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 9, inclusive, answered orally.

Civil Partnerships.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

10 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the legislation of same-sex civil partnerships or same sex civil marriages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9759/06]

I have acknowledged, on behalf of the Government, that the position of same-sex couples before the law, and others in caring relationships, including extending State recognition to civil partnerships between such persons, needs to be addressed. As indicated by the Taoiseach on 24 January 2006 at the launch of the All-Party Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution Report on the Family, I am setting up a working group charged with preparing an options paper on this issue.

The working group will consider the categories of partnerships and relationships outside of marriage, including same-sex couples, to which legal recognition might be afforded, consistent with constitutional provisions. The report of the all-party Oireachtas committee as well as the deliberations of the Law Reform Commission will inform the work of the group. The membership of the working group and a work timetable are being finalised. I expect the working group to report to me in October following which I intend to formulate legislative proposals for consideration by Government.

Equality Issues.

Seán Crowe

Question:

11 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has had discussions with the Equality Authority regarding the recommendations of its report Equivalence in Promoting Equality since the issue was raised with him on the 2 of February 2006. [9766/06]

An official in my Department has had some discussion with the Equality Authority about the report since its publication.

Commemorative Events.

John Gormley

Question:

12 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps to be taken by the Garda Síochána for the upcoming 1916 parade to ensure that we do not experience a repeat of 25 February 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9785/06]

I am further informed by the Garda Commissioner that a comprehensive operational plan for the policing of this event is being prepared. It will be based on the available intelligence and the experience of Garda personnel in city centre stations, in dealing with parades and protests, in particular the protest surrounding events of Saturday, 25 February.

I am further informed that an assistant commissioner is representing the Commissioner on a high level interagency group to prepare plans for this event. A sub-committee of this group has also been established and the Garda authorities are represented on this group by the chief superintendents, Store Street, Dublin North-Central division and Pearse Street, Dublin South-Central division.

Whatever lessons can be learnt from the events in Dublin on 25 February will be taken into account. I would however emphasise the fundamentally different nature and purpose of the planned event. The priority will be to take whatever policing measures are necessary that the commemoration can be enjoyed by all those involved and attending. All necessary Garda and other resources required to achieve this end will be made available.

Prison Education Service.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

13 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the fact that the accommodation of the Prisoner Transport Escort Corps is being prioritised over the rehabilitation — including educational — needs of prisoners in Cloverhill Prison; and the discussions he has had with the Prison Service on that matter since the agreement on new working arrangements with the Prison Officers’ Association was reached. [9768/06]

Seán Crowe

Question:

15 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he has taken since the agreement on new working arrangements with the Prison Officers’ Association was reached to date in order to get Cloverhill Prison’s educational facility up and running; and the discussions he has had with the Prison Service on the matter. [9767/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 15 together.

I refer the Deputies to a series of four questions on this topic, Questions Nos. 27, 56, 64 and 65, which I answered on 2 February 2006. On that date, I stated that I had been informed by the director general of the Irish Prison Service that construction of the Cloverhill Prison education unit — comprising a physical education section and six general education classrooms — commenced in 2002 and was virtually completed in 2003, and that the physical education section of the unit had been brought partially into operation and is used daily by prisoners up to the present.

However, it was not possible to commission the general education section of the unit pending the outcome of negotiations with the Prison Officers' Association, POA, on revised working arrangements in the Prison Service. Agreement has since been reached with the POA on the change agenda and the new working arrangements are currently being rolled out across the prison system. This agreement reverses the unacceptable trend of spiralling overtime costs which has been a feature of our prisons operations for many years and as a result there was a reduction in the overtime bill of some €13.4 million in 2004 compared to 2003. A key feature of the new working arrangements is the introduction of a new Prison Service escort corps. Essentially, this is a dedicated corps of staff whose task is to escort prisoners to and from court in new cellular vehicles, thus eliminating the need to resort to overtime working as had been the practice heretofore.

As a temporary measure, the Prison Service escort corps is operating from a section of the unit pending the completion of new accommodation for the corps. It is currently envisaged that this new accommodation will be completed by the second quarter of this year at which time the general education section of the unit will be opened.

Northern Ireland Issues.

Joan Burton

Question:

14 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his response to the statement of assistant chief constable Mr. Sam Kinkaid of the PSNI to the Omagh bomb victims to the general effect that the Garda Síochána had withheld from the RUC information it received from an informant that might have assisted in preventing that bomb attack and, in particular, that the Garda Síochána knew from its informant that a car had been stolen for an attack on Northern Ireland but had not intervened for fear of blowing its cover; if he accepts that assertion and if it can be reconciled with the findings of the Nally committee which inquired into and reported on the same matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9689/06]

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Question:

24 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Nally committee, which inquired into certain allegations raised by a person (details supplied) in relation to Garda intelligence and its potential relevance to the Omagh bomb, was made aware of the fact that this person’s informant had more than once permitted the gardaí to place bugs in cars they stole for the Real IRA; if not, the reason therefor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9688/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 24 together.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to clarify matters in relation to a range of media reports concerning the Omagh bombing and related matters, many of which serve only to confuse rather than clarify.

I would like to deal first with the reported comments of assistant chief constable Sam Kinkaid who gave a briefing to the Omagh relatives on 22 February last. I am informed by the British authorities that Mr. Kinkaid's briefing focused on the current status of the Omagh investigation. I am also informed that, contrary to media speculation, at no stage during the briefing did Mr. Kinkaid suggest that the gardaí had failed to prevent dissident republican attacks in Northern Ireland in order to protect the identity of an informant. However — and this is where confusion may have arisen — I am further informed that Mr. Kinkaid did refer to a number of allegations made by a person which subsequently became the subject matter of inquiry by the so-called Nally Group.

The Deputies will be aware that the Nally Group was established by my predecessor to examine the issues raised in a report submitted by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland in 2002. This report related to allegations made by the person in question concerning the handling of intelligence information about the activities of a paramilitary group in that year and about drug-related matters in 1995 and 1996. The Nally Group reported in 2003 and concluded that there was no foundation for the allegations which it examined.

There have been repeated media reports that one of the allegations under inquiry by the Nally Group was to the effect that the gardaí failed to pass on information to the then RUC which could have prevented the Omagh bombing. I have repeatedly informed the House that, in fact, no such allegation was made to the Nally Group. On this point, the group says:

The core allegations . . . . about events preceding the Omagh bombing are that:

—a senior Garda officer would have been prepared, if a vehicle had in fact been stolen . . . to allow it to go through in order to protect [an] informant; and

—no intelligence was passed to the RUC about information, alleged to have been received on the eve of Omagh that the RIRA, who had been trying to steal a vehicle in the Dublin area, had obtained one elsewhere (place, vehicle type and destination unspecified).

These are very serious allegations. However they are quite different from allegations that the Gardaí let the vehicle which was used in the bombing in Omagh go through or that they had intelligence about that vehicle . . . which they had failed to pass on to the RUC. No such allegations have been made to the Group and no basis for any such allegations has come to its attention.

As I have already stated, the Nally Group dismissed the allegations which were in fact made as being without foundation.

I do not propose to go into the detail of matters relating to covert surveillance techniques which may or may not have been conducted by the Garda Síochána in any instance, for obvious reasons of national security.

I can also inform the House that the Garda Commissioner and the Chief Constable of the PSNI are in contact about this matter and I expect that the Commissioner will report to me on the outcome of those contacts.

Question No. 15 answered with QuestionNo. 13.

Prison Building Programme.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

16 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the freedom of information requests which have been received in his Department regarding the Thornton Hall Prison project; if they have been responded to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9757/06]

A total of ten freedom of information requests have been received by my Department regarding the Thornton Hall Prison project. Eight of these requests have been responded to. The remaining two requests were received by my Department yesterday and will be processed in accordance with the Act. One appeal request is currently being dealt with by my Department.

Public Order Offences.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

17 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his role in dealing with riot situations; if he is consulted or gives instructions or directions; if he has informed his Cabinet colleagues regarding any possible outbreak of violence; if he gave or received political advice as to the way in which to deal with such situations; if he has discussions or gave instructions to the Garda Síochána management prior to the recent rioting in the city centre; his precise role and function in dealing with such matters, having particular regard to established precedent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9614/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

173 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied that he took the necessary precautions to prevent the recent rioting in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9972/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

174 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he or his Department first became aware of the possibility of developments likely to cause the recent rioting in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9973/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

175 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action he has planned or measures put in place to prevent a recurrence of the recent rioting in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9974/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 and 173 to 175, inclusive, together.

I refer the Deputy to my comprehensive statements to both Dáil and Seanad Éireann on 28 February and 2 March 2006, respectively.

It is the responsibility of the Garda Síochána and not I as Minister to put in place appropriate and proportionate operational policing plans for rallies, parades and similar events in the public arena. Such a comprehensive plan was prepared and in place in respect of the Love Ulster rally, and it was based on all information then available to the Garda authorities.

I was in regular touch with the Garda Commissioner and his senior officers throughout the weekend in question. As with the Garda authorities, neither my Department nor I had any credible advance warning of the appalling riots which took place.

The Garda Síochána is comprehensively reviewing events which occurred at the Love Ulster rally with a view to identifying lessons that can be learnt for other upcoming events in Dublin and elsewhere.

I am satisfied that an enormous amount of preparation was undertaken by the Garda authorities, and it is regretted that in the face of a reasonably low-key law enforcement approach such repugnant opposition was encountered.

Drug Treatment Court.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

18 Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will commit to roll out the Drugs Courts nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4369/06]

A decision was taken last month to put the pilot Drug Treatment Court, currently operating in the Dublin 7 area, on a permanent footing. It will be extended on a phased basis to the wider Dublin area in consultation with the other agencies involved in supporting the court. The president of the District Court has assigned a judge of the Dublin metropolitan District Court to the Drug Treatment Court on a permanent basis. The effect of this is to bring the Drug Treatment Court in closer contact with the other courts in the Dublin metropolitan district from which the clients of the Drug Treatment Court are referred.

I am satisfied that the court is providing a very worthwhile and innovative service and I will provide it with every support going forward. In this regard, the possibility of extending the Drug Treatment Court to areas outside Dublin will be considered.

Asylum Applications.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

19 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of people who sought asylum prior to 1 January 2001, were refused asylum and are awaiting a decision on their application for leave to remain here on humanitarian or other grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9794/06]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to applications for leave to remain in the State made pursuant to section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended.

It must be acknowledged that it is particularly difficult to provide meaningful statistics for the time period cited in the question given the transitional nature of asylum and deportation system at the time. First, the Immigration Act 1999 was implemented in November 1999 and, second, the full provisions of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, came into effect on 20 November 2000, that is, the date on which the two independent refugee status determination bodies, the refugee applications commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, were established on a statutory basis.

Generally, an application for leave to remain in the State in these circumstances arises where a non-national is served with a notice of intent to deport under section 3(3)(a) of the Immigration Act 1999. A person served with such a notice of intent to deport is afforded three options, namely, to leave the State voluntarily; to consent to the making of a deportation order; or to make representations in writing within 15 working days setting out reasons as to why a deportation order should not be made and why temporary leave to remain in the State be granted instead.

In the period 1992 to 31 December 2000, 29,266 persons applied for asylum and, in the same period 1,815 were granted refugee status. It is important to note that decisions relating to asylum applications are recorded by reference to the date of the decision-determination rather than the date of application. Hence, the number of decisions-determinations made each year may not necessarily relate to applications made in the same year and many of the applicants in that period had their asylum applications decided in subsequent years.

Details of those granted leave to remain in the period 2000 to date in the context of the deportation system under the Immigration Act 1999 are as follows:

Leave to remain granted

Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Number of persons

19

77

158

86

207

135

As with the asylum application statistics above, the year in which a person is granted leave to remain is usually not the same as the year in which they sought asylum.

It does not follow that a failed asylum seeker is automatically either issued with a deportation order or is granted leave to remain and the above statistics need to be examined in that context. Temporary leave is considered regardless of whether representations have been made by, or on behalf of, the person concerned. Consequently, records are not maintained which would distinguish the number of cases where representations have been received from those where no representations have been made. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that many of those who failed the asylum process, and who did not opt to return voluntarily on notification to the Department or consent to deportation, nonetheless left the State of their own volition before a decision to deport or grant leave to remain was made.

Further, many persons who applied for asylum in the period concerned have since received alternate forms of leave to remain outside the process in the Immigration Act 1999 described above. For example, some may have married Irish or EU nationals and many would have been granted leave to remain based on their parentage of an Irish born child. In this latter respect, 10,584 persons were granted leave to remain based on their parentage of an Irish born child under the procedure which operated prior to the Supreme Court judgment in the L&O case in January 2003 and a further 16,693 were granted under the subsequent IBC, 2005, scheme.

It should be noted that under section 3(6) of the Act the Minister, in determining whether to make a deportation order or grant leave to remain shall have regard to 11 specified considerations, one of which is the length of time a person has spent in the State.

Northern Ireland Issues.

Willie Penrose

Question:

20 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his most recent contacts with the Omagh bomb victims and their families; if his assistance has been sought and given in connection with their civil litigation against the alleged bombers; the nature of assistance he is in a position to provide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9687/06]

My most recent contact with the Omagh victims and their families was in February 2006 when I issued responses to questions about the investigation that were submitted earlier to the Taoiseach. This response issued via the liaison officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs who was nominated by my colleague, the Minister, Deputy Dermot Ahern, to keep in contact with the families. The Minister, Deputy Ahern, met the families in Dundalk in October 2005 and my Department was represented at that meeting.

Both the Government and the Garda Síochána remain anxious to offer assistance in any appropriate way, in accordance with law, in relation to the civil action. Liaison officers have been appointed in the Courts Service, the Garda Síochána and in my Department to assist in these matters.

Representations were also made to me in relation to funding the civil action. The families, through their solicitors, sought a financial contribution from the Government towards the cost of the civil action being taken by them against the suspected perpetrators of the Omagh atrocity. I am of the view that it would be inappropriate for the Government to fund a civil action in another jurisdiction, and I was not prepared to offer this form of assistance.

Garda Operations.

Mary Upton

Question:

21 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the length of time Operation Anvil is in existence; the number of gardaí involved; the Garda stations to which they are attached; the number from each station; the number of overtime hours involved to date for each station; the cost of the operation to date; the number of drug searches conducted under Operation Anvil ; the number of arrests made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9772/06]

Operation Anvil commenced in the Dublin metropolitan region on 17 May 2005 with a view to addressing the problem of serious crime such as gun crime, robberies and burglaries and combating an emerging gun culture. At my request Operation Anvil is being extended outside the Dublin metropolitan region during 2006. I have also obtained funding to enable Operation Anvil to continue as long as it is deemed necessary in operational policing terms.

All operational personnel in the Dublin metropolitan region may be employed on Operation Anvil as the need arises. Personnel from the Garda national units are also deployed on the operation as appropriate.

The number of personnel deployed on the operation varies from time to time, depending on demands and available intelligence. Personnel from all Garda stations in the Dublin metropolitan region are actively involved in it. The operation has involved a large number of gardaí attached to stations in the Dublin metropolitan region and other specialist sections in the crime and security branch and the national support services branch. To maintain operation flexibility there has been no absolute overtime allocation to each Garda station.

There were 282,257 hours of overtime paid for Operation Anvil from its commencement up to 6 March 2006. The net incremental cost of the operation from its commencement to 6 March 2006 is €11,084,254. This figure includes the cost of overtime, travel and subsistence and other ancillary costs.

The most recent figures available show that Operation Anvil has contributed to encouraging outcomes, with a total number of arrests of 1,641 — which includes 23 arrests for murder, 411 arrests for serious assaults, 828 arrests for burglary and 379 arrests for robbery offences. Furthermore, the total number of firearms seized to date under Operation Anvil is 359, and property to the value of more than €5.7 million has been recovered.

Garda Reserve Force.

Joe Costello

Question:

22 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals for introducing a volunteer Garda force in 2006; the way in which he proposes to cope with the strong opposition from the rank and file gardaí; his views on reducing the powers, privileges and immunities of the volunteer Garda; his further views on piloting the scheme; when the draft regulations will be forwarded to the Joint Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9671/06]

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

26 Mr. Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he intends to take to remedy the escalating stand-off between him and the Garda Representative Association, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in relation to the planned Garda Síochána Reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9787/06]

Jerry Cowley

Question:

52 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the contingency plan his Department has in place in view of the riots in Dublin for the proposed Garda Reserve Force in such situations; the protection such a force has in view of the fact that it is not possible for them to have sufficient training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9299/06]

John Gormley

Question:

158 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he intends to take to remedy the escalating stand-off between him and the Garda Representative Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in relation to the planned Garda Síochána Reserve Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9962/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

181 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the vetting procedures he proposes to prevent undesirables infiltrating the proposed part-time Garda force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9980/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22, 26, 52, 158 and 181 together.

I wish to refer the Deputy to my response to Priority Questions Nos. 1 and 2 of today's date.

Garda Operations.

Martin Ferris

Question:

23 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost of the Garda operation to protect the United State’s President Mr. George W. Bush in Shannon Airport on 28 February-1 March 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9764/06]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

196 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí involved in the security operations surrounding Mr. George Bush’s visits to Shannon Airport during the week ending 5 March 2006; the cost of the operations; the number of US secret service personnel in counties Clare and Limerick during the same period; and if he will make a statement on the mechanisms for oversight of these personnel and their activities. [9998/06]

John Gormley

Question:

199 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the contrast between the cost of security for the US President’s stopover in Shannon estimated to be in the region of €300,000, and the low-key security arrangements put in place for the Love Ulster march in Dublin on 25 February 2006; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10010/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 23, 196 and 199 together.

I refer the Deputies to my reply to Priority Question No. 3 of today's date.

Question No. 24 answered with QuestionNo. 14.

Asylum Applications.

Eamon Ryan

Question:

25 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of people who sought asylum prior to 1 January 2001 who are still awaiting a decision on their asylum application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9793/06]

I am advised by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner that there are no applications awaiting a first instance determination with an application date prior to 1 January 2001. While the Refugee Appeals Tribunal has advised that there are no appeals with it with an appeal date prior to 1 January 2001, there are 11 appeals in the RAT with an application date prior to 1 January 2001. In addition, there are two cases in the ministerial decisions unit regarding applications prior to 1 January 2001 awaiting issue of a decision letter. For a variety of reasons, there will always be some applications and appeals which take significantly longer than the average to complete which can arise for reasons such as judicial review proceedings.

I wish to acknowledge the very significant progress made by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, and their respective staff, in addressing both the volume of cases on hands in both ORAC and RAT as well as the timescales involved in bringing a case to its conclusion. At the end of February 2006 there were 2,409 cases on hand at ORAC and RAT as compared to 6,930 cases in January 2004 and 3,629 in January 2005. The number of cases in each of the asylum agencies over six months was 470 at the end of February 2006 compared to some 1,057 in January 2005, 2,910 cases in January 2004 and some 6,500 in September 2001.

There is continued momentum in processing timescales for asylum applications with new arrangements for speedier processing of prioritised asylum applications, from nationals of Nigeria, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia and South Africa, introduced from January 2005 with a 17 working days processing time at first instance in ORAC and 15 working days at appeals stage in RAT. Currently, almost 40% of total applications fall into the prioritised category.

With effect from 1 November 2005, all applicants for asylum are notified of their interview date by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner at the time they make their application. The interview appointment is normally within 20 working days of application. However, for those applicants within the prioritised category, interviews in ORAC are held, more speedily, within nine to 12 days.

Question No. 26 answered with QuestionNo. 22.

Human Rights Issues.

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

27 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if, in view of concerns raised in the 2005 concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women regarding trafficking of women and girls into Ireland, the lack of a comprehensive strategy to combat it, Ireland will ratify the 2005 Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9795/06]

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

43 Mr. Gogarty asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he intends to take to combat the huge increase in trafficking of women and girls from mainland Europe to Ireland for exploitation in the growing sex trade here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9796/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27 and 43 together.

I can inform the Deputy that legislation is at an advanced stage of preparation in my Department which will create a specific offence of trafficking in human beings for the purpose of their sexual and labour exploitation as provided for in EU Council Framework Decision on combating trafficking in persons. The criminal law provisions in other international instruments, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish trafficking in Persons, especially women and children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings are also being taken into account in the legislation.

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that there is no evidence to suggest that there is any increase in trafficking in persons into this jurisdiction for the purposes of sexual exploitation. I am further informed that evidence of any involvement by criminal gangs operating within or outside this jurisdiction in the trafficking or smuggling of non-nationals into the State is difficult to adduce.

The Garda Síochána takes a proactive approach and is ever vigilant to ensure that any allegations relating to trafficking in human beings are vigorously investigated. A number of specific Garda operations have been put in place to discover the extent to which Ireland has been targeted by persons suspected of being engaged in trafficking in persons, to prevent such activity and, where such activity is disclosed, to gather evidence to be used in any prosecution which may be initiated. I am informed by the Garda authorities that these operations are ongoing. One such operation, Operation Quest, was established under the direction of the assistant commissioner in charge of national support services to investigate allegations that non-nationals are being trafficked into this country for the purpose of employment in the sex industry.

During the course of Garda investigations gardaí liaise as necessary with Ruhama, an NGO which assists women who are the victims of violence. Persons reporting that they have been trafficked are always treated sympathetically by members of the Garda Síochána.

I am informed that the Garda recently had discussions with the UK law enforcement authorities following the introduction there of Operation Pentameter, which was established to disrupt the activities of organised criminal gangs suspected of involvement in trafficking in human beings. The Garda Síochána has agreed to support the operation through sharing of intelligence and to put in place appropriate enforcement activities arising from any possible displacement to this jurisdiction.

I can inform the Deputy that a training programme has recently been designed by personnel at the Garda National Immigration Bureau to assist all officers in recognising people who may be victims of trafficking and to enable them to receive the appropriate assistance from all the relevant agencies. The training will be delivered to all personnel by staff at the Garda College.

In addition, the Garda Síochána participates on the Interpol working group on trafficking in women. The group has recently published a manual for investigators which is a practical guide to best practice in the investigation of this type of criminal activity. Personnel from the Garda National Immigration Bureau also regularly attend meetings, seminars and conferences designed to share information and devise policies to combat immigration offences, including trafficking and smuggling of human beings.

A working group on trafficking in human beings, chaired by my Department, is examining the extent and nature of trafficking into Ireland for the purposes of sexual exploitation and reviewing various measures in place to combat the phenomenon.

Claims against Garda Síochána.

Liz McManus

Question:

28 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps taken to improve management of compensation claims against the Garda Síochána and by members of the Garda Síochána under the Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts; if further reforms are planned, including amendments to legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9674/06]

With respect to compensation claims against the Garda Síochána, section 48 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 simplifies matters for members of the public taking civil actions against members of the Garda Síochána. The section provides that the State is liable to an action for damages in respect of any damage resulting from an actionable wrong committed by a member of the Garda Síochána in the course of performing the member's functions under the Act as if the State were the employer of the member. As a result of the section it will no longer be necessary for a litigant to name the individual member of the Garda Síochána in the action. This section was commenced on 1 August 2005.

With respect to claims by members of the Garda Síochána the Deputy will be aware that each claim for compensation by a member of the Garda Síochána for malicious injuries received while on duty must be treated on its own merits. My Department is doing everything within its power to expedite and process these claims in a fair and efficient manner. In all cases, medical reports from the claimants' own doctors and the chief medical officer of the Garda Síochána are required before a final decision can made on a claim. As the Deputy will appreciate, these cases can take some time to reach a conclusion, given the nature of the injuries received.

In terms of reforming the process, the general form of a new compensation scheme has been agreed with the representative bodies of the Garda Síochána, and my Department is currently carrying out a regulatory impact analysis for its introduction. Following on from that I hope to bring a memorandum to Government for a new Garda Compensation Tribunal Bill and thereafter see its passage through the Oireachtas.

National Security Service.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

29 Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of people employed in the secret service section; the location of the section; the type of work carried out by the section; the annual budget for the section in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9681/06]

The Garda Síochána acts as both the State's national police service and national security service. Ireland does not have a "secret service".

The function of the Garda Síochána in its capacity as the State's national security service is to protect the State from national security threats from within and without, in association with the Defence Forces, as appropriate. For sound security and operational reasons, it is not the practice and it would be contrary to the public interest to reveal details of numbers and locations of Garda members employed in national security service duties.

As the national security service forms part of the general Garda organisation, there is no separate, dedicated budget for its operation; all costs associated with security service duties are subsumed into the general budgets within the Vote of the Garda Síochána. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide, nor would it be in the public interest to reveal, details of the costs associated with national security service duties.

Garda Investigations.

Liz McManus

Question:

30 Ms McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received a report into the death of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9693/06]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

32 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received a report into the death of a person (details supplied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9684/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 32 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that following correspondence from the person's family, and a meeting with senior Garda officers, the Garda Commissioner directed that a review of the original investigation into the death of the person be conducted. The review was carried out under the direction and supervision of a detective chief superintendent and detective superintendent of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, NBCI.

The review was comprehensive in nature and involved the taking of 170 statements from family, friends, work colleagues and a wide range of people who had any interaction with the person during their life. Underwater searches were carried out by divers from the Garda underwater unit at the location where the person's body was discovered. Officers from the Irish Naval Service also carried out tests at the same location on a day when the prevailing sea conditions where similar to the day that the person's body was discovered, to observe the effect of the incoming tide on a body in the water. Assistance was also provided by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Extensive inquiries were also carried out for the purpose of obtaining any CCTV footage. Furthermore, the State pathologist reviewed the original post mortem carried out on the person.

I am informed that there is no evidence from either the initial investigation into the death of the person or the recent review to suggest foul play. There were no injuries to the body to suggest anything other than death by drowning. This fact is borne out by the findings of the inquest into the death of the person and also corroborated by the medical evidence.

On 22 February 2006 the detective chief superintendent from the NBCI met members of the person's family and explained in detail to them the results of the review.

Northern Ireland Issues.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

31 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if and when he will be in a position to publish an unedited or a redacted version of the Nally Report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9691/06]

As I outlined to Dáil Éireann in February 2004, I hope to be in a position to publish an edited version of the report in question in the future. However, as I also indicated in the Dáil, this could not be done while criminal proceedings were outstanding against the person who made the allegations which were referred to the Nally group. These proceedings remain outstanding.

It is not, nor has it ever been, my intention to publish the Nally report in an unedited or unredacted form, having regard to the fact that the report contains highly sensitive matters involving the security of the State and possible risk to the lives of individuals.

Question No. 32 answered with QuestionNo. 30.

Disability Act 2005.

David Stanton

Question:

33 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he can provide a full listing of the sections of the Disability Act 2005 which have been implemented and are fully operational; the dates when they came into effect; the details of the sections of the Act which remain to be implemented and the timescale for the implementation of same; if all sections of the Act have and will be implemented on schedule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9746/06]

All parts of the Disability Act 2005 for which I have responsibility have been commenced with the exception of Part 6 which provides for the establishment of a centre for excellence in universal design in the National Disability Authority, NDA. Part 6 will commence on 1 January 2007. The commencement of Part 2 is the responsibility of the Minister for Health and Children, in consultation with the Minister for Education and Science.

The following parts and sections of the Act came into operation on 29 July 2005: Part 1 — Preliminary and General — which includes provisions relating to commencement, interpretation and provision of resources; sections 24 and 30-37 in Part 3 which relate to codes of practice and sectoral plans; and Part 7 — Miscellaneous — which includes provisions relating to amendments to the Broadcasting Act 2001 and the Equal Status Act 2000.

On 31 December 2005, the following provisions of the Act came into operation: sections 25-28 which relate to access to buildings, services and information; sections 38-40 which relate to the complaints procedures surrounding access to buildings and services and sectoral plans; Part 4, which relates to genetic testing; and Part 5, which relates to public service employment. Section 29 of the Act which relates to access to heritage sites will come into operation on 31 December 2007.

The following progress has been made on the implementation of the key provisions of the Disability Act that have been commenced. Departments have made provision for expenditure on service delivery in 2006 under the Act as required by section 5 of the Act. Departments and other public bodies are implementing the accessibility provisions of the Act including the appointment of access officers and the establishment of complaints procedures. The NDA has prepared a code of practice, at my request, in regard to sections 26, on accessibility to services provided by public bodies, 27, on accessibility of services supplied to public bodies, and 28, on access to information through communication formats. I have arranged with the Attorney General for formal drafting of an order for my signature to give effect to the code. The six Departments required to do so have produced outline sectoral plans relating to service delivery by those Departments and public bodies under their aegis. The Departments are involved in a major consultation process with a view to laying the plans before the Oireachtas not later than 28 July 2006. Departments, public bodies and the NDA are progressing the implementation of the provisions of the Act relating to the employment of people with disabilities.

Prison Building Programme.

Martin Ferris

Question:

34 Mr. Ferris asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding his plans to build a super-prison at Thornton Hall. [9765/06]

A programme of preliminary works including landscaping is currently under way at Thornton Hall. Planning for the development of a new prison facility is continuing. This is aimed at providing a new modern facility to replace the crowded and unsuitable conditions in Mountjoy and to end the practice of slopping out.

Garda Deployment.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

35 Ms Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of community gardaí who have been attached to each Garda station in the Dublin metropolitan area for each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9680/06]

I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the number of community gardaí, all ranks, which have been attached to each Garda station in the Dublin metropolitan region, as at 31 December 2001-2005, inclusive, was as set out in the following tables:

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

D.M.R. South Central District “A”

Kevin Street

5

5

7

8

7

Kilmainham

3

5

6

6

5

District “B”

Pearse St.

12

11

11

15

11

Harcourt Tce.

3

1

3

3

4

District “E”

Donnybrook

3

3

4

5

4

Irishtown

2

2

2

2

3

D.M.R. South District “G”

Crumlin

4

4

5

5

4

Sundrive Rd.

4

4

4

4

4

District “M”

Rathfarnham

4

4

5

5

6

Tallaght

20

22

24

24

20

District “P”

Rathmines

3

3

3

3

3

Terenure

4

5

5

7

7

D.M.R. North District “H”

Santry

3

3

3

3

5

Whitehall

2

2

3

3

5

Ballymun

6

6

7

7

9

Dublin Airport

0

0

0

0

0

District “R”

Coolock

7

7

5

7

7

Malahide

4

4

4

3

5

Swords

6

6

6

8

11

District “J”

Raheny

4

5

5

6

4

Clontarf

5

5

6

6

5

Howth

4

4

4

4

5

D.M.R. West District “K”

Blanchardstown

19

18

19

17

17

Cabra

4

2

2

2

6

Finglas

13

9

9

13

12

District “Q”

Lucan

7

3

5

5

8

Leixlip

4

4

3

4

3

Ronanstown

9

12

13

16

13

District “L”

Ballyfermot

8

10

9

9

14

Clondalkin

9

8

10

12

16

Rathcoole

0

0

0

1

1

D.M.R. North Central District “C”

Store St.

17

20

25

24

26

District “U”

Fitzgibbon St.

15

14

17

17

17

Mountjoy

8

10

12

14

13

District “D”

Bridewell

14

13

15

14

15

D.M.R. East District “F”

Dun Laoghaire

4

3

5

5

4

Dalkey

2

2

3

3

2

Kill-O’the-Grange

1

2

3

3

3

Cabinteely

2

2

4

5

5

District “N”

Bray

4

5

6

7

9

Enniskerry

0

0

0

0

0

Shankhill

2

3

3

4

4

Greystones

3

3

2

2

4

District “W”

Blackrock

4

3

5

6

6

Dundrum

3

4

6

6

5

Stepaside

1

1

1

1

1

It should be noted that Garda management states that all members of the Garda Síochána have responsibility,inter alia, to deal with community policing issues as they arise. The timescale for achieving the target strength of 14,000 members of the Garda Síochána in line with the commitment in An Agreed Programme for Government remains as when I announced the Government approval in October 2004 for my proposals to achieve this objective. The phased increase in the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 will lead to a combined strength, of attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 by the end of this year. As part of the accelerated recruitment campaign to facilitate this process, 1,125 Garda recruits were inducted to the Garda college during 2005. The college will induct 1,100 recruits this year and a further 1,100 in 2007, by way of intakes to the Garda college of approximately 275 recruits every quarter. This project is fully on target and will be achieved. In this regard, I am informed by the Garda authorities that the first incremental increase of newly attested gardaí due to the programme of accelerated recruitment into the Garda Síochána will take place on 16 March 2006.

The Garda Commissioner will be drawing up plans on how best to distribute and manage these additional resources, and in this context the needs of the Dublin metropolitan area will be fully considered within the overall context of the needs of Garda areas throughout the country.

Human Rights Issues.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

36 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the British Home Office report published in October 2005 which describes female genital mutilation as a cultural tradition in view of the universal recognition that violence against women is a human rights issue and that female genital mutilation is a form of violence against women. [9762/06]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

58 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the opinion of BAOBAB, cited by himself, that female genital mutilation is not a genuine reason for applying for asylum abroad in view of the universal recognition that violence against women is a human rights issue and that female genital mutilation is a form of violence against women. [9763/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 58 together.

I presume the Deputies are referring to the contents of my reply to Question No. 12 of 2 February 2006. In that reply, I dealt with the issue of female genital mutilation in Nigeria and the entitlement or otherwise to refugee status on this basis in the State. As I also indicated, it is not for me to determine who is and who is not a refugee. That is a matter for the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and Refugee Appeals Tribunal within the framework of the Refugee Act, 1996.

I do not propose to comment in any more detail on either of the issues raised by the Deputies. However, I would reiterate that the UK Home Office report of October 2005 on Nigeria points out, utilising other source material, that,inter alia, female genital mutilation is a cultural tradition practised in Nigeria and that its incidence has declined steadily in the past 15 years. The report also refers to the fact that the Nigerian Government publicly opposes this practice and while there is no federal law banning the practice, such prohibitions do exist at state level.

The Home Office report also quotes a report of a British Home Office-Danish Immigration Service fact finding mission to Nigeria, published in January 2005, as indicating,inter alia, that there are groups in Nigeria who are against the practice of FGM and should a girl desire to avoid FGM in spite of pressure from her family to do otherwise she has the opportunity to complain to the Nigerian Police Force or the Nigerian Human Rights Commission and, in addition, she may seek protection from women lawyers or NGO’s. According to BAOBAB, a Nigerian women’s NGO, the Government and prominent NGOs in Nigeria provide protection to women escaping FGM. It confirms that most women throughout Nigeria have the option to relocate to another location if they do not wish to undergo FGM and Government institutions and NGO’s afford protection. BAOBAB is also quoted as being of the opinion that FGM in itself is not a genuine reason for applying for asylum abroad. The Nigerian Human Rights Commission has indicated it would be surprised if someone actually had to leave Nigeria in order to avoid FGM instead of taking up residence elsewhere in Nigeria. According to BAOBAB internal relocation is a real option within Nigeria to avoid FGM and women actually take up this option.

