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 9, inclusive, answered orally.

Public Transport.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

10 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport his strategies to make CIÉ financially more self-sufficient; his plans to reduce subvention to CIÉ; the amount of public money given in both capital and public service obligation payments to CIÉ since 1997 to date in 2009; the forecast made by him for the 2009 CIÉ deficit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39623/09]

In the period 1997 to 2009 over €3.03 billion in Exchequer subvention has been paid to CIÉ towards the operational cost of loss making socially and economically necessary services. The allocation of €303m in 2009 represents an increase of 127% in the 1997 figure, but a decrease of 1.7% on the 2008 provision and a decrease of 1.1% on the 2007 provision. In addition an amount of €3.2 billion (€298m in 2009 to date) in capital funding has been provided in the same period. Despite this high level of Exchequer support, CIÉ and its subsidiary companies are facing a very difficult financial position in 2009 with a projected operating loss of €70m due to declining passenger numbers, diesel tax increase due to withdrawal of fuel duty rebate (as required by EU law), reduced subvention and less savings than planned. In response, all three companies are pursuing cost recovery plans involving measures to increase revenues, change pay and conditions, allowances and work practices and rationalise services. It is imperative that these cost recovery plans be pursued vigorously and expeditiously so that the companies can achieve at least financial breakeven as early as possible while maintaining services at the highest possible level. The Exchequer is not and will not be in a position to compensate for accumulating losses.

State Airports.

Joan Burton

Question:

11 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport if he has been briefed by the Directors he appointed to the board of Aer Lingus on proposals by Aer Lingus management to cut annual costs by around €97 million up to 2011 including the possible loss of 676 jobs at the company in Dublin, Cork and Shannon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39524/09]

I was not briefed by the State appointed directors on the Board of Aer Lingus Group plc on the company's cost restructuring plan. A representative from the company briefed officials from my Department immediately following the company's announcement to the Stock Exchange on 7th October and my officials then briefed me on the matter.

Decisions on commercial and operational matters at Aer Lingus are a matter for the Board and management of the Company and it is not open to the Government to intervene in such matters. Aer Lingus is an independent Company and it has to make decisions on a commercial basis.

The Government is satisfied from all of the information available to it that a major restructuring of the Group's cost base is essential if Aer Lingus is to survive. This restructuring is a matter for the company. It is my belief that if that restructuring does not take place urgently the airline will find it difficult to survive in the long term and all jobs in the company could be at risk.

I understand that a consultation process between management and staff is now underway and I would encourage all parties to engage constructively in that process. The industrial relations mechanisms of the State are available to assist in reaching an agreed outcome for all concerned.

Question No. 12 answered with Question No. 6.

Departmental Bodies.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

13 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport if the new chairperson and chief executive officer designate of the Dublin Transport Authority will become the chair and CEO of the new National Transport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39535/09]

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

51 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport the reason regarding the establishment of the Dublin Transport Authority; the way the new proposals to transform the DTA into a National Transport Authority will affect progress on making the DTA operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39534/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 51 together.

I recently announced the appointment of Mr. John Fitzgerald as chairperson and Mr. Gerry Murphy as chief executive designate of the Dublin Transport Authority. On the passing into law of the Public Transport Regulation Bill 2009 which is currently before the Dail, the Dublin Transport Authority will be renamed as the National Transport Authority.

That Bill follows and builds on the Dublin Transport Authority 2008 Act and, together with that Act, presents a comprehensive framework for the future regulation and control of public passenger land transport.

The Bill also provides for the dissolution of the Commission for Taxi Regulation and the transfer of its functions and staff to the new Authority.

It is my intention to appoint the rest of the members of the Authority in the coming weeks with a view to the formal establishment of the Authority in early December.

Air Services.

Damien English

Question:

14 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Transport his contingency plans in the event of wide scale strikes at major airports here; if, further to Parliamentary Question No. 173 of 15 October 2009, he has had further communications with Aer Lingus; the contact he has had with the Dublin Airport Authority and the unions in order to avoid wide scale disruptive actions at airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39632/09]

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) has statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop Dublin, Cork and Shannon airports and as such the preparation of a contingency plan in the event of a strike is a matter for the company.

In fulfilling its remit the DAA has informed me that it seeks to ensure that continuity of service is maintained across the wide range of services it provides to airlines and passengers. I understand that the DAA has strategies, policies and contingency plans to deal with unforeseen events and managing crisis situations, including those situations where service is disrupted. A key aim of the DAA is to have systems that reduce the potential for disruption in the first instance and where the disruption occurs to manage the safety and security of passengers and airport employees.

The risk of disruption due to industrial action by any grouping of its core staff can be minimised by a willingness to engage with and use the industrial relations machinery of the State when matters of dispute arise. In this regard, I am informed that the DAA has a registered agreement with the Labour Court that provides for a "no strike clause" in respect of potential industrial action by the fire and police emergency services during the lifetime of the agreement. Issues concerning the scope or alteration of the agreement are resolved through the normal third party mechanisms and if necessary through binding recommendation of the Labour Court.

However, in circumstances where, for whatever reason, the safety and security of the travelling public were to be compromised due to the withdrawal of key labour, the DAA would be faced with no choice but to suspend airport operations. I understand that, after careful consideration of issues involved, if the board and management feel that this is the appropriate action, then such action will be implemented.

In relation to Aer Lingus, as I outlined in my response to Question No. 11 earlier, decisions on commercial and operational matters at Aer Lingus are a matter for the Board and management of the Company and it is not open to the Government to intervene in such matters. I was not briefed by the State-appointed directors or by other representatives of the company of the details of the restructuring plan in advance of its announcement to the Stock Exchange on 7th October. A representative of the company briefed officials from my Department on the details of the plan immediately following the announcement.

I would encourage all parties to engage constructively in the consultation process that is currently underway on the restructuring plan. The industrial relations mechanisms of the State are available to assist in reaching an agreed outcome for all concerned.

Light Rail Project.

Frank Feighan

Question:

15 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Transport the contacts that he has had with the Department of Finance regarding the Metro North project; when he expects a decision on commitment to the Metro North project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39637/09]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

33 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the Metro North; when a decision will be made between the two final bidders; the estimate of funding that will be allocated to Metro North under Budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39545/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

127 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport if capital funds will be made available in 2010 for the Metro North line; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39754/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15, 33 and 127 together.

An Bórd Pleanála adjourned the Oral Hearing into the Railway Order application for Metro North in April this year, to allow consideration of further information requested from the Railway Procurement Agency. An Bórd Pleanála subsequently wrote to the Agency requesting further additional information in respect of the application. All the additional information has now been supplied and placed on public display. An Bórd Pleanála has, as yet, set no date for the recommencement of the Oral Hearing.

Two consortia have been shortlisted as part of the PPP procurement process. The next phase of procurement must await the outcome of the planning process.

As I have stated on a number of occasions previously, Government will take the final decision on Metro North at the conclusion of the procurement process, namely financial close.

In the meantime, the Railway Procurement Agency is continuing to progress the project in accordance with the Government decision in January last year, which approved the financial framework for the PPP. As is normal practice for large Exchequer supported projects, my Department is in regular contact with the Department of Finance. Decisions on the Exchequer allocation for Metro North in 2010 will be taken as part of the Estimates process for next year currently underway.

Question No. 16 answered with Question No. 6.

Public Transport.

Simon Coveney

Question:

17 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Transport the progress made to date in the implementation of the Deloitte Report dealing with bus market reform; if he has set a timeframe for Dublin Bus to achieve certain goals; his views on whether CIÉ is capable of providing adequate bus services at a reasonable cost to the Exchequer in view of recent cutbacks in services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39617/09]

Dublin Bus has reported good progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the Deloitte report on the cost and efficiency review of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. In line with the recommendations of the report and taking account of the need to reduce its operating deficit, Dublin Bus is, inter alia, redesigning its network based on most recent pattern of demand/demographics and reducing the number of variations of bus routes. It is also working on eliminating unnecessary duplication of services, creating even headways to improve reliability and reduce the potential for "bunching" of services and on the introduction of automatic vehicle location and real time passenger information. Dublin Bus expects, in line with the recommendations of the Deloitte report, to complete the redesign of its network by January, 2010.

In relation to the capability of the CIÉ companies to provide adequate bus services at reasonable cost, the Deloitte report acknowledges that both Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann are efficient operators but that there is scope for greater efficiencies in Dublin Bus to improve its network design and operation. The decline in passenger revenue during 2009 combined with the withdrawal of fuel duty rebate, rising costs and the maintenance of subvention at prior year levels has nevertheless required the CIÉ companies to pursue a range of measures including service changes, a wage freeze and work practice changes to reduce their operating deficits and maintain financial viability while maintaining services at the highest level possible.

In this context the decision by Dublin Bus, as part of its cost recovery plan, to reorganise its network to reflect changes in demand based on 120 fewer buses is consistent with the conclusions in the Deloitte Report.

Vehicle Testing.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

18 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Transport the progress made in implementing the 2007 report on Commercial Vehicles Testing Review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39657/09]

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for matters relating to vehicle testing, including commercial vehicles.

One of the early tasks for the RSA was to undertake a comprehensive review of the arrangements for the roadworthiness testing of commercial vehicles in Ireland. In 2008, I approved reform proposals from the Authority which recommended two key courses of action to raise roadworthiness standards on a permanent basis.

The first element is an overhaul of the complete commercial vehicle roadworthiness testing system, addressing the testing process, development of a programme of roadside inspections to ensure continuous compliance, and the introduction of operator premises checks and intelligence led targeting of operators based on risk.

The second is a proposal that the responsibility for the management and operation of the commercial vehicle testing system be transferred from local authorities to the RSA.

The overall objective of the transformation programme is to make a step change in the quality of commercial vehicles using Irish roads and thereby help improve road safety, reduce congestion, ensure fair competition, develop a much greater awareness of road safety issues and improve the culture of safety within the transport industry. The phasing and means of resourcing implementation of the reform plan is under consideration in light of current constrained Exchequer circumstances.

Proposed Legislation.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

19 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport when the proposed new Road Traffic Bill will be published; the way this Bill will deal with drug driving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39517/09]

Tom Hayes

Question:

28 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Transport his proposals to improve the fixed charge processing system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39645/09]

Mary Upton

Question:

43 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the implementation of the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 including the rollout of the national speed camera programme, the closing of a series of loopholes in the penalty points system, the impact on road safety of the slashing of the advertising and campaign budgets for the Road Safety Authority and reduced general enforcement levels of road traffic law; if he will report on the proposed provisions of the new Road Traffic Bill; if the legislation includes provision for the mandatory testing of all drivers involved in road collisions, road side drug driving and a reduction in the general blood alcohol limit to 50 mg and to 20 mg for professional drivers; his views on the likely sanctions in the Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39521/09]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

53 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport the way the field impairment testing for drug driving, as proposed in the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill, will be implemented; the way this test will differentiate between prescribed medication and illegal substances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39518/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19, 28, 43 and 53 together.

I published the Road Traffic Bill 2009 on Friday 30 October 2009. It provides for the lowering of the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) from 80 mg of alcohol (per 100 ml of blood) to 20 mg for learner, novice and professional drivers, and from 80 mg of alcohol (per 100 ml of blood) to 50 mg for other drivers.

The Bill also provides for preliminary impairment testing to assist the Garda in forming an opinion that the driver is or is not under the influence of an intoxicant (drink or drugs). It also includes amendments to the fixed charge and penalty point systems, including the option of payment of a fixed charge on receipt of a summons for the offence.

The safety camera project and road traffic enforcement are matters for my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

While the RSA's advertising and campaign budgets were reduced for 2009, as a result of cuts imposed across all Departments and agencies, it will continue to implement its programme of road safety awareness, education and research.

In relation to the Road Safety Strategy, I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 40.

Rural Transport Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

20 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport if discussions have taken place with regard to the future of the rural transport programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34097/09]

Denis Naughten

Question:

39 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport his plans for the rural transport initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39520/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20 and 39 together.

There are commitments to the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) in the National Development Plan, Towards 2016 and the Department of Transport's Sectoral Plan under the Disability Act 2005. The development of rural transport is also a key objective in the Government's sustainable travel and transport plan Smarter Travel — A Sustainable Transport Future. The renewed Government Programme contains a commitment to explore the provision of a full-scale transport system in rural areas using the network expertise of Bus Éireann and the resources of the school and health transport systems.

The Government is considering all the recommendations in the Special Group's report and decisions will be made by the Government in the context of the Budget for 2010 and later years. To assist with that task, the Government has referred the Report to the Oireachtas Committee on Finance and General Affairs for its views prior to the Budget.

A number of initiatives are currently underway to examine the potential for synergies between existing transport providers. These include pilot co-operative transport projects in the North East and North West, an exercise to map all transport services in County Louth and a cross-border pilot rural community transport project under the auspices of the British/Irish Council. The outcome of these initiatives will feed into the process for further developing rural transport policy.

Motor Insurance.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

21 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport his views on the implications for road safety of proposals by motor insurers to increase motor insurance costs by 10% even though motor insurance prices increased by 15% over the past year according to the Central Statistics Office and the number of road collisions and fatalities continues to fall; if he is liaising with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment regarding same in view of the recent road safety gains and allegations that motor insurers are loading motor premiums with premiums from flooding and other non-motoring insurance claims; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39553/09]

Third Party motor insurance is required by law for the use of all mechanically propelled vehicles in a public place. Motor insurance is provided by private companies in an open and competitive market where consumers interests can exert influence by seeking quotes and comparing costs, before purchasing. Insurance companies, numbering 29 at present, are regulated by the Financial Regulator.

Motor insurance costs as measured by the CSO have increased by 15% from September 2008 to September 2009, after a historic decline in costs over a five year period from March 2003 to February 2008 of nearly 40%. The cost of motor insurance in 2009 still remains at 31% below the prevailing rate in 2002. Motor insurance companies in Ireland insure vehicle drivers rather than vehicles. This enables them to calculate the risks associated with specific drivers and thereby price the insurance premium accordingly. The factors taken into account when calculating the risk include the age, gender and driving experience of the driver, the engine size of the vehicle and its usage together with the address at which the vehicle is based.

The cost of uninsured driving amounts to approximately 6% of motor insurance claims and also adds to the cost of the average motor insurance premium, as does the likelihood of an increase in fraudulent or exaggerated claims during a recessionary period. There has been a significant increase in the cost of claims paid out. The gross incurred cost of motor claims in 2008 increased by 24% when compared to 2007.

Likewise, subsets of drivers with apparent higher risks pay higher premiums, for example young male drivers, because of the high level of collisions and deaths involving this group. Premiums for young female drivers are lower. This difference in treatment is due to the reduced risks involved, as perceived by the insurance industry. This system also enables a specific driver to establish a no-claims status over a number of years. It is always advisable for both mature and young drivers to "shop-around" and take advantage of the competition within the market when seeking new insurance or renewing an existing policy.

The Office of the Financial Regulator is better positioned to examine and comment on whether any cross subsidisation is taking place across other types of non life insurance. That office receives returns from all the companies operating in Ireland. The Financial Regulator operates under the aegis of my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

Ports Security.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

22 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport if he is reviewing security at ports here in view of the recent seizure of 120 million contraband cigarettes at Greenore Port, County Louth; his proposals to enhance the security in all of the national ports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39531/09]

The seizing of contraband cigarettes is a matter for the Customs and the Garda Síochána. My Department is responsible for the implementation of International and EU security requirements at Irish ports.

The annex to the International Convention for the Safety at Life at Sea (SOLAS) 1974 was amended in 2004 to include a new chapter concerning maritime security and which introduced the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code. In the European context, Regulation 725/2004/EC brought the maritime security requirements of SOLAS and the ISPS Code into community law.

In Ireland, since July 2004, port facilities receiving cargo vessels of 500 gross tonnes and above and those receiving passenger ships that are engaged in international trade have been required to comply with the EC Regulation and this includes Greenore port.

Port facilities require an approved port facility security plan and a port facility security officer is responsible for day-to-day security activities. The provisions of the EC Regulation and the ISPS Code only apply in relation to the "ship to shore" interface at ports.

Regarding enhancements to security in Irish ports, directive 2005/65/EC on enhancing port security extends the requirements for port security measures to cover adjacent relevant areas containing works and equipment designed to facilitate commercial maritime transport operations. The European Communities (Port Security) Regulations, S.I. 284 of 2007, transpose the Directive requirements into law in Ireland.

One of the directive's requirements is that Port Security Authorities (PSA) are required to be established. Following consultation with relevant stakeholders it was agreed that the port security authorities should include representation from the Garda Síochána, the Revenue Commissioners as well as the port operators.

The Marine Survey Office (MSO) in my Department is currently working to finalise the implementation of the directive requirements. This includes the designation of port areas that will be subject to the enhanced security measures and the approval of port security plans covering such port areas.

Another initiative which my Department has, and continues to develop, is the Safe Seas Ireland (SSI) maritime information system. Vessels of 300 gross tonnes and over are required to provide security and other relevant information into the SSI before arriving into an Irish port. This information is provided via login and password to relevant stakeholders. Additionally the SSI is being developed to incorporate the security related information of the ports themselves. This single window system is already providing significant benefits to stakeholders that I expect will continue to grow as the system is developed further in the future.

Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 7.

Proposed Legislation.

Joe McHugh

Question:

24 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport when he will introduce the Sustainable Travel and Transport Bill to the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39659/09]

Preliminary work is underway in my Department on the identification and development of possible measures to be included in a Sustainable Travel and Transport Bill.

Bearing in mind the priority legislation that I wish to progress in the current year and available resources, I expect to be in a position to present a Sustainable Travel and Transport Bill to the Houses of the Oireachtas during 2010.

Road Haulage Industry.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

25 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport if he will explain the changes to his policy on the employment of a full time transport manager for road haulage companies with 50 or less vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39555/09]

Every licensed commercial road transport business, both haulage and passenger, must have a transport manager, who holds a Certificate of Professional Competence.

A consultation paper was issued to all licensed Road Transport Operators in March 2009 proposing a number of changes to the existing Transport Manager Policy. The document was also placed on my Department's Website (ww transport.ie) and sent to a number of representative bodies and agencies.

At that time, transport managers employed by firms were not allowed to engage in any other employment outside the transport firm, or to work as transport managers for other firms simultaneously. There were some minor exceptions where the transport manager was a spouse or partner of the operator.

The majority of the operators who responded in the consultation process, were in favour of the proposed changes, outlined below, which were introduced at the end of September last. Transport managers are now permitted to manage operations for up to four transport operators as long as the total number of vehicles being managed does not exceed 50. The amount of time that can be worked outside the transport firm will depend on the total number of vehicles being managed.

Cases involving outside employment are decided on an individual basis taking into account the maximum working time allowed weekly under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 and compliance with EU requirements. The changes introduced will reduce overall costs by allowing an operator to employ a transport manager on a part-time basis rather than on a full time basis, where they have 50 vehicles or less. 85% of all operators own five vehicles or less.

Transport managers who were engaged on a full-time basis to manage a very small number of vehicles, may find they are now only required to work on a part-time basis. However, they will be permitted to work for other operators and/or engage in other employment.

The changes introduced comply with new EU regulations and were notified to all operators when the new policy commenced.

Travel Projects.

James Reilly

Question:

26 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Transport if he has established a fund to support innovative sustainable travel projects, which can help in changing travel behaviour or reducing environmental impacts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39672/09]

I launched two funds this summer, to support innovative sustainable travel projects, the Smarter Travel Project Fund, and the National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas.

The Smarter Travel Project Fund was established to:

assist the development of demonstration projects that can deliver sustainable transport initiatives at both a national and local level, achieving real and measurable changes in people's travel choices and behaviour

assist the development of demonstration projects that aim to reduce the environmental impact of travel

increase the capability of organisations to help deliver sustainable travel

raise public awareness and acceptability of sustainable travel and transport issues.

The Project fund is €15 million over five years. The deadline for applications for this fund closed on 9 September. Applications were made by a wide range of groups and individuals. My Department received 121 bids, some of which were of a very high standard.

The National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas differs from the project fund in that it is not targeted at individual or specific measures. The Competition adopts a multi-dimensional approach to transport and spatial planning so that reliance on car use is dramatically reduced and alternative options are made available and promoted.

The national competition will therefore support a wide range of integrated transport and spatial planning projects delivered in one particular area. A Smarter Travel Area bid comprises a highly integrated approach to changing the travel behaviour of a whole town or area.

The National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas aims to demonstrate that sustainable travel can be delivered in all types of communities across Ireland. Bids were therefore submitted in one of five different categories, according to population size:

Small towns, villages or rural areas with populations of up to 5,000;

small towns, villages etc with populations of 5-15,000;

towns or groups of towns/villages with populations of 15-25,000;

larger towns or groups of towns with populations of 25-40,000; and

large towns or cities with populations above 40,000.

The deadline for stage 1 bids was 30 October, and 39 bids were submitted from across the local authorities, who had responsibility for co-ordinating bids. Successful bids from Stage 1 will be shortlisted. These shortlisted bids will then be awarded supporting funds to develop full business case bids, including travel plans, for stage 2. I am aiming to have Stage 2 bids submitted by the end of March, and for the final list of successful bids to be announced in May 2010. €50 million over five years will be available for Smarter Travel Areas.

Both funds are targeted firstly at behavioural change to encourage more sustainable travel. A direct consequence of this behavioural change will be reduced environmental emissions (CO2 and also local air pollutants), reduced congestion, improved fitness and health levels, and more attractive town centres and streetscapes. Measures in both the Smarter Travel Project Fund and the National Competition for Smarter Travel Areas will be evaluated, to develop clear evidence on how sustainable travel is best delivered and designed for the Irish context. The most successful measures, delivering best value for money, will thus be identified, and can be rolled out across Ireland.

Air Services.

Mary Upton

Question:

27 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if he has met or been briefed by representatives of the travel and tourism industry in view of continuing falling volumes of passengers especially in the aviation sector; his plans to enhance the travel industries here and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39526/09]

While I have not recently met with or been directly briefed by representatives of the travel and tourism industry, I am fully aware of the negative impact that the current difficult economic situation is having on the aviation sector and am closely monitoring developments.

My Department is liaising with the Department of Arts Sport and Tourism in the context of implementing recommendations from the Report of the Tourism Renewal Group published recently by my colleague, the Minister for Arts Sport and Tourism, Deputy Martin Cullen.

Question No. 28 answered with Question No. 19.

Public Transport Safety.

Joe Costello

Question:

29 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport if he has received any of the reports by the Department of Transport, An Garda Síochána, the Railway Safety Commission, Dublin Bus or Veolia Transport into the series of collisions involving public transport vehicles during September and October 2009; when these reports will be made public; if he will mandate the Road Safety Authority with an overarching statutory role in the investigation of all road collisions including those involving public transport vehicles along the lines of the outstanding role played in marine collisions by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39528/09]

The investigation of collisions on the road is a matter for An Garda Siochana. Neither my Department nor the RSA have a function in this area and I have no plans to change that.

Road traffic accidents involving light rail trams are also subject to investigation by the Railway Accident Investigation Unit in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Safety Act 2005.

In relation to the accidents referred to by the Deputy I understand that both Dublin Bus and Veolia are, in addition to the Garda investigation, conducting their own internal investigations. It is a matter for the companies concerned whether or not to publish these internal reports when available. The report of the investigation being carried out by the independent Rail Accident Investigation Unit into the accident involving a Luas tram and a Dublin Bus vehicle will in accordance with the provisions of the Railway Safety Act be published.

Road Network.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

30 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has requested the National Roads Authority to take over the management functions of the non-national road network on a non-statutory basis; the functions this new role will entail for the NRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39541/09]

The National Roads Authority has not taken over management responsibility for regional and local roads. They remain the statutory responsibility of the local authorities.

From 1st September last, the National Roads Authority was tasked with undertaking certain functions relating to regional and local road grants on behalf of my Department. This was done on foot of an agreement negotiated by officials of my Department and the NRA and approved by me and the Board of the Authority.

The new arrangement was concluded on an administrative basis so as not to affect my statutory role or that of the local authorities in any way.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads remains the statutory responsibility of road authorities under section 13 of the Roads Act 1993 and is not affected by the new administrative arrangements. The NRA is not being given any new statutory powers similar to those it has in relation to national roads.

Under section 82 of the Roads Act the Minister for Transport is empowered to pay grants to road authorities and under this power I allocate regional and local road grants to these authorities each year to supplement expenditure from their own resources. This power is also unaffected by the revised administrative arrangements and I will continue to decide on grants policy and on the grant allocations to each individual road authority.

This decision was taken on grounds of administrative efficiency, particularly in circumstances where there is increasing pressure on staffing and financial resources. It makes sense to use one organisation to administer all road grant payments and to monitor the expenditure of these road grants.

The NRA already had very effective systems in place to administer the national road improvement and maintenance programme and it was therefore concluded that the most logical and efficient approach was to use that NRA expertise to administer regional and local road grants as well.

Because there is no change in my statutory power I will continue to be accountable to the Oireachtas as at present and will continue to reply to Parliamentary Questions on regional and local road grants.

A copy of the agreement between the Authority and my Department is available in the Dáil Library. The role of the Authority is set out in that agreement.

Taxi Industry.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

31 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport his views on the recent reforms announced by the Commission on Taxi Regulation; his plans to incentivise the purchase of wheelchair accessible taxis in the industry in view of the current economic prospects in the taxi sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39547/09]

The regulation of the taxi industry is, in accordance with the Taxi Regulation Act 2003, a matter for the Commissioner on Taxi Regulation and the Minister for Transport has no role in relation thereto.

Proposals from the Commission to provide funding towards the upgrading of the wheelchair accessible fleet are under consideration in my Department.

Departmental Properties.

Liz McManus

Question:

32 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport the status of all leases of port company lands; if all of the chairpersons of the ten State commercial port companies have replied to the request for this information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39550/09]

As I indicated during the Dáil debates on the Harbours (Amendment) Act 2009, I wrote to all ten chairpersons of the State commercial port companies requesting details of all leases of port company lands.

I have now received responses from eight of the ten companies and I expect to receive the two outstanding responses shortly. The status of the leases is in the first instance a matter for the port companies themselves and would be subject to commercial sensitivity.

