined further.

Agriculture Scheme Penalties

Ceisteanna (735)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

735. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if payment of a fine can be made in instalments in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23590/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department is obliged to recoup all outstanding debts as early as possible.

In special circumstances, my Department is prepared to accommodate clients by entering into an agreed instalment repayment plan. In this regard, the person named should contact the Department's Debt Recovery Unit in Cavan on 049 4368207 or 049 4368278 in order to discuss setting up a suitable repayment plan for the debt in question.