National Identity Card.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

37 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the need to introduce an identity card along the lines of those being introduced in Britain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9612/06]

The Government has not yet considered the issue of introducing a national identity card. As Ireland shares a land border and a common travel area with the United Kingdom, I have been closely monitoring developments in the UK in relation to the introduction of the identity card scheme. My main concerns are the implications for the common travel area and for Irish people travelling to, living and working in the UK.

While I am on record as being opposed to national identity cards in principle, I believe the introduction of the UK identity card may have implications for the approach we ultimately must take to this matter, particularly against the background of the common travel area. Having said that, I will wait and see the final version of the British scheme before finalising my views.

I have discussed this issue with the Home Secretary on a number of occasions and I will be meeting him again shortly, when this matter will be discussed. My officials and officials from other Departments have been in constant touch with their counterparts in the Home Office on this issue, and the Irish Embassy in London has kept a close eye on the passage of the UK legislation. Whether Ireland introduces an identity card or not, it is becoming increasingly common for airlines to demand photographic identification for domestic flights and for flights within the common travel area. The decision to do this is purely a matter for the carriers; it is not a legislative requirement.

Citizenship Applications.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

38 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the safeguards which are in place for a person (details supplied) who came here as a minor without a passport or documentation of citizenship; the reason the person was refused for naturalisation; his views on this decision; if he will give this person indefinite leave to remain as the parent of an Irish born child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9692/06]

Jerry Cowley

Question:

159 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reconsider the application for citizenship by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9828/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 159 together.

The person concerned entered the State as an unaccompanied minor in October 1999 and applied for asylum. Normal immigration controls were not applied to her and her entry to the State without a passport or valid form of identification was allowed for the sole purpose of having an asylum claim determined. In May 2000, she withdrew her claim for asylum before it had been finalised and made an application for leave to remain based on her parentage of an Irish born child. She was granted leave to remain on this basis on 8 October 2002.

In May 2004, the person concerned applied for a certificate of naturalisation. The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. Those conditions are that the applicant must be of full age, or by way of exception, be a minor born in the State, be of good character, have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years, intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation, have made, either before a judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner as the Minister, for special reasons allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

It should be noted that in the context of naturalisation certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State, periods granted for the purposes of study and periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act 1996.

The person concerned had not been resident in the State for five years at the time she applied and, consequently, her application was deemed ineligible. She was informed of this decision in writing in February 2006. Since she was granted leave to remain in October 2002 she will satisfy the residency requirements for naturalisation in October 2007, provided she maintains her permission without any gaps during this period. Any such application will be assessed against the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act.

While there is no provision to grant indefinite or permanent leave to remain in the State on the basis of parentage of an Irish born child, it is possible to obtain permission to remain without condition as to time. An application for such permission to remain can be made to the immigration division of my Department once the person concerned has resided in the State for a minimum of eight years.

Asylum Applications.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

39 Mr. Morgan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will make a statement on the anomalies surrounding the status of Somalis currently seeking asylum here. [9769/06]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

44 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will be made on the way in which to deal with the unique circumstances of Somalis currently seeking asylum here. [9770/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 44 together.

I am not clear what the Deputies mean when they refer to anomalies or unique circumstances pertaining to or surrounding applications for asylum from nationals of Somalia. There is a statutory framework governing the asylum determination process in Ireland set out in the Refugee Act 1996 and it is not for me as Minister to determine who is or is not a refugee. The 1996 Act established two independent statutory offices to consider applications and appeals in respect of refugee status and to make recommendations to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on whether such status should be granted. These offices are the refugee applications commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

The processing of applications within the framework of the 1996 Act, in particular has due regard to the definition of a "refugee" in section 2 of that Act, which states that a "refugee" is "... a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it".

Every asylum applicant is guaranteed an investigation and determination of his or her claim at first instance by the refugee applications commissioner. Each application is assessed on the basis of the circumstances of the individual case and having regard to the subjective elements, the applicant's own account or personal history, and objective elements, up-to-date information on the applicant's country or place of origin. This country of origin information comes from a wide variety of sources, including organisations such as the UNHCR, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UK Home Office, Canadian International Refugee Board, US State Department and other EU member states as well as media and Internet sources.

The Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal also consider the well-foundedness of each individual applicant's claim, that is, whether there are sufficient facts to permit the finding that, if returned to his or her country of origin, the applicant would face a serious risk of persecution. Credibility is also central to assessing an application, and it falls to the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to decide whether the applicant's account is credible and whether he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution. Issues of relevance in assessing credibility include: contradictions-inconsistencies, plausibility of the applicant, and level of detail in the claim. A negative finding as to overall credibility will generally lead to a conclusion that the applicant does not qualify for protection.

There must also be a link between the persecution as alleged and one or more of the grounds set out in both the 1996 Act and the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees, namely, being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Our system also guarantees every asylum applicant a right of appeal to a statutorily independent and separate body — the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Every asylum applicant is also guaranteed access to legal assistance provided by the refugee legal service.

The UNHCR is given full access to our refugee determination process and can examine any case at any time to ensure fair procedures and compliance with our Geneva Convention obligations. I would also refer the Deputies to my comprehensive reply to a series of parliamentary questions on asylum applications from nationals of Somalia, Questions Nos 187 to 189, inclusive, on 8 March 2006.

Deportation Orders.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

40 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps taken by the 26 Garda officers and four Garda sergeants who accompanied the 13 Chinese deportees on 21 February 2006 to ensure their fair treatment by Chinese authorities on arrival in Beijing; if he is satisfied that these people will not be subjected to cruel or unfair treatment in the aftermath of their deportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9792/06]

The deportation operation referred to by the Deputy involved the return of 13 Chinese nationals to their country of origin by charter flight on 21-22 February 2006. This charter flight arrangement was made principally because some of the persons being returned had, by their disruptive behaviour, frustrated previous attempts to have them removed from the State.

In regard to the escort levels provided for this charter, I am aware that the details provided in the question arise from a newspaper article published on the day of the charter. I should further state that, as has been the practice in regard to previous Dáil questions on charters, I do not intend to comment on, or confirm, the level of Garda escorts provided for this operation. The Garda National Immigration Bureau is responsible for effecting removals from the State, including the escorting of deportees while on flights. The Garda Commissioner has advised me that all persons being deported are individually risk assessed by the Garda. This prior assessment determines the level of escort, if any, required.

An advance party from the Garda National Immigration Bureau travelled to Beijing in advance to make the necessary arrangements with the Chinese authorities. This advance party stayed on for a couple of days after the returnees had arrived in Beijing to ensure that they were assisted in their transit through Beijing Airport. In this connection, modest financial assistance was provided to each returnee on arrival in Beijing to assist them with their onward transport to their individual places of origin within China.

I should emphasise that the primary function of Garda escorts, whether on charter or commercial aircraft, is not to prevent cruel or unfair treatment being meted out to returnees upon their arrival in their country of origin. That function is inherent in the determination processes leading to the issue of a deportation order. Before a deportation decision is made in any individual case, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform must have regard to the 11 factors contained in section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and the provisions of section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, on the prohibition ofrefoulement.

This means that the safety of returning a person to their country of origin, orrefoulement, as it is commonly referred to, is fully considered in every case when deciding whether to make a deportation order. This means in practice that a person shall not be expelled from the State or returned in any manner whatsoever to a state where, in my opinion, the life or freedom of that person would be threatened on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The legislation requires that this consideration is given before the deportation decision is made. In arriving at such decisions, my Department uses extensive country of origin information drawn from different independent sources, including the UNHCR, in evaluating the safety of making returns to third countries.

I am satisfied that all national and international protection obligations were observed in the context of this recent deportation operation to China.

Asylum Support Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

41 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the policies involved in making decisions regarding designated-type hostels, such as Bridgewater House, Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9685/06]

The Reception and Integration Agency, RIA, of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers and has a portfolio of 65 centres across the State for this purpose.

In March 2005 there was a total of 8,080 asylum seekers being accommodated by the RIA. Approximately 3,500 residents applied for leave to remain in the State under the Irish born children measures announced on 17 December 2004. Almost all of these residents have now left the RIA accommodation and as of 24 February 2006 there were 4,892 asylum seekers resident in accommodation centres. Within a relatively short space of time the numbers requiring accommodation has reduced and it is incumbent on the RIA to use the accommodation at its disposal in the most effective way and provide the best value for money for the Department and the taxpayer.

In addition to the exodus of families with Irish born children from RIA accommodation, the numbers and profile of persons seeking asylum has changed. The number of families seeking asylum in the State has dropped and the RIA, as a demand-driven organisation, is obliged to reflect this reality in the accommodation portfolio.

Due to the rapid fall in the numbers of persons requiring accommodation and the change in profile of asylum seekers, the RIA embarked on a programme of downsizing of its accommodation portfolio. This is intended to bring supply and demand into balance and will include the reclassification of some of the accommodation centres in order to optimise usage and obtain value for money. This downsizing has seen a number of centre closures during 2005, 15 centres with a combined capacity of 833 beds. To date in 2006, four centres with a combined capacity of approximately 270 beds have been closed and further closures-reclassifications are planned.

The only accommodation centre for asylum seekers in the entire county of Tipperary is the centre in Carrick-on-Suir and the RIA has reclassified this centre as suitable for single persons. This centre has housed asylum seekers since 2001 without any significant matters arising in the intervening period. The RIA understands the degree of anxiety or unease that a local population may feel if a centre profile is changed from women, children and small babies to single persons. It is the RIA's experience that, over time, such feelings dissipate as the local population come to know the individuals concerned and as their practical experience of the centre operation allays their initial concerns. The RIA has in its accommodation portfolio 16 male-only centres and no significant issues have arisen at these locations. In addition, the RIA has embarked on the reclassification of a portion of some of its larger family centres in order to accommodate single persons alongside families in Sligo, Meath and Monaghan.

Independent Monitoring Commission.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

42 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost to the State to date in 2006 of the Independent Monitoring Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3865/06]

The Independent Monitoring Commission, IMC, was established following an agreement between the Governments of Ireland and of the United Kingdom done at Dublin on 25 November 2003. The costs of the commission are shared equally by the British and Irish Governments.

For practical purposes, the full costs of the IMC are met by the Northern Ireland Office. The Northern Ireland Office then forwards a set of accounts and an invoice to my Department to recoup half of the costs.

The cost of the IMC for the first three months of 2006 will not be available until after 31 March. The costs of the IMC from its establishment to 31 December 2005 is STG£1,005,515.07.

Question No. 43 answered with QuestionNo. 27.
Question No. 44 answered with QuestionNo. 39.

Asylum Support Services.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

45 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to the case of the 5,456 headline offences committed by persons on bail, the offences for which the persons were on bail; when the offences while the persons were on bail were committed; the number of persons charged and convicted of offences while on bail; the steps he is proposing to take to tackle the problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9771/06]

In relation to bail in general, during the term of office of the rainbow coalition the number of prisoners on temporary release reached an all time high of 20% at one stage. As a result of the action of this Government this so called revolving door system operated by the rainbow coalition has been stopped and the percentage of the prison population on temporary release now is approximately 2.3%.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that of the 5,456 offences committed in 2005 by persons on bail, proceedings commenced against 3,353 persons to date, with 758 of those being convicted. Figures provided for 2005 are provisional, operational and liable to change.

The Bail Act 1997 gave effect to the sixteenth amendment to the Constitution and tightened up the bail regime considerably. In addition, section 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 provides for consecutive sentencing of an offender who commits an offence while already on bail for another offence. The granting of bail in accordance with the Bail Act, the amount of bail and sentencing are matters for the courts which are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.

The information requested regarding the offences for which the persons concerned were on bail, cannot be readily answered and it would require an unjustified deployment of Garda time and resources to identify each offence.

Deportation Orders.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

46 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the full cost to the State of the recent deportation by air of 13 Chinese nationals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9791/06]

Thirteen adults, 11 males and two females, were deported to Beijing in China by charter flight on 21-22 February 2006 at a total cost of €255,539. This was the first such charter flight to China and, because of the long distance between Dublin and Beijing, it required two fuel stopovers in Leipzig, Germany and Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The flight had a medical team of a doctor and nurse. The flight was chartered through a UK company, Air Partner PLC, which is contracted to the Department following an EU-wide tender competition in 2005.

The above cost does not include Garda expenses associated with this removal operation. I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that, given the wide range of immigration duties performed by the Garda Síochána and the Garda National Immigration Bureau in particular, it is not possible to identify the particular pay and overtime costs incurred by the Garda on charter flights. However, the Commissioner informs me that charter flights involve a lower ratio of Garda escorts to deportees than is the case using conventional scheduled flights, resulting in savings to the Garda budget.

Of the 13 returnees, four had criminal convictions of various types. This charter was arranged principally to facilitate the removal of a number of persons who had frustrated previous attempts to remove them on commercial flights through violent and disruptive behaviour.

Asylum Support Services.

Seán Ryan

Question:

47 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if, in view of the group of single young men under the direct provision scheme who have recently been relocated to Bridgewater House, Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary, the resources which are available to integrate these single men, who cannot work, into a very small town; the research which has been done into the feasibility of this relocation; the person who was consulted; the person who was informed; the contact which was made with the local community into facilities available in the town; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9686/06]

The Reception and Integration Agency, RIA, of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers and currently has a portfolio of 65 centres across the State for this purpose.

In March 2005 there was a total of 8,080 asylum seekers being accommodated by the RIA. Approximately 3,500 residents applied for leave to remain in the State under the Irish born children measures announced on 17 December 2004. Almost all of these residents have now left the RIA accommodation and as of 24 February 2006 there were 4,892 asylum seekers resident in accommodation centres. Within a relatively short space of time the numbers requiring accommodation has reduced and it is incumbent on the RIA to use the accommodation at its disposal in the most effective way and provide the best value for money for the Department and the taxpayer.

In addition to the exodus of families with Irish born children from RIA accommodation, the numbers and profile of persons seeking asylum has changed. The number of families seeking asylum in the State has dropped and the RIA, as a demand-driven organisation, is obliged to reflect this reality in the accommodation portfolio.

Due to the rapid fall in the numbers of persons requiring accommodation and the change in profile of asylum seekers, the RIA embarked on a programme of downsizing of its accommodation portfolio. This is intended to bring supply and demand into balance and includes the reclassification of some of the accommodation centres in order to optimise usage and obtain value for money. This downsizing has seen a number of centre closures during 2005, 15 centres with a combined capacity of 833 beds. To date in 2006, four centres with a combined capacity of approximately 270 beds have been closed and further closures-reclassifications are planned.

The only accommodation centre for asylum seekers in the entire county of Tipperary is the centre in Carrick-on-Suir and the RIA has reclassified this centre as suitable for single persons. This centre has housed asylum seekers since 2001 without any significant matters arising in the intervening period. The change of profile of a centre from family to single persons does not generally entail a requirement for access to any additional State services. Asylum seekers of any gender are entitled to access medical and social services in exactly the same way. However, the RIA has found that reclassification to single persons will generally mean that any pressures that may have existed in local schools, maternity wards and in pre and post-natal clinics, arising from the requirement to deliver a service to asylum seekers, are relieved.

It is incumbent on the RIA to utilise its property portfolio to provide the best value for money. Memoranda of agreement require contractors to accept any person whom the RIA refers to the centre. Since its establishment the RIA and its predecessor — directorate of asylum seeker services, DASS — have reclassified numerous centres throughout the State from family to single persons andvice versa without any difficulties. The RIA informs all relevant service providers of a reclassification and, in the case of Carrick-on-Suir, will meet with the local asylum seeker support group shortly.

The RIA understands the degree of anxiety or unease that a local population may feel if a centre profile is changed from women, children and small babies to single persons. It is the RIA's experience that, over time, such feelings dissipate as the local population come to know the individuals concerned and as their practical experience of the centre operation allays their initial concerns. The RIA has in its accommodation portfolio 16 male-only centres and no significant issues have arisen at these locations. In addition, the RIA has embarked on the re-classification of a portion of some of its larger family centres in order to accommodate single persons alongside families in Sligo, Meath and Monaghan.

Citizenship Applications.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

48 Ms O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the application for naturalisation of a person (details supplied) on the grounds that they have been working here full-time for the past six years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9679/06]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to by the Deputy was received in the citizenship section of my Department on 28 September 2004. The average processing time for such applications is 24 months at present. It is likely, therefore, that the application of the person concerned will be finalised in or around September this year.

I will advise the Deputy and the person concerned as soon as I have made a decision in the matter.

Adult Cautioning Scheme.

Joan Burton

Question:

49 Ms Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of offences listed in the adult cautioning scheme which became operational on 1 February 2006; the method of determining which offences are appropriate for inclusion in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9670/06]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that 13 offences listed in the adult cautioning scheme became operational on 1 February 2006.

Offences deemed appropriate for inclusion in the scheme were arrived at through consultations between the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Garda Síochána. Summary offences, with the exception of serious Road Traffic Act offences and offences arising from conduct which had a clear potential to cause serious injury to person or property, were deemed appropriate for consideration. Indictable charges of a minor nature such as theft of small amounts of food, drink or household products and assaults which were not intended to cause significant harm were also included.

I am also informed that if the public interest requires a prosecution for an offence under consideration, cautioning would in those circumstances not be appropriate.

Schedule of Offences included in the Scheme

Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994

Section 4: Intoxication in a public place

Section 5: Disorderly conduct in a public place

Section 6: Threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour in a public place

Section 8: Failure to comply with a direction of a member of An Garda Síochána

Section 9: Wilful obstruction

Section 11: Entering a building etc. with intent to commit an offence

Section 22: Surrender and seizure of intoxicating liquor

Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001

Section 4: Theft where the value of property concerned is less than €1000

Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003

Section 6: Offences by a drunken person

Section 8: Disorderly conduct

Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997

Section 2: Assault (other than assaults on a member of An Garda Síochána)

Criminal Damage Act 1991

Section 2: Damaging property where the value of the property damaged is less than €1000

Section 3: Threat to damage property

Garda Stations.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

50 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the provision of a new Garda station at Castleisland, County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9624/06]

The purchase of a site for a new Garda station at Castleisland has been completed and I understand from the Garda authorities that a brief of requirements for the new station is being prepared.

On receipt of the brief by my Department, it will be dealt with immediately and the Office of Public Works will be requested to progress the building of the new station. There will be no unavoidable delay in progressing this project.

Asylum Applications.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

51 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the delay in processing the application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who has applied for leave to remain on humanitarian grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9676/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 26 August 2001 and applied for asylum. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, she was informed by letter dated 22 October 2004 that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State; leaving the State before an order is made or consenting to the making of a deportation order.

Her case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, prohibition ofrefoulement. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Question No. 52 answered with QuestionNo. 22.

Equal Status Acts.

David Stanton

Question:

53 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he agrees with the Equality Authority that, following the findings of the recent report entitled Inequality and the Stereotyping of Young People, there is an urgent need to redefine the age ground under the Equal Status Acts to extend the provisions of the Acts on the age ground to people under 18, the equality legislation currently allows discrimination on the age ground in relation to young people under 18; his plans to amend existing equality legislation as suggested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9745/06]

I welcome the publication of this report which provides an important insight into the inequality and the stereotyping of young people today as perceived by the young people themselves. The report will be of interest to all groups who engage with young people.

I do not, however, agree with the Equality Authority that there is an urgent need to extend the provisions of the Equal Status Acts on the age ground to people under the age of 18. The reason for excluding under 18s from claiming discrimination on the age ground is that 18 is a standard cut-off for access to many services, for example, it is the age of majority, the age at which contractual commitments are fully enforceable, the age for sale of drink, access to certain films and so on. It would be impractical to extend the age ground to under 18s as this would necessitate the provision of an extraordinary number of exemptions within the legislation and would entail a revisiting of virtually every area of the Equal Status Act. It would also mean that, in principle, it would no longer be permissible to give any preference, such as a reduced price, to young people.

Under section 3(3) of the Equal Status Act 2000, a person who is less than 18 years of age cannot bring a claim of discrimination on the age ground. Equally, a person who is aged 18 or over cannot bring a claim of discrimination on the age ground which is based on a comparison with a person aged less than 18, for example, an adult cannot seek children's fare on a bus. I emphasise, however, that the Act does apply to discrimination against under 18s based on the other eight grounds. It is, therefore, possible for a young person to bring a claim of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, membership of the Traveller community etc. It is not correct to say that the Act excludes young people.

The Government has amended the Equal Status Act twice to make changes in the way it impacts on young people. It clarified the law in regard to the regulation of access to licensed premises by persons under 18 years of age and the conditions under which it is permissible to set an age limit for the purchase of liquor higher than 18 years. The Government also amended the Equal Status Act to apply it to discrimination on the age ground in the provision of motor vehicle insurance to drivers under 18 years of age. The Government has shown that it is prepared to consider well founded proposals for changes to equality legislation. However a general application of the age ground to persons under 18 would not be practical.

The role of protection of the rights and interests of children and young people under 18 resides with the Ombudsman for Children established under the Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 and not with the Equal Status Acts. The role of the Ombudsman for Children covers three main areas the first being the promotion of children's rights, the second dealing with complaints and investigations and the third the carrying out of research and inquiries.

A better approach would be the one already identified in the report which is a focus on the role the media have to play in creating negative stereotyping and its recommendations in this regard to the National Union of Journalists and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland. I would imagine that any code of practice for the press could also usefully address this point. The research makes the case that the media have a particular responsibility to take care in their portrayal of groups, such as young people, that have limited influence and power in society. Stereotyping is not something created by legislation and neither would legislation against it have any success in stopping it.

North-South Co-operation.

Joe Costello

Question:

54 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his response to the policy document recently published by the SDLP entitled North-South Makes Sense; his views on an all-Ireland agency to combat crime and terrorism, an all-Ireland Criminal Assets Bureau and an all-Ireland sex offenders register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9760/06]

I refer the Deputy to my answer to Priority Question No. 5 of today's date.

Asylum Applications.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

55 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the delay in processing the application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who has applied for leave to remain on humanitarian grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9677/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 26 August 2001 and applied for asylum. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, she was informed by letter dated 22 October 2004 that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State; leaving the State before an order is made; or consenting to the making of a deportation order.

Her case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, prohibition ofrefoulement. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

John Gormley

Question:

56 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he has taken to deal with concerns regarding the tribunal’s chairman in view of recent resignations from the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (details supplied); the further steps he intends to take to improve transparency surrounding the tribunal’s decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9786/06]

As the Deputy will be aware the Refugee Appeals Tribunal is a statutory independent body established under the Refugee Act 1996 in order to deal with negative recommendations in respect of applications for refugee status issued by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The tribunal has been in operation since November 2000 and is comprised, at the present time, of a full-time chairperson and 33 part-time members. The tribunal, its chairperson and members as well as its staff are carrying out important functions for the State in meeting our obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees. In this regard, I believe that the chairperson is carrying out his functions in accordance with his statutory and contractual obligations.

The tribunal has undertaken a significant job of work since its establishment taking some 23,107 decisions up to the end of 2005. It has also been tackling on an ongoing basis the number of appeals on hands and moving from a situation, for example, where on 31 January 2004 it had some 2,596 appeals to clear, some 990 of which were over six months old, to a situation at the end of December 2005 where it had 1,267 appeals on hands only 258 of which were over six months old.

On 22 November 2005, two members of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal wrote to the chairperson of the tribunal and myself advising of their intention to resign as members with immediate effect and for stated reasons. I do not propose to elaborate on the matters in question because of the potential legal implications arising from the issues raised. However, on receipt of the letters of resignation, I requested a report from the chairperson. In response, the chairperson informed me that he strongly refutes the criticisms in the correspondence and that he has written to the former members on that basis.

In relation to the issue of transparency surrounding the tribunal's decisions, I would point out that the framework for the transaction of the business of the tribunal is contained in the Refugee Act 1996. Having regard to the independent statutory functions of the members of the tribunal, I am advised by the chairperson that every effort is made, in line with the powers provided in the Refugee Act 1996, to ensure that the business of the tribunal is managed efficiently and effectively and is consistent with fairness and natural justice. In this regard, the chairperson has the power to issue guidelines and guidance notes on the practical application and operation of the 1996 Act and on developments in the law relating to refugees. In addition, the chairperson convenes meetings of members to discuss matters relating to the discharge of the business of the tribunal, including, in particular, such matters as the avoidance of undue divergences in the exercise by members of their functions under the 1996 Act.

One issue which is topical at present in relation to the tribunal is the issue of the publication of its decisions. I am advised by the chairperson that he attaches great importance to this matter. A committee of members is in place which has been researching best international practice and I am advised it has agreed a system of publication which is member intensive. I am further advised that the first selection of decisions of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal to be published pursuant to section 19(4A)(a) of the Refugee Act 1996 will be on 31 March 2006.

Legislative Programme.

Willie Penrose

Question:

57 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received representations from the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs urging him to review section 5 of the Arbitration Act 1980; when he proposes to conduct that review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9675/06]

Following on from representations made by the Director of Consumer Affairs in January 1998, a decision was taken to amend section 5 of the Arbitration Act 1980 to provide that the provisions of that section do not preclude individuals from bringing civil proceedings under the small claims procedure of the District Court, once those proceedings otherwise come within the scope of the small claims procedure. The necessary amendment was effected by section 18 of the Arbitration (International Commercial) Act 1998. No representations to further amend section 5 have been received from the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs.

Question No. 58 answered with QuestionNo. 36.

Centre for Public Inquiry.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

59 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the circumstances under which he provided confidential information to a newspaper journalist regarding the director of the Centre for Public Inquiry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9758/06]

I would refer the Deputy to my comprehensive statement to Dáil Éireann on 13 December 2005.

Criminal Prosecutions.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

60 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if prosecution against any particular organised criminals or crime gangs have been deferred for whatever reason in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9613/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

184 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to a situation whereby persons suspected of criminal activity in respect of which evidence exists go free due to failure to charge or prosecute; if such incidents have links to organised crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9983/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 184 together.

I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that decisions in relation to the prosecution of cases are solely a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Director of Public Prosecutions is totally independent in the carrying out of his functions. Where evidence of criminality has been accumulated in any investigation into the activities of criminals, that evidence is presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions who adjudicates as to what action, if any, is to be taken. If a direction is received to charge particular persons the matter is then presented before the courts.

Deferral of such cases arises only while the matter is processed through the courts where it may be adjourned from time to time until it is disposed of. In addition, the courts may put the matter back for the payment of compensation or to review the behaviour of a defendant over a specific period of time.

Garda Investigations.

Mary Upton

Question:

61 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if an investigation (details supplied) has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9678/06]

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the matters raised in Question No. 375 of 13 December 2005. I am informed by the Garda authorities that a file has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. I am further informed that arising from this a number of issues are currently being clarified by the Garda Síochána. As there is an ongoing Garda investigation in this case it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Asylum Applications.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

62 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of asylum seekers who have committed criminal offences here and have been granted refugee status; the category of offence; the country of origin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9682/06]

All applications for asylum in the State are processed in accordance with the provisions of the Refugee Act 1996 and in particular having due regard to the definition of a "refugee" in section 2 of that Act, which states that a "refugee" is "...a person who, owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it". However, this definition does not include a person in respect of whom there are serious grounds for considering has committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provision in respect of such crimes; has committed a serious non-political crime outside the State prior to his or her arrival in the State; or has been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

A person seeking the status of refugee in the State may apply to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 8 of the 1996 Act for a declaration to the effect that such a person is a refugee in accordance with the definition as outlined. In respect of each individual asylum seeker, the task is to determine whether, following investigation, he or she is deemed to come within the terms of the refugee definition on the basis of all the information provided and on the basis of comprehensive country of origin information drawn from independent sources, such as the UNHCR. As provided for in the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, this investigation is carried out by two statutorily independent offices: at first instance, by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. It is on the basis of the recommendations of these independent bodies that the Minister decides that he should or should not declare an applicant to be a refugee.

The issuing of such a declaration by the Minister is governed by section 17 of the 1996 Act which,inter alia, provides that restrictions which would not normally apply to recognised refugees may apply in cases where the Minister considers that it is necessary to do so in the interests of national security and public policy. To date, these restrictions have not been applied to any recognised refugee. For reasons of confidentiality, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with details of persons who arrived here as asylum seekers and have been granted refugee status, having committed criminal offences in the State.

The Deputy might also wish to be aware that section 21 of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, sets out the circumstances under which refugee status can be revoked. Section 21(1)(g) of that Act provides that the Minister may revoke a declaration of refugee status where he is satisfied that a person to whom a declaration of refugee status has been given is a person whose presence in the State poses a threat to national security or public policy —ordre public. Clearly where evidence of a court conviction for criminal activity on the part of a recognised refugee comes to hand, a judgment has to be made as to whether the nature and gravity of the criminal offence is such as would warrant the revocation of that person’s status as a refugee.

The revocation procedure as set out in section 21 of the Act is an elaborate one, involving notification to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and a right of appeal to the High Court. To date, five persons have had their refugee status revoked with two of these revocation decisions being the subject of ongoing legal challenges.

International Terrorism.

Joe Sherlock

Question:

63 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the level of threat to Ireland from international terrorists in view of the bombings in London in July 2005; if the current threat to Ireland remains low; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7186/06]

Responsibility for internal national security is a matter for the Garda Síochána, with the support of the Defence Forces, as appropriate. The Garda authorities maintain an up-to-date assessment of the threat of attack from international terrorist groupings through analysis of intelligence gathered from domestic and international sources.

Security threat assessments of this kind are furnished by the Garda authorities at regular intervals to me and the Government. Although it is not the practice, and it would be contrary to the public interest, to reveal in detail the content of these threat assessments, the Deputy will appreciate that it is vital that the resources of the State are fully deployed to combat the real, ongoing threat posed by international terrorism, even though the general assessment of risk might be regarded as low at present.

Extradition Requests.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

64 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of extradition requests received each year from other countries since the beginning of 2000; the country making the request in each case; the legislation under which each request was made; the crimes for which the extradition of each was sought; the outcome of each request; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9672/06]

The information which the Deputy requests is not readily available. The division of my Department which deals with extradition matters is currently preparing the information. I will be in touch with the Deputy when the information is available.

Northern Ireland Issues.

Seán Ryan

Question:

65 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the North-South or British-Irish contacts there have been at ministerial or official level in relation to the Omagh bomb investigation in general and subject matter of the Nally report in particular; the position of the Government on the matter; if future such contacts are proposed or envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9690/06]

The Omagh bomb investigation remains a live police investigation in both Northern Ireland and this jurisdiction. As this is an ongoing police investigation in both jurisdictions, it is a matter primarily for both police forces. My Department does not have a role in the actual investigation, nor would this be appropriate. The general situation regarding the atrocity and the status of the Nally report have been mentioned from time to time in intergovernmental contacts.

There is ongoing and close cooperation between the PSNI and the Garda Síochána. The Garda investigation is managed from an incident room at Monaghan Garda station. Regular meetings are still being held between the investigation team based in Monaghan and the PSNI investigation team based in Omagh. Senior officers from both police forces meet from time to time to discuss all aspects of the investigation.

The Nally group was not mandated to inquire into the Omagh bombing of August 1998 or who the perpetrators of that atrocity were. The Nally report arose when the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Ms Nuala O'Loan, presented a report to the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Cowen. This report contained allegations by a Garda detective sergeant about the handling of intelligence by the Garda Síochána concerning the activities of the Real IRA, RIRA, in 2002 and about drug-related matters in the period 1995 to 1996. My predecessor as Minister, Deputy O'Donoghue, duly appointed Dr. Dermot Nally, former Secretary to the Government, Mr. Joe Brosnan, former Secretary of the Department of Justice, and Mr. Eamonn Barnes, former Director of Public Prosecutions, to examine matters arising from the Ombudsman's report to the Minister. This included allegations relating to the conduct of certain Garda officers in the period immediately before and after the Omagh bombing.

The Nally group reported in June 2003. The core of the allegations, which would have amounted to serious misconduct on the part of members of the Garda Síochána, were examined in detail and rejected in their entirety. The report has not been published as it contains highly sensitive matters involving the security of the State and possible risk to the lives of individuals. There are also live criminal charges against the person who made the allegations. I have undertaken to publish a redacted version of the report once those criminal charges have been disposed of.

Housing Estate Management.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

66 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to regulate managing agents of apartment complexes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9510/06]

In July 2004, I commissioned the auctioneering-estate agency review group to examine the licensing and regulatory requirements for property practitioners going forward. I initiated the review against a background of a considerable level of public concern about specific selling practices in the property industry, apparent deficiencies in regulatory and supervisory arrangements in respect of service providers and the need to take account of new forms of property services. The review group comprised representatives of the auctioneering profession, consumers, the Competition Authority, the Law Society, the farming sector, the co-operatives sector and Departments.

I published the resulting report in October 2005 and, at the same time, I announced that the Government had approved one of its key recommendations, the establishment of the national property services regulatory authority. A further key recommendation is that the new authority should assume responsibility for the licensing and regulation of all trading entities providing auctioneering, estate agency, property letting and property management services.

Property management agencies are not currently regulated. The report recommends a specific class of licence for these agencies, that they contribute to an approved fidelity fund to protect client moneys and that they are made subject to oversight by the authority and to its vetting and complaints procedures.

The formal establishment of the new authority will have to await the enactment of the necessary legislation, which is in preparation at present. However, an implementation group is in place and working to assist and advise on preparations for the new authority including the recruitment of a director — advertised last week in national newspapers — the establishment of a headquarters in Navan, identification of staffing and training requirements, and advance planning of operational matters.

Stardust Disaster.

Joe Higgins

Question:

67 Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has arranged to meet families bereaved by the Stardust disaster. [9377/06]

Arrangements to meet with representatives of the Stardust families have not been made as yet. As I have indicated on a number of occasions, however, I will of be happy to meet with their committee in the event that there is some new evidence which could form the basis of a productive discussion.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Willie Penrose

Question:

68 Mr. Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the amount of child care supplement which will be payable in the case of a child who is six years of age in the middle of May 2006; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9871/06]

The payment to which the Deputy has referred will be made by the office of the Minister of the State responsible for children, and will be administered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs on an agency basis. Discussions between the office of the Minister of the State responsible for children and that Department on the operational details of the payment are in progress.

