Basic Payment Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (524)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

524. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an agricultural appeal by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27653/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Agriculture Appeals Office operates independently of my Department. I have been advised that the records of the Agriculture Appeals Office indicate that an appeal was received from the person named in May 2018 in respect of the Basic Payment Scheme and was assigned to an Appeals Officer. An oral hearing of the appeal was held on 24 October 2018.

When all of the facts of the case have been fully assessed, including any legal aspects, a comprehensive decision letter will be issued by the Appeals Officer.

I am advised that every effort is being made to finalise the decision as quickly as possible.

Basic Payment Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (525)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

525. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an agricultural appeal by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27654/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Agriculture Appeals Office operates independently of my Department. I have been advised that the records of the Agriculture Appeals Office indicate that an appeal was received from the person named in May 2018 in respect of the Basic Payment Scheme and was assigned to an Appeals Officer. An oral hearing of the appeal was held on 24 October 2018.

When all of the facts of the case have been fully assessed, including any legal aspects, a comprehensive decision letter will be issued by the Appeals Office.

I am advised that every effort is being made to finalise the appeal decision as quickly as possible.

Nitrates Usage

Ceisteanna (526)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

526. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the review of the nitrates derogation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27859/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Ireland’s nitrates derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, above 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen/ ha, subject to additional conditions designed to protect the environment. The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers and almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2018.

Derogation farmers make up 6% of bovine farmers, 11% of the land area but have 20% of the bovine livestock herd. There has been a significant expansion in land area covered by the derogation of almost 35% since 2014.

In addition, a further 5,000 farmers with 13% of the national bovine herd farm above the 170 kg N/ha limit but export slurry to comply with the limit rather than applying for a derogation.

Recent EPA reports have highlighted deterioration in water quality and increasing green house gas and ammonia emissions. There are also significant issues around the decline of EU protected habitats in Ireland. However, we know that there opportunities to reduce the impact of these farms on the environment.

In light of continuing expansion of the dairy herd, increasing land area being farmed under derogation and the environmental pressures outlined, it was considered opportune to review the conditions of the Nitrates derogation. Ireland's current derogation concludes in 2021, and failing to address the environmental pressures above, would negatively impact on any negotiations to renew this important facility. As part of this review, a public consultation was held with 75 submissions received.

The Nitrates expert group which is composed of officials from the EPA, Teagasc, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and my Department is currently considering these submissions. Recommendations for measures which will improve efficiencies and reduce the environmental footprint of these intensive farms will be submitted by the group within the coming months.

Climate Change Adaptation Plans

Ceisteanna (527)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

527. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the implementation of the climate roadmap of Teagasc; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27860/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The All-of Government Plan to tackle climate breakdown sets out a target of cumulative abatement of between 16.5 and 18.5 Mt CO2 eq over the period 2021 to 2030 for the agriculture, sector. In addition, the sector will also deliver an additional 26.8 Mt CO2 eq through better land use management such as afforestation and improved management of peaty grasslands.

The plan identifies 34 actions for the sector that will contribute to our transition to a low carbon economy and society across abatement measures, carbon sequestration measures and displacement of fossil fuels and reflects our three pillar policy approach to achieving carbon neutrality without comprising sustainable food production of:

1. Reducing agricultural emissions;

2. Increasing carbon sequestration; and

3. Displacing and substituting fossil fuel and energy intensive materials.

These actions in this plan are informed by the recent Teagasc Marginal Cost Abatement Curve report (MACC) - An Analysis of Abatement Potential of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Irish Agriculture 2021-2030 as an identifiable suite of actions for delivery. These actions include both efficiency measures such as the Dairy EBI programme and technical measures such as changes in fertiliser type or low emissions slurry spreading as well as a series of forestry and bio economy measures.

Marginal Abatement Cost Curves (MACCs) are very beneficial in terms of identifying the most cost-effective ways of meeting the targets both within and between sectors and also in identifying options that cost less than the marginal benefit from abatement. MACCs provide a useful framework to engage stakeholders on opportunities to reduce emissions.

While the target for the agriculture sector in the All-of-Government Plan to tackle climate breakdown is challenging, immediate action and early adoption is key and there are three important actions that can be advanced immediately.

- Deepening engagement with farmers and other stakeholders to promote the necessary deployment of new technologies and changes in farming practices.

