Forestry Grants

Ceisteanna (472)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

472. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the case of a person (detail supplied) will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47081/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named is the owner of a 1.86 hectare woodland planted in 2011 under the Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme. The site was originally planted with Ash but, in 2017, the Department confirmed that the Ash was infected with Ash Dieback disease necessitating the removal of the trees. The trees were subsequently removed and replaced with Oak in December 2017.

As the annual rate of forestry premium for Oak (€515/ha) is higher than the annual rate of forestry premium for Ash (€481/ha), the person named is entitled to a €63.24 increase to the annual forestry premium from 2018 onwards. Payment of the arrears due for 2018 and 2019 has been approved and will be issued shortly.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Ceisteanna (473)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

473. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on comments made by An Taoiseach on the accounting methodology used in calculating emissions in the agricultural sector (detail supplied); and his plans to have the matter reviewed at EU and UN level. [47084/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Inventories of greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland are prepared by the Environmental Protection Agency annually in accordance with accounting rules agreed under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment is the relevant Minister in respect of these UN Climate Change rules.

Ireland is one of the most carbon efficient producers of meat and milk globally and this is well understood in the international marketplace. Given the expected increases in world food demand over the coming decades, Ireland is well positioned to meet this growing demand, while simultaneously, reducing overall absolute emissions.

The goal must be to develop low-emissions intensity production systems so that agriculture, globally, contributes towards meeting the objective of the Paris Agreement.

The Climate Action Plan recognises the inherent complexities of agricultural production and, in particular, that food production will always result in some level of emissions. I agree with An Taoiseach that it is important therefore to consider the importance of such food production in the long term trajectory for emission reductions. The Climate Action Plan recognises the importance of balancing the challenge of meeting increasing food demand internationally whilst at the same time contribution to Ireland’s climate commitments and identifies that this will need to be addressed at EU and international levels.

My Department and I will continue to engage with DCCAE and the EPA on this important matter as to how best to approach emissions arising from agriculture while ensuring food and nutrition security is protected.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (474)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

474. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of full and part-time staff, respectively, employed in the forestry licensing section in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by grade . [47087/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department has three divisions tasked with all aspects of Forestry, two of which are directly involved in forestry licensing. These are (i) Forestry Policy Division, comprising administrative personnel and (ii) Forestry Inspectorate, comprising forestry inspectors and other technical personnel.

Forestry Division manages the administrative aspects of the forestry licensing process, scheme payments, policy, promotions and finances. The Division includes personnel at all grades from clerical to senior management. A significant proportion of administrative staff are involved in forestry licensing.

Forestry Inspectorate comprises forest inspectors, archaeological and ecological resources and senior management. Again, while forestry inspectors are involved in all aspects of forestry, a large portion of their time is involved in assessing forestry licence applications.

The data presented in the following table details the personnel by grade for each of these two divisions at 31st December in each year 2010 to 2018 and as of 11th November, 2019. The data has been further broken down to show full-time and part-time personnel. There are some caveats on ecology staff who are recorded on the system by their Forestry Grade. This is clarified in the footnote below the Table.

Division

Grade

Pattern

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Forestry Division

Administrative Officer

Full Time

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

2

2

Asst Principal

Full Time

5

4

5

5

5

4

4

4

4

3

Part-Time

1

1

1

Clerical Officer

Full Time

31

21

25

27

26

23

23

28

23

19

Part-Time

11

13

12

11

12

11

11

12

14

16

Executive Officer

Full Time

19

20

22

20

20

20

18

18

20

19

Part-Time

7

4

4

6

6

6

8

9

6

8

Higher Executive Officer

Full Time

9

8

10

8

7

5

5

6

5

5

Part-Time

3

3

1

3

3

3

4

4

4

4

Principal

Full Time

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Forestry Inspectorate

Clerical Officer

Full Time

1

1

1

1

1

1

Engineer Grade 3 Civil

Full Time

1

1

Executive Officer

Part-Time

1

Forestry Ecologist *

Full Time

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Forestry Inspector Grade 1

Full Time

4

4

5

6

6

6

5

5

6

7

Part-Time

1

Forestry Inspector Grade 2

Full Time

12

11

8

8

8

8

7

10

8

9

Forestry Inspector Grade 3

Full Time

15

18

13

15

14

20

22

16

17

23

Part-Time

3

1

Principal

Full Time

1

Senior Inspector

Full Time

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

Grand Total

123

111

113

113

111

113

113

117

113

117

* 2010 - 2014: 1 ecologist (recorded as Forestry Inspector Grade 1 for the years 2012 -2014 due to promotion); 2015: 2 ecologists (Forestry Inspector Grade 1 and Ecologist Grade 3); 2016 -2018: 1 Ecologist Grade 3, and 2019: 2 ecologists (Forestry Inspector Grade 1 and Ecologist Grade 3).