The payments will be to the value of €1,000 per year and will payable on a quarterly basis to all parents of children aged under six. The payment will be effective from 1 April 2006, payable in arrears at the end of the relevant quarter, and it is hoped that the first payments will be made in August 2006. The payment will generally be made automatically, without the need for application. In the case of an eligible child who reaches the age of six years old in the middle of May 2006, such a child would be eligible for one quarterly payment of €250. Full details regarding the operation of the payment will be announced well in advance of the first payments being made.

Health Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

69 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when a position (details supplied) in County Mayo will be advertised; when this position will be filled; and the stage this process is currently at. [9807/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Pat Breen

Question:

70 Mr. P. Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Question No. 242 of 14 February 2006, when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be called for orthodontic treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9808/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy

Pat Breen

Question:

71 Mr. P. Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to Question No. 232 of 7 February 2006, the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare has been refused dental treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9817/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

72 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the status of the application for an aid to assist a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; when he can expect it to be fitted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9821/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Michael Ring

Question:

73 Mr. Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason a full and comprehensive reply has not been received following Question No. 184 of 15 February 2006 (details supplied). [9824/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. The parliamentary affairs division of the executive has informed me that a response issued to the Deputy on 1 March 2006 in respect of one of the cases identified. My Department has asked the parliamentary affairs division to investigate the second case and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Jack Wall

Question:

74 Mr. Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare can receive an earlier date for an MRI scan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9825/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Jerry Cowley

Question:

75 Dr. Cowley asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department intends investing to a greater extent in cardiovascular health services following research which found Ireland to spend the second lowest proportion of its health care budget on heart and circulatory diseases in the enlarged EU; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9836/06]

The study to which the question refers is the Economic Burden of Cardiovascular Diseases in the Enlarged EU by J. Leal, R. Luengo-Fernández, A. Gray, S. Petersen and M. Rayner, published in theEuropean Heart Journal, doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehi733. I understand that the authors set out to provide an estimate of the economic costs of cardiovascular disease for EU countries. Data were obtained from published studies of health care costs and health service utilisation. It appears that all costs for health care in Ireland were extrapolated from costs in other countries. It is unclear how some of costs were estimated, for example, annual loss of earnings or the cost for a day’s inpatient care. The data on costs and resource implications were used to estimate the costs of cardiovascular disease.

Given that the authors may have underestimated the true costs in Ireland, there are question marks about the accuracy of the overall findings as they relate to this country. It is also possible that the authors did not include the costs of services provided in the private sector.

There has been rapid expansion in cardiology services in Ireland in recent years. The cardiovascular health strategy, Building Healthier Hearts, was launched in 1999. The report makes recommendations about the prevention, treatment and surveillance of coronary heart disease across a number of sectors and the full range of health service activities, in health promotion, primary care, pre-hospital care, acute hospital services and cardiac rehabilitation. Since 2000 the Government has committed over €60 million towards the implementation of the strategy. This funding has supported a wide range of new regional services and initiatives, which have had a measurable impact on the diagnosis, and treatment of patients with heart disease. More than 800 new posts have been created, including 19 additional consultant cardiology posts.

We have made progress in addressing the key challenges in the implementation of the cardiovascular health strategy in relation to, first, improving population health by supporting intersectoral work for health promotion, to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and improve quality of life, second, ensuring equitable access to services by continued provision of resources and support to fully implement outstanding cardiovascular health strategy recommendations to meet the needs of the growing numbers of older people and to provide new treatments for which there is evidence of effectiveness and, third, improving the quality of services by developing and implementing practice guidelines, the implementation of cardiovascular health information systems, support for clinical audit and for research to enhance the quality of services.

It appears that the study may not reflect the current level of expenditure and service provision. The study is useful however in drawing to our attention the high costs of cardiovascular disease both in Ireland and at European level, not just the costs of health care but also the costs to the economy and to families and carers. The Health Service Executive, in conjunction with my Department, proposes to commence a review of the cardiovascular health strategy very shortly. The outcome of this review will inform future policy in this area.

Alcohol Abuse.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

76 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children, further to the recommendation referred to in Question No. 268 of 31 January 2006, that a group, representative of all stakeholders, be established to consider what useful information could be included on non-draft alcohol products, taking account of international evidence, if she will confirm the stage this process is currently at; if the foetal alcohol spectrum disorders lobbying sector has been or will be represented as stakeholders; and the name of the report referred to in her reply to the question. [9838/06]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

79 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if, in view of previous policy statements during the launch of the strategic task force on alcohol in September 2004, the issues of alcohol and pregnancy and lifelong foetal alcohol spectrum disorders have been included in both the high risk and under-age drinking areas of interest in the three-category remit for the consideration of the working group on alcohol. [9841/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 76 and 79 together.

The terms of reference of the working group on alcohol established under the special initiative of Sustaining Progress are as follows. The working group will develop a programme of action taking account in particular of the work of the strategic taskforce on alcohol. It will also seek to identify potential synergies between the responses to alcohol and drug misuse, taking account of the outcome of the mid-term review of the national drugs strategy.

In the first phase, the working group will seek to agree a programme of actions which can deliver targeted results on under-age drinking, binge drinking and drink driving. This should include specific targets, timeframes, resources and allocation of responsibilities. In this regard, the working group will examine the potential for the social partners to commit to specific actions as part of the overall approach. The working group will make a progress report to the steering group of Sustaining Progress by October 2005. It will also make proposals on its future work agenda.

Taking account of its terms of reference, the group agreed to consider the three areas of high risk drinking, under-age drinking and drink driving. The group reported at the end of 2005 and the issue of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders was not specifically considered. However, it is expected that the group to consider the issue of labelling, referred to in Question No. 268 of 31 January 2006, will be established this year and that all relevant stakeholders will be given an opportunity to contribute to the process.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

77 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the membership of the steering committee of the working group on alcohol and the number and proportion of whom have a vested interest or background in the drinks production or service industry. [9839/06]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

78 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if it is her intention that the working group on alcohol will replace the strategic task force on alcohol or that, acting on the recommendations of the second report of the strategic task force on alcohol, that the working group on alcohol should offer supplementary advice at a more hands-on level in each sector. [9840/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 78 together.

The working group on alcohol was established under the special initiative on tackling alcohol and drug misuse in Sustaining Progress to help mobilise the stakeholders through social partnership to achieve a targeted and measurable reduction in alcohol misuse. While the original membership of the working group was as follows, some changes in the Department of Health and Children's representation will be necessary following the restructuring of the Department, for any future work programme: Mr. Peter Cassells, chair; Mr. Chris Fitzgerald, Department of Health and Children; Mr. John Weafer, Department of Transport; Mr. Declan Hayes, Department of Transport; Ms Carmel Madden, national drugs strategy team; chief superintendent Gerry Blake, the Garda Síochána; sergeant Orla Black, the Garda Síochána; Dr. Ann Hope, national alcohol policy adviser, Department of Health and Children; Ms Tracy O'Keeffe, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Dr. Declan Bedford, Health Service Executive; Mr. Seán Mackell, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Dr. Joe Barry, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Ms Rosemary Garth, IBEC; Mr. Michael Patten, IBEC; Mr. Michael Conroy, Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs; Mr. John Moloney, Department of Education and Science; Mr. Colm Markey, Macra na Feirme; Ms Mary Cunningham, National Youth Council of Ireland; Ms Norah Gibbons, Children's Rights Alliance; Mr. John Shaw, Department of the Taoiseach; and Ms Elaine Kelly, Department of the Taoiseach. Mr. Michael Patten is director of corporate affairs at Diageo Ireland and Ms Rosemary Garth is director of drinks, Food and Drinks Industry Ireland.

The group concentrated, in accordance with the terms of reference, on the potential for effectively mobilising State, social partner and other organisations around a programme of actions which would contribute to a reduction in alcohol related problems. The group stated that its report "complements the work of the strategic task force on alcohol" and "must be viewed as building on the reports of the STFA and not as a replacement to them".

Question No. 79 answered with QuestionNo. 76.

Health Services.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

80 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take to ensure that a school (details supplied) is not forced to close due to the withdrawal by the Health Service Executive of child centred subventions for occupational therapists and speech and language services. [9842/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

Bernard Allen

Question:

81 Mr. Allen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will investigate a situation whereby a person (details supplied) in County Cork has failed to get a date for an outpatient appointment with a surgeon. [9850/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Organ Donation.

David Stanton

Question:

82 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her plans to alter, amend or introduce legislation in relation to organ donation and transplantation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9856/06]

The annual organ donor awareness campaign, which is organised by the Irish donor network and administered by the Irish Kidney Association, highlights the necessity for organ donation generally. The campaign, which is supported by my Department, highlights the need for organ donors by promoting the carrying of an organ donor card.

My Department has been providing financial support to the donor awareness campaign for a number of years. The grant in 2005 amounted to €500,000.

There are two systems that can be used to ascertain an individual's wishes on organ donation: the opt-in system and the opt-out system. The former system, which operates in this country, requires that the specific consent to donation of each person, or their relatives, be obtained before organs or tissues are removed. The opt-out system presumes that all citizens consent to donation unless they have specifically expressed a wish to the contrary.

The practice in this country is that, even when a person has indicated his or her willingness to donate organs by way of carrying an organ donor card, or a driving licence marked accordingly, the consent of the next-of-kin is always sought.

Even where opt-out systems are in operation, relatives of the deceased are approached as part of the donor screening process to seek a medical history of any high-risk behaviour. Thus, relatives will always be aware that a donation is being considered and can register an objection to the donation.

The European Commission is currently considering the question of a directive in respect of organ transplantation, including the issue of consent, and proposes to conduct a thorough scientific evaluation of the situation. It will present a report on its analysis to the Council of the European Union and it is expected that this report will inform decisions regarding the development of a legislative framework in this area.

In the context of increasing the number of donor organs available for transplant, the Health Service Executive was asked by the Department to undertake a review and analysis of the factors that impact on organ procurement and retrieval rates in hospitals around the country. This review has commenced.

Health Services.

Enda Kenny

Question:

83 Mr. Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the way in which she intends putting the new home care packages into place; if the home care packages will result in an increase in whole time equivalent staff to allow for the increased home care packages, or if they will be introduced out of the existing human resources in each health area; the number of additional staff that are needed in each health area to introduce the proposed home care packages; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9864/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Enda Kenny

Question:

84 Mr. Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the fact that community care managers of each health area are given statistics regarding home help service hours delivered, the numbers of people in receipt of home help and the number of new recipients of home help each quarter, she will provide the statistics in relation to same for a full year, for each of the years 2005, 2004, 2003 and 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9865/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Liam Aylward

Question:

85 Mr. Aylward asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the progress to date on the provision of a primary care service development at Callan in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9867/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

86 Mr. O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason respite care is not provided in the Cottage Hospital, Drogheda to residents of east Meath; the areas in which this respite will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9879/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

John McGuinness

Question:

87 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if care attendant hours will be approved in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if a response will be expedited. [9898/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

John McGuinness

Question:

88 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children when approval will be given for phase two of a project at St. Canice’s Hospital, Kilkenny for the provision of much needed elderly care beds; if the submission for funding to her Department of €2.6 million will be approved and permission to proceed granted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9899/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

National Drugs Strategy.

John McGuinness

Question:

89 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the funding available in the south east to clubs or organisations who wish to host events for teenagers to raise public awareness regarding drug abuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9900/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which includes the development and implementation of drug awareness initiatives and campaigns. These are now the responsibility of the Health Service Executive which was established under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Services.

John McGuinness

Question:

90 Mr. McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if persons requiring renal dialysis care will be referred to a clinic (details supplied) in County Kilkenny if it is convenient to them rather than Waterford and elsewhere; if a contract has been agreed between the Health Service Executive and the company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9901/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Home Records.

David Stanton

Question:

91 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if it is acceptable to her Department and to all Health Service Executive inspection teams that inspect private nursing homes that patient and other records in these homes are maintained as electronic based record systems; if she has or intends to issue advice or directives in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9913/06]

The Deputy may wish to know that under the Nursing Homes (Care and Welfare) Regulations, 1993 it is the obligation of nursing homes to keep a register and record of each resident in that home. It is the duty of each home to ensure that records are kept in a safe place and also that the registered proprietor and the person in charge ensures that all records pertaining to a dependent person are treated with confidentiality, subject to the requirements of Article 23.2 of the regulations. In relation to what is acceptable to HSE inspection teams, the Deputy's question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. There are no plans at this time to issue advice or directives in this matter.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

92 Mr. Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location she will be visiting; the functions she will be attending; and the groups she will meet with. [9930/06]

I will be travelling to both Bahrain and South Africa as part of my official St. Patrick's Day functions. I welcome the opportunity to promote Ireland in Bahrain and South Africa. My programme includes attendance at an overseas meeting of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, laying of the foundation stone for the Medical Oasis of Bahrain and visits to various medical facilities and attendance at Irish community events. A more detailed Government press release will be issued shortly.

Health Services.

David Stanton

Question:

93 Mr. Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children how means are calculated when assessing eligibility for home help services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9946/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

94 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if a medical card can be issued on emergency grounds in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9966/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

95 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if entitlement to full medical card will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9967/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

96 Ms C. Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if she will review the demographics of west Dublin and north Kildare regarding the number of hospital beds available to the population; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9969/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

97 Mr. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if a dedicated section exists in her Department to cater for children deemed to be at risk due to being under the undesirable influence of non-family persons, being involved in petty crime, and refusing to accept parental control as in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; the action proposed or intended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10004/06]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the parliamentary affairs division of the executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Insurance.

Liam Aylward

Question:

98 Mr. Aylward asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children if her Department will instruct the VHI to sanction the cost of MRI and CAT scan examinations on patients referred by general practitioners to radiology units directly and not to have the cost cover only available for patients referred by consultants as is the present position; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10005/06]

Under the Voluntary Health Insurance Acts, the day to day operation of health insurance contracts offered by VHI Healthcare are, firstly, a matter for the company. Therefore, as Minister for Health and Children, I do not have any statutory or administrative role in such operations, when such contracts comply with the provisions of the Health Insurance Acts and related regulations.

Following inquiries, VHI Healthcare has indicated to me that it pays out over €10 million per year for MRI scans. It is the largest private healthcare benefit provider for this technology in Ireland. The matter of insurance cover for MRI scans is currently being reviewed by VHI. The issue of referral for MRI scans is being included as part of this review.

Garda Stations.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

99 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the situation regarding a proposed new Garda barracks at a location (details supplied) in County Cork. [9815/06]

The Commissioners of Public Works have identified a suitable site adjoining the existing Garda station in Ballincollig which would facilitate the development of a new enlarged Garda station. An architectural assessment has now been completed on the adjoining site. A final decision in relation to acquisition will be made shortly in consultation with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Garda authorities.

Industrial Development.

Enda Kenny

Question:

100 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the amount of funding allocated to the Border, midlands and western region and the southern and eastern region under the national development plan; the amount spent in each region to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9812/06]

Table 1 outlines the profiled expenditure allocated and the latest expenditure data reported to the operational programme monitoring committees for each operational programme under the NDP for the Border, midlands and western region. Profiled expenditure relates to the period January 2000 to December 2006. Expenditure data relate to the period January 2000 to end June 2005. Therefore, when analysing the results, the Deputy should be aware that five and half years of expenditure data are being compared with seven years of profiled data. Expenditure data to the end of December 2005 will become available in April prior to the spring meetings of the monitoring committees.

Table 1 — Total profiled and estimated expenditure in BMW region

Border, Midlands and Western Region

Operational Programme

Profile Jan 2000-Dec 2006

Expenditure Jan 2000-end June 2005

Expenditure to end June 2005 as % of Profile for Jan 2000-Dec 2006

€m

€m

%

Economic and Social Infrastructure

7,000

4,514

64

Employment and Human Resources Development

4,275

3,156

73

Productive Sector

2,709

692

25

Border, Midlands and Western Regional

4,094

1,946

47

PEACE II and Technical Assistance

147

86

59

Total Expenditure

18,225

10,390

57

Profiles and expenditure data includes all NDP sources of funding: Exchequer, EU and private.

Table 2 sets out the position in respect of the southern and eastern region.

Table 2 — Total profiled and estimated expenditure in southern and eastern region

Southern and eastern region

Operational programme

Profile Jan 2000-Dec 2006

Expenditure Jan 2000-end June 2005

Expenditure to end June 2005 as % of profile for Jan 2000-Dec 2006

€ million

€ million

%

Economic and social infrastructure

19,020

15,882

83

Employment and human resources development

9,924

7,788

78

Productive sector

4,631

2,041

44

Southern and eastern regional

5,378

2,967

55

Technical assistance

7

6

85

Total expenditure

38,961

28,684

73

Profiles and expenditure data includes all NDP sources of funding: Exchequer, EU and private.

With respect to the eventual outturn for the NDP, I expect the end-2006 position for the key economic and social infrastructure OP and employment and human resources development OP to be close to or above targets for both regions. The position for the PEACE and technical assistance OPs will be close to their target levels of expenditure for both regions at the end of 2006. The regional programmes and the productive sector OP are unlikely to achieve their end 2006 targets, particularly for those measures that are not co-funded by the Structural Funds. The Deputy should note that expenditure on the EU co-financed measures under the operational programmes will continue until the end of 2008 and will need to be considered in determining progress.

Tax Code.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

101 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the tax reliefs or incentives which are available to persons wishing to install environmentally friendly systems when building a new home; his plans to offer more incentives to people willing to invest in these systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9822/06]

A wide range of reliefs and incentives are available through the tax system to support the construction of new houses and apartments. These include stamp duty reliefs for first time buyers and mortgage interest relief, as well as the reliefs available to investors or owner occupiers under the property-based incentive schemes. Any additional construction costs associated with the installation of environmentally friendly systems when building a new home would, of course, be reflected in the value of the reliefs to the taxpayers concerned. However, I have no plans to introduce specific tax reliefs in respect of such systems.

In budget 2006, I announced that the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources intended to launch several innovative grant schemes relating to domestic renewable heat grants. I understand that his Department, in conjunction with Sustainable Energy Ireland, is developing the necessary detailed measures to roll out the new programme and that these will be announced shortly.

John Perry

Question:

102 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Finance if a person, details supplied, in County Sligo will qualify for the owner-occupier relief in the rural renewal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9855/06]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person concerned does not meet the qualifying conditions for owner-occupier relief in the rural renewal scheme. To obtain owner-occupier relief, a person must satisfy the condition that the expenditure on which relief is claimed must relate to a house situated within the "qualifying rural area" as defined in section 372L(1)(a) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. The qualifying rural area is described in Schedule 8A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and Part 5 of Schedule 8A lists the qualifying district electoral divisions in County Sligo.

Sligo County Council has confirmed to the Revenue Commissioners that the address given by the person concerned does not fall within any of the qualifying district electoral divisions listed in Schedule 8A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. Accordingly, on the basis of the details supplied, the applicant does not qualify for owner-occupier relief under the rural renewal scheme.

John Perry

Question:

103 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Finance if persons, details supplied, will have to pay stamp duty on a second hand house; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9858/06]

The rate of stamp duty on residential property is dependent on the status of the buyer — first-time buyer or owner occupier — and whether the property is new or second-hand. Stamp duty is chargeable on the purchase of residential properties greater than or equal to €127,001. There are exemptions available for first-time buyers and owner occupiers.

First-time buyers can purchase second-hand properties up to €317,500 without a liability to stamp duty. Reduced rates are available after €317,500. Leaflet SD10A, which is available onwww.revenue.ie, outlines the various rates applicable and other information which may be of assistance.

All owner occupiers, including first-time buyers, can purchase a new home between 38 sq m and 125 sq m, where a floor area compliance certificate has been obtained, without a liability to stamp duty. Where a new house is over 125 sq m, stamp duty is charged on either the value of the site or 25% of the value of the property, whichever is the greater. Any question as to whether any reliefs apply will be a matter of fact based on the circumstances of the purchaser.

Michael Ring

Question:

104 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Finance the redress a person has in view of the fact that they paid stamp duty on their credit card, twice in one year and their bank has refused to issue them with a refund. [9863/06]

A person who holds a credit card account with a credit card provider pays stamp duty on that credit card account once for each 12-month period ending on 1 April each year. Where a person cancels a credit card account within a 12-month period, he or she pays the charge at the time of cancellation. This means that, in respect of any credit card account, an individual will only pay once for the year ending on the following 1 April. Where the individual closes a credit card after 1 April in any year, a stamp duty charge of €40 will arise as the account has been maintained by the financial institution during the year ending on the following 1 April. This is consistent with applying a stamp duty charge for a year or part of a year for which the credit card account is held.

Section 128 of the Finance Act 2005 contained measures to eliminate a double stamp duty charge for the same year on the switching of financial cards. If an individual switches accounts after 2 April 2005, he or she will pay the stamp duty to old bank or card issuer on closing the account. This will be requested in the final statement. The old bank or card issuer will then issue the individual with a letter of closure. This letter will confirm that the stamp duty has been paid for the period in question. This should be presented to the new bank or card issuer to ensure that a further charge is not made. An individual may switch his or her account as often as he or she likes and will still only be charged tax on the original account, provided he or she obtains this letter of closure each time the account is closed. The second and subsequent bank or card issuer will issue a letter of closure once it has proof that the duty has been paid on the first account. If he or she remains concerned about his or her treatment, the person concerned could contact the Financial Services Ombudsman or the Financial Regulator.

Job Creation.

Jerry Cowley

Question:

105 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Finance if he will elaborate on his recent reply to Question No. 110 of 28 February 2006 where he stated that the Government has found it difficult to attract new job opportunities to Ballina, County Mayo; his views on whether the Government is finding it difficult due to its failings in commitment to the west of Ireland and that the infrastructure and technology are not in place to attract jobs to this area; if the Border, midlands and western region underspend was addressed and rectified that this difficulty he speaks about would not exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9868/06]

I would refer the Deputy to replies he received to previous questions on this matter. In particular, I would draw his attention to Questions Nos. 354 and 355 dated 2 November 2005, Question No. 147 on 7 February 2006, together with my reply to Question No. 110 of 28 February 2006.

The role of my Department is to assist in achieving the Government's priorities, including those priorities designed to address the issue of job creation in areas such as north Mayo. As indicated in my previous reply, progress is being made in prioritising expenditure under the national development plan in the BMW region and the indications are that the underspend on a number of key infrastructure measures under both the economic and social infrastructure OP and the BMW regional OP is being addressed.

There is evidence to suggest that good progress is being made in achieving the objectives of the current NDP in the west region. Data published by the CSO suggest that the levels of total income per person in the west region grew from €14,420 to €18,487 between years 1999 and 2002 or 89.1% to 90.3% of the State level for those years. With respect to employment, growth in the number at work in the west region to the fourth quarter of 2005 is strong, with an increase of some 33,600 since the fourth quarter of 1999. The rate of unemployment in the region has fallen from 4.6% to 4.3% over the same period.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Martin, has already outlined the Government's commitment to supporting job creation in north Mayo. A significant number of infrastructural projects are currently being developed or are planned for County Mayo and north Mayo in particular. These include plans by the IDA to acquire land in Ballina for the development of a high quality business and technology park.

Tax Code.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

106 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if there are special exemptions from paying stamp duty on purchasing a second-hand house for a person who has been recently widowed and who previously jointly owned a house with their late spouse but they did not own a house at the time of their death; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9875/06]

I have been informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there are no special exemptions from stamp duty in respect of the purchase of a second-hand house in the circumstances outlined by the Deputy. In the case of the purchase of a second-hand house by a first time purchaser, there is an exempt threshold of €317,500 and reduced rates up to €635,000. A person who previously, either individually or jointly, purchased or received a gift of a house, or of any part of a house, would not be regarded as a first time purchaser. The fact that the house had been disposed of at the time of a subsequent purchase is not a factor in deciding whether the first time purchaser relief applies. I have no plans to alter this situation. However, as the Deputy may be aware, stamp duty does not arise on most new houses.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

107 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9931/06]

I will be visiting Australia for St Patrick's Day, visiting the cities of Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. The Australian market is extremely important to Ireland due to its substantial industry and consumer base. In recent years, significant inroads have been made into the Australian market by indigenous Irish software companies. Overall trade figures have also increased, with exports from Ireland to Australia valued at over 1 billion Australian dollars in 2005.

Australia's exchanges with the Asian economies have increased substantially in recent times and many Irish companies see the advantage of using Australia as a regional "trading post". To enhance the Government's Asia strategy across the wide range of functions I will be attending, I plan to maximise the unique promotional opportunities offered by my visit to deal with issues of mutual interest.

Australia is an increasingly important market for the Irish tourism sector. In 2005, an estimated 150,000 Australian visitors came to Ireland. It is only right that we make every effort to further increase the number of Australian visitors to Ireland and this is a useful opportunity to market Ireland as a tourist destination, as well as enhancing the attractiveness of Ireland as a market for inward investment across a range of sectors.

During my official visit to the three locations, I will attend a number of business lunches organised by the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, and Tourism Ireland where I will meet, among others, senior executives from Australian financial services companies that have established operations in Ireland.

I will focus on promoting Ireland as a "knowledge economy". Ideas and knowledge have transformed Irish business and industry. Our continued economic development is dependent on further enhancing our position in the globally competitive market for knowledge-driven investment and innovation. Our success in this area is already evidenced by the growing international profile of top level Irish scientists and entrepreneurs and my St. Patrick's Day visit provides an invaluable opportunity to reinforce this message. St Patrick's Day is equally an important occasion for enhancing our links with Irish communities abroad to express the Government's appreciation for the valuable work of Irish community and friendship groups. I will also visit, the Lansdowne Club in Sydney, the Queensland Irish Association, Maquarie University in Sydney, the city authorities in Sydney, the Irish Consulate in Sydney and the Irish Embassy in Canberra. In addition, I will be meeting separately with the Irish Australian Welfare Bureau and the Irish Parliamentary Friendship Group, which includes the New South Wales Minister for Finance. I also hope to meet the Australian Federal Treasurer.

State Property.

Dan Boyle

Question:

108 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Finance the plans the Office of Public Works has to sell the old coastguard station, Crosshaven, County Cork. [9951/06]

The Commissioners of Public Works have recently perfected title to the coastguard cottages at Crosshaven. The Garda station and living quarters are part of the complex. Contracts for the sale of a number of cottages have been issued to existing tenants. The State's requirement for accommodation in Crosshaven is being examined. Any property surplus to State requirements will be placed on the open market.

Tax Code.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

109 Mr. N. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the delay in having a P21 application form issued to a person, details supplied, in County Cork who requires a P21 in respect of their daughter’s higher education grant application. [9957/06]

The issue of a P21, balancing statement, is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. I have been informed by Revenue that it issued a P21 to the person concerned on 21 October 2005 in respect of the 2004 tax year. It received a further request for a P21 for the same year on 13 February 2006 and a duplicate will shortly issue together with a form P21 for the year 2005.

Energy Resources.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

110 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the tax reliefs or incentives which are available to persons wishing to install environmentally friendly systems when building a new home; his plans to offer more incentives to people willing to invest in these systems; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9823/06]

The multi-annual financial package for renewables announced in budget 2006 includes a grant-aid package for the domestic sector, which will provide for individual grants to install renewable energy technologies including wood pellet boilers, solar panels and geothermal heat pumps.

My Department, in conjunction with Sustainable Energy Ireland, SEI, is developing the necessary detailed measures to roll out the new programme, which will be announced shortly.

Harbours and Piers.

Billy Timmins

Question:

111 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the amount of funding allocated by his Department for marine projects including developing and renovation of piers, coastal protection works, marine development and other such developments since 1997 to date; the projects and the individual funding allocated for each; and the funding that has been committed and for what projects. [9816/06]

The Department provides funding for the development and renovation of harbours and piers through the fishery harbour development programme and for coastal protection works through the coast protection programme. A list of all projects funded under these two programmes since 1997 follows.

A list of projects approved so far under the fishery harbour development programme for 2006 also follows. The coast protection programme for 2006 is being drawn up at present.

FISHERY HARBOUR EXPENDITURE 1997 TO 2005

Fishery Harbour Expenditure in 1997

Location

Project

Grant Paid

£’s

County Cork

Courtmacsherry

New Pier

101,250

Castletownbere

Harbour works

205,911

Union Hall

Completion of Decking

2,729.06

Ahakista

Pier Extension

110,265.75

Roaring Water Bay

New Pier & Slipway

105,579.75

Ardgroom

New Pier & Slipway

90,000.00

County Kerry

Dingle

Safety Works

54,652.35

Dingle

Accident

8,982.25

Cromane

Harbour works

145.85

County Clare

Liscannor

Harbour works

79,141.00

County Galway

Cleggan

Harbour works

80,718.00

Rossaveel

Harbour works

75,501.00

Crumpan

Beacon

21,972.87

Ardmore

New Deck

21,120.31

Bunowen

Harbour works

22,809.02

Killary Harbour

Needs Study

2,202.20

County Mayo

Darby’s Point

Completion of Pier Extension

12,767.74

Ballyglass

Harbour works

16,875.00

County Dublin

Howth FHC

Harbour works

85,210.00

County Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Dredging of New Quay

116,407.48

County Waterford

Dunmore East

Harbour works

237,166.00

County Donegal

Killybegs

Harbour works

392,788.00

Burtonport

Fendering

150,000.00

Burtonport

Site Investigation

41,987.00

Rathmullen

Safety Works/Railing

846.65

Greencastle

106,514.07

County Louth

Clogherhead

Pier Refurbishment

242,218.05

Carlingford Lough

Harbour works

79,369.13

Miscellaneous

Lights, Beacons etc

18,185

Fishery Harbour Works Undertaken in 1998

Location

Project

Grant Paid

£’s

Cork

Castletownbere

New slipway, for Bere island, powerpoints, upgrade Auction Hall, resurfacing, syncrolift inspection, minor harbour works

572,732.00

Ardgroom

Pier development

134,063.24

Ballycotton

Dredging

64,500.00

Crosshaven

Completion of pier development

76,561.79

Kealbeg

Safety works

3,055.67

Donegal

Killybegs

Upgrade Auction Hall, Syncrolift inspection, studies/investigations, general maintenance and upgrading works

644,776.00

Burtonport

Dredging of approach channel

177,149.08

Carrickaroary

Pier reconstruction

113,521.50

Greencastle

Quay reconstruction

104,657.75

Kerrykeel

Pier development

49,467.75

Portaleen

Pier development

41,250.00

Port Arthur/ Magheragallen

General repairs

10,644.00

Kerry

Cromane

Site investigation

34,725.75

Dingle

Pier extension

162,344.76

Portmagee

Completion of works

7,103.84

Sneem

Resurfacing of parking area

2,300.00

Blackwater

Resurfacing & provision of public lighting

13,100.00

Corvagillagh

Repairs to ramp and provide access at all tides

6,750.00

Knightstown

remove obstruction at pier head

1,500.00

Cooncrone

Improve access, provide concrete decking

6,000.00

Coonanna

Repair damage at pier head

6,000.00

Louth

Carlingford

Completion of pier reconstruction

40,426.43

Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Dredge rock at Harbour entrance

38,749.81

Galway

Rossaveel

Minor harbour works and renewals

61,022.60

Cleggan

Pier repairs

741,348

Rossadilisk

Pier repairs

10,780.00

Killeany

General maintenance works

36,458.00

Dublin

Howth

Minor works and renewals, security system, syncrolift inspection

72,763.00

Other

Galway Bay to Foyle

Study

1,769.15

Piers, Lights & Beacons

Various locations nationally

27,501.00

Fishery Harbour Works undertaken in 1999

Location

Project

Grant Paid

£’s

Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Dredge rock at harbour entrance

25,131.48

Courtown

Repairs to pier wall

84,000.00

Cahore

Repair of slipway

15,750.00

Cork

Castletownbere

Complete new slipway for Bere Island, S.I. for new pier on Dinish Island, Syncrolift carriages, minor harbour works, power points, security cameras, road rehabilitation, etc.

745,734.00

Ballycotton

Repairs to breakwater

29,620.88

Knockadoon

Extension to slipway

4,774.13

Durrus

Extension of working area

90,428.00

Lough Beal (Pontoon)

Navigation mark at entrance

8,214.31

Ballycrovane

Pier development works

39,573.00

Keelbeg (Union Hall)

Landscaping and surfacing entrance

30,469.00

Gerahies

Pier extension/development works

53,336.00

Cape Clear (North Harbour)

Repairs to outer breakwater

75,394.00

Cunnamore

Pier improvements

168,281.00

Colla

Pier improvements

3,649.00

Goleen

Pier improvements

40,955.00

Kerry

Dingle

Pier development works

334,721.00

Cromane

Site investigations

12,478.89

Reen (Ballinskelligs)

Widen root of pier/provide slipway

33,741.75

Portmagee

Improve access and decking

19,305.29

Ballykissane

Rebuild pier head/provide lighting and water

26,306.25

Rossdohan

New pier and water supply

23.329.00

Knightstown

New berthing wall/repairs

38,031.00

Callinafercy

Pointing and repairs

2,270.00

Kilmackilogue

Slipway, lifting gear & storage area

21,979.52

Clare

Doonbeg

Design new pier and site investigation

38,231.00

Liscannor

Completion of decking of pier

59,946.00

Seafield

Stormwall and widen causeway

73,854.46

Galway

Rossaveal

Provision of hardstanding and drying wall, surfacing of compound, general maintenance, car park extension and surfacing

321,830.00

Killary Harbour

Design and site investigation

6,579.00

Torrea Pier, Kinvara

Repair to pier/provide slipway

6,361.06

Spiddal Pier

Repairs

18,750.00

Caladh Thaigh

Repairs

28,295.00

Tramvarraderry (Rossaveal)

Repairs

22,277.95

Ballinakill (Derryinver)

Land facility

3,242.00

Cleggan

Pier repairs

3,159.33

Killeany Beacon

Beacon repairs and decking

26,484.00

Rossadilisk

Pier repairs

17,646.00

Mayo

Darby’s Point

Redecking of old pier (Design)

30,754.27

Roigh Pier

Parking/service area, Repairs to pier

75,000.00

Porturlin

Dredge inner basin/provide mooring piles

45,000.00

Kilalla

Dredge channel/silt transportation study

56,000.00

Kilcummin

Remove boulders from berthage/ pier head

9,000.00

Newport

Repairs to quay wall

75,000.00

Camport, Dooega

Repairs to storm wall

37,500.00

Sligo

Mullaghmore

Repairs

31,880.00

Raghly Pier

Improve access

56,000.00

Donegal

Killybegs

Pile repairs, ongoing engineering and maintenance, site investigations, pier design, new slipway, syncrolift carriages.

