28. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the Bonagee link road project in County Donegal; the timeframe for this project to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7502/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Road Projects Status)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme.  The planning, design and implementation of individual national road projects  is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. 
I have, therefore, referred the Deputy’s Question to TII for direct reply.  ...

63. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the progress of the A5; his engagement with his counterparts in Northern Ireland on this project; the funding that will be made available for this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7503/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Road Projects Status)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): The planning and implementation of the A5 upgrade project is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland authorities. The current funding arrangements in relation to the A5 are governed by the Stormont House Agreement and Implementation Plan - A Fresh Start. This Agreement reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to provide funding of £50 million for the A5 project and committed an additional £25 million to ensure that the first phase o...

108. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance the status of outstanding compensation claims for persons (details supplied); when outstanding compensation claims will be settled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7925/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Insurance Compensation Fund)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): In relation to the former customers of Setanta Insurance, the Deputy will know that Setanta was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.
The Deputy will be aware that under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, monies may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF), with the approval of the High Court, ...

127. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to introduce a one year teaching higher diploma postgraduate qualification for teaching primary or secondary students for those who have a non-educational undergraduate degree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7850/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Teacher Training Provision)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Initial teacher education, ITE, for primary and post-primary teachers is facilitated through a range of concurrent, undergraduate, and consecutive, postgraduate, programmes.
The Teaching Council is the statutory body that sets and upholds the standards for entry to the teaching profession. All ITE programmes that lead to registration with the Council must have professional accreditation from the Council. 
Changes to ITE were proposed in...

188. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of the sanctioned recruitment of six inspector posts for the farm inspection programme for the Health and Safety Authority which have been filled to date. (Question 8031/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Health and Safety Authority )

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The Health & Safety Authority recently completed a recruitment campaign for 11 inspector posts, six of which are field inspection posts and these six inspectors will have an involvement in future farm inspection campaigns.  All six posts are now filled.
The Health & Safety Authority Programme of Work for 2018 has a target of 2000 farm inspections during the year with three focused farm inspection campaigns. These campai...

189. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the amount allocated by the Health and Safety Authority for farm safety initiatives in each of the years 2010 to 2017 and to date in 2018, in tabular form; the number of inspections in each year in the same period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8032/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Health and Safety Authority Expenditure)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): The amount allocated by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for farm safety initiatives in the years 2010 to 2017 with an estimated expenditure for 2018 and the number of farm inspections and investigations 2010– 2018 are set out in the attached tables.
The HSA originally allocated a budget of €384,000 for farm safety initiatives in 2017. However, actual expenditure was higher at €533,995 due to the allocation of addi...

233. 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 have received the 85% advance payment of their 2017 payment, by county, in tabular form; the number of persons who have passed all payment approval checks and are awaiting their 85% portion of the 2017 payment; the number of GLAS recipients who have yet to receive this portion of payment, by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8023/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - GLAS Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The information requested is provided in the following table. Please note that the information also answers previous PQ 3878/18 for which the deputy had been advised that the information would be provided when compiled. Payment has issued to all cases cleared for payment and weekly updates are published on my Department’s website.
 GLAS 1 GLAS 2 GLAS 3 Total County Cases Advance Paid A...

234. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the 2018 GLAS budget allocation is less than the 2017 allocation in view of the fact that the scheme is fully subscribed; and the impact this will have on payments in 2018. (Question 8024/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - GLAS Expenditure)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Firstly, it is important to note that GLAS is a five-year scheme and payments in individual years will vary but will balance out over the lifetime of the scheme.
Annual GLAS advance payments are made in last quarter each year in accordance with the governing regulations with balancing payments issuing in the following calendar year when all inspections have been initiated.  Any unpaid advances are discharged as early as possib...

235. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the fishing opportunities for 2017 and 2018 for stocks to which the fleet has access in terms of value in euro and tonnage, in tabular form; the landing value in 2017 and 2018 of same; and the national share of total allowable catches in 2017 and 2018 in terms of value and tonnage. (Question 8025/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Fish Quotas)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): A containing the information sought has been forwarded to the Deputy. It can be seen at the following link:
[Table]
 ...

236. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of participants in each year of the knowledge gateway scheme since its establishment; the amount allocated and expended in each year, respectively; and the budget allocations for 2018, in tabular form. (Question 8026/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Knowledge Transfer Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Knowledge Transfer is one of a suite of measures included under the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and involves the formation of knowledge transfer groups across the beef, dairy, equine, sheep, tillage and poultry sectors.  Department approved agricultural consultants acting as Knowledge Transfer Facilitators administer groups operating over a three year period. Facilitators who complete all of the requirements of the ...

237. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the new rules and criteria that apply to participants in the young farmers scheme under pillar 1 following reforms at EU level. (Question 8027/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Young Farmers Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): EU Regulation 2017/2393 came into effect on 1 January 2018. This Regulation included an amendment to EU Regulation 1307/2013 regarding the number of years a successful applicant under the Young Farmers Scheme (YFS) can receive payment. The relevant amendment is in two parts. The first part of the regulatory amendment provides that YFS applicants may receive payment for five years starting from the first submission of an app...

238. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of participants in each year of the 2014 to 2020 CAP for pillar 1 payments; the amount allocated and expended in each year respectively; the budget allocations for 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8028/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Agriculture Scheme Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The required data is being compiled at present and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as it is available
 ...

239. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will report on a recent meeting between his Department and the Revenue Commissioners (details supplied); the guarantees that have been committed to by the British Government to avoid this scenario in view of the impact border checks would have on island wide trade in the agrifood sector. (Question 8029/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department is engaging with whole of Government structures for the co-ordination of Brexit preparations, which include representatives of the Revenue Commissioners, on an ongoing basis. 
I understand that the particular meeting referred to took place on 4 January 2018 between officials from the Revenue Commissioners and the IFA, following a request from the IFA. My Department was also represented. The purpose of the meeti...

241. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason the Rural Development Programme 2014 to 2020 does not include support for biogas production or anaerobic digesters on farms or supports to persons to meet climate change responsibilities in view of the fact that funding is permitted for investments into biogas plants under rural development programme, RDP. measures available to member states (details supplied). (Question 8033/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Agriculture Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Government recognises that indigenous renewable energy plays a vital role in our domestic fuel mix and will become even more important in the context of reducing our reliance on imported fuels and in meeting our challenging renewable energy targets. My Department is committed to working closely with the Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, which is the lead Department in this area, to ensure that...

297. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a response has been received from the United Kingdom in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who has applied for illness benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7972/18 asked on 15 Feb 2018 - Illness Benefit Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Illness Benefit is a payment for people who cannot work due to illness and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions. One of the PRSI conditions is that a person must have a minimum of 39 reckonable contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution year. Claims made in 2018 are governed by the 2016 tax year and only PRSI Classes A, E, H, and P, ar...

75. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of his commitment to provide high speed broadband to each house and business in County Donegal; the deadline for same; the number of homes and business which have access to high speed broadband; the number of additional homes and businesses which received access to high speed broadband in 2017; the number which will receive access in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7333/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - National Broadband Plan Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 78 together. 
Delivering high speed broadband to every home, every business, every farm and every school in Ireland is a personal commitment for me and remains a key priority of Government. 
Currently just over 55,000 or 55% of the approximately 101,000 premises in County Donegal have access to a high speed broadband service. Every single one of the remaining 46,000 (46%) ...

78. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the impact that a company (details supplied) pulling out of the national broadband plan tender process will have on the commitment to provide high speed broadband to every house and business in County Donegal; the number of homes and businesses which currently have access to high speed broadband; the number of homes and businesses which received access to high speed broadband in 2017; the number which will receive access in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7298/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - National Broadband Plan Implementation)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 78 together. 
Delivering high speed broadband to every home, every business, every farm and every school in Ireland is a personal commitment for me and remains a key priority of Government. 
Currently just over 55,000 or 55% of the approximately 101,000 premises in County Donegal have access to a high speed broadband service. Every single one of the remaining 46,000 (46%) ...

218. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of suckler beef farmers by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7702/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Farms Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The information sought by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded as soon as available. 
 ...

219. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the financial allocations on an annual basis under the 2014 to 2020 RDP to the beef data and genomics programme, in tabular form; and the amount expended on the programme in each year since it was established. (Question 7703/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Beef Data and Genomics Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) commenced in 2015 and will run for six years until 2020. Allocations for BDGP in the Department’s vote and payments per year are set out in the following table. Allocations have not yet been made beyond the current year.
 Year Allocation (€million) Expenditure (€million) 2015 35 34.82 2016 52 62.10 2017 49 47.27 2018 49   
 
The increase in expenditure over allo...

220. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the cost of a proposal (details supplied), in tabular form. (Question 7704/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Veterinary Inspection Service)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Last year my Department reduced the veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves under three months of age to €1.20 per animal, from €4.80.  This gave an important boost to the trade, and brought greater equity in the fees payable for calves, weanlings and adult cattle. 
The cost of reducing the veterinary inspection fee payable on live exports of calves under three months of age can be illustrated as follows:
V...

282. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the financial allocations on an annual basis under the 2014 to 2020 rural development programme per measure 19, support for Leader local development; the annual amount expended on the programme in each year of the RDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7701/18 asked on 14 Feb 2018 - Rural Development Programme Funding)

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): LEADER, which is referred to at EU level as Measure 19 of the Rural Development Programme, forms part of Ireland’s Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and has a total budget of €250 million over the period in question.  €220 million of this funding has been allocated to the Local Action Groups (LAGs) throughout the country who deliver the LEADER programme.  The remaining €30 million is available for schemes which will be deliv...

26. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the programme for Government commitment to increase areas of natural constraint, ANC, funding by €25 million in 2018 will be delivered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7416/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Funding)

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: When will the programme for Government commitment to increase areas of natural constraint, ANC, funding by €25 million in 2018 be delivered and how does the Minister propose to distribute and allocate that funding among the categories of disadvantaged area payments?
 ...

30. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to set out the number of applications received under the fodder aid transport subsidy scheme; when payments will issue; his plans to reconsider introducing a meal voucher scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7418/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Fodder Crisis)

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: Will the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine set out the number of applications received thus far under the fodder aid transport subsidy scheme? When will payments issue? Will the Minister reconsider the approach and introduce a meal voucher scheme, rather than the foolhardy approach he has taken? He has arranged for a subsidy for an already scarce fodder resource to transport it throughout the country.
 ...

32. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of the latest Mercosur talks at European Union level; and the measures he is taking to protect Irish beef farmers by ensuring that beef does not form part of any final Mercosur deal. (Question 7148/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Trade Agreements)

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: This is to ask the status of the latest Mercosur talks between the European Union and the four South American countries involved and the measures that the Minister and the Government have taken to protect Irish beef and ensure a final Mercosur deal does not lead to a drop in price and the viability of many farms as a result.
 ...

36. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on a €200 annual payment for suckler cows under the RDP scheme to ensure the sustainability of the national herd. (Question 7151/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Suckler Welfare Scheme Payments)

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: What are the Minister’s views in respect of the necessity for an annual €200 payment per cow for our suckler cow herd? It is under tremendous pressure, with numbers are dropping by the day. We also see the potential impact of the Mercosur agreement, to which it looks like the Government is going to have to acquiesce in regard to the 70,000 tonnes. Another factor is Brexit and the fact that 50% of our beef goes to the UK. As the Minister responsible, I am intereste...