Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 11, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 12 to 23, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 24 to 33, inclusive, answered orally.

Departmental Expenditure.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

34 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the cost of the new Waterways Ireland head office in Enniskillen; the cost to the Exchequer of their contribution to its completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23845/09]

The new headquarters building for Waterways Ireland is located on the shores of Lough Erne in Enniskillen. I am advised that:

the total construction cost (including fees) to date is STG£10.525m;

a retention of STG£0.201m and outstanding fees of STG£0.015m remain to be paid;

fit-out costs were STG£0.212m; and

the building was constructed within budget.

The contribution by my Department to this project was €3m. This took account of an agreement with the co-sponsoring Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland that the cost of new regional offices for Waterways Ireland at Scarriff, Co Clare (completed) and at Carrick-on-Shannon (not yet commenced) would be met in full from this jurisdiction.

I should add that the new headquarters building in Enniskillen is designed to be energy efficient and sustainable, using biofuels and solar panels for heating, and earned Waterways Ireland the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors ‘Sustainability' category award last month.

National Drugs Strategy.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

35 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the fact that the dial to stop drug dealing phoneline looks set to close in autumn 2009, if not earlier, in view of the fact that it has received more than 2,200 calls generating approximately 600 information reports for gardaí to follow up; and if he will arrange for a small portion of the drug-related moneys confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau to be ringfenced to secure the future of the phoneline or make a commitment that alternative funding will be made available. [23835/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

56 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of calls made to the dial to stop drug dealing phone line to date; the number of information reports for gardaí that this has generated; and if he will reverse his decision to let this valuable and cost effective tool in the fight against drugs close down once funding runs out which it is envisaged will happen in the early autumn 2009, if not sooner. [23868/09]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

61 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans for the future of the dial to stop drug dealing hotline scheme; the number of areas in which it currently operates; if it is intended to provide adequate funding to allow it to continue in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23854/09]

Willie Penrose

Question:

73 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans for the future of the dial to stop drug dealing hotline scheme; the number of hotlines currently operating; the number he expects to be in operation at the end of 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23858/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 35, 56, 61 and 73 together.

The Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was officially launched on 30 September 2008. The first phase ran across the following five Task Force areas in late 2008:

Blanchardstown LDTF;

Tallaght LDTF;

Dublin North East LDTF;

Dublin North Inner City LDTF;

South-Western RDTF;

Following Government approval, funding was allocated from the Dormant Accounts Fund for ten further campaigns divided into two phases. These have now been rolled out in the following Task Force areas in recent months:

Cork LDTF and Southern RDTF (23rd March);

Co. Kerry (25th March);

North Dublin City and County RDTF (31st March);

Mid-West RDTF (2nd April);

South East RDTF (27th April);

East Coast RDTF (12th May);

Dun Laoghaire LDTF (18th May);

Bray LDTF (19th May);

Finglas Cabra LDTF (22nd May);

Midlands RDTF (22nd May).

In relation to funding, phase one of the campaign was funded by my Department (€100,000) and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (€50,000). The Dormant Accounts funding of €300,000 is once-off in nature and is the total that has been allocated. As the allocation for funding for drugs initiatives in my Department in 2009 is fully committed, I regret that there is no scope, at present, for further campaigns. Neither do I envisage any additional campaigns in 2010.

While the suggestion that a portion of drugs related money confiscated by the Criminal Assets Bureau funding be ringfenced to fund campaigns of this nature is an interesting one, it raises a number of difficulties. The Constitution requires, and Government accounting principles provide, that public moneys be spent as voted or approved by Dáil Éireann, unless otherwise provided by statute. It would be contrary to the normal Estimates process if we were to ring-fence moneys obtained by the Exchequer and reallocate them for a specific purpose.

The Deputies should note that all of the Task Forces were consulted to assess their interest in rolling out a local campaign. While several opted not to run one, I am satisfied that, with the available funding, the majority of the Task Force areas have been engaged in the process. In this context, I would like to point out that the campaign confidential number is open for all to use, regardless of the area they come from.

Overall, the campaign has proved to be very successful. To date, there have been in excess of 3,300 calls to the phone-line that have generated over 920 information reports to the Gardaí.

It should also be noted that from the outset the Dial-to-Stop Drug Dealing Campaign was to run over a discrete period of time. This was based on the findings from the initial pilot project in Blanchardstown which found that the vast majority of calls were received early in the campaign following its launch. I recently launched the final part of the campaign in Athlone, which will cover the Midlands RDTF area. The line will remain open until approximately September.

Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 29.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

37 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of meetings he has had with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to provide up dates as to each Department’s programme and progress in regard to the reduction of the use of illicit substances; the progress made at such meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23849/09]

I have had regular meetings with the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform (D/JE&LR) since my appointment as Minister of State with responsibility for the National Drugs Strategy and the Deputy will be aware that I also hold office at that Department in the context of my appointment as Minister for Integration. In their overall co-ordinating role in respect of the Strategy, my officials are also in on-going contact with that Department.

As chairperson of the Inter-departmental Group on Drugs, I meet with senior officials of various agencies, including the D/JE&LR, on a quarterly basis. That Department is also represented on the interim Drugs Advisory Group which I currently chair and which meets on a fortnightly basis. Apart from these Groups, meetings and contact between myself, my officials and the D/JE&LR continue on an on-going basis in regard to the efforts to reduce the use of illicit substances.

Indeed, the D/JE&LR has been centrally involved in the work to develop a new Drugs Strategy. They, along with the Gardaí, the Irish Prison Service, and the Probation Service, were all represented on a Steering Group, chaired by my Department, which developed the new Strategy. The Steering Group met on 33 occasions over the past year or so and their work also included formal meetings with senior officials of various Departments, including the D/JE&LR. The Government approved the new Strategy yesterday.

The Gardaí and the Probation Services are represented on Drug Task Forces and this facilitates their involvement in drug issues at a local and regional level. Also, drugs issues are addressed through Local Policing Fora and, increasingly, through the Joint Policing Committees that are being established throughout the country. Furthermore, in the context of drugs as a global problem, officials in the D/JE&LR and my Department co-operate fully in regard to representation at drugs fora at EU and UN level.

Overall, I am fully satisfied with our level of co-operation and co-ordination with the D/JE&LR in the continuing effort to disrupt the supply of drugs to this country and to reduce of the overall use of illicit substances.

Departmental Expenditure.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

38 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way the reduction of €47.4 million in the estimate for his Department, announced in Budget 2009, will be achieved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23853/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

44 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his priorities for expenditure by his Department for the remainder of 2009 in view of the ongoing economic downturn and the social issues arising therefrom; the way he will address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23916/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

135 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his proposals to respond to the issues arising from the economic downturn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24017/09]

I propose to take Questions No. 38, 44 and 135 together.

As the Deputy is aware, in the current economic circumstances, the Government was faced with difficult decisions in the recent Budget. Accordingly, it considered a range of measures to maintain a prudent fiscal outturn for 2009 and to provide the basis for a sustainable approach to the current financial situation. Across Government, our approach has been to do this in as balanced a way as possible.

The revised 2009 allocation for my Department shows a gross reduction of €47.4m on the initial estimated allocation announced in October 2008. Full details of the reductions at an individual programme level are available in the recently published Revised Estimates Volume 2009, which is available on-line on the website of the Department of Finance (http://www.finance.gov.ie/ViewDoc.asp?DocId=-1&CatID=13&m=f).

€11.8m of my Department's reduction relates to capital expenditure. This includes a transfer of some €2.5m to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs relating to the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund. The balance reflects adjustments in capital expenditure made in the package of measures announced by the Minister of Finance at end-January 2009.

The priorities for capital expenditure in 2009 are reflected in the published 2009 Budget allocations for my Department's capital programme. A table summarising the position in this regard will be circulated with the Official Report.

Table: 2009 Budget allocations for the Department's capital programme

Capital Programme Area

2009 Budget Allocation

2009 REV Allocations

Reduction

€000

€000

€000

Administration

680

610

-70

Developing Communities

14,000

13,340

-660

Tackling Problem Drug Use

8,100

4,591

-3,509

Rural Development

51,000

47,976

-3,024

Gaeltacht & Islands Development

59,070

55,332

-3,738

Promotion and Maintenance of the Irish Language

650

600

-50

North/South Co-operation

11,500

10,726

-774

Total

145,000

133,175

-11,825

In relation to current expenditure, there is a reduction of €35.6m, which includes a transfer of €17.4m to the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs for the Young People's Facilities and Services Fund and a transfer of €2m to the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism from Ciste na Gaeilge in relation to the Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Regional Development Programme. The balance is made up of savings achieved mainly by the reduction of administration costs for my Department, the State agencies within its ambit, and community and voluntary organisations.

The priorities for current expenditure in 2009 are reflected in the published 2009 Budget allocations for my Department's current programme. The following table summarises the position in this regard.

Table: 2009 Budget allocations for the Department's current programme

Current Programme Area

2009 Budget Allocation

2009 REV Allocations

Reduction

€000

€000

€000

Administration

18,778

18,347

-431

Developing Communities

161,650

149,976

-11,674

Tackling Problem Drug Use

53,000

36,020

-16,980

Rural Development

56,760

55,446

-1,314

Gaeltacht & Islands Development

31,630

30,586

-1,044

Promotion and Maintenance of the Irish Language

9,972

7,774

-2,198

North/South Co-operation

46,295

44,376

-1,919

Total

378,085

342,525

-35,560

In relation to the various programme areas of my Department, efforts have been made to minimise the effects on frontline services, where possible. This approach will continue in the context of the ongoing financial management of my Department's Vote for the remainder of the year.

Decentralisation Programme.

Jack Wall

Question:

39 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position in relation to the decentralisation programme of his Department; the cost incurred to date; the number of accommodations that have been rented to accommodate the changes; the cost of such rents; if these rents are being reviewed due to the economic downturn; the position regarding the proposed new site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23863/09]

Under the decentralisation programme, the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is scheduled to relocate to offices at Na Forbacha, Galway and Charlestown, Co. Mayo.

My Department's commitment under the decentralisation programme in relation to Na Forbacha, Co. Galway has been met in full with 10 staff now relocated to my Department's offices at that location.

In relation to the decentralisation of my Department's headquarters to Charlestown, Co. Mayo, significant progress has been made to date. From a total of 140 staff due to decentralise, 100 staff have now relocated to an interim location in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, where two properties are being leased by the Office of Public Works to accommodate the staff concerned. I understand from the Office of Public Works that the cost of leasing both properties in Tubbercurry is just under €175,000 per year, while fit-out costs to date for both buildings amounted to some €402,000.

I also understand that the total non-property costs relating to the relocation of staff to Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, amounted to some €1.39m to end-March 2009.

In relation to the Deputy's specific query regarding the review of rental costs in Tubbercurry, I must advise that property and accommodation matters, including rental costs and rent reviews, are a matter for the Office of Public Works.

In relation to the acquisition of a permanent site for my Department's headquarters at Charlestown, Co Mayo, I understand that OPW is currently liaising with the Department of Finance and relevant authorities in relation to a particular site in Charlestown, which it has identified as being suitable.

I should add that the Department of Finance was recently approached by a community development organisation in relation to a property in Kiltimagh, Co Mayo, with turn-key potential as a headquarters building. On foot of this approach, OPW is currently examining the property in question to ascertain its suitability. I should emphasise that this is a sensible and prudent response to the approach that has been made and implies no decision.

National Drugs Strategy.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

40 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the report published by the family support network entitled Intimidation of Families; if the recommendations of this report will be reflected in the new national drugs strategy; and if responsibility for supporting families will be clearly assigned and the requisite resources made available. [23865/09]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

71 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the new national drugs strategy will deal comprehensively with the issue of drug related intimidation; the Department it is envisaged that will lead on this matter; and the form consultation around the approach to this issue has and will take. [23866/09]

I propose to take Questions 40 and 71 together.

I am very much aware of the issue of drug-related intimidation and I accept that we must re-double our efforts to deal effectively with this problem.

The issue of intimidation was consistently raised during the consultation process undertaken in regard to the development of proposals for a new National Drugs Strategy. The increased levels of intimidation are, in part, thought to be due to higher levels of drug-related debts, which are particularly associated with the rise in cocaine use.

The Gardaí, who have responded very successfully to many aspects of the criminal activity associated with the supply of illegal drugs, continue to face significant difficulties in dealing with the issue of intimidation. This varies from low level incidents to the most serious crimes, often involving gangs who are involved in the drugs market. While such activities are often drug-related, they are not exclusively so, and the development of appropriate responses goes beyond the remit of the Drugs Strategy. In this regard, the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform intends to shortly bring forward proposals for new legislation through the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill 2009 and, when enacted, this will significantly strengthen the measures available to the Gardaí in this area.

The Steering Group that developed the proposals for the new Drugs Strategy was very aware of the consequences of intimidation for the individuals, families and communities affected. However, there is no easy remedy to the problem. However, it is important to point out that the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform — the Department with lead responsibility in this area — and An Garda Síochána, both of whom were represented on the Steering Group, are fully committed to tackling intimidation, whether in the context of the drugs market or more generally.

The report of the Family Support Network on the intimidation of families was considered by the Steering Group. The new Drugs Strategy will aim to develop a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug-related intimidation in communities. The Gardaí will be taking the lead role in this regard and the Family Support Network will also be involved.

The new Strategy envisages drug-related intimidation being raised on a regular basis at meetings of Joint Policing Committees and Local Policing Fora, so that these matters can be brought to the attention of An Garda Síochána, and appropriate and sustainable local responses pursued.

Community Development.

Michael Ring

Question:

41 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans in relation to the future of the community development programme; the options he has considered in respect of the future management structures for community development programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23869/09]

Following the recent supplementary budget, the allocation for the Community Development Programme for 2009 is €20.9m. As the Deputy may be aware, a review of the Community Development Programme is currently underway and I anticipate findings in this regard in due course. There is an ongoing need to ensure that resources are directed in a targeted and effective manner and activities funded by my Department are subject to critical appraisal. In that way those we work to assist will receive the maximum benefit.

Inland Waterways.

Joan Burton

Question:

42 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the mileage of non-navigable canal here; the geographical areas where such exists; his plans to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23847/09]

In replying to the Deputy's Question, it is necessary to distinguish between canals that are under the control of Waterways Ireland and those which are not. In relation to those canals under the control of Waterways Ireland, it is further necessary to distinguish between non-navigable canals that could be restored at some stage in the future and those which are obsolete because they have been replaced by a parallel navigation. For the sake of completeness, I am also including in my reply details of some other navigations that are primarily river-based, rather than being canalsper se.

The following are the details requested by the Deputy in respect of non-navigable stretches of canals that are within the control of Waterways Ireland and are being or could be restored:

Grand Canal

Kilbeggan Branch (8.2 miles long) in Co. Offaly and Co. Westmeath.

Part of Naas & Corbally Branch (Corbally Extension) (4.4 miles long) in Co. Kildare.

Barrow Line Part of Mountmellick Branch (0.25 miles long) in Co. Kildare (remaining 11 miles filled in).

Royal Canal

Part of Royal Canal (11 miles long) in Co. Longford, currently under restoration.

Longford Branch (3 miles long) in Co. Longford.

The Royal Canal main line is currently under restoration and the remaining work necessary to return it to full navigation between Dublin and the Shannon is due for completion in 2010. Ulster Canal

46 miles long in Co. Cavan, Co. Monaghan, Co. Fermanagh and Co. Armagh. Approval has been given to Waterways Ireland to restore the stretch between Lough Erne and Clones. Present indications are that this stretch could be re-opened by 2013.

The following are details of canals that became redundant following parallel works on the Shannon Navigation in the period 1839 — 1846, or following the construction of Ardnacrusha in the 1920s:

Park Canal (1 mile long) in Limerick City.

Errina-Plassey Canal (6.9 miles long) in Co. Clare.

Hamilton Canal (1.9 miles long) in Co. Offaly.

Athlone Canal (0.9 miles long) in Athlone.

Roosky Canal (1.2 miles long) in Co. Roscommon.

A number of these are maintained as linear parks by agreement with the local authority or other local agency.