1,600,738.00

Greencastle

Repairs to pier

376,381.52

Port na Blagh

Dredging and pier furnishing

113,172.00

Woodquarter

Extend and strengthen pier

176,301.54

Bruckless

Replacement of furnishings/step repairs

13,239.72

Ballysaggart

Reconstruct pier/breakwater and repair wall

114,003.74

Maugheragallen

Extend pier — facilitate ferry and half deckers

84,969.00

Portmore

Provide slipway

78,590.67

Portronan

Repairs

37,145.25

Bunagee

New winch/associated works including slipway

112,666.50

Moville

Pier reconstruction/improvement

22,500.00

Buncrana

Dredging works

33,040.50

Carrickaroary

Pier repair

126,945.00

Kerrykeel

Slipway

87,655.50

Waterford

Dunmore East

Rehabilitation of quay structure, including remedial works to South Pier walls and east Pier stability investigation, safety, hygiene and preventative maintenance works, Shandoon cliff stabilisation study, resurfacing of harbour entrance, minor works

360,230.00

Ardmore

Pier improvements

17,125.00

Dublin

Howth

Resurfacing damaged areas, Provision of toilets, retaining wall stabilisation, extra carriages for syncrolift, revetment repair, replace water mains, minor works and renewals

572,623.00

Dublin

Piers, Lights and Beacons

Various locations nationally

10,712.00

Fishery Harbour Works undertaken in 2000

Location

Project

Grant Paid

£’s

Cork

Castletownbere

Effluent treatment facility upgrade, Dinish Bridge remedial works, Dinish Wharf Ext. and Auction Hall, mainland quay rehabilitation, security cameras, safety & maintenance works, syncrolift carriages

737,032.20

Keelbeg

Safety works

43,488.53

Ballycotton

Repairs to breakwater

83,184.65

Ballycrovane

Pier development

2,931.23

Colla

Pier improvements

80,035.70

Cunnamore

Pier improvements

52,488.88

Durrus

Extension of working area

86,254.96

Gerahies

Pier ext./dev. Works

39,328.41

Goleen

Pier improvements

64,547.99

Goleen

Slipway

13,500.00

Lough Beal

Navigation mark at entrance

2,014.29

Cape Clear

Repairs to outer breakwater

51,548.35

Waterford

Dunmore East

Cliff stabilisation works Phase 1 and 2, resurfacing of harbour entrance road, foul berth rehabilitation and East Pier investigation, safety & maintenance works

401,206.14

Ardmore

Pier improvements

84,159.48

Tramore (Lady Elizabeth’s Cove)

Repairs to seawall

29,893.41

Dublin

Howth

Watermains revetment, refurbishment of old canteen, extra carriages for syncrolift, safety & maintenance works

393,467.24

Donegal

Killybegs

Steel pile repairs, new slipway, new pier development, safety and maintenance works, refurbishment of Harbour Master’s residence

2,189,344.40

Greencastle

Harbour development

17,512.65

Greencastle

Pier Repairs

12,455.49

Ballysaggart

Repairs

36,143.58

Buncrana

Dredging & RNLI Berthing facility

210,776.25

Moville

Pier improvements

108,341.00

Portmore

Slipway/Site Investigation

88,554.00

Portnablagh

Dredging

53,928.00

Bunagee

New winch/associated works including slipway

39,380.25

Kerrykeel

Slipway

8.789.00

Portsalon

Pier maintenance

28,450.00

Lenan

Site Investigation

44,358.00

Mountcharles

Repointing/lighting/ dredging

187,957.00

Portronan

Repairs

67,767.75

Bundoran

Rock removal

151,812.75

Woodquarter

Extend & strengthen pier

13,347.44

Bruckless

Replacement of furnishings, step repairs

1,901.58

Galway

Rossaveel

Safety & maintenance works, harbour feasibility study

72,947.30

Inishboffin

Repairs of fenders and safety works

27,651.77

Spiddal

Pier repairs

35,529.00

Torrea Pier

Repairs, provide slipway

87,696.94

Lynch’s Pier

Slipway

1,637.37

Eanach Mheáin

Survey

5,000.00

Céibh na hAirde

Survey

1,828.43

Trá Bhán

Pier and slipway

4,991.25

Cleggan

Improve slipway/outer breakwater, provide boat repair/hardstanding, access to outer breakwater, dredging

54,581.00

Louth

Clogherhead

Maintenance and safety works

88,022.36

Kerry

Cromane

Site Investigation

147,332.14

Dingle

Pier development Works

2,756,135.04

Dingle

Pesca project

88,370.00

Dingle

Resurfacing / Pontoons

69,987.50

Kilmackillogue

Slipway, lifting gear and onshore storage area

60,788.39

Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Dredging

397,018.59

Clare

Seafield

Provide stormwall, widen causeway and construct slipway

154,103.41

Doonbeg

Pier design work

113,250.00

Liscannor

Pierhead widening to include steps

54,493.00

Mayo

Darby’s Point

Redecking of old pier

408,949.96

Killala

Provision of slipway

7,526.81

Newport Quay Wall

Safety barriers, power point, fresh water, etc.

2,598.00

Sligo

Mullaghmore

Pier repairs

43,120.00

Strandhill

Design work for slipway

18,150.00

Other

Piers, Lights & Beacons

Various locations nationally

78,659.00

Fishery Harbours Expenditure 2001

Location

Project

DCMNR

County Donegal

Killybegs

Harbour Development

2,534,392.13

Greencastle

Harbour Development

362,368.82

Greencastle

Old Project

107.50

Ballysaggart

105.10

Woodquarter

94.19

Bundoran

Pier Improvements

79,138.33

Burtonport

Channel Dredging

56,523.98

Buncrana

Pier Improvements

204,446.24

Mountcharles

Slipway

69,904.19

Moville

Pier Reinstatement

285,396.81

Portsalon

Repairs to Pier Head

7,699.37

Portnablagh

Quay Wall

29,246.19

Portaleen

Repairs to Pier Head

45,891.99

Rosbeg

Pier/Slipway Improvements

212,524.26

Casson Sound

Quay Wall

43,350.29

Port Inver

Study

51,776.74

Portmore

Pier Extension

156,051.13

Binwee Pier

Extra Width at Pier Head

83,529.16

Carrickarory & Moville

SI for a proposed marina

60,162.36

Bonagee

Complete Works at slipway

30,972.72

Inch Fort

Geotechnical Investigation & Sediment Transportation Study

29,077.34

Portnoo Harbour

Small slipway & winch/repairs to steps

4,734.85

Portnoo Harbour

Hydrographic Studies & SI

55,352.68

Ballyederland

Raise deck level/provide Storm wall

2,380.76

Moville/Carrickarory

Sedimentology Study & Computer based wave Analysis study

9,903.96

Bundoran Pier

Improvement Works (Dredging)

213,926.42

Ballyshannon Estuary

Study of Bar Mouth & Boat storage area at the Mall Quay

28,340.55

Ballyshannon Estuary

Parking Area

7,960.31

Bunagee

Winch

9,245.92

Kerrykeel

Reconstruction of Slipway

30,526.09

Ballyshannon

Quay decking

51,962.76

Port Arthur

Strengthening of Pier

3,013.43

County Galway 2001 expenditure

Rossaveel

Harbour development/works

1,095,246.88

Killary Harbour

Site Investigation

482.50

Trá Bhán

Pier and slipway

20,256.59

Torrea Pier

Repair work and concrete slab

11,911.91

Inishboffin

3,921.90

Maree

Slipways (Lynch’s Pier and Corraduff

147.29

Derryinver

Interim works & Site Investigation

48,425.91

Claddagh

Quay Improvements

48,210.37

Galway Piers

Consultancy Study

31,743.45

Spiddal

Sean Ceibh Improvements

73,078.10

Roundstone

Repair and Improvements

36,616.26

Tully Pier

Repairs and Improvements

102,928.32

Tír an Fhia

Pier repair works

17,038.41

Ervallagh Pier,

Repairs

12,438.53

Eanach Mheáin

2,704.54

Céibh na hAirde

Quay Repairs

69,607.79

Cashla Pier

Repair works

58,539.09

Kilbricken Rosmuc

Pier repair works

10,745.82

Cleggan

New berthage & access

289,289.77

County Mayo 2001 expenditure

Kilcummin

Clear Berth

19,046.07

Purteen

Harbour Improvement (Design)

95,230.36

Newport quay

Wall Repairs

28,569.11

Saleen Belmullet

Harbour Refurbishment

95,230.35

Kilsallagh

Pier repair works

76,184.28

Killerduff

Strengthen causeway & deck on pier

47,615.18

Dooega

Rebuild Pier

165,065.95

Darbys’ Point

Re-Decking of old Pier

1,330.89

Killala

Study

21,864.75

County Sligo 2001 expenditure

Mullaghmore

Harbour Breakwater works

48,173.23

Rosses Point

Pier Repairs

47,615.18

County Louth 2001 expenditure

Gyles Quay

Pier deck and wall repairs

109,297.21

Clogherhead

Safety Works

21,785.68

Clogherhead

Cost Benefit Analysis

17,141.46

Clogherhead

Surfacing of inner harbour

35,284.47

County Cork 2001 expenditure

Castletownbere

Development & minor works,

2,248,948.97

Ballycrovane

Pier Extension

117,576.03

Geraghies

Pier Extension

340,080.93

Keelbeg

Minor Works

18,935.59

Keelbeg

Channel Dredging

9,523.04

Goleen

Pier Improvements

29,641.51

Durrus

Extension of working area

44,679.11

Cunnamore

Pier improvements

40,925.70

Colla

Pier Improvements

30,505.48

Cape Clear

Development at North Harbour

70,062.98

Cape Clear

Hydrodynamic Study

49,070.30

Kinsale

Studies & investigations for Adam’s Quay

76,087.92

Bantry

Repairs and extension to Abbey Slipway

944.49

Knockadoon

Slipway

104,848.62

County Dublin 2001 expenditure

Howth

Minor works & renewals,

31,936.27

County Kerry 2001 expenditure

Dingle

Pier Extension

79,582.87

Dingle

Power Points

13,800.59

Dingle

Hydrodynamic Study

35,238.65

Dingle

Harbour Development & Safety Works

285,691.08

Kilmacalogue

Improvement Works

28,672.45

Cromane

Pier Development

206,657.47

Portmagee

Dredging

47,615.18

Portmagee

Improvements to lighting at pier

9,523.04

Portmagee

New berthing face

19,046.07

Portmagee

Extend boat dock area

47,615.18

Oysterbed, Sneem

Renew pier fenders

14,284.55

Dromatoor, Ballyheigue

Studies

33,330.62

Meenogahane

New slipway/raise stormwall

60,756.97

Bunanear

Slipway

40,332.91

Blackwater

Removal of rock outcrop & S. I.

28,569.11

Templenoe

Surfacing & Light

27,934.24

County Waterford 2001 expenditure

Dunmore East

Shanoon Cliff Face Stabilisation & minor works

650,292.90

Lady Elizabeth’s Cove,

Repairs

3,437.22

Tramore

Dungarvan

Repairs to quay walls at Davitt’s Quay

152,368.57

County Wexford 2001 expenditure

Cahore

Upgrading

61,899.73

Courtown

Upgrading

128,560.98

Kilmore Quay

Replace Buoyage

20,348.82

Kilmore Quay

Dredging

405.48

County Clare 2001 expenditure

Doonbeg

Pier Extension

50,473.40

Kilkee Slipway

Upgrading

81,722.88

Liscannor

Dredging

45,853.99

Doolin

Development Options Study

49,198.86

Quilty

4,172.12

General

Lights & Beacons

35,610.52

Fishery Harbour Expenditure 2002

Location

Project

DCMNR

Donegal

Killybegs FHC

Harbour Development

14,796,488.73

Killybegs FHC

Maintenance

363,199.58

Killybegs FHC

New Slipway

95,167.22

Killybegs FHC

Site Investigations

18,809.47

Killybegs FHC

Construction wages

10,150.12

Killybegs FHC

Purchase of Launch

50,445.11

Killybegs FHC

Refurbishment of Residence

2,047.50

Killybegs FHC

Fenders Blackrock Pier

38,092.14

Greencastle

Harbour Development

575,550.83

Burtonport

Channel Dredging

810,836.35

Burtonport

Dredging

2,457.56

Buncrana

Pier Improvements

549,487.26

Buncrana

Berthing Facility/Dredging

17,420.34

Mountcharles

Slipway

26,352.14

Mountcharles

Repointing/Lighting

12,083.04

Moville

Pier Reinstatement

2,374.76

Moville

Slipway & Pier Improvements

4,866.56

Portsalon

Repairs to pier head

11,381.71

Portnablagh

Quay Wall

6,903.62

Portaleen

Repairs to Pier Head

72,118.39

Portaleen

Purchase of Crane

74,189.81

Portaleen

Slipway

19,731.53

Casson Sound

Quay Wall

42,818.33

Port Inver

Study

25,767.78

Portmore

Pier Extension

358,565.65

Portmore

Slipway

28,262.24

Binwee Pier

Extra Width at Pier Head

26,840.03

Binwee Pier

Pier Improvements

25,366.95

Moville & Carrickaroary

Studies

27,330.90

Bonagee

Rock Removal & Storm Wall Works

34,207.91

Inch Fort

Investigations

11,954.07

Portnoo Harbour

Studies

65,133.26

Portnoo Harbour

Slipway

289.52

Ballyshannon Estuary

Study

10,946.77

Ballyshannon Estuary

Quay Decking

4,691.10

Ballywhoriskey

Harbour Development

63,486.90

Kerrykeel

Slipway

3,730.24

Carrickaroary

Structural Works

44,648.95

Bundoran

Pier Improvements

28,192.91

Bundoran

Study Wave Modelling

27,617.95

Bundoran

Pier Improvements

750.37

Port Arthur

Strengthening of Pier

125,111.00

Galway

Rossaveel FHC

Minor Works & Renewals

418,499.14

Rossaveel FHC

Complete Rockfill Contract

1,234,586.10

Rossaveel FHC

Gear Store

208,960.46

Rossaveel FHC

Purchase of launch

21,051.29

Trá Bhán

Pier & Slipway

576,705.98

Tarrea

Pier Repair work & concrete slab

70,956.47

Maree

Slipways

389,270.19

Claddagh

Quay Improvements

36,078.95

Spiddal

Sean Céibh Improvements

17,546.36

Killary

Site Investigation

7,901.33

Roundstone Pier

Repairs & Improvements

13,570.36

Casla

Widen Pier Access & Extend Pier

140,899.69

Ard Thoir, Carna

Pier & Slipway

2,202.99

Ervallagh Pier

Repairs & Improvements

11,424.74

Céibh Ailwee

Pier Improvements

68,790.25

Dohulla Pier

Improvements

16,153.13

Céibh na Phurtaigh

Improvements

8,297.61

Inishboffin

Pier Works

2,290.72

Dunloughan, Ardmore, Bunowen

Studies

4,205.37

Eanach Mheáin

Study

900.00

Crompan an Chonoch & Crompán Mór —

Dredging & Access

69,998.29

Barna

Improvement Works

69,713.25

Aughrasmore

Pier Improvements

87,727.58

Céibh na hAirde

Quay Repairs

145,800.66

Cashla Pier

Repair Works

67,608.66

Clifden Harbour

Harbour Works

3,659.57

Kilbricken, Rosmuc

Improvements

190,208.49

Cleggan

Provision of Crane

85,520.00

Derryinver

Pier Repairs

11,844.00

Céibh Cashla, Derrynea

Pier Improvements

101,206.00

Mayo

Purteen

Harbour Improvement Design

70,825.50

Roigh Pier

Work Area

18,750.00

Killala

Slipway

375,000.00

Blacksod Pier

Contribution to Development

375,021.82

Belmullet & Frenchport

Lights & Barriers

38,250.00

County Mayo

Assessment of Piers

33,000.00

Darby’s Point

Re-decking of Pier

14,558.91

Sligo

Mullaghmore

Harbour Breakwater Works

234,750.00

Louth

Clogherhead

Surfacing of inner harbour

45,046.50

Dublin

Howth FHC

Maintenance works

111,290.60

Kerry

Dingle

Slipway

26,896.38

Dingle

Safety & Maintenance

217,752.64

Dingle

Breakwater Works

128,416.60

Dromatoor, Ballyheigue

Pier Improvements

208,476.74

Blackwater

Removal of Rock Outcrop & SI

5,333.31

Bunanear

Slipway

20,991.38

Bunanear 2001

Slipway

39,962.02

Oysterbed, Sneem

Renew Pier Fenders

9,772.11

Kilmackillogue

Improvement Works

21,425.92

Meenogahane

New Slipway/Raise Stormwall

1,560.53

Portmagee

New Berthing Face

75,870.08

Cromane

Studies

44,186.21

Clare

Kilkee

Slipway Upgrading

52,500.00

Cork

Castletownbere FHC

General maintenance, Dinish Bridge Remedial works, Dinish Wharf extension, mainland quay Rehabilitation, Effluent treatment,

1,268,009.58

Ballycrovane

Pier extension

397,058.25

Keelbeg (Union Hall)

Channell dredging (Investigations)

96,686.73

Schull

Pier wave wall repairs

166,621.46

Kinsale

Damage repairs to Doneen Pier

88,356.98

Cunnamore

Wave study

15,547.50

Gerahies

Pier extension

176,596.50

Bantry

Repairs & extension to Abbey slip

57,418.50

Durrus

Pier extension

78,798.75

Priests Point, Ballinakilla

768.19

Castletownsend

Slipway improvements

987,328.00

Cape Clear

North Harbour development

228,197.00

Waterford

Dunmore East FHC

Safety & maintenance, Surfacing, Dock Road/Island Cliff stabilisation, Shanoon cliff Stabilisation, security cameras, maintenance dredging

582,603.90

Dungarvan

Davitt’s Quay

141,238.51

Wexford

Duncannon

Pier extension (Design)

143,368.17

Slade Pier

Surfacing & safety works

44,729.25

Fethard Pier

Reinforced concrete steps, Pointing to pier,

56,130.00

Carne Pier

Installation of lighting/ Dredging & safety

35,062.00

Misc.

Piers, lights & Beacons

73,882.00

Expenditure Review

Value for money

5,694.73

Fishery Harbour Expenditure 2003

Location

Project

DCMNR

Donegal

Killybegs FHC-

Harbour development project

24,272,450.53

Killybegs FHC

Safety and maintenance

293,508.43

Killybegs FHC-

Construction wages

601.69

Greencastle

Design work

139,431.23

Burtonport

Dredging

252,960.77

Buncrana

Pier improvements

21,724.95

Portaleen

Repairs to pier head

17,205.95

Portaleen

Purchase of crane

7,875.00

Portmore

Pier extension

45,000.00

Port Arthur

Strengthening of Pier

13,363.00

Galway

Rossaveel FHC

Safety and maintenance

265,426.63

Rossaveel FHC

Development

20,390.13

Tír an Fhia

Pier repair works

200,861.49

Céibh na gCasla

Widen pier access/extend pier

124,905.52

Inishboffin

Repair of pier fenders

1,889.16

Trá Bhán

Pier and slipway

6,662.17

Killary

34,000.00

Barna

Improvement works

15,000.00

Aughrismore, Claddaghduff

Pier improvements

162,000.00

Clifden Harbour

Improvement works

40,000.00

Cleggan

Install crane on pier

58,605.00

Cleggan

3,266.00

Derryinver

Interim repairs

15,552.46

Sligo

Mullaghmore

Harbour breakwater works

674,577.00

Mayo

Killala

Slipway

114,393.00

Kerry

Dingle

Fender repairs

4,390.89

Dingle

Navigation light, add. Pontoon

12,000.00

Dingle

Breakwater

8,738.45

Cromane

Pier development

1,815.00

Bunanear

Slipway

16,512.59

Dromatoor

Pier improvement works

134,643.89

Ballyheigue

Clare

Kilkee

Slipway upgrading

20,585.54

Liscannor Pier

Safety works

4,805.00

Louth

Clogherhead

Port Oriel design

191,642.25

Clogherhead

Replace crane, provide handrails

75,000.00

Dublin

Howth FHC

Safety & maintenance

106,197.64

Cork

Castletownbere FHC

Safety & maintenance, Dinish Wharf extension, mainland Quay upgrading

1,114,130.49

Schull

Pier wave wall repairs

62,021.65

Keelbeg

Dredging works (sediment sampling)

299.47

Cape Clear

Replace crane

16,335.00

Cape Clear

Subsidence of Duffy’s Pier

24,264.11

Cape Clear

Safety & maintenance

6,104.50

Waterford

Dunmore East FHC

Safety & maintenance, cliff Stabilisation: Dock Rd/Island Rd, Engage consultants, security cameras, Road surfacing

602,240.37

Wexford

Courtown

Purchase of plant equipment

30,000

Misc.

Piers, Lights & Beacons

39,139.25

Fishery Harbour Expenditure 2004

Location

Project

DCMNR

Donegal

Killybegs

Harbour Development Project

8,593,896.94

Killybegs

Safety & Maintenance

270,833.33

Greencastle

Harb. Dev. Project — Design/Planning

85,228.58

Ballyederland

Raising deck level of pier

63,713.58

Buncrana Pier

Dredging at pier

127,500.00

Mulroy Bay

Navigational Aids

18,750.00

Ballyshannon

Navigational Aids

37,500.00

Portsalon

Remedial Works

52,500.00

Burtonport

Provision of fenders

9,000.00

Portmore

885.78

Carrickaroary

604.58

Galway

Rossaveel

Development

40,868.82

Rossaveel

Safety and Maintenance

292,938.66

Rossaveel

New storage Unit at RV-Advance Works

16,093.00

Rinville Pier, Oranmore

New slipway, breakwater, pier deck

76,733.84

Kilbricken

Repairs

13,625.25

Ard Thoir

734.34

Céibh na hAirde

54,557.61

Tír an Fhia

114,778.34

Derryinver

16,533.33

Mayo

Blacksod

D/CRGA project

500,000.00

Newport

70.64

Clare

Ballyvaughan

New slipway, Berthage clearance, pier repairs

12,224.11

Seafield, Quilty

Raise storm wall, place rock armour

143,790.89

Liscannor

Car Parking, surfacing & ladders

24,873.00

Doolin

1,875.50

Kerry

Dingle

Dredging Site Investigations

201,026.77

Dingle

Weighbridge

84,932.42

Cromane

Pier Development Design Review Rd Access

62,942.86

Scraggane

Survey

5,797.90

Oysterbed, Sneem

Working/storage area

61,038.80

Tahilla, Sneem

Pier works

81,569.08

Knightstown

D/CRGA project

63,567.99

Tarbert

Pier repairs

61,436.31

Reenard

Slipway underpinning

30,776.44

Dromatoor, Ballyheigue

Channel marking

15,364.99

Portmagee/Caherciveen

Pier-Repairs to fenders/ladders

11,382.97

Sligo

Nil

Louth

Clogherhead

Detailed design stage, Preparation of statutory Permissions

224,529.75

Dublin

Howth FHC

Safety & maintenance

184,683.21

Cork

Castletownbere FHC

Safety & maintenance Mainland quay rehabilitation, Effluent treatment upgrade, Dinish Wharf extension, Auction Hall Upgrading

1,941,042.89

Keelbeg

Repairs to HI-Mast lighting and service blocks

9,928.13

Tragumna

Slipway & access Road

116,844.95

Cape Clear

Safety & maintenance

7,145.93

Cape Clear

Harbour development

9,371.38

Cape Clear

Duffy’s Pier

3,037.93

Waterford

Dunmore East FHC

Safety & maintenance, Harbour development, Security Infrastructure

909,257.64

Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Hydrographic Survey

11,414.25

Misc.

Piers. Lights & Beacons

50,466.49

Fishery Harbour Expenditure 2005

Location

Project

2005 Outturn

Donegal

Killybegs FHC

Safety & maintenance

173,500.24

Killybegs FHC

Harbour Development

3,590,303.87

Ballyederland

Raising Deck Level of Pier

173,164.12

Dungloe Pier

Construct slipway and turning circle at pier

10,982.18

Buncrana Pier

Improvement works

78,000.00

Buncrana Pier

Temp. Lifeboat Mooring

14,625.00

Bundoran Pier

Pier Improvement Works

30,000.00

Castleport Pier

Provision of electrical lighting

3,525.00

Mulroy Bay

Navigation Aids

30,000.00

Portmore Pier, Malin Head

Works to address siltation problem

31,095.05

Rathmullen Pier

Pier Improvements

50,000.00

Tullyillion Pier

Provision of electrical lighting

4,500.00

Portaleen Glengad

Upgrade crane

22,500.00

Burtonport Harbour

Rock Excavation

165,231.00

Galway

Rossaveel FHC

Development & minor works

3,983,070.25

Blackweir

Breakwater/holding tank

59.35

Rinville Pier, Oranmore

New Slipway

243,610.07

Kilbricken, Rosmuc

Repairs

1,785.68

Cleggan

Pier extension & dredging SI and design

22,051.08

Mayo

Killala

Silt Study

37,500.00

Rosmoney

Preliminary Report

37,500.00

Louth

Clogherhead

Port Oriel Upgrade & Extension

3,692,877.00

Sligo

Raghley

Pier Upgrade

10,634.15

Dublin

Howth FHC

Safety & maintenance

181,741.33

Cork

Castletownbere FHC

Safety & maintenance

212,542.47

Castletownbere FHC

Mainland Quay extension

147,568.04

Castletownbere FHC

Effluent treatment

417,195.76

Castletownbere FHC

Dinish Wharf extension & offices

1,306,995.22

Keelbeg

Miscellaneous

7,040.73

Schull

Relocation of services block & new lighting

1,364.88

Tragumna

Slipway & access road

25,683.77

Cape Clear

North Harbour development

457,660.31

Cape Clear

Safety & maintenance

2,568.95

Garnish Pier

Pier Improvement works

45,000.00

Clare

Ballyvaughan

New Slipway

339,722.32

Ballyvaughan

Repairs

8,586.16

New Quay

Pier Repair

78,491.95

Doonbeg

Pier Extension

51,427.42

Seafield, Quilty

Repairs

15,900.11

Liscannor

Harbour works

1,134.37

Kerry

Dingle

Dredging works

18,941.41

Dingle

Weighbridge

808.52

Tarbert

Structural assessment

907.50

Cromane

Pier Development

1,966.65

Tahilla

Pier Improvement Works

8,174.45

Oysterbed, Sneem

Working Storage Area

19,029.31

Scraggane Pier

Survey of Pier

816.75

Renard Pier

Study of repairs

106,798.50

Coonana

Repairs

29,537.98

Kells Pier

Safety Works & Concrete decking

4,243.57

Limerick

Kilteery Pier

Provision of Bollards

21,742.12

Waterford

Dunmore East FHC

Safety & maintenance & minor works

541,907.89

Ardmore

Raising deck level of pier

47,656.86

Blackwater

New Slipway

99,364.65

Wexford

Kilmore Quay

Hydrographic Survey

61,936.88

Misc.

Piers, Lights & Beacons

11,380.76

Fishery Harbour Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR Contribution

Castletownbere FHC, Cork

Dinish Wharf extension & offices

12,000,000

Castletownbere FHC, Cork

Effluent treatment

700,000

Castletownbere FHC, Cork

Mainland Quay

100,000

Clogherhead, County Louth

Port Oriel development

4,127,451

Greencastle, Donegal

Harbour development

2,400,000

Cromane, Kerry

Development

200,000

Dunmore East FHC, Waterford

Development

600,000

Dunmore East FHC, Waterford

Repair to East Pier

300,000

Knightstown, Kerry

Co-funded with DCRGA

400,000

Buncrana, Donegal

Construction of breakwater

225,000

Burtonport, Donegal

Harbour dredging Phase 2

585,000

Total

21,637,451

COAST PROTECTION EXPENDITURE 1997 TO 2005

1997 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR

£

County Wexford

Rosslare Strand

Aerial Survey/ Mapping of Coastline

19,494.00

Courtown

Rock Revetment

41,998.00

Rosslare

Maintenance

66,919.00

County Waterford

Tramore

Strengthening of the clay cliffs and sand dunes and improvement works to main promenade

111,558.00

County Wicklow

Murrough

Rock Armour Revetment

35,593.00

Bray

Beach Nourishment/ Groyne Protection

41,717.00

Murrough

Maintenance

22.00

County Sligo

Enniscrone

Planting of Grass

4,735.00

Strandhill

Wind Fencing

30,000.00

County Louth

Annagassan

Rock Revetment

9,846.00

County Donegal

Inver

Completion of Seawall

10,000.00

Rye/Rathmullan

Seawall Protection

39,000.00

Teelin

Seawall Protection

60,000.00

County Meath

Laytown

Study

14,996.00

County Mayo

Bertra

Dune Protection

41,250.00

Claggan

Dune Protection

11,250.00

County Dublin

Burrow

Study

15,586.00

County Cork

Glandore

Seawall Protection

122,011.00

County Clare

Rinevella

Coast protection

100,000

General

CZM Study

Sensitivity Study

ECOPRO Manual

1998 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR

£

County Dublin

Burrow

Study

5,387.00

County Louth

Annagassan

Rock Revetment

141,004.00

County Wexford

Rosslare

Aerial Survey/Mapping of Coastline

7,721.00

Rosslare

Maintenance

46,636.00

County Wicklow

Bray

Breakwater & Groyne

740,479.00

Murrough

Rock Armour

2,682.00

1999 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR

£

County Louth

Annagassan

Detailed design of Phase 2 Protection Scheme

15,000.00

County Dublin

Vico Road

Protection Works at Vico Road (Design)

10,508.85

County Wicklow

Bray

Coast Protection Phase 1

385,163.75

Bray

Harbour Wall Protection

234,934.50

County Wexford

Courtown

Dune Protection

53,250.00

Curracloe

Study for Coast management

22,500.00

Ballyconnigar

Cliff Protection

75,000.00

Rosslare Strand

Beach Protection Work

4,359.23

Rosetown

Cliff Protection (Design)

3,774.52

Cullenstown

Detailed Design for Protection Works

20,547.00

Rosslare Strand

Maintenance

24,222.41

County Cork

Youghal

Further Study of Protection Options

21,000.00

Roscarberry (Owennahincha)

Road Protection

33,750.00

Roscarberry (Warren)

Groyne

12,957.00

Barley Cove

Study of Required Dune Protection Works

15,000.00

County Kerry

Waterville

Protection Works

120,000.00

County Clare

Quilty

Protection Works

607,989.75

County Galway

Inishboffin Island

Road Protection

77,828.00

Aughinish Is.

Causeway Protection

30,000.00

Roundstone

Dune Re-Instatement

16,368.00

Gorteen Bay/Dogs Bay Mweeloon/ Ballynacloghy

Road Protection

116,250.00

County Mayo

Claggan Is

Dune Reinstatement

21,660.86

Belmullet-Elly Bay

Study

17,345.00

County Sligo

Mullaghmore

Road Protection

17,926.00

Strandhill

Study

27,225.00

County Donegal

Bundoran

Road Protection

90,000.00

Mountcharles

Coast Protection

65,250.00

Inver

Coast Protection

45,000.00

County Waterford

Tramore

Coast Protection

25,377.15

General

County Louth Coastal Survey

52,535.01

GIS Initial Set up

31,561.14

Aerial Survey V Carnsore Pt to Killiney

40,882.22

Wavebuoys

9,421.67

National Coastline Survey

10,000.00

2000 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR

£

County Louth

Annagassan

Phase 2 Protection Scheme

69,876.29

County Dublin

Vico Rd.

Cliff Protection Works

30,025.66

Bull Island

Study of effects of breaching the causeway

30,000.00

County Wicklow

Bray

Phase 2 & Remedial Works

1,579,131.53

County Wexford

Rosslare

Beach Protection

44,699.36

Rosslare

Maintenance

15,480.62

Cullenstown

Revetment Works & training walls

86,025.00

County Waterford

Tramore

Promenade wall Strengthening

36,321.89

Cunnigar

Design of Protection Works

20,910.38

County Kerry

Rossbeigh

Consultancy Study

30,000

Waterville

Upgrade & Road Protection

63,452.52

Dingle-Castlemain Road

Rock armour

1,100,000

County Clare

Quilty

Protection Scheme

159,216.75

Seafield

Dune Protection Works

16,125.00

Ballyvaughan

Road Protection Works

91,935.75

County Galway

Auginish Island

Causeway Protection Works

46,125.00

Cleggan

Beach Road Protection

77,669.80

Tawin Island

Beach Road Protection

39,000.00

Gorteen Beach

Beach Protection

38,250.00

Renville

Coast Protection to public recreation area

39,600.75

Clifden Beach

Coast Protection to public recreation area

75,375.00

Inishmore Island

Beach Road

45,000.00

Oranmore/Mweeloon

Road Protection Works

46,929.00

County Mayo

Achill

Dune Protection Works

25,074.75

Elly Bay

Seawall Repairs/Dune Protection

80,417.32

Bertra Beach

Dune Protection Works

37,645.50

Fahy-Ballycroy

Sea outfall renewal and Coast Protection

46,578.75

Bundoola Belmullet

Repairs to seawall

15,864.75

Keel Beach

Dune Protection works

14,266.50

County Sligo

Strandhill

Dune Protection works

13,725.00

Mullaghmore

Road Protection works

88,986.29

Pollacheeney

Protection Works

54,000.00

County Donegal

Bundoran

Road/Cliff Protection

233,255.25

Kerrykeel

Repairs to sea wall

48,536.25

Mountcharles

Rock armouring

79,621.15

Rye, Rathmullen

Sea wall rock armouring

113,745.75

Inver

Coast Protection

20,274.75

General

Total Cost (all DCMNR)

£

Coastal Survey

35,955.99

GIS System/Maintenance

13,240.00

Wave Buoys

13,625.13

Pilot Project for dissemination

2,994.75

Research Startup

4,523.59

Coastal Survey, County Louth

1,845.29

GIS initial setup

177.13

2001 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR

£

County Donegal

Drung, Quigley’s Pt

Rock Armour

207,652.65

Keadue, Kincasslagh

Seawall

31,746.80

Mountcharles

Road Protection Works

233,435.54

Mahery, Dungloe

Road Protection Works

23,662.38

Kerrykiel, Rossakill

Road Protection Works

118,048.50

Kerrykeel

Sea Wall Repairs

1,645.58

Inver

Concrete Slab & Low level wall

36,186.58

Carrickarory

Repointing existing Seawall

3,176.88

Bundoran

Shoreline Protection

87,528.52

Rye, Rathmullan

Sea Wall

5,482.41

County Sligo

Strandhill

Slipway

14,284.55

Strandhill

Shoreline Protection

69,994.31

Mullaghmore

Road Protection Wks.