- Improving nitrogen use efficiency such as widespread adoption of low emissions slurry spreading or introduction of clover in grassland swards; and

- Continuing our support for research and innovation such as the potential of novel feed additives in grass based production systems.

I will work to ensure that the next Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is aligned with this ambition and that climate action is main streamed in the development of our CAP strategic plan to ensure the delivery of this target. While the mitigation potential for agriculture is limited, agriculture can and must play a key role in contributing to Ireland’s climate change and energy targets in the years ahead.

VAT Rate Application

Ceisteanna (528)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

528. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will increase funding for low emission slurry-spreading equipment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27861/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The VAT rating of goods and services is subject to EU VAT law, with which Irish VAT law must comply. In accordance with Irish VAT legislation, slurry spreading equipment is liable to VAT at the standard rate, currently 23%, and there is no discretion, under the Directive, to exempt these goods from VAT.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that farmers may elect to register for VAT or be treated as flat-rate farmers for VAT purposes. Farmers that are registered for VAT have an entitlement to reclaim VAT charged on costs incurred in relation to the farm business, including VAT borne on the purchase of agricultural equipment. Farmers that are not registered for VAT are compensated for the VAT incurred on goods and services used in the course of their farming business, including purchases of agricultural machinery, through the flat rate addition they receive on payments for their supplies of agricultural produce and services.

Renewable Energy Incentives

Ceisteanna (529)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

529. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of additional supports for anaerobic digestion and on-farm renewables; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Indigenous renewable energy plays a vital role in our domestic fuel mix and will become even more important in the context of reducing our reliance on imported fuels and in meeting our challenging renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030 and decarbonising our energy systems by 2050.

My Department is committed to working closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, which is the lead Department in this area, to ensure that the supply of domestic fuels available in the forest and agriculture sectors are mobilised to support energy generation from a range of bio energy technologies including Anaerobic Digestion. My Department is aware of the need to encourage the utilisation of farm manure as an alternative source of energy and fully recognises the wider environmental benefits of using agricultural residues in the production of bio gas/bio methane and, in particular, the potential for a significant role in the heat and transport sectors. However, the cost efficiency of this technology remains challenging due to the low energy content of farm manure.

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat (SSRH) aims to bridge this economic gap will support farms and businesses to adopt renewable heating systems, including biogas heating systems. The SSRH has been developed to financially support the adoption of renewable heating systems by agricultural, commercial, industrial, district heating operators and other non-domestic heat users not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System. Under Project Ireland 2040, the National Development Plan sets out an allocation of €300 million for the roll out of the SSRH for the period of up to 2027.

Earlier this month, my colleague Richard Bruton, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment opened the second phase of the SSRH, an operational support for biomass boilers and anaerobic digestion heating systems for applications. Details of this scheme including the tariffs that apply are available on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's website at the following link: https://www.seai.ie/sustainable-solutions/support-scheme-renewable-/.

In addition, the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) supports capital investment in a number of target areas which will promote, among other things, sustainability (e.g. low emissions slurry spreading equipment, farm nutrient storage, and renewable energy and energy efficiency). I recently made €10 million available for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, following a comprehensive review of TAMS designed to increase its focus on sustainability. Eligible investments include extension of support for Solar PV Installation to all sectors and support for LED Lighting as the only form of lighting to be grant aided. In addition, other energy efficiency measures such as biomass boilers and water heating continue to be eligible investment items under TAMS.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ceisteanna (530)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

530. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the review of the nitrates derogation will give full recognition of the carbon sinks from forests, permanent pastures and hedgerows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Nitrates Derogation (S.I. No. 65/2018) gives effect to the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters - Amendment) Regulations 2018. This regulation provides Ireland’s nitrates derogation farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, above 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen/ ha, subject to additional conditions designed to protect the environment. The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers and almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2018.

The purpose of the review of the nitrates derogation was to examine further opportunities for derogation farmers to improve efficiencies and continue to reduce their environmental footprint with particular regard to water, climate and air quality. As part of this review, a public consultation was held and 75 submissions were received.

The Nitrates expert group which is composed of officials from the EPA, Teagasc, Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and DAFM is currently considering these submissions. The Nitrates expert group acknowledge that carbon sinks are recognised under the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) EU Regulation which covers emissions and removals of greenhouse gases resulting from human-induced land use and will consider measures which support both climate and environmental challenges.

Recommendations for measures will be submitted by the group within the coming months.

