89. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress of the A5; if he will report on 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 49141/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - 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 Phase 1 of the p...

92. 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 49142/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - 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.  ...

182. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the compensation funds available to persons affected by Storm Ophelia (details supplied). (Question 49642/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Severe Weather Events Response)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Following a challenging period, the dairy sector has experienced positive trends this year in terms of raw milk and specific commodity prices, particularly for butter. I am confident that, as market demand for safe, sustainable, high quality dairy products in expanding global markets increases, the Irish dairy sector, from the farm gate to the further reaches of the supply chain, will continue to grow and prosper.
I am very a...

183. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the names of all internal reports and research studies conducted by his Department and the agencies under his aegis since June 2016 on Brexit; the publication date of all such studies; the reports and research studies that remain incomplete; the date they are expected to be completed; if each one will be published regarding Brexit, in tabular form; and if all such reports have been published. (Question 49643/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Brexit Documents)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): As Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade with special responsibility for Brexit, Minister Coveney has responsibility for coordinating the whole-of-Government response to Brexit. In this capacity, he is working closely with his colleagues across Government to address the many challenges resulting from Brexit. This cooperation also involves the relevant State Agencies.
Work at Cabinet level is being prepared through cross-Dep...

184. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on the report findings by the European Parliament’s AGRI committee (details supplied) that Ireland is the most negatively impacted member state in agrifood trade with the UK from Brexit, with Ireland’s GDP and exports significantly impacted; the position regarding the latest Brexit discussions regarding agrifood trade on the island of Ireland. (Question 49644/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Brexit Issues)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The report referred to is a useful contribution to the research and analysis on the potential implications of Brexit for the agri-food and fisheries sectors. It confirms that Ireland will be the most severely affected of the EU27 Member States, and that the agri-food sector is the most exposed sector of the economy. This is because of its particular reliance on the UK market and the highly integrated nature of Ireland-UK agr...

185. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 223 and 224 of 26 October 2017 if this information has been collated. (Question 49645/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - GLAS Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The information requested is detailed, is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.
In relation to GLAS the Department aims to pay as many farmers as possible their 2017 advance payment. This is dependent on all applicants providing the necessary material to qualify for payment. All GLAS applications must pass regulatory controls and validations as is the case with all EU co-funded schemes. Eac...

186. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of sheep farmers and the number of applications to the sheep welfare scheme; the number of approved applications; the number of applications that did not meet the scheme’s criteria; the number of persons who withdrew from the scheme after being approved; the number of persons who have been approved for their 85% advance payments; and the number of persons who have been issued a payment to date, by county, in tabular form. (Question 49646/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Sheep Welfare Scheme Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The data requested by the Deputy is set out in the table.
 County Total Number of   Sheep Farmers * Total Number of   Applications Number of Applications Withdrawn Total Number of   applications not meeting scheme criteria Total Number of   Approved Applications Number Applicants   Paid Carlow 754  470 4 43 423 423 Cavan 958  477 7 47 423 423 Clare 619  252 10 27 215 215 Cork 1,794  1072 9 61 1002 10...

187. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to publish the final Greyhound Industry Bill 2017 that has already progressed through the pre-legislative scrutiny. (Question 49647/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Legislative Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): As stated by the Deputy, the draft General Scheme of the Bill has progressed through the pre-legislative scrutiny phase. It is hoped that a memorandum will go to Government in the coming weeks, which will request approval to publish the updated General Scheme and to submit it to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting.
 ...

188. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the recommendations of the report on the greyhound industry by the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine that have been implemented to date; the recommendations of the report that have yet to be implemented; the reason for the delay in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49648/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Greyhound Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Bord na gCon is a commercial State body, established under the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, chiefly to control greyhound racing and to improve and develop the greyhound industry.
Bord na gCon is a body corporate and a separate legal entity to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Bord na gCon has informed me that it has systematically worked through the recommendations contained in the Joint Committee on Agricul...

52. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment when his Department first announced plans to introduce the national broadband plan; the dates on which various Ministers held press conferences to publicise it; the expected commencement and completion dates provided by Ministers at each of these press conferences; the projected commencement date and completion date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48976/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - National Broadband Plan)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): As I have outlined to the Deputy in previous questions on this topic, since the publication of the National Broadband Plan in 2012 by former Minister Pat Rabbitte, there have been a number of updates provided in respect of its progress.
In April 2014, the Government decided that it needed to scale up the ambition of the plan and allocated significant resources to it. The revised ambition of the NBP now aims to ...

62. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the status of the Government’s commitment to provide high speed broadband to every house and business in County Donegal; the deadline for same; the number of homes and businesses which have access to high speed broadband; the number of additional homes and businesses which will receive 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 48977/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Broadband Service Provision)

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment (Deputy Denis Naughten): The Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP) will ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector so that to date approximately 1.5m or 65% of the 2.3m premises in Ireland can get access to high speed broadband and this footprint is expanding.
In April of this ye...

282. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí assigned to a station (details supplied); his plans to increase the number of gardaí in this station in view of the increasing instances of theft in local shops and anti-social behaviour in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49305/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Garda Deployment)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources. 
I am informed by...

403. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health the timeframe for the recruitment and appointment of a consultant (details supplied) to Letterkenny University Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49271/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Hospital Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris): In response to the particular query raised, as this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly.
 ...

434. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the length of all contracts for GLAS 1, 2 and 3 persons; the year that contracts commenced and will end for GLAS 1, 2 and 3 persons, in tabular form; if it is possible to extend existing contracts; and if so, if it forms part of the normal RDP amendment approval process at EU level. (Question 48911/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - GLAS Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): All GLAS contracts run for a minimum period of five years as set out as follows.
   Start Date End Date Number GLAS1 01/10/2015 31/12/2020 23693 GLAS1 01/01/2016 31/12/2020 1595 GLAS2 01/01/2016 31/12/2020 11262 GLAS3 01/01/2017 31/12/2021 13325 

While the governing regulations allow for extension of contracts in specific circumstances all GLAS contracts run until the end of the current programming perio...

435. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he is taking to protect Irish fishing interests at EU level; the latest discussions; and if he will report on bilateral discussions on same. (Question 48912/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Fishing Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The fishing industry is a key priority for this Government and my officials and I are constantly engaged in protecting and enhancing the interests of that industry across a wide range of issues at all levels within the EU.
Obviously a key issue is Brexit and the potential implications arising from that but there are also a host of other issues of concern and interest to the Irish fishing industry with which we are constantly e...

436. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if market access for Irish meat and dairy product is contingent on agreement at EU level as opposed to bilaterally with Japan and Korea in view of the fact that the EU has trade agreements in place with these countries; the process at EU level by which the share of EU quotas will be allocated to member states. (Question 48913/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Trade Agreements)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Market access for meat and dairy products can be made by the EU for either all, or a number of, Member States such as in the case of meat access to Canada. However, most often this market access is agreed bilaterally between the Department and its equivalent competent authority in a Third Country. This was the case in relation to Ireland gaining beef access to the USA in 2015, the first Member State to do so.
Market access t...

437. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the budget allocation and actual expenditure on the imported fodder transport scheme in 2013; the number of persons who participated in the scheme, by county, in tabular form; the operation of the scheme and the maximum grant aid permitted per person; if state aid rules apply to this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48914/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Imported Fodder Transport Scheme 2013 was implemented to reduce the cost to farmers of imported forage (hay, silage, haylage). The aid was targeted at the cost of transport into the country, thus reducing the cost to farmers of a bale of hay by approximately one third.
In view of the prevailing circumstances the quickest and most effective method of ensuring the supply of fodder to those in need was to implement the schem...

438. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the budget allocation and actual expenditure on the scheme of assistance for persons who suffered fodder losses as a result of the severe flooding in 2016; the operation of the scheme and the maximum grant aid permitted per person; if state aid rules apply to this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48915/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The 2016 Fodder Aid Scheme was implemented in January 2016 in response to damage to fodder supplies arising from the period of protracted flooding in December, 2015 and January, 2016. The aim of the scheme was to compensate farmers in approved cases for the direct replacement cost in instances where genuine damage to silage, hay, concentrates or straw has been caused by the flooding.
The scheme opened on 7 January 2016 with a...

439. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on plans by the European Commission to limit the amount of skimmed milk powder that it buys in public intervention in 2018; his further views on a tender system that is planned for the intervention process in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48916/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - EU Programmes)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): As the Deputy is aware, there has been significant recourse to intervention for skimmed milk powder (SMP) across the EU since September 2015. There are now approximately 363,000 tonnes of SMP in public intervention stocks. The use of intervention during a turbulent period for the dairy sector provided a welcome safety net for producers in Ireland and across the EU. Whilst the overall dairy sector is now in a much better pla...

440. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the farmers’ charter between his Department and farming organisations has agreed on payment dates for RDP schemes in 2017 and 2018; and if yes, the dates agreed upon. (Question 48917/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Farmers Charter)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Farmers’ Charter of Rights is effectively an agreement between farm representative organisations and my Department. It sets down, inter alia, agreed target timelines for delivery of payments in respect of the schemes, including RDP schemes, operated by my Department. 
The current Charter will remain in place until 2020 coinciding with the lifetime of the current Pillar I and Pillar II schemes.
The Farmers’ Charter of Righ...

448. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 357 of 14 November 2017, if the listing of animals for stocking is determined at national level or European level; the reason alpacas are not included; if he will reconsider the eligibility rules to include alpacas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49219/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Single Payment Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The stocking density requirements under the Area of Natural Constraints Scheme are defined by the Member State in agreement with the European Commission. The existing stocking density requirements can be satisfied by cattle, sheep, goats, deer and equines. 
The ANC scheme is currently subject to a redesignation process under EU regulations which will see eligible areas defined by biophysical criteria. This new scheme was ori...

500. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 1816 of 20 June 2017, if he has signed an order under the Road Traffic Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48721/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Driver Licensing Exchange Agreements)

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross): This question relates to the signing of an agreement with British Columbia on the mutual exchange of driving licences.  I am happy to say that the answer is yes.  
At the time of the question to which the Deputy refers, I explained that agreement on exchange had been reached in principle, and that the next events were to be the signing of a formal agreement and the signing of an Order under the Road Traffic Acts, as is required for a...

653. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if funding for flood damage restoration and repair for a public amenity (details supplied) will be sanctioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48992/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Irish Red Cross Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government allocated a fund of up to €2m to the Irish Red Cross to be distributed as emergency humanitarian support to small businesses and community, sporting and voluntary bodies in County Donegal, which through no fault of their own have been unable to secure flood insurance and have been flooded following the exceptionally heavy rainfall on 22 and 23 August this year.
The purpose of the emergency fund, which was administ...

654. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he will sanction funding for flood damage restoration and repair for a tourist facility (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49022/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Irish Red Cross Funding)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): The Government allocated a fund of up to €2m to be distributed as emergency humanitarian support to small businesses and community, sporting and voluntary bodies in County Donegal which through no fault of their own were unable to secure flood insurance and were flooded following the exceptionally heavy rainfall of 22 and 23 August this year.
The purpose of the emergency fund, which was administered by the Irish Red Cross, was t...

6. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on his discussions with American officials in respect of immigration reform and, in particular, the plight of undocumented Irish citizens in the United States of America; his plans to meet with American officials in the near future to discuss this further; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48306/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Undocumented Irish in the USA)

Deputy Charlie McConalogue: I am sure the Minister is aware of the importance of this issue to many families across the country, and in particular to their loved ones in America. We need to keep the pressure on, particularly in light of increased difficulties arising from the stance President Trump has taken on the issue recently.
 ...