Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Beef Data and Genomics Programme: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
This is progress in the context of what we discussed previously with Mr. O'Driscoll and in respect of the fact that climate change is included. All this comes into the one focus and area. If a mistake was made, as I think we said the last time we spoke to Mr. Gleeson, it was that communications were behind rather than in front. That did happen but it has been addressed and I think those who are reconsidering are probably doing so because of that.
There were many discussion groups - I was part of one - in respect of knowledge transfer, and there are two main concerns. One is that people cannot participate in two groups such as, say, a sheep group and a beef group. That is not to say they should get paid in both but they should at least be allowed to participate because many of them are dual dry stock farmers. The other is that the named applicant cannot designate a nominee.
Following on from what Senator Comiskey said and what was said on climate change, we may only end up with about 27,000 fully compliant although the aim was much higher. There are ongoing negotiations as this is a climate change initiative. If there are new entrants or people who have made mistakes made in their basic payment scheme, like in the example earlier, they should be entitled to join.
We heard from the Estimates meeting in the first part of today's session that rural environment protection scheme, REPS, payments have only just finished. There has been another programme since but we are still paying. Why can we not pay beef data into the next programme if they commit to a six-year programme? It is going to be unspent money that can be carried over. The mechanisms are there to provide for that.