Departmental Reviews

Ceisteanna (531)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

531. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research project is scheduled to be completed. [27874/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.

Title of current study/ review/ research undertaken or commissioned

Scheduled End Date

Report of the High Level Innovation Team on the Agri-food Sector

Quarter 3 2019

Spending Review - Beef Data Genomics Programme

Quarter 3 2019

Spending Review - Competitive Agricultural Research Programme

Quarter 3 2019

Spending Review - Forestry Programme

Quarter 3 2019

Risk assessment of sea-fisheries in Special Protection Areas (undertaken by Marine Institute)

Quarter 3 2019

Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Sectoral Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Quarter 3 2019

Mid-Term Evaluation of Ireland's RDP 2014-2020

Quarter 3 2019

GLAS Evaluation – Year 2 Biodiversity Report

Quarter 3 2019

GLAS Evaluation – Year 2 Modelling Report

Quarter 3 2019

GLAS Evaluation – Year 2 Attitudinal Survey Scheme Non-Participants

Quarter 3 2019

GLAS Evaluation – Year 2 Attitudinal Survey Scheme Participants

Quarter 3 2019

Badger territoriality and movement in a medium density population before, during and after road realignment (Trinity College Dublin – N11 Badger Project )

23 September 2019

Spending Review - TB Programme

Quarter 4 2019

Density estimation and reproductive status of European badgers (Meles meles) under bovine tuberculosis management (Dr. Laura Rosen Transboundary Epidemiology Analytics)

31 December 2019

Agricultural Catchment Programme

31 December 2019

ESRI- Non Compliance with Nitrates Regulations

31 December 2019

Role of the genital, intestinal and oral microbiome in badger pathogen prevalence, with particular focus on STDs and co-infection of bTB with other bacterial and viral pathogens (Dr. Christina D. Buesching, Pole Research Fellow WildCRU, University of Oxford)

31 July 2020

Population estimates of badgers Meles meles in the context of BCG vaccination (University College Cork)

31 August 2020

Applying Behavioural Science to the Bovine Tuberculosis Eradication Programme - Economic Social Research Institute (ESRI)

30 June 2021

Two host species transmission data analysis and modelling to calculate risk maps for bovine TB during eradication by badger vaccination in Ireland (Wageningen University, Department of Animal Sciences, Netherlands)

31 December 2023

Independent study on forestry in Co. Leitrim

Quarter 3 2019

Departmental Reports

Ceisteanna (532)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

532. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27898/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables.

2016

Title of policy documents/strategies published

Dundalk Cockle Natura Permits Policy 2016-2020

European Maritime & Fisheries Fund Operational Programme

Language Scheme 2016 – 2019

Schemes and Services 2014-2020

Human Resources (HR) Strategy “EveryOne”

Annual Review and Outlook, 2016

Steps to Success 2016

2017

Title of policy documents/strategies published

The National Farmed Animal Health Strategy 2017-22

DAFM Statement of Strategy 2016-2019

IMT Statement of Strategy 2017-2020

Ministerial Decision regarding a proposal from the Irish South and West Fish Producer Organisation (IS&WFPO) for a revised Mackerel Distribution between the polyvalent segment and the RSW Pelagic segment

Fleet Policy Statement July 2017 - Replacement capacity requirements for vessels in the Tiered and Ring-fenced portions of the Polyvalent Segment

Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Pelagic Stocks Policy and Information Booklet

Updated information on LULUCF actions to limit or reduce emissions and maintain or increase removals from activities defined under Decision 529/2013/EU

Adaptation Planning - Developing Resilience to Climate Change in the Irish Agriculture and Forest Sector

The 2017 Evaluation on the Implementation of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020

Ex-Post Evaluation of the Rural Development Programme Ireland (2007-2013)

Review of the Irish Harness Racing Sector

Annual Review and Outlook, 2017

Steps to Success 2017

Felling and Reforestation Policy

2018

Title of policy documents/strategies published

Policy on Highest Priority Critically Important Antimicrobials

Ireland’s Bovine TB Eradication Programme

TB Position Paper Policy Options

Ministerial Decision regarding trawling activity inside 6 Nautical Miles

Indecon Ex-ante Assessment of the Use of Financial Instruments within Ireland’s European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and European Maritime and Fisheries Fund Operational Programmes