It is intended, subject to availability of resources, to carry out feasibility studies and preliminary designs in relation to the Longford Branch, the Kilbeggan Branch and the Corbally Extension, along with extensions to Annagh Upper near Dowra on the Shannon Navigation and to Lough Oughter on the Erne System with a view to possible re-opening. Consideration will also be given to the carrying out of preliminary analysis and assessment of the Mountmellick Branch, as well as the Boyne Navigation (which is primarily a river navigation) and the extension towards Mohill on the Rinn River, as future possibilities for restoration.

Irish Language.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

43 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the action he has taken in regard to the breach of his Department’s statutory language scheme in failing to ensure Department interviews were held in Irish or in English in specific cases and in failing to ensure staff training in both languages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23860/09]

My Department's Language Scheme under the Official Languages Act 2003 provides that Departmental interviews through Irish or English will be available to staff, subject to advance notice by interviewees of their language choice. Notwithstanding the clarity of this provision, my Department agreed, following an investigation and correspondence from An Coimisinéir Teanga in November 2007, to provide that for all future competitions for internal promotion an amended application form would be used where applicants would be able to indicate their language choice for interview (except in cases where Irish is a particular requirement for the post).

In relation to the provision of staff training in both languages, my Department's Language Scheme contains a commitment to provide appropriate training and development for staff in both official languages. In this regard, my Department is required to operate in accordance with national procurement requirements and, during the process of tendering, requests training providers to provide training to staff both in Irish and English. In the case of two competitions for promotion, my Department encountered difficulties in sourcing specific specialist courses through Irish, resulting in the provision of training through English only, and this issue was also investigated by An Coimisinéir Teanga. My Department has now put arrangements in place to ensure that where the market is unable to provide training in Irish, this will be delivered in-house by a member of staff attached to the Training Unit who is proficient in Irish.

Both of the above approaches are encompassed in my Department's Human Resources Strategy 2008-10 and its Training and Development Strategy 2009-11.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 38.

National Drugs Strategy.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

45 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the role of community organisations in the national drugs strategy; his plans to support community groups and workers who tackle the drug problem in communities here; if funding for such groups is guaranteed into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23917/09]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

59 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the implications for frontline services of his most recent decision to cut the budgets to the local drugs task forces by a further 15 to 20%; his views on whether the impact of the cuts will be to wipe out certain services, reduce programmes and closure of premises and job losses at a time when drug use and drug related harm to individuals and communities are on the increase; and if he will reverse the cuts. [23867/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 45 and 59 together.

Community and voluntary organisations have an important role to play in the National Drugs Strategy at a number of levels. At a local level, through the Drugs Task Force network, they are involved in planning and developing community services. Nationally, they also make a valuable contribution to policy development through the input of their representatives.

In this context, the Deputies should note that the community and voluntary sectors were represented on the Steering Group set up to develop proposals on the new Drugs Strategy and their input was facilitated and supported throughout that process. Many community organisations also contributed to the various consultations meetings that were undertaken as part of the Steering Group's work.

With regard to expenditure, as the Deputies will be aware, the majority of drugs funding allocated to community groups and projects by my Department is channelled though the Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces. Of the total drugs funding in my Department's Vote in 2009, over 92% is targeted at Task Force-related activities.

The revised allocation, following the April 2009 Supplementary Budget, for community-based initiatives in the Task Force areas is €32.5m which will support in the region of 530 projects. In this context, it should be noted that the original allocation for LDTFs was €23.4m, while the revised allocation is €22.3m which is approximately a 4.7% reduction.

Unfortunately, no area is immune to cost cutting measures in the current economic environment. It is in this context that all Drugs Task Forces must live within the budgets allocated for their areas of responsibility and I fully appreciate this involves some difficult choices having to be made.

Sustained incremental funding over recent years has facilitated, amongst others, the strengthening of existing projects in the LDTF areas, the rolling out of projects and initiatives in the RDTF areas, the introduction of new initiatives and responses to address cocaine usage, measures to support rehabilitation and the ongoing investment in capital projects. These are recognised by Government as key areas to support communities to address the harm caused by problem drugs use and to deliver meaningful solutions. I can assure the Deputies that our primary concern has been — and continues to be — the protection of front-line community-based services delivering vital programmes and initiatives in areas worst affected by problem drug use.

I am, of course, acutely aware of the challenges reduced budget allocations pose. I know that other Departments and agencies are also very aware of this in the context of their engagement in the Drugs Strategy and the available funding to them for mainstreamed drugs services. However, we have to take account of the current economic reality and of the pressure on the public finances. This, inevitably, means that some schemes will be affected but I believe properly managed this may lead to and foster better interagency working to the benefit of all.

Finally, it should be noted that the Drugs Strategy is based on a co-ordinated effort across many Government Departments and Agencies and my Department's allocation is only part of a much bigger investment programme in drugs services. In 2008, it was estimated that expenditure on drugs programmes across all the bodies was in the region of €264m and expenditure in 2009 is expected to be broadly similar.

Irish Language.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

46 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the action he has taken in regard to the non-renewal by the end of 2008 of the three year language schemes for some 22 State organisations [23842/09]

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

68 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the cost in 2008 to his Department in regard to the Official Languages Act 2003 and its implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23861/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 68 together.

At the outset, I wish to reiterate that considerable progress has been made to date in the implementation, on a phased basis, of the provisions of the Official Languages Act 2003.

As the Deputy is aware, language schemes constitute the core element of the Act and to date I have confirmed a total of 93 language schemes, which cover 170 public bodies, and were the first language schemes adopted by those bodies. I have also confirmed second, or renewed, language schemes for 2 public bodies. All these schemes are available on the website of An Coimisinéir Teanga at www.coimisineir.ie. My own Department's second scheme is due to be published shortly.

In addition, 29 additional first schemes, as well as 37 second schemes, are currently in preparation and my Department is in discussion with the public bodies concerned. In this context, I should point out that the provisions of each language scheme confirmed to date remain in force until a new scheme is confirmed.

With regard to the renewal of schemes, I consider this phase to be of particular importance and, accordingly, during 2008 a consultation process was put in place in order to establish priorities for the second round of schemes. The main priority to emerge was the need to seek to raise the level of awareness amongst the Irish-speaking community about the services that are currently available from public bodies under their language schemes. A proposed "active offer of service" approach on the part of public bodies will be a key method of raising such awareness.

Accordingly, it is proposed that each second scheme will provide specific details of how the public body proposes to promote the services it provides, or proposes to provide, through Irish and to make its staff and customers aware of the availability of these services. These steps need not be expensive or elaborate — they might, for example, include placing signs at public counters or reception areas indicating what Irish language services are available and also listing the Irish language services that are available in a prominent location on the body's website.

With regard to the issue of the cost to my Department in 2008 of the implementation of the Act, I wish to remind the Deputy that it has been a long-standing policy of my Department to ensure that customers who wished to conduct their business through Irish or English are facilitated. Accordingly, expenditure on providing services through Irish and English arises from our existing commitments to our customers and is met from our normal administrative budget. It is not possible, therefore, readily to separate out the bilingual or Irish language dimension from the overall cost of running my Department and of its service delivery in 2008 or indeed in any given period.

The Deputy will be aware that Oifig an Choimisinéir Teanga is funded under my Department's Vote. This is a statutory, independent office whose role and functions are provided for in Part 4 of the Official Languages Act. The Office spent a sum of €831,000 in 2008.

Departmental Funding.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

47 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications received to date in 2009 and each of the past three years for grants under the Dormant Accounts Fund, RAPID and CLÁR; the funding provided under each heading; the number of programmes fully funded and completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23851/09]

Dormant Accounts Funding is provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF), through the votes of relevant Departments. The DAF is administered by means of various rounds of measures over an extended period and not on an annual basis. Rounds 2, 3 & 4 broadly relate to the periods referred to in the question. With regard to Dormant Accounts funded measures across all Government Departments, the number of applications for grants received under Rounds 2, 3 and 4 were 3,437; 3,115; and 1,575 respectively. The approvals / allocations of funding provided under each of these rounds was €76.6m, €22.3m and €29.8m respectively.

Also in relation to Dormant Accounts funding, in 2006, 2007 and 2008, my Department has managed an annual measure to support projects in RAPID areas, each measure is valued at €7.5m per annum. In 2007, my Department also managed a measure to provide recreation and personal development opportunities for disadvantaged young people valued at €1.12m, and provided €3.95m under the Flagship measure to fund two projects. In 2008, €2m was provided for a substance misuse measure.

Details of all of the individual grants and organisations that have been approved by the Government for support from the DAF are available on my Department's website:

www.pobail.ie.

RAPID

The RAPID Programme aims to ensure that priority attention is given to tackling the spatial concentration of poverty and social exclusion within the designated RAPID areas nationally. As I have indicated to the House on a number of occasions, it is a matter for individual Departments to report on the provision of funding and progress on delivery with respect to projects under their responsibility in the RAPID areas.

Details of the number of RAPID Leverage Scheme applications received by my Department and the funding allocated for each year are as follows:

RAPID

2006

2007 and 2008

To date in 2009

Number of applications for grants received

84 applications from RAPID areas

80 applications from RAPID areas

45 applications from RAPID areas

As regards expenditure by my Department under the RAPID programme, the following funding has been provided:

2006 — €5.877m (out-turn);

2007 — €6.873m (out-turn);

2008 — €9.578m (out-turn); and

2009 — €7.49m (allocation).

My Department co-funds a number of other Leverage Schemes, namely the Sports Capital Top Up Scheme, the Community Based CCTV Scheme, the Health Sector Co-fund Scheme and the Small Scale Capital Grants Scheme for Schools, but applications for these schemes are processed by the lead Departments, i.e. the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Health Sector Executive and the Department of Education and Science respectively.

CLÁR

The CLÁR programme provides funding and co-funding to Government Departments, State Agencies and Local Authorities to accelerate investment in selected priority developments in areas that have suffered significant depopulation. In relation to CLÁR, please see the details provided in the Table.

CLÁR

2006

2007

2008

To date in 2009

Number of applications for grants received

648

790

380

10

Amount of total funding provided €

28.661m

28.812m

25.268m

16.86m*

*2009 Allocation.

For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that CLÁR Applications from Local Authorities and other Government Departments for programmes such as the Class 2 & 3 roads and Health are counted as one application but include multiple projects.

As for the remaining elements of the Deputy's question, it is very difficult in view of the number of organisations and projects involved to give global information.

If the Deputy has a specific question about an application or project, I will be happy to deal with that or to refer him to the relevant organisation.

Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

48 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Jan O’Sullivan den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cad iad na bearta bainistíochta maidir le cur i bhfeidhm Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 atá déanta aige sa bhliain 2009; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23841/09]

I dtús báire, ba mhaith liom a mheabhrú don Teachta go bhfuil forálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 á gcur i bhfeidhm ar bhonn chéimiúil agus gur cur chuige leanúnach, fad-téarmach, atá i gceist. Ó thus na bliana seo, tá na nithe seo bainte amach:

Tá 8 scéim teanga céaduaire, a chlúdaíonn 15 comhlacht poiblí, daingnithe agam agus foilsithe.

Tá fógra eisithe chuig 6 chomhlacht breise ag iarraidh orthu a gcéad scéim teanga a ullmhú.

Tá fógra eisithe chomh maith chuig 17 comhlacht poiblí breise ag iarraidh orthu a ndara scéim teanga a ullmhú, rud a fhágann go bhfuil iarrtha go dáta ar 39 comhlacht san iomlán a ndara scéim teanga a ullmhú. Tá dhá cheann de na scéimeanna sin daingnithe agam agus foilsithe cheana féin, agus táim dóchasach go n-éireoidh linn cuid mhaith de na scéimeanna eile a dhaingniú roimh dheireadh na bliana seo. Ní miste a rá go bhfuil feidhm i gcónaí le gach scéim atá daingnithe go dtí seo, agus go mbeidh go dtí go ndaingnítear scéim nua.

Tá mo Roinnse tar éis dul i gcomhairle athuair le Ranna Rialtais eile maidir leis an liosta de na comhlachtaí poiblí atá clúdaithe faoin Acht a thabhairt suas go dáta. Tá súil agam Rialacháin ina thaobh seo a dhéanamh níos deireanaí i mbliana.

Tháinig Na Rialacháin um Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Alt 9) 2008, a bhaineann le húsáid na Gaeilge agus an Bhéarla i bhfógairtí béil réamhthaifeadta, ar stáiseanóireacht agus ar chomharthaíocht ag comhlachtaí poiblí, agus a rinne mé ar 1 Deireadh Fómhair 2008, i bhfeidhm ar 1 Márta 2009.

Reáchtáladh seisiún eolais, i gcomhar le Foras na Gaeilge, chun Ranna Rialtais agus Údaráis Áitiúla a chur ar an eolas faoin dul chun cinn atá déanta le tamall anuas maidir le hacmhainní agus córais a fhorbairt agus a chur ar bun a chuideoidh le comhlachtaí poiblí a gcuid dualgas faoin Acht a chomhlíonadh ar bhealach níos éifeachtaí agus, ag an am gcéanna, na costais a laghdú. I measc na nithe sin, áirítear an Córas Creidiúnaithe d'aistritheoirí Gaeilge;Freagra — líne chabhrach don earnáil phoiblí; agus áiseanna cuimhne aistriúcháin i nGaeilge don earnáil phoiblí.

Is dóigh liom go léiríonn na bearta seo go bhfuiltear tiomanta chun na spriocanna a bhaineann leis an Acht a bhaint amach, go háirithe d'fhonn cur le raon agus caighdeán na seirbhísí atá ar fáil i nGaeilge ó chomhlachtaí poiblí. Leanfar leis an gcur chuige sin ar bhealach stuama agus comhtháite, go mór-mhór san aeráid eacnamaíochta atá ann faoi láthair.

Corrib Gas Pipeline.

Willie Penrose

Question:

49 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will make a statement on the position in regard to his efforts to resolve the Corrib gas dispute. [23857/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No 92 of 29 Aibreán 2009, which outlines the position in regard to the work of the North West Mayo Forum.

Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 29.

Departmental Funding.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

51 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the mechanism, in relation to the rural recreation grant scheme, which will determine successful applications; if the local authority of the area will be involved in such determinations; the funding that will be made available to Coillte Teo in regard to the development of forest walks; the geographical positioning of such walks; if there will be an increase in the number of walks available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23844/09]

My Department provides funding for rural recreation projects under Sub-head D.3.4. Applications are submitted to the Rural Recreation Section within the Department and are considered under the relevant policy publications such as the Countryside Recreation Strategy and the Programme for Government. All applications are subject to available resources and competing requests.

Only projects, which clearly address the objectives and tasks under that strategy or programme, can be considered. Examples of successful applications include:

Construction of a rural walk

Support for walking festivals

Material grants for walk/trail development/enhancement

Support for public recreation amenity

Support for cycling/mountain-bike track

Rural tourism marketing and promotion

Promotion of responsible use of the countryside (such as Leave No Trace) Applications are also received from local development companies to have walks or trails included in the Walks Scheme. Before any walk or trail can be considered for the Walks Scheme, it must first be approved by The National Trails Office.

While my Department works closely with local authorities, they are not involved in determining grant aid. In fact, a local authority may apply for funding for a project which furthers rural recreation policy objectives.

In 2009, I have made provision for funding of €600,000 for Coillte Teoranta in support of its provision of countryside recreation services recreation strategy.

The number of walks available is constantly increasing and details are available on www.coillteoutdoors.ie and DiscoverIreland.ie websites. While there are hundreds of walks throughout the country, those that have been approved by the National Trails Office and are consequently eligible for the Walks Scheme number 182. However, this figure is expected to increase to in the region of 230 walks by the year end.

Questions Nos. 52 and 53 aswered with Question No. 29.

Youth Services.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

54 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if representatives of his Department, which has incorporated the functions of the national drugs strategy team, on the national assessment committee argued for the retention of the small grants from the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund in 2009 in view of the fact that these grants are often the only access many groups have to resources to work with disadvantaged and vulnerable people in local communities; and if in view of the decision by the NAC, which is chaired by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, not to provide the small grants in 2009, he will make a new small grants funding scheme available to local groups working in areas badly affected by the drugs crisis. [23864/09]

At the outset, the Deputy should note that since 1st January 2009, responsibility for the Young Peoples Facilities & Services Fund (YPFSF) is a matter for my colleague, Barry Andrews T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

The National Assessment Committee (NAC) — on which my Department is represented — oversees the operation of the Fund, both administrative and financial. As part of its remit, the funding allocations for 2009 were determined by the NAC in the context of the overall funding available and associated commitments. I understand that it was agreed that providing limited small grants funding was the optimum approach given the funding that is available this year.

