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 10, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 11 to 20, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 21 to 27, inclusive, answered orally.

Inland Waterways.

Denis Naughten

Question:

28 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when a meeting was last held with the chief executive of Waterways Ireland; the agenda for the meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46991/09]

I meet with the Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland on a regular basis. My most recent meeting was at the North South Ministerial Council meeting in inland waterways sectoral format in Belfast on 2nd December last. This was the tenth meeting in inland waterways sectoral format. The agenda for the meeting comprised the following principal items:

1. Waterways Ireland Progress Report

2. Waterways Ireland Business Plan and Budget 2009

3. Waterways Ireland Business Plan 2010

4. Restoration of the Clones-Upper Lough Erne Section of the Ulster Canal — Progress Report

5. Shannon Waterway — presentation by Waterways Ireland

6. Property Disposals

8. Date of Next Meeting

Waterways Ireland continues to manage its business in a commendable fashion and to make satisfactory progress on the objectives in its Strategic and Annual Business Plans.

Community Development.

David Stanton

Question:

29 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way in which the recently announced budget reductions will impact on supports for developing communities and the community sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47144/09]

As the Deputy is aware, the remit of my Department includes community development in all communities, irrespective of location or socio-economic development. Many of our programmes, however, both individually and collectively, focus in particular on communities that are vulnerable, disadvantaged or under threat. The key principle underlying my Department's activities is the provision of support that enables communities themselves to identify and address problems in their own areas so that they become self-reliant.

While the overall cut of 14% across theDeveloping Communities subheads of my Department’s Vote will have an impact, my Department will be endeavouring to protect front-line services as far as possible. Every saving that can be made from cutting down on overheads will be pursued so that the services that have been developed in partnership with communities over the years can be retained. Notwithstanding this reduction, the 2010 allocation will facilitate continued support for communities through local and community development programmes, supports for volunteering, supports for locally-based community and voluntary groups, the Community Services Programme, Community Supports for Older People and other measures. Every effort will be made to direct resources in a targeted and effective manner so as to ensure maximum impact in all priority areas.

Question No. 30 answered with Question No. 26.

Rural Development.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

31 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of persons participating in the rural social scheme; the number of community organisations benefiting from this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47030/09]

Joe Costello

Question:

41 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the issues concerning the rural social scheme; and if it will result in employment or funding issues. [47031/09]

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

238 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the plans he has to continue to provide additional work and income for low income farmers and fisherpersons under the rural social scheme in 2010; the level of participation on the scheme he plans to achieve in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47477/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31, 41 and 238 together.

I can confirm for the Deputies that the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) will continue in 2010 at its current level, following the provision made available for the Scheme in my Department's Estimates for next year. There are currently 2,600 participant places available under the RSS and 130 supervisor places (full time equivalents). With the reductions in certain rates of social welfare payments and the CE Scheme, there will be similar adjustments in RSS participant payment rates. However, the Scheme will continue to provide a very good source of additional income for part-time farmers and fisherpersons and a highly valuable resource for community activity in our rural areas. Since the introduction of the RSS, it has become a key part of community activity in many rural areas and is very popular with both participants and local community organisations. The Scheme provides resources to maintain and improve local amenities and facilities in our rural areas with a total of 1,828 community organisations benefiting from it so far this year.

Rural Transport.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

32 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the future of the rural transport night time scheme in 2010; the funding available to support this scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47109/09]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

45 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the rural transport project funded by him; if a decision has been made regarding continued funding of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47043/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 32 and 45 together.

The Rural Transport Evening/Night Scheme was implemented in 2007 as a pilot project in seven selected areas, with funding from my Department. This pilot scheme was in addition to the rural transport services already provided in the seven areas under the Department of Transport's ‘Rural Transport Programme'. The pilot arrangement was designed to operate for a limited period only and will cease at end-2009. It was intended to give the rural transport groups involved an opportunity to pilot certain evening/night-time services that, ultimately, could be considered for inclusion in their main transport services.

Having had the experience of piloting such services, the seven groups concerned have been assessing their overall services with a view to the possible inclusion of more evening/night-time transport services. In this regard, Pobal, which manages both the Rural Transport Programme and the pilot scheme, has been working with the Groups over the past few months. This work includes making all possible efforts to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the transport service. It involves prioritising routes, increasing load capacity, re-tendering to operators to seek cheaper quotes, where appropriate, and focussing more on generating income from passengers. I would like to see the seven groups, and indeed, all other service providers, assess their services to identify how best to meet the transport needs of the rural communities they serve, with the inclusion as necessary of more evening/night-time services in their main rosters.

I understand that some of the rural transport service groups already provide a level of these services and, based on the experiences of the pilot scheme, evening/night-time services can now be further considered. Decisions in this regard are within the remit of the service providers, in their implementation locally of the Rural Transport Programme. In this regard, I am pleased to note that the provision available to my colleague, Noel Dempsey T.D., Minister for Transport, for the Rural Transport Programme is being maintained at €11 million for 2010. I believe that delivery of a quality service to rural communities while, at the same time, ensuring value for money will be core to the work of the Rural Transport Programme in the current economic climate.

Bóithre Áise.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

33 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Dinny McGinley den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta cé mhéad airgid a bheidh ar fáil i rith 2010 le haghaidh bóithre áise. [47142/09]

Níl cinneadh críochnúil déanta ag mo Roinn go fóill maidir leis an méid sonrach airgid a bheidh ar fáil chun caitheamh ar bhóithre áise sa Ghaeltacht in 2010, i gcomhthéacs na n-éilimh caipitil uile a bheidh freastal le déanamh orthu sa Ghaeltacht trí chéile. Chomh maith leis sin, ar ndóigh, beifear ag díriú i dtosach ar cheadúcháin atá déanta cheana, ach nach bhfuil íoctha go fóill, a ghlanadh.

Tax Code.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

34 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has received representations regarding the impact the introduction of a carbon tax will have on rural Ireland; if he has discussed with officials from the Department of Finance possible exemptions from the tax for rural persons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47088/09]

I received one representation on this issue which I passed to my colleague, Brian Lenihan T.D. Minister for Finance, for his consideration. As the Deputy knows, the economic and social implications of climate change are immense and it is the responsibility of Governments everywhere to change behaviour to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The most effective way is to put a price on carbon which will encourage innovation by incentivising companies to bring low carbon products and services to the market. The yield from the carbon tax will be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty.

Departmental Programmes.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

35 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he is satisfied that the geographical distribution of funding under the local development social inclusion programme is equitable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47071/09]

The Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) is a series of measures designed to counter disadvantage and to promote equality and social and economic inclusion. The programme, which Pobal manages on behalf of my Department, is implemented locally by 37 Integrated Local Development Companies and 16 Urban Partnerships. These are not-for-profit companies that target the areas of greatest need in the country, to provide an area-based response to long-term unemployment and to promote social inclusion.

Allocations made by Pobal under the LDSIP are based on a number of factors, including the size/population of the catchment areas of the local development company, the proposed annual programme of activity of each company, and the deprivation index for the catchment area. My Department approves the broad approach adopted by Pobal and I am satisfied that there is broad equity in the application of available resources. Such distribution is kept under review. As I have previously indicated to the House, the LDSIP and Community Development Programme (CDP) come to an end on 31 December 2009 and will be superseded by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme. The new programme will preserve elements of good practice from the existing CDP/LDSIP programmes and will enhance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Job Creation.

Tom Sheahan

Question:

36 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the job creation initiatives which will be introduced to tackle unemployment in rural and Gaeltacht areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47099/09]

The Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2007-2013 is being delivered by 36 integrated Local Development Companies across the country, on my Department's behalf. Under the Programme, the main measure providing direct support for investment and job creation is the ‘Support for Business Creation and Development' measure. Funding for the LEADER elements of the RDP will amount to €425m and in the region of 12,000 new jobs are expected to be created during the lifetime of the Programme. Job creation targets under the Programme are as follows:

Diversification into non-agricultural activities — 1,500 full-time equivalents — the main focus of this measure is to create alternative on-farm employment opportunities in non-agricultural activities and services.

Support for business creation and development — 7,200 off-farm, 800 on-farm — the continuing change in farming patterns, allied to a need to provide alternative employment and enterprise options to rural dwellers, gives rise to the need to focus on the economic development of rural resources.

Encouragement of tourism activities — 350 off-farm, 150 on-farm — in most rural areas, tourism is an integral component of wider rural enterprise and it is intended that both should be developed in an integrated manner, whenever possible.

Village renewal and development — 1,000 full-time equivalents — villages and small towns are the focal point for a significant section of the rural community and, as such, are a priority for infrastructural development. The focus for improvement will extend to the enhancement of villages, small towns and the surrounding countryside.

Conservation and Upgrading of the Rural Heritage — 750 full-time equivalents — under this measure, conservation actions should be extended to include not just conservation and protection actions for the natural, cultural, social and vernacular heritage but also encompass pro-active initiatives in relation to the utilisation of local resources to provide sustainable and renewable energy options for local communities.

In addition to the funding outlined above, funding of some €62.5m is being provided in my Department's Vote for the Gaeltacht in 2010. This includes an allocation of €30.5m for Údarás na Gaeltachta to enable it to continue its work in creating employment and training opportunities in Gaeltacht areas, as well as proving pre-school childcare, youth and language development services. An tÚdarás will also continue to administer the Employment Subsidy Scheme and the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund in Gaeltacht areas in 2010.

National Drugs Strategy.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

37 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if there are any educational supports available to sports clubs on the effects of drug use through his Department’s local drugs task forces; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47033/09]

Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces support a range of measures that target drug misuse in their areas, based on identified local needs. These can include, for example, drugs awareness and prevention initiatives. In the context of the funding available for 2010, I have asked the Task Forces to assess all projects currently being funded to ensure that they are drugs targeted and evidence-based; can show tangible outputs and outcomes; are addressing current gaps and needs in their local areas and can demonstrate clear links with the priorities as set out in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-16. It will be a matter for each Task Force to identify emerging needs such as that referred to by the Deputy and prioritise them for funding.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

38 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount spent on the Christmas lights as Gaeilge initiative each year since its inception; the amount allocated in 2009; the recipients and the amount in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47045/09]

The following organisations have received funding to date under the initiative referred to by the Deputy:

Year

Organisation

Amount

2006

Dublin City Centre Business Association

11,331

2007

Gaillimh le Gaeilge

57,750

2007

Cumann Tráchtála Clár Chlainne Mhuiris

45,000

No funding was approved under this initiative in 2008 or 2009. However, an allocation of €5,000 has been sanctioned in 2009 under Scéimeanna Feabhsúcháin sa Ghaeltacht for a similar project by Cumann Forbairt Pobail Baile Chláir na Gaillimhe but no expenditure has been incurred on this project to date.

Departmental Programmes.

Mary Upton

Question:

39 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason the RAPID programme has been cut by 24% in his Estimates for 2010; the way this cut will be applied; the areas affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47053/09]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

40 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason there has been an 11% cut in funding for the drugs initiative in his Department’s Estimates for 2010; the way this cut will be applied; the areas affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47056/09]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

42 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason there has been a 15% cut in funding for rural recreation and rural development schemes in his Department’s Estimates for 2010; the way this cut will be applied; the areas affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47055/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

47 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the budgetary changes brought about within his Department under the various headings for 2010; the extent of the variation compared with 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47149/09]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

59 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which decisions announced in budget 2010 will impact on the operation of his Department or agencies for which his Department has overall responsibility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47038/09]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

60 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the reason there has been a 49% cut in funding for economic and social disadvantage in his Estimates for 2010; the way this cut will be applied; the areas affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47054/09]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

65 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the Estimates for his Department for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47037/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

69 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the way the 11% cut in funding will affect services on the ground for drug addicts. [47145/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

251 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to extend, expand or restrict the grant aiding projects under his aegis for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47716/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39, 40, 42, 47, 59, 60, 65, 69 and 251 together.

As the Minister for Finance stated when introducing the 2010 Budget, over the last year we have been running to stand still in terms of spending on public services. Accordingly, in the 2010 Budget the Government decided, as part of its strategy to manage its way through the current severe economic crisis and to return the country to prosperity, to reduce spending on public services by almost €1 billion in 2010 compared with the pre-Budget estimates. To the greatest extent possible, the savings have been sought through efficiencies rather than through reductions in services. In the case of my own Department, gross funding at €415.426m in 2010 is a reduction of 13% relative to the 2009 allocation of €475.701m. Current funding is reduced by 9%, a decrease of €32.1m, and capital funding is reduced by 21%, a decrease of €28.175m.

In a joint statement with the Minister of State at my Department, Mr John Curran, T.D., on Budget Day, we stressed that our primary concern is to make every effort to ensure that the daily front-line services provided with funding from my Department are protected, especially those focused on the needs of the most socially deprived communities. Every saving that can be made from cutting down on overheads will be pursued so that the entire range of urban, rural, Gaeltacht and island communities we serve retain, to the greatest extent possible, the services that have been developed in partnership with them over the years. I am arranging to forward directly to the Deputies a copy of our joint statement in this matter.

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 31.
Question No. 42 answered with Question No. 39.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

43 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the full range of schemes funded by him currently under review or amalgamation; the extent to which such schemes are being curtailed, downsized or abolished; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47150/09]

Against the background of the current economic reality and of the pressure on the public finances, my primary concern is to make every effort to ensure that the daily front-line services provided through my Department are protected, especially those focused on the needs of the most socially deprived communities. Every saving that can be made from cutting down on overheads and improving efficiency will be pursued. In this context, several schemes are being, or have been reviewed, with a view to achieving such efficiencies. Details of recent relevant amendments to schemes funded by my Department include the following:

Whilst delivery of the scheme of Community Support for Older People (CSOP) is ongoing following a recent review, revised arrangements to improve its operation will be introduced early next year.

The Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) and the Community Development Programme (CDP) will come to an end on 31st December 2009 and will be superseded by a new Programme, the Local and Community Development Programme. The aim of the new Programme is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities.

In relation to the RAPID Programme, a boundary review that was carried out during 2009 has led to the inclusion of five new towns into the Programme. The remainder of this review is currently being considered within my Department.

Gaeltacht policy and schemes were reviewed as a result of the Report of the Linguistic Study on the Use of Irish in the Gaeltacht. A draft 20- year Strategy for Irish, which took this study into account, has recently been published and submitted for consideration by the Oireachtas Select Committee on Arts, Sport, Tourism, Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Any changes to Departmental schemes in the Gaeltacht will be considered in this context.

Due to other commitments to be met from the capital allocation for island development for 2010, no grants are currently being approved under the Enterprise Scheme for non-Gaeltacht Islands. Funding is, however, available from Comhar na nOileáin, the Island LEADER Company for Enterprise development.

Dormant Accounts Fund.

Willie Penrose

Question:

44 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the dormant accounts fund; the number of applications received to date; the funding allocated by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47042/09]

The Dormant Accounts Acts provide for an annual transfer by credit institutions and insurance undertakings of monies in accounts determined to be dormant into the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF). Since its establishment in April 2003 to the end of October 2009, transfers to the DAF have totalled some €513.9m. Funds reclaimed by account holders since April 2003 total some €182.8m. The value of the DAF at the end of October 2009, net of liabilities, was some €49.8m. This figure excludes €45m maintained in a Reserve Account to meet future reclaims by account holders and to cover expenses associated with the operation of the DAF.

Of the 9,393 applications received to date, 9,246 applications have been assessed with 6,509 or 70% of these recommended for funding. The number of applications not recommended or deemed ineligible for funding to date has amounted to 2,737 or 30% of assessed applications. In addition, the Government agreed to provide €64.4m to support the Rural Social Scheme, which has national coverage, between the years 2004 and 2008. The Government also approved €10m to support an Early Childhood Initiative based in three projects in Tallaght West in Dublin South and Ballymun, Darndale, Moatview and Belcamp on Dublin's Northside. Full details of the financial position of the DAF and of the individual grants and organisations that have been approved for support and their geographical location are available on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie.

Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 32.

Security of the Elderly.

Joan Burton

Question:

46 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications received to date under the community supports for older people; if further funding has been allocated to this project; if applications are still being received for this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47028/09]

The Deputy will be aware of commitments I made earlier in the year that the Scheme of Community Support for Older People would be reintroduced when a review of its operations was completed. I am studying the findings of the review at present and I expect that revised arrangements will be put in place in early 2010. Prior to the suspension of the Scheme in April, 214 applications from community groups were received on behalf of 3,695 older people. Some €1.28m was paid in grants to these groups. Since the beginning of October, my Department has received a further 320 applications. All applications have been processed with an additional 2,540 older people benefitting from it since the Scheme was re-introduced.

Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 39.

Údaras na Gaeltachta.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

48 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Michael D. Higgins den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an mbeidh toghchán ann d’Údaras na Gaeltachta in 2010; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [47052/09]

Reachtáladh an toghchán deireanach d'Údarás na Gaeltachta ar 2 Aibreán 2005. Faoi réir na reachtaíochta faoina bhfeidhmíonn an tÚdarás, ní mór an chéad toghchán eile a reachtáil am éigin sa tréimhse idir 1 Aibreán 2009 agus 1 Deireadh Fómhair 2010. Mar is eol don Teachta, tá moltaí éagsúla maidir leis an nGaeilge agus an nGaeltacht á bplé i gcomhthéacs na tuarascála ón Staidéar Teangeolaíoch ar Úsáid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht agus an dréacht-Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030 a foilsíodh le déanaí. Sna cúinsí sin, níl sé i gceist agam cinneadh a thógáil ag an bpointe seo maidir le dáta don chéad toghchán eile d'Údarás na Gaeltachta.

Telecommunications Services.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

49 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the digital community project initiative; if he is satisfied with its success; his plans to roll it out to other disadvantaged areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47029/09]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Ballymun Digital Community Project. This project is an innovative measure funded by my Department and implemented by DIT which provides IT access, learning/qualifications to disadvantaged communities. The Department has confirmed its support to fund this initiative for 2010, but has no plans to roll out the initiative to other areas at this juncture.

National Drugs Strategy.

Willie Penrose

Question:

50 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his proposals for the implementation of the National Drugs Strategy 2009 to 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47041/09]

Liz McManus

Question:

51 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his response to the publication by the Health Research Board of research indicating the number of deaths indirectly caused by drugs over the eight year period between 1998 and 2005; the number of deaths in this period; the steps he is taking to address this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47040/09]

I welcome the publication of this report by the Health Research Board. Published in November, it details deaths that were indirectly caused by drugs over the eight year period from 1998 to 2005. It is a follow-on publication from the National Drugs Related Deaths Index (NDRDI), published in late 2008, when details of deaths directly related to drug taking were made available. The data presented show an increasing number of deaths that are indirectly related to drug taking, rising from 63 in 1998 to 167 in 2005. The total number of deaths over the period was 885. These deaths arose from traumatic and from medical causes and I extend my deepest sympathy to everyone affected by them.

I hope that this publication will serve to re-emphasise the message of the dangers of drugs. Apart from being a direct cause of death, drug taking can cause heart attacks, strokes, seizures and chest problems as well as a range of severe mental problems. Furthermore, I hope that the publication of stark facts in the overall NDRDI will help to prevent people from starting a drugs habit, and will help others to consider their use of drugs, to seek treatment and ultimately to become drug free.

The information from the NDRDI contributed to the process of drawing up the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. I believe that the new Strategy will facilitate tackling of the drugs problem comprehensively over the coming years. Also, the Deputy should note that work has commenced on development of a National Substance Misuse Strategy to combine the approach to drugs and alcohol. A Steering Group, jointly chaired by my Department and the Department of Health & Children, has been established in that regard and interested parties have been invited to submit their views on the content of the combined policy by the end of January.

Public Sector Pay.

Liz McManus

Question:

52 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the savings in his Department’s payroll bill for 2010 arising from cuts in public sector pay announced in budget 2010 on 9 December 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47039/09]

While I am not aware that a precise calculation has been carried out thus far in respect of savings arising for my Department in 2010 from cuts in public sector pay, I am advised that the best estimate at this time is that the payroll saving is likely to be of the order of €800,000 — €900,000.

Flood Relief.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

53 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has provided additional funding to the rural areas affected by recent flooding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47025/09]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

64 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to assist the rural communities affected by the recent flooding; if he has visited the communities affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47026/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 64 together.