385,546.76

Pollacheeny

Study & Detailed Design

29,616.64

County Mayo

Westport/Bertra

Dune Protection

28,569.11

Carrowmore Beach

Dune Protection

19,046.07

Roonagh, Louisburg

Road Protection Works

28,569.11

Belmullet Town

Repair Sea Walls

95,230.36

Mulranny Causeway

Protection Works

85,707.32

Bundoola, Belmullet

Repairs to Seawall

75,085.96

Claggan Island

Dune Protection Works

53,759.02

Elly Bay

Seawall Repairs & Dune Protection

76,673.56

County Galway

Auginish Island

Causeway Protection

38,092.14

Inishboffin

Protection Works to south facing shore

95,230.36

Inishboffin

Erosion Study of south facing shore

28,355.82

Renvyle

Road Protection

47,615.18

Inishmore

Airstrip Protection

8,281.87

Ballyconnelly

Road Protection Works

85,707.32

Roundstone Pier

Study

18,411.20

Cleggan

59.73

County Louth

Annagassan

Phase 2 Protection Works

149,908.10

Salterstown

Protection Works

33,454.68

County Dublin

Bull Island

Study

63,880.52

County Wicklow

Bray

Phase 2 Coast Protection

647,673.60

Bray

Remedial Works/Extension of harbour wall

792,131.26

Bray

Coast Protection Scheme

20.02

County Wexford

Courtown

Revetment Works

86,899.68

Cullenstown

Revetment Works

685,612.85

Rosslare Strand

Study of North end of spit

Rosslare Strand

Maintenance

Rosslare Strand

Revetment Works

71,422.77

Rosslare Strand

New Scheme

188.78

County Waterford

Ballyvoile

Study of Road Protection Works

31,484.01

Tramore

Promenade Wall Strengthening

880,041.04

County Cork

Durris to Ahakista

Road Protection Works

66,314.61

Youghal

Preparation of Tender And Planning

19,046.07

Youghal

Sea Wall Repairs

28,569.11

County Kerry

R561 Dingle to Castlemain

Revetment Works

1,386,430.06

County Clare

Quilty

Protection Scheme

73,815.11

Clahanes Liscannor

Concrete Wall

175,086.91

Rinvalla Bay

Road Protection Works

Aughinish Island

Causeway Protection Works

39,276.27

General

Wave Buoys

2,989.61

Aerial Survey Carnsore to Killiney

63,281.12

GIS Maintenance

2,384.52

Coastal Surveys 2001

10,240.44

GIS Maintenance & Development

33,284.28

2002 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR Cost

Strandhill, County Sligo

Shoreline Protection

532,500

Mullaghmore, County Sligo

Road Protection

67,286.25

Keadew, Kincaslagh, County Donegal

Sea Wall

183,974.90

Maghery, Dungloe, County Donegal

Road Protection

82,330.31

Mountcharles, County Donegal

Road Protection

9,249.64

Kerrykeel, County Donegal

Road Protection

1,180.65

Carrickaroary, County Donegal

Repointing Existing Sea Wall

16,705.54

Drung, Quigley’s Point, County Donegal

Rock Armour

11.606.83

Lagg, Malin Head, County Donegal

Study of Coastal Processes

23,923.18

Inver, County Donegal

Protection Works

991.29

Inisboffin, County Galway

Protection Works to South Facing Shore

142,875

Salin to Silverstrand, County Galway

Study

79,830.46

Tawin Island, County Galway

Road Protection

53,913.51

Claggan Island, County Mayo

Repair Works

33,160

Bunnafolly, County Mayo

Protection Works

27,108

Lacken, County Mayo

Cliff/Road Study

22,500

Elly Bay, County Mayo

Installation of ECAB Units

148,608

Bellurgan, County Louth

Embankment Reinstatement

170,151.75

Louth Coastline

Survey of Coastline

7,568.25

Whitestown, County Louth

Rock Armour Protection

37,335.64

Blackrock, County Louth

Seawall Protection

32,487.75

Salterstown, County Louth

Repairs & Protection to Road Verge

393,617.25

Seapoint, County Louth

Dune Protection Works

75,000

Blackrock to Dundalk, County Louth

Study

36,300

Shelling Hill/Gyles Quay, County Louth

Protection Works

34,419

Carlingford Harbour, County Louth

Repairs

623.25

Annagassan Harbour, County Louth

Protection Works

26,068.50

Tramore, County Waterford

Promenade Refurbishment

228,194.88

Cunnigar, County Waterford

Rock Revetment

244,273.60

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Study of North End of Spit

114,435

Courtown, County Wexford

Design of Breakwater

133,810.34

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Revetment Works

77,846.49

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Maintenance

13,292

Cahore, County Wexford

Rock Groynes & Beach Nourishment

42,966.58

Ballyconnigar, County Wexford

Rock Revetment

21,750

Garretstown, County Cork

Road Protection Works

209,259.83

Durris to Ahakista, County Cork

Road Protection Works

135,179

Warren, County Cork

Beach Groynes

112,500

Youghal, County Cork

Planning Stage

37,500

Ballyheigue/Inch, County Kerry

Road Protection Works

414,243.46

Knightstown, County Kerry

Protection Works

37,856.12

Carrigaholt, County Clare

Protection Works

45,897

Shanganagh, County Dublin

Study

7,482.91

Bray, Co Wicklow

Pier Repair Works

440,244

Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin

Vico Road Revetment

212,718.05

Portmarnock, County Dublin

Dune Protection Works

37,487.86

Coastal Study

Consultancy Study

2,955

Coastal Surveys

General Coastal & Project Related

4,212

GIS System

Customisation, Maintenance & Training

9,537

Wave Buoys

Maintenance & Deployment

7,391

Beach Monitoring

Monitoring of Nourished Beach, Bray

5,816

East Coast

Aerial Survey — Carnsore to Killiney

21,785

Value for money

Review

37,368

2003 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR Cost

Elly Bay, County Mayo

Installation of ECAB Units

68,182.59

Devlin, County Mayo

Rock Armour, Retaining Wall

60,000

Bellurgan, County Louth

Embankment Reinstatement

5,736

Salterstown, County Louth

Repairs & Protection of Road Verge

90,000

Carlingford Harbour, County Louth

Damaged Navigational Light

2,253

Shore Road, Dundalk, County Louth

Sea Defence Embankment

58,500

Blackrock, County Louth

Rock Armour

40,905

Annagassan, County Louth

Protection Works

6,706.50

Cruisetown, County Louth

Extend coastal protection

60,738

Salterstown Pier, County Louth

Protection Works

22,527.25

Drung, Quigleys Pt., County Donegal

Road Protection Works

40,277.59

Meenacross, County Donegal

Rebuild Portion of Wall, Repoint Wall

15,000

Muckross, County Donegal

Rock Armour Revetment to Protect Public Road

60,000

Carrigaholt Castle, County Clare

Protection Works to National Monument

32,661.50

Cappagh, County Clare

Road Protection Works

74,700

Carrigaholt, County Clare

Reconstruction of Rock Revetment

21,753

Doonbeg, County Clare

Rock Armour

17,011.50

Liscannor, County Clare

Rock Armour

13,710.53

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Study

8,616.23

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Capital Works

14,290.46

Rosslare Strand, County Wexford

Maintenance

7,957.54

Rosslare, County Wexford

New Scheme

155.38

Cahore, Wexford

Rock Groynes, Beach Nourishment

43,286.42

Rosslare, County Wexford

Revetment Works

27,821.01

Ballyconnigar, County Wexford

Rock Revetment

22,239

Warren Strand, County Cork

Beach Groynes

120,000

Youghal, County Cork

Coastal Protection Phase, Prep. Contract Docs.

22,687.50

Warren Strand, County Cork

Complete Phase 2 Groyne

41,623.31

Tramore, County Waterford

Promenade Refurbishment

17,572.30

Cunnigar, County Waterford

Balance of 2001 Grant

1,004.40

Dublin City Council, Dublin

Risk Assessment Study

80,000

Ballyheigue, County Kerry

Road Protection Works

150,000

Ballyheigue, County Kerry

Complete Phase 1

225,000

Ventry, County Kerry

Coastal Protection Works

21,785.48

Kenmare, County Kerry

Sea Wall

11,269.77

Brittas Bay, County Wicklow

Update Study, Extension of Scheme

37,351.79

Burrow, Portrane, Fingal

Repairs to Embankment, etc.

7,500

Portmarnock to Malahide Fingal

Repairs to Coastal Walkway

3,750

Coast Protection Strategy Study

370,471

GIS System Maintenance and Customisation

26,726

Bray Beach Monitoring

4,646

Basic Research Tide Gauge Review Statistical Analyses

19,800

2004 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR Cost

Inishboffin, County Galway

Emergency Work

144,932.87

Laytown, Co Meath

Laytown Study

30,000

Drogheda, County Louth

Erosion of R167

28,986

Bellurgan, County Louth

Erosion (Road)

8,226.34

Cooley, County Louth

Replacement of rock armour

43,873.50

Kilfenora, County Kerry

Revetment Works

117,292.49

Baile an Rannaig, County Kerry

Provision of rock armour

88,090.30

Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown CC

Coastal Survey

19,239

Corbawn Lane, County Dublin

Contract documents, etc.

30,855

Warren, County Cork

Coast Protection Works

142,848.42

Youghal, County Cork

Phase 1

379,458.88

Helvick Pier, Waterford

Emergency Works & Diving Survey

70,092.76

Courtown, County Wexford

Design of Breakwaters, etc.

368,204.08

Curracloe, County Wexford

Dune Protection

31,030.92

Greystones, Co Wicklow

Coast Protection Site Investigation

52,500

Coast Protection

Strategy Study

174,220.62

GIS System

Maintenance & Customisation

31,389.95

Wave Buoy

Maintenance & Deployment

45,188.39

Beach Monitoring

Monitoring of nourished beach at Bray

16,992.27

Tide Gauge

Installation of gauge for monitoring mean sea level

11,335.64

Coastal Video Survey

Video Survey of national coastline

30,991.50

Rosslare, County Wexford

Maintenance

83,198.63

2005 Coast Protection Programme

Location

Project

DCMNR Cost 2005

Donegal

Curransport, Meenlaragh

Protection works

52,500.00

Gweebarra Bends

Protection to Sea Wall

30,000.00

Inver Village

Extension to protection wall

52,500.00

Lagg

Beach Protection works

45,000.00

Moville

Green amenity area and path

4,500.00

Rosbeg

Protection works

15,000.00

Rye, Rathmullen

Protection works

105,000.00

*Aranmore

Protection works

31,875.00

*Maghery

Protection works

37,500.00

*Muckross

Protection works

9,375.00

Louth

Annagassan

Strand Road

28,377.27

Salterstown

Road Protection works

48,193.50

Port Beach

Study

11,253.00

Mayo

Bertra Beach, Westport

Protection Works

75,000.00

Sligo

Mullaghmore

Dune Management Scheme

11,340.75

Rathlee

Coast Protection Works

31,352.88

Galway

Inishboffin

Road protection Works, Design, Tenders, etc;

108,280.47

*Inishboffin

Road Protection Works

75,000.00

Cork

Gyleen

Village Protection Works

148,553.90

Youghal

Phase 1 completion

232,892.50

Clare

Ross/Kilbaha

Rock gabions & Rock revetment

88,987.50

Carrigaholt

Road Protection Works

54,232.50

Kerry

Killelan Caherciveen

Road Protection Works

15,000.00

Baile an Rannaig

Provision of rock armour

1,968.88

*Reen Ballinskelligs

Protection works

7,500.00

Maherees

Road Protection Works

74,821.48

Kilfenora

Revetment Works

21,100.12

Dublin City Council

Merrion Gates

Provide banking/ramping to seal opening

36,386.09

Clontarf Promenade

Flood Defences Detailed Design

30,219.75

Spencer Dock

Sea Surge Defence Barrier

120,894.16

Dún-Laoghaire Rathdown

Killiney

Repairs to Beach Gabions

109,275.00

Corbawn/Shankill

Repairs to Beach Access

29,947.50

Waterford

Bunmahon

Protection Works/Scheme Design

17,825.77

Cunnigar, Dungarvan

Protection Scheme/Design

69,493.58

Wexford

Cahore

Continuation of Revetment works

16,616.87

Kilpatrick

Soft engineering Works to Beach

15,271.43

Rosslare

Soft Engineering Works to Beach

10,118.96

Wicklow

Arklow

South Beach

44,356.15

Bray to Greystones

Cliff path works

69,665.25

Bray

Promenade flood prevention wall at Bray

55,500.00

General

Coastal Protection

Strategy Study

132,816.27

GIS System

Customisation, maintenance and training

18,929.16

Wave Buoys

Maintenance and Deployment

8,556.06

Beach Monitoring

Monitoring of nourished beach at Bray, County Wicklow

4,646.40

Tide Gauge

Installation of gauge for monitoring mean sea level

60,728.74

Detailed survey

of selected coastal areas

41,881.85

Rosslare

Maintenance

14,832.08

Miscellaneous

5,133.26

Salmon Management Report.

Michael Ring

Question:

112 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if the salmon commission has finished its report; when this report will be published; if the report was adopted by the full committee; if there was a vote on same; and the breakdown on the vote with regards to whether it was unanimous, any abstentions or anybody who did not vote on it. [9829/06]

The National Salmon Commission met on 27 February 2006 to give final consideration to the conservation measures for both the commercial and angling sectors for the 2006-07 fishing season. The chairman submitted the report of the commission to me by letter of 28 February 2006. He has advised that the advice and recommendations of the commission is based on a majority decision arising from a vote of nine in favour, eight against and two abstentions.

It is my intention to publish the recommendations of the National Salmon Commission, together with the advice I have received from the standing scientific committee of the commission and the advice tendered by the fisheries managers, in the coming weeks when I publish my proposed amendments to the wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme. This will afford all interested parties an opportunity to consider the advices prior to the introduction of the regulations in April 2006.

Legislative Programme.

Michael Lowry

Question:

113 Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if correspondence has been received by his Department (details supplied); his views on the contents of this letter; if the second phase of the review mentioned in same will be undertaken prior to the introduction of legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9830/06]

The Deputy will be aware that the views of the chairpersons of the regional fisheries board were passed to this Department in mid-February. I am currently considering the views expressed in this correspondence and hope to be in a position to respond in the not too distant future.

The current intention is to implement phase one and the Government has authorised the drafting of a Bill to establish the new national inland fisheries authority and regional advisory boards. The Department is working in close consultation with the national fisheries management executive in designing this new legislation and it is hoped to have it enacted this year. Publication will be dependent on the complexity of the legislation required and competing priorities on the Oireachtas's legislative programme for 2006. The Government also decided that the consultants should be re-engaged in 2006 to identify in more detail the structures, resources, funding and policy approaches needed to implement the further restructuring of the sector. This process will involve full, transparent, comprehensive and patient consultations with all of the stakeholders during which the principles and structures to deliver the new model will be fleshed out.

It is my firm belief that the policy adopted will allow the sector to reach its full potential through more coherent and consistent policy making and resource allocation and use and will give the whole range of stakeholders the opportunity to be central to the development, promotion and protection of the inland fisheries resource.

Fishing Vessel Licences.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

114 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of licences which have been issued in regard to razor shell fishing in the sea off Portmarnock, Baldoyle and Howth beaches; the locations prescribed in these licences; if the method of fishing licensed is indicated; if it includes dredging; and his Department’s policies and controls in relation to razor shell fishing. [9894/06]

The licensing authority for sea fishing boats has informed me that sea fishing boat licences that permit the fishing for razor clams are not area or fishing method specific and that all licensed and registered vessels in the polyvalent general and specific segments are entitled to fish for this species and many others.

As part of the work of the molluscan species advisory group, established under the shellfish management framework and which includes a representative of the razor clam fishermen, a razor clam local advisory committee is to be established in the near future. This will be facilitated by BIM and will seek to develop a sustainable management framework for the fishery.

Harvesting of razor shells is subject to legislative controls and the areas in which such harvesting can take place is classified by ministerial regulations every six months following consideration of the results of an ongoing sampling programme. A system of gatherers dockets is also implemented whereby important information is collected on the fishery in such aspects as the precise location and date of harvesting, the quantities involved and the destination of the harvested razor shells. I also wish to inform the Deputy that the Department's inspectorate staff carries out periodic inspections of fishing activity in this area to ensure that harvesting activities are being undertaken in accordance with the prevailing regulations.

Salmon Management Report.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

115 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources when a decision will be made on the recommendations of the National Salmon Commission regarding commercial drift net salmon fishing (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9926/06]

The National Salmon Commission met on 27 February 2006 to give final consideration to the conservation measures for both the commercial and angling sectors for the 2006-07 fishing season. The chairman submitted the report of the commission to me by letter on 28 February 2006. A decision needs to be made shortly to enable me to publish any proposed amendments to the wild salmon and sea trout tagging scheme. This will afford all interested parties an opportunity to consider the advice prior to the introduction of the regulations in April 2006.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

116 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9932/06]

I will represent the Government in Seattle, Washington, during St. Patrick's week. I will be availing of the excellent opportunities to promote Ireland while in the US by advancing Ireland's economic interests, meeting with influential political representatives and the broad Irish community and engaging in events to showcase Irish culture. While in the US, I will meet with various business, political and Government representatives to exchange views on matters relating to energy and communications policy and other issues of mutual interest.

I have set out a demanding work schedule for the visit to Seattle with a series of business meetings with a range of prominent companies including, among many others, Microsoft, Palm Treo, Verizon, Logitel Corporation, Western Wireless, Speakeasy, Amazon and Starbucks. My itinerary also includes meetings with Senator Erik Poulsen, Senator Lloyd Levine, Senator Martha Escutia, Assemblyman Guy Houston and the Seattle Irish Immigrants Support Group.

I also look forward to meeting the broad Irish community and their representatives through my involvement in the St. Patrick's Day festivities, including the official parade, the Friends of St. Patrick Dinner and the St. Patrick's Day Mass.

Fisheries Protection.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

117 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his proposals to introduce a voluntary buy-out scheme for commercial drift net salmon fishermen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10008/06]

To date, the Government has consistently ruled out buy-out as an effective means of achieving the restoration of salmon stocks. Instead, it has, since 2002, promoted the application of quotas on commercial fishing and bag limits on angling as the best instrument available to achieve catch reductions.

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Communications, Marine and Natural Resources has advised that any compensatory schemes should largely be funded by those stakeholders who would be the main economic beneficiaries of more salmon being free to return to the rivers. I draw the Deputy's attention to the committee's comment that "public moneys spent must have, as a primary aim, ensuring the survival of the salmon species and that this precept must be regarded as more important than any economic gain to any sector that may accrue".

It is clear that future policy must be designed to ensure the survival of the species, while balancing the interests of various stakeholders in regard to the quantum of catch that appears to be possible within the independent scientific advice and taking account of the detail of that advice in respect of location and types of fishing. I sound a note of caution, however, about any possible scheme designed to address the financial hardship associated with compliance with the scientific advice. I am advised there is no legal requirement to introduce any compensation scheme in the event of a curtailment of fishing effort on conservation grounds in accordance with the Fisheries Acts. In that context, expectations of high levels of monetary compensation are unrealistic. Similarly, and in consideration of equity in the matter, some meaningful contribution would be expected from the economic beneficiaries of a reduction in commercial fishing, whether that is delivered in cash or in kind.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

118 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources if he has knowledge or evidence of subversive involvement in salmon poaching; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10009/06]

I have no knowledge of subversive involvement in salmon poaching. If the regional fisheries boards, which are responsible for the protection of these fisheries, had such knowledge and were unable to deal with the matter themselves, I would expect it to be brought to the attention of the Garda Síochána.

Human Rights Issues.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

119 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the steps the Government intends to take in response to the Council of Europe’s recommendation published in the week commencing 27 February 2006 calling for states to introduce tougher controls to ensure they can check whether aircraft passing through their territory are being used for illegal activity. [9999/06]

On 1 March 2006, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Terry Davis, published a report containing his preliminary analysis — as distinct from specific recommendations — of the 46 replies he received from member states in response to his questionnaire on the possible occurrence of the "unacknowledged deprivation of liberty" in those states. The Government's reply to this questionnaire was made public following its submission on 20 February 2006, and is available on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs, atwww.dfa.ie.

I have already welcomed publication of the Secretary General's analysis. From an Irish perspective, it is particularly satisfying that ours was one of a minority of only 13 replies he adjudged to be sufficiently comprehensive not to require additional clarification. This report makes clear that Ireland's approach to the issues involved is very much in line with that of other states.

The Secretary General has identified in general terms some issues which he believes require further attention but, as I have indicated above, has made no particular recommendations. He has, however, indicated that he intends to make more specific proposals to the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in due course. In conjunction with our partners, the Government awaits these proposals and will examine them carefully once they are made.

Presidential Visit.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

120 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the protocol for receiving visits from foreign heads of State; if this protocol was followed in the case of the recent visit by US President Mr. George Bush to Shannon Airport; and when he or his Department was notified that the US President intended to disembark from Airforce One and meet US troops in Shannon Airport. [9854/06]

There are a number of protocols which are followed in relation to State and official visits to Ireland by foreign Heads of State. However, it should be noted that President Bush was not in Ireland on a State or official visit. As I have said in reply to a question earlier in the week, permission for President Bush's aircraft to land was granted by my Department in accordance with the normal procedures.

President Bush's meeting with US military personnel at the airport appears to have been a spontaneous act. Such personnel were, of course, in transit as part of a multinational force authorised by the United Nations Security Council. Permission for this meeting was not required.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

121 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9933/06]

My programme is being finalised. However, I will represent the Government at promotional St. Patrick's Day events in Dallas before accompanying the Taoiseach to Washington for the traditional ceremonies at the White House and on Capitol Hill. This special opportunity, unique to Ireland, for direct and detailed dialogue with the President of the United States and his Administration, and also key players on Capitol Hill, is exceptionally valued by the Government. I expect that the discussions will cover some key international issues, as well as bilateral issues of mutual interest such as the peace process and immigration reform.

I also welcome the opportunity to promote Ireland in Texas during the St. Patrick's Day period. My programme includes attendance at Irish community events, an American Ireland Fund breakfast and the Dallas St. Patrick's Day Parade. In addition, I will have the opportunity to meet with senior business representatives and address a lunch event hosted by the Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

UN Resolutions.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

122 Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will use this Government’s good offices with the US Administration to encourage the US to approve the draft resolution for a new United Nations human rights council presented by the president of the General Assembly on 23 February 2006. [9952/06]

As the Deputy is aware, the negotiations on the draft resolution establishing the human rights council are still ongoing in New York. The European Union has issued a statement on the text indicating that the draft resolution is acceptable to the Union, even if it does not contain all that we had hoped for. The statement also supports the President of the General Assembly's efforts to secure the broadest possible backing for the early establishment of the human rights council. Ireland played an active role at an EU level in securing support for the text.

The United States has indicated that it wishes to see certain changes to the draft resolution before it can support it. While the EU understands the thinking of the United States, we have grave doubts about whether such changes are achievable. Against that background, there have been ongoing discussions between the European Union and the United States both in Washington and in New York to see if the United States might be prepared to modify its position.

A human rights council established on the basis of this draft resolution would represent a marked improvement on the current Commission on Human Rights. In addition to important new elements, positive features of the Commission on Human Rights — such as effective access for civil society and the network of special procedures — would be maintained.

In light of this, Ireland is committed to supporting the text produced by the President of the General Assembly and will continue to work for its early adoption. I will take advantage of any opportunity which may arise during my visit to the United States next week to set out our position.

Emigrant Support Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

123 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will use his influence with the US authorities with a view to regularisation of the undocumented Irish in the US; if he will seek a concession with a view to an amnesty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10000/06]

As the Deputy will be aware, the resolution of the status of the undocumented Irish in the United States has a very high priority for the Government.

In pursuit of this priority, the coming St. Patrick's Day period provides a particularly valuable opportunity for the Taoiseach and myself to discuss all aspects of the situation with the President, with his Administration and with leading figures in Congress, and to seek to advance the agenda in every way possible. However, and as Deputies from different sides of the House will have learned at first hand from visits to Washington, the question of an amnesty is simply not on the legislative agenda in Congress at this time.

Michael Ring

Question:

124 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will meet a deputation of undocumented Irish people living in America on his forthcoming visit for St. Patrick’s Day. [10007/06]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to his question on this issue last Tuesday which was as follows. The programme for the St. Patrick's Day period in Washington for the Taoiseach and myself is now being finalised. We both would hope to meet the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, which is actively representing the interests of the undocumented, during our visit.

In my reply of 28 February to the Deputy's question, I emphasised that a particular priority of the Taoiseach's and my visit to Washington over the St. Patrick's Day period would be to convey to President Bush and his Administration, and to key players in Congress, the Government's strong support for measures to address the position of our undocumented. I am certain that our undocumented citizens would share this priority.

I am, as I likewise conveyed in my reply of 28 February, acutely aware of the concerns of the undocumented, not least from my own visits to the United States. These concerns are also conveyed through regular reports from the embassy and consulates, including of meetings with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, ILIR. I have been very happy to make a grant of €30,000 available to the ILIR, which is actively representing the interests of our undocumented.

I very much hope to meet personally with the ILIR during my visit to Washington. In addition to my earlier reply, I take it that this envisaged meeting with the ILIR subsumes the sense of the Deputy's question.

Sports Capital Programme.

Jerry Cowley

Question:

125 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the action his Department intends to take in relation to the sports capital grant application submitted by a club (details supplied) in County Mayo; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this club which was established in 1957 is the only dedicated hurling club in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9827/06]

The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, allocates funding to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The programme is advertised on an annual basis.

Applications for funding under the 2006 programme were invited through advertisements in the press on 27 and 28 November last. The closing date for receipt of applications was 20 January 2006. All applications received before the deadline, including one from the organisation in question, are currently being evaluated against the programme's assessment criteria, which are outlined in the guidelines, terms and conditions of the programme. I intend to announce the grant allocations for the programme as soon as possible after the assessment process has been completed.

Bernard Allen

Question:

126 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when a decision will be made on the application made under the sports capital programme 2006 by an association (details supplied) in view of the fact that the association is unable to proceed with its capital project due to a shortfall in funding. [9845/06]

The national lottery-funded sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, allocates funding to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The programme is advertised on an annual basis.

Applications for funding under the 2006 programme were invited through advertisements in the press on 27 and 28 November last. The closing date for receipt of applications was 20 January 2006. All applications received before the deadline, including one from the organisation in question, are currently being evaluated against the programme's assessment criteria, which are outlined in the guidelines, terms and conditions of the programme. I intend to announce the grant allocations for the programme as soon as possible after the assessment process has been completed.

Sport and Recreational Development.

Richard Bruton

Question:

127 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the option of making the new stadium in Tallaght open to all football and other codes; and the reason this was not the option chosen. [9849/06]

I welcome the recent decision taken by South Dublin County Council to complete the stadium at Tallaght to the specification originally planned. While facilitating Eircom league football is a priority for the Tallaght stadium, this would not preclude usage of the facilities at Tallaght for other sports whose organisers deem the facility to be suitable. The completed stadium will remain in the control of South Dublin County Council and, therefore, the management and additional usage of the stadium and any ancillary facilities will be a matter for the council to decide.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

128 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9934/06]

St. Patrick's Day has traditionally signalled the start of the tourism season in Ireland. With the international tourism marketplace becoming increasingly competitive and as a result of continuing global uncertainty, 2006 will prove to be another challenging year for Irish tourism and we will need to avail of all opportunities offered to us to build on the successes of recent years. The international celebration of St. Patrick is a unique opportunity to ensure that Ireland is presented as a top class tourist destination to a wide and receptive audience. The key message in Tourism Ireland's marketing programme this year is "Discover your very own Ireland".

This year, the Government will be represented in most of our key tourism markets and other countries with potential for future growth. In that context, I have urged all Government representatives to use any opportunity available during the course of their visits to promote tourism to the island of Ireland. Towards this aim, I have provided all Ministers travelling with comprehensive briefing packs on tourism, including speaking points and relevant background material on the specific markets they are visiting, which will enable them to exploit the tourism promotional opportunities these visits inevitably present.

For my part, I will travel to Britain — our largest tourism market. In Manchester, I will attend the Council of Irish County Associations' dinner and other traditional St. Patrick's Day events in the city, including Mass at the Irish World Heritage Centre and the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Consumer Information.

Simon Coveney

Question:

129 Mr. Coveney asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps the Government is taking to ensure that consumers can have access to information (details supplied). [9851/06]

Under consumer legislation the application of a description to a product as to its place of manufacture, production, processing, etc., is called a trade description under section 2 (1)(b) of the Consumer Information Act 1978. It is an offence to apply a false trade description to a product. However, there is no compulsion on suppliers to provide information on the origin of their products.

The EU Commission, however, published a draft Council regulation in December 2005 proposing the introduction of an origin marking regime to be introduced for certain specific products including textiles, clothing and shoes coming from outside the EU. Discussions are at an early stage on this proposal and are within the framework of the Article 133 committee, the common commercial policy. The common commercial policy covers trade rather than consumer matters.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

130 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9935/06]

I have no plans to travel abroad for the St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

131 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs his policy in regard to the extension of free travel on buses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9954/06]

The free travel scheme is available to all people living in the State aged 66 years, or over, and to all carers in receipt of carer's allowance and to carers of people in receipt of constant attendance or prescribed relative's allowance. It is also available to certain people with disabilities and people who are in receipt of certain welfare type payments.

The scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Luas, Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as services provided by over 80 private transport operators. The vast majority of private contractors providing services under the scheme operate in rural areas. My Department is always willing to consider further applications from licensed private transport operators who may wish to participate in the free travel scheme.

The most recent development in the free travel scheme relates to the time restrictions which have been a feature of the free travel scheme since its inception. From next Monday the morning restriction on free travel will be reduced by 45 minutes — 9.45 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. as the start of reform in this area. Time restrictions do not apply on any transport services in the case of people with learning disabilities, people attending long-term rehabilitation courses or certain work experience programmes and certain other people with disabilities or visual impairment. These people are issued with an unrestricted free travel pass which enables them to travel during the normally restricted travel times. There are no peak time travel restrictions on Luas, DART, suburban rail services, and on services provided by private transport operators in other parts of the country.

I am continuing to keep this issue under review and to work towards the complete abolition of the time restrictions.

Denis Naughten

Question:

132 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs his plans to increase the fuel allowance, especially for elderly people with oil fired central heating who face large lump sum bills; if supplementary welfare allowance can be utilised for such purposes or for elderly people who wish to install storage heaters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9880/06]

The aim of the national fuel scheme is to assist householders on long-term social welfare or health service executive payments with meeting the cost of their additional heating needs during the winter season. Fuel allowances are paid for 29 weeks from end-September to mid-April. The allowance represents a contribution towards a person's normal heating expenses. In addition, many of the households concerned qualify for electricity or gas allowances. Some 264,400 customers — 145,800 with basic fuel allowance and 118,600 with smokeless fuel supplement — will benefit in 2006 at an estimated cost of €125.1 million.

Budget 2006 provided for an increase in the rate of fuel allowance of €5.00 from €9.00 to €14.00, €17.90 in designated smokeless areas. This is an increase of between 38% and 55%. The scheme has been improved in recent budgets. The means test has been eased and the duration of payment increased from 26 weeks to 29 weeks.

In addition to the fuel allowance, over 320,000 pensioner and other households qualify for electricity or gas allowances through the household benefits package, payable towards their heating, light and cooking costs throughout the year, at an overall cost of €109 million in 2005. As currently structured, these allowances are linked to unit energy consumption, so that these people are protected against unit price increases in electricity or gas.

There is also a facility available through the supplementary welfare allowance scheme to assist people in certain circumstances that have special heating needs. If a person has an exceptional heating cost by virtue of a particular infirmity or medical condition which he or she is unable to meet out of household income, it is open to him or her to apply to the local community welfare officer for a special heating supplement under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme. However, the supplementary welfare allowance scheme is not intended to meet ongoing fuel costs or storage heater costs.

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government administers a scheme of special housing aid for the elderly. The scope of this scheme includes the provision of suitable heating systems. Applications for this special housing aid can be made through the community care department of the Health Service Executive.

Denis Naughten

Question:

133 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the rates for the dietary allowance; his plans to review this in view of the high cost of specialist foods; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9884/06]

Diet supplements are provided through the supplementary welfare allowance scheme which is administered on my behalf by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive.

Any person who is receiving a social welfare or health service executive payment, who has been prescribed a special diet as a result of a specified medical condition and who is unable to provide for his or her food needs from within his or her own resources, may qualify for a diet supplement under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

With effect from 1 January 2004 the diet supplement scheme was restructured to take account of increases in both social welfare payment rates and the rate of food inflation since 1996.

In the case of new applicants for diet supplement the amount of supplement payable is based on increased up-to-date diet costs, €44 for lower cost diets or €57 for higher cost diets, less one third of the applicant's income or one sixth of the joint income in the case of a couple. The assessment of individual entitlements takes account of the annual increases in primary social welfare rates since 2004.

As diet supplements are subject to a means test, the amount payable in any individual case depends on the applicant's income and other aspects of the household's circumstances as well on the type of diet that has been prescribed. For example, in the case of a single person on disability allowance with no other income, who has been prescribed a high cost diet, the amount payable at present is €12.07 per week. The most typical payments are in the range €5.00 to €7.99 per week which account for 42.5% of all payments.