As the Deputy will be aware, funding for drugs initiatives from my Department is fully committed and, therefore, I am not in a position to provide any additional funding as suggested by the Deputy. It should be noted, however, that from the funding available to them in 2009, each Drugs Task Force can prioritise the areas to be funded — including small grants funding.

Community Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

55 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he expects to or will expand or extend the CLÁR or RAPID programmes with a view to making the schemes available to the wider community and addressing a greater extent of emerging issues of a socioeconomic nature; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23915/09]

The Deputy will be aware that the Government recently decided to include Ballina, Co. Mayo, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath and Rathkeale, Co. Limerick in the RAPID Programme. The inclusion of these five new areas will bring the number of designated RAPID areas from 46 to 51. These changes follow an independent review of the findings of the 2006 Census returns, carried out by Trutz Haase. My Department is in discussions with the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government regarding the implementation of this decision.

The CLÁR Programme coverage area has been revised twice since its launch in October 2001. As a result, CLÁR now covers parts of 23 counties and benefits a population of nearly 727,000. I have no plans at present for a further extension of the Programme.

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 35.

Care of the Elderly.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

57 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the progress made with regard to his discussions with a number of voluntary groups in relation to the suspension of the community support for older people scheme; when he expects the discussions to be concluded and a decision made on the restoration of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23852/09]

I refer the Deputy to my response to Questions 68 and 69 on 29 April 2009. As indicated in that reply, the Scheme of Community Support for Older People was suspended on 7th April in order to afford my Department the opportunity to review its operation.

I met with representatives of organisations involved with issues affecting older people and I have agreed with them the process setting the broad parameters for the review and for the necessary consultations, which my officials are currently engaged in. I expect this process to be completed by mid September at which time I hope to launch a revised Scheme.

All applications received up to the suspension of the Scheme will be processed and approved, as appropriate, in line with the current eligibility criteria. In addition, it is important to note that the suspension of the Scheme in no way affects those who already have received a monitored alarm device.

Industrial Relations Issues.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

58 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the controversy which has arisen in relation to labour relations arrangements on the operation of the official ferry to Cape Clear Island in west Cork in respect of which his Department makes available substantial State subsidy; and if he will bring to the attention of the operator the need to ensure that proper industrial relations procedures will be followed in the operation of the ferry. [23726/09]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

62 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the terms and conditions associated with the grant of subsidy for the official ferry to Cape Clear Island in west Cork; and if there are requirements in relation to having appropriate labour relations arrangements in the operation of the ferry. [23727/09]

I propose to take Questions No. 58 and 62 together.

The terms and conditions associated with the grant of subsidy for the provision of a ferry service to Cléire are contained in the Agreement between my Department and Tithe Saoire Chléire Teo. Labour relations issues between the operator and crew members are a matter for the contracted operator and only become an issue for my Department if the operator cannot fulfil his obligations under the contract. Accordingly, the Deputy will appreciate that I have no role in the matter. I have asked my officials to forward a copy of the Agreement in this case directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 45.

Community Development.

Joe Costello

Question:

60 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the community development programmes in County Donegal; the funding provided to each group over each of the past three years; the number employed in each project; if cutbacks are proposed in 2009 in each group; if so, the number of placements lost; the projected funding for each group in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23848/09]

Following the recent supplementary budget, the current funding of €20.9m available for the Community Development Programme is less that in recent years. This has resulted in a reduction across the board to Community Development Projects of approximately 12% on 2008 levels and projects have been so informed.

In the context of a reduced budget allocation, all projects have been advised that front-line services and support to customers/beneficiaries should be prioritised over administration, overheads and ancillary costs.

It is a matter for the board of each project to decide how best to continue to operate with reduced budgets including staffing numbers.

Set out as follows are details of the ten projects funded under the Programme in County Donegal including details of funding received over the last 3 years, indicative allocations for 2009 and the number of such staff employed by each project, as advised to my Department.

Name of Project

Funding received 2006*

Funding received 2007*

Funding received 2008*

2009 Indicative Allocation

CDP Staff

Action Inishowen

111,500

127,560.74

102,532

107,799

2 full-time

Atlantic View Community Development Co Ltd.

111,100

130,370

102,000

101,614

2 full-time

Donegal Travellers Project

113,900

120,000

130,000

114,868

1 full-time/1 part-time

Donegal Women’s Network

128,757.38

127,589.41

126,401.72

111,334

2 full-time

Letterkenny Community Development Project Ltd.

144,200

134,400

137,000

121,053

2 full-time

Lifford/Clonleigh Resource Centre

124,400

137,900

128,000

113,101

2 full-time

Pobail Le Cheile CDP Teoranta

121,700

122,000

122,000

107,799

2 full-time

South West Donegal Communities Partnership Ltd

126,400

130,000

118,801

113,101

2 full-time

The Rosses

119,200

121,799

122,200

106,916

2 full-time

Cadolemo Ltd

n/a

n/a

30,000

120,000

1 full-time

*Figure is inclusive of core funding payable and any additional payments made e.g. once-off grants.

Question No. 61 answered with Question No. 35.
Question No. 62 answered with Question No. 58.

Job Creation.

David Stanton

Question:

63 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 308 of 26 May 2009, the amount of money expended to date out of the €48.26 million allocated under the support for business creation and development measure for the development of a range of rural enterprise activity of the rural development programme 2007 to 2013; the number of businesses supported since 2007 through this support for business creation measure; the number of jobs created to date under the entire rural development programme since it began in 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23837/09]

As the Deputy may be aware, I have signed contracts with 36 Local Action Groups for the delivery of the LEADER elements of the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013. The Programme has been operational since late January 2009.

While project expenditure has commenced under the overall Programme, expenditure has yet to start under the Business Creation and Development measure. As a result, information on the number of businesses supported and numbers of jobs created is not available. I can confirm, however that since February 2009, over €700,000 has been committed under this measure with further potential commitments of €1.23 million registered at various stages in the project evaluation process.

Grant Payments.

Jack Wall

Question:

64 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of farmers who have sought a grant application in relation to the farm electrification grant programme; the number per county or geographic area; the average grant awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23843/09]

Since my Department took over responsibility for the Farm Electrification Grant Scheme for Disadvantaged Areas in 2005, 1,618 applications have been received. Of the 1,088 applications approved to date by my Department, the average amount has been €466 per application.

The Deputy should note that this is not a national scheme. It is available only to farmers in designated Disadvantaged Areas, as identified by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (D/AFF). Accordingly, all statistics referred to are in relation to those geographic areas only, which cover the entire counties of Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford, Clare and Kerry and parts of other counties, designated as disadvantaged by the D/AFF.

Details in this regard are available at: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/ singlepaymentscheme/categoriesofdisadvantagedareas/

Enterprise Audit.

David Stanton

Question:

65 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 131 of 13 March 2008, the contact he has had with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in relation to the enterprise audit to review the use of existing and redundant agricultural buildings and manufacturing plants in rural areas; the progress that has been made with this review; when he expects this review to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23836/09]

As has been indicated to the Deputy previously, an enterprise audit to review the use of existing and redundant agricultural buildings and manufacturing plants in rural areas is a significant undertaking involving a number of state agencies and Government Departments. I believe that in the current economic climate that it is also appropriate that such an undertaking is examined in the context of the realisable benefits that might accrue from it.

There have been some informal contacts across Departments on this matter, however it is not considered a priority in the light of existing resource constraints.

Irish Language.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

66 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if it is planned to locate the new Irish translation unit in the Galway west constituency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23862/09]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Public Appointments Commission is currently running a competition for a Director of Translation to head up the new Unit referred to by him. The location of this post is expressed as being negotiable with the successful applicant, but to be based in one of the Department's principal offices. Recruitment to further posts in the Unit will be approached in the same way. My Department's principal offices are currently at Mespil Road, Dublin; Tubbercurry, Co Sligo; and Na Forbacha, Co Galway.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

67 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Michael D. Higgins den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén fáth nach bhfuil Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 á chur i bhfeidhm go cothrom; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23840/09]

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

69 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Michael D. Higgins den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an mó scéim teanga faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 atá aontaithe; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23839/09]

Tógfaidh mé Ceisteanna Uimh 67 agus 69 le chéile.

Mar atá tugtha le fios agam don Teach cheana féin, tá dul chun cinn suntasach déanta go dtí seo, ar bhonn chéimiúil, maidir le cur i bhfeidhm fhorálacha Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003. I measc na nithe is mó atá bainte amach go dtí seo tá na céimeanna seo a leanas:

Tá gach foráil den Acht i bhfeidhm ó mí Iúil 2006 agus tá Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla bunaithe ó Feabhra 2004.

Tá 93 scéim teanga céaduaire, a chlúdaíonn 170 comhlacht poiblí ar fad, daingnithe agus foilsithe ó tháinig an tAcht i bhfeidhm i 2003. Anuas ar sin, tá 29 céad scéim teanga céaduaire eile, a chlúdaíonn 50 comhlacht poiblí, á n-ullmhú.

Chomh maith leis sin, tá fógra eisithe chuig 39 gcomhlacht faoi alt 15 den Acht ag ceangal orthu athbhreithniú a dhéanamh ar a gcéad scéim teanga agus an dara scéim teanga a ullmhú agus a sheoladh chugam le daingniú. Díobh sin, tá 2 scéim daingnithe agam agus foilsithe go dáta. Fágann sé sin go bhfuil 66 dréacht-scéim teanga san iomlán á n-ullmhú ag comhlachtaí poiblí, nó á measúnú ag mo Roinnse, i láthair na huaire.

Ar 1 Deireadh Fómhair 2008, tar éis próiseas cuimsitheach comhairliúcháin, rinne mé Na Rialacháin um Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Alt 9) 2008. Tháinig na Rialacháin sin i bhfeidhm ar 1 Márta 2009 agus tá tábhacht ar leith leo toisc go gcinnteoidh siad go mbeidh an Ghaeilge i bhfad níos feiceálaí sa saol poiblí feasta. Baineann na rialacháin le húsáid na Gaeilge agus an Bhéarla i bhfógairtí béil réamhthaifeadta, ar stáiseanóireacht agus ar chomharthaíocht ag comhlachtaí poiblí.

In Aibreán 2006, rinne mé Na Rialacháin um Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003 (Comhlachtaí Poiblí) 2006, a thug liosta na gcomhlachtaí poiblí atá clúdaithe faoin Acht suas go dáta. Tá i gceist agam tuilleadh Rialacháin den chineál sin a dhéanamh níos deireanaí i mbliana.

Tá 11 Ordú Logainmneacha déanta agam go dáta, ina measc An tOrdú Logainmneacha (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) 2004.

Ar iarratas uaimse, tá córas creidiúnaithe d'aistritheoirí Gaeilge forbartha ag Foras na Gaeilge. Tá an caighdeán cuí bainte amach ag 125 aistritheoir go dáta.

Táim sásta, mar sin, go bhfuil dul chun cinn suntasach déanta maidir le cur i bhfeidhm fhorálacha an Achta, ar bhonn leanúnach. Táim sásta chomh maith go bhfuil forálacha an Achta á gcur i bhfeidhm go cothrom.

Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 46.
Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 67.

Youth Services.

Joan Burton

Question:

70 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of community based youth initiative measures that have been funded in each of the past two years under the local development social inclusion programme; the number of participants in the areas in which funding was provided; the average funding provided to each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23846/09]

My Department's Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) is a series of measures that are designed to counter disadvantage and to promote equality and social and economic inclusion. LDSIP is implemented locally by 37 Integrated Local Development Companies and 17 Urban Partnerships. These are not-for-profit companies that target the areas of greatest need in the country, to provide an area-based response to long-term unemployment and to promote social inclusion across three sub-measures, one of which is the Community Based Youth Initiatives Measure.

Under this measure, Groups seek to complement and add value to mainstream educational provision. This is done by co-ordinating interventions locally and bolstering community based provision for young people whose needs are not adequately met within mainstream education or who require additional supports. Such individuals include early school leavers and potential early school leavers. Actions include both in-school and after-school supports as well as developmental youth work in a community setting. Particular attention has been paid to specific target groups, e.g. students with disabilities and young Travellers. Interventions also target parents, teachers and youth workers.

In 2007, 56,234 children, young people and adults were supported under the Community-Based Youth Initiatives measure. In 2008, figures rose to 61,068 individuals.

Funding in respect of the Community-Based Youth Initiatives measure represents 13% of the total LDSIP funding allocation. Approximately €7m was expended under the Community-Based Youth Initiatives measure in both 2007 and 2008.

Question No. 71 answered with Question No. 40.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

72 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount currently in the Dormant Accounts Fund; if he has an estimate of the amount which will be paid into the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23859/09]

The Dormant Accounts Fund Acts provides for an annual transfer by credit institutions and insurance undertakings of monies in accounts determined to be dormant into the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF).

Since its establishment in May 2003, the net transfers to the Dormant Accounts Fund has been just over €338m. Transfers to the end of April 2009 total some €39m. The value of the Fund at end April 2009, net of liabilities, was some €52m. This excludes around €50m maintained in a Reserve Account to meet future reclaims by account holders and to cover expenses associated with the operation of the Fund.

Question No. 73 answered with Question No. 35.

Community Enterprise Boards.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

74 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her plans to review the operation of county enterprise boards to allow them respond to the new challenges presented by the current economic climate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23925/09]

The County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) were established by the Government to develop indigenous potential and stimulate economic activity at a local level, primarily through the provision of financial and technical support for the development of small and micro enterprises. The Boards form a nationwide support network for small business, and are responsible for areas not already covered by State Agencies.

The forms of financial assistance that are available from the CEB network, subject to certain criteria, include Capital Grants, Employment Grants, and Feasibility Study Grants. The provision of non-financial assistance can take the form of a wide range of business advice such as Programmes covering Business Management, Mentoring, E-commerce, Enterprise Education, and Women in Business networks.

My Department, in association with the CEB Central Coordination Unit within Enterprise Ireland (CCU), and with the CEB network, will continue to monitor the level of funding and range of support services offered by the CEBs to the micro-enterprise sector, particularly in the light of the current economic climate.

The Capital Allocation to the CEBs for 2009 is €20.229m for provision of supports to micro-enterprise. The Boards will continue to be actively involved in the area of economic development and will ensure that available funds are targeted to maximise entrepreneurial development.

Work Permits.

Michael Creed

Question:

75 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the investment recently announced in the meat processing sector; if she will publish the number of work permits in respect of non-EU nationals that each of these individual companies hold; the number of work permits issued to each of these companies for non-EU workers for each year since 2000 to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23942/09]

I have arranged for the Employment Permits Section of my Department to compile the figures requested and I will forward them to the Deputy in due course.

Departmental Publications.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

76 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the policies, strategies or initiatives published on her behalf for each of the past five years; if, in each of these cases, consultation with children or representatives from the relevant sector was involved; if so, the details of this consultation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23965/09]

My Department's remit encompasses responsibility for devising and promoting Government policy in the areas of enterprise development and competitiveness, science, technology, innovation and intellectual property, trade, consumer, competition, commercial regulation, labour force development, employment rights protection, as well as the promotion of stable industrial relations.

Our stakeholders and customers are many and varied, ranging from the Government, Oireachtas, Departments and Agencies, to the social partners, to the enterprise community, individual employees and employers, as well as to consumers and those wishing to enter the labour force.

Developing and implementing policies which fall within our direct remit, together with advocating for policies across government and the economy that support our mission of employment creation, worker protection and promoting competitiveness, is the primary focus of my Department. In parallel, we deliver a range of services to individual customers, often through our dedicated offices structure, in such areas as import and export licensing, employment rights adjudication, patents registration, company filing and so on. In addition, our Agency network, working across such fields as Enterprise, Labour Force and Science, Technology & Innovation Development, Occupational Health & Safety, as well as Commercial Regulation, provide a significant range of services for our customers and stakeholders within the overall policy parameters for the Department.

