Hospital Staff

Ceisteanna (425)

Michael Collins

Ceist:

425. Deputy Michael Collins asked the Minister for Health when the newly appointed paediatric endocrinologist will commence at Cork University Hospital; and the date on which they will commence. [39882/19]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Ceisteanna (426)

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

426. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Health the status of the extension of the three year cap under the fair deal scheme to farms and small businesses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39883/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department developed draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.

It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period.

The General Scheme of Bill for the NHSS was approved by Government on the 11th June 2019 and subsequently published. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect as soon as the legislative process is successfully complete. I intend to progress this as quickly as possible, however, the timeline for completion of the legislation will also depend on how it passes through the Houses. The General Scheme has been sent to the relevant Joint Committee and I look forward to participating in pre-legislative scrutiny when a date is agreed with the Committee.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (427)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

427. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health the final agreed tender price, the date of the tender for the contract and the final overall amount paid and the date of the final payment in respect of each capital expenditure project completed since 1 January 2014 by his Department or an agency under the remit of his Department and which ended up costing €10 million or more in tabular form; the reason the final amount paid exceeded the final tender price; the details available in respect of projects in which construction is not complete to date or in which the final settlement account has not been agreed to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39926/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

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

Hospital Appointments Status

Ceisteanna (428)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

428. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the status of an appointment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39938/19]

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 Data

Ceisteanna (429)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

429. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Health the number of patients on the waiting list at University Hospital Waterford waiting to see an endocrinologist up to 12, 12 to 24, 24 to 36, 36 to 48 and more than 48 months, respectively in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39957/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

Reducing waiting time for patients for hospital operations and procedures is a key priority for Government.

 Budget 2019 announced that the Government has further increased investment in tackling waiting lists, with funding to the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) increasing from €55 million in 2018 to €75 million in 2019. The joint Department of Health/HSE/NTPF Scheduled Care Access Plan 2019 was published in March and sets out measures to improve care for patients waiting for scheduled care in 2019 by reducing waiting times for inpatient/day case treatment and outpatient appointments.

The NTPF advise that over recent months they have placed a particular focus on engaging with hospital groups and individual hospitals to identify outpatient waiting list proposals.

In addition, the Department of Health has established a Working Group comprised of representatives from the HSE, NTPF, and Departmental officials, to examine ways of improving access for patients waiting for scheduled care. Part of this work includes developing initiatives which will move care to the most appropriate setting, and at the lowest level of complexity.

The data requested by the Deputy is outlined in the document attached.

Animal Welfare

Ceisteanna (430)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

430. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to regulate the provision of horse-drawn carriages for hire in Dublin in view of concerns for animal welfare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39726/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department devotes considerable resources to protecting animal welfare and dealing with breaches of animal welfare legislation. The Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 has modernised the legal framework relating to the welfare of animals.

This work is further underpinned by the Animal Welfare Helpline which my Department operates, Lo-call 076 1064408, along with a dedicated email address, AnimalWelfare@agriculture.gov.ie, which facilitates the reporting by members of the public of concerns in regard to the welfare of animals. The animal welfare hotline exists for the reporting of specific incidents relating to animal welfare which come to the attention of members of the public, which they believe need attention. All calls received are treated in confidence and all complaints received are investigated and followed up.

I am advised by Dublin City Council that the proposed regulation of horse drawn carriages is currently under review.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (431)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

431. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork under the BEAM payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39283/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Applications for  the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) were accepted between the 19th August and the 20th September 2019.  An application was received from the person named on 6th September 2019.  

Each BEAM applicant retains the right to have the figures presented to them as part of their application reviewed.  While no such request had been received in my Department from the person named, I have asked my officials to consider the information submitted by the Deputy as a request for a review.  This review will now be carried out and the person named will be informed of the outcome as soon as it is available.

Following the outcome of this review, the option of a further appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office will remain available to the person named.

Live Exports

Ceisteanna (432)

John Deasy

Ceist:

432. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the breakdown of live cattle export volumes by destination, both EU and third countries, respectively, over the past five years. [39302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry.  They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers.  My Department facilitates this trade, recognising its critical importance to the agri-sector, while ensuring that live animal exports meet the highest welfare standards.  I continue to prioritise efforts to gain access to new third country markets and, equally importantly, to deepen existing markets for live exports.

In 2018, live exports of cattle increased by over 30% to 246,000 head compared to 2017. This year has seen a further increase of 20% on the same point last year.  Tables with figures for exports of cattle and calves from 2015 to 2019 follow.

