Thursday, 21 May 2020
Outbreaks of Covid-19 in Meat Processing Plants: Statements
Michael Creed (Cork North West, Fine Gael)
I will try to deal with the Deputy's questions quickly. I am delighted to hear Deputy Fitzmaurice's support for the forestry sector. We have difficulties in respect of licensing. There have been a series of legal cases both domestically and in the European courts. In effect, these have forced us to reconstruct our licensing process - to rebuild the process legally. I am satisfied that we are making progress with the backlog.
It is not helped by the constant appealing of licences we are issuing but we are making efforts to try to expedite the process, including the manner in which people are entitled to appeal. It is affecting licences for felling, forestry roads and planting etc. I appreciate the Deputy's support and concern in that regard.
We have an EU directive on veterinary medicines that the Deputy has alluded to and we must transpose that into Irish law. We are anxious to do that in a responsible fashion and we will engage with the sectors affected by it. The previous speaker alluded to price when speaking about supports for the beef sector. He might want to check the most recent prices but notwithstanding that, they are still significantly challenged. As the Deputy is aware, the beef data and genomics programme amounts to approximately €40 million and apart from that we are introducing an enhanced beef environmental efficiency programme, which will put in the region of another €40 million into the sector. That is on top of the beef exceptional aid measure that we had last year.
With respect to isolation measures, I am trespassing on areas that are not germane to my Department's jurisdiction but my understanding is that if it is not possible to self-isolate, there is a centralised facility available with the assistance of the HSE. It may be challenging to isolate in some domestic circumstances.