Because increases in the social welfare payment rates were higher than food price inflation since 1996, the shortfall to be met by the diet supplement is less than it was in the past. However, as a special arrangement, people who were in receipt of a diet supplement prior to the introduction of the revised regulations on 1 January 2004 continue to receive their existing rate of supplement until such time as there is a change in their circumstances that would warrant a review of their cases.

In order to inform a re-appraisal of the scheme, my Department commissioned a study by an expert from the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

The study examined the special diets prescribed in legislation for which assistance is available through the existing diet supplement scheme. The study also considered the appropriate level of assistance required to cater for any additional costs involved in providing for necessary special diets, relative to the cost of a normal healthy eating diet. This report was formally presented to me in January 2006.

My Department is finalising a revised scheme which will take account of the findings and recommendations of the study and I would hope to be in a position in the near future to introduce regulations to provide for this. Pending finalisation of the revised scheme, diet supplements continue to be provided for existing recipients and new applicants as heretofore.

Michael Ring

Question:

134 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved and awarded the respite care grant. [9903/06]

The application for a respite care grant from the person to whom the Deputy refers was successful. The payment issued on 28 February 2006.

Michael Ring

Question:

135 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people on a county basis who applied for unemployment assistance; the number of these who were refused on the basis that they were not genuinely seeking work. [9907/06]

In order to be entitled to unemployment benefit, UB, or unemployment assistance, UA, social welfare legislation provides that, among other conditions, a person must satisfy the condition of genuinely seeking work.

A table showing the number of customers who made an application for unemployment assistance in 2005 together with those who were disallowed as not genuinely seeking work is set out in the following table.

A deciding officer will take a number of factors into account in deciding whether a customer is genuinely seeking work. Any steps that a person has taken to secure employment will be taken into consideration, provided they offer a reasonable chance of the person getting employment. The steps that are expected to be taken, to seek work will vary from person to person and seasonal factors may also be a consideration. In determining what are reasonable steps, the deciding officer considers the nature and conditions of the employment sought and the individual circumstances of the persons concerned, including their level of skills and-or qualifications for the employment in question having regard to the state of the labour market and existing labour market opportunities.

Any person who fails to satisfy the deciding officer that he or she is genuinely seeking work is not entitled to an unemployment payment. Where a person is dissatisfied with a decision made by a deciding officer he or she may appeal this decision to the social welfare appeals office.

The details requested by the Deputy have been compiled from data that is maintained on a local office catchment area basis and these do not correspond exactly with county boundaries.

UA Applications

County

2005

Not GSW

Carlow

1,340

33

Cavan

1,133

11

Clare

2,274

24

Cork

9,969

99

Donegal

5,674

41

Dublin

24,797

292

Galway

5,730

37

Kerry

3,199

20

Kildare

2,591

15

Kilkenny

1,716

10

Laois

1,022

13

Leitrim

584

7

Limerick

4,320

52

Longford

871

0

Louth

3,580

18

Mayo

2,943

80

Meath

2,255

7

Monaghan

1,210

38

Offaly

1,482

2

Roscommon

919

11

Sligo

1,494

3

Tipperary

3,434

27

Waterford

3,194

16

Westmeath

1,893

4

Wexford

3,256

36

Wicklow

2,161

33

Total

93,041

930

Note: “UA Applications” refers to unemployment assistance claims that were registered in the year 2005. “Not GSW” refers to decisions that were finalised in 2005 on claims registered in 2005.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

136 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9936/06]

I will be representing the Government in Boston at a number of engagements, events and festivities to celebrate and mark St. Patrick's Day in the USA.

My itinerary includes an address that will focus on Ireland's knowledge economy to the Irish Association at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an address at a breakfast to mark the expansion of the operations of the Irish software company — Candidate Manager. I will also speak at an Irish-American partnership breakfast, and address an Ireland Chamber of Commerce, ICCUSA, St. Patrick's Day brunch.

I will also be meeting Irish immigration organisations and support groups located in the Boston area and attending the formal opening of a major new exhibition at the JFK Library on President Kennedy's visit to Ireland in June 1963.

State Property.

Dan Boyle

Question:

137 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Transport if alternative premises are to be sourced for the Crosshaven unit of the Irish Coast Guard, due to the impending sale by the Office of Public Works of the site from which the unit currently operates. [9950/06]

The Office of Public Works, OPW, is currently engaged in the sale of property surplus to State requirements at the Coast Guard Cottages premises in Crosshaven, County Cork. As part of State requirements, the OPW is reserving a site for a modern station house for the Crosshaven coastal unit on the property.

Driving Tests.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

138 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport, further to his recent public comments, his plans to require qualified drivers sit a re-test for renewal of their driving licence; the timescale he is working to on this proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9813/06]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

143 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his proposals for the re-testing of qualified drivers to include those with years of accident-free experience; and the details of such proposals and the rationale therefor. [9916/06]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138 and 143 together.

I refer the Deputies to my reply to Question No. 151 of 8 March 2006. I am keeping potential revision of licensing regulations generally under review. However, my priority is the elimination of the present backlog. In terms of existing qualified drivers re-sitting the test, my primary focus will be on the position in regard to drivers who have been disqualified, particularly as a result of drink driving.

Public Transport.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

139 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if he will ensure agencies under his remit such as the National Roads Authority, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are aware of and implement national policy on facilitating and promoting public transport and that where new roads require the relocation of bus stops, such stops are located to encourage increased public transport use, and to remind him that this is a policy issue for which he must take responsibility. [9852/06]

All the agencies under the aegis of my Department are fully aware of their commitments to the promotion of public transport, with particular reference to the implementation of Transport 21.

The powers to determine the locations for the provision of bus stops is vested in the Garda Commissioner under section 85 of the Road Traffic Act 1961. Under that section, the Commissioner may issue a direction to a bus operator identifying the specific location of bus stops and termini in respect of any bus route and, in that context, may determine that certain stops may only be used for passengers boarding or leaving buses. I understand the Garda engages in a consultation process with both the local authority and the bus service provider before issuing a direction under section 85. The NRA, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus are aware of these statutory provisions.

National Car Test.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

140 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport further to Question No. 179 of 2 March 2006, in relation to the supervision services contractor engaged by his Department to oversee the NCTS contract, if minimum time allocations are set for each of the three parts of the test; if records are available to show actual time spent on each part; and if he will request an examination of this and make that information available to Dáil Éireann. [9878/06]

The Department of Transport does not set minimum time allocations for the three parts of the test.

Harbours and Piers.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

141 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport the proposed plans and options available to Kinsale Harbour Commissioners in relation to its future; the funding which will be made available towards its development plans to Adams Quay and otherwise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9910/06]

Responsibility for Kinsale Harbour has transferred from the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources to the Department of Transport with effect from 1 January 2006.

The Government's ports policy statement, which was launched in January 2005, states that the continued operation of many of the regional harbours under the outdated provisions of the Harbours Act 1946 is unsustainable on the grounds of good governance. The policy statement reiterated the view that these harbours would best achieve their potential through their transfer to local authority ownership or, where this is not possible, sale to the private sector would be considered. In harbours where significant commercial traffic exists consideration will be given to bringing them under the control of a port company.

The Department is working with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to advance the implementation of the ports policy statement with regard to the transfer of the designated regional harbours to their respective local authorities, where appropriate, and to proceed individually in conjunction with the relevant local authorities and harbour authorities, having regard to local requirements in each case.

Kinsale Harbour is a candidate for transfer to local authority control. As the harbour is situated in the functional area of Cork County Council, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government requested the council to undertake an overall assessment of the potential of the harbour for transfer. This report has been received and is currently being assessed.

Adams Quay is a fishery facility within Kinsale Harbour. The question of any funding for the development of Adams Quay would be a matter for the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, through the fishery harbour development programme.

Driving Tests.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

142 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport the number of people on the waiting list for driving tests; and the average delay in obtaining same. [9911/06]

At 27 February 2006, 130,500 people were on the waiting list for a driving test. The average waiting time for a driving test is 32 weeks.

Question No. 143 answered with QuestionNo. 138.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

144 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Transport if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9937/06]

In line with the Government decision this week, I will be travelling to New York for the St. Patrick's Day festivities over the day period 15 to 17 March.

The speaking functions I will be attending include the Jerry McCabe Fellowship breakfast at John Jay College, the official opening of the second phase of the New York Irish Center in Long Island City, the Shannon Airport-west of Ireland Trade and tourism breakfast at the Irish Consulate, the Ireland-US Council. the Top 100 event at Central Park South, the Co-operation Ireland dinner, The New York Mayor's Patrick's Day breakfast at Gracie Mansion, mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Governor's Patrick's Day event, the annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Fifth Avenue and a function with the Knights of St. Patrick. In addition a number of press and radio opportunities are scheduled over the course of the three days. I will be accompanied by both my private secretary and press officer on these engagements

Dublin Port Tunnel.

Finian McGrath

Question:

145 Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Transport the reason for 30 workers being injured recently; if he is satisfied with the water in the port tunnel as it has a pH reading of over 10; and if he will make a statement on safety issues on this transport project. [9948/06]

The planning, design and implementation of national road improvement projects, including the Dublin Port tunnel, is a matter for the National Roads Authority and the local authorities concerned. As regards the issues raised by the Deputy, these are day-to-day matters for Dublin City Council and not for me to report on.

State Airports.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

146 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Transport his policy in relation to the return or disposal of items confiscated by airport security personnel at boarding checkpoints at the State’s airports; the accounting system in place for confiscated items; the retrieval-reclaim procedures in place for confiscated items; if a proceeds fund exists; if so, its value and the way in which it is disbursed and to whom; the statistics available to him on the quantity and value of confiscated items; and if he will provide any further information available to him on what happens to confiscated items. [9953/06]

The disposal or return of items confiscated by airport security personnel during security screening at the State airports is a day-to-day operational matter for the relevant airport authority and I have no function in this matter.

Public Transport.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

147 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Transport the consideration which has been given to passenger issues in a multi-provider public bus service environment regarding timetabling, bus stop, bus terminus provision and integrated ticketing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10001/06]

The Department of Transport has adopted a set of guiding principles on integrated transport which inform its approach to policy and project developments across the Department. The guiding principles are set out in the Department's statement of strategy 2005-07.

There is also a major emphasis on integration in the Transport 21 investment programme. There is a particular focus on the development of an integrated multi-modal public transport system in the greater Dublin area, with attention being paid to the various facets of integration, including service integration, interchange, park and ride, ticketing and information.

As regards the specific projects to which the Deputy refers, Bus Éireann is particularly conscious of timetabling its services to link to rail services and to provide integrated services across the country.

The approval of bus stops is a matter for local authorities who consult with operators and the Garda Síochána and the achievement of integration as far as possible at the local level is one of the considerations taken into account.

There is a significant degree of integration of ticketing at the present time. Integrated tickets are available for transfer between Luas, Dublin Bus and Irish Rail services and between Luas and some private operators. Separately, an integrated ticketing scheme using smart technology is being developed.

As we move more and more towards a multi-modal and multi-operator transport system, and developing legislation in that regard, I will be reviewing the extent to which current legal provisions support integration in such an environment. In this context, my mandate to the Dublin Transportation Authority establishment team asked it, when considering the remit of the proposed authority, to have regard to the delivery of an integrated system for the greater Dublin area. I expect to receive the team's report shortly.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

148 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if, further to the dormant accounts fund, an estimate has been made of the number of dormant accounts and the amount of money involved which relate to Irish emigrants who had opened bank accounts here but never returned to collect their money (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9927/06]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 913 on 25 January 2006 relating to Exchequer funding for vulnerable Irish communities abroad.

Under the Dormant Accounts Acts 2001 to 2005, information regarding those who opened accounts that have been deemed dormant accounts is maintained by the relevant financial institutions so that funds can be repatriated to these persons or their successors where possible.

It is a matter for Government to decide how moneys in the dormant accounts fund are to be disbursed in pursuit of broad objectives, and in accordance with procedures, as laid down in the legislation. The legislation does not specify that the address or status of the original account holders should be taken into account as criteria for disbursal. Accordingly, no estimate of the nature referred to by the Deputy has been made and there are no plans at present to do so.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

149 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9938/06]

I will be travelling to New Zealand for the St. Patrick's Day festivities. I will visit Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch, and my visit will focus on developing links with Irish community groups. I will participate in traditional St. Patrick's Day events, including the St. Patrick's Day festival parade and banquet in Auckland. I will also attend the Wellington Irish Society dinner and Hutt Valley Irish Society supper.

New Zealand is a small economy but, like Ireland's, one of the most open economies in the world. There is great potential to enhance economic ties between Ireland and New Zealand. Total trade with New Zealand in 2004 was valued at approximately €83 million. The year 2004 witnessed a 34% increase on the 2003 figures for visitors from New Zealand to Ireland, and there will be a significant economic and tourism focus to many of the events I will attend. I will also be looking at developments in rural tourism, as New Zealand is regarded as one of the premier destinations in this regard, as well as touching on New Zealand strategies in support of their minority language.

I include my draft schedule for this visit for the Deputy's information.

2006 St. Patrick's Festival Visit — New Zealand

Minister's Draft Itinerary

Friday 10 March

10.50Éamon O Cuív TD, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and his wife Áine Uí Chuív and Party arrive Auckland International Airport

Met by Honorary Consul General, Rodney HC Walshe and Vice Consul Darragh Walshe along with representative of Distinguished Visitors Division of Internal Affairs, Ross McLeod or Frances Reynolds

11.30Depart airport for hotel

PMRest

Saturday 11 March

11.30Depart hotel for St. Patrick's Festival Parade meeting point

12.00Participate in St. Patrick's Festival Parade

12.30Parade concludes and Music Festival commences at Aotea Square

13.00Join Mayor of Auckland City, His Worship Dick Hubbard in the opening of the St. Patrick's Music Festival at Aotea Square, draw a prize for tickets to the U2 concert the following week.

14.30Return to hotel

19.00Depart hotel

19.15Attend the St. Patrick's Festival Banquet. The Prime Minister Rt. Hon Helen Clark, or her Deputy will be in attendance. Also in attendance will be His Worship Garry Moore, Mayor of Christchurch, and four of Auckland Region's mayors; His Worship Dick Hubbard, Mayor of Auckland City, His Worship, Bob Harvey, Mayor of Waitakere City, His Worship Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau City and His Worship George Wood, Mayor of North Shore City along with Mike Lee, Chairman, Auckland Regional Council. Minister to respond to the Toast to St. Patrick proposed by the Prime Minister with a toast to "The Irish and the Friends of the Irish in New Zealand"

Midnight Conclusion of banquet, return to hotel

Sunday 12 March

09.30Depart hotel for Auckland Domestic Airport

10.45Domestic flight Tauranga

11.20Arrive Tauranga Airport and transported to Hotel

12.00Attend Irish Fair Day — details to be confirmed

15.00Transported to Hotel

17.30Mayoral Reception, His Worship Mayor Stuart Crosby

19.00Dinner at venue to be confirmed

22.00Return to hotel

Monday 13 March

09.00 Depart hotel for Tauranga Domestic Airport

10.15Domestic flight Wellington

11.30Arrive Wellington Airport, transported to hotel

12.30-14.00Transfer to the Maori Language Commission, Level 14, Investment Centre, Corner Featherston & Balance Streets, Wellington, for lunch meeting with the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Haami Piripi to discuss preservation and development of languages

14.15Walk to next meetings

14.30Minister Ó Cuív meets with Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Minister of the Community and Voluntary Sector — to be confirmed. (separate meeting)

15.30Minister returns to hotel

18.00Dinner at location to be confirmed

19.45Transported to the Wellington Irish Society Clubrooms for function hosted by the Wellington Irish Society

20.00Irish Society Function

22.00Return to Hotel

Tuesday 14 March

09.15Transfer to Beehive from hotel

09.30Hon. Damien O'Connor, Minister of Tourism at the Beehive, 5th Floor (5.3) to discuss New Zealand's experiences in visitor access to rural land and to sea and lake shore

10.30Transfer from Beehive to Hotel

13.00Lunch at a venue to be confirmed

13.45Transfer to Beehive for presentation to Parliament

14.00Presentation of Minister to Parliament to be confirmed

14.30Beehive tour

15.00Return to hotel

15.45Transfer to Beehive for meeting with Minister of Conservation, Housing and Ethnic Affairs

16.00Meeting with the Honourable Mr. Chris Carter, Minister for Conservation, Housing and Ethnic Affairs, at the Beehive

18.00Return to hotel

18.30Dinner at hotel

19.15Transported to the Hutt Valley Irish Society for Supper

20.00Hutt Valley Irish Society Supper at the Hutt Valley Irish Society Clubrooms

22.00Return to Hotel

Wednesday 15 March

09.15Depart hotel for Wellington Domestic Airport

10.20Domestic flight to Christchurch

11.15Arrive Christchurch Airport, transported to Hotel

17.00Transported to the Christchurch Irish Society for function attended by Mayor of Christchurch, His Worship Garry Moore

19.30Return to Hotel

20.00Dinner at location to be confirmed

Thursday 16 March

09.00Depart hotel for Christchurch Domestic Airport

10.30Domestic Flight Auckland

11.50Arrive Auckland Domestic Airport and transported to Hotel

PMWalkway site briefing — arranged by Auckland Tourism

Friday 17 March

06.30Transported to Auckland Harbour Bridge, Transit Services Area

07.00Climb Auckland Harbour Bridge to raise the Irish Flag

08.00Return to hotel

08.20TV Interview

09.00Transported to Claddagh Irish Bar, Newmarket to attend Starship Hospital Charity Breakfast

10.30Attend Youth Mass and Auckland Irish Society function followed by lunch

14.30Return to hotel

16.45Transfer to the Auckland Club

17.00Attend the Irish Consulate General cocktail reception to be held at the Auckland Club

19.00Transfer via hotel to attend Irish function

TBCReturn to Hotel

Saturday 18 March

AMRest

13.00Depart hotel for Auckland International Airport

15.30Delegation depart on International Flight

Grant Payments.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

150 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment under the single payment scheme will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9802/06]

My Department has no record of receiving a 2005 single payment application from the person named.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

151 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when payment under the single payment scheme will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9803/06]

The person named submitted an application under the single payment scheme on 12 May 2005. He also included an application to consolidate his entitlements under the scheme. Following an initial examination of the consolidation application, it was noted that the person named declared 4.60 hectares of potatoes on his 2005 single payment application. In accordance with Article 51 of Council Regulation (EC) No. 1782/2003, lands used for the production of potatoes and-or fruit-vegetables declared by applicants under the single payment scheme are not eligible to benefit from payment but these hectares must be included in the number of consolidated entitlements established for the applicant. My Department issued a letter to the person named on 7 March 2006 outlining the position and requesting that he indicate whether he wished to proceed or withdraw his consolidation application. Upon receipt of a reply from the person named, my Department will be in a position to complete processing of his application and arrange for payment to issue.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

152 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the reason a payment under the single farm payment scheme will not be made to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9826/06]

My Department has no record of receiving a 2005 single payment application from the person named.

Denis Naughten

Question:

153 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon has received a REP scheme payment; if all outstanding issues have been resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9883/06]

Full payment issued to the person named on 30 January 2006.

Gerard Murphy

Question:

154 Mr. G. Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied); the single payment entitlements a person had; the amount a person will be receiving from her Department; when the moneys will be paid out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9886/06]

The person named submitted an application under the inheritance measure of the single payment scheme 2005. This application has been successfully processed and the entitlements have been transferred to the person named. The person named also submitted a private contract clause to transfer to another farmer by lease agreement 8.92 hectares and the corresponding amount of entitlements. This application has been successfully processed. The applicant is not entitled to benefit from the single payment in 2005, as she did not declare any lands on her application. An official from my Department has been in direct contact with the person named and explained the position to her.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

155 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food when a payment under the single payment scheme will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9909/06]

While an application under the 2005 single payment scheme was received from the person named on 9 May 2005, he also submitted an application under the inheritance measure of the single payment scheme. Some queries arose during the initial processing of the inheritance application and these have now been resolved. This transfer has been completed and payment will issue to the person named shortly.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

156 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if she will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location she will be visiting; the functions she will be attending; and the groups she will meet with. [9939/06]

I will visit Prague in the Czech Republic from 16 to 19 March where I will be the guest of honour at the ambassador's St. Patrick's Day reception for senior representatives from the business, trade and tourism and cultural sectors, and the Irish community. I will also participate in a number of Bord Bia sponsored events to market Irish products in the growing Czech market, including an in-store promotion, media presentation and a business lunch for key Czech agents and distributors. I will be guest of honour at the Czech-Irish Business Association St. Patrick's Day annual dinner on Saturday, 18 March. On Sunday, I will attend a St. Patrick's Day mass for members of the Irish community. In addition, I will hold bilateral talks with the Czech Minister for Agriculture on a range of issues, including WTO and CAP policy as well as with local authorities on matters of mutual interest. Irish exports to the Czech Republic grew by over 10% in 2004 and showed a year-on-year expansion of over 24% in the first half of 2005. There are already approximately 50 Irish companies operating in the Czech Republic.

Grant Payments.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

157 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if a person (details supplied) in County Wexford can appeal the single farm payment decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9955/06]

The 2002 area aid application of the person named was fully processed with a forage area determined for payment purposes of 24.15 hectares. All of the land was deemed to be owned by the herdowner. The statement of provisional entitlements, which issued to all farmers in 2004, provided for a review of the calculation of the entitlements, where the person concerned considered that the calculation did not accurately reflect the farming activity during the reference period. No such request was received from the person named.

Question No. 158 answered with QuestionNo. 22.
Question No. 159 answered with QuestionNo. 38.

Departmental Funding.

Jerry Cowley

Question:

160 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he intends to provide funding for the Fathers for Justice group in view of the fact that their website currently has 5,000 hits a month; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9834/06]

There is a provision of €50,000 in my Vote for 2006 to make a one-off grant available to the Separated and Unmarried Fathers of Ireland. There are no further moneys in my Department out of which funding can be made available to this group.

Garda Equipment.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

161 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will ensure the allocation of additional Garda mountain bikes to the parts of south Dublin where the population and area to be policed is expanding rapidly. [9843/06]

I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the assistant commissioner of the DMR is currently reviewing the deployment of mountain bikes in the DMR, including south Dublin stations, with a view to the expansion and establishment of new units. Garda management further states that arrangements are in place for training to be delivered nationally throughout 2006. The first delivery of mountain bikes for 2006 has been received and they will be deployed in the coming months to expand existing units and establish new units.

I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that as of 31 January 2006, 118 Garda mountain bikes form the Garda mountain bike fleet, 11 of which are attached to the training function. A total of 65 mountain bikes are allocated for operational duty in the Dublin Metropolitan Region, deployed as set out hereunder:

DMR South Central Division

Pearse Street

4

Kevin Street

3

Kilmainham

1

Donnybrook

2

DMR North Central Division

Store Street

6

Fitzgibbon Street

1

Mountjoy

1

Bridewell

2

DMR South Division

Tallaght

6

Terenure

2

DMR North Division

Raheny

2

Clontarf

3

Howth

2

Ballymun

2

Coolock

2

DMR East Division

Bray

3

Blackrock

2

Stepaside

1

Dundrum

1

Dún Laoghaire

2

DMR West Division

Blanchardstown

6

Ballyfermot

2

Clondalkin

2

Ronanstown

3

Finglas

2

Lucan

2

I am further informed that 229 Garda personnel allocated to the Dublin metropolitan region have been trained and equipped for mountain bike duties.

Asylum Support Services.

Jerry Cowley

Question:

162 Dr. Cowley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans for the town of Kiltimagh, County Mayo with regard to accommodation for asylum seekers; if the accommodation arrangements will be changed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9846/06]

The reception and integration agency, RIA, of my Department is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers and currently has a portfolio of 65 centres across the State for this purpose.

In March 2005, a total of 8,080 asylum seekers were accommodated by the RIA. Approximately 3,500 residents applied for leave to remain in the State under the Irish born children, IBC, measures announced on 17 December 2004. Almost all of these residents have now left the RIA accommodation and, as of 24 February 2006, 4,892 asylum seekers were resident in accommodation centres. Within a relatively short space of time, the numbers requiring accommodation have reduced and it is incumbent on the RIA to use the accommodation at its disposal in the most effective way and to provide the best value for money for the Department and the taxpayer. In addition to the exodus of families with IBC from RIA accommodation, the numbers and profile of persons seeking asylum have changed. The number of families seeking asylum in the State has dropped and RIA accommodation must reflect this reality. In order to address the reduction in numbers and the change in profile, the RIA embarked on a programme of downsizing of its accommodation portfolio. This is intended to bring supply and demand into balance and will include the re-classification of some of the accommodation centres in order to optimise usage and obtain value for money. This downsizing has included the closure of 15 centres with a combined capacity of 833 beds during 2005. To date in 2006, four centres with a combined capacity of approximately 270 beds have been closed and further closures and re-classifications are planned. Overall, the current downsizing has led to the closure of two accommodation centres in County Mayo. There are now only two centres remaining in County Mayo, one of which is in Kiltimagh.

In the case of the centre in Kiltimagh, the RIA considered it to be suitable for possible re-classification from family to single person accommodation. As part of the reclassification of this centre, the RIA intended to relocate its families to other centres where they could benefit from special facilities for children and young people including pre-school facilities. For a number of reasons, the RIA has agreed that the families with school-going children who currently reside at the centre will be allowed to remain there at least until the end of the current school year.

The centre consists of two buildings, the Railway Hotel and the annex, which is located across the road. The RIA has recently allocated nine single males to this building and a number of further placements will be made this week. Discussions have taken place with various groups such as Irish Rural Development, Le Chéile Support Group, Intercultural Ireland, Castlebar, and St. Aidan's National School and we understand that there is now a greater understanding of the proposed new arrangements and the reasons for these changes.

The RIA understands the degree of anxiety or unease that a local population may feel if a centre profile is changed from women, children and small babies to single persons. It is the RIA's experience that such feelings dissipate as the local population comes to know the individuals concerned and their practical experience of the centre operation allays their initial concerns. The RIA currently has in its accommodation portfolio 16 male only centres and no significant issues have arisen at these locations. In addition, the RIA has embarked on the re-classification of a portion of some of its larger family centres in order to accommodate single persons alongside families in counties Sligo, Meath and Monaghan.

Citizenship Applications.

Willie Penrose

Question:

163 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to ensure that the letter relating the decision by his Department to approve the application for a certificate of naturalisation by a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath is conveyed to that person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9870/06]

I informed the Deputy on 29 November that I had recently approved the application for a certificate of naturalisation by the person referred to and that a letter conveying my decision as well as the procedures which must be finalised before the certificate could issue would be sent to the person concerned within a week or so. Unfortunately the issue of this letter was overlooked in the citizenship section of my Department and the letter only issued in the last few days. I regret any inconvenience to the person concerned by this error and I can assure the Deputy and the person concerned that the finalisation of this matter will be afforded every priority.

Garda Recruitment.

Richard Bruton

Question:

164 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans to change the age limit of 35 for entry into the Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9876/06]

As part of the preparation for the Garda recruitment campaign in 2004, I asked the Garda Commissioner to review the eligibility criteria for entry to the Garda Síochána in so far as it related to the maximum age of entry to the Garda Síochána. This arose from the need to implement Directive 2000/78/EC, which,inter alia, prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of age.

In November 2004, on foot of recommendations from the Garda Commissioner on the matter, I increased the upper age limit for entry to the Garda Síochána from 26 to 35. This important change has extended the opportunity to many more people of a career in the Garda Síochána and increases the pool of talent available to the force on an ongoing basis. The change has already had a beneficial effect, with a significant percentage of recent recruits coming within the extended age range. There are no plans to make any further amendments to the age limit at this time.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

165 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will defer his proposals to deport a person (details supplied) in Dublin 2 to facilitate a surgical procedure scheduled in view of the fact that such a procedure will not be available in the person’s homeland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9896/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 17 May 2005 and claimed asylum. Her asylum claim was independently investigated by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, both of which concluded that she did not meet the criteria for recognition as a refugee.

The person concerned had her case considered under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, on the prohibition ofrefoulement following which I signed a deportation order in respect of her on 7 February 2006. The person concerned was advised of this decision and of the requirement that she present herself at the Offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau on 2 March 2006 at 10 a.m. to make arrangements for her deportation from the State. It is understood that the person concerned presented on that date and was given a further presentation date of 11 May 2006. The deportation of the person concerned is now an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Citizenship Applications.

Michael Ring

Question:

166 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an American person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved Irish citizenship on the basis of marriage. [9906/06]

In my response to Question No. 169 on 9 February, I informed the Deputy that, as a large number of declarations of post-nuptial citizenship was being dealt with by my Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs, it was not possible at that stage to be precise as to when the declaration of the person concerned might be finalised. I have now been informed by officials in the citizenship section of my Department that consideration of the declaration will be finalised within the next six months.

Garda Recruitment.

David Stanton

Question:

167 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of new gardaí recruited each year since 2000; the number of these recruits who had graduate or postgraduate qualifications; the breakdown of same; the age profile of these Garda recruits in each respective year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9914/06]

I have been informed by the Garda authorities, who are responsible for the detailed allocation of resources, including personnel, that the number of Garda recruits in each year from 2000 to 2005 was as set out in the following table.

Year

Number

2000

496

2001

497

2002

547

2003

687

2004

518

2005

1,125

Detailed statistics on the number of these recruits who had graduate or postgraduate qualifications and the age profile of same are not available at present.

The phased increase in the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 will lead to a combined strength of attested gardaí and recruits in training of 14,000 by the end of this year. The college will induct a further 1,100 recruits this year and again in 2007 by way of intakes to the Garda College of approximately 275 recruits every quarter. This project is fully on target and will be achieved.

David Stanton

Question:

168 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if having a masters qualification is a disadvantage to somebody who wishes to become a member of the Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9915/06]

Entry to the Garda Síochána is governed by the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 1988, as amended. In September 2004, I obtained Government approval to make certain changes to the criteria set out in these regulations. These changes will open up entry to the Garda Síochána to persons in Ireland from all parts of the community and from all ethnic backgrounds. This is significant step will help to ensure that future intakes of recruits to the Garda Síochána reflect the composition of Irish society to the benefit of the force and the people it serves.

To be eligible for selection as a trainee, an applicant must be of good character; be certified by a registered medical practitioner nominated by the Commissioner after consultation with the Minister to be of good health, of sound constitution and fitted physically and mentally to perform the duties of a member of the service; have passed a physical competence test; be at least 18 and under 35 years on the first day of the month in which the competition was advertised; and be a national of a European Union member state, a European Economic Area state or the Swiss Confederation, be a refugee under the Refugee Act 1996, or have had a period of one year's continuous residence in the State immediately before the first day of the month in which the advertisement for the Garda recruitment competition was published and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years — periods of illegal residence or residence as an asylum seeker in the State do not count for this qualifying five year period. To be eligible for selection as a trainee an applicant must have obtained, in the Irish established leaving certificate examination or Irish leaving certificate vocational programme a grade not lower than B3 at foundation level or D3 at another level in mathematics and a qualifying grade in two languages, at least one of which must be English or Irish, if Irish, a grade not lower than C3 at foundation level or D3 at another level and if English or another language, a grade not lower than D3 at ordinary level and a grade not lower than D3 at ordinary level in not less than two other subjects, the merit grade in the applied leaving certificate or like grades in another examination, which, in the opinion of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, is not of a lower standard than the above.

Among the qualifications which are considered as acceptable alternatives to the leaving certificate examination are the following: matriculation of a recognised university; a general certificate of education, advanced level; NCEA or HETAC national certificate; or NCEA or HETAC National Diploma. Applicants with any such alternative qualifications must hold qualifications equivalent to those referred to above in mathematics, English or Irish and one other language. Any person who exceeds the minimum requirements as to educational qualifications, which could include holding a masters qualification, is clearly not at any disadvantage in the Garda recruitment process.

Deportation Orders.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

169 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the case of persons (details supplied) in County Waterford who are being called to the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin to facilitate their deportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9929/06]

The persons concerned arrived in the State on 2 March 2001 and applied for asylum. Their applications were refused following independent consideration of their cases by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

They were informed in letters dated 28 August 2002 that their asylum applications had been refused and that, as a result, I proposed to make deportation orders in respect of them. This communication also advised the persons concerned that, as their entitlement to be in the State had expired, they were being afforded three options in accordance with the provisions of section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, namely, to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to the making of deportation orders or to submit, within 15 working days, written representations setting out reasons they should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State, that is, why they should not be deported.

Following the receipt of such representations, the cases of the persons concerned were examined under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, on the prohibition ofrefoulement following which, on 26 August, 2004, I signed deportation orders in respect of the persons concerned. Notice of this order was served by registered post requiring them to present themselves to the member in charge, Garda National Immigration Bureau, 13 to 14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 on 13 January 2005, in order to make arrangements for their removal from the State.

Since deportation orders were signed in respect of the persons concerned, further representations on their behalf have been received in my Department making a further case that the persons concerned should be granted leave to remain in the State. I understand that these representations are being considered at present by Department officials following which the file will be passed to me for final decision.

I understand from the Garda National Immigration Bureau that the persons concerned were due to present themselves to that bureau again on 8 March 2006. However, the Deputy can be assured that no arrangements will be made for the removal of the persons concerned from the State until such time as the further representations submitted on their behalf have been fully considered and a final decision taken by me in the matter.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

170 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9940/06]

St. Patrick's Day is a unique event in the global calendar. On 17 March, the world's attention turns to Ireland and all things Irish. Our national day is celebrated by millions of people from Beijing to Brussels and Sydney to Seattle. This goodwill and attention offers an unrivalled opportunity to promote modern Ireland overseas and to engage directly on a variety of issues. In deciding on Ministerial travel commitments for St. Patrick's Day, the Government has sought to maximise opportunities for showcasing Ireland as a world class economy and tourism destination. Ministers travelling over the period will promote Ireland at business, cultural and community events in more than 35 cities in all corners of the world.

In addition, this year there will be a particular focus on promoting Ireland as a "knowledge economy". Ideas and knowledge have transformed Irish business and industry. Our continued economic development is dependent on further enhancing our position in the globally competitive market for knowledge-driven investment and innovation. Our success in this area is already evidenced by the growing international profile of top level Irish scientists and entrepreneurs, and St. Patrick's Day provides an invaluable opportunity to reinforce this message. St. Patrick's Day is equally an important occasion for enhancing our links with Irish communities abroad. The Government greatly values the opportunity to express our appreciation for the important work of Irish community and friendship groups, and attendance at their community events will form an integral part of Ministerial programmes during the period.

