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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 5 Oct 2004

Vol. 589 No. 3

Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies received from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 11 to 130, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 131 to 139, inclusive, answered orally.

National Drugs Strategy.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

140 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the submission from Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy that health boards and other agencies that act as channels of funding for drug task force moneys should be required to consult with the LDTFs regarding the development of local drug services and the use of drug strategy funding. [22751/04]

Brendan Howlin

Question:

152 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of submissions received to date to the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22765/04]

John Deasy

Question:

153 Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on whether the submission from Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy that action 88 needs to be activated, that is, that Government Departments should inform NDST of initiatives that will affect task force areas. [22752/04]

Bernard Allen

Question:

156 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the submission from Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy that local community projects have experienced cutbacks in their budgets for delivering services to drug users, despite commitments to ringfence drug strategy moneys. [22747/04]

Paul Kehoe

Question:

179 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will change the sectoral representation on the national drugs strategy team as recommended by Citywide and have a minimum of two new community representatives, one selected by the LDTF community representatives and the second by the RDTF community representatives. [22750/04]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

212 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the submission from the Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy that the structures that were put in place to deliver a community-led, partnership approach have been undermined and that, as a result, the role of local communities have been diminished. [22744/04]

Dan Neville

Question:

226 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the submission from Dublin Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign on the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy that it is the clear view of local communities that they are continuing to live with a serious drugs crisis and that there has been a general failure to deliver on the actions outlined in the national drugs strategy. [22746/04]

Michael Noonan

Question:

227 Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when he expects the review of the national drugs strategy to be completed and published; the changes he envisages in the direction of the strategy; if the strategy will receive increased funding for the rest of its lifetime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22696/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 140, 152, 153, 156, 179, 212, 226 and 227 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy is currently under way. The review is examining the progress being made in achieving the overall key strategic goals set out in the strategy and will enable priorities for future action to be identified and a refocusing of the strategy, if necessary, for the remaining period up to 2008. The review will also examine the relevance of the strategy in tackling the current nature and extent of drug misuse in Ireland, including emerging trends, and will identify any gaps presenting and how they might be addressed.

The review is being overseen by a steering group chaired by my Department and comprising representatives from a number of Departments and agencies involved in implementing the strategy as well as the community and voluntary sectors. PA Consulting Group is assisting the steering group in its ongoing work.

A comprehensive consultation process is being undertaken as part of the review. One hundred and fourteen written submissions have been received to date and the consultants are currently considering the issues being raised. Presentations from over 20 Departments, agencies and community groups involved in delivering the strategy have also been made to the steering group and a number of others are planned for October. In addition, five regional seminars will take place throughout October in Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Carrick-on-Shannon and Dublin. A number of focus groups with young people will also be held during October.

The consultation process will enable us to get a broad and varied perspective on the strategy and what its future direction should be. In this context, I would not like to pre-empt the outcome — or the independence — of the review given that considerable work and consultation remains to be done. I also believe it would be inappropriate for me at this time to comment on individual submissions, including the issues raised by Citywide. I can assure the Deputies, however, that Citywide's comments will be examined in terms of going forward, as will the views expressed by the other Departments and organisations who have made written submissions and met the steering group.

With regard to funding, the Government has already committed substantial funding to the issue of drug misuse. To date, the Government has allocated or spent approximately €80 million to implement in the region of 500 projects contained in two rounds of plans of the local drugs task forces. In addition over €12.7 million has been allocated under the LDTF premises initiative, which is designed to meet the accommodation needs of community based drugs projects, the majority of which are in LDTF areas. Approximately €75 million has been allocated to support in the region of 450 facility and services projects under the young people's facilities and services fund. I can assure the Deputies that tackling drug misuse remains a priority for the Government and that substantial resources will continue to be targeted at the problem over the coming years. I expect the review to be completed in late 2004 or early in 2005.

Question No. 141 answered with QuestionNo. 138.

Decentralisation Programme.

Billy Timmins

Question:

142 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress which has been made in relation to the decentralisation of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22684/04]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

231 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress made in relation to the decentralisation of his Department’s headquarters to Knock, County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22770/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 231 together.

The Deputies will be aware that the progress of decentralisation in any Department is guided by the overall implementation process being carried out centrally by the decentralisation implementation group. In that context, the following steps have been taken by my Department to advance the decentralisation process. A dedicated decentralisation unit was set up to manage the programme. The unit is staffed by a higher executive officer and a clerical officer who report to the personnel officer. This unit has prepared and distributed to staff an information pack which includes a wide range of information on decentralisation areas relating to my Department's remit. The unit issues regular bulletins to staff with the most up to date information available on decentralisation and all documentation relating to the issue is made available on the public folders of my Department's e-mail system. A departmental decentralisation committee has been established to steer the decentralisation process within the department. Membership of the committee is made up of senior management and staff. A liaison officer has been appointed to facilitate communication between the Department of Finance and my Department. Special meetings of my Department's partnership committee are held to specifically address issues arising from decentralisation and use is made of such meetings to ensure that staff are kept informed on all aspects of the decentralisation process. There is regular communication between my Department and staff associations through the departmental council process. In addition, work is in hand on the establishment of systems for job analysis and process mapping for each function within my Department to facilitate effective transfers of staff in the future.

An initial decentralisation implementation plan for my Department has been prepared and submitted to the decentralisation implementation group.

The September 2004 data obtained from the CAF system indicate that 159 civil servants and nine public servants have lodged applications for or expressed an interest in decentralisation to Knock Airport. The number of staff required by the Department for that location is 159.9. In addition, seven civil servants and five public servants have lodged applications for or expressed an interest in decentralisation to Na Forbacha. The number of staff required by the Department for that location is 12.5.

Irish Language.

Mary Upton

Question:

143 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress made by the Irish language advisory committee to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22785/04]

Tom Hayes

Question:

193 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress being made to develop and implement a national plan for Irish as recommended under the report of the Gaeltacht Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22719/04]

Simon Coveney

Question:

208 Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the work to date of the Irish Language Forum, established following the report of the Gaeltacht Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22720/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143, 193 and 208 together.

The Irish Language Forum was established by me in July of this year with terms of reference to advise in relation to: the desirability of a 20 year strategic plan with realistic goals for the Irish language in the State; the short-term strategic priorities for the preservation and the promotion of the Irish language within the State; the priorities regarding the implementation of the Official Languages Act; and the best and most practical ways to achieve progress with regard to the implementation of that work.

The forum has had one meeting to date and is due to meet again on 21 October. It was agreed at the first meeting of the forum that the members of it would submit proposals in advance of the next meeting in regard to matters that should be discussed in the context of any strategic plan for the Irish language and priority issues that need to be addressed in the short term. These matters will be addressed at future meetings of the forum.

Departmental Funding.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

144 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will report on the role of his Department in assisting the residents of Pollathomas, County Mayo a year after this community experienced significant landslides. [22900/04]

I would like to indicate that primary responsibility in this instance lies with my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

As the Deputy is aware, Pollathomas is a designated Gaeltacht area and, as Minister with responsibility for Gaeltacht Affairs, I have visited the area on a number of occasions. My Department, in co-operation with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Office of Public Works has played an active role in providing additional assistance to Mayo Council County to enable them to complete necessary infrastructural repairs in the area. A total of €148,115 has been sanctioned by my Department to date for repair works to the graveyard, walls and roads in the area.

My Department is also represented on the Pollathomas implementation working group, which was set up in March 2004 and includes representatives of Mayo County Council, the Office of Public Works and the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The objective was to bring together representatives of the main bodies involved in dealing with the after effects of the Pollathomas landslides with a view to bringing the outstanding issues to finality. I understand that the working group's report will be available in the near future.

Offshore Islands.

Michael Ring

Question:

145 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in the provision of transport to islands, the provision of airstrips and the provision of connecting bus services as part of certain ferry and air contracts. [22729/04]

My Department currently subsidises 14 ferry services to 12 islands, as well as an all-year round air service to the Aran Islands and a winter helicopter service to Tory Island. Five of these contracts provide connecting road transport services on the mainland. I have arranged for a full list of these services to be forwarded to the Deputy.

I have also made available funding of just over €14,000 to Erris rural link to extend the ferry service currently operating between Ballycroy and Inishbiggle. When this extended service comes into operation, Inishbiggle will have a five day a week return ferry service together with a bus link each day with one of the nearby population centres, those being Belmullet, Castlebar, Westport and Achill Sound. In addition to these services, my officials are currently evaluating applications for a new ferry service to Inis Fraoich in County Donegal and for an increased level of ferry service to Inishbofin off the County Galway coast.

In regard to the provision of airstrips on the islands, I hope to be in a position shortly to approve funding for the construction of an airstrip on Inishbofin with a view to commencing air services to the island in 2006. Planning permission for a mainland airstrip at Cleggan, County Galway to serve Inishbofin has also been obtained, as has planning permission for an airstrip on Tory Island.

Decentralisation Programme.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

146 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of staff in his Department who have applied to the CAF under the decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22781/04]

The September 2004 data received from the CAF system indicate that staff in my Department have lodged applications or expressions of interest for relocation under the decentralisation programme as follows: Knock Airport, nine; Na Forbacha, none, other Departments, 48; and public service organisations, five.

Community Development.

David Stanton

Question:

147 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in advancing corporate social responsibility particularly in regard to areas affected by drugs and social and rural disadvantage. [22739/04]

Damien English

Question:

155 Mr. English asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in advancing and co-ordinating community affairs issues under the Government policy of supporting corporate social responsibility. [22725/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 147 and 155 together.

My Department's development of CSR in a community and local development context will be facilitated through a range of supports and structures such as partnerships, community development projects and Leader groups. This is an integral element of my Department's strategic objective of assisting communities, especially those suffering disadvantage and social exclusion.

In September 2003 I approved a grant of €105,000 per annum over three years to Business in the Community Ireland, which is a leading organisation in Ireland promoting CSR activity. The grant will assist the organisation in helping the community and voluntary sector enhance its capacity to engage with the corporate sector. The funding will help create an important conduit in facilitating skills transfer from businesses to the community and voluntary sector.

My Department is also working in close co-operation with the chambers of commerce to promote corporate social responsibility. My Department will sponsor the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland annual president's awards in early November with a grant of €20,000. The awards will be dedicated to honouring CSR initiatives and will recognise companies which have invested in the CSR area under the headings of community; workplace; marketplace and environment.

Voluntary Activity.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

148 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which he can assist the community and voluntary sector, which has seen the fourth anniversary of the White Paper on supporting voluntary activity pass with little in the way of Government initiatives to show. [22906/04]

Denis Naughten

Question:

176 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the measures he intends to take to ensure the full implementation of the White Paper on a framework for supporting voluntary activity; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the voluntary sector has expressed its dissatisfaction with its implementation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22707/04]

Brian O'Shea

Question:

462 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the proposals he has for structured investment in the community and voluntary sector within a framework of sustained support and development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23219/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148, 176 and 462 together.

Considerable progress has been achieved in regard to implementation of recommendations in the White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community and Voluntary Sector. In September 2003, I announced some €7.3 million in funding to 56 organisations in the community and voluntary sector over a three year period under schemes to support the role of federations, networks and umbrella bodies and to provide training and supports to the sector. Funding of €1.43 million per annum is being channelled to the anti-poverty networks. Funding of some €1.28 million per annum is being provided for the continuing development of the highly successful community and voluntary fora, established as an important element of the local government reform process.

In addition, a consultation paper on establishing a modern statutory framework for charities was posted on my Department's website on 17 December last. In early February, I formally launched a public consultation and a notice, inviting submissions, was placed in the national papers. The public consultation will inform the development of the forthcoming legislation in this area. This week I was pleased to publish the external report on the public consultation.

Deputies will also be aware that an implementation and advisory group, IAG, comprising representatives from the voluntary and statutory sectors, was established to monitor and advise on the implementation of the White Paper. Substantive matters considered to date by the IAG include: the multiplicity of funding sources through which the sector must operate; the designation of voluntary activity units in relevant Departments; accreditation of training in the sector; support for volunteering and the establishment of good practice standards in both the community and voluntary sector and the statutory sector. The White Paper indicated that a review of the IAG should take place after a three year period. Work on this review, which I expect to be concluded shortly, is continuing in my Department.

Question No. 149 answered with QuestionNo. 139.

Proposed Legislation.

Jack Wall

Question:

150 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when legislation on charities will be published; the likely content of such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22759/04]

David Stanton

Question:

200 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when he expects the new charities legislation to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22689/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 150 and 200 together.

I indicated in the press release, which I issued on 3 June last at the end of the public consultation, that the best estimate for a publication date for the draft legislation is the end of 2005.

Western Development Commission.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

151 Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the work of the Western Development Commission recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22783/04]

The Western Development Commission was established on 1 February 1999 under the Western Development Commission Act 1998. The functions of the commission are to promote, foster and encourage economic and social development in the western region, defined as the seven western counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare. Its activities involve policy analysis and development, undertaking key regional initiatives and management of the western investment fund.

Currently the WDC is involved in a range of projects, one of which is promotion the west region. Under its strategic goal of attracting the inward transfer of skilled jobs and people to the western region, the WDC is currently planning to deepen awareness and a positive perception of the western region as a high quality place to live, work and do business. It is intended to achieve this through the creation of an effective promotional programme for the region which will incorporate the development of a campaign aimed at attracting skilled jobs and people to the region. It will also involve the creation of a website, in partnership with the local authorities, to facilitate access to practical information of relevance to persons relocating to the western region.

Another project in which the commission is involved is Knock International Airport. The WDC is currently assisting the airport with its strategy for: its advancement as an international access port and regional development hub; in reviewing the economic impact of the airport on the region; in examining relevant policy issues; and in formulating a strategy for attracting public and private funding for the airport.

The commission is also involved in projects in rural development in regard to the community ownership of wind farms. The WDC, in partnership with Brí Nua Community Wind Energy Group Donegal and Mayo Community Wind Energy Group, researched the potential for communities in the region to benefit from the establishment of wind farms. The resulting study, To Catch the Wind, a practical guide and accompanying CD-Rom was published in June 2004. The WDC will continue to work in partnership with the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to promote the policy recommendations made in the guide. The WDC plans to explore and facilitate the establishment of a renewable energy advisory group in partnership with key stakeholders and assist in initiating a pilot community owned wind farm project in the region.

In regard to organic agri-food, the western organic strategic initiative, WOSI, a private sector-led partnership facilitated by the WDC, is registering as a limited company which will market organics agri-food as a quality banded product. The WDC will continue to raise issues relating to organic agri-food production to inform national organic policy. The WDC is bringing the WOSI model to national discussion as a model for best practice and is recommending its replication in other areas of the country.

In regard to economic infrastructure in terms of roads, the WDC is involved in the ongoing monitoring of roads investment in the region. In regard to rail, the WDC continues to work with Iarnród Éireann and the Department of Transport to progress the improvement of rail services in the western region and is participating on the western rail corridor expert working group.

In the area of telecommunications, through its involvement in the Information Society Commission, the WDC continues to pursue the issue of broadband services in rural areas. With regard to rural tourism, ongoing support is being provided to the western development tourism programme and the green box projects.

The western investment fund, WIF, was established under the Western Development Commission Act 1998. The Western Development Commission, WDC, is the statutory body charged with promoting, fostering and encouraging economic and social development in the western region comprising counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare. As part of this remit the WDC operates western investment fund of €32 million. To date, 60 projects have been approved for assistance totalling €12.7 million. Of this, €9.8 million has been disbursed from the fund to aid 50 of these projects. This has created 791 jobs to date, 541 of which are either strategic or in small to medium-sized enterprises and 250 are in community projects.

Questions Nos. 152 and 153 answered with Question No. 140.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Paul McGrath

Question:

154 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the recent annual report of the Dormant Account Funds 2003; and the reason he intends to change the operation of the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Board. [22738/04]

Tom Hayes

Question:

235 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he intends to withdraw the dormant fund accounts legislation before the Houses of the Oireachtas in view of the potential for the allocation of this money to be politicised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22698/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 154 and 235 together.

As the Deputies are aware, the Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2004 was published in June 2004, fulfilling a commitment given by Government in December last, following its review of arrangements in regard to dormant accounts funding. At that time, the Government committed itself to maintaining an open, transparent and accountable process for dealing with applications for dormant accounts funding. These commitments have been honoured in the Bill in the following ways: the objectives of the disbursements scheme will remain unchanged; actual disbursements will continue to be within the framework of objectives and priorities set out in the dormant accounts disbursements plan; application processes for dormant accounts funding will be transparent and publicised; decisions on disbursements will be made and publicised by Government; appropriate arrangements will be put in place so that the spend from the dormant accounts fund is clearly separate and additional; and the future role of the board will focus on preparation of the disbursements plan, reviewing progress in achieving objectives and assessing the additionality and impact of spend.

As outlined and reiterated during the Second Stage debate in the Seanad, there are compelling reasons, in terms of governance and public policy, as to why this legislation is necessary. First, governance arrangements are less than adequate and there is an absence of a properly developed organisation structure. The scale of funds is such that it is not appropriate to require a part-time chairperson to assume responsibilities for such a large potential spend. It is also evident that the existing arrangements do not adequately support the focusing of spending from the fund with policy priorities debated in this House and approved by Government. If we are serious about tackling disadvantage, we must ensure that available resources are targeted in a particularly focused and sustained manner. It is for these reasons that the Government decided, in the first place, to review the arrangements regarding dormant accounts and, subsequently, agreed to bring forward the draft legislation now before the Oireachtas. It is my intention that the Bill will continue its passage through the Oireachtas and be enacted in due course.

With regard to the board's annual report, I am appreciative of the work the board has carried out to date, as documented in the report, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with the board in the future.

Question No. 155 answered with QuestionNo. 147.
Question No. 156 answered with QuestionNo. 140.

Irish Language.

Joe Costello

Question:

157 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has given consideration to providing extra funding to local authorities and State agencies to meet the cost of translation of documents into Irish in accordance with the provisions of the Official Languages Act 2003; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22766/04]

The question of provision of funding for specific administrative costs for individual public bodies — regardless of whether these relate to the Official Languages Act or any other service delivery or policy obligation arising — falls to be assessed against formal business cases or proposals submitted as part of the normal annual Estimate and budget cycle and not otherwise. Given its position as the first constitutional language, my object is to ensure that delivery of public services by public bodies, including provision of information about services and activities through the Irish language, is seen as normal and meets the required minimum standards of customer service and corporate governance, rather than an optional extra or add-on.

In regard to the Deputy's specific question, I make the point that the obligations that currently stand commenced under the Official Languages Act in relation to publication of documents in both official languages and are those under section 10 of the Act only. Section 10 provides for the simultaneous publication in both official languages of what is in fact a very limited number of key documents such as annual reports, annual financial statements/accounts and documents setting out public policy proposals — examples of this last category would include Green Papers and White Papers published by Departments.

These are all key documents by which public bodies account to the general public, to their specific customers and to us as Members of the Oireachtas in regard to how they have in the previous year or how they propose in future to discharge their public functions. There are two official languages spoken in this State and it seems to me — as it did to all parties in this House when we debated this Act as a Bill — right and proper that documents of this nature should be available to the citizen in both languages. I make the point that when we debated the Bill in the House I was requested, but declined, to accept amendments that would have widened quite considerably the range of documents subject to the automatic simultaneous publication obligation.

I also make the point that my Department currently ensures and for many years prior to this has ensured the publication in both languages of a much wider range of publications than those covered by section 10 and it does so from within the normal administrative budget voted to it by the Dáil from year to year.

An Coimisiún Logainmneacha.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

158 D’fhiafraigh Mr. G. Mitchell den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta ag an gCoimisiún Logainmneacha ó ceapadh é. [22674/04]

Ceapadh an Coimisiún Logainmneacha atá ann faoi láthair faoi théarmaí tagartha nua i mí Iúil 2003 agus bhí seacht gcruinniú aige go dtí seo. Is é príomh-théarma tagartha an choimisiúin ná comhairle a thabhairt dom mar Aire i dtaobh logainmneacha Gaeilge a dhearbhú le hordú faoi fhorálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003.

Faoi alt 32 den Acht sin, féadfaidh an tAire, tar éis dó comhairle a fháil ón gcoimisiún agus an chomhairle sin a bhreithniú, le hordú a dhearbhú gurb é an leagan Gaeilge de logainm a bheidh sonraithe san ordú cibé focal nó focail a shonróidh sé san ordú.

Go dtí seo, tá comhairle tugtha ag an gcoimisiún dom i dtaobh seacht n-ordú logainmneacha agus shínigh mé na horduithe sin ar 30 Deireadh Fómhair 2004. Tugann na horduithe sin comhionannas dlíthiúil d'ainmneacha Gaeilge na gcontaetha agus na gcúigí, agus d'ainmneacha Gaeilge na n-aonad riaracháin i gcontaetha Chill Chainnigh, Phort Láirge, Luimnigh, Lú, Mhuineacháin agus Uíbh Fhailí. Tá na leaganacha Gaeilge bunaithe ar thaighde a rinne an brainse logainmneacha i mo Roinnse. Déanfar orduithe i dtaobh logainmneacha Gaeilge na gcontaetha eile de réir mar a bheas an taighde cuí déanta orthu.

Faoi láthair, tá próiseas ar siúl chun stádas dlíthiúil a thabhairt do leaganacha Gaeilge na logainmneacha sna ceantair Ghaeltachta uilig agus tá comhairle tugtha ag an gCoimisiún Logainmneacha i dtaobh na leaganacha sin. Chun seans a thabhairt do mhuintir na Gaeltachta a bheith lánpháirteach sa bpróiséas, d'fhoilsigh mo Roinn dréacht den Ordú Logainmneacha (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) 2003 ar shuíomh Idirlín na Roinne i mí an Mheithimh agus dáileadh cóipeanna den dréacht-ordú sin ar choistí pobail sna ceantair Ghaeltachta go léir. Iarradh moltaí i dtaobh na leaganacha Gaeilge sa dréacht-ordú ar na pobail áitiúla agus fuarthas níos mó ná 30 aighneachtaí ó ghrúpaí agus ó dhaoine i ngach ceantar Gaeltachta. Déanfaidh an coimisiún agus baill foirne an bhrainse logainmneacha scrúdú ar na moltaí sna haighneachtaí agus tugtar le fios dom go bhfuil sé i gceist go mbeidh an coimisiún in ann comhairle a thabhairt dom ina dtaobh i ndiaidh an chruinnithe atá beartaithe acu do 15 Deireadh Fómhair. Táim ag súil go mbeidh mé in ann an tOrdú Logainmneacha (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) 2004 a shíniú go luath i ndiaidh an dáta sin.

Departmental Programmes.

Michael Ring

Question:

159 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which he envisages the rural social scheme will be funded into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22703/04]

As outlined in the budget statement in December 2003 by the Minister for Finance, funding for the rural social scheme in 2004 is to be provided from the dormant accounts fund as well as from savings in social welfare payments of the amounts that would have been payable to participants if they were not on the scheme. Discussions are currently under way with the Department of Finance in regard to my Department's Estimate for 2005, including provision for the rural social scheme.

Grant Payments.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

160 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he is satisfied regarding a grant made (details supplied) by Udarás na Gaeltachta to a company outside of the Gaeltacht. [22796/04]

I understand from Údarás na Gaeltachta that a capital grant of €66,468 was approved in respect of a company in December 1998 on the incorrect understanding that it was operating within the Gaeltacht boundary. A sum of €55,234 was subsequently paid in 1999-2000. It has since transpired that the company's location and operations were in fact marginally outside the official Gaeltacht boundary.

I have been assured by Údarás that, following a review of processes on foot of queries from the Comptroller and Auditor General, appropriate steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of anomalies such as this. I have also been informed by Údarás that, following an internal review, which took into account the fact that the applicant did not seek to deliberately mislead the organisation and that the project succeeded in creating employment in the area, a decision has been taken not to recall the grant.

Charities Legislation.

Joe Sherlock

Question:

161 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his Department’s proposals for a league table of charities to allow for more public information regarding the way in which money is spent by charities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22761/04]

My Department does not have legislative proposals for a league table of charities to allow for more public information regarding the way in which money is spent by charities. Such a measure would be a matter for consideration by the proposed regulatory body to be set up under the draft charities legislation to be prepared by my Department.

Community Development.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

162 Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the situation regarding the future of, and financial support for, community development programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22782/04]

Willie Penrose

Question:

238 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if there will be no reduction in real terms in the funding by his Department of the community and voluntary sector in 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22798/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 238 together.

Under Partnership 2000 the Government committed itself to identifying 30 priority areas for inclusion in the community development programme. Some 15 of these priority areas were funded in 2003. A further 15 pre-development projects have been approved, in principle, for inclusion in the community development programme. A total of €500,000 has been set aside to fund these projects later in 2004.

The Government recognises that local and community development measures are contributing significantly to tackling a range of challenges at local and community level. However, the number and complexity of structures involved in the delivery of these programmes is extensive and complex. With this in mind, a review of the structures employed in the delivery of local and community development programmes has been undertaken. Arising from the review of local and community development structures, the Government has decided that public bodies and Departments should look to existing structures for delivery of new local or community development initiatives. In this regard, the Government also decided that any further community development projects established will be on the basis of maximising recourse to existing structures.

Of the 15 pre-development projects included in the programme, 12 have submitted work plans. The Department is currently working with these projects to determine how they can be brought on stream in 2004 in a way which maximises recourse to existing structures.

With regard to the funding provided for the administration of the programme, some €20.6 million was allocated to the community development programme in 2004. The amount to be allocated to the programme in 2005 will be determined in the context of the 2005 Estimates.

Irish Language.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

163 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason for his view that Irish speakers are discriminated against, as he is reported as saying at a recent press conference. [22749/04]

Willie Penrose

Question:

182 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs further to his recent radio interview, the way in which Irish speakers are subjected to racism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22797/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 and 182 together.

At the launch of a recent information pack on racism, I said that as an Irish speaker I had noticed people often profess to love the language and at the same time object if any money is spent providing equality of service in the Irish language to Irish speakers. This was just a one-sentence comment to highlight a point.

The media chose to highlight the comment as the main news item of my speech, something that surprised me as I felt that I had made a number of very important points to the audience that I thought were much more central to the issue of the day.

Rural Social Scheme.

Jack Wall

Question:

164 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the rural social scheme has been phased into the 27 Leader areas not originally included in the scheme; the level of interest in the scheme to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22758/04]

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

203 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the rural social scheme has been extended to all Leader group areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22700/04]

Eamon Ryan

Question:

237 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will report on progress to date in relation to the rural social scheme. [22907/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164, 203 and 237 together.

I launched the third phase of the rural social scheme on Tuesday, 28 September. This phase included 17 Leader groups, and following this launch, I can confirm that all 35 spatial Leader groups along with Údarás na Gaeltachta are now implementing the rural social scheme.

To date the total number of applications reported to my Department is 997 and 565 of these have been approved by the implementing bodies. This figure is likely to grow significantly before the end of the year.

At present there are 285 participants, including supervisors, working on the scheme in counties Cork, Kerry, Leitrim and Roscommon and in the Gaeltacht areas in Cork, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and Donegal. A further three Leader groups have indicated to us that they will be ready to commence participants on the scheme during October, resulting in an additional 250 persons starting on the scheme.

Question No. 165 answered with QuestionNo. 138.

Rural Development.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

166 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will give details of the work carried out by the Rural Development Co-ordinating Committee under the NDP to date in 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22701/04]

The Deputy will be aware that the Rural Development Co-ordinating Committee was established to promote rural development in the implementation of the national development plan and the related operational programmes. Similar committees were established in relation to the environment, equal opportunities and social inclusion.

The mid-term evaluation of the national development plan and the operational programmes highlighted significant issues in seeking to integrate these horizontal principles into the operation of the measures in the programmes. Among the issues cited were: problems of understanding of the overall goals of the principle and how they could be integrated into programme implementation; absence of indicators or other data to capture progress in terms of the principles; and guidance or support to implementing bodies.

The review had been carried out by the NDP evaluation unit of the Department of Finance. As a result, new arrangements have been adopted which, it is intended, will make the application of the horizontal principles more effective. Against the background of the review, the Rural Development Co-ordination Committee did not meet in 2004.

In terms of looking ahead, in future the Rural Development Co-ordinating Committee will focus on a limited number of measures in the operational programmes, that is, those most relevant to rural development. Following from this, officials of my Department have consulted the managers of the measures. Such consultations have explored how the rural development principle can be better embedded in the measure and considered performance indicators to capture progress in rural development terms. In addition, a reporting template has been provided to the measure managers to facilitate annual reporting by them and easier analysis of progress by the co-ordinating committee.

As a consequence of these developments, my Department has also reviewed the composition of the co-ordinating committee and its terms of reference. It is awaiting the receipt of nominations from the various constituents, that is, managing authorities, implementing Departments, the social partners, the evaluation unit and the European Commission. Subject to such input, the first meeting of the reconstituted committee will be held on 11 October next and will meet twice yearly thereafter.