Review of Expenditure under the RDP

Food Safety and Food Authenticity Strategy 2018-2020

Workforce Planning and Succession Planning Policy

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion policy

Temporary Business Needs policy

People in Dairy Action Plan

Annual Review and Outlook, 2018

Mid-term review of the Forestry Programme 2014-2020

2019 year to date

Title of policy documents/strategies published

Irish National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides

Sea Fishing Boat Licensing Policy - Policy Directive 1/2019

Pilot Quota Balancing Policy for Demersal Stocks Policy & Information Booklet

Public Consultation: Draft Code of Good Agricultural Practice for reducing Ammonia Emissions from Agriculture

Public Consultation on the Draft Agriculture, Forest and Seafood Climate Change Sectoral Adaptation Plan.

RDP Information & Publicity Strategy 2019

Rural Development Programme Amendment 6 & Associated Documents

Market Access Report 2019

Review of Organic Food Sector and Strategy for its Development 2019 - 2015

GLAS Appeals

Ceisteanna (533)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

533. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS appeal application by a person (details supplied). [27922/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was rejected from GLAS following the outcome of an inspection.

A request for a review of the inspection findings was received in the Department on 6 June 2019.

The Department will notify the person named, in writing, of the outcome of this review once it has been completed.

Fishing Industry Development

Ceisteanna (534)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

534. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if grants are available for fishermen for the replacement of outboard boat engines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department's European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme is the vehicle for financial supports to the seafood sector for the period 2014 to 2020. The Programme delivers a wide range of supports for aquaculture, fisheries and seafood processing through a suite of schemes.

The Programme is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union and provides €239.3 million in funding - an investment of €91.7 million provided by the Government of Ireland and €147.6 million provided by the European Union.

The Sustainable Fisheries Scheme funded under the EMFF provides grant aid to the owners of commercial fishing vessels for fleet improvement projects for the purchase of capital equipment.

This includes engine replacement for marine fishing vessels under 12 metres overall length (LOA) provided that the new engine does not have more power in kW than the registered kW of the vessel. Engine replacement is funded at a grant aid rate of 30%.

Outboard engines are not eligible under this Scheme.

Greyhound Industry Data

Ceisteanna (535)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

535. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the capacity of each greyhound stadium in tabular form. [28020/19]

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.

Greyhound Industry Data

Ceisteanna (536)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

536. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the manner in which the Irish Greyhound Board accounts for the number of patrons who enter each stadium on race evenings; and if this is consistent across all stadiums and race meetings. [28021/19]

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.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (537)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

537. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there are electronic turnstile readings for each race meeting at each greyhound stadium; if receipts are issued to all patrons at each meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28022/19]

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.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (538)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

538. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the method the Irish Greyhound Board uses to account for the number of patrons and total attendance at each race meeting at each stadium; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28023/19]

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.

Greyhound Industry

Ceisteanna (539)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

539. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the attendance gate systems and records recorded by the Irish Greyhound Board for race meetings across all stadiums; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28024/19]

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.

Bord na gCon is subject to the Code of Corporate Governance for State Bodies. The Board has appointed an Audit and Risk Committee as required by the Code. The accounts of Bord na gCon are audited on an annual basis by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The management of operations within Bord na gCon is a matter for the Board and Executive.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (540)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

540. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the dates and attendees of meetings Ministers and or Departmental officials have had with members of the Irish Greyhound Board or executive since 1 May 2016, in tabular form. [28025/19]

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 following is a list of the formal meetings between officials and Ministers from my Department and officials from the Executive and Board of Bord na gCon since 1 May 2016 to date.

Date

Attendees

20 May 2016

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

31 May 2016

Minister of State Doyle

Members of the Executive and Board of Bord na gCon

01 July 2016

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

16 July 2016

Minister Creed

Attended the Irish Laurels in Curraheen Park

14 September 2016

Minister of State Doyle & an official from DAFM

Members of the Board of Bord na gCon

17 September 2016

Minister of State Doyle and officials from DAFM

Attended the Irish Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park

04 November 2016

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive and Board of Bord na gCon

10 November 2016

Minister of State Doyle and an official from DAFM

Attended Greyhound Forum at Shelbourne Park

14 November 2016

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

20 July 2017

Minister Creed

Attended the Irish Laurels in Curraheen Park

27 July 2017

Minister Creed and Minister of State Doyle

The Board of Bord na gCon

04 September 2017

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive and Board of Bord na gCon

