Basic Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (508)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

508. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied). [52761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment Scheme application on the 23rd April 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 has now been completed and the results have been processed to finalisation. Payments due under the Basic Payment Scheme will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (509)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

509. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied). [52764/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

A 2019 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraints Application was received in respect of the person named on 15 May 2019.

Processing of this application has recently been completed and payment has issued to the nominated bank account. 

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (510)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

510. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when farm payments will issue to persons (details supplied). [52773/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The persons named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraints Schemes application on the 11th 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 persons 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 persons named.

Basic Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (511)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

511. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when farm payments will issue to a person (details supplied). [52774/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment Scheme application on the 6th 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 has now been completed and the results have been processed to finalisation. Payment due under the Basic Payment Scheme will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (512)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

512. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when farm payments will issue to a person (details supplied). [52780/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment/Areas of Natural Constraints Schemes application on 17th April 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.

Basic Payment Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (513)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

513. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied). [52788/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment Scheme application 1st 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.

Aquaculture Licence Applications

Ceisteanna (514, 515, 528, 529)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

514. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an aquaculture licence will be granted if the applicant has been engaged in unauthorised aquaculture activities in the same area prior to the application being made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52794/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

515. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an aquaculture licence will be granted if the applicant has been engaged in unauthorised aquaculture activities in the same area after the application has been made but ceased unauthorised activities proper to a determination being made in respect of the application; the way in which this relates to section 11 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52795/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

528. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an aquaculture licence can be granted if the applicant has been engaged in unauthorised aquaculture activities in the same area prior to the application being made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52951/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

529. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if an aquaculture licence can be granted if the applicant has been engaged in unauthorised aquaculture activities in the same area after the application has been made but ceased unauthorised activities proper to a determination being made in respect of the application; the way in which this relates to section 4 of the Fisheries and Foreshore (Amendment) Act 1998 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52952/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 514, 515, 528 and 529 together.

Applications for aquaculture licences are considered by my Department in accordance with the applicable National and EU legislation. 

Section 4(1) of the Fisheries and Foreshore (amendment) Act 1998 states:-

4.—(1) On and from the 10th day of December, 1998, an application for an aquaculture licence shall not be accepted, or if accepted shall not be determined, if the applicant or any person on behalf of the applicant commences to engage in aquaculture at the place or waters to which the application relates before a licence is granted under the Act of 1997.

The applicability of any one Section of the legislation is determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the specific circumstances of each application as well as the rights and other obligations deriving from other elements of the legislation.

Decisions on licence applications are made following the fullest consideration of all scientific, technical and legislative aspects of each application.

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (516, 517, 518)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

516. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of appeals with the forestry appeals committee; the number with the committee more than two, four, six and 12 months, respectively; when decisions will be made in respect of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52807/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

517. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of staff in the forestry appeals committee; if there has been an increase in the workload in recent years; if there has been an increase in staffing to deal with the issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

518. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the new appeals procedure will be operational in order that applications for felling licences can be dealt with within a reasonable period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52809/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 516 to 518, inclusive, together.

The Forestry Act 2014, which was commenced in May 2017, amended the Agriculture Appeals Act, 2001, to allow appeals against decisions of my Department concerning licence applications for forestry felling, planting, forest roads and aerial fertilisation to be dealt with by a Forestry Appeals Committee. I subsequently established the Forestry Appeals Committee in February 2018. The Committee operates independently of my Department, although the remit of the Agriculture Appeals Office was extended in to provide all administrative and secretariat support for the Forestry Appeals Committee. Three additional administrative staff were recently assigned to the Agriculture Appeals Office to assist with the increased workload. Resource requirements are monitored on an on-going basis. The Committee membership includes eleven Appeals Officers from the Agriculture Appeals Office and an external Chairperson. The legislation provides that the Chairperson and any two ordinary members of the Committee may hear an appeal. The Committee commenced hearing appeals in March 2018.

