Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Other Questions

Common Agricultural Policy Negotiations

3:15 pm

Photo of Michael MoynihanMichael Moynihan (Cork North West, Fianna Fail)
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To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government his views on co-financing of rural development under CAP Pillar Two; the impact of Multi Annual Framework budget cuts to Pillar Two on rural development schemes here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12689/13]

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The European Council agreement on the new multi-annual financial framework, MFF, is a good deal for Ireland and for Europe. The overall amount for the last MFF for 2007 to 2013, was €994 billion. The amount agreed for the 2014 to 2020 MFF is approximately €960 billion. Although this is slightly less than the previous financial period it is, nonetheless, a positive development in the context of the financial situation that prevails across Europe currently and particularly in relation to the significant budget available for the Common Agricultural Policy.

The agreement provides some €373 billion funding for sustainable growth - natural resources, largely agriculture and fisheries - and it supports a continuing strong CAP. It will deliver some €1.2 billion per year in direct payments to farmers under Pillar I and €313 million per year under Pillar II, including a specific allocation of €100 million for rural development under Pillar II. It will give vital support to our agrifood industry which is growing and continuing to create employment. Ireland also secured a further €100 million for the BMW region from the ERDF. All of this combined means that Ireland will be in a strong position for the next programming period of 2014 to 2020.

The next stage is for the European Parliament to agree to the deal. In parallel with these discussions, the negotiation processes for the large range of regulatory instruments required to implement the various parts of the MFF will continue. The MFF provides for flexibility regarding the co-financing rates for various areas of rural development including Leader, for which my Department has responsibility. Final decisions on the specific nature of the co-financing arrangements for the Leader elements of the rural development programme remained to be negotiated and in this context, my Department and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will be taking forward the discussions with a view to obtaining the best outcome for Ireland.

3:25 pm

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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This is similar to what happened with septic tank registration. The Minister wanted people to register before the grant was available. It would seem reasonable to make the grant available first. The Minister owes those involved €45 each.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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That matter relates to a different question.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Ó Cuív got caught out.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister owes them all €45.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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We are on Question No. 80.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Deputy Ó Cuív was caught out.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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If the Minister had announced the grant first, people could have registered for €5. If his conscience is picking at him now, it should be, because it was he who cost those people money.

Photo of Mick WallaceMick Wallace (Wexford, Independent)
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What about that Minister?

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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What a hypocrite. Deputy Ó Cuív travelled around the country and told people not to pay.

Photo of Barry CowenBarry Cowen (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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This is typical of the Minister's scattergun approach.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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What a hypocrite.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Sometimes it seems the Minister does not read. Sometimes I worry that he is not able to read.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy read a lot when he was in government.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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I did an awful lot.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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What did the Deputy do?

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister is absolutely right, and I thank him for the compliment.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy certainly read a lot but he achieved very little.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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I was very assiduous about reading. However, the Minister never reads.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy will have to take my word for it that I do read.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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If the Minister does read, he does not take the information in.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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I see.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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He certainly never pays any heed to what is on paper.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy should pay €45 back to the people he advised not to pay.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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That is typical of the arrogance of this Government.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy has taken €45 out of the pockets of those in Connacht-Ulster. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan's people were involved in that as well.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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No; it was the Minister. If it is on his conscience, he should pay up.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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The Deputy-----

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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I ask those on all sides to please desist. Deputy Ó Cuív should ask a question.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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He robbed them of €45 each.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The second thing the Government has managed to do is to be involved in bringing about, for the first time ever, a decrease in the money available under the CAP. Will the Minister explain how what his party, in opposition, described as a purely Irish financial crisis has suddenly become a European one? Does he agree that the level of Leader funding that will be available on the next occasion will be much less than we achieved during the previous round? Will he indicate the negotiations he has had with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine regarding the breakdown of the €313 million available from Europe in respect of outside-the-farm-gate mechanisms such as Leader and inside-the-farm-gate schemes such as the installation aid, farm retirement, disadvantaged areas and agri-environment options schemes?

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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I regularly discuss these matters with my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Deputy Coveney. The negotiations between us on how the moneys agreed under the multi-annual financial framework some weeks ago will be divided are just starting. A stakeholder consultation was undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and interested parties were invited to make submissions. More than 80 submissions are currently under consideration. I expect that, arising from these, both Departments will be engaging in negotiations in the coming weeks and months in order to obtain the best possible deal for the rural development programme. I acknowledge that there will be less money available in the next round.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Can we take it that the amount available will be at least 11% lower than previously? Could the reduction be as high as 20%? Will the Minister confirm that when inflation is taken into account, the MFF allocation for rural development will actually be 18% lower than was the case previously?

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Countries other than Ireland have a difficulty in agreeing on the funding. The British Government-----

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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There will be 18% less money available.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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-----wants to pull out of the European Union because it is of the view that too much money is being spent on the programmes involved. It is going to hold a referendum on whether the county should remain in the EU. The British Prime Minister has a say at the negotiating table and he obtained some of what he was seeking in respect of these matters. A significant amount of money remains available and it is not that much less than was available under the previous programme.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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It is much less. It will be 18% less.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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No; it is not that much.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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There will be 18% less money available.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Let us see what will be the outcome of the negotiations. The overall budget will be reduced from €960 billion to €930 billion.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Inflation must be taken into account.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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The person in possession should be allowed to continue.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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I am providing the Deputy with the global figures, in volume terms, that have been agreed under the MFF.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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What about inflation?

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Inflation was not taken into account on the previous occasion either.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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It was taken into account.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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We are comparing like with like in the context of what Deputy Ó Cuív and the Government of which he was a member negotiated-----

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The reduction is almost 20%. What about inflation?

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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Only the Deputy is interested in inflation. I am using the same figure that has been used for the past seven years and comparing it with figure his Government negotiated. We are comparing like with like.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister would do as well to compare it with the position that obtained in 1931. The amount involved would appear to be very good if he did so.

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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I am comparing like with like.

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister is not doing so, because money does not have the same value.

Photo of Michael KittMichael Kitt (Galway East, Fianna Fail)
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The Minister must conclude. We are almost out of time.

3:35 pm

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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Obviously, the Minister does not understand inflation-----

Photo of Phil HoganPhil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)
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May I answer the question? The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and I will be in discussions and we will let the Deputy know the outcome in due course.