I can confirm to the Deputy that I am travelling to London to participate in the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. As well as being home to the largest Irish communities in the world, Britain is also Ireland's largest trading partner with total trade in 2004 showing a 2.2% increase over 2003. Ireland now accounts for about 11% of total food and beverage imports into the UK. In addition, the Government has made the provision of emigrant services in Britain a priority and last year allocated over €7 million in financial support through the Dion fund to voluntary agencies that help vulnerable Irish people in Britain. The primary emphasis continues to be the provision of assistance to front line Irish community care organisations assisting the more marginalised members of the community in Britain.

I can assure the Deputy that I will be taking full advantage of my visit to promote Ireland as an attractive tourist destination, to further strengthen the links with our emigrant community and to promote business. My itinerary includes: attending the mayor's St. Patrick's dinner; attending the Council of Irish County Associations St. Patrick's Day mass; attending brunch organised by Tourism Ireland; leading the St. Patrick's parade; and visiting the St. Patrick's Day festival exhibition.

Deportation Orders.

Dan Boyle

Question:

171 Mr. Boyle asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of US citizens who have been asked to leave this State since 2002. [9949/06]

The number of nationals of the United States of America who have been served with deportation orders between 2002 and to date is eight.

Garda Complaints Procedures.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

172 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received correspondence from a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20 alleging repeated incidence of persecution; if he has investigated the situation with a view to clarification as to the reason this person has been summoned for countless minor offences; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that failure to fully investigate the issues will lead to referral to the EU courts; if his attention has further been drawn to the severe stress caused to the family in question; the action he has taken or proposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9971/06]

I have received correspondence from and on behalf of the person referred to in the Deputy's question. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are three complaints on record in respect of this matter. The first complaint was deemed admissible by the Garda Síochána Complaints Board and an investigating officer was appointed. However, the Garda Siochana Complaints Board took no further action as the complainant did not co-operate with the investigation of his complaint.

The second complaint was deemed inadmissible by the Garda Síochána Complaints Board, in accordance with section 4(3)(a)(iii) of the Garda Síochána (Complaints) Act 1986, as the conduct complained of was not specified in the Fourth Schedule to the Act.

The third complaint was addressed to the Garda Commissioner, and a Garda superintendent was appointed to investigate the allegations. However, the complainant failed to co-operate with the investigation and the matter could not be processed. He was informed of this in writing on 27 October 2004. I can inform the Deputy that some time ago I requested a Garda report on the matters raised by the person referred to and I understand that this is at an advanced stage.

Questions Nos. 173 to 175, inclusive, answered with Question No. 17.

Crime Prevention.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

176 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he proposes to take to combat the increase in gun violence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9975/06]

There is a particular overriding necessity, in view of the recent increase in violent crime involving firearms, to ensure that public safety and security are given priority in any review of policy and legislation in relation to firearms. With this in mind I propose to bring forward a wide range of amendments to the Firearms Acts 1925-2000 in the context of the Criminal Justice Bill 2004, which is currently before the Dáil.

Included in these new proposals are measures which will create mandatory minimum sentences, of between five and ten years, for certain firearms offences, including possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, possession of a firearm while hijacking a vehicle, and use or production of a firearm to resist arrest. It will require all persons wishing to legally hold a firearm to satisfy the Garda that they have provided secure accommodation for the firearm. It will allow the Minister to deem certain firearms as restricted by reference to specific criteria, including the calibre, action type and muzzle energy of the firearm. In future, any person wishing to obtain a certificate for such a firearm will have to apply directly to the Garda Commissioner.

The legislation will introduce new offences concerning the modification of firearms such as "sawing-off" a shotgun, and increase fines and penalties generally for offences under the Firearms Acts. I also intend to introduce a statutory basis for an amnesty during which firearms may be surrendered to the Garda Síochána before new penalties, and minimum mandatory sentences, are introduced. This will enable those in possession of firearms, who are not in compliance with the legal requirements, to regularise their position, and thus enable the Garda Síochána to concentrate on more serious offenders.

Every effort is made by the Garda Síochána to combat the illegal importation, sale and possession of firearms through intelligence-led operations and activities. Operation Anvil, launched in May last year, and aimed at those involved in gun crime of any kind, is one of the most intensive special policing operations ever undertaken in the State. It is intelligence-driven and has significant levels of Garda resources. The Garda Síochána are receiving resources this year to continue Operation Anvil and I have asked the Commissioner to extend it to Garda divisions outside Dublin.

Operation Anvil contributed to the increase of 16% in the detection of possession of firearms in 2005. Up to 19 February 2006, Operation Anvil resulted in over 1,600 arrests, including 23 for murder, over 13,200 searches, including 360 searches for firearms that resulted in 359 firearms seized or recovered, and the recovery of property with a value of €5.7 million.

The Garda Síochána this year has the highest level of resources in its history —€1,290 million, which is an increase of €146 million or 13% on 2005. The provision for Garda overtime in 2006 is €83.5 million, an increase of €23 million on the allocation for 2005. This increase will greatly assist the planned deployment of a visible policing service in a flexible, effective and targeted response to criminal activity and to crime prevention, including gun crimes. The €83.5 million in overtime will yield 2.725 million extra hours of policing by uniformed and special units throughout the State.

I take great satisfaction in the Government's decision of October 2004 to approve the recruitment of 2,000 additional gardaí to increase the strength of the force to 14,000. As a result there will be a combined organisational strength, of both attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 by the end of this year and 14,000 attested gardaí in two years' time. I have already promised that the additional gardaí will not be put on administrative duties but will be put directly into frontline, operational and high-visibility policing.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

177 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he intends to take to combat the increase in headline crimes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9976/06]

Since I took the decision to publish crime statistics on a quarterly basis at the beginning of 2003, I have consistently emphasised that care must be taken in interpreting the statistics, especially when considering short-term fluctuations and extrapolating trends over short periods. The level of headline crime in 2005 is actually lower than that for 2003 by 1.6% and for 2002 by 4.4%. Furthermore, in 1995, with a population of almost 3.6 million people, there were 29 crimes per 1,000 of the population, while in 2005, with a population of over 4.1 million, there were 24.6 crimes per 1,000 of the population.

Our headline crime rate continues to compare very favourably with those of our nearest neighbours. In England and Wales in the year April 2003 to March 2004, the most recent for which figures are available, 113 crimes were committed per 1,000 population. In 2004 and 2005 in Scotland there were 86.3 crimes per 1,000 population and in Northern Ireland 69 per 1,000 population compared with our rate of 24.6 per 1,000.

I welcome in particular the significant decrease of 27% in the number of incidents of robbery of cash and goods in transit, down from 62 in 2004 to 45 in 2005. This trend improved in the fourth quarter, with a decrease of 47%. Operation Delivery, an initiative undertaken by the Garda Síochána to counteract the increase in cash in transit robberies which emerged in 2004, has contributed significantly to this very welcome decrease. Furthermore, the new code of practice now being operated by the major financial institutions and security companies involved in the cash in transit industry, has dramatically raised the standards in operation. I took a direct personal hand in dialogue with the leadership in the banking and security sectors in securing adoption of this new code. It has made a significant contribution to this decrease. These developments have been underpinned by the establishment of the Private Security Authority, which has also taken place on my watch.

I also welcome the increase in the number of detections for possession of drugs for sale or supply, up 20%, and possession of firearms, up16%. In both cases these are offences which in the main become known as a result of active police detection work. This trend continued in the fourth quarter and, in the case of possession of firearms, improved, with an increase of 24%. These are statistical crime figure increases which we should welcome because they are detections flowing from increased police vigilance and a proactive approach.

Operation Anvil, which the Commissioner introduced last May and for which I obtained substantial additional resources, made a significant contribution to this level of detection. Operation Anvil will continue as long as it is deemed necessary in operational and policing terms. At my request, the Commissioner has extended Operation Anvil to Garda divisions outside Dublin. The most recent figures available show that Operation Anvil has contributed to encouraging outcomes, with a total number of arrests of 1,641, which includes 23 arrests for murder, 411 arrests for serious assaults, 828 arrests for burglary and 379 arrests for robbery offences. Furthermore, the total number of firearms seized to date under Operation Anvil is 359, and property to the value of more than €5.7 million has been recovered.

While it is the case that a number of the increases in headline crime statistics reflect increased enforcement activity on the part of the Garda Síochána, the overall picture indicates that there is no room for complacency. The Government's decision to continue to devote unprecedented resources to the fight against crime is clearly justified, as is my insistence that those resources be deployed at the front line of policing in this State.

The Garda Síochána this year has the highest level of resources in its history, €1,290 million, an increase of €146 million or 13% on 2005. The provision for Garda overtime in 2006 is €83.5 million, an increase of €23 million on the allocation for 2005. This increase will greatly assist the planned deployment of a visible policing service in a flexible, effective and targeted response to criminal activity and to crime prevention. The €83.5 million in overtime will yield 2.725 million extra hours of policing by uniformed and special units throughout the State.

I take great satisfaction in the Government's decision of October 2004 to approve the recruitment of 2,000 additional gardaí to increase the strength of the force to 14,000. As a result there will be a combined organisational strength, of both attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 in 2006 and 14,000 attested gardaí in two years' time. I have already promised that the additional gardaí will not be put on administrative duties but will be put directly into frontline, operational, high-visibility policing. I am also pleased to state that an additional 55 members were allocated to augment the organised crime unit at the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation to address the problem of criminal gang activity.

In addition to this increase in resources, I am also bringing forward proposals to strengthen significantly the legislative provisions available. The Criminal Justice Bill 2004 provides a comprehensive package of anti-crime measures which will enhance the powers of the Garda in the investigation and prosecution of offences. It contains an essential updating of our law to ensure that criminal offences can be investigated and prosecuted in a way which is efficient and fair and which meets the needs of modern society. It addresses such matters as the preservation of crime scenes, increased periods of detention in the case of arrestable offences, search warrant powers for the Garda Síochána, amendments to the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence) Act 1990, provision for a fixed penalty procedure in respect of certain lesser public order offences and the admissibility of statements by witnesses who subsequently refuse to testify or who retract their original statements.

I also propose to bring forward a wide range of amendments to the Firearms Acts 1925-2000 in the context of the Criminal Justice Bill 2004, which is currently before the Dáil. Included in these new proposals are measures which will create mandatory minimum sentences, of between five and ten years, for certain firearms offences, including possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, possession of a firearm while hijacking a vehicle, and use or production of a firearm to resist arrest. It will require all persons, wishing to legally hold a firearm, to satisfy the Garda that they have provided secure accommodation for the firearm.

The legislation will allow the Minister to deem certain firearms as restricted by reference to specific criteria, including the calibre, action type and muzzle energy of the firearm. In future, any person wishing to obtain a certificate for such a firearm will have to apply directly to the Garda Commissioner. The legislation will also introduce new offences concerning the modification of firearms such as "sawing-off" a shotgun and increase fines and penalties generally for offences under the Firearms Acts.

I also intend to introduce a statutory basis for an amnesty during which firearms may be surrendered to the Garda Síochána before new penalties, and minimum mandatory sentences, are introduced. This will enable those in possession of firearms, who are not in compliance with the legal requirements, to regularise their position, and thus enable the Garda Síochána to concentrate on more serious offenders.

The Garda Síochána policing plan for 2006, recently published by the Commissioner, includes a targeted reduction in the incidence of crime. It also reflects the Government's priorities in the fight against crime and the actions which it wishes to be taken. It will focus on crime prevention and reduction, including the prevention, in co-operation with local authorities through the joint policing committees and interaction with local communities, of public order offences, with particular emphasis on those resulting from alcohol and substance abuse. The committee's function will be to serve as a forum for consultations, discussions and recommendations on matters affecting the policing of the local authority's administrative area. I will shortly announce details of the establishment of a number of committees on a pilot basis.

It will also focus on high value white collar crime, including trading in contraband goods, in co-operation with legitimate business interests and other law enforcement services in the State and abroad. It will expand significantly Garda youth diversion schemes targeted towards at risk young people with a view to having 100 of these community-based schemes in operation by end 2007.

I can assure Deputies that the legal, operational measures and resources in place to tackle crime are kept under continuing review and any further measures and resources which are required will be made available. The Garda Commissioner informs me that he is at this time satisfied with the level of resources available to him.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

178 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals to combat organised crime; when he expects such measures to have effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9977/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

180 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the way in which he proposes to combat the growth of drug gangs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9979/06]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

183 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if organised criminal or drug gangs are on the increase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9982/06]

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 178, 180 and 183 together.

The Garda Síochána employs a range of techniques in the fight against serious crime. The establishment of specialist Garda units, operating under the assistant commissioner in charge of national support services, has enabled the Garda Síochána to tackle organised crime effectively. The National Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the Garda specialist unit tasked with the role of tackling organised crime. It carries out this role by conducting intelligence-driven operations in close co-operation with other specialist units including the Garda national drugs unit, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and the Criminal Assets Bureau.

An additional 55 officers were allocated to the organised crime unit of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation to augment the effort to target groups involved in organised crime in the Dublin metropolitan region. The unit is headed by a detective chief superintendent and works closely with Garda deployed on Operation Anvil and with other specialist units.

The Garda Síochána is now better resourced than at any time in its history. I am particularly pleased to have secured a €144 million increase, 13.2%, in the Garda Vote for this year from Government. The Garda budget is now at an all-time high and will exceed €1.2 billion for 2006. This year the strength of the Garda Síochána will reach 14,000 members as outlined in the programme for Government.

The provision for Garda overtime has increased by over €22 million, bringing the total overtime provision to €83.5 million for 2006. This will facilitate, among other things, the continuation of operations targeted at the prevention and detection of crimes such as gangland murders, organised crime, racketeering and other criminal activity which gives rise to serious community concern. The Government's top policing priority for 2006 is to continue to target organised crime, including drug trafficking, and the gun culture associated with it, through the use of specialist units and targeted, intelligence-led operations.

As a specific response to the problem of gun crime in Dublin, the Government decided to provide funding for Operation Anvil. This operation was undertaken, not as the sole response to this problem, but as a targeted response to augment the work which the Garda was doing each day to address gun crime. Operation Anvil targets active criminals and their associates through the use of measures such as overt patrolling, static checkpoints, uniformed mobile and foot patrols supported by armed plain-clothes patrols and covert operations.

Operation Anvil has resulted in a number of very successful outcomes, including the seizure of 359 firearms. In addition, 24,758 checkpoints and 7,705 drugs searches have been carried out. It is intended to extend this operation nationwide during this year. In addition, I am informed by the Garda authorities that Operation Delivery was set up to combat robberies of institutions and to target those involved in robberies of high value goods in transit.

I am also informed by the Garda authorities that strategies are in place for dealing with drug offences and are designed to undermine the activities of organised criminal networks involved in the trafficking and distribution of illicit drugs. These strategies include gathering intelligence on individuals and organisations involved in the distribution of drugs, conducting targeted operations on criminal networks based on intelligence gathered and working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies both within and outside the jurisdiction to address the national and international aspects of drug trafficking and distribution.

The Garda authorities further inform me that these strategies continue to result in operational successes. The trafficking and distribution of all illicit drugs at local, national and international levels is constantly monitored by the Garda. I am informed by the Garda authorities that Irish organised criminal groupings can be divided into two general categories. The first category consists of individuals or groups that are well-established and tightly structured and are involved in drug trafficking, armed robbery and firearms offences. The second category involves groups whose activities are characterised by less cohesive group structures and criminal activities which are mainly confined to Ireland. I am further informed that there are no indications to suggest any major increases in either of these categories.

It is widely acknowledged that our legislative package for tackling serious and organised crime is already one of the toughest in Europe. The Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas, provides a comprehensive package of anti-crime measures which will enhance the powers of the Garda in the investigation and prosecution of offences. In November last year, I obtained Government approval to draft a range of amendments to the Bill. Proposed amendments include the creation of criminal offences with regard to participation in organised crime, the strengthening of existing provisions for the ten year mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking and a range of amendments to the Firearms Acts.

I can assure the House that I am in regular contact with the Garda Commissioner in order to keep the measures and resources for tackling serious crime under continuing review.

Garda Deployment.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

179 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the 2000 extra gardaí promised in the general election of 2002 are likely to be deployed; the specific locations to which they are to be posted; when they will take up duty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9978/06]

The timescale for achieving the target strength of 14,000 members of the Garda Síochána, in line with the commitment in An Agreed Programme for Government, remains as when I announced the Government's approval in October 2004 for my proposals to achieve this objective. The phased increase in the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 will lead to a combined strength, of both attested gardaí and recruits in training, of 14,000 by the end of this year, with a fully attested strength of 14,000 by 2008.

As part of the accelerated recruitment campaign to facilitate this record expansion, 1,125 Garda recruits were inducted to the Garda College during 2005. The college will induct a further 1,100 recruits this year and again in 2007, by way of intakes to the Garda College of approximately 275 recruits every quarter. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the first incremental increase of newly attested gardaí due to the programme of accelerated recruitment into the Garda Síochána will take place on 16 March. On that day some 270 trainees will be attested to the force, a figure that provides concrete proof that the project to increase the strength of the Garda Síochána is fully on target and will be achieved.

The Garda Commissioner will now be drawing up plans on how best to distribute and manage these additional resources. Clearly, the additional resources will be targeted at the areas of greatest need, as is envisaged in the programme for Government. The programme identifies particular areas with a significant drugs problem and a large number of public order offences, but it will be possible to address other priorities as well, such as the need to very significantly increase the number of gardaí allocated to traffic duties as part of the new Garda traffic corps. I have already promised that the additional gardaí will not be put on administrative duties. They will be put directly into frontline, operational, high-visibility policing. They will have a real impact.

Question No. 180 answered with QuestionNo. 178.
Question No. 181 answered with QuestionNo. 22.

Firearms Regulations.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

182 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals to limit the availability of handguns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9981/06]

Under the Firearms Acts 1925-2000, it is unlawful for any person to possess, use or carry a firearm unless authorised by a firearm certificate granted by a superintendent of the Garda Síochána. Before granting such certificate the superintendent must be satisfied that the person seeking it has a good reason for requiring the firearm in question, does not pose a danger to public safety or the peace and is not a person disentitled, under the Acts, to hold a firearms certificate. Only a superintendent may grant a firearms certificate and I, as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, have no statutory function in the matter.

In the Criminal Justice Bill, 2004, which is currently before the House, I propose to bring forward a range of measures to strengthen the law governing the control of firearms. These new measures include provisions whereby I may, by order, specify certain firearms as "restricted firearms" by reference to the category, calibre, muzzle energy, working mechanism and description of the firearm. A firearms certificate may only be granted by the Garda Commissioner in respect of firearms deemed restricted. In addition, I am providing that the matters which must be considered when deciding whether to grant a firearms certificate be extended to cover, among other things, the appropriateness of the firearm for the purpose for which the certificate is sought, the safe storage of the firearm, proof of competence in the use of the firearm and consent to inquiries as to the applicant's medical history.

I am also providing for increases in fines and penalties generally for offences under the Firearms Acts and the creation of mandatory minimum sentences, of between five and ten years, for certain firearms offences, including possession of a firearm in suspicious circumstances, possession of a firearm with criminal intent, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property, possession of a firearm while hijacking a vehicle and use or production of a firearm to resist arrest.

Question No. 183 answered with QuestionNo. 178.
Question No. 184 answered with QuestionNo. 60.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

185 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the application for refugee and residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that compelling evidence exists indicating a serious threat to her life and well-being in the event of deportation to her homeland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9987/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 7 March 2005 and claimed asylum. Her asylum claim was independently investigated by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, both of whom concluded that she did not meet the criteria for recognition as a refugee. The person concerned had her case considered under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amendedm and section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended, on the prohibition ofrefoulement, following which I signed a deportation order on 27 February 2006. The person concerned was advised of this decision and of the requirement that she present herself at the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau on 9 March 2006 at 2 p.m. to make arrangements for her deportation from the State. The deportation of the person concerned is now an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum and for leave to remain in the State have been comprehensively examined and, as such, it is not my intention to further review her case.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

186 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received the necessary information to verify the marital status in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; if such information is in fact available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9988/06]

I have been informed that no further information has been received from the person in question relating to his marital status. The person in question was married according to a traditional marriage ceremony. I understand that information received by my Department indicates that the marriage is not recognised as a civil marriage in the country where it took place. The onus is on the applicant to show that the marriage is valid and recognised for the purpose of family reunification. The applicant was informed by letter on 17 January 2006 that he may seek a declaration from the Irish courts under section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995, that the marriage in question is a valid marriage.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

187 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the application for family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9989/06]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 148 on 26 January 2006. This application is still with the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

188 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the matter of residency and refugee status in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 in view of the evidence indicating danger to personal safety in the event of deportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9990/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 9 August 2002 and applied for asylum. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended, he was informed by letter dated 29 August 2003 that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of him. He was given the option, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State; leaving the State before an order is made or consenting to the making of a deportation order. His case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 on the prohibition ofrefoulement. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

189 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received and studied the medical reports in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; his views on the seriousness of the information provided; if he will consider these submissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9991/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 22 October 2003 and applied for asylum. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, he was informed by letter dated 16 February 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of him. He was given the option, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State; leaving the State before an order is made or consenting to the making of a deportation order. His case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 on prohibition ofrefoulement. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

190 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the post-nuptial residency status in the case of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9992/06]

The second named person concerned was granted leave to remain in the State on 24 January 2005 on the basis of being a family dependant of a person who had permission to remain in the State based on parentage of an Irish born child. The fact that the second named person is now married will not affect her residency in the State. As there is no separate procedure for considering residency based on marriage to a person who already has permission to remain in the State, the first named person cannot claim residency status on that basis.

The first named person concerned arrived in the State on 25 April 2003 and applied for asylum. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, he was informed by letter dated 30 August 2005 that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State, leaving the State before an order is made or consenting to the making of a deportation order.

His case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 on prohibition ofrefoulement. The fact that he is now married can be considered in the context of representations made in the above context. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

191 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in the matter of the residential status of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in view of the considerable evidence provided to the effect that if returned to his or her homeland, he or she would be in a life threatening situation and in further view of the fact that he or she has provided substantial information to this effect; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9993/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 1 July 2005 and claimed asylum. His asylum claim was independently investigated by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, both of which concluded that he did not meet the criteria for recognition as a refugee.

The person concerned had his case considered under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 on prohibition ofrefoulement, following which I signed a deportation order in respect of him on 27 February 2006. The person concerned was advised of this decision and of the requirement that he present himself at the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau on 9 March 2006 at 10 a.m. to make arrangements for his deportation from the State. The deportation of the person concerned is now an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau. I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum and for leave to remain in the State have been comprehensively examined and, as such, it is not my intention to further review his case.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

192 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reconsider the best practice to adopt in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; if his or her interests are best served by transferring him or her to Belgium or processing his or her case here; the Minister’s views on whether due to his or her traumatic, life-threatening torture, persecution, physical and sexual abuse to date he or she requires the full support of family members; his further views on whether the attempts to date to effect transfer to Belgium to be in accord with best humanitarian practice in a modern European state; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9994/06]

I would refer the Deputy to my replies to Questions Nos. 149, 181, 249, 215 of 26 January, 9 February, 16 February and 2 March, respectively, and a reply given to a Dáil Adjournment debate on 23 February in relation to this case.

It must be again emphasised that the person concerned is not being returned to her country of origin but rather to Belgium. She had lodged a previous asylum claim in Belgium and, in accordance with the Dublin II Regulations, it is entirely appropriate that she be returned to have her asylum claim determined there. It can hardly be argued that Belgium's welfare, medical and social protection systems are inferior to ours or that any international protection she requires cannot be provided by the Belgian authorities.

The person concerned is currently illegally present in this State but her removal to Belgium will, nonetheless, be handled with sensitivity and care, particularly as I understand that she is currently in receipt of hospital treatment. Officials in my Department have asked the legal representatives of the person concerned, the refugee legal service, to keep the Garda National Immigration Bureau informed of the whereabouts and up-to-date medical condition of the person concerned and I have been assured that the bureau will not effect her transfer to Belgium until such time as she is discharged from hospital. Additionally, the Belgian authorities will be informed of her medical status prior to her arrival and if necessary, medical escorts will be provided to accompany her on her journey.

I do not believe that the procedure being adopted in this case is in any way contrary to best humanitarian practice. Indeed, the fact that she is being returned to Belgium to have her asylum claim considered in the State where she first sought protection is fully in accord with humanitarian principles.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

193 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if extended residency will be favourably considered in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin to facilitate necessary specialist medical treatment in view of the fact that such treatment will not be readily available if he or she returned to his or her homeland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9995/06]

The person concerned arrived in the State on 4 October 2003 and applied for asylum. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, she was informed by letter dated 23 March 2005 that the Minister proposed to make a deportation order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State, leaving the State before an order is made or consenting to the making of a deportation order.

Her case file, including all representations submitted, will be considered under section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 on prohibition ofrefoulement. I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

194 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will further defer on compassionate grounds the intention to deport a person (details supplied) in County Kildare to obtain residency status given the validity of the situation in his or her homeland and the serious danger to his or her health safety and well-being in the event of his or her deportation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9996/06]

I would refer the Deputy to my replies to Questions Nos. 726 and 781 of 26 January 2005, No. 129 of 14 April 2005, No. 143 of 19 May 2005 and No. 470 of 31 January 2006.

The person concerned applied for asylum and had her claim refused following the independent examination of her claims by the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The person concerned then had her case considered under section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended, and section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 on prohibition ofrefoulement, following which I signed a deportation order in respect of her on 3 August 2004.

The person concerned presented herself, as required, at the offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau but her deportation from the State was postponed as she was at an advanced stage of pregnancy at that time. She subsequently made an application to have her deportation order revoked based on her relationship with a man granted refugee status in the State and their parentage of a child born in Ireland on 10 June 2005. This application is under consideration by Department officials and I expect the file to be passed to me for decision in the near future.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

195 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the residential status in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9997/06]

The person in question arrived in the State on 19 December 1999 and claimed asylum. He withdrew his application for refugee status on 17 April 2000 and applied for residency in the State based on his parentage of an Irish born child. Permission to remain on this basis was initially granted to the person in question on 13 September 2000. This permission was renewed on a number of occasions. The last period of legal residency in the State granted to him was from 2 June 2002 to 1 June 2003. Registration with the Garda National Immigration Bureau was refused in June 2003 due to a change in this person's circumstances. The person concerned subsequently served a custodial sentence and was released on the 3 March 2006. A decision on his residency status will be made after full consideration of all circumstances particular to this case.

Question No. 196 answered with QuestionNo. 23.

Juvenile Offenders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

197 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a dedicated section exists in his Department to cater for children deemed to be at risk due to non-attendance at school, being under the undesirable influence of non-family persons, being involved in petty crime, and refusing to accept parental control as in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; the action proposed or intended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10002/06]

Offending behaviour by children including petty crime is a serious matter and improving the State's response to this problem is a priority within my Department. I have recently established a dedicated section to address issues of youth offending.

In October 2004, an internal project team was established within my Department to examine the scope for rationalising and restructuring the delivery of the State's services in the area of youth justice in accordance with the legislative basis provided for in the Children Act 2001. Publication of the report on the youth justice review was approved by Government in December 2005 and the Government agreed to the implementation of the report's recommendations in addition to a number of other youth justice reforms.

Among the reforms agreed was the establishment of a youth justice service on a non-statutory basis as an executive office of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The service will focus on developing a national youth justice strategy, achieving the full implementation of the Children Act 2001, assuming responsibility for children's detention and improving the delivery of services for young offenders. The Government also agreed to the drafting of legislative amendments to provide for the introduction of anti-social behaviour orders, ASBOs, for those aged under 18 years to address anti-social behaviour by children. Under these provisions, a child will first be dealt with under the Garda diversion programme and parents will be involved from an early stage.

The Garda juvenile diversion programme was introduced to provide an opportunity to divert juvenile offenders from criminal activity. It operates under the supervision and direction of the Garda national juvenile office, Harcourt Square, and is implemented throughout all Garda divisions by 94 specially trained gardaí known as juvenile liaison officers, JLOs. The Children Act 2001 places the Garda juvenile diversion programme on a statutory basis and incorporates into it as new features restorative cautioning and conferencing. In addition, under the Act, the age limit for inclusion in the programme was increased from 17 to 18 years of age. The programme is used to its greatest extent in relation to minor offences and-or for those with no or only one or two experiences of offending.

Garda youth diversion projects are community based, multi-agency crime prevention initiatives which seek to divert young people from becoming involved or further involved in anti-social and-or criminal behaviour by providing suitable activities to facilitate personal development, promote civic responsibility and improve prospects of employability. The projects are funded by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and administered by the community relations section of the Garda Síochána. A budget of €6.6 million has been provided for the Garda youth diversion projects and local drugs task force projects in 2006. I am committed to the continuing development and the expansion of Garda youth diversion projects. It is my intention to ensure that 100 schemes will be established nationwide before the end of 2007.

While matters relating to school attendance and child care and protection issues are the responsibility of the Ministers for Education and Science and Health and Children respectively, the report on the youth justice review recognised that cross-departmental co-operation is essential to meet the needs of at risk children. The youth justice service is developing links with other relevant Departments and agencies and will operate within the strategic environment of the office of the Minister for children under the Minister of State with special responsibility for children to ensure that a joined-up approach to service delivery is achieved. I have requested a report from the Garda authorities in respect of the named persons and I will contact the Deputy again when the report is to hand.

National Drugs Strategy.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

198 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the evidence he has that the supply of crack cocaine here is increasing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10006/06]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that while the number of seizures of freebase or crack cocaine continues to represent a very small proportion of the total number of cocaine seizures recorded annually, there has been an increase in the number of such seizures in this jurisdiction over the past three years. This is a matter of concern and the Garda authorities have taken a number of measures to address the problem.

The Garda national drugs unit and local drugs units conduct intelligence-driven operations to target individuals suspected of involvement in the distribution of freebase cocaine. Drug units and community policing personnel are engaged in intelligence gathering on individuals and groups suspected of involvement in the sale and distribution of the drug. There is also targeted patrolling by uniformed and plain clothes personnel of problem areas in order to detect and disrupt persons involved in such activity.

As the Deputy is aware, the National Drugs Strategy 2001-08 addresses the problem of drug misuse across a number of pillars — supply reduction, prevention, treatment rehabilitation and research — and implementation of the strategy across a range of Departments and agencies is co-ordinated by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. The Government is aware of the increased prevalence of cocaine usage in recent times and efforts to tackle it are broadly based to include measures aimed at both supply and demand reduction, including awareness initiatives.

It is a key objective of the national drugs strategy to reduce access to all drugs, particularly those drugs that cause most harm, to young people especially in those areas where misuse is most prevalent. The strategy specifies a number of supply reduction targets for the Garda Síochána in terms of all drug seizures and the Garda have achieved considerable successes in relation to these targets to date. The trafficking and distribution of all illicit drugs, including hydrochloric and freebase cocaine, at local, national and international levels will continue to be vigilantly monitored by the Garda.

The Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas, provides a comprehensive package of anti-crime measures that will enhance the powers of the Garda in the investigation and prosecution of offences, including drug offences. It includes provisions relating to search warrant powers for the Garda. In November 2005, I obtained Government approval to draft a range of amendments to the Bill, which I intend to table during its passage through the Oireachtas. Proposed amendments include the creation of criminal offences in relation to participation in organised crime and the strengthening of existing provisions for the ten year mandatory minimum sentence for drug trafficking.

Question No. 199 answered with QuestionNo. 23.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

200 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position on the application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who with their family has lived and worked here since 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10012/06]

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. Those conditions are that the applicant must be of full age, or by way of exception, be a minor born in the State; be of good character; have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of the application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years; intend in good faith to continue to reside in the State after naturalisation; and have made, either before a judge of the District Court in open court or in such a manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows, a declaration in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State.

It should be noted that in the context of naturalisation certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State, periods granted for the purposes of study and periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act 1996.

The person referred to by the Deputy arrived in the State in March 1998 and claimed asylum. That application was refused in June 1999. An appeal against that decision was lodged in July 1999 but was withdrawn in August 1999. Permission to remain in the State on foot of parentage of an Irish born child was granted on 26 August 1999.

The person concerned applied for a certificate of naturalisation in December 2002. Since he did not meet the statutory residency requirement at that time, his application was deemed ineligible. He was informed of this in writing in January 2005.

I have been informed that the person concerned now meets the statutory residency criteria and, consequently, it is open to him to submit a new application at any time. Any such application will be examined against the statutory criteria of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act before being passed to me for a decision.

School Transport.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

201 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science the consequences in terms of availability of school transport for the next school year for catchment boundary children as a result of the improved safety measures on school transport buses; and if her Department will ensure that as a result of these safety measures, no student is left without transport to the school of their choice once they have made their way to the catchment boundary. [9814/06]

Under the terms of my Department's post-primary school transport scheme, a pupil is eligible for transport if he or she resides 4.8 km or more from his or her local post-primary education centre, that is, the centre serving the catchment area in which he or she lives. The scheme is not designed to facilitate parents who choose to send their children to a post-primary centre outside of the catchment area in which they reside. However, children who are fully eligible for transport to the post-primary centre in the catchment area in which they reside may apply for transport on a concessionary basis to a post-primary centre outside of their own catchment area, otherwise known as catchment boundary transport. These children can only be facilitated if spare seats are available on the bus after all other eligible children travelling to their post-primary centre have been catered for. Such children have to make their own way to the nearest pick up point within that catchment area.

The number of spare seats available will not be known until all other eligible children travelling to the post-primary centre in the catchment area in which they reside have been assessed for transport. Every effort will be made to determine the number of such seats available well in advance of the next school year.

Parents who have enrolled or intend to enrol their children in schools outside of the catchment area in which they reside are advised to acquaint themselves with the terms of the school transport scheme as transport cannot be guaranteed for such pupils.

Schools Building Projects.

Michael Lowry

Question:

202 Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason for the delay in moving a building project forward at a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; when the issues impeding this work will be rectified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9832/06]

My Department is in receipt of an application for capital funding towards a refurbishment project at the school. The project is being considered in the context of the school building and modernisation programme 2006-10.

James McDaid

Question:

203 Dr. McDaid asked the Minister for Education and Science the status of an application for a school (details supplied) under the school building programme. [9861/06]

The school referred to by the Deputy originally applied for an extension and refurbishment to provide improved ancillary accommodation. The project proposed initially did not provide for any additional mainstream classrooms.

