398. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps she is taking to address labour shortages in the dairy sector; and the way in which this deficit will be met in order to reach Food Wise 2025 targets. (Question 20101/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Dairy Sector)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): A shortage of labour has been building up in certain sub-sectors of the Irish agri-food sector in recent times. The Deputy is correct to refer to the dairy sector, but labour pressures also exist in the horticultural and meat processing sectors. While the reasons for the shortages are varied, they include the significant value added growth expansion of the sector in recent years; the growth in the economy as a whole which has ...

399. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has examined the study published by the EU Commission in March 2017, “Optimal Use of Biogas from Waste Stream. An Assessment of the Potential of Biogas from Digestion in the EU beyond 2020”, which highlights that Ireland has the highest potential for biogas production per capita within the EU by 2030 and a potential of 13 TWh/annum forecast; and if he examined rolling out a scheme to increase biogas production from farm waste via co-operatives and the potential costs incurred. (Question 20102/18 asked on 08 May 2018 - Bioenergy Strategy)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The agriculture and forest sector has a critical role to play in contributing to our national climate change ambitions, and bioenergy represents a key component of that contribution.
I have noted with interest the study to which the Deputy is referring and this study has been examined by the relevant division in my Department. While the EU study illustrates that small Member States have a large potential to increase their dome...

469. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the powers he has delegated to the Ministers of State in his Department; the date on which such delegation was made; if there were changes in powers delegated relative to the situation in place prior to 14 June 2017; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42772/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - Departmental Functions)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Deputy Andrew Doyle was appointed  as Minister of State in my Department on 20 June 2017, with special responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture. Minister Doyle’s responsibilities include:  the implementation of the 2014-2020 Forestry Programme, delivering on the horticulture actions identified in Food Wise 2025, including capital investment for developments in the sector, support for the Organic sector including the...

539. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to outline his plans to introduce a compensation scheme for costal grain growers following the problems with the 2016 harvest (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39455/16 asked on 13 Dec 2016 - Crop Losses)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I fully acknowledge and accept that difficulties have been experienced by the farming community, not least by our tillage farmers. This sector is a very important area in the agricultural economy but it has been a challenging year both in terms of market returns and variable weather conditions experienced during the harvest.
While there is no specific funding available for losses due to poor weather conditions I wish to confir...

494. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) was deemed to be a producer when issued with a pig number; if he will re-examine this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35837/16 asked on 22 Nov 2016 - TAMS Applications)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The applicant in question has applied for grant aid under the Pig and Poultry Specialised Investment measure in TAMS II. Correspondence has been received from the applicant and this will be used to review this application. A response will issue to the applicant in due course.
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205. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the review of the case of a person (details supplied) has been carried out; the outcome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28827/16 asked on 05 Oct 2016 - Forestry Grants)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The review requested by the Deputy has been carried out. The person in question was notified by letter dated 14th September 2016 that a decision had been made by the Department to reduce the area payable on the contract from 3.79 hectares to 3.40 hectares. In carrying out the review the Department has acted in a very reasonable and fair manner towards the applicant. While the unplanted area is approx 1.30 hectares as outlin...

189. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to reconsider the decision to refuse compensation to a person (details supplied) for lost crops which has resulted in financial hardship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18623/16 asked on 29 Jun 2016 - Crop Losses)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named has submitted applications to my Department under the Fodder Aid Scheme and the Emergency Flood Damage Relief Measure. These schemes were introduced by my Department as part of the targeted response to the flooding in December 2015 and January 2016.
The Terms and Conditions of the Fodder Aid scheme list the eligible feedstuffs considered for aid under the scheme as silage, hay, straw and concentrates. Theref...

483. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will immediately review the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17022/16 asked on 21 Jun 2016 - Afforestation Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person in question planted 3.79 hectares of forestry in March 1998 under the Department’s Afforestation Grant and Premium Scheme. In November 2015, a Department Forestry Inspector carried out an inspection and found that part of the forest is very under-stocked, with few trees (less than 2-3% stocking). The area involved amounts to approximately 1.30 hectares. The Department wrote to the applicant on 10th February 2016 ...

187. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he will process and issue payments under the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme 2; if he is aware that the delay is causing financial hardship and difficulties for families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16164/16 asked on 15 Jun 2016 - Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The necessary IT development work is underway to enable applicants in the TAMS II Schemes who have completed works for which they were approved to make a payment claim.
I expect that payments will commence next month.
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188. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in processing grant applications under the targeted agricultural modernisation scheme 2; the measures he is putting in place to resolve this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16165/16 asked on 15 Jun 2016 - TAMS Applications)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): All of the grant applications received in Tranche One of the TAMS II Schemes have undergone administrative checks and over 860 full approvals have issued in addition to the 1,100 part approvals that issued to applicants who needed urgent dairy equipment and Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment.
The remaining eligible applications in Tranche One continue to be processed as speedily as possible. A further 755 applications fro...

976. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when he will issue payment to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9363/16 asked on 17 May 2016 - Transfer of Entitlements Application)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named submitted Transfer of Entitlements Allocation Right and Reference Value applications to my Department seeking the transfer of allocation rights and values by Change of Registration Details of Herd Number as transferee. As the herd number under which these applications were submitted is still held jointly by the person named and another person, the applications could not be processed. The person named must fi...

201. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay with a payment to a person (details supplied) in County Cork under the single payment scheme; and when payment will issue. (Question 5223/16 asked on 22 Mar 2016 - Basic Payment Scheme Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): An application under the 2015 Basic Payment scheme was received from the person named on 14 May 2 015. Processing of this case has been finalised and all payments due have issued to the nominated bank account of the person named.
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42. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the delay in a person (details supplied) in County Cork receiving a grant under the area aid scheme; when the application will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4489/16 asked on 03 Feb 2016 - Basic Payment Scheme Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department received a 2015 Private Contract Clause application from the person named seeking the transfer of land and entitlements by lease as transferor. There was an issue with regard to one land parcel that was subject of this application which required to be resolved in order to process the application. Officials in my Department are resolving this issue to facilitate processing of the application. Payment under the Bas...

389. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if public consultations have taken place with interested parties on the proposed muzzling of greyhounds at open coursing events; the reason for these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37173/15 asked on 03 Nov 2015 - Greyhound Industry)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Under the provisions of the Greyhound Industry Act, 1958, the regulation of coursing is chiefly a matter for the Irish Coursing Club (ICC), subject to the general control and direction of Bord na gCon, which is the statutory body with responsibility for the improvement and development of the greyhound industry, greyhound racing and coursing. The question raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for the ICC. Nonetheless m...

326. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when his Department’s annual report for 2014 will be published. (Question 30206/15 asked on 16 Jul 2015 - Departmental Reports)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Department’s Annual Report for 2014 was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on Friday 10th July 2015 and is available on The Department’s web site at http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/publications/2015/ 
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107. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the level of investment his Department is making in horticulture; if his Department liaises with local authorities to foster a greater appreciation of horticulture, especially in urban areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 27932/15 asked on 08 Jul 2015 - Horticulture Sector)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector provides financial support for the development of the horticulture sector, by grant aiding capital investments in specialised plant and equipment as well as emerging technologies specific to commercial horticulture production. The Scheme aims to facilitate environmentally friendly practices, promote the diversification of on-farm activities...

375. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine to outline the number of occasions since the start of 2014 in which the Secretary General of his Department has been involved in the clearing or approval of material for release under freedom of information legislation. (Question 11792/15 asked on 24 Mar 2015 - Freedom of Information Requests)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): As provided for in Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act, my Department has delegated decision making functions to civil servants of grades not lower than Higher Executive Officer (and other equivalent grades). Internal review decision making functions are delegated to grades not lower than Assistant Principal Officer (and other equivalent grades). The internal review decision maker is, of course, always a more senior m...

281. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will introduce a new fodder growing system for organic farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9157/15 asked on 03 Mar 2015 - Organic Farming)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Under the Rural Development Programme I have proposed the introduction of a new Organic Farming Scheme to deliver enhanced environmental and animal welfare benefits and to encourage producers to respond to the market demand for organically produced food.
The principal support will be an annual area-based payment per hectare over a 5 year contract period.  This rate is comprised of a higher payment for farmers converting land t...

288. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department, or State bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department, use solicitors firms (details supplied); the amount paid to these solicitors each year, from 2011 to 2014, by his Department, or State bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department; the date until which his Department, or State bodies or agencies under the aegis of his Department, are contracted to use these solicitors firms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 9187/15 asked on 03 Mar 2015 - Departmental Legal Costs)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department has not used either of the named companies in the period in question. As regards State Bodies, this is an operational matter for the bodies themselves.
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92. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork had their single farm payment penalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 47499/14 asked on 11 Dec 2014 - Single Payment Scheme Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Under the terms and conditions of the Single Payment Scheme and other area based schemes an applicant, as well as meeting the Scheme criteria, is required to comply with EU regulatory requirements relating to Cross Compliance. The person named was the subject of a Nitrates inspection on 21 March 2014, carried out by my Department on behalf of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. This inspection iden...

251. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his Department, or any agency of his Department, have awarded any contracts to a company (details supplied) since 9 March 2011. (Question 45339/14 asked on 25 Nov 2014 - Departmental Contracts)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): My Department has not awarded any contracts to the named company during the lifetime of this Government. 
The awarding of contracts to the named company by the State Bodies under my Department’s aegis is an operational matter for the State Bodies themselves. 
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919. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide an update in tabular form of the commitments in the programme for Government that relate to his Department; and the progress that has been made in the implementation of each commitment. (Question 14107/14 asked on 25 Mar 2014 - Programme for Government Implementation)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): I have provided, in the schedule beneath, the implementation update on the commitments in the 2011-2016 Programme for Government for which my Department has primary responsibility. The timeline for delivery of these commitments is the lifetime of this Government but the Deputy will be aware that the nature of these commitments is such that ongoing development and progress is the norm. 
Fuller information is available in the ...

175. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide in tabular form the reports, reviews and studies commissioned by him or his Department or agencies under the aegis of his Department since 9 March 2011; the date on which they were commissioned; the date on which they were completed; the date on which they were published; the cost of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12424/14 asked on 12 Mar 2014 - Departmental Reports)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The information requested by the Deputy is provided in the table. With regard to the State Bodies under my Department’s remit, any reports, reviews and studies are an operational matter for the State Bodies concerned.
 2011: March- December - - - - Consultant Title of Report Date of Commission Date or Expected Date of Publication Payments € University College Dublin EU School Fruit Scheme/Food Dude Programme...

176. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has not received their payment under the disadvantaged areas scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7101/14 asked on 12 Feb 2014 - Disadvantaged Areas Scheme Applications)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Under 2013 Disadvantaged Areas Scheme, eligible applicants’ holdings are required to have satisfied a minimum stocking density of 0.15 livestock units for a retention period of seven consecutive months, in addition to maintaining an annual average of 0.15 livestock units calculated over the twelve months of the scheme year. 
While the holding of the person named was confirmed as having satisfied the twelve-month average, it di...

496. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will name each company awarded a contract for the provision of professional services by his Department and agencies under his aegis since May 2011; the value and purpose of the contract; if a competitive tendering process was undertaken in line with public procurement best practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6448/14 asked on 11 Feb 2014 - Departmental Contracts Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): It is not possible to provide this information in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.
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