Dáil Éireann - Volume 609 - 02 November, 2005

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

[392]   439. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the estimated number of farmers who will receive the single farm payment in County Mayo; and the estimated total worth of the payments. [31392/05]

  Mary Coughlan: Approximately 12,500 farmers in County Mayo have established entitlements under the single payment scheme. The value of these entitlements is in excess of €58 million.

  440. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if a decision has been made on a single farm payment application for a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31419/05]

  Mary Coughlan: The person named submitted an application for a review of entitlements under the single payment scheme. During the processing of this review my Department took the view that the case of the person named should be assessed on the grounds of force majeure or exceptional circumstances as provided for in Article 40 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1782/2003. My Department has completed the examination of the force majeure circumstances and a decision was made that the single payment entitlements for the person named would be based on year 2000 only with the years 2001 and 2002 excluded. Details of the revised entitlements will issue to the person named shortly.

The person named also submitted an application for an allocation of entitlements from the national reserve under category C, which caters for farmers who, between 1 January 2000 and 19 October 2003, sold their milk quota into the milk quota restructuring scheme and converted their enterprise to a farming sector for which a direct payment under livestock premia and-or arable aid schemes would have been payable during the reference period 2000 to 2002. More than 23,000 applications for an allocation of entitlements from the national reserve were received. Processing of these applications is continuing and the intention is to make allocations to successful applicants at the earliest opportunity. The Department will be in touch with individual applicants as soon as their applications are fully processed. A successful application under the national reserve would serve to increase the entitlements already advised to the person named.

  441. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive headage [393] payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31440/05]

  Mary Coughlan: My Department was involved in correspondence with the applicant concerning the area of a land parcel included in his single payment application. The matters raised have now been resolved. Payments under the 2005 disadvantaged area scheme have commenced and a payment amounting to €583.05 under this scheme will be made to the person named within the next few days.

  442. Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason for the delay in processing the disadvantaged area aid payment for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; when payment will be granted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31462/05]

  Mary Coughlan: An application under the disadvantaged areas scheme-single payment scheme was received from the person named on 16 May 2005. As part of the control procedures required under EU legislation governing the single farm payment, the application of the person named was randomly selected for a ground eligibility inspection. The inspection process was completed and payment issued to the person named on 1 November 2005.

  443. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment of ten month premium for 31 animals will issue to a herd owner (details supplied) in County Tipperary. [31482/05]

  Mary Coughlan: The person named submitted three applications under the 2004 special beef premium scheme in respect of a total of 32 animals. The first application, in respect of one animal for bull premium, was received on 7 September 2004; the second application, in respect of 18 animals for first age premium, was received on 6 October 2004 and the third application, in respect of 13 animals for first age premium, was received on 24 December 2004.

Following initial computer validation, it was found that some of the animals included on the applications of the person named appeared ineligible under the scheme. However, following further examination, it has now been established that these animals are eligible and, accordingly, the file is being further processed with a view to payment at an early date.

  444. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if, in view of recouping from Coillte Teoranta circa €8 million of forestry pre[394] mium grants awarded to it but subsequently excluded from Community financing under the guarantee section of the European agricultural guidance and guarantee fund, and confirmed by a European Court, she has made a decision regarding seeking the return of these funds from Coillte Teoranta. [31508/05]

  Mary Coughlan: A final decision in this matter has not been made as yet but the issue is being examined in consultation with the Department of Finance.

  445. Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if she will provide details relating to the REP scheme file of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; the reason copies of bank statements were required by the regional inspector to which they are not entitled, resulting in a delay of more than one year in payment; if she will apologise to the person concerned for the stress and anxiety caused by this intrusion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31662/05]

  Mary Coughlan: The person named had completed three years in REPS 2 and was selected for a compliance inspection in his fourth year. Following the inspection, he was notified on 3 November 2004 that he was to be penalised for not spreading lime as required in his farm plan. This was because he could produce no record of having bought lime. He appealed the penalty locally and at the end of November 2004 he provided a photocopy of a receipt for the purchase and spreading of lime. My officials did not consider this to be acceptable evidence of the transaction and asked him to produce a bank statement to prove it. On 10 January 2005, the person named contacted my officials again but did not provide the material requested. In March 2005, my officials contacted his planner asking him to produce the original of the receipt.

Instead of the original receipt the planner provided another copy of the receipt, which he certified. My officials still considered this unacceptable and in a final effort to resolve the situation so that the person named could be paid, they contacted the company named on the receipt and verified directly from them that they had provided him with lime and spread it on his land. He was then told that the matter had been resolved and his payment issued on 5 September 2005.

While the delay is regrettable, my Department has an obligation to operate effective controls in REPS to safeguard national and EU funds.