Question No. 33 answered with Question No. 15.

Public Transport Safety.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

34 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport if a departmental review of the systems for checking and monitoring safety across the whole transport sector is taking place in view of the number of potentially fatal collisions involving public transport vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39529/09]

The regulatory and investigatory regime in place governing rail safety, administered by the Railway Safety Commission and the Railway Accident Investigation Unit under the Railway Safety Act, 2005 as amended, in respect of both heavy rail and light rail, is designed in such a way as to identify through monitoring and reporting mechanisms how improvements can be made to systems in the light of developments in the industry and reported incidents. I do not, therefore, see the need to undertake a special review in that regard and I am satisfied also that the regime is fully in line with our EU obligations.

Neither do I consider a review of the arrangements in relation to buses to be necessary. The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for matters relating to vehicle testing, including commercial vehicles. In early 2008, I approved proposals from the RSA to reform the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing System. The phasing and implementation of the reform plan is under consideration in light of current constrained Exchequer resources.

It is also the case that since 10 September 2008 all professional bus drivers are required to obtain and hold a certificate of professional competence (CPC), which in addition to gaining the required certificate requires ongoing annual training.

Port Development.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

35 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport his views on the Dublin Port National Development Plan Study conducted by Indecon Consultants for his Department; his views on his favoured scenario for the development of Dublin Port; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39548/09]

In August 2009 the final report of the Dublin Port National Development Plan Study carried out by Indecon was published on my Department's website, www.transport.ie.

I commented at the time that the report is an important analysis not just of the future of Dublin Port but also provides a useful insight into the capacity challenges that face the sector as a whole.

The report highlighted the strategic importance of Dublin Port to our national economy with over 40% of national tonnage passing through the port.

While the report noted the significant downturn experienced in traffic volumes at both Dublin and the State's ports in general, it highlighted the need to develop significant additional port capacity by 2025 — 2030.

Such is the nature of the expected future demand, the capacity required will necessitate the provision of a single significant project, such as that envisaged at Dublin or Bremore, in addition to other projects around the State.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

36 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Transport if he has been briefed on the recent postponement of the An Bord Pleanála hearing into plans by the Dublin Port Company to infill 52 acres in Dublin Bay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39549/09]

The Minister for Transport is a "prescribed body" for the purposes of Dublin Port Company's planning application under the Planning and Development (Strategic Infrastructure) Act 2006.

Accordingly, the Board has kept me informed of developments throughout the process. I was informed of the Board's decision to postpone the hearing by letter dated 22 September 2009. In a further letter dated 7 October 2009, the Board informed me of the background to the decision and the results of the Board's consideration on the matter.

It is my understanding that the oral hearing will reconvene as soon as a new consultant to the Board has been selected and fully briefed on the relevant issues. However, these arrangements are a matter for the Board.

Irish Rail.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

37 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport his views on the recently published and CIÉ commissioned Baker, Tilly, Ryan, Glennon Report on alleged irregularities in the procurement process at Irish Rail; the action he will take or has taken in view of the report’s recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39537/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to priority Question No. 1 of today.

Emergency Communications Systems.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

38 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has not signed up for the new EU-wide in-car emergency communication system, eCall that could save up to 2,500 lives a year on the roads across the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39552/09]

Ireland is one of 12 Member States, including the United Kingdom and France, that has not yet given a commitment to develop eCall on a voluntary basis, by way of signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Since eCall does not exist as a deployed service anywhere in Europe, it has been considered premature to enter into commitments involving Exchequer funding until there are further policy developments and clarification at EU level.

While I strongly support the underlying principle of eCall in saving lives and reducing the severity of injuries, Ireland has a number of concerns about the effectiveness of a market based voluntary approach, about the lack of social inclusion since cheaper cars may not contain this feature and the fact that other vehicles are excluded. There are also questions about financial and economic feasibility of this concept, the operational and pre-deployment issues involved and, the willingness of industry, via the market, to invest in and implement eCall technology in cars. No car manufacturer has yet signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

A recent policy paper published by the European Commission in August 2009 has suggested that eCall might be deployed on a mandatory basis. Studies have indicated that eCall has a greater potential to save lives and reduce serious injuries if deployed on a mandatory as opposed to a voluntary basis.

My colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has responsibility for mobile telecommunications and emergency call handling for An Garda Síochána, the ambulance and fire brigade services, in the State. Any mandatory deployment of eCall would have financial implications for that Department. I have recently requested that his Department examine the implications of eCall from its perspective and I look forward to receiving a response in this regard.

A further study on eCall is currently being undertaken under the auspices of the European Commission, but is not yet complete. Ireland is actively engaging with this study. I will continue to monitor developments at a European level.

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 20.

Road Safety.

Denis Naughten

Question:

40 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport the status of his road safety strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39519/09]

The overall objective of the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 is to save lives and prevent serious injuries, through a combination of education, enforcement, engineering and other actions, thereby bringing Ireland in line with best practice countries in road safety terms.

The Strategy is being systematically implemented across a range of agencies, and we have seen a sustained reduction in the number of people killed on our roads. The total for 2008, at 279 was the lowest since records began, and the downward trend continues this year, with a total of 198 to end October.

The Road Safety Authority is required to report to me annually on the implementation of the 126 actions in the Strategy, all of which identify the lead agency responsible for implementation and a target implementation date.

The report for the year 2008 is currently being finalised, but it is clear from communication with the RSA that substantial progress has been made. Many of the Actions for that year have been completed and substantial progress has been made on the majority of the rest.

Public Transport.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

41 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport when construction of the DART underground will begin; the action being taken to compensate inner city communities for the disruption caused by the proposed works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39683/09]

Construction of the DART Underground comes under the remit of Iarnród Éireann and I understand that an application for a Railway Order for the DART Underground will be submitted by Iarnród Éireann to An Bord Pleanála in early 2010.

The start and completion dates of Transport 21 projects in planning, such as the DART Underground, will in each case be determined by the outcome of public consultation, the statutory planning approval process, the public procurement process and the availability of financial resources determined by the funding allocation available during the current difficult economic climate. As I have previously indicated to the House, the DART Underground is intended to be procured by means of a Public Private Partnership.

Significant engagement has taken place with communities along the route during public consultations on the project.

However, it must be acknowledged that a project of the scale of DART Underground cannot be delivered without some disruption. Iarnród Éireann will continue to work in the planning and design of the project to minimise such disruption. It must also be acknowledged the project will, on completion, bring significant benefits to the communities along the route and wider Dublin region.

Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 7.
Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 19.

Jack Wall

Question:

44 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the alleged operation of the direct bus service by a company (details supplied) between Dublin and Galway without a licence; the number of other bus services which are under investigation by his Department and An Garda Síochána; his views on the insurance, health and safety implications of this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39538/09]

I can confirm that there are 3 licensed operators on the Galway-Dublin City/Airport route offering a range of multi stop and non stop services. Only one of these operators is licensed to operate a non stop service. My Department is aware that one of the operators in question is operating an unlicensed non stop service between Galway-Dublin City/Airport and that this matter has been referred to An Garda Síochána. I can confirm that 3 other unlicensed services on other routes are currently being investigated by my Department.

I can also confirm that the operator of the unlicensed services between Galway and Dublin holds a current International Road Passenger Transport Operator's Licence from my Department.

Before any operator can obtain a Road Passenger Transport Operator's Licence, they must satisfy a number of conditions, including that any vehicle to be authorised under the operator's licence has a roadworthiness certificate, is taxed and insured and that its tachograph is in working order.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

45 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport his plans for capital spending in the transport sector for 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; if he is preparing a submission on transport capital spending for Budget 2010; the recommendations he has made to the Department of Finance in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39542/09]

The capital funding allocation for my Department for the coming years will be determined as part of the 2010 Budget process and discussions are taking place between officials of my Department and the Department of Finance on this matter.

The priorities for future investment in transport are set out in the Renewed Programme for Government. Transport 21 will continue to provide the strategic framework for capital spending on transport infrastructure. Projects will commence subject to relevant statutory, procurement and contract award processes, and as the necessary funding becomes available.

Light Rail Project.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

46 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport if he will clarify the status of LUAS line E; if it will be included in Vision 2030; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39682/09]

The Feasibility Study on a possible Luas line connecting Dundrum to the City Centre via Rathfarnham, Terenure, and Harold's Cross was published in May 2008. This Study is a first step in a process of assessing whether or not the development of a line serving these areas should be pursued.

The output of this study will form part of the input into the new transportation strategy for the Greater Dublin Area (Vision 2030) being developed by the Dublin Transportation Office which will be the successor to "A Platform for Change". I expect the new strategy to be finalised during 2010 by the Dublin Transport Authority.

Port Development.

Liz McManus

Question:

47 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the development of Bremore Port, County Meath; if he has reviewed the recent viewing arrangements for key planning applications at Bremore; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39551/09]

Drogheda Port Company, together with their partners Castlemarket Holdings, are continuing to progress their plans to develop a deepwater port facility at Bremore.

I understand that pre-planning consultations have taken place with An Bord Pleanála. However, to date no planning application has been lodged in respect of the development.

In July this year, Drogheda Port Company made an application to me for a ministerial order to extend the company's harbour limits to the area around the Bremore site.

A public consultation with respect of such orders is not a statutory requirement. However, public consultation was carried out prior to a previous alteration of the company's harbour limits in 2004 and the company conducted a similar consultation in this instance.

This is not a planning application and any order made has no consequence in terms of planning legislation.

The consultation period concluded on 9 September and the documentation has now been returned to me with a confirmation from the Gardaí that it was on public display from 19 August for a period of 21 days.

I have received a number of submissions in response to the consultation and am in the process of considering these before making my decision regarding the order.

Rail Network.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

48 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will undertake a review of the performance of the Railway Safety Commission and Irish Rail safety procedures in view of the collapse of the Broadmeadow Bridge railway line, County Dublin, and the flaws in the safety monitoring system that subsequently came to light; if he will review the level of funding allocated to the Railway Safety Commission; when the three investigations into the bridge collapse will report to him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39585/09]

I understand from the Railway Accident Investigation Unit (RAIU) that it is conducting an independent investigation into all aspects of the collapse of the Malahide Viaduct. The Railway Safety Commission (RSC) is also investigating the compliance by Irish Rail with the safety management systems which have been approved by it. In accordance with the Railway Safety Act 2005, as amended, Irish Rail is also carrying out its own internal investigation into the collapse. The results of these investigations will be available to the RAIU.

In accordance with the Railway Safety Act, 2005 as amended, the RAIU is required to make public its final report not later that 12 months and I expect that all three reports will be completed within that timeframe.

The RSC is being funded in 2009 by means of an Exchequer grant €2.014m and an industry levy of €1.409m. The funding of the RSC is reviewed regularly by the RSC in conjunction with my Department.

Public Transport.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

49 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport the timescale for the implementation and full operation of plans for an automatic vehicle location system, real time information system and integrated ticketing system in Dublin Bus and other public bus transport companies; the cost for implementing integrated ticketing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39536/09]

I understand from Dublin Bus that the AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location) system has been developed and that the installation of on-bus equipment across the PSO fleet has been completed on 350 buses. The system is expected to be deployed to all PSO routes at Summerhill depot by the end of 2009. A phased deployment will follow, on a depot by depot basis, until all routes are operational by the end of 2010.

The deployment of Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) will follow on from the deployment of the AVL system. The initial deployment of real time information will be on mobile phones (using SMS text messaging) and the internet. Full deployment of this real time information service will coincide with completion of the full rollout of the AVL system at the end of 2010. I understand from Dublin City Council that the installation of on-street Real Time Passenger Information is also due to be completed by the end of 2010.

With regard to the integrated ticketing system, subject to successful in-house testing, the single smartcard will be rolled out initially to a small number of Dublin Bus testers for live consumer testing of the Dublin Bus/Luas integrated annual ticket and then to a small number of customers in early 2010. By end-2010, smartcards with a "pay-as-you-go" function will be available to some 75% of public transport customers in the GDA. It is anticipated that private bus operators, along with Irish Rail Dart & Commuter Rail services, and Bus Éireann on a pilot basis, will join the scheme in 2011. The overall capital budget for the integrated ticketing project is €55.4 million.

Road Network.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

50 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the full extent of funding provided by his Department and spent by each local authority on the county roads structure on a local authority basis annually over the past five years to date in 2009; the extent of funding provided for this purpose through the National Roads Authority; the extent to which his Department remains accountable to Dáil Éireann; the degree to which the proposed funding is sufficient to meet the requirements as set out by the various local authorities for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36004/09]

I have set out the details regarding regional and local road grants provided by my Department to local authorities from 2005 to 2008 in the table below together with the road grant allocations made by my Department in 2009. No regional and local roads grants for the period 2005 to 2009 have been or will be paid to local authorities covering this period by the National Roads Authority. The NRA will begin the administration of these grants from the start of 2010.

The greatly increased State funding provided for regional and local roads over the last decade, together with local authority own resources, has resulted in a vast improvement in the condition of those roads.

From 1st September last, the National Roads Authority was tasked with undertaking certain functions relating to regional and local road grants on behalf of my Department. This was done on foot of an agreement negotiated by officials of my Department and the NRA and approved by me and the Board of the Authority. A copy of the agreement has been lodged with the Dáil Library.

The new arrangement was concluded on an administrative basis so as not to affect my statutory role or that of the local authorities in any way.

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads remains the statutory responsibility of road authorities under section 13 of the Roads Act 1993 and is not affected by the new administrative arrangements. The NRA is not being given any new statutory powers similar to those it has in relation to national roads.

Under section 82 of the Roads Act the Minister for Transport is empowered to pay grants to road authorities and under this power I allocate regional and local road grants to these authorities each year to supplement expenditure from their own resources. This power is also unaffected by the revised administrative arrangements and I will continue to decide on grants policy and on the grant allocations to each individual road authority.

This decision was taken on grounds of administrative efficiency, particularly in circumstances where there is increasing pressure on staffing and financial resources. It makes sense to use one organisation to administer all road grant payments and to monitor the expenditure of these road grants.

Because there is no change in my statutory power I will continue to be accountable to the Oireachtas as at present and will continue to reply to Parliamentary Questions on regional and local road grants.

Regional & Local Road Grant Payments 2005-2008 and 2009 Allocation

2005 Payment

2006 Payment

2007 Payment

2008 Payment

2009 Allocation*

County Council

Carlow

4,901,251

7,397,633

7,521,703

7,084,649

5,196,199

Cavan

16,665,542

19,756,943

18,898,156

18,172,927

13,052,025

Clare

19,223,888

22,325,832

22,109,873

21,509,081

16,032,498

Cork

41,860,364

55,269,684

59,063,156

60,531,272

43,880,723

Donegal

29,695,990

38,179,934

44,361,904

42,584,564

28,664,397

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

7,784,326

7,418,881

13,913,143

9,187,663

6,109,699

Fingal

10,393,002

5,834,504

6,882,876

9,740,986

5,788,866

Galway

25,245,447

29,990,818

30,261,755

29,964,618

24,234,746

Kerry

21,892,239

29,013,635

26,035,543

24,102,662

17,985,097

Kildare

22,210,525

23,041,196

19,721,311

25,966,894

15,769,264

Kilkenny

11,747,285

11,864,719

14,709,310

14,394,053

11,373,699

Laois

7,716,290

11,011,603

12,620,443

10,844,115

9,045,928

Leitrim

11,394,289

13,820,454

13,070,342

12,532,288

8,960,699

Limerick

16,265,713

18,209,030

18,331,398

18,408,476

13,190,198

Longford

7,534,394

8,596,563

8,724,066

8,666,647

6,380,799

Louth

6,138,509

6,802,469

7,996,926

9,410,281

10,920,631

Mayo

23,957,433

31,603,785

32,641,708

30,289,621

22,316,746

Meath

34,027,833

22,204,520

29,492,526

28,053,813

16,566,473

Monaghan

14,549,255

17,000,469

16,737,317

16,049,658

12,445,199

North Tipperary

9,804,683

11,893,322

13,059,254

12,870,233

11,008,598

Offaly

8,582,916

14,218,788

11,376,060

10,582,910

8,180,699

Roscommon

13,528,087

16,563,014

17,992,982

18,361,100

13,118,265

Sligo

12,099,311

15,498,529

15,736,257

14,486,294

10,706,899

South Dublin

14,893,461

7,058,607

11,950,211

9,162,308

8,250,899

South Tipperary

11,765,005

14,451,331

14,906,821

14,926,558

10,762,998

Waterford

10,873,217

11,956,797

16,358,317

15,557,110

13,672,699

Westmeath

10,974,725

13,140,380

16,001,769

15,120,147

13,941,365

Wexford

14,478,240

17,581,481

16,923,972

17,756,026

12,784,498

Wicklow

10,867,776

13,497,309

14,139,102

23,598,685

20,603,820

City Council

Cork

6,541,096

7,506,343

7,776,855

7,003,628

4,264,000

Dublin

6,927,940

8,174,092

14,703,321

14,178,426

12,682,450

Galway

1,763,235

1,768,847

1,646,408

2,317,829

1,674,000

Limerick

2,744,963

4,132,544

5,016,049

3,498,718

2,294,000

Waterford

11,160,705

1,653,747

6,060,214

6,950,075

2,289,000

Borough Council

Clonmel

961,880

569,490

688,005

692,500

488,903

Drogheda

601,000

641,658

664,184

644,000

405,000

Kilkenny

547,110

561,000

609,970

607,360

393,000

Sligo

1,132,790

1,158,535

1,663,975

1,366,713

1,993,000

Wexford

518,954

663,461

659,258

700,250

443,000

Town Council

Arklow

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Athlone

525,000

563,000

581,000

581,000

359,000

Athy

228,584

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ballina

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ballinasloe

255,311

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Birr

260,000

279,000

206,850

287,000

177,000

Bray

565,000

606,000

575,238

623,544

385,000

Buncrana

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Bundoran

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Carlow

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Carrickmacross

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Carrick-on-Suir

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Cashel

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Castlebar

460,000

379,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Castleblaney

183,000

197,000

139,256

202,413

126,000

Cavan

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Clonakilty

183,000

196,709

204,000

287,000

177,000

Clones

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Cobh

260,000

261,683

287,000

231,629

177,000

Dundalk

565,000

606,000

624,000

624,000

385,000

Dungarvan

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ennis

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Enniscorthy

260,000

279,000

287,000

263,481

177,000

Fermoy

180,475

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Kells

260,000

279,000

216,345

287,000

177,000

Killarney

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Kilrush

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Kinsale

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Letterkenny

525,000

563,000

581,000

581,000

359,000

Listowel

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Longford

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Macroom

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Mallow

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Midleton

260,000

279,000

281,296

266,470

177,000

Monaghan

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Naas

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Navan

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Nenagh

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

New Ross

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Skibbereen

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Templemore

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Thurles

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tipperary

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tralee

546,000

582,001

605,000

605,000

373,000

Trim

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tullamore

260,000

279,000

285,071

287,000

177,000

Westport

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Wicklow

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Youghal

243,322

279,000

287,000

241,794

177,000

*2009 Allocation following the Supplementary Budget of 7 April 2009.

Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 13.

Road Safety.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

52 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on his meeting with Northern Ireland’s Environment Minister at the North South Ministerial Council Meeting in terms of moves to harmonise blood alcohol levels for drink driving in the two jurisdictions; the position regarding his plans to harmonise driver disqualification laws and penalty points between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39522/09]

Road safety is a regular agenda item on meetings of the Transport Sector of North-South Ministerial Council, including blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels for intoxicated driving.

Both I and my Northern Ireland colleague Mr Edwin Poots agree that improving safety on our roads requires that BAC levels be reduced in each jurisdiction. I published my proposals for reduced BAC levels in the Road Traffic Bill last Friday. While in Northern Ireland no decision has as yet been made following their recent consultation process, it is clear that BAC levels will also be reduced in that jurisdiction.

We both agree on the importance of co-ordination on this and other road safety matters, and noted continuing cross-border co-operation on a number of issues of common interest.

On the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications, the meeting noted that the necessary formal Declarations have now been made to the EU by both Ireland and the UK, and the measures will take effect on 28 January 2010.

Both jurisdictions also have an interest in the mutual recognition of penalty points. This project will be pursued once the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications is in place, but it is a more complex and long term process likely to take a number of years.

Question No. 53 answered with Question No. 19.

Rail Network.

Joe Costello

Question:

54 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the collapsed Broadmeadow railway bridge, County Dublin; when the bridge will re-open and services will return to normal; if he has received any report from Irish Rail on bridge and permanent way safety procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39527/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to priority PQ 3 of today.

Departmental Agencies.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

55 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has decided to amalgamate the Commission for Aviation Regulation and the regulatory functions of the Irish Aviation Authority into the proposed new National Transport Authority; when the legislation to facilitate this move will be published; his views on the merging of different transport regulatory functions under one agency; if there will be implications for staff at CAR and the IAA from this merger; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39533/09]

I announced my intention to amalgamate the Commission for Aviation Regulation and the regulatory functions of the Irish Aviation Authority with the planned new National Transport Authority on 1st October concurrent with the publication of the Government Statement on Economic Regulation.

The amalgamation of these functions into the planned National Transport Authority will contribute to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Ireland's regulatory environment and bring greater coherence to the regulatory framework for transport, in particular.

Detailed proposals to implement the decision are currently being developed. The decision will obviously have implications for staff of both organisations and I have written to both the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation and the Chairman of the Irish Aviation Authority to assure them that there will be full consultation with both organisations as these proposals are developed.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will conduct a comprehensive audit of Ireland's system for safety oversight of civil aviation early in 2010. I do not propose to publish detailed proposals for the amalgamation in advance of the audit as some recommendations may emerge from the audit that could be implemented in tandem with the legislation that will be necessary to provide for the amalgamation of functions.

Job Creation.

Joan Burton

Question:

56 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport if he has liaised with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on all proposals to establish a successor business at the SR Technics plant in Dublin Airport; if he has been briefed on any proposals by Aer Lingus to establish a successor business for part of the maintenance operation; the stage the Dublin Aerospace proposal is at; the State supports that are being provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39525/09]

Officials from my Department have maintained regular liaison with the Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment on proposals to establish a successor business at the SR Technics. My colleague, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment has also kept me informed.

I understand that Enterprise Ireland has provided support towards the establishment of a new company Dublin Aerospace, an aviation maintenance and repair operation, located at Dublin Airport. The amount of financial support approved is commercially sensitive. I am advised that the company has commenced operations with 32 initial employees recruited. Maintenance licences have been obtained from IAA and this number is anticipated to grow to 226 jobs.

Aer Lingus' maintenance contracts are a commercial matter for the Company.

Business Initiatives.

Joe McHugh

Question:

57 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding a project (details supplied); her views on the impact to date on Border businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39814/09]

The All-Island Halo Business Angels Network was launched on 28 September 2009.

Halo Business Angels Network (HBAN), is a new initiative that is available throughout Ireland. It aims to link early stage entrepreneurs looking for funding with potential angel investors with ambitious plans to increase the level of funding for new and growing businesses in Ireland.

Led by InterTradeIreland and Enterprise Ireland, HBAN plans to act as 'the angel network with a VC approach' by offering guidance to businesses seeking access to expansion funds and to investors looking for pre-screened opportunities. It will also work in partnership with existing angel networks.

HBAN has plans to generate almost €6 million in new angel investment in its first two years of operation and will create 10 new angel investment syndicates. Rigorous assessment procedures will be observed to promote the most viable business expansion opportunities.

The new investment raised will be used to back up to 20 early stage enterprises. HBAN will focus on companies at an early stage of their development that have established a solid trading record and are seeking approximately €250,000-€500,000 to support further growth. HBAN is calling on angel investors and investment syndicates to come forward, both to support small businesses and the wider economy.

HBAN will effectively act as a hub between companies and different sources of financing, whether state agencies, business incubation centres or private 'angel' investors. HBAN has ambitious targets, in terms of the numbers of businesses to be supported and the level of financing to be generated over the coming year.

In addition to providing funding, Intertrade Ireland and Enterprise Ireland can provide support to entrepreneurs in the form of advice on the most likely sources of funds for the next stage in their planned development. For investors, the agencies can advise on the most appropriate opportunities and offer due diligence on the firms in which they may be considering investing.

Redundancy Payments.

Noel Coonan

Question:

58 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when redundancy payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39771/09]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I can confirm that my Department received an application for a statutory redundancy lump sum payment on 10 September, 2009 in respect of the person concerned which application is awaiting processing.

Currently, the average time it takes to process rebate applications from employers filed online is 7 months while claims submitted by post are taking 8 months. The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing applications filed online from March ‘09 and those submitted by post from February 2009. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees in instances where employers are unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements as in this case, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from June 2009.

Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department in since late 2008 it has proved impossible to maintain the customer service targets that previously obtained. The scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims with a cumulative figure for the first ten months of 2009 at 67,346. This figure exceeds the claims lodged for the full year 2008 (40,607) and 2008 was, of itself, an exceptional year as compared with earlier years when claims received were of the order of 25,000.

Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more acceptable turnaround processing times for redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken include:

the reassignment of 26.7 additional staff (full time equivalents) from other areas of the Department to the Redundancy Payments area since early 2009 with ongoing review of trends and demands. The current number of staff serving in the Redundancy Payments Section in terms of full time equivalents is 50.5 although the Section is currently carrying three vacant positions which are due to be filled;

the prioritisation of the Department's overtime budget towards staff in the Redundancy Payments Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

the establishment of a special call handling facility to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses who are naturally concerned about their payments, using the facilities and cooperation of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA). This centre has received an average of 12,500 calls per month this year with an estimated 60% relating to redundancy payments;

The provision of better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website; · Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against outstanding tax liabilities with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Tánaiste and I continue to monitor closely the impact of these changes against the continuing influx of redundancy claims and will consider further measures to deal with the situation should current measures prove to be inadequate.

Noel Ahern

Question:

59 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when a company (details supplied) will receive the revenue refund due to them on the redundancy payment in respect of an employee who was made redundant in December 2008. [39837/09]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

I can confirm that my Department received an application for a statutory redundancy.