I am well aware of the widespread difficulties caused by the recent flooding, having visited some of the communities affected and seen the damage at close hand. I would like to reassure those affected of the Government's concerns in regard to the hardship caused by these events. In relation to funding, as the Deputy is aware, the Minister for Finance announced in Budget 2010 that in excess of €70 million would be provided for the remainder of 2009 and into 2010 to help those affected by recent flooding and to fund works to minimise the risks of future incidents. The Deputy is also aware of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) Scheme, which is administered by the Community Welfare division of the Health Service Executive (HSE), which provides for payments to be made to assist people in exceptional circumstances. The Minister of Finance also stated that the Government is keeping this situation under review and will commit further resources as required.

Community Development.

Jack Wall

Question:

54 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if the voluntary funding raised by each community development programme will be ring-fenced for the purposes determined by the voluntary participants of each community development programme; his plans to put in place a proper appeal mechanism to allow for appeals against a decision by him or his Department to abolish or withdraw funding from a community development programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47023/09]

As I outlined previously to the Dáil and Seanad, my Department has seen the need to redesign its community development/social inclusion programmes, particularly the Local Development Social Inclusion (LDSIP) and Community Development Programmes (CDP), drawing on best international practice, and to support the ongoing evaluation of the programmes. The LDSIP and the CDP are my Department's two main social inclusion/community development programmes. Both have a community development element and are currently delivered through separate local delivery structures. These programmes come to an end on 31 December 2009 and will be superseded by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP). The new programme will preserve elements of good practice from the existing CDP/LDSIP programmes and will enhance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

In advance of proceeding to establish a single programme across CDPs and Partnerships, my Department undertook an evaluation of individual community development projects. Many of these projects span across two decades, with quite diverse activities. The objective of the review was to identify those projects that produce tangible, appropriate benefits for the communities they serve. The vast majority of projects fall into this category and funding will be available to them, subject to budgetary constraints, through the new programme in 2010. For 2010 I have ring-fenced CDP funding. For those projects that do not come into this category, continued funding from my Department will not be available. However, an appeals mechanism has been put in place and has been notified to all concerned.

Any company which decides not to sign up to the new programme can opt out and my Department will adopt a positive approach in relation to the retention of assets, etc, subject to the normal safeguards. Such companies would be free to seek funding from other funders and my Department would be supportive of that. However, it will not be possible to provide LCDP funding in those situations.

National Drugs Strategy.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

55 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to facilitate drug addicts dependent on centres (details supplied) once cuts are implemented and effects are felt. [47147/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

56 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the fear in many drugs projects that they will not be able to deliver their services if he implements cuts in his budgets, including closure of services. [47148/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

70 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he had consultations with persons and workers at centres (details supplied) before proposing cuts. [47146/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

234 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will issue guidelines on participation on task forces to community representatives in view of the fact that the global budget to drug task forces will be reduced. [47401/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

235 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will ensure that funding will be released to task force funded projects and programmes as a matter of urgency. [47402/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

236 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will ensure that six weeks funding, and not the proposed two weeks, is front loaded to task forces to avoid any task force being forced to seek overdrafts. [47403/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55, 56, 70, 234, 235 and 236 together.

In 2010, funding of €36.2m is being made available for drugs initiatives supported through my Department, an overall reduction of approximately 11%. While this funding will allow for a significant number of projects in Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces to be maintained, I acknowledge that the reduction may result in the scaling back of some projects. However, my Department will be seeking to have front-line services protected to the greatest extent possible. In excess of €31 million has been made available to fund the activities of Drugs Task Forces next year of which €21.06m is being provided for the Local Drugs Task Forces and €10m for the Regionals. Despite the overall reduction in funding available, I am confident that the work of the Drugs Task Forces will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of those affected by drug misuse.

In this context, the Deputies should note that over the past few months, I met with all Drugs Task Forces and funding for 2010 was among the issues discussed in all cases. I emphasised the need to prioritise projects with a view to ensuring the most effective use of resources and the most beneficial outcomes for service users. Needs and priorities change over time and consequently, Drugs Task Forces and service providers must ensure that funding is realigned to match changing circumstances. The Task Forces are fully engaged in this process and I have given them the scope to redirect funding within their allocations to best address the realigned priorities that they identify for their areas of operation. I am satisfied that this approach will help to minimise the impact from the reduction in funding in 2010.

All of the Task Forces have now received their allocation for 2010 and have been asked to return their detailed funding proposals to the Office of the Minister for Drugs (OMD) by 16th December. On 10th November last, my Department wrote to each Task Force setting out the procedures in relation to the 2010 allocations. Given the likelihood of a reduction in monies for drugs initiatives in 2010, Task Forces were asked to review all projects being funded by them to ensure that they were drugs targeted and evidence-based; can show tangible outputs and outcomes; are addressing current gaps and local needs in their areas and can demonstrate clear links with the priorities as set out in the National Drug Strategy 2009-16.

The Task Forces were similarly asked to identify the areas to assimilate a reduction in funding in 2010. These could include negotiating rents and administration charges; lowering overheads; sharing resources; partnership approach and merging. My Department strongly recommended that this exercise be undertaken and completed by the end of November. I am satisfied that the detailed guidelines already advised to the Task Forces have been — and continue to be — taken into account by their members, including community sector representatives. The OMD is in on-going contact with representatives of the statutory agencies which act as channels of funding for the Task Force projects. Every effort is being made by the Office to ensure that funding will be released to the projects at the earliest possible opportunity in 2010.

In addition, I have made provision for essential funding for the first two weeks of January to be made available to a number of projects where this has been identified as necessary. I am satisfied that two weeks of funding is the appropriate amount required. During 2010, it is my intention to review the funding procedures in place in relation to drugs initiatives to see whether any adjustments are necessary.

Irish Language.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

57 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount spent on the promotion and teaching of Irish abroad in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47047/09]

As the Deputy may be aware, in 2006 my Department established a dedicated fund under Ciste na Gaeilge to provide funding for the teaching of Irish in 3rd level institutions overseas. Prior to the establishment of this fund, my Department had provided funding to a number of individual universities for this purpose. Details are set out as follows, in tabular form, of the funding provided by my Department for the promotion and teaching of Irish in 3rd Level institutions abroad for the period 2005 to 2009.

Year

Amount

2005

59,664

2006

374,774

2007

609,893

2008

760,840

2009 (to date)

992,658

Up to 40 3rd level colleges and universities have been supported with this funding, including Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, New York State, St Thomas Heuston, Poznan, and Mannheim and Marburg University in Germany. The average annual grant is €20,000.

This funding initiative has proved extremely successful in raising the profile and perceived status of the Irish language at home and abroad, and in opening up opportunities for personal and career development for young Irish language teachers and other professionals. It also develops positive links at Governmental and university level between Ireland and other participating countries, as well as the interpersonal contacts that are so important in the long-term in ensuring a positive awareness of Ireland among our EU partners and further afield.

I would mention in particular the two-way exchanges promoted via our participation in the Fulbright Commission's programme and in partnership with the Ireland-Canada University Foundation. Aside from the value in terms of promotion of the language, there is a direct economic return in cultural tourism terms, as many of the international students who study Irish in their home institutions will continue their studies in Ireland.

Community Development.

Joe Costello

Question:

58 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to fund initiatives for social inclusion in the run-up to the Christmas period in view of the many persons living alone in our communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47032/09]

As the Deputy is aware, my Department implements and funds a wide range of measures, programmes and schemes promoting social inclusion. These include measures addressing the issue of urban and rural isolation, for example, the Community Supports for Older People and grant provision to organisations such as St Vincent de Paul and Protestant Aid. Details of the programmes and schemes operated by my Department, including guidelines, criteria and recipients of grant support, are available on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie. All applications for funding received by my Department are assessed in line with the eligibility criteria of the relevant schemes and decisions made accordingly. If the Deputy has a specific application or project in mind, I will be happy to consider the matter on receipt of further information from him.

Questions Nos. 59 and 60 answered with Question No. 39.

Irish Language.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

61 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the support provided here for Irish as an official and working language at European Union level; if significant progress has been made in the use of Irish as a working language of the European Union since 1 January 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47048/09]

Arising from the recognition accorded to the Irish language as an official and working language of the European Union with effect from 1 January 2007, I established a dedicated fund in 2006 for advanced Irish language third level courses. My Department is working in collaboration with the HEA, King's Inns and a number of other bodies and institutions in relation to the development of such courses, which will help increase the number of professionals with particular skills in order to meet the requirements of the Irish language at the EU, as well as of the Official Languages Act 2003 at home.

The initiative has proved a considerable success with a total of eight full-time courses now being delivered. These include an MA in Irish language conference interpretation — the first of its kind in Ireland — as well as an MA in legal translation, both of which are provided by NUI Galway. In addition, funding has also been provided for an intensive, short-term course for lawyer linguists provided by Kings Inns, and an intensive short-term course in legal translation provided by Europus Teo in Co. Galway. Other initiatives relevant to this area and which have received funding from my Department include, for example, the development by Fiontar, Dublin City University, of a database of EU terminology in the Irish language. The database also includes terminology required for translation of statutory instruments.

In relation to the use of Irish at the EU, as the Deputy is aware, elections were held to the European Parliament in June 2009. My understanding is that the level of usage of Irish has been maintained in the new Parliament and that, in general, there is satisfaction at the level of Irish being used in the various EU institutions — though I would continue to stress the value of Ministers using Irish at meetings as much as possible. Finally, I should also say that the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 will result in the extension of co-decision to cover almost all legislative acts, which will, in turn, lead to a considerable increase in the number of EU legal instruments being translated into Irish. I understand that the relevant EU institutions are preparing for these new demands and plan on recruiting extra staff.

Údaras na Gaeltachta.

Mary Upton

Question:

62 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Mary Upton den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an bhfágfar an ról forbartha fiontar sa Ghaeltacht ag Údarás na Gaeltachta de réir na Dréacht-Stráiteise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [47049/09]

Dírím aird an Teachta ar an sliocht seo a leanas atá sa dréacht-Straitéis 20-bliain don Ghaeilge mar a foilsíodh le déanaí:

"Is iad An Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta agus Údarás na Gaeilge a dhéanfaidh seachadadh ar an oiread seirbhísí nach seirbhísí teanga agus is féidir in aitheantas a bhfuil cruthaithe acu ó thaobh seirbhísí a sheachadadh trí Ghaeilge. Níl sé i gceist mar sin a mholadh go n-aistreofaí aon scéimeanna atá ann agus a fheidhmíonn Údarás na Gaeltachta nó An Roinn chuig Ranna nó gníomhaireachtaí eile ach scrúdófar cláir eile a d'fhéadfadh An Roinn nó an tÚdarás a sheachadadh sa Ghaeltacht."

Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

63 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Jan O’Sullivan den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta an féidir leis a chinntiú nach mbeidh aon laghdú ar na deontais faoi Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge i 2010; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [47051/09]

Mar atá a fhios ag an Teachta, tá laghdú suntasach tagtha ar chostas maireachtála sa tír seo le os cionn bliana. Chomh maith leis sin, ar ndóigh, tá beartas buiséadach an Rialtais athruithe d'fhonn dul i ngleic leis an gcúlú eacnamaíochta agus an tír a chur ar bhóthar a leasa arís. Dá réir sin, tá an soláthar airgid atá ar fáil do mo Roinnse i 2010 laghdaithe. É sin ráite, tá áthas orm a chur in iúl don Teachta go bhfuil i gceist agam leanúint le Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge i 2010 agus le cúnamh a chur ar fáil ó mo Roinnse ina leith. I gcomhthéacs na gcúinsí atá luaite thuas, áfach, ní féidir liom a rá ag an bpointe seo cén ráta sonrach deontais a bheidh i gceist do 2010, cé go bhfuil súil agam go mbeidh ar mo chumas cinneadh a dhéanamh faoi sin go luath.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 53.
Question No. 65 answered with Question No. 39.

Grant Payments.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

66 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the grants made to the various organisations in the Irish language voluntary sector in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47046/09]

Funding is provided directly by my Department to various organisations in the Irish language voluntary sector under Ciste na Gaeilge and certain Gaeltacht schemes. Funding is also provided by Foras na Gaeilge. The details of the funding provided in the years in question under these various measures are set out in the following Table.

At its meeting in Language Format on 14 December, the North South Ministerial Council welcomed the fact that Foras na Gaeilge had completed a review of the 19 organisations core-funded by it, noted the findings of the review and the options proposed, and agreed that core-funding of the Irish language voluntary sector by Foras na Gaeilge be reconfigured to ensure a more streamlined and cost effective way to move forward while ensuring that proper governance arrangements are in place. I am confident that the outcome of this review will lead to a more effective, integrated and dynamic Irish language voluntary sector. For the sake of completeness, the Deputy should note that it is also open to voluntary Irish language organisations to apply for assistance under other grant schemes operated by my Department to provide support for organisations in the community and voluntary sector.

A — Funding under Ciste na Gaeilge

(i) Current Funding

Organisation

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Gaillimh le Gaeilge

112,720

152,580

225,650

178,726

165,600

Gnó Mhaigh Eo

155,965

165,000

151,800

Gael-Taca

74,500

55,950

81,590

90,870

74,520

Glór na nGael

10,000

40,000

48,350

51,500

50,000

Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe

450,000

450,000

480,000

463,343

441,600

Total

647,220

698,530

991,555

949,439

883,520

(ii) Capital Funding

Organisation

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Conradh na Gaeilge Luimneach, Áras Íde

112,000

206,000

Conradh na Gaeilge Sráid Fheachair, Baile Átha Cliath,

179,478

Total

112,000

206,000

179,478

B — Funding under Gaeltacht Schemes

Gaeltacht Organisations

Amount

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Gaelachas Teo

14,814.00

22,648.00

21,861.00

24,874.50

26,323.50

Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta

21,000.00

0.00

90,200.00

154,368.00

83,403.00

Oideas Gael

37,500.00

75,000.00

98,750.00

82,474.00

63,750.00

Gaeil Uladh

220,000.00

148,728.00

257,335.00

320,716.00

165,618.00

Áisleann Chill Chartha Teo

3,160.00

0.00

62,342.00

55,050.00

8,402.00

Coiste Céim Aniar

54,720.00

21,360.00

80,000.00

71,550.00

1,900.00

Comharchumann Forbartha Ghaoth Dobhair

54,000.00

38,520.00

96,000.00

103,150.00

82,225.00

CLG Ghaoth Dobhair

0.00

0.00

70,000.00

75,950.00

20,000.00

Lár Chomh. Par. Ghleann Cholm Cille

6,000.00

850.00

20,000.00

40,000.00

68,000.00

Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla

3,815.00

106.00

4,252.00

3,107.00

4,550.00

Comhairle Chonnachta

0.00

145,000.00

70,000.00

55,532.00

23,319.00

An Gaelacadamh

93,181.00

165,720.00

162,694.10

147,471.00

90,250.00

Muintearas Gaillimh

66,227.00

99,258.00

66,673.03

124,670.00

43,162.00

Cumas Teo

337,275.00

275,342.00

322,028.22

292,562.00

217,092.00

Comharchumann Shailearna

82,500.00

0.00

188,500.00

48,400.00

57.59

Comharchumann Forbartha Inis Mór

0.00

0.00

36,000.00

39,000.00

12,000.00

Comharchumann Dhúiche Sheoigheach

0.00

0.00

5,566.00

56,000.00

25,000.00

Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne

225,571.50

300,762.00

403,315.50

425,421.00

311,476.00

Comhchoiste Gaeltachta Chiarraí Theas

45,220.00

68,050.00

35,416.00

2,800.00

3,470.00

Cáirde Choláiste Íde Teo

18,750.00

75,000.00

93,750.00

75,000.00

37,500.00

Scoil na Leanaí Coláiste na Rinne

0.00

26,115.50

31,132.50

36,162.00

63,517.50

CLG Rinn Ó gCuanach

0.00

3,680.00

20,000.00

4,150.00

122,550.00

Comharchumann Rath Cairn

119,000.00

80,000.00

55,000.00

124,931.00

0.00

Total

1,402,733.50

1,546,139.50

2,290,815.35

2,363,338.50

1,473,565.59

C — Funding by Foras na Gaeilge

FORAS NA GAEILGE grants approved

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009*

Bunmhaoinithe / Core-funded

Áisaonad Lán Ghaeilge — Coláiste Mhuire

573,926

450,858

558,367

461,681

Oireachtas na Gaeilge

446,022

475,121

538,845

550,605

Comhaltas Uladh

196,956

173,705

168,760

91,673

Comhar na Múinteoirí Gaeilge

328,227

237,900

234,220

222,323

Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge

870,010

839,412

864,636

756,781

Comhlachas Náisiúnta Drámaíochta

226,853

234,247

247,000

226,442

Comhluadar

268,271

269,249

291,543

268,491

Conradh na Gaeilge

760,735

456,601

826,530

785,920

Cumann na bhFiann

464,946

488,223

522,967

507,355

Forbairt Feirste

142,195

174,405

176,750

145,760

Forbairt Naíonraí Teoranta / Altram

1,085,692

1,684,152

1,512,624

1,484,185

Gael Linn

921,836

874,489

883,336

818,338

Gaelscoileanna

402,675

535,808

510,200

491,559

Glór na nGael

599,443

613,145

619,593

652,524

Iontaobhas Ultach

339,538

355,049

364,941

307,618

Pobal

247,024

292,853

266,113

226,083

Raidió Fáilte

0

254,467

133,052

122,565

Raidió na Life

158,941

171,654

219,136

216,113

*The bulk of core funded grants for 2009 have yet to be paid.

Scéim Phobail Ghaeilge/ Community Language Schemes

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

An Clár as Gaeilge

252,935

An Droichead

27,268

49,120

296,277

Conradh na Gaeilge, Craobh Chathair Luimní

Coiste Dúiche Mhaigh Eo

192,813

Cumann Cultúrtha Mhic Reachtain

357,108

Cumann Forbartha Charn Tóchair

82,110

286,258

Cumann Gaelach Chnoc na Ros

167,802

Cumann Gaelach Leath Chathail

162,071

Gael-Fhorbairt na Gaillime

209,172

Gaelphobal an tSratha Báin

177,617

Glór Cheatharlach

183,351

Glór Gaeilge Locha Riach

216,100

Glór na Móna

157,562

Ionad Uibh Eachach

98,594

44,172

158,839

Muintir Chrónáin

219,877

Na Macallaí, Loch Garman

151,453

Pobal an Chaistil

171,597

National Drugs Strategy.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

67 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on privately run drug treatment programmes; if he supports these programmes; if he will ensure that local drugs task forces channel funding into these programmes even if they cater for the wider community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47014/09]

The Health Service Executive has a long established relationship with voluntary sector providers of drug treatment programmes across the country. In this context, my focus in recent months has been to improve inter-agency working and co-operation between statutory and voluntary service providers and to this end, a small working group, chaired by my Department, is currently working through a number of issues.

Before I would consider channelling Drugs Task Force funding into privately run treatment programmes, I would need to be fully satisfied that the quality standards and clinical governance arrangements, as set down for residential treatment providers, are being adhered to and complied with. In the context of more limited resources that will be available in the short to medium term, such programmes would also have to show that they are competitive and represent value for money.

Flood Relief.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

68 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if Waterways Ireland is involved in flood relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47044/09]

The main functions of Waterways Ireland are the management, maintenance, development and restoration of the inland navigable waterway system throughout the island, principally for recreational purposes. Waterways Ireland's remit does not include responsibility for flood relief. Notwithstanding this and within its own sphere of competency, I am informed that, during the recent unprecedented heavy rainfalls, Waterways Ireland monitored water levels on a daily basis and adjusted water levels on the canals to anticipate rises. Waterways Ireland liaised closely with the local authorities to provide updates on water levels, and was also in daily contact with the ESB in relation to the Shannon Navigation. I am also advised that Waterways Ireland cordoned off public areas that were flooded across the navigational network to ensure public safety and carried out works to minimise the effects of flooding, both to its own infrastructure and in respect of vessels moored on the navigation.

Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 39.
Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 55.

