Agriculture, Food and the Marine: Joint Oireachtas Committee

I was elected to this committee in 2016 and participate in specialised parliamentary work, taking evidence from interest groups, meet witnesses, and invite Department officials to discuss specific issues of interest to Ireland’s agri-food sector and fisheries industry.

You can find out more about the work of the Committee here: www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/agriculturefoodandthemarine/

Lombard urges Minister to add Cork location to tyre collection

There needs to be a collection point for used agricultural tyres in County Cork, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

Cork Senator Tim Lombard was speaking following the announcement of a national tyre collection by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Minister Naughten has made €700,000 available to help farmers remove tyre stockpiles on their farms and the Irish Farm Film Producers Group (IFFPG), the national farm plastics recycling compliance scheme, has agreed to undertake this work.

Senator Lombard said: “While the announcement of the national tyre collection is a very positive step, I feel there is a need for a collection site to serve the south of the country.

“The closest collection point to County Cork is Gort Drum Mines in Monard, Tipperary. To a farmer travelling from Allihies this represents a round trip of just under four hundred kilometres.

“Cork is one of the most intensively farmed areas of the country, with more cows in our county than in all of Northern Ireland.

“Historically, tyre stockpiles have been an issue in the country. When Dunlop’s tyre factory closed in 1983, tyres were distributed to farmers across the county and have been building up since.

“Adding a collection point in Cork to remove these stockpiles makes sense.

“I have written to the Minister urging him to add a location in Cork to help facilitate farmers in the south of the country,” the Fine Gael Senator said.

 

01 October 2018

Budget funding will ensure farming community in Cork is protected from the effects of Brexit

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has said that funding from Budget 2019 will ensure the farming community in Cork is protected from the effects of Brexit.

Senator Lombard said: “I am delighted to see that Minister Creed has made provision for a Brexit Resilience Package of €78 million. This will ensure our largest indigenous industry is prioritised and will strengthen the farming sector’s ability to meet the challenges of Brexit.

“The funding will give a helping hand to farmers who need it most and ensure our local rural communities are supported here in Cork.

“The measures announced by the Minister include €44m in direct aid for farmers.  This will include an additional €23m for farmers in Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC),   allocation for 2019, bringing the allocation for 2019 to €250 million. This is a 24% increase over the last two years and essentially restores ANC payments to the level prior to the economic downturn.

“It will also see the introduction of a €20m Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot scheme (BEEP). This is a new pilot scheme targeted at Suckler farmers, and aimed at further improving the economic and carbon efficiency of Irish beef production.

“An additional €1m in funding for the horticulture sector has been made available, bringing the total provision for a sector particularly challenged by Brexit to €6 million. This will help create the conditions for sustainable rural development and provide local level supports to support vibrant and sustainable rural Cork communities.

“Minister Creed has also provided €27 million in Brexit related supports for the food industry comprising: €13 million in supports for food industry competitiveness and innovation. €3 million for Artisan and Micro food and beverage programmes through the Leader Programme and for LEAN manufacturing initiatives designed to improve competitiveness.

“An additional €5 million has been made available to Bord Bia, bringing the total Grant in Aid to €46.6 million. This is a 60% increase in funding for marketing and promotion of our food offering since 2014.

“€6m in funding to progress an €8 million Food Innovation Hub in Teagasc Moorepark, of which €2 million was provided in 2018,” Senator Lombard concluded.

Minister Michael Creed said: “My priority has been to deliver measures designed to help farmers, fishermen and food SME’s to navigate the challenges of Brexit.

“I believe that the package of measures I have announced will support the agri-food sector and assist us focussing on competitiveness, innovation, new market development and environmental sustainability – all key themes of the Food Wise strategy, and the best response we can make to the uncertainty and challenge posed by Brexit.”

 

10 October 2018

€685,904 investment in Cork aquaculture

Cork Senator and member of the joint Oireachtas committee for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Tim Lombard, has welcomed Government EMFF grants of €381,342 towards a total €685,904 investment in 4 of our local aquaculture companies.

Cormorant Mussel Ltd is to receive €22,928 towards a total investment of €57,321 for the introduction of a continuous rope mussel system; Seal Harbour Enterprises Ltd is to receive €21,469 (total investment of €53,674) for the upgrade of mooring system and engine; Bantry Bay Premium Seafoods is to receive €20,000 (total investment of €40,000) to develop microwavable product for the French retail market; and Castletownbere Fishermens Co-operative Society Ltd is to receive €296,945 (total investment of €494,909) for landing obligation infrastructure, as well as €20,000 (total investment of €40,000) for developing an oven ready product for the Spanish market.

