Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Resettlement Assistance.

19.

asked the Minister for Labour the extent to which the revised resettlement allowances have been used to date and if he has had any contact with local authorities regarding the rehousing of persons under the regulation.

From its introduction in January 1968 to date, a total of 17,462 persons have been assisted under the resettlement assistance scheme. Of these 14,657 received interview grants while 2,805 persons were actually resettled. The total expenditure under the scheme to date is £679,343.

Since the introduction of the higher rates applicable to workers coming from outside the State to take up employment here approximately £25,000 in grants has been paid to 95 workers who have resettled here.

The question of contact with local authorities in relation to the rehousing of persons does not arise in connection with the administration of the resettlement assistance scheme. However, under new regulations which were made earlier this year a residence purchase grant of up to £2,000 is available to each key worker coming from abroad to take up employment through the National Manpower Service.

Would the Minister not agree that in some cases it would facilitate the resettlement of much needed skilled workers if local authorities made provision for housing them? There are a number of these cases in my constituency. Would the Minister consider this matter?

The Deputy knows my commitment in this area because of what I introduced this year—not only increased grants but a resettling grant of £2,000 to certain key workers. I would support any areas where such assistance can be given. I am aware that this may not always be possible because there may be people on our housing lists who badly need houses. However, this would be a matter for the Minister for the Environment and the local authorities.

20.

asked the Minister for Labour the upper and lower limits of resettlement grants for Irish workers returning from abroad and the number of Irish workers resettled, each year for the past five years.

The upper limits of grants under the resettlement assistance scheme for workers coming from outside the State are:

towards travelling to interview—up to £70 for the worker plus a similar allowance for accompanying spouse; towards travelling to take up new employment—80 per cent of cost of surface travel for the worker and his/her dependants subject to a maximum of £70 per person;

towards household removal expenses—80 per cent of the costs subject to a maximum of £275;

towards settling in to a new residence —£185;

towards lodging expenses—£13 per week for up to six months;

towards visits home—£35 per visit.

In addition people coming from outside the State to take up certain key posts can qualify for a residence purchase grant of up to £2,000. There are no lower limits of resettlement grants.

The number of workers from abroad who were assisted under the scheme over the last five calendar years to take up employment here were as follows:

1974

136

1975

123

1976

115

1977

138

1978

82

So far this year, 126 persons from abroad have been assisted. While in the compilation of these statistics no distinction is made between beneficiaries under the scheme on the basis of nationality, the Deputy may take it that most of the persons assisted were either Irish nationals or were married to Irish nationals.

21.

asked the Minister for Labour if he will outline the policy of his Department to assist members of the public to avail of any grants and assistance available from his Department and the procedures used towards this end.

It is the express policy of my Department to assist members of the public to avail of grants and assistance to which they are entitled.

In order to supplement the normal means of communication with the general public by correspondence, telephone and interview, my Department arrange in appropriate cases for press and television publicity, information leaflets, visits and information talks by advisory officers.