Posted April 17th, 2013
Maintenance works for Channel Gate, drainage works at Dock Tongue and provision of lifebuoy holders along the Riverside included in Government grant for Arklow
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris has announced that the Government, through the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine has written to the local authority offering to grant aid a number of improvement safety and maintenance works at Arklow Harbour.
The Government grant for Arklow is for the following works:
· Maintenance repairs at the Channel gate at the North East corner of the dock. This gate is located at the entrance to the dock where the fishing trawlers are moored.
· Drainage works are planned on the concrete slab forming the Dock Tongue.
· The provision of 10 Lifebuoy holders along the Riverside and dock area.
Speaking about this news, Deputy Harris said, “This grant aid will be a very welcome further investment in Arklow Harbour which will benefit harbour users, the town of Arklow in general and improve safety and maintenance around the harbour.”
“I hope and trust the Council will draw down this grant as quickly as possible so these works can proceed in Arklow,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted March 21st, 2013
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris has welcomed the agreement reached by Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney TD, on the new round of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments.
“The new CAP payments brokered by Minister Coveney represents a good result for farmers in County Wicklow. The agriculture ministers endorsed the principle of flexibility in the way in which direct payments are to be distributed within Member States. This is known here as internal convergence. This had been the outstanding issue in the negotiations from an Irish perspective.
“The agreement contains measures which include flexibility in the way in which direct payments are distributed within Member States and a redistribution of direct funding, providing important supports to disadvantaged farmers and enabling them to increase production. This represents a better distribution of funds between farmers.
“Reforms to CAP were necessary in order to respond to the future challenges for agriculture and rural areas, namely viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action.
“Pressure on agricultural income is increasing as consumers demand higher standards in production and traceability while input costs continue to rise. The reform proposals contain a strong greening element requiring many to adopt farming systems that are favourable to the environment.
“There is enormous economic and social value in keeping productive farmers at all levels of production on the land. Agricultural incomes make an important contribution to the local economy. Famers purchase goods and services and provide employment in local communities.
“For these reasons, among others, agricultural incomes across the spectrum must be supported. The proposals also make specific reference to the need to reduce the administrative cost and burden on direct supports to small farmers. Proposals to further strengthen rural development policies were agreed, providing Member States with the possibility to transfer funds from direct payments ceiling to supports directed at rural development.
“These proposals are favourable to smaller producers who in comparison to larger producers, require income support to achieve greater efficiency and are less able to adapt to market and environmental changes. This should be of benefit to families in County Wicklow.
“I would like to congratulate the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, on gaining acceptance for the package of proposals put forward by the Irish Presidency. The proposals were agreed following protracted negotiations resulting in a general approach on reforms to CAP. Minister Coveney will now take these proposals to the co-decision process with the European Parliament and the Commission.”
Posted March 5th, 2013
Wicklow TD joins President of GAA and local Bray students in planting a tree at GAA club as part of National Tree Week – 20,000 new trees to be planted nationwide during this week
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris today (Tuesday) joined with the President of the GAA, Liam O’Neill, members of Bray Emmets GAA Club and local students to plant a tree at the club grounds to mark National Tree Week.
National Tree Week will see 20,000 new trees planted across the country this week which will positively contribute to our environment.
Speaking about today’s event, Deputy Harris said, “I was delighted to visit Bray Emmets today and to welcome the President of the GAA to our town and to our county. It was a great honour for Wicklow and for Bray Emmets for him to be with us. Bray Emmets is a brilliant club providing recreation and sport for about 700 members ranging across the ages. It was uplifting to be there with them on this exciting day in their beautiful grounds and excellent club house.”
“National Tree Week is a worthy initiative which sees thousands upon thousands of new trees planted in communities across the country. It also educates young school children of the benefits of protecting and promoting our local environment,” stated Deputy Harris.
“Well done and thank you to Bray Emmets and to the local schools for taking part in this tree planting ceremony today and I look forward to returning to this club as the tree grows and as their teams win!,” continued Deputy Harris.