Live exports of cattle 2015 to 2019 (YTD)

Country 

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Belgium

600

400

5,500

13,500

2,961

France

8,600

5,900

2,800

9,100

7,222

GB

9,100

6,600

5,900

5,500

4,171

Greece

700

1,500

1,000

1,600

1,653

Hungary

100

400

100

200

1,367

Italy

24,900

18,600

19,400

24,100

26,644

Libya

400

2,200

1,800

5,500

6,611

Morocco

300

200

0

700

0

Netherlands

43,700

27,000

41,800

48,900

81,951

Northern Ireland

55,300

24,500

26,100

24,600

22,013

Poland

0

0

0

2,700

5,338

Romania

300

600

1,400

800

85

Slovakia

0

500

300

1,800

0

Spain

29,600

37,000

50,500

92,500

79,605

Tunisia

3,900

0

0

200

747

Turkey

0

19,300

30,600

12,900

2,860

Totals *   

178,000

145,200

188,300

244,600

244,028

* Countries with smaller numbers of exports are not listed individually on the table provided but are included in totals

Live Exports

Ceisteanna (433)

John Deasy

Ceist:

433. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of live cattle export shipments by port of origin over the past five years. [39303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Live exports are a critical part of the infrastructure of our livestock industry.  They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and provide an alternative market outlet for farmers.  My Department facilitates this trade, recognising its critical importance to the agri-sector, while ensuring that live animal exports meet the highest welfare standards.  I continue to prioritise efforts to gain access to new third country markets and, equally importantly, to deepen existing markets for live exports.

The number of shipments of live cattle exported on dedicated livestock vessels and the ports of departure of those shipments is provided in the following table. 

Year

Ports

No of shipments

2019

Belview, Co Waterford

Greenore, Co Louth

 4

 1

2018

Greenore, Co Louth

Belview, Co Waterford

Cork, Co Cork

 4

 2

 3

2017

Belview, Co Waterford

Greenore, Co Louth

Foynes, Co Limerick

9

3

1

2016

Greenore, Co Louth

7

In addition, Roll-On Roll-Off ferries operate regular weekly services from Dublin and Rosslare ports to continental Europe which frequently contain consignments of live cattle exports destined for the continent.

Live Exports

Ceisteanna (434)

John Deasy

Ceist:

434. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the efforts being made to secure and source existing and new markets for live cattle exports, including discussions with port authorities and exporters. [39304/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

In 2018, total live exports of cattle increased by over 30% compared to 2017, to 246,000 head. This growth trend has continued into 2019, with live exports already totalling 247,000 up until week commencing the 9th September. This is up from 207,000 for the same period in 2018 – a 19% increase. I  welcome the recent live cattle shipments to both Turkey and Libya.  

Live exports are a critical part of Ireland’s livestock industry.  They play a significant role in stimulating price competition and providing an alternative market outlet for farmers. My Department facilitates this trade, recognising its importance to the agri-food sector, while placing a strong emphasis on the welfare of all animals being transported.

I will continue to prioritise efforts to deepen existing markets and gain access to new third country markets.  In April, my Department reached agreement with the Egyptian authorities on three proposed health certificates for the export of fattening, slaughter and breeding cattle. 

Also in April, agreement was reached in principle with Algeria to move from a joint breeding, slaughter and fattening certificate to three separate certificates. We are awaiting the Algerian authorities’ imprimatur prior to the commencement of the revised trade conditions.

In relation to Turkey, my Department hosted a visit in May by a technical team that included officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and ESK (the Turkish Meat and Milk Board).

A successful live export trade relies on the cooperation of a multitude of stakeholders. Therefore, the recent establishment of the Irish Livestock Exporters' Association is to be welcomed.   This body can represent the industry’s views, not just to my Department, but also to ferry companies, port authorities, lairage operators and other stakeholders.

At its request, I met the new Association last week to discuss a number of industry concerns, including lairage capacity.  I briefed the representative body on the progress made by my Department to source new markets as outlined above and I look forward to further engagement with the group in the future. 

Rural Development Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (435)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

435. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount allocated from Exchequer funding to support the establishment of producer organisations in each sector in each of the years 2016 to 2019 in tabular form; and the annual amount drawn down in each sector to date in 2019. [39342/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 provides €300,000 for establishing Beef Producer Organisations over the lifetime of the programme. This measure is co-financed by the EU at a rate of 53%. Exchequer funding of the balance, which amounts to €141,000, has been available for drawdown since 2017.

My Department expects that the funding will be drawn down by the end of this year. 

Producer organisations in the fruit and vegetable sector receive funding from the EU and not from the Exchequer.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (436)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

436. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive a payment; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39385/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for the 2019 Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme on 21 March 2019.

The advance payment for the 2019 ANC Scheme has issued to the named individual.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (437)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

437. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a farm payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39515/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named applied for the 2019 Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme on 21 March 2019.

The advance payment for the 2019 ANC Scheme has issued to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Agriculture Scheme Penalties

Ceisteanna (438)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

438. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a farm penalty appeal by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39671/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named was the subject of a Nitrates inspection on 27 April 2018, carried out by my Department on behalf of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. This inspection identified a range of non-compliances with the cross-compliance requirements under the Nitrates Regulations. Due to the serious nature of the non-compliances determined, an intentional penalty of 20% was applied to the 2018 Direct Schemes payments. The person named was notified of this decision on 11 June 2018.