National Drugs Strategy.

Richard Bruton

Question:

167 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the work which is being done by drug task forces to make contact with new communities of non-nationals in relation to the issue of drug use; and if he will recommend that the national drugs strategy include actions and initiatives in this area of concern. [22743/04]

As the Deputy will be aware, the role of the local drugs task forces, LDTFs, is to prepare local action plans, which include a range of measures in relation to such issues as treatment, rehabilitation, education, prevention and curbing local supply. In addition, the LDTFs provide a mechanism for the co-ordination of services in their areas, while at the same time allowing local communities and voluntary organisations to participate in the planning, design and delivery of those services. Demographic changes which may be occurring in local communities are monitored by the task forces on an ongoing basis and can be reflected in the way they implement their action plans.

In this context, it is also worth noting that the national drugs strategy is currently being reviewed. The objectives of the mid-term review is to examine the progress being made to date in achieving the goals and actions set out in the strategy and to enable priorities for future action to be identified and a refocusing of the strategy, if necessary, for the remaining period up to 2008. As part of the review, a widespread consultation process is currently under way. The question of drug misuse among non-nationals will also be considered as part of the review.

Departmental Studies.

Michael Noonan

Question:

168 Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when he expects the rural enterprise study to be completed; the measures he will pursue to enact its recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22706/04]

I am in consultation with my colleagues, the Ministers for Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Arts, Sport and Tourism in relation to the completion of this report. I hope to conclude this process shortly.

Rural Development.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

169 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his priorities in the area of rural development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22764/04]

The rural development goal of my Department is to promote and maintain living and working populations in rural areas by helping to foster sustainable and culturally vibrant communities there.

Within this framework, my Department's rural development priorities, which have been achieved this year include: the introduction of the rural social scheme; the implementation of the CLÁR and Leader programmes; the organisation of the EU Presidency Conferences on Rural Development and Territorial Cohesion; and the setting up of Comhairle na Tuaithe to address the walkways issue.

Other priorities in relation to rural development for this year include:

Influencing, with the Department of Agriculture and Food, the negotiations on the adoption of the draft EU regulation on rural development; the completion of, and action on, the review of rural enterprise supports; a review of the rural development fund; securing optimal outputs from the meeting of the National Rural Development Forum in Athlone on 1 November next; the continuation of cross-Border co-operation in rural development including the continued implementation of the rural development aspects of the INTERREG and PEACE programmes; supporting the Western Development Commission in the discharge of its functions; leading the Rural Development Co-ordinating Committee under the NDP; participation, as appropriate, in interdepartmental committees and Cabinet sub-committees on issues appropriate to rural development such as the national spatial strategy, infrastructure etc; and work on co-ordination in resolving difficulties and exploiting opportunities encountered by small food producers.

Western Development Commission.

Phil Hogan

Question:

170 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount allocated to date to the investment fund of the Western Development Commission; the number of projects funded; the number of jobs created by firms funded by the investment fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22687/04]

The western investment fund, WIF, was established under the Western Development Commission Act 1998. The Western Development Commission, WDC, is the statutory body charged with promoting, fostering and encouraging economic and social development in the western region comprising counties Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Clare. As part of this remit the WDC operates the western investment fund of €32 million.

The WIF was established by the Government to fill the equity gap that existed in the western region whereby businesses, communities and other projects had little or no access to private sector risk capital funding mechanisms. A key objective of the WIF is therefore to address this market failure. Another goal is to create a venture capital culture in the region and to demonstrate the potential investment opportunity that exists. This equity gap continues to exist in the western region, with only 6% of the funds invested by the members of the Irish Venture Capital Association, IVCA, going to the western region in 2001. The overall level of venture capital funding fell in 2002 by 40% on the 2000 spend.

The WIF provides funding by way of ordinary share capital, preference share capital and loan stock or combinations thereof. The WIF does not provide grant aid. The WIF will contribute to the strategic development of the area through investments in growth-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, at the start-up-development stage, community owned enterprises and flagship projects.

To date, 60 projects have been approved for assistance totalling €12.7 million. Of this €9.8 million has been disbursed from the fund to aid 50 of these projects. This has created 791 jobs to date, 541 of which are either strategic or in small to medium-sized enterprises and 250 are in community projects.

Foilseacháin Ghaeilge.

Liz McManus

Question:

171 D’fhiafraigh Ms McManus den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén obair atá ar siúl ina Roinn féin nó ar son na Roinne chun scríbhneoireacht chruthaitheach ghaeilge a fhorbairt agus a fhoilsiú. [22792/04]

Déanann mo Roinn sár-iarracht scríbhneoireacht chruthaitheach Ghaeilge a fhorbairt agus a fhoilsiú trí maoiniú a chur ar fáil do Bhord na Leabhar Gaeilge, Foras na Gaeilge agus Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe atá ag tabhairt faoin obair sin ar son na Teanga.

Is é aidhm Bhord na Leabhar Gaeilge tacú le scríbhneoirí agus foilsitheoirí chun ábhar i nGaeilge a chur ar fáil a chuireann le suim an ghnáthphobail sa léitheoireacht Ghaeilge. Tugann an bord aghaidh ar an gcúram seo go príomha trí mhaoiniú a dhéanamh ar scéimeanna tacaíochta do chomhlachtaí foilsitheoireachta agus do scríbhneoirí a fhreastalaíonn ar riachtanais na léitheoirí Gaeilge.

Maoiníonn Foras na Gaeilge ceardlanna do scríbhneoirí cruthaitheacha ar bhonn leanúnach agus tá roinnt beartanna eile á maoiniú agus á reachtáil ag an fhoras chun cur leis an scríbhneoireacht chruthaitheach Ghaeilge. Chomh maith le sin, foilsíonn an Gúm, ar chuid d'Fhoras na Gaeilge é, réimse leathan leabhar do dhaoine óga ina measc leabhair chruthaitheacha do dhéagóirí agus do pháistí níos óige.

Cuireann Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe go leor drámaí nua-scríofa ar an stáitse. Chomh maith le sin d'eagraigh An Taibhdhearc comórtas ar leith do dhráma nua-scríofa i mbliana.

Anti-Racism Measures.

Dan Boyle

Question:

172 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the cost and quantity of the anti-racism pack recently launched by his Department. [22896/04]

The anti-racism information pack referred to by the Deputy was produced by asub-group of the community development pro-gramme, CDP, national advisory committee, which focuses on equality and anti-racism. The pack is not a departmental publication, but my Department provided €10,000 funding to facilitate the design, printing and dissemination of 500 packs.

The pack is intended for use by community development projects funded under the CDP, as well as family and community resource centre projects, which are under the aegis of the Family Support Agency.

Voluntary Activity.

Richard Bruton

Question:

173 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount which was allocated under the training and support services grant scheme for 2004; the amount allocated to date and to the projects to which it was allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22676/04]

In September 2003 I announced the successful applicants for two funding initiatives arising from the White Paper on a framework for supporting voluntary activity, the funding scheme to support the role of federations, networks and umbrella bodies in the community and voluntary sector and the funding scheme for training and supports in the community and voluntary sector.

The training and supports scheme operates on a multi-annual basis with successful applicants receiving total funding of €1.83 million over a three year period. The funding allocated to the scheme was €670,000 in 2003, €580,000 in the current year and €580,000 in 2005.

The first tranche of funding issued in late 2003 to the successful applicants, which are listed in the following appendix.

Appendix

Funding Scheme for Training and Supports in the Community and Voluntary Sector 2003-2005

Annual Funding.

Name of Organisation

Address

Funding

1

Amen

Navan, Co. Meath

35,000

2

Carmichael Centre for Voluntary Groups

Coleraine Street, Dublin 7

40,000

3

National Association of Travellers’ Centres

Athlone, Co. Westmeath

35,000

4

The Wheel

Inchicore, Dublin 8

40,000

5

Disability Federation of Ireland

Fumbally Lane, Dublin 8

40,000

6

Macra Na Feirme

Bluebell, Dublin 12

30,000

7

Fundraising Institute of Ireland

Inchicore, Dublin 8

20,000#

8

Creative Activity for Everyone (Café)

Earl Street South, Dublin 8

50,000*

9

Irish Country Women’s Association

Ballsbridge, Dublin 4

35,000

10

Volunteering Ireland

Coleraine Street, Dublin 7

35,000

11

Business in the Community

Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1

35,000

12

Cork Centre for Independent Living

Commons Road, Cork

15,000

13

Drogheda Youth Development

Drogheda, Co. Louth

30,000*

14

Midland Regional Youth Services

Athlone, Co. Westmeath

20,000

15

Tallaght Volunteer Bureau Ltd

Tallaght, Dublin 24

35,000

16

Sue Ryder Care

Ballyroan, Co. Laois

20,000

17

Ballymun Community Law Service, Coolock Community Law Centre, Free Legal Advice Centres

Ballymun Road, Dublin 9

35,000

18

Dublin North East Community Communications Co-Operative Ltd. (Near F.M.)

Bunratty Drive, Dublin 17

35,000

19

Meath Youth Federation Ltd.

Navan, Co. Meath

20,000

20

Women’s Sector

Military Road, Waterford

10,000*

21

Donegal Youth Services

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

20,000

22

Rape Crisis Network

Quay Street, Galway

15,000

23

Exchange House Travellers’ Service

James Street, Dublin 8

20,000

24

Children in Hospital Ireland

Coleraine St, Dublin 7

20,000

Total: €690,000

* The funding indicated above is in respect of year one of the three-year scheme with the exception of those indicated with an asterisk which denotes a once-off grant where funding arises only in year 1. This total: €90,000

# 23 projects are being funded. This project withdrew from the scheme as it is no longer a functioning entity.

Drug Misuse.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

174 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on recent research from the Health Research Board which shows that drug use outside Dublin trebled between 1998 and 2002 and there has been an increase in the number of persons seeking drug treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22757/04]

Liam Twomey

Question:

225 Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the action he intends to take following the findings of the drug misuse research division report that the incidence of treated problem opiate use has increased sharply and that this increase in the number of new problem opiate users indicates a spread of heroin use in the seven health board areas, with very high rates of treated opiate use in counties Carlow, Cavan, Louth, Meath and Westmeath. [22748/04]

John Gormley

Question:

229 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the recently released Health Research Board report on drug use here. [22904/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174, 225 and 229 together.

The report by the Health Research Board to which the Deputies refer — Trends in Treated Problem Opiate Use in the Seven Health Board areas outside the Eastern Regional Health Authority, 1998 to 2002 — was launched in early September. The report shows that the numbers in treatment for heroin use outside the Eastern Regional Health Authority, ERHA, have increased significantly in that four year period. As the Deputies may be aware, this is in line with one of the key commitments in the National Drugs Strategy 2001 — 2008, which is to increase the number of treatment places available for drug misusers.

While in percentage terms the increase in the numbers in treatment in the regions is considerable, it is important to bear in mind that the vast bulk of methadone treatment continues to take place in the ERHA area. In this regard, the Department of Health and Children, which has overall responsibility for addiction services, reports that at the end of August 2004 there were 7,190 people receiving methadone treatment, of which 95% was in the ERHA area. This overall figure compares with a figure of 5,032 in December 2000 — an increase of over 40%. In addition, it is worth noting that there are 59 drug treatment locations in the eastern region, an increase of 47 locations since 1996, while outside the ERHA, seven treatment clinics have been established.

To date, the treatment services in the regions are undergoing a similar pattern to that observed in the ERHA area when treatment availability was expanded, that is, that existing drug users are much more likely to come forward and present for treatment as it becomes more available, accessible and attractive. Accordingly, as the services have expanded so have the numbers in treatment, which is a positive development as it indicates that services are meeting an existing demand.

The Deputies should also note that all health boards are working towards increased involvement of general practitioners and pharmacists with the methadone protocol. In July 2001, there were 168 GPs and 233 pharmacists involved in the scheme in comparison with 219 GPs and 317 pharmacists involved at the end of August 2004.

In relation to the trends in opiate misuse in the seven health board areas, in particular in counties Carlow, Cavan, Louth, Meath and Westmeath, I assure the Deputies that I will continue to monitor the situation. The programme for Government calls for monitoring the use of heroin, in particular outside of Dublin, and in this regard, the national advisory committee on drugs, NACD, is in the process of setting up an early warning system to address this issue.

The Deputies should also note that the best estimates on opiate use were released by the NACD last year and research found that there were approximately 2,200 heroin users outside Dublin, although a number of these would be in Wicklow and Kildare which is part of the ERHA region.

The Deputies should note that the regional drugs task forces, which were set up to develop appropriate policies to deal with drug misuse in the regions, are mapping out the patterns of drug misuse in their areas as well as the range and level of existing services with a view to better co-ordination and addressing gaps in the overall provision. Where opiate use is a problem in particular areas, I would expect that this will be reflected in their action plans coming forward. I look forward to receiving their plans over the coming months.

Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

175 D’fhiafraigh Mr. Gilmore den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta conas a d’éirigh le scéim na mac léinn sa Ghaeltacht i mbliana. [22790/04]

Táim ag glacadh leis gurb í scéim na bhfoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge atá i gceist ag an Teachta. Ón eolas atá ar fáil dom ag an bpointe seo, is féidir liom a rá gur éirigh go maith leis an Scéim i mbliana agus go raibh freastal maith ar na coláistí Gaeilge samhraidh.

Cé nach bhfuil figiúirí críochnaitheacha ar fáil go fóill, meastar nach mbeidh aon athrú mór ann ón mbliain seo caite, tráth a d'fhreastail thart ar 22,500 foghlaimeoirí ar na coláistí Gaeilge samhraidh.

Question No. 176 answered with QuestionNo. 148.

Departmental Programmes.

Joan Burton

Question:

177 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position with regard to the development of the RAPID programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22780/04]

Gay Mitchell

Question:

185 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date under the RAPID playgrounds grant schemes; if it is envisaged that this scheme will be expanded and receive increased funding into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22677/04]

Pat Breen

Question:

209 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he intends to expand the system of co-funding projects with other Departments for development projects in RAPID areas; if additional measures are under consideration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22699/04]

Bernard Allen

Question:

216 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his proposals to expand the RAPID programme to additional areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22740/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177, 185, 209 and 216 together.

As I stated previously, in future the RAPID programme will operate on a number of different levels in tandem. In the first instance there are many small-scale proposals from RAPID plans that can be dealt with more effectively at local level. To facilitate this, I have introduced a new delivery mechanism, supported by a dedicated fund of €4.5 million in 2004, to progress these proposals. These proposals will be co-funded by the relevant department or local agency under a number of categories, with broad levels of funding agreed at national level.

A total of €2 million is being provided for the local authority housing estate enhancement scheme. This scheme is being operated by the local authorities and is being funded on a euro for euro basis, €1 million from my Department and €1 million from the local authorities, through the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. A total allocation of €60,000 has been made to each RAPID area in strand one and each strand two area has been allocated €40,000.

Funding of €3 million is being provided for the current year to support the development of playgrounds in RAPID areas, €1.5 million from my Department and €1.5 million from the Department of Health and Children. The total allocation for each RAPID area in strand one is €72,000 with strand two RAPID areas receiving an allocation of €60,000. For both of these schemes, the local authority in consultation with the relevant area implementation team, AIT, have selected the locations for the proposed works.

Some €2.2 million top-up funding has been allocated to 73 projects in RAPID areas that were successful under the sports capital programme 2004. All successful projects endorsed by the AIT were considered for top-up funding, with up to 30% additional funding being provided by my Department subject to the total grant not exceeding 80% of project cost or the amount requested by the applicant. I am considering additional measures in consultation with my ministerial colleagues to expand the system of co-funded projects.

As regards the larger projects from RAPID plans that have already been submitted to Departments, these will continue to be considered for funding within existing funding streams in each Department. However, I expect that Departments will now be dealing with a smaller number of projects and will therefore be in a better position to prioritise projects and set out timescales for further actions. Work on improving integration and co-ordination of service delivery at local level will continue, as this is a key component of the RAPID programme.

There are no plans to establish new RAPID areas. However, Deputies may be aware that Ballyfermot met the criteria for inclusion in the RAPID programme but was omitted from strand one owing to its inclusion in the URBAN II programme. I am examining this apparent anomaly at present.

Forbairt na Gaeilge.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

178 D’fhiafraigh Mr. Sargent den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cad iad a chuid smaointe i dtaobh thodhchaí na Gaeilge labhartha agus scríofa. [22899/04]

Is cuid riachtanach d'oidhreacht bheo an Stáit agus is acmhainn nádúrtha thábhachtach sa Ghaeltacht í an Ghaeilge. Teanga beo labhartha agus scríofa í agus níl amhras orm ach gur mar sin a bheidh sí sa todhchaí.

Mar is eol don Teachta, tugann mo Roinnse maoiniú do ghníomhaireachtaí éagsúla, go háirithe An Foras Teanga agus Údarás na Gaeltachta, chun todhchaí na teanga a bhuanú.

Chomh maith leis sin, bíonn mo Roinn ag obair ar son na Gaeilge ar go leor slite tábhachtacha eile, ar a n-áirítear ach go háirithe feidhmiú Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla chun a chinntiú go gcuirfear níos mó seirbhísí phoiblí ar fáil trí Ghaeilge agus ar chaighdeán níos airde, de réir éilimh; agus maoiniú a chur ar fáil trí Chiste na Gaeilge d'eagraíochtaí Gaeilge — Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge san áireamh — chomh maith le tionscadail ilghnéitheacha Ghaeilge.

Ó thaobh na Gaeltachta de, tá réimse leathan gníomhaíochtaí ar fáil ar mhaithe le buanú na Gaeilge ansin agus ar mhaithe leis an nGaeltacht féin a fhorbairt agus a chaomhnú. Tá cur síos tugtha i bhfreagra a thug mé inniu ar Cheist Uimh. 213 ar chéimeanna ar leith atá idir lámha nó tógtha le déanaí d'fhonn moltaí sonracha i dtuarascáil Choimisiún na Gaeltachta a chur chun cinn.

Ní miste a lua freisin go bhfuil Coiste Comhairleach na Gaeltachta agus Fóram na Gaeilge bunaithe agam le tamall anuas d'fhonn comhairle a chur ar fáil dom maidir le roghanna straitéiseacha agus gníomhaíochtaí praiticiúla inmholta ó thaobh chaomhnú agus chur chun cinn na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta araon.

Sa chomhthéacs seo uile, táim sásta go bhfuil mo Roinn féin, mar aon leis na heagrais ar nós Foras na Gaeilge agus Údarás na Gaeltachta a thuairiscíonn di, ag tabhairt go diongbháilte faoi chothú na Gaeilge agus go mbeidh dea-thoradh ar na hiarrachtaí sin sa todhchaí.

Question No. 179 answered with QuestionNo. 140.

Insurance Industry.

Joan Burton

Question:

180 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has proposals to alleviate the high cost of insurance on community and voluntary organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22772/04]

I refer the Deputy to my previous replies to Questions Nos. 54 and 211 of 3 June 2004.

Stádas na Gaeilge.

John Perry

Question:

181 D’fhiafraigh Mr. Perry den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta chun stádas oifigiúil a bhaint amach don Ghaeilge san Aontas Eorpach. [22718/04]

Mar a d'fhógair mé ar 14 Iúil 2004 ar son an Rialtais, tá tús curtha le próiseas phlé le baillstát eile an AE agus leis na hInstitiúidí Eorpacha d'fhonn stádas oifigiúil agus oibre a iarraidh don Ghaeilge san AE faoi Rialachán 1/1958 CEE. Is é an rialachán an ionstraim dlíthiúil a rialaíonn an córas teanga, idir oifigiúil agus oibre, de chuid institiúidí an AE. Tá an plé atá ar siúl faoi láthair le hionadaithe na mballstát eile agus le hinstitiúdí an AE dírithe ar chomhaontú a fháil ar na módúlachtaí praiticiúla maidir leis an gcuspóir seo.

Nuair atá a dhóthain dul chun cinn déanta sa phlé seo chun na roghanna agus saincheisteanna praiticiúla a shoiléiriú i dtaobh an chuspóra seo a bhaint amach, tiocfaidh an cheist ar ais go foirmiúil faoi bhráid an Rialtais. Tuigfidh an Teachta cén fáth nach mbeadh sé cuí domsa aon tagairt phoiblí a dhéanamh maidir le sonraí na gcainteanna sin sula dtagann siad chun críche.

Question No. 182 answered with QuestionNo. 163.

Proposed Legislation.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

183 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his proposals to introduce legislation in relation to volunteering; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22795/04]

Brian O'Shea

Question:

463 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when his Department will develop and implement a coherent policy on volunteering with accompanying strategy and actions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23220/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 463 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions Nos. 12, 20, 26 and 34 of 3 June 2004. The process of examination and consideration of the issues is continuing in my Department.

Drug Misuse.

John Bruton

Question:

184 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date on funding for the young people’s facilities and services fund; and if funding under this heading will be made available to all RAPID areas. [22728/04]

As the Deputy is aware, the young people's facilities and services fund, YPFSF, was established in 1998 to assist in the development of facilities — including sport and recreational facilities — and services in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop.

To date, the main focus of the fund has been in the 14 local drugs task force, LDTF, areas, which were established in the areas experiencing the worst levels of drug misuse, particularly heroin. However, recognising that the drug problem is not confined to LDTF areas, funding was also allocated to four other urban areas — Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Carlow.

Approximately €75 million has been allocated to support over 450 facility and services projects in LDTF areas and the four other urban centres under the YPFSF. This includes an amount of more than €13 million, which I allocated in March and August 2004 under round two of the fund to support over 100 services and facility projects targeting young people at risk of drug misuse. Many of the projects for which funding has been allocated to date are also located in RAPID areas. There are no plans at present to extend the YPFSF beyond the areas outlined above.

Question No. 185 answered with QuestionNo. 177.

Community Development.

Liam Twomey

Question:

186 Dr. Twomey asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in improving the alignment of structures of community and local development organisations across urban, rural and Gaeltacht areas. [22724/04]

Gerard Murphy

Question:

194 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the changes he has put place in relation to the structure and operation of ADM, in view of the review of ADM which was carried out earlier in 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22705/04]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

198 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress to date to ensure democratic legitimacy on local boards appointed to implement development programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22741/04]

Gerard Murphy

Question:

218 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in the restructuring of ADM. [22723/04]

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

228 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the nature and purpose of the review which is being conducted of the community development and support programmes under the auspices of his Department; when this review is likely to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22769/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 186, 194, 198, 218 and 228 together.

I refer the Deputies to earlier questions on this matter, in particular to my reply to Question No. 151 and related questions on 4 February 2004, Questions Nos. 100 and 102 on 9 March 2004 and Question No. 127 on 27 April 2004.

In implementing the Government decision detailed in those replies, local and community development groups were invited to make proposals for improved alignment of structures in their respective areas. City and county development boards, CDBs, were asked to co-ordinate this process. As indicated in the earlier replies, funding had been earmarked — €3.09 million — to support specific co-ordinated measures arising from this process.

Proposals have been received from all CDBs and have been assessed by an external consultant engaged by my Department. As a result of this process, I have approved proposals from Fingal CDB for funding. These proposals were very focused on improving current arrangements with regard to resources, staffing and geographic coverage. There were many other good ideas put forward by the other CDBs. However, they were asked to take a more focused look at their proposals and to resubmit these by 1 October. I intend to have these proposals assessed very quickly with early decisions on funding support. I hope to be able to build on the ideas put forward as part of this process with a view to concluding the review of local and community development structures in the first half of 2005.

As well as co-ordinating this process, the role of CDBs in the endorsing of plans prepared by local and community development groups continues. With their close links to the local authority structure, the CDBs can strengthen the democratic accountability of the service delivery agencies and bodies, as well as promoting an integrated approach to service provision at local and community level.

As I indicated last April, the first step in the process of restructuring ADM was the nomination of new board members by Government. In the interim the Government nominees have been appointed to the board. My Department will work closely with ADM to develop the changes to the memorandum and articles of association of ADM necessary for the implementation of the Government decision with regard to restructuring the company.

In addition, I have made some changes to the community development programme. This programme supports locally-based groups involved in anti-poverty and social inclusion initiatives in their communities so that they can have a role in decisions which affect them, contribute to a process of change in their areas and improve their quality of life. To this end, financial assistance is provided to projects towards the staffing and equipping of local resource centres which provide a focal point for community development activities in the area and to other specialised projects and initiatives.

A total of €20,604,000 has been allocated to the programme for 2004. There are 190 projects included in the programme, of which 175 are in receipt of funding, including five projects in offshore islands. A further 15 pre-development projects have been approved, in principle, for inclusion in the community development programme. A total of €500,000 has been set aside to fund these projects later this year. Arising from the review of local and community development structures, the Government has decided that public bodies and Departments should look to existing structures for delivery of new local or community development initiatives. In this regard, the Government also decided that any further community development projects established will be on the basis of maximising recourse to existing structures. Of the 15 pre-development projects included in the programme, 14 have submitted work plans. My Department is meeting with those groups to determine how their projects can be brought on stream in 2004, in a way which maximises recourse to existing structures.

In line with the Government decision arising from the review of local and community development structures, the process of significantly reducing the funding available for intermediaries such as regional support agencies has continued. This serves to maximise the resources available to directly benefit communities. The number of such agencies with which my Department has a contract under the programme has been reduced from 13 to six. The six successful tenders commenced their contracts from 1 July 2004.

Rural Development.

Enda Kenny

Question:

187 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount of his Department’s rural development fund which has been spent to date; the schemes and proposals which have been awarded funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22704/04]

As the Deputy is aware, the purpose of the rural development fund is to support research, evaluation and pilot actions. It is not practical to itemise here all projects which have been supported to date but I am arranging to have the Deputy sent the information directly. A number of other proposals, in addition to those on the list being sent to the Deputy, are under consideration.

Question No. 188 answered with QuestionNo. 139.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

189 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when the next rural development forum will take place; the agenda for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22683/04]

The sixth meeting of the national rural development forum will take place on 1 November 2004 in Athlone, County Westmeath.

The agenda for the forum has not yet been finalised. However, I expect the programme to include a progress report on current rural development policy issues, implementation of the rural social scheme and the recent draft EU rural development regulation. In view of the pace of change — both at national and EU level — in rural development policy, the agenda is likely to reflect such change and the implications for re-evaluation, as necessary, of current policies.

Laghdú Fostaíochta.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

190 D’fhiafraigh Mr. McGinley den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an eol dó na deacrachtaí atá ag tionscal (sonraí tugtha) i nDún na nGall agus an bhfuil iarrachtaí á ndéanamh chun postanna na n-oibrithe a chaomhnú. [22754/04]

De réir an eolais atá curtha ar fáil ag Údarás na Gaeltachta, tá an comhlacht atá luaite ag an Teachta i gcoimhlint le comhlachtaí i dtíortha le costais íseal táirgíochta. Mar is eol don Teachta, tá coimhlint ghéar in earnáil na déantúsaíochta le roinnt blianta agus tá poist á gcailliúint sa tír seo dá réir, na ceantair Ghaeltachta san áireamh.

Tuigim go bhfuil caidreamh leanúnach ar siúl i láthair na huaire ag feidhmeannas Údarás na Gaeltachta leis an gcomhlacht áirithe seo chun scrúdú a dhéanamh ar na féidearthachtaí atá ann maidir lena inmharthanacht a chinntiú.

Irish Language.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

191 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to encourage Irish-speaking parents to pass on the language to their children; the cost of this programme and its objectives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22768/04]

I was pleased to launch a language awareness campaign entitled Ár dTeanga Nádúrtha Féin on 13 September last, in line with the recommendations of Coimisiún na Gaeltachta. The €300,000 campaign is being managed on behalf of my Department by Údarás na Gaeltachta. The promotion is aimed at increasing awareness amongst parents of children between the ages of 0 and 5 — and expectant parents — of the advantages of choosing Irish as the main language of the household. The campaign primarily consists of a television and radio advertising campaign, the provision of a website www.teangafein.ie which offers advice and information, as well as an information booklet and poster which will be distributed in the Gaeltacht. While this initiative has been devised to specifically target households in Gaeltacht areas, it will also be of benefit in encouraging the usage of the language on a national basis.

My Department has for long recognised that its transmission from one generation to the next is critical for the survival of the Irish language as the predominant household and community language in the Gaeltacht. It is for this reason that the Department operates a number of schemes and initiatives aimed at the maintenance and strengthening of the language in the Gaeltacht. These include scéim labhairt na Gaeilge, which targets families with school going children in Gaeltacht areas. To further develop its scope and effectiveness, a review of the scheme by my Department is now nearing completion with a view to launching a revised scheme formally in the near future.

