Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (289)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

289. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of payments made to date to farmers in County Cavan under the ANC, single farm payment and BEEP; his plans to issue outstanding payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52443/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information below shows the number of applicants paid and the amount paid to date to farmers in County Cavan under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme, the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, and the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP).

Scheme

Number of Applications Paid

Amount Paid

BPS

4,652

€34,034,033

ANC

4,457

€10,431,438

BEEP

803

€672,280

Regular payment runs are in place to ensure that, as additional cases become eligible for payment, payment issues to the applicants as soon as possible. I would urge any farmers who have outstanding queries from the Department to respond as soon as possible in order to facilitate payment.

Agriculture Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (290)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

290. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of payments made to date to farmers in County Monaghan under the ANC, single farm payment and BEEP; his plans to issue outstanding payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52444/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information below shows the number of applicants paid and the amount paid to date to farmers in County Monaghan under the 2019 Basic Payment Scheme, the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme, and the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP).

Scheme

Number of Applications Paid

Amount Paid

BPS

3,901

€26,395,031

ANC

3,666

€7,772,498

BEEP

541

€425,040

Regular payment runs are in place to ensure that, as additional cases become eligible for payment, payment issues to the applicants as soon as possible. I would urge any farmers who have outstanding queries from the Department to respond as soon as possible in order to facilitate payment.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (291)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

291. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when payments will issue under BEAM; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52445/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The objective of the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) is to 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. Applications for BEAM were accepted from 19th August to 20th September 2019.

Payments under the scheme are scheduled to start this week.

Felling Licences Applications

Ceisteanna (292)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

292. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the timeframe to approve and issue forestry thinning licences in view of the concern of some applicants regarding long delays in finalising such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52447/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I accept that delays in issuing tree felling licences, whether for thinning or clear fell, is impacting forestry companies in terms of harvesting operations and sawmills in terms of a supply of raw material. I acknowledge that changes made to internal Appropriate Assessment Procedures (AAP) has resulted in delays to many files, which is beyond my Department’s control.

Officials are obliged to implement changes to AAP that were required following important Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) decisions and their subsequent interpretation by the Forestry Appeals Committee (FAC) and others. These changes have been implemented, but it will take time to work through the backlog created, while new procedures were developed.

All forestry licences issued by the Department undergo a legal consent process. Since 2017, all forestry licence applications received have been subject to a statutory public notification system and are subject to a statutory appeal system operated by the FAC.

Most appeals have been in connection with our Appropriate Assessment (AA) procedures. The Habitats Directive (Article 6.3) requires that where a plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a Natura site, either individually or in-combination with other plans or projects, it must undergo an appropriate assessment of its implications for that Natura site.

AA procedures have been amended to introduce a robust and workable system which will address the issues now faced. Introducing this system involved the recruitment of additional ecological expertise and changes in procedures for the forestry inspectorate. Interviews are taking place for additional ecologists under a recently advertised competition and I expect the successful candidates will be deployed early in the new year. Forestry district inspectors have undergone training and are continuing to receive support in delivering the new procedures. A categorisation of files affected by these requirements is underway in order to best assess further action needed and by whom. Officials of my Department have met bilaterally with forestry companies, to examine the applications on hand and to assess their backlogs with a view to moving applications forward.

The Deputy should be aware that, notwithstanding the above, my Department has issued over 3,900 tree felling licences so far this year.

Basic Payment Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (293)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

293. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the legislative process required at EU level for the 3,000 forgotten farmers in order to be eligible for inclusion in the national reserve further to correspondence from him (details supplied); and if it is technically possible for member states to make this change under the current CAP regulations or as proposed by the new CAP proposals and accompanying strategic plans as published by the EU Commission in June 2018. [52461/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

EU Regulation 1307/2013 governs the operation of the Basic Payment Scheme National Reserve. This regulation provides that the two categories of ‘young farmer’ and ‘new entrant to farming’ must receive priority access to the Reserve. In the context of the commitment in the Programme for a Partnership Government, Ireland consulted with the EU Commission regarding the possibility of including the group commonly referred to as Forgotten Farmers under the ‘specific disadvantage’ category of the 2017 National Reserve, which had been established using funding derived from a linear cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements. The EU Commission confirmed at the time that Member States could not use the proceeds of a linear cut to fund a specific disadvantage category of the National Reserve.

