DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Leo Varadkar)

by Deputy Joe Carey

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 22/09/2015



*  To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question No. 375 of 20 January 2015, his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Insulin Pump Programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Joe Carey T.D.

Details Supplied: Insulin pump programme for children with type one diabetes attending the University Hospital Limerick has been discontinued
I want to inform you that the insulin pump programme for children with type one diabetes has been discontinued at the University Hospital Limerick. The loss of a consultant paediatric endocrinologist is extremely disappointing for the children who depend on this life saving service. I am asking that you as Minister for Health would ensure that a full time paediatric endocrinologist consultant post is advertised without delay and that an agency sourced general paediatrician is engaged as soon as possible with a view to re-establishing this vital service until the full time post is filled and in operation. Could you please arrange to report back to me in relation to this essential matter.




As this is a service matter, I have asked the HSE to respond to you directly. If you have not received a reply from the HSE within 15 working days please contact my Private Office and my officials will follow the matter up.





To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when a walking trail (details supplied) in County Clare will be made safe and re-opened; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

– Joe Carey.


*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.


in County Clare. The walking route known locally as the ‘Rabbit Trail’ at Dromore Wood, Ruan, County Clare.


Ref No:   31065/15




Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Heather Humphreys, T.D.):

The trail referred to by the Deputy was closed following extensive damage caused by storms of over a year ago, after which felled trees completely blocked the route and made the area unsafe for visitors.

Work has been ongoing this year to clear the felled trees and open up the pathway.  This work is now complete and the path is currently open.  Further work on the path will be required, however, including the laying of gravel on it, in order to bring it up to the required standard.  It is hoped that this work can be carried out before the end of the year.

In the meantime, there are other walking options available to the public at site, including newer trails that were developed in recent years and are illustrated on the display panels at the location.






Parliamentary Question No. 551





To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans he has submitted to the Department of Finance to deal with the issue of income volatility for farmers as it pertains to Income Tax owed, especially dairy farmers in the context of the published National Farm Survey average dairy farm income figure of €68,887 for 2014 and an estimated Teagasc figure of €35,000 to €40,000 for 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Joe Carey.



For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.


Ref No: 32147/15 Proof: 652





The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)



Taxation policy is primarily the responsibility of the Minister for Finance. However I have on-going contact with Minister Noonan to ensure that taxation policy reflects the Government’s commitment to agriculture, as evidenced by our cooperation on the ‘Agri-taxation Review’, which was published as part of Budget 2015. The Agri-taxation Review is a comprehensive taxation strategy for the sector and the Government’s commitment to agriculture was evidenced by the immediate implementation of the majority of its recommendations, including two recommendations aimed at addressing income volatility:

 Retaining and enhancing Income Averaging by increasing the averaging period from 3 to 5 years; thus giving more scope for income smoothing within a commodity price cycle.

 Allowing averaging to be availed of where a farmer and/or their spouse receive income from an on-farm diversification trade or profession.

Income averaging allows a smoothing of the tax liability in any given year to balance out the income effects of fluctuations in commodity prices that occur from year to year.


However, taxation measures alone will not deal with the issue of income volatilit y:


I believe that moving up the value chain where possible, in terms of the type of products sold and how they are produced, is a key insulation against volatility. More efficient and sustainable production systems are also important to improving profitability. The new Food Wise strategy, launched in July, contains detailed recommendations aimed at improving value added and productivity at all stages of the food supply chain.


The measures in the 2014-2020 Rural Development Programme will provide vital support through farm investment,       agri-environment and knowledge transfer schemes.


Direct payments to dairy farmers, estimated by Teagasc at about €20,000 per farm, provide a source of income which is particularly important in challenging years.


The package introduced by the EU Commission last week to address difficulties in the dairy and pigmeat sectors reflects the majority of the demands I presented to them, particularly:

 The increase of more than 100% in the rate of private storage aid for skimmed milk powder.

 The award of almost €14 million in direct aid to Ireland.

 The concession made by the Commission to allow advance payments of 70% under the direct payments scheme and 85% for rural development schemes before completion of controls, which will be of major benefit in easing the cash flow of farmers.


I have regular meetings with the CEOs of the main banks, and I know that all are aware of the difficulties in dairy prices this year, and are planning accordingly in terms of managing dairy loans. The dairy sector is resilient, and banks will have to step up to the plate to assist farmers over what will be a temporary trough in prices.


A key issue that warrants examination, particularly between producers and processors, is whether there is even further scope for longer term fixed price supply contracts for a proportion of farmers’ production and whether such contracts can be backed up by longer term supply arrangements with the buyers of Irish raw materials and ingredients.


Finally and importantly, in terms of super-levy impacts I recognised the difficulty that this caused for farmers here and took the decision to make the 3-year interest free instalment arrangement available to all those affected. This option has been availed of by approximately 3,700 producers and will be of assistance to farmers facing cash flow difficulties arising from super levy in the final year of the milk quota regime.