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Value for Money Reviews

Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, announced that the Government has  published two Value for Money Reviews which are now available on the Department's website, http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/publications/2012/

The two reports are:

1.     Animal Welfare, Recording and Breeding Scheme for Suckler Herds (the “Suckler Cow Scheme”)

2.     Fisheries Decommissioning Schemes 2005-2008

"The publication of these reviews represents an important contribution to evidence-based policy making which is a key commitment of this Government" said Minister Coveney.

On the Suckler Scheme the Minister commented "This review supports the Government’s decision to continue to provide exchequer funding for the Scheme in 2012. It is important now that the behaviour and herd management changes brought about by this Scheme continue to be implemented by the sector in order to consolidate the gains made so far."   The Minister added that this investment by the Government in the Suckler beef sector will contribute to meeting the targets set out in the Food Harvest 2020 report.

On the Fisheries Schemes the Minster noted that the Review found that the schemes were well run and that this review is a valuable and timely piece of work in the run-up to the Common Fisheries Policy Review.

Note for Editors

The VFM on the Suckler Cow Scheme (€138m) is a very comprehensive review which assesses the Scheme from 2008 to date.  The review concludes that the Scheme has largely met its original objectives in terms of bringing about improvements in animal welfare and collection of breeding data.  The review also concludes that many of the welfare measures required under the Scheme have now become established practice on beef farms.  This is very positive in terms of contributing to the sustainable image of the Irish beef sector internationally.  The findings of this VFM review can inform the decision-making process on what we do in future years.  Future policy will have to reflect the fact that national economic circumstances have changed considerably since the scheme was first introduced.

The VFM on the Fisheries Schemes (€48m) reviewed the decommissioning of whitefish vessels over the period 2005-2008. The VFM concluded that quota availability to the remaining fleet was improved as a result of the Scheme and that the uptake of this quota by the fleet improved considerably from 2009 to 2010.  These uptake figures for 2011 were similarly positive which indicates a renewed confidence in the whitefish catching sector.  Decommissioning as a policy tool is under some scrutiny as part of the ongoing CFP review and I have asked that this VFM be forwarded to the European Commission as evidence that a well targeted fleet restructuring initiative can bring about long term positive results.

Date Released: 01 February 2012