Natura 2000

Ceisteanna (475)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

475. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of recent European Court of Justice and Irish law rulings relating to the protection of Natura sites and specific changes necessitated to the forestry licensing process consequently; and the additional steps which will form part of the forestry license approval process. [47088/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions and Irish law cases relating to Appropriate Assessment under the Habitats Directive have resulted in changes to forestry licensing procedures. The main examples are outlined below.

Case C-323/17 People Over Wind and Peter Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta resulted in the following ruling: “Article 6(3) of [the Habitats Directive] must be interpreted as meaning that, in order to determine whether it is necessary to carry out, subsequently, an appropriate assessment of the implications, for a site concerned, of a plan or project, it is not appropriate, at the screening stage, to take account of the measures intended to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of the plan or project on that site.”

Two recent Irish High Court decisions are also related to this ECJ decision, i.e. Eoin Kelly v. An Bord Pleanála (2019) and Heather Hill Management Company CLG v An Bord Pleanála (June 2019). Both cases reinforced that any measure, including ‘best practice measures’, designed to avoid or reduce the effects on a Natura site cannot be considered during Stage 1 of the process (i.e. AA screening), but instead, can only be evaluated during the AA itself.

As a result, my Department does not consider any relevant protective measure set out in the environmental guidelines or standards, or presented in the proposal itself, when undertaking AA screening of an application to ascertain whether there is a possibility of it having a significant impact on a Natura site, alone or in combination with other plans and projects. This means that a project can only be screened out if no possibility of a significant effect can arise, even if no protective measures were applied.

Case C-461/17 Brian Holohan and Others v An Bord Pleanála resulted in the following rules relating specifically to the AA process:

1. Article 6(3) of [the Habitats Directive] must be interpreted as meaning that an ‘appropriate assessment’ must, on the one hand, catalogue the entirety of habitat types and species for which a site is protected, and, on the other, identify and examine both the implications of the proposed project for the species present on that site, and for which that site has not been listed, and the implications for habitat types and species to be found outside the boundaries of that site, provided that those implications are liable to affect the conservation objectives of the site.

2. Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43 must be interpreted as meaning that the competent authority is permitted to grant to a plan or project consent which leaves the developer free to determine subsequently certain parameters relating to the construction phase, such as the location of the construction compound and haul routes, only if that authority is certain that the development consent granted establishes conditions that are strict enough to guarantee that those parameters will not adversely affect the integrity of the site.

3. Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43 must be interpreted as meaning that, where the competent authority rejects the findings in a scientific expert opinion recommending that additional information be obtained, the ‘appropriate assessment’ must include an explicit and detailed statement of reasons capable of dispelling all reasonable scientific doubt concerning the effects of the work envisaged on the site concerned.

Regarding 1. above, as land use professionals, Registered Foresters are expected to keep abreast of developments impacting on their sector. This includes developments relating to environmental legislation, such as the cited ECJ rulings. To supplement this, a Circular to Registered Foresters (and other stakeholders) has been issued (Circular 08 / 2019, dated 23rd May 2019) to remind relevant parties developing an NIS, to catalogue the qualifying interests and to "identify and examine both the implications of the proposed project for the species present on that [Natura] site, and for which that site has not been listed, and the implications for habitat types and species to be found outside the boundaries of that site, provided that those implications are liable to affect the conservation objectives of the site."

Forestry licences issued by my Department allow for operational flexibility, but only within the confines of the licence itself and its constituent safeguards (including guidelines, requirements, standards and (if relevant) scheme terms & conditions). DAFM is satisfied that licences issued establish conditions that are strict enough to ensure a degree of operational flexibility that will not adversely affect the integrity of the Natura site.