Funding was recently sanctioned by me to facilitate the piloting of a home visitors initiative by Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne, which will involve the provision of support information and advice on a one-to-one basis to families with young children who reside within the operational area of the organisation.

Other measures and initiatives which will help to further develop the necessary support framework for Gaeltacht parents wishing to pass the language to their children include a language planning initiative aimed at further enabling community-based Gaeltacht organisations in developing and implementing measures aimed at strengthening the language at local level; the provision of an additional sum of €1 million in the current year to further enable Údarás na Gaeltachta in the development of pre-school education facilities and youth services; and the implementation of changes to scéim na gcampaí samhraidh trí Ghaeilge do aos óg na Gaeltachta for the purpose of improving the number, nature and effectiveness of recognised Gaeltacht summer camps.

The successful outcome of all of these measures is largely dependent on the commitment of Gaeltacht communities and families themselves in ensuring that Irish is transmitted not only as a vibrant and viable language but also as a most important natural resource to the next generation.

Rural Development.

Billy Timmins

Question:

192 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress to date on the INTERREG IIIA Programme Ireland-Wales for rural development and diversification measures. [22731/04]

My Department is the measure leader for the rural development and diversification measure 1.2 of the INTERREG IIIA Ireland-Wales Programme. There is €9.8 million available to the region under this measure. As measure leader, my Department is a member of the programme steering committee which selects projects and is also responsible for the monitoring and control of the Irish element of projects in measure 1.2.

To date, there are nine approved projects under the measure with a grant value of €3.4 million. A further round of applications to the value of €2.85 million will be examined and selected in November. Spend under the measure to date is in excess of €1.3 million.

Question No. 193 answered with QuestionNo. 143.
Question No. 194 answered with QuestionNo. 186.

Comhairle na Tuaithe.

John Bruton

Question:

195 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will report on the work programme of Comhairle na Tuaithe on access to waymarked ways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22675/04]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

219 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress being made towards a policy regarding access by walkers and so on to the countryside; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22779/04]

I propose to take Question Nos. 195 and 219 together.

The aims and objectives of Comhairle na Tuaithe are: to ensure that all those with an interest and concern in the sustainable development and proper management of the recreational amenities of the countryside are fully consulted on their future management; to develop and update, as necessary, a national countryside recreation strategy; to ensure that all means necessary are used to resolve conflicts that arise in relation to access issues and responsible enjoyment of the countryside; to raise awareness of the benefits to and responsibilities of recreational use of the countryside and to carry out research and training on related issues and; to allow the benefits and management of increased leisure use to be studied closely.

The work plan of Comhairle na Tuaithe for its first year involves the following outputs: seminar on its work; preparation draft of a national countryside recreation strategy; mechanisms for conflict resolution in relation to access issues and responsible enjoyment of the countryside; a countryside code.

To assist Comhairle na Tuaithe in the development and delivery of its work programme, my Department has also appointed a research-development officer. This officer attends all of the meetings of Comhairle na Tuaithe and of the three working groups set up within this body.

These working groups which have met on several occasions are working on the examination of the issues surrounding access to the countryside; the development of a countryside code; and the development of a countryside recreation strategy Comhairle na Tuaithe is now preparing for a national seminar to be held in November to promote and develop its work and to identify key mechanisms and processes to achieving progress. Based on the advice of Comhairle na Tuaithe and wider developments, I will pursue with relevant colleagues in Government any action which may be necessary.

National Drugs Strategy.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

196 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the recommendations which were submitted to his Department by the sub-group established within the national drugs strategy team; the steps he intends to take to act upon these recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22693/04]

At the request of my Department, the national drugs strategy team established a sub-group to report on and recommend appropriate pilot projects which might be established to deal with the issue of cocaine misuse in local communities. The sub-group's report was received by officials in my Department within the last week and the recommendations contained in it are being examined at present. Following consideration of the report, I hope to be in a position to allocate funding to implement the recommendations in the coming weeks.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

197 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on whether safe injecting rooms should be provided for drug addicts in prisons; and his further views on whether such facilities should also be available for addicts who are not part of the prison population. [22902/04]

As the Deputy may be aware, in May last, the national advisory committee on drugs, NACD, produced a report entitled Review of Harm Reduction Approaches to Minimising the Sharing of Equipment Used to Administer Drugs. The report was commissioned in response to action 100 of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 which called for research to be conducted into the effectiveness of new mechanisms to minimise the sharing of equipment, for example, non-reusable syringes and mobile syringe exchange facilities within particular cohorts of the drug using population, that is, among younger drug misusers, within prisons etc.

Arising from the report, the NACD recommended that service provision for drug users in prison should mirror the range of treatment and harm reduction approaches which are available in the community. In this regard, the Government has been developing drugs services in prison, including methadone maintenance, over recent years. However, full implementation of this recommendation, in particular in relation to needle exchange, obviously poses serious issues within a prison environment and will have to be very carefully examined. Policy regarding drug misuse in prisons is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

With regard to supervised drug consumption rooms, the NACD report found that the evidence on their effectiveness is inconclusive. This is in line with the conclusions of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008, although the strategy did call for this issue to be kept under review and for the results of research, both national and international, to be monitored. The NACD report also acknowledges the view of the INCB, International Narcotics Control Board, that drug consumption rooms violate the provisions of the international drug control conventions to which Ireland is a party. Therefore, the position of the Government has not changed and, accordingly, there are no plans to introduce such facilities.

The introduction of consumption rooms would require changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act, responsibility for which lies with my colleague the Minister for Health and Children.

Question No. 198 answered with QuestionNo. 186.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

199 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will address the funding difficulties of the regional drugs task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22762/04]

Dan Neville

Question:

201 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the budgetary allocation to the regional drugs task forces will be significantly increased, in view of the recent figures released by the NACD, which highlight the growth of heroin abuse outside of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22695/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 201 together.

The National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008 provides for the establishment of ten regional drugs task forces, RDTFs, throughout the country. Currently, the RDTFs are mapping out the patterns of drug misuse in their areas — as well as the range and level of existing services — with a view to better co-ordination and addressing gaps in the overall provision. In this context, the Deputies should note that an amount of €500,000 has been provided by my Department, in the current year, for administrative and technical assistance costs incurred by the RDTFs in the preparation of their plans.

The work being undertaken by the RDTFs will, when complete, feed into the drafting of regional action plans, which will be assessed by the national drugs strategy team in due course. Where heroin misuse is a problem in particular regions, this can be reflected in the action plans being developed. I am hopeful that all of this work can be completed by early 2005 and that I will then be in a position to bring recommendations in relation to the funding of the plans to the Cabinet committee on social inclusion.

The Estimates process for 2005 is currently ongoing and the Deputies will appreciate that the allocations for my Department for next year have not yet been finalised. However, it is my intention that significant resources will be targeted at tackling drug misuse throughout the country and I would expect the RDTFs to be in a position to begin the implementation of their plans by mid to late 2005.

Question No. 200 answered with QuestionNo. 150.
Question No. 201 answered with QuestionNo. 199.

An Daonáireamh Náisiúnta.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

202 D’fhiafraigh Mr. M. Higgins den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil staidéar déanta aige ar an gcuid de Dhaonáireamh 2002 a bhaineann leis an nGaeilge. [22787/04]

Dírím aird an Teachta ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheisteanna Uimh. 70 den 27 Samhain 2003, Uimh. 527 den 7 Deireadh Fómhair, Uimh. 106 den 27 Aibreán 2004 agus Uimh. 56 den 31 Bealtaine 2004.

Faoi mar a bhí curtha in iúl cheana féin, is léir ó fhigiúirí an daonáirimh go bhfuil idir ábhar dóchais agus foláirimh iontu maidir le húsáid na Gaeilge. Is léir go bhfuil ísliú beag tagtha ar líon na nGaeilgeoirí laethúla lasmuigh agus taobh istigh den Ghaeltacht ach is tuar dóchais, ag an am céanna, an t-ardú ar líon na nGaeilgeoirí ar fud na tíre a bhfuil sé ar a gcumas Gaeilge a labhairt.

Tá infheistíocht suntasach déanta ag mo Roinnse i mbuanú na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht agus tá sé tábhachtach go bhfuil torthaí na hinfheistíochta sin le feiceáil sna figúirí is deireanaí. Tá Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla ina dhlí anois agus príomhchuspóir aige seirbhísí poiblí a shóláthar i nGaeilge ar chaighdeán níos airde. Faoi mar a dúirt mé cheana, beidh sé mar aidhm lárnach agam i gcónaí spreagadh agus tacaíocht a chur ar fáil chun cur leis an méid daoine a bhfuil deis acu an Ghaeilge a úsáid ar bhonn laethúil.

Question No. 203 answered with QuestionNo. 164.

National Drugs Strategy.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

204 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the annual report of the Merchants Quay project, which highlights a substantial increase in the number of drug abusers availing of its services, and which states the belief that the national drug strategy has now ground to a halt. [22903/04]

I assure the Deputy that the Government continues to take the issue of drug misuse seriously and will continue to push forward with the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy 2001- 2008.

In this regard, one of the principle aims of the strategy is to encourage drug misusers into treatment and the Department of Health and Children — which has overall responsibility for the addiction services — continues to report an increase in the numbers being treated. In this context, it is worth noting that at the end of August, there were 7,190 drug misusers on methadone treatment compared with a figure of approximately 5,000 at the end of the year 2,000 — an increase of approximately 40%.

To further emphasise the Government's commitment to implementing the national drugs strategy, the Deputy should note that approximately €80 million has been allocated to implement the two rounds of action plans of the local drugs task forces, LDTFs; an amount of €12.8 million has been allocated under the LDTF premises initiative which is designed to meet the accommodation needs of community based drugs projects and; approximately €75 million has been allocated to support in the region of 450 facility and services under the young people's facilities and services fund. I believe that this investment of nearly €168 million in these drugs services since 1996 — in addition to more than €220 million invested in addiction services by the health boards in the same period — could not fairly be characterised as a lack of commitment on the Government's part.

The Government continues to be pursue the further implementation of the strategy and earlier this year my Department published National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008: Critical Implementation Path which maps out how the 100 actions of the national drugs strategy are being delivered and timeframes for delivery. I invite the Deputy to examine this publication, which, notwithstanding some difficulties, clearly shows that Departments and agencies continue to make progress in implementing the actions set out for them in the strategy. I plan to publish a progress report covering the first three years of the strategy before the end of the year.

The Deputy should note that I have initiated a mid-term review of the national drugs strategy. The review will examine the progress being made to date in achieving the overall key strategic goals set out in the strategy and will enable priorities for future action to be identified and a re-focusing of the strategy, if necessary. The review will be completed by the end 2004 or early 2005.

Réamhscolaíocht agus Seirbhísí Óige.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

205 D’fhiafraigh Mr. Deenihan den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta ag Údarás na Gaeltachta chun béim níos láidre a chur ar naíscolaíocht agus ar sheirbhísí don óige sa Ghaeltacht. [22732/04]

Mar is eol don Teachta, tá iarrachtaí leanúnacha ar siúl ag Údarás na Gaeltachta chun cúrsaí réamhscolaíochta agus seirbhísí óige a chur chun cinn agus a fhorbairt sa Ghaeltacht. Caitheadh €395,000 ar na gnéithe seo i 2003 agus meastar go mbeidh caiteachas níos mó ná €1 milliún i 2004 mar gheall ar na forbairtí seo a leanas.

Cuirfidh an t-údarás cúnamh suas go dtí €880,000 ar fáil i mbliana do Chomhar Naíonraí na Gaeltachta Teo., comhlacht neamhspleách nua-bhunaithe ar mhaithe leis an gcóras naíscolaíochta sa Ghaeltacht a fhorbairt agus a bhainistiú. Tá bainisteoir, foireann riaracháin, mar aon le triúr oifigeach forbartha fostaithe chun freastal ar na réigiúin éagsúla Gaeltachta. Ina theannta sin, tá ionadaíocht ag na naíonraí as gach ceantar Gaeltachta ar bhord stiúrtha an chomhlachta. Tá na forbairtí seo tábhachtach sa chomhthéacs go bhfuil 144 stiúrthóir i mbun oibre sna 70 naíonra sa Ghaeltacht agus de bhreis ar 1,000 páiste réamhscoile ag freastal orthu.

Maidir le seirbhísí óige sa Ghaeltacht, táthar ag tuar caiteachais de €160,000 i mbliana. Ghlac an t-údarás leis na moltaí a tháinig chun cinn maidir le bunú struchtúr óige sa staidéar ar ógsheirbhísí Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta agus ar riachtanais agus éilimh dhaoine óga a foilsíodh i Meitheamh 2003. Dá réir sin, tá cinneadh tógtha go mbunófar comhlacht neamhspléach, Óige na Gaeltachta, chun ógsheirbhísí Gaeltachta a riaradh agus a mhaoiniú. Tá na réamhchéimeanna á dtógáil i láthair na huaire agus táthar ag súil go mbeidh an comhlacht nua ag feidhmiú faoi thús na bliana 2005.

Legislative Programme.

Mary Upton

Question:

206 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his legislative proposals for the current term of Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22784/04]

The Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Bill 2004 was published in June 2004. The Bill is before Seanad Éireann at present and I anticipate that the remaining stages will be debated in that House over the coming weeks. I look forward to bringing the Bill before Dáil Éireann later this session.

Meanwhile, following publication of the external report on the public consultation on 27 September 2004, my Department will be preparing draft legislation to regulate charities so as to ensure accountability and to protect against abuse of charitable status and fraud. At this stage, the best estimate publication date for the charities regulation Bill is end 2005.

My Department is also considering proposals in relation to clarification and updating of the functions of Údarás na Gaeltachta. It is anticipated that this Bill will be published late in 2005.

National Spatial Strategy.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

207 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the work his Department is involved in to advance the implementation of the national spatial strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22721/04]

The national spatial strategy, NSS, sets down clear markets for the way ahead in rural development and addresses many of my concerns in relation to such issues as rural housing, services and cultural identity.

The Deputy will be aware that my Department is represented on the interdepartmental committee, led by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, supporting the implementation of the national spatial strategy. In common with other Departments, my Department submitted an issues paper to the interdepartmental committee identifying the activities to which implementation of the national spatial strategy is linked, the degree to which those activities currently support the implementation of the strategy and the potential for better alignment between these and implementation of the strategy. This is an ongoing process. Issues of particular relevance to the NSS include the following.

My Department's CLÁR programme, targeted at particularly disadvantaged rural areas, supports the objectives of the national spatial strategy. The Western Development Commission has developed a strategy for towns on radial routes in the West, to maximise the benefit to the west of the national spatial strategy. A review of support for enterprise, including tourism, in rural areas has been commissioned and is nearing completion.

Two major conferences were held during Ireland's EU Presidency on living conditions and quality of life in rural Europe and on islands, mountains and sparsely populated areas. The operation of LEADER+ and the national rural development programme is continuing and, like the CLÁR programme, support the objectives of the NSS.

Question No. 208 answered with QuestionNo. 143.
Question No. 209 answered with QuestionNo. 177.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

210 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the organisations which have received grants from the dormant accounts disbursement fund; the amount of the grant in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22793/04]

Seymour Crawford

Question:

222 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount of the dormant accounts fund which has been distributed to date by the Dormant Accounts Distribution Board; and the amount of the dormant accounts which has been distributed otherwise and the bodies involved in the distribution. [22411/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 and 222 together.

The Deputy will be aware that in June 2004, the Government announced an increase in the overall amount that the Dormant Accounts Fund Disbursements Board may spend from €30 million to €60 million.

The board has engaged Area Development Management, ADM, to administer this round of funding on its behalf. To date the board has approved 133 projects for funding totalling approximately €12.5 million. The details of these approvals, including the names of the individual organisations and the specific grant amounts are attached. Over the coming months, further allocations will be made by the board up to a total figure of €60 million.

The Deputy will also be aware that a figure of €10 million from the fund has been allocated to partly finance the rural social scheme. The rural social scheme is delivered at a local level by the Leader companies.

List of Approved Grants

Group/Organisation

Grant (€)

Proposal Description

Wexford Borough Council

160,000.00

Provision of three play areas within local disadvantaged estates

St. Paul’s Scout Unit, Lisduggan, Waterford

95,000.00

Scout hall renovation

Mountmellick Development Association

60,332.60

Building renovations to ensure accessibility for persons with a disability

Mallow Daycare Centre, Cork

6,029.75

Provision of furniture for daycare extension

Tralee Community Development Project Ltd., Kerry

199,912.05

Refurbishment of first floor of centre

Monsignor McCarthy Steering Committee, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

110,300.00

Renovations to existing community recreational facility

Merchants Quay Project, Dublin 8

157,709.00

Managing drug-related neighbourhood programme

Crosscare Aftercare Support Unit, Dublin 7

103,000.00

Development of community programmes to benefit young people

Youghal Youth Committee (Foroige), Co. Cork

130,000.00

Programme enabling at risk young people achieve optimum benefit from school

Mayfield Employment Action Project Ltd., Old Youghal Road, Co. Cork

5,231.00

Conduct study of community education needs

Tallaght West Education Support Forum,Dublin 24

52,300.00

Training programme for isolated women

Co. Wexford Community Workshop, Enniscorthy

250,000.00

Provision of sports facility for persons with a disability

Irish Rural Link, Moate, Co. Westmeath

45,109.61

Building renovations to ensure accessibility for persons with a disability

Our Lady of Lourdes Community Services Group, Limerick

122,772.00

Refurbishment to provide a youth/sport facility

Clonmel Celtic Football Club, Tipperary

49,000.00

Construction of a sports pavilion

KDYS Youth Centre, Kerry

154,357.00

Responding to the personal, social, cultural and educational needs of young travellers

Co. Roscommon Higher Education Centre

104,000.00

Establishment of a centre to provide a range of third level certified courses for mature students

Futurama Out of School Transition Initiative, Dublin

190,000.00

Extension of support programme for 12 to 15 year olds who have left, or are at risk of leaving, formal education

Ballyowens Meadow School, Stillorgan Dublin

50,000.00

Building an outdoor playground for autistic children

The Swan Group, Sligo

3,053.00

Supporting the local community in being independent and providing a ‘sound beam’ for use with adults with complex needs

AWARE, Dublin 2

141,000.00

Expansion of an awareness programme about depression and suicide to both non-mainstream and mainstream schools

Eirí Corca Baiscinn

47,000.00

To provide supports to increase the employability of rural adults

St. Olivers Community Management Committee

6,068.00

To repair the roof at St. Olivers Community Centre

North & West Connemara Rural Project Ltd

120,200.00

To develop and expand the Social Care programme with older people and persons with a disability throughout North West Connemara.

Donegal Youth Information Centre

37,450.00

For the provision of a computer clubhouse to provide an outreach service to young people in South and West Donegal.

St. Laurence O’Toole GAA Club

170,000.00

Floodlit all weather training facility

Cloyne Diocesan Youth Service

131,000.00

Employ outreach worker for drugs education/prevention

Mayfield Community Adult Learning Project

7,874.00

Equip community resource centre computer room

Avondhu Dev. Group Ltd.

147,299.00

To implement ‘integrate Mallow’ project

Longford Women’s Link, Ardnacassa Ave, Longford.

84,272.00

For the employment of a Domestic Violence Outreach Worker

Mountwood Fitzgerald Park Community Development Project

127,500.00

To employ a family service Coordinator

Clonliffe and Croke Park Community Hall

15,000.00

Towards the initial cost of equipment to furnish the community centre

Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

95,800.00

To employ two part-time counsellors

Beacon of Light Counselling Centre

80,000.00

To provide a salary for one counsellor for two years to counsel young people under 18 and their parents

Collinstown Park School Completion Programme

71,500.00

To employ a full-time youth worker to work directly with Collinstown Park Community College to implement school-based youth work activities

The Autistic Outreach Unit

20,000.00

To provide a special educational unit with equipment for autistic children and children with special needs within the Co. Tipperary area

The Linkup Project

24,000.00

To provide an adult literacy tutor training program for 20 deaf adults

The Alzheimers Society of Ireland

25,000.00

To facilitate the centre to open 5 days per week

Bantry Integrated Development Group

327,000.00

To develop a structure of home visits for people in isolated areas of West Cork.

Frenchpark & Districts Childcare, Roscommon

190,000.00

Equipping and fitting out Frenchpark Childcare facility

Scoil na Croise Naofa, Mahon, Co Cork

10,000.00

Purchasing new computers

Inishowen Women’s Information Network, Lifford, Co Donegal

100,000.00

Employing two staff

Nagle Centre, Slievekeale Rd, Waterford

89,578.00

Providing IT training

Blanchardstown Travellers Support Group, Dublin 15

106,300.00

Hiring a worker

Little Bray Family Resource Centre, Co Wicklow

75,288.00

Providing accessible educational courses for parents and young adults

Knockanrawley Resource Centre Ltd., Tipperary Town

110,000.00

Providing integrated personal and educational development programmes

St. Saviours National School, Ballybeg, Waterford

35,636.00

Furnishing a ’targeted’ room in the school for various uses

Tallaght Intercultural Action, Dublin 24

130,000.00

Employing an Intercultural Education Co-ordinator

Ferns Diocesan Youth Service, Francis St, Wexford

53,601.00

Extending Coolcotts Community Youth Project

Dillon’s Cross/Post Release Project, Cork

34,133.00

Providing education/training to ex-prisoners and their families

Ballymun Job Centre, Dublin 11

79,127.00

Providing support, guidance and structured interventions for young early school leavers

Youth New Ross, Co Wexford

121,565.00

Addressing educational disadvantage

Irish Traveller Movement, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

129,510.00

Implementing an education programme

Community Women’s Education Initiative Ltd, Lr John St Cork

24,726.00

Delivering a community education programme

Barnardos Children’s Services Dublin North, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15

80,000.00

Employing project worker and assistant

Waterford Pathways, Manor St, Waterford

30,500.00

Delivering a programme dealing with early school leavers

Ballyfermot Youth Services, Dublin 10

34,000.00

Providing computer training

Board of Management of Ballyspillane Community and Family Resource Centre, Killarney, Co Kerry

20,000.00

Providing a Homework Support Club

Blakestown and Mountview Youth Initiative, Clonsilla, Dublin 15

78,742.00

Employing of a Resource Teacher

Éirí Corca Baiscinn, Kilkee, Co Clare

58,000.00

Providing a full-time youth worker for Kilrush town

Dolphin House Community Development Association, Rialto, Dublin 8

118,000.00

Providing training in all aspects of IT, from basic computer skills to web design

Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KDYS, Tralee)

32,500.00

Developing a project focused on, the educational needs of young mothers

Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service, Dublin 17

84,000.00

Recruiting a project worker

Dublin Aids Alliance (DAA) LTD, Parnell Sq, Dublin 1

41,000.00

Training young people in peer education

Larkin/ Shelbourne Project, Dublin 1

100,000.00

Enabling young boys/girls, who have a talent for football, to avail of the coaching expertise of Shelbourne Football Club through the ‘Learning through Soccer’ programme and continue their education to Junior Cert level at least

Fettercairn Youth Horse Programme, Tallaght, Dublin 24

184,314.00

Developing outreach action aimed at seeking the participation of the most marginalised group (including potential and early school-leavers, travellers, young people with disabilities, and young people at risk) within the West Tallaght area using horse care as the medium

Clare Youth Service, Ennis, Co Clare

78,828.00

Employing a youth worker to work in Ennis

Tramore YDP — Foroige, Co Waterford

161,625.00

Increasing targeted young people’s participation in school through individual, group and family support

St. Andrew’s Resource Centre, Pearse St., Dublin 2

125,200.00

Providing computer training

Drogheda Youth Development, Co Louth

167,920.00

Targeting young people to participate in training with the intention of breaking the cycle of educational disadvantage

Mellow Springs Childcare Dev, Finglas, Dublin 11

85,790.00

Setting up a language and creativity room

O’Devaney Gardens Forum, Dublin 7

66,943.00

Running after schools activities for children in O’Devaney Gardens aged between 5-10 years

Kildare Youth Services (Curragh Youth Project)

81,226.00

Recruiting a community youth worker to work with young people at risk of early school leaving in the Curragh

Youth Horizons, Dublin 24

45,000.00

Developing a project which focuses on two areas of assessed need for young people, IT training and sessional counselling

Barnardo’s Carlow Family Support Project

19,000.00

Building a structure which will provide additional space and enhance existing use of premises and services

Loreto Centre, Dublin 12

48,148.00

Employing a part-time support worker to assist the coordinator in the delivery of Diploma in Women’s Studies

Dime Project Advisory Committee, Dublin 1

135,318.00

Developing and implementing needs based programmes, in the North Inner City of Dublin

Fingal ICTU Centre for the Unemployed, Finglas, Dublin 11

100,878.00

Enhancing and expanding the opt-in programme

Adventure Sport Project, Dublin 1

113,680.00

Providing an issue-based sports youth programme for young females aged between 11-17 years in an after school environment in the North Inner City area of Dublin

Athy Youth Project, Co Kildare

58,775.00

Recruiting a full-time community youth worker

Athy Travellers’ Club, Co Kildare

50,420.00

Setting up a ‘Breakfast and after schools project’ for Traveller children aged from 5-16 who live in the Athy region

Labre Park After Schools Programme Ballyfermot, Dublin 8

158,920.00

Supporting a group of young boys in transferring successfully from Primary School to second level education

Rosemount Community Dev Group, Dublin 14

50,974.00

Providing homework support for primary and post primary student who live in the Dundrum area of Dublin

Wexford Education Network

149,616.00

Employing project workers to monitor attendance and track potential early school leavers at primary and post primary level

St. Vincent de Paul, Cork

20,000.00

Providing a part-time outreach worker in Cork

Gateway Project, Dublin 7

6,900.00

Providing new equipment and furniture

Taghmon Action Group, Co Wexford

70,000.00

Implementing an integrated, community-based programme to tackle three specific aspects of educational disadvantage in Taghmon

FACT Ballincollig Family Resource Centre Ltd, Co Cork

60,000.00

Providing an Education Disadvantage Intervention Service

Tallaght Volunteer Bureau, Dublin 24

46,762.00

Employing a supported volunteering officer

Bedford Row Family Centre, Limerick City

70,941.00

Maintaining and developing a hospitality information support and referral service

Sligo County Council

117,800.00

Development of urban regeneration plan for Cranmore area

Leitrim County Council

40,000.00

Renovations to Drumshanbo outdoor swimming pool

Families and Schools Together, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin 24

77,245.00

Employing a project worker

National College of Ireland, Mayor St, Dublin 1

33,950.00

Providing educational mentoring

St. Peter Apostle JNS, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

41,000.00

Provision of breakfast for school children and cooking facilities for after school clubs

Family-School-Community Educational Disadvantage Partnership, Limerick

331,396.00

Setting up intervention projects for disadvantaged pupils

Castlecomer Community School, Co Kilkenny

147,640.00

Establishing the current educational disadvantage project in two other key locations in the catchment area

TOFE Program (School Completion Prog), Dublin 15

37,600.00

Purchasing a bus to collect targeted students who have very high rates of absenteeism

Learning Through Arts Scholarship Programme, Dublin 1

91,000.00

Providing ‘The Learning through Arts Scholarship Programme’ for pupils from disadvantaged schools throughout Dublin

Our Lady Immaculate Junior National School, Darndale, Dublin 17

10,000.00

Refurbishment and equipping the school library

TASS (Target After School Service), Drogheda

122,750.00

Providing targeted children with after school support

Waterford City Council

200,000.00

Creation of two playground areas and upgrading of surrounding area

Cavan County Council

278,210.00

Development of a coordinated and integrated youth service for all, particularly those classified as difficult to reach

Clonmel Borough Council

3,375.90

Provision of notice boards to enable communities access to information about service provision, community activity and training and other opportunities

Clonmel Borough Council/SEHB

7,449.38

For a marked play space for children and young people.

Clonmel Borough Council

74,431.03

For the development of a playground for children and young people.

Sligo Borough Council

203,280.00

To develop the foreshore area, for recreational and amenity purposes around a large local authority estate on the northern suburb of Sligo town

Tralee Town Council

175,000.00

Developing the green area in St. Martins Park

Ennis Town Council, Clare

278,764.79

Development of a recreational sports facility

Clondalkin Community Health Initiative, Dublin 22

133,230.00

Pilot project to increase awareness of health issues, deliver health programmes, train local people as trainers and develop a local health alliance

County Leitrim Partnership Ltd.

73,991.00

Providing education and training opportunities to increase employment

Emotional Behavioural Difficulties Project, Dublin 22

141,358.00

Introducing the Incredible Years Child, Parent & Teacher Training programmes into schools and community organisations

Northside Partnership

331,000.00

2 year pilot programme to reintegrate former drug misusers

Galway Rural Development

430,000.00

To establish a service that will enable greater co-ordination and integration of educational service provision in Tuam and Ballinasloe.