23 September 2017

Minister of State Doyle

Attended the Irish Greyhound Derby Final at Shelbourne Park

22 October 2017

Minister of State Doyle and an official from DAFM

Attended the National Greyhound Awards

29 November 2017

Officials from DAFM

Member of the Executive of Bord na gCon

12 December 2017

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

14 February 2018

Officials from DAFM

Official from the Board of Bord na gCon

21 February 2018

Minister Creed

Member of the Executive of Bord na gCon

29 April 2018

Minister of State Doyle

Attended the National Greyhound Awards

31 May 2018

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

13 July 2018

Minister Creed

Attended the Irish Laurels in Curraheen Park

22 September 2018

Minister of State Doyle

Attended the Irish Greyhound Derby Final at Shelbourne Park

31 October 2018

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive and Board of Bord na gCon

04 December 2018

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

24 March 2019

Minister of State Doyle

Attended the National Greyhound Awards

20 May 2019

Officials from DAFM

Official from the Board of Bord na gCon

21 June 2019

Officials from DAFM

Members of the Executive of Bord na gCon

At official level, some more informal meetings may have taken place on an ad hoc basis over this time period. No records of these meetings are available.

Agriculture Schemes

Ceisteanna (541)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

541. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the measures he plans to introduce to address an issue (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28047/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The details supplied refer to the Young Farmers Scheme, Forgotten Farmers and capital investment grants for young farmers.

With regard to the Young Farmers Scheme, EU Regulation 1307/2013 sets out the definition of a young farmer for the purposes of the scheme. A young farmer is clearly defined as a person who commenced their farming activity no more than five years prior to submitting their first Basic Payment Scheme application and who is no more than 40 years of age in the year of submission of such an application. My Department has no discretion in the implementation of this aspect of EU Regulation 1307/2013 and in this regard farmers who commenced their agricultural activity prior to 1 January 2010 are not eligible for the Young Farmers Scheme.

In respect of the Forgotten Farmer issue, the Regulations governing the operation of the National Reserve include an optional provision whereby Member States may use the National Reserve to allocate new entitlements at the national average level of approximately €185 or give a top-up on the value of existing entitlements to the national average value for persons who suffer from a specific disadvantage.

In the context of the discussions with the EU Commission in early 2015 regarding the inclusion of the group referred to as Old Young Farmers under the 2015 National Reserve, the Commission advised that the inclusion of groups under ‘Specific Disadvantage’ category of the National Reserve would require individual approval at EU level.

The National Reserve in 2017 was established using funding derived from a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ entitlements. EU Regulations pertaining to the National Reserve provide that the two categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ must receive priority access to the Reserve. In the context of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government , Ireland consulted with the EU Commission regarding the possibility of including the group commonly referred to as Forgotten Farmers under the specific disadvantage category of the 2017 National Reserve. The EU Commission confirmed that Member States could not use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund a specific disadvantage category of the National Reserve.

The Commission confirmed at the time that the only funding option for the specific disadvantage category was natural replenishment of the Reserve, such as from unused entitlements or the proceeds of clawback, but only after the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ had been catered for.

EU Regulation 2393/2017 (Omnibus Regulation) came into effect in January 2018 and introduced a new possibility for the inclusion of ‘Specific Disadvantage’ categories such as Forgotten Farmers into the National Reserve. From 2018, Member States may use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund ‘Specific Disadvantage’ categories of the Reserve, but only if a linear cut is required to fund the two priority categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ in that particular year. As there was sufficient funding available in the National Reserve in 2018 and 2019 from natural replenishment of the fund in order to cater for the two priority categories, the issue of a linear cut did not arise.

All entitlements held under the Basic Payment Scheme are subject to convergence. Farmers who hold entitlements that have an Initial Unit Value that is below 90% of the Basic Payment Scheme national average have seen the value of their entitlements increase gradually over the five years of the scheme. By 2019, all entitlements for all farmers in Ireland are at least 60% of the national average value. In this regard, the group of farmers referred to as Forgotten Farmers will have benefitted from an increase in the value of their entitlements through convergence to 2019.

Decisions in relation to the National Reserve, including the basis of funding the Reserve, are made in consultation with the Direct Payments Advisory Committee which comprises members of the main farming organisations, farm advisory and education services.

