The next item of correspondence is No. 1839B from the HSE about Console staff. It corrects the wording of a previous letter and whether it referred to a person who was previously employed, an employed person or existing employees. It is only a technical question. We will note and publish it.
No. 1846B is from the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills providing information requested by the committee on the allocation of places on school buses. I suggest we note and publish it. There is a lot of useful information in it. It gives a rationale for why some buses do double trips. The next item is a note on cases taken against Bus Éireann by children and their families and the legal costs associated. There is a separate item of correspondence. The numbers are quite small. The next item is the maximum travelling time, waiting time and distance for children. Obviously those who have special educational needs may need to be transported to schools quite a distance from their houses and the time can be longer. There is a special note on the transport grant, including details of the maximum minimum payment and the averages. It is very useful for people who have to avail of it. The next item is about the transfers between Bus Éireann reserves and the school transport account back to the Department. Money has been refunded to the Department. There is information on regional cost differences. On those last three items on the last page, it says they are collating information with Bus Éireann and it will be forwarded to the committee shortly. There is quite a bit of information there. There is an acknowledgment that quite a bit of information still has to come. We will note and publish it. We will wait for further information.
No. 1847B is from the HSE providing a note requested regarding the business cases put forward by section 38 organisations for non-adherence to public health sector pay policy. I am sure the nurses will be interested in this one. It summarised that under the section 38 agreements - this issue was ongoing in the previous Committee of Public Accounts - 671 cases were closed in which recommendation was given or no action was to be taken. There are 153 cases still unresolved. Work is in progress between the HSE and the agency in 104 cases. Work is in progress with the Department in 14 cases. Various items are pending. There are 35 more cases to be dealt with. Table 2 gives the full list of all the section 38 organisations with regard to the major cases and salary scales that are in existence and have not been formally approved.
We will watch that and come back to it. People use that information. More than 600 cases have been dealt with and 153 still to be concluded.
Correspondence No. 1850 from Mr. Ray Mitchell of the HSE relates to our periodic report No. 4. We thank him for correcting a slight mistake we had on the nursing home support scheme. Approximately €1 billion is spent on that and we stated that two thirds of that went on public nursing homes. He pointed out that should be one third. The figures were in the report but we had the wrong percentage between private nursing homes and public nursing homes. We acknowledge that correction and thank him for that.
Correspondence No. 1851 is from Mr. Mark Griffin, Secretary General, Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, providing detailed follow-up information requested by the committee on a number of matters. We note and publish this. Some of this will come up in our broadband discussion to take place in the next few weeks. It also covered the metropolitan area contract extension, an overview of the €9 million paid to KPMG, and an overview of projects before May 2018 and after with regard to the energy efficiency national fund.
The next item was an update on the clean-up in Aughinish.
The next item was an update on the sites in Avoca and Silver Mines; many people will be interested in this.
The next item related to correspondence on the European Commission ruling on the 300,000 homes and businesses and the issue of state-aid rules in respect of the national broadband plan mapping process. We will discuss that in our next meeting on the national broadband plan issue.
There was a note on the number of cars and models of cars with eCall service. That relates to the emergency call-out service. There is interesting information there.
There is a note on the rolling-out of brown bins. People can look at that.
People will find the next item interesting. It is a note on the capacity and life expectancy of the four landfill sites still operating in the State, to include the breakdown between recycling, landfill and incineration and the figures for the most recent year, 2016. The important thing to note is that four landfills operate in Ireland today: Knockharley landfill, Kentstown, Navan, County Meath, whose planning permission expires in August 2021; Ballynagran landfill, Coolbeg, County Wicklow whose planning permission expires in May 2021; Drehid landfill, Killinagh Upper, Carbury, County Kildare, whose planning permission is valid for the next nine years; and East Galway landfill, Kilconnell, Ballinasloe, County Galway, whose planning permission expired last year. At this point only a few years remain in the landfills that are available.
It states that recycling and recovery is at 74% which is high internationally and only 26% goes to landfill. Where the operators' permissions have almost expired they will need to apply for further planning permission. Unless those are dealt with, somebody has a problem somewhere or else it all goes to Ringsend or whatever. Maybe that was the strategy all along; I do not know.