Hospital Beds Closures

Ceisteanna (517)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

517. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health the way in which he is addressing the implications for patients and families due to the closure of 27 beds at a hospital (details supplied); and the reason the 27 beds were not relocated to other areas on the campus. [29938/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

St Mary’s Hospital in the Phoenix Park provides 150 long term residential beds, located across two modern purpose-built units.  The hospital also provides 75 sub-acute or short stay beds, located separately in the main hospital building which dates back to the 18th century.

A recent Health and Safety Assessment identified significant patient and staff safety risk issues in the main building and in particular on Elms Ward. The risks identified relate to safety, fire safety management, layout, size, age, fixtures, fittings and lighting. Environmental risks were identified in relation to safe evacuation of patients. Elms Ward was found to have significant risk to patients and staff due to its uneven floor.

To comply with legislative requirements, and in the best interests of patients and staff, the HSE needs to close the ward on a phased basis with effect from 1st July 2019, to be completed by August. This decision was based solely on health and safety concerns, and not as a cost saving measure.  There will be some reduction in access to transitional care beds from acute settings, however, all patients will remain in the Hospital until their current care is completed. The Department has been assured that all commitments for booked respite care will be honoured and plans are being put in place to that effect. 

Staff were advised of this decision through consultation with their line management and they will be reassigned within the Hospital. The HSE has advised the Department that significant capital is required to address the health and safety issues and part of the project development process will be to examine all options available to provide safe services.

The primary focus must be on patients.  Engagement with them, their families, staff, union representatives and any other relevant stakeholders is on-going to ensure minimal impact for all concerned during the closure of the ward.

Hospitals Funding

Ceisteanna (518)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

518. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the provision of funding to supply a MRI machine for St. Luke’s Hospital further to his personal commitment given on a visit to Kilkenny in July 2019 to supplement the €250,000 raised by a local organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29882/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As the Health Service Executive is responsible for the delivery of healthcare infrastructure projects, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly in relation to this matter.

Physiotherapy Provision

Ceisteanna (519)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

519. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health when physiotherapy services will be available again in health centres (details supplied); the reason physiotherapy services were ceased in the health centres in April 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29947/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

As this question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

National Dementia Strategy

Ceisteanna (520, 521, 522, 523)

John Lahart

Ceist:

520. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the reason persons people with dementia and their carers are still waiting for equitable and fair access to the supports and services they need; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29964/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

521. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health his views on the perceived acute inequality of dementia services between counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29965/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

522. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the reason there is a lack of dementia advisers by county despite increased demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29966/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Lahart

Ceist:

523. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health the funding allocated to dementia care in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by county in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29967/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 520 to 523, inclusive, together.

The aim of the National Dementia Strategy, which was published in December 2014, is to improve dementia care so that people with dementia can live well for as long as possible, can ultimately die with comfort and dignity, and can have services and supports delivered in the best way possible.

Under the National Dementia Strategy Implementation Programme, funding has been provided for measures to raise public awareness, address stigma, and promote the inclusion and involvement in society of people with dementia.  The Programme has also provided for the rollout of dementia-specific intensive home care packages, training in diagnosing and management of dementia for GPs and primary care teams and the establishment of a National Dementia Office within the HSE.

The HSE provides approximately €7.9 million per annum for dementia-specific intensive home care packages, which facilitate people with dementia who have complex needs to remain living at home. Since the introduction of these packages at the end of 2014, 443 dementia-specific intensive homecare packages have been delivered, with 201 active at the end of March 2019. 

People with dementia can also avail of standard Home Support Services for Older People, on the basis of need and within the resources available. A total of €426 million has been allocated for home support services this year, delivering over 17.9 million home support hours to over 53,000 people.

In relation to the Dementia Adviser Service established by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland in 2014, there are currently 9 dementia advisors working across 12 counties, with 7 of these posts funded by the HSE since 2016.  €400,000 has been allocated by the HSE in each of the last 3 years towards the cost of the service and the HSE has agreed to continue this level of support in 2019 and future years.