In the process of assessment in accordance with the prioritisation criteria put in place following consultation with the education partners, increasing enrolments and the consequent need for additional mainstream accommodation became clear. A detailed assessment of demographic trends, housing developments and enrolment trends was initiated in order to ensure that any capital funding provided will deliver accommodation appropriate to the school's need into the future. This assessment has recently been completed and a decision will be taken shortly on how best to provide for the school's long-term accommodation needs. The application will then be considered for progression in the context of the school building and modernisation programme 2006-10.

The school has recently applied for a mainstream classroom to cater for an additional teaching post to be appointed from September 2006. This application is under consideration at present and the school authority will shortly be advised of the outcome.

Capitation Grants.

John Perry

Question:

204 Mr. Perry asked the Minister for Education and Science if extra funding will be made available to schools to cover the costs of water charges as these charges have to be paid out of capitation; if she will clarify if there are avenues open to this sector to avail of grant aid for such expenses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9869/06]

Funding is provided to primary and secondary schools by way ofper capita grants, which afford schools considerable flexibility in the use of these resources to cater for the needs of their pupils.

Primary schools' running costs are met by my Department's scheme of capitation grants. These grants are intended to contribute towards the general operating costs of national schools. The capitation grant has been increased substantially in recent years. Since 1997 the standard rate of capitation grant has been increased from €57.14 per pupil to €133.58 with effect from 1 January 2005 and has been further increased by €12 per pupil with effect from 1 January 2006 bringing the standard rate to €145.58. This represents an increase of almost 155% in the standard rate of capitation grant since 1997.

At second level, the standardper capita grant which stood at €256 per pupil in the school year 2001-02 has been increased by a further €12 to €298 per pupil from January 2006. Under the school services support fund initiative, secondary schools will also benefit from the further significant increases. The grant that was increased for secondary schools from €131 per pupil in January 2005 to €145 per pupil, has been increased by a further €14 per pupil to €159 per pupil from January 2006. These grants are in addition to the per capita funding of up to €40,000 per school that is provided by my Department to secondary schools towards secretarial and caretaking services. A secondary school with 500 pupils now receives annual grants of up to €270,000 towards general expenses and support services as against annual grants of up to €237,000 in 2002.

Local authority service and other charges payable to the various local authorities do not come within the remit of my Department. It would be a matter for the local authorities to decide whether schools are liable to pay such charges. In the case of waste charges, some local authorities have a flat fee for schools while others waive the fee where the school has achieved the green flag status. Where it is decided that schools are liable for such charges, the cost would form part of the normal running costs of schools and would fall to be met from the capitation funding which schools have received from my Department.

It would not be feasible for my Department to introduce specific schemes whereby grant assistance would be provided to schools in respect of individual charges such as water charges.

Schools Building Projects.

Willie Penrose

Question:

205 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science the status of the application to erect a new school at Coralstown; when same is likely to commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9872/06]

This project was on the 2005 school building programme to go to tender and construction. Tenders for this project were received on 24 February 2006 and are currently being examined by my Department's technical staff. It is expected that this examination will be completed shortly and the school management contacted in the matter without delay.

Willie Penrose

Question:

206 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will provide a progress report on the status of the application of a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9873/06]

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning. Following an assessment of the accommodation needs of the school in question, a revised schedule of overall accommodation issued to the school in July 2005. The school's design team was requested to submit a revised stage one-two, developed sketch scheme, based on the new accommodation brief.

Several submissions were made to my Department between July 2005 and January 2006 in an effort to get the project moving but none addressed the matters raised in the letter of July 2005. Following a site meeting on 20 January 2006, a submission was made to my Department which is currently under review. When this is completed my officials will be in further contact with the school authorities regarding the next steps involved in progressing this project.

A decision on which school building projects will advance to tender and construction will be considered in the context of the school building and modernisation programme 2006-09.

Home Tuition Grant.

Willie Penrose

Question:

207 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Science if, regarding her Department’s decision to discontinue the tuition grant for a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath why in the correspondence dated 28 February 2006 furnished to the said child’s parents the reasons were not given for taking the decision to end home tuition; if there is mechanism provided for an appeal against this decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9874/06]

Home tuition is primarily intended to provide compensatory instruction for pupils with a medical ailment that is likely to cause major disruption to their attendance at school on a continuing basis. In recent years home tuition has been extended as an interim support for children with a significant special educational need pending the provision of an appropriate school based educational service. Grant approval is based on the application details of each case and a recommendation from my Department's professionals, if required.

However, my Department considers that school-based education provision is the most appropriate intervention for all children, including those with special educational needs. In this regard, home tuition is only intended as an interim measure until a suitable school placement is secured. In the circumstances, my Department has discontinued the practice whereby children who are in full-time education provision would also be able to avail of home tuition grants. My Department asked the National Council for Special Education, NCSE, to have a special educational needs organiser to ensure in each case that the child is getting the appropriate support in their school.

The pupil in question is enrolled in a mainstream primary school with five hours resource teaching and the added support of a special needs assistant. As the pupil is in full-time education, the matter of the continuance of home tuition no longer arises and the parents were informed from September of this year onwards that it was being discontinued with effect from 10 February 2006.

Schools Amalgamation.

Pat Carey

Question:

208 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Education and Science the role the school development planning unit of her Department can play to assist a second level school (details supplied) in Dublin 9, where three schools have been amalgamated into one co-educational comprehensive school; if the issues arising out of the amalgamation will be addressed for example the need to assist the school in staff development and team building, the need to develop a five year plan for the school, the need to provide a favourable staff allocation both mainstream and resource, the need to provide additional guidance and counselling services, in view of the fact that the area in which the school is located experiences lower than the national levels of transfer from primary to second level and has a high drop out rate in the early years of second level and has a poor retention rate to leaving certificate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9877/06]

The school development planning initiative, SDPI, is a support service established by my Department to assist schools in furthering the process of whole school planning.

The initiative has a team of ten regional co-ordinators, who provide advisory services to schools at no charge. SDPI regional co-ordinators have co-operated with the commission on school accommodation and with amalgamation facilitators in supporting amalgamating schools in a number of locations in relation to whole school planning.

I understand that in this particular instance the support service has provided facilitation services for the amalgamation project in the school and the regional co-ordinator for the area has visited the school in this regard. Further assistance will be provided if required.

Special Educational Needs.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

209 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Science if her Department intends providing an independent assessment for persons (details supplied); if so, when this assessment is expected to take place; if not, if it is intended that the children will be left out of school unless and until they accept a place in another school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9885/06]

I understand from my officials that the local special educational needs organiser is liaising with the family in question in the context of arranging an early meeting to discuss the issues in question. My Department is continuing to fund a home tuition grant to the family concerned pending the provision of an appropriate educational placement.

School Enrolments.

Michael Ring

Question:

210 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science if she intends to restore equity and fair play and end the discrimination against ordinary national schools with four to 13 teachers by bringing appendix A of circular 15/05 into line with appendices B and C of the same circular. [9904/06]

The mainstream staffing of a primary school is determined by applying the enrolment of the school on 30 September of the previous school year to a staffing schedule which is issued annually to all primary schools.

Under current arrangements the enrolment figure required for the appointment of a mainstream class teacher in an ordinary school is the same as that which applies in the case of Gaeltacht primary school. However the enrolment figure for appointment of a mainstream class teacher in a Gaelscoil is lower in the case of posts from the third up to and including the eleventh mainstream class teacher.

Primary circular 0023/2006 outlining the revised staffing schedule for the 2006-07 school year is available on my Department's website and hard copies will issue to schools as soon as possible.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

211 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Science if there is an agreed enrolment policy for primary schools in a town in County Kildare; if she will review the enrolment policy for a school (details supplied) within that town; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9924/06]

The school to which the Deputy refers is a new school which opened in September 2005. It currently accommodates two junior infant classes. When fully occupied, the school will operate as a two-stream 16-classroom school. To enable it develop in this manner, it can only enrol two junior infant classes annually. This incremental development is common to all newly established schools to ensure that a shortage of accommodation at the school is avoided by an over enrolment in the early stages and crucially, to ensure that the enrolments and staffing levels in other schools in the area, where older pupils would inevitably be drawn, are not adversely affected.

My Department is awaiting details of an agreed enrolment policy from the primary providers in the area to ensure that the development of the new school is underpinned as envisaged. It is satisfied that, in accordance with its remit, the totality of the primary accommodation available in the area provides sufficient places to cater for all those seeking places.

Schools Refurbishment.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

212 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science when the application for capital funding for the extension to a school (details supplied) in County Cork was received; and the steps being taken by way of consideration of the project at the moment. [9928/06]

An application for capital funding towards the provision of an extension has been received from the school in June 2000. The application has been assessed and the long-term projected enrolment figure on which the accommodation needs will be based has been determined and schedules of accommodation have been drawn up in consultation with the school authority. The project is being considered for progression in the context of the school building and modernisation programme 2006-2010.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

213 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location she will be visiting; the functions she will be attending; and the groups she will meet with. [9941/06]

I will be in Dubai for the St. Patrick's Day functions from 21 March 2006 to 23 March 2006. The itinerary has not been fully finalised yet but it includes the following engagements; meeting with Minister for Education; visit to higher colleges of technology; lunch meeting with educationalists hosted by higher colleges of technology; meeting committee of Irish Society; meeting EI office and proposed visa office; visit Knowledge Village Dubai; meeting with Irish business people; visit Aer Lingus local handler — Dnata; tourism promotion events; meeting Irish thoroughbred marketing; reception for Ireland UAE business network; attend GAA tournament; and guest speaker at Irish Society ball. The accelerated development of Dubai as a regional hub for the Gulf and surrounding markets and as a distribution, marketing, manufacturing and information and communications centre, has resulted in a number of Irish companies establishing their regional headquarters in Dubai. I will be meeting with local Irish business leaders in the course of my visit to Dubai.

There is an active young Irish community in the UAE, mainly in the education, service and construction sectors. I will attend the committee of the Irish Society dinner and Irish Society ball where I will present the prizes for a GAA tournament taking place in Dubai.

Also in late March, Aer Lingus will commence its new direct flight service to Dubai and I will use my visit to the UAE to actively promote Ireland as a tourism destination.

School Staffing.

Richard Bruton

Question:

214 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the threshold for appointing teachers in primary schools by size of enrolment. [9958/06]

The staffing of a primary school is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on 30 September of the previous school year. The actual number of mainstream posts sanctioned is determined by reference to a staffing schedule which is issued annually to all primary schools.

The general rule is that the schedule provides at least one classroom teacher for every 29 pupils in the school. Schools with only one or two teachers have much lower staffing ratios than that — with two teachers for just 12 pupils in some cases and so on — but the general rule is that there is at least one classroom teacher for every 29 children in the school. Next year this is being reduced to 28 children per classroom teacher and in 2007-08 it will be reduced to 27 children per classroom teacher. Officials of my Department have drawn up the revised staffing schedule necessary to achieve this. Schools will be asked to use the extra class teachers provided as a result of the revised schedule to provide for smaller classes in the junior grades.

Primary circular 0023/2006 outlining the revised staffing schedule for the 2006-07 school year is available on my Department's website and hard copies will issue to schools as soon as possible.

Richard Bruton

Question:

215 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if concessions are made in the instance of boys and girls schools amalgamating in respect of teacher appointments within quota or ex-quota appointments as for example in the case of a school (details supplied). [9959/06]

Where schools are amalgamating there is provision for the allocation of a concessionary mainstream teaching post in cases where the approved number of mainstream teachers serving in the schools at the time the amalgamation takes place exceeds the number warranted by the total enrolment on the basis of the staffing schedule.

The continued allocation of the concessionary post is dependent on the teachers concerned remaining on the staff of the school and the appropriate enrolment figures being maintained.

Schools Refurbishment.

Richard Bruton

Question:

216 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science the refurbishment works planned for the summer at a school (details supplied); and the critical steps to completion. [9960/06]

In January of this year, I announced details of 62 projects which were being given the go ahead to proceed with major works such as new school building projects, extensions or refurbishment. The first step for these schools is the appointment of an architectural team that will design and plan the works. To aid the schools in appointing these architectural teams and to brief them on the steps involved in progressing their projects, the school building section will host an information seminar for the boards of management in Tullamore on Wednesday, 22 March. Letters of invitation to the seminar have already issued to all boards of management.

School Attendance.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

217 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science if a dedicated section exists in her Department to cater for children deemed to be at risk due to non-attendance at school; the action proposed or intended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10003/06]

The Department of Education and Science does not have a dedicated section dealing with the non-attendance of children at school. However under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 the National Educational Welfare Board, NEWB, was established as the single national body with responsibility for school attendance. The NEWB is a statutory agency operating under the aegis of the Department of Education and Science.

The Education (Welfare) Act 2000 provides a comprehensive framework promoting regular school attendance and tackling the problems of absenteeism and early school leaving. The general functions of the NEWB are to ensure that each child attends a recognised school or otherwise receives a certain minimum education. The board is developing a nationwide service that is accessible to schools, parents-guardians and others concerned with the welfare of young people. For this purpose, educational welfare officers, EWOs, have been appointed and deployed throughout the country to provide a welfare-focused service to support regular school attendance and discharge the board's functions locally.

The service is developing on a continuing basis. The total authorised staffing complement of the board is 94 comprising 16 headquarters and support staff, five regional managers, 12 senior educational welfare officers and 61 educational welfare officers. Towns which have an educational welfare officer allocated to them include Dundalk, Drogheda, Navan, Athlone, Carlow, Kilkenny, Wexford, Bray, Clonmel, Tralee, Ennis, Sligo, Naas, Castlebar, Longford, Tuam, Tullamore, Letterkenny and Portlaoise. In addition, the board will follow up on urgent cases nationally where children are not currently receiving an education. Since September 2005 every county in Ireland is served by an educational welfare service.

A key focus of the Government's education policy is to prioritise investment in favour of those most at risk and to optimise access, participation and educational outcomes at every level of the system for disadvantaged groups. In addition to the NEWB staff there are some 490 staff in education disadvantage programmes whose work involves a school attendance element. My Department is anxious to ensure that the maximum benefit is derived from these substantial personnel resources. Consequently work is ongoing to develop appropriate protocols for integrated working between the different services involved.

Last year I launched DEIS, Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools, an action plan for educational inclusion. The action plan aims to ensure that the educational needs of children and young people from disadvantaged communities are prioritised and effectively addressed. The new action plan will place a renewed emphasis on the involvement of parents and families in children's education in schools. The Department and the National Educational Welfare Board, NEWB, will work together to ensure that an integrated approach to children at risk is adopted.

Bullying in the Workplace.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

218 Mr. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence if he intends to examine the establishment of a compensation process and fund for members of the Defence Forces allegedly abused during their services to the State in view of the report that structures in the Defence Forces were very inadequate up to recent times to enable victims to complain and have their complaints independently investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9895/06]

Since January 1997, my Department has received 18 legal claims in relation to allegations of bullying and sexual harassment within the Defence Forces. Of these, 11 claims refer to alleged bullying, three of these claims have been settled and eight are outstanding. There were seven claims alleging sexual harassment, two of these are settled and five are outstanding.

Occasionally, correspondence is received in the Department from former members of the Defence Forces who served back as far as the 1940s. In a few cases, such correspondence may make some reference to an alleged incident of abuse within the Defence Forces. Every effort is made to examine these allegations very carefully. The person would also be advised to contact the Garda Síochána directly in the matter and to make a formal complaint.

The incidence of legal claims and other contacts would not suggest a requirement to establish a new compensation scheme or process. In common with all other citizens, members and former members of the Defence Forces enjoy the full rights of access to the courts.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

219 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for Defence if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet with. [9942/06]

I will not be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Local Authority Funding.

Billy Timmins

Question:

220 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the funding he allocated to the Greystones marine project; and what this funding is for. [9805/06]

The local authority PPP fund was established on 1 December 1999 to provide funding to local authorities to enable them to investigate the potential for, and promote, PPP projects outside the Department's mainstream investment programmes. Eligible expenditure by local authorities included feasibility studies, planning and design costs, the presentation of business plans, procurement costs and independent specialist advice on private sector proposals.

The fund closed to new applications on 31 December 2004. In the period 1999-2004 my Department sought grant applications on a number of occasions from local authorities. Assessment of grant applications took account of: the importance of the services or assets provided for the community; commercial viability; value for money; innovation; and replicability.

Funding of €545,987 was awarded to Wicklow County Council in June 2000 for the appointment of a client's representative to advance an integrated and comprehensive harbour-marina-coastal erosion protection related development including leisure, amenity and open space facilities and residential units at Greystones Harbour and north beach. The significant product from this phase of the project was a feasibility study.

In December 2004 further funding of €375,000 was awarded to Wicklow County Council for the project. This related to retention of the client's representative to consider the bids received from the public tendering process, preparation of procurement documentation including contract, bidder meetings, bid evaluation and evaluation reporting, and preparation of EIS and planning permission application.

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Joe Sherlock

Question:

221 Mr. Sherlock asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide a progress report on the Buttevant, County Cork sewerage scheme collection system; if a tender has been accepted; and when work will commence. [9806/06]

The Buttevant sewerage scheme has been approved for funding in my Department's water services investment programme 2005-2007 under the rural towns and villages initiative. A tenderer whose bid for the collection system contract has been disqualified by Cork County Council on grounds of non-compliance with the instructions to tenderers has exercised his entitlement under procurement procedures to refer the disqualification for review and recommendation by my Department. The matter it is being dealt with as quickly as possible by my Department and the council will be in a position to complete its assessments of tenders on receipt of the Department's recommendation.

Local Authority Funding.

Pat Breen

Question:

222 Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, further to Question No. 555 of 7 February 2006, if payment has been made to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9818/06]

Contracts submitted by the solicitor for the person named in relation to the sale of bog to my Department are currently being examined in the Chief State Solicitor's office, in preparation for completion of the transaction.

Recycling Policy.

Michael Lowry

Question:

223 Mr. Lowry asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government further to Question No. 504 of 28 February 2006, if watches and clocks which are battery operated are subject to the WEEE producer recycling scheme; if not, the levy that is imposed on these items; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9831/06]

As stated in the reply to Question No. 504 of 28 February 2006, battery operated watches and clocks with a voltage rating not exceeding 1,500 volts for direct current, DC, are within the scope of the WEEE directive. Consequently, retailers are required to take back such items at end of life on a one-for-one basis when selling a similar product. Alternatively members of the public can deposit waste battery operated watches and clocks at any local authority civic amenity facility catering for WEEE free of charge. Producers placing these products on the market are responsible for recycling them at end of life.

There is no levy on electrical and electronic products placed on the market. The WEEE directive allows producers to show the cost of recovering and recycling "historic" waste, that is waste arising from electric and electronic products put on the market before 13 August 2005. These costs are referred to as environmental management costs, EMCs. They are not imposed by, or remitted to, the Government, but are paid by producers to the two collective compliance schemes operating in Ireland, WEEE Ireland and the European Recycling Platform. These schemes are operating a producer responsibility initiative. The purpose of the EMCs is to enable the schemes to pay for the environmentally sound management of all household WEEE taken back by retailers or deposited by members of the public at local authority civic amenity sites.

The EMCs currently applied show the costs of recycling based on data submitted by producers to the WEEE Register Society Limited, the industry-based national WEEE registration body, which has an independent committee of management. The WEEE Register Society assessed and approved the EMCs and my Department has no function in the matter. Following a partial review of EMCs, a reduction to zero euro of the EMCs for clocks and watches was implemented by WEEE Register Society on 5 December 2005. EMCs are input costs and how these are dealt with in the pricing of products is part of the normal negotiations between producer and retailer.

The WEEE scheme has been operating for six months and the real benefits of this new system for consumers and the environment are becoming apparent. WEEE is now being collected from over 180 collection points nationwide. Early indications are that significant quantities of this waste type are being returned for recycling. In the first 12 weeks alone 4,800 tonnes, equivalent to an annual rate of almost 20,000 tonnes, of household WEEE was collected. This points to a fourfold increase in the recycling of household WEEE as 5,510 tonnes of this waste type was recovered in 2004, and indicates widespread public support for the implementation of the directive.

Health Service Schemes.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

224 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the statutory basis for the disabled person’s top-up grant scheme operated by the Health Service Executive; if he will provide a copy of the qualifying criteria and administrative rules and procedures governing the processing of grant applications to this Deputy and to the Houses of the Oireachtas Library; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9853/06]

The scheme referred to is operated by Health Service Executive and my Department has no function in the matter.

End-of-Life Vehicles.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

225 Ms O. Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the means by which it is proposed to impose the full cost of dismantling, treating and recycling end-of-life vehicles on manufacturers as per the recently published draft waste management, end-of-life, vehicle regulations 2006. [9862/06]

Directive 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, ELVs, incorporates measures aimed at: meeting new recovery and recycling targets for ELVs; ensuring that all end-of-life vehicles are deposited, dismantled, treated and recovered by industry at no cost to the final holder or owner of that vehicle and in a manner that does not cause environmental pollution; producers meeting the costs of free take-back of end-of-life vehicles with no market value; introducing systems whereby certificates of destruction are notified to the vehicle registration authorities on the deposit of end-of-life vehicles by their registered owners at authorised treatment facilities, ATFs, for appropriate treatment and recovery; and minimising the use of specified hazardous substances in vehicles.

Enabling legislative provisions were included in the Protection of the Environment Act 2003, which inserts a new part in the Waste Management Act 1996, to facilitate the development of regulations concerning implementation of the directive. I recently published draft waste management, end-of-life, vehicle regulations 2006 which will fully transpose and provide the framework for the implementation of the ELV directive. The regulations have been published in draft form to allow for a period of public consultation until 24 March.

Under the draft regulations, responsibility for putting in place a national network of authorised treatment facilities providing take-back of end-of-life vehicles of any particular brand will rest with the producer of that brand. As is the case in a number of European Union member states, issues in relation to cost of take-back of end-of-life vehicles will be the subject of contractual arrangements between each producer and the ATFs that form part of that producer's national network.

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Denis Naughten

Question:

226 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the status of an application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9882/06]

The north-east Roscommon water, augmentation scheme is included in my Department's water services investment programme 2005-2007 as a scheme to commence construction this year. The west Roscommon regional water supply scheme, which will serve north Roscommon, is approved in the programme to advance through planning.

Roscommon County Council's preliminary report for the north-east Roscommon scheme, received earlier this week, is under examination in my Department and is being dealt with as quickly as possible. Following approval of the preliminary report the Council will be in a position to proceed with the preparation of contract documents. The council's brief for the appointment of consultants to prepare a design review report for the west Roscommon scheme has been approved by the Department and it is now a matter for the council to proceed with the report.

Local Authority Funding.

Denis Naughten

Question:

227 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the percentage of the annual budget provided by his Department to local authorities which is designated for the maintenance of the public water supply; if the percentage is calculated on a per capita or actual cost basis for each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9887/06]

In 2004, the latest year for which complete information is available, the estimated expenditure by local authorities in respect of the operation and maintenance of public water supplies was some €214 million. Such expenditure is funded from a combination of non-domestic user charges, general purpose grants and specific grants.

In line with the polluter pays principle and the water services pricing framework adopted by the Government, the operation and maintenance costs of water supplies in respect of the non-domestic sector are recoupable from that sector. General purpose grants from the local government fund are discretionary block grants paid to local authorities as a contribution to their current costs, including domestic water services. In calculating these grants a wide range of relevant factors are taken into consideration, including population and the cost of operating and maintaining the domestic element of water supplies. In 2006, I allocated some €875 million to local authorities in general purpose grants. This represents an average increase of about 7%, more than double the rate of inflation, over the corresponding figure for 2005.

In addition, I have also been able to provide special assistance from the local government fund in recent years to help local authorities to meet the operating costs arising on newly commissioned water and wastewater treatment plants pending the reflection of these costs in the needs and resources model which is used in the allocation of general purpose grants. Some €7.5 million has been allocated to local authorities for this purpose in 2006. My Department is also providing substantial funding to local authorities to reduce unaccounted for water in public water supply systems and to improve the efficiency of such systems, thereby reducing the level of operational and maintenance costs falling to be met by the local authorities.

Denis Naughten

Question:

228 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason the annual budgets allocated to each local authority are not broken down on a service basis by his Department; his views on whether this would provide a more transparent and accountable system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9888/06]

I assume that the question refers to general purpose grant allocations from the local government fund.

General purpose grants are discretionary block grants paid to local authorities as a contribution towards their current costs. These costs are also funded by specific State grants and income from local sources such as commercial rates and charges for goods and services. It is a matter for each local authority, in the context of its annual budgetary process, to determine its own spending priorities having regard to the amount of funding available to it and local needs and circumstances. I have no proposals to introduce greater central prescription into this process by directing local authorities in relation to the spreading of their general purpose grants.

Denis Naughten

Question:

229 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on whether the huge variances that exist between local authorities’ commercial water charges is at least in part attributable to the inadequate amount of funding allocated by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9889/06]

The Government's national water services pricing policy framework requires local authorities to recover the cost of providing water services from the users of these services, with the exception of households using the services for domestic purposes.

The unit cost of water services provision will differ between sanitary authorities given the differences in the costs of water production across each local authority area and the economies of scale that apply. Sanitary authorities are in accordance with Government policy moving to a more uniform system for determining and applying these charges. It is however a matter for each sanitary authority to set the appropriate level of charges for non-domestic users of water services subject to the policy framework provision for the full recovery of actual costs and water and waste water charges being determined having regard to this principle.

I do not consider that current arrangements for the funding of water services have contributed to the variances in the cost of water services between sanitary authorities. In this regard, the capital cost of domestic water services is funded in full by the Exchequer and has benefited from a significant investment of €2.7 billion since 2000. The operational cost of providing water services for domestic purposes is met by grants from the local government fund, in particular through the general purpose grant which will amount to some €875 million in 2006. I believe that with prudent use of this funding and the pursuit of further efficiencies and expenditure rationalisation, local authorities will be adequately resourced to meet demands including domestic water services provision in 2006 and beyond.

Housing Grants.

Joe Walsh

Question:

230 Mr. Walsh asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the 2004 affordable housing scheme (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9908/06]

Following the approval by Cork County Council of the comprehensive feasibility assessment carried out on this site, an amendment to the local area plan was advertised on 20 February 2006 and will remain on public display for inspection until 3 April 2006 in the two relevant divisional areas. In parallel with this process, the council is also engaging with consultants to draw up plans for the relevant tender documentation.

The measures being undertaken by the council are necessary to ensure the transparency of the process and will hopefully result in a development that will be acceptable to all interested parties. Commencement of construction on the site will be contingent on the outcome of the planning process.

Planning Issues.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

231 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the consideration he has given to the regulation of management companies in mixed housing developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9917/06]

A Law Reform Commission working group is currently examining a range of legal issues in relation to the management of multi-unit structures. The Government will consider the recommendations in its final report, including the need for any new legislation in this area.

Following a request for information from my Department, I understand that the majority of planning authorities do not attach conditions to planning permissions requiring management companies to be set up in the case of housing estates. A number do in specified circumstances, for example, where there is a shared waste water treatment plant between a number of houses.

The Department issued circular letter PD 1/06 on 25 January 2006 reminding local authorities of their obligations under section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 in relation to taking in charge of estates. The circular letter also clearly states that the existence of a management company to maintain elements of common buildings, carry out landscaping, etc. must not impact upon the decision by the authority to take in charge roads and related infrastructure where a request to do so is made.

I am considering whether any further guidance should issue to planning authorities regarding planning conditions in relation to management companies.

Housing Grants.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

232 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he intends to respond to the recommendations of the Indecon report regarding the disabled persons grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9918/06]

The recommendations of the Indecon report regarding the disabled persons grant scheme have been noted and will be considered in the context of the review of the scheme being finalised in my Department at the moment.

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

233 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the measures he intends to introduce in relation to water conservation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9920/06]

While local authorities are responsible for the operation and maintenance of their public water supply systems, my Department has undertaken a number of initiatives over the years to assist authorities to optimise the management, quality and efficiency of such systems.

In 1996, following publication of the greater Dublin water supply strategic study, a new capital funding line was introduced to help reduce unaccounted for water levels in local authority distribution networks, to improve the quality of supply to consumers, to lower operating costs and to maximise the value of investment in capital works. A series of pilot schemes to identify potential improvements, as well as some physical work on network rehabilitation, was undertaken as a first measure. Project locations included Dublin, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, Athlone and Clonmel. All of these schemes have now been completed with the aid of capital funding of €63 million from my Department. The results show that unaccounted for water rates have reduced considerably. For example, in Dublin they have fallen from 42.5% to 28.7%, in Donegal from 59% to 39%, in Meath from 47% to 34% and in Kilkenny from 45% to 29%.

The results of my Department's subsequent national water study, which involved an audit of all public water supplies outside the greater Dublin area serving more than 5,000 consumers, were published in March 2000. The study examined 91 water supply schemes operated by some 38 local authorities and reported on all aspects of water supply including availability of raw water, treatment capacity, water distribution systems and associated management issues. It found,inter alia, that unaccounted for water levels varied significantly between regions but were generally in the range of between 40% to 50%.

In May 2003 the Department allocated a further €276 million to local authorities to identify and substantially reduce unaccounted for water in public supply networks. The bulk of the allocation, €194 million, was provided for network rehabilitation or replacement works by authorities that had carried out water management system studies under the earlier pilot phase. The balance of €82 million will enable the remaining authorities to complete water management system studies as a necessary precursor to structural rehabilitation works. In November 2005, I increased the recoupment available to local authorities from the Department for certain water conservation activities from 75% to 90% to encourage and facilitate greater progress on the national water conservation programme generally. Details of allocations to individual authorities are set out in my Department's water services investment programme 2005-07, which is available in the Oireachtas Library.

Detailed information on the cost of unaccounted for water in the public water supply system generally is not available in my Department. There are variations in the production costs of water between local authorities and, in addition, not all unaccounted for water is lost through leakage. A significant proportion relates to unauthorised or unrecorded connections. The universal metering of all non-domestic consumers which is scheduled for completion by end 2006, coupled with the local authorities' ongoing water management system studies, will significantly improve the range of data available in this area and further help to reduce the levels of unaccounted for water.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

234 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress which has been made on the leak detection project for water supplies in the greater Dublin area since it commenced; the further work which is planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9921/06]

Exchequer funding for leak detection works and other infrastructural measures to improve the management of water supplies in the Dublin region was provided under my Department's water services investment programme as part of the Dublin region water conservation project between 1996 and 2000 during which unaccounted for water levels were reduced from 42% to below 29%. Following completion of this project in 2000, the local authorities concerned have assumed ongoing responsibility for leakage detection and repair as an operational function. Further information in this regard may appropriately be sought from Dublin City Council which is acting as lead authority for the region.

A further allocation of €118.3 million has been provided under my Department's water services investment programme 2005-07 for the rehabilitation of defective and unserviceable water mains in the Dublin region as part of a national water conservation sub-programme. I understand that Dublin City Council, also acting as lead authority in this case, has now appointed consultants to produce contract documents and to oversee the implementation of the relevant works in the region.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

235 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the current water supply demand in the greater Dublin area; the sources which currently supply that demand; the projected need up to 2010; the courses which will satisfy that demand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9922/06]

The current output of the water production plants in the greater Dublin area — including Kildare, Meath and Wicklow — is approximately 582 million litres per day. The main water treatment plants providing water to the region are located at Ballyboden, Ballymore Eustace, Leixlip and Vartry.

A range of projects to further expand capacity is being advanced under my Department's water services investment programme 2005-07. These include the Kildare Wellfield development, the Leixlip water treatment plant extension, Navan water supply scheme, Wicklow town water supply scheme and the expansion of the Ballymore Eustace water treatment plant. The Ballymore Eustace scheme will increase capacity by a further 44 million litres per day. A recently completed interim upgrade to the plant has already secured 22 million litres per day of this increase. In addition, the programme includes funding to support the identification of new sources to meet projected demand in the greater Dublin area up to 2031.

Since 1996, over €55 million has been spent on ongoing water conservation works in the region to reduce unaccounted for water and water losses in the distribution system. These measures, taken together, are designed to ensure the availability of adequate water supplies to meet the needs of the greater Dublin area in the medium term.

Planning Issues.

Catherine Murphy

Question:

236 Ms C. Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the guidelines, instructions or advice which have been received from institutions of the EU regarding unauthorised developments and the appropriateness of granting retention of such developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9923/06]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 39 of 8 March 2006.

Official Engagements.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

237 Mr. Kehoe asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will be travelling abroad for the St. Patrick’s Day festivities; and if so, the location he will be visiting; the functions he will be attending; and the groups he will meet. [9943/06]

It is intended that I will visit Malaysia, Thailand and Japan during St. Patrick's week.

In Kuala Lumpur I expect to meet the vice-president of the St. Patrick's Society and attend the St. Patrick's ball. I also expect to meet my Malaysian ministerial counterpart, attend an Irish business network function, co-hosted by the Irish Ambassador and Enterprise Ireland, and attend a function for business partners by Irish Universities Medical Consortium. I propose to spend one day in Bangkok where I will be attending the Festival of Ireland 2006, organised by the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

The programme for my visit to Tokyo and Osaka is being finalised. However, I expect to attend meetings at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Matsushita Electrics and meet the Irish communities in both cities. I also hope to meet the Japanese Foreign Minister, the Vice-Foreign Minister and a number of parliamentarians, the Minister for the Environment and attend a function organised by the American Ireland Fund of Japan in addition to attending the St. Patrick's Day parade in Toyko.

EU Directives.

David Stanton

Question:

238 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the way in which the nitrates directive will be enforced; the bodies that will be charged with enforcement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9944/06]

The European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2005 provide that local authorities and shall carry out such inspections of farm holdings as are necessary for the purposes of the regulations. The regulations also provide that local authorities should aim to co-ordinate their inspection activities with inspections carried out by other public authorities and further provide for an inspection protocol which is to be drawn up between my Department and the Department of Agriculture and Food. Farm inspections will be carried out by the Department of Agriculture and Food in the context of cross-compliance under the single payment scheme.

It should also be noted that local authorities act under the general supervision of the EPA in relation to the performance of their environmental protection functions.

David Stanton

Question:

239 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the progress being made in relation to nitrates directive and derogation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9945/06]

I refer to the replies to Questions Nos. 51, 76 and 93 of 8 March 2006.