The policies, strategies and initiatives which the Department seeks to implement derive principally from the Programme for Government, the National Development Plan, Social Partnership Agreements, and of course, day-to-day Ministerial and Government direction.

Given my Department's remit, our policies, strategies or initiatives published over the last five years would not, in general, impact directly on children per se. In light of the extensive range of the policies, strategies and initiatives published by my Department and our Agencies, and their limited direct impact on children, the information sought is not readily available and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work. However, if the Deputy has a specific policy, strategy or initiative in mind, I would be happy to provide specific details of our consultation process in that case / those cases to him. My Department would not, as a matter of course, consult with children or children's representatives in formulating policy.

Tax Code.

Joe Carey

Question:

77 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance if he will withdraw the imposition of the €10 travel tax on passengers using Shannon Airport in the interest of balanced regional development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23935/09]

As the Deputy is aware, I announced in Budget 2009 that an air travel tax would come into force in respect of passengers departing from Irish airports on and from 30 March 2009. A general rate of €10 per passenger would apply, with a lower rate of €2 for shorter journeys.

The Finance (No. 2) Act 2008 confirms the introduction of an air travel tax from 30 March 2009. However, I took account of concerns raised by the regional airports particularly those on the western seaboard. The lower rate of €2 will apply to departures fromany Irish airport where the destination is 300 kms or less from Dublin airport. This means that all Irish departures to locations such as Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow will be subject to the €2 rate.

Ireland is not unique in regard to applying a tax on air travel. Other countries within the EU apply similar taxes such as the UK and France, as do Australia and New Zealand. The proposed rates for the Irish air travel tax are not unreasonable both for shorter and longer journeys, when compared to rates in other countries.

It should be recognised that tourists will only be subject to the tax on their return journey. The additional €10 or €2 in the context of a much larger purchasing decision involving travel, hotel expenditures etc. shouldn't have much of an effect on tourist numbers. I appreciate the airline industry continues to go through a difficult period. However, this difficult trading period has, in addition to weak world economic activity, been largely driven by a massive spike in oil prices. Oil prices, despite increasing recently, have halved from the all-time high prices experienced last year.

We currently face significant financial challenges and the air travel tax is an important revenue raising measure. I tried to be as fair as possible in looking at areas for additional tax revenues. It is also worth noting that fuel used by commercial airlines is completely exempt from tax, so it's a sector that already has considerable preferential treatment. I have no plans to review the air travel tax.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

78 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the status of a review of tax paid on maternity benefit for a person (details supplied); when he expects to receive a response from the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23922/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the taxpayer's income tax has been reviewed for the years 2007 and 2008. A refund of tax of €3,794.54 for 2007 and €1,519.86 for 2008 in respect of tax paid on maternity benefit are issuing and should be received by the taxpayer within 5 working days.

Information Society Fund.

Richard Bruton

Question:

79 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the value of the information society fund annually since 2000; the number and names of projects which have benefited from it since 2004; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24090/09]

The Information Society Fund was introduced in order to progress the eAgenda from 2000. Action plans were put in place to stimulate initiatives to provide better access for customers to services; to develop new ways for clients to interact with Government; to provide more streamlined and integrated services; to improve internal processes and to make significant improvements in the national telecommunications infrastructure. From 2001, a portion of the Fund was devolved to departmental votes and the remainder was held as a central fund under my Department's vote. The management of and accountability for devolved funding was the responsibility of the relevant Department.

The Fund ended in 2005 as planned. Departments and Offices now progress ICT initiatives through the normal business planning and budgetary process.

The following table sets out the total value of allocations under the Fund during the period 2000 to 2005:

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

Held in Centralised Fund

32

17.7

10.4

7.8

7.3

9

Devolved to Departmental Votes

6.1

33.1

45.5

35.4

52.7

34.9

Total Fund

38.1

50.8

55.9

43.2

60.0

43.9

Eighteen projects were supported by the Central Fund in 2004 and these included:

Department

Project

Agriculture & Food

Animal Import Notification Scheme

Central Statistics Office

IT Strategic Implementation Plan — Support for the implementation of CSO’s e-public Service Strategy

Communications, Marine & Natural Resources

Knowledge Management Project

Netsecure System

Environment

Mobhaile

Community & Voluntary Sector Needs Analysis

Webhosting

Finance

Public Service VPN

Govt Search engine

e-Government Policy preparation

e-Cabinet project

Justice

Harmful use of the Internet

Land Registry

Digital Mapping

Marine Institute

Systems Hardware Acquisition

Social & Family Affairs

Client Records Data Quality Programme

Taoiseach

Island of Ingenuity Project

eGovernment Masters — preparatory seminars

NCPP

25 projects were supported by the Central Fund in 2005 and these included:

Department

Project

Communications, Marine & Natural Resources

Environment National Security Day

Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

Digital Community Project

Grangegorman Community Network Project

Dublin Employment Pact

Education

Dublin Inner-City Schools Computerisation Project (DISC)

Environment

ISDI Technical Research Project

Website Search & retrieval facility

Small Areas Spatial Data Collection Project

Proof of Concept for the Uptake of Small Areas Data Collection

LGCSB Webhosting for 2005

Mobhaile 2005

Finance

HRMS Application- Service- Provider Project

HRMS Hardware/software

VPN

Justice

Internet Advisory Board

Law Reform Commission

Law Reform Commission e-Conveyancing project

Marine Institute

Coastal Zone Administration System

Corporate Vessel Register

Marine Data Exchange and Query Service

Revenue

ROS

Social & Family Affairs

Standard Authentication Framework Environment Programme (SAFE)

Reach

Taoiseach

About the House

ICT Expo

Island of Ingenuity Project

e-Government Report.

Richard Bruton

Question:

80 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if the recommendations identified in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on e-Government have been put into action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24183/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

81 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of services that are available to the public through the reach and broker system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24184/09]

I propose to take Question Nos. 80 and 81 together.

The Office of the Comptroller & Auditor General published its Special Report No 58 on eGovernment in October 2007. The Report highlighted that while initially there was considerable impetus behind eGovernment and rapid progress was made, this had slowed in recent years. The main recommendations of the Comptroller & Auditor General Report covered eGovernment projects, the Public Service Broker, and managing the development of eGovernment.

In summary, the Report recommended that public bodies should learn from the experiences of other EU Member States that appear to have made better progress than Ireland; that improved management processes for eGovernment should be implemented; that eGovernment projects should have measurable objectives, time and cost targets; that central encouragement, guidance and support should be provided to public bodies, particularly those not able to make good progress; and that a stronger reporting system should be implemented.

As the Deputy will be aware, there has been a renewed focus on eGovernment since the publication of the Comptroller & Auditor General Special Report. The Government decided last year that the services included in the European Union's eGovernment Benchmark and the services included in the agreed Dáil Motion on 30 April 2008 should be the initial priorities for progress. Good progress has been achieved with a number of these and work is ongoing with others. At this stage, approximately 70 services are fully available online through www.gov.ie. Numerous others are available through Local Authorities. Additionally, forms can be downloaded electronically for hundreds more. The publication of the Report of the Taskforce on the Public Service, "Transforming Public Services", in November 2008 has reinforced this focus on eGovernment.

Regarding the Recommendations in Chapters 2 ("Outturn on eGovernment Projects") and 4 ("Managing the Development of eGovernment") of the Comptroller & Auditor General Special Report, two Circulars have been issued by my Department. Circular 2/09 (http://www.finance.gov.ie/documents/circulars/circular2009/circ022009.pdf) sets out the arrangements for IT and telecommunications expenditure on projects, systems and infrastructures ("ICT") in the public sector. These arrangements are part of a range of initiatives designed to reduce risk and achieve better value for money in terms of ICT-related expenditure.

Circular 6/09 (http://www.finance.gov.ie/documents/circulars/circular2009/circ62009.pdf) sets out the arrangements for monitoring and reporting on progress with eGovernment. This Circular requires all Departments, Offices, Agencies, and all non-commercial public bodies and authorities to develop detailed eGovernment plans by the end of June 2009 which set out all ongoing, planned and potential eGovernment projects. These plans will be approved by each organisation's senior management and submitted by the Accounting Officer to the Department of Finance for evaluation. Such plans will be set in the context of the wider modernisation programme underlying the need to improve the quality of customer service; to drive administrative and process simplification; to improve value for money in a tightening fiscal environment; to improve Ireland's standing in international benchmarking and public perception; and to improve the public's perception of ICT usage in the public service. This work will also determine which services are not amenable to electronic interactions and why that is the case. These plans must include key details on such matters as ownership; schedules/timelines; facilities being offered; costs; benefits/impacts; capacity of the organisation to deliver; monitoring arrangements; and progress to date. The plans will be subjected to regular monitoring by my Department and reporting to Government every six months.

My Department has also established a website, www.ict.gov.ie, specifically for civil and public service bodies. This website provides a range of resources and guidance to help ensure that eGovernment services are developed in accordance with the relevant Circulars.

With regard to the recommendations in Chapter 3 ("Developing the Public Service Broker") of the C&AG Report, the Deputy will be aware that a review of Reach and the Public Services Broker was undertaken throughout 2007 and submitted to Government in March 2008.The Government noted the recommendations of the review and approved the transfer of the functions relating to the operation of the Public Services Broker to my Department. Since assuming responsibility for the Public Services Broker, my Department has simplified its operation, and integrated its portal with other Government websites such as www.gov.ie, www.citizensinformation.ie, and www.ros.ie. My Department has also implemented a simplified technology solution for the electronic publication of death events to civil and public service. This solution provides a way for authorised public service staff to access records of all recently-registered deaths in a simple and secure way. It is now being used by 6 civil service Departments and Offices, 20 Local Authorities, and a number of HSE functions. Plans are in place to extend this solution to also facilitate the electronic publication of birth and marriage events subject to business needs being identified and the necessary regulatory changes being implemented. My Department has also assisted a number of bodies with the development of electronic forms for their services. Finally, my Department has commenced work on the integration of customer identity data from six national sources around the civil and public service, using the "Public Service Identity dataset". Once completed, this will allow public bodies to better establish the identity of persons in order to maximise re-use of such data and to aid the process of administrative simplification. It is also hoped that this may provide a platform to facilitate online identity authentication.

My Department is providing the Cabinet Committee on Transforming Public Services with regular updates on developments and progress. Additionally, it is providing the Government with comprehensive progress reports every six months. The first such report was submitted in March 2009.

Finally, on foot of the plans received from civil and public service bodies, my Department intends to develop brochures later this year to explain to people what services are available online, how they can use them, and how they will benefit them. I am satisfied that the recommendations of the Comptroller and Auditor General are being implemented fully.

Care of the Elderly.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

82 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children the evidence available concerning abuse inflicted on elderly people by members of their own families or other close relatives; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there is an increase in such activity in recent years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23991/09]

In 2008 there were 1,840 referrals of alleged or suspected elder abuse to the HSE, an increase from 927 referrals in 2007. The HSE has developed a service to help prevent and combat elder abuse in all its forms with specialist and structures in place. The increase in referrals show that the high level of attention and the arrangements in place to address this unacceptable problem are working. An analysis of the 2008 referrals shows that most cases of reported elder abuse involve close family members. Family relatives are cited in nearly three out of every four cases. In approximately two thirds of referrals, the victim is female. The data is from theHSE Elder Abuse Service Developments 2008 report.

The basis of the current framework to address elder abuse is the 2002 reportProtecting our Future . . . Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse. That Report is being reviewed at the moment and the results will give critical information on how the current system works and will inform future action in this area. I expect to receive the review in the coming months.

Health Services.

Bobby Aylward

Question:

83 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 129 of 29 April 2009, the reason that no response has been received from the Health Service Executive in regard to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [23920/09]

I have arranged for the HSE to be requested to respond to the Deputy as quickly as possible in this matter

Suicide Incidence.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

84 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she will take on the recommendations made in the new report on the high level of suicide in Irish society launched by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children on 10 June 2009; if her attention has been drawn to the need for positive action in this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23926/09]

The recommendations of the Joint Committee on Health and Children regarding the‘High Level of Suicide in Irish Society’ published in 2006 and the Committee’s recent updated Report are consistent with the actions identified in ‘Reach Out’ the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention 2005 -2014. The HSE, through the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), oversees the implementation of the strategy.

Initiatives which have been progressed by the NOSP include developing and implementing national training programmes; the development of a training strategy under the direction of a Training and Development Officer; progressing the availability of self-harm services through Hospital Emergency departments; developing a standardised approach to deliberate self harm presentations at Hospital Emergency departments; implementing recommendations arising from a review of bereavement services; dedicated suicide officers; supporting voluntary organisations working in the field of suicide prevention and developing mental health awareness campaigns.

In addition to the €8m available for suicide prevention initiatives, once-off funding of €1m was provided in 2009 to further develop services for those bereaved by suicide and to develop a campaign aimed at young people. Consultations with young people were arranged to inform the campaign.

It should also be emphasised that a range of services such as mental health and primary care services are important in helping to prevent suicide.

Child Care Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

85 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide for flexibility on the age limit for the new pre-school support scheme when a child has had only limited access to pre-school and there are reasons for the child not progressing directly to primary school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23927/09]

As the Deputy will be aware I have responsibility for the implementation of the new scheme to provide a free Pre-School in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which will come into effect in January next.

The scheme will allow qualifying children to avail of a free pre-school place in the year before they commence primary school. The scheme is open to all private and voluntary pre-school services which are notified to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or registered with the Irish Montessori Educational Board (IMEB). Sessional playschools will, normally, participate in the scheme by providing the pre-school year for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week over 38 weeks while full or part-time daycare services will, normally, participate by providing the pre-school year for 2 hours, 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week over 50 weeks.

Participating children must normally be aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on 1st September of each year. Exceptions will be allowed where children have been assessed by the HSE as having special needs which will delay their entry to school or it is appropriate to accept children at an older age due to the enrolment policy of the local primary school.

Health Services.

Peter Kelly

Question:

86 Deputy Peter Kelly asked the Minister for Health and Children when staffing will be available to allow residents to move into houses (details supplied). [23933/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Investigations.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

87 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of each trust in care investigation carried out by the Health Service Executive during each of the past three years; the location and outcome of each such investigation, including a summary of the facts and findings and action taken as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23943/09]

The Trust in Care Policy is a policy for Health Service employers on upholding the dignity and welfare of patients/clients and procedures for managing allegations of abuse against staff members. This was developed in partnership with the Health Sector unions and was launched in May 2005. The objectives of the Policy are twofold. Firstly, to promote a safe and caring environment in all health care settings, where the dignity of patients and clients is paramount and they are afforded the highest possible standards of care. Secondly, it aims to safeguard staff by providing effective supervision, support and training and a safe system of work.

The Policy has both a preventative and a procedural dimension. It places particular emphasis on the role of best human resource practice in promoting high standards of care and preventing potential abuse. The Policy also emphasises employees' duty to be vigilant and to report concerns regarding the welfare of patients and clients. It sets out the reporting procedures to be followed in the event of abuse being suspected or alleged. Finally, it contains a robust procedure for managing allegations of abuse against staff.

As the Deputy's question refers to details about investigations carried out by the Health Service Executive under this Policy in the last three years, I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Patients.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

88 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients who died at the Central Mental Hospital, Dublin, and were cremated during the period of 1900 to 1980; their gender; the reason for their detention in the CMH; if these people were previously residents of Magdalene laundries or another residential institutions previous to their detention in the CMH; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23951/09]

The administration of the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) was transferred from the Department of Health and Children to the Eastern Health Board in 1971. Records relating to the admission of patients are maintained in the CMH. Accordingly, the Deputy's question has been transferred to the HSE for direct reply.

Homeless Children.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

89 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will increase the time for researching homelessness status for children who leave State care to be extended to ten years after they reach 18 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23952/09]

Under Section 45 of the Child Care Act 1991 the HSE may provide assistance and support to young people leaving their care up to the age of 21 years, or to young people completing an educational course until the completion of that course.