Lump sum application in respect of the person concerned in July, 2009 and our records indicate that payment of the claim was issued by my Department in late August, 2009 to the address given on the application form. In the event that payment did not reach the applicant in this case, it would be advisable for the individual to make contact directly with the Redundancy Payments Section of my Department.

Work Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

60 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a work permit will be renewed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who has been employed here since 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39848/09]

The Employment Permits Section informs me that it has no record of an employment permit being issued in respect of the above named.

However, if the individual or his prospective employer wishes to submit an application it will be considered on its merits.

Departmental Properties.

Mary Upton

Question:

61 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the cost of the acquisition of the site outside Killarney, County Kerry, which was purchased for the decentralisation of the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism; the person from whom this site was purchased; if the purchase of this site followed best practice; if the purchase price of the land was consistent with the prices of land in the surrounding area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39827/09]

The cost of the site in question was €4.5 million. It was purchased from Killarney Town Council. I am advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the purchase followed best practice. The price was consistent with the price of land in the area at the time of the transaction.

Disabled Drivers.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

62 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Finance when a decision will be made on an appeal of an application for a primary certificate for disabled drivers in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39905/09]

The initial application for a Primary Medical Certificate under the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994, is made to the Senior Medical Officer of the relevant local Health Service Executive administrative area.

If the Primary Medical Certificate has been refused in this case, the named person may appeal the refusal to the Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin. I would point out that the Medical Board of Appeal is independent in the exercise of its functions.

Tax Code.

Joan Burton

Question:

63 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of recipients of each of the personal tax credits; the PAYE tax credit for the years 2007, 2008, 2009; the number of recipients of each of these tax credits in the pay brackets, less than €10,000, less than €20,000, less than €30,000, less than the average industrial wage, less than €40,000, less than €50,000, less than €60,000, less than €70,000, less than €80,000, less than €90,000, less than €100,000, over €100,000; the extra revenue which would be generated for the Exchequer by limiting each of the personal tax credits and the PAYE credit respectively to those in each of the pay brackets set out above. [39714/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant information available relates to numbers of claimants for the personal and PAYE credits, excluding claimants for lone parents and the widowed persons top up, in the specified income ranges which are set out in the following table.

Claimants for the lone parents and the widowed persons top up credits are included in the table numbers within the numbers shown for the appropriate personal status.

Numbers of claimants for income tax credits

2007

2008

2009

Range of Gross Income

Personal*

PAYE

Personal*

PAYE

Personal*

PAYE

0 – 10,000

Single

415,445

396,240

407,479

384,476

388,234

360,794

Married

51,184

43,706

50,972

42,108

50,267

39,612

Widowed

5,515

4,667

5,066

4,021

5,415

4,109

Range Total

472,144

444,613

463,517

430,606

443,916

404,515

10,001 – 20,000

Single

360,567

333,380

350,244

320,372

335,085

302,632

Married

73,606

60,556

72,546

56,031

75,058

54,311

Widowed

30,716

29,030

30,292

28,115

29,316

26,397

Range Total

464,891

422,966

453,081

404,517

439,459

383,340

20,001 – 30,000

Single

326,631

305,290

321,208

300,210

298,580

278,204

Married

112,690

92,856

111,069

88,465

108,842

83,697

Widowed

18,384

15,664

18,911

15,960

17,286

14,484

Range Total

457,706

413,811

451,188

404,635

424,709

376,386

30,001 – A I W**

Single

67,894

63,193

106,701

99,558

82,585

77,072

Married

30,768

25,044

48,700

39,143

39,289

30,646

Widowed

3,329

2,676

5,095

4,228

3,959

3,260

Range Total

101,990

90,913

160,496

142,929

125,833

110,978

A I W** – 40,000

Single

143,815

132,973

106,225

98,925

110,275

103,023

Married

82,300

67,762

61,188

49,651

66,016

52,773

Widowed

6,663

5,385

4,863

3,979

5,101

4,160

Range Total

232,777

206,119

172,277

152,554

181,391

159,956

40,001 – 50,000

Single

114,212

105,113

118,386

110,429

103,894

97,230

Married

103,435

85,134

100,453

82,315

94,590

76,388

Widowed

5,968

4,717

6,072

4,920

5,372

4,360

Range Total

223,614

194,964

224,911

197,664

203,856

177,978

50,001 – 60,000

Single

57,499

52,122

60,428

55,726

52,226

48,271

Married

86,256

70,342

84,158

68,422

77,616

62,923

Widowed

3,278

2,442

3,292

2,565

2,899

2,243

Range Total

147,034

124,906

147,878

126,713

132,741

113,437

60,001 – 70,000

Single

30,390

26,899

31,802

28,798

27,426

24,853

Married

71,849

57,214

68,906

55,860

63,639

51,168

Widowed

1,950

1,353

1,975

1,439

1,718

1,263

Range Total

104,189

85,467

102,684

86,097

92,784

77,285

70,001 – 80,000

Single

17,117

14,767

17,798

15,728

15,162

13,598

Married

54,796

43,587

54,697

43,641

48,219

39,061

Widowed

1,235

803

1,219

851

1,049

747

Range Total

73,148

59,157

73,714

60,221

64,430

53,404

80,001 -90,000

Single

9,935

8,220

10,569

9,201

8,907

7,714

Married

40,438

31,679

40,176

32,231

35,380

28,509

Widowed

846

529

846

571

724

497

Range Total

51,218

40,427

51,590

42,002

45,012

36,718

90,001 – 100,000

Single

5,672

4,535

5,962

4,984

5,028

4,203

Married

29,731

22,913

29,370

23,257

25,759

20,592

Widowed

535

311

533

342

448

287

Range Total

35,938

27,759

35,865

28,583

31,235

25,082

Over 100,000

Single

15,932

10,103

16,113

10,957

13,732

9,350

Married

106,621

67,448

106,300

70,522

92,288

61,070

Widowed

1,905

662

1,784

723

1,512

620

Range Total

124,458

78,214

124,197

82,202

107,532

71,040

Totals

Single

1,565,109

1,452,835

1,552,913

1,439,365

1,441,135

1,326,944

Married

843,675

668,241

828,535

651,644

776,963

600,748

Widowed

80,324

68,240

79,951

67,715

74,802

62,426

Overall Total

2,489,108

2,189,316

2,461,399

2,158,723

2,292,899

1,990,118

*"Personal" excludes lone parent and widowed persons top up.

**Average Industrial Wage (AIW):

2007 €32,730;

2008 €34,431;

2009 €33,700 (estimate).

2007 TM PERS CREDITS

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

10,000 or less

Single

1,902,875,577

413,774

0

10,000 or less

Single

15,785,406

1,671

178,936

Married

235,312,988

51,184

0

Widowed

33,141,910

5,515

0

Range Total

2,171,330,475

470,473

0

Range Total

15,785,406

1,671

178,936

10,001 – 20,000

Single

3,995,491,817

280,334

0

10,001 – 20,000

Single

1,438,089,421

80,233

32,018,605

Married

1,117,654,400

71,986

0

Married

30,815,057

1,620

329,217

Widowed

446,495,137

30,383

0

Widowed

5,594,468

333

216,896

Range Total

5,559,641,355

382,704

0

Range Total

1,474,498,946

82,187

32,564,718

20,001 – 30,000

Single

711,798,849

30,391

0

20,001 – 30,000

Single

7,370,934,523

296,240

393,676,087

Married

2,130,240,540

86,737

0

Married

691,326,711

25,953

20,102,152

Widowed

128,828,288

5,755

0

Widowed

320,695,368

12,629

11,267,335

Range Total

2,970,867,676

122,884

0

Range Total

8,382,956,602

334,822

425,045,574

30,001 – 32,730

Single

15,125,425

484

0

30,001 – 32,730

Single

2,112,036,959

67,410

165,644,970

Married

457,058,738

14,582

0

Married

507,959,455

16,186

17,775,221

Widowed

4,741,798

152

0

Widowed

99,463,826

3,177

6,174,211

Range Total

476,925,961

15,217

0

Range Total

2,719,460,241

86,773

189,594,403

2007 TM PERS CREDITS — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

32,731 – 40,000

Single

26,097,914

724

0

32,731 – 40,000

Single

5,171,870,462

143,091

538,015,558

Married

1,016,387,049

28,397

0

Married

1,976,420,655

53,903

86,819,932

Widowed

10,119,287

281

0

Widowed

230,575,630

6,382

19,840,796

Range Total

1,052,604,249

29,402

0

Range Total

7,378,866,747

203,375

644,676,286

40,001 – 50,000

Single

15,897,736

359

0

40,001 – 50,000

Single

5,059,113,473

113,853

788,597,625

Married

222,922,100

5,219

0

Married

4,417,042,620

98,216

275,848,503

Widowed

8,233,734

186

0

Widowed

257,140,136

5,782

35,128,295

Range Total

247,053,570

5,764

0

Range Total

9,733,296,229

217,850

1,099,574,423

50,001 – 60,000

Single

8,966,262

163

0

50,001 – 60,000

Single

3,122,143,013

57,336

623,960,832

Married

51,968,881

958

0

Married

4,678,562,465

85,298

461,751,654

Widowed

4,253,248

78

0

Widowed

174,408,121

3,200

31,475,437

Range Total

65,188,390

1,200

0

Range Total

7,975,113,600

145,834

1,117,187,922

60,001 – 70,000

Single

7,164,276

110

0

60,001 – 70,000

Single

1,952,875,926

30,280

448,508,330

Married

29,914,505

463

0

Married

4,630,714,555

71,386

579,967,425

Widowed

2,711,667

42

0

Widowed

123,282,670

1,908

25,945,615

Range Total

39,790,449

615

0

Range Total

6,706,873,151

103,574

1,054,421,370

2007 TM PERS CREDITS — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

70,001 – 80,000

Single

7,052,428

94

0

70,001 – 80,000

Single

1,269,949,076

17,023

319,130,859

Married

31,280,145

417

0

Married

4,064,848,178

54,379

612,735,919

Widowed

1,409,266

19

0

Widowed

90,888,351

1,216

21,061,042

Range Total

39,741,839

530

0

Range Total

5,425,685,605

72,618

952,927,819

80,001 – 90,000

Single

6,760,107

80

0

80,001 – 90,000

Single

832,675,875

9,855

221,931,663

Married

24,135,051

285

0

Married

3,402,658,667

40,153

591,848,813

Widowed

969,004

11

0

Widowed

70,627,872

835

17,675,197

Range Total

31,864,162

376

0

Range Total

4,305,962,414

50,842

831,455,674

90,001 – 100,000

Single

4,192,824

44

0

90,001 – 100,000

Single

532,550,227

5,628

148,028,523

Married

25,825,484

272

0

Married

2,791,381,106

29,459

538,480,482

Widowed

835,965

9

0

Widowed

49,744,062

526

13,108,581

Range Total

30,854,272

325

0

Range Total

3,373,675,394

35,613

699,617,586

Over 100,000

Single

68,514,229

250

0

Over 100,000

Single

2,978,246,065

15,682

948,669,829

Married

491,062,789

1,969

0

Married

20,513,907,106

104,652

5,686,398,525

Widowed

11,168,405

53

0

Widowed

377,657,954

1,852

119,298,553

Range Total

570,745,424

2,272

0

Range Total

23,869,811,125

122,186

6,754,366,907

Totals

Single

6,769,937,444

726,808

0

Totals

Single

31,856,270,427

838,301

4,628,361,818

Married

5,833,762,669

262,469

0

Married

47,705,636,575

581,206

8,872,057,842

Widowed

652,907,709

42,485

0

Widowed

1,800,078,458

37,839

301,191,958

Overall Total

13,256,607,822

1,031,762

0

Overall Total

81,361,985,460

1,457,346

13,801,611,619

2007 PAYE CREDIT

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax& DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

IncomeTax&DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

10,000 or less

Single

1,812,308,602

396,240

0

Married

196,763,124

43,706

0

Widowed

28,315,432

4,667

0

Range Total

2,037,387,159

444,613

0

10,001 – 20,000

Single

3,896,178,037

273,411

0

Single

1,131,187,059

59,969

13,055,137

Married

946,575,562

60,556

0

Widowed

426,476,537

29,030

0

10,001 – 20,000

Range Total

5,269,230,135

362,997

0

Range Total

1,131,187,059

59,969

13,055,137

20,001 – 30,000

Single

677,862,468

28,948

0

20,001 – 30,000

Single

6,878,379,692

276,342

347,763,564

Married

2,013,024,194

81,925

0

Married

310,155,660

10,931

3,389,177

Widowed

121,052,105

5,433

0

Widowed

260,610,156

10,231

7,032,617

Range Total

2,811,938,767

116,306

0

Range Total

7,449,145,508

297,505

358,185,358

30,001 – 32,730

Single

10,364,538

332

0

30,001 – 32,730

Single

1,969,373,710

62,861

149,514,744

Married

426,289,872

13,599

0

Married

359,147,544

11,445

8,188,318

Widowed

3,646,248

117

0

Widowed

80,116,286

2,559

4,218,608

Range Total

440,300,657

14,048

0

Range Total

2,408,637,539

76,865

161,921,670

2007 PAYE CREDIT — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax& DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

IncomeTax&DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

32,731 – 40,000

Single

17,570,545

488

0

32,731 – 40,000

Single

4,789,329,388

132,485

489,695,708

Married

925,465,934

25,900

0

Married

1,539,134,864

41,862

53,080,991

Widowed

7,624,202

213

0

Widowed

186,820,265

5,172

14,716,506

Range Total

950,660,681

26,600

0

Range Total

6,515,284,517

179,519

557,493,206

40,001 – 50,000

Single

7,074,701

161

0

40,001 – 50,000

Single

4,662,276,175

104,952

727,916,050

Married

157,891,108

3,733

0

Married

3,660,900,586

81,401

208,223,160

Widowed

4,931,132

113

0

Widowed

204,634,065

4,604

27,099,255

Range Total

169,896,940

4,007

0

Range Total

8,527,810,825

190,957

963,238,466

50,001 – 60,000

Single

3,041,445

55

0

50,001 – 60,000

Single

2,834,322,990

52,067

572,093,664

Married

22,142,905

414

0

Married

3,834,646,423

69,928

367,022,213

Widowed

2,411,190

45

0

Widowed

130,474,490

2,397

23,399,902

Range Total

27,595,540

514

0

Range Total

6,799,443,903

124,392

962,515,779

60,001 – 70,000

Single

2,239,618

34

0

60,001 – 70,000

Single

1,731,935,865

26,865

404,119,371

Married

9,983,897

154

0

Married

3,698,970,809

57,060

457,269,734

Widowed

1,533,616

24

0

Widowed

85,821,192

1,329

18,143,219

Range Total

13,757,130

213

0

Range Total

5,516,727,866

85,254

879,532,323

2007 PAYE CREDIT — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax& DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

IncomeTax&DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

70,001 – 80,000

Single

1,725,009

23

0

70,001 – 80,000

Single

1,099,780,870

14,744

281,754,356

Married

8,762,677

117

0

Married

3,249,163,055

43,470

491,261,624

Widowed

311,131

4

0

Widowed

59,691,196

799

14,085,524

Range Total

10,798,816

144

0

Range Total

4,408,635,121

59,013

787,101,504

80,001 – 90,000

Single

1,794,646

21

0

80,001 – 90,000

Single

692,449,752

8,199

188,901,775

Married

9,131,396

107

0

Married

2,674,559,925

31,572

469,612,674

Widowed

173,083

2

0

Widowed

44,531,875

527

11,296,740

Range Total

11,099,125

130

0

Range Total

3,411,541,552

40,297

669,811,189

90,001 – 100,000

Single

490,425

5

0

90,001 – 100,000

Single

428,404,649

4,530

122,388,508

Married

9,008,936

95

0

Married

2,161,715,486

22,818

423,342,607

Widowed

198,032

2

0

Widowed

29,299,684

309

7,896,590

Range Total

9,697,393

102

0

Range Total

2,619,419,819

27,657

553,627,705

Over 100,000

Single

6,115,857

43

0

Over 100,000

Single

1,564,138,613

10,060

512,080,830

Married

75,642,338

470

0

Married

10,506,844,829

66,978

2,858,168,117

Widowed

1,497,692

11

0

Widowed

100,652,361

651

31,460,239

Range Total

83,255,887

524

0

Range Total

12,171,635,803

77,690

3,401,709,185

Totals

Single

6,436,765,889

699,762

0

Totals

Single

27,781,578,762

753,073

3,809,283,706

Married

4,800,681,942

230,775

0

Married

31,995,239,179

437,466

5,339,558,617

Widowed

598,170,399

39,661

0

Widowed

1,182,651,571

28,579

159,349,201

Overall Total

11,835,618,231

970,198

0

Overall Total

60,959,469,512

1,219,118

9,308,191,524

2008 TM PER CREDITS

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

0 – 10,000

Single

1,880,280,048

406,476

0

0 – 10,000

Single

9,640,316

1,003

79,848

Married

235,572,574

50,972

0

Widowed

28,788,830

5,066

0

Range Total

2,144,641,453

462,514

0

Range Total

9,640,316

1,003

79,848

10,001 – 20,000

Single

4,251,462,626

292,914

0

10,001 – 20,000

Single

1,021,938,562

57,330

22,974,388

Married

1,109,649,007

71,488

0

Married

20,349,369

1,058

138,923

Widowed

442,451,261

29,912

0

Widowed

6,644,269

380

304,071

Range Total

5,803,562,894

394,313

0

Range Total

1,048,932,200

58,768

23,417,382

20,001 – 30,000

Single

908,490,462

38,596

0

20,001 – 30,000

Single

7,044,340,517

282,612

340,717,746

Married

2,216,199,186

89,835

0

Married

562,802,115

21,234

15,284,456

Widowed

192,044,463

8,544

0

Widowed

269,502,182

10,367

8,322,840

Range Total

3,316,734,111

136,975

0

Range Total

7,876,644,815

314,213

364,325,042

30,001 – 34,431

Single

36,350,346

1,143

0

30,001 – 34,431

Single

3,390,998,380

105,558

257,747,279

Married

809,969,306

25,213

0

Married

758,110,712

23,487

25,150,101

Widowed

9,594,947

301

0

Widowed

154,079,540

4,794

8,754,247

Range Total

855,914,599

26,657

0

Range Total

4,303,188,632

133,839

291,651,628

2008 TM PER CREDITS — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

34,432 – 40,000

Single

27,238,319

736

0

34,432 – 40,000

Single

3,910,104,804

105,489

386,497,885

Married

893,914,585

24,216

0

Married

1,382,915,551

36,972

58,814,213

Widowed

9,539,997

259

0

Widowed

170,688,879

4,604

13,530,291

Range Total

930,692,902

25,211

0

Range Total

5,463,709,234

147,066

458,842,389

40,001 – 50,000

Single

26,032,899

594

0

40,001 – 50,000

Single

5,231,631,640

117,792

758,916,945

Married

471,415,589

11,001

0

Married

4,035,074,576

89,452

225,013,357

Widowed

10,539,666

239

0

Widowed

259,985,064

5,833

32,375,542

Range Total

507,988,154

11,834

0

Range Total

9,526,691,280

213,077

1,016,305,843

50,001 – 60,000

Single

13,478,498

246

0

50,001 – 60,000

Single

3,276,152,613

60,182

625,905,259

Married

98,709,329

1,819

0

Married

4,515,449,408

82,339

408,312,502

Widowed

5,209,423

96

0

Widowed

174,247,999

3,196

29,526,087

Range Total

117,397,250

2,161

0

Range Total

7,965,850,020

145,717

1,063,743,848

60,001 – 70,000

Single

11,013,912

170

0

60,001 – 70,000

Single

2,039,876,963

31,632

453,709,359

Married

55,411,644

855

0

Married

4,413,058,683

68,051

517,204,514

Widowed

3,823,905

59

0

Widowed

123,733,519

1,916

25,065,999

Range Total

70,249,461

1,084

0

Range Total

6,576,669,165

101,600

995,979,872

2008 TM PER CREDITS — continued

All Exempt Cases

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

70,001 – 80,000

Single

10,166,800

137

0

70,001 – 80,000

Single

1,316,506,839

17,661

322,994,193

Married

38,891,921

521

0

Married

4,047,154,944

54,176

570,544,840

Widowed

1,933,739

26

0

Widowed

89,041,138

1,193

19,866,222

Range Total

50,992,459

684

0

Range Total

5,452,702,921

73,030

913,405,254

80,001 – 90,000

Single

6,207,566

73

0

80,001 – 90,000

Single

886,474,975

10,496

232,240,893

Married

36,923,827

435

0

Married

3,367,775,563

39,741

555,634,603

Widowed

1,047,055

12

0

Widowed

70,605,191

834

17,342,990

Range Total

44,178,448

520

0

Range Total

4,324,855,729

51,070

805,218,486

90,001 – 100,000

Single

5,929,325

63

0

90,001 – 100,000

Single

557,679,532

5,899

152,513,269

Married

30,931,997

325

0

Married

2,752,388,432

29,045

507,925,372

Widowed

965,120

10

0

Widowed

49,603,998

523

12,730,415

Range Total

37,826,442

398

0

Range Total

3,359,671,963

35,467

673,169,056

over 100,000

Single

83,205,421

310

0

over 100,000

Single

2,896,955,789

15,803

910,204,301

Married

631,123,653

2,472

0

Married

19,747,278,169

103,828

5,326,878,573

Widowed

13,097,732

70

0

Widowed

339,514,724

1,714

104,649,029

Range Total

727,426,806

2,852

0

Range Total

22,983,748,683

121,345

6,341,731,903

Totals

Single

7,259,856,223

741,457

0

Totals

Single

31,582,300,930

811,456

4,464,501,366

Married

6,628,712,618

279,152

0

Married

45,602,357,523

549,383

8,210,901,453

Widowed

719,036,139

44,594

0

Widowed

1,707,646,504

35,357

272,467,732

Overall Total

14,607,604,980

1,065,203

0

Overall Total

78,892,304,956

1,396,196

12,947,870,551

2008 PAYE CREDIT

exempt 2008 PAYE (Non Proprietor/Directors)

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

0 – 10,000

Single

1,760,215,134

384,476

0

Married

188,714,994

42,108

0

Widowed

22,707,166

4,021

0

Range Total

1,971,637,294

430,606

0

10,001 – 20,000

Single

4,101,751,256

282,419

0

10,001 – 20,000

Single

727,715,538

37,953

6,089,472

Married

873,748,172

56,031

0

Widowed

415,312,366

28,115

0

Range Total

5,390,811,794

366,564

0

Range Total

727,715,538

37,953

6,089,472

20,001 – 30,000

Single

847,403,308

35,987

0

20,001 – 30,000

Single

6,588,452,030

264,223

300,480,557

Married

2,024,176,662

81,912

0

Married

188,843,953

6,553

1,456,445

Widowed

172,660,293

7,688

0

Widowed

216,325,046

8,272

5,103,691

Range Total

3,044,240,262

125,586

0

Range Total

6,993,621,029

279,049

307,040,693

30,001 – 34,431

Single

24,470,064

773

0

30,001 – 34,431

Single

3,173,150,549

98,785

234,218,264

Married

732,299,689

22,803

0

Married

527,970,399

16,340

11,577,566

Widowed

6,875,768

216

0

Widowed

128,895,637

4,012

6,372,706

Range Total

763,645,520

23,792

0

Range Total

3,830,016,585

119,137

252,168,537

2008 PAYE CREDIT — continued

exempt 2008 PAYE (Non Proprietor/Directors)

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

34,432 – 40,000

Single

15,709,774

425

0

34,432 – 40,000

Single

3,652,176,204

98,500

355,906,387

Married

791,631,187

21,462

0

Married

1,056,439,115

28,189

35,198,483

Widowed

6,649,411

181

0

Widowed

140,778,261

3,798

10,304,112

Range Total

813,990,371

22,067

0

Range Total

4,849,393,580

130,487

401,408,982

40,001 – 50,000

Single

11,245,169

259

0

40,001 – 50,000

Single

4,892,114,259

110,170

711,468,830

Married

351,846,632

8,277

0

Married

3,341,221,719

74,038

167,113,733

Widowed

6,308,519

144

0

Widowed

212,759,942

4,776

25,781,121

Range Total

369,400,320

8,680

0

Range Total

8,446,095,920

188,984

904,363,685

50,001 – 60,000

Single

4,128,090

76

0

50,001 – 60,000

Single

3,028,808,508

55,650

584,710,240

Married

39,087,420

724

0

Married

3,712,311,505

67,698

326,281,125

Widowed

3,098,347

57

0

Widowed

136,607,871

2,508

23,255,005

Range Total

46,313,856

856

0

Range Total

6,877,727,884

125,857

934,246,370

60,001 – 70,000

Single

2,255,060

35

0

60,001 – 70,000

Single

1,854,472,490

28,763

418,623,367

Married

12,933,172

199

0

Married

3,608,386,671

55,661

419,837,205

Widowed

1,933,909

30

0

Widowed

91,007,420

1,409

18,631,909

Range Total

17,122,140

264

0

Range Total

5,553,866,581

85,833

857,092,481

2008 PAYE CREDIT — continued

exempt 2008 PAYE (Non Proprietor/Directors)

All Taxpayers

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Range of Gross Income and Personal Status

Gross Income (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Income or Agregated case Income)

Income Tax & DIRT (M+2E cases: Either summed Major+Minor Tax or Agregated case Tax)

Number

Amount

Number

Amount

70,001 – 80,000

Single

2,037,752

27

0

70,001 – 80,000

Single

1,170,132,566

15,701

292,106,270

Married

9,915,267

133

0

Married

3,251,397,746

43,508

461,700,018

Widowed

621,851

8

0

Widowed

62,940,001

843

14,301,756

Range Total

12,574,869

169

0

Range Total

4,484,470,313

60,052

768,108,044

80,001 – 90,000

Single

1,524,265

18

0

80,001 – 90,000

Single

775,240,643

9,183

207,048,374

Married

9,367,892

110

0

Married

2,721,621,055

32,121

455,875,140

Widowed

263,178

3

0

Widowed

48,069,533

568

11,957,513

Range Total

11,155,334

131

0

Range Total

3,544,931,231

41,871

674,881,027

90,001 – 100,000

Single

1,417,008

15

0

90,001 – 100,000

Single

469,538,986

4,969

131,763,838

Married

9,103,515

96

0

Married

2,194,484,250

23,161

411,894,889

Widowed

195,329

2

0

Widowed

32,253,524

340

8,456,507

Range Total

10,715,852

113

0

Range Total

2,696,276,760

28,470

552,115,234

over 100,000

Single

6,473,738

44

0

over 100,000

Single

1,683,916,999

10,913

544,507,244

Married

85,324,589

522

0

Married

10,974,725,734

70,000

2,922,837,165

Widowed

1,505,963

11

0

Widowed

109,203,835

712

33,556,289

Range Total

93,304,290

577

0

Range Total

12,767,846,569

81,625

3,500,900,697

Totals

Single

6,778,630,616

704,555

0

Totals

Single

28,015,718,772

734,810

3,786,922,844

Married

5,128,149,190

234,375

0

Married

31,577,402,148

417,269

5,213,771,771

Widowed

638,132,097

40,476

0

Widowed

1,178,841,070

27,239

157,720,608

Overall Total

12,544,911,903

979,405

0

Overall Total

60,771,961,991

1,179,318

9,158,415,223

Figures to indicate the breakdown over the income ranges of the numbers of claimants for lone parents and the widowed persons top up credits, and estimates of the yield to the Exchequer from limiting each of the personal tax credits and the PAYE credit respectively to those in each of the specified income ranges, are not readily available and could not be provided without undertaking an extensive development of the Revenue tax forecasting model.