Posted November 26th, 2012
Wicklow Fine Gael TD, Simon Harris, has stated that he is looking forward to the introduction of the new animal welfare bill.
Deputy Harris stated ‘I have spoken directly to Minister Coveney regarding several issues around animal welfare in County Wicklow. Minister Coveney has stressed that the new bill will provide for a clearer level of expectation of care for animals as well as trying to deal with some of the issues around how companies interacting with animals must act.
‘I am confident that the changes that will emerge when this bill is introduced will provide greater clarity around animal health and welfare.
‘The Animal Health and Welfare Bill 2012 is currently at Committee stage and the updating of this Bill is a significant positive improvement on the existing bill and should bring necessary changes for the improvement of the health and welfare of animals.’ Concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted January 11th, 2012
97% of Single Farm Payments in Wicklow paid
Fine Gael Wicklow TD, Simon Harris, has said the Irish agri-food sector is well-positioned for another year of strong growth, following bumper export results for 2011. Deputy Harris also confirmed that over 97% of Single Farm Payments have been paid to farmers in Wicklow, with outstanding payments to be processed as quickly as possible.
“I have raised the need for the efficient and speedy processing of payments with the Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney. Cash flow is a critical issues for farmers, and this has a knock-on effect for the wider community. I am pleased the Department is recognising the importance of these payments to farmers, particularly those on low incomes, and is making progress in this regard.”
“Administering the supports for farmers more effectively is all the more pertinent given the strong end of year figures shown by Bord Bia. Sales abroad grew by 12% in 2011, to almost €9 billion, with food and drinks exports reaching record levels.”
“The strong sales seen last year in the dairy, meat, prepared foods and seafood sectors show the potential and the variety of Irish offering. The Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney is working with food and drinks companies across Ireland to identify and exploit new opportunities, and to further develop existing markets.”
“December’s Budget contained a number of measures to help agri-businesses capitalise on export markets. Businesses looking to develop new markets in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) will receive support through the Foreign Earnings Deduction.”
Minister Coveney is also planning to visit China, for talks with his counterpart, with an view to expanding into the biggest emerging market in the world. A delegation from China visited Ireland recently and was particularly impressed with our grass-based production systems.
“It’s clear from last year’s strong performance the agri sector is on track to achieve further advances this year, despite the difficult international environment,” concluded Deputy Harris.
Posted October 20th, 2011
Fine Gael Wicklow TD has welcomed the announcement by the Minister of Agriculture of the advance payment of €487 million in Single Farm Payments (SFP) to 101,000 farmers. The payments have been brought forward from December to October following representations made by Minister Coveney to the EU Commission.
“Payments have started issuing directly into farmers’ bank accounts as of Monday, 17th October. Cash-flow has become a critical issue for farmers, particularly those on low incomes, and the timing of these payments is extremely important. That’s why these payments are so important for farmers and for the rural economy.
“Upon entering office, Minister Coveney made it a priority to bring forward the payments from December to October. In doing so he has shown that he is in tune with the challenges that farmers are facing. Farmers in Wicklow will no doubt welcome the advance payment of these figures upon which their livelihoods depend.
“The Single Farm Payment forms a considerable part of the annual income of farmers. It has taken on increased significance in the current economic climate. Huge numbers of farmers rely on the SFP to subsidise the running costs of the farm the payment often constitutes an amount greater than the net farm income.
“Additional payments will be made up to 1st December 2011 when the 50% balancing payments are scheduled to commence issuing. By the end of the year, the vast majority of the SFP will have been paid, the total value of which will be in excess of €1.2 billion.”
Posted October 6th, 2011
Fine Gael Deputy, Simon Harris, met Wicklow-based representatives from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) at an event in the Mansion House yesterday (Wednesday). The pre-budget meeting discussed the important role of farming and the land in building a sustainable economy.
“The agri-food sector makes and important contribution to the economy of our county, and our country,” said Deputy Harris. “I look forward to working with the IFA on an on-going basis to ensure the interests of Wicklow farmers are protected and that this important industry is given the support it needs to reach its full potential.”