The AA process necessitates the input of various experts, and my Department does not foresee expert input being rejected in relation to any individual file undergoing the process. However, DAFM is aware of this ruling and will comply accordingly, if the described situation arises.

In conclusion, currently, my Department is developing processes and procedures and investing resources to enable the processing and approval of forestry applications, taking according of the above European and national rulings. This includes the development of Standard Operating Procedures, training for District Inspectors and Registered Foresters, investment in ecological expertise (including the recruitment of two addition ecologists for deployment within the Forestry Inspectorate), and the ongoing development of iFORIS, the GIS platform used by Inspectors to process files. A categorisation of files affected by these requirements is also underway in order to best assess further action needed and by whom.

I am fully aware of the concerns of stakeholders in relation to the AA process but we have an obligation for complying fully and completely with environmental requirements. My officials are in regular communication with stakeholders and they have been fully apprised of the issues involved and of my Department’s efforts to address them.

Furthermore, for my part, I have commissioned a consultant to review my Department's processes and procedures on forestry applications and approvals similar to an exercise undertaken in Scotland. I expect to receive this report by the end of November and that it will provide an opportunity to make our processes more effective and efficient going forward.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (476)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

476. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of ecologists employed in the forestry inspectorate by grade; and the targeted number of new ecologists to be hired; and the date on which the new hires will be operational. [47089/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department currently has two ecologists in the Forestry Inspectorate. In respect of grades, one is a Forestry Inspector, Grade 1 (Regional Forestry Inspector), the other is Ecologist, Grade 3.

Sanction was recently obtained to hold a competition to recruit further ecological resources. Interviews for this competition will be held in December, from which a panel will be formed. It is intended that two ecologists will be immediately deployed to the Forestry Inspectorate. Every effort will be made to ensure an early operational start date thereafter.

Food Quality Assurance Scheme

Ceisteanna (477)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

477. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the instances in which meat imported from another country can be processed in a boning hall, be packaged and then stamped with the Bord Bia quality mark; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47114/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Bord Bia Quality Mark assures the consumer that a product has been produced to Bord Bia’s highest quality standards and that farmers and processors have been independently audited. The Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme is run directly by Bord Bia and accordingly is an operational matter for that State Body. However, in the interests of informing the House on such a current and relevant policy issue, I have requested a reply for the Deputy from Bord Bia which I am pleased to place on the Dail record.

Meat imported from mainland Europe which is processed and packaged in the Republic of Ireland cannot carry the ‘Origin Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’.

For meat to carry the ‘Origin Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’, it must come from animals born, reared and slaughtered in the Republic of Ireland where the farm and the processing plants are members of Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Schemes.

The ‘Produced and Processed Ireland and Northern Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’ can only be used for meat from animals born and reared on Bord Bia Quality Assured farms in the Republic of Ireland and subsequently slaughtered in Bord Bia Quality Assured processing plants in Northern Ireland.

Meat from animals born outside the island of Ireland and imported into Ireland cannot carry any Bord Bia Quality Assurance logo.

Food Quality Assurance Scheme

Ceisteanna (478)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

478. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if meat imported from mainland Europe can be stamped with the Bord Bia quality mark in circumstances in which a percentage of the overall cost of getting the meat to the supermarket shelf is incurred here, boning and packaging for example; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47115/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Bord Bia Quality Mark assures the consumer that a product has been produced to Bord Bia’s highest quality standards and that farmers and processors have been independently audited. The Bord Bia Sustainable Beef and Lamb Quality Assurance Scheme is run directly by Bord Bia and accordingly is an operational matter for that State Body. However, in the interests of informing the House on such a current and relevant policy issue, I have requested a reply for the Deputy from Bord Bia which I am pleased to place on the Dail record.

Meat imported from mainland Europe which is processed and packaged in the Republic of Ireland cannot carry the ‘Origin Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’ regardless of whether the cost of getting the product to supermarkets is incurred in Ireland or not.

For meat to carry the ‘Origin Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’, it must come from animals born, reared and slaughtered in the Republic of Ireland where the farm and the processing plants are members of Bord Bia’s Quality Assurance Schemes.

The ‘Produced and Processed Ireland and Northern Ireland Bord Bia Quality Logo’ can only be used for meat from animals born and reared on Bord Bia Quality Assured farms in the Republic of Ireland and subsequently slaughtered in Bord Bia Quality Assured processing plants in Northern Ireland.