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

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

The option of a linear cut to fund the National Reserve involves a cut to the value of all farmers’ payment entitlements in order to provide for the reallocation of such funds to National Reserve beneficiaries.

Proposals regarding new regulatory arrangements for CAP post-2020 are still subject to ongoing negotiations. In this regard, the position in relation to the National Reserve post-2020 cannot be confirmed until such time as the regulatory provisions for CAP post-2020 are agreed and in place.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (294)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

294. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the 2019 national reserve and young farmers scheme by county in tabular form; the number of approved and not approved applications, respectively; the number of applications not approved that were appealed; the number of advance and balancing payments that have issued to date; and the value by county. [52462/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The number of applications received under the 2019 National Reserve and the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme, by county, is set out in the following table:

2019 National Reserve applications

2019 Young Farmers Scheme applications

County

CARLOW

12

127

CAVAN

41

421

CLARE

43

424

CORK

103

1,183

DONEGAL

51

386

DUBLIN

2

44

GALWAY

96

918

KERRY

62

540

KILDARE

8

144

KILKENNY

22

346

LAOIS

14

304

LEITRIM

18

249

LIMERICK

58

418

LONGFORD

18

176

LOUTH

2

98

MAYO

74

842

MEATH

31

300

MONAGHAN

32

259

OFFALY

20

295

ROSCOMMON

33

389

SLIGO

38

250

TIPPERARY

48

579

WATERFORD

10

256

WESTMEATH

15

213

WEXFORD

31

389

WICKLOW

9

159

In addition to the figures in the table above, there are a small number of applications to the 2019 National Reserve and the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme which were submitted under temporary reference numbers (where an application for a herd number has been made but not finalised). Therefore, the figures in the table above may be subject to change.

To-date, 85% of 2019 National Reserve applications and over 94% of 2019 Young Farmers Scheme applications have been finalised. The applications that remain outstanding are cases where the Department is working with individual applicants where outstanding information is required to finally process the application or where the necessary administrative and on-farm checks are required to be completed.

To-date, just over 500 applications to the 2019 National Reserve have been approved, while some 250 have been unsuccessful or withdrawn. With regard to the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme, to-date some 8,250 applications have been successful while some 950 have been unsuccessful or withdrawn.

So far, the number of unsuccessful applicants under the 2019 National Reserve to submit an appeal is 48, while the number of unsuccessful applicants under the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme to submit an appeal is 95.

There is no advance payment made under the National Reserve or the Young Farmers Scheme. Payments in full under both schemes commence in early December to coincide with payment of Basic Payment Scheme balancing payment. The total value of payments to-date to successful applicants under the 2019 National Reserve and the 2019 Young Farmers Scheme, by county, are set out in the following table:

County

2019 National Reserve payments

2019 Young Farmers Scheme payments

CARLOW

€39,226.21

€222,243.22

CAVAN

€119,168.27

€714,080.35

CLARE

€82,051.32

€763,110.31

CORK

€206,033.89

€2,279,458.88

DONEGAL

€167,290.03

€717,554.14

DUBLIN

€5,371.69

€74,507.62

GALWAY

€211,673.21

€1,600,971.19

KERRY

€171,635.28

€1,037,740.67

KILDARE

€8,008.76

€282,580.85

KILKENNY

€26,264.04

€677,481.96

LAOIS

€46,859.77

€585,067.48

LEITRIM

€68,161.34

€410,458.73

LIMERICK

€95,778.42

€807,404.23

LONGFORD

€54,572.08

€265,485.85

LOUTH

€18,081.68

€183,575.52

MAYO

€182,060.80

€1,216,460.74

MEATH

€72,065.35

€514,498.64

MONAGHAN

€66,399.93

€367,506.12

OFFALY

€48,684.19

€565,074.10

ROSCOMMON

€102,765.50

€656,500.59

SLIGO

€77,449.50

€387,634.94

TIPPERARY

€79,543.86

€1,119,467.61

WATERFORD

€10,983.62

€508,284.17

WESTMEATH

€73,617.13

€385,243.79

WEXFORD

€37,747.10

€784,232.07

WICKLOW

€24,267.13

€300,241.17

Agri-Environment Options Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (295)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

295. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of farmers enrolled in the AEOS scheme whose contracts ceased on 31 December 2018, by county in tabular form; if he will consider permitting such farmers to apply to join GLAS; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52463/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Participants in both REPS and AEOS were eligible to transfer to the GLAS scheme under Section 7.4 of the Terms and Conditions of all three GLAS tranches, which stated:

All participants currently in the Agri-environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) may apply to join GLAS... AEOS and REPS participants must exit their existing contracts before a new GLAS contract can commence.”

Information meetings were held at the launch of GLAS in 2015 and attendees were informed of details of the scheme including the option to transfer to GLAS. Information on the option to move from AEOS to GLAS was also provided at various forums including by Department staff at the Ploughing Championships each year after GLAS was launched.

Agri-environment policy is included in the CAP reform negotiations currently under way and any future schemes will be dependent on the outcome of these negotiations.

The table below shows the number of AEOS contracts that ceased on 31 December 2018 by county:

COUNTY

AEOS contracts with end date of 31 December 2018

Carlow

8

Cavan

74

Clare

118

Cork

85

Donegal

294

Dublin

3

Galway

351

Kerry

164

Kildare

5

Kilkenny

19

Laois

18

Leitrim

150

Limerick

52

Longford

18

Louth

12

Mayo

340

Meath

23

Monaghan

45

Offaly

21

Roscommon

129

Sligo

88

Tipperary

33

Waterford

15

Westmeath

29

Wexford

10

Wicklow

13

Total

2,117

GLAS Payments

Ceisteanna (296)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

296. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons in receipt of GLAS 1, 2 and 3 who received the 85% advance payment of their 2019 payments by county, in tabular form; the number of persons who have passed the payment approval checks and are awaiting their 85% portion of their 2019 payments; the number of GLAS recipients that have yet to receive this portion of payment by county; if the same information for 2019 balancing payments will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52464/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

To date, 43,051 GLAS participants have received their 2019 advance payment. In addition, GLAS Plus payments have also been paid to 1,617 GLAS farmers. This amounts to over €152m paid since 2019 payments commenced on 4 November 2019 and equates to 93% of eligible cases paid.

My Department is working closely with GLAS farmers and their advisors to ensure that payments issue to compliant farmers as quickly as possible. I would encourage any GLAS applicants who have been contacted by the Department with queries in relation to their applications or have outstanding documentation, such as Low Emission Slurry spreading and Rare Breeds forms, to ensure these issues are resolved without delay so that payments can be processed. GLAS payments will continue to issue on a weekly basis.

In accordance with the EU regulatory requirements, GLAS balancing payments can only commence when the Member State has verified that all on-farm inspections required have been carried out. It is currently anticipated that GLAS balancing payments at the rate of 15% will commence before the end of May 2020.

GLAS payments will continue to issue on a weekly basis.

Advance payments for 2018 to date are as follows:

GLAS 1

County

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Carlow

268

205

€760,333.57

Cavan

894

823

€2,970,310.20

Clare

1,592

1,446

€5,153,826.15

Cork

2,092

1,868

€6,360,972.77

Donegal

1,902

1,693

€5,567,928.16

Dublin

53

46

€164,856.15

Galway

3,012

2,536

€8,990,970.36

Kerry

1,745

1,589

€5,589,212.20

Kildare

232

190

€697,027.12

Kilkenny

416

359

€1,306,821.98

Laois

362

296

€1,059,128.09

Leitrim

1,009

923

€3,311,006.06

Limerick

1,026

932

€3,344,121.51

Longford

508

434

€1,544,290.38

Louth

144

103

€369,958.71

Mayo

2,511

2,142

€7,514,033.59

Meath

415

355

€1,269,425.94

Monaghan

568

501

€1,623,119.68

Offaly

468

412

€1,452,589.96

Roscommon

1,498

1,355

€4,881,174.32

Sligo

918

831

€2,896,239.13

Tipperary

1,100

1,004

€3,657,754.78

Waterford

349

317

€1,118,557.15

Westmeath

632

578

€2,095,661.85

Wexford

737

622

€2,307,176.70

Wicklow

322

281

€1,064,005.07

TOTAL

24,773

21,841

€77,070,501.58

GLAS 2

County

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Carlow

121

109

€385,990.29

Cavan

422

400

€1,433,514.41

Clare

679

628

€2,291,825.74

Cork

972

868

€3,033,710.98

Donegal

974

885

€2,864,050.05

Dublin

17

15

€56,496.79

Galway

1,262

1,063

€3,642,000.25

Kerry

858

776

€2,782,634.19

Kildare

74

60

€208,118.35

Kilkenny

202

178

€665,424.65

Laois

186

165

€576,446.72

Leitrim

413

371

€1,333,479.15

Limerick

292

277

€987,646.24

Longford

333

288

€1,047,713.33

Louth

76

57

€197,857.96

Mayo

1,300

1,106

€3,738,964.25

Meath

193

167

€597,958.19

Monaghan

142

129

€437,926.30

Offaly

272

257

€967,941.67

Roscommon

535

497

€1,767,719.63

Sligo

355

319

€1,089,249.80

Tipperary

488

447

€1,635,479.76

Waterford

123

106

€378,973.93

Westmeath

257

229

€828,608.11

Wexford

253

212

€787,963.53

Wicklow

149

133

€514,816.47

TOTAL

10,948

9,742

€34,252,510.74

GLAS 3

County

Cases

Advance

Advance Amt

Carlow

122

102

€368,228.11

Cavan

526

491

€1,734,573.54

Clare

785

734

€2,567,271.00

Cork

905

788

€2,650,454.60

Donegal

1,387

1,275

€3,908,306.38

Dublin

18

16

€53,236.28

Galway

1,550

1,356

€4,672,696.56

Kerry

745

670

€2,303,617.20

Kildare

108

91

€339,085.14

Kilkenny

183

154

€573,431.66

Laois

221

199

€721,844.33

Leitrim

518

471

€1,631,309.35

Limerick

396

363

€1,278,911.47

Longford

323

276

€995,369.06

Louth

91

53

€184,399.15

Mayo

1,628

1,386

€4,626,001.96

Meath

241

209

€746,003.25

Monaghan

325

290

€972,349.65

Offaly

279

261

€965,539.03

Roscommon

701

632

€2,229,079.84

Sligo

483

441

€1,538,056.87

Tipperary

481

432

€1,586,020.91

Waterford

115

99

€352,043.53

Westmeath

270

251

€924,883.71

Wexford

302

253

€947,865.04

Wicklow

195

175

€658,918.11

TOTAL

12,898

11,468

€39,529,495.73

Basic Payment Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (297)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

297. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the 2019 basic payment scheme by county in tabular form; the number of approved and not approved applications, respectively; the number of applications not approved that were appealed; the number of 2019 advance and balancing payments to the 2019 basic payment scheme that have issued to date; and the value by county. [52465/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (298)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

298. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the 2019 ANC scheme by county in tabular form; the number of approved and not approved applications, respectively; the number of applications not approved that were appealed; the number of 2019 advance and balancing payments to the 2019 ANC scheme that have issued to date; and the value by county. [52466/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The information requested is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Brexit Data

Ceisteanna (299)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

299. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the BEAM scheme by county in tabular form; the number of approved and not approved applications, respectively; the number of applications not approved that were appealed; the number payments under the BEAM scheme that have issued to date; and the value by county. [52467/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

Payments under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) are currently being processed and any data provided to the Deputy at this stage will be incomplete.

I will arrange for the information requested to be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (300)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

300. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a payment under the basic payment scheme and ANC for a person (details supplied); the reason farmers are still waiting on farm payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52468/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

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

The application of the person named was selected for a Ground Eligibility inspection. The outcome of this inspection has been finalised. The person named has been notified of the outcome of the inspection by letter dated 11th December 2019 and officials in my Department have also been in contact with him by phone.