With regard to eligibility for the Young Farmers Capital Investment Scheme, I am aware that there is a group of young farmers who established their holdings prior to 2008. A person in this category does not qualify under EU rules for the increased rate-of-aid of 60% available under the scheme. However, where possible priority is given to these affected farmers within the general stream of applicants for TAMS II, with grant-aid payable at 40%.

Food Industry Development

Ceisteanna (542)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

542. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an agricultural attaché will be allocated to the Irish embassies in Ottawa, New Delhi and Seoul; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28092/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department and its agencies have a considerable, and growing, global footprint which is primarily aimed at facilitating growth in our agri-food exports.

In response to the Government’s Global Ireland 2025 initiative, and in keeping with my Department’s efforts to help the agri-food sector to diversify its export markets, my Department is expanding its staffing in international locations over the period to 2025. In addition to establishing attaché posts in new locations, we are also in the process of recruiting local hires in particular locations where they can provide local knowledge and specialist expertise in supporting our market access and trade development work.

New attaché posts will be filled this year in Mexico City, Tokyo, and Berlin. It is also intended that an attaché post will be established in Seoul in 2020.

There are no immediate plans to establish posts in Ottawa or New Delhi. However, my Department maintains its international presence and activities under constant review, with a view to maximising their contribution to the development of the Irish agri-food sector.

Sheep Welfare Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (543)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

543. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an appeal under the sheep welfare scheme 2019 by a person (details supplied). [28103/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

An appeal has been received by the Department from the person named in relation to the late submission of his sheep census form. The sheep census form is required under the terms and conditions of the Sheep Welfare Scheme. The appeal is currently being examined, and the applicant will be notified in writing of the outcome shortly. The notification will also advise the applicant of the avenues for further appeal, in the event that he is not satisfied with the outcome.

Maritime Safety

Ceisteanna (544)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

544. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a project (details supplied); if funding has been ring-fenced for the project; if so, the amount; when the project will be delivered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28124/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

This project is currently under review in the wider context of the provision of existing professional sea survival training facilities within the State and the cost, both construction and operational, of such a facility. The existing professional sea survival training facilities based at the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy, Co Cork, are unique in Ireland and designed both for fundamental safety training and specialised survival training, to increase survival ability in emergency situations. Those purpose built facilities are available for the provision of all necessary and required training for fishermen.

At the present time, there is no provision or plans to proceed with this additional project and funding has not been provided in Bord Iascaigh Mhara's Vote in 2019, for this proposed additional facility within the State.

Beef Imports

Ceisteanna (545)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

545. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a deal has been finalised to permit the importation of beef from South America into Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28198/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

On the evening of Friday 28 June, European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, and Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, announced that political agreement has been reached on a trade deal between the EU and Mercosur countries.

While as a small, open economy, Ireland is supportive of international trade deals, I am very concerned at the potential impact of elements of this particular deal on the beef sector.

The agreement includes a significant Tariff Rate Quota for South American beef, at a time when the beef sector in Europe is facing significant uncertainty because of Brexit. We have made concerted efforts over the full twenty-year history of these negotiations, working closely with other Member States and by engaging directly with the European Commission, in order to minimise the EU offer in terms of beef, and, while evidence of these efforts appears to have been reflected in the final offer, I am, nonetheless, deeply concerned at the potential impact on the Irish beef sector. There may be some opportunity for other agri food sectors such as dairy and for the drinks industry, but we will need to examine the text carefully to assess the full impact.

It is also worth noting that this agreement will not come fully into effect for some years. It will first go through a process of legal scrubbing, which could take up to two years, before being put before the European Trade Council for ratification by Qualified Majority Vote, and the European Parliament.

If the agreement passes those hurdles, it is expected that the trade elements which fall under the EU Commission's competence, will be phased in over 6 years.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (546)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

546. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will confirm receipt of a letter of observation and petition opposing an application (details supplied) for an aquaculture licence at Dungloe Bay, County Donegal; if due process and all relevant legal requirements have been adhered to with respect to this application to date in addition to the requirements in relation to public notification and consultation periods; the venue at which all documents in relation to the application were open for public viewing; when a determination will be made with respect to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28216/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Applications for aquaculture licences are considered by my Department in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable national and EU legislation.

The legislation provides for a period of public and statutory consultation in respect of licence applications received, including the applications referred to by the Deputy. Observations received on foot of the public consultation process are automatically acknowledged by my Department.

As the licence applications are currently under active consideration by my Department as part of a statutory process, it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the matter at this time.