The Glen CDP, Cork

67,637.00

The provision of an outreach/development support worker

The Glen CDP, Cork

6,000.00

Purchasing computers

The Larkin Centre, 57-58 North Strand Road, Dublin 3

147,700.00

Implementing a community arts programme

Co-Operation Fingal, Co Dublin

66,000.00

Developing a tracking system for young people at risk of dropping out of the education system

Ronanstown CDP/Women’s Ed Forum, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

79,670.00

Employing a development worker

Tralee Learning Together Network

137,500.00

Extending after school study support programmes in the 3 RAPID areas of Tralee and Ardfert rural community

Drogheda Northside Partnership (DNCP), Co. Louth

41,000.00

Employing a family counsellor to work with the children and the families attending the eight primary schools on the North side of Drogheda town

Borrisokane Area Network Development Co., Co. Tipperary

3,000.00

Providing an ‘Art for Youth’ project which will target disadvantaged children between the ages of 7-12 years of age

Borrisokane AND Company Ltd, Co Tipperary

17,687.00

Employing a youth worker to develop a new after-school club in Kilbarron and extend existing club in Borrisokane

North Clondalkin CDP/Campus

47,712.00

Developing a project addressing educational disadvantage which includes the employment of a Parent Resource worker

Wicklow Working Together Ltd

22,500.00

The creation of a therapeutic room to provide more therapeutic support for children and as a place in which to carry out assessments

National Adult Literacy Agency, Dublin 1

69,555.00

Develop literacy CD

South Westmeath Literacy Scheme, Athlone

17,500.00

Assistance for After Schools Programme

North Cork Adult Basic Education Service, Mallow

49,331.00

Education programme for adults who missed out on second-level education

City of Limerick VEC Adult Education Service

249,540.00

Development of new services and consolidation of existing services

Vocational School Abbeyfeale, Limerick

9,600.00

Providing a homework club for disadvantaged students

City of Galway VEC

20,214.00

Helping young people complete FETAC accredited modules

Literacy Service, Co Westmeath VEC

116,000.00

Co-ordinating a Family Learning project in areas of geographical disadvantage

Junior Certificate School Programme Demonstration Library Project, Dublin 12

113,500.00

Providing a further 5 schools in disadvantaged areas with a high quality school library, staffed by a full-time professional librarian

Total Grants (€)

12,511,570.11

No. of Approvals: 133

Rural Development.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

211 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he intends to meet with the new EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Marian Fischer Boel, to discuss future rural development funding for Ireland; the form he anticipates such funding will take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22694/04]

I look forward to meeting Commissioner designate Fischer Boel in the near future.

Negotiations have already commenced at European Council level on the form and scope of the next generation of rural development measures due to commence in 2007. A key feature of the Commission's proposals in this regard is the inclusion of a complete priority axis of measures aimed at addressing the critical social and economic difficulties faced by rural communities experiencing ageing, static or declining populations.

While it is early days yet in the negotiations, it is becoming increasingly clear that the detailed provisions of this axis will significantly reflect, in many cases, those initiatives and schemes implemented by my Department, particularly under the CLÁR programme, rural social scheme and LEADER initiative. My Department will have a leading role in advancing this wider rural economy axis under the regulation.

EU funding allocations to rural development programmes will be decided as part of the negotiations on the overall budgetary framework for the EU for 2007 to 2013, known as the financial perspectives. Until the budgetary ceiling is agreed it will not be possible to estimate indicative financial allocations to member states, and even less so to individual headings. However, in the meantime, the Commission has signalled that commitments to member states for national rural development programmes will be based on a mix of indicators including past performance. On this basis, following the very successful experience of the LEADER model nationally, it is hoped that Ireland will once again receive a significant share of funding. It must be recognised, however, that in a Union of potentially 27 member states and given the enormous success of the Irish economy, particularly in the last ten years, it will be very difficult to secure funding levels close to those achieved previously.

Question No. 212 answered with QuestionNo. 140.

Coimisiún na Gaeltachta.

Enda Kenny

Question:

213 D’fhiafraigh Mr. Kenny den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cen dul chun cinn atá déanta aige chun moltaí Choimisiún na Gaeltachta a chur i bhfeidhm. [22733/04]

I measc na gcéimeanna suntasacha a glacadh le tamall anuas chun moltaí sonracha atá déanta i dtuarascáil Choimisiún na Gaeltachta a chur chun cinn tá na céimeanna seo a leanas:

Tá Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 ina dhlí anois, rud a thugann aghaidh ar chur i bhfeidhm cúig chinn de mholtaí sonracha an choimisiúin agus tá cur síos ar an dul chun cinn agus ar chéimeanna eile atá glactha i gcomhthéacs an Achta sna freagraí a thug mé inniu ar Cheisteanna Uimh. 22794 agus 22673;

D'fhógair mé i mí Iúil go bhfuil an Rialtas le tús a chur le próiseas plé le baillstát eile an Aontais Eorpaigh agus le Coimisiún an Aontais d'fhonn stádas oifigiúil oibre a iarraidh don Ghaeilge san AE faoi rialachán Chomhphobal Eacnamaíochta na hEorpa;

Bronnadh conradh i mí Eanáir 2004 ar Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh, i gcomhar leis an Institiúid Náisiúnta um Anailís Réigiúnach agus Spásúil, Ollscoil na hÉireann, Má Nuad, chun staidéar cuimsitheach teangeolaíoch ar an nGaeltacht a thionscnamh, agus tá cur síos níos iomláine ar an dtogra sa bhfreagra a thug mé inniu ar Cheisteanna Uimh. 138, 141 agus 165;

Sheol mé feachtas feasachta teanga ar 13 Meán Fómhair faoin teideal "Ár dTeanga Nádúrtha Féin" d'fhonn na buntáistí a bhaineann le húsáid na Gaeilge mar phríomh-theanga teaghlaigh a chur ina luí ar thuismitheoirí na Gaeltachta agus tá tuilleadh eolais i dtaobh an fheachtais sin sa bhfreagra a thug mé inniu ar Cheist Uimh. 191; agus

D'fhógair mé níos luaithe i mbliana go raibh ciste gur fiú €1.56 milliún thar trí bliana á bhunú agam chun tionscnamh pleanála teanga a chur chun cinn sa Ghaeltacht ar bhonn trialach thar tréimhse trí bliana; tá na hiarratais uilig a fuarthas ó Chomharchumainn Ghaeltachta, chomh maith le heagraíochtaí pobalbhunaithe eile, scrúdaithe anois agus beidh na heagraíochta rathúla á aithneofar chun críche aitheantais á bhfógairt agam go han-luath.

I measc na mbeartas eile a bhaineann le tuarascáil Choimisiún na Gaeltachta atá idir lámha nó bainte amach, tá: athbhreithniú ar scéim na gcúntóirí teanga, ar scéim labhairt na Gaeilge agus ar scéim na gcampaí samhraidh agus scéimeanna leasuithe curtha nó á chur i bhfeidhm; deontas ceadaithe le hOidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne lena chumasú scéim chuairteoirí baile a thionscnamh ar bhonn trialach; aighneacht maidir le gnéithe criticiúla a mbíonn tionchar acu ar úsáid na Gaeilge sa chóras bunoideachais agus iarbhunoideachais sa Ghaeltacht curtha faoi bhráid na Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta chomh maith le cruinnithe rialta leis an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta agus lena Roinn; aighneachtaí curtha chuig na húdaráis áitiúla le ceantair Ghaeltachta iontu chun a n-aird a dhíriú ar an ngá atá le polasaithe dearfacha chun freastal ar riachtanais shainiúla na Gaeltachta; tacaíocht bhreise curtha ar fáil d'Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh chun oideachas tríú leibhéal trí mheán na Gaeilge a fhorbairt tuilleadh sa Ghaeltacht; moltaí déanta i ndáil le hathstruchtúrú an chórais faoina gcuireann Údarás na Gaeltachta cúnamh ar fáil don earnáil réamhscolaíochta sa Ghaeltacht; agus, struchtúr nua d'eagrais óige sa Ghaeltacht á gcur chun cinn ag an údarás.

Chun tuilleadh béime a chur ar thograí agus ar ghníomhaíochtaí atá tairbheach don teanga sa Ghaeltacht, tá soláthar breise de €890,000 ar fáil do mo Roinn i mbliana chun tionscnaimh dá leithéid a mhaoiniú agus chun díriú tuilleadh ar ghníomhaíochtaí teanga-lárnaithe trí chéile. Chomh maith leis sin, tá €1 milliún sa bhreis ceadaithe agam d'Údarás na Gaeltachta lena chumasú dóibh béim níos láidre a chur ar naíscolaíocht, ar sheirbhísí don óige, ar gníomhaíochtaí na gComharchumann agus ar sheirbhísí tacaíochta eile don Ghaeilge sa Ghaeltacht.

National Drugs Strategy.

John Gormley

Question:

214 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he foresees the medicinal use of cannabis becoming legal; and if this represents his Department’s policy;and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22905/04]

As the Deputy may be aware, on 1 September last I launched the first Irish review of scientific evidence regarding cannabis. The report, entitled An Overview of Scientific and other Information on Cannabis was published by the national advisory committee on drugs, NACD. The report is part of this Government's ongoing commitment to improving our knowledge base in the drugs field.

As I stated at the time, I believe the report shows that cannabis is a complex substance and, notwithstanding the fact that it is not as dangerous as some other drugs, it can have many damaging effects on the physical and mental health of the user, particularly the young and those who are heavy users of the drug.

The issue of the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes is primarily one for the Minister for Health and Children. However, as the NACD report points out, studies on the therapeutic value of cannabis have to date been inconclusive. In this regard, there are ongoing research trials in the UK and I look forward to the results of these trials with interest.

In any event, I am sure the Deputy will agree that it is vital that we distinguish between the recreational use of cannabis, with all that that entails, and granting a licence for the use of cannabis, or a cannabis extract, for medicinal purposes, under strict clinical supervision.

Rural Development.

Denis Naughten

Question:

215 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date on the implementation of county development strategies to encourage small rural enterprise. [22735/04]

My Department's role in the development of small rural enterprise is mainly through the work of LEADER companies. These are independent companies who deliver the EU funded LEADER programmes under contract to my Department. Sectoral agreements are in place at local level between LEADER companies and the county enterprise boards, the other main funders of small rural enterprise. These agreements aim to eliminate duplication of funding and focus resources on the most promising proposals at county level. A steering committee comprising representatives of my Department, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and both of the funding agencies oversees the operation of the agreements at national level.

The county development boards, CDBs, also have a key role in bringing about the more co-ordinated and integrated delivery of local development and public services at local level. The boards, which are led by local authorities which come under the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, are representative of local development bodies, state agencies and the social partners. LEADER companies are represented on all relevant CDBs.

I draw the Deputy's attention to the position regarding the review of supports for rural enterprise which is the subject of Parliamentary Question reply no. 35 of today's date.

Question No. 216 answered with QuestionNo. 177.

Taisteal an Aire.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

217 D’fhiafraigh Mr. McGinley den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, maidir lena chuairt ar Ghaeltacht Dhún na nGall ar an 14 Meán Fómhair, cad iad na ceantair ar ar thug sé cuairt; cad iad na heagraíochtaí agus na daoine ar bhuail sé leo; cad iad na tionscnaimh ar deineadh plé orthu agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas maidir leis an turas i gcoitinne. [22755/04]

Cuairt ar Dhún na nGall:

Dé Máirt, 14 Meán Fómhair, 2004

11.30 — 12.00

Cruinniú eolais le M.F.G. Thír Chonaill Ionad Bia Ghort a’ Choirce Clár an chruinniú leis seo.

12.00 — 12.30

Cruinniú le MIDAS maidir le hinfreastructúr forbartha pobail Ionad Bia Ghort a’ Choirce. Pléadh todhchaí MIDAS

12.30 — 13.30

Lón

13.30 — 13.40

Taisteal: Gort a’ Choirce go Ghaoth Dobhair

14.00 — 14.30

Cuairt ar oifigí Ghael Uladh, Gaoth Dobhair: cuairt cuirtéise ar oifigí Ghael Uladh a bhí i gceist.

14.30 — 14.35

Naíonra an Screabáin: cuairt cúirtéise

14.35 — 14.40

Ionad na hOllscoile: cuairt cúirtéise

14.40 — 15.00

Cruinniú le Mick McGinnley agus William Boyle maidir le hOileán UaighOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Pléadh cúrsaí forbartha an oileáin, go mór mhór cúrsaí infrastruchtúr, eadhon, céibheanna agus bóithre.

15.00 — 15.30

Cruinniú le Dónal Ó Gallachóir maidir le Coiste Forbartha Inis MeáinOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Pléadh cúrsaí forbartha an oileáin, go mór mhór cúrsaí infrastruchtúr, eadhon, céibheanna agus bóithre.

15.30 — 16.00

Cruinniú le Christy Gillespie maidir le leacht cuimhneacháin Naomh Cholmchille.Oifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Cruinniú maidir le leacht cuimhniúcháin Cholmchille, agus aon chúnamh a bhféadfaí thabhairt ó CLÁR

16.00 — 16.30

Cruinniú leis an Athair Neal Carlin maidir leis an Celtic Peace GardenOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Chuir an tAthair Gillespie mé ar an eolas maidir le forbairtí atá ar bonn aige, ní bhaineann formhór na hoibre le mo Roinn.

16.30 — 17.00

Cruinniú le Hughie Gallagher agus John Rodgers, Inis CaorachOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Pléadh cúrsaí forbartha an oileáin, go mór mhór cúrsaí infrastruchtúr, eadhon, céibheanna agus bóithre.

17.00 — 17.30

Cruinniú le Cornelius Bonner maidir le bád farantóireachta Árann MhóirOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Pléadh ceist maidir le íocaíochtaí a dúirt siad a bhí dlite dóibh.

17.30 — 18.00

Cruinniú le grúpa ó Fhorbairt na RosannOifigí na Roinne, Doirí Beaga. Plé ghinearálta faoin Chlochán Liath, athnuachan baile ach go háirithe, bóithre, cosáin choise, soilse sráide srl.

Question No. 218 answered with QuestionNo. 186.
Question No. 219 answered with QuestionNo. 195.

National Drugs Strategy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

220 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which he expects to increase expenditure in support of communities attempting to combat the drugs problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22911/04]

As the Deputy is aware, my Department has overall responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy 2001-2008. The strategy contains 100 individual actions, under the four pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment and research, to be implemented by a range of Departments and agencies.

My Department also has responsibility for the work of the 14 local drugs task forces, LDTFs, which were established in the areas experiencing the worst levels of drug misuse, particularly heroin. More than €80 million has been allocated to the task forces to implement their two rounds of local action plans. A further €12.8 million has been allocated to capital projects under the LDTF premises initiative, which is designed to meet the accommodation needs of community based drugs projects. In addition, approximately €75 million has been allocated to support the work of the young peoples facilities and services fund in LDTF areas and four other urban centres. The main aim of the fund is to attract at risk young people in disadvantaged areas into recreational facilities and activities and divert them away from the dangers of substance misuse.

The Estimates process for 2005 is ongoing and the Deputy will appreciate that the allocations for my Department for next year have not yet been finalised. However, I assure the Deputy that it is my intention that significant resources will continue to be targeted at tackling drug misuse throughout the country.

Polasaí Dátheangach.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

221 D’fhiafraigh Mr. O’Dowd den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta aige ó ritheadh Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003, agus an bhfuil go leor airgid ag na 650 comhlachtaí pobail chun leibhéil agus caighdeáin fheabhsaithe seirbhísí poiblí a chur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, agus an gceapann sé go mbeidh breis airgid ag teastáil uathu. [22673/04]

Tá dul chun cinn suntasach déanta ag mo Roinnse ó thaobh cur i bhfeidhm fhorálacha an Achta. I measc na bpríomh-chéimeanna atá tógtha go dáta: tá €500,000 curtha ar fáil i Meastacháin mo Roinne don bhliain seo chun Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla a mhaoiniú agus tá an tUasal Seán Ó Cuirreáin ceaptha ag an Uachtarán mar An Coimisinéir Teanga le héifeacht ó 23 Feabhra 2004; rinne mé ordú tosach feidhme ar 19 Eanáir 2004 a thugann feidhm don chuid is mó d'fhorálacha an Achta le héifeacht ón lá sin agus ó 1 Bealtaine 2004 i gcás alt 10; agus foilsíodh dréacht de threoirlínte faoi alt 12 den Acht ag tús mí Iúil chun cuidiú le comhlachtaí poiblí chun caighdeáin a sheirbhísí trí mheán na Gaeilge a fheabhsú ar bhealach comhtháite, céimiúil agus aontaithe; cuireadh cóip ar aghaidh chuig gach comhlacht poiblí agus iarradh orthu a dtuairimí a chur ar fáil do mo Roinnse le breithniú.

Mar is eol don Teachta, ní foláir, d'fhoilsigh mo Roinnse an leagan daingnithe de na treoirlínte ar an Déardaoin seo chaite, agus d'fhógair mé chomh maith ainmneacha an chéad 25 chomhlacht poiblí atá i mbun dréacht-scéim a ullmhú i gcomhréir leis na treoirlínte sin. Tá scéim mo Roinne féin faoin Acht, a bheidh mar mhúnla do chomhlachtaí poiblí eile, foilsithe inniu freisin.

Maidir le hullmhú scéimeanna faoin Acht, ní miste dom a mhíniú go dtosnaíonn an próiseas le fógra i scríbhinn chuig an comhlacht poiblí i gceist ón Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta, agus go bhfuil tréimhse suas go sé mhí ag an gcomhlacht le dréacht-scéim a ullmhú agus a chur faoi bhráid. Caithfear a thuiscint, mar sin, gur beag an líon scéimeanna a bheidh i bhfeidhm sa ghearr-thréimhse.

Mar a dúirt mé, táim sásta go bhfuil dul chun cinn suntasach á dhéanamh ag mo Roinnse maidir le cur i bhfeidhm fhorálacha an Achta ar bhonn chéimiúil. Táim sásta freisin go n-éireoidh leis na comhlachtaí poiblí na dualgais reachtúla a thitfidh orthu go céimiúil faoin Acht a chomhlíonadh agus go deimhin go nglacfaidh said leis an dúshlán le meon dearfach agus sa spiorad ceart. Ar ndóigh, beidh gach scéim dréachtaithe ag na comhlachtaí poiblí i gcomhthéacs agus ar bhonn na n-acmhainní — idir airgead agus foireann — atá acu nó a bheidh ar fáil dóibh le linn thréimhse na scéime. Ní féidir gach rud a bhaint amach thar oíche agus, mar a dúirt mé ón dtús, is í an aidhm atá agam ná go mbeidh feabhsúcháin á mbaint amach — thar thréimhse roinnt scéimeanna, b'fhéidir — ar leibhéal agus ar chaighdeán na seirbhísí poiblí a bhíonn á gcur ar fáil trí Ghaeilge, de réir éilimh.

An méid sin ráite, is gnó do na comhlachtaí poiblí féin, ar ndóigh, a chinntiú go gcomhlíonfar na dualgais a thitfidh orthu faoin Acht seo sa chaoi chéanna agus a chomhlíontar dualgais faoi aon reachtaíocht eile.

Question No. 222 answered with QuestionNo. 210.

Leader Programmes.

Phil Hogan

Question:

223 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in protecting and developing rural communities and in supporting rural development, in particular in reviewing the planning guidelines for small rural enterprises. [22734/04]

I understand the Deputy is particularly interested in the following issues.

My Department has responsibility, inter alia, for the Leader programme. In accordance with the bottom up philosophy of rural development, the local Leader group is the decision-making authority in relation to approving actions falling within its business plan. The approval of grants by groups is made within detailed operating rules drawn up by the Department and approved by the EU Commission.

The success of the Leader programmes has been in delivering local integrated solutions for local communities, developed by local communities themselves. Most Leader projects are community based though assistance is also provided towards small rural enterprises and training of rural dwellers. Progress has been good in the current round 2001-2006. Since contracts were signed in November 2001 there has been a spend of over €35 million.

On Tuesday of this week, I officially inaugurated the appointment, through Comhar Leader na hÉireann, of a small food producer's co-ordinator who will endeavour to tackle some of the barriers inhibiting small food producers. The action plan which the co-ordinator will implement over the next year covers: co-ordination between small food producers and statutory agencies, training bodies etc. training and technical support, farmers markets, food producers information guides to contain information on HACCP, food stamp etc., food awards, food week, accreditation branding and food safety issues. I am supporting this initiative through the provision of €50,000 from my Department's rural development fund.

Last week, I announced that I had received confirmation from David Byrne, EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, that member states may adopt EU regulations to provide for flexibility for food consumers. In addition, the Commissioner stated that member states may adopt infrastructural requirements for any food business. These developments should prove supportive of, and encouraging for, traditional and artisan food producers.

My Department also engaged Fitzpatrick Associates, economic consultants, in autumn 2003 to carry out a review of enterprise support in rural areas including identifying weaknesses or gaps, if any, in supports and-or their structures of delivery taking account of EU State aid law, the national spatial strategy and Exchequer financial constraints. I expect that the report of this review will be completed in the near future.

Ferry Services.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

224 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if regulations for ferry operators to the islands have been finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22771/04]

My Department is currently preparing regulations in respect of formal contracts with ferry operators providing services which incorporate road transport links. It is hoped to have these regulations published at an early date.

These regulations, which will be subject to the consent of the Ministers for Finance and Transport, will set down the agreed destinations for connecting bus passenger services and will form the basis for entering into formal contracts in these particular cases.

Questions No. 225 answered with QuestionNo. 174.
Question Nos. 226 and 227 answered with Question No. 140.
Question No. 228 answered with QuestionNo. 186.
Question No. 229 answered with QuestionNo. 174.

Irish Language.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

230 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the status of the Irish language as an official EU language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22763/04]

As I announced on 14 July 2004 on behalf of the Government, a process of discussions has been initiated with the other EU member states and the EU institutions with a view to seeking official and working language status for the Irish language in the EU under EEC Regulation 1/1958. The regulation is the legal instrument that governs the EU institutions' official and working language regime. The focus in these ongoing discussions with representatives of the other member states and the EU institutions is on securing agreement on the practical modalities in relation to this objective.

Once these discussions have progressed sufficiently to clarify the practical options and issues arising in relation to achieving this objective, the matter will return formally to Government. The Deputy will understand why it would not be appropriate for me to make any public comment on the detail of these discussions until they have been brought to a conclusion.

Question No. 231 answered with QuestionNo. 142

Rural Development.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

232 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the progress to date on the INTERREG IIIA Programme Ireland-Northern Ireland for rural initiatives. [22730/04]

My Department is a joint implementing Department with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland for the Rural Initiative Measure — Priority 1 Measure 4 — of the INTERREG Ireland-Northern Ireland Programme 2000-2006.

The aim of the rural initiative measure is to encourage rural businesses and communities to engage in developing the economic and social sustainability of the region and, to promote the development and expansion of cross-border rural businesses.

Three applications have been approved to date by the INTERREG IIIA steering committee with a total grant of over €3.9 million awarded from the measure. A further three applications are progressing through economic appraisal and when completed will be presented to the steering committee for final decision.

At this stage in the programme, it appears likely that there will be a need for a further call for applications to the measure. The full position will become clearer when all applications to date have been fully processed and decided upon by the INTERREG steering committee which will be later this year.

Job Creation.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

233 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of job losses experienced in 2004 to date in the Donegal Gaeltacht; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22901/04]

I understand from Údarás na Gaeltachta that the information sought by the Deputy will not be readily available until end 2004.

The job situation in the Donegal Gaeltacht for 2004 will be established by Údarás na Gaeltachta through its annual employment survey in client businesses at year-end. The results of this survey will be published by Údarás by end January 2005. Údarás has, however, indicated that it is hopeful that there will be a net gain in employment in the Donegal Gaeltacht this year.

Security of the Elderly.

Paul McGrath

Question:

234 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress to date in advancing and improving community supports for older persons. [22722/04]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Questions Nos. 1266, 1268 and 1273 of 29 September 2004.

The purpose of the scheme of community support for older people is to encourage and assist the community's support for older people by means of a community based grant scheme to improve the security of its older members. Funding under the scheme can be provided for small scale security equipment designed to strengthen points of entry to the dwelling; for security lighting and for the once-off cost of installing socially monitored personal alarm systems. This year the scheme has been extended to include smoke alarms. Burglar alarm systems are not covered by the scheme. The 2004 scheme was advertised nationwide on 29 July 2004 with a closing date of 13 September 2004.

I have indicated that given the nature of this scheme my Department will be flexible and understanding in relation to applications received after the official closing date. My Department is currently engaged in processing applications for the 2004 scheme and grants will issue to community groups at the earliest possible date.

Question No. 235 answered with QuestionNo. 154.

Decentralisation Programme.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

236 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the decentralisation of Foras na Gaeilge has been agreed to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22686/04]

Joe Sherlock

Question:

239 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the decentralisation of Forás na Gaeilge to County Donegal; the negotiations which have been conducted with staff therein; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22760/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236 and 239 together.

As I have already indicated, the relocation of Foras na Gaeilge staff under the decentralisation programme would be subject to the agreement of the North-South Ministerial Council. Discussions in this regard are ongoing and I have met Minister Angela Smith M.P. to discuss relevant issues.

In the meantime, the question of consultation with the staff of Foras an Gaeilge is primarily a matter for the board and chief executive, who advises that the matter will be discussed in full with staff interests when a final decision has been made by the two Governments.

Question No. 237 answered with QuestionNo. 164.
Question No. 238 answered with QuestionNo. 162.
Question No. 239 answered with QuestionNo. 236.

Department Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

240 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Taoiseach if his Department’s website is up to date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23426/04]

The Department of the Taoiseach's website is updated on a daily basis. All significant press releases are posted on the Department's website immediately or at the earliest possible convenience. In addition, statements and speeches which I make as Taoiseach are published together with any statements or speeches by the Ministers of State at the Department.

Insurance Industry.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

241 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his proposals to reduce the cost and ensure the availability of public liability and employer liability insurance for community and voluntary organisations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23197/04]

Following the establishment of the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority and the end of the my Department's involvement in the insurance reform programme, the Department of Finance will have overall responsibility for policy and legislation in relation to the provision of financial services in Ireland.

A key initiative in my Department was the establishment of Personal Injuries Assessment Board which I am confident will lead to reduced premia and improve the availability of public and employer liability insurance to the benefit of community and voluntary organisations. By eliminating the need for litigation costs where legal issues are not in dispute, the PIAB will significantly reduce the cost of delivering compensation. The PIAB will also offer speedier assessments to the benefit of claimants.

It is generally recognised that litigation costs add between 40% and 50% to the cost of a personal injury claim. It is intended that PIAB will make significant inroads in this figure. PIAB will however carry out a cost benefit analysis of the new system as against the system prior to the introduction of PIAB and this will indicate the reduction in the level of litigation.

The pricing and underwriting of insurance is a matter for individual insurance companies and EU law prevents Governments from intervening directly in relation to premium levels. However it is expected that reduction in litigation costs in personal injury claims will lead to corresponding reductions in premium levels.

Amnesty International.

John Gormley

Question:

242 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has received correspondence from Amnesty International regarding a person (details supplied); if he can answer the two questions put to him in the letter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23216/04]

The correspondence referred to has not been received in the Office of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Decentralisation Programme.

Phil Hogan

Question:

243 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason the Health and Safety Authority is not meeting the targets set by Government in respect of decentralisation to Thomastown, County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23269/04]

The Health and Safety Authority is actively working to implement the Government decision on decentralisation. An implementation team reports directly to the chief executive and progress is reported to the board of the authority on a regular basis.

Staff have been briefed on the government decision and discussions have commenced with the staff unions through the authority's industrial relations council. A detailed implementation plan has been prepared in consultation with the key stakeholders and submitted to the Flynn working group. The plan sets out the challenges, opportunities and issues arising for the authority and its staff from the decentralisation programme and sets out indicative timelines for delivery of the programme together with proposed models for continuity of service. Proposals are being formulated for optimal delivery of compliance and enforcement services to all of the country and in particular the south east, greater Dublin area and Border regions.

Results from the central applications facility show that there were a total of 51 expressions of interest nationally in Thomastown. A more detailed analysis of grade breakdown and skills is expected shortly, which will facilitate development of the next phase of the implementation plan.

Discussions have taken place with the Office of Public Works in relation to identification and procurement of a suitable site in Thomastown and construction of a head office facility for the authority. A detailed specification has been developed and submitted to the Office of Public Works in this regard.

Work Permits.

John Cregan

Question:

244 Mr. Cregan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will report on the work permit application of a person (details supplied); the reason a renewal application for this person has been strung out for the past two years; the nature of the difficulties; and if renewal of the work permit can be given without further delay. [23384/04]

I am informed that there is no record of a valid renewal application having been received in my Department in respect of the individual concerned.