Processing of any payments due, under both the Basic Payment Scheme and the Area of Natural Constraints scheme, will now be finalised and will issue to the nominated bank account of the person named shortly.

Environmental Policy

Ceisteanna (301)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

301. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to revise the corporate governance framework in view of the fact the current framework does not explicitly commit his Department to engagement with environmental interests and stakeholders in comparison with extensive provision for economic interests and other internal and external stakeholders; his views on whether environmental sustainability requires the inclusion and participation of environmental interests at each stage of the policy process; and his plans to ensure environmental interests and appropriate environmental expertise will be reflected in each policy process, board, conference and working group that falls under his remit. [52478/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department regularly engages with the Environmental Pillar on all aspects of policy and the Deputy should be aware that the Pillar have been invited to be represented on the new Stakeholder Committee to develop Ireland’s Agri-Food Strategy to 2030.

My Department’s Corporate Governance Framework reiterates the Department’s mission, which is to “lead, develop and regulate the sustainable development of the agri-food, forestry and marine sectors, to optimise their contribution to national economic and social development and to the natural environment and to the protection of public health”. The Framework also sets out our commitment to “effective public consultation processes and comprehensive engagement with domestic and international stakeholders”.

I am satisfied that the document, which was reviewed in September of this year, reflects the importance of environmental considerations and provides for an appropriate consultative approach.

Broadband Service Provision

Ceisteanna (302)

Paul Murphy

Ceist:

302. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of individual homes in each of the four Dublin local authority areas that do not have access to fibre broadband. [52182/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location. This is being achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

The NBP State Intervention contract is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

As required by the State Aid Guidelines for Broadband, the NBP procurement process adopted a technology neutral approach. It did not mandate the delivery of service by any specific material or infrastructure. However, it is noteworthy that all bidders in the process proposed a predominantly fibre to the home solution.

The Deputy's Question relates to premises which are located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

The attached table below shows the breakdown of the 12,145 premises across the four Dublin local authority areas, which do not have access to high speed broadband, based on my Department's premises database from Q3 2019. Please note that the Department holds data in county and constituency format, rather than by local authority area.

LOCAL AUTHORITY

CONSTITUENCY

NUMBER OF PREMISES IN AMBER AREA

Dublin City Council & Fingal County Council

Dublin Bay North

425

Dublin City Council

Dublin Bay South

24

Dublin City Council

Dublin Central

401

Fingal County Council

Dublin Fingal

6,050

South Dublin County Council

Dublin Mid-West

1,490

Dublin City Council & Fingal County Council

Dublin North-West

273

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council

Dublin Rathdown

735

South Dublin County Council & Dublin City Council

Dublin South-Central

284

South Dublin County Council

Dublin South-West

665

Fingal County Council

Dublin West

1,121

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown County Council

Dún Laoghaire

677

12145

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (303)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

303. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the capital allocation of his Department in each of the years 2020 to 2025; and the areas to which funds will be allocated in each year. [52206/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

Multi annual capital allocations are agreed and published on a rolling three years basis. Annual capital expenditure ceilings for my Department for the three-year period 2020-2022 were published in the Budget 2020 Expenditure Report and are set out in the table below:

Year

€m

2020

371

2021

517

2022

611

Detailed programme allocations for each of these years will be agreed as part of the annual Estimates process and published in the Revised Estimates Volume, subsequent to each Budget Day.

During this period, my Department will oversee significant capital investment amounting to some €1.5 billion and will continue to progress capital investment programmes in areas of strategic national importance, encompassing climate action, energy efficiency, communications, environment, waste management and natural resources.

In the Communications area, the rollout of the National Broadband Plan will ensure that the opportunities presented by the digital transformation are available to every home and business in the country. There will be continued support for digital entrepreneurship and digital adoption among businesses and citizens.