Meat from animals born outside the island of Ireland and imported into Ireland cannot carry any Bord Bia Quality Assurance logo.

Rural Development Programme Data

Ceisteanna (479)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

479. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 475 of 22 October 2019, the budget allocations made to each respective scheme in 2014; and the corresponding expenditure level in 2014. [47163/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

None of the schemes in question were operational in 2014. As a result, there was neither a budget allocation nor expenditure for the schemes in question during that year.

Common Agricultural Policy Subsidies

Ceisteanna (480)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

480. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the distribution of CAP subsidies across small, medium and large farmers. [47233/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The table below shows the distribution of CAP pillar 1 payments (basic payment scheme and greening) made for the year 2018 to date to farmers in Ireland, sorted by area farmed. Farmers may also benefit from schemes under CAP pillar 2, many of which are not area-related. More details of payments to farmers are available in the CAP beneficiaries database which can be found on the DAFM website at

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/agri-foodindustry/euinternationalpolicy/commonagriculturalpolicycap/capbeneficiariesdatabase/

Area (ha)

No. of Farmers

Total

Up to 20

49,214

€159,093,015

21-40

39,273

€296,415,952

41-60

18,233

€243,602,178

61-80

8,134

€160,635,763

>81

8,719

€314,166,104

Total

123,573

€1,173,913,012

Young Farmers Scheme

Ceisteanna (481)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

481. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the case of persons (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47290/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a successful application to my Department under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2015 as the eligible young farmer on the joint herd number shown. Payment under the Young Farmers Scheme is made for a maximum of five years and is determined by the date of commencement of agricultural activity of the young farmer. In the case where a young farmer has already been carrying out an agricultural activity, either individually or as part of a group, this period of agricultural activity is included in the calculation of the five year period.

In 2018, a review of the Young Farmers Scheme application under the herd number shown identified that the person named had commenced agricultural activity under a separate herd number in 2011 and had been the sole name on this herd number until May 2013. The person named was therefore not eligible to receive payment under the Young Farmers Scheme in 2017 and subsequent years. The person named was notified in writing of the outcome of the review and the proposed recoupment of Young Farmers Scheme monies paid in respect of 2017. He was also given the option to appeal this decision. An appeal from the person named has now been received and will be fully considered on the basis of the information provided. The outcome of the appeal will be notified in writing to the person named as soon as possible when completed.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (482)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

482. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason farm payments ceased in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47403/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A 2019 Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC) Scheme application was submitted by the person named on 8 April 2019 declaring a total of 30.20 hectares in respect of the 30.20 entitlements held. This application was processed and the advance payments under both BPS and ANC issued in mid-October.

Subsequently, an issue arose with one of the commonage parcels declared where, following a field visit, the eligible area has been reduced. This will result in an overpayment. An official from my Department has been in contact with the person named to clarify the position.

Veterinary Medicines

Ceisteanna (483)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

483. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a new regulation has been introduced that requires a prescription from a veterinary surgeon for dispensing of animal preventative remedies such as worm and fluke doses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47518/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The routes of sale, including the requirement for a prescription for the dispensing of animal preventative remedies such as worm and fluke doses, are governed by SI No. 786 of 2007 European Communities (Animal Remedies) (No. 2) Regulations 2007 and are determined by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA). There have been no recent changes to the current legislation.

However, new Regulations on Veterinary Medicinal Products (VMP) and medicated feed were adopted by the European Council on Nov 26 2018 and are due to come into effect from January 28 2022. The objectives of the new legislation are to provide for a modern, innovative and fit-for-purpose legal framework on VMPs, strengthen the EU action to fight antimicrobial resistance and ensure economically-viable production of safe medicated feed, as well as to foster innovation for further veterinary product development.

My Department is responsible for the transposition of the new Regulations into Irish Law and is currently developing a public consultation process to be undertaken in 2020 which will provide opportunities for submissions in a number of key areas.

Organic Farming Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (484)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

484. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of funding which was specifically earmarked for new entrants for the organic farming scheme in 2018, 2019 and planned for 2020; the number of new entrants availing of the scheme in 2019; the number of new entrants which were unsuccessful in attaining entry into the scheme; the main reason therefore; the appeals mechanism for unsuccessful applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47546/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Organic Farming Scheme is one of the most successful schemes under our current Rural Development Programme. A budget of €56m was allocated to fund the Scheme opened during the period 2014 to 2020 which was the largest allocation ever to an Organics support scheme.