Department Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

245 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his Department’s website is up to date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23427/04]

As the provision of timely and accurate information on the website is a Departmental priority it is updated daily. All my Department's press releases are posted to the website at approximately the same time as they are issued via e-mail and fax.

My Department encourages feedback on its website and there is an on-line facility for users to rate the site under different headings and to make suggestions as to how it might be improved. Feedback on the website receives immediate attention from the information resource unit. If the Deputy has a specific query in relation to the website the information resource unit would be glad to be of assistance and can be contacted via the "Contact Us" icon on our home page.

Soft Drinks Industry.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

246 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his proposals to control the price of soft drinks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23451/04]

Price control is a failed policy which, when it was most active in the 1980s, resulted in the maximum prices for products being in effect the minimum price. I believe that increased competition and consumer vigilance are the best ways to ensure that markets deliver value for money to consumers.

There is legislation in place designed to help consumers to make a conscious decision before they enter a licensed premises. The Retail Price (Beverages in Licensed Premises) Display Order 1991 requires that the price of alcoholic and soft drinks must be displayed just outside or immediately inside each entrance to a licensed premises.

Job Initiative.

Seán Crowe

Question:

247 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he intends addressing the discrimination preventing married women who, due to the fact that they have not been in receipt of State benefit, are excluded from participating in the jobs initiative programme. [23452/04]

Seán Crowe

Question:

248 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he has proposals for reducing the number of years one must be on State benefit from five to three years for persons waiting to take part in the jobs initiative programme. [23453/04]

Seán Crowe

Question:

249 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if widows are excluded from participating in the jobs initiative programme. [23454/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 to 249, inclusive, together.

The jobs initiative programme is a work experience programme for persons 35 years of age or older who have been unemployed for five years or longer. Participants are offered temporary full-time employment for a period of three years. The fundamental objective of the programme is to prepare participants to progress into mainstream jobs.

The jobs initiative is a relatively small programme with an average of 2,100 places available in 2004. To date, eligibility has focused on disadvantaged persons removed from the labour market, that is, long-term unemployed persons in receipt of an unemployment payment and lone parents in receipt of the one parent family payment. Spouses of unemployed persons may also qualify. There are no plans to change the eligibility criteria for participation on jobs initiative schemes at present.

Disability Support Service.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

250 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the role his Department will play in supervising and monitoring the disability package announced by the Government on 21 September 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23800/04]

Under the Disability Bill 2004, my Department is one of six Departments required to draw up sectoral plans, as part of the national disability strategy for positive action measures to support participation by people with disabilities in Irish society.

The key focus of the outline sectoral plan developed by my Department is to facilitate and improve access to vocational training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. As provided for in the Bill, details of the outline sectoral plans are subject to consultation with relevant interest groups before completion and presentation to Dáil Éireann within a year of commencement of Part 3 of the Bill. The Bill provides that the plans will come into effect subject to a positive resolution by Dáil Éireann.

Subject to approval of the Bill by the Oireachtas, my Department will establish a system for monitoring progress on the implementation of the sectoral plan, and all agencies under the Department's remit will submit an annual report on the progress achieved.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

251 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Defence if his Department’s website is up to date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23428/04]

The Department's website, www.defence.ie is up to date. The site is updated by the information systems branch as required. All Departmental press releases are published on the website as they as issued by the Department’s press office.

Decentralisation Programme.

Jack Wall

Question:

252 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the progress made in regard to the decentralisation of the Army to the Curragh; the number of staff that have declared an interest in relocating to the Curragh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23538/04]

The Defence Forces headquarters decentralisation implementation group is planning for the relocation of those elements of the headquarters that will be relocated to the Curragh. Some elements of Defence Forces headquarters will also be relocated to Newbridge with my Department.

The relocation will take place in two to three years' time. A site for the headquarters has been selected and initial meetings with the Office of Public Works have taken place. In addition planning for the provision of the necessary support functions and appropriate command and control arrangements for the new headquarters is underway.

Jack Wall

Question:

253 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Defence the position in regard to the sourcing of a site for the decentralisation of his Department to Newbridge, County Kildare; the number of staff that have declared an interest in relocating to Newbridge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23539/04]

The Office of Public Works is currently in discussions with Kildare County Council regarding the possible acquisition of a site in Newbridge for the Department's new headquarters. A total of 385 personnel, of whom 78 are currently serving in the Department, have declared an interest in relocating to Newbridge. The number of staff to be relocated to Newbridge is 200.

Grant Payments.

Michael Ring

Question:

254 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a forestry maintenance payment. [23576/04]

This plantation is currently the subject of a field inspection by the forest service of my Department. I have asked that a decision in the matter be given as quickly as possible.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

255 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received a single payment entitlement letter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23196/04]

Amendments to the single payment database in respect of all premia claimed during the reference years by the person named have not yet been finalised. A statement of provisional entitlements will issue when the necessary amendments have been processed.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

256 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position regarding the application under the scheme of investment aid for the potato sector for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23236/04]

The applicant referred to was one of 140 potato growers who applied for grant aid under the first round of the 2000-06 NDP scheme for capital investment in the potato sector. The first round of the scheme covered the period January 2001 to December 2002. The applicant was one of 102 who was not approved for grant aid and he was notified to that effect in August 2001. There has been no further round of the scheme since then.

Rural Environment Protection Scheme.

Willie Penrose

Question:

257 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason her Department is seeking repayment from the estate of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; the further reason the spouse of the person was not allowed to continue for the final and fifth year of the REP scheme plan; if she will take steps to have the matter reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23334/04]

The person named began his REPS contract on 1 May 2001. He died on 1 July 2003, during the third year of his contract. My Department issued his third-year REPS payment on 31 July 2003.

REPS payments are made annually in advance. Where a participant in REPS dies within the period of the REPS contract, the contract is terminated and my Department does not look for a refund of payments already made. In this case, however, because the person named had died before payment issued for the third year of his contract my Department has no option but to seek a refund. Although the original contract is terminated, the widow of the person named is free to apply for REPS in her own right.

Grant Payments.

Willie Penrose

Question:

258 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath is to have a penalty imposed upon them in relation to their application for special beef premium; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23335/04]

The person named has to date lodged two applications under the 2004 EU special beef premium scheme; one on 25 March 2004 in respect of five animals and one on 20 April 2004 in respect of one animal.

Under the terms and conditions of the scheme all animals are required to be CMMS compliant on the date of application. Following computer validation, two of the animals included on the application of 25 March 2004 were identified as non-CMMS compliant on the date of application, in that their movements were not recorded on the CMMS database until 24 June 2004. The person named was written to on 4 August 2004 and 6 September 2004 advising that the animals in question would accordingly be rejected from the application and was informed of the right of appeal. To date the person named has not availed of this opportunity.

Question No. 259 withdrawn.

Tom Hayes

Question:

260 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary has not received payment under the suckler cow scheme over the past number of years. [23343/04]

The person named did not apply for suckler cow premium in 2000 or 2001. In 2000 she held a quota for nine premium rights but did not use it in that year. Under EU regulations a person holding a suckler quota for seven premium rights or more must, except in duly justified exceptional circumstances, use at least 90% of their quota every year otherwise the part unused is withdrawn and transferred to the national reserve. My Department issued a letter to her on 7 September 2000 advising her that she did not use her suckler quota and that if she was unable to do so due to exceptional circumstances she should reply stating her reasons for non use and her case would be considered. She did not reply to this letter and as result her quota was transferred to the national reserve.

She applied for suckler cow premium in 2002 but her application could not be processed because she failed to return it after it was sent back to her to be fully completed. She applied for premium on nine suckler cows in 2003 but was not paid because she has no suckler quota. My Department contacted her on 28 July and 8 August 2003 advising her to submit reasons for non use of her quota in 2000. However she has failed to do so. Therefore, as she has no suckler quota she cannot be paid premium under the 2003 suckler cow premium scheme.

Michael Ring

Question:

261 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if a payment or compensation can be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo following the discovery of a reactor in their herd in April 2004 in view of the hardship this matter has imposed on them. [23402/04]

The valuation payment in respect of the reactor animal disclosed in the herd of the person concerned was paid on 28 April 2004. The holding was de-restricted on 17 August 2004 and the person concerned is free to trade since then. The herdowner does not meet the conditions for income supplement or hardship grant schemes.

Michael Ring

Question:

262 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive the REP scheme payment for 2004. [23423/04]

The person named submitted his application for payment on 13 August 2004 and it is being processed in accordance with the targets set out in the protocol on direct payments to farmers.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

263 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if her Department’s website is up-to-date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from her Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23429/04]

It is the policy of my Department to maintain current information on the website and it is updated as requirements demand. All press releases are routinely posted to the website at the time of issue.

Milk Quota.

Billy Timmins

Question:

264 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position in relation to the restrictions on off farm income in relation to the milk partnership; if, in view of inflation and so on, she will increase the sum of €22,000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23458/04]

The objective of the partnership arrangements is to cater for the establishment of a genuine partnership which entails a substantial involvement in the operation of the enterprise by each of the parties concerned. In order to ensure this, it was necessary to put a limit on the level of off-farm income which can be earned by each participating partner.

Advice in this matter was received from representatives of a wide range of interests in the industry. The partnership arrangements operate on a national basis and must accordingly be subject to common rules. At present the limit for off farm income in the case of standard partnerships is €24,000 per annum while that for new entrant — parent partnerships is €22,000 per annum. The regulations also provide for an exemption from these limits in certain circumstances. I will, of course, keep the operation of the current rules, including the level of off farm income under review and will make any appropriate changes where that is shown to be necessary.

Billy Timmins

Question:

265 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position in relation to the milk partnership if a son who was unemployed when the partnership started has subsequently found work with a salary of €29,000; the percentage of the milk quota a father may be allowed to hold on to; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23459/04]

The regulations concerning milk production partnerships require that the off farm income of a partner in a new entrant-parent partnership cannot exceed €22,000 during any year. Where this limit is exceeded the partnership cannot remain registered, other than where a specific exemption for that year has been applied for and granted. On removal from the register, the regulations provide that, on application from the parties concerned, the amount of quota to be transferred to each producer and the amount to be sold back into the restructuring scheme, or added to the national reserve shall be determined by the Minister.

No such application has been received from the parties in any specific case. On receipt of such an application I will have the matter duly considered. I would emphasise, however, that the new entrant-parent partnership arrangement was specifically introduced to allow sons or daughters of existing milk producers working a holding with a parent to have access to quota under the restructuring scheme.

Grant Payments.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

266 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a slatted house grant will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23569/04]

The above-named person is an applicant under the farm waste management scheme. Outstanding documentation which was requested from the applicant in this case was recently received by my Department and a final inspection of the investment works was completed. Payment will issue shortly to the person concerned.

Michael Ring

Question:

267 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the compensation available to persons (details supplied) in County Mayo following the outbreak of BSE in their herd; when they will be compensated for the slaughtered stock; and the help available to them. [23570/04]

A case of BSE was confirmed in this herd on 10 September 2004 and the herd was depopulated on 21 and 22 September. BSE legislation provides that farmers are compensated at current market value rates for animals that have been depopulated as a result of BSE. Re-population is normally permitted 30 days after satisfactory completion of cleansing-disinfection so the farmer need not be out of business for a prolonged period of time. There is no provision for payment of other compensation in respect of BSE depopulations.

In the present case, a number of anomalies have been identified in respect of animals in this herd and recorded on the Department's cattle movement monitoring system, CMMS. Payment cannot be processed until these aspects are resolved.

Teagasc provides a special advisory service for herdowners whose herds are depopulated resulting from a national disease eradication programme, for example, BSE. There are no fees or charges for this special service and the service can be accessed by contacting the chief agricultural officer at Teagasc, Kinsealy, County Dublin.

Pension Provisions.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

268 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the details and new rates of the pension recommended for persons (details supplied). [23215/04]

Like all public servants, non-nursing staff in the Southern Health Board have the potential to benefit on retirement from some of the recent changes with regard to public service pensions. Any new rates which might apply would depend on the circumstances of the individual.

The information set out as follows provides information on the changes announced in September 2004, to which I assume the Deputy is referring.

The cost-neutral early retirement facility will allow public servants to retire early with actuarially reduced superannuation benefits. Workers whose current minimum pension age is 60 will be able to avail of the facility from age 50 upwards, while those whose minimum pension age is 65 will be eligible from age 55 upwards. This facility is being made available to serving staff and the option will be extended to staff who resigned with an entitlement to preserved superannuation benefits as and from 1 April 2004. Superannuation benefits in such cases will be based on pensionable service at the time of resignation reduced, appropriately, to take account of early payment. An outline of the table to be used for this purpose is set out following.

The table shows the values for each full year of age; adjustments based on exact age — that is, years and days — will be made when calculating actual benefits due.

Table: Factors to be applied to preserved benefits to derive actuarially reduced benefits.

Members with a preserved age of 60

Members with a preserved age of 65

age last birthday

pension

lump sum

age last birthday

pension

lump sum

%

%

%

%

50

62.4

82.2

55

58.2

82.4

51

65.1

83.9

56

61.1

84.0

52

67.9

85.5

57

64.1

85.6

53

71.0

87.2

58

67.4

87.3

54

74.3

88.9

59

71.0

89.0

55

77.8

90.7

60

74.8

90.7

56

81.6

92.4

61

79.0

92.5

57

85.7

94.3

62

83.6

94.3

58

90.1

96.1

63

88.5

96.1

59

94.8

98.0

64

94.0

98.0

Integration formula: Public servants with full social insurance get an old age contributory pension, OACP, and their public service occupational pension is reduced to take account of this fact. This process, known as integration, can mean that lower-paid workers get only small public service pensions, or none at all. The calculation formula underlying integration is being adjusted to deliver a boost to the public service pension income of lower paid public servants. Accrual rates under the new formula are 1/200th for pensionable remuneration below 31/3rd times OACP and 1/80th for pensionable remuneration in excess of this limit.

This revision represents an improvement in rates of occupational pension for lower paid workers, without any requirement to increase contribution rate. The current salary "cut-off point" below which workers and retired public servants will benefit from this revision is €557.67 per week or €29,099 per annum. Persons with remuneration above this level are unaffected. For an employee, therefore, on, say, €25,000 per annum, with maximum service at retirement, the annual increase in pension benefits would be in the order of €1,230 — that is, €23.57 a week. The revised basis of calculation will apply to existing pensioners with effect from 1 January 2004 and all relevant retirees as and from that date.

Pro rata integration, as opposed to full integration which applies at present, will apply to part-time public servants and relevant pensioners with full social insurance, as and from 20 December 2001. The terms full and pro-rata integration refer to different methods of co-ordinating OACP with public service occupational pension in the case of part time employees.

The new method of pro rata calculation along with the new integration formula will be of significant benefit to part timers. For example, the value of the increase in the occupational pension of a part-time employee on, say, €15,000 per annum, with maximum service at retirement, would be in the order of €3,135 per annum or €60 per week. The revision to the integration formula — see earlier paragraph — may also further increase benefits payable to certain part-time employees.

Existing schemes of notional added years will be replaced, for new entrants, from a current date, by a single transitional scheme which will be reviewed in 2015. The commission had recommended the abolition of such schemes. Following discussion with the unions however, the Government has decided to replace the existing schemes with a new interim scheme with a lower maximum award.

The calculation of pension on variable pensionable allowances will be based on the best three consecutive years in the ten years preceding retirement, rather than on the three years immediately prior to retirement, as at present. The new system will apply to relevant staff who retire or have retired from the public service as and from 1 April 2004.

The current pension interest rate, which applies, in particular, to repayment of marriage gratuities, will be cut from 6% to 4% in respect of repayment due for periods from 14 November 2000 onwards. Implementation of the various changes will commence as soon as detailed guidelines have been prepared and circulated by my Department. The preparation of these guidelines is being addressed, as a matter of urgency, by my officials. Public service pensioners who may have entitlement to benefit from any of these changes, including those who were employed by the Southern Health Board, will have such benefit passed on to them, as soon as practicable. In general, there should be no need for individuals to make application in advance of payment.

Tax Code.

Phil Hogan

Question:

269 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Finance when tax refunds will issue to a company (details supplied) in County Kilkenny in order to allow redundancy payments to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23264/04]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a claim for repayment was made by the company on 6 August 2004. The Revenue Commissioners requested clarification of the claim and amounts involved from the company's accountants. Final details to enable the claim to be dealt with were received on 23 September and I understand that amended assessments for the years concerned and repayments will issue within the next few days.

Phil Hogan

Question:

270 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Finance the reasons for preferential treatment in the excise code for certain heavy machinery and cranes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23265/04]

I assume the Deputy is referring to excise duty on diesel. Diesel is liable to mineral oil tax, MOT, at a rate of €368.05 per 1,000 litres when used for combustion in the engine of a motor vehicle and at a rate of €31.74 per 1,000 litres in other cases.

For MOT purposes, under section 94(1) of the Finance Act 1999 the term "motor vehicle" excludes agricultural tractors, road rollers, off-road dumpers, mobile cranes, mobile well-drilling equipment and mobile concrete pumping equipment which accordingly benefit from the lower rate. All of these exclusions cover vehicles whose primary purpose is not transportation of persons or goods on roads but which are used mainly on construction sites. In addition, the fuel is used not only for propulsion but to power specialised equipment such as cranes, drills and pumps on the vehicles.

EU law — Council Directive 2003/96/EC — on the taxation of energy products requires in principle a uniform rate of excise duty on auto-diesel. However, member states are allowed to apply rate differentiation, subject to minimum rates, to various stated categories of product or use including — Article 8 — "plant and machinery used in construction, civil engineering and public works" and "vehicles intended for use off the public roadway or which have not been granted authorisation for use mainly on the public roadway". A number of other Member States avail of this provision.

As regards vehicle registration tax, special purpose vehicles which are defined in section 135A of Finance Act 1992 as vehicles "designed, constructed or adapted solely or mainly for a purpose other than the carriage of persons or goods", are exempt. However, if the vehicle is to be used on roads, travelling from site to site by means of its own mechanical propulsion, there is a requirement to register the vehicle. The VRT category in this instance would be €50 — category C vehicle.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

271 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Finance if his Department’s website is up-to-date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted. [23430/04]

My Department's website is updated on an ongoing basis. The Department endeavours to have the information on its website as accurate and up to date as possible. All press releases issued from the Department are posted to the website on the date of release.

Freedom of Information.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

272 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance the proposals he has to include VECs under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23524/04]

The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act have been extended gradually over the years. The number of bodies, organisations and groups to which the Act applies has increased from 67 when the Act came into operation in April 1998 to almost 400 today. Proposals for further extensions of the Freedom of Information Act 1997 are being developed at official level at present. The question of applying the Freedom of Information Act to VECs will be considered in this context.

Decentralisation Programme.

Jack Wall

Question:

273 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Finance the position in regard to the sourcing of a site for the decentralisation of his Department to Athy, County Kildare (details supplied); the number of staff that have declared an interest in relocating to Athy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23543/04]

A number of sites have been shortlisted as possible property solutions for decentralisation to Athy. The process of evaluating these sites is at an advanced stage. When this process is completed, formal negotiations will commence with the respective owners of the sites. As of 7 September 2004, 134 people had applied to move to Athy under the central applications facility.

Jack Wall

Question:

274 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Finance the position in regard to the sourcing of a site for the decentralisation of the IT sector to Kildare town, County Kildare; the number of staff that have declared an interest in relocating to Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23544/04]

A site has yet to be identified for a decentralised IT facility in Kildare town. As of 7 September 2004, 33 staff had applied to move to Kildare under the central applications facility.

Tax Code.

Bernard Allen

Question:

275 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Finance if he would allow exemption from stamp duty in a case where a family are purchasing a home in order to accommodate a disabled person. [23572/04]

All owner-occupiers are generally exempt from stamp duty on new houses where the property is 125 square metres or less. First time buyers are also exempt from stamp duty on second hand houses up to the value of €190,500 and benefit, thereafter, from reduced rates on second hand properties up to €381,000 when compared to other purchasers.

The stamp duty code does not provide exemptions based on the particular circumstances referred to by the Deputy. I have been advised by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that local authorities are responsible for administering the disabled persons new house grant. Subject to eligibility, this grant is awarded to individuals with disabilities who are forced to buy new dwellings because the previous dwelling did not accommodate the specific needs of the individual. The individual in question may contact the relevant local authority for further information, as well as a grant application, where applicable.

Denis Naughten

Question:

276 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce roll over relief on capital gains tax for landowners who have had their lands purchased for road construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23573/04]

Capital gains tax, CGT, is a tax on a capital gain arising on the disposal of assets. A 20% rate of CGT now applies on the gains arising on the disposal of assets, including land which is the subject of a compulsory purchase order, CPO.

It was announced in the 2003 budget that no rollover relief would be allowed for any purpose on gains arising from disposals on or after 4 December 2002. This relief was introduced when CGT rates were much higher than current levels. In effect, it was a deferral of tax to be paid, where the proceeds of disposal were re-invested into replacement assets. The taxation of these gains would take place following the eventual disposal of the new assets without their replacement.

The abolition of this relief was in accordance with the overall taxation policy of widening the tax base in order to keep direct tax rates low. Reliefs and allowances made sense when CGT rates were 40% and above. In the 1998 budget, the rate was halved from 40% to 20%. Taxing capital gains when they are realised is the most logical time to do so, and this change brought CGT into line with other areas.

In view of overall taxation policy, there are no plans to change the methods by which CGT is calculated on land that has been compulsorily purchased. Accordingly, there are no plans to reintroduce roll-over relief.

Pension Provisions.

Seán Haughey

Question:

277 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Finance if he will give details of changes published in September 2004 in relation to pensions for public service workers; if existing pensioners who previously worked for local authorities will benefit from those changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23574/04]

Details of the changes published in September 2004 are as follows: The cost-neutral early retirement facility will allow public servants to retire early with actuarially reduced superannuation benefits. Workers whose current minimum pension age is 60 will be able to avail of the facility from age 50 upwards, while those whose minimum pension age is 65 will be eligible from age 55 upwards. This facility is being made available to serving staff and the option will be extended to staff who resigned with an entitlement to preserved superannuation benefits as and from 1 April 2004. Superannuation benefits in such cases will be based on pensionable service at the time of resignation reduced, appropriately, to take account of early payment. An outline of the table to be used for this purpose is set out following.

The table shows the values for each full year of age; adjustments based on exact age — that is, years and days — will be made when calculating actual benefits due.

Table: Factors to be applied to preserved benefits to derive actuarially reduced benefits.

Members with a preserved age of 60

Members with a preserved age of 65

age last birthday

pension

lump sum

age last birthday

pension

lump sum

%

%

%

%

50

62.4

82.2

55

58.2

82.4

51

65.1

83.9

56

61.1

84.0

52

67.9

85.5

57

64.1

85.6

53

71.0

87.2

58

67.4

87.3

54

74.3

88.9

59

71.0

89.0

55

77.8

90.7

60

74.8

90.7

56

81.6

92.4

61

79.0

92.5

57

85.7

94.3

62

83.6

94.3

58

90.1

96.1

63

88.5

96.1

59

94.8

98.0

64

94.0

98.0

Integration formula: Public servants with full social insurance get an old age contributory pension, OACP, and their public service occupational pension is reduced to take account of this fact. This process, known as integration, can mean that lower-paid workers get only small public service pensions, or none at all. The calculation formula underlying integration is being adjusted to deliver a boost to the public service pension income of lower paid public servants. Accrual rates under the new formula are 1/200th for pensionable remuneration below 31/3rd times OACP and 1/80th for pensionable remuneration in excess of this limit.

This revision represents an improvement in rates of occupational pension for lower paid workers, without any requirement to increase contribution rate. The current salary "cut-off point" below which workers and retired public servants will benefit from this revision is €557.67 per week or €29,099 per annum. Persons with remuneration above this level are unaffected. For an employee, therefore, on, say, €25,000 per annum, with maximum service at retirement, the annual increase in pension benefits would be in the order of €1,230 — that is, €23.57 a week. The revised basis of calculation will apply to existing pensioners with effect from 1 January 2004 and all relevant retirees as and from that date.

Pro rata integration, as opposed to full integration which applies at present, will apply to part-time public servants and relevant pensioners with full social insurance, as and from 20 December 2001. The terms full and pro-rata integration refer to different methods of co-ordinating OACP with public service occupational pension in the case of part time employees.

The new method of pro rata calculation along with the new integration formula will be of significant benefit to part timers. For example, the value of the increase in the occupational pension of a part-time employee on, say, €15,000 per annum, with maximum service at retirement, would be in the order of €3,135 per annum or €60 per week. The revision to the integration formula — see earlier paragraph — may also further increase benefits payable to certain part-time employees.

Existing schemes of notional added years will be replaced, for new entrants, from a current date, by a single transitional scheme which will be reviewed in 2015. The commission had recommended the abolition of such schemes. Following discussion with the unions however, the Government has decided to replace the existing schemes with a new interim scheme with a lower maximum award.

The calculation of pension on variable pensionable allowances will be based on the best three consecutive years in the ten years preceding retirement, rather than on the three years immediately prior to retirement, as at present. The new system will apply to relevant staff who retire or have retired from the public service as and from 1 April 2004.

The current pension interest rate, which applies, in particular, to repayment of marriage gratuities, will be cut from 6% to 4% in respect of repayment due for periods from 14 November 2000 onwards.

Implementation of the various changes will commence as soon as detailed guidelines have been prepared and circulated by my Department. The preparation of these guidelines is being addressed, as a matter of urgency, by my officials. Public service pensioners who may have entitlement to benefit from any of these changes, including those who previously worked for local authorities, will have such benefit passed on to them, as soon as practicable. In general, there should be no need for individuals to make application in advance of payment.

Tax Yield.

Richard Bruton

Question:

278 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons in 1998, 2003 and estimated for 2004, who were assessed for income tax; the number who had no liability; the number on marginal relief; the number paying tax at the standard rate and the numbers paying tax at the top rate. [23583/04]

It is assumed that what the Deputy requires is the number of all income earners in each category on the tax record.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the information requested by the Deputy is as follows:

Distribution of income earners by tax rate, 1998-99, 2003 and 2004

Tax Year

Exempt

Marginal relief

Standard rate

Higher rate

Total

1998/1999

397,900

73,700

631,300

482,000

1,584,900

2003 *

604,600

13,800

688,700

554,800

1,861,900

2004*

622,800

13,100

634,200

614,500

1,884,600

*Provisional and likely to be revised.

The figures for the years 2003 and 2004 have been recently revised to take account of more up-to-date information and estimates regarding income levels and numbers at work which have become available.

For the 2003 and 2004 tax years the personal tax credits — formerly personal allowances — and employee credit — formerly PAYE allowance — are deducted after tax is calculated rather than before the tax calculation as was previously the case under the allowance system. This should be taken into account in comparing numbers with the 1998-99 tax year. It should be noted that a married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

279 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his Department’s website is up-to-date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23431/04]

In common with the websites of other Government Departments, the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs —www.dfa.ie — contains material provided by a wide range of units within the Department. Each unit with material on the website is required to review that material on an ongoing basis to ensure that it is accurate and up to date. Updates and the addition of new material is carried out as required. All Departmental press releases are posted on the website. Press releases are posted at the same time as they issue by fax and email to media organisations.

Middle East Peace Process.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

280 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his endeavours and contacts in respect of Palestine; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23455/04]

Successive Ministers for Foreign Affairs have maintained Ireland's strong engagement with the efforts to promote a peaceful resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. I would propose to cover only the most recent work in this area, with particular emphasis on the outcome of the Irish Presidency of the European Union.

The Irish Presidency continued European Union efforts to promote the implementation of the roadmap. My predecessor conducted an intensive round of meetings with interlocutors from the region. He also visited the region in January and in March and had separate meetings here in Dublin with the Palestinian Foreign Minister and Prime Minister and the Israeli Foreign Minister. We pressed the parties to adopt concrete measures which would advance the peace process.

We maintained close contact with partners in the quartet and emphasised the need for a meeting of the quartet at principals' level. This meeting was held on 4 May in New York and was attended by my predecessor. The statement issued following this meeting reaffirmed the quartet's commitment to a negotiated settlement to the conflict resulting in two states, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.

The Irish Presidency also responded to the developments on the ground, particularly Prime Minister Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan. The March European Council identified criteria that are essential to make a withdrawal acceptable to the international community and in April EU foreign ministers, meeting in Tullamore, issued a statement which reaffirmed the EU's position on the resolution of the conflict and the importance of a negotiated settlement. The European Council in June reviewed developments in the Middle East peace process. It expressed concern at the continuing violence and at the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories. It welcomed the prospect of Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, provided that it is implemented in accordance with the elements identified in the conclusions of the European Council in March.

The European Council also reaffirmed its belief that the roadmap represents the only route to achieving a negotiated two state solution to the Israeli — Palestinian conflict and called for renewed efforts towards a comprehensive ceasefire.