Unemployment Levels.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

71 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Taoiseach the latest unemployment figures for the Tallaght social welfare office, Dublin 24. [47237/09]

The Live Register series gives a monthly breakdown of the number of people claiming Jobseekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance and other registrants as registered with the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Figures are published for each county and each social welfare office. The most recent information is for November 2009. The number of persons signing on in the Tallaght social welfare office on the last Friday in November 2009 was 9,725. It should be noted that the Live Register is not a definitive measure of unemployment as it includes part-time workers, and seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseekers Benefit or Allowance.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

72 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Taoiseach the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47500/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

73 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Taoiseach the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47515/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

74 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Taoiseach the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47530/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 to 74, inclusive, together.

My Special Advisers are Joe Lennon Programme Manager, Gerry Steadman, Peter Clinch, Oliver O'Connor, Brian Murphy and Declan Ryan. Pádraig Slyne is Special Adviser to the Government Chief Whip and is based in my Department. Their contracts contain details of their salaries and superannuation arrangements and have already been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. However, for the Deputy's convenience, details of their annual salaries are set out in the following table. The pension related deduction applies to all of these salaries.

Name

Title

Salary

Joe Lennon*

Programme Manager

221,929

Oliver O’Connor

Special Adviser

177,547

Brian Murphy

Special Adviser

137,737

Gerry Steadman

Special Adviser

137,737

Declan Ryan

Special Adviser

97,109

Peter Clinch

Special Adviser

213,092

Padraig Slyne

Special Adviser

100,392

Total

1,085,543

*Mr. Joe Lennon has made a gift of 22,193 being part of his emoluments from his employment in 2009 for use for any purpose for or towards the cost of which public moneys are provided, and the Minister for Finance has accepted the gift. The salary mentioned above is the total salary prior to the making of the gift.

Joe Lennon, Gerry Steadman and Brian Murphy are members of civil service pension schemes and no additional pension contributions are made in respect of them. Peter Clinch is a member of the UCD pension scheme and a contribution of €5,981 is made by the Department to his pension in accordance with Department of Finance guidelines. In respect of Oliver O'Connor, Padraig Slyne and Declan Ryan, my Department makes pension contributions equivalent to 11% of their salaries towards their pension funds, again in accordance with Department of Finance guidelines.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

75 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48231/09]

The following table details all travel for official purposes on commercial flights which has been undertaken by myself, the former Taoiseach and Ministers of State assigned to the Department from 2006 to end of November 2009.

2006

2007

2008

Jan to end Nov 2009

Bertie Ahern, T.D.

3,430.27

0

3,834.86

0

Brian Cowen, T.D.

0

0

10,640.74

10,350.70

Tom Kitt, T.D.

3,808.96

1,078.23

2,362.13

0

Noel Treacy, T.D.

1,622.07

0

0

0

Dick Roche, T.D.

0

1,403.91

494.55

0

Pat Carey, T.D.

0

0

0

4,361.86

Community Employment Schemes.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

76 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of people engaged in community employment programmes on a county basis for 2008 and to date in 2009; the number of people engaged in jobs initiatives programmes on a county basis for 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47244/09]

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis. CE helps unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to a work routine and to assist them to enhance/develop both their technical and personal skills. The Job Initiative Programme (JI) was launched in July 1996 and continues to provide full time employment for people who are 35 years of age or over, unemployed for 5 years or more, and in receipt of Social Welfare payments over that period.

The main purpose of the programme is to assist long-term unemployed people to prepare for work opportunities by providing participants with work experience, training and development opportunities. The programme is sponsored by voluntary organisations and public bodies involved in not-for-profit activities. Following changes introduced by Minister Micheál Martin on 10 November 2004, no new entrants have been admitted onto the Job Initiative Schemes. However, contracts for existing participants are renewed allowing them the option to continue until they are 65 years of age. Where persons do leave the Job Initiative Scheme that place can be allocated as a Community Employment place. The information requested by the Deputy will take some time to collate. I will contact the Deputy once this has been completed.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

77 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of people in employment who are availing of FÁS and Skillnets training in 2009 on a county basis; the number of people in employment who availed of FÁS and Skillnets training in 2008 on a county basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47245/09]

There are a number of training programmes provided by FÁS for persons in employment.

Workplace Basic Education Fund

Training was provided to a total of 918 persons in employment with low basis skills levels in 2008 and will have provided such training to 2,407 persons in 2009.

Screen Training Ireland

This programme provided training to 1,574 people in 2008 and to 956 people to date in 2009.

Competency Development Programme

A total of 23,681 people in employment participated in training in 2008.

Environmental Training Programme

This programme provided training to 6,432 people in 2008.

Trade Union Learning

This programme provided training to 2,277 people in 2008.

Where not yet currently available collated data for 2009 will be completed during the first quarter of 2010. A total of 56,126 people in employment participated in training under theSkillnets Training Networks Programme (TNP) in 2008. A total of 27,154 had participated in TNP training in 2009 at end November. The new Finuas Networks programme operated by Skillnets Ltd and aimed at upskilling those working in the international financial services sector, had trained a total of 872 people in employment nationwide since its commencement in June 2009 to end November 2009. The breakdown of all above mentioned data where collated on a county by county or regional basis will be forwarded to the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

78 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reduction she plans to make to the community employment and jobs initiative allowances; if her attention has been drawn to the ramifications of this for the rate of uptake of these schemes and those people in long-term unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47246/09]

There will be a reduction in the Social Welfare linked allowances paid to participants on Community Employment (CE) and Jobs Initiative (JI) programmes and FÁS training courses in line with the Budget reductions to Social Welfare recipients. The FÁS additional allowance for participants on CE and JI will also be reduced from €24.40 and €48.80 per week to €20 and €40 per week respectively. An additional 500 places are being made available under CE in 2010.

Company Closures.

Jack Wall

Question:

79 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of company closures reported for each of the past three years in Kildare South; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47279/09]

Neither my Department nor its agencies compile statistics on the numbers of company closures. With regard to agency assisted companies only, my Department operates an internal early warning system of potential job losses based on material provided on a confidential basis by IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development. While this system helps to identify certain companies that are experiencing difficult trading conditions, it is not an indicator of company closures.

Redundancy Payments.

Jack Wall

Question:

80 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of applications for redundancy payments in each of the past three years for Kildare South; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47280/09]

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide the Deputy with the specific information he has requested as the Department does not collate statistics for redundancy payment claims on the basis of local authority boundaries. I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that at this time my focus and that of my Department is on ensuring that redundancy payments are processed as quickly as possible.

I can advise the Deputy that the latest figures available to end November 2009 indicate that, on a national basis, the number of redundancy claims awaiting processing stands at 42,591. I should point out that my Department has, since 1 January processed 45,201 claims and made corresponding payments amounting to €287m (provisional figures) which results in average weekly payments to the value of €6.5m being issued. The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing rebate applications submitted by post from March 2009 and those filed online from April 2009, so that the waiting time is approximately 8 to 9 months depending on the manner of filing the application. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from June 2009.

Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department 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 eleven months of 2009 is 73,024, up 96% on the same period last year (37,257). 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 52.5;

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.

Job Protection.

Jack Wall

Question:

81 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of industries in County Kildare that have sought assistance under the initiatives that she has determined to assist companies to overcome the economic downturn; the results of such applications; the funding allocated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47281/09]

To date in 2009, 16 companies in County Kildare have been approved funding by Enterprise Ireland of €7,072,700 under the Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary) and the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund. Additionally, almost €1.4m has been approved by Enterprise Ireland in 2009 to 32 companies for activities such as Research and Development, Management Development, Mentoring, Trade Fair Participation and other supports designed to aid the development and growth of client companies.

Figures for the County Enterprise Boards are compiled on an annual basis and figures in respect of 2009 will not be available until early in 2010. However, Kildare County Enterprise Board have received approximately 57 applications seeking financial assistance of which 26 grant applications have been approved for funding to date, totalling €319,000. FÁS estimates that expenditure in 2009 will exceed €20 million on training and employment programmes in County Kildare. To date in 2009, FÁS has been in direct contact with:

133 companies regarding the Work Placement Programme,

148 companies promoting the business improvement tool Excellence Through People, and

422 companies with over 900 apprentices, many who availed of the Redundant Apprentice Rotation Scheme and the other supports to assist with redundant apprentices.

It is expected that approximately 3,000- 3,500 people will avail of FÁS programmes directly in County Kildare this year.

Departmental Agencies.

Jack Wall

Question:

82 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the structure of State agencies that service the Kildare South area regarding employment opportunities; the number of personnel involved; the geographical locations of the offices used; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47282/09]

Enterprise Ireland's Dublin and Mid East Regional Office, headquartered in Dublin, serves County Kildare including the Kildare south area. There are three Enterprise Ireland staff directly associated with the Dublin and Mid East Regional Office, although companies in Kildare will frequently have interaction with a greater number of Enterprise Ireland personnel for specific areas of expertise, including, Development Advisers in specific sectors for business development; Market Advisers for international selling; Technologists for advice and assistance in relation to Research, Development and Innovation; and also in areas including management development and training, productions and investment.

Kildare County Enterprise Board encompasses the area of Kildare South and provides a source of support to small businesses with 10 employees or fewer. The Board's primary function is to promote enterprise development, business growth and job creation. The Board is located at The Woods, Clane, County Kildare and has a staff complement of four — a Chief Executive Officer, an Assistant Chief Executive Officer, a Business Adviser and an Administrator. The IDA East Regional Office in Wilton Park House, Dublin serves the Kildare area and has a total number of 3 staff assigned. Through its network of overseas offices, the agency is marketing Kildare as part of an integrated East Region across a range of sectors such as international services, software, financial services and pharmaceuticals.

FÁS Services in South Kildare are delivered by the following Employment Services Unit funded staff:

FÁS Office, Newbridge 7 Staff

Athy Clinic 1 Employment Services Officer from Newbridge attends every Wednesday.

LES Office, Naas 3 Staff

LES Office, Newbridge 3 Staff

LES Office, Kildare 3 Staff

LES Office, Athy 3 Staff

FÁS provides its full range of programmes in County Kildare, which includes services directed at clients who are newly or long-term unemployed and provision of short-term working and community based training and employment programmes.

Trade Missions.

Jack Wall

Question:

83 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of trade missions proposed or supported by her, her Department or agencies under her remit for 2010; her views on applications for inclusion on such missions of representatives of local authorities, county enterprise boards or any such development company as organised or under the remit of a local authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47285/09]

A programme of Minister-led Trade Missions, organised in association with Enterprise Ireland to develop Irish exports to a wide range of markets, is planned for next year. The full range of destinations is still being finalised at this stage. Trade Missions provide an opportunity for Enterprise Ireland client companies to develop links in a market, to win export sales, to engage in international partnerships and joint ventures and establish in-market presences. A focus on exporting underpins all missions, ranging from export opportunities identified in the mission market, market opportunities for specific firms or sectors and future growth opportunities. Given this exclusive emphasis on companies that are trying to grow their exports in specific markets, it is unlikely that local authorities and other locally based organizations would benefit from the very focused work of such Trade Missions.

Industrial Development.

Jack Wall

Question:

84 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the progress made regarding the sale of Industrial Development Authority lands in south Kildare; if she or any State agencies within the remit of her Department are considering initiatives regarding the use of such lands that will generate employment opportunities in the areas; if a public private partnership is an acceptable way forward for the development of the lands; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47286/09]

The management of IDA Ireland's industrial property portfolio is a day-to-day operational matter for the Agency, as part of the statutory responsibility assigned to it by the Oireachtas, and it is not a matter in which the Minister of the day has any involvement. The use to which IDA property can be put is prescribed by legislation and the disposal of property for any alternative use requires the consent of the Minister of the day. However, the Agency is always available to discuss proposals regarding availability or suitability of individual buildings with Local Authorities, Enterprise Boards or Community Groups and I will be happy to consider any request for such consent should it be required.

As I stated previously, Kildare County Council confirmed to IDA in January 2009 that due to the financial position facing Kildare County Council at that time the local authority was not in a position to purchase IDA sites in Athy, Castledermot or Monasterevin in South Kildare. There is no IDA land available in Kildare town. The situation will be reviewed again early next year and should the same situation remain with Kildare County Council regarding the acquisition of the lands, IDA will consider open market disposal of some or all of these lands. This will be dependent on the open market conditions prevailing at that time.

Redundancy Payments.

Chris Andrews

Question:

85 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when staff who have been made redundant from a company (details supplied) may expect to receive their redundancy payments. [47339/09]

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 two statutory lump sum claims in respect of former employees of the company on 30 October 2009 and 5 November 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. These applications are awaiting processing.

The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing rebate applications submitted by post from March 2009 and those filed online from April 2009, so that the waiting time is approximately 8 to 9 months depending on the manner of filing the application. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from June 2009. Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department 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 eleven months of 2009 is 73,024. 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 52.5;

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.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Noel Ahern

Question:

86 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding short-term and night time courses run for jobseekers; if there is a reluctance by jobseekers to take up courses due to the perceived difficulty and delay in moving from social welfare payments to FÁS payments; if the situation will be streamlined; if persons on short-term courses could stay on social welfare payments instead of transferring; if the standing of short-term courses is different; and if being on a short-term course does not guarantee a payment. [47408/09]

When individuals in receipt of a social welfare payment commence a FÁS course of more than two weeks duration, they receive a training allowance from FÁS and their social welfare payments are suspended for the duration of the course. Upon completion of the course individuals are required to re-submit a claim to the Department of Social and Family Affairs where they have not secured employment. FÁS evening courses and many of the e-learning/online/blended learning courses do not provide a training allowance so learners may continue to receive their social welfare payment for the duration.

There may remain a perception among many FÁS clients who are in receipt of a welfare payment that they will incur a lengthy delay in having their payment re-instated. However, I understand that the Department of Social and Family Affairs, at a central level, has instructed their local offices to ‘fast-track' or prioritize such claimants so that there should not be significant delays in having their payments re-instated.

Officials from my Department, FÁS and the Department of Social and Family Affairs meet regularly and will continue to explore measures to encourage the unemployed to participate in training. This includes examining measures to ease the transition and reduce any inconvenience for individuals in transferring between the social welfare and the FÁS training allowance payment systems. The retention of social welfare benefits while claimants are participating on training courses is a matter for the Minister of Social and Family Affairs.

Flood Relief.

Frank Feighan

Question:

87 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she intends utilising the county enterprise boards to assess and collate the damage and cost incurred in recent flooding. [47458/09]

As enterprise support agencies the interaction of the County Enterprise Boards (CEBs) with their local Community is generally confined to matters of delivering financial and non-financial supports to eligible local enterprises in the micro-enterprise sector and to the promotion of entrepreneurial activities. It was in the context of this remit that I recently asked the CEBs to collect information on the impact of the flooding on their local client businesses in order to assist in framing the overall Government response to the situation.

The national response to the flooding crisis was overseen by the Emergency Response Coordination Committee (operating under the aegis of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government). An integral part of this response is the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme which provides means-tested financial support to people who have suffered damage in their homes and is being administered by the local Community Welfare Services. This Scheme does not cover commercial or business interests.

In relation to businesses affected by flooding damage the CEBs and Enterprise Ireland are available to offer advice to client businesses and their normal financial supports remain available to eligible clients. However it is primarily for the Insurance Sector to respond to affected businesses under the terms of their commercial insurance policies. This Sector should respond quickly and appropriately to claims and should ensure that payments flow back to policyholders to facilitate early resumption of business. In addition the Banking Sector has a role to play in supporting businesses coping with the impact of flood damage. It is imperative that such businesses receive supportive responses from banks to requests for working capital loans and re-stocking loans and for any temporary adjustments to loan facilities already in operation. Some individual insurance companies and banks have committed publicly to offering speedy and appropriate assistance to businesses impacted by the floods.

I do not envisage the CEBs having a broad-based lead role in assessing and collating the damage, and the cost incurred, arising from the recent flooding, nor indeed would they have the capacity to undertake such a role. However I will continue to monitor the situation as it affects local businesses based on relevant information that becomes available to the CEBs.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

88 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the name, title and number of special advisers in her Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47493/09]

The following table outlines the name, title and number of special advisers in my Department between 1 January to date in 2009:

Office

Name

Title

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade & Employment

Mr. Dermot Murphy Mr. Michael Shovlin Mr. Sean Perry

Special Adviser Special Adviser Press Adviser

Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D. (from 1/1/09 to 21/4/09)

Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick

Special Adviser

Brian Hayes

Question:

89 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47508/09]

The following tables outline the annual salaries in cash amount of all special advisors employed in my Department.

Office of the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade & Employment

Name

Title

Salary

Mr. Dermot Murphy

Special Adviser

Principal Officer standard scale €86,168 – €89,819 – €93,449 – €97,109 – €100,191 – €103,389 – €106,582. Plus annual attraction allowance of 10%.

Mr. Sean Perry

Press Adviser

AP standard scale €66,179, €68,656, €71,132, €73,609, €76,087, €77,520, €80,016, €82,520

Mr. Michael Shovlin

Special Adviser

Principal Officer standard scale €86,168 – €89,819 – €93,449 – €97,109 – €100,191 – €103,389 – €106,582.

Office of the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Jimmy Devins, T.D. (from 1/1/09 to 21/4/09)

Name

Title

Salary

Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick

Special Adviser

Principal Officer standard scale €86,168 – €89,819 – €93,449 – €97,109 – €100,191 – €103,389 – €106,582.

Brian Hayes

Question:

90 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47523/09]

There are no costs in respect of pension contributions associated with the retention of current special advisors within my Department.

Brian Hayes

Question:

91 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce. [47538/09]

The Special Advisers appointed to my Department have been appointed in line with the provisions of Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 and also, in accordance with the "Instructions relating to the appointment of Ministerial Private Office Staff" as issued by the Department of Finance. The role and duties of special advisers as described in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 include the provision of advice, monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of Government objectives as they relate to my Department and performing such other functions as may be directed. I am satisfied that the contribution made by my special advisers assists in the achievement of Government objectives.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

92 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of reports, documents and memos in her Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if she will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47554/09]

In the time available, it has not been possible to compile the information requested by the Deputy in relation to my Department and the Offices of my Department. However, this information is currently being compiled and I will be in touch with the Deputy shortly about the matter.

Redundancy Payments.

Noel Coonan

Question:

93 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when an application for redundancy will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47688/09]

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 a statutory lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 10 September, 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. The claim is awaiting processing.

The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing rebate applications submitted by post from March 2009 and those filed online from April 2009, so that the waiting time is approximately 8 to 9 months depending on the manner of filing the application. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from June 2009. Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department 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 eleven months of 2009 is 73,024. 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 52.5;

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 Coonan

Question:

94 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when an application for redundancy will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47689/09]

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 a statutory lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 4 September, 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. I understand that a query was raised on this claim which has very recently been resolved. In this instance it will be possible to have the claim processed and paid over the next few weeks.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

95 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48225/09]

The amounts spent by my Department in respect of travel undertaken by myself and my predecessor on commercial flights since January 2006 are set out on Table 1. Details of the amounts spent by my Department on travel undertaken on commercial flights by Ministers of State at my Department are available from 1 April 2007 and are provided on Table 2. The tables do not include the cost of Ministerial travel on commercial flights which were organised and paid for by agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Table 1 — Amounts spent by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on travel undertaken by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment on commercial flights from 1 Jan. 2006-30 Nov. 2009

Minister

2006

2007

2008

2009

Micheál Martin

3,447.53

4,452.00

121.13

Mary Coughlan

813.48

1,465.57

Table 2 — Amounts spent by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on travel undertaken by Ministers of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on commercial flights from 1 April 2007-20 Nov. 2009

Minister of State

2007

2008

2009

Tony Killeen

497.03

Michael Ahern

7,953.04

1,483.20

Billy Kelleher

376.81

8,776.73

1,733.42

John McGuinness

14,218.43

597.32

Jimmy Devins

2,980.13

1,162.67

Dara Calleary

2,162.24

Conor Lenihan

1,634.32

Tax Code.

Brian Hayes

Question:

96 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the airport travel tax has been a disaster for tourism here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47377/09]

The Finance (No.2) Act 2008 confirmed the introduction of an air travel tax from 30 March 2009. However, I took account of concerns raised by the regional airports particularly those on the western seaboard. The lower rate of €2 applies to departures from any Irish airport where the destination is 300kms or less from Dublin airport. This means that all Irish departures to locations such as Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow are subject to the €2 rate. Ireland is not unique in regard to applying a tax on air travel. Other countries within the EU apply similar taxes such as the UK and France, as do Australia and New Zealand. The rates for the Irish air travel tax are not unreasonable both for shorter and longer journeys, when compared to rates in other countries.