The Deputy may be aware of a longitudinal study being undertaken by Trinity College in respect of young homeless people. Phase I of the study entitledUnderstanding Youth Homelessness in Dublin City: Key Findings from the First Phase of a Longitudinal Cohort Study was funded by my Office and was published in 2006. In December, 2008 I launched Phase II entitled Young People’s Homeless Pathways. Phase III is underway and my Office is also contributing towards the costs of this phase of the study. A unique feature of the research is its longitudinal focus, tracking homeless young people since 2004. The research highlights some valuable and key information on why many of these young people become and remain homeless.

Health Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

90 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the legal advice provided to her which led to redaction of the Monageer report; the date she will apprise the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children of the substance of the recommendations; the cost of the legal advice provided to her on this matter; the exact questions that were put to the legal advisers engaged on the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23953/09]

The redacted Report of the Monageer Inquiry was published on 12 May, 2009. The Report, in redacted form, was published taking account of legal advice sought from the Office of the Attorney General. I am not in a position to disclose the nature of the advice received.

I am considering the option of apprising the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children of the substance of the redacted recommendations in a manner and context which ensures that the rights of those involved are fully protected and that no reputational damage is suffered.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

91 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will publish the report on Madonna House; the date this report will be published; and the persons who has been provided with a copy of this report since its completion. [23954/09]

An abridged report of the inquiry into the operation and management of Madonna House was published in May, 1996.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

92 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Health Service Executive will complete its audit of after care services; when the details of this audit will be published; and the details of the multi-agency group conducting this audit. [23956/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

93 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of emergency residential beds, short to medium-term residential beds and supported lodgings in each local health office area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23957/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Departmental Bodies.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

94 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children when she will reconstitute the National Children’s Advisory Council; the details that need to be resolved before completing same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23958/09]

I will shortly be seeking nominations from a number of the bodies to be represented on the Council. Following receipt of nominations I intend appointing the new Council as quickly as possible.

National Nutrition Policy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

95 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the date she will publish the new national nutrition policy. [23959/09]

My Department is currently finalising a National Nutrition Policy, which will be published in November 2009. The Policy will provide strategic direction on nutrition for the entire population for the next ten years.

Proposed Legislation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

96 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will introduce legislation that will allow the Ombudsman for Children the power to intervene as an amicus curiae in relevant legal proceedings. [23960/09]

There are currently no plans to introduce legislation to allow the Ombudsman for Children the power to intervene as an amicus curiae in relevant legal proceedings. There is already in place a system whereby a“guardian ad litem” can be a voice for the child in the court. The functions of the Ombudsman for Children are to promote the rights of children and to investigate complaints into the actions of specific bodies. These functions complement those of other people and offices.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

97 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to undertake a children’s rights audit of laws here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23961/09]

The Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill, 2007 was published in February 2007 and contained the Government's proposal to amend the Constitution in relation to children. In keeping with the commitment in the Programme for Government to establish an all-party Oireachtas Committee to examine the proposed constitutional amendment, a Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children was established in November, 2007 to consider and deepen consensus on the text of the Bill. The Committee is scheduled to complete its deliberations by 16 October 2009. There are currently no plans to undertake a children's rights audit of legislation as suggested by the Deputy. Any future decisions on matters relating to children's rights will be taken in the context of the outcome of the deliberations of the Joint Committee.

Children in Care.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

98 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the private companies that are providing residential and foster care services for children here. [23967/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

99 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children who were placed in care during each of the past ten years due to housing or finance issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23968/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

100 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will expand the remit of the social services inspectorate to include inspections of hostel accommodation for separated children in St. Patrick’s institution, and institutions for children with intellectual disabilities. [23969/09]

The Health Act, 2007 provided for the establishment of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) as a body responsible for promoting safety and quality in the provision of health and personal social services for the benefit of the health and welfare of the public. The Office of the Chief Inspector of Social Services was established by the Health Act 2007 as part of HIQA. The Act, provides for a new system of inspection and registration for ‘designated centres', i.e. residential centres for children, residential centres for people with disabilities, and residential centres for older people, including private nursing homes. The Act, is being commenced on a phased basis and will give responsibility for the registration and inspection of designated centres to the Chief Inspector of Social Services.

Designated centres include all HSE, voluntary and privately run children's residential centres and residential centres for children with a disability. Under Section 41(e) of the Health Act, 2007 the Chief Inspector can inspect children's detention centres with the agreement of the Minister of Health and Children. Pending the commencement of this section, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, has authorised HIQA through the Social Services Inspectorate to inspect the detention centres under Section 185 of the Children Act, 2001.

The Government has accepted all of the recommendations of the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse which includes a recommendation in relation to the inspection of all children's services and is committed to their full implementation. As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, I have been tasked with developing a plan for the implementation of the recommendations. In developing this plan I will consider the various issues which need to be addressed and what actions are necessary, feasible and effective. This implementation plan will be brought to Government for its approval by the end of July. The inspection process will be reviewed in this context.

St. Patrick's Institution is a prison for males aged 16 to 21 and as such falls within the remit of the Prison Inspectorate, not HIQA. It is the intention that the planned new detention centre for children under 18 years in Lusk will be inspected by HIQA/SSI. When this happens there will be no children remaining in St Patrick's Institution, only those aged 18 to 21 years.

Mental Health Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

101 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there are only 22 child and adolescent mental health beds here when there were at least 200 children admitted to adult psychiatric facilities during 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23970/09]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

102 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children when the eight interim child and adolescent beds in St. Stephen’s Hospital, County Cork will be commissioned. [23971/09]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

106 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of child and adolescent community mental health teams here. [23977/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 101, 102 and 106 together.

The HSE has prioritised the development of child and adolescent mental health services in 2009. At present there are 55 Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams in place throughout the country. An additional 8 consultant led child psychiatry teams to further support the provision of child and adolescent psychiatric services will be developed this year. In addition, funding was provided in Budget 2009 for the provision of 35 additional therapy posts for the child and adolescent mental health service. This will enable the HSE to increase the number of Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Teams to 69 by the end of 2009.

With regard to in-patient capacity in the child and adolescent mental health service, there are currently 22 child and adolescent beds in the country, 10 in Galway and 12 in Dublin (6 in St. Vincent's Fairview, 6 in Warrenstown). An additional 8 interim beds in St. Stephen's Hospital, Cork have recently been completed and it is anticipated that these beds will be commissioned shortly. Construction has commenced on two 20 bed units in Bessboro, Cork and Merlin Park, Galway. Construction is scheduled to be completed on both of these developments in late 2009 and the beds commissioned in 2010. The inappropriateness of admitting children to units providing care and treatment to adults is recognised but in the absence of an alternative, such admissions are sometimes necessary for the safety and treatment of the young person. The Mental Health Commission has issued a code of practice relating to the admission of children under the Mental Health Act 2001 which outlines interim arrangements and facilities that should be put in place to ensure the protection and safety of such children.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

103 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people who have availed of the Health Service Executive national counselling service during each year since its inception. [23972/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Child Care Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

104 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the legal issues she is considering with regard to the implementation of the children’s first guidelines. [23973/09]

As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I am committed to ensuring that the Children First Guidelines are implemented in an effective and consistent manner for the protection and welfare of children. Consideration is being given to various options which would achieve this effectively.

Proposed Legislation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

105 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will initiate legislation to protect against the practice of female genital mutilation here and to protect against children being removed from here to have the procedure carried out overseas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23974/09]

Legal advice which I obtained in 2004 strongly indicated that female genital mutilation would constitute an offence under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. I am not aware of any evidence that female genital mutilation is being carried out in Ireland among ethnic communities living here.

The question of introducing specific legislation to ban female genital mutilation remains under review.

Question No. 106 answered with Question No. 101.

Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

107 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children when funding will be made available to the Health Service Executive west to enable payment to elderly people for works carried out under the housing aid for the elderly scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23987/09]

The Deputy may be aware that the Special Housing Aid for the Elderly Scheme previously operated by the Health Service Executive is no longer operational. The scheme was replaced by the Housing Aid for Older People (HAOP) in August 2008 which is being administered by the local authorities. The HSE no longer takes applications under the old scheme. However, it continues to process outstanding applications received before August 2008. An allocation of €3.5 million was made by my colleague the Minister of State, Deputy Finneran, to the HSE recently to deal with these cases. The funding was allocated as follows; Dublin/North East €700,000; Dublin/Mid Leinster, €500,000; Western, €1,800,000; Souther, €500,000.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

108 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if refurbishment works will be carried out at a hospital (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23993/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Youth Services.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

109 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the small grants fund has been suspended for 2009; if she will review this decision and ensure that local groups can access funding for small projects to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people in local communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23996/09]

The Young People's Facilities and Services Fund (YPFSF) now under the remit of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) currently operates in 18 areas — 14 Local Drug Task Force areas, (12 in Dublin, Bray and Cork) and in Galway, Limerick and Carlow town.

The decision not to provide small grants from the YPFSF in 2009 was made following the agreement of the National Assessment Committee (NAC) which oversees the implementation of the fund. The NAC is chaired by the OMCYA and has representation from relevant Government Departments (i.e. Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs including the general functions of the National Drugs Strategy Team) and Agencies, the Youth Services and the voluntary and community sectors.

I am aware of the success of the small grants fund and of its benefits to local and voluntary community groups. However, in light of the current fiscal climate and in an effort to preserve service provision and to allow for the expansion of the YPFSF to four new towns of Arklow, Athlone, Dundalk and Wexford the NAC agreed earlier this year that the small grants should not be provided in 2009.

I understand that the NAC, following the allocation of all 2009 funding, has now decided that there is scope to re-instate a reduced small grants fund for 2009. My officials have notified the 15 development groups previously in receipt of this grant that they will now be allocated €10,000 each for 2009.

The Deputy should note that the availability of the small grants fund in 2010 will be reviewed later in the year.

Health Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

110 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when home help will be arranged in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24021/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Repayment Scheme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

111 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the family were refused a refund of nursing home fees in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24022/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Hospital Services.

John McGuinness

Question:

112 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if an operation will be arranged for a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will expedite a response. [24028/09]

As this is a service issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

113 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children when a replacement speech and language therapist will be provided at Kill Health Centre, County Kildare; if the recruitment embargo is preventing the hiring of a replacement therapist (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24030/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply

Medical Council Inquiry.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

114 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will set up a comprehensive inquiry to report into the abuse of patients at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth, within three months; the way such abuse can be prevented in the future; if she will offer financial and other support to a group (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24037/09]

The professional conduct of the consultant referred to has been the subject of a number of inquiries. In 1995 the Medical Council instigated a fitness to practice inquiry but this was delayed pending the outcome of separate legal proceedings, including criminal and judicial review proceedings. Following a Supreme Court judgement in July 2008 the Medical Council recommenced an Inquiry, and on 25 November 2008 the Medical Council formally notified the Minister of its decision to remove the name of the consultant from the Medical Register. The Medical Council made its decision after considering the report of its Fitness to Practise Committee, which found the person concerned guilty of professional misconduct in respect to three out of nine allegations made by male patients.

In 1995 a review of the hospital's response to the allegations against the consultant was conducted by an Independent Review Group chaired by Dr. Miriam Hederman O'Brien. The review group recommended that common written protocols for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse by members of staff be introduced and applied in all health care institutions. The Trust in Care guidelines, which were published in 2005, deal with the recognition, prevention and management of cases of abuse.

Furthermore, in line with the review group's recommendations, a chaperone system and an intimate examination protocol and procedure have been put in place in the hospital concerned. The review group emphasised the importance of having a complaints system in place to deal with allegations of sexual abuse. A Regional Complaints Policy and Procedure is in place for the former North Eastern Health Board. Statutory delegated complaints officers are also in place in the hospital. In addition, a staff support service (Staff Care) is available to all staff in the hospital on a confidential basis.

The Hederman O'Brien review has helped inform the development and updating of policy in this area. This learning has been given practical effect through, for example, the publication of the Children First Guidelines, the establishment of both the Office of the Ombudsman for Children and the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and the implementation of the Children's Act 2001.

It is clear, therefore, that the issues raised by this case have been the subject of extensive review and action by the Medical Council, the 1996 review and the initiatives taken since then in relation to protecting children. In these circumstances, the Minister has indicated that she does not propose to establish a further inquiry. Instead the Minister believes that our focus should now be on supporting those affected and ensuring that every possible protection is given to vulnerable people in the future.

It is very important to ensure that appropriate counselling is available to all those who have been in contact with the HSE and/or the hospital following the recent Medical Council Inquiry. The HSE has made arrangements for counselling support for all those who have been in contact with them following the recent Medical Council Inquiry, using the National Counselling Service. More than 100 people have made contact with this service and the service will continue to be made available as required. The need for additional support will be monitored by the HSE.

The Minister and the HSE are anxious that all former patients of the consultant are made aware of the free counselling support that is available. The HSE has assigned co-ordinating responsibility for these matters to the Area Manager for Consumer Affairs in the North East who will continue to liaise as required with former patients and support groups.

The support group Dignity 4 Patients has been advised by the HSE on how to make an application for funding under the Health Act 2004 and also under National Lottery Funding. The Minister has indicated publicly that a meeting is being arranged with the group Dignity 4 Patients.

Marine Accidents.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

115 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide a preliminary report from the Marine Casualty Investigation Board on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23982/09]

The MCIB, in exercise of its functions, is independent from me as Minister for Transport. The Deputy should contact the MCIB directly (www.mcib.ie). The incident referred to by the Deputy is under investigation by the Garda, with assistance from relevant officials of my Department.

Air Services.

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

116 Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Transport when his attention was drawn to Aer Lingus’s decision to remove its winter schedule between Shannon and New York and Chicago; the direction he gave his three nominees on the Aer Lingus board in this regard; the measures he is taking to safeguard the summer schedule; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24189/09]

Officials in my Department informed me on 5 June 2009 that they had received information that Aer Lingus was finalising its winter 2009/10 schedule and that suspension of some transatlantic routes from both Dublin and Shannon were being considered by the company in that context. Aer Lingus had previously indicated in an interim management statement issued on 28 April that it was reviewing the sustainable shape and size of both the long haul and short haul businesses and that decisions on the capacity deployed for winter 2009/10 would be made to reflect that process.

Aer Lingus Group plc issued a statement to the Stock Exchange on 12 June 2009, in which it outlined changes to its winter schedule for 2009/10. The transatlantic schedule from Shannon will see the suspension of the Chicago service and a reduction in frequency on the Boston route. The New York route will continue, subject to ongoing review by the company.

On 11 June 2009, the Chairman of Aer Lingus briefed me on proposals for transatlantic services for the winter season 2009/10 and for the enhancement of the Shannon-Heathrow service. The Chairman wished to brief me in view of my role in relation to aviation policy generally and in particular in view of my concerns about connectivity to and from Ireland and especially the catchment area served by Shannon Airport.

The State's three nominated directors on the board were issued with a mandate on the date of their respective appointments requesting them to seek to ensure that all future decisions of the company that have significant implications for wider Government, aviation or regional development policies are considered at board level. In any such decisions they are directed to seek to reconcile commercial and public policy objectives.

Following the meeting with the Chairman on 11 June, I immediately wrote to the three directors to remind them of this mandate and requested that they take account of Government policy on connectivity, regional development and industrial development in the board's consideration of this matter. It is acknowledged that the duties of the State nominated directors on the board of Aer Lingus derive from the Companies Acts and that they are obliged to pursue the best interests of the company.

It is understood that the proposed changes to transatlantic services were necessitated by the continuing losses on these routes. Aer Lingus, in common with other carriers, are experiencing a significant drop in yields especially on long haul business and they have had to cut fares aggressively. Given the impact of the recession on demand, other carriers are also cutting capacity on long haul. Decisions on the summer 2010 schedules will not arise until later this year but the mandate outlined above will continue to apply, in respect of the State's three directors on the board.

Crime Levels.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

117 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of convictions secured for each of the past seven years in which the motive for the crime has been suspected or confirmed homophobia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23955/09]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose.

I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Departmental Publications.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

118 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the policies, strategies or initiatives published on his behalf for each of the past five years; if, in each of these cases, consultation with children or representatives from the relevant sector was involved; if so, the details of this consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23962/09]

The scope of the information sought by the Deputy is of such a wide nature (i.e. it encompasses every aspect of my Department's activities) that it would require a huge investment of resources to research and identify the relevant material. The allocation of such resources to this task is not warranted. However, if the Deputy seeks information about specific initiatives, I will endeavour to accommodate any such request.