During the Presidency we also encouraged civil society initiatives. In March, the then Minister met promoters of the Geneva Initiative and in April he met Israeli and Palestinian parliamentarians participating in a Glencree Centre for Reconciliation workshop. The Government's position on the conflict was restated most recently in the annual address to the UN General Assembly on 22 September 2004.

Foreign Conflicts.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

281 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on his efforts to assist in the negotiations regarding Cyprus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23456/04]

The United Nations has the lead role in the search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem. However, the EU enlargement process provided the impetus for the most recent efforts toward a settlement, which were undertaken by the UN Secretary General earlier this year. The Government gave its full support to the Secretary General in his mission of good offices. Before and during the UN-led negotiations, Ireland, as Presidency of the EU, maintained close contact with Secretary General Annan and with his special adviser on Cyprus. The Taoiseach, as President of the European Council, and the Minister, Deputy Cowen, also maintained contact with the various parties concerned and encouraged their commitment to the negotiating process and to the achievement of an agreed outcome. The Government worked closely with the European Commission, which provided assistance to the UN Secretary General, including advice on the compatibility of the proposed comprehensive settlement with the laws and regulations of the European Union.

At the high level pre-donors conference organised by the Commission in Brussels on 15 April, the Government gave an undertaking that, in the event of an agreed settlement, Ireland would provide specific funding in support of its implementation. I would like to place on record once again our deep gratitude to Secretary General Annan and to his colleagues for their sustained efforts to bring about a settlement based on his proposals.

As a result of the referendums on 24 April, the accession to the EU of a united Cyprus on 1 May was not possible. In the light of this, the General Affairs and External Relations Council, under the Irish Presidency, reviewed the situation on 26 April and adopted conclusions expressing the determination to ensure that the people of Cyprus would soon achieve their shared destiny as citizens of a united Cyprus in the European Union. The Council also agreed on the need to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community and to facilitate the reunification of Cyprus by encouraging their economic development. It recommended that the €259 million earmarked for the northern part of Cyprus in the event of a comprehensive settlement should be used to promote the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community. The Irish Presidency subsequently achieved the agreement of member states to a Council regulation on the so called green line in Cyprus, including measures to allow trade across the line.

Responding to the request of the April meeting of the Council, the Commission brought forward proposals in July aimed at the economic integration of the island and improving contact between the two communities and with the EU. These proposals are at present under intensive consideration by the member states.

On 28 May, the UN Secretary General submitted a comprehensive report to the Security Council on his mission of good offices. He noted that the unsuccessful outcome represented another missed opportunity to resolve the Cyprus problem, and concluded that there was no apparent basis for resuming the good offices effort while the current stalemate continues. At this stage, the process remains under consideration in the UN Security Council.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme.

Willie Penrose

Question:

282 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will take steps to change the regulations which impose restrictions on persons who wish to obtain access to VTOS and PLC courses, and in particular the requirement that such persons be in receipt of unemployment benefit for at least six months before they qualify; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23578/04]

Willie Penrose

Question:

325 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will take steps to change the regulations which impose restrictions on persons who wish to obtain access to VTOS and PLC courses, in particular to the requirement that such persons be in receipt of unemployment benefits for six months before they qualify; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23471/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 282 and 325 together.

Under the vocational training opportunities scheme, VTOS, my Department provides full-time courses to adults who are at least 21 years of age and in receipt of specified social welfare payments for at least six months. The VTOS programme was designed for long-term unemployed people with minimal or no qualifications. Training allowances, in lieu of welfare payments, are payable to qualified VTOS students. The number of approved places on the programme currently stands at 5,000, and demand exceeds supply. In these circumstances, I regret that a departure from the VTOS eligibility criteria would not be practical. VTOS eligibility criteria do not apply to post leaving certificate courses.

School Transport.

Pat Breen

Question:

283 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 203 of 21 October 2003, 113 of 6 November 2003 and 257 of 4 February 2004, if she will reconsider her decision regarding a bus service for a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23193/04]

The pupil referred to by the Deputy in the details supplied is not attending his nearest national school and is availing of concessionary fare paying transport. The case was considered by the School Transport Appeals Board which decided that, "the terms of the School Transport Scheme have been properly and appropriately applied and therefore this appeal is not allowed".

Further documentation has been received in my Department since this appeal was considered by the board and the papers are currently being examined.

Education Schemes.

Richard Bruton

Question:

284 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of remedial teachers in mathematics teaching at primary level and at secondary level; the way in which the number of these have increased over the past five years; the last occasion on which the remedial teaching scheme was evaluated; if it made recommendations in respect of remedial teaching in mathematics; and the extent to which these recommendations have been implemented. [23194/04]

The number of learning support teachers has grown from 1463 to 1531 over the last five years. I also wish to inform the Deputy that the number of resource teachers has grown from 200 to over 2,500 over the same period. The learning support service was evaluated by the Educational Research Centre on behalf of my Department in 1997 and its report was published in 1998. It made recommendations on the provision of learning support in mathematics. The implementation of these recommendations is contained in the learning support guidelines which issued to primary schools in 2000.

I wish to point out that the learning support teachers remit, both at primary and secondary level, includes the teaching of mathematics. All second level schools in the free education scheme have an entitlement to an ex-quota allocation in respect of remedial education since the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year. The general position is that schools with enrolments of 600 or more pupils are allocated a full post; schools with enrolments below 600 pupils are allocated 0.5 of a post. However, schools with enrolments below 600 which were specifically allocated a full post in respect of remedial education by my Department prior to the 1999-2000 school year retain their entitlement to an allocation of a full post. The learning support posts which are enrolment based have fluctuated from 549.5 to 528 whole time teacher equivalents for the period in question. In the same period the number of teaching hours in respect of special needs pupils has increased from 559 to 1,206 whole time teacher equivalents.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

285 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Education and Science when a school (details supplied) in County Galway will be included in the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002. [23203/04]

I can confirm that the Government has recently approved the addition of a further 13 institutions to the Schedule to the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002. In accordance with Section 4 of that Act, a draft of the order necessary to add these 13 institutions to the Schedule has now been laid before each of the Houses of the Oireachtas in order to seek a resolution of approval of the draft order from each House. I understand that, prior to the Houses of the Oireachtas discussing or approving the draft order, the matter must first be referred to the Joint Committee on Education and Science for its consideration.

I can confirm that the institution referred to by the Deputy is included in the draft order.

Schools Building Projects.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

286 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Science if financial assistance promised three years ago will be given to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 24 to install new windows and doors. [23204/04]

My Department has been in contact with the school in question and advised the school to make an application for funding under the summer works scheme. Details of the 2005 summer works scheme were recently published and I have arranged for an application form to be sent to the school authorities. The closing date for receipt of applications is 5 November 2004.

Library Project.

Pat Carey

Question:

287 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in view of the success of the junior certificate school programme demonstration library project, it is proposed to extend the project beyond December 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23205/04]

The junior certificate school programme, (JCSP), demonstration library project is a three year research project. New school libraries were set up in 11 participating post-primary schools for students up to junior certificate. The libraries are staffed by full-time qualified librarians. Reinforcing the concept of the whole-school approach to tackling literacy problems, the 11 schools are asked to draw up and implement library based strategies to tackle the literacy difficulties experienced by many JCSP students.

The research will establish whether appropriate access to books and reading resources through a good library, which caters for the needs of students with literacy difficulties, impacts on their learning experience and allows them to address and overcome these difficulties.

An interim report has been finished and a final report is due to be completed by February 2005. The question of the continuation of the project to the end of the current school year 2004-05 is being considered by my Department. The question of future developments in this area will be considered in the light of the report, overall priorities and available resources.

Special Educational Needs.

Pat Carey

Question:

288 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in regard to additional educational assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23206/04]

I can confirm that an application for resource teaching support was received for the pupil in question. A new weighted model of resource teacher allocation for pupils with special educational needs has been introduced and the needs of this pupil fall to be met from this allocation.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

289 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science if a special chair and school table will be provided at a primary school for a person (details supplied) in County Cork with special needs. [23214/04]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department's school building section has approved funding for the provision of a special chair and desk for the pupil in question. The furniture has been delivered to the school and is in use by the pupil.

School Staffing.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

290 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be offered a teaching position in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23217/04]

The appointment of teachers by Vocational Education Committees, VECs, is a matter for the relevent VEC, subject to agreed procedures. As my Department has no role in the appointment of individual teachers in the VEC, it would not be appropriate for me or my Department to intervene in any such matter.

Schools Building Projects.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

291 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the application for an extension to a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23221/04]

The building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is in the early stages of architectural planning. It is included in section 8 of the school building programme for 2004. The planning section of my Department is currently examining all projects on hands in line with the project prioritisation criteria that were recently revised in consultation with the education partners. I expect to be in a position to provide an update in relation to the progress of individual projects later this year.

Statistics on Reading Problems.

Richard Bruton

Question:

292 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will give details of the trend in the numbers of pupils with reading problems in primary school and secondary school in each year since 1998. [23234/04]

A national assessment of English reading at primary level which was carried out in March 2004 by the Educational Research Centre on behalf of my Department. The results of this survey will not be available until March 2005.

At post-primary level, the reading literacy of 15-year-old students was assessed in 2000 as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA. This programme was administered in 27 OECD countries. Ireland ranked fifth overall in terms of mean achievement with just one country, Finland, achieving a significantly higher mean score.

At the lowest level of proficiency — level 1 or below — Ireland had a relatively low percentage of students — 11% as opposed to the OECD average of 17.9%. Ireland participated in a second round of PISA during 2003 and the results of this will be released by the OECD on 7 December 2004.

Schools Building Projects.

Denis Naughten

Question:

293 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science if funding for a refurbishment project at a college (details supplied) in County Longford will be approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23244/04]

The school planning section of my Department is currently examining all building projects on hands in line with the project prioritisation criteria that were recently revised in consultation with the education partners. The proposed project at the school to which the Deputy refers is included in this review. I expect to be in a position to provide an update in relation to the progress of individual projects later this year.

Transition Year Programme.

Denis Naughten

Question:

294 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science the procedures for a pupil to proceed to pre-leaving certificate year when the school claims that transition year is compulsory; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23245/04]

The transition year programme is optional for each school. A minority of schools do not offer transition year at all. In others it may be available as an optional programme for some pupils. Some schools, in deciding to offer the programme, require all pupils to take the Programme in accordance with their curriculum provision across the school. In such schools (representing about 30% of the 500 schools offering the programme in the current school year) the programme is compulsory. This decision is made by school management.

If a parent is unhappy with matters concerned with the management of the school he or she may make representations to the principal, the board of management and in the case of a VEC school the local Vocational Education Committee.

School Staffing.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

295 Mr. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a visiting teacher dealing with the needs of children with hearing difficulties has not been appointed following a retirement; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Galway Association of Parents with Deaf Children are adamant such an appointment be made available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23246/04]

I am aware of the issue in question. My Department is currently assessing the role of the visiting teacher service in the context of the level and range of teacher supports now being provided for children with special educational needs. I expect that the review will be completed within the current school term. A decision on the filling of vacancies, including the vacancy in County Galway to which the Deputy refers, will be based on the outcome of the review.

Mary Upton

Question:

296 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will give consideration to an application by a school (details supplied) in Dublin 12 for additional special needs hours; and if this school will be allowed to provide and improve the service its offers its students. [23250/04]

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004. An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs.

The weighted system will be made as follows: In the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with low-incidence SEN.

In the letter of 24 June, the school authorities were notified that its current allocation exceeds its entitlement under the weighted system. As advised in circular 13/04, schools may retain excess resource hours as identified for the current school year and it would be expected that the needs of the low incidence special educational needs pupils in question can be met from within the current resource/ learning support teaching allocation available to the school. The result of an outstanding application will issue to the school as soon as it becomes available.

Mary Upton

Question:

297 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science if additional special needs hours will be allocated to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if this school will receive every assistance needed. [23251/04]

I can confirm that a number of applications for resource teaching support were received from the school referred to by the Deputy. The school authorities were informed recently of the outcome of some of the applications and will be notified of the outcome in relation to the remaining applications as soon as they become available. The school was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004.

An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs.

The weighted system will be made as follows: In the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with low-incidence SEN.

The school appears to have excess resource hours under the weighted model of resource allocation. Schools were advised in a recent circular, SP ED 13/04, that they may retain any excess resource hours for the current school-year. However, any additional hours required for children with lower-incidence special educational needs, up to the level of the identified excess should be met from this excess. Only then may additional resource teaching hours be recruited.

With regard to the school's applications for special needs assistant support, my Department prioritised applications for SNA support for new entrants and decisions on the majority of these were communicated to schools on 12 August. My officials are continuing to communicate with schools in respect of other new entrant cases as additional supporting information is provided.

Special Educational Needs.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

298 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of applications her Department received for allocation of resources for pupils with special educational needs attending mainstream primary schools in 2004 and 2003; the number who were successful in both years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23252/04]

The precise information requested is not readily available. I am arranging for the information to be extracted and sent directly to the Deputy.

Psychological Service.

Pat Breen

Question:

299 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science when an application for resource hours will be reviewed for a person (details supplied) in County Clare; if the supplementary information is sufficient to enable a review of the allocation of resources; if the NEPS has a specific list of information requirements; if so, the contents of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23272/04]

I can confirm that an application for special educational resources for the pupil referred to by the Deputy has been reviewed by my Department. The application did not meet the criteria for resource teaching support as per my Department's circulars.

Children with assessed syndromes are eligible for additional educational resources if the psychological and/or other specialist report confirms the existence of one of the low incidence disabilities listed as per Department circular SP ED 09/04.

Marian Harkin

Question:

300 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Education and Science the resources which have been put in place to deal with the needs of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo following the psychological service report carried out on 5 December 2002. [23276/04]

I have asked my officials to examine the matter referred to by the Deputy and contact will be made with the school authorities when this process has been completed.

Special Educational Needs.

Seán Crowe

Question:

301 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science her proposals to address the lack of adequate learning support for children with special needs attending a school (details supplied) in County Dublin. [23280/04]

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004.

An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs.

The weighted system will be made as follows: In the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with low-incidence SEN.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

302 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the position in regard to an application for a special needs assistant for a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23282/04]

My Department can find no record of an application for a special needs assistant for the pupil in question.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

303 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the position in regard to an application for a special needs assistant for a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23283/04]

My Department can find no record of an application for a special needs assistant for the pupil in question.

School Staffing.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

304 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science when resource hours will be allocated to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23284/04]

I can confirm that an application for special educational resources for the pupil referred to by the Deputy has been received by my Department. I wish to inform the Deputy that the application in question did not meet the criteria for resource teaching support as per my Department's Circulars. The application will be reconsidered if additional information in relation to the pupil's special educational teaching needs is received in my Department.

School Transport.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

305 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the person who is responsible for a child’s safety upon their exit from a bus until they reach the front gate of the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23285/04]

The question of the legal responsibility for the safety of children alighting from a school bus and entering a school premises can only be determined having regard to the particular circumstances of each case, including the age of the child in question.

School Staffing.

Willie Penrose

Question:

306 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will take steps to ensure that a reimbursement due to a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath in respect of a resource teacher is immediately made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23286/04]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the reimbursement will issue to the school in question within the coming days.

School Closures.

John Gormley

Question:

307 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason her Department made a decision to close a college (details supplied) in County Dublin despite the advice of consultants and her own Department officials; if she will reconsider this decision to close the college and implement the recommendations of the consultant and advisors to keep the college open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23287/04]

Brian O'Shea

Question:

309 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science if she proposes to reconsider the decision to close a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23289/04]

Seán Haughey

Question:

336 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will reconsider the decision to close a college (details supplied) in County Dublin, if she will implement the recommendations of the consultant and advisors to keep the college open and forge a link with one of the Dublin based universities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23478/04]

Seán Ryan

Question:

339 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will report on the circumstances and rationale of the closure of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23523/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 307, 309, 336 and 339 together.

The issue of the future of the college, which is the subject of the questions posed by the Deputies, arose in the context of a decision by the trustees of the college that, due to personnel and financial considerations, they were no longer in a position to fulfil the role of trustees of the college.

Following discussions between the trustees and my Department, it was agreed that a consultant would be appointed who would meet with relevant parties and prepare a report on the options for the college's future consideration. The consultant's report was thoroughly examined in my Department and the options for the future of the college were set out for my predecessor's consideration. Having carefully considered all of them and having taken into account other factors such as the national spatial strategy, relevant costs in a time of financial constraint, a Government decision to restrict public service numbers, the need to secure value for money and a better allocation of resources, the former Minister, Deputy Dempsey decided that these considerations are best served by the closure of the college and the designation of St. Angela's College, Sligo, as the sole centre for the training of home economics teachers.

It was agreed that the closure of the college would be phased over three academic years to facilitate students currently enrolled in the college to fully complete their studies without moving location and to ensure that there was an adequate transition period for staff. Officials from my Department have already met with the trustees and with management authorities of the college to discuss the necessary practical arrangements, including arrangements in relation to the position of the staff of the college. I have no plans to reconsider the decision to close the college.

Higher Education Grants.

John Bruton

Question:

308 Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason higher education grants are being refused to students who attend Griffith College; and the legal, academic and policy grounds for such refusals. [23288/04]

The higher education grants schemes operate under the Local Authorities (Higher Education Grants) Acts, 1968 to 1992. Under the higher education grants scheme an approved course is defined as a full-time undergraduate course of at least two years duration or a full-time postgraduate course of not less than one year duration pursued in an approved institution.

An approved institution is defined to mean a university, university college or other institution of higher education in so far as it provides a course or courses of not less than two years duration, being a course, or courses, which the Minister for Education and Science approves for the time being for the purposes of the Acts.

Each Year, the higher education grants scheme specifies a list of approved institutions for the purposes of the Schemes. The approved institutions mainly comprise of public funded third level institutions. In this regard, Griffith College is not an approved college for the purpose of the scheme.

There are no plans at present to extend the scope of the student support schemes to private colleges. Any extension to the scope of the grants scheme, to include private colleges such as Griffith College can be considered only in the light of available resources and in the context of competing demands within the education sector.

Tax relief, at the standard rate of tax, is available on tuition fees paid to certain private colleges in the State, including Griffith College. Further details and conditions in relation to such tax relief are available from any tax office.

Question No. 309 answered with QuestionNo. 307.

Psychological Service.

Pat Carey

Question:

310 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science if a psychological assessment will be carried out on a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 as a matter of urgency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23290/04]

The National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, provides a service to the school attended by the named person. The psychologist assigned to the school has made an appointment to meet the student's parents this week, in order to discuss the best course of action for him. If, after that meeting, a psychological assessment is considered necessary, it will be arranged.

School Staffing.

John Cregan

Question:

311 Mr. Cregan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will examine the situation regarding special needs assistant hours for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; the reason a reduction was made in view of the fact that this person previously was approved for a full-time needs assistant when attending school in Dublin; if this is correct; the reason allocation varies depending on school location; if additional hours can be given as recommended by school authorities and the authority in Temple Street Hospital which this person attends; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23326/04]

I can confirm that an application for special needs assistant, SNA, and resource teaching support was received for the pupil referred to by the Deputy. This case is being considered in light of the needs of the pupil and the current resource/learning support teaching allocation available to the school.

John Cregan

Question:

312 Mr. Cregan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will examine the case of a person and school (details supplied); the resource teacher resources which are allocated to this school and the number of hours which are allocated to this person; if a school (details supplied) in Dublin 9 has spare resource teacher hours; if this person changes school can resource teacher hours move with them; the length of time this should take; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23327/04]

Where a student with special educational needs enrols in a post primary school, it is open to the school to apply to my Department for additional teaching support for the student. I can assure the Deputy that should an application be received by my Department, it will receive full and immediate attention.

My Department allocates additional teaching support and special needs assistant support to second level schools to cater for pupils with special needs. Applications for such support are made to my Department by the relevant school authority. Each application is considered on the basis of the assessed needs of the pupils involved and the nature and level of support provided is determined on the advice of the psychological service.

My Department has allocated 41.66 additional teaching support hours to the school concerned for the 2003-04 school year to cater for the special educational needs of pupils enrolled, including the pupil to whom the Deputy refers.

School Transport.

Tom Hayes

Question:

313 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason the parents of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary have to pay an annual fee to CIE for school transport. [23345/04]

My Department has requested a report on this case from Bus Éireann. The matter will be considered by my Department on receipt of the report.

Psychological Service.

Tony Gregory

Question:

314 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children with learning difficulties requiring psychological assessment in a school (details supplied) in Dublin 1; the number of children at same who will receive psychological assessment during this school year and the timescale involved; the reason only three children were reached for assessment in 2003-04 in this school; the number of hours recommended for each of the three children assessed in 2003-04 and the number of hours allocated to the school; if her Department will assist this school to take on four children with severe learning difficulties for whom the school has space but no teaching resources; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23348/04]

The National Educational Psychological Service, NEPS, provides a service to the named school in Dublin 1. The psychologist assigned to the school has already visited the school in September in order to discuss the service to be offered this year. She has also made an appointment to meet the learning support teacher this week in order to discuss how many students need psychological assessment and to agree on a priority list.

During the school year 2003-04, the psychologist made ten visits to the school. An eleventh visit was planned but had to be cancelled by the school. This is a high level of service and reflects the priority that NEPS gives to the school's needs. It is expected that the same number of visits will be offered during 2004-05.

Five psychological assessments were carried out during 2003-04. Three of these were in respect of applications for reasonable accommodations during certificate examinations. These assessments were carried out within three days of the applications being received in NEPS. The other two assessments related to complex cases. One necessitated three school visits and the other required four school visits. Additional resource hours were not recommended in either case. In addition to individual assessment work, the psychologist has provided consultations and advice in respect of a number of other students.

NEPS psychologists are expected to spend approximately 65% of their time in schools on individual case work and 35% on support and development work. Support and development work in this school has focused on screening and early identification of problems, the advantages and disadvantages of streaming and a whole school approach to special educational needs. The psychologist has also offered consultations to any subject teachers who would like them.

My Department has allocated 2.5 additional whole time equivalent posts to the school to enable it to provide for students with special educational needs. With regard to other students with special needs who may have applied to transfer to the school, my Department will consider any application that may be made on their behalf.

Teaching Qualifications.

Paul McGrath

Question:

315 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science if a syllabus is available for the SCG examination and the place this can be obtained in the context of teachers working in primary schools who have been trained abroad; if an extension to the five year term in which to gain the Irish qualification is available; if persons have applied for this time extension; when a response to these such applications will be available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23403/04]

A working group to review all aspects of the syllabus and examination for the Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge was established in 2001. A copy of their report has been published on my Department's website, as has an updated language syllabus for the SCG. Hard copies of the report and of the syllabus will also be available shortly and will be distributed to all Primary Schools, Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge, SCG, candidates, Colleges of Education and relevant Department personnel.

My predecessor, announced changes in the structure of the Scrúdú Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge in April of this year. Pursuant to that announcement it was decided that a two-year extension to their period of provisional recognition would be granted to all teachers who held provisional recognition prior to 1 September 2004. In the case of those whose period of provisional recognition lapsed prior to that date, their two-year extension commences on 1 September 2004. A notice setting out this position is published on my Department's website.

As this is a blanket extension applying to all teachers who held provisional recognition before 1 September 2004 it is not necessary for teachers to make individual applications. However, letters received from a number of teachers enquiring about their extensions have been replied to setting out the new arrangements.

My Department is currently engaged in finalising other new arrangements relating to the Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge. Once finalised, details of these new arrangements will be notified to all primary schools by way of circular letter.

International Education Matters.

Denis Naughten

Question:

316 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 435 of 27 April 2004 the progress to date by the working group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23404/04]

The report of the interdepartmental working group has been finalised and will now be subject to consideration by Government.

Student Support Schemes.

Denis Naughten

Question:

317 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science when she will announce details of the 2005 summer works scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23406/04]

Details of the summer works scheme for 2005 were announced by my predecessor on 20 September 2004. The closing date for receipt of completed applications is 5 November 2004. The list of successful applicants will be published by 31 January 2005.

A dedicated freephone service is in operation to assist schools with the application process. The number for this service is 1800 200 955. It is currently available and will continue to operate until the closing date for applications.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

318 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Education and Science if her Department’s website is up-to-date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from her Department are posted on the website; if so the frequency with which they are posted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23432/04]

My Department's website is a rich information resource which is updated daily. Every effort is made to ensure that the information is current and accurate. Press releases are posted to the website as a matter of course. In addition, there is an archive of press release material maintained dating back to January 1999.

Psychological Service.

Marian Harkin

Question:

319 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will reconsider her decision to refuse resource teaching time for a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that the NEPS report of February 2003 specifically recommended a resource allocation of 2.5 hours. [23441/04]

The details supplied by the Deputy do not refer to the question asked. If the Deputy wishes to provide the appropriate details, the matter can be investigated further.

Schools Building Projects.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

320 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science if works will now be funded at schools (details supplied) in Dublin 24; if her attention has been drawn to the anxiety of the local community that commitments be honoured; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23442/04]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school in question has been requested to ask their design team to submit a report in relation to provision of boundary wall/fence. As soon as this report is received, further consideration will be given to the matter.

In addition, a proposed large-scale building refurbishment project for the school is listed in section 8 of the 2004 school building programme. This project is at stage 4/5 — detail design/bill of quantities — of architectural planning. It has been assigned a band 3 rating by my Department in accordance with the published criteria for prioritising large-scale projects.

My Department's officials are currently reviewing all projects that were not authorised to proceed to construction as part of the 2004 school building programme including the school in question with a view to including them as part of a multi-annual school building programme from 2005. I expect to make further announcements in this regard before the end of the year.

Education Schemes.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

321 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science her plans to encourage education in foreign languages in primary schools; her views on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23443/04]

My Department launched a pilot project for modern languages in primary schools in September 1998. The aims of the pilot project included the development of communication skills in four target languages which are French, German, Spanish and Italian, the fostering of positive attitudes to language learning and the diversification of the languages taught in schools. To achieve these aims in the project schools the teaching of a modern European language to pupils in fifth and sixth classes was introduced.

When the project started, 270 schools were selected for participation. The project has since been renamed as the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative and there are now 394 participating primary schools. The breakdown per language is as follows: Italian 20, Spanish 66, German 95, French 213.

The initiative is administered by Kildare Education Centre and a support structure comprising a national co-ordinator and project leaders — trainers — has been in place since 1998. Project leaders support teachers in participating schools on an ongoing basis through the delivery of inservice which focuses on methodologies and teaching approaches and through school visits.

In addition, my Department is involved in ongoing collaboration with the languages departments of the Iistitutes of technology who provide training programmes for teachers. The courses provided cover all of the target languages in the Initiative and the objective is to create a cohort of primary teachers with the necessary skills to teach modern languages in their schools.

These programmes have received Higher Education and Training Awards Council, HETAC, accreditation. To date, the 11 institutes have been involved and they have produced 389 graduates across the four languages with a further 88 due to graduate later in 2004.

Pre-school Education.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

322 Mr. O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Science if she remains committed to pre-school education; her plans to provide funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23444/04]

My Department remains committed to the development of pre-school education. The enhancement of early childhood services in accordance with the White Paper on Early Childhood Education, Ready to Learn, is being undertaken on a collaborative, phased basis and will draw together and build upon the many examples of best practice in early childhood education that have emerged over the recent years. In order to help combat disadvantage and promote education, special emphasis will be placed on the provision of appropriate pre-school education in areas of social deprivation and for those with special needs.

To that end my Department supports the Early Start scheme which funds 40 centres that aim to expose children aged three to four years from disadvantaged areas to a positive pre-school environment to improve their overall development and long-term educational experience and performance. The Department also funds 48 pre-schools for travellers which aim to develop children's cognitive, language and social skills, to prepare children for entry to primary school and to provide a foundation for further learning.

My Department established the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education, CECDE, in October 2002 to develop within a three year period, a quality framework for early childhood education and to develop, through active research with existing programmes, targeted interventions for children who have special needs or who are disadvantaged. The centre is currently developing a conceptual framework of early childhood learning and development which will be completed early in 2005.

In addition, Ireland recently participated in a major OECD review which assessed quality, access and co-ordination in early childhood provision. This review was published on 24 September and offers a number of important recommendations and observations which will inform policy and programme development in the sector and will assist the work of the CECDE, among others.

Early childhood education and care is a horizontal policy issue involving several Departments and agencies. The policy implications of the recommendations arising from the OECD review are under active consideration within my own Department and also by the relevant sub group of the Government's high level working group on childcare and early education.

School Staffing.

John McGuinness

Question:

323 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason an application for a special needs assistant for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny has not been responded to; if the current circumstances of this person will be examined without delay; if a response will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23445/04]

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has approved a special needs assistant for 12.5 hours per week to support the pupil in question. The school authorities have recently been informed of this decision.