The figures for 2007 are based on incomes data derived from income tax returns held on Revenue records and have been grossed-up to an overall expected level to adjust for incompleteness in the numbers of returns on record at the time the data were extracted for analytical purposes. For the years 2008 and 2009, the figures are estimates from the Revenue tax forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007, adjusted as necessary for income and employment growth for the years in question.

It should be noted that a married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Richard Bruton

Question:

64 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance his views on allowing the construction of wind turbines on farms to be subject to the VAT reclamation scheme for farmers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39740/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that flat-rate farmers are not in the normal course entitled to credit for, or repayment of, VAT incurred by them on business inputs. The Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No 25) Order, 1993 provides for refunds to flat-rate farmers for VAT borne on the "construction, extension, alteration or reconstruction of any building or structure which is designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business". However, while the installation of a wind turbine may be the construction of a structure, such a structure is not "designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business". It is designed rather to generate electricity for wherever required. Consequently, the installation of wind turbines does not come within the scope of the refund order.

Financial Services Regulation.

Richard Bruton

Question:

65 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a company (details supplied) can transfer large sums of cash to any financial institution in the world; his views on whether this is a vehicle which may be used to launder money; if he will make the transfer of large sums of cash illegal under the Money Laundering Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39741/09]

In Accordance with Ireland's EU obligations All Exchange Control legislation expired on 31 December 1992. From 1 January 1993 there are no laws or regulations which would prevent the normal free movement of capital or current payments to or from the State by individuals or corporate entities for any purpose. This liberalisation applies equally to EU and non-EU countries.

However, in any such transactions the Irish resident parties involved, including the financial institutions, must ensure they are in conformity with the following: Financial sanctions in place under various European Communities Regulations, enforced under domestic law, which affect financial transfers to or from jurisdictions, entities or individuals which are the subject of sanction — these financial sanctions are generally in support of the fight against the financing of terrorism, weapons of mass destruction or repressive regimes; anti-Money Laundering legislation, for the purpose of ensuring that effective measures are taken to combat the laundering of the proceeds of criminal activity or the financing of terrorism.

Any person who carries on the business of money transmission, such as the company referred to by the deputy, is subject to the money laundering provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 1994 and accordingly is required to identify their customers, keep records, train staff and report suspicious transactions to the Garda Siochána and to the Revenue Commissioners. Money transmitters are also subject to EU Regulation 1781/2006 which requires that money transfers be accompanied by the identity of the sender including name, address and account number.

Money transmitters are required to be authorised by the Financial Regulator under the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland Act 2004. The authorisation process involves the application of a "fit and proper" test to the persons directing the business. The Financial Regulator conducts ongoing supervision of authorised businesses to ensure that they meet the requirements of the money laundering and terrorist financing provisions of the Criminal Justice Acts.

Tax Yield.

Joan Burton

Question:

66 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated revenue from the income levies expected in 2010. [39744/09]

The Income Levy was introduced in October of last year in Budget 2009 and the rates subsequently increased in the Supplementary Budget in April of this year. Based on these forecasts, it was estimated that the Income Levy would yield approximately €1.1 billion in 2009.

The Pre-Budget Outlook will update the macroeconomic projections for the period 2009-2013. As part of that process, my Department will also set out a technical fiscal forecast on a pre-Budget basis for 2010 and beyond. The Pre-Budget Outlook will be published shortly. Then, as is customary, post-Budget tax forecasts will be published on Budget day which is scheduled for December 9th.

Flood Relief.

Tom Sheahan

Question:

67 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide funding to protect an area (details supplied) from further devastation and to protect residents from further flooding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39801/09]

As a result of the Commissioners of Public Works inviting submissions from Local Authorities for funding of coastal protection works in 2009, Kerry County Council submitted four projects for funding. Each Local Authority was requested to prioritise the projects included in their submission.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has reviewed all projects submitted and, following a qualitative assessment of them, has decided on the allocation of the €676,000 to Local Authorities for coastal protection works in 2009. In carrying out their qualitative assessment, the OPW was mindful of areas where there was a known risk to human life and/or a substantial risk to the infrastructure of the area, and where works or studies could be substantially completed in 2009. Kerry County Council was allocated €360,000 of the available funding for 2009 in respect of its submission for funding. This does not include a provision in respect of the areas referred to in the Deputy's question. Kerry County Council have assigned a lower priority to this area.

However, OPW will further review the situation towards the end of 2009, with a view to preparing a 2010 coastal protection programme.

Tom Sheahan

Question:

68 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Finance if he will ensure that the engineers who will carry out an investigation into flooding at Glenflesk and Sneem in County Kerry will meet with the landowners along the flooding lands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39802/09]

The Commissioners of Public Works approved funding to Kerry County Council for funding to investigate the flooding problems at Glenfesk and Sneem. The carrying out of the studies is a matter for the Council.

Tax Code.

Joe McHugh

Question:

69 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the measures he plans to put in place to prevent the influx of coal produce with high sulphur content from Northern Ireland that will follow the increase of VAT on coal from 13.5% as recommended in the Commission on Taxation Report 2009 in view of the fact that VAT on coal in Northern Ireland is 5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39815/09]

I would point out that the Report of the Commission on Taxation does not contain a recommendation to increase the VAT rate applicable to coal. I have no plans to increase the VAT rate that applies to home heating fuels.

With regard to the differential between the VAT rate applicable to coal in Ireland and the UK, under EU law Member States can retain certain reduced rates provisions which they had in existence on 1 January 1991 but cannot introduce any new provisions and once moved an item cannot be returned to that rate. As Ireland implemented a reduced rate of not less than 12% on home heating fuels, including coal, in 1991 we can retain that reduced rate but the rate cannot go below 12%. In 1991 the UK applied a zero rate to such fuels and under a similar derogation they are entitled to apply a reduced rate to coal, which can be as low as 5%. In this context, EU law does not allow for Ireland to have the same reduced rate of VAT on fuels as applies in the UK.

With regard to legislation governing coal produce and distribution, I have been informed by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that S.I. 118/1998 of the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Marketing, Sale and Distribution of Fuels) Regulations, 1998 provides a ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal in sixteen towns and cities around the country. This includes: Dublin since 1990; Cork since 1995; Arklow, Drogheda, Dundalk, Limerick and Wexford since 1998; Celbridge, Galway, Leixlip, Naas and Waterford since 2000; and Bray, Kilkenny, Sligo and Tralee since 2003.

The aim of these Regulations is to provide for the improvement of air quality in urban areas by restricting the sale of bituminous, or smoky, fuel within such areas. To date the ban has been largely successful and has led to a significant improvement in air quality in these areas.

In addition, in October 2008 the Solid Fuel Trade Group (SFTG Ltd) and the former Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr Michael Kitt, T.D., signed a new voluntary agreement to maintain low levels in the sulphur emissions of bituminous coal and petcoke, and to maintain existing limitations, through smokeless zones, on the marketing, sale and distribution of solid fuels. The agreement also provides that in the towns and environs of Athlone, Carlow, Clonmel and Ennis, SFTG Ltd. will maintain the smokeless fuel market penetration level of 75%, as a percentage of overall solid fuel sales, as set out in previous agreements. These four towns are additional to those already covered by smokeless zones.

In general, local authorities carry out spot checks on fuel retailers to ensure compliance with the ban. Cork County Council is pending prosecution of a retailer who sold bituminous coal in restricted areas to customers who claim to live outside the restricted area.

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is planning to place a joint advertisement with the Department of Social and Family Affairs later this month in selected local and regional newspapers. This advertisement will remind fuel retailers of the ban and that local authorities are empowered to take enforcement action. The advertisement will also refer to the Smokeless Fuel Allowance, which is an allowance paid by the Department of Social and Family Affairs to low-income households to help them meet the extra costs of using smokeless or low smoke fuels in certain parts of the country. The amount paid is €3.90 per week for 32 weeks of the year.

Tax Yield.

Mary Upton

Question:

70 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated tax take from the reintroduction of the 1% betting levy on on-course gambling; the estimated revenue generated if this figure as 1.5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39829/09]

Based on an estimate of around €230 million of bets having been placed with on-course bookmakers at race meetings over the twelve month period to 31 August 2009, it is estimated that applying the 1% betting duty to such bets would have yielded the Exchequer approximately €2.3 million and a 1.5% betting duty would have yielded the Exchequer approximately €3.45 million.

The on-course duty was reduced to zero in 1999 in the context of the reduction in the off-course duty at that time and the importance of supporting attendances at race meetings.

Mary Upton

Question:

71 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated tax take from increasing the betting levy from 1% to 1.5%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39830/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that it is estimated that the additional full year yield to the Exchequer from increasing the betting duty from 1% to 1.5% would be in the region of €15 million.

Architectural Heritage.

Pat Breen

Question:

72 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 300 of 27 January 2009, the funding that has been made available for a project (details supplied) in County Clare; if tender documents have been prepared; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39847/09]

The buildings were occupied by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government staff and subsequently vacated to allow for works to be undertaken, after which they would re-occupy.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) appointed a design team, who developed a sketch scheme that is ready to be submitted for planning permission. Progress on this is subject to funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, which is not yet confirmed. As the buildings have deteriorated since they have been unoccupied, OPW is planning to carry out essential repairs to ensure that the buildings are safe, funding permitted.

National Asset Management Agency.

Joan Burton

Question:

73 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will make a statement on the reports that loans at a bank (details supplied) relating to the purchase of shares in a company may be transferred to the National Assets Management Agency; his views on the financing of such speculative share purchases fall within the definition of associated loans eligible for transfer to NAMA. [39953/09]

The Deputy will be aware that the loans eligible for transfer to NAMA have a book value of €77 billion. This figure comprises approximately €49 billion land and development loans and approximately €28 billion associated loans. The reason for the inclusion of these associated loans within the eligible loans for transfer to NAMA is to cleanse the balance sheets of the banks of exposure to higher risk borrowers. It is clear that these associated loans could include loans relating to the purchase of shares. Therefore, if the loans referred to in the Deputy's question are associated with land and development loans eligible for transfer to NAMA, they too will be eligible.

I would remind the Deputy that I have made it clear on several occasions that the maximum price to be paid by NAMA for certain non-land and development loans will not exceed current market value, i.e. no long term value uplift will be applied.

National Drugs Strategy.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

74 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the proliferation of head shops which have opened here; her views on same; if her further attention has been drawn to the products on sale through these outlets; her further views on whether the consumption of such products might lead to the involvement in the consumption of illicit substances and that some of the substances on sale in these outlets should be barred in the interest of public health; the action she will take or the legislation she will bring forward in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39804/09]

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and regulations made thereunder regulate and control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland's obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland.

Items available for sale in so-called ‘head shops' such as "spice" or "snow"are currently not scheduled under Misuse of Drugs legislation. The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review. For example, in 2006 psychotropic (‘magic') mushrooms, which were on sale in such outlets, were banned and their possession and sale is now illegal. On 31 March 2009, BZP was similarly subjected to legislative control measures and criminal sanctions.

Deputy John Curran, Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, who has responsibility for co-ordinating the National Drugs Strategy, has identified head shops as an area of concern, and is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops. My officials are in contact with their counterparts in the Office of the Minister for Drugs in this regard.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

75 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of a bilateral adoption agreement between Ireland and Ethiopia; the talks which have taken place between the two countries to reach such an agreement; when she expects to conclude these talks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39715/09]

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

76 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the contact she has had with an organisation (details supplied) regarding a bilateral adoption agreement; her plans to meet with the organisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39716/09]

Finian McGrath

Question:

82 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39733/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75, 76 and 82 together.

The Adoption Bill, 2009, which is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, has passed through the Seanad and is scheduled to be debated in Dail Eireann in the current Dáil session. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

The current policy position, as set out in the Adoption Bill 2009, is that for an adoption to be registered under the Bill it must be effected in a contracting State to the Hague Convention or in a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement. For non-Hague countries only those adoptions effected prior to the commencement of the new law can be registered on the Register of Inter-Country Adoptions to be established under the Bill.

There are transitional provisions contained in the Bill. However, the issue of further transitional measures for prospective parents who are at an advanced stage when the Bill is enacted, and who wish to continue with an adoption from a non-Hague, non-bilateral country, have been raised with me by representative groups. I am currently examining this and other related matters. My officials, in consultation with officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, have been doing preparatory work on a possible bilateral agreement with Ethiopia. Consideration of this is at an early stage. I can confirm that on the 30th of October 2009 I met with the Organisation referred to by the Deputy.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

77 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if provisions that will allow parents who have already commenced the adoption process to proceed with their applications will be included in Adoption Bill 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39717/09]

Finian McGrath

Question:

81 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [39732/09]

Mary Upton

Question:

101 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the transition measures that will be introduced for adoptions which have progressed under the old system and are close to completion with regard to the Adoption Bill 2009 and the ratification of the Hague Convention; if these adoptions will be allowed to continue or if the process will have to be restarted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39824/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77, 81 and 101 together.

The Adoption Bill, 2009, which is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, has passed through the Seanad and I am actively seeking time for its progression in the current Dáil session. As I have stated on many previous occasions, under the new legislation, prospective adoptive parents will be able to adopt from countries that have also ratified the Hague Convention and from countries with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement that meets Hague standards.

I firmly believe that legislation and, specifically, the regime of the Hague Convention, provides an assurance for individual children, their families, and the State, that appropriate procedures have been followed and that the adoption was effected in the best interests of the child. This applies in the case of countries who have not, as yet, ratified the Hague Convention, and would seem unlikely to do so in the immediate future. As currently set out in the Bill, for non-Hague countries, only those adoptions effected before the commencement of the Act can be registered on the Register of Inter-Country Adoptions to be established under the Bill. There are transitional provisions contained in the Bill. However, the issue of further transitional measures for prospective parents who are at an advanced stage when the Bill is enacted, and who wish to continue with an adoption from a non-Hague, non-bilateral country, have been raised with me by representative groups. I am currently examining this and other related matters.

I am familiar with the provisions of the Guide to Good Practice. It should be noted that these provisions refer to situations where countries are moving from bilateral arrangements to Hague Convention arrangements. Bilateral agreement adoptions are provided for in the Bill. Difficulties now being raised relate to countries with which Ireland has no bilateral agreement. While that matter is under consideration, I must emphasise that I must be guided at all times by the best interests of the individual child as well as the need to uphold standards which are for the protection of all children being considered for inter country adoption in specific sending countries.

Hospital Services.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

78 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will ensure that further consultation is expedited in respect of a hip operation for a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39718/09]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Noel Coonan

Question:

79 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children with arthritis from North Tipperary who are waiting on the only paediatric rheumatologist here in Our Lady’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin 12; the length of time these children have been waiting for treatment; her plans to appoint a second specialist; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39721/09]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

92 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether it is acceptable that children with arthritis have to wait 13 months to see the paediatric rheumatologist here; if she will instruct the Health Service Executive to appoint two further paediatric rheumatologists to assist in relieving pain for these children. [39775/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 92 together.

During 2009, the HSE provided significant additional service pressure funding to the paediatric hospitals in Dublin, to address priority service requirements in intensive care, neurosurgery and surgery.

For rheumatology, national funding was provided for two additional rheumatologist posts. The posts identified by the HSE as priorities for this year were adult rheumatologist posts in Kerry and in the North East. The HSE will be keeping the position in paediatric rheumatology under review, in the context of available resources.

I have forwarded the Deputies' questions to the HSE for a more detailed response.

Medical Cards.

George Lee

Question:

80 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) in County Dublin is waiting more than six months for a decision to be made on their medical card application; if her further attention has been drawn to the hardship caused by this delay; her plans to reduce the waiting period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39723/09]

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

Question No. 81 answered with Question No. 77.
Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 75.

Departmental Correspondence.

John McGuinness

Question:

83 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 249 of 20 October 2009, if she will confirm the status of new procurement processes within the Health Service Executive; if agreement has been reached to modernise the system of procurement in order to effect savings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39743/09]

This is a matter appropriate to the Health Service Executive and has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Michael McGrath

Question:

84 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will respond to a query (details supplied). [39745/09]

National Quality Standards: Residential Settings for People with Disabilities were published by HIQA in May 2009 but have not yet been approved by the Minister for Health and Children. Given the current economic situation, to move to full statutory implementation of the standards, including regulation and inspection, presents significant challenges at this time. However, notwithstanding the difficulties of immediate statutory implementation, the Department, the HSE and HIQA have agreed that progressive implementation of the Standards will now commence, and that they will become the benchmark against which the HSE assesses both its own directly operated facilities and other facilities that the HSE funds.

Discussions are ongoing regarding the development of self-assessment tools, providing awareness training for service providers and the introduction of an appropriate level of external validation for relevant settings. In addition, in accordance with the commitment given in the implementation plan for the Ryan Commission Report, the Minister for Health and Children will bring detailed proposals to Government in Autumn 2009 with regard to the protection of vulnerable adults with disabilities who are currently in institutional care.

Children with disabilities in generic residential centres under the Child Care Act, 1991, are covered by the standards and inspection regimes already applying to those centres. There are a further approximately 150 centres offering residential or respite care to approximately 300 children with disabilities. Children who reside in these centres are not in the care of the State, although they are cared for by the State. The majority of these centres are run by voluntary organisations funded by the HSE and are excluded from inspection under the Child Care Act 1991. In relation to the children with disabilities in these other residential centres, the Ryan Commission report recommends that "All services for children should be subject to regular inspections in respect of all aspects of their care".

An implementation plan for the recommendations of the Ryan Commission was submitted to Government by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs which included proposals to implement in full, all the recommendations of the Commission. The implementation plan contains a commitment that the Health Act 2007 will be commenced to allow the independent registration and inspection of all residential centres and respite services for children with a disability by December 2010.

Homeless Persons.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

85 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children the breakdown of the figures for homeless children according to each local health office area here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39760/09]

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

Hospital Services.

James Bannon

Question:

86 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford had an operation cancelled in October 2009 although the surgeon was available; when an alternative date will be issued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39762/09]

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

Health Service Staff.

James Bannon

Question:

87 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the purpose of the national recruitment panel for physiotherapists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39764/09]

James Bannon

Question:

88 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a national recruitment panel for physiotherapists was introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39765/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 87 and 88 together.

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

James Bannon

Question:

89 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason there was no national recruitment panel interviews for new graduates in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39766/09]

James Bannon

Question:

90 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the national panel for physiotherapists is still in operation when it discriminates against new graduates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39767/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 90 together.

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

James Bannon

Question:

91 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to help unemployed physiotherapy graduates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39768/09]

There has been a growing demand for, and investment in, physiotherapy services over the last number of years. A particular priority for my Department and the Department of Education and Science in recent years has been the expansion of the supply of therapy graduates. The Government has also invested heavily in the education and training of such personnel in order to secure a good supply of graduates to provide for the healthcare needs of the population into the future. In this regard, since 1997, the number of training places for physiotherapists has been increased from 64 to 145 which represents an increase of 127%. The numbers employed in physiotherapy has also grown significantly, with 678 whole time equivalents employed in December 1999 compared to 1,442 whole time equivalents employed in September 2009, which represents an increase of 113%.

The Government is committed to ensuring continued adequate recruitment of professional staff across a range of community settings to ensure the continued development of community services. Additional funding of €20 million has been provided in 2009 for health and education services for children with special educational needs. This funding will provide a total of 125 additional therapy posts in the HSE targeted at children of school-going age. 90 of these will be in the disability services, including speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.

My Department has written to the Health Service Executive setting out the overall approved employment control ceiling for 2009. As part of this approval, written confirmation has been provided to the HSE that the general moratorium on recruitment, promotion and the payment of acting up allowances does not apply to specific designated grades. Delegated sanction has been given to the HSE for the creation and filling of frontline posts including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy posts. The approval indicated that vacancies in existing posts in these grades may continue to be filled. New posts may also be created in these grades, up to a specified limit, provided that the HSE is satisfied in each case that there is no scope to redeploy an equivalent post from the hospital sector to the primary and community care sector. This moratorium exemption provides for an increase in the number of therapy posts, in line with Government policy, in order to meet the requirements of integrated care delivery and primary care needs particularly in respect of children at risk, the elderly and those with disabilities. The recruitment and retention of these key front line therapy posts, including physiotherapists, is vital to ensure continued progress in the development of community settings.

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. It is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. With regard to the recruitment of new physiotherapy posts, as this is an operational matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Question No. 92 answered with Question No. 79.

Hospital Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

93 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that persons with arthritis living in County Kildare must wait for up to three years to see a consultant rheumatologist in Tallaght Hospital; her views on same; her plans to rectify the problem. [39776/09]

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

Health Service Staff.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

94 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 191 of 13 October 2009, if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the community welfare officers covering north Kildare are operating with workloads for 21 staff, but only have 12 community welfare officers; and if, in view of same, she will reinvestigate the possibility of both recruiting and transferring additional staff to the community welfare service in north Kildare. [39777/09]

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

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

95 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in opening a community welfare public office in Naas, County Kildare. [39778/09]

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

Care of the Elderly.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

96 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of home care packages allocated to new applicants in each year since the scheme was put in place and in particular the number for County Kildare; and the number which have applied for the scheme and are awaiting a decision on assessment. [39780/09]

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

Services for People with Disabilities.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

97 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of adults with an intellectual disability that are currently accessing day services in the Dublin area; the location of each of these services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39792/09]

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

Preschool Services.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

98 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the free preschool year scheme; if she will provide an overview of the way this scheme is to operate; the number of preschools that are participating in the scheme; if she is confident that there will be a place for each eligible child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39793/09]

I have responsibility for the implementation of the new free Preschool Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which will be introduced in January next.

The scheme is open to all commercial and community preschool services, including both sessional playschools and crèche facilities, which are notified to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or registered with the Irish Montessori Educational Board (IMEB). Children will be eligible to avail of the preschool year where they are aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months on 1 September each year.

A key requirement of the scheme is that preschool leaders must hold a certification for a major award in childcare / early education at a minimum of Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications of Ireland (NFQ) or an equivalent recognised qualification in the childcare / early education field. In the first two full years of the scheme, the qualification requirement will be met where a person holds an award in ECCE that includes the four core modules of Early Education, Child Development, Caring for Children and Work Experience and has at least 2 years experience of working in a position of responsibility with children aged from birth to 6 years.

It is a condition of the preschool year that services which wish to participate will be required to provide an appropriate educational programme for children which adheres to the principles of Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education. Síolta is a quality assurance process which addresses all aspects of practice in early childhood care and education services. It is designed to support practitioners to develop high quality services for children aged from birth to 6 years.

An annual capitation fee of over €2,450 will be paid to participating services in return for the provision of a free preschool year to each child. Payments will be made to services at the beginning of each term. A higher capitation rate of €2,850 per annum will be paid to sessional playschool services where all childcare workers have qualification levels above the minimum requirements for the scheme. To qualify for the higher capitation rate all preschool leaders in the service must hold a level 7 or 8 qualification relating to childcare and have 3 years experience working in the sector, and all assistants must hold a relevant level 5 qualification.

It is a fundamental principle of the scheme that it is available to parents free of charge. Services may, however, charge parents for additional services provided these are clearly optional to parents and provided appropriate programme based activities continue to be provided to children not availing of such services during the preschool year hours. Services participating in the scheme should be satisfied that they will be in a position to meet all of their costs from the capitation provided and additional funding will not be provided where this is not the case.

Services can provide the Preschool Year from a range of options. A full or part-time day-care service will normally provide the place for 2 hours 15 minutes a day, five days a week over 50 weeks. A playschool sessional service will normally be required to provide a preschool service for 3 hours a day, five days a week over 38 weeks. However, where for good reason a sessional service is unable to operate over 5 days, it may participate in the scheme by providing a place for 3 hours 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week over 41 weeks.

Further flexibility is provided for in that, a full or part-time service may choose to provide a sessional service over 38 weeks of a year (or 2 sessional services each day) while a sessional service may choose to provide 2 hours 15 minutes per day over 50 weeks. Also in cases where children attend a full or part-time day-care service for 3 days a week only, consideration will be given to allowing the service to participate in the scheme on the basis of providing the pre-school year to those children for 3 hours 45 minutes a day for 3 days a week. In such cases, a service will be required to provide the preschool year over 50 weeks.

Applications by approximately 4,200 childcare services to enter the new scheme are currently being processed by my Office. It is expected that a list of services approved to participate in the scheme will be available shortly from the City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs). Based on the applications to date, I am confident that the total number of places available in pre-school services applying to enter the scheme will meet the number of places required.

When the scheme was announced in April, I stated that there was a possibility that geographic pockets might exist in January where demand for places would exceed supply, requiring parents to travel further than they would wish for their child to avail of a place. However, with less than 2 months until the scheme goes live, my Office would have anticipated that affected parents would be in contact at this stage to say that they were unable to avail of a place locally, and this has not been happening, except in a very limited number of cases where the parent was unaware of local pre-schools participating in the scheme. I would hope, therefore, that this will be a very limited problem.