It should be recognised that tourists are only subject to the tax on their return journey. The additional €10 or €2 in the context of a much larger purchasing decision involving travel, hotel expenditures etc. should have only a limited effect on tourist numbers. The Government appreciates the airline industry continues to go through a difficult period. However, this difficult trading period arises primarily from weak world economic activity.

It should be noted that at present the decline in air travel is an international phenomenon and as a result aviation services are contracting on a global basis. In the case of Ireland the decline in passenger numbers through our airports are broadly in line with our international counterparts. This downward trend is evident for periods prior to the introduction of the air travel tax. Furthermore, passenger numbers for other modes of transport have also experienced broadly similar declines. This is not a desirable situation, but it is clear that the air travel tax is not the substantive cause for the decline in passenger numbers.

We currently face significant financial challenges and the air travel tax is an important revenue raising measure. The Government has tried to be as fair as possible in looking at areas for additional tax revenues. It is also worth noting that fuel used by commercial airlines is completely exempt from tax, so it's a sector that already has considerable preferential treatment.

John Deasy

Question:

97 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance his plans regarding public transport providers paying the proposed carbon tax; his further plans to provide a rebate of the tax to such companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47203/09]

I announced in the Budget that exemptions from the carbon tax will apply only to participants in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in respect of fuels covered. There is scope under the Energy Tax Directive to apply a lower rate of excise duty on auto-diesel in respect of certain local public passenger transport services and certain other commercial users, once the EU minimum rate is observed. However, the introduction of any such preferential treatment would require an extensive rebate system. It is estimated that a relief from carbon tax for local public passenger transport services using the same criteria as the previous excise duty rebate would cost in the region of €5m per annum. However, using the same criteria would not be possible under EU law and any relief would need to be wider in scope, but would also exclude some of those companies that had benefited from the previous excise relief scheme. It is estimated that a general carbon tax relief for commercial users of auto-diesel would cost the Exchequer approximately €70m per annum.

Credit Unions.

Sean Fleming

Question:

98 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance his plans to review the percentage of loans that credit unions can issue by way of long-term loans in view of the difficulties this restriction is causing to many borrowers who need to reschedule their loans over a longer period of time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47235/09]

At my request, my Officials have been working with the Registrar of Credit Unions, the Irish League of Credit Unions and the Credit Union Development Association to find a solution to this complex issue. The Review Group on Longer-Term Lending Limits under Section 35 of the Credit Union Act 1997 met yesterday 15th December 2009 and has reported substantial progress on a proposal to review the legislation to meet the current need. This current proposal focuses on the issues of rescheduling of existing loans while ensuring proper systems, controls and reporting arrangements are in place. I anticipate being in a position to examine this final proposal in early January 2010. However, it is essential that each credit union must fully and properly recognise arrears situations where they exist so that a credit union is never in doubt as to its own position.

Tax Code.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

99 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Finance the reason landlords resident outside the State cannot pay tax on their rental income directly but must rely on their tenant to make the payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47255/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that under existing tax legislation a tenant paying rent to a non-resident landlord in respect of property located in the State is obliged to deduct income tax at the standard rate unless the non-resident landlord is assessable and chargeable to income tax in the name of a representative in the State. These provisions are designed to promote greater compliance having regard to the risk factors associated with non-resident taxpayers and ensure, in the case of non-resident landlords who don't have a representative here, that a minimum tax payment is made in respect of rental income arising here. A non-resident landlord will normally pay income tax in his or her own country of tax residence in respect of worldwide income (including Irish source rental income), subject to a credit for Irish tax deducted if there is a double taxation treaty in place.

State Banking Sector.

Joan Burton

Question:

100 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the circumstances under which a State capital injection into State owned Anglo Irish Bank would impact on the general Exchequer balance; if a loss is made on such capital injection, the way and when this would impact on the general Exchequer balance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47287/09]

The capital injection by the State of €4 billion into Anglo Irish Bank in 2009 did not impact directly on the GGB. The injection was treated under National Accounting rules as a financial investment, and under Eurostat rules, does not count for GGB accounting purposes. The interest on the €4 billion borrowed in order to make the capital injection does have negative effect on the GGB. As a general rule of thumb, each €1 billion extra borrowed is estimated to cost the Exchequer about €60 million per year in interest costs. Such interest costs are included as part of the estimate of the General Government Balance, GGB. The GGB impact of any potential future capital injection to the banking sector would depend on the precise terms of the capital provision, and its treatment under National accounting rules would be a matter for consultation with Eurostat.

Tax Code.

Mary Upton

Question:

101 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce legislation in line with his European counterparts to levy a punitive tax on bank bonuses over a certain amount; his views on whether this will not be an issue in the short term, but in the medium to long term this will help prevent further bank induced crises here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47299/09]

I am aware of the provisions recently introduced in the UK where a 50 per cent payroll tax is to be applied to certain banking, investment and financial trading companies in respect of any all bonuses larger than £25,000 awarded by them between 9 December 2009 and 5 April 2010. I am also cognisant that other countries have signalled their interest in introducing similar provisions. However, I have no plans to introduce such measures here at this time. Where banks have received State support in the form of guarantee or recapitalisation, this has been conditional on restrictions on top level pay and bonuses. The question of how to regulate the financial system to prevent future crises is being actively debated in the EU and elsewhere. We will update our regulatory and other systems in line with best international practice at the appropriate time.

Public Service Staff.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

102 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in County Donegal. [47361/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

103 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in counties Louth, Cavan and Monaghan. [47362/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

104 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in County Donegal earning under €20,000, €30,000, €40,000, €50,000, €60,000, €70,000, €80,000, €90,000 and €100,000. [47363/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

105 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in counties Louth, Cavan and Monaghan earning under €20,000, €30,000, €40,000, €50,000, €60,000, €70,000, €80,000, €90,000 and €100,000. [47364/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

106 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in County Donegal earning more than €100,000 per annum. [47365/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

107 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Finance the number of public sector employees in County Donegal earning more than €150,000 per annum. [47366/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 to 107, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant historical information available on the incomes of employees taxed under the PAYE system is derived from income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2007 representing about 96% of all returns expected at the time the data were compiled for analytical purposes. On this basis the total numbers of public sector employees in the counties mentioned by the Deputy, and the breakdown of those numbers by income ranges, is set out as follows:

Range of Gross Income

Donegal

Cavan

Louth

Monaghan

From

To

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

Numbers

20,000

20,658

8,794

15,088

8,818

20,000

30,000

6,437

4,128

6,510

3,696

30,000

40,000

2,336

2,120

3,118

1,710

40,000

50,000

1,038

993

1,700

816

50,000

60,000

537

604

906

395

60,000

70,000

371

391

605

230

70,000

80,000

181

198

391

145

80,000

90,000

109

137

249

79

90,000

100,000

58

84

148

45

100,000

150,000

69

126

262

65

Over

150,000

12

31

65

13

Totals

31,806

17,606

29,042

16,012

An estimated breakdown of the figures on a geographical basis is available on the basis of "bailiwick", meaning, in this case, the jurisdiction or boundaries within which Revenue Sheriffs, County Registrars or their officers operate for the purposes of enforcement of tax debt. It equates geographically with "county" while also providing separate breakdowns for "city" and "county" in the case of counties Dublin and Cork. The data relating to the allocation by city or county of PAYE employees should be treated with caution. This is because it has been the practice to associate each employee with the city or county in which his or her employer is registered for PAYE purposes, regardless of the address of the actual workplace or of the individual's home address. Additionally, the tabulated data does not distinguish atypical work patterns and earnings by employees such as work sharing and temporary or short term work.

The source of the information provided in relation to numbers and tax is the P35 end year returns filed by employers in respect of their employees but does not include the corresponding figures relating to PAYE taxpayers who are required to return an income tax return form 11 where non-PAYE income is greater than €3,174. The data also includes various forms of income from public sources to groups that would not normally be regarded as being employed within the public service, e.g. those receiving fees, those on State Boards etc. It should also be noted that as the data dates from 2007, it does not reflect developments since then; in particular the revised contracts for Hospital Consultants which are being implemented this year.

The sector identifier used on the tax records is based on the 4-digit NACE code (Rev. 1), which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system. The information provided in relation to Public Sector employees is based on activities which are classified in the NACE code system as Public Administration and Defence; compulsory Social Security, Education and Health and Social work but excluding the categories of Driving School Activities, Dental Practice Activities and Veterinary Activities as being more appropriate to the Private Sector. A married couple, which has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment, is counted as one tax unit.

Departmental Properties.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

108 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance the plans of the Revenue Commissioners regarding its Drogheda office in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47389/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that Revenue's Border Midlands West Region has the largest geographical spread of all Revenue regions. The number of small offices located in this region is a legacy of the prior existence of small Customs and Excise stations or Vehicle Registration Offices, which are no longer needed in the context of Revenue's modern service delivery. Generally, only limited services are delivered from these small offices and, in the case of Drogheda, these services are not specific to the town.

Revenue has an obligation to address the question of the proper use and management of resources, particularly given the current economic circumstances. In that context, the functions carried out in the Drogheda office are under review at present. The Drogheda review commenced in October when Regional Management met with the staff concerned with regard to their preferences. A systematic review of the functions carried out in Drogheda and the rationale for their location in Drogheda is ongoing. One function, the control of Drogheda Port, transferred to Dundalk in early December. This resulted in one staff member voluntarily transferring with the work. No final decision on the remaining functions has been taken to date.

State Banking Sector.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

109 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the total value of loans provided by Anglo Irish Bank in 2009. [47431/09]

Anglo Irish Bank is run on an arms length commercial basis by the Board.

As with all financial institutions, Anglo's current financial information, including its lending figures, is commercially sensitive, and it would therefore not be appropriate for me to release the information requested by the Deputy. Anglo Irish Bank publishes detailed accounts in line with the requirements for publicly quoted companies, and this will remain the case. The bank's next annual accounts for 2009 will be published in 2010 and will detail the bank's lending figures for the year.

I include for the Deputy's information, a copy of the relevant extract from Anglo's latest published accounts, for the half-year to 31 March 2009, in relation to the bank's customer lending.

Extract: Customer lending information from Business review, Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited Interim report for the six months to 31 March 2009

Customer lending balances by division1

31 March 2009

30 September 20092

€bn

%

€bn

%

Ireland

43.3

60

42.5

60

UK

18.7

26

18.5

26

US

10.3

14

10.0

14

Total

72.3

100

71.0

100

Lending, excluding provisions for impairment, increased by €1.3 billion2 during the period bringing total customer loans pre-impairment to €72.3 billion. The Bank’s Ireland division accounts for 60% of all lending with 26% and 14% in the UK and US respectively. Loan balances include €14.4 billion to the Bank’s top 20 regulatory customer groups. Each of these groups consists of a number of connected entities and the balances represent multiple individual loans secured by diverse portfolios of assets and multiple contracted cash flows.

New lending in the period was solely to the Bank's existing customer base, primarily in Ireland and confined to amounts which were previously committed or approved to protect asset quality and reduce risk. Growth in lending includes an amount of €0.7 billion relating to capitalised interest during the period, which is an integral feature of development lending. Interest roll-up facilities are also being provided to some clients outside the terms of their original loan facilities due to the lack of demand for completed units. The Bank will continue to approve the provision of additional facilities to customers where it is believed this will ensure the best economic outcome for the Bank in the long term.

While core lending margins excluding fees have remained broadly stable, total lending margin, including fees amortised to interest income under IFRS, has declined to 2.26% for the six months to 31 March 2009 from 2.43% for the year ended 30 September 2008. This reflects a significant decrease in lending arrangement fee amortisation income, from €133 million in the six months to March 2008 to €53 million, due to lower new business volumes and the extension of expected lives of loan facilities resulting in a longer income amortisation period for existing fees.

Divisional lending balances by sector

Investment, Business Banking & Other

Commercial Development

Residential Development

Total

€bn

€bn

€bn

€bn

Ireland

31.6

5.7

6.0

43.3

UK

14.0

2.4

2.3

18.7

US

9.0

0.8

0.5

10.3

Total

54.6

8.9

8.8

72.3

Investment, business banking and other lending across the Group totals €54.6 billion and comprises investment property lending across all sectors including retail, office, leisure and industrial, together with business lending to the SME and corporate sector and lending for personal investment.

Development lending totals €17.7 billion or 24% of the book, inclusive of €10.6 billion of land bank assets. Two thirds of this is lending in Ireland and covers all phases of development from unzoned land to completed units, some of which are contracted for sale or pre-let.

At 31 March 2009 committed lending work in progress ('WIP') totalled €4.0 billion (30 September 2008: €6.3 billion). WIP has reduced substantially in the period due to the re-evaluation by both clients and the Bank of previously approved projects taking account of overall economics and liquidity.

1Gross of impairment provisions and including lending associated with the Bank’s assurance company.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

110 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the total value of loans provided by Anglo Irish Bank per year for the past ten years. [47432/09]

As per Anglo Irish Bank's published annual and interim accounts, the total value of loans held by the bank over the last 10 years was as follows:

Report

Loans and advances to customers

€m

Annual report 30 September 1999

5,612

Annual report 30 September 2000

8,304

Annual report 30 September 2001

11,522

Annual report 30 September 2002

14,296

Annual report 30 September 2003

18,076

Annual report 30 September 2004

24,390

Annual report 30 September 2005

33,600

Annual report 30 September 2006

49,142

Annual report 30 September 2007

65,949

Annual report 30 September 2008

72,151

6-month interim report 31 March 2009

66,638

This information was provided by Anglo Irish Bank in its published annual and interim accounts, with the total loan amounts stated at the exchange rates applicable at the relevant date, netting new lending and repayments, and after impairment provisions. Anglo Irish Bank publishes detailed accounts in line with the requirements for publicly quoted companies, and this will remain the case. The bank's next annual accounts for 2009 will be published in 2010 and will similarly set out the bank's total customer lending for the year.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

111 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the average monthly wage bill for Anglo Irish Bank. [47433/09]

Anglo Irish Bank is run on an arms length commercial basis by the Board. As with all financial institutions, Anglo's current financial information, including its wage costs, is commercially sensitive, and it would therefore not be appropriate for me to release the information requested by the Deputy. Anglo Irish Bank publishes detailed accounts in line with the requirements for publicly quoted companies, and this will remain the case. The bank's next annual accounts for 2009 will be published in 2010 and will set out the wage and salary costs for the year. I include for the Deputy's information, a copy of the relevant extract from Anglo's latest published accounts, for the half-year to 31 March 2009, in relation to the bank's administrative expenses.

Extract: Note 8 of the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Limited Interim report for the six month period to 31 March 2009

8 Administrative expenses

Six months ended 31 March

Six months ended 31 March

Year 30 Sept.

€m

€m

€m

Staff costs:

Wages and salaries

35

76

143

Share-based payment schemes

31

16

21

Retirement benefits cost

11

7

16

Social welfare costs

5

10

18

Other staff costs

3

5

8

85

114

206

Other administrative costs

50

50

95

135

164

301

The decrease in wages and salaries and related social welfare costs from the six month period ended 31 March 2008 reflects a reduction in variable employee compensation, and a fall in average staff numbers from 1,922 to 1,753 primarily due to the disposal of the Bank's Austrian and Swiss private banking businesses.

As required by IFRS 2 the share-based payment expense includes an accelerated charge of €21m which represents all unexpensed accounting charges at the point of extinguishment of all share options and awards. This follows the signing into Irish law of the Anglo Irish Bank Corporation Act 2009 which extinguished all rights granted to employees under the various share-based incentive schemes and transferred any shares held in trust under these plans to the Minister for Finance. The accounting charge for share-based payment schemes is determined by reference to the fair value of options or shares on the date of grant and does not reflect the current value to the recipient which is nil.

Tax Yield.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

112 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the estimated amount of revenue generated by extending the carbon tax to green diesel for use by farmers in 2010. [47447/09]

I announced in the Budget that exemptions from the carbon tax will apply only to participants in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) in respect of fuels covered. It is estimated that the amount of revenue arising from a carbon tax of €15 per tonne on Marked Gas Oil (MGO) or ‘green diesel' used by farmers is €12.5 million in a full year and being applied from 1 May approximately €7 million in 2010.

State Banking Sector.

Billy Timmins

Question:

113 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance if all loan files at Anglo Irish Bank are computerised; if not, the percentage of files that are in hard copy only; the way in which these files are protected; when these protection measures were put in place; if he is satisfied that all files are secure, that some have been destroyed since the nationalisation of Anglo Irish bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47480/09]

Anglo Irish Bank is run on an arms length commercial basis by the Board, and consequently data management and the security arrangements for such material is a matter for the Board. Anglo, similar to other banks, maintains files in both physical (hard copy) and electronic (soft copy) format. I am advised that all customer transactions as well as customer static data are held electronically on the bank's core banking systems. Hard copy files are maintained and filed within the bank's premises with security and physical access controls in place. Both hard and soft copy files are maintained and stored in compliance with the bank's security and data protection policies and procedures and the bank's data retention and destruction policy applies to any destruction of files.

I am informed by Anglo that no issue with the destruction of files at the bank has been identified either before or since nationalisation. I am also advised by Anglo that any breach of the bank's data retention and destruction policy would be dealt with by the bank's senior management, with dismissal being the ultimate sanction, along with any legal issues which could arise for any individuals concerned.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Billy Timmins

Question:

114 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the amount of funding that has been given to each of the banks since capitalisation; and his plans to give additional funding. [47481/09]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has provided €3.5bn in capital to both Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland, in the form of preference shares, to ensure that each bank remained in a position to meet their function as providers of credit into the economy. €4bn in capital has been provided to Anglo Irish Bank by way of ordinary shares, to protect the economy from the wider losses that would have occurred in the event of a failure of the bank, to protect the substantial deposit base of the bank, and to prevent Anglo from becoming a systemic threat to the financial system.

To date, no other funds have been provided to the banks. However, as the Deputy will be aware, I stated in my Second Stage speech on the NAMA Bill on 16 September last that it is likely that some institutions will require additional capital in order to absorb the losses arising from the transfer of their impaired assets to NAMA and in order to maintain appropriate levels of capital. I also made clear in the speech, to the extent that sufficient capital cannot be raised independently or generated internally that the Government remains committed to providing such banks and building societies with an appropriate level of capital to continue to meet their requirements in a manner consistent with EU State aid rules and the credit needs of the Irish economy.

Banking Sector Regulation.

Billy Timmins

Question:

115 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance if his attention or that of the Financial Regulator was drawn to the €6 billion deposit by Irish Life and Permanent with Anglo Irish Bank either before or at the time it occurred; if Bank of Ireland or Allied Irish Banks had been approached to provide this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47482/09]

I am advised by the Financial Regulator that the matter raised by the Deputy has been referred to the Garda Síochána for investigation. Accordingly, the Deputy will appreciate that I am not in a position to comment on the matter at this time whist the investigation is on-going.

Billy Timmins

Question:

116 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance if there is €14 billion more on deposit in Irish banks than there was at the peak of the boom (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47486/09]

I understand that the period referred to by the Deputy as the ‘peak of the boom' is intended to refer to June 2007. I am informed by the Central Bank that the figures which indicate that the amount of non-bank private sector deposits held at credit institutions' Irish resident offices (item 5, Table C3 in the CBFSAI Monthly Statistics and Quarterly Bulletins) was €280 billion at end October 2009. The equivalent figure for June 2007 is €292 billion (Table 3). Part of the decline in deposits over this period is due to technical factors not related to the underlying level of business, while most of the decline is due to actual transactions.

Most of the fall in total deposits is concentrated among "rest of the World" depositors. Deposits held by Irish residents have fallen by less than €1bn from June 2007 to October 2009. These figures are available monthly in the Central Bank's monthly statistics publication and in their quarterly bulletins which are available on-line at

http://www.centralbank.ie/frame_main.asp?pg=sta_late.asp&nv=sta_nav.asp

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

117 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47495/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

118 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47510/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

119 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47525/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 to 119, inclusive, together.

Much of the information sought by the Deputy has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas as is required under Sections 19(4) and 19(7) of the Ethics in Public Office Act (as amended by Section 13 of the Standards in Public Office Act 2001). I have two Special Advisers. This is in compliance with the Guidelines on Staffing of Ministerial Offices, and I am satisfied that service and advice provided to me represents efficient and effective use of Exchequer resources. The position in relation to the Deputy's queries is as follows:

Ms Cathy Herbert: salary €107,485. Ms Herbert is not a member of the civil service pension schemes. Payments not exceeding 11% of her salary are made on her behalf to a pension fund in respect of her superannuation contributions.

