Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs

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Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
DAERA Logo NI.png
Department overview
FormedJune 1921 (as Ministry of Agriculture)
Preceding Department
JurisdictionNorthern Ireland
HeadquartersDundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 3SB
Employees3,836 (September 2011)[1]
Annual budget£197.9 million (resource) & £48.8 million (capital) for 2016–17[2]
Minister responsible
  • Vacant
Websitewww.daera-ni.gov.uk

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved administration for Northern Ireland. The minister with overall responsibility for the department is the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The department was called the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development between 1999 and 2016 and was previously known as the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland or the Ministry of Agriculture. The department's Permanent Secretary is Noel Lavery[3].

Responsibility[edit]

The department has responsibility for food, farming, environmental, fisheries, forestry and sustainability policy, and the development of the rural sector in Northern Ireland. It assists in the sustainable development of the agri-food, environmental, fishing and forestry sectors of the economy (having regard for the needs of the consumers, the protection of human, animal and plant health, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment). It provides a business development service, a veterinary service and the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, and is responsible to the UK Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for the administration of schemes affecting the whole of the United Kingdom and also oversees the application of European Union agricultural, environmental, fisheries and rural development policy to Northern Ireland.[4] Its main counterpart in the Republic of Ireland is the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The department has two executive agencies - the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Forest Service - and also sponsors five non-departmental public bodies - the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, the Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland, the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority, and the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland.[5] The department's name is often abbreviated to DAERA and the following abbreviations are also used when describing and reporting on its responsibilities:

  • AFBI - Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
  • AWB - Agricultural Wages Board for Northern Ireland
  • CAFRE - College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise
  • DARD - its main predecessor (the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)
  • DCAL - previous department (Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure)
  • Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (UK)
  • DoE - previous department (Department of the Environment)
  • LMC - Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland
  • NIEA - Northern Ireland Environment Agency
  • NIFHA - Northern Ireland Fishery Harbour Authority

DAERA is anecdotally known as the Department of Agriculture by many farmers and members of the public. Agriculture (and agricultural subsidies) has a more significant in the Northern Ireland economy than in the overall UK economy; the structure of agriculture is more similar to the sector in the Republic of Ireland. The future of agriculture is a major local issue in Brexit.[6]

History[edit]

Dundonald House, headquarters of DAERA.

As with the governance of Northern Ireland more generally, the history of the department and its predecessors can be divided into the following main periods:

The Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction (DATI), established by Horace Plunkett was responsible for agricultural policy for the whole island of Ireland under the Dublin Castle administration from 1899 onwards. A separate Ministry of Agriculture was established at the foundation of Northern Ireland in 1921, with Sir Edward Archdale as its initial minister. The last Act of the Parliament of Northern Ireland was the Agriculture (Abolition of County Committees) Act (Northern Ireland) 1972, which received royal assent on 28 March 1972.

This was subsequently known as the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland under direct rule; Northern Ireland was included in the Common Agricultural Policy from January 1973, when the UK joined the European Union. An agricultural ministry with an Ulster Unionist Party minister, Leslie Morrell, was included in the cross-community Northern Ireland Executive which was briefly established in 1974.

Following a referendum on the Belfast Agreement in May 1998 and the granting of royal assent to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 in November 1998, a Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive were established by the United Kingdom Government. The Department of Agriculture was renamed as the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in December 1999 and granted a slightly reduced remit; responsibility for inland fisheries and waterways was transferred to the newly formed Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL). Devolution was suspended for four periods, during which the department came under the responsibility of direct rule ministers from the Northern Ireland Office i.e. between 12 February 2000[7] and 30 May 2000;[8], on 11 August 2001;[9][10], on 22 September 2001;[11][12], and (most significantly) between 15 October 2002[13] and 8 May 2007.[14]. Devolution was restored in May 2007.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) was established in May 2016, following a reduction in the number of government departments under the Fresh Start Agreement. The main changes relating to its remit were as follows:

  • the new department inherited the main functions of the former Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • environmental regulation was transferred into its remit from the former Department of the Environment
  • the Rivers Agency (responsible for rivers and flooding policy) was transferred to the new Department for Infrastructure
  • inland fisheries was transferred back from DCAL (which had received that responsibility in 1999)
  • DCAL was dissolved and inland waterways was transferred to the new Department for Communities [15]

Devolution continued until all ministerial offices were vacated on 26 January 2017, due to a political dispute between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin.