Nevertheless, my Office is putting mechanisms in place whereby services with excess capacity in January will be identified to the CCCs, thereby allowing them to advise any parents who may have difficulties in finding a place for their children. My Office and the CCCs will also continue to monitor the situation next year to ensure any shortfalls which may occur would be met in September 2010.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Joe McHugh

Question:

99 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the options available to parents who will receive the declaration for adoption purposes in the next few weeks; the countries that are open to couples who wish to pursue adoptions in the coming period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39819/09]

Joe McHugh

Question:

100 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the options available to parents who wish to adopt; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39820/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 and 100 together.

The Adoption Board have advised that it is prudent for prospective adoptive parents to seek legal advice in respect of the arrangements in specific jurisdictions in regard to adoption. Factors in assessing whether the adoption can subsequently be recognised under Irish Law include, the current compatibility of Irish Law with the law of the country of origin of the child; the current status of the country as a contracting or non-contracting state to the Hague Convention; the waiting times for referral; and the related likely date of the adoption proceeding; as well as specific practices which are contrary to Irish public policy such as private placements.

I am conscious of the complexities for prospective adopters in selecting a country of origin at a point when the legal requirements are changing here, as well as elsewhere. I have discussed this matter with the Adoption Board at a recent meeting. While there is some guidance currently available on the Board's website, I have asked them to consider what further guidance might be provided to support prospective adopters in making country choices over the coming months. I will keep this situation under review.

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 77.

Pharmacy Regulations.

Mary Upton

Question:

102 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the reduction in dispensing fees paid to pharmacists under the general medical scheme she will instruct a union (details supplied) to reduce the fees charged to pharmacists in view of the fact that their fees rose six fold in 2008 and dispensing fees have now been reduced by 35% to40%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39825/09]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to the fees charged by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) under Schedule 1, Section 20 of the Pharmacy Act 2007. The PSI have recently made an application seeking my consent to their fees for 2010 and the matter is currently being considered. The Society will be advised of my decision shortly.

I would also like to point out to the Deputy that fees charged by the Society did not rise six fold in 2008. For example, the fees charged by the Society for the registration of pharmacists in 2008 rose from €432 to €450, an increase of 4.1%, and no increase was applied for pharmacists in 2009. There were also increases in some other fees in 2008 and 2009, for example, fees for the issuing of certificates, or for first time registration, however, the general level of increase in 2008 was in the range of 4.9% to 14.8%, and, in 2009, in the order of 5%.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Mary Upton

Question:

103 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the outcome of the meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam on 23 October 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39826/09]

As the Deputy is aware, my Office has been in negotiations with the Vietnamese Government regarding the drafting of a new bilateral inter-country Adoption agreement for some time. I have clearly indicated my intention to await the finalisation of the International Social Services Report on Inter-country Adoption in Vietnam before making final decisions regarding the next steps. I will be considering the report along with the report published in August by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I anticipate the ISS report will be finalised this month. I will be communicating my decision at the earliest opportunity. I am extremely mindful of the difficult position many prospective adopters find themselves in at this point in time.

Deputy Prime Minister Hoàng Trung Hài recently led a trade mission to Ireland. I took this opportunity to meet again with Minister Hài whom I had met with during my July visit to Vietnam. The meeting took place on the 23rd October and adoption matters were discussed. The meeting was most amicable and allowed both Governments to outline their current positions in relation to the bilateral agreement and legislative developments in each jurisdiction, including Hague Convention ratification. Both Governments restated their desire to achieve the highest standards in inter-country adoption and they committed to ongoing dialogue to advance these goals.

Youth Services.

Mary Upton

Question:

104 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the funding levels for each of the past ten years in the Young People Facilities and Services Fund; the name and location of each organisation or group which benefited from this funding in each of the years in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39831/09]

The Young People's Facilities and Services Funding (YPFSF) was established in 1998 to assist in the development of preventative strategies/initiatives in a targeted manner through the development of youth facilities, (including sport and recreational facilities) and services in disadvantaged areas where a significant drug problem exists or has the potential to develop. The objective of the Fund is to attract "at risk" young people in disadvantaged areas into these facilities and activities and divert them away from the dangers of substance abuse. The target group for the Fund are 10-21 year olds who are marginalised through a combination of risk factors relating to family background, environmental circumstances, educational disadvantage, involvement in crime and/or drugs, etc.

The YPFSF currently operates in 14 Local Drugs Task Force (LDTF) areas (Dublin — 12, Bray and Cork) and 8 urban areas — Galway, Limerick, Waterford Cities and Carlow, Athlone, Arklow, Dundalk and Wexford Towns.

Disbursements from the Fund commenced in the Department of Education & Science in 2002 and the Fund transferred to the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs later that year. Details of YPFSF Funding administered by D/CRGA, in addition to mainstreamed project funding provided by other Departments, from 2002 to 2008 are set out in Table 1.

The Deputy will be aware that, in May last year, the Taoiseach announced that the YPFSF was to be integrated into the Office of the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) and arrangements to give effect to that transfer were completed in January of this year. Details of funding in 2009 are set out in Table 2.

Table 1: DCGRA — YPFSF Expenditure 2003-2008

Year

Amount paid out from D/CRGA

Amount paid by other Departments to YPFSF mainstreamed projects

Total

2002

15,223,390*

0

15,223,390

2003

20,003,265

0

20,003,265

2004

11,878,212

6,405,370

18,283,582

2005

14,241,929

7,095,980

21,337,909

2006

15,451,574

8,291,815

23,743,389

2007

20,274,778

8,642,000

28,916,778

2008

20, 870,012

8,885,000

29,755,012

Total

117,943,160

39,320,165

157,263,325

*Funding administered by the Department of Education and Science in 2002.

Table 2: OMCYA — Expenditure to date 2009

Year

Amount paid out by OMCYA

Amount paid out to YPFSF mainstreamed projects

Total

2009

18,557,767

8,631,000

27,188,767

Overall Total

136,500,927

47,951,165

184,452,092

Applications for funding under the YPFSF are made through the relevant Development Group which determines the suitability of proposals against priorities identified for the area, which are in turn assessed by the National Assessment Committee (NAC) of the YPFSF. Projects are funded by the Office of the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs through channels of funding, for example VECs, Local Authorities. I have arranged for my officials to supply the Deputy, under separate cover, with details of YPFSF funding to these organisations.

Medical Aids and Appliances.

Michael Creed

Question:

105 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Cork is entitled to get a digital hearing aid or financial contribution towards a hearing aid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39833/09]

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

Infectious Diseases.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

106 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she or the Health Service Executive is monitoring the effect of the swine flu outbreak in schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39840/09]

As part of the pandemic planning process, the Health Services Executive has provided guidance and protocols concerning swine flu incidences in schools. This guidance advises that in the event of an unusual number of students or staff within a particular school presenting with influenza like illness, the principal of that school should inform the Department of Public Health of the HSE. Departments of Public Health in turn inform the Health Protection Surveillance Centre which collates this data on a weekly basis. The number of such schools reporting has been low indicating that schools have been managing the situation well.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Pat Breen

Question:

107 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39844/09]

The management of waiting lists generally is a matter for the Health Service Executive and the individual hospital concerned. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) arranges treatment for patients who have been on a surgical waiting list for more than three months. It is open to the person in question, or to anyone acting on their behalf, to contact the Fund directly in relation to their case.

Vaccination Programme.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

108 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of general practitioners signed up to administer the H1N1 vaccine; the number of those who did not receive the vaccine by 9 a.m. on the morning of 2 November 2009; the reason for the failure to provide the vaccine on time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39897/09]

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

Representations to Ministers.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

109 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received representations in relation to lands (details supplied) in County Dublin; if she is satisfied that this matter is being dealt with in accordance with the principles set out in the revised Programme for Government; the action she has taken; if she has sought an investigation and report into the issues raised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39908/09]

I have received representations in regard to this matter. I have consulted with my colleague, the Minister for Transport, in whose area of Ministerial responsibility this falls and I am satisfied that the Minister is fully apprised of the issues involved. I would note that these matters have also been before the Courts and that the person mentioned has spoken to a number of former Ministers for Transport in relation to the issues.

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Question:

110 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the incentivised career break scheme in the Health Service Executive; the eligibility criteria for the scheme; if there are any restrictions to the scheme; the closing date for applications; the number of persons who have inquired; the number of persons who have applied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39912/09]

James Reilly

Question:

111 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the shorter working year scheme in the Health Service Executive; the eligibility criteria for the scheme; if there are any restrictions to the scheme; the closing date for applications; the number of persons who have inquired; the number of persons who have applied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39913/09]

James Reilly

Question:

112 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the incentivised scheme for early retirement in the Health Service Executive and her Department; if there are any restrictions to the scheme; the closing date for applications; the number of persons who have inquired; the number of persons who have applied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39914/09]

James Reilly

Question:

113 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated cost and cost per person of the incentivised scheme for early retirement, the incentivised career break scheme and the shorter working year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39915/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 to 113, inclusive, together.

In his Supplementary Budget Statement of 7 April 2009, the Minister for Finance announced that he would make available three schemes to reduce the number of public sector employees in the wider public sector. My Department issued a suite of three circulars to the HSE on 15 May 2009 to give effect to this measure in the public health sector; the Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement (8/2009); the Incentivised Career Break Scheme (Circular 9/2009); and the Shorter Working Year (10/2009).

The purpose of these circulars is to facilitate a permanent, structural reduction in the numbers of staff employed, along with an associated restructuring of organisation and operations, in as timely a manner as possible and in line with the 2009 Employment Control Framework for the Public Health Sector. While the reduction in numbers achieved under these schemes is intended to contribute significant and ongoing savings to the Exchequer, this must be done in a way that does not undermine essential service provision. The schemes do not apply, therefore, to grades exempted from the moratorium on recruitment and promotions under the 2009 Employment Control Framework for the Public Health Sector in order to meet the requirements of integrated health care delivery and, in particular, to address needs in the community in respect of care of the elderly and people with disabilities.

Members of all other grades who meet the eligibility criteria will have access to these schemes provided the grades/staff groups concerned cooperate with the requirements in relation to redeployment, mobility, skill mix and flexibility which are outlined in the employment control framework. This is designed to allow individuals to avail of these schemes while still protecting services. Because staff who avail of these schemes will not be replaced (save in very exceptional cases), employers must pay particular attention, when considering applications, to the scope that exists within the organisation for reorganising and restructuring work in order to minimise the impact on essential service delivery. Staff cooperation and flexibility in that regard is essential.

My Department was informed that the health service trade unions issued a directive instructing their members not to cooperate with redeployment and reassignment requests from management. The unions have stated their opposition to the moratorium on recruitment and promotions as set out in 2009 Employment Control Framework for the Public Health Sector, referred to above. This instruction from the unions severely restricts the ability of management to organise/restructure work practice and contravenes the qualification criteria for these schemes. As a result, the HSE suspended all three schemes on 18 June and the suspension remains in place. One person in the public health sector had been approved to exit the system under the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement by that date and the cost of the 10% lump sum paid was €2,307 with an annual pension payable of €11,102 per annum.

The closing date for applications for the Special Incentive Career Break Scheme was 30 July 2009 and 23 October 2009 for the Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement, while there is no closing date for applications for the Shorter Working Year Scheme. I understand that applications continued to be accepted by the relevant employer, pending resolution of the outstanding industrial relations issues. I have been informed that the HSE has had discussions with the health service unions regarding its policy on redeployment/reassignment and these discussions are ongoing.

The HSE have provided the following data in relation to the applications received in respect of the three schemes as at 25 September 2009:

Incentivised Scheme for Early Retirement

Special Incentive Career Break Scheme

Shorter Working Year Scheme

Total Number of Applicants

305

329

39

I am informed by the HSE that information regarding the number of enquiries received in relation to these schemes is not available.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

114 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons with autism in the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39927/09]

David Stanton

Question:

115 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children how the Health Service Executive and her Department record the number of persons with autism in the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39928/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 115 together.

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.

Finian McGrath

Question:

116 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [39947/09]

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.

Children in Care.

David Stanton

Question:

117 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children in care in the State; the number who are in residential facilities operated by private care organisations; the names and locations of these facilities; the number of children in care in each location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39951/09]

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

Health Service Staff.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

118 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the formula used in the calculation of allowances or bonuses paid to Health Service Executive staff; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39957/09]

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

119 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the names of the Health Service Executive managers and officials who are in receipt of performance-related bonuses or allowances; if these payments are considered core pay or additional premium pay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39956/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 118 and 119 together.

The Performance Related Award Scheme was introduced following a decision by the Government on the implementation of recommendations of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector. The primary function of the Review Body is to advise the Government from time to time on the general levels of remuneration appropriate to certain public sector posts, including higher management grades in the health service not covered by the Public Service Benchmarking Body process.

In accordance with the principles set out by the Review Body, awards should be related to the achievement of highly demanding and challenging targets and stretch objectives which are difficult but not impossible to achieve. The Scheme provides for the payment of awards after the year end, when it has been demonstrated that the prior agreed stretched objectives have been met. Awards made to individuals are considered personal information under the Data Protection legislation 1988 & 2003 and for this reason individual recipients cannot be named. Performance related payments are not considered to be core pay or additional premium pay. They are payments made for worked carried out beyond what is seen as the normal ongoing requirements of the job.

In line with the recommendations of the Review Body there is consistency in the levels of awards available to employees within the following limits: — maximum awards not to exceed 20% of salary of any individual — an overall cost limit for awards of 10% of payroll for the relevant groups where feasible.

Health Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

120 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made to date in services and assistance for women who have had symphysiotomies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39958/09]

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

Nursing Home Subventions.

Question:

121 Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will include respite care and respite grants in the new nursing home scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39960/09]

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme aims to render long-term residential care affordable and anxiety-free and to ensure that no-one is forced to sell their home during their lifetime to pay for such care. The definition of "long-term residential care services" stipulates that the care services must be provided for a period of not less than 30 days or periods in the aggregate amounting to not less that 30 days within a period of 12 consecutive months.

The scheme does not apply to individuals who enter nursing homes on a short-term basis for respite or convalescence.

Health Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

122 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the follow-up breast clinic in Sligo for those women who have had surgery is closing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39962/09]

The matter raised by the Deputy relates to the provision of healthcare services and accordingly, I have asked the HSE to respond directly to the Deputy on the matter.

Cycle Facilities.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

123 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Transport the status of plans for a new cycle path in Dublin city; if these plans will include works to provide cycle paths along the Grand Canal in the city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39799/09]

Dublin City Council has developed plans for an off-road cycle route via the Grand Canal, the new Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Royal Canal to provide a link from Portobello to Fairview Park. I understand from the City Council that elements of the plan are currently on public display in accordance with requirements under the Planning Acts.

While developing and progressing the project is a matter for the City Council, I indicated in September of this year that I would make up to €10 million available over the period 2009 and 2010 towards its delivery. The proposal is an exemplary demonstration project for the purposes of promoting sustainable and smarter travel. It has potential to facilitate both existing and aspiring cyclists on both sides of the city for both commuting and recreational purposes by serving areas of high employment content such as the South Inner City and the IFSC and scenic areas such as Bull Island. The project also seeks to deliver significant improvements to safety for pedestrians and cyclists at eleven road junctions.

State Airports.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

124 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport the marketing campaign or strategies which have been rolled out to promote Shannon Airport as a customs and border protection facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32234/09]

Responsibility for marketing the Preclearance Service at Shannon Airport is a matter for the Shannon Airport Authority and I have no statutory function in that regard.

Air Services.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

125 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if progress has been made in regard to issues raised by an association (details supplied) in a recent submission relating to group bookings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37486/09]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

129 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport the progress made following his meeting with the management of Aer Lingus at which he was due to discuss issues raised by an association (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39783/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 and 129 together.

Commercial arrangements of this nature are entirely a matter for Aer Lingus. However, the issues raised by the Association have been brought to the attention of Aer Lingus management. I understand the airline is engaging with the Association on the issue in order to explain the rationale for their policy relating to group bookings and to seek a way forward which reflects the challenging environment in which the airline operates.

EU Directives.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

126 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport if he has had consultations with the European Commission in relation to the planned stakeholder consultation to be held in October with regard to a planned overhaul of consumer rights for holiday makers; his views on the planned overhaul; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32266/09]

In 2007 the European Commission commenced a consultation process for the review of the Package Holiday Directive (Council Directive No. 90/314/EEC), which sets out consumer rights in the package travel, package holiday and package tour sectors.

My Department recently attended a workshop on the review for Member States, which was held by the Directorate General for Consumers in the European Commission. It is understood that the Commission will shortly engage with wider stakeholders including industry, regulators and consumer groups to explore a range of specific proposals for reform of the Directive.

The purpose of the Commission's review is to update consumer rights in response to significant changes in the market since the adoption of the existing Directive in 1990. Consumers are increasingly moving away from the traditional package holiday booked through tour operators and travel agents, to organising travel and accommodation themselves through a combination of means including the Internet. This fundamental change in the market structure has led to a significant number of holidays not being protected by existing legislation.

As the key objective of the review is to ensure that adequate protections are in place for the consumer, it is expected that the Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment and the National Consumer Agency will also play an active part in the consultation process for the proposed reform of this Directive.

Question No. 127 answered with Question No. 15.

Departmental Expenditure.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

128 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport the amount of funds already spent on the Metro North project. [39755/09]

The expenditure incurred, including legal fees, on Metro North, to end September 2009 is €133.5m.

Question No. 129 answered with Question No. 125.

Rail Network Property.

Joe Costello

Question:

130 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that toxic railway sleepers have been illegally sold into the domestic garden market (details supplied); the steps he has taken to identify the culprits; if the matter is in the hands of the gardaí; the steps he has taken to identify the location of the toxic sleepers which were sold and recover them and the threat to health addressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39784/09]

The manner of disposal of railway sleepers by Irish Rail is a day to day matter for the company.

Road Network.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

131 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the funding provided by his Department for national, primary or minor roads directly to the National Roads Authority or the various local authorities here in each of the past five years and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39873/09]

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme element of Transport 21. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority under the Roads Act 1993 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The Exchequer funding provided to the National Roads Authority for capital and current expenditure on the national road network is as follows:-

Capital

Current

Total

2004

1,178,959,000

51,328,000

1,230,287,000

2005

1,263,770,000

53,394,000

1,317,164,000

2006

1,582,500,000

55,064,000

1,637,564,000

2007

1,712,706,000

55,097,000

1,767,803,000

2008

1,599,577,000

58,210,000

1,657,787,000

2009 Allocation

1,438,900,000

44,255,000

1,483,155,000

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded is also a matter for the local authority.

I have set out the details regarding regional and local road grants provided by my Department to local authorities from 2004 to 2008 in the table below together with the road grant allocations made by my Department in 2009. No regional and local roads grants for the period 2004 to 2009 have been or will be paid to local authorities covering this period by the National Roads Authority. The NRA will begin the administration of these grants from the start of 2010.

Regional & Local Road Grant Payments 2005-2008 and 2009 Allocation

2004 Payment

2005 Payment

2006 Payment

2007 Payment

2008 Payment

2009 Allocation*

County Council

Carlow

4,253,800

4,901,251

7,397,633

7,521,703

7,084,649

5,196,199

Cavan

16,269,470

16,665,542

19,756,943

18,898,156

18,172,927

13,052,025

Clare

18,286,146

19,223,888

22,325,832

22,109,873

21,509,081

16,032,498

Cork

38,647,405

41,860,364

55,269,684

59,063,156

60,531,272

43,880,723

Donegal

29,252,663

29,695,990

38,179,934

44,361,904

42,584,564

28,664,397

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

7,874,491

7,784,326

7,418,881

13,913,143

9,187,663

6,109,699

Fingal

9,785,217

10,393,002

5,834,504

6,882,876

9,740,986

5,788,866

Galway

23,796,406

25,245,447

29,990,818

30,261,755

29,964,618

24,234,746

Kerry

19,569,478

21,892,239

29,013,635

26,035,543

24,102,662

17,985,097

Kildare

17,453,601

22,210,525

23,041,196

19,721,311

25,966,894

15,769,264

Kilkenny

10,807,565

11,747,285

11,864,719

14,709,310

14,394,053

11,373,699

Laois

7,690,369

7,716,290

11,011,603

12,620,443

10,844,115

9,045,928

Leitrim

10,669,193

11,394,289

13,820,454

13,070,342

12,532,288

8,960,699

Limerick

17,371,817

16,265,713

18,209,030

18,331,398

18,408,476

13,190,198

Longford

7,307,965

7,534,394

8,596,563

8,724,066

8,666,647

6,380,799

Louth

6,691,503

6,138,509

6,802,469

7,996,926

9,410,281

10,920,631

Mayo

25,455,372

23,957,433

31,603,785

32,641,708

30,289,621

22,316,746

Meath

22,077,737

34,027,833

22,204,520

29,492,526

28,053,813

16,566,473

Monaghan

14,070,786

14,549,255

17,000,469

16,737,317

16,049,658

12,445,199

North Tipperary

9,520,635

9,804,683

11,893,322

13,059,254

12,870,233

11,008,598

Offaly

7,894,309

8,582,916

14,218,788

11,376,060

10,582,910

8,180,699

Roscommon

13,103,545

13,528,087

16,563,014

17,992,982

18,361,100

13,118,265

Sligo

10,685,853

12,099,311

15,498,529

15,736,257

14,486,294

10,706,899

South Dublin

23,606,845

14,893,461

7,058,607

11,950,211

9,162,308

8,250,899

South Tipperary

10,206,249

11,765,005

14,451,331

14,906,821

14,926,558

10,762,998

Waterford

10,945,504

10,873,217

11,956,797

16,358,317

15,557,110

13,672,699

Westmeath

7,209,630

10,974,725

13,140,380

16,001,769

15,120,147

13,941,365

Wexford

12,819,963

14,478,240

17,581,481

16,923,972

17,756,026

12,784,498

Wicklow

8,927,822

10,867,776

13,497,309

14,139,102

23,598,685

20,603,820

City Council

Cork

9,494,478

6,541,096

7,506,343

7,776,855

7,003,628

4,264,000

Dublin

8,074,323

6,927,940

8,174,092

14,703,321

14,178,426

12,682,450

Galway

1,420,020

1,763,235

1,768,847

1,646,408

2,317,829

1,674,000

Limerick

2,496,919

2,744,963

4,132,544

5,016,049

3,498,718

2,294,000

Waterford

16,431,709

11,160,705

1,653,747

6,060,214

6,950,075

2,289,000

Borough Council

Clonmel

766,150

961,880

569,490

688,005

692,500

488,903

Drogheda

524,543

601,000

641,658

664,184

644,000

405,000

Kilkenny

539,550

547,110

561,000

609,970

607,360

393,000

Sligo

1,032,481

1,132,790

1,158,535

1,663,975

1,366,713

1,993,000

Wexford

521,630

518,954

663,461

659,258

700,250

443,000

Town Council

Arklow

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Athlone

510,000

525,000

563,000

581,000

581,000

359,000

Athy

253,000

228,584

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ballina

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ballinasloe

253,000

255,311

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Birr

253,000

260,000

279,000

206,850

287,000

177,000

Bray

550,000

565,000

606,000

575,238

623,544

385,000

Buncrana

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Bundoran

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Carlow

532,000

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Carrickmacross

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Carrick-on-Suir

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Cashel

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Castlebar

503,000

460,000

379,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Castleblaney

178,000

183,000

197,000

139,256

202,413

126,000

Cavan

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Clonakilty

178,000

183,000

196,709

204,000

287,000

177,000

Clones

176,364

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Cobh

253,000

260,000

261,683

287,000

231,629

177,000

Dundalk

550,000

565,000

606,000

624,000

624,000

385,000

Dungarvan

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Ennis

532,000

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Enniscorthy

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

263,481

177,000

Fermoy

253,000

180,475

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Kells

253,000

260,000

279,000

216,345

287,000

177,000

Killarney

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Kilrush

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Kinsale

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Letterkenny

510,000

525,000

563,000

581,000

581,000

359,000

Listowel

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

287,000

177,000

Longford

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Macroom

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Mallow

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Midleton

253,000

260,000

279,000

281,296

266,470

177,000

Monaghan

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Naas

532,000

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Navan

532,000

546,000

587,000

605,000

605,000

373,000

Nenagh

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

New Ross

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Skibbereen

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Templemore

178,000

183,000

197,000

204,000

204,000

126,000

Thurles

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tipperary

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tralee

789,500

546,000

582,001

605,000

605,000

373,000

Trim

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Tullamore

253,000

260,000

279,000

285,071

287,000

177,000

Westport

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Wicklow

253,000

260,000

279,000

287,000

287,000

177,000

Youghal

253,000

243,322

279,000

287,000

241,794

177,000

*2009 Allocation following the Supplementary Budget of 7 April 2009.

Rail Network.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

132 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if consideration has been given to the provision of a spur to provide extension to rail services at Naas, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39874/09]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 273 answered on 17 February 2009. The position remains the same.

Airport Charges.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

133 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which airport charges at the various airports here compare with charges at other airports throughout Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39875/09]

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) regulates airport charges levied at Dublin Airport. Charges at Cork and Shannon are set by the airport authority. Passenger charges levied at the six regional airports, which are owned and operated independently, are a matter for each airport concerned.

In relation to comparative charges at other European Airports, I have been informed by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) that independent research indicates that charges at Dublin are towards the lower end of a broad comparison group of the top airports in Europe. In this context, I understand that data extracted from the independently produced Jacobs 'Review of Airport Charges 2008' Report, ranking charges from most to least expensive, showed that Dublin airport's charges ranked 29th of 50 in its European airport survey. I also understand from the DAA that charges at Cork and Shannon also compare favourably with European benchmarks.

Road Safety.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

134 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the total number of road traffic accidents reported in each of the past five years and to date in 2009; if an accident report was completed in each case with particular reference to fatalities or injury; the extent to which drugs, alcohol or other factors contributed to the cause; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39877/09]

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No 477 of 2006) this is a matter for the Road Safety Authority.