Dr Alan Ahearne: salary €135,000. Dr Ahearne is a member of the pension scheme of NUI Galway, from which body he is on secondment to my Department. Payments not exceeding 11% of the difference between his NUIG salary and the additional amount he receives in respect of his current position are made on his behalf to a pension fund in respect of superannuation contributions.

Brian Hayes

Question:

120 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47540/09]

Special Advisers have been employed by Ministers of successive Governments as set out in section 11 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997. Special Advisers perform an essential function and given challenges we now face their advice is of more value and importance than ever. All Special Advisers will, of course, be subject to the public service pay reductions which I announced in my Budget speech on 9 December, the legislation for which is currently making its way through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

121 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47556/09]

The number of reports, documents and memos translated into Irish in the period 14th June 2007 to date in 2009 by my Department is 43. Details of the documents and costs of translation are contained in the following tables.

Details in respect of documents translated into Irish Year 2007

Document Title

Translation costs

Annual Output Statement 2007

3,044

Annual Report of the Committee for Performance Awards 2006

600

Pre Budget Outlook 2008 White Paper (Notes & Agenda)

293

Translation of FOI Annual Report 2006

2,250

NDP/CSF Translation of Summary Report.

780

NDP Calendar 2007 — Bi-lingual

184

Total costs

7,151

Year 2008

Document Title

Translation costs

FOI Annual Report 2007

300

Induction Manual

3,964

Nomination Forms for courses

39.00

Circular 18/2004 People with a Disability

1,045

Decentralisation Tables/ info for Website

570

Budget 2008

3,978

Budget 2009

3,898

Revised Estimates for the Public Service 2008

555

Public Capital Programme 2008

2,505

NDP Annual Report 2007

16,355

NDP 2007-2013 Introduction Leaflet

225

NDP Calendar 2008 — Bi-lingual

175

Civil Service Grievance Procedure Report 2007

30

2007 Annual Report of Civil Service Employee Assistance Service

300

Civil Service Grievance Procedure Report 2007

486

Appropriation Account 2007

60

Finance Accounts 2007

224

Pensioners Handbook

1,136

Ireland’s Participation in the IMF and World Bank Annual Report

2,241

Annual Report of the Committee for Performance Awards 2007

375

Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

855

Progress Report 2007

1,013

Total costs

40,329

2009 Year to Date

Document Title

Translation costs

FOI Annual Report 2008

330

S.I. in relation to An Comisinéir Teanga

182

Clerical Officer Generic Training Manual

3,405

Additional Information on Ethics Guidelines

104

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement

60

Construction Procurement Reform — website

50

Supplementary Budget 2009

183

Revised Estimates for the Public Service 2009

411

2007 Annual Report of Civil Service Employee Assistance Service

300

Appropriation Account 2008

62

Finance Accounts 2008

243

Ireland’s Participation in the IMF and World Bank Annual Report

1,770

PQ 28339

122

Statutory Instrument

154

Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies

1,050

Total costs

8,426

Tax Yield.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

122 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the amount recouped by the State in excise duty on alcohol in 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47702/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the yield to the Exchequer from Alcohol Products Tax on the sale of alcohol from 2007 to 2009 is set out as follows:

Alcohol Products Tax Yield

2007

2008

2009 (to end Nov.)

€m

€m

€m

Beer

464.8

427.2

372.0

Spirits

367.6

350.9

228.0

Wine

230.2

231.3

219.0

Cider

68.3

60.6

53.0

Total

1,130.9

1,069.9

871.5

As the Deputy is aware excise duty, inclusive of VAT, on alcohol products was reduced with effect from Budget night by 12 cent per pint of beer and cider, 14 cent per half glass of spirits and by 60 cent per standard bottle of wine.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

123 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent by each Minister engaged in official business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47705/09]

The amount spent on commercial flights for myself and my predecessor while engaged in Government business in each of the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009 is contained in the following table.

Year

2006

13,122.00

2007

3,768.00

2008

4,604.00

2009

180.00

Flood Relief.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

124 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 112 and 119 of 3 December 2009, the reason no mention has been made to remove debris from the River Liffey in County Kildare and the flooding associated with blocked culverts in the vicinity of the Waterways development, Sallins; his plans to address this issue of the flooding of homes and businesses resulting in financial loss and danger of failure to obtain insurance cover in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47719/09]

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has no responsibility in relation to maintenance of the River Liffey in County Kildare. The removal of debris would be a matter for the Riparian owners in this case. I understand that Kildare County Council is investigating Flooding at the Waterways Estate in Sallins. This will involve consultation with other agencies, including Irish Rail, Waterways Ireland and a management company, which is currently responsible for the housing estate in question. Kildare County Council is assessing the factors that gave rise to the flooding in the area. When the Council have completed their report on the flooding, the OPW will provide the technical advice on appropriate measures to be adopted to alleviate future flood risk in the area.

In recognition of the devastation suffered by people due to the recent flooding, the Government has launched a Humanitarian Assistance Scheme, which is being administered by the Community Welfare Service on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The aim of the scheme is to provide financial support, subject to certain conditions, to people who have suffered flood damage to their homes Furthermore, Local Enterprise Boards have been invited to report to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the impact of the recent flooding on small businesses to which they provide a service.

Health Insurance.

James Reilly

Question:

125 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the level of reserves and solvency in Voluntary Health Insurance at the end of October 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47205/09]

James Reilly

Question:

126 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the reserve policy being executed by Voluntary Health Insurance; the level of reserves the management set as an objective to achieve by the end of 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47206/09]

James Reilly

Question:

127 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is normal insurance practice to fund pricing decisions by running down reserves; if the pricing policy executed by Voluntary Health Insurance management is contributing to an increase or reduction in the level of reserves in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47207/09]

James Reilly

Question:

128 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans regarding the future of Voluntary Health Insurance, VHI; her further plans regarding part or total privatisation of the VHI; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47208/09]

James Reilly

Question:

129 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she expects that Voluntary Health Insurance will now fail, for a third time, to achieve the deadline set by her for approval by the Financial Regulator; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47209/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 125 to 129, inclusive, together.

The Health Insurance Acts provide that I, as Minister for Health and Children, have no role to play in the day to day running of and commercial decisions relating to private health insurance companies including the VHI. In addition, as Minister for Health and Children, I have no role to play in the setting of prices by any of the private health insurance providers. This is a commercial decision for the insurer concerned. Health insurance prices can be affected by a range of economic considerations including the costs of health care services and other costs and may also reflect the age profile of the customers in any insurer's customer base. The sole purpose of the temporary scheme of levy/tax relief is to underpin the principle of community rating, so that insured older persons are less likely to face higher increases and/or product segmentation due to their age . The Government have been clear in our view that the VHI should achieve authorisation on a level playing field with other insurers. A stable, community-rated health insurance market, supported by a robust risk equalisation system, will be achieved in circumstances where the VHI is authorised and regulated as other health insurance companies are. The capital position of the VHI at present, and the prospects for its reserves over the medium term, are some of the key factors in the decision of the Financial Regulator to grant authorisation. Clearly, the reserve position of the VHI is influenced by the measures in place currently, and in prospect for the future, whereby the costs of claims for older people are supported by younger insured persons.

A critical issue is the share of older customers among the insurance companies. VHI's overall market share is 64%, with 32% held between Quinn Healthcare and Hibernian Aviva Insurance (4% is held by restricted undertakings). However, VHI's share of the 50-59 age group is 71%; it has 80% of the 60-69 age group, 90% of the 70-79 group and 95% of the 80+ group.

It is also the case that any system of risk equalisation or tax relief / levy is subject to approval by the European Commission, in relation to both the principles and extent of the scheme. The ownership by the State of the VHI is a relevant factor in the considerations of the Commission in this regard. In addition, the European Commission would have to approve any proposal for capitalisation of the VHI by the State according to the prudent investor principle. There are a great many inter-related factors involved in setting out the roadmap now to a stable, community-rated health insurance market, all of which are under consideration by the Government.

James Reilly

Question:

130 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether a stated objective for the introduction of the health insurance levy, that is to keep the cost of health insurance down, has not been achieved and that the health insurance levy has forced costs up; that this levy fails to motivate the Voluntary Health Insurance to drive costs down. [47210/09]

The health insurance levy is part of the interim scheme provided for under the Health Insurance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. This interim scheme consists of two distinct elements:

(i) age-related tax credit provided at source to private health insurers in respect of persons over the age of 50 who hold private health insurance policies. This aims to secure a health policy objective of achieving inter-generational solidarity in terms of assisting individuals to meet their health insurance costs on the basis of age, and

(ii) a levy charged on private health insurance companies for each insured person in order to fund the age related tax relief so that the scheme remains cost neutral to the Exchequer.

I would like to stress that the levy is placed on private health insurance providers for each insured individual, and not on individuals themselves. It is a matter for the insurers to decide whether or how much of the levy they pass on to their customers. Insurers with a disproportionate share of older people will be net beneficiaries. Insurers with mostly younger customers will also have some older customers and receive tax credits in respect of those customers also. This interim scheme will be in place for a three year period commencing on 1 Jan 2009 and, for cashflow reasons, running into 2012. Officials in my Department along with the Health Insurance Authority are working on a new scheme of risk equalisation to replace the interim scheme.

As Minister for Health and Children, I have no role to play in the setting of prices by any of the private health insurance providers, including VHI. This is a commercial decision for the insurer concerned. Health insurance prices can be affected by a range of economic considerations including the costs of health care services and other costs and may also reflect the age profile of the customers in any insurer's customer base. The scheme's sole purpose is to underpin the principle of community rating, so that insured older persons are less likely to face higher increases and/or product segmentation due to their age.

The Government's clear policy objective is that health insurance should remain affordable to a large number of people, particularly to older and sicker people. To this end, community rating must be the cornerstone of the Irish health insurance market. The viability of the system relies on the effective operation of solidarity between different generations through which the young subsidise the health care costs of the elderly and are subsidised in their turn by the following generation. Health insurance should not be risk-rated for increasing age, medical status or claims history.

Sustaining community rating requires a legally and financially robust system of risk equalisation to ensure cross-subsidisation across the entire market, not just within each company's cohort of customers or among the holders of each health insurance contract. As I mentioned, work is now under way to replace the temporary levy and tax relief arrangement with such a robust system of risk equalisation.

Health Services.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

131 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will arrange to have an infestation problem investigated by the Health Service Executive south and eradicated on health and safety grounds. [47234/09]

The Deputy's question may relate to the management and delivery of health and personal social services which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to ascertain whether this matter comes under the remit of the Executive and if so, to have the matter investigated. My Department has also requested that Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive reply directly to the Deputy.

Care of the Elderly.

Sean Fleming

Question:

132 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health and Children if a maximum home care support package can be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin. [47236/09]

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

Hospital Services.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

133 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of hip and knee operations carried out a hospital (details supplied) from January to November 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47256/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

134 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the average length of time patients are on surgical waiting lists for all departments at a hospital (details supplied). [47257/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

135 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the average waiting time for an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon or specialist at a hospital (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47258/09]

136.Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children the average waiting time for an appointment with each specialist located at a hospital (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47259/09

I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 to 136, inclusive, together.

As these are service matters, they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Thomas Byrne

Question:

137 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children if the medical needs of a persons (details supplied) in County Meath have been assessed; the length of time they will have to wait before they receive the required medical attention from the Health Service Executive. [47260/09]

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.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

138 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will ensure that an application under the fair deal scheme will be assessed and approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [47261/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

139 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will be made on a review of an over 70 years medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47266/09]

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

Mental Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Question:

140 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of the operation of the Mental Health Commission in 2009; the original estimate for 2009; the estimate for 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47271/09]

The estimate of non-capital expenditure for the Mental Health Commission for 2009 was €19.012 million and the provisional outturn is €17.95 million. The provision for 2010 is being considered in the context of the Revised Estimates.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

141 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47272/09]

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

Hospital Services.

James Reilly

Question:

142 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of day case and inpatient procedures cancelled per hospital in 2008 and for the full year in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47288/09]

The Health Service Executive is responsible for the monitoring of elective activity in each acute hospital. This includes the collection and publication of performance data on acute hospitals nationally — including information on cancellation rates. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

James Reilly

Question:

143 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of bed days lost in each acute hospital due to delayed discharge in 2008 and for the full year in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47289/09]

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

Medical Aids and Appliances.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

144 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if a medical device will be made available to a person (details supplied) in north Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47353/09]

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 to the Deputy.

Departmental Reports.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

145 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will publish the report (details supplied) and place the report in the Oireachtas Library; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47360/09]

The Health Service Executive engaged Counsel to carry out the Non-Statutory Inquiry referred to by the Deputy. I understand the inquiry's report was delivered to the HSE in October 2009 and that the Executive is currently in discussion with the relevant parties involved. The question of dissemination of the report is a matter for the Executive.

Health Service Staff.

Ulick Burke

Question:

146 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason three full-time medical officers essential for the Loughrea and Ballinasloe area of County Galway and whose functions are essential for community care have not been replaced before or since the moratorium; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47378/09]

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

Hospital Services.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

147 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a person (details supplied) in County Limerick to be considered for long-term care at a hospital in County Cork. [47379/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Noel Ahern

Question:

148 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the processing of medical card cases at the M50 office of the Health Service Executive; the average time for decisions to be made for persons aged 70 or over and aged under 70; the position regarding the case of persons (details supplied) in County Dublin. [47410/09]

Up to the start of this year, medical card and GP visit card applications were processed in the Health Service Executive's (HSE's) 32 local health areas. Under the HSE's 2009 Service Plan, the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications will transfer to the HSE's Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. The initial phase of the centralisation process commenced in January 2009 with the PCRS processing all medical card applications for persons aged 70 or over. The second phase commenced in September 2009 with the transfer of the case load from two local health offices in Dublin City to the PCRS. The phased implementation will allow the situation to be continuously monitored and, if required, modified to address any issues arising. The PCRS has processed over 63,000 medical card applications since the start of 2009.

The HSE has informed my Department that the transfer of the case load from the two local health offices included a backlog of some 6,500 open cases which are being dealt with as a matter of urgency by the PCRS, and as a result, resources which would have been deployed in customer relations and telephone answering have been assigned to deal with this backlog. The HSE is arranging that additional resources are deployed to respond to telephone queries, the majority of which relate to the outstanding applications.

The Executive has advised my Department that there are no plans to close any of the local health offices and these offices will continue to deal with queries of a general nature about the medical card scheme and will provide any assistance needed with the application process. The HSE has recently put in place a national on-line system to allow local health offices track the current status of applications in the PCRS.

The centralising of the medical card application process is facilitating a number of enhancements to the level of customer service associated with these applications. The HSE has indicated that a facility is now available where a person can view the status of their medical card application on-line and if a mobile phone number is supplied with an application, updates by text message will be delivered to the applicant's telephone. I fully support the HSE's decision to centralise the medical card and GP visit card application and review process to one location. The HSE has advised that when fully implemented, this measure will ensure:

Improved turnaround time for the processing of applications. (Under the new arrangements, the Executive will be aiming for a turnaround time of 15 days or less for all medical card applications. Emergency applications will be dealt with immediately with a card issuing within 24 hours);

Equitable application of eligibility across the country;

Consistency of service provision to customers;

Clearer lines of governance and accountability; and

Improved unified data.

My Department is currently in discussion with the HSE about putting in place a dedicated telephone number for Oireachtas members for inquiries about applications being processed by the PCRS.

The HSE has also indicated that this project, while realising health sector efficiencies and savings, will not have an adverse affect on patient care or the quality of service provided. Applications from people whose income exceeds the income guidelines but have a case to be considered on medical or hardship grounds will also be processed by the PCRS. This project is an example of the type of innovation signalled in the Transforming Public Services Programme announced by the Taoiseach in November 2008. It demonstrates how improved services can be delivered within the more limited resources available in a way which meets the needs of citizens in a modern society.

As the HSE has the operational responsibility for the processing of medical card applications, my Department has asked the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address the other issues raised by the Deputy and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

Noel Ahern

Question:

149 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children her views in respect of staff, consultants, agencies and so on and on the recent reported comments made by the chief executive officer of the Health Service Executive that they do not have control over salary levels in the HSE; the change in overall numbers in the HSE during the reign of the current CEO; the number of upgradings that have been given in the same period; the overall staff cost movements of the HSE in terms of annual percentage cost increases; the way it compared with inflation and the general increase in the public service and so on. [47411/09]

Public sector pay rates are set centrally by Government and it is not the prerogative of any individual public sector agency to set such pay rates. Section 22(4)(a) of Health Act 2004 provides that the Executive shall determine the terms and conditions of employment (including terms and conditions in relation to remuneration and allowances) for employees appointed under this section, but my approval and the consent of the Minister for Finance are also required in this context. Professor Drumm was appointed to his post in August 2005. The change in numbers employed in the public health service (in wholetime equivalent terms) between 2005 and 2009 is detailed in the table below:

Numbers employed in the public health service 2005-2009

Grade category

31/12/2005

31/12/2006

31/12/2007

31/12/2008

31/10/2009

Change (WTE)

Medical/ Dental

7,266.44

7,712.38

8,005.00

8,109.48

8,121.54

855.10

Nursing

35,248.45

36,737.34

39,005.99

38,107.92

37,636.11

2,387.66

Health & Social Care Professionals

13,951.74

14,912.96

15,704.67

15,979.73

15,880.29

1,928.55

Management/ Admin

16,699.19

17,261.64

18,043.36

17,967.47

17,708.16

1,008.97

General Support Staff

13,226.56

12,909.81

12,899.83

12,630.55

11,998.60

-1,227.96

Other Patient & Client Care

15,585.75

16,738.58

17,846.03

18,230.15

18,724.72

3,138.97

Total

101,978.13

106,272.71

111,504.88

111,025.30

110,069.42

8,091.29

(1) Excludes Home Helps.

(2) Student nurses are included in the 2007 and 2008 employment ceilings on the basis of 3.5 students equating to 1 wholetime equivalent. The employment levels adjusted for student nurses on the above basis are 110,664 WTEs (Dec. 07) and 111,001 WTEs (Dec. 08).

The general round pay increases as a result of the relevant National Social Partnership agreements (Sustaining Progress, Towards 2016) which were implemented across the public service in that time were as follows:

Date

General Pay Round

% Increase

%

1/06/2005

SPII Phase 1

1.5

1/12/2005

SPII Phase 2

1.5

1/06/2006

SPII Phase 3

2.5

1/12/2006

T16 Phase 1

3.0

1/06/2007

T16 Phase 2

*2.0

1/03/2008

T16 Phase 3

2.5

1/09/2008

T16 Phase 4

2.5

*Except for those earning up to €400 per week where a 2.5 increase applied.

Queries regarding the number of upgradings that have arisen in the Executive during this period, the overall staff cost movements of the HSE in terms of annual percentage cost increases and how this compares with inflation and the general increases in the public service shown above, would be more properly addressed to the HSE directly. Accordingly, I have referred these parts of this question to the HSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

Noel Ahern

Question:

150 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on correspondence in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 in relation to early childhood care and education scheme; the position on whether they will be included in this scheme. [47415/09]

I have responsibility for the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which is being introduced in January 2010. I also have responsibility for the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) which supports community not for profit childcare services to enable them to charge reduced childcare fees to disadvantaged and low income parents.

Children will qualify for the free pre-school year under the ECCE scheme where they are aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months on 1 September of the relevant year. The application of the age range is being interpreted as generously as possible, to include children who are aged more than 3 years 2 months and less than 4 years 7 months at 1 September each year. This will mean that, in January 2010, children who were born between 2 February 2005 and 30 June 2006 and are therefore more than 3 years and 6 months and less than 4 year 11 months on the 1 January will be eligible. I understand that the child referred to by the Deputy, who will be aged 4 years and 2 months in September 2010 and would qualify for the free pre-school year at that time, will instead commence primary school and will not, therefore, avail of the scheme.