The number of appeals to the Forestry Appeals Committee has risen from 35 in 2017 to just under 200 in 2018 and to 250 in the first 7 months of 2019. These appeals are almost exclusively from third parties. A decision on a license may be the subject of multiple appeals.

My Department deals with applications for felling licences independently of the appeals process for Forestry Appals Committee. Applications for licences are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Each application is considered regarding its effect on the surrounding countryside, environment and particularly for its likely impact on any sites designated for conservation proximate to the proposed forestry site, known as Appropriate Assessment Procedures (AAP). The majority of appeals are in respect of the AAP.

My Department endeavours to issue decisions on forestry licences within four months of receipt of a completed application for a licence, but this may not be possible due to the particulars of the site or the number of licence applications received at any time. Recent changes to AAP designed to take account of recent case law have given rise to delays in processing licence applications, while the new procedures are being put in place.

These 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 number of valid appeals currently with the FAC are set out below up to 10th December. It should be noted that there may be more than one appeal on a forestry licence decision.

-

2017

2018

2019

Total number of appeals notified by the FAC

35

197

405

Number of licences appealed

22

145

255

The number of appeals awaiting decision by the FAC for the timeframe requested are given below.

Year

0-2 months

3-4 months

5-6 months

6-12 months

Over 12 months

2017

0

0

0

0

2

2018

0

0

0

2

35

2019

146

13

24

38

0

Forestry Sector

Ceisteanna (519)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

519. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the grant aid available to landowners of forestry which is landlocked and which needs new road access in order to undergo thinning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52818/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The Forest Roads Scheme is a voluntary Scheme under the Forestry Programme 2014 – 2020 and is available to forest owners and provides opportunities to improve access to forests to facilitate forest management and the harvesting of timber. The rate payable is €45 per metre.

The objectives of the scheme are to:

- Stimulate the mobilisation of roundwood from forests and thereby contribute to employment and economic activity;

- Provide funding for the construction of forest roads and associated infrastructure such as bell-mouths, turn-tables, drains, culverts and bridges.

Applications for the Forest Roads Scheme must be made through a Registered Forester. Agreement of neighbouring land owners may be required, where there is a question of access, or right of way, but this is an issue for the applicant.  Applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the possible impact on the surrounding environment and applications are open to public consultation. 

Agriculture Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (520)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

520. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of payments for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named submitted a 2019 Basic Payment/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 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 has now been completed and the results have been processed to finalisation. Payments due under the Basic Payment Scheme and Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme have issued to the nominated bank account of the person named.

The person named was approved into the GLAS 3 scheme with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017 and received payment for scheme years 2017 and 2018. As the BPS inspection has now been finalised, the case will progress to further validation checks. Payment will be processed once all validation checks are completed successfully. GLAS payments continue on a weekly basis.

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.

An application was received from the person named on the 16th August 2019 and a scheme acceptance letter issued on the 11th October 2019, payments under the measure have recently being processed and payment has issued to the nominated bank account.

In relation to the Young Farmers Scheme, the application of the person named is currently being processed with the aim of issuing any payments due as soon as possible. In the event of any issues arising officials in my Department will be in contact with the person named.

TAMS Applications

Ceisteanna (521)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

521. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a matter regarding a TAMS grant in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52847/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The person named received approval on 24 July 2019 for a TAMS II application submitted under the Animal Welfare and Nutrient Storage Scheme.  The terms and conditions of the scheme state that invoices are inspected for eligibility when they are submitted as part of a claim for payment. 

To date, no payment claim or invoice has been received by my Department in respect of this application.  

Sheepmeat Sector

Ceisteanna (522)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

522. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason lamb prices are lagging behind those of international competitors (details supplied); the steps he will take to address the anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52855/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

As the Deputy will be aware, as Minister, I have no role in determining the prices for sheep meat or any other commodity, nor can I directly intervene in the determination of prices.

Different markets are not always comparable for a variety of reasons including economies of scale and domestic demand. The table below shows the average annual price for heavy lambs for Ireland, Spain and the UK for the last five years as reported by the EU Commission.