Increased investment in the Energy area will deliver significant energy savings and reductions in CO2 emissions in the transition to a low carbon economy and society, in line with the all of Government Climate Action Plan. Key funding priorities include energy efficiency upgrades in the residential, commercial and public sectors, the rollout of the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat, continued incentivisation of electric vehicles, as well as funding for energy research to accelerate the diversification away from fossil fuels to green energy.

In the Environment area, my Department will continue to provide grant funding for the EPA to ensure it can deliver on its mandate, funding to Local Authorities in relation to the remediation of landfill sites, as well as supports for the transition to a circular and resource efficient economy. Ongoing investment in the INFOMAR and Tellus mapping projects will underpin the sustainable development of Ireland’s natural resources.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (304)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

304. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the areas in counties Cavan and Monaghan that will benefit from the extension of broadband infrastructure in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52370/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools, where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

Following the contract signing on 19 November, work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

The planned rollout will provide access to high speed broadband to 16,200 premises and 15,125 premises located in the Intervention Area in Cavan and Monaghan, respectively, through a combined investment of approximately €125m over 25 years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, including counties Cavan and Monaghan, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. 11 BCPs are planned for deployment in Cavan and 12 for Monaghan. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

All BCPs will have a free public Wi-Fi connection, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised. The 23 BCPs planned for deployment in Cavan-Monaghan are:

Cavan

- Bunnoe Community Centre, Bunnoe, Lisboduff, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, H16P031

- Castlerahan Hall, Cormeen, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, A82NP99

- Cornafean Community Centre, Corr, Cornafean, Co. Cavan, H12X8X0

- Drumavaddy Community Centre, Drumavaddy, Carrickaboy, Co. Cavan, H12YF88

- Killenkere GAA Club, Killenkere Leisure Centre, Beagh, Virginia, Co. Cavan, A82H9F6

- Knocknalosset Orange Order Hall, Knocknalosset, Canningstown, Co. Cavan, H16XY10

- Maudabawn Cultural Centre, Maudabawn, Cootehill, Co. Cavan, H16FH33

- Mullahoran Community Centre, Grousehall, Loughduff, Co. Cavan, H12AF43

- Saint Patrick’s Community Centre, Mully Upper, Glangevlin, Co. Cavan, N41Y661

- Scouting Ireland, Castle Saunderson International Scouting Centre, Castlesaunderson, Belturbet, Co. Cavan, H14X650

- Templeport Community Centre, Cloneary, Bawnboy, Co. Cavan, H14YX29

Monaghan

- Ballybay Development Association, Clones Road, Derryvalley, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, A75HF78

- Carn Resource Centre, Carn, Smithborough, Co. Monaghan, H18YW40

- Tanagh Outdoor Education & Training Centre, Dartrey, Cootehill, Co. Monaghan, H16HC83

- Corcaghan Community Centre, Corcaghan, Stranooden, Co. Monaghan, H18PK31

- Corduff Gaels G.F.C., Corduff, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, A81KA61

- Drum School, Cortober, Drum, Co. Monaghan, H16AK79

- Drumgossatt National School, Drumgossatt, Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan, A81X827

- Drumhawan Community Centre, Drumhawan, Tullynahinnera, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, A75YV81

- Latton Resource Centre, Latton, Co. Monaghan, A75E771

- Mullyash Community Centre, Camaghty, Mullyash, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan, A75W923

- Saint Alphonsus Community Hall, Clontask, Drummully, Clones, Co. Monaghan, H23XV08

- Tullycorbet Parish Hall, Patrician Hall, Corvoy, Ballybay, Co. Monaghan, A75YW53

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (305)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

305. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the number of credit cards issued to Ministers and officials working in his Department; the amount spent on credit cards in each year since 2016; the bank interest paid on credit cards in each year since 2016; the controls in place to monitor the issuing of and the expenditure on the cards; the controls in place in each agency to monitor expenditure on personally held credit card bills that are subsequently used to recoup work-related expenses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52397/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

There are three official credit cards in my Department at present. One is held by my Private Secretary and two held by Departmental officials working in the Finance and Accounts area.

The card held by my private secretary is used to facilitate expenditure associated with official Ministerial duties, particularly when travelling abroad, where the use of a credit card is necessary. Every Ministerial credit card bill is checked, certified and signed off for payment at Principal Officer Level.