The HSE also provides €12.68 million to Section 39 organisations who deliver dementia-specific respite, home care, day care, cognitive stimulation therapy, social clubs and supports for family carers on behalf of the HSE. 

The level of funding available for the Department of Health in 2020 and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process and National Service Planning.

With regard to the level of funding by county between 2015 and 2019, as this is a service matter I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy.

National Dementia Strategy

Ceisteanna (524)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

524. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the steps he is taking to ensure that each person diagnosed with dementia has access to a dementia adviser; the counties which do not have a dementia advisor to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29975/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The National Dementia Strategy requires the HSE to consider the provision of dementia advisers, based on the experience of demonstrator sites.  In this context, an evaluation of the Dementia Adviser Service, which was published in September 2018, recommends the continuation and expansion of the service to ensure equity of access countrywide.

There are nine Dementia Advisers working in the Dementia Adviser Service established by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland (ASI) in mid-2014.  The service covers 12 counties: Cork, Kerry, Tipperary, Limerick, parts of Clare, Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Dublin. 

Seven of the 9 posts have been funded by the HSE since 2016,  while the Mayo post is funded by Community Action on Dementia Mayo.  €400,000 has been allocated by the HSE in each of the last 3 years towards the cost of the service and a commitment has been made to continue this funding in 2019 and in future years.

The network of Dementia Advisers is one of a number of dementia-related initiatives supported by the HSE. In 2018, the HSE granted €12.68 million to Section 39 organisations who deliver respite, home care, day care, cognitive stimulation therapy, social clubs and supports for family carers.

In addition, 443 dementia-specific intensive homecare packages have been delivered to enable older people with dementia to remain in their own homes, since the introduction of these packages at the end of 2014.  

People with dementia are also able to avail of standard Home Support Services for Older People, on the basis of need and within the resources available.  A total of €426 million has been allocated for home support services this year, delivering over 17.9 million home support hours to over 53,000 people.

In 2016 and 2017, the National Dementia Office partnered with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland on a project to map dementia-specific community-based services and supports. It provides a useful snapshot and baseline study into what, where and when dementia services are being offered, including in those counties that currently do not have access to a dementia adviser. The study has also been used to inform a service finder hosted on the National Dementia Office’s website at https://www.understandtogether.ie/get-support/service-finder/. This allows people to search for dementia-specific community services in their area.  

The level of funding available for the Department of Health in 2020 and the quantum of services to be provided by the HSE, including any plans to expand the Dementia Adviser service, will be considered as part of the national Estimates and budgetary process and National Service Planning.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (525)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

525. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health if his Department has ceased the purchase and use of single-use plastics; the public bodies and agencies under his remit to which he has issued an instruction to cease the purchase and use of single-use plastics; when the instruction issued; the bodies which have confirmed that they no longer purchase and use single-use plastics, respectively; the bodies which have not provided such confirmation to date; when they will confirm; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29987/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

My Department is working closely with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment identifying specific actions aimed at promoting public sector behaviours which are consistent with the Government’s environmental policy. 

As a Department we are well advanced in these areas and have initiated multiple internal initiatives, including the elimination of use and purchase of bottled water and single-use plastic cups in Q3 2018. 

My Department has further extended its commitment to leadership in this area by ensuring that our recently appointed canteen service provider is committed to the same behaviours while also embracing the Department’s healthy options policy. From its inception in January 2019, I am delighted to report that all single-use plastic cups, packaging and even cutlery have been eliminated from the food service and replaced with either recyclable or compostable alternatives. In addition, our canteen service provider is the first catering company to achieve a 3-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association for on-site food service.

In March of 2019, I wrote to all of the non HSE bodies under the aegis of my Department requesting status on progress towards the implementation of these initiatives which are required to be fully implemented by November 2019.

