Answered on June 26, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of privately owned forests, by county, here.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications granted, by county, under the afforestation grant and premium scheme, each year since 2007 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications granted, by county, under the woodland reconstruction scheme, each year since 2007 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications granted, by county, under the woodland improvement scheme, each year since 2007 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications granted, by county, under the native woodland establishment scheme, each year since 2007 inclusive.
Deputy Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications granted, by county, under the forest road scheme, each year since 2007 inclusive.
Answered on June 18, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his policy regarding the culling of seals to protect fish stocks; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Transferred for answer to the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan (pictured): There are two species of seals in Irish waters - the Harbour or Common Seal and the more numerous Grey Seal. Both are included in a list of species protected under the EU Habitats Directive. Consequently, Ireland is obliged to monitor and report on their status, including in relation to their population, every six years. The next such report is due this month. The assessments of seals will be available shortly on the website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department at www.npws.ie.
My Department has carried out a number of surveys, including aerial surveys, on the population of both the common and grey seals in the past number of years. All data arising from these surveys from the previous years are now being analysed in advance of the forthcoming report to the European Commission.
The data from both the Harbour and Grey Seal monitoring programmes will be comparable with previously-collected data and will inform my Department’s view as to the current status of the respective populations.
In terms of ascertaining the likely effects of seals on the fishing industry, I will be informed not only by the population monitoring undertaken by my Department, but also by investigations into seal-fisheries interactions that have been commissioned by Inland Fisheries Ireland and Bord Iascaigh Mhara and I understand that both organisations will report later in 2013.
While seals are protected under the Wildlife Acts, licences may be obtained under section 42 of the Wildlife Act to hunt seals where damage is being caused. Licences are issued in response to specific applications and each application is considered on its merits. This redress is available to individual fishermen to control damage to fisheries by seals at particular locations.
Answered on June 17, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications received and approved, by county, under the scheme for the allocation of milk quota to new entrants in 2011 and 2012.
>> Click here for reply received from Minister Simon Coveney.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the timetable for common agricultural policy negotiations over the coming days.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: Following what I think were extremely useful and productive informal discussions between the Council, European Parliament and Commission in Dublin earlier this week, my attention is already firmly focused on what I hope will be the final phase of the CAP reform negotiations over the coming weeks, culminating in an overall political agreement between the three institutions at the end of June.
The three institutions have been involved in so-called ‘trilogue’ negotiations since early April. These trilogues are scheduled to continue across all four CAP reform dossiers until 20 June, and it is intended that these discussions will resolve the vast majority of issues, which could be described as being of a largely technical nature. A separate and parallel informal process of discussion on the most sensitive political issues, which fed into the formal May Council and continued in a more substantial way at the informal meeting in Dublin, will also continue right through the month of June. These are the issues that will prove most difficult to resolve, and it is hoped that this parallel process will reduce the number of such issues to a manageable number of outstanding points that will be finalised, from a Council perspective, at the meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Luxembourg from 24-26 June.
It is worth noting that in the course of the informal meeting in Dublin, all three European institutions re-stated their commitment to reaching an overall political agreement by the end of the Irish Presidency. This encouraging statement of intent, which was reinforced by the constructive approach taken by the participants, makes it clear that the target of reaching an overall agreement by the end of June remains very much on schedule.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount of aid that has been distributed per county for animal fodder in 2013.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: The Fodder Transport Subsidy Scheme had played an important role in contributing to the efforts of recent weeks, with the transport costs of sizeable quantities of fodder being significantly offset by my Department’s contribution. While the Scheme itself ended on Friday, 24 May, as an exceptional measure, I announced that any definite purchases that had been placed by that date, but which will be delivered on or before 31 May, will be included under the Scheme. As with all fodder included under this Scheme, only fodder sold to individual farmers is eligible for the transport subsidy.
Application forms (the relevant sections of which were required to be completed by individual farmers at time of purchase), were initially be retained by the Dairy Co-operative/Milk Purchaser/Mart; these are now in the process of being submitted, en bloc, suitably completed and verified, to the Department for checking of individual thresholds and payment. It is intended that only one payment will issue to each Dairy Co-operative/Milk Purchaser/Mart in respect of their submission for aid on behalf of participating farmers.