Transport 21.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

135 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the degree to which the objectives set out in Transport 21 have been achieved to date or are more likely to be so achieved in accordance with the original predictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39878/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to similar Question No. 7 of today's date.

Rail Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

136 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the anticipated date for the further augmentation of commuter rail facilities to and from Dublin in the context of the national development plan or in the interim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39885/09]

As set out in Transport 21 and the National Development Plan, the next augmentation of commuter rail services will be the Kildare Route Project which entails the quadrupling of a critical section of track between Cherry Orchard and Hazelhatch on the Heuston to Kildare line. New or relocated stations have already been opened at Adamstown in 2007, Fonthill and Park West in 2008 and an expanded station in Hazelhatch in May 2009. The Kildare Route Project will allow the separation of Intercity and commuter services and will improve speed, reliability and capacity for commuter, regional and intercity services. This is due for completion in January 2010.

Work is continuing on Phase 1 of the Navan Rail link. This phase involves the reopening of 7.5km of railway line running off the Maynooth line, at Clonsilla, to the M3 interchange at Pace, near Dunboyne. Services are expected to commence towards the end of 2010. Detailed design work on the next phase of the Navan line from Pace to Navan is also currently underway.

Further works in progress include the Dublin City Centre Resignalling Project. This project, will provide for further capacity enhancement by upgrading signalling to accommodate more services in the critical City Centre area. It is a key project aimed at unlocking the existing major bottleneck in the city centre, which will have positive spin off effects for DART, Commuter and Intercity passengers. The project is due to be completed in early 2012.

Work is also continuing on the DART Underground and the associated electrification programmes.

Also the new Inter City Railcars and Inter City carriages have brought improvements in terms of capacity, reliability and services. The configuration of the new Inter City Railcars will also allow for greater flexibility in timetabling as they can be set-up as either 3 car trains or 6 car trains.

The Dublin Transportation Office (DTO) is currently working on a successor to the Platform for Change and this is expected in the first half of next year.

As I have previously advised the House, the start and completion dates of Transport 21 projects in planning, such as the DART Underground, will in each case be determined by the outcome of public consultation, the statutory planning approval process, the public procurement process and the availability of financial resources determined by the funding allocation available during the current economic climate.

Proposed Legislation.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

137 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date regarding proposed legislation to control management companies and their agents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39728/09]

The position is that both the Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009 and the Multi-Unit Developments Bill 2009 are awaiting Committee Stage in the Seanad.

Work Permits.

John McGuinness

Question:

138 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the requirements for a non-national person to be self employed here. [39742/09]

In general EU citizens can exercise EU Treaty rights to reside and work freely in Ireland including an entitlement to become self-employed in the State. In accordance with the Government decision of December 2008, nationals of Bulgaria and Romania continue to require employment permits in order to take up employment in the State unless they otherwise have permission to participate in the Irish labour market. However, as with other EU citizens they can become self-employed here.

Crime Levels.

Michael Ring

Question:

139 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of times legislation (details supplied) has been effected on a county to county basis. [39713/09]

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to supply the information requested by the Deputy. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Residency Permits

James Bannon

Question:

140 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has been living and working here since 2006 will remain here indefinitely; if their partner will be able to join them under the family reunification scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39763/09]

I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy was granted permission to remain in the State in 2006 under Section 24 of the Refugee Act, 1996. This permission to remain here is renewed on an annual basis by the Garda National Immigration Bureau and currently this person has permission to remain until 14th October 2010.

I have further been informed that the person referred to made an application for Family Reunification on 15th September 2009. This application will be considered by INIS and a decision will issue in due course. All applications are dealt with in chronological order.

Garda Stations.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

141 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans to upgrade Garda stations in Dublin city and around the country; if there is a budget in place for basic repair and upgrade works when they are deemed necessary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39790/09]

Over the past number of years significant investments has been made in the Garda Síochána accommodation programme. This year alone new Garda Stations have opened in Ballymun, Leixlip, Irishtown, Finglas and Ballymote, Co. Sligo and it is expected that a new station at Buncrana, Co. Donegal will open in the near future. In addition, refurbishment works have commenced at a number of Stations around the country.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the Garda Commissioner has established a Garda Accommodation Programme Board under the chairmanship of the Chief Administrative Officer, to prepare a long-term accommodation strategy to support the requirements of operational policing. The strategy will bring forward a mechanism to systematically prioritise investment projects and provide an estimate for the cost of the works involved.

The capital budget for new stations and major refurbishments is provided for in the Vote of the Office of Public Works. In addition, a maintenance budget (amounting to over €7.5m in 2009) is included in the Garda Vote. I am advised that the Office of Public Works has implemented a measured term maintenance programme for all Dublin Garda stations which has proved extremely efficient in delivering a quality customer service to the Garda Síochána.

Garda Equipment.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

142 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied that each Garda station has sufficient basic IT equipment such as PCs and printers, for members to complete their daily administrative duties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39791/09]

I am advised by Garda management that they are satisfied that Gardaí have sufficient access to IT equipment such as PCs and printers to enable them to complete their daily administrative duties.

I am further advised that a new Information and Communications Technology Strategy for the period 2010-2012 will be developed and will identify future technologies required to support the Garda Síochána in meeting the objectives set out in their overall Strategy Statement for the same period.

National Drugs Strategy.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

143 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the proliferation of head shops which have opened here; his views on same; if his further attention has been drawn to the products on sale through these outlets; his views on whether the consumption of such products might lead to the involvement in the consumption of illicit substances and that some of the substances on sale in these outlets should be barred in the interest of public health; if the gardaí have given consideration to this development or expressed concern with regard to this developing phenomenon; the action he will take or the legislation he will bring forward in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39805/09]

I am aware of the recent emergence in the State of outlets commonly known as 'Headshops' and I have been assured by the Garda authorities that the activities of such outlets are closely monitored by An Garda Síochána to ensure compliance with the law, in particular with the Department of Health and Children's Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977/1984.

A number of these types of premises have already been subject of a Garda investigation for suspected breaches of the law, resulting in the submission of investigation files to the Law Officers. A targeted policing operation took place earlier this year whereby searches were conducted in 25 outlets nationwide and products seized during these searches have been submitted to the Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis. Pending the outcome of same, investigation files will be submitted to the Law Officers in course for directions as what charges, if any, should be preferred. I am also assured by the Garda authorities that these kinds of outlets referred to by the Deputy will continue to be monitored for compliance with the law.

Furthermore my colleague Minister John Curran, Minister of State at the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, who has responsibility for co-ordinating the National Drugs Strategy, has identified head shops as a particular area of concern, and in conjunction with relevant Departments and Agencies, is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of such shops. In terms of the further specific controlling of substances on sale in headshops as the Deputy will appreciate that is a matter which falls under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health and Children, under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977/1984.

Citizenship Applications.

Pat Breen

Question:

144 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 339 of 7 July 2009, the status of an application by a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39846/09]

A valid 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 October 2008. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

145 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39849/09]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 164 of Thursday, 12 March 2009, and the written Reply to that Question.

The person concerned applied for asylum on 8 February 2006. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 31 August 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. Representations have been received on behalf of the person concerned.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

146 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if it is accepted that all documentation has been submitted to facilitate the determination of an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39850/09]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person concerned made an application for residency in October 2008. The General Immigration Division wrote to the person in question on 7 July 2009, 29 July 2009, 24 September 2009 and 21 October 2009 requesting further information and documentation. This documentation was received on 28 October 2009 and will be dealt with in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

147 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath whose application has been rejected in spite of the fact that they are married to a French national; the status of the French national in this case; if either or both have right of residency in France or here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39851/09]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person in question made an application for residence in the State on the basis of his marriage to an EU National. This application was refused on 20 August 2009. The decision to refuse this application is currently under review at the applicant's request. An entitlement to residence in France would be a matter for the French authorities.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

148 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if leave to remain will be granted in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare on humanitarian or compassionate grounds in view of the state of their health; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39852/09]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 21 November 2006. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The person concerned was informed, by letter dated 24 October 2008, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given three options in accordance with Section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), to be exercised within 15 working days. Namely, to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to the making of a Deportation Order or to make representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why she should not be deported. By correspondence dated 9 July 2009, an application for Subsidiary Protection was made on behalf of the person concerned by her legal representative. Following consideration of the information submitted, the application was refused. The person concerned and her legal representative were notified of this decision by letter dated 1 September 2009.

Her case was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, (as amended), and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended), on the Prohibition of Refoulement. Consideration was given to representations submitted on her behalf by her legal representative for permission to remain in the State. On 2 September 2009, I refused permission to remain temporarily in the State and instead signed a Deportation Order in respect of her. Notice of this Order was served by registered post requiring her to 'present' to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2, on 6 October 2009, in order to make travel arrangements for her deportation from the State. The person concerned failed to 'present' as requested and was classified as evading her deportation. Should she come to the notice of the Gardaí, she would be liable to arrest and detention. She should, therefore, present herself to the GNIB without any further delay.

I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum, for temporary leave to remain in the State and for Subsidiary Protection, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport her is justified. The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the GNIB.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

149 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date in 2009 in the determination of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39853/09]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 8 February 2007. Her asylum application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The person concerned was informed, by letter dated 13 November 2007, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given three options in accordance with Section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), to be exercised within 15 working days. Namely, to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to the making of a Deportation Order or to make representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why she should not be deported.

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). Following consideration of the information submitted, the application was refused. The person concerned and her legal representative were notified of this decision by letter dated 5 June 2008. Her case was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, (as amended), and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended), on the Prohibition of Refoulement. Consideration was given to representations submitted on her behalf by her legal representative for permission to remain in the State. On 14 August 2008, I refused permission to remain temporarily in the State and instead signed a Deportation Order in respect of her. Notice of this order was served by registered post requiring the person concerned to leave the State by 10 October 2009.

By letter dated 4 August 2009, the legal representative of the person concerned lodged an application for revocation of the Deportation Order, in accordance with the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended). Following consideration of the information submitted, the Deportation Order was affirmed and the person concerned and her legal representative were advised of this decision by letter dated 2 November 2009. In addition, the person concerned was required to present herself to the GNIB on 10 November 2009. By letter dated 23 October 2009 the person concerned and her legal representative were given an undertaking that the Deportation Order would not be enforced until 30 June 2010. The undertaking will not extend beyond this date.

I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum, for temporary leave to remain in the State and for Subsidiary Protection, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport her is justified. The effect of the Deportation Order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the GNIB.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

150 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date in 2009 in the determination of residency of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39854/09]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 21 September 2006. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 16 June 2007, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006).

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

The Deputy might note that the case of the person concerned is among a large number of such cases awaiting consideration at present. However, the Deputy can be assured that the case of the person concerned will be finalised as soon as possible.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

151 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date regarding the determination of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39855/09]

There is currently no application pending in my Department for residency in the case of the person whose details were supplied. If an application for asylum has been made by the person concerned, the Deputy will of course be aware that it is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

152 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for naturalisation in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39856/09]

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 September 2009. On examination of the application submitted it was determined that the person in question did not meet that statutory requirements as set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended. The person concerned was informed of this in a letter issued to her on 23 September, 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 they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

153 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39857/09]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation on behalf of the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in September 2009. Processing of the file has been completed and I have made a decision. The parent of the person in question was informed of this decision in a letter issued on 23 October 2009.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

154 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39858/09]

I refer the Deputy to my previous Replies to his Parliamentary Questions. I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person in question was the subject of a Family Reunification/Permission to Remain application made by his brother in 2003. The Family Reunification/Permission to Remain application was refused in August 2004 and the brother of the person in question was notified of the decision on 19 August 2004. I am further informed by INIS that the legal representative of the person referred to by the Deputy made further representations and were informed on 13 March 2009 that as the person concerned was being interviewed by An Garda Síochána his application was being suspended pending the outcome of the investigation. On receipt of the completed investigation by An Garda Síochána the application will be further considered.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

155 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding to an application for residency and citizenship in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39859/09]

The persons concerned, a husband and wife, made separate applications for asylum on 3 March 2005 and 18 April 2005 respectively. The second named person gave birth to a child in the State later in 2005 and this child was subsequently included in her mother's asylum application. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the persons concerned were entitled to remain in the State until their applications for asylum were decided. Their asylum applications were refused following consideration of their individual cases by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of their asylum applications, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the persons concerned were notified, by letters dated 13 April 2007 and 20 April 2007 respectively, that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of them and their child. They were given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of Deportation Orders or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why Deportation Orders should not be made in respect of them and their child. In addition, they were notified of their respective entitlements to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006).

The persons concerned submitted separate applications for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and these applications are under consideration at present. When consideration of these applications have been completed, the persons concerned will be notified in writing of the outcomes. In the event that the applications for Subsidiary Protection are refused, the position in the State of the persons concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the files are passed to me for decision. Once decisions have been made, these decisions and the consequences of the decisions will be conveyed in writing to the persons concerned.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

156 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency on humanitarian grounds in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39860/09]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 78 of Thursday, 9 April, 2009, and the written Reply to that Question. As stated in my earlier Reply, the person concerned has submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State which is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

157 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in relation to residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39861/09]

There is currently no application pending in my Department for residency in the case of the person whose details were supplied. If an application for asylum has been made by the person concerned, the Deputy will of course be aware that it is not the practice to comment in detail on individual asylum applications.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

158 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when renewal of travel and residency documentation will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39862/09]

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) informs me that the person in question was granted permission to remain in the State on 23 August 2006 on the basis of family reunification. In order to renew registration in the State, the person concerned must present at their local Garda National Immigration Bureau office with passport, approval letter from the Family Reunification Section and be accompanied by the Refugee who applied to have the person concerned reunited with them. I am informed by the Immigration Services Section of INIS that no application for a travel document has been received from the person concerned to-date. It remains open to the person in question to submit an application for a travel document accompanied by the relevant supporting documentation to the Travel Document Unit of INIS which is located at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

159 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made to date regarding an application for residency and citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39864/09]

I refer the Deputy to the Reply given to his Parliamentary Question No. 699 on Tuesday 3 November 2009. The status of the person concerned is as set out in that Reply.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

160 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in regard to residency and citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39865/09]

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 October 2009. On examination of the application submitted it was determined that the application in its entirety be returned to the person concerned for further attention on 12 October, 2009. In order to be fair to all applicants, only valid applications can be considered. It is open to the person in question to re-submit the application to the Citizenship Division of my Department at anytime. I wish to inform the Deputy that the person to whom he refers was granted permission to remain in the State, in 2000, under the arrangements then in place for the non-EEA parents of Irish citizen children. I am informed that the permission granted is currently valid until 13 September 2010.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

161 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding to citizenship or eligibility for same in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39866/09]

Officials in the Citizenship Division of my Department inform me that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question.

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

In the context of naturalisation, certain periods of residence in the State are excluded. These include, periods of residence in respect of which an applicant does not have permission to remain in the State, periods granted for the purposes of study, periods granted for the purposes of seeking recognition as a refugee within the meaning of the Refugee Act, 1996. It is open to the person concerned to lodge an application for a certificate of naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

162 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in regard to citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39867/09]

A valid 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 March 2007. I decided in my absolute discretion not to grant a certificate of naturalisation and the reason for refusal was disclosed to the person in question in a letter issued on 12 March, 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 at anytime. However, in doing so he should bear in mind the reason for refusal of his previous application.

Refugee Status.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

163 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when temporary travel documents will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39868/09]

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) informs me that the person in question was refused Refugee Status in 2003 and is therefore not entitled to be issued with an Irish Travel Document. The person concerned was granted temporary permission to remain in the State on 19 February 2009 for 3 years until 19 February 2012.

In exceptional cases an application for an Irish temporary travel document may be considered. In all such cases INIS must be satisfied that there is no alternative open to the applicant before an Irish temporary travel document will issue. An application for an Irish temporary travel document will only be considered by the Immigration Services Section in INIS on receipt of a fully completed application form. Supporting documentation accompanying any such application should include original correspondence from the relevant consular authority outlining the steps necessary to be followed by the person to facilitate the procurement of a national passport if their presence is required outside the State.

I am informed by the Immigration Services Section of INIS that the person concerned has had two applications for a temporary travel document refused recently as the applications received were not accompanied with the requisite original correspondence from his own consular authorities.

It remains open to the person in question to submit a new application for a temporary travel document accompanied by the relevant supporting documentation to the Travel Document Unit of INIS which is located at 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

164 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in regard to an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39869/09]

A valid 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 October 2008.

All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. However, I understand that the person concerned is a refugee. In accordance with the Government's obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, every effort is made to ensure that applications from persons with refugee status are dealt with as quickly as possible.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

I am also informed that there is a discrepancy between the address the Deputy has provided and the address that my Department holds on file, please note that it is the responsibility of the applicant to keep my Department informed of any change of address in writing.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

165 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when consideration of an application for citizenship is expected to be completed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39870/09]

A valid 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 2007.

All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants.The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. However, I understand that the person concerned is a refugee. In accordance with the Government's obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, every effort is made to ensure that applications from persons with refugee status are dealt with as quickly as possible. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that processing of the application is at an advanced stage and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

166 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when consideration of an application for citizenship is expected to be completed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39871/09]

A valid 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 2007.

All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. However, I understand that the person concerned is a refugee. In accordance with the Government's obligations under the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, every effort is made to ensure that applications from persons with refugee status are dealt with as quickly as possible. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that processing of the application is at an advanced stage and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Road Traffic Offences.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

167 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda checkpoints which have been specifically put in place to breathalyse for drunk driving in the Cavan and Monaghan, Louth and Meath divisional districts for each of the past four years; the time of day or night these checkpoints took place and the length of time; if he is satisfied that he has sufficient personnel to deal with this issue; if he will advise if or when he plans to roll out the promised speed cameras structure on a national basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39937/09]

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to provide the information requested by the Deputy in relation to the number of Garda checkpoints which have been specifically put in place to breathalyse for drunk driving in specific areas referred. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

An Garda Síochána is engaged in a procurement process, in accordance with EU Directives, national public procurement procedures and relevant legislation, for the provision and operation of safety cameras by a service provider. A preferred bidder has been selected, and contract discussions are at an advanced stage. Every effort is being made to proceed with this project as speedily as possible. Until these discussions are concluded, it is not possible to indicate details of the proposed introduction of or a specific timetable for the project.

Foreign Conflicts.

Chris Andrews

Question:

168 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a humanitarian convoy which has been organised by the Palestinian Return Centre and other non-governmental organisations is now trapped in Egypt and is prohibited from entering Gaza to deliver medical equipment there; if he has been in contact with the Egyptian Government about same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39758/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to question 772 of the 3rd November as outlined below:

I have not been contacted by any charitable group in connection with this convoy. However, I have had enquiries made with the Egyptian authorities in relation to it. I understand that the convoy in question is a very large shipment of aid organised by Palestinian groups in a number of European countries, primarily the UK. It was organised in proper consultation with the Egyptian authorities, and permissions issued. Unfortunately, however, the shipment was sent to Port Said, whereas all shipments for Gaza are now to be routed through the port of Arish, closest to Gaza. I understand Egyptian officials and the Egyptian Red Crescent are arranging its transfer to Arish.

A separate difficulty is that a very large number of persons have travelled with the convoy intending to enter Gaza, and the Egyptian authorities had not been notified of this. They are now processing these individuals and will in due course decide if some or all of them can be admitted to Gaza.

International Agreements.

Joe McHugh

Question:

169 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if Britain has recently engaged his Department in discussions regarding the implementation of the Schengen Agreement here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39818/09]

The British authorities have not recently engaged my Department regarding the implementation of the Schengen Agreement here. As the Deputy will be aware, the Schengen Agreement primarily concerns immigration, police and judicial matters, which are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. In addition, in an EU context, many of the issues covered by the Schengen Agreement are discussed on an ongoing basis in the relevant Council formats by all EU Member States, including Britain and Ireland. For example, Member States are currently negotiating the Schengen Information System, Mark 2.

Child Abductions.

Noel Ahern

Question:

170 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the progress made on the attempts in respect of a person (details supplied) to reunite them with their daughter; if he has raised this matter with his Hungarian counterpart; if he has made a complaint to the European Court of Justice against Hungary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39838/09]

I have been following developments closely in the case mentioned by the Deputy for the past twenty two months. The case involves the abduction of the child of an Irish citizen. My officials, both in Dublin and in the Embassy in Budapest have been in regular contact with the Irish citizen concerning this case. Diplomatic staff in our Embassy in Budapest, have met with the relevant authorities in Hungary on numerous occasions to raise our concerns.

Following the completion of legal proceedings in Hungary in July 2009, a bailiff was granted powers including police assistance to enforce an Order of the Hungarian High Court compelling the ex-wife to hand over the child to her father. On 29 July, when the bailiff went to a house in the village of Boconad in order to enforce the Order, he found that the mother had absconded with the child. Diplomatic staff from our Embassy and from the Embassy of France in Budapest were present in Boconad on that occasion to observe proceedings and provide consular assistance.

The Hungarian authorities subsequently issued a search warrant in respect of the child's mother but to date neither she nor the child have been found. The Embassy is maintaining close contact with the Hungarian police. On 28 October, following a report that the child was at an address in the town of Egar, the bailiff in the case went to the address accompanied by police officers but Fiona was not at this address. Diplomatic staff from our Embassy and the Embassy of France in Budapest were again present to observe proceedings and to provide consular assistance.

I wrote to the Hungarian Foreign Minister on 29 September and urged that the Hungarian authorities take all appropriate action to locate the child with a view to enforcing the Court Order. I am now awaiting a reply to this letter. I have also been in contact with my French counterpart Mr. Bernard Kouchner concerning this case. I can assure the Deputy I will continue to give a high priority to supporting the Irish citizen in question.

Departmental Programmes.

Michael Ring

Question:

171 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the way he will fund the continuation of a programme (details supplied) which has directly engaged thousands of people with disabilities in sport and physical activities in view of its nationwide success. [39710/09]

Special funding of €2.5 million was allocated from the dormant accounts fund for the appointment of 20 Sports Inclusion Development Officers (SIDOs) in Local Sports Partnerships (LSPs) in 2008. The SIDOs were appointed on two-year contracts to provide opportunities for persons with a disability to participate in sport and physical activity. A network of 33 LSPs has been set up throughout the country by the Irish Sports Council (ISC) to coordinate and promote sport at local level especially amongst specific target groups such as older people, girls and women, people with disabilities, unemployed people, and those who live in identified disadvantaged communities. The special dormant accounts funding was in addition to the annual funding provided to the LSPs by the ISC for programmes and initiatives aimed at increasing participation in recreational sport. The ISC has allocated €6 million to the LSPs in 2009. The continuation of the SIDO scheme from 2010 will be dependent on negotiations on the 2010 Estimates.

Departmental Funding.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

172 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will recognise that the needs of cultural cinema require State support, in particular, the case of a cinema (details supplied) in Cork city; if he will become involved in the matter; if he will meet with the various interests both public and private to determine the action to save the cinema; the funding and support that might be available or freed up by him in these circumstances with regard to dealing with the cinema’s immediate difficulties and putting a sustainable business plan in place, for example, the creation of a public private partnership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39734/09]

In 1997, the venue referred to by the Deputy received capital funding of IR£100,000 (€127,000) from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht & the Islands under a scheme called the Cultural Development Incentive Scheme. I understand that in 2003/2004, under a scheme operated by the Cultural Cinema Consortium, a capital grant of €750,000 was awarded for the expansion of the cinema. The manager of the Cinema decided ultimately not to avail of this grant. Exchequer funding is not provided for current day-to-day operation of the cinema, either through my Department or agencies under its remit.

Sports Capital Programme.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

173 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans regarding the sports capital grant scheme; if he will renew the sports capital grant scheme; or if he will replace it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39785/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

174 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the way the sports capital grant scheme is funded; if the programme is funded from the profits generated by the national lottery; if so, the location to which the money generated in 2009 has gone in view of the fact that the sports capital grant scheme was suspended for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39786/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

175 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the outcome for groups which have, or have partially, invested in projects dependent on income from the sports capital grant scheme; if the groups that drew up a development plan prior to the suspension of the sports capital grant scheme will be awarded the grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39787/09]

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

Under the Sports Capital Programme, which is administered by my Department, and part funded from the proceeds of the National Lottery, funding is allocated to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. Since 1998, over €725 million has been allocated to over 7,400 projects across the country. No new applications for funding have been sought in 2009 and no decision has been made on the timing of the next round of the Programme. However, €56 million has been provided in my Department's vote in the 2009 Estimates to cover payments to be made from the C1 subhead, out of which grants are paid for the provision of sports and recreation facilities and all of this money be spent before the end of the year. The corresponding figure for 2008 was €58m.

With over €175m in outstanding grant at the start of 2009 it has been business as usual for all grantees allocated funding under previous rounds of the Programme this year. By close of business on Friday 30 October over 1,330 payments had been approved with a total value of over €49m. It is the intention to meet existing commitments made to grantees under the Programme subject to their compliance with the relevant criteria required for the payment.

Work on the National Sports Facilities Strategy, which will provide an improved policy platform for any future rounds of the Programme, is at an advanced stage of preparation in my Department. It is my intention to publish the strategy once it has been completed and considered by the Government. The distribution of the proceeds of the National Lottery is a matter for the Minister for Finance.

Mary Upton

Question:

176 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism further to Parliamentary Question No. 389 of 20 October 2009, the process and procedure that applies when an application is made for a grant under the sports capital programme; if the sports capital programme is now closed for the foreseeable future; the duties of those persons previously engaged in the administration of the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39828/09]

All applications received before the Sports Capital Programme deadline are assessed according to the Programme's assessment criteria as outlined in the terms and conditions of the programme. These criteria, which are issued with application forms, can be summarised as follows:

the extent to which projects increase active participation and result in improved standards of sport especially in disadvantaged areas;

the financial viability of the project; and

the need to achieve an equitable spread geographically and across different sports and community groups.

In addition, projects identified as being located in areas designated as disadvantaged, or as serving disadvantaged areas, are targeted and prioritised. A scoring system is employed which allocates marks to each application consistent with the extent to which it meets the assessment criteria. Different weighting is attached to the various criteria depending on their importance. All applications must fulfil certain minimum terms and conditions to qualify for a score.