To date the following bodies have confirmed the cessation of purchase and use of single use plastics:

The HSE

The Mental Health Commission (MHC)

VHI Group DAC (VHI)

The Dental Council

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA)

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI)

My Department continues to work with the following bodies to ensure full compliance by the November deadline:

An Bord Altranais

Council & Registration Board (CORU)

Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS)

National Cancer Registry Board (NCRB)

National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF)

Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI)

Safefood

The Health Research Board (HRB)

The Health Insurance Authority (HIA)

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (526)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

526. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health the reason a person (details supplied) is waiting for an operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30037/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Ceisteanna (527)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

527. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an operation for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30039/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive (HSE) is required to manage and deliver, or arrange to be delivered on its behalf, health and personal social services. Section 6 of the HSE Governance Act 2013 bars the Minister for Health from directing the HSE to provide a treatment or a personal service to any individual or to confer eligibility on any individual.

The National Waiting List Management Policy, a standardised approach to managing scheduled care treatment for in-patient, day case and planned procedures, since January 2014, has been developed to ensure that all administrative, managerial and clinical staff follow an agreed national minimum standard for the management and administration of waiting lists for scheduled care. This policy, which has been adopted by the HSE, sets out the processes that hospitals are to implement to manage waiting lists.

In relation to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly.

Hospital Car Parks

Ceisteanna (528)

John Lahart

Ceist:

528. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Health his views on whether it is fair that a patient on radium treatment for a period of seven and a half weeks necessitating daily attendance at St James Hospital, Dublin that is also a pensioner, must pay the significant car parking fees for attendance for duration of the treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30044/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Services for People with Disabilities

Ceisteanna (529)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

529. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health the system of assessment in place that assigns a woman with disabilities 0.7 personal assistance hours until 31 December 2019;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30047/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives.  This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.   

As the Deputy's question relates to a service issue, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Disability Services Data

Ceisteanna (530, 531, 532, 533, 534, 535)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

530. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children under a service (details supplied) on a waiting list to access occupational therapy services; the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30065/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

531. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children under a service (details supplied) on a waiting list to access speech and language services; the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

532. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children under a service (details supplied) on a waiting list to access physiotherapy services; the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30067/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

533. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children under a service (details supplied) in County Galway on a waiting list to access occupational services; the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30068/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

534. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children on a waiting list to access speech and language services under a service (details supplied); the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

535. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health the number of children on a waiting list to access physiotherapy services under a service (details supplied); the measures he is taking to address the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30070/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 530 to 535, inclusive, together.

The Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. This commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.  

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (536)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

536. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on correspondence from an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29140/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I note the contents of the correspondence from a group of young people from 'The Children's Tree Campaign'. I very much welcome their active engagement on the important issue of forestry and the environment and it is always encouraging when our young people show deep interest in these issues.

In the first instance, it should be noted that the national forest estate now covers some 11% of the national land area of Ireland and is at its highest level in over 350 years. The many benefits which forests provide are widely known and appreciated, including clean air and biodiversity as mentioned in the correspondence. The recent Climate Action Plan also highlights the role of forestry in terms of carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation. The Government has consistently encouraged the planting of new forests through the provision of generous grants and premiums under successive Forestry Programmes.

I wish to reassure the correspondents that forestry in Ireland operates within a strict legal and regulatory framework to protect forests and also to ensure that forestry operations and activities are carried out in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management. There is an obligation under the Forestry Act, 2014 to obtain a felling licence from my Department when removing trees from forests and to replant felled trees.

There are certain instances where the felling of a tree is exempt from the need to obtain a tree felling licence, for example, trees near buildings or in an urban area. Certain bodies, such as local authorities and Waterways Ireland, are also exempt from the requirement to have a felling licence for reasons such as the removal of trees in the performance of statutory functions. If a person or organisation has concerns regarding incidents of tree felling by these bodies then they may consider contacting them directly.

As regards the removal of hedgerows by farmers, all beneficiaries under the Basic Payment Scheme and other area based schemes, operated by my Department, must comply with the Statutory Management Requirements and Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC) standards set out in the relevant EU regulations. There is a stipulation that hedgerows and trees in a line are designated as landscape features, and under GAEC 7, beneficiaries are obliged to retain and maintain such designated landscape features. Hedgerows must be maintained and not allowed to become invasive. Where, in exceptional circumstances, it is necessary to remove a hedgerow, remove a line of trees or fill in a drain for good reasons such as farmyard expansion, the farmers may do so provided the hedgerow, the line of trees or drain is replaced on a like-for-like basis.