Parents can also benefit from funding supports for childcare services, including pre-school, through the CCSS. As referred to above, this scheme is open to community based childcare services to enable disadvantaged and low net income families to benefit from reduced childcare and or pre-school fees. Should the family in question require further information in regard to the CCSS, they should contact Fingal County Childcare Committee who will advise them of community childcare facilities in their area and the eligibility criteria which apply.

Health Services.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

151 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support an application from a person (details supplied) for assistance in respect of recent flood damage. [47424/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

152 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of medical cards provided to children for the years 2004 to 2009, inclusive, broken down per year. [47434/09]

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

153 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of providing medical cards to children for the years 2004 to 2009, inclusive, broken down per year. [47435/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 and 153 together.

Details of the number of medical card and GP visit card holders are provided to my Department each month by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The figures are provided on a net basis, showing the balance after new cards have been issued and other cards, as appropriate, have been deleted from the Executive's database, e.g. following a review of a person's circumstances. As the information sought by the Deputy is not provided by the HSE to my Department as a matter of routine, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address these matters and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Procedures.

Frank Feighan

Question:

154 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will investigate the case of a 74 year old person (details supplied) in County Leitrim, who has been diagnosed with three tumours in the brain and urgently needs surgery. [47460/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

155 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will set up a dedicated T.D. inquiry line to assist with medical card queries in view of the recent changes to the handling of medical card applications, the setting up of the CPRS, and the subsequent rise in constituent queries. [47472/09]

Up to the start of this year, medical card and GP visit card applications were processed in the Health Service Executive's (HSE's) 32 local health areas. Under the HSE's 2009 Service Plan, the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications will transfer to the HSE's Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. The initial phase of the centralisation process commenced in January 2009 with the PCRS processing all medical card applications for persons aged 70 or over. The second phase commenced in September 2009 with the transfer of the case load from two local health offices in Dublin City to the PCRS. The phased implementation will allow the situation to be continuously monitored and, if required, modified to address any issues arising. The PCRS has processed over 63,000 medical card applications since the start of 2009.

The HSE has informed my Department that the transfer of the case load from the two local health offices included a backlog of some 6,500 open cases which are being dealt with as a matter of urgency by the PCRS, and as a result, resources which would have been deployed in customer relations and phone answering have been assigned to deal with this backlog. The HSE is arranging that additional resources are deployed to respond to phone queries, the majority of which relate to the outstanding applications.

The Executive has advised my Department that there are no plans to close any of the local health offices and these offices will continue to deal with queries of a general nature about the medical card scheme and will provide any assistance needed with the application process. The HSE has recently put in place a national on-line system to allow local health offices track the current status of applications in the PCRS.

The centralising of the medical card application process is facilitating a number of enhancements to the level of customer service associated with these applications. The HSE has indicated that a facility is now available where a person can view the status of their medical card application on-line and if a mobile phone number is supplied with an application, updates by text message will be delivered to the applicant's phone.

I fully support the HSE's decision to centralise the medical card and GP visit card application and review process to one location. The HSE has advised that when fully implemented, this measure will ensure:

Improved turnaround time for the processing of applications (Under the new arrangements, the Executive will be aiming for a turnaround time of 15 days or less for all medical card applications. Emergency applications will be dealt with immediately with a card issuing within 24 hours);

Equitable application of eligibility across the country;

Consistency of service provision to customers;

Clearer lines of governance and accountability; and

Improved unified data.

My Department is currently in discussion with the HSE about putting in place a dedicated telephone number for Oireachtas members for enquiries about applications being processed by the PCRS.

The HSE has also indicated that this project, while realising health sector efficiencies and savings, will not have an adverse affect on patient care or the quality of service provided. Applications from people whose income exceeds the income guidelines but have a case to be considered on medical or hardship grounds will also be processed by the PCRS. This project is an example of the type of innovation signalled in the Transforming Public Services Programme announced by the Taoiseach in November 2008. It demonstrates how improved services can be delivered within the more limited resources available in a way which meets the needs of citizens in a modern society.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

156 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 202 of 8 December 2009, if she will set out the qualifying criteria under the National Treatment Purchase Fund in view of the fact that NTPF customer services section claims that qualifying criteria are now set at six months and not three months. [47473/09]

The primary remit of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is to facilitate treatment for those public patients waiting longest for surgery. At the end of November there were 141 patients waiting for longer than six months for surgery at Cappagh Hospital. The NTPF is working with the hospital to facilitate treatment for these patients quickly and thereafter to focus on patients waiting for less than six months. The NTPF will endeavour to facilitate the person whose case the Deputy has raised with treatment as soon as possible, while at the same time fulfilling its mandate in relation to persons waiting longest for treatment. It is open to the patient's general practitioner to contact the hospital about his case, if he is of the opinion that his condition merits more immediate attention.

Departmental Expenditure.

Seán Connick

Question:

157 Deputy Seán Connick asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a breakdown of all section 39 funding allocated to County Wexford from the inception of this scheme to the present date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47474/09]

I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

158 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the names, titles and number of special advisers in her Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47497/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

159 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47512/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

160 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47527/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 to 160, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table:

Name

Title

Gross Annual Salary (Exclusive of Employer’s PRSI)

Ms Patricia Ryan

Special Adviser to Minister Mary Harney, T.D.

150,712

Mr Derek Cunningham

Special Adviser to Minister Mary Harney, T.D.

134,384

Mr Liam Cullen

Special Adviser to Minister Barry Andrews, T.D.

107,485

Total

392,581

Payments not exceeding 11% of salary in respect of superannuation contributions are made to a private personal pension fund on behalf of Ms Ryan. Both Mr Cunningham and Mr Cullen are members of the Non-Contributory Pension Scheme and the Contributory Spouse's and Children's Scheme for Non-Established State Employees. There is no direct employer contribution to either of these schemes. These gross salaries are of course subject to the Pension Related Deduction introduced across the public service during 2009.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

161 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of reports, documents and memos in her Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if she will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47558/09]

The information requested by the Deputy is being collated within my Department and will be forwarded to him as soon as it is available.

Vaccination Programme.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

162 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the nationwide roll-out of the swine influenza vaccine; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47703/09]

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

Health Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

163 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when urgent extra home help hours will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47720/09]

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

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

164 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 200 of 4 November 2009, if she will indicate the extent to which the Health Service Executive has identified the requirement for the Kildare-west Wicklow area in terms of primary care teams and networks to deliver services under the new service provision arrangements and the enhancement of our existing infrastructure required in order to deliver services in modern and appropriate facilities; the nature of the proposals under consideration; the time frame for provision of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47721/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

165 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when an office will be provided whereat the people of Naas, County Kildare can communicate with the community welfare officer having particular regard to the growing needs of the local community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47722/09]

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

Ministerial Travel.

166.Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006

The amounts paid in respect of travel on commercial airlines while on official business for each Minister and Minister of State at my Department for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009 are set out in the following table.

2006

2007

2008

2009

Mary Harney TD

6,871

214

50

Barry Andrews TD

106

4,216

John Moloney TD

1,298

Áine Brady TD

69

Brian Lenihan TD

2,066

998

Máire Hoctor TD

4,717

Brendan Smith TD

315

582

Tim O’Malley TD

1,161

4,522

Sean Power TD

9,374

156

Pat The Cope Gallagher TD

5,029

4,777

192

Dr Jimmy Devins TD

8,447

Rural Transport.

Frank Feighan

Question:

167 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Transport the level of funding available for the rural transport initiative following budget 2010. [47459/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

168 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his plans to enhance in 2010 the rural transport option to areas not covered by public transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47715/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 168 together.

The provision for the Rural Transport Programme in 2010 is being maintained at €11 million in recognition of the important role it plays in combating social exclusion in rural Ireland, particularly for older people. Thirty-six rural community transport groups are being funded under the Programme which is operational in every county. These groups are working towards maximising coverage in their operational areas having regard to local public transport service needs and the availability of resources.

In line with the commitment in the Renewed Programme for Government 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, a number of initiatives are currently underway in the country exploring the potential for improved synergies between existing transport providers, including rural transport groups and voluntary organisations. These initiatives involve pilot 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 developing rural transport policy into the future.

Road Traffic Offences.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

169 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to an article with accompanying photographs from a YouTube video, published in a newspaper (details supplied) regarding dangerous and illegal harness racing on a road without the knowledge or consent of the Garda; the action that will be taken as result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47229/09]

The enforcement of the Road Traffic Acts is a matter for An Garda Síochána.

Rail Services.

Ciarán Cuffe

Question:

170 Deputy Ciarán Cuffe asked the Minister for Transport when public services will commence on the western rail corridor; the frequency of services; his plans to co-ordinate with connecting services on the Dublin to Cork and Waterford lines to maximise connectivity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47269/09]

Work on Phase 1 of the WRC, which runs from Ennis to Athenry, is complete and driver training and familiarisation began on the 16th of November. Iarnród Éireann had intended to launch Phase 1 on the 8th of January 2010, with full services commencing on the 9th of January 2010. However, driver training and familiarisation has been on hold since the 18th of November due to flooding at a number of locations. As a result, the opening of the line has now been deferred.

Iarnród Éireann is currently engaged with repair work that is required after the flooding, including to the signalling system which sustained the most water damage. Iarnród Éireann anticipates that this repair work will be completed early in January. When this is achieved, driver training of five weeks duration will re-commence and immediately upon completion of the driver training services will commence. Exact details will be issued by Iarnród Éireann closer to the time but I understand that current expectations are for a launch of services around the second or third week in February.

There will be five services per day in each direction Monday to Saturday and these services have been scheduled to best meet all needs taking into account the current commuter paths into both Limerick and Galway and taking cognisance of the capacity constraints of the single line systems.

Departmental Agencies.

Brian Hayes

Question:

171 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport his plans, in view of the loss of €27 million posted by the Dublin Airport Authority, regarding the chief executive’s remuneration of €635,000; his views on whether this salary is excessive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47374/09]

The last published financial statements for Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) show a group profit of €47m for 2008. It is the responsibility of the DAA to agree terms and conditions (including pay and emoluments) of their Chief Executive within the remuneration levels approved by my Department with the consent of the Department of Finance.

State Airports.

Brian Hayes

Question:

172 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the reason he is not prepared to end the monopoly at Dublin Airport of the Dublin Airport Authority, whose inefficiencies have led to a worsening service and increased charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47375/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

173 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport his views on the policy of increasing airport charges at a time when passenger numbers are falling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47376/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 173 together.

The Dublin Airport Authority has statutory responsibility for the operation of Dublin Airport. I have no proposals to change this. As the country's major gateway Dublin Airport has the capacity to serve the needs of passengers for the foreseeable future. The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) regulates airport charges levied at Dublin Airport. In carrying out its mandate CAR has the following primary statutory objectives under section 33 (1) of the Aviation Regulation Act 2001:

(a) to facilitate the efficient and economic development and operation of Dublin Airport which meet the requirements of current and prospective users of Dublin Airport

(b) to protect the reasonable interests of current and prospective users of Dublin Airport in relation to Dublin Airport, and

(c) to enable Dublin Airport Authority to operate and develop Dublin Airport in a sustainable and financially viable manner

In its recent airport charges determination of 4th December last, CAR has set out comprehensively its approach to increases authorised for the period 2010-2014. Details are available on CAR's website (www.aviationreg.ie) I have no role in the setting of airport charges at Cork and Shannon airports, which is the responsibility of the airport authority. Charges at the six regional airports, which are owned and operated independently, are also a matter for each airport concerned.

Decentralisation Programme.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

174 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the proposed decentralisation of Government offices to Drogheda, County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47386/09]

The decentralisation of part of my Department, to Drogheda, has been deferred pending review in July 2011, on foot of the Government announcement of 14 October, 2008 on the review of the Decentralisation programme. Details of the announcement are available on the decentralisation website (www.decentralisation.gov.ie.)

Departmental Properties.

Michael Ring

Question:

175 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport if he will intervene in a dispute (details supplied), the resolution of which would allow a group to access a facility that was purpose built two years ago in view of the poor facilities it has to use at the present time. [47407/09]

Michael Ring

Question:

182 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport if the legal and contractual matters preventing a group (details supplied) in County Mayo from moving into a facility have been resolved; his views on the legal and contractual difficulties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47693/09]

Michael Ring

Question:

183 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport when the construction phase of a facility (details supplied) in County Mayo was completed; when the facility was first occupied and by whom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47694/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175, 182 and 183 together.

The building of the Achill Coast Guard and Fire Brigade Rescue Centre was a joint venture between the Irish Coast Guard and Mayo County Council. The Department of Transport agreed to pay 48% of the total cost, which included the purchase of the site, on a 999-year lease, and the remaining 52% was paid for by the Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government. The construction of this building was completed in Spring 2008. The Fire Brigade took possession of their section of the building shortly after completion. Due to legal and contractual matters, the Coast Guard has not been permitted to take possession of their section of the building.

The principal issues include the registration of common areas, property management of the building and differences in the planning drawings. The Chief State Solicitor's Office is acting on behalf of my Department and the clear advice received is that without both Mayo County Council and my Department being tenants in common that the Coast Guard will be exposed to ongoing unquantifiable costs over the life of the lease and continual dispute resolution. I believe this is not in the interests of the Coast Guard. My Department has recently confirmed to Mayo County Council that it is willing to pay 50% of the balance owed to allow for a caretaker's agreement which will provide access rights to the volunteers whilst legal difficulties are concluded. The Director of the Coast Guard and the Director of Services for Mayo County Council are currently dealing directly on the matter and will meet this week.

Departmental Agencies.

Pat Breen

Question:

176 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, further to Parliamentary Question No. 216 of 13 October 2009, if he has held discussions with the unions in respect of the constitution of these boards; if so, if he will report on these discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47466/09]

In August this year I advised ICTU that, following the deferral of a decision on airport separation, a more streamlined board structure would be more appropriate to the Cork and Shannon Airport Authority (CAA and SAA) Boards and that I proposed to appoint a nine member board to each airport authority. At that time I invited ICTU to nominate two individuals to undertake the role of temporary worker directors to the Boards of the CAA and SAA. ICTU have yet to nominate individuals to fill these positions.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

177 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47501/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

178 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47516/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

179 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47531/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

180 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47546/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 to 180, inclusive, together.

The table below provides the information required by the Deputy in relation to Special Advisers appointed to my Department.

Name

Title

Salary

Pension Contrib.

Olive Stephens

Press Adviser

97,109

10,439

James Fegan

Special Adviser

107,485

2,160

The Special Advisers provide a valuable service in their provision of advice to me and in monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of Government objectives that relate to my Department.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

181 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47562/09]

Costs incurred for translating and printing all State documents into Irish by the Department of Transport since the commencement of the 30th Dáil and up to the present are included in the following table.

Divisions

Translating Costs

Publications

Bus Licensing

72.90 (2009)

Speaking note for EU Transport Council Meeting

Customer Service

1,293.98 (2009)

Customer Service Action Plan 2009-2011

Management Service

1,985.61(2008)

Report of Programme for Government

Communications & Support Divisions

3,674.16 (2009)

Annual Report 2008

Transport 21

3,338.29 (2008)

T21 Annual Report 2007

2,943.23(2009)

T21 Annual Report 2008

PTInvestment

6,079.23 (2009)

Transport Access for all (Sectoral Plan)

Finance Unit

1,285.31 (2008)

Yearly Annual Appropriation Account

145.20 (2007)

Road Transport Operator Licences

73.00

Form A

541.00

Form B

376.00

Form C

110.00

Form D

250.00

Form E

52.00

Form F

228.00

Form G

39.00

Form H

65.00

Form I

20.00

Form J

20.00

Form K

180.00

Verification for European Parliament Regulation to access on haulage market

320.00

Notice re TM Policy and Cabotage

1,004.24

Rialacháin

Marine Safety

1,479.19 (2008)

vessel registration consultation doc

Irish Coast Guard

170.38 (2008)

vessel registration consultation document (website)

Marine Survey

3,525.90 (2008)

Maritime passenger Transport Forum Report

618.75 (2008)

Updates of Code of Practice for the safe operation of recreational craft

232.62 (2009)

verification of an EU Regulation on Classification

Motor Insurance

263.64 (2008)

S.I 248 of European Communities (Motor Insurance) Regulations, and notice for Website

Governance

8,575.25

Irish Translation re Annual Report 2006

Support Division

4,290.00

Annual Report 2007

6,160.00

Irish Translation re Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

Strategic Planning and Policy

3,658.33

Smarter Travel Policy, and National Cycle Policy Framework

Aviation Services and Security

1,425.00

Draft European Regulation — European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)

517.00

Draft European Regulation — Operation of Air Services

525.00

Draft European Regulation — Re-verification of EASA

56.00

Draft European Regulation — Computer Reservation Systems

1,897.52

Economic Tourism and Development Plan for the Shannon Catchment Area

129.00

Draft European Regulation — Extension of EASA

127.00

Draft European Regulation — Re-verification of Extension of EASA

311.36

European Regulations

National Driver Vehicle File

643.43

Irish Trans of MTO Forms

346.60

Irish Trans of C02 Emissions

156.74

Irish Trans Trailer Ownership

177.31

Irish Trans of CVO Regs SI 150 2008

84.70

Irish Trans Veh No. Web Site

84.70

Irish Trans Online Motor Tax (CVN Text)

85.05

Irish Trans ROS

85.0

Irish Trans VRC Leaflet

60.75

Irish Trans for Website

113.40

Irish Trans of Finance Act

Questions Nos. 182 and 183 answered with Question No. 175.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

184 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48232/09]

The amount spent by the Minister and Ministers of State engaged in official business on commercial flights in the Department of Transport during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009 is set out in the following tables.

Minister

Year

Cost of Commercial flights on official business

2006

10,698

2007

13,262

2008

9,606

2009 to date

2,237

Minister of State

Year

Cost of Commercial flights on official business

2006

5,071

2007

6,281

2008

1,950

2009 to date

396

Crime Levels.

George Lee

Question:

185 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of burglaries in Ballinteer, Dublin 16, recorded on the Garda pulse system in 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47221/09]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Road Traffic Offences.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

186 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to an article with accompanying photographs from a YouTube video, published in a newspaper (details supplied) regarding dangerous and illegal harness racing on a road without the knowledge or consent of the Garda; the action that will be taken as result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47230/09]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the type of horse racing referred to can constitute an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended. I am further informed that Garda management in the area referred to are aware of the incident, and efforts are being made to identify those involved. Additional patrols in this location, and its environs, by uniformed and plain clothes members of An Garda Síochána have been directed by local Garda management to prevent and detect such breaches of the Road Traffic Acts and to ensure full compliance with the law by all road users.

Public Order Offences.

Finian McGrath

Question:

187 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47273/09]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the area referred to is in the Clontarf Garda Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of anti-social behaviour in the area and at the location referred to. There are no complaints currently being investigated by An Garda Síochána in respect of anti-social behaviour by the occupants. If any such incidents are reported to An Garda Síochána they will be investigated and offenders dealt with in accordance with the law. A Garda investigation into the sale of drugs in the area is ongoing.

The area is the subject of monitoring through patrols by uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Community Policing and Mountain Bike Units, the District Detective and Drug Units, supplemented as required by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel. Local Garda management closely monitors such patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of communities, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation will be kept under review, with primary consideration being given to the needs of residents.

Incidents of public disorder and anti-social behaviour reported to the Garda authorities are the subject of investigation and dealt with appropriately, including by juvenile or adult caution, fixed charge notices or initiating criminal proceedings. Any persons found engaging in such behaviour will continue to be dealt with appropriately in accordance with the law. Current policing plans in the area are designed to address issues of crime and public order offences, the prevention of crime including crimes of violence against persons and property and public order offences and the maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of quality of life of the residents of the area.

Garda Deployment.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

188 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí by rank and by Garda station for all of the new constituency of Louth, which includes parts of east Meath, for each of the past three years; if he will increase the Garda numbers in view of the increase in population; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47352/09]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Louth Garda Division, on 31 October 2009, 31 December 2008, 2007 and 2006 was as set out in the table hereunder:

Station

31/10/2009

31/12/2008

31/12/2007

31/12/2006

Ardee

30

21

9

9

Castlebellingham

3

3

3

4

Collon

7

7

2

2

Louth

2

2

2

2

Clogherhead

4

4

2

2

Drogheda

110

104

97

93

Dunleer

4

4

4

4

Blackrock

5

5

4

5

Carlingford

6

4

3

3

Dromad

6

7

7

7

Dundalk

120

120

115

109

Hackballscross

9

10

11

11

Omeath

5

5

5

7

It should be noted that prior to the formation of the Louth Division in June 2008, the Louth Division formed part of the Louth/Meath Division.

