Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Dáil Éireann Debate
435. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there is a minimum age requirement for persons whose details are entered into the Garda PULSE system and the age of the youngest person whose details have been entered into the Garda PULSE system. [33482/13]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner and as soon as it is to hand I will pass it on to the Deputy.
436. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide details of the number of staff members currently working at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation; the number of staff holding professional qualifications in the areas of forensic accounting, criminal law and other areas relevant to the body's work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33488/13]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The allocation of all resources, including personnel, within the Force rests with the Garda Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team and I have no direct function in that matter. The Commissioner has informed me that the current personnel strength of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) is 86. Of these, 70 are members of the Garda Síochána, 2 are Professional Accountants and there are 14 administrative staff. 12 members of staff hold professional qualifications in a mixture of Accounting and Finance, Professional Accountancy, Economics and Finance, Legal Studies, Business and Legal Studies and Criminology. In addition to the foregoing, as recently as 30th May, 2013, I received sanction from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for the recruitment of two additional forensic accountants for the GBFI.
437. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will support proposals in investigating into the banking fraudulent practices and crime by establishing a special task force similar to CAB (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33539/13]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): A specialist Bureau with An Garda Síochána, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI), is charged with investigating serious and complex fraud matters and has the resources and expertise to carry out this function. In light of this I have no plans to establish a task force or other agency with responsibilities in this field. The Bureau is staffed by specialist Garda and civilian personnel including two full-time forensic accountants and works closely with other bodies which relevant enforcement functions including the Criminal Assets Bureau, Revenue Commissioners, the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Competition Authority and the Financial Regulator. I am in regular contact with the Garda Commissioner concerning all aspects of serious crime, and he has assured me that there are sufficient resources available to the GBFI, particularly with respect to the major banking investigations. Notwithstanding this, I have made it clear to the Commissioner that if at any stage he believed that additional resources were required for these investigations I would respond immediately, to ensure that the GBFI can continue to carry out its functions effectively.
438. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will advise a family who are being intimidated by a teenage gang in the Dublin 13 area in securing their person and home safely. [33540/13]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Alan Shatter): The issues raised by the Deputy are ones which are appropriately dealt with by An Garda Síochána. In this regard I am informed by the Garda authorities that it is the policy of An Garda Síochána to deploy personnel to establish a highly visible and accessible service to communities to tackle crime, the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour.
In the absence of specific details as to the nature of the intimidation referred to, it is not possible to provide a specific response from the Garda authorities on this matter. However, if a person feels that a crime has been committed they should contact their local Garda station. All crimes that are reported to Gardaí are fully and thoroughly investigated and offenders brought to justice wherever possible. As well as contacting the Gardaí directly, information can be provided to An Garda Síochána by way of the Garda confidential line, 1800 666 111, which is a monitored freephone line that allows members of the public to contact An Garda Síochána with information of a confidential nature.
Insofar as the use of intimidation in local communities as a result of drug-related debt is concerned, under the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 a framework for tackling this problem has been put in place by An Garda Síochána. Under this framework a ‘Drug-Related Intimidation Programme’ has been established by the Garda National Drugs Unit in conjunction with the community based National Family Support Network (FSN) with the support of the HSE Social Inclusion Unit. The purpose of this programme is to respond to the needs of drug users, their family members and/or friends who experience drug-related intimidation to repay drug debts.
Under the programme, nominated Garda Inspectors have been selected by the Garda Commissioner across the country to deal to the issue of drug related intimidation. These Inspectors act as a point of contact for any individuals (or for representatives of the FSN acting on individuals' behalf) in responding to any issues of drug related intimidation being experienced.
439. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 181 of 23 May 2013, the process he in conjunction with the Irish naval Service, will use for the naming of the two new vessels to be delivered in early 2014 and 2015 to replace the L.É. Emer and L.É. Aoife; if a decision has been made on the matter yet; when he expects a decision to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33185/13]
Minister for Defence (Deputy Alan Shatter): A decision has been made to name the two new ships. The first of the two ships scheduled for delivery in January 2014 will be named L.E. Samuel Beckett. The second ship scheduled for delivery in early 2015 will be named L.E. James Joyce. The naming of the new ships after world renowned Irish literary figures will facilitate greater recognition of the ships when they visit foreign ports and when they are operating in the international maritime domain. It is my view that these names portray a very strong sovereign link between the State and the Naval Service and sets the tone both domestically and abroad in reflecting on a more modern Ireland and Naval Service organisation.
440. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a legal matter pertaining to the forestry plantation of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32905/13]
441. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a forestry payment will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32906/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 441 together.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): There are no plans to re-open the Neighbour Wood Scheme in 2013. The position will be reviewed in 2014 having regard to the allocation of funding for the Forestry Programme in the 2014 budget.
443. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a person (details supplied) in County Cavan will receive their agri-environment options scheme payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32924/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1 November 2010 and full payments issued in respect of 2010 and 2011 respectively. The file was selected for a ground inspection which took place on 16 October 2012. During this inspection, issues of non compliance with the terms and conditions of the scheme were noted in relation to the Wild Bird Cover, Planting of New Hedgerow and Tree Planting – Whips actions, which resulted in a penalty being imposed. A letter issued to the person named informing his of this penalty and giving him the option to appeal the decision. There is no record on the file of any appeal having been lodged and my officials are finalising the processing of the application on the basis of the inspection findings and payment will issue shortly.
444. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry applied for 11 calves at €40 per calf and was refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32935/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The person named registered 12 beef breed animals under the 2012 Suckler Welfare Scheme. A letter issued on 25 June 2013 to the participant setting out the issues which prevented payment (failure to observe the Terms and Conditions in regard to phased weaning and also, notification of measures taken). The participant was also notified of the available appeal processes.
445. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 203 of 21 February 2012, the reason the person has not received their payment; when this payment will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32937/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following my reply of 21 February 2013 in this case, unfortunately, a number of technical issues have delayed payment. However, I can now confirm that payment under the 2012 Beef Technology Adoption Programme issued on 8 July to the nominated bank account.
446. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when an agri-environment options scheme payment will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33011/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The person named was approved for participation in the 2011 Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from 1 September 2011 and full payment totalling €1,333.30 issued in respect of 2011. The administrative checks for the 2012 payment year established that the person named did not proceed with the Tree Planting – Standard, Tree Planting – Whips, Conservation of Genetic Resources, Water Trough Installation and Planting of New Hedgerows measures in the approved plan which will result in a 40% penalty being applied. The file was also selected for a ground inspection which took place on 25 April 2013. This inspection found areas of non- compliance with the terms and conditions in relation to the Laying of Hedgerow and Coppicing of Hedgerow actions which will result in further penalties being applied. The application will now be processed for payment on this basis with the intention of issuing payment in respect of 2012 at the earliest opportunity.
447. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding an application under the agri-environment options scheme 3 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33030/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): An application under the Agri-Environment Options Scheme from the person named was received in my Department on 20 November 2012. The person named was admitted to the scheme and on 27 May 2013 a letter issued informing him that his application to join the AEOS Scheme was successful and notified him of his contract commencement date of 1 May 2013. During the checking process on the application a query was identified. My Officials are working to resolve this issue and in the event that further information is required they will be in direct contact with the person named.
448. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if there is a limit on afforestation within a particular area; if such limits should be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33086/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): While there are no specific limits on afforestation within a particular area, in some parts of the country silvicultural and/or environmental constraints will limit the suitability of the area for forestry. All applications submitted to my Department for approval to undertake afforestation are examined to determine the suitability of the site from a silvicultural and environmental perspective. The range of issues considered includes an examination of silvicultural issues such as soil type; soil fertility; exposure and access; and an assessment of any potential environmental impact of the project on, inter alia, the human population, water quality, designated conservation areas, archaeology and landscape.
My Department also has a legal responsibility to ensure that every hectare approved for afforestation complies with requirements set out under the various European environmental Directives such as the Birds and Habitats Directives, the EIA Directive and the Water Framework Directive, and with corresponding national legislation. This will ensure that the ongoing expansion of the national forest resource is compatible with the protection of Ireland’s environment. My Department is in regular communications with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and with other bodies, to ensure an ongoing streamlining of procedures to ensure the afforestation programme is compliant with the legislation outlined above.
449. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine when a forestry premium payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33126/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): Remedial works on the applicant’s plantation were requested by the Forest Service in March 2013. The works have been reported as completed and the Forest Service inspector has confirmed the plantation is now up to standard. It is expected that the applicant should receive payment of the outstanding premium in the week beginning 15 July 2013.
450. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding recent policy changes pertaining to meat-feeding licences for greyhound owners with respect to what now constitutes a breeding establishment for the purposes of the meat-feeding licence; if the obligation to hold a meat-feeding licence has now been broadened in any way to include more greyhound-owners compared with previous rules and conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33153/13]
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): The current proposed measures in relation to the feeding of animal by-products (ABP) to dogs are intended to improve the implementation of the relevant provisions of the EU ABP Regulations (EC) No. 1069/2009, to reduce potential risk to public and animal health and to protect the human food chain. This policy has no impact on the definition of a breeding establishment nor on the obligation to hold a Meat Feeder Licence (MFL) as such a licence is required where a dog owner uses raw ABP under regulatory derogation as a source of feed, irrespective of the type of dog involved.
The EU ABP Regulation allows the possibility of feeding raw ABP to dogs under a number of headings. In particular the derogation under Article 18(1)(f) allows specified categories (Category 2 and Category 3) of ABP to be fed to “dogs from recognised kennels and packs of hounds”; and the derogation under Article 18(1)(g) allows the same for dogs in shelters. Raw ABP is potentially a valuable source of feed for dogs in kennels, shelters and for packs of hounds. However, it can also represent a potential risk to both public and animal health, particularly the Category 2 material which is derived from fallen animals. In light of the foregoing, it is proposed to introduce measures to facilitate an extension of the supply chain for the lower risk Category 3 material and over time to confine the availability of the higher risk Category 2 material. It is proposed that the restriction of supply of Category 2 material will be introduced on a gradual basis, as current MFLs expire over a three year period. The proposal will be the subject of a consultation process before being finalised.
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