Ministers[edit]

Eight Ministers of Agriculture held office between 1921 and 1972, starting with Sir Edward Archdale and concluding with Harry West. During direct rule, ministers of the Northern Ireland Office were responsible for the department, including Lord Rooker and David Cairns. The following table indicates Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development (between 1999 and 2016 inclusive) and the subsequent Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

Minister Image Party Took office Left office
    Bríd Rodgers Rodgers33.jpg SDLP 2 December 1999 11 February 2000
Office suspended
    Bríd Rodgers Rodgers33.jpg SDLP 30 May 2000 14 October 2002[16]
Office suspended
    Michelle Gildernew Michelle Gildernew.jpg Sinn Féin 8 May 2007 5 May 2011
    Michelle O'Neill MichelleOneill.jpg Sinn Féin 5 May 2011 6 May 2016
Office renamed Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
    Michelle McIlveen Michelle McIlveen DUP.jpg DUP 25 May 2016 26 January 2017
Office suspended

Finance[edit]

The 2016-2017 Northern Ireland Executive budget[17] allocated a £197.9 million resource budget to DAERA:

  • £82.2 million for European programmes and agricultural education
  • £44 million for animal welfare, agri-food, research and fisheries
  • £37.3 million for the department's veterinary service
  • £27.5 million for environmental funding
  • £5.1 million for the Forest Service
  • £1.8 million for the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission

This represented a reduction from £209.8 million in the baseline budget i.e. the amount allocated for the work carried out by the previous departments with those responsibilities.

A further £48.8 million was allocated as capital expenditure:

  • £18.3 million for European programmes and agricultural education
  • £11.6 million for animal welfare, agri-food, research and fisheries
  • £8.3 million for environmental funding
  • £7.6 million for the veterinary service
  • £2.7 million for the Forest Service
  • £200,000 for the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission

The Common Agricultural Policy allocated £250.9 million in payments to farmers in Northern Ireland in 2016.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey Historical Data". Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  2. ^ Budget 2016-17 (PDF). Belfast: Northern Ireland Executive. 13 January 2016. p. 50. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  3. ^ "www.daera-ni.gov.uk". DAERA Permanent Secretary Denis. DAERA. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. ^ "About DAERA". www.daera-ni.gov.uk. Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  5. ^ Public Bodies Annual Report for Northern Ireland 2015/16. Belfast: Northern Ireland Executive. 14 September 2017. p. 15. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  6. ^ Campbell, John (22 July 2017). "Gove says NI farmers will get post-Brexit subsidies". www.bbc.co.uk/news. BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  7. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Commencement) Order 2000
  8. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2000
  9. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2001
  10. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2001
  11. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
  12. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) (No.2) Order 2001
  13. ^ Article 1, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Suspension of Devolved Government) Order 2002
  14. ^ Article 2, Northern Ireland Act 2000 (Restoration of Devolved Government) Order 2007
  15. ^ "Changes to government departments". www.nidirect.gov.uk. Northern Ireland Executive. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  16. ^ Office suspended for 24 hours on 11 August 2001 and 22 September 2001
  17. ^ Budget 2016-17 (PDF). Belfast: Northern Ireland Executive. 13 January 2016. p. 50. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  18. ^ "McIlveen announces record Basic Payment performance in December". www.deara-ni.gov.uk. DAERA. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2017.

External links[edit]