Proposed Legislation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

119 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will ratify the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23975/09]

I am preparing a Sexual Offences Bill which will provide greater protection to children against sexual abuse and exploitation. The Bill, which is at an advanced stage of preparation, will take account of the requirements of the Optional Protocol that are the responsibility of my Department.

Human Rights Issues.

Denis Naughten

Question:

120 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason only four of the 151 suspected victims of human trafficking identified in 2008 and to date in 2009 were granted the recovery and reflection period; the location at which the four victims were accommodated; the number of the 151 suspected victims who were held in custody; the number of the 151 victims who face immigration offences; the number who were deported; the status of all 151 suspected victims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23980/09]

The figure of one hundred and fifty-one refers to the number of investigations undertaken by the Garda Síochána between 1 January, 2008 and 5 June, 2009, into alleged trafficking, not the number of suspected victims of human trafficking. Such investigations may not relate to an identified victim. The figure also includes enquiries / investigations carried out by the Garda Síochána, at the request of other law enforcement agencies outside the State, in relation to suspected breaches of immigration legislation; while other investigations may relate to offences contrary to the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act, 2000 — that is the smuggling of illegal immigrants.

Sixty-five persons are being considered as potential victims of trafficking under the provisions of the Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008, since its enactment on 7 June 2008. The potential of such persons to be victims of human trafficking is based on an allegation which has been made and not on evidence discovered in the course of the investigations concerned.

Four of these sixty-five have so far been suspected, by a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of Superintendent, to be the victim of an offence under Section 4 of Criminal Law (Human Trafficking) Act, 2008, and, as a consequence, they have been granted permission to remain lawfully in the State for the purpose of "recovery and reflection" as provided for in the Administrative Immigration Arrangements for the Protection of Victims of Human Trafficking, which came into operation on 7 June 2008. Three of these four persons have been granted six months temporary residence in the State. The four persons are residing in accommodation provided by the State or provided by an NGO.

Four of the sixty-five are known to have, at some stage, been held in legal custody in the State. Three of the sixty-five were removed from the State. These three people were transferred to the UK as they have asylum applications in that jurisdiction. The case of one of these people has been fully investigated and the person has not been identified as a suspected victim of human trafficking. The other two people are currently resident in the UK. The Garda National Immigration Bureau is continuing to investigate their cases and is working closely with the UK authorities and will travel to the UK to interview both of these people.

The following table shows the immigration status of the sixty-five (65) persons referred to :

Status

Number

Asylum Seeker

32

EU National

4

Stamp 4 (Refugee)

2

Stamp 4 (Irish Born Child)

1

Immigration Stamp 4 (Temporary Residency as suspected victim of trafficking)

3

Immigration Stamp 3 (Recovery and reflection period of 60 days as suspected victim of trafficking)

1

Minors/Care HSE

14

Refused Leave to Land

1

Transferred to EU Member State under Dublin Convention

3

Deported

0

Illegal/No Status

3

Deportation Order

1

Total

65

Garda Investigations.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

121 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will investigate incidents in an area (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23981/09]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the matters referred to by the Deputy are currently being investigated.

Residency Permits.

Finian McGrath

Question:

122 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding a residency application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo. [23983/09]

Officials in the Long-Term Residency Section of my Department inform me that an application for long-term residency was received from the person referred to by the Deputy on 28 September, 2007. This application is currently in the latter stages of processing. As soon as a decision is made on the case, the person concerned will be notified.

Garda Training.

Michael Lowry

Question:

123 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when this Deputy will receive replies from the Garda Commissioner regarding the future of Templemore Garda college, County Tipperary; the staffing arrangements therein; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24010/09]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that, in relation to the earlier questions raised by the Deputy, the Director of Training at the Garda College is the person ultimately responsible for domestic and catering staff at the Garda College. The day to day operational and management functions are however, delegated to the Restaurant Manager.

The personnel at the Garda restaurant are engaged under the terms of a contract which was negotiated some years ago in association with SIPTU and this contract clearly sets out their conditions of employment. As a result of the moratorium on recruitment and promotions in the Public Service, a review of the staffing arrangements in the Garda College is ongoing in consultation with all concerned. Arising from this review, the Director of Training and members of his management team negotiated the terms of a redundancy package, as provided for in the contract, with union members and the SIPTU representative in relation to the restaurant personnel. These terms were agreed to by the personnel involved and their union representative.

Local arrangements are in place for the running of the College Restaurant with deductions at source being made from payments to students together with receipts from staff and other course participants for meals provided.

The determination of Garda and clerical staff numbers and the future resource requirements at the Garda College is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. The determination of canteen and restaurant personnel numbers is a matter for the Director of Training at the Garda College and the Restaurant Manager in consultation with Senior Garda Management.

Finian McGrath

Question:

124 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support a matter (details supplied). [24041/09]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that any person subjected to racist abuse can report the matter at their local Garda station, or to any member of An Garda Síochána.

Members of the public affected by racism can speak to an Ethnic Liaison Officer (ELO), whose function is to liaise with local ethnic communities. Ethnic Liaison Officers have been trained to be particularly aware of the issue of racism and its impact. These officers are available in each Garda Division in the country. If a person needs encouragement or support in reporting a racist incident they can arrange to meet an ELO at their local Garda station to discuss the matter.

The Garda Racial and Intercultural Office (GRIO) can be contacted by anyone wishing to seek advice on addressing issues of racism. Further information is available on the Garda website www.garda.ie.

Citizenship Applications.

Willie Penrose

Question:

125 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an application for citizenship by a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be processed; if he will expedite this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24042/09]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in February 2008. On examination of the application submitted it was determined that the person concerned did not meet the statutory residency requirements as set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended. The person in question was informed of this in a letter issued to him 15 August, 2008 and again on 11 May, 2009.

It is open to the person concerned to lodge a new application for a certificate of naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department if and when he is in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

National Cultural Institutions.

Mary Upton

Question:

126 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will make provision to compensate individuals, bodies corporate and institutions that received or purchased grants of arms during the period April 1943 to May 2005 when the State did not have legislative power to make such grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23945/09]

Mary Upton

Question:

127 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will bring forward legislation to amend the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 regarding all pre-May 2005 grants of arms; if not, his views on accepting a National Cultural Institutions (Amendment Bill) 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23946/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 and 127 together.

I am unaware of any corporate bodies or individuals, who were granted arms in the period between 1943 and 2005, that have any basis for compensation in respect of the grant of arms made in that period. The arms were granted and accepted at the time and continue to be recognised to this day. As my Department is preparing legislation which will amend the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997 to give effect to the merger of the National Archives, the National Library of Ireland, and the Irish Manuscripts Commission it will also consider a specific amendment in relation to the arms granted during the period referred to by the Deputy.

Sports Capital Programme.

Billy Timmins

Question:

128 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position in relation to the lottery funding grant for an organisation (details supplied); if this will be awarded as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24089/09]

Satisfactory legal documentation in respect of the grants in question was received today by my Department and will be processed in the normal manner. The club in question was provisionally allocated €100,000 in total under the Sports Capital Programme in 2006 and 2007 towards dressing room and gymnasium development. The guidelines, terms and conditions for the programme specify that the Department will pay grants in stages as an approved project proceeds by reimbursing the applicant's costs when they submit original, paid, valid invoices or certificates of payment. The Department typically pays 70% of the value of the valid paid invoices submitted. In addition, the Department reserves 5% of the grant pending confirmation from a consultant or architect that the facility has been satisfactorily completed in all respects and that the defects liability period has expired.

In the case of the club in question, the Department will shortly authorise the payment of €95,000 on foot of the valid, paid invoices received to date. The draw down of the balance of the funding is subject to the retention arrangements already outlined. My Department will write to the grantee in question shortly confirming the initial payment and outlining the steps necessary to draw down the balance of the allocation.

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Finian McGrath

Question:

129 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when CLÁR funding will become available for a group water scheme (details supplied) in County Sligo. [23938/09]

Given the substantial existing commitments under the CLÁR Water and Sewerage schemes, and against the background of the current economic climate, these schemes were suspended to new applications in August 2008.

I am reviewing the CLÁR programme as a whole, having regard to demand, the funding available and the level of outstanding commitments. In this context, I have asked the local authorities for information regarding the group water schemes on hand for which funding is available from the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government. I will give further consideration to these schemes when the relevant information is provided to me and in the context of the available resources.

Grant Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

130 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications for grant aid from County Kildare under the various schemes operated by his Department from various groups, bodies or agencies throughout County Kildare in the past 12 months to date; the extent to which it is expected to meet these in full in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24012/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

136 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications for grant aid under the various schemes operated by his Department received to date in 2009; the way this compares with previous years; his views as to whether it is likely that such requirements will be met in 2009 or subsequent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24018/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

138 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the degree to which he expects to address issues of socio-economic deprivation or adjustment in the course of 2009 in view of the extent of the demands before his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24020/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 130, 136 and 138 together.

The Deputy will appreciate that my Department oversees a wide range of programmes and schemes under which groups can seek funding, directly or through intermediaries. Given the large numbers involved and the fact that some of these are not managed directly by the Department but by other bodies on the Department's behalf, it is not possible to respond without further information as to the material being sought.

If the Deputy wishes to advise as to any particular programme or scheme in which he has a particular interest I will be happy to follow up on the matter. In terms of comparison with previous years, the Deputy will be aware that it has been necessary to suspend the application process for a number of Schemes, Programmes or individual measures as a result of the economic situation. The result will be lower levels of applications than in previous years.

Although funding for some programmes operated by my Department has been reduced because of the pressure on public finances, I still expect that resources will be directed in a targeted and effective manner to ensure maximum impact in the area of socio-economic deprivation or adjustment, and all other priority areas.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

131 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which the availability of funding to his Department from the Dormant Accounts Fund is expected to continue on an annual basis over the next five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24013/09]

The Dormant Accounts Fund Acts provide for an annual transfer by credit institutions and insurance undertakings of monies in accounts determined to be dormant into the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF).

Since its establishment in May 2003, the net transfers to the Dormant Accounts Fund have been just over €338m. Transfers in 2009, to the end of April, total some €39m. The value of the Fund at end April 2009, net of liabilities, was some €52m. This excludes around €50m maintained in a Reserve Account to meet future reclaims by account holders and to cover expenses associated with the operation of the Fund.

The level of funds transferring to the DAF in any one year cannot be projected with any degree of accuracy and the Deputy will appreciate that it is not possible for me to give any indication of future allocations by Government — or to calculate probable expenditure in future years by my Department. Information concerning the level of inflows, reclaims etc. from 2003 to end April 2009 is available on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

132 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the expenditure to date by his Department from the proceeds of the Dormant Accounts Fund since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24014/09]

Funding is provided from the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF), through the votes of relevant Departments, to tackle disadvantage and to assist persons with a disability. In the years 2006 to 2008, my Department managed an annual measure to support projects in RAPID areas, each valued at €7.5m per annum. Some €64.4min total was allocated to the Rural Social Scheme between 2004 and 2008. In addition: In 2006, a measure to provide recreation and personal development opportunities for disadvantaged young people valued at €1.12m was approved; €3.95m was approved in 2006 to fund two flagship projects; and in 2008, €2m was provided for a substance misuse measure.

Expenditure to date under these measures has amounted to some €17m. Information on income, reclaims and expenditure generally relating to the Dormant Accounts Fund is available on the web-site of my Department at www.pobail.ie .

Community Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

133 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on an expansion of the CLÁR programme with a view to making funding available to a broader spectrum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24015/09]

The areas covered by the CLÁR Programme have been revised twice since its launch in October 2001. As a result, it now covers parts of 23 counties and benefits a population of nearly 727,000. I have no plans at present for a further extension of the Programme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

134 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if it is intended to broaden the scope of the RAPID programme in view of the current economic climate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24016/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to question number 55 of today.

Question No. 135 answered with Question No. 38.
Question No. 136 answered with Question No. 130.

National Drugs Strategy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

137 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which he expects to meet the requirements of urban and rural community groups currently involved in drug rehabilitation programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24019/09]

As the Deputy is aware, funding applications for community and voluntary groups for drugs initiatives are made through the Local or Regional Drugs Task Forces. The allocation for the Drugs Task Forces for this year is of the order of €32 million.

Overall, in the region of €22 million was spent in 2008 on projects in Task Force areas with a treatment and rehabilitation focus. Funding for the majority of these projects will continue in 2009, albeit in some cases, possibly at a somewhat reduced level. Roughly 70% of the LDTF projects focus on treatment/rehabilitation, while over 44% of the RDTF projects have a similar focus.

In addition to this, funding approved in 2008 towards three homeless-related rehabilitation projects will continue in 2009 in the amount of €460,000.

The Deputy should also note that the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee was set up in late 2008 by the HSE. The Senior Rehabilitation Coordinator to chair and lead the work of the group was also appointed at that time. A number of meetings have been held to date and I look forward to seeing the outcomes of their deliberations over the coming months and years.

Question No. 138 answered with Question No. 130.

Íocaíochtaí Deontas.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

139 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Brian O’Shea den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cén fáth go bhfuil líon ceanncheathrú eagrais na hearnála deonaí ag déanamh tinnis dó ag am go bhfuil post nua á fhógairt ag a Roinn féin ar thuarastal suas go €120K agus go mbeidh an té a cheapfar lonnaithe i gceann de thrí phríomhoifig na Roinne, i mBaile Átha Cliath, i dTobar an Choire nó sna Forbacha; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [24138/09]

Glacaim leis gur ag tagairt do na heagrais dheonacha Gaeilge atá an Teachta. Sa chomhthéacs sin, dírím a aird ar an bhfreagra a thug mé ar Cheist Uimh 20 den 29.1.09 ina ndearnadh tagairt don bhunmhaoiniú do 19 eagras deonach Gaeilge a chuirtear ar fáil trí Fhoras na Gaeilge. Chuir an Foras tús le hathbhreithniú anuraidh maidir leis na heagrais sin, le cinntiú go mbeidh an luach airgid is fearr le fáil sa todhchaí. Cé go dtuigim go bhfuil an próiseas athbhreithnithe sin ag druidim chun deiridh anois, tá sé ró-luath fós réamhaithris a dhéanamh ar na torthaí a thiocfaidh as. Mar a dúirt mé cheana, tá éifeacht an chaiteachais phoiblí agus luach airgid maidir le spriocanna an Rialtais ó thaobh na Gaeilge a bhaint amach á gcoinneáil faoi bhreithniú agam.

Maidir leis an bpost atá luaite ag an Teachta, is post sinseareach atá i gceist ansin do Stiúrthóir Seirbhíse Aistriúcháin i mo Roinnse. Tá próiseas earcaíochta don phost idir lámha ag an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí i láthair na huaire. Beidh an té a cheapfar freagrach as seirbhís lárnach nua a chur i bhfeidhm chun bainistíocht a dhéanamh ar aistriúchán Ionstraimí Reachtúla ar son Ranna Rialtais agus na nÚdarás Déanta Rialacháin uile.

Ní léir dom aon cheangal díreach idir an post sin agus na heagrais dheonacha Gaeilge.

Tax and Social Welfare Codes.

Mary Upton

Question:

140 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her views on legislation which attempted to amend the anomaly whereby cohabiting couples are assessed as married for the purposes of social welfare benefits but not for the purposes of taxation; her plans to amend this anomaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23985/09]

Mary Upton

Question:

143 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason cohabiting couples are treated as married couples for social welfare purposes but not for taxation purposes; her views on same; her further views on introducing legislation to amend this anomaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23984/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 140 and 143 together.

The social welfare and tax systems have evolved over time and in response to a variety of factors, including Constitutional imperatives as interpreted by the Courts, changing social trends and EU Directives.

The social welfare code recognises the couple status of cohabiting couples and treats married and cohabiting couples in a similar manner. The EEC Equality Directive 79/9 and the subsequent Supreme Court case (Hyland v Minister for Social Welfare, 1989) led to the change in the treatment of non-married cohabiting couples in the social welfare code. The Court ruled that it was unconstitutional for the total income a married couple received in social welfare benefits to be less than the couple would have received if they were unmarried and cohabiting.

The income tax arrangements and subsequent legislation for cohabiting couples are a matter for the Minister for Finance.

Social Welfare Benefits.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

141 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will examine the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork in receipt of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24004/09]

Rent supplement is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive as part of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source.

As part of Budget 2009, the minimum weekly contribution which a person is expected to contribute towards their rent was increased from €13 to €18 with effect from January 2009. The recent Supplementary Budget provided that the weekly minimum contribution be further increased from €18 to €24 with effect from 1 June 2009 and that payments currently being made to existing rent supplement tenants be reduced by 8% from the same date. These measures account for a reduction in the rent supplement payment of the person concerned this year.

The most recent data published by the CSO shows that rents in the private sector have fallen by almost 11% since November 2008 and by almost 20% in the past year. It is essential that state support for tenants who form a substantial section of the rental market, does not give rise to inflated rental prices.

Rent supplements are also subject to a limit on the amount of rent that an applicant for rent supplement may incur. Rent limits are set at levels that enable the eligible household types to secure and retain basic suitable rented accommodation, having regard to the different rental market conditions that prevail in various parts of the State. The objective is to ensure that rent supplement is not paid in respect of overly expensive accommodation having regard to the size of the household. However, rent supplement may be paid in certain circumstances cases where the rent is above the relevant limit and where for example, the person concerned has sufficient income to meet his or her basic needs after paying rent.

The Executive has advised that the person concerned decided to move to new accommodation in October 2008, where the rent is above the relevant maximum rent limit for his area and household circumstances. The Executive approved payment of rent supplement in this case as the person concerned is in receipt of additional income from a training allowance.

It is open to the person concerned to request his landlord to reduce his current rent. While he may be contractually obliged to pay the rent, it is expected that landlords will decrease rents in recognition of the fact that rents have fallen generally and that there are now a large number of vacant rental properties nationally. In the event that his landlord does not reduce his current rent, the person concerned could move to less expensive accommodation within the existing rent limits and be liable only for the minimum weekly contribution of €24 towards his rent.

Michael Ring

Question:

142 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is not receiving the back to work allowance in view of the fact that they are working the required number of hours per week. [23937/09]

Participants in the back to work allowance scheme receive a tapered percentage of their social welfare payment over a three year period.

The person concerned is in receipt of a back to work allowance payment, since 2006. His current rate of payment is €46.80. His entitlement is due to cease on 23 October, 2009.

Question No. 143 answered with Question No. 140.

Social Welfare Code.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

144 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the administrative and other costs associated with the payment of all social welfare claims in all areas of social welfare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23992/09]

The administration and other costs associated with the processing and payment of social welfare claims are identified on a programme basis in the Department's Annual Output Statement for 2009 which was presented to the Oireachtas Select Committee on Social and Family Affairs in May. Each scheme administered by the Department is reported under one of the five scheme-based programmes in the Annual Output Statement. The cost of programmes and administration is shown in the attached tables extracted from the Annual Output Statement. The administration costs which can be directly linked to the programme are shown under programme administration. The cost of shared services and the administration of the Department are shown under Programme 6 — Identity Management and Secure Access to Services and Programme 7 — Operational Capabilities and Modernisation, respectively.

The tables show that provision has been made in the 2009 Estimates for Administration expenditure of €552.2 million excluding Appropriations in Aid. This estimate includes the administration costs of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme which are paid to the HSE.

The total estimated expenditure of the Department on schemes and services in 2009 is € 20,719.1 million. The Administration cost as a percentage of the gross expenditure on Schemes and Services of the Department in 2009 is estimated at 2.6%.

Annual Output Statement 2009

Overall Budgetary Position for the Department — Gross expenditure for Vote 38 & Social Insurance Fund

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change on 2008 Provisional Outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Gross Vote 38 expenditure

9,631.7

9,502.1

11,130.1

17.1

Less administration expenses recovered from the Social Insurance Fund

165.0

165.3

181.0

9.5

Adjusted Vote 38 expenditure

9,466.7

9,336.8

10,949.1

17.3

Social Insurance Fund Expenditure

7,843.2

8,374.6

10,322.2

23.3

Total DSFA Gross Expenditure

17,309.9

17,711.4

21,271.3

20.1

Appropriations in Aid (other than DSFA Social Insurance Fund Admin)

(19.5)

(22.9)

(32.1)

40.2

Net DSFA Expenditure

17,290.4

17,688.5

21,239.2

20.1

Of which — Exchequer Pay

214.8

215.6

229.5

6.4

No. of public service employees included in Exchequer pay above

— Department

4,639.5

— Agencies

206.58

Breakdown of Gross DSFA Expenditure by Scheme/Service & Administration

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change on 2008 Provisional Outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Scheme & Service expenditure

16,788.5

17,193.4

20,719.1

20.5

Administrative expenditure

521.4

518.0

552.2

6.6

Gross DSFA Expenditure

17,309.9

17,711.4

21,271.3

20.1

Administrative cost expenditure as a % of Gross DSFA Expenditure

3.0%

2.9%

2.6%

Note: The administration costs for Supplementary Welfare Allowance which are paid to the HSE are included in Administration Expenditure Scheme and Administration expenditure is shown gross and excludes Appropriations in Aid.

Breakdown of Gross Expenditure by Programme

Programme Name

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

1. Children & families

3,144.9

3,181.1

3,381.8

6.3

2. People of working age

5,727.0

5,989.8

8,688.1

45.0

3. Retired & older People

5,377.6

5,518.4

5,783.4

4.8

4. People with disabilities

2,013.2

2,039.5

2,145.3

5.2

5. Poverty & Social Inclusion

894.6

841.0

1,117.9

32.9

6. Identity Management & Secure Access to Services

17.5

14.7

14.1

-4.1

7. Operational Capabilities & Modernisation

135.0

127.0

140.7

10.8

Gross DSFA Expenditure

17,309.9

17,711.4

21,271.3

20.1

Programme 1 — Children & Families

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

3,132.7

3,168.2

3,369.1

6.3

Programme Administration

— Pay

7.0

7.5

7.2

-3.7

— Non-pay

5.2

5.4

5.5

2.0

Gross programme expenditure

3,144.9

3,181.1

3,381.8

6.3

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

179.3

— Family Support Agency

40.19

Programme 2 — People of Working Age

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

5,524.2

5,775.5

8,448.6

46.3

Programme Administration

— Pay

133.1

129.8

145.1

11.8

— Non-pay

69.7

84.5

94.4

11.7

Gross programme expenditure

5,727.0

5,989.8

8,688.1

45.0

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

2,911.0

Programme 3 — Retired and Older People

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

5,288.0

5,430.3

5,701.5

5.0

Programme Administration

— Pay

17.9

18.1

18.1

0.0

— Non-pay

71.7

70.0

63.8

-8.8

Gross programme expenditure

5,377.6

5,518.4

5,783.4

4.8

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

418.2

— Pensions Board

43.10

— Pensions Ombudsman

10.00

Programme 4 — People with Disabilities

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

1,984.8

2,014.5

2,121.1

5.3

Programme Administration

— Pay

8.1

8.5

9.1

6.9

— Non-pay

20.3

16.5

15.1

-8.3

Gross programme expenditure

2,013.2

2,039.5

2,145.3

5.2

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

205.3

Programme 5 — Poverty & Social Inclusion

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

828.0

774.4

1,049.7

35.6

Programme Administration

— Pay

1.9

1.9

1.7

-8.5

— Non-pay

64.7

64.7

66.5

2.7

Gross programme expenditure

894.6

841.0

1,117.9

32.9

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

28.8

— HSE

866.3

Community Welfare Service (administration of SWA) Combat Poverty Agency

25.0

Programme 6 — Identity Management and Secure Access to Services

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

Programme Administration

— Pay

6.5

8.1

6.0

-25.1

— Non-pay

11.0

6.6

8.1

21.4

Gross programme expenditure

17.5

14.7

14.1

-4.1

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Civil Servants

129.5

— Other public servants

Programme 7 — Operational Capabilities and Modernisation

Inputs

2008 REV Estimate

2008 Provisional Outturn

2009 REV Estimate

% change in 2009 on 2008 outturn

€ million

€ million

€ million

%

Programme Expenditure

— Current

30.9

30.5

29.1

-4.7%

Programme Administration

— Pay

40.4

41.8

42.2

1.0

— Non-pay — current

10.7

10.5

10.3

-1.9

— Non-pay — capital

53.0

44.0

59.0

34.1

Gross programme expenditure

135.0

127.0

140.7

10.8

Number of staff employed on programme (whole time equivalents) as at end of year

— Department

767.5

— Citizen’s Information Board

87.6

Departmental Properties.

Seán Power

Question:

145 Deputy Seán Power asked the Minister for Defence the agreement reached, following a meeting of his officials with the residents association of an estate (details supplied) in County Kildare on 16 April 2008, in relation to the programme of works to be carried out for the provision of a children’s play area on lands adjacent to the estate; if the licence agreement was drawn up; the amount of this work which was carried out; when the remaining works will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23936/09]

A number of meetings have been held between my officials and members of the residents association of the estate concerned. It was agreed that a play area could be provided for the children of the estate. In order to facilitate the provision of this area the residents association were requested to provide insurance to indemnify the State in respect of any claims that may arise from its use. However, the residents association was not in a position to provide such an indemnity. In the meantime a playground has been constructed and opened within the Military facility adjacent to the estate and the children are free to use this facility during the time when it is open.

Building Energy Rating.

Michael Noonan

Question:

146 Deputy Michael Noonan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will review the protocol for the registration of building energy rating assessors in order that persons who have passed the necessary examinations may be registered prior to the issuing of certificates to them by FETAC; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23929/09]

Joe Carey

Question:

147 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will clarify the point in the sale of a property at which it is required that a building energy rating certificate is necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23934/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 147 together.

I am advised by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) that arrangements are now in place to facilitate early registration for fully certified assessors who are still awaiting the receipt of their certificates from FETAC.

There are currently over 2,700 persons registered with SEI as BER assessors for dwellings, a far higher number of assessors than is required to meet current and anticipated demand for BER certificates in the market place. I understand that SEI strongly advises that applicants for registration review the number of BER assessors who are already servicing their intended target area in order to ensure that they are satisfied with the potential business opportunity before investing money in registering with SEI. A database of all registered BER assessors, searchable by county, is included on SEI's web pages (www.sei.ie).

A Building Energy Rating must be available to prospective buyers or tenants when a building is offered for sale or letting. The European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006-2008 require any person who offers a building for sale or letting on or from 1 January, 2009 or any agent acting on their behalf, to produce a copy of the BER certificate relating to the building to any person expressing an interest in purchasing or taking a letting in the building. A person who contravenes these requirements commits an offence, unless the building in question is specifically exempted under Article 3 of the Regulations, and is liable, on prosecution by the Building Control Authority in whose functional area the building is situated, to a fine not exceeding €5,000.

Departmental Programmes.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

148 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the policies, strategies or initiatives published on his behalf for each of the past five years; if, in each of these cases, consultation with children or representatives from the relevant sector was involved; if so, the details of this consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23964/09]

A list of the policies, strategies or initiatives published by my Department over each of the past five years is contained in the tables.

In line with the principles of consultation and quality customer service, my Department is committed to providing opportunities for input into policy formulation and legislative development. This enables the widest possible range of views to be taken into account.

The Department consulted with the Department of Health and Children in relation to youth homelessness issues in preparing The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness 2008-2013. There was a consultation process in relation to all of the other strategies and policies set out below. Such consultation involved a public consultation period, where members of the public and representative groups were invited to submit their views, and/or meetings with relevant groups — e.g. social partner representative groups, organisations representing people (including children) with disabilities etc.

The Department also places a high emphasis on effective engagement with other Departments, the local government sector and other public bodies to advance cross-cutting issues which are of strategic importance to the achievement of key Government objectives. The views of relevant groups are also taken into account through such engagement.

2004

Policy/Strategy/Initiative

Departmental Customer Charter

Delivering Value for People — Service Indicators in Local Authorities

Waste Management — Taking Stock and Moving Forward

Strategic Environmental Assessment — Planning Guidance

Quarries and Ancillary Activities — Planning Guidance

2005

Policy/Strategy/Initiative

Statement of Strategy 2005-2007

Housing Policy Framework — Building Sustainable Communities

Irish Language Scheme under the Official Languages Act

Retail Planning — Planning Guidance

Sustainable Rural Housing — Planning Guidance

2006

Policy/Strategy/Initiative

Customer Service Action Plan 2006-2008 and Customer Charter

Gateway Investment Priorities Study

National Strategy on Biodegradable Waste

Sectoral Plan under the Disability Act 2005

2007

Policy/Strategy/Initiative

NSS Hubs: Development Issues and Challenges

Market Development Programme for Waste Resources 2007-2011

National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012

Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities — Statement on Housing Policy

Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities

Development Plans (2007) — Planning Guidance

Development Management (2007) — Planning Guidance

2008

Policy/Strategy/Initiative

Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

The Way Home: A Strategy to Address Adult Homelessness 2008-2013

Stronger Local Democracy — Options for Change. Green Paper on local government

Branching Out-Future Directions (Strategy for public library service)

Increasing Affordable Housing Supply

Design Standards for New Apartments (2008) — Planning Guidance

Sustainable Residential Development in Urban Areas — Planning Guidance

Planning and Flood Risk Management — Planning Guidance (draft issued in late 2008)

Waste Management.

Shane McEntee

Question:

149 Deputy Shane McEntee asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if all plastic bag levy receipts together with landfill levy receipts are paid into a ring fenced environment fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23994/09]

The Environment Fund was established by the Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2001 with effect from 17 July 2001. All plastic bag levy receipts are paid into the Environment Fund. In respect of landfill levy receipts, local authorities may deduct and retain up to 2%, subject to a maximum of €50,000 per annum, from levies payable in respect of privately operated landfill facilities to meet expenses incurred by them in the enforcement and collection of such levies. All other landfill levy receipts are paid into the Environment Fund.

The Environment Fund is ring fenced and payments can only be made from the Fund for the purposes specified under Section 74(9) or Section 74(12) of the Waste Management Act 1996, inserted by Section 12 of the Waste Management (Amendment) Act 2001.

Noise Pollution.

Finian McGrath

Question:

150 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will support a matter (details supplied). [23997/09]

Under the provisions of Section 25 of the Control of Dogs Act, 1986, the District Court may act on a complaint by any person where a nuisance has been created by excessive barking by a dog. In general, it is advisable that the person affected by a barking dog raise the issue with the owner of the offending animal. Should this avenue fail, the person can proceed to court. A copy of the forms used for complaints regarding barking dogs is available from local authorities.

While complaints in relation to barking dogs are largely dealt with under the provisions of the Control of Dogs Act, noise nuisance generally is dealt with under Section 108 of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 (Noise) Regulations, 1994. This allows an individual, a group of residents, a local authority or the Environmental Protection Agency to make a complaint to the District Court in respect of noise which gives reasonable cause for annoyance, for the purpose of obtaining an Order for the reduction, prevention or limitation of the noise. The defendant is obliged to comply with any such order.

In addition, the Government has recently approved the drafting of a Bill to strengthen existing legislation on noise nuisance, in line with the commitment in the Programme for Government. A public consultation process has been completed, and account is being taken of submissions received from the public and key stakeholders. I intend that the new legislation will take a more integrated approach to noise nuisance. There will be a greater emphasis on codes of practice for construction, commercial and domestic situations. Local authorities will have stronger enforcement powers to deal with nuisances from particular noise sources, including noise from barking dogs, and I also see the need to extend the powers of the Garda Síochána in certain circumstances. There will, in addition, be measures to increase awareness of noise nuisance and of how it can be remedied.

I share the concern that excessive or unnecessary lighting should be minimised, in the interest of public amenity. A number of Local Authorities have already raised the issue of light pollution in their development plans, aiming to ensure that the design of external lighting minimizes the incidences of light spillage or pollution into the surrounding environment. However, there is currently no environmental legislation pending or in force, at either EU or national level, on light pollution. My Department and the Environmental Protection Agency continue to monitor emerging EU and international policy in relation to this issue.

Turbary Rights.