John McGuinness

Question:

324 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Science if an application for the provision of a full-time special needs assistant in the name of a school (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will be expedited based on the submissions made by it on behalf of a person (details supplied) and in view of the fact that the original submission was made in February 2003; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23446/04]

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department received an application for special needs assistant, SNA, support for the pupil in question. This is being considered in the context of the resources available to the school.

Question No. 325 answered with QuestionNo. 282.

Computerisation Programme.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

326 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason for the delay in providing a computer for home use to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23502/04]

My Department has no record of an application for a grant in respect of the equipment for the person referred to by the Deputy. I have asked my officials to contact the school authorities in relation to the special needs outlined by the Deputy, with a view to a speedy resolution of this matter.

Schools Building Projects.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

327 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science when a school (details supplied) in County Wexford will obtain a prefab to accommodate an extra teacher for children enrolled for September 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23503/04]

All applications for temporary accommodation for this year have been considered by the school planning section of my Department. In the context of the available funding, and the number of applications for that funding, it was not possible to approve all applications received, and only those with an absolute and demonstrated need for additional accommodation were approved.

The need for additional accommodation at the school to which the Deputy refers will be considered in the context of a review which is being undertaken of all projects that did not proceed as part of the 2004 school building programme, with a view to including it as part of a multi-annual school building programme from 2005. I expect to be in a position to make a further announcement in this matter later this year.

It is also open to the school to apply for temporary accommodation for 2005 under a new scheme recently announced. The closing date for applications under this scheme is 5 November 2004.

School Staffing.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

328 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) in County Wexford has only two resource teachers; when extra hours will be available; when persons waiting will receive additional teaching support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23504/04]

Paul Kehoe

Question:

329 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the educational psychologist recommended in 2003 at a school (details supplied) in County Wexford have two special needs assistants and has made a further recommendation in 2004 for one more special needs assistant; when this school will be allocated the special needs assistants that are recommended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23505/04]

Paul Kehoe

Question:

330 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) in County Wexford is availing of a learning support teacher one and a half days per week whom it shares with four other schools in the area; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact than in the school there are 12 children in receipt of learning support, but has 32 children eligible for learning support as set down by her Department’s criteria; her plans to increase the number of hours for the learning support teacher in the school; her views on whether the number of hours that the learning support teacher spends in the school is satisfactory; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23506/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 328, 329 and 330 together.

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004. An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs.

The weighted system will be made as follows: in the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with low-incidence SEN.

In relation to special needs assistant support my Department prioritised applications for SNA support for new entrants and decisions on the majority of these were communicated to schools on 12th August. My officials are continuing to communicate with schools in respect of other new entrant cases as additional supporting information is provided.

Jack Wall

Question:

331 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in which, under new guidelines, there is a severe staff shortage; if the school employs teaching staff on a temporary basis to overcome the very serious problem; if her Department proposes to deal with the matter if extra staff cannot be employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23507/04]

Jack Wall

Question:

340 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in relation to facilitating existing pupils, new pupils and staffing levels as a result of the recent changes in regard to primary schools and the provision of staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23536/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 331 and 340 together.

I understand from my officials that the school in question gained an additional mainstream post due to increased enrolments for the 2004-05 school year. I further understand that the school in question has six special classes for pupils with special needs. The approved level of teaching staff has been sanctioned for all these classes in accordance with my Department's criteria.

In addition, this school was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004. Currently, the school has the services of two full-time resource teaching posts, one full-time learning support teacher post and one shared learning support teacher post. The school authorities have recently been informed of the outcome of applications for pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs, SEN. These resources can be put in place immediately and are in addition to the resources mentioned above.

Psychological Service.

Marian Harkin

Question:

332 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will reconsider the decision to refuse resource teaching time for a person (details supplied) when the NEPS report of February 2003 specifically recommended a resource allocation of two and a half hours. [23474/04]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the application in question has been reviewed by my Department. In relation to teaching support, the Deputy may be aware of the new weighted model of resource teacher allocation for pupils with special educational needs who, like the pupil in question, fall within the high-incidence disability categories.

It would be expected that the needs of the pupil in question can be met from within the current resource-learning support teaching allocation available to the school. The school authorities were notified accordingly.

Special Educational Needs.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

333 Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Science when she will address the learning support needs of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin which awaits decisions in her Department on application for two special needs assistants and resource teaching hours for four additional children who have been assessed as needing resource teaching; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23475/04]

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004.

An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence special educational needs. The weighted system will be made as follows: in the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools, including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with low-incidence SEN.

In the context of the school in question, it would be expected that the needs of pupils who fall within the high-incidence disability categories can be met from within the current resource learning support teaching allocation available to the school. At this stage, the school has received a response to all applications for resource teaching support in respect of pupils in the low-incidence disability categories.

Tom Hayes

Question:

334 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of schools in County Tipperary which have applied to her Department for special needs assistance; and the number of sanctions in the past five years. [23476/04]

The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available.

It will be possible to compile the information relating to the number of applications for special needs assistant support and this will be forwarded to the Deputy in the near future.

Eamon Ceannt Scholarship.

Dan Neville

Question:

335 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Education and Science when an Eamon Ceannt Scholarship will be made available to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [23477/04]

In commemoration of each of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of Independence, seven third level scholarships are awarded annually, in accordance with the terms of the scheme, based on the leaving certificate examination.

The scholarship holder will be paid the maintenance element of the scholarship in three equal instalments, as early as possible in each term. Each instalment of the scholarship can be collected from the grants-bursar's office of the college.

Prior to payment of the first maintenance instalment, the student service charge or, where appropriate, the lecture fee, the college is required to confirm to my Department that the student has been accepted on an approved course and registration has been completed.

The student support unit of my Department has not yet received official confirmation of registration from the college in respect of the student referred to by the Deputy. My Department has contacted the college in question requesting an early return of the relevant documentation. Payment for the first instalment of the scholarship will issue on receipt of same.

Question No. 336 answered with QuestionNo. 307.

School Accommodation.

Seán Ryan

Question:

337 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will report on the need for additional classrooms for a school (details supplied) in County Dublin in view of the current enrolment and the fact that this is a developing school; the position regarding this application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23521/04]

As recently announced, over the remainder of this school year a new school planning model involving published area development plans will be piloted in five areas. Included in the pilot scheme is the north Dublin, south Louth and mid Meath regions which have been identified as rapidly developing areas. The plan for this particular area will include an assessment of the needs of the school referred to by the Deputy.

The purpose of this new approach to school planning is to ensure that, in future, the provision of school infrastructure will be decided only after a transparent consultation process. In this regard, parents, trustees, sponsors of prospective new schools and all interested parties in an area will have the opportunity to have their voices heard in the process. Following the consultation process, individual plans will set out the blueprint for schools' development in an area covering a period of up to ten years.

I am confident that this approach to school planning will provide a mechanism to ensure that capital funding is allocated in both a structured and a clearly identifiable manner into the future. Most importantly, all of the stakeholders in education will have the opportunity of having their voices heard in the process.

School Staffing.

Seán Ryan

Question:

338 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will report on the application for learning support staff (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23522/04]

The school referred to by the Deputy was advised of its teacher allocation under the new weighted system on 24 June 2004.

An additional 350 teacher posts are being provided to facilitate the introduction of the new system. This system will involve a general weighted allocation for all primary schools to cater for pupils with higher-incidence special educational needs, SEN, that is, those with borderline mild and mild general learning disability and specific learning disability, as well as those with learning support needs. In addition, it will continue to allow for individual allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN. The weighted allocation will be made as follows: in the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher-incidence SEN; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools, including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The weighted allocation will enable teaching support to be provided to pupils with higher-incidence SEN and learning support needs. This will obviate the need for schools to submit individual applications for pupils in those categories. Schools may continue to apply for specific teacher allocations in respect of pupils with lower-incidence SEN.

My Department now proposes to devise school clusters in respect of allocations to be made under the weighted model. Sanction for the filling of posts will be considered in the context of these clusters and the weighted arrangements. In order to facilitate the full introduction of the weighted model from the school year 2005-06, my Department has agreed not to redeploy surplus teachers from full-time posts via the panel redeployment process during the current school year. Schools have been informed, also, that they may retain excess part-time teaching hours to the extent that such hours are required for children with lower-incidence SEN.

Question No. 339 answered with QuestionNo. 307.
Question No. 340 answered with QuestionNo. 331.

Residential Institutions Redress Scheme.

Denis Naughten

Question:

341 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 396 of 29 September 2004, her timetable for bringing the order before Dáil Éireann; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23537/04]

I can confirm that, in accordance with section 4 of the Residential Institutions Redress Act 2002, a draft of the order necessary to add the 13 institutions, for which Government approval was recently received, to the Schedule to the Act has now been laid before each of the Houses of the Oireachtas. I understand that prior to the Houses of the Oireachtas discussing or approving the draft Order, the matter must first be referred to the Joint Committee on Education and Science for its consideration.

In the circumstances it is not possible to give a definitive timescale by which date the draft order would be approved but I expect that it will occur in the near future.

Capitation Grants.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

342 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science if she intends to increase the ancillary services grant, which has not been increased for the past two years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23546/04]

Funding to primary schools for secretarial and caretaking services has increased from the €50.79 per pupil that applied in the 2000-01 school year, to €102 per pupil at present. This represents a doubling of the grant over the period.

In relation to secondary schools, the support grant that was introduced under the school services support fund was increased from 1 January last and now stands at €131 per pupil. While provision for support services, including secretarial and caretaking, is a particular focus of this fund, schools have discretion, in line with that available in relation to per capita grants, as to how this additional funding is best utilised in the interests of their pupils. This funding support is provided in addition to the provision made to schools for secretaries and caretakers under separate schemes.

The question of any further increases in the level of ancillary services grants will be considered as part of the normal Estimates process.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

343 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science if she intends to increase the capitation grant in line with inflation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23547/04]

I am committed to improving the funding position of primary and secondary schools in the light of available resources.

Significant improvements in the levels of direct funding of schools have been made in recent years. The standard rate of capitation grant for primary schools has been increased from €57 in 1997 to €121.58 per pupil from 1 January last, an increase of almost 113%. In the case of secondary schools, the standard per capita grant now amounts to €274 from 1 January last as against the rate of €224.74 that applied in 1997. In the case of disadvantaged schools this increase has brought the total per capita grant to €312. In addition, the support grant that was introduced under the school services support initiative, was also increased from 1 January last and now stands at €131 per pupil. This increase is in addition to the range of equalisation grants of up to €15,554 per school per annum that was approved in December 2001.

The question of further increases in the level of capitation grants payable to primary and secondary schools will be considered as part of the normal Estimates process.

Schools Building Projects.

Pat Carey

Question:

344 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science the progress that has been made in establishing a site for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23566/04]

My Department is currently investigating a number of options for the long-term accommodation needs of the school referred to by the Deputy.

Among the options under consideration is the possible purchase of a site. The OPW, which acts on behalf of my Department in site acquisition matters generally, is investigating this option. The school planning section is also looking at the overall future provision of primary education in the area in which this school is located. It is currently engaged in discussions with the primary education providers concerned. No decisions will be taken regarding capital investment pending the conclusion of this broader examination of the area.

School Staffing.

Michael Noonan

Question:

345 Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a post primary school (details supplied) in County Limerick, even though it is significantly over staff quota, cannot match subject demand to teacher qualifications and that while it has four woodwork teachers, it has no French teacher, and has a shortage of teachers in maths, English and religion; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact that the school has received no curricular concessions from her Department for 2004-05, that it has a very high proportion of pupils with special needs and that despite 190 special needs hours having been allocated to the school, 156 of these have been used to fill gaps in the timetable; if, in consultation with the board of management and the principal of the school, a special programme will be set up to meet the variety of needs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23582/04]

Teacher allocations to second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. Each school management authority is required to organise its teaching timetable and subject options having regard to pupils needs within the limit of its approved teacher allocation.

The rules for allocating teaching resources provide that where a school management authority is unable to meet its curricular commitments within its approved allocation, my Department will consider applications for additional short term support.

The school concerned applied for curricular concessions for the 2004-05 school year and following consideration of the application, the Department granted 3.26 wholetime equivalent supernumerary posts. In addition, the school has been allocated 5.78 wholetime equivalent posts to cater for the special educational needs of pupils enrolled and .34 wholetime equivalent posts to cater for Traveller pupils enrolled.

An independent appeals committee is available to school authorities that wish to appeal the adequacy of their allocations from my Department. This committee comprises three members with relevant experience and expertise in the area of school planning and timetabling. The school in question appealed to this committee and was granted a further wholetime equivalent post. Decisions of the appeals committee are final.

Richard Bruton

Question:

346 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of teaching staff in 1998 and in 2003 at second level, distinguishing by type of school and at third level, distinguishing universities and institutes of technology. [23584/04]

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled by my Department at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Educational Projects.

Bernard Allen

Question:

347 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Education and Science if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the adult educational guidance project in Cork City is facing closure and that the project personnel are experiencing difficulty in securing a meeting with the adult education section of her Department since the project received the letter of termination dated 27 August 2004 and if she will meet a delegation of Cork Deputies and personnel from the project in order to discuss the difficulties that exist. [23591/04]

Financial support for an adult educational guidance project in Cork city was approved by my Department in 2000 on a pilot basis as part of phase 1 of the adult education guidance initiative, AEGI. This initiative comprises 25 pilot projects throughout the country with the aim of providing a high quality educational guidance service for adults in VTOS, literacy, community education and other adult education courses. Following ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the service being provided for the designated target groups, it was decided not to continue the pilot project in Cork city.

I have asked officials to communicate directly with the Deputy to hear his views on the matter.

Fishing Vessel Licences.

Michael Ring

Question:

348 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the reason persons (details supplied) in County Mayo were refused licences for traditional pot fishing boats. [23257/04]

Under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003 the function of sea-fishing boat licensing was transferred from the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to the licensing authority for sea-fishing boats which operates on an independent basis subject to criteria set out in section 3 of that Act. All applications for sea-fishing boat licences are now considered by the licensing authority for sea-fishing boats.

The licensing authority has informed me that the reasons why the persons referred to by the Deputy were refused licences are set out in the letters which informed them of the decisions on their applications. I am also informed that the persons concerned have appealed the refusals to appeals officers appointed under the 2003 Act and that those appeals have not yet been determined.

Broadband Programme.

Phil Hogan

Question:

349 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the name of the contractor and the details of the contract in rolling out broadband throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23262/04]

Under my Department's regional broadband programme, 19 metropolitan area fibre networks, MANs, have been built in association with the local authorities, and a further seven are under construction. The MANs are 90% funded using ERDF funding under the NDP 2000-2006, with the remaining 10% funding coming from the local authorities. The construction phase of each network in the regional broadband programme is separately contracted following a tender process by the local authority concerned.

All the MANs are being managed for the State on an open-access basis by E-Net, which was awarded the services concession contract by my Department following a competitive tender. Full details of the broadband rollout programme can be found on my Department's website www.dcmnr.gov.ie.

Retail Prices.

Phil Hogan

Question:

350 Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the level of increase to consumers for all regulated services for which he has responsibility in terms of retail price; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23263/04]

The information sought by the Deputy, broken down by sector, is set out below and relates to the period since the formation of the Government in June 2002. I have not listed any service provided by my Department where the cost of the service has remained unchanged since then.

Communications: I have no responsibility for the level of retail prices in the communications and postal sectors. This responsibility falls within the remit of the independent regulator — the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg.

In relation to broadcasting, I now set the cost of a television licence based on an annual review of RTE's performance in the previous year. The price of a colour television licence increased from €107 in September 2001 to €152 in January 2004, an increase of 42%.

Energy: I have no function in relation to the price of electricity or gas. This function in relation to electricity was transferred to the independent regulator, the Commission for Energy Regulation, by the European Communities (Internal Market in Electricity) Regulations 2000, and in relation to gas by the Gas (Interim) (Regulation) Act 2002.

Inland Fisheries: Various licence fees are set out below. These fees are reinvested in the management of the fisheries by the central and regional fisheries boards. The licence fees were increased from 1 January 2004 to allow for inflation since they were last increased.

The commercial salmon, eel and oyster licence duties and the special local licence duties were last increased on 1 January 1988. The salmon, eel and molluscan shellfish dealers' licences duties were last increased on 1 January 1995. All increases were in line with inflation since the last increase, rounded up or down to the nearest €5.

Rod licences were last increased on dates specified in brackets, that is, dates in 1988 and in 1992. Rod licences were increased on 1 January 2003 and again on 1 January 2004 in line with inflation.

Kind of Engine

Licence Duty effective from 1 Jan 1988

Licence Duty effective from 1 Jan 2004

% Rate Increase

Stake net or fly net

190.46

320

68.01

Bag Net

107.92

180

66.79

Head Weir

38.09

65

70.65

Draft Net

107.92

180

66.79

Drift Net

190.46

320

68.01

Snap Net

44.44

75

68.77

Pole Net

19.04

30

57.56

Loop Net

12.69

20

57.60

Box for taking salmon in a fishing weir or a fishing mill dam

76.18

130

70.65

Eye, gap or basket for taking eels in or on a fishing weir or a fishing mill dam

50.79

85

67.36

Eel trap as used under licence in No. 17 or Drogheda District in the Eastern Fisheries Region and in No.13 or Ballyshannon District in the Northern Fisheries Region

82.53

140

69.64

Long Line for eels

50.79

85

67.36

Coghill net for eels

50.79

85

67.36

Fyke nets for eels

50.79 for a train of twenty nets or less together with, in case the train is one of more than twenty nets, €2.54 for each net in excess of twenty

85 for a train of twenty nets or less together with, in case the train is one of more than twenty nets, €4.25 for each net in excess of twenty

67.36

Oyster Licence

50.79

85

67.36

Salmon, Eel and Molluscan Shellfish Dealers Licence Duties.

Licence Duty effective from 1 Jan 1995

Licence Duty effective from 1 Jan 2004

% Rate Increase

Dealers Licence Duties

%

Salmon

76.18

110

44.39

Eel

76.18

110

44.39

Molluscan Shellfish

76.18

110

44.39

Renewal of part X Licence

76.18

110

44.39

Special Local Licence Duties.

Current Licence Duty effective from 1988

Licence Duty effective from 1 Jan 2004

% Rate Increase

River Erne

Special local licence to use a:

(1) Draft Net

107.92

180

66.79

(2) Rod and Line for a non annual ordinary licence holder

26.66

45

86.79

(3) Rod and Line for an annual ordinary licence holder

6.34

11

73.5

Rivers Owenea & Owentocker

Special local licence to use a Draft Net

144.75

245

69.26

River Lackagh

Special local licence to use a:

(1) Draft Net

144.75

245

69.26

(2) Rod and Line for a non-annual ordinary licence holder

26.66

45

68.79

Rivers Owenmore & Owenduff

Special local licence to use a:

(1) Draft Net

144.75

245

69.26

(2) Rod and Line for a non-annual ordinary licence holder

26.66

45

68.79

(3) Rod and Line for an annual ordinary licence holder

6.34

11

73.5

Rod Licences

Class of Salmon Rod Ordinary licence

Licence Duties as at 2002

Licence Duties Effective from 1st Jan 2004

% Rate of increase

Salmon rod (annual) ordinary licence, other than a salmon rod (annual) ordinary licence to which subsection (2) of section 68 of the Principal Act applies

31.74 (1 Jan 1988)

60

89.04

Salmon rod (annual) ordinary licence to which subsection (2) of section 68 of the Principal Act applies (Foyle Area Extension Licence)

21.58 (1 Jan 1988)

38

76.09

Salmon rod (annual) district licence

15.23 (1 Jan 1992)

28

83.85

Salmon rod (twenty-one day) licence

12.69 (1 Jan 1992)

22

73.36

Salmon rod (annual) juvenile) licence

10.15 (1 Jan 1992)

10

-1.50

Salmon rod (one-day) ordinary licence

3.8 (1 Jan 1992)

15

394.74%

(date of last increase in brackets)
Fishery Harbour Centre Charges

Description of Facility or Service

Rate or Charge at 6.6.2002

Rate or Charge at 1.10.2004

% Increase

Use of harbour by boat engaged in fishing—

if boat is under 12 metres in length

€2.29 for each entry into harbour, or €22.85 for each year beginning on the 1st day of October, payable in advance.

€3.00 per gross registered tonne regardless of length or 50c per gross registered tonne for a single entry

Not Applicable (N/A)

if boat is 12 metres or over but under 23 metres in length

€2.29 for each entry into harbour, or €34.28 for each year beginning on the 1st day of October, payable in advance.

if boat is 23 metres or over but under 30 metres in length

€2.29 for each entry into harbour, or €45.71 for each year beginning on the 1st day of October, payable in advance.

if boat is 30 metres or over in length

€2.29 for each entry into harbour, or €57.14 for each year beginning on the 1st day of October, payable in advance.

Harbour entry charge for merchant vessel

N/A

New Charge €0.50c per gross registered tonne

N/A

Use of harbour in connection with cargo of fish-fresh fish (including fish withdrawn from sale)

13c per 50kgs.

Varies depending on value per tonne 20c per 50 kg €0-€500 per tonne; 50c per 50 kg €501-€10,000 per tonne; €2.00 per 50 kg > €10,000 per tonne

N/A

fish for reduction to fishmeal.

6c per 50kgs.

10c per 50 kg

66.67%

Use of electricity

€1.14 per hour.

N/A

N/A

Use of fresh water

91c per tonne.

€2.50 per tonne

174.75%

Use of berthage or moorings provided by harbour authority for purpose other than loading or discharging

In the case of passenger and general cargo ferry boats plying solely between Bere Island and Castletownbere, no charge.

N/A

N/A

In any other case 8c on every tonne of—

the Net Registered Tonnage, or

(b) 50 per cent of Gross Tonnage, whichever is greater.

Use of harbour in connection with loading or discharging of cargo

In the case of goods being carried from Castletownbere to Bere Island for use by the inhabitants of Bere Island, no charge.

1-150 tonnes €1.25 per tonne. Over 150 tonnes €2.50 per tonne Charge applies in all Fishery Harbour Centres.

171.7% 443.5%

In any other case 46c per tonne.

Use of harbour by vessel laid up at pier, quay, berthage or jetty

For the first two weeks of the period during which the vessel is so laid up, the rate or charge at Reference number 5 above is applicable.

N/A where a vessel is registered or licensed.

For every subsequent day up to the end of the fifth week, 15c per day per metre of length of boat.

For every subsequent day after five weeks, 28c per metre of length of boat.

Charge for boats plying for hire between Howth and Ireland’s Eye

€126.97 per boat for each year beginning on the 1st day of May, payable in advance.

N/A

N/A

Charge for a passenger boat operating out of Rossaveel—

if boat has a permitted complement of under 50 passengers

€12.70 for each entry into harbour, or €1269.74 per annum per boat for each year beginning on the 1st day of May, payable in advance,

€10.00 per entry or €500.00 annual entry fee, up to 6 passengers. €15.00 per entry or €1000.00 per annual entry fee 7-12 passengers. €40.00 per entry or €4000.00 annual entry fee 13 to 99 passengers.

N/A

If boat has a permitted complement of between 50 and 100 passengers

€31.74 for each entry into harbour, or €3174.35 per annum per boat for each year beginning on the 1st day of May, payable in advance,

100 or more passengers €1.20 per passenger, per departure on a monthly basis.

N/A

If boat has a permitted complement of over 100 passengers

€50.79 for each entry into harbour, or €5078.95 per annum per boat for each year beginning on the 1st day of May, payable in advance.

As above

Syncrolift

Lift

€12.49 per metre

€20.00 per metre

60.13%

Holding on platform

€25.39 per hour

N/A

N/A

Transfer to yard

€8.32 per metre

€10.00 per metre

20.19%

Cost per day

Days 1-21 €31.74 Per day Days thereafter €38.09

Days 1-10 €100.00 per day Days 11-21 €200.00 per day Days 22 & over €400.00 per day

215.06% 530.12% 950.14%

Supply of Water

€12.75

€30.00

135.30%

Supply of waste skip

N/A

€250.00 per lift

Miscellaneous pier cleaning and disposal of abandoned waste and materials.

New Charge 2004 €250.00

N/A

Goods improperly stored or causing an obstruction or not approved by the Harbour Master

New Charge 2004 €30.00 per day

N/A

Release of property or goods impounded

New Charge 2004 €250.00

N/A

Car parking 8am to 8pm 7 days

New Charge 2004 €1.00 per hour

N/A

Lorry parking at all times

New Charge 2004 €5.00 per hour

N/A

Trailer parking at all times

New Charge 2004 €5.00 per hour

N/A

Release of car / lorry/trailer clamp

New Charge 2004 €100.00

N/A

Small craft storage

New Charge 2004 €10.00 per week up to 5.5 metres in length €15.00 per week 5.6-8 metres €20.00 per week over 8 metres

N/A

Use of swinging moorings

New Charge 2004 €200.00 per year up to 5.5 metres in length €300.00 per year for a vessel over 5.5 metres

N/A

Operation of a mobile crane

New Charge 2004 €50.00 per day between the hours of 8am & 4pm €200.00 per day outside of normal working hours

N/A

Disposal of ship generated waste (mandatory on all vessels operating from the harbour)

New Charge 2004 Vessels with less than 10 gross tonnes €20.00 per month 10 or more gross tonne €40.00 per month 20 or more gross tonnes €60.00 per month 30 or more gross tonnes €80.00 per month 100 or more gross tonnes €100.00 per month.*Reduced rates may apply where there is full compliance with the port waste reception and handling plan.

N/A

Maritime Transport

A harbour rates order for Tralee and Fenit harbour in 2002 prescribed the following rates for loading and off-loading various items of cargo at that harbour.

Description of Goods

Previous Rate per tonne

Rate per tonne Import and Export

% Increase since 6 June 2002

%

Animal feed and grain

0.60

0.72

20

Boats, yachts, etc.

0.98

1.17

19

Butter, casein and dairy products

0.85

1.02

20

Cement, concrete products

0.74

0.89

20

Chemicals and chemical products

1.28

1.53

20

Coal, turf and other solid fuels

0.51

0.61

20

Cranes and other machinery

1.24

1.49

20

Drill pipes and casing

1.48

1.77

20

Fertilisers

0.67

0.80

20

Fish and fish products

0.74

0.89

19

Sand, gravel and crushed stone

0.40

0.48

20

Livestock

1.55 each

1.86 each

20

Meat and meat products

1.02

1.22

20

Metal Manufacturers

0.83

1.00

20

Ores and minerals

1.03

1.23

19

Petroleum products

0.76

0.91

20

Timber

0.67

0.80

19

Wood pulp

0.39

0.42

19

Other foodstuffs

1.24

1.49

20

Other goods not being foodstuffs

1.32

1.58

20

Description of tonnage of vessel

Previous Rate

Rate

% Increase since 6 June 2002

%

1. Tonnage rate on every vessel not referred to in reference no. 2 or 3 below, on every ton of the net register tonnage or of half the gross tonnage, whichever is the greater—

a.entering or leaving the harbour for the purpose of loading or discharging cargo

0.94

1.12

19

b.wind-bound or otherwise and not loading or discharging cargo

0.39

0.47

21

c.remaining in the harbour longer than 7 days, for each further period of 14 days or part thereof

0.32

0.38

19

2. Tonnage rate on any vessel of 100 tons gross or over berthing at the quays within the harbour if it is a fishing vessel, a pleasure craft, sailing boat, motor boat, or a vessel plying for hire

A.on every such vessel not paying the composite rates set out at reference number (b) below, for each entry into the harbour if it is—

i.under 3 tons gross

6.35

10.00

57

ii.3 tons gross or over but under 6 tons gross

9.53

12.50

31

iii.6 tons gross or over but under 10 tons gross

12.70

15.00

18.5

iv.10 tons gross or over but under 20 tons gross

19.05

22.50

18

v.20 tons gross or over but under 40 tons gross

25..40

30.00

18

vi.40 tons gross or over but under 60 tons gross

31.74

37.50

18

vii.60 tons gross or over but under 80 tons gross

38.09

45.00

18

viii.80 tons gross or over but under 100 tons gross

44.44

52.50

18

B.on every such vessel using the harbour as a composite in full of tonnage rates payable annually in advance by 1 January in each year, or on entry into the harbour, if it is—

i.Under 1 ton gross

31.74

50.00

57

ii.1 ton gross or over but under 3 tons gross

63.49

75.00

18

iii.3 tons gross or over but under 6 tons gross

95.23

110.00

18

iv.6 tons gross or over but under 10 tons gross

126.97

145.00

14

v. 10 tons gross or over but under 20 tons gross

190.46

220.00

18

vi.20 tons gross or over but under 40 tons gross

253.95

290.00

14

vii.40 tons gross or over but under 60 tons gross

317.43

365.00

15

viii.60 tons gross or over but under 80 tons gross

380.92

440.00

16

ix.80 tons gross or over but under 100 tons gross

444.41

520.00

17

C.Tonnage rate on a vessel under 100 tons gross using the harbour for a period in excess of 28 days but less than 90 days in a year

half the annual rate specified at reference number 2(b) above appropriate to its tonnage

No other harbour rate order increases were applied since June 2002.