The two Departmental corporate credit cards, which were introduced in 2018, facilitate the purchase of goods and services items where cards are the only accepted payment method. Staff must complete an application form, signed off by a Division budget approver for each credit card purchase.

Details of expenditure on credit cards, and associated interest paid for each of the years from 2016 to date, is set out in the table below:

Year

Ministerial CardsExpenditure €

Corporate CardsExpenditure €

Interest €

2016

10,729

0

15

2017

11,783

0

10

2018*

13,758

39,463

209

2019 (To Date)

2,307

59,416

1

* The increase in spend arises from the introduction of the two additional credit cards in 2018.

The information requested in relation to the agencies under the aegis of my Department is an operational matter for each agency. The Department will request the relevant bodies to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested in respect of their organisations.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Ceisteanna (306)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

306. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when broadband will be provided to the greater Ballinagore area, County Westmeath (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52472/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The National Broadband Plan (NBP) is the Government’s plan to rollout high speed broadband to the 1.1 million people living and working in the nearly 540,000 premises including almost 100,000 businesses and farms, along with 695 schools where commercial operators will not commit to deliver the service.

The Deputy's Question relates to a premises which is located in the AMBER area on the NBP High Speed Broadband Map, which is available on my Department's website at www.broadband.gov.ie. The AMBER area represents the area to be served by the network to be deployed under the NBP State led Intervention, the contract for which was signed on 19 November with National Broadband Ireland (NBI).

Work has already begun and a deployment plan will be made available by NBI shortly. All counties will see premises passed in the first 2 years and over 90% of premises in the State will have access to high speed broadband within the next four years.

Approximately 300 Broadband Connections Points (BCPs), including schools, library hubs and local sports halls in every county in Ireland, will be connected to high speed broadband during 2020, to enable communities to quickly get free public access to high speed broadband. The BCP locations are available to view on the High Speed Broadband Map on the Department’s website www.dccae.gov.ie.

The BCPs have been specifically selected by the local authorities so that they can provide public Wi-Fi and other facilities to support mini digital/enterprise hubs to the local community in advance of the main NBP deployment. Broadband Officers in each Local Authority were tasked with consulting with local communities and business to find the appropriate mix of locations to reap the maximum benefits.

All BCPs will have a free public Wi-Fi connection, some will also have hot-desks, and some will be digital hub business centres where digital training, business information events and other SME supports are organised. 12 BCPs are planned for deployment in Westmeath and they are:

- Ballycomoyle GAA Club, Robinstown, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, N91VY92

- Castledaly Community Centre, Kilcleagh, Castledaly, Co. Westmeath, N37YF54

- Clonkill Hurling Club, Clonkill, Monilea, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91HX78

- Dalystown National School, Dalystown, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91W207

- Milltown Emper Community Centre, Sean Doolin Park, Milltown, Rathconrath, Co. Westmeath, N91VA06

- Moyvoughly Community Centre, Moyvoughly, Co. Westmeath, N37FW50

- Rahugh National School, Rahugh, Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath, N91XF20

- Saint Michael’s National School, Castletown Lower, Finea, Co. Westmeath, N91FN29

- Scoil Bhríde, Emper, Ballynacargy, Co. Westmeath, N91PP71

- Streete Parish Park & Community Centre, Kilmore, Streete, Co. Westmeath, N91RC43

- The Downs National School, Greatdown, The Downs, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, N91T229

- Whitehall Community Centre, Whitehall, Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath, N91T85V

By the end of 2021, NBI plans to pass approximately 115,000 premises, with 70,000 - 100,000 passed each year thereafter until rollout is completed. NBI has indicated that the network rollout will take an estimated 7 years from the beginning of deployment.

With regard to the fibre installation close to the premises referred to by the Deputy, eir’s rural deployment of high speed broadband is a commercial undertaking and not part of the planned State Intervention network. It is not funded by the State and is not planned, designed or directed by the Department in any capacity. The decision as to what areas and premises are served was made by eir internally and on a commercial basis. The Department has no statutory authority to intervene in that process.