The person named sought a review of this decision and this process is nearing completion. The person named will be notified of the outcome as soon as possible

In the event that the person named is dissatisfied with the outcome of this review, the decision can be appealed to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office, within 3 months.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (439)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

439. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39680/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), aid will be paid on adult cattle slaughtered between September 24, 2018, and May 12, 2019, at a rate of €100 per animal subject to a maximum of 100 finished animals per herd.  Aid will also be paid on suckler cows that calved in 2018, at a rate of €40 per animal subject to a maximum of 40 sucklers per herd. In order to be eligible for payment, applicants needed to have animals that met these eligibility criteria in the relevant period and be a participant on one of the following schemes;

- Organic Farm Scheme (OFS)

=- Green Low Carbon Agri-Environmental Scheme (GLAS)

- Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP)

- Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP)

or

- Be a participant or agree to join the Bord Bia – Sustainable Beef and Lamb Assurance Scheme (SBLAS)

Any potential applicant who did not meet these criteria retained the right to submit an application under appeal where they could outline their case for inclusion in the scheme and give details of the eligibility criteria they believed they met. These appeals will be assessed on a case-by-case basis prior to payment being made.

Applications for BEAM were accepted between the 19th August 2019 and the 20th September 2019 and, while an audit of the activity log for the BEAM system shows the person named interacted with the system on the 4th of September, there is no record of any application actually being submitted from the person named prior to the closing date of the 20th of September 2019.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (440)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

440. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in processing an ANC application for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraints Schemes application on the 8th May 2019. EU Regulations governing the administration of these schemes require that full and comprehensive administrative checks, including, in some cases, remote sensing (i.e. satellite) inspections, be completed before any payments issue.

The application of the person named was selected for a Remote Sensing eligibility inspection. This inspection is currently being processed with the intention of issuing any payments due as soon as possible. In the event that any queries arise, officials in my Department will be in contact with the person named.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Ceisteanna (441)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

441. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding TAMS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

TAMS II has been very successful in terms of uptake with over 29,000 applications submitted to date. There is a wide range of investment items available under the suite of investment items eligible for grant aid under the scheme.  The range of items available was extended with effect from tranche 14 to include on-farm solar PV and battery storage facilities.

The annual budget allocation for next year will be decided as part of the overall estimates process for Budget 2020.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (442)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

442. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an ANC payment for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39814/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A 2019 Basic Payment / Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme application in respect of the person named was received in my Department on 25th April 2019.

Processing of this application has recently been completed and a payment under the Area of Natural Constraints Scheme will issue shortly.

Payments under the Basic Payment Scheme are due to commence in mid-October.

Beef Industry

Ceisteanna (443)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

443. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding funding for farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39827/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The beef sector is an important element of the Irish economy and I am conscious of the importance that this key sector plays in rural Ireland.

I am keenly aware that the past year has been very challenging for beef farmers, 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 autumn 2018, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.

The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is currently the main support specifically targeted for the suckler sector, which provides Irish beef farmers with some €300 million in funding over the current RDP period.

The Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), which recently closed for applications, will provide temporary exceptional adjustment aid to farmers in the beef sector in Ireland subject to the conditions set out in EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1132. BEAM is funded by a combination of EU aid and Exchequer support, provided in light of the difficult circumstances that Irish beef farmers have been facing as a result of the market volatility and uncertainty.  Over 34,500 farmers had applied for BEAM at its closing date of 20 September, representing potential commitments of almost €78 million. It is not possible to change the terms and conditions of the scheme, which was notified to the Commission at the end of July, as required under the Exceptional Aid implementing regulation.

This year, I also introduced the exchequer-funded Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP), a €20 million scheme which will provide suckler farmers with valuable data on the weaning efficiency of their animals.  

The Deputy will also be aware that my Department has rolled out a range of schemes as part of the €4 billion Rural Development Programme (RDP), 2014 - 2020. In addition to the BDGP, other supports which are available for beef farmers under Pillar II of the CAP include GLAS, ANCs and Knowledge Transfer Groups.  The Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) scheme, which is of particular importance to beef farmers, has an increased budget this year of €250 million.

Suckler farmers also benefit from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments under CAP Pillar I.

In recognising the major challenges faced by the farming sector and the important role that various schemes operated by my Department play in underpinning the viability of many farms, last month I secured agreement from the European Commission that will allow for a higher rate of advance payments under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and a number of Rural Development Schemes.

The pursuit and development of new markets for Irish agri-food exports is a constant and central component of the strategic development of the industry, as evidenced by its placement at the centre of Food Wise 2025, the industry’s strategy for development. Food Wise 2025 prioritises the potential for growth in new and emerging markets, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Americas and the Gulf region.

I am strongly of the view that the current range of supports available to farmers, together with ensuring market access to as many markets as possible, are appropriate supports for the continued development of the sector. 

I will continue to argue for as strong a CAP budget as possible, post-2020.  In particular, I am committed to ensuring that beef farmers continue to receive strong support in the next CAP.  My view is that such payments should support and encourage farmers to make the best decisions possible to improve the economic and environmental efficiency, of their farming system.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (444)

Pat Breen

Ceist:

444. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when an application by a person (details supplied) will be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39884/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A 2019 Basic Payment / Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme application in respect of the person named was received in my Department on 8th March 2019.

Processing of this application has recently been completed and a payment under the Area of Natural Constraints Scheme will issue shortly.

Payments under the Basic Payment Scheme are due to commence in mid-October.