Control of Horses

Ceisteanna (537, 553)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

537. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason unregistered stray horses have been allowed to remain on lands in Hollyhill, Cork city which have been reported to Cork City Council over the past six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29619/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

553. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason unregistered stray horses have been allowed to remain on lands in Hollyhill, Cork city which have been reported to his Department over the past six months while they are been traumatised and neglected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29620/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 537 and 553 together.

The Control of Horses Act 1996 provides powers to Local Authorities to deal with stray and abandoned horses and for the designation, by each Local Authority, of control areas in which horses cannot be kept without a licence. Members of An Garda Síochána have also been assigned powers commensurate with those of Authorised Officers under the Act.

Land owners have responsibility to ensure appropriate fencing, boundaries, notices and signage are in place to control movement of stray equines.

In the area of welfare, officials of my Department may intervene under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013. In addition, local authorities are empowered to appoint officers of the Authority as authorised officers to enforce the Animal Health and Welfare Act within the Authority’s functional area.

My Department officials are aware of the situation in Holyhill to which the Deputy refers and, following inspection by a Department Veterinary Inspector, it has been confirmed there are no current welfare issues with the horses concerned. Additionally, the situation is being monitored by the ISPCA who remain in contact with the local Department office.

My Department has also taken a proactive approach in tackling challenges that arise in the case of horses by developing facilities for both urban and traveller horse populations and in educating young people among these communities in the care and welfare of horses. Again, this work is done in close collaboration with the local authorities involved.

My Department will continue to work closely with Cork City Council with regard to the matter raised.

Horse Racing Ireland Funding

Ceisteanna (538)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

538. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the funding provided for the redevelopment of the Curragh racecourse; the areas this funding was drawn from; the budgeted amount at the beginning of the redevelopment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29102/19]

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 Curragh Racecourse is the premier flat racing venue in Ireland and is recognised globally as one of the great international courses. There was a need to complete a redevelopment as the previous facilities were not of the standard now expected of a sporting venue of such national importance and international status.

In October 2015, my predecessor and the then Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, granted permission for Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) to participate in a new Curragh company (CRL Ltd) which would undertake the development and operation of the racecourse. It should be noted that HRI, the Turf Club and a group of 6 founding investors each hold one third of the voting shares of the company as per the Shareholders Agreement.

The initial proposed cost of the project was circa €65m, prior to the project being put to tender. The contracted cost was €72.3m and the final cost is €81.5 million. HRI provided €36.5m of the final cost which was drawn from the Horse and Greyhound Fund; no additional funding was provided by the exchequer for this project. A further €40.3 million was provided by private investors and the balance was funded from bank loans obtained by Curragh Racecourse Ltd.

The final cost overrun was greater than originally estimated due to construction inflation, environmental requirements, reconfiguration of the parade ring, and design complications with certain aspects of the building, including the roof.

Knackery Industry

Ceisteanna (539)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

539. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of licences for knackeries revoked historically; the number of licences granted in the past 25 years; the number of inspections of same in the past ten years; the outcome of same in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29216/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Category 2 Intermediate Plants (Knackeries) and Collection Centres are approved and supervised by my Department in accordance with the EU Animal By-Products Regulations (EC) No 1069 of 2009 and its implementing Regulation (EU) No 142 of 2011 which lay down the health rules as regards animal by products and derived products not intended for human consumption.

Since electronic records began in 2007, forty licences have been granted to knackeries and two licences have been revoked at the request of the knackery. There are currently thirty eight knackery licences approved by my Department.

Official controls are carried out in the knackeries by veterinary personnel of my Department to ensure compliance with the EU and national Animal-By-Product Regulations and also compliance with the specific operational conditions laid down for Category 2 intermediate plants. The Department carries out, on an ongoing basis, audits, routine and/or unannounced inspections at the Category 2 intermediate plants. In addition, Department inspectors take samples from dead cattle and sheep at knackeries for the purpose of disease surveillance under EU Regulation 999/2001.