The Scheme has more than achieved its targets in terms of new land converted and the maintenance of organic land. The area of land under organic production has expanded dramatically as a direct result of my Department's investment. Latest figures indicate that there are now some 72,000 hectares under organic production, an increase of nearly 50% on the position at the start of the Programme in 2014.

Indeed, the target for the RDP was to attract some 16,000 hectares of new land into production and to support 46,000 hectares of converted land. These targets have been more than exceeded

As a further vote of confidence in the organics sector by this Government, my colleague Minister Doyle established an Organics Strategy Group last year comprising relevant stakeholders and state bodies. Part of the remit of the Strategy Group was to consider the case for a possible re-opening of the Organic Farming Scheme. They recommended that it should be re-opened but on a targeted basis. The areas targeted were areas for which there is a clear market demand, and which are critical to the further development of the Organic Sector, namely horticulture, cereals and dairy. This recommendation acknowledged that the budget was very limited given the success of the current scheme and the overall spending within the RDP.

It is important to note that this is a targeted re-opening and that I would fully expect that there will be a new Organics scheme under the next CAP. I would encourage all stakeholders to make their views known on the shape of this future scheme as part of the wider CAP consultation process.

As regards the re-opening, the Scheme remained opened for applications up to the 19 December and a total of 225 applications were received. A total of 58 applications were either withdrawn or were deemed ineligible. Following the ranking and selection process, one applicant withdrew, 55 were successful and 111 farmers received letters informing them that they had been unsuccessful. All unsuccessful applicants were given a right of appeal to the Organic Unit of my Department. 34 appeals have been received to date.

Organic Farming Scheme Expenditure

Ceisteanna (485)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

485. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the organic farming scheme is fully funded at present; if the scheme has additional capacity for new entrants; if the scheme is not oversubscribed at present; the amount of funding set aside and not committed for new entrants in 2019 and 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47547/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Organic Farming Scheme is one of the most successful schemes under our current Rural Development Programme. A budget of €56m was allocated to fund the Scheme opened during the period 2014 to 2020 which was the largest allocation ever to an Organics support scheme.

The Scheme has more than achieved its targets in terms of new land converted and the maintenance of organic land. The area of land under organic production has expanded dramatically as a direct result of my Department's investment. Latest figures indicate that there are now some 72,000 hectares under organic production, an increase of nearly 50% on the position at the start of the Programme in 2014.

Indeed, the target for the RDP was to attract some 16,000 hectares of new land into production and to support 46,000 hectares of converted land. These targets have been more than exceeded

As a further vote of confidence in the organics sector by this Government, my colleague Minister Doyle established an Organics Strategy Group last year comprising relevant stakeholders and state bodies. Part of the remit of the Strategy Group was to consider the case for a possible re-opening of the Organic Farming Scheme. They recommended that it should be re-opened but on a targeted basis. The areas targeted were areas for which there is a clear market demand, and which are critical to the further development of the Organic Sector, namely horticulture, cereals and dairy. This recommendation acknowledged that the budget was very limited given the success of the current scheme and the overall spending within the RDP.

It is important to note that this is a targeted re-opening and that I would fully expect that there will be a new Organics scheme under the next CAP. I would encourage all stakeholders to make their views known on the shape of this future scheme as part of the wider CAP consultation process.

As regards the re-opening, the Scheme remained opened for applications up to the 19 December and a total of 225 applications were received. A total of 58 applications were either withdrawn or were deemed ineligible. Following the ranking and selection process, one applicant withdrew, 55 were successful and 111 farmers received letters informing them that they had been unsuccessful. All unsuccessful applicants were given a right of appeal to the Organic Unit of my Department. 34 appeals have been received to date.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (486)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

486. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) will receive the single farm payment and the area aid payment both of which were due for payment in September and October 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47556/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment /Areas of Natural Constraints Schemes application on 30th April 2019.

The application of the person named was selected for a Remote Sensing eligibility inspection. This inspection has now been finalised and the person named was notified of the outcome on 15th November 2019. Payments due under the Direct Payment Schemes will now be processed and will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named as soon as possible.