 €/100kg

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

IE

459.21

470.13

460.99

459.32

486.32

ES

547.50

500.21

502.64

539.82

537.08

UK

518.82

521.68

492.01

472.76

518.70

This data, which is available from 2004 to 2018, shows that the price differential between Ireland and that of Spain and the UK is a long-standing trend.

While I have no role in determining price, my Department does provide a range of supports to the sheep sector. I introduced the Sheep Welfare Scheme in December 2016 in order to provide support for sheep farmers in improving welfare standards in the national sheep flock. In addition to supports which are available for sheep farmers under the Rural Development Programme, including GLAS, ANCs and Knowledge Transfer Groups, sheep farmers also benefit from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening payments under CAP Pillar I.  I have also made available financial support to sheep farmers for compliance with new sheep EID rules.

Market access and market development is a key priority for my Department, and I was delighted to reach agreement with the Japanese authorities on sheepmeat access to Japan during my trade mission to that country in June.  An audit of sheepmeat plants was carried out by Chinese authorities in August 2019, and I hope to further progress access to that market in 2020.

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

Harbours and Piers Maintenance

Ceisteanna (523)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

523. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if funding will be provided in 2020 for the upgrade of the East Pier at Howth Harbour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52882/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

My Department owns, operates and maintains six designated State-owned Fishery Harbour Centres, located at Castletownbere, Dingle, Dunmore East, Howth, Killybegs and Ros An Mhíl under statute. In addition, my Department also has responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of North Harbour at Cape Clear, as well as the maintenance of a small number of specific piers, lights and beacons throughout Ireland, in accordance with the Marine Works (Ireland) Act 1902, and piers, lights and beacons constructed under the auspices of the Congested Districts Board.

I am happy to advise the Deputy that between the years 2010 to 2019 to date, as part of my Department’s Fishery Harbour and Coastal Infrastructure Development Programme, in excess of €11 million has been invested in maintenance, development and upgrading works at Howth FHC.

I have allocated €27m in exchequer funds to this Programme in 2020 and while no final decisions have been made on the full suite of projects to be undertaken under the 2020 capital programme at this stage, general safety and maintenance of the harbours is a non-discretionary element of my Department's annual work load and the East Pier in Howth will feature in these works as necessary. In addition in 2020, Departmental staff will undertake further studies and measurement-taking exercises to provide data which will further inform design solutions to address the problem of overtopping of the East Pier in Howth during storms and reduce the ensuing damage caused to the structure.

Aquaculture Regulation

Ceisteanna (524)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

524. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons his Department has written to regarding unauthorised aquaculture activities in Ballyness Bay, County Donegal since 2010; the dates of correspondence; and the name of the recipients if appropriate. [52932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

The specific information requested by the Deputy is not readily available and will require a detailed examination of my Department’s records. 

A full reply, to the extent appropriate, will issue to the Deputy by my Department as soon as possible.

Aquaculture Regulation

Ceisteanna (525, 526, 527)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

525. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps taken to ensure that all unauthorised aquaculture activities in Ballyness Bay, County Donegal ceased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52933/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

526. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps taken to ensure that infrastructure relating to unauthorised aquaculture activities in Ballyness Bay, County Donegal was removed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52934/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

527. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the date his Department was satisfied that all unauthorised aquaculture activities in Ballyness Bay, County Donegal were no longer taking place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52935/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 525 to 527, inclusive, together.

The activity of aquaculture on State foreshore requires an aquaculture licence and a foreshore licence in respect of the area occupied.

My Department is aware of previous unauthorised aquaculture activity in Ballyness Bay.  Following inspections by my Department’s Marine Engineering Division, contact was made with the relevant operators where identification was possible.  Following these actions by my Department, the unauthorised activity was discontinued.

However, I have requested my Department’s Marine Engineering Division to carry out an inspection of the Bay and to submit a report to the Aquaculture Licensing Division of my Department.