275. Deputy Martin Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when the balancing payment of the 2017 sheep welfare scheme will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17152/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Sheep Welfare Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): In December 2016 I introduced the Sheep Welfare Scheme to contribute to the continuing viability and sustainability of the sheep sector in Ireland. The Scheme is funded through the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014 - 2020.
Advance payments in the amount of €16 million under the first year of the Sheep Welfare Scheme have already issued.  Balancing payments in respect of these applications are due to commence shortly. 
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276. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which his Department will assess the risks to the food chain, consumer health and the value and reputation of Irish agricultural exports in view of the fact that An Bord Pleanála has approved a company’s (details supplied) application for an incinerator at a location; the way in which his Department and the Food Safety Authority will measure the effects on food safety caused by the incineration of toxic waste in the Golden Vale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17211/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Monitoring of Food Safety Standards)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Ensuring the highest standards of food safety, consumer protection, animal and plant health is a key function of my Department.  An integral element of this responsibility is the implementation of the national control plan whose primary objective is to ensure that feed and food is safe.  This multi-annual national control plan (MANCP), is produced in conjunction with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), and contains de...

277. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the way in which his Department fills vacancies that arise from a panel (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17219/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Veterinary Inspection Service Staff)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Veterinary Inspectors are recruited by my Department through a competitive process through the Public Appointments Service, the most recent recruitment campaign being that conducted in 2017.
My Department regularly assesses its Business needs and makes appointments from panels as prioritised vacancies arise.  Occasionally, due to business demands, a Veterinary Inspector post in a Meat plant may require temporary cover in cases...

278. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a decision has been made on a late area of natural constraints application appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17236/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme Applications)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): An application for the Basic Payment Scheme and Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme was received from the person named on 14 July 2017.  As this was a late application it incurred a late application penalty. 
The person named submitted an appeal in relation to the late application penalty, and this appeal was upheld.  Accordingly, payment under the ANC Scheme will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person...

279. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if persons (details supplied) in County Kerry are eligible under the young farmers scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17256/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Young Farmers Scheme Eligibility)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The persons named were successful applicants under the 2017 Young Farmers Scheme and received payment in December 2017.  As they both commenced farming in 2013 they are also eligible to apply for continued participation in the Young Farmers Scheme in 2018. 
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280. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the mobile plunge dipping of sheep (details supplied) is recognised here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17261/18 asked on 19 Apr 2018 - Animal Welfare)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Sheep Welfare Scheme requires participants to undertake and complete two measurable and verifiable Sheep Welfare actions. Applicants must chose these actions from a menu of actions provided for under the scheme.
One of the actions which may be selected by a participant with lowland flocks is the prevention of flies (flystrike control). Under this action participants must incorporate a flystrike programme for the preventi...

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...

184. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the salmon hatchery operated by a company (details supplied) in County Donegal has been awarded organic status. (Question 16838/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Organic Farming)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The certification, control and inspection of all organic operators in Ireland, including those engaged in the production of organic farmed salmon, has been delegated in accordance with EU Regulations to a number of approved Organic Control Bodies. 
The relevant Organic Control Body has confirmed that the site named is certified as an organic freshwater rearing site i.e. a hatchery.
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185. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the food producers that have been included in the Origin Green Programme while being investigated by his Department or other State agencies for breaches of statutory requirements. (Question 16839/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Origin Green Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Origin Green is the national sustainability programme for the Irish food and drink industry. It is a Bord Bia initiative and operated by that State Body. 
Participating companies within the programme sign up on a voluntary basis. As part of the membership requirements, companies must develop a multi-annual sustainability plan with time-bound targets. This plan is then independently assessed and verified by a third party auditi...

186. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on whether it is appropriate for his Department to have responsibility for the organic food programme in view of the continued designation of a company (details supplied) as an organic producer of farmed salmon despite multiple investigations by his Department into breaches of licence conditions by that operator and the payment of fees to the assessors by the operators. (Question 16840/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Organic Farming)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The organic status of operators in the food sector here in Ireland is certified by rigorous on-going assessment undertaken on behalf of my Department by designated Organic Control Bodies. My Department remains the Competent Authority under EU regulations but has delegated the certification function to those independent control bodies, in accordance with the relevant EU regulations and in common with the practice in many other...

187. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the sites of a company (details supplied) that are being investigated by his Department for breaches of licence conditions; and when he expects these investigations to be completed. (Question 16841/18 asked on 18 Apr 2018 - Aquaculture Licences)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department is currently examining possible breaches of licence conditions in respect of three aquaculture licences held by the Company referred to by the Deputy.
These licences are in respect of the following sites: 
 1. Deenish (Co. Kerry)
 2. Lough Swilly (Co. Donegal)
 3. Roancarrig (Co. Cork)
Every effort is being made by my Department to bring these examinations to a conclusion as soon as possible. As these examination...