EU Directives

Ceisteanna (307)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

307. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the official or group in his Department responsible for calculating and reporting the obligations of Ireland under the land use, land use change and forestry, LULUCF, regulation, that is, EU Regulation 2018/841; if Ireland will be a net emitter over the period the regulation covers; and the implications of this information for the obligations of Ireland under the effort-sharing regulation and targets for 2030 if the LULUCF flexibilities cannot be used. [52477/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The State’s obligations to report greenhouse gas emissions and greenhouse gas removals in the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector are set out under Regulation 525/2013, while accounting obligations are set out in Directive 529/2013 up to 2020 and Regulation 2018/841 (“the LULUCF Regulation”) for the period 2021-2030. These relate to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the associated Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepares inventories of past, and projections of future, greenhouse gas emissions for Ireland on an annual basis and also reports on Ireland's compliance with its EU climate targets. According to Ireland’s National Inventory Report 2019, Ireland’s LULUCF sector was a net source of emissions in the period 1990-2017. This is largely due to grasslands and wetlands, which are major sources of emissions due to drainage of organic soils. Forest Land and Harvested Wood Products are the main carbon sinks in the LULUCF sector.

The EPA does not publish LULUCF emissions projections in its annual projections report as these sources are not currently in the scope of Ireland’s non-ETS targets for 2020 under the EU Effort Sharing Decision. However, from 2021 onwards these emissions will be integrated into the EU framework for compliance with national emissions targets. It is, therefore, essential that Ireland has robust policies in place to manage emissions and enhance removals from relevant LULUCF sectoral categories.

The Climate Action Plan, published in June, includes 34 individual actions to facilitate the development and implementation of policies to manage emissions and enhance removals from the Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use sectors. These include:

- increasing afforestation rates from their current levels to an average of 8,000 ha per year;

- undertaking further research to assess the potential to sequester, store and reduce emissions of carbon through the management, restoration and rehabilitation of peatlands;

- realising the emissions reduction potential of at least 40,000 ha of grasslands on drained organic soils; and

- creating additional incentives to adopt carbon-positive, post-production management options on Bord na Móna lands, commercial and private peat extraction sites.

The Plan sets out for the first time how Ireland will reach its 2030 targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and put Ireland on the right trajectory towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Plan sets out, in Chapter 3, the expected emissions abatement contribution from existing commitments under Project Ireland 2040 and from LULUCF measures. The Plan includes the necessary targets and measures, supported by detailed actions and roadmaps, to close the identified remaining gap of 58.4 MtCO2eq in the non-ETS sector. The relevant table is reproduced below.

Carbon Budget

Compliance Gap

Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) Ceiling

378.3 Mt

-

Projected Emissions (Pre-NDP)

479.9 Mt

101.6 Mt

Contribution of Project Ireland 2040 NDP Measures

- 16.4 Mt

85.2 Mt

Contribution of LULUCF

- 26.8 Mt

58.4 Mt

Contribution of Climate Action Plan 2019

- 58.4 Mt

0 Mt

Renewable Energy Generation

Ceisteanna (308)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

308. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when he plans to require the Commission for Regulation of Utilities to facilitate private wires between renewable energy generators and energy consumers. [52480/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

The Electricity Regulation Act,1999, as amended, sets out the current legislative framework for Direct Lines. Specifically, Section 37 of the 1999 Act provides that the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU) may grant permission to construct a direct line not connected to the transmission system or distribution system but only where an application to connect and use the transmission or distribution system has been refused on the grounds of lack of capacity. Section 37 also provides for dispute resolution by the CRU if a direct line is refused grid connection.

Under Action 22 of the Climate Action Plan my Department is leading consideration to further the facilitation of private networks / direct lines. Working with the CRU, EirGrid and ESB Networks, detailed work will be undertaken in the new year to investigate the policy options for the further facilitation of private network/direct lines, with a view to bringing forward any legislative changes deemed necessary in the context of the transposition of the Clean Energy Package. The outcome of that work will lay the legislative foundation for any future changes to the regulatory framework and market rules around direct lines and private networks.