In excess of 2,300 loads of imported fodder have benefited from my Department’s contribution to the transport costs under this Scheme; this amounts to in excess of 34,000 tonnes of fodder.
::: The world's largest beet sugar factory at Wissington, Norfolk, UK.
May 30, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the estimate for the overall capital cost costs involved in building a manufacturing plant for the production of sugar.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: I would like to give the Deputy the background to this issue. The EU Sugar Regime underwent a radical reform in 2005 following major EU decisions to restructure the industry. A temporary restructuring scheme was introduced with the aim of reducing EU sugar production. Greencore, the holder of the entire Irish sugar quota, availed of this voluntary scheme, dismantled its facilities and ceased production in 2006. Ireland secured €353 million as part of the reform package of which €220 million went to beet growers, €127 million to Greencore and €6 million to machinery contractors. There is no mechanism under the present EU Regulations which would allow for the reinstatement of the sugar quota for the growing of sugar beet in Ireland for the production of sugar.
I know you will be aware that in 2011 I met with two separate groups which had conducted feasibility studies, into the possibility of establishing a new sugar/bioethanol facility in the country. I understand from figures published by the interested groups who are investigating the possibility of building a new facility, that the overall capital cost costs involved could range from €250 million to €400 million, depending on what type of facility will be constructed.
::: Farm Assist Recipients 2008 to 2012
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons by county, in receipt of farm assist for each of the past five years.
Reply from Minister Joan Burton: The information requested by the Deputy is collated by my Department annually for inclusion in the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report which is laid before the Dáil when published and copies lodged in the Oireachtas library. Furthermore these reports are available to the public at www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Annual-Statistical-Information-Reports.aspx.
I enclose for the Deputy’s convenience a tabular statement detailing the number of persons in receipt of farm assist at the 31st of December in each of the years 2008 to 2012.
Answered on May 28, 2013
To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons from County Waterford that have applied for grants under the new rainwater harvesting scheme since it commenced on 1 March 2011; and the total amount paid out to farmers in each county under this scheme to date.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: One applicant from Co Waterford has applied for a grant under the Rainwater Harvesting Scheme since it was introduced in March 2011.
One payment of €8,000 has been made under the Scheme, to date, to an applicant from Co Cork.
Due to the low up-take by farmers of grants under this Scheme, I have transferred €4 million of the available funding to the TAMS Dairy Equipment Scheme.
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2013
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department will assist contracted growers of miscanthus elephant grass to source alternative markets in view of the fact that that they been left with significant acreage of the crop to harvest due to the industry price becoming unviable.
Reply from Minister Simon Coveney: Since 2007, my Department’s Bioenergy Scheme has provided support for farmers who wished to establish the energy crops miscanthus and willow by offering grant-aid of 50% of the cost of establishing the crops. The scheme was initially Exchequer funded under a pilot scheme from 2007-2009 and has been co-funded by the EU under the Rural Development Programme since 2010.
My Department has no role in relation to commercial arrangements between individual farmers and contractors for the end use of their energy crops. The pricing of product is also a commercial matter.
In February 2012, my colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, T.D., introduced REFIT supports for bioenergy, including tariffs to support Biomass Combined Heat and Power and Biomass Combustion. These tariffs are designed to provide financial incentives for the end use of energy crops, including miscanthus.
In December 2011, I amended the terms and conditions of the Bioenergy Scheme so as to remove the obligation on growers to maintain the crop for seven years as a condition of retaining grant-aid. This afforded an opportunity for growers who wished to exit the scheme to do so without penalty and was available to all growers including those who had established crops since the commencement of the scheme in 2007.
Dáil Éireann allocates a certain amount of time on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during which Deputies may ask questions of Members of the Government relating to Public Affairs connected with their Departments, or on matters of administration for whch they are officially responsible. The Taoiseach answers questions on his own Department on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.