Seven hundred and seventy one knackery inspections have been carried out since electronic recording of inspections began. Up until and including 2016, two inspections were carried out annually at each of the 36 knackeries. This increased to four inspections from 2017 onwards. Non-compliances detected during inspections were dealt with in accordance with the enforcement protocol. In most cases, the non-compliances identified were considered minor, and either verbal or written directions were given to the knackery operator by the Veterinary Inspector. Follow-up visits ensured non-compliances were rectified. My Department issues legal compliance notices for serious non-compliances.

Electric Vehicles

Ceisteanna (540)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

540. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if consideration will be given to providing subvention for the purchase of battery powered tractors for suitable farm enterprises as per the electric car market in the context of climate change commitments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

New technologies are changing the shape of the agricultural industry across the globe, with Ireland at the forefront of this change. The lack of skilled labour within the agricultural sector is driving the need to find new and innovative ways to make our work practices easier and less time consuming.

Under the current Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), we have recognised the need to encourage the uptake of these innovations by providing funding across a number of new technologies. Funding for items such as GPS precision application systems for grassland and tillage crops, grant aided grass measuring equipment and financial support for the replacement of old technologies with new energy efficient equipment have all been included in the latest round of TAMS funding. Proto-type electric tractors remain under development and are not commercially available at present.

The recently published All-of-Government Climate Action Plan to tackle climate breakdown also includes a series of measures to lower greenhouse gas emissions from transport. I am fully supportive of this plan and the actions within it. I will continue to work with my colleagues across Government to ensure successful implementation of the plan. I am also confident that the agriculture sector as a whole will contribute significantly to Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy and society with collaboration, co-operation and collective responsibility being key in achieving this ambition and realising the potential of pro-active engagement.

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (541)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Ceist:

541. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the decision not to grant an exemption to a group (details supplied) will be reconsidered. [29273/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Forestry in Ireland operates within a legal and regulatory framework. This is necessary in order to protect forests and also to ensure that forestry operations and activities are carried out in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management. Reforestation after felling is essential to prevent deforestation, which would otherwise counteract the benefits of the initial afforestation. The obligation to replant felled trees is required under the Forestry Acts and associated regulations.

In this case referred to by the Deputy, a licence to fell 3.4 hectares, valid for 2 years with a further year for replanting, was issued in September 2013. A replanting order issued in September, 2018 as the site had not been replanted. My Department has considered the request for an exemption and has advised the owners that replanting must take place in line with the statutory requirements.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (542)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

542. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if members of a group (details supplied) will be invited to discussions on the €100 million Brexit beef aid fund; when stakeholder meetings will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29320/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I will be consulting with stakeholders later this week in relation to the measures proposed by my Department to provide temporary exceptional aid to Irish beef farmers. These measures must be submitted to the European Commission before the end of this month, and are also the subject of consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I am satisfied that the stakeholder groups involved are broadly representative of the interests of Irish beef farmers.

Meat Processing Plants

Ceisteanna (543)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

543. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of cattle slaughtered in approved meat processing plants here which originated from Department defined restricted feedlots in 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29321/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The following table is published on my Department's website at: www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/animalhealthwelfare/animalidentificationandmovement/cattlemovementmonitoringsystem/bovinebirthandmovementsmonthlyreports/6KillNumbers170619.xlsx

The table below shows the most up to date figures for the number of animals slaughtered at EU approved slaughter plants, which originated in Controlled Finishing Units, previously known as feedlots.

2017

2018

2019

January

20,000

24,000

28,000

February

20,000

24,500

26,000

March

21,500

24,500

27,000

April

19,500

26,000

29,000

May

25,000

29,000

31,000

June

24,500

27,500

July

19,500

24,500

August

20,000

21,500

September

18,500

18,500

October

20,500

23,500

November

28,500

26,500

December

25,500

25,000

Total

263,000

295,000

141,000