94. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health if approval will be forthcoming for a request for additional funding of €1.8 million from Letterkenny University Hospital to enable it to open an additional 20 bed ward and staff it appropriately in order to address a chronic issue with persons waiting on trolleys for hospital admission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16351/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Hospitals Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): Against a background of growing demand for unscheduled care and high acute hospital occupancy rates, Government provided €30 million in 2017 and a further €40 million in 2018 for measures to increase acute hospital capacity and alleviate overcrowding in Emergency Departments. Almost 50% of this funding was used to deliver home support packages and transitional care beds to reduce the incidence of delayed discharges. Furthermore, over 200 beds have bee...

99. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the engagement he has had with the HSE and Saolta in relation to a request to make additional funding of €1.8 million available to Letterkenny University Hospital to hire the staff necessary to enable it to open an additional 20 bed ward; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16352/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Hospitals Funding)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): As this is a service issue, I have asked the HSE to reply to you directly. 
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117. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance if he will address a matter (details supplied) relating to an increase in the overall contribution to the EU budget as a percentage of GDP. (Question 17278/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - EU Budget Contribution)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): As the Deputy may be aware, the European Commission is yet to publish its proposal on the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is due to be released in early May. Once the proposal has been published, officials from across all Departments will study it in-detail to assess its implications for Ireland. The MFF will then be subject to intense negotiations over the subsequent 12-24 months; once a final agreement is reached we will ha...

281. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the timeframe for finalising a veterinary health certificate with the general administration of quality, supervision and quarantine, AQSIQ, for Irish beef access to China; when an inspection visit by the Chinese certification and accreditation administration to approve individual processing plants for export will take place in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17267/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Beef Exports)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 281 and 282 together.
I was delighted to announce the opening of the Chinese beef market earlier this week. The first three beef plants were approved and listed on CNCA’s website on Monday, April 16th. A further five plants are in the final stages of approval. This approval is a huge achievement for my Department. Getting to this stage has involved a huge joined-up effort across Government,...

282. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress made on receiving access for Irish meat products such as beef, lamb and pigmeat to China; the remaining stages in the approval process outstanding; and the approximate timetable for all stages to be completed and full access granted. (Question 17268/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Beef Exports)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 281 and 282 together.
I was delighted to announce the opening of the Chinese beef market earlier this week. The first three beef plants were approved and listed on CNCA’s website on Monday, April 16th. A further five plants are in the final stages of approval. This approval is a huge achievement for my Department. Getting to this stage has involved a huge joined-up effort across Government,...

283. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the average age of a farmer in Ireland; the average EU age in this regard; and the number of farmers by age group (details supplied) in tabular form. (Question 17269/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Farm Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The CSO’s 2013 Farm Structures Survey indicated that approximately 37,700 (27%) of Irish farmers are aged over 65 years and 8,200 (6%) are aged under 35 years. The full age breakdown as published by the CSO is:
 2013 Number of Farmers % < 35 8,200 6% 35 - 44 22,800 16% 45 - 54 34,800 25% 55 - 64 35,600 26% > 65 37,700 27% Total 139,100 100% 

Source: Farm Structures Survey, 2013, CSO.
Eurostat d...

284. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons in receipt of GLAS 1, 2 and 3 that have received the 2017 balancing payment by county in tabular form; the number of persons that have passed all payment approval checks and are awaiting the 2017 balancing payment; the number of GLAS recipients that have yet to receive the 2017 balancing payment by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17270/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - GLAS Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Balancing Payments for the GLAS scheme can only commence when the Member State has verified that all eligibility conditions have been met. This is a requirement in the relevant EU Payment Regulations and is a long-standing EU audit requirement.
DAFM is currently under-taking the required level of inspections required to facilitate the balancing payments and is working to have this completed by mid-May. It is anticipated that...

285. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons in receipt of the sheep welfare scheme payment that have received the 2017 balancing payment by county in tabular form; the number of persons that have passed all payment approval checks and are awaiting the 2017 balancing payment; the number of sheep welfare recipients that have yet to receive the 2017 balancing payment by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17271/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Sheep Welfare Scheme Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): As balancing payments under the Sheep Welfare Scheme have not yet commenced, the information requested by the Deputy is not yet available.
Balancing payments are due to commence shortly and the information requested will be forwarded to the Deputy directly as soon as payments are finalised and the information is available.
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286. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of approved persons that have applied to the knowledge transfer group scheme in the beef, sheep, dairy, tillage, equine and poultry sectors; the targeted number of groups formed; the number of groups finalised to date; the number of payments that have issued to each sector in each year of the rural development programme, RDP, to date; the budget allocation for the knowledge transfer group scheme under the 2014-2020 RDP; the amount expended to date in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17272/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Farm Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The statistics requested in this Parliamentary Question are currently being compiled and will be forwarded shortly.
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287. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the reopening of the horticulture investment scheme; the amount of funding allocated; and the anticipated number of participants that will sign up. (Question 17273/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Horticulture Sector)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I recognise the very severe impact that storm Emma has had on the Horticultural sector, in particular on soft fruit and amenity plant producers.
As an exceptional measure in response to the storm, Minister of State with responsibility for the Horticulture sector, Andrew Doyle, TD and I directed officials to re-open the 2018 Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector. This competitive gr...

288. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of participants in the fodder transport scheme to date by county in tabular from. (Question 17274/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): To date a total of 45 applications have been received under the Fodder Transport Support Measure 2018.
The county breakdown of applications is - 
 County Number of Applications Clare 16 Donegal 12 Galway 1 Leitrim 1 Longford 1 Mayo 3 Roscommon 8 Sligo 2 Tipperary 1 TOTAL 45 


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289. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the draft EU Directive COM(2018) 173; and if his Department has carried out an analysis of the proposal. (Question 17275/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 to 291, inclusive, together.
I welcome the publication of the proposal for a Directive on Unfair Trading Practices(UTPs) in business to business relationships in the food supply chain. The Commission proposal seeks to protect the weakest links in the  supply chain, farmers and small and medium sized food companies. The ambition is not to cover all UTPs but to address unfair UTPs  which ha...

290. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on strengthening provisions at EU Council level in view of the fact that the draft EU Directive COM(2018) 173 applies to only SME suppliers; and his further views on whether a more encompassing approach to combatting unfair trading practices needs to be applicable to all groups in the food supply chain regardless of their size. (Question 17276/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 to 291, inclusive, together.
I welcome the publication of the proposal for a Directive on Unfair Trading Practices(UTPs) in business to business relationships in the food supply chain. The Commission proposal seeks to protect the weakest links in the  supply chain, farmers and small and medium sized food companies. The ambition is not to cover all UTPs but to address unfair UTPs  which ha...

291. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on Article 4 with respect to the draft EU Directive COM(2018) 173 final that each member state shall designate a public authority to enforce the prohibitions laid down in Article 3 at national level which would have the power to issue fines for breaches of the new regulations; and his plans in this regard here in relation to an existing or new State body. (Question 17277/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 289 to 291, inclusive, together.
I welcome the publication of the proposal for a Directive on Unfair Trading Practices(UTPs) in business to business relationships in the food supply chain. The Commission proposal seeks to protect the weakest links in the  supply chain, farmers and small and medium sized food companies. The ambition is not to cover all UTPs but to address unfair UTPs  which ha...

292. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the schemes and initiatives in place to reduce ammonia and nitrogen emissions. (Question 17279/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Environmental Schemes)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): There is a whole of Government approach to climate policy with officials from my Department working very closely with other Departments and in particular with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, which leads in this area. 
In terms of ammonia, Ireland must comply with the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD) under which ammonia emissions must be reduced by 1% below 2005 levels by 2020 a...

293. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a budget will be allocated to his Department’s early warning system that operates locally to provide assistance and support to farmers before welfare problems emerge. (Question 17280/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Animal Welfare)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Department operates an Early Warning/Intervention System (EWS) which is an initiative, introduced by the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council (FAWAC) and includes representatives from the farming bodies, the ISPCA and officials from my Department. Its objective is to provide a framework in  which farm animal welfare problems can be identified before they become critical and facilitates the provision of emergency assistance...

294. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if flexibility will be shown to farmers regarding cross compliance inspections and Bord Bia audits (details supplied). (Question 17281/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Farm Inspections)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The EU regulations governing the Direct Payment Schemes and Rural Development measures require my Department to conduct inspections to ensure compliance with scheme eligibility criteria and Cross Compliance requirements. These inspections, including cross compliance, are mandatory and there are minimum numbers and types of inspections that must take place annually.  
My Department’s inspecting officers are fully aware of the ...

295. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the ongoing delays in issuing genotyping tags for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme and the difficulties for suckler farmers. (Question 17282/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Beef Data and Genomics Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Beef Data and Genomics Programme provides for six years of payments to participating farmers for completion of actions which deliver accelerated genetic improvement in the Irish national herd and improvement of its environmental sustainability. A key requirement of the Programme is that participants must take genomic samples from selected animals using tags supplied to them.
Genomic test tags required under the BDGP have a...

34. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation her plans to minimise the impact of Brexit in County Donegal; the engagement she has had with the IDA to ensure it secures new investment in the county in view of Brexit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16353/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Brexit Supports)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): I fully appreciate the importance of ensuring that businesses, including those located in Donegal, are best able to withstand the pressures that Brexit may exert. That is why, for example, additional financial resources have been provided to support the strategic response by our enterprise agencies, including IDA Ireland, to Brexit. The Government has also taken forward a number of well documented Brexit-related initiat...

268. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Finance the actions he is taking to address the situation whereby some insurance companies are refusing to insure vehicles over ten years old with a valid NCT certificate or charging high premiums in cases in which insurance is being provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16287/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Insurance Industry)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Paschal Donohoe): I am aware of the concerns raised by the Deputy.  However as Minister for Finance, my role is limited to the development of the legal framework governing financial regulation.  What this means is that neither I, nor the Central Bank of Ireland, can interfere in the provision or pricing of insurance products, as these matters are of a commercial nature, and are determined by insurance companies based on an assessment of the risks they are willing to ...

454. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a reply will issue to correspondence from a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16388/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Teacher Redeployment)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): The issues raised in the correspondence referred to by the Deputy have been considered by my Department.  The correspondence was resubmitted to my Department and a response has issued.
The issues raised relate to teacher mobility and the redeployment arrangements at primary level.
The redeployment arrangements is the first method used to fill vacancies in the primary school system.  Permanent teaching vacancies at primary level are fille...

473. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delay in approving a project in respect of an emergency works scheme application by a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16728/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Emergency Works Scheme Applications)

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): Funding has been approved for the works at the school to which the Deputy refers. The school has been notified of my Department’s decision.
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626. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the status of the review of eligibility for employment permits (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16590/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Work Permits Eligibility)

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (Deputy Heather Humphreys): Ireland operates a managed employment permits system which maximises the benefits of economic migration while minimising the risk of disrupting the domestic labour market. In order to ensure that the system is responsive to the changes in economic circumstances and labour market conditions, the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL) for employment permit...

901. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health when a replacement scheme for the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant will be announced; the remaining steps that need to be taken in order to introduce the new scheme; the reason the new scheme has yet to be introduced in view of the fact it has been five years since the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant were removed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16014/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Mobility Allowance)

Minister of State at the Department of Health (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Deputy will be familiar with the background to the closure of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant schemes in February 2013. Since the closure of the Mobility Allowance, the Government has directed that the Health Service Executive should continue to pay an equivalent monthly payment of up to €208.50 per month to the 4,133 people in receipt of the Mobility Allowance, on an interim basis, pending the ...

907. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health his views on a proposal (details supplied); his plans to implement same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16032/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - EU Directives)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): This questions relates to the transposition of the medical provisions of the Basic Safety Standards Directive (BSSD) by my Department and whether chiropractors will be designated as referrers and practitioners in the transposing regulations.  The previous regulations did not designate chiropractors as referrers or practitioners.   
The statutory instrument transposing the BSSD will designate those who may refer for radiological tests, those who may carr...