Responsibility for the allocation of personnel rests with the Garda Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team. Resource levels are constantly monitored, in conjunction with crime trends and other demands made on An Garda Síochána, and are kept under review.

Ministerial Transport.

Brian Hayes

Question:

189 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost to the Exchequer of running the ministerial fleet of cars; his views on the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47372/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

190 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if new ministerial cars have been purchased or leased in the past 12 months; the car make; the Minister for whom the car was intended; the cost of the purchase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47373/09]

I have requested this information from the Garda authorities and I will contact the Deputy when it is to hand.

Public Sector Pay.

Alan Shatter

Question:

191 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the remuneration payable to an ordinary judge of the District Court, the Circuit Court, the High Court, and the Supreme Court; the salary payable to the Presidents of the District Court, the Circuit Court and the High Court; the salary payable to the Chief Justice; and the salary payable to the Master of the High Court. [47448/09]

The current remuneration payable to the judiciary and Master of the High Court is as follows:

Chief Justice

295,916

President of the High Court

274,779

Judge of the Supreme Court

257,872

President of the Circuit Court

249,418

Judge of the High Court

243,080

President of the District Court

183,894

Judge of the Circuit Court

177,554

Judge of the District Court

147,961

Master of the High Court

186,891

Alan Shatter

Question:

192 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the salary payable to the chief registrar of the High Court; to individual High Court registrars; and to county registrars of the Circuit Court. [47449/09]

The current pay scales for the Chief Registrar of the High Court, High Court Registrars and County Registrars are set out in the following table:

Post

Salary Rate or Scale (reduced PRSI)

Salary Rate or Scale

County Registrar Dublin

150,712

158,644

County Registrar Cork

145,722

153,391

County Registrar Other Counties

133,745

140,784

Chief Registrar High Court(Head of Operations Supreme and High Court Directorate)

131,748 – 150,712

138,683 – 158,644

Registrar 1 High Court

92,730 – 114,366

97,617 – 120,382

Registrar 2 High Court

86,168 – 106,582

90,702 – 121,191

Registrar 3 High Court

72,681 – 90,844

76,510 – 95,665

Assistant Registrar – Central Office

66,179 – 82,520

69,659 – 86,865

Registrar of the Wards of Court*

92,730 – 114,366

97,617 – 120,382

Registrar to the Supreme Court**

92,730 – 114,366

97,617 – 120,382

*Formerly at Assistant Secretary level until 2001.

**Formerly at Assistant Secretary level until 2004.

Legal Costs.

Denis Naughten

Question:

193 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 345 of 9 June 2009, if the costs incurred cover the cost of outside counsel; the total cost inclusive of this figure to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47454/09]

I wish to advise the Deputy that, further to Parliamentary Question no. 345 of 9 June 2009, the total cost on cases involving this individual has now increased to €34,135. There is a further €2,267 pending approval. This cost is made up exclusively of payments to outside counsel.

Departmental Expenditure.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

194 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will detail his response to the report of the Special Group on Public Sector Numbers and Expenditure Programmes as it relates to his Department; in particular if he will outline his response to the McCarthy group’s conclusions that there is room for a structural reduction of at least 540 staff across his Department and its agencies; if he envisages such a structural reduction during 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47469/09]

As I outlined last week in the Dáil in response to the Deputy's Parliamentary Question No. 2 of 10 December decisions in respect of many of the recommendations in relation to structural reform will be a matter for decision by Government in due course. Any expenditure reductions arising, including staff savings, will be included in the budget for the sector in future years.

Prior to the report of the McCarthy Group and in recognition of the need to restrict the growth of State bodies and agencies, the Department has devised an Executive Office Model which has provided a streamlined and cost efficient structure for setting up new offices within the Department where it has been necessary to provide new services and programmes. Offices established under this model are structured within the existing framework of the Department, thus avoiding the substantial levels of set up and running costs that would be incurred under traditional systems and structures. In fact, these offices have to use the Departments existing Financial Shared Services, Corporate Services, Human Resource and Information Technology Services, thus freeing up the offices to concentrate on their core functions in a more cost effective way. Executive Offices established in this manner include Cosc, the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, the Office for Internet Safety, and the Victims of Crime Office.

Rationalisation of other offices has also been undertaken by my Department over the course of the last year. The Irish Film Classification Office has taken over administrative responsibility for the Censorship of Publications Board; the functions of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism have been absorbed into the Office of the Minister for Integration. The National Crime Council has been disbanded pending alternative mechanisms being put in place following a review of the arrangements for the development of policy and analysis in respect of crime issues.

The deployment of staffing resources is continually kept under review to ensure that maximum efficiency is derived from the resources available across the Justice Sector. During 2009, the moratorium on recruitment and schemes introduced by the Government have contributed to an overall reduction of over 200 staff between my Department, the Property Registration Authority and the Courts Service, which were the specific focus of staffing reductions in the McCarthy Report.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

195 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will detail his response to the report of the Special Group on Public Sector Numbers and Expenditure Programmes as it relates to the justice group of Votes (Table 13.4); in particular his response to A.2 — slowdown replacement of Garda fleet; A.5 — shelve new urban CCTV placements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47470/09]

As outlined in my reply to the Deputy's Question No. 2 of the 10th December 2009, the recommendations contained in the Special Group Report (McCarthy) have been taken into account in the budget negotiations for 2010 for the Justice Sector. In common with all Departments, there will be reductions in payroll related provisions in 2010 to take account of the reductions in payroll rates, final figures for which will be published in the REV early next year. In addition, budgets have been reduced and reprioritised across a range of programme subheads to deliver the level of savings required by Government, a number of which are in line with the recommendations of the Special Group Report.

Decisions in respect of the Report's many other recommendations, and, indeed, proposals from other sources and interested parties are a matter for consideration by Government in due course. I have stated previously that I would find alternative savings rather than implement the Report's recommendation on closing rural Garda stations. That remains the position.

Departmental Agencies.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

196 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the recommendation E.5 in the report of the Special Group on Public Sector Numbers and Expenditure Programmes — Abolish the Office of the Minister for Integration has been implemented; if he intends to continue this office; the budget it has been allocated for its operation in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47471/09]

The Office of the Minister for Integration has not been abolished. However, since the Government decision last April appointing a reduced number of Ministers of State, there has not been a separate office-holder with responsibility for the Office. The Government appointed Deputy John Curran as Minister of State at my Department, the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs with special responsibility for integration in addition to his responsibility for community affairs and drugs. A provision of €5.465 million is included in Subhead E.8 of my Department's Estimate for 2010 in respect of the Office of the Minister for Integration.

Drug Seizures.

Billy Timmins

Question:

197 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of illegal drugs seized in County Wicklow and County Carlow in 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47479/09]

In the time available it has not been possible to compile the detailed statistics requested. I will communicate further with the Deputy when the information sought is to hand.

Departmental Reports.

Billy Timmins

Question:

198 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action, if any, he has taken since the publication of the Murphy report, the Commission of Investigation report into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin in July 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47483/09]

When I received the report last July, I immediately sent it to the Garda Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Since then, I have discussed the matter at length with the Commissioner. A number of the perpetrators discussed in the report have already been brought to justice, proceedings are pending against others and a number of investigations are ongoing. The Garda Commissioner has assured me that pursuing the perpetrators, whenever the abuse occurred, is an absolute priority for An Garda Síochána.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney has been appointed to examine the report's findings relating to the handling of complaints and investigations by both Church and State authorities, to carry out such investigations and inquiries as he deems appropriate and to make a report to him with his recommendations. The Commissioner will then consult with the Director of Public Prosecutions as to what issues arise in the context of criminal liability. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Assistant Commissioner has commenced his examination of the report but that it is at this stage too early to give a precise date for its completion. The Commissioner has directed that the investigation be concluded as early as possible.

The findings of the Commission's report are positive with regard to the current Garda arrangements for dealing with such allegations. Nevertheless, after consulting with the Garda Commissioner, I have asked the Garda Inspectorate to review the Garda handling of allegations of child sexual abuse. The Government earlier this year requested the Commission of Investigation to extend its work to deal with the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne because of concerns which had arisen in relation to that diocese. I believe that the work of the Commission in relation to the Archdiocese of Dublin and its forthcoming report on the Diocese of Cloyne will serve the primary purpose of establishing how child sexual abuse cases were dealt with by the Church and State authorities so that lessons can be learned and remedies introduced.

I am informed by my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, that the audit currently being carried out by the Health Service Executive in relation to the dioceses will be concluded shortly. In addition, work is well under way on preparing legislation to provide a statutory framework for the sharing of soft information. The Office of the Minister of State for Children and Youth Affairs is preparing Heads of a Bill in consultation with my Department, An Garda Síochána and the HSE. The findings of the Commission's report about collection and sharing of information will be taken fully into account in the process which will be completed in the very near future.

Garda Deployment.

Billy Timmins

Question:

199 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí in the areas of Wicklow, Laois/Offaly and Carlow/Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47484/09]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of the Wicklow, Laois/Offaly and Carlow/Kilkenny Garda Divisions on 31 October 2009, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is as set out in the following table:

Division

Strength

Wicklow

359

Laois/Offaly

333

Carlow/Kilkenny

313

Responsibility for the allocation of personnel rests with the Garda Commissioner, in consultation with his senior management team. Resource levels are constantly monitored, in conjunction with crime trends and other demands made on An Garda Síochána, and are kept under review.

Crime Levels.

Billy Timmins

Question:

200 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will give a breakdown of the crime figures in respect of counties Wicklow and Carlow for 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47485/09]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

201 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47498/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

202 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47513/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

203 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47528/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

204 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47543/09]

I propose to takes Questions Nos. 201 to 204, inclusive, together.

The Public Service Management Act 1997 provides for the appointment of two Special Advisers to assist Ministers in performing their roles and achieving the objectives of Government. I have two Special Advisers, one focusing on policy, one focusing on press. The current salary scale applicable to both advisers is that of Principal Officer: €86,168-€106,582. These salaries are subject to the Public Sector Pensions Levy. In addition, their salaries will be subject to the public service pay reductions announced in last week's Budget which will take effect from 1 January 2010. Payments not exceeding 11% of salary are paid to both advisers in respect of Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs).

I am satisfied that the two Special Advisers, whose remit covers a broad spectrum across the Justice and Equality sectors, represent full value for money for the services they provide. The practice of appointing advisers is decades old and has been advanced by all parties when in Government. Indeed, when the Deputy's Party were last in Government a far greater number of Advisers and Programme Managers were employed to advise Ministers on Justice and Equality matters. Finally, the overall staffing of my Private and Constituency Offices, including the two Special Advisers, remains within the relevant guidelines set down by the Department of Finance and in the Cabinet Handbook.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

205 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47559/09]

Public bodies, including my Department, are obliged under the Official Languages Act 2003 to publish certain documents in both official languages. Such documents include those setting out public policy proposals, annual reports, audited accounts or financial statements, and statements of strategy required to be prepared under section 5 of the Public Service Management Act 1997. The costs of translating documents into Irish are met from my Department's Administrative Budget and cannot readily be distinguished from the cost of providing administrative services generally.

The available information indicates that in the period in question, my Department published its Annual Reports for 2007 and 2008 and incurred translation costs of €3,212 and €4,247 respectively. During the same period my Department also incurred translation costs of €3,538 in respect of my Department's Strategy Statement 2008-2010 and €2,175 in respect of the Ist Progress Report on the Agreed Programme for Government 2007-2112. I can also inform the Deputy that while my Department does engage outside translators on occasion, as much translation work as possible is undertaken by an in-house translator and other staff members who are proficient in Irish. Examples of documents translated by Departmental staff include Rules of Court, Statutory Instruments, forms, website pages, letters etc.

Prison Building Programme.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

206 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status of plans to build a prison in Kilworth, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47700/09]

The replacement of Cork Prison with a modern prison complex at Kilworth, County Cork is currently being planned. Agreement has been reached with the Department of Defence to acquire about 160 acres at Kilworth, County Cork for the new prison development and Government approval for the transfer of the land has also been obtained. A preliminary site suitability report has confirmed that there are no significant constraints to the development of this site and in accordance with Department of Finance Capital Appraisal Guidelines a preliminary outline case has been completed and approved by the Prisons Authority Interim Board.

The Irish Prison Service estimates that the capacity of the new prison will be in the region of 450 spaces, 400 male and 50 female. These figures will be reviewed as the project progresses to detailed design stage and in light of prisoner population surveys. The next step in the appraisal process is the preparation of a detailed business case for the project which will examine the various procurement options including the Public Private Partnership option. The advice of the NDFA will be sought in relation to these issues in due course.

Crime Levels.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

207 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of homicides that have taken place in which a firearm was used in 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47706/09]

Tackling gun crime and tightening gun controls are key priorities for this government. Against that background it is regrettable that the Deputy's Party has actively opposed legislative proposals to tackle gang land crime and tighten gun-controls. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there were in total 86 cases of murder in which a firearm was used from 2006 to 2008 and in 2009 up to 6 December.

Our criminal law has been significantly strengthened in recent years. Many of these changes are targeted at fighting gangland crime. The Criminal Justice Acts of 2006 and 2007, in particular, introduced wide ranging reforms to strengthen the capacity of An Garda Síochána to tackle serious crime. The bail laws have been strengthened to allow the prosecution mount a more effective challenge to bail applications. I have also secured Government approval to commence work on a new Bail Bill to consolidate and update bail law with a view to presenting a clear, accessible and modern statement of the law.

A significant further strengthening of the law dealing with those involved in criminal organisations took place with the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009. Other significant pieces of legislation introduced to target organised crime include the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act, which provides a statutory framework for evidence obtained by means of covert surveillance to be used in criminal trials, and the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 which further tightens the legislative provisions relating to guns and knives and similar weapons.

A further important development, which is currently being progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas, is the Criminal Procedure Bill 2009 which gives effect to the measures contained in the Justice for Victims Initiative. The Bill provides for reform of the law on victim impact statements and proposes to end the ban on retrying people who have been acquitted in specified circumstances. I expect that the Criminal Justice (Forensic Sampling and Evidence) Bill, which will provide for the establishment and operation of a DNA database, will be published in the very near future.

Under Operation Anvil, up to 29 November, 2009, over 2,800 firearms have been recovered. There have also been over 8,700 arrests for serious crimes such as murder, serious assault, robbery and burglary and over 83,700 searches for weapons, drugs and stolen goods. An Garda Síochána will continue to address the issue of illegal guns relentlessly through Operation Anvil.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

208 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of homicides that have taken place in which a knife was used in 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47707/09]

Legislation on the use of knives and similar weapons is extremely robust and heavy penalties are in place. The Garda Commissioner last year made recommendations in relation to knives and sharply pointed or bladed weapons, and subsequently I introduced legislation which was enacted as the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009. The maximum penalty for possessing a knife in a public place has been increased from one to five years, and An Garda Síochána has been given an extended power of search without warrant in relation to knives and offensive weapons. In tandem with the new legislation, samurai swords have been banned from importation and sale, though exceptions have been made for collectors and martial artists.

Last February, the Garda Commissioner and I launched a Knife Awareness Campaign by An Garda Síochána to inform and educate young people on the dangers of carrying knives and with the aim of reducing the number of incidents of knife crime. The campaign is targeting a young male audience with messages delivered through role models in both the sporting and media world and incorporating a series of local roadshow events as well a dedicated website and a presence on social networking sites.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table contains the number of murder and manslaughter offences involving the use of a knife recorded for the years 2006 to 2008 and in 2009 up to 13 December.

The number of murder and manslaughter offences involving the use of a knife recorded for the years 2006 to 2008 and in 2009 up to 13 December.

Year

Number

2009*

19

2008

12

2007

33

2006

24

*Figures provided are provisional, operational and liable to change.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

209 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons charged with drug and drink driving in 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47708/09]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

210 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a naturalisation application can be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47723/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question 163 on 16 June, 2009. Section 15A of the Act provides that the Minister may grant a certificate of naturalisation to the non-national spouse of an Irish citizen if, among other things, the applicant has been married to that citizen for a period of not less than three years. On examination of the application submitted by the person concerned in December 2006, it was determined that she had not been married for three years at the date of application, therefore her application was deemed ineligible. The person in question was informed of this in a letter issued to her on 8 January, 2007. It is open to the person concerned to lodge a new application if and when she is in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

211 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status of an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47724/09]

I refer the Deputy to my Reply to his recent Parliamentary Question, No. 203 of Thursday, 26 November 2009. The position in the State of the person concerned is as set out in that Reply.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

212 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48229/09]

The information requested by the Deputy is provided from June 2007. Details prior to that date are not readily available. The cost to my Department of commercial air travel by my predecessor while on official business was approximately €2,850. Since my appointment as Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in May 2008 to date, the cost to my Department of such travel has been approximately €650.

Human Rights Issues.

Finian McGrath

Question:

213 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on death threats and violence in Colombia. [47238/09]

I am aware of and share the deep concern that has been expressed at the manner in which trade union activists and human rights defenders have been treated in Colombia. Ireland, along with its EU partners, monitors the human rights situation in Colombia and raises issues including such human rights abuses with the Colombian Government through the on-going EU-Colombia dialogue on human rights and in regular contacts at political level. At the Universal Periodic Review of Colombia's implementation of its human rights commitments, held at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in December 2008, Ireland raised a number of issues relating to human rights in Colombia. Specifically, we called on the Colombian Government to implement its existing legislation in full, sanction unsubstantiated allegations against individual activists, strengthen the protection provided to individuals and investigate and punish crimes against them.

Last month, on the occasion of a visit to Colombia to present credentials, Irelands' newly appointed non-resident Ambassador to Colombia raised these issues at meetings with the Colombian Minister for Foreign Affairs and with senior officials in the Foreign Ministry. The Ambassador emphasised the importance that Ireland attaches to the protection of human rights defenders and trade union leaders and explained the considerable attention that their plight has attracted in Ireland. In the course of his visit, the Ambassador also met with representatives of Irish NGOs to hear at first hand about their concerns regarding human rights.

The EU recognises that the Colombian Government is trying to restore the authority of the State in the context of significant ongoing terrorist activity in the country. The 2007-2013 EU country strategy paper for Colombia recognises that the "situation as regard human rights and democracy in Colombia is still critical" and that "the most vulnerable groups include indigenous peoples and Afro-Colombians, as well as, inter alia, social leaders, trade-union leaders, journalists and human rights defenders". We fully recognise that there is no one solution for promoting peace in Colombia and that the various social and economic elements underlying the conflict have to be tackled simultaneously. Our approach and that of the European Union is to support the Colombian Government as it emerges from decades of terrorism, and to influence that process in a manner that also results in greater respect for human rights.

Ireland has made a considerable financial contribution towards the Organization of American States' monitoring of the disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation process in Colombia as well as to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights' monitoring of the human rights aspects of this process. The Government will continue to monitor the situation in Colombia through our Embassy in Mexico City, which is accredited to Colombia, as well as in cooperation with our EU partners with resident diplomatic missions in that country.

Programmes for Government.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

214 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the additional actions he proposes to take regarding the renewed programme for Government in view of budget 2010. [47340/09]

The Programme for Government is designed to be implemented across the full range of government Departments and over a series of budgets. The current budget was prepared having full regard to the Programme for Government and is designed to implement the Programme rather than to stimulate actions additional to it. In terms of my Department's core responsibilities in implementing the Programme, they remain unchanged by the Budget. Our work in the European Union and UN continues as does our work in other priority areas.

In terms of the financial resources to implement the Programme, the major programme in my Department is ODA. The published estimate for my Department protects the allocation of funding for ODA in 2010 at 0.52% of GNP. This is a significant achievement. Against the background of very difficult economic circumstances and enormous budgetary pressures, the Government has succeeded in stabilising allocations to the aid programme. The budgetary reductions that have been made in other areas have concentrated mainly on economising on administrative costs. Actions identified in the Programme for Government will continue to be implemented and adequately resourced.

