Dáil Éireann - Volume 550 - 20 March, 2002

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

[1161]   235. Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason the second part of the suckler cow grant has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8880/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The person named applied for premium for seven cows under the 2001 suckler cow premium scheme for non-suppliers of milk on 19 April 2001. His 80% advance payment issued on 4 December 2001. In processing the application for balance payment, the records for the person named as provided by his co-op showed that he held a milk quota on 31 March 2001 for 7,355 gallons. The application was then processed as for small-scale milk suppliers. Applicants qualifying for this scheme must be producing cow's milk for disposal from their holdings and have a milk quota of less than 32,478 gallons on 31 March 2001-1 April 2001. They must have suckler cows surplus to the cows needed to produce those quotas. The number of notional dairy cows needed to produce the milk quota is that quota divided by 876 gallons. The number of cows required to fill a quota of 7,355 gallons is 8.39. The applicant stated that the total number of cows, both dairy and suckler, owned and maintained on his holding on the date of application was seven. As 8.39 cows are required to produce the milk quota, no suckler cow premium payment is due in respect of the 2001 scheme and the advance payment is now deemed an overpayment. However, if his co-op can provide evidence that the person named has not supplied any milk for disposal from his holding for an unbroken 12 months period from the date of lodgement of his application, this matter can be reviewed further.

  236. Mr. Bradford asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if his Department has considered a submission from a person (details supplied) in County Cork regarding a payment of arable aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8881/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): All payments issued by my Department are subject to checks and audits. In this context, an audit was carried out on the payments made under the 2001 EU arable aid scheme. The purpose of the exercise was to ensure that arable aid was paid on land that met the eligibility criterion set out in EU regulations. As a result, a letter issued to the person named in relation to one parcel of land. My Department is examining the reply received from the person named, including the supporting documentation, and will be in contact with him as soon as this examination is completed.

[1162]   237. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath whose sheep flock was depopulated due to threat or apprehension of scrapie has not been paid his compensation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8882/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The flock referred to was depopulated on 25 January 2002. The person's claim for scrapie compensation was received in the Department for payment on 29 January 2002. An interim payment of a proportion of his scrapie compensation claim is being issued. Processing of the balance of his claim is being finalised.

  238. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive his area-based payments for 2001. [8950/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): As stated in my reply to Question 5680 of 19 February 2002, the 2001 area aid application of the person named has been fully processed and any payments due under the 2001 area-based compensatory allowance scheme will issue shortly.

  The person named applied for premium for 11 animals under the 2001 suckler cow premium scheme. His 100% entitlement under this scheme has been paid.

  239. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a REP scheme payment; and the reason for the holding up of payment. [8979/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): An agri-environmental plan was lodged in February 2002 by the person named. A deficiency has been identified in the plan and it has been returned for correction. When an amended agri-environmental plan is received, my Department will be in a position to consider the person named for payment under the scheme.

  240. Mr. T. Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development when payment of slaughter premium and national envelope payments to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8980/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The person named has submitted no applications under the 2001 special beef premium scheme under the herd number quoted above. However, as stated in my reply to a previous parliamentary question, a new herd number was issued jointly to the person [1163] named and another person on 4 April 2001. The two persons involved were informed in writing by the Department of this decision on that date. Both herd numbers previously held by these parties ceased to be valid from 4 April 2001.

  The spouse of the person named made applications for special beef premium under an old herd number on 24 September 2001, 2 October 2001 and 21 December 2001. As this is no longer a valid herd number, the application can only be processed under the new herd number and both parties must sign the application forms. Therefore the application forms have been returned to the spouse on 29 January 2002 and when they are signed by both parties and returned to my Department, the applications will be reviewed.

  The outstanding slaughter premium payments in this case relate to the amalgamated herd number which is registered jointly in respect of the herdowner and spouse. A producer acknowledgement form was received in the slaughter premium section which was signed by the named herdowner only with a letter attached from the spouse declaring that the person named has been nominated to sign for and recoup any slaughter premia due on animals slaughtered under the herd number quoted and another herd number. The person named was advised that, for payments to be released on this basis under the joint herd number, the local office should be contacted so that the herd number is registered in one name only. To date the herd number is still registered in both names.

  241. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason a top-up payment for the provision of use of walks on REP scheme farms has been removed from the scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the plans by farmers to withdraw access to walks due to his Department's decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9089/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): Supplementary measure 5 of the previous rural environmental protection scheme provided for payments to farmers who undertook to give public access to their land for environmentally friendly leisure and sporting activities. There is no supplementary measure of this kind in the new scheme which commenced on 27 November 2000. Unlike the regulation governing the previous scheme, Council Regulation (EC) No. 1257/1999, under which the new REP scheme is implemented, includes no provision for a public access measure as part of the EU co-funded agri-environment programme. In an effort to secure the continued availability of public access as part of REPS, my Department made proposals to the European Commission for the inclusion of the measure in the new scheme as a State aid fully funded by the Exchequer. However, the Commission has indicated that a public access measure was not admissible under [1164] the agri-environment title of Regulation (EC) No. 1257/1999, even as a State aid. Participants in the previous REP scheme who are in receipt of payment under supplementary measure 5 may continue to avail of payments under this measure until the end of their existing agreements.

  242. Mr. G. Reynolds asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development the reason payment of a reactor grant was not made to a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9090/02]

  Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (Mr. Walsh): The appropriate reactor grants have been paid to the person concerned. However, he was ineligible for payment of a hardship grant, as the herd number in question was registered in joint names, one of whom is in receipt of off-farm income and thereby does not qualify for payment of hardship grants.