The applications are divided into two categories for assessment — local and non-local i.e. national, regional and municipal-multisport. For local projects, the level of funding to each county is on the basis of a pro-rata distribution of the available funding on the basis of the population as set out in the most recent census of population. All local applications from an individual county are assessed by one member of staff to ensure a consistent approach to applications from the county concerned. These assessments are then subject to quality proofing by more senior officers to the officer which conducted the initial assessment. Applications which meet the basic qualifying conditions each receive a score, which decides their order of priority within their own county.

In cases where a sufficient number of eligible projects is not received from a county, any excess funding is typically distributed pro-rata among counties that have an excess of eligible projects. Non-local projects are assessed on additional criteria such as the location of the proposed facility within the network of national, regional, municipal facilities and linkages with the Department's Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme. Following completion of the assessment process, a list of recommended allocations is submitted to the Minister for approval. Both the assessment of applications and the payment of allocations under the Sports Capital Programme is subject to inspection by my Department's capital inspection unit, internal audit section (which examines certain sections of the Department each year) and externally by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

No new applications for funding have been sought in 2009 and no decision has been made on the timing of the next round of the Programme. However, €56 million has been provided in my Department's vote in the 2009 Estimates to cover payments to be made from the C1 subhead, out of which grants are paid for the provision of sports and recreation facilities and all of this money be spent before the end of the year. The corresponding figure for 2008 was €58m.

With over €175m in outstanding grant at the start of 2009 it has been business as usual for all grantees allocated funding under previous rounds of the Programme this year. By close of business on Friday 30 October over 1,330 payments had been approved with a total value of over €49m.

The section dealing with sports capital grants also has responsibility for other sports capital projects such as the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme, the Tax Relief for Donations to Certain Sports Bodies scheme and the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road Stadium. The staffing complement in the section dealing with Sports Capital grants has been reduced during the last 12 months.

National Drugs Strategy.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

177 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the proliferation of “head” shops which have opened here; his views on same; if his further attention has been drawn to the products on sale through these outlets; his further views on whether the consumption of such products might lead to the involvement in the consumption of illicit substances and that some of the substances on sale in these outlets should be banned in the interest of public health and safety; if community groups have raised concerns with him about these outlets; the action he will take or the legislation he will bring forward in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39806/09]

I am aware of the growth in the number of Head Shops and the activities of these shops selling substances that are represented as being "legal highs" or "herbal highs". These products are currently not scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation, but may have effects similar to those of illicit substances. Community groups, amongst others, have raised their concerns with me and two of the major issues raised relate to the potential health hazard that the products may represent and their potential to act as a gateway to illicit drug use.

Actions 14 and 15 of the new National Drugs Strategy were developed to address the widely held concerns in this regard by committing to:

Monitoring the activities of headshops, and all businesses involved in the sale of psychoactive substances, with the objective of ensuring that no illegal activity is undertaken.

Keeping drugs-related legislation under continuous review, with particular focus on new synthetic substances, new or changed uses of psychoactive substances, and against the background of EU and broader international experience and best practice.

Ensuring that steps are taken to reform legislation in this respect where it is deemed to be appropriate.

I also raised the issue at the initial meeting of the Oversight Forum on Drugs (OFD), which I chair, a few weeks ago. As a result of discussions at that meeting, a number of avenues are being explored to see what action can best be taken to minimise the impact of the activities of these shops.

The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Health & Children has the main statutory responsibility in the area. Under the Misuse of Drugs Acts, the importation, exportation, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are regulated and controlled. The list of scheduled substances is kept under review on an ongoing basis. In particular, that Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health. Such reviews can encompass EU decisions in regard to any substances, as happened in regard to BZP (Benzylpiperazine) but also decisions can be made unilaterally by each State, as it considers appropriate. The Early Warning Emerging Trends Committee (EWET) of the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) are also currently looking at the issues involved and are continuing to monitor developments at international level.

As ‘legal highs' are currently not controlled substances, there is no authority under the Misuse of Drugs legislation to prevent their sale in headshops. The activities of these establishments are, however, consistently monitored by both the Garda Síochána and Revenue's Custom Service with a view to ensuring that no illegal substances are sold from these premises.

National Carer’s Strategy.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

178 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will publish the report on a national carer’s strategy; if she will make a statement outlining the reason for the delay in publishing this report. [39779/09]

During 2008 an interdepartmental group, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach, with secretariat support provided by my Department, undertook work, including a public consultation process to develop a National Carers' Strategy. However, because of the prevailing economic situation, it was not possible to set targets or time lines which could be achieved. In that context, rather than publishing a document which did not include any significant plans for the future, the Government decided not to publish a strategy. This position remains unchanged.

The Government is acutely aware and appreciative of the contribution made by carers to people needing ongoing care and support. In recognition of this, considerable improvements have been made in recent years in services and supports for carers. Over the past decade, weekly payment rates to carers have greatly increased, qualifying conditions for carer's allowance have significantly eased, coverage of the scheme has been extended and new schemes such as carer's benefit, half-rate carer's allowance and the respite care grant have been introduced and extended.

In Budget 2009, the rate of carer's allowance for those aged 66 or over increased by €7 to €239 per week and for those aged under 66 by €6.50 to €220.50 per week. These increases took effect from January 2009. Recipients of carer's allowance are also eligible for household benefits and free travel and the respite care grant. It is estimated that the combined expenditure on carer's allowance, carer's benefit, the respite care grant and half-rate carer's allowance will be €650 million in 2009.

Registration of Births.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

179 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when approval will be given in respect of registry of birth in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39887/09]

I have had enquiries made with the HSE Civil Registration Service (Eastern Region) and I am informed that the position is that the mother of the person (details supplied) was in a legally subsisting marriage at the time of the birth. It appears that she informed the registrar that her legal spouse was not the father of the child and that the couple separated prior to the birth, albeit not by way of divorce, separation agreement or order.

Under Section 46 the Status of Children Act, 1987, a married man is legally presumed to be the father of all children of a subsisting marriage and this presumption is reflected in the provisions contained in part 3 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, which govern the registration of births.

Section 22(3) of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, requires a woman who was in a subsisting marriage at the time of the birth, or in such a marriage within 10 months prior to the birth, and who claims that her husband is not the father of her child, to produce to the registrar either;

a statutory declaration that she has been living apart from her husband during the period of 10 months ending immediately before the birth of the child by virtue of a decree of divorce, a decree of divorce a mensa et thoro, a decree of nullity or a deed of separation, or

a statutory declaration of the person to whom the mother was married at some time during the period aforesaid, that he is not the father of the child.

As it appears that the mother in this case is not separated from her legal spouse by means of a decree or deed referred to above, a statutory declaration from her legal spouse has been requested from her by the registrar but has not been forthcoming.

A further option for registration in this case is provided for under the provisions of section 22(2)(d) of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, which allows registration of a birth to proceed if the mother produces to the registrar a document purporting to be a copy of an order made by a court in proceedings referred to in section 45 of the Status of Children Act 1987 (in effect, a Guardianship or Maintenance Order from the District Court), finding that a person other than her legal spouse is the father of the child.

I am informed that the mother of the person (details supplied) has been fully informed of the requirements, as outlined above, to rebut the presumption of paternity and to allow the registration to proceed, but has failed to comply with same to date. Once these requirements have been met, the registration will be approved on the authority of a Superintendent Registrar.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

180 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the fixed amount paid each month to the CIÉ Group for journeys made using the free travel pass in the years 2004 to 2008 inclusive in tabular format. [39712/09]

The amounts paid by the Department to the CIÉ group in respect of the Free Travel scheme from 2004 to 2008 are set out in the following table:

Year

Month

Total

2004

January

3,999,487

February

3,855,895

March

3,626,629

April

4,061,266

May

3,828,109

June

3,817,953

July

4,337,807

August

3,737,090

September

3,693,074

October

3,921,266

November

3,936,150

December

3,808,838

Total

46,623,564

2005

January

3,928,822

February

3,832,354

March

3,904,692

April

4,000,140

May

3,943,477

June

3,843,932

July

4,084,754

August

4,068,678

September

4,551,906

October

4,106,451

November

4,058,336

December

3,999,759

Total:

48,323,301

2006

January

4,386,564

February

3,970,177

March

4,187,543

April

4,170,518

May

4,046,900

June

4,016,637

July

4,046,486

August

4,254,906

September

4,323,983

October

4,316,485

November

4,320,053

December

4,483,564

Total:

50,523,816

2007

January

4,183,860

February

4,272,765

March

4,295,121

April

4,295,728

May

4,293,459

June

4,303,445

July

4,727,826

August

4,306,291

September

4,285,349

October

4,307,764

November

4,660,330

December

4,612,782

Total:

52,544,720

2008

January

4,912,329

February

4,419,096

March

4,474,077

April

4,625,044

May

4,501,839

June

5,393,426

July

4,622,247

August

4,683,150

September

4,516,989

October

4,526,374

November

4,632,930

December

5,046,743

Total:

56,354,244

The Department pays CIE Group centrally in respect of transport services provided by the Group companies for pensioners and other groups eligible under the Free Travel scheme. The apportionment of payment between the three constituent companies, Bus Eireann, Bus Atha Cliath and Iarnród Eireann is a matter for the CIE Group to determine. Payments to CIE are adjusted to take account of fares increases, service levels and amendments to the numbers of customers eligible for the Free Travel scheme.

Employment Support Services.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

181 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people on jobseekers benefit who have been referred to FÁS for interview to date in 2009; the age-profile of those being referred; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39794/09]

Catherine Byrne

Question:

182 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her views that some people being referred to FÁS by her Department are unlikely to upskill and find alternative employment due to their age or education to date; the way she plans to help these people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39795/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 182 together.

The National Employment Action Plan, operated jointly with FÁS, is the main activation measure for jobseekers. Under the plan, all persons between the ages of 18 and 65 years who are in receipt of jobseekers allowance or jobseekers benefit and approaching 3 months on the Live Register, are identified by the Department of Social and Family Affairs and referred to FÁS for interview with the aim of assisting them to enter/re-enter the labour market.

In the period January to end of August 2009 (the latest date for which figures are available), a total of 55,883 persons were referred to FÁS. The reporting system does not provide a breakdown of the numbers referred between those on jobseekers benefit and those on job seekers allowance. A breakdown of the numbers referred by age is provided in the table below.

Age profile of people referred under EAP to FÁS January-August 2009

Age

Numbers

Under 25

11,452

25-34

15,681

35-44

10,310

45-54

6,481

55-64

2,688

Long Term Unemployed*

9,271

Total

55,883

*An age breakdown is not available for this group.

People remain on the live register while engaged with FÁS under the NEAP until they take up offers of employment or training. If they do not attend for interview with FÁS or having engaged with FÁS decline offers of employment or training, their cases are referred back to the social welfare local office for review to determine if they continue to satisfy the conditions for receipt of jobseekers payments. There is a statutory obligation on recipients of jobseekers payments to be available for and genuinely seeking full time employment.

People, who, for valid reasons, are unable to avail of the opportunities for placement in employment, training or education provided by FÁS, continue to receive payment. In such cases, the Department's facilitator service is available to assist them in identifying barriers to participation and exploring alternative progression routes. Facilitators liaise closely with social welfare customers in order to assess and determine their needs and arrange, through direct provision or jointly with other agencies, appropriate training and developmental programmes. In addition, there is a range of employment support schemes available from the Department of Social and Family Affairs to facilitate people to return to education or to commence self employment.

The National Employment Action Plan plays an important role in assisting unemployed persons enter or return to the labour force. The process is fundamental in addressing the progression needs of those on the Live Register. It provides a stimulus to job search and affords an opportunity to explore, under professional guidance, the full range of employment and training services offered by FÁS.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

183 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people that are in receipt of the one parent family payment; the cost of this payment in 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; the breakdown of the gender, age-profile and nationality of current recipients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39796/09]

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to One-parent Family Payment for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 (October) is given in the tables below as follows:

Table 1: number of recipients and expenditure for each year

Table 2: breakdown by gender

Table 3: age profile

Table 4: nationality/EEA status of current recipients

Table 1: Number of Recipients and Expenditure

Year

No. of Recipients

Expenditure

2007

85,084

962,424,795.99

2008

87,886

1,067,158,458.54

2009 (October)

89,896

917,780,000.00

Note the Expenditure figure for the period to the end of October 2009 is estimated. The actual expenditure figure is not available at this time.

Table 2: Breakdown by Gender

Number of Recipients

Female

Male

89,896

87,613

2,283

97.46%

2.54%

Table 3: Age Profile

Age

Number of Recipients

Under 20

1,547

20-25

15,626

26-30

19,883

31-35

16,472

36-40

15,456

41-45

11,057

46-50

6,076

51-55

2,621

56-60

952

61-65

206

89,896

Table 4: Nationality/EEA Status

COUNTRY / EEA

Recipients

Ireland

70,431

UK

4,164

Other EEA States

3,088

Non-EEA States

3,426

Coded as ‘Oother’

8,787

Total

89,896

Registration of Births.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

184 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her views on the mandatory inclusion of fathers’ names on birth certificates, which would assist in securing maintenance payments where necessary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39797/09]

The current position in relation to birth registrations is that no man can be named as the father of a child in an entry unless he consents to do so or unless he is found to be the father of the child by the Courts, in proceedings relating to guardianship or maintenance or by way of a declaration of parentage, made under section 35 of the Status of Children Act, 1987.

Under the provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, where the parents are not married to each other at the time of the birth, the father's particulars can be registered if the parents make a joint application to do so, or if either makes an application, accompanied by a statutory declaration from the other parent, naming the father, or if either parent makes an application accompanied by a court order naming the father.

Where a father's details are not registered initially, the parents may re-register the birth to add his details. The procedures for such re-registrations are similar to those for registrations. Also, if the parents marry each other following the birth, they are legally obliged to re-register the birth, under the provisions of section 24 of the Act.

The Houses of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social and Family Affairs has strongly recommended that it should be made compulsory for the father's name to be registered on a child's birth certificate (First Report — October 2009). The Law Reform Commission (LRC) recently issued a discussion document on legal aspects of family relationships, which included the issue of the registration of the father's particulars. They have invited submissions from interested parties and will, in due course, issue recommendations in a further report. Any recommendation in relation to the compulsory registration of the father's details on a birth record will be of considerable significance and will be seriously considered, especially in light of the Joint Committee's recommendation on the registration of the father's particulars.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

185 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will have their appeal expedited in respect of their disability payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39803/09]

The claim for disability allowance, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer of the Department from 7th October 2009 following an assessment by a Medical Assessor who expressed the opinion that she was not medically suitable.

An appeal was opened on 13th October 2009 and the Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department was asked for the documentation in the case and the Deciding Officer's comments on the grounds of the appeal. In that context, an examination by another Medical Assessor will be carried out. The person concerned will be advised when the arrangements have been completed.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office is an office of the Department that is independently responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

186 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the extent of rent support payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39889/09]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which includes rent supplement, is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare service of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The HSE has advised that it has increased the amount of rent supplement payable to the person concerned from €779.70 to €849 per month from March 2009. This is the maximum amount of rent supplement payable for a person with rent of €950 per month in the area where she lives. The person concerned must pay the minimum contribution of €24 a week towards her rent from her own resources. The Executive has further advised that full arrears of rent supplement for the period from March to September 2009 have issued to the person concerned.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

187 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when mortgage assistance will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [39891/09]

The Health Service Executive has advised that according to its records, an application for mortgage interest supplement has not been received from the person concerned.

The Health Service Executive has also advised that the person concerned has been in receipt of rent supplement since 14th November 2001.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

188 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when mortgage assistance or relief support will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [39893/09]

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which includes mortgage interest supplement, is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare service of the Health Service Executive.

The Health Service Executive has advised that according to its records, an application for mortgage interest supplement has not been received from the person concerned.

It is open to the person concerned to contact his local community welfare officer with a view to making an application for mortgage interest supplement.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

189 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position in relation to an appeal for carer’s allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39894/09]

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the relevant Departmental papers and comments of the Department have been received and the case has been referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office is an office of the Department that is independently responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

190 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason there has been a delay in processing a disability benefit application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 2. [39898/09]

Disability Allowance is a weekly allowance paid to people with a specified disability who are aged over 16 and under 66. The disability must be expected to last for at least one year and the allowance is subject to a medical assessment, a means test and a habitual residency test.

The person applied for Disability Allowance on 21 August 2009. Her claim was assessed by a Medical Assessor and she was found to be medically suitable for Disability Allowance.

The person's file was forwarded to a Social Welfare Inspector and the Inspector interviewed the applicant in relation to her means. Further information is required however, before a decision can be made on her claim. The Social Welfare Inspector will be in touch with this person shortly in this regard.

A decision on the Disability Allowance claim will be given upon receipt of the Social Welfare Inspector's report and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

191 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons in receipt of jobseeker’s benefit to date in 2009 by age category; the cost of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39916/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

192 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance by age category; the number of people in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance by duration up to one year, between one and two years, two and three years, three and four years, four and five years, five years and above; the cost of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39917/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 191 and 192 together.

I have presented a tabular statement showing the age by duration of both jobseekers allowance and jobseekers benefit claims at the end of October 2009. The expenditure on these schemes was as follows:

2008

2009 (end Aug)

Jobseekers Allowance

1,158,851,171

1,195,628,373

Jobseekers Benefit

928,843,826

1,168,306,121

August 2009 is the latest date for which official figures are available.

Awarded Claims — Jobseeker's Allowance and Jobseeker's Benefit — 31/10/2009

Age

Jobseeker’s Allowance

0-12 Months

1-2 years

2-3 years

3-4 years

4-5 years

5+ years

Total

Under 25

35,304

12,828

3,649

1,535

794

522

54,632

25 to 34 years

35,737

13,153

4,811

2,531

1,630

3,276

61,138

35 to 44 years

20,550

9,065

3,727

2,230

1,534

4,468

41,574

45 to 54 years

12,942

6,040

2,774

2,034

1,619

5,979

31,388

55 to 64 years

6,629

3,335

2,933

2,468

2,122

8,758

26,245

65 to 66 years

182

112

138

123

106

951

1,612

Total

111,344

44,533

18,032

10,921

7,805

23,954

216,589

Age

Jobseeker’s Benefit

0-12 Months

1-2 years

2-3 years

3-4 years

4-5 years

5+ years

Total

Under 25

18,993

824

9

0

0

0

19,826

25 to 34 years

61,844

3,381

150

12

2

0

65,389

35 to 44 years

41,459

2,935

234

24

4

2

44,658

45 to 54 years

27,626

2,375

227

38

5

3

30,274

55 to 64 years

16,889

1,537

176

32

4

1

18,639

65 to 66 years

765

140

12

3

0

0

920

Total

167,576

11,192

808

109

15

6

179,706

Age

Total

0-12 Months

1-2 years

2-3 years

3-4 years

4-5 years

5+ years

Total

Under 25

54,297

13,652

3,658

1,535

794

522

74,458

25 to 34 years

97,581

16,534

4,961

2,543

1,632

3,276

126,527

35 to 44 years

62,009

12,000

3,961

2,254

1,538

4,470

86,232

45 to 54 years

40,568

8,415

3,001

2,072

1,624

5,982

61,662

55 to 64 years

23,518

4,872

3,109

2,500

2,126

8,759

44,884

65 to 66 years

947

252

150

126

106

951

2,532

Total

278,920

55,725

18,840

11,030

7,820

23,960

396,295

Local Authority Charges.

James Bannon

Question:

193 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on if it is equitable that a person (details supplied) in County Longford who owns a house in a rural area and pays a mortgage on it and is also paying rent for a room in Dublin during the working week to access employment, should be expected to pay the €200 tax on her own home. [39761/09]

Martin Ferris

Question:

199 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if a person whose sole residence is here but who stays with family in the north of Ireland during the week while working is liable to the non principal private residence charge. [39756/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 199 together.

The Government has decided to broaden the revenue base of local authorities through the introduction of this charge on non-principal private residences, which is set at €200 per dwelling and is being levied and collected by local authorities.

While detailed guidance has been provided to local authorities for the purposes of applying the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, covering, inter alia, the terms and definitions used in the Act and their local application, interpretation and implementation of the legislation is a matter for the local authorities in the first instance.

George Lee

Question:

194 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if a house that is split into a number of bed-sits is liable to pay the non-principal private residence tax once or a number of times; the reason for this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39938/09]

The Government has decided to broaden the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on all non-principal private residences. The charge is payable by the owners of private rented accommodation, holiday homes and any other residential property that is not the owner's sole or main residence.

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, which sets out the detail of the charge, defines residential property as including flats, apartments and bedsits. The €200 charge is payable on each unit of accommodation used, or suitable for use, as a separate dwelling, whether or not any amenity or facility in the building or premises may be shared. The owner of a house split into a number of bedsits would thus be liable for the charge on each unit in that house.

Noel Coonan

Question:

195 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the way he regulates the non-principal private residencies charge; the way it is decided that a property is exempt from the charge; if each local authority has their own engineer who checks the property to confirm if it is liable or not; the breakdown of the local authorities that have such an engineer and for those local authorities who do not have such an engineer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39720/09]

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, which sets out the detail of the €200 charge on non-principal private residences, provides for a starting position of universal liability and goes on to exempt certain buildings and owners from the charge, the most important exemption being where a property is occupied by the owner as his or her sole or main residence on the liability date.

While detailed guidance has been provided to local authorities for the purposes of applying the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, covering, inter alia, the terms and definitions used in the Act and their local application, interpretation and implementation of the legislation is a matter for the local authorities in the first instance.

The allocation of staff within a local authority is a matter for the local authority concerned.

Waste Management.

Phil Hogan

Question:

196 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the financial analysis of the proposed incinerator in Poolbeg in Dublin 4, as recommended by the Attorney General has commenced; the expected completion date for this financial analysis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39725/09]

The retention of an appropriate financial expert is currently being progressed and I expect that the analysis will be completed within a short period and forwarded to the Attorney General for his consideration in conjunction with previous economic analysis already provided.

Departmental Staff.

Finian McGrath

Question:

197 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [39731/09]

Due to the Moratorium on Recruitment and Promotion in the Public Service, my Department is not currently recruiting staff. However, any future recruitment by my Department will be carried out through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and the person concerned should regularly check the PAS website www.publicjobs.ie for updates.

Motor Taxation.

Michael McGrath

Question:

198 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will respond to a query (details supplied) regarding the refund of motor tax. [39749/09]

In accordance with Articles 12 to 15 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 1992 refunds of motor tax can be made in certain circumstances including where a vehicle in respect of which a tax disc has been taken out has not been used in a public place at any time since the issue of the disc.

In addition the regulations require that the annual rate of tax for the disc for which a refund is sought must exceed €99, that not less than a 3 month unexpired period remains on the disc from the date of refund and that the disc is surrendered to the licensing authority. The refund payable is set at 1/12th the annual rate of duty for every month of the licensing period unexpired at the time of surrender of the licence. Application is to the local motor tax office on form RF120 as prescribed by the Minister and is subject to verification by a member of the Garda Síochána.

Question No. 199 answered with Question No. 193.

Statutory Registration

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

200 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has prepared an advice note for companies (details supplied) which, for the past ten, 20 or 30 years have been legally trading under a name, style or title containing the word “architect”; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39808/09]

Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 sets out the detailed requirements for registration of the title of "architect". Once statutory registration has formally commenced, it will be an offence for a person who — (i) not being registered under Part 3, uses the title "architect", either alone or in combination with any other words or letters, or name, title or description, implying that the person is so registered, or (ii) practices or carries on business under any name, style or title containing the word "architect" unless he or she is so registered.

However, subject to compliance with any rules that may be made by the registration body, this will not prevent a body corporate, firm or partnership from carrying on business under a name, style or title containing the word "architect" if- (a) the business, so far as it relates to architecture, is under the control and management of a registered professional, and (b) in all premises where its business relating to architecture is carried on, it is by or under the supervision of a registered professional.

Motor Taxation.

Joe McHugh

Question:

201 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to address the cost anomaly in road tax for couples recently made redundant who have four or more children, and who are not in a position to upgrade their seven seater cars to more environmentally graded vehicles, with lower road tax requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39821/09]

While my Department is currently reviewing the legislation which governs the imposition of motor tax, I have no plans to change the basic principle that private cars are taxed on the basis of certain physical criteria i.e. the engine size or the CO2 emissions of the vehicle.

Housing Developments.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

202 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the local authorities that have complied with his request to put in place a protocol for taking housing estates in charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39823/09]

Based on returns made to my Department, 35 City, County and Borough Councils, as listed below, have a policy on taking in charge of estates, virtually all of which contain a protocol on the steps for the taking an estate in charge, as requested by my Department in Circular Letter PD 1/08 on Taking in Charge of Residential Developments/Management Arrangements. My Department is following up with the outstanding City, County and Borough Councils who either have yet to make a return or have stated that they have yet to prepare a taking in charge policy.

County Councils

Carlow

Cavan

Clare

Cork

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

Fingal

Galway

Kerry

Kildare

Kilkenny

Laois

Leitrim

Limerick

Longford

Mayo

Meath

Monaghan

Offaly

Sligo

Tipperary NR

Tipperary SR

Waterford

Westmeath

Wexford

Wicklow

City Councils

Cork

Dublin

Galway

Limerick

Waterford

Borough Councils

Clonmel

Drogheda

Kilkenny

Sligo

Wexford

Local Authority Funding.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

203 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on the proposal in the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programme for the abolition of town councils in view of the fact that such a step would be anti-democratic and in violation of the constitutional recognition of local government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39839/09]

The White Paper on local government will address a broad suite of local government issues, including in relation to town government. I expect that the White Paper will be published later this year following, inter alia, consideration of local government financing in light of the Report of the Commission on Taxation and in line with the commitments in the renewed Programme for Government.

Local Authority Members.

Niall Collins

Question:

204 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the sanction or penalty for breach of a regulation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39943/09]

The Local Government Act 2001 provides that it is the duty of every local authority member to maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest, and this is emphasised in the Code of Conduct for Councillors that has been issued under the Act. The Act also provides that a person is disqualified from being a member of a local authority in a range of circumstances, including where that person is convicted of fraudulent or dishonest dealings affecting a local authority, or of corrupt practices.

Directions issued by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government under section 142 of the Local Government Act 2001 provide that a member of a local authority is liable to repay any allowance received for travelling and subsistence expenses to which such member was not entitled. A local authority is required to take any necessary action to recover any such amount repayable, including by way of deduction from, or suspension of, any other amounts to which a member would otherwise be entitled.

The Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001 apply in relation to local authorities. Furthermore, the normal criminal law regarding fraud and deception may also be relevant.

Local Authority Funding.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

205 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if exemptions are in place for the payment of the non-principal private residential tax for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39946/09]

The Government has decided to broaden the revenue base of local authorities through the introduction of this charge on non-principal private residences, which is set at €200 per dwelling and is being levied and collected by local authorities.

While the Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 sets out the detail of the charge and provides for a number of exemptions, there is no provision for an exemption on the basis of low income or receipt of social welfare payments. The Act does, however, place the collection of charges under the Act under the care and management of the relevant local authority.

Housing Aid for the Elderly.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

206 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the grants and supports available for persons in the 60 to 65 years age group seeking to re-roof and insulate their homes to improve the energy efficiency of their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39809/09]

Deirdre Clune

Question:

207 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the grants and supports available for persons aged 65 years and over seeking to re-roof and insulate their homes to improve the energy efficiency of their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39810/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.

Financial supports are available to homeowners, regardless of age, under two schemes funded by my Department, to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes.

The Home Energy Saving (HES) Scheme which is administered by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) provides grant assistance to homeowners for energy efficiency retrofitting measures including attic and wall insulation, very high-efficiency boilers, heating controls and Building Energy Rating (BER) assessments.

The scheme is open to anybody owning a house that was built prior to 2006. Homeowners can expect to save up to €700 per year on their energy bills if they install the full suite of measures available under the scheme. The scheme offers grants of up to 40% of the typical cost of energy efficiency upgrade measures, depending on the measure concerned. A list of eligible measures and fixed grant rates is set out in the following table:

Measure

Fixed grant rate

Roof Insulation

250

Cavity Wall Insulation

400

Internal Wall Insulation

2,500

External Wall Insulation

4,000

High Efficiency Boiler with Heating Controls Upgrade

700

Heating Controls Upgrade Only

500

Building Energy Rating Assessment

200

Further information is available by contacting 1850 927000.

My Department's Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) also provides support for low income housing for insulation and other energy efficiency improvement measures. This scheme is managed by SEI and implemented by local community groups. Measures include cavity wall insulation, attic insulation, boiler lagging jackets, draught proofing measures and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). These measures are provided free or at a nominal cost to the householder. Advice is also provided on minimising energy use.

Some €20 million has been made available to the WHS in 2009. This represents a very substantial increase on previous years and the WHS is expected to support energy efficiency interventions in up to 15,000 low income homes this year.

My colleague, John Gormley T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, also operates a Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, which is delivered through local authorities. Grants of up to €10,500 are available for structural repairs including minor roof repairs to the homes of older people.

Telecommunications Services.

Noel Coonan

Question:

208 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when broadband will be available to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39774/09]

My Department has entered into a contract with "3", a Hutchinson Whampoa company, for the delivery of the National Broadband Scheme (NBS). 3 is required to provide services to all residences and businesses that are within the NBS area and who seek a service.

The company is progressing its network roll-out and services have gone live in a number of areas. The entire NBS area must be covered by September 2010.

The general area of Rossoulty, Thurles, County Tipperary, will be covered by the NBS. The current service status of each NBS area is available at www.three.ie/nbs.

Telecommunications Regulation.

Joe McHugh

Question:

209 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of legal challenges that have been initiated by Eircom against ComReg in the past 12 months; the number of these that relate to ComReg decisions that force Eircom to cut the wholesale price of broadband lines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39816/09]

I am not a notified party in legal challenges to decisions of the Commission for Communications Regulation, ComReg, nor am I a party to any such proceedings. I am advised by ComReg that eircom has appealed ComReg decisions on five occasions in the last 12 months rising to six over the past 18 months. Two appeals related to the price of local loop unbundling; one related to the regulation of leased lines and the other 3 related to ComReg decisions in respect of certain retail offerings from eircom.

Telecommunications Services.

Joe McHugh

Question:

210 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if the locations for satellite broadband have been identified under the national broadband scheme awarded to a company (details supplied) earlier in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39817/09]

The National Broadband Scheme (NBS) contract guarantees that broadband connectivity will be available to 100% of the buildings within the NBS coverage areas. In recognition of the fact that some areas will be very costly and technologically challenging to reach using standard infrastructure, a limited number of residences and businesses in the NBS coverage area may be covered by a satellite service.

The NBS contract defines specific thresholds and circumstances under which satellite can be deployed and allows for a maximum of 8% of residences and businesses to be served utilising satellite technology. It is anticipated that the actual deployment of satellite will be around 5% of residences and businesses within the NBS coverage area. It is a matter for the NBS service provider, "3", to decide where a satellite solution will be deployed.

Córas Postchóid.

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

211 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Darragh O’Brien den Aire Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha an mbeadh sé sásta córas postchóid nua na hÉireann a bhunú ina iomláine ar logainmneacha Gaeilge, ar uimhreacha agus ar an gcoimriú IE, nó ar uimhreacha agus litreacha nach mbaineann le haon logainm amhail ceann a bheadh bunaithe ar chomhordanáidí mar atá in úsáid sa chóras PONC atá curtha le chéile ag GPS Ireland cheana féin; gníomh a thacódh le beartas dátheangach an Rialtais, spiorad Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003, atá leagtha síos i mBunreacht na hÉireann, beartas an Aontais Eorpaigh atá meáite ar mhionteangacha a chothú agus a neartú, agus straitéis 20 bliain don Ghaeilge atá le foilsiú go luath; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [39944/09]

Tá faomhaithe ag an Rialtas do chur i gcrích córas postchóid mar a mhol an Bord um Thionscadal na bPostchód Náisiúnta.

Cuireadh an Bord ar bun chun an córas ab oiriúnaí d'Éirinn a mholadh agus chun féachaint ar na costais agus na tairbhí agus ar chur i gcrích postchóid. Faoi réir an chórais a mholadh roinnfear an tír i thart ar 200 bailte poist agus i ngach baile poist beidh grúpaí de thart ar 40 nó 50 réadmhaoin. Tá cruth ABC 123 ar an bpostchód ina léirítear an baile poist sna litreacha agus an grúpa réadmhaoin ina bhfuil foirgneamh áirithe sna figiúirí.

Roghnaíodh an córas postchóid áirithe ar roinnt fáthanna éagsúla, orthu siúd bhí go mba éasca do bhaill an phobail cuimhneamh ar a gcód féin agus gur chabhair tagairt do logainm chuige seo. Is cuid lárnach de rath na gcód go mbainfeadh an pobal úsáid astu.

Níl aon rud sa mholadh a chuireann iachall ar dhuine comhdhéanamh an tseolta a mhalartú, nó a choinneodh duine ó úsáid a bhaint as foirm an tseolta i gceachtar de theangacha oifigiúla an Stáit. Sa bhreis ar sin, i gcás bailte poist atá lonnaithe sa Ghaeltacht, bainfear litreacha as leagan oifigiúil na Gaeilge de logainm leis an cód a bhunú.

Departmental Offices.

Phil Hogan

Question:

212 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the rental cost of all Department offices in Cork City; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39724/09]

The rental cost of all my Department's offices in Cork City is a matter for the Office of Public Works.

Grant Payments.

Noel Coonan

Question:

213 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; the reason for delay in payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39773/09]

An application under the 2009 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 14 May 2009. Following initial processing of the application, it was found that one of the land parcels claimed by the person named had also been claimed by two other scheme applicants. In keeping with standard procedures, all parties concerned were written to in order to establish which of them had the right to claim the parcel in question. Replies have now been received for the three parties concerned, thereby allowing the further processing of the application of the person named. The 70% advance payment will issue shortly to the nominated bank account of the person named.

Website Access.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

214 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if access to a public representative’s website is barred on computers in his Department’s offices; if this applies to all elected Members’ websites; the reason access to these websites are denied; the person who made the decision to bar access; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39788/09]

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food uses standard security software to control and monitor access from its computer network to all external websites. Access to any public representatives' websites is not proactively restricted by my Department. Notwithstanding this and in accordance with my Department's internet usage policy, the third party software utilised, initially restricts websites using various pre-defined IT security categorisations, such as, barring access to ‘webmail' sites.

Therefore, it can inadvertently occur that access to legitimate websites can be generically blocked by the security software without the knowledge or proactive involvement of my Department's staff. To resolve such occurrences and in accordance with my Department's internet usage policy, any staff member wishing to access a website that has been automatically blocked by the security software is also prompted to request access by detailing the internet address and the reason(s) for access.

Grant Payments.

Michael Creed

Question:

215 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has not yet received their single farm payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39835/09]

An application under the 2009 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 8 May 2009. As this application has now been fully processed, the 70% advance payment will issue shortly,and will be paid directly into the nominated bank account of the person named.

Michael Ring

Question:

216 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their REP scheme four payment. [39836/09]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–13 and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications, including plan checks, to be completed before the first 2009 payments issue.

Processing of applications, including the application from the person named, has commenced to facilitate the release of payments at the earliest possible date.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

217 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39904/09]

An application in respect of the 2009 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 12 May 2009. Processing of the application revealed that one of the land parcels declared by the person named had overlapped with a parcel claimed by another scheme applicant.

Both parties were written to and asked to clarify the position regarding their entitlement to claim the overlapping portion of the parcel concerned. Following clarification in this regard the disputed area was then allocated to the person named which will allow payment issue under the Single Payment Scheme.

Phil Hogan

Question:

218 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment will be awarded in respect of the REP scheme and forestry to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39907/09]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–13 and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications, including plan checks, to be completed before the first 2009 payments issue.

Processing of applications, including the application from the person named, has commenced to facilitate the release of payments at the earliest possible date.

With regard to Forestry my Department is currently processing an application from the person named for approval for afforestation grant aid. Information is currently being sought from the National Parks & Wildlife Service as part of the consultation process. In view of the current budgetary situation it is unlikely that approval will issue this year.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

219 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the average time taken to process applications from date of application to date of clearance for payment of installation aid and REP scheme in each of his Department’s offices in County Cork. [39936/09]

Target times for the processing for REPS 3 are set out in the Charter of Rights for Farmers. REPS 4 processing is not yet finished for 2009, so average times are not available.

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–13 and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications, including plan checks, to be completed before the first 2009 payments issue.

For applications under the Young Farmers' Installation Scheme, detailed checks are carried out by my Department's Inspectorate on the property and education requirements and both on-farm and off-farm income limits. The average time in the Cork Office taken to process an application under the Scheme is seven months and this includes periods of communication with the applicant regarding queries or amendments to the application.

Adult Education.

Pat Breen

Question:

220 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science his views on the work being carried out by a centre (details supplied) in County Clare; the possible implications for this centre of the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes report; if he will continue to make funding available to this centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39711/09]

The centre mentioned by the Deputy is a Senior Traveller Training Centre (STTC). The Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes recommended that STTC provision be phased out over a period of 2-3 years.

This proposal, like other proposals made by the Special Group, is currently being considered in the context of the estimates and budget process.

The full suite of further and adult education programmes, such as the Vocational Training Opportunity Scheme (VTOS), the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), Youthreach, Adult Literacy and Community Education, continue to be available to all learners, including Travellers. In fact, Travellers are already participating in these programmes, especially in areas where there is no STTC.

School Staffing.

Noel Coonan

Question:

221 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of secondary school principals who retired in north Tipperary in the first ten months of 2009; the percentage this is of the total number of principals in the constituency; his plans to tackle this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39719/09]

One principal retired from a secondary school in Tipperary North Riding in the period from 1 January 2009 to 31 October 2009. This single retirement represents 12.5% of the number of secondary school principals in Tipperary North Riding. It should be noted that this figure is based on the number of secondary schools in Tipperary North Riding rather than by reference to the constituency to which the Deputy refers.

The retirement of principals of VEC schools are handled by each individual VEC and details of the number of retirement from these schools are not readily available in my Department.

While it is recognised that the turnover of senior posts is high in comparison to recent years, the overall number of retirements represents a relatively small proportion of the teacher population. The challenges in replacing principals and deputy principals are being addressed by school authorities. At the same time, retirements create opportunities for new management approaches and for ideas to be developed and realised.

The Leadership Development for Schools Programme (LDS) provides professional development and support for principals, deputies and others involved in school management and educational leadership in primary and post-primary schools. The introduction of this initiative in 2002 coincided with a period of intense change in Irish education as our schools embraced considerable change and challenges. Since 2002, thousands of principals, deputy principals and aspirant school leaders have participated on LDS programmes, leading to significant capacity-building at all levels in the system. In as far as possible, the LDS will focus its provision in 2009/10 on addressing this development. Many of the new appointees have already registered for training with the LDS this year or have previously participated in programmes.

Schools Building Projects.

Noel Coonan

Question:

222 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Education and Science when work will begin on a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; when he expects a decision to be made; if his attention has been drawn to the urgency of this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39722/09]

The project to which the Deputy refers was recently tendered. The school's Design Team is currently preparing the Tender Report. When this report is completed and submitted to my Department it will be assessed by the Profession and Technical staff of the Building Unit. Provided there are no issues arising therefrom the school will be authorised to proceed to the construction stage.

Special Educational Needs.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

223 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Science the accommodation and resources which he has provided to meet the needs of second level students on the autistic spectrum at a new post primary school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39750/09]

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

224 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Science the accommodation and resources which he will provided to meet the needs of second level students on the autistic spectrum at a proposed new post primary school at a location (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39751/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 223 and 224 together.

Two new school buildings, which will be operated by Co. Kildare Vocational Educational Committee, are being delivered for the schools referred to by the Deputy. One of the buildings is complete and the other is under construction and is due to be completed by the end of this year.

The brief for both buildings includes the provision of a designated special needs unit to meet the needs of the students.

Grangegorman Development Agency.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

225 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Science if the funds to proceed on schedule with the Grangegorman development project, Dublin, will be allocated in the 2010 budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39752/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

226 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Education and Science the amount of funds already spent on the Grangegorman development project, Dublin.. [39753/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 and 226 together.

The Grangegorman Development Agency was established under Section 8 of the Grangegorman Development Agency Act 2005. The general aim of the Agency is to oversee the development of the lands at Grangegorman on behalf of the Departments of Education and Science, Health and Children, Dublin Institute of Technology and the Health Services Executive.

Section 12 of the Act provides that the Agency following its establishment must prepare a Strategic plan consisting of a written statement and a plan indicating the objectives for the development of the Grangegorman site, including the setting of a budget for the strategic plan subject to the approval of the Minister for Education and Science together with a strategy for its delivery within the set budget.

The draft Strategic plan and budget has been received by my Department and I intend bringing proposals to Government for consideration. The 2010 allocation for the Agency is being considered as part of the Estimates and Budgetary process. Since the Agency was established in 2006 my Department has provided the following grant aid:

2006 — €0.095m;

2007 — €3.525m;

2008 — €6.685m;

To date in 2009 — €3.863m.

Schools Building Projects.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

227 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Science the status of a school building project (details supplied) in Dublin 12 which was to undergo a re-tendering process; if he will expedite the construction of a new school building which has been promised since 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39798/09]

The school to which the Deputy refers was one of ten projects that I announced in January 2009 to be re-tendered. In order to prepare for tender and to comply with the new form of Government contract, the project was required to submit revised tender and associated documentation.

Accordingly, in July following the receipt of compliant revised documentation, the project was authorised to go to tender. My Department has recently received the tender report which is currently being assessed by the Professional and Technical staff of the Building Unit. Provided there are no issues arising, the school will shortly be authorised to proceed to the award stage and ultimately the construction stage.

School Grants.

Jack Wall

Question:

228 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Science his views regarding correspondence (details supplied); the actions he will take to address the concerns raised; if so when such actions are planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39800/09]

The Deputy may be aware that I had a constructive meeting with Protestant educational representatives on 21 October. I explained that a simple reversal of the measures taken in Budget 2008 applicable to all Protestant fee-charging schools and determined solely on a denominational criterion was not legally possible. I again made clear that I am prepared to work with the Protestant fee-charging schools to identify particular problems and issues that may be arising in some of their schools, or in respect of some students in their schools, and to examine how these might be addressed in a manner consistent with the Constitution.

I believe that engagement between my officials and representatives of the Protestant schools is the best way to seek to resolve the issues that are of concern.

School Transport.

Tom Sheahan

Question:

229 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide school transport for children (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39807/09]

Under the terms of my Department's School Transport scheme, a pupil with special needs is eligible for school transport if s/he is attending the nearest recognised: mainstream school, special class/special school or a unit, that is or can be resourced, to meet the child's special educational needs under Department of Education and Science criteria.

The National Council for Special Education has responsibility, through its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for the establishment of special education facilities and for allocating resource teachers and special needs assistants to schools to support children with special needs.

The parents/guardians of the pupils in question should liaise, in the first instance, with the local SENO. Eligibility for transport, under the terms of the above scheme, will then be examined upon receipt of the completed application forms for transport.

Vocational Education Committees.

Joe McHugh

Question:

230 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Science the length of time that students, who have successfully completed their applications to the Donegal Vocational Education Committee and Donegal County Council third level education grants, will have to wait for payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39822/09]

The process of assessing eligibility for third level grants and the organisation, management and payment of student grants are matters for the relevant local authority or VEC. These bodies seek to ensure students get decisions on their grant applications and are paid as soon as possible.

Teaching Qualifications.

Michael Creed

Question:

231 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Science the situation regarding primary school teachers who have secured their qualification from outside the jurisdiction and who have to undertake an Irish language examination; when application forms for this examination will be available from a college (details supplied) in Dublin 3 which has indicated that they are awaiting a circular from his Department on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39834/09]

Adjustments to the arrangements for meeting the Irish language requirements for teachers trained outside the jurisdiction has involved a transfer of responsibilities to the Teaching Council and revised arrangements with the college. I understand that the Teaching Council has been in contact with the college and that the forms will issue shortly.

School Closures.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

232 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Science if he is monitoring the effect of the swine flu outbreak on schools; the assessment of the effect so far in terms of temporary closures; and the number of school days lost and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39841/09]

The Health Service Executive is monitoring; and publishes on a weekly basis, the number of cases of Pandemic (H1N1) 2009, including the number of outbreaks within schools.

The general position regarding school openings and closures is set out in department circulars 11/95, M29/95, and 107/2007. In relation to this pandemic, to date the consistent advice issued to the schools is that unless the local Department of Public Health advise the management of the school to close as a precautionary measure, the school should remain open. As is normally the case where management finds it is necessary to close some or all of the school it is not necessary to obtain the Department of Education and Science's approval. Schools should simply act in accordance with the advice of the health authorities.

My Department is an active member of the Standing Inter-Departmental Committee on Public Health Emergency Planning, chaired by the Department of Health and Children. This committee has been developing a cross departmental and sectoral response to responding to and managing this public health emergency.

Specifically, the role of my Department is to communicate to the education sector, public health information and advice on this pandemic flu. In that regard my Department continues to liaise with the Health Service Executive and the management bodies for education establishments to jointly develop specific advice and guidance for the education sector. This timely and practical information reflects the likely practical effects of this pandemic within a school; and includes information for schools on how to encourage and facilitate everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of this pandemic flu; and being able to respond to symptoms and cases of this flu.

Schools Building Projects.

Pat Breen

Question:

233 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Question No. 429 of 26 May 2009, the status regarding an application by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39845/09]

As the Deputy is aware, the school to which he refers has made an application to my Department for large scale capital funding. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band 2 rating. Information on the current school building programme, along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project in question, is available on my Department's website, www.education.ie. The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the education partners. There are four band ratings under these criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Band 1 is the highest priority rating and band 4 is the lowest. Documents explaining the band rating system are also available on my Department’s website. A delegation from the school met with officials of my Department earlier this year and presented a proposal to finance the replacement of prefabricated buildings over a 20-year period. This proposal is being considered. The progression of all large-scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department’s multi-annual school building and modernisation programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Schools Recognition.

Pat Breen

Question:

234 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science further to Question No. 671 of 9 June 2009, the status regarding the application by a group (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39899/09]

My Department is considering a number of broad policy issues relating to the recognition process for second level schools. The application from Educate Together to be recognised as a patron body at second level is being fully examined within the context of legal, financial and other factors that I must consider.

Residential Institutions Redress Board.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

235 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has received the results of the audit of assets belonging to the 18 Religious Teaching Orders that signed the 2001 Indemnity Agreement which covers the cost of the Residential Redress Board; if he will publish the findings; if not, the total value of assets owned by the orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39910/09]

The panel appointed by the Government to assess the statements of resources submitted by the religious congregations following the publication of the Ryan report has submitted its report. The report is under examination prior to being submitted to the Government. As indicated previously, it is intended that the conclusions of the panel will be made public.

Schools Recognition.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

236 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science when he will grant recognition to a proposed Gaelcholáiste (details supplied) in County Dublin; the reason for the delay; the date for recognition of the new school; if he will use some of the €396 million which has yet to be spent in its capital budget for 2009 to ensure sufficient accommodation can be provided for the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39911/09]

The forward planning section of my Department is in the process of carrying out detailed analysis of over 40 locations of highest population growth in order to identify the school accommodation requirements up to and including the 2014-15 school year. When the required reports have been completed for the initial areas selected, the forward planning section will continue to work on preparing reports on a priority basis for the remainder of the country. Overall post-primary accommodation requirements in the Dundrum area, including the case for the provision of a new Irish language post-primary school, will be considered in this regard.

Higher Education Grants.

Michael Ring

Question:

237 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science if the eligibility of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo for the maintenance grant will be reviewed. [39923/09]

My Department received an appeal on 2 November 2009 from the candidate referred to by the Deputy. The appeal is under review. It is anticipated that a reply will issue to the student shortly.

Teaching Qualifications.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

238 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will establish a conversion course for trained Montessori teachers to enable them to become fully recognised teachers in the primary school structure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39935/09]

As the Deputy may be aware, the recognition of teacher qualifications is a matter for the Teaching Council, the body with responsibility for establishing and maintaining standards in the teaching profession. Consequently, the issue of conversion courses is a matter for the council in the first instance. I have no plans to establish such a course.

Schools Building Projects.

Bernard Allen

Question:

239 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Education and Science when a decision will be made on a grant for an extension to a school (details supplied). [39939/09]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has made an application to my Department for large scale capital funding. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 2 rating.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, are now available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.

The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the Education Partners. There are four band ratings under these criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Band 1 is the highest priority rating and Band 4 is the lowest.

Documents explaining the band rating system are also available on my Department's website.

The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

School Transport.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

240 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children availing of the school transport scheme over the past five years on a county basis. [39941/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

241 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children availing of the school transport scheme. [39940/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

242 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children availing of the school transport scheme in County Donegal. [39942/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 to 242, inclusive, together.

Bus Éireann informed my Department that the number of tickets issued for travel on school transport services for the years 2005 to 2009 was as follows:

2005 — 135,000;

2006 — 134,000;

2007 — 135,000;

2008 — 135,000;

2009 — 125,000.

The number of eligible primary and post-primary children availing of the school transport scheme on a county basis in respect of 2005, 2006 and 2007 is as follows:

County

2007

2006

2005

Carlow

2,336

2,412

2,454

Cavan

3,792

3,710

3,734

Clare

3,962

4,233

4,225

Cork

15,090

15,369

14,647

Donegal

10,725

10,423

10,286

Dublin

4,989

5,423

5,839

Galway

9,631

10,052

10,011

Kerry

6,389

6,512

6,866

Kildare

4,257

4,109

4,163

Kilkenny

4,104

4,101

4,209

Laois

1,659

1,626

1,705

Leitrim

2,693

2,398

2,592

Limerick

5,162

5,485

5,324

Longford

2,548

2,580

2,471

Louth

3,553

3,868

3,921

Mayo

6,633

6,804

7,038

Meath

4,164

4,393

3,535

Monaghan

4,186

3,853

3,850

Offaly

3,240

3,134

3,194

Roscommon

2,204

2,175

2,132

Sligo

2,632

2,760

3,340

Tipperary (NR)

4,409

4,999

4,804

Tipperary (SR)

1,833

1,824

1,927

Waterford

3,103

2,967

3,134

Westmeath

3,921

3,065

3,064

Wexford

5,931

6,185

6,191

Wicklow

3,703

4,024

4,537

The figures in respect of 2008 are currently being finalised by Bus Éireann.

The number of tickets issued for travel on school transport services in County Donegal at 31 October 2009 was 10,347.

Pension Provisions.

George Lee

Question:

243 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for Education and Science if the contributions made by teachers for their pensions were invested into a fund or if these contributions were used as income for the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39950/09]

The pension scheme for first and second level teachers are unfunded defined benefit schemes. There is no pension fund nor are contributions by teachers invested. Like many other public sector pension schemes, the teachers' schemes operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. Pension contributions are credited as appropriations to the Vote for the Department of Education and Science in the year in which they are received. The cost of pensions in payment during the year is met from current revenue through monies voted by the Oireachtas. In the case of VEC teachers, the contributions are retained by the VEC and an appropriate adjustment is made to the allocation to the VEC to meet pay and pensions costs.

Grant Payments.

Brian Hayes

Question:

244 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science, further to Parliamentary Question No. 746 of 20 October 2009 in respect of the three schools that have yet to submit invoices for rental grant aid for the January to June 2009 period, if he is satisfied that everything is correct and above board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39954/09]

As outlined previously to the Deputy, rental grant-in-aid is provided to schools where original invoices for rental costs are submitted for payment to my Department's Planning and Building Unit. My Department has paid 99.6% of the overall rental grant-aid due for temporary school rental costs for the January to June 2009 period. 92% of schools have been paid to date for the July — December 2009 rental period.

There is nothing to suggest that there is anything irregular where schools do not submit invoices for a particular rental period. Simple explanations such as changes in school personnel, schools overlooking payments etc. can often result in delays in invoices being submitted to my Department. In any event, payment can not be made until the appropriate documentation is received.