Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.

John McGuinness

Question:

150 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands the policy of her Department in relation to the further education of employees in Dúchas; if there is a policy to re-skill or up-skill employees in each area of operation; if employees who choose to further educate themselves in relation to their trade or status in Dúchas are assisted financially by her Department and given paid leave to complete their studies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22302/98]

The policy of my Department in relation to further education of employees in Dúchas, the heritage service of my Department, is to facilitate requests in attending appropriate courses. Members of staff of my Department are facilitated, where possible, in attending courses which are deemed appropriate or relevant to their areas of work or possible future assignments as employees of Dúchas.

It is also the policy of my Department to arrange for the provision of courses for staff to ensure that the necessary skills are available to carry out its statutory duties and functions.

Consideration is given to any requests from staff members who wish to engage in courses of further education. Decisions in relation to financial assistance and paid study leave are based on the relevance of the course of study to the work and the needs of my Department.