Senator Lombard said: “I want to thank my colleague Minister Michael Creed for this very welcome grant aid for our local aquaculture companies, which are so critical to the sustainability of Cork’s economy.

“Fine Gael believes the marine economy can be a major contributing factor to new growth in an overall Irish economic context and we will prioritise the sector accordingly.

“This recent funding is part of a €240m investment over six years in the industry nationally.

“The continued and increasing level of capital investment in our aquaculture sector will underpin our ambitions to significantly grow our production in the coming years, which is of course good news for those working in the seafood sector here in Cork.”

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said: “I am delighted to announce a further tranche of grant awards to 20 seafood enterprises that will support a €4m of investment in fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing.

“It is very encouraging to see a continued increase in investment in aquaculture and these investments will positively contribute to our sustainable growth targets for the sector.  It is also reassuring to see our fisheries cooperatives continuing to invest to position themselves to handle unwanted catches under the new Common Fisheries Policy discards ban,” the Fine Gael Minister said.

 

24 July 2018

Hedge cutting measures to be implemented for August

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard welcomed the passing of the Heritage Bill through the Seanad this evening.

Senator Lombard said the new law will enable road-side hedges to be cut during August.

Senator Lombard said: “I welcome the passing of this Bill this evening and I am hoping that the President will sign it in to law shortly so the measures of cutting hedges on roadsides can be implemented for the month of August

“This has been an issue for many years and this new proposal will increase safety for road users but also for pedestrians who want to enjoy our rural environment.

“This is a valuable and practical piece of legislation for rural communities across Ireland.”

 

11 July 2018

Extension to summer slurry-spreading deadline a welcome relief for derogation farmers

Cork based Senator, Tim Lombard, has said that extending the summer slurry-spreading deadline is good news for derogation farmers.

Senator Lombard said: “The one month extension to summer slurry-spreading announced by Ministers Murphy and Creed is good news for Cork farmers.

“The deadline by which derogation farmers must have 50% of their slurry spread is now 15th July, after which the remainder of slurry must be spread by low-emission technology.

“By extending the date the Government has acknowledged the significant difficulties faced by farmers and contractors in spreading slurry as a result of the extreme weather earlier this year. This extension will allow farmers to catch up with their workloads, which have been substantially delayed in many cases.

“Ireland’s 4th Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) will commenced in January 2018 and run until the end of 2021, as will the renewed derogation.

“Renewal of this derogation is recognition that Ireland is continuing to maintain our commitment to improving water quality during ongoing developments in our agricultural sector.”

 

28 May 2018

Fodder Import Support is first step required to assist the Farming Community

Cork Senator and member of the joint Oireachtas Agricultural committee, Tim Lombard, confirmed that over €1.5 million has been allocated towards the introduction of a Fodder Import Support measure. The measure will operate through the dairy Co-operatives and will cover fodder imported by the co-ops from 5th April 2018 to 30th April 2018. Support under the measure will substantially alleviate the cost to farmers of imported fodder (approximately one third).

Senator Lombard said: “This has been a long difficult winter, as well as a late spring, which has put great pressure on the whole farming community. This scheme announced my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Agriculture Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, will alleviate some of that stress by supporting the importation of up to 20,000 tons of fodder into the country.

“The actual beneficiaries will be farmers who urgently need supplies of fodder. The initial allocation will continue until the 30th of April, although the scheme will be kept under ongoing review until the current crises is over.

“Application forms, participating Co-ops, and terms and conditions will be made available through the Co-ops and on the Department’s website. Farmers should contact their local participating co-op indicating their intention to purchase and volume of fodder requested.

“The Department will pay the participating Co-op a standard contribution towards the cost of transport which in turn will be reflected in the ultimate price to the farmer.”

Senator Lombard previously called for Co-ops to show solidarity with the farming community, and maintain milk prices, so that farmers might endure the current crisis; “I’ve been speaking to farmers across the country, and it is obvious that this past winter has been financial, physically, and mentally taxing. Our farming community is under a great deal of stress at this time and it is important that we all work together to help mitigate the damage.”

 

12 April 2018

West Cork Clinics for farmers applying for BPS

Clinics will be held to help West Cork farmers with their online applications for the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS), Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has confirmed.

Further to existing supports available, such as telephone help-lines, how-to guides and instructional videos, staff from the Department of Agriculture will be available to meet with farmers on a one-to-one basis to assist with making their applications.