Wildlife Control

Ceisteanna (487)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

487. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status and work of the deer management forum; the measures being taken to contain the wild deer population in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47557/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Irish Deer Management Forum (IDMF) was established by my Department and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (DCHG) in 2015. The purpose of the Forum is to facilitate, through improved stakeholder cooperation, implementation of the actions laid out in the document ‘Deer Management in Ireland – A Framework for Action’.

The first term of the IDMF ran between March 2015 and March 2018, chaired by Ms. Judith Annett. During this term, it recommended new actions and coordinated activities of various stakeholders groups on the ground. It also established four working groups - Communications and Best Practice, TB in Deer, Data and Research, and Deer Conflict Areas. It also set up an IDMF website - www.deerforum.ie . - to make available best practice materials for deer management.

Whether in Tipperary or any other county, landowners are responsible for the management of deer on their own lands and may apply for licences from DCHG to control deer. Any issues related to deer conservation or the licensing to control deer should be directed to that Department. My Department and DCHG have provided funding in the past to Deer Management Groups to facilitate coordination between landowners and hunters.

Harbour Fees

Ceisteanna (488)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

488. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a review of harbour charges for fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47560/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department owns, manages and maintains the six State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl. The Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2012 (214 of 2012), which came into effect on the 1st July 2012, sets out the fee schedule for the use of the facilities at each of the six Fishery Harbour Centres.

An internal review of the 2012 order is now at an advanced stage and, on completion, it is intended to undertake a public consultation process prior to the introduction of an updated Rates and Charges Order.

Afforestation Programme

Ceisteanna (489)

James Browne

Ceist:

489. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding financial assistance to small businesses that plan to plant 250 trees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47562/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Under the Afforestation Scheme, private land-owners, including small businesses, may avail of establishment grants which cover 100% of the cost of establishing woodlands as well as annual premium payments each year for up to 15 years. The smallest size that may be funded under the scheme is 0.1 ha for broadleaves, which equals around 330 trees.

My Department also has a new Woodland Environmental Fund (WEF) which provides a shared platform within which the business community can join with Government and landowners to plant native trees. Under this initiative, businesses can be associated with individual native woodlands and use the environmental benefits linked to these forests to communicate their contribution to reducing the carbon footprint of their business and to restoring local biodiversity.

The WEF ties in with the Department's existing afforestation scheme and involves an additional once-off top-up payment per hectare of €1,000 financed by the business to the landowner. The average area of a native woodlands is in the region of 4-5 hectares representing over 13,000 individual trees.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund

Ceisteanna (490)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

490. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if similar supports being provided to young farmers will be provided to young fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47584/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department's €240 million European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) Operational Programme 2014-20 is the vehicle for financial supports to the seafood sector up to 2021 and is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Union. The Programme delivers a wide range of supports for fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing through a suite of 18 schemes.

There are specific and separate EU regulations covering development funding for the agriculture sector and the seafood sector and these are quite different. The EMFF Regulation (508/2014) does not have any specific provision to allow a higher rate of support for young fishermen or any young person in the seafood sector.

However, there are some special supports for young fishermen and new entrants. The EMFF New Fishermen Scheme provides grants to encourage fishermen under the age of 40 to establish themselves in the fishing industry by aiding the acquisition cost of their first fishing vessel. The Scheme aids up to 25% of the acquisition costs of the vessel or €75,000, whichever is the lesser. Separately, new entrants to the aquaculture sector can avail of an additional 10% support (50% total) compared to the usual 40% support rate for other operators under the Sustainable Aquaculture Scheme, which supports capital investment in aquaculture sites.

More generally, most fishing vessels in the Irish fleet fall under the definition of Small Scale coastal Fisheries vessels, and can avail of very generous grants of 70% for capital investments on board and 80% for other investments, such as value adding investments ashore, lobster v-notching etc.

Teagasc Funding

Ceisteanna (491)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Ceist:

491. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the allocation of Exchequer and EU funding for Teagasc farm walks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47594/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department provides Teagasc with an annual block Grant in Aid subvention to support its activities in providing research, training and advisory services to the agriculture and food sectors. The indicative allocation for 2020 is €136.7m. Teagasc also earn approximately €50m per annum in own resource income.

The amount of funding it allocates to specific programmes and activities is an operational matter for Teagasc. Accordingly, I have requested Teagasc to provide the information requested directly to the Deputy.