Decentralisation Programme.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

351 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the measures he will take to ensure that public service levels are maintained within the agencies due to be decentralised under his control, during and after the decentralisation process; the way in which this can be achieved in the event of wholesale staff change; and the way in which he will measure the outcomes. [23336/04]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

352 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if the public will receive the same level of quality and service from the agencies in his Department which they currently enjoy, during and after the decentralisation process; and if the cost of providing such services will not increase as a result of decentralisation and be an extra burden on the taxpayer. [23337/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 351 and 352 together.

The Government's decentralisation programme includes the decentralisation of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, to Clonakilty, the Central Fisheries Board, CFB, to Carrick-on Shannon and Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, to Dundalk.

Each organisation involved in the programme has submitted a decentralisation implementation plan to the decentralisation implementation committee. In the case of the three agencies under the remit of my Department, these plans contain preliminary risk analysis and plans for risk mitigation which take into consideration the impact of all aspects of the decentralisation process, including the potential for significant staff turnover and loss of corporate memory — expertise and business continuity — business efficiency requirements. These plans will continue to evolve in line with developments.

My Department is liaising on an ongoing basis with the agencies involved in relation to the decentralisation process and particularly in relation to project management, risk and opportunity assessment and business continuity strategies, including knowledge management. The overall objective for the Department and the agencies in implementing decentralisation is to maintain and enhance standards of service delivery and to realise opportunities for modernisation and business efficiency and effectiveness as part of the process.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

353 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the way in which he will ensure that specialist agencies in his Department due to be decentralised such as Board Iascaigh Mhara, will retain its expert staff in view of the very low level of interest shown by staff in internal surveys in the agencies due to decentralise. [23338/04]

The Government's decentralisation programme includes the decentralisation of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, BIM, to Clonakilty, the Central Fisheries Board, CFB, to Carrick-on Shannon and Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, to Dundalk.

Analysis of the most recent data from the central applications facility indicates that some 62% of staff in the SEI have expressed an interest in decentralising with the organisation. In the case of BIM and the CFB, expressions of interest to date are low. Central developments will have a bearing on trends and developments at agency level in the coming months.

The decentralisation implementation plans of the three agencies concerned have signalled the potential for significant staff turnover and loss of corporate memory-expertise, particularly as regards technical, professional and expert functions. The mitigation strategies outlined in the plans include knowledge management and transfer to underpin business continuity. These strategies will continue to evolve in the light of developments at the centre.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

354 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the consultations he engaged in prior to the decision to relocate his Department to Cavan and Bord Iascaigh Mhara and another part of his Department to Clonakilty; the way in which the choice of these venues was arrived at; the persons whom he consulted; when he consulted with them; and the outcome of those consultations. [23339/04]

The Government announcement of 3 December 2003 provided for the relocation of my Department's headquarters and functions to Cavan and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara to Clonakilty. It was subsequently decided that the Department's seafood and coastal zone functions would also be located in Clonakilty.

Our focus has been on widespread consultation with stakeholders both internal and external since those decisions were made. In particular, consultation with staff interests are being progressed via the established partnership and departmental council fora. In addition, there has been regular liaison with Department of Finance, the decentralisation implementation — Flynn — committee and with the Office of Public Works on relevant aspects of the programme.

The Department's decentralisation implementation plan provides for ongoing consultation with all parties as the decentralisation programme rolls out.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

355 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if his Department’s website is up-to-date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from his Department are posted on the website; if so, the frequency with which they are posted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23433/04]

Each division within my Department is responsible for updating its own website content and our overall objective is to ensure that the information on the website is posted promptly and maintained up to date.

All press releases relating to my Department are posted on the website at the time of their issue.

Post Office Network.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

356 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the plans he has to ensure An Post maintains rural post offices and provide services for rural communities; if rural post offices, such as the one at Kilkerley, County Louth where there are no other offices available to the community, will be kept open to offer a proper service to that community; and if he will introduce legislation to ensure these essential services are maintained in rural Ireland. [23577/04]

The provision of post office services is already set out in section 12 of the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983, and under the memorandum and articles of association of An Post.

The Government is committed to a viable and sustainable post office network. This is set out in its commitment for the retention of the post office network in the White Paper on rural development. The operational issues relating to individual post offices are a day-to-day operational matter for the company and one in which I have no function. The post office network has been the subject of a number of reviews in recent years in order to facilitate modernisation of the network and to ensure continued provision of post office services in a financially sustainable way.

Under an agreement between the Irish Postmasters' Union and An Post, the conversion of sub post offices from a fixed contract to an agency basis, whereby payments are linked to transactions, is being implemented on a voluntary basis. The key requirement, that a service is provided locally, is being met by the new agency arrangement.

An Post has secured additional business for the network, including Billpay facilities for the ESB, phone top-ups through its PostPoint service and a contract with the AIB under which the bank's customers can access their accounts through the network.

Services for People with Disabilites.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

357 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the role his Department will play in supervising and monitoring the disability package announced by the Government on 21 September 2004. [23799/04]

The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources outline sectoral plan, published in conjunction with the Disability Bill 2004, covers the operators of passenger ships on voyages within the State or to and from the State, the international ferry ports which serve these passenger ships and, where applicable, regional ports or harbours. A passenger ship is a vessel which carries more than 12 passengers. There are approximately 100 passenger ships operating in or to and from the State. With the exception of one vessel, all passenger ships are privately owned and operated.

Passenger ship operators covered by the plan are to establish procedures to manage compliance with the plan. The maritime safety directorate of the Department will be consulting further with the operators of passenger ships to lead them in implementing and monitoring the proposed measures. To operate a passenger ship, the operator must have the vessel surveyed annually by a surveyor from the maritime safety directorate to obtain a passenger ship's certificate. During the course of the annual survey the maritime safety directorate will inspect the vessel for compliance with the plan. The surveyors from the maritime safety directorate will undergo appropriate accessibility training to assist them in carrying out their functions in this area.

Each port authority at the international ferry ports of Cork, Dublin, Dún Laoghaire and Rosslare will establish procedures to manage compliance with the plan. The Department will establish a scheme to monitor the compliance of port authorities with the plan.

Swimming Pool Projects.

Jack Wall

Question:

358 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position in regard to the refurbishment of the swimming pool at Athy, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23545/04]

The contract documents, submitted by Kildare County Council, for the refurbishment of the swimming pool in Athy are under consideration in my Department. Kildare County Council has also applied for grant aid for the replacement of the swimming pool in Naas and the contract documents for that project are also under consideration.

Under the local authority swimming pool programme, projects are considered on a case-by-case basis and consideration is given to such issues as to the number and geographical spread of projects within and between counties, whether the area is classified as disadvantaged, the viability of the project, particularly in relation to operational and maintenance issues, overall funding package for the project and technical details. The Department's annual Estimates provision for the programme also has a significant influence on the flow of projects through the approval process.

Vehicle Registration Office.

Willie Penrose

Question:

359 Mr. Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if it is her or her Department’s intention to alter the status of the legal registration office in Mullingar, and that it remain available for persons in the general area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23295/04]

I understand that the Deputy is in fact referring to the Vehicle Registration Office in Mullingar which is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Hospital Services.

Seán Crowe

Question:

360 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients left on trolleys per day in Tallaght Hospital during the last Dáil session; and the length of time before these persons accessed wards in the hospital. [23198/04]

Services at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, incorporating the National Children's Hospital, Tallaght, are provided under an arrangement with the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has, therefore, asked the regional chief executive of the authority to examine this issue and to reply to the Deputy directly.

Health Centres.

Mary Upton

Question:

361 Dr. Upton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a health centre (details supplied) in Dublin 12 is not wheelchair accessible; the steps which will be taken to resolve this important access issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23208/04]

The provision of health centres to meet the needs of local communities and the maintenance and upgrading of such centres within its functional area is a matter for the relevant health board or the Eastern Regional Health Authority. In the case of Curlew Road Health Centre, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, this responsibility rests with the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has asked the regional chief executive to investigate this matter and reply direct to the Deputy.

Health Board Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

362 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive orthodontic treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23209/04]

Responsibility for the provision of orthodontic treatment for eligible persons in County Kildare rests with the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has asked the regional chief executive to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and to reply to him directly.

National Cancer Strategy.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

363 Mr. O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the proposals she has regarding the concerns of Cancer Care Alliance in the matter of providing a full and properly resourced cancer service in the south east (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23223/04]

The Government is committed to making the full range of cancer services available and accessible to cancer patients throughout Ireland. To this end, we will provide considerable investment in radiation oncology facilities in the coming years.

Since 1997, under the implementation of the national cancer strategy, there has been a cumulative investment of almost €42 million in cancer services in the South Eastern Health Board. An additional €1.16 million was provided in 2004 to address service pressures in oncology-haematology, including oncology drug treatments. Ten additional consultants have been appointed for cancer services in the South Eastern Health Board since 1997. The board currently has three consultant medical oncologists, the largest complement of consultant medical oncologists in any health board area outside of the eastern region.

At a national level, approval was recently granted for over 130 additional staff and full-year revenue funding of €15 million to open the new radiation oncology department in University College Hospital Galway and to expand capacity at Cork University Hospital. There are currently eight linear accelerators nationally and these developments will provide an additional five. Approval has issued for the appointment of an additional five consultant radiation oncologists and recruitment is under way. One of these new consultants will be based at Cork University Hospital and will have significant sessional commitments to Waterford Regional Hospital. This will result in a significant increase in the numbers of patients receiving radiation oncology in the short term.

As recommended in the report, the national radiation oncology co-ordinating group, NROCG, has been established. The group comprises clinical, technical, managerial, academic and nursing expertise from different geographic regions. The group's remit encompasses recommending measures to facilitate improved access to existing and planned services, including transport and accommodation. The group is expected to develop proposals in these important areas. The group will also advise on quality assurance protocols and guidelines for the referral of public patients to private facilities.

The NROCG is currently developing a national telesynergy® network for radiation oncology services. The South Eastern Health Board has advised the Department that a telesynergy® system should be installed in Waterford Regional Hospital. Arrangements are now being made to install this technology at the hospital which will enable the hospital to develop improved linkages with Cork University Hospital and St. Luke's Hospital, Dublin and reduce patient and consultant travel time.

The Government in its decision last year on radiotherapy services remained open to the provision of a satellite radiation oncology unit in Waterford. We are determined to deliver enhanced services for the whole population as soon as possible. There is unanimity about the urgent need for significantly enhanced services in the major population centres of Dublin, Cork and Galway. I will keep the question of networked satellite locations under active review.

Medical Cards.

Richard Bruton

Question:

364 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons with medical card cover aged 70 and over in 1998 and in 2003; and the average cost of medical card cover for persons aged 70 and over compared to those aged under 70 in each of the respective years. [23232/04]

According to information supplied in the annual reports of the General Medical Services (Payments) Board, the number of persons with medical card cover aged 70 and over in 2003 was 309,330. It is not possible to give a similar figure for 1998 as the data were not collected in that format at that time. However, the number of persons aged 65 years and over in 1998 was 298,682.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table.

Year

1998

2003

65 years and over

Previous medical card holders — 70 years and over

Newly eligible at 70 years and over

70 years and over residing in a Private Nursing Home

Av. GP capitation payment per patient

106.38

135.86

480.66

696.58

Av. Pharmacy cost per patient

413.15

1,071.05

1,071.05

1,071.05

Av. total payment per patient

519.53

1,206.91

1,551.71

1,767.63

Average payment for all GMS patient age groups

Year

1998

2003

Av. GP capitation payment per patient

124.18

247.66

Av. Pharmacy cost per patient

231.82

561.82

Av. total payment per patient

356.00

809.48

It should be noted that the costs in the above tables relate to the GMS scheme only and do not include other entitlements such as dental and ophthalmic services.

National Cancer Strategy.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

365 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if a decision has been made on the locations of the planned two centre Dublin based radiotherapy service. [23258/04]

The provision of additional radiation oncology facilities in Ireland in Dublin is essential to ensure that cancer treatment is available and accessible for cancer patients. Hospitals in the Dublin region have been invited to submit their proposals for the location of new radiation oncology services. The deadline for these submissions is next Friday, 8 October. I will receive advice from the chief medical officer of my Department about these submissions, and from others with expertise in the area, and I expect to be in a position to make a decision in the coming months on this important matter.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

366 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if information on consultants’ waiting lists for each consultant in each specialty is made available to general practitioners on a countrywide basis; and, if so, the frequency with which such information is updated. [23259/04]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

367 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if information is available or being collected on numbers awaiting initial consultant appointments following general practitioner referral or on the length of such waiting times. [23260/04]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

368 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if information on the numbers awaiting procedures, either treatments or investigations other than surgical procedures, is available or being collected by the national treatment purchase fund; if so, if such figures will be made available in order that a meaningful comparison can be made with figures published in May 2004 which referred to the December 2003 period. [23261/04]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 366 to 368, inclusive, together.

Responsibility for the collection and collation of data on waiting lists and waiting times now rests with the national treatment purchase fund, NTPF. The NTPF is working closely with health agencies and individual hospitals to obtain information on patients and the specific procedure required in each case. Currently, the information collected by the NTPF is collected by hospital and specialty rather than by individual consultant. As the NTPF develops into its new role of collecting and reporting data on waiting lists and waiting times I anticipate that it will examine and address the information requirements of general practitioners.

Responsibility for the management and monitoring of out-patient waiting lists rests with the individual hospitals and health boards concerned. It is a matter for each hospital to prioritise its services based on patient need and use its available resources to best effect to ensure that patient services are delivered efficiently and effectively.

Waiting list figures reported by health agencies to my Department for the period ended December 2003 included approximately 3,000 patients reported to be waiting for medical, as distinct from surgical, specialties. It was not clear what procedure or treatment these patients were awaiting for. The categorisation of these patients is currently under review.

Hospital Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

369 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called for eye cataract surgery; the length of time they have been on the pre-assessment list or treatment list; and when they will be given an appointment. [23273/04]

The provision of hospital services for people living in County Mayo is a matter for the Western Health Board. My Department has asked the chief executive officer of the board to investigate the position in relation to this case and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Departmental Correspondence.

Mary Upton

Question:

370 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children if a meeting will be arranged with a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12. [23278/04]

I understand that senior officials in the Department will meet the person concerned, if she so wishes. A letter confirming this arrangement issued recently.

Hospital Services.

Gay Mitchell

Question:

371 Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if funding is available to continue the programme of the inner ear cochlear department at Beaumont Hospital; if proposed implant for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 will be carried out on the scheduled date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23340/04]

Responsibility for the provision of health services for persons residing in counties Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow rests with the Eastern Regional Health Authority, and services at Beaumont Hospital are provided under an arrangement with the authority. My Department has, therefore, asked the regional chief executive of the authority to investigate the matters raised and to reply to the Deputy directly.

Pension Provisions.

Tom Hayes

Question:

372 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children when the entitlement of pension rights will be granted to retired nurses (details supplied). [23349/04]

Responsibility for the payment of superannuation rests with the South Eastern Health Board. My Department has, therefore, asked the chief executive officer of the health board to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and to reply to him directly.

Hospital Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

373 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive a wheelchair; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23350/04]

The provision of hospital services for people living in County Kildare is a matter for the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has asked the chief executive officer of the authority to investigate the position in relation to this case and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff.

Paul McGrath

Question:

374 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application has been received in her Department from the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar seeking approval for the appointment of a permanent consultant physician with an interest in diabetic services at that hospital; the date of this application; the progress on this application; and the reason diabetic services are not properly resourced and staffed at this location in view of noting the high incidence of diabetes in the area. [23408/04]

Responsibility for the provision of services at the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar rests with the Midland Health Board. My Department is not in receipt of an application from the board for approval of a consultant physician, with an interest in diabetic services, at Mullingar. However, my Department is advised that the development of this service is being considered in the context of the future development of services at the hospital.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Paul McGrath

Question:

375 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will report on progress at the Midland Regional Hospital project at Tullamore; the amount spent per annum on this extension since it commenced; the expected additional spend until completion; the timescale for completion and commissioning; and if she will compare this timeframe and expenditure to the original estimates for this project. [23409/04]

The major capital development project at the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore is a new hospital to replace the existing out-dated facility. I am glad to report that construction of the new hospital commenced on site in October 2002 with a programmed contract completion date of August 2005. The construction contract is currently approximately 12 weeks behind programme and every effort is being made, by all parties to the contract, to bring the project back on programme.

The cumulative annual capital spend by my Department on the project, from its commencement to the end of 2003 was over €36 million, broken down as follows:

Year

€ million

1998

0.092

1999

0.867

2000

2.097

2001

4.749

2002

4.147

2003

24.084

Total

36.036

For reasons of commercial sensitivity, expected spend to completion cannot, at this stage of the development, be disclosed. The current projected final cost of the project is within the original estimated project cost.

The target timescale for completion of the construction contract, despite the current programme delay, is August 2005. The equipping process for the new hospital has commenced with my Department's recent approval to the acceptance of tenders for the radiology department equipment. Equipping and commissioning of the hospital is expected to be complete in mid 2006. These timescales are in line with original projections.

Health Board Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

376 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Western Health Board will arrange the reassessment of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo for orthodontic treatment. [23424/04]

As the Deputy is aware, responsibility for the provision of orthodontic treatment for eligible persons in County Mayo rests with the Western Health Board. My Department has asked the chief executive officer to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and to reply to him directly.

Home Help Service.

Michael Ring

Question:

377 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo has not been approved for home help. [23425/04]

As the Deputy will be aware, the provision of health services in County Mayo is, in the first instance, the responsibility of the Western Health Board. My Department has, therefore, asked the chief executive of the board to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and reply direct to him as a matter of urgency.

Departmental Websites.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

378 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department’s website is up to date; the frequency with which it is updated; if all press releases from her Department are posted on the website; if so, the frequency with which they are posted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23435/04]

My Department maintains several websites in support of its work and the various initiatives being co-ordinated within the Department, including health reform, the work of the General Register Office, the health promotion unit, the national cancer forum, primary care, the Adoption Board etc. The main site for the Department's work is www.doh.ie. This site publishes all press releases relating to the Department of Health and Children. The site is constantly being updated. Press releases are published immediately on clearance from the press office. For the month of September alone 24 press releases were published on the site in addition to other material. The site is currently being redeveloped and will be available shortly in its new format.

Hospital Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

379 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department will supply a minibus to the activities section of a hospital (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23496/04]

As the Deputy will be aware, the provision of health services in County Kildare is, in the first instance, the responsibility if the South Western Area Health Board acting under the aegis of the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has, therefore, asked the chief executive of the authority to investigate the matter raised by the Deputy and reply direct to him as a matter of urgency.

Jack Wall

Question:

380 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals her Department has to improve facilities and conditions for Alzheimer patients in Alzheimer units in hospitals within the South West Area Health Board region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23497/04]

The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available in my Department. My Department has written to the chief executive of the Eastern Regional Health Authority and asked him to supply me with the relevant details, which will be forwarded to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.

Housing aid for the Elderly.

Jack Wall

Question:

381 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department will investigate the guidelines for the home improvement scheme for the elderly that is operated by the South West Area Health Board to permit same to encompass the disabled person’s grant as operated by local authorities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23499/04]

The special scheme of housing aid for the elderly is administered by the health boards on behalf of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The disabled person's grants scheme is the responsibility of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. I understand from that Department that a review of the operation of the disabled person's grants scheme is being finalised in the Department. The relationship between the disabled persons and essential repairs grant schemes and the special scheme of housing aid for the elderly is also being considered by that Department in the context of this review.

Medical Cards.

Jack Wall

Question:

382 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of medical cards not renewed in the past year in the Kildare area of the South West Area Health Board; the plans her Department has to reassess the application criteria for such cards, the income limits and the mechanism to provide cards on an interim basis in case in which hardship has arisen due to illness; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23500/04]

Responsibility for the administration of the GMS scheme, including decisions relating to applications for and reviews of medical cards, lies with the chief executive officer of the relevant health board-authority by legislation. Applications are assessed on the grounds of income and medical need. Accordingly, the question has been referred to the regional chief executive officer of the Eastern Regional Health Authority for investigation and direct reply.

Health Board Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

383 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of occupational therapists within the South Western Area Health Board region; the efforts her Department has made to overcome shortfalls; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23501/04]

According to the health service personnel census, a total of 50.6 occupational therapists in whole time equivalent, WTE, terms were employed in the South Western Area Health Board region by the health board, voluntary hospitals and the intellectual disability sector at end-March 2004. This represents an increase of over 50%, plus 17.5, on the numbers employed at end-1999.

The Deputy may wish to note that responsibility for human resource planning, including the employment of occupational therapists, in the South Western Area Health Board rests with the regional chief executive of the Eastern Regional Health Authority. My Department has, therefore, requested the regional chief executive to investigate the matters raised by the Deputy and reply to him directly.

At a national level, the continued implementation of the pay recommendations of the public service benchmarking body as well as improved career structures, enhanced opportunities for professional and career development, the availability of the fast track working visa scheme and the streamlining of procedures for the validation of overseas qualifications are designed to help sustain the improvements in staffing levels achieved for occupational therapy services, both at local and national level.

In addition, three new occupational therapy courses commenced in the 2003-04 academic year in UCC, NUIG and UL. In total, these courses will provide an additional 75 training places in occupational therapy. This expansion in training numbers has been identified in the Bacon report as sufficient to meet the long-term requirements for occupational therapists in Ireland.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Seán Haughey

Question:

384 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the construction of a 96 bed unit at the Incorporated Orthopaedic Hospital of Ireland, Clontarf, Dublin 3; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23556/04]

The proposed capital development at the hospital includes three 32 bed wards, 96 beds in total, a new paramedical services department, a new out-patient department and a number of other services on site. This development will bring the total bed complement of the hospital to 160.

My Department has recently approved stage 3 of the detailed design process for the project. I understand that the development is at present the subject of a planning appeals application to An Bord Pleanála and that a decision on this matter is expected in the near future. When this appeal is decided, the project team will be in a position to advance the project to tender stage. The new infrastructure facilities will significantly enhance the provision of quality services at the hospital.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Michael Ring

Question:

385 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a person, details supplied, in County Galway will be called for assessment for a tonsillectomy; the date this person was placed on the list; and when they can expect to be called for assessment. [23557/04]

The provision of hospital services for people living in County Galway is a matter for the Western Health Board. My Department has asked the chief executive officer of the board to investigate the position in relation to this case and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Michael Ring

Question:

386 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the average length of assessment waiting lists and treatment waiting lists in the Western Health Board region. [23558/04]

The provision of hospital services in this instance is a matter for the Western Health Board. My Department has asked the chief executive officer of the board to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the matter raised.

Departmental Correspondence.

Tony Gregory

Question:

387 Mr. Gregory asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if assistance will be given in regard to the issues raised with her by persons in correspondence (details supplied); the reasons these persons were refused treatment; if arrangements can be made to facilitate the correction of inaccuracies in their medical record without requiring them to go through the freedom of information process; if her Department can assist in resolving the issues involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23559/04]

My Department has no record of having received correspondence from the persons referred to by the Deputy.

The clinic in question is privately operated and I have no direct function in the matter. However, my Department has asked the regional chief executive of the Eastern Regional Health Authority to investigate the matters raised and to reply to the Deputy directly.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

388 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a healthcare unit (details supplied) in County Kerry as soon as a new service is extended to the Southern Health Board area; the consequences the extension of the service will have for the healthcare unit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23560/04]

The national roll-out of BreastCheck to the western and southern regions is a key priority in the development of cancer services. Women in the age group 50 to 64 years will be invited for screening. As regards the southern region, the designated clinical unit at the South Infirmary-Victoria Hospital with its three associated mobile units will provide services for women in counties Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Limerick and Tipperary south. It is anticipated that approximately 26 women in this age group in County Kerry will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the first round of screening and approximately 12 in the second round.

BreastCheck will arrange for the treatment of such women at the designated clinical unit. Women also have the option of a referral to a regional designated centre that treats women with symptomatic breast disease. Women outside of this age cohort who are diagnosed with breast cancer will continue to be referred to such centres.

Health Board Services.

Seán Ryan

Question:

389 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will report on the situation at a centre (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23581/04]

The provision of health related services is a matter for the relevant health board. Accordingly, a copy of the Deputy's question has been referred to the regional chief executive, Eastern Regional Health Authority, with a request that he examine the case and reply directly to the Deputy as a matter of urgency.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

390 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the role her Department will play in supervising and monitoring the disability package announced by the Government on 21 September 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23795/04]

With reference to the supervision and monitoring of the various elements of the disability strategy which were announced on 21 September, there are a number of measures which my Department is taking to begin the implementation, in particular, of those elements directly relevant to the health service.

The outline sectoral plan for my Department, which was published as part of the strategy, was an interim one and will be the subject of consultation with the various relevant groups with an interest in the area of disability before it is finalised for submission to the Oireachtas in accordance with the provisions of the Bill. A number of the actions contained in the outline sectoral plan are already in progress, for example, the strategic review of disability services and the development of a national policy framework for mental health services which is being prepared by the expert group on mental health policy.

Officials from my Department are also working with the interim HSE, the health boards and the National Council for Special Education with regard to the arrangements necessary to support the implementation of the provisions of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004.

My Department is also working on the details of the specific monitoring mechanisms which will be directly related to the multi-annual investment programme which is part of the current Estimates and budget discussions with the Department of Finance.

Rail Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

391 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the details of the fare levels on CIE services at the beginning of 1998 and at the end of 2003. [23233/04]

There have been two across the board increases in CIE single standard fares between the beginning of 1998 and the end of 2003. A further increase took effect on 1 January 2004. The following tables set out the standard fares at the beginning of 1998 and at the beginning of January 2004. Discounted fares which are not controlled by me have not been included.

Bus Átha Cliath

Stages

1998

2004

Adult

£

(€)

1-3

0.55

(.70)

0.85

4-7

0.80

(1.02)

1.25

8-13

1.00

(1.27)

1.45

14-22

1.10

(1.40)

1.65

23 plus

1.25

(1.59)

1.75

Outer Suburban 1

1.65

(2.10)

2.05

Outer Suburban 2

2.25

(2.86)

3.05

Outer Suburban 3

3.00

(3.81)

4.05

School Child

All Stages

0.30

(.38)

0.45

Child

1-7

0.35

(.44)

0.55

8-25

0.5

(.70)

0.80

Iarnród Éireann — Dublin Suburban Rail

Adult

1998

2004

Zone

£

(€)

A

0.65

(.83)

1.05

B

0.80

(1.02)

1.25

C

1.60

2.03)

2.60

D

1.10

1.40)

1.80

E

2.25

(2.86)

3.30

G

1.00

(1.27)

1.55

J

1.30

(1.65)

2.10

Child

1998

2004

Zone

£

(€)

A

0.40

(.51)

0.65

B

0.40

(.51)

0.65

C

0.65

(.83)

1.05

D

0.60

(.76)

0.90

E

0.95

(1.21)

1.45

J

0.65

(.83)

1.05

School Child

All Zones

0.35

(.44)

0.65

Iarnród Éireann — InterCity Rail

Zone

1998

2004

£

(€)

A

3.50

(4.44)

4.50

B

4.50

(5.71)

6.00

C

5.50

(6.98)

7.50

D

6.50

(8.25)

10.00

E

7.50

(9.52)

11.50

F

9.00

(11.43)

13.50

G

11.00

(13.97)

16.50

H

13.50

(17.14)

20.00

J

15.00

(19.05)

22.00

K

17.00

(21.59)

26.00

L

19.00

(24.13)

28.50

M

20.50

(26.03)

31.00

N

23.00

(29.20)

34.00

P

25.00

(31.74)

38.00

R

27.50

(34.92)

41.50

S

30.00

(38.09)

45.50

T

33.00

(41.90)

50.00

U

35.00

(44.44)

53.00

Bus Éireann

(Up to 64 stage units — long distance fares)

Stage Units

1998

2004

£

(€)

0-2

0.70

( .89)

1.20

3-4

0.80

(1.02)

1.20

5-6

0.90

(1.14)

1.30

7-8

1.10

(1.40)

1.60

9-10

1.35

(1.71)

2.00

11-12

1.65

(2.10)

2.60

13-14

1.75

(2.22)

2.70

15-16

2.10

(2.67)

3.10

17-18

2.25

(2.86)

3.30

19-20

2.35

(2.98)

3.50

21-22

2.50

(3.17)

3.80

23-24

2.80

(3.56)

4.10

25-26

3.00

(3.81)

4.60

27-30

3.20

(4.06)

4.90

31-32

3.50