Senator Lombard said: “These clinics have proven successful in the past; farmers can sit down with an official from the Department and make their online BPS or Transfer of Entitlements applications on the spot.

“Two online clinics will be held in West Cork: the first on Wednesday 11th April at the Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery, the second on Friday 27th April at the Beara Coast Hotel in Castletownbere. Both of these clinics will run in the morning, from 9am to 12:30pm.

“Online applications offer a range of benefits for farmers and also help the Department to issue these vital payments more efficiently.

“The recent growth in the number of online BPS applications shows more and more farmers are finding that the best way to apply for vital schemes such as BPS and ANC is online.

“Almost 20,000 farmers have already made their online applications this year, compared to a total of 3,500 applications received at this stage last year.

“From 2018 all the elements of the Direct Payments Schemes (BPS, Greening, Young Farmers Scheme, National Reserve, and Transferring of Entitlements) will be online.  This will help to ensure that the Department can process all applications under these schemes as efficiently as possible.”

Should farmers wish to contact the Department in relation to their online application they can do so at:

  • 076 1064424 in relation to queries on registering for agfood.ie (for example queries on lost passwords, how to register etc.), or
  • 076 1064420 in relation to queries on completing the BPS application once registered on www.agfood.ie, or to enquire about the one-to-one clinics.

 

21 March 2018

6% increase in Cork employment opportunities

 

Job creation in Cork is up by 6% in the last year – an increase of 1,372 jobs throughout the county.

“This is excellent news for all of us here in Cork, and is consistent with the strong employment performance across the economy.

“I am very pleased to see this strong level of job creation delivered by Government-backed companies; the employment boost from Enterprise Ireland backed companies shows the Regional Action Plans for Jobs is delivering for Cork.

“Fine Gael’s priority is to support companies across the entire country to continue to build on a strong national job creation performance. We are committed to strengthening our communities through employment creation, and building a sustainable future for all our citizens.

“Over 19,000 jobs were created across Ireland by companies supported by Enterprise Ireland in 2017, with every county seeing job increases. We have seen particularly strong jobs growth in the Construction, Engineering, Lifesciences, Digital Technology, Electronics, Food and ICT sectors across the country.

“Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations it is vital that we are prepared, and the Government continues to take initiatives to bolster the capacity of our enterprise agencies to drive exports and support investment.”

 

15 January 2018

Lombard opens Constituency Office in Kinsale

 

Yesterday morning (Monday) Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, opened his new constituency office in Kinsale.

Senator Lombard welcomes the public to visit his new constituency office

 

“I am very excited about this new venture. I feel it is very important that people in and around Kinsale have access to an Oireachtas member because this community, which is very much the beating heart of Cork tourism, should be well represented in Dublin.

“I will host an official opening early in the New Year, but as of next week my new office, at 71 Lower O’Connell Street, will be open 9am–5pm Monday to Friday.

“If you’re in or around Kinsale please feel free to drop by if you have any queries or concerns that you’d like to discuss with me. Equally you can contact my office by phone or email.”

 

12 December 2017

Revised Nitrates Action Programme a positive step for Irish farmers

 

Cork Senator and member of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Tim Lombard, has welcomed the renewal of Ireland’s derogation under the Nitrates Directive.

Senator Lombard said: “The renewal of our Nitrates Derogation is very positive news for Irish farmers, providing us the capacity for achieving targets set out in the Food Wise 2025 Strategy.

“This decision to renew this derogation is recognition that Ireland has and is continuing to maintain our commitment to improving water quality during ongoing developments in our agricultural sector.

“Ireland’s 4th Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) will commence in January 2018 and run until the end of 2021, as will the renewed derogation.

“The new derogation allows farmers to exceed the Nitrates Regulations limit of 170 kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare, subject to adherence to stricter rules.

“This new Programme also places particular emphasis on disrupting pollution pathways, as to prevent agricultural run-off affecting our water. As well as the requirements applied to previous derogations, two additional stipulations which will ensure a higher level of environmental protection:

1) 50% of all slurry produced on a derogation farm must be applied by the 15th June annually. After this date slurry may only be applied using low emission equipment.

2) In order to be eligible for a derogation farmer’s must have sufficient storage for all livestock manure and soiled water produced on the holding.

“The new NAP also emphasises the importance of knowledge transfer, as to ensure that farmers fully understand how best to protect the natural waters on or close to their lands. This will ensure that greater value can be generated from the agri-food sector while continuing to protect our water quality – a critical component of agriculture sustainability.”

 

05 December 2017