Michael Lowry

Question:

151 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24009/09]

The case in question refers to a compensation claim made by an individual in relation to the restriction on commercial turf cutting on a designated raised bog. The matter has been settled. Agreed contracts were signed on my behalf on 30 April 2009 and the compensation consideration has been paid by the Department to the Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO). My Department has also provided payment for the claimant's costs. These monies have been issued to the CSSO this week for forwarding to the claimant's solicitor.

Grant Payments.

Denis Naughten

Question:

152 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon will be awarded a REP scheme four payment; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23924/09]

The REPS 4 application by the person named cannot be processed further until a reply is received to the letter sent to him by my officials on 8 October 2008 regarding a variance between his REPS plan and his 2008 Single Payment application. A reminder letter issued on 20 March 2009 but no reply has been received.

Fisheries Protection.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

153 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to Parliamentary Question No. 202 of 27 May 2009, the location at which the Gigas oyster has settled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23931/09]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

154 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the action he is taking to remove the Gigas oyster from the Lough Swilly Natura 2000 site in order to protect the native habitat. [23932/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 153 and 154 together.

My response to Question No. 202 of 27 May 2009 referred to the possible future potential risk of proliferation of the pacific oyster in Ireland and the study being undertaken at present by the Marine Institute, with others, on reproduction, settlement and environmental interactions of pacific oysters in Ireland. The results of this study will be used to inform further actions that may be required consistent with the provisions of Council Regulation (EC) 708/2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture. As previously indicated, my Department is advised that, to date, there is little evidence that any decline in native oyster numbers has been linked with the presence of the pacific oyster.

Turbary Rights.

Michael Ring

Question:

155 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if a map has been drawn up (details supplied). [23948/09]

A map has been drawn up in this case and my Department is proceeding to dispose of the turbary rights over the plot. This will require an advertisement of the sale of the turbary rights in accordance with section 8 of the Irish Land Commission (Dissolution) Act 1992.

Grant Payments.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

156 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a slatted house grant will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23988/09]

The person concerned is an applicant under the Farm Improvement Scheme. My Department is currently examining the application and a decision will be made as soon as possible.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

157 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the position regarding an application for the young farmer installation aid in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23989/09]

The person concerned was an applicant for grant-aid under the Young Farmers' Installation Scheme. The application in this case was rejected by Department letter of 6 November 2008 as he was determined to be ineligible for the Scheme. A Departmental review which upheld the original decision was communicated to the applicant on 16 February 2009. The case is currently under appeal to the Agriculture Appeals Office.

Tom Hayes

Question:

158 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary in respect of a REP scheme application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23995/09]

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

159 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be awarded their REP scheme three payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24002/09]

Payment issued to the person named on 12th June 2009.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

160 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be awarded payment of their REP scheme three grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24003/09]

The application by the person named cannot be processed until an adjusted plan, which my Department asked for in a letter dated 14 November 2009, is received.

Farm Retirement Scheme.

Michael Lowry

Question:

161 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when farm retirement payments will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24005/09]

No formal application for the Scheme of Early Retirement from Farming was received from the person named. In June 2008, she indicated through her legal representatives that she intended to apply for the Scheme. She did not meet certain eligibility requirements, and her legal representatives sought to have her exempted from these because of her particular circumstances. My Department declined this request and the person named appealed the decision to the Agricultural Appeals Office, which found in her favour.In the meantime ,however,the Scheme had been closed to new applicants. My Department is considering the matter and will communicate with the person named within the next two weeks.

Grant Payments.

Michael Lowry

Question:

162 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a balance of REP scheme and single farm payments will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; if not, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24006/09]

The first part of the REPS payment to the person named in respect of 2008 will issue within the next ten days. He has already received his payment for 2008 under the Single Payment Scheme.

Michael Lowry

Question:

163 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when single farm payments will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary for 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24007/09]

An application was received for each of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007 requesting the transfer of 13.08 entitlements by way of one-year lease from the second named person to the first named person. The one-year lease for the 2007 scheme year ended on 31 March 2008 at which time the entitlements reverted back to the second named person. Consequently they were not available to the first named person for the scheme year 2008 and no payment issued on these entitlements for that year.

No application to transfer these entitlements was received by the Transfer of Entitlements Section of my Department for either 2008 or 2009. However, the first person named included a note with his Single Payment Scheme application for 2008 indicating his intention to lease land and entitlements. In view of this, an official from my Department has been in contact with the first person named in relation to the submission of transfer of entitlement applications for 2008 and 2009. When these applications have been received and processed all outstanding payments will be made.

Michael Lowry

Question:

164 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when an area aid payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary ; if not, the status of the application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24008/09]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 15th May 2007. This application was selected for and was the subject of a ground eligibility and full cross compliance inspection. During the course of the ground eligibility inspection, discrepancies were found with parcel numbers P16508043, P16508044, P16508045 and P16508046 which resulted in these parcels being rejected. As there was an over declaration of over 20%, under the Terms and Conditions of the schemes, no payment can be made for the year in question.

The person named was officially informed of these findings on the 14th January 2009 and of her right to seek a review of this decision within 21 days and also of her right to appeal the outcome of any such review to the independent Agriculture Appeals Office. On the 8th May 2009, the District Inspector reviewed this case and it was decided to uphold the original decision and apply the penalty. The person named was advised that she could appeal the outcome of this review to the Agriculture Appeals Office. I have had the matter investigated and the position is that this file is with the Agriculture Appeals Office who will contact the person named, within the next week, to invite them to attend an Oral Hearing in order to clarify the position regarding the areas under query.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

165 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Cavan will be awarded a farm improvement scheme grant in view of the fact that the work was completed in February 2009; his views on whether delays such as this are putting pressure on young farmers and their families; the action he will take to have payment made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24029/09]

The person concerned is an applicant under the Farm Improvement Scheme. My Department is currently examining the application and a decision will be made as soon as possible.

Pension Provisions.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

166 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry is being deducted the pension levy when he or she is not eligible to be included in the public service pension and will not benefit from it on retirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24001/09]

Under Section 2 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act, 2009 a person is liable to pay the pensions-related deduction if he or she is a public servant on or after the 1 March 2009 and is a member of a public service pension scheme, is entitled to a benefit under the scheme or receives a payment in lieu of membership of such a scheme.

Accordingly, an individual who is not entitled to a pension benefit from his/her employment may be liable to pay the pension related deduction in certain other circumstances, including if he/she receives a payment in lieu of membership of a public service pension scheme. In that regard, for example, a non-pensionable gratuity is payable to certain staff of Vocational Education Committees whose service is not reckonable for superannuation purposes.

An official of my Department has contacted Co. Kerry VEC, the employer of the person referred to by the Deputy, and has established that this person is eligible to receive the payment of a non- pensionable gratuity, and that, accordingly, they are liable to pay the pension related deduction.

School Transport.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

167 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of students who travel on a school bus to school in each of the counties Cavan and Monaghan; his views on whether the increased school bus charges will cause financial pressure to parents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23921/09]

Bus Éireann, which operates the school transport scheme, on behalf of my Department, has advised that the number of tickets issued to post primary pupils in Cavan and Monaghan, as of 31/12/2008, were 1,959 and 2,219 respectively. The number of tickets issued to primary pupils for Cavan and Monaghan in 2007 was 1,952 and 1,631 respectively; more recent figures are not readily available.

The revised annual charges for school transport have been confined to eligible post-primary children and children availing of concessionary transport. Charges for school transport continue to be waived in the case of eligible post-primary children where the family is in possession of a valid medical card. Eligible children attending primary schools and children with special needs will still travel free. A maximum family rate of €650 will also be applied.

School transport ticket invoices for the 2009/2010 School Year will be issued by Bus Éireann in July 2009. The payment options being offered to parents are as follows:

Payment of the full amount by the deadline date of 31 July 2009

Spreading the amount due over two payments payable in July and December 2009.

Parents who pay the full annual charge, in advance, will benefit from ticket(s) being issued for the full school year. This arrangement includes pupils on concessionary travel.

Parents who pay 50% of the annual amount by the deadline date of 31 July, 2009 will be issued with a ticket valid for travel up to 22 December, 2009. The balance due must be paid by 4th December, 2009. Upon receipt of this payment a second ticket valid for travel up to the end of the school year in June, 2010 will be issued.

On-line payment facilities have been introduced by Bus Éireann to make it more convenient for parents to make their payment from home, if desired. This facility is made available when ticket invoices are issued and the option to use a credit or debit card is offered.

While I appreciate the Deputy's concerns, given the factors that I have outlined, it is not envisaged that there will be a change in the payment arrangements as outlined above.

Home-School Liaison Scheme.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

168 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Longford. [23939/09]

Home School Community Liaison coordinator posts are provided on a full time or shared basis between schools. Due to the nature of the work of HSCL coordinators, which focuses directly on the salient adults in children's educational lives, coordinators must be deployed to do full-time liaison duties only to avoid any potential conflict of interest. The role also requires the flexibility to be available to families, for home visitation, attending meetings and inservice and undertaking school staff development without having the restrictions of a timetable.

Following a full review of the allocation of HSCL posts and clustering arrangements under DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools), the Action Plan for Educational Inclusion in 2008, HSCL posts are allocated to schools on the basis of their levels of disadvantage and enrolment, having regard to geographic proximity or ‘association' (where children from the same family attend different schools. ie boys and girls or primary and post primary aged siblings). In a small number of cases, coordinators may be shared between schools that do not have family links, however, this is to ensure that the coordinators are deployed to do home school community liaison duties only.

The coordinator to which the Deputy refers is employed as a permanent whole time teacher by a Vocational Education Committee as a full time HSCL coordinator. Following the 2008 HSCL review, this school is no longer entitled to a full HSCL post, based on its size and level of disadvantage. The VEC have been advised that the HSCL post should now be shared between two of its schools and it is a matter for the VEC to deploy this teacher in accordance with the terms of her contract with the VEC.

Special Educational Needs.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

169 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Galway; and if this school will be allocated sufficient support to make a special class for the school year 2009-10 possible. [23949/09]

My Department has considered the additional information submitted by the school in question in support of its request to retain the special class for mild general learning disability. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department has permitted the school to retain the special class for the 2009/2010 school year.

Departmental Publications.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

170 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Science the policies, strategies or initiatives published on his behalf for each of the past five years; if, in each of these cases, consultation with children or representatives from the relevant sector was involved; if so, the details of this consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23963/09]

The information requested is not readily available to my Department. I will arrange for the information to be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Youthreach Programme.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

171 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of early school leavers who applied for places in Youthreach programmes but were refused a place from 2006 to 2009. [23966/09]

The Youthreach programme provides two years integrated education, training and work experience to young people aged 15-20 years who left school early without any qualifications or vocational training and are unemployed.

There are currently almost 6,000 places available nationally under the Youthreach umbrella.

Almost 3,700 of these are funded by my Department and delivered in just over 100 centres by Vocational Education Committees (VECs). The majority of the remaining 2,300 places are funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and delivered by FÁS in Community Training Centres (CTCs).

The Youthreach programme funded by my Department is operated by VECs at local level. The intake in Youthreach centres commences in September each year and where applications are made during the year a waiting list is operated and places allocated as they arise. These places are generally allocated in groups. You will be aware that an additional 400 Youthreach places were allocated in 2007 and these additional places are being utilised.

As admission to Youthreach is operated at centre level the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available to my Department.

Schools Building Projects.

James Reilly

Question:

172 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the construction of a new primary school in an area (details supplied) in County Dublin; when construction will commence and be completed; if funding available for the construction and staffing of the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24023/09]

As the Deputy may be aware, I announced last February that the school in question was to progress to architectural planning for the provision of a new permanent school building.

Officials from my Department will be touch with the school authority shortly, in relation to the further progression of the project.

Special Educational Needs.

Finian McGrath

Question:

173 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will support the case of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [24039/09]

I understand that the Deputy's office has confirmed that his question relates to resource teaching support in the school.

As you will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants to primary and post primary schools to support children with special needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

The NCSE will undertake to review a decision taken by a SENO on foot of a request from a school or parents/guardians, when accompanied by relevant additional information, which may not have been to hand at the time of the decision. The NCSE has outlined this process in its Circular 01/05.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

I have arranged for the information provided by the Deputy to be forwarded to the NCSE for their direct reply.

Schools Building Projects.

Finian McGrath

Question:

174 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will support a matter (details supplied). [24040/09]

The school to which the Deputy refers is currently in rented accommodation. The need for playground facilities is a matter for the school authorities to discuss with the property owners.

The Department is aware of the need to provide a permanent home for the school. It is examining options in this regard, although there has been some difficulty in obtaining alternative, suitable accommodation in the area where the school is located. The Department will be in direct contact with the school authority when it has identified a viable option which it can proceed with in the context of competing demands on its capital budget.

Child Abuse.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

175 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of files that existed in his Department relating to a person (details supplied) in County Laois; when each of these files started; the reason they were kept in separate locations; the person who had official responsibility for each file; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24043/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

176 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science when a complaint against a person (details supplied) in County Laois was first made to his Department in respect of incidents at a school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24044/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

177 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason a complaint against a person (details supplied) in County Laois investigated by his Department between 1964 and 1966 was not acted upon; the reason such a complaint was never acknowledged in response to inquiries from public representatives and media; the reason he continues to contend that the first notification it had of complaints against this person was in 1982; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24045/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

178 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science if a file on allegations against a person (details supplied) in County Laois at a school was given by him to the Garda, when the Garda investigated the aforementioned person in the period 1996 to 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24046/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 to 178, inclusive, together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the person to whom she refers served as Principal in Rath National School during the mid-1960s. On the 2nd March 1965, the Department received a letter from a parent of children who were attending the school in question, in which she complained of the "infliction of unnecessary punishment" on schoolchildren and cited a number of incidents involving her own children and the person in question.

The complaint was investigated by the Department at the time in accordance with its guidelines and it was found that Rule 96(1) and 96(3) which deal with the excessive use of corporal punishment was breached. In this regard, a letter was issued from the Department to Mr Dunne and copied to the manager advising that the Department expects Mr Dunne to comply more strictly with the terms of Rule 96(1) and (3).

In September 1997, the Gardaí in Tullamore, Co. Offaly wrote to the Department of Education (Primary Branch) stating that complaints of incidents relating to this person's tenure in Walsh Island National School were the subject of a Garda investigation and sought details of any complaints the Department might have received during that period. The Gardaí were looking for papers solely in relation to this person's activities during the course of his period of employment in Walsh Island National School and, consequently, details of the 1965 complaints were not sent to Gardaí.

An initial search was fruitless and a reply issued to the Gardaí confirming that there was no record of any complaint having been lodged with the Department at the time of the alleged abuse (1966-1969) in Walsh Island NS. However, in January 1998, a file containing some papers on this person was discovered in Second Level Branch, Athlone, including a letter, sent to the Department on 27th May 1982, alleging sexual abuse of boys by the person in question. In January 1998 copies of these papers were made available to the Gardaí to assist them in their investigation. The handling of this complaint by the Department at the time was not satisfactory. The former Minister, Deputy Micheál Martin, after reviewing the papers at the time stated that "I am firmly of the view that the Department's response to this complaint was seriously lacking and there can be absolutely no excuse by reference to the standards of the time" As a result the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse was specifically requested to look at the Donal Dunne case. At that time, all records, including those relating to the 1965 complaint were forwarded to the Commission.

Donal Dunne served as a teacher in both Primary and Secondary Schools. Consequently, files were held in separate locations as primary files were stored and maintained by Primary Branch and files relating to Second Level teachers were maintained by the Second Level Branch.

I fully accept that the complaint in 1982 was not properly handled. As Deputies are aware the material relating to the complaint was passed on to the Commission and the Commission Report (Chapter 14 of Volume 1) covers the issue. I appreciate very much the courage of those who raise complaints relating to their abuse and the trauma that must be associated with pursuing such complaints which makes the manner in which the complaint was handled in 1982 particularly inexcusable.

Schools Building Projects.

Dan Neville

Question:

179 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Science the position regarding the construction of a new national school at a location (details supplied) in County Limerick. [24088/09]

The Stage 2B (Detailed Design) submission was received by my Department on the 15th of June and is currently being examined. My officials will revert to the school authorities in due course.