Overseas Development Aid.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

215 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will use the overseas aid budget to pay for climate debt to poor countries; if he supports the position that 100% of the funds promised to support climate adaptation in developing countries, as part of the current UN climate negotiations, should be additional to official development assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47405/09]

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

216 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his role in discussions taking place at EU level, and at Copenhagen, for funding to developing countries affected by climate change; the position being promoted by him at EU level for separation of funding for overseas development aid and climate change funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47406/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

The Government's preparations for participation in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen have involved extensive consultation and coordination between a number of Ministers and Departments. The Government is represented at the Conference by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The Taoiseach will travel to Copenhagen tomorrow to head Ireland's delegation in the final stages of the negotiations for an ambitious new climate change agreement. Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of EU Development Ministers in Copenhagen in order to underline the importance of the links between climate change and development. We held discussions with Ministers from a number of developing countries, including Ethiopia, Lesotho, Bangladesh, Ghana and Mali, focusing on ways in which the EU can support them in responding to the huge challenges of climate change.

At our meeting, we explored practical ways to ensure that international development efforts are wholly coherent with the international response to climate change. We agreed on the need to further integrate climate change activities into our development programmes and, in doing so, to focus on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable people and communities.

The Government and our EU partners recognise that significantly increased financial resources will be required in order to support developing countries as they cope with the impact of climate change. The EU also recognises clearly that climate change financing must not undermine or jeopardise the fight against poverty. The EU is committed to paying its fair share within a new global climate change agreement. At last week's meeting of the European Council in Brussels, it was agreed that the EU and its Member States would contribute €2.4 billion annually in fast-start funding for the three years 2010 to 2012 to support the climate change needs of developing countries. The Taoiseach pledged that Ireland would contribute up to €100 million over this three-year period.

The Government agrees that the financing provided must be adequate, reliable, and predictable, and that it must be delivered in a way that complements development assistance. The exact composition of Ireland's fast-start funding package will be finalised by the Government. It will include substantial new and additional funding for developing countries.

Human Rights Issues.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

217 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has raised concerns at diplomatic and European levels regarding proposals in Uganda to impose life imprisonment or the death penalty for homosexual activities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47463/09]

I refer the Deputy to Question No. 54, ref. PQ46864, answered yesterday by my colleague Peter Power, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Overseas Development:

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

218 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47496/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

219 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47511/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

220 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47526/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

221 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47541/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 to 221, inclusive, together.

The following table sets out the name, title and salary details of the four special advisors in my Department. The salaries are linked to the Principal Officer standard scale and will be reduced as a result of the reduction in public service pay rates as announced in last week's budget.

Minister Micheál Martin, T. D.

Name

Title

Gross Remuneration

Ms. Deirdre Gillane

Special Advisor

106,582

Mr. Christy Mannion

Special Advisor

100,191 plus a 10% attraction allowance

Minister of State Dick Roche, T.D.

Mr. David Grant

Special Advisor

100,191

Minister of State Peter Power, T.D.

Mr. Jerry O’Connor

Special Advisor

97,109

The terms of the Non-contributory Pension Scheme for Non-established State Employees and of the Contributory Spouses' and Children's Pension Scheme apply to Ms. Deirdre Gillane.

The terms of the Non-contributory Pension Scheme for Established State Employees and of the Contributory Spouses' and Children's Pension Scheme apply to Mr. Christy Mannion.

Ms. Gillane and Mr. Mannion also pay the Public Service Pension Related Deduction introduced in March 2009. From 1/3/09 to 31/12/09 Ms Gillane will make contributions of €7,177.13 and Mr. Mannion will make contributions of €7,486.27.

Mr. David Grant and Mr. Jerry O'Connor opted for payments of 11% of salary in respect of superannuation contributions to be made to an approved pension provider.

The roles and functions carried out by the Special Advisors are as set out in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 i.e. to assist the Minister by providing advice, by monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of Government objectives that relate to my Department and by performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister. I am satisfied that the Special Advisors contribute to the effectiveness of the system in a manner and to an extent that fully justifies the associated costs.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

222 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47557/09]

The number of reports, documents and memos in my Department that have been translated by external translators since the commencement of the 30th Dáil is 22. I set out below a breakdown of the documents in question including the cost of the translation per document.

Document

Translation costs

Application Forms and Brochure for Consular Services

734.25

Regulatory Impact Assessment Report

60.00

Irish Aid Annual Report 2006

3,993

Annual Report on Developments in the EU — 2006

2,938

Lisbon Treaty — Explanatory Leaflet, Guide, White Paper

8,180

DFA Annual Report 2007

2,892

DFA Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

3,741

Irish Aid Annual Report 2007

4,689

Advisory Board to Irish Aid Annual Report 2007

1,404

North South Ministerial Council Annual Report 2007

692

Annual Report of Developments in the EU — 2007

3,220

Lisbon Treaty — Postcard, White Paper

1,773

Report of Global Irish Economic Forum

2,399

DFA Annual Report 2008

2,269

Irish Aid Annual Report 2008

2,979

North South Ministerial Council Annual Report 2008

740

S.I. No. 408 of 2009 — Foreign Births (Amendment) Regulations of 2009

145

Ireland in Brief 2009

1,944

At all times my Department endeavours to comply with the Official Languages Act 2003 and to ensure that an appropriate level of publications in Irish is available to the public. The total amount spent in providing this service in the period in question is just over €41,000.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

223 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48227/09]

As the Deputy will appreciate, Ministers serving at my Department, by the nature of its responsibilities, are obliged to undertake a significant amount of official travel overseas. In regard to official travel overseas, I have included below, in tabular form, the costs incurred on commercial flights from 2006 to date in 2009, in regard to Ministers and Ministers of States serving at my Department.

My Department is fully compliant with the Department of Finance guidelines on foreign travel. My Department also operates its own detailed internal travel guidelines and practises which ensure cost effective travel practises, both in Headquarters and throughout our network of 75 diplomatic missions abroad. The central aim of the Departmental travel policy, which applies to both Ministers and officials, is to minimise official travel costs and to achieve value for money for expenditure necessarily incurred, consistent with the effective discharge of official duties.

Cost of Commercial Flights 2006-2009

Ministers for Foreign Affairs

2006

2007

2008

2009 (to date)

Minister Dermot Ahern T.D.

20,132

8,092

18,738

Minister Michael Martin T.D.

4,875

8,400

Ministers of State

2006

2007

2008

2009 (to date)

MOS Conor Lenihan T.D.

26,041

2,340

MOS Michael Kitt T.D.

7,750

10,918

MOS Peter Power T.D.

26,260

25,116

MOS Dick Roche T.D.

17,087

19,669

9,255

MOS Noel Treacy T.D.

17,573

4,736

It should be noted that MoS Dick Roche is also a Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach and that other flight costs may be a charge on that Department.

It should also be noted that Ministers of State generally do not use the Government Jet and avail of scheduled flights in most instances.

Swimming Pool Projects.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

224 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if funding for the development of a swimming pool at Stranorlar, County Donegal will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47367/09]

Contract Documents for the Ballybofey-Stranorlar Swimming Pool Project were approved in January 2009 allowing the project to go to tender. I have been informed by Donegal County Council that they expect to submit the Tender Report to the Department for approval in March 2010.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

225 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47488/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

226 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47503/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

227 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47518/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

228 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will defend the spending of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47533/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 225 to 228, inclusive, together.

Since taking office in this Department in 2008, I have appointed one Special (Press) Advisor, Ms Michelle Hoctor, under Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997. Ms Hoctor's position in the Department is that of Special (Press) Advisor. Ms Hoctor is currently paid €93,449 on the Principal Officer Standard Scale. The cost of pension contributions in respect of her appointment at this Department amounts to €2,400 to date. The appointment as Special (Press) Advisor was made under Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act, 1997 and the Advisor performs functions as specified in this Section. This appointment is in line with Department of Finance guidelines on such matters.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

229 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47549/09]

Since the commencement of the 30th Dáil on 14 June 2007, the Department (excluding the National Archives, which forms part of the Department but is designated as a separate public body under the OfficialLanguages Act 2003) has translated into Irish some 306 reports, documents and memos, as set out in the following table with the associated translation costs.

Title of Report, Document or Memo1

Cost of Translation

Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

2,792

Annual Report 2006

3,388

Annual Report 2007

3,630

Annual Report 2008

2,552

Irish Language Scheme 2009-2012

425

Heritage Fund Annual Report 2006

50

Heritage Fund Annual Report 2007

50

Freedom of Information Sections 15 and 16 Manual

385

Programme for Government (element of)

2,084

Appropriation Account 2007 (element of)

325

Appropriation Account 2008 (element of)

379

Sports Capital Programme — Application Forms and Guidelines (1 set)

1,291

Departmental Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

690

Notice — Gaeleagras Scholarship Scheme

125

EU Ministerial Council Meeting Document

219

Letters (5 in number)

620

Invitations (1 text)

36

Statutory Instruments (13 in number)

5,122

Press Releases (272 in number)2

21,2032

Total = 306 reports, documents and memos

45,366

1Excluding such items as notices in Iris Oifigiúil, newspaper advertisements and static website material.

2The figures for press releases relate to the period from 1 July 2007 to 30 November 2009.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

230 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flightsduring 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48220/09]

The amount spent by my Department in respect of each Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009 is set out in the following table:

Minister

2006

2007

2008

2009

Minister John O’Donoghue

16,303.90

3,178.32

Minister Seamus Brennan

107.79

Minister Martin Cullen

10,431.82

9,000.18

National Drugs Strategy.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

231 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will continue to support an organisation (details supplied) in County Louth which deals with drug addiction in the Drogheda area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47270/09]

The organisation referred to by the Deputy is funded through the North Eastern Regional Drugs Task Force (NERDTF). In relation to funding for 2010, I have asked the Task Forces to review all projects currently being funded to ensure that they are drugs-targeted and evidence-based; can show tangible outputs and outcomes; are addressing current gaps and needs in their areas and can demonstrate clear links with the priorities as set out in the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016. The NERDTF has been advised of its allocation for 2010. While I have not yet received their detailed funding proposals for next year (due back on 16th December), I understand it was decided at a recent meeting of the Task Force that this project would not be proposed for funding in 2010.

Inland Waterways.

Jack Wall

Question:

232 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding a project (details supplied); the cost of the project to date; if it is deemed a success; the owner or lessee of the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47275/09]

Following the initial restoration work on this community project, Waterways Ireland took over responsibility for it pursuant to the transfer of the canals to the organisation in 2000. While the facility subsequently operated successfully for a period, it ceased to operate in July 2003 due to a number of mechanical problems and remained out of action for the following two seasons. Following discussions and agreement with the Community Council concerned, Waterways Ireland assumed responsibility for the necessary repair works, which were completed in 2007. The total amount of money expended on this project was €331,415. Control of the facility has reverted to Waterways Ireland and it is currently used for operational purposes on both the Grand and Royal Canals. In September 2009 the facility was used for promotion purposes at the National Ploughing Championships at Athy.

Gaeltacht Summer Colleges.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

233 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if there will be a reduction in payments to Mná Tí in the Gaeltacht under Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge; if so, the amount of the reduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47369/09]

Under Scéim na bhFoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge, which is administered by my Department, a daily grant per student (€10.50 in 2009) is available to approved householders in Gaeltacht areas who accommodate Irish students from outside the Gaeltacht while attending Gaeltacht Summer Colleges. The position in relation to 2010 is being considered by my Department in the context of the recently announced Budget provisions and the overall decrease in the cost of living. I hope that it will be possible to announce a decision shortly in regard to the level of grant that will be available in 2010.

Questions Nos. 234 to 236, inclusive, answered with Question No. 55.

National Drugs Strategy.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

237 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the report of NDRIC in view of the lack of funding made available to employ rehabilitation co-ordinators. [47404/09]

The Report of the Working Group on Drugs Rehabilitation, which was chaired by my Department, was completed in 2007. It led to the establishment of the National Drugs Rehabilitation Implementation Committee (NDRIC) which is charged with overseeing and monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the Report. As part of fulfilling the lead role in rehabilitation, the HSE chair this Committee and have primary responsibility for the implementation of the recommendations.

As in all areas of Government expenditure at this time, implementation of the recommendations of the Report will have to be achieved in the context of more limited funding in the short to medium term. Against this background the optimum use of the available resources is essential, with strong focus on the further development of inter-agency working, as recommended in the Report.

A Senior Rehabilitation Co-ordinator was appointed by the HSE some time ago and he chairs the NDRIC and leads the co-ordination of the overall drugs rehabilitation effort across the country. The HSE recently announced that two further Rehabilitation Co-ordinators are to be appointed, based in Waterford and Cork. I am heartened by this decision, which illustrates the commitment of the HSE to making real progress in this area. Rehabilitation involves addressing the broad needs of individuals, across medical support, training and employment, education, housing, prison-related issues and family-related issues. This broad approach is being encouraged through the work of the NDRIC, which has representatives of all relevant Departments and agencies, as well as the voluntary and community sectors.

Under the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016, I will be meeting twice a year with a number of Ministers and various senior officials who are involved in implementing various key actions in the Strategy. As part of that process, and underlining my emphasis on rehabilitation, I met with the Senior Rehabilitation Co-ordinator this week and we discussed developments to date and approaches to expediting progress in the months ahead.

Progress on rehabilitation will also figure prominently at the quarterly meetings of the Oversight Forum on Drugs, which I chair. This Forum will be reviewing progress across the Strategy and will be addressing any operational difficulties and blockages that arise. I am satisfied that there is a strong commitment to the implementation of the recommendations of the Working Group's Report and that the structures we now have in place will facilitate significant progress in the coming years.

Question No. 238 answered with Question No. 31.

Community Development.

Seán Ardagh

Question:

239 Deputy Seán Ardagh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to improve the delivery of services in the areas of community development and social inclusion; the progress made to date on focusing his Department’s community and local development funding on the delivery of services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47478/09]

The Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) and the Community Development Programme (CDP) are my Department's two main social inclusion/community development programmes. Both have a community development element and both have been delivered through separate local structures. As I outlined previously to the House, for some time now my Department has been aware of the need to redesign and streamline these two programmes. I believe that a focused programme with a single integrated delivery structure is needed in order to maximise their impact. The two existing programmes come to an end on 31 December 2009 and will be replaced by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).

The aim of the new programme is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities. The new programme will preserve elements of good practice from the existing CDP/LDSIP programmes and will enhance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. From 2010, disadvantaged communities will benefit from a more focused programme with clear objectives and simplified and streamlined delivery structures, leading to significant administrative savings and impact efficiencies.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

240 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47490/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

241 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47505/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

242 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47520/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

243 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will defend the spending of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47535/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 240 to 243, inclusive, together.

There have been two such advisors in my Department during the period referred to by the Deputy and the relevant details are set out in the following table:

Name

Title

Annual salary 2009

Pension contributions paid by advisors

Pension related deductions

Pádraic Ó hUiginn

Special Advisor

100,191

1,139

6,549

Layla de Cogan Chin

Media Advisor

87,918

2,843

5,612

I am satisfied that the contribution of the advisors to the work of my Office, and the operation of the wider Department, is worthwhile and represents good value to the taxpayer.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

244 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47551/09]

Since my Department was established in June 2002, its policy has been to ensure that customers, both external and internal, who wish to conduct their business through a choice of Irish or English are facilitated. Accordingly, expenditure on translation, as required, to facilitate the delivery of this commitment to the principles of Quality Customer Service, is met, and will continue to be met, from our normal administrative budget.

The Deputy will be aware that Irish is the normal business language in a number of my Department's Divisions. Given the large number of reports, documents and internal memos that would have been produced in Irish, or translated into Irish, during the period in question, it is not possible to readily identify and separate out all documents referred to by the Deputy. Furthermore, it is not feasible to separately identify those documents which incurred a translation cost as many staff in my Department are in a position to provide Irish and English translation services, as required, at no extra cost.

The compilation and collation of the detailed information sought in the Question would require a considerable amount of research, which I do not consider feasible or justified in the circumstances. If, however, the Deputy has any specific query relating to a particular document or documents, I would be glad to seek to provide him with relevant information if he wishes to provide the necessary details. In the meantime, I can confirm that the total amount spent on translation (including translations to and from Irish and English) since 14 June 2007, when the 30th Dáil commenced, was approximately €123,000.

Community Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

245 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to broaden eligibility for assistance under the CLÁR and RAPID programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47709/09]

The areas covered by the CLÁR Programme were reviewed in 2006 and I have no plans to expand its coverage at present. The Renewed Programme for Government has identified the need to continue to invest in disadvantaged rural communities through CLÁR, and it will do this by focussing on priority local needs in targeted CLÁR areas. The Programme has constantly sought to address the new challenges faced by small rural communities and it has been continuously refocused to deal with the most urgent infrastructural deficits. This approach will continue to inform my delivery of the CLÁR Programme.

Following an independent evaluation of the RAPID programme in 2006, it was recommended that in order to further develop and enhance it, it should be focussed on seven Strategic Themes: Community Safety and Anti-Social Behaviour, Family Support, Youth Support, Physical Environment, Education, Health and Employment/Training. This recommendation has been pursued and the strategic themes have been established across RAPID areas. Separately, in order to ensure the continued relevance of the Programme and the designated RAPID areas, I commissioned, through POBAL, a study to develop/update small area deprivation indices based on an analysis of the most recent census data.

As a result of this work, five provincial towns have been designated as new RAPID areas (Ballina, Dungarvan, Enniscorthy, Mullingar and Rathkeale). Minor adjustments to the boundaries of a number of existing RAPID areas were also recommended and this work is ongoing. I hope to have the process completed early in 2010.

National Drugs Strategy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

246 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will offer extra funding to voluntary or community groups involved in combating drug abuse in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47710/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

247 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will offer extra funding to voluntary or community groups involved in combating drug abuse in County Kildare in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47711/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the majority of expenditure allocated to voluntary and community groups for drugs initiatives through my Department, is channelled through the Local and Regional Drugs Task Forces. Overall, there will be a reduction of 11% in the funding available for drugs programmes in 2010 through my Department's Vote. In excess of €31m is being made available to fund the activities of the Drugs Task Forces next year of which €21.06m is being allocated to the Local Drugs Task Forces and €10m to the Regional ones.

Funding in relation to voluntary and community groups for drug initiatives in Co Kildare is made through the South Western Regional Drug Task Force (SWRDTF). The SWRDTF has been advised of their allocation for 2010 and my Department is awaiting their funding proposals for 2010 which is due back on the 16th December. Overall, I am satisfied that the funding being provided in 2010 by my Department will continue to facilitate the delivery of valuable voluntary and community based initiatives to help address problem drug use.

Community Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

248 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to address the issue of depopulation by way of funded projects in those areas affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47712/09]

My Department operates a wide range of schemes designed to tackle issues such as depopulation, deprivation and social isolation. Details of all these schemes can be found on my Department's website www.pobail.ie. The issue of depopulation within our rural areas is being addressed through a range of rural development programmes and initiatives.

Specifically, the CLÁR Programme targets investment in rural areas that have historically suffered population loss and has provided substantial funding towards projects to enable rural infrastructure deficits to be tackled. In the years 2002–2008, over €116.8m was spent under the Programme with related public and private expenditure in the region of €93m. The Renewed Programme for Government has identified the need to continue to invest in disadvantaged rural communities through CLÁR, and it will do this by focussing on priority local needs in targeted CLÁR areas.

In addition, the Deputy will be aware that Ireland's Rural Development Programme 2007-13 represents a substantial investment in our rural areas. This Programme is providing funding of €425m, which is 55% co-funded by the EU, towards improving the quality of life in rural areas and diversifying the rural economy. This investment is being rolled out through the network of local development companies who are implementing the various measures under the Programme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

249 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to support community-based organisations in County Kildare in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47713/09]

As the Deputy is aware, the remit of my Department includes community development in all communities, irrespective of location or socio-economic development. While the overall cut of 14% across the Developing Communities subheads of my Department's Vote will have an impact, my Department will be endeavouring to protect front-line services as far as possible. Every saving that can be made from cutting down on overheads will be pursued so that the comprehensive services that have been developed in partnership with communities over the years can be retained.

The 2010 allocation will facilitate continued support for communities through local and community development programmes, supports for volunteering, supports for locally-based community and voluntary groups, the Community Services Programme, Community Supports for Older People and other measures. Every effort will be made to direct resources in a targeted and effective manner so as to ensure maximum impact in all priority areas.

Departmental Expenditure.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

250 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the expenditure by his Department from the proceeds of the national lottery, the dormant accounts fund or other sources in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47714/09]

As the Deputy is aware, an overall allