1048. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to review rules setting the minimum and maximum agricultural activity for commonage in view of these rules impacting on the most economically challenged families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15138/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Commonage Division)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The legal requirements on agricultural activity with regard to eligibility of land, including commonage, are established in EU Regulation 1307/2013.  My Department issued written guidelines concerning land eligibility in the booklet ‘A guide to Land Eligibility Direct Payment Schemes’, which was circulated to farmers in 2015. This booklet is also available on my Department’s website: www.agriculture.gov.ie.  The Basic Payment ...

1102. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of outstanding GLAS payments by county; the period of time that each application is delayed; the steps his Department has taken to alleviate the issues surrounding delayed GLAS payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15903/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The information requested is provided below in tabular form.  As of 12 April, 46,835 participants have received a 2017 advance payment. This represents over 98% of all eligible applicants. There will be another payment run this week also.
The majority of the remaining cases are the responsibility of the applicant and the payment is delayed due to the applicant failing to meet his or her obligations under the scheme. I would...

297. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a repayment to farmers (details supplied) in County Mayo will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14611/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The persons named were approved into GLAS 2 with a contract commencement date of January 1st 2016 and have received all payments in respect of 2016 and the 2017 advance payment.
Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. An over-declaration was identified in this case which resulted in a penalty being applied. The persons named were notified by letter and provided ...

298. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of a GLAS payment for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. (Question 14612/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The person named was approved into GLAS 3 with a contract commencement date of 1 January 2017.
Administrative checks involving a number of sections within the Department take place on all GLAS claims. All cases must clear validation checks before payment can issue. Department officials are working proactively to complete the checks in this case and once this case clears validations the 2017 advance payment will be made. GLAS p...

495. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a farmer (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a GLAS payment; the reason the processing of the farmer’s application has been delayed; if the application will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14110/18 asked on 27 Mar 2018 - GLAS Payments)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The above named was approved into GLAS 1 with a contract commencement date of 1st October 2015 and has received all payments in respect of the 2015 and 2016 scheme year.
The Department is aware of an issue with this case that resulted in the 2017 advance payment not being made. A solution has been identified and is scheduled for implementation shortly. It is expected that the payment will then issue. GLAS 2017 payments are ...

687. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to restrict bottom trawling fishing within six miles of the shoreline; if his attention has been drawn to the impact this may have on the small shore-based fishing communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11820/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Fisheries Protection)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): While I have no current plans to restrict bottom trawling inside the 6 mile zone, I am considering a full public consultation on possible measures that could be applied within this zone.
I have been working closely with the National Inshore Fisheries Forum and the six Regional Inshore Fisheries Forums to ensure that the needs of the inshore fisheries sector, including both coastal and island fishers, are taken into account and...

690. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of persons holding Civil Service positions above clerical officer grade in his Department who entered the Civil Service via a route other than through an open competition run by the Public Appointments Service or its predecessors; the grades of each; and the basis for the non-standard recruitment (Question 11850/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Departmental Staff Recruitment)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Following the easing of the moratorium on recruitment in the Public Sector in late 2014, my Department secured delegated sanction from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to overall staffing resources in May 2015.   This removed the necessity for compliance with Employment Control Framework (ECF) targets, and provided the Department with the flexibility to fill critical resource needs subject to adheren...

736. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the rationale behind changes announced to the eligibility criteria for the national reserve under the new entrants category to those outlined in the 2017 national reserve; if this eliminates persons that commenced farming in 2015 and those that completed courses of education in agriculture during 2017; his further views on whether this change is unfair; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12591/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - Basic Payment Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): For the purposes of the ‘new entrant’ priority category of the National Reserve a ‘new entrant’ is defined as follows:
- must have submitted a valid Basic Payment Scheme application in the year of application to the National Reserve; 
- must have commenced the present agricultural activity within the two calendar years prior to the application under the National Reserve; 
- did not have any agricultural activity in his/her own...

761. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to raise the ceiling on TAMS investment to greater than €80,000; his views on whether this ceiling is very low when considered against the expected standard of building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12884/18 asked on 20 Mar 2018 - TAMS Eligibility)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): There are no plans to raise the TAMS II ceiling from the current level of €80,000. It should be noted that in the case of eligible farm partnerships the overall investment ceiling is raised to €160,000. In addition, the investment ceiling under the LESS Scheme is not subject to the overall TAMS II investment ceiling.  
 ...

458. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount spent by his Department on photography, by photographer and-or agency, public relations or communications advice external to the media officers of his Department, by agency; the use of public relations or communications advice by an agency fully funded by his Department by agency and month, in tabular form since 1 January 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6740/18 asked on 13 Feb 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): My Department generally does not employ external public relations firms and did not employ any external public relations firms in the year 2016. Public relations advice is provided by my Department’s Press Office.  
In April of 2017, the services of “All Good Tales”, a public relations company, were used to provide training for staff members for the National Animal Surveillance Programme. The cost of this training was €5,965....

249. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of freedom of information requests received by his Department in each of the years 2013 to 2017; the average time taken in these years to complete the requests by his Department; the number of requests to his Department for these years that ran beyond the deadline for the request; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 6885/18 asked on 08 Feb 2018 - Freedom of Information Data)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The number of Freedom of Information requests received by my Department from 2013 to 2017 is set out in the table.
My Department does not maintain records in respect of the average time taken to complete Freedom of Information requests and accordingly is not in a position to provide that particular piece of data requested by the Deputy.
Section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2014 allows the standard 4 week (20 working da...

496. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans for a national reserve for young farmers in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4321/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Young Farmers Scheme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The position on the amount of available funding for a 2018 National Reserve is currently being finalised.  This involves assessment of the funding that remains in the National Reserve fund following allocations to successful applicants under the 2017 National Reserve and also the proceeds from clawback on the sale of entitlements without land and the value of unused entitlements that revert to the National Reserve fund.  It ex...

227. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason for the €19 million in capital under-expenditure in his Department, as outlined in the fiscal monitor for December 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2490/18 asked on 18 Jan 2018 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Taking account of the funds carried forward from 2016, €259.7m was available for capital expenditure by my Department in 2017.   The capital expenditure in 2017 was €219.3m which is the highest level of capital expenditure by my Department since 2010. When the €23.8m of funds to be carried from 2017 into 2018 are taken into account, this leaves an amount of €16.7m.
The areas where capital expenditure was lower than allocated w...

150. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his key priorities in relation to the forthcoming capital review; the projects submitted for priority inclusion in the review; the status of negotiations with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform regarding the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 2282/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Capital Expenditure Programme Review)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The 2018-2027 National Development Plan is currently in the process of being finalised. The plan, which will be published alongside the new National Planning Framework “Ireland 2040”, will set out the Government’s intentions in relation to public capital investment beyond 2021.
My priority is for the investment in the agri-food sector, through a well-funded Rural Development Programme, Seafood Development Programme and Forest...

151. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if bullying or sexual harassment claims have been lodged in his Department in each year since 2011; if so, the number of complaints in each category on an annual basis, in tabular form; if these complaints have been investigated; the outcome of each investigation; and the policies in place within his Department to combat bullying and sexual harassment. (Question 2308/18 asked on 17 Jan 2018 - Bullying in the Workplace)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Civil Service is committed to protecting dignity and respect across the organisation and my Department implements the Civil Service wide anti-bullying, harassment and sexual harassment policy ‘Dignity at Work’. I am satisfied that the policy is being implemented effectively throughout my Department. This policy came into effect on 20/2/2015, and replaced the previous policy called ‘A Positive Working Environment’ for all...

429. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if his attention has been drawn to the shortage of fodder in western counties including in County Mayo; the steps he is taking to deal with same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48689/17 asked on 21 Nov 2017 - Fodder Crisis)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): It is clear that Weather conditions over much of this Autumn have been challenging for farmers and created difficulties for farmers particularly in the Western regions and on heavier land types. 
Grass growth rates this year have been ahead of last year. However the poor weather resulted in cattle being housed earlier than normal in places, particularly on the heavier soils; it also affected late cut silage making operations....

381. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans for a review of the beef genomics scheme in view of the fact that it has been in operation for two years; if so, the details of the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48056/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Beef Data and Genomics Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The suckler sector is a vital component of Ireland’s rural economy and the provision of support for the suckler sector is critically important. The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is the current primary support for the Irish suckler sector and makes provision for some €300 million of funding over the next six years to beef farmers. 
I have already in 2017, reopened the BDGP to beef suckler farmers who were not previous...

382. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the amount spent on the beef genomics scheme since its inception; the amount paid directly to participating farmers by county; the amount spent on administration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48057/17 asked on 14 Nov 2017 - Beef Data and Genomics Programme)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The suckler sector is a vital component of Ireland’s rural economy and the provision of support for the suckler sector is critically important. The Beef Data and Genomics Programme (BDGP) is the current primary support for the Irish suckler sector and makes provision for some €300 million of funding over the next six years to beef farmers. 
The Beef Data and Genomics Programme provides for six years of payments to farmers for ...

908. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to ensure that grant aided organisations are spending their moneys appropriately in view of the revelations regarding a charity (details supplied) in 2016; if his attention has been drawn to concerns in relation to organisations funded by his Department; if so, the action he has taken; if his Department has issued new procedures regarding the use of credit cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46086/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Departmental Agencies Funding)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I wish to inform the Deputy that all funding is provided by my Department on condition that it is used for the specific purpose intended and that there is compliance with the Statement of Principles as set out in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circular 13/2014: Management and of Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds, and/or is subject to the Department’s appropriate oversight and verification checks o...

168. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of Ministers of State attached to his Department; the responsibilities of each; if designated powers have been signed by him and assigned to the relevant Ministers of State; the date on which each designation was signed; the reason in circumstances in which no such designation has been made, this has not occurred; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 40791/17 asked on 27 Sep 2017 - Ministerial Responsibilities)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): There is one Minister of State attached to my Department.  Minister Andrew Doyle was appointed on 20 June 2017, with special responsibility for Food, Forestry and Horticulture and has been working in my Department since that date. 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 f...

553. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans following the end of the consultation process for the review of the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001; the way in which he will assure the independence of an appeals process that involves his Department in deciding on an appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 39725/17 asked on 20 Sep 2017 - Legislative Reviews)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): The Programme for Partnership Government provided for a review of the Agriculture Appeals Act 2001, to ensure the independence and efficiency of the office in dealing with appeals from farmers.  In fulfilment of this undertaking, I have established a Review Committee to carry out the review and furnish its Report to me by the end of this year. This will include recommendations as regards the legislation governing, and the fut...

1327. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the regulations regarding ragwort; and his plans to address its renewed growth. (Question 37933/17 asked on 11 Sep 2017 - Noxious Weeds)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1327, 1334, 1335 and 1367 together.
My Department actively seeks to enforce the provisions of the 1936 Noxious Weeds Act by issuing “Notices to Destroy” in all instances where it becomes aware of the presence of noxious weeds.
Some 21 such notices were issued in 2016 with a further 18 having been issued to date in 2017. These notices are issued as a result of inspections carried out by Departm...

1219. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the latest profiles in value and outruns forecasted in his Department for the end of December 2017 and any variances that may arise based on his Department’s performance against profile in gross voted expenditure at the end of June 2017. (Question 36560/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Budgets)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): Looking at the projected outturn for the year it is difficult to assess the full year expenditure for the Department at this stage as we are only just over half way through the year.
My Department keeps expenditure trends under review and provides details on monthly Exchequer Issues to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that are reported in the Expenditure Reports published with the monthly Exchequer Statement.
As...

225. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his views on proposals to change slurry spreading methods; if his attention has been drawn to the challenges that these changes will present for many persons, especially those on lower incomes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 30563/17 asked on 29 Jun 2017 - Farm Waste Management)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): I am aware of recent media coverage and at the outset, it is important to note that the lead on this issue is the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) as it relates to  the National Clean Air Strategy consultation which was open during March and April this year. 
Within this context, the consultation document identified the main issues in relation to air quality and emission sources. It rec...

1598. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied). (Question 26644/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Agriculture Scheme Appeals)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): A report detailing findings of an inspection, on the holding of the person named, carried out by National Parks and Wildlife Service was referred to my Department’s Cross Compliance Unit for attention. This report detailed breaches relating to the cross compliance requirements under the Habitats Directive, resulting in a 20% penalty being applied against the 2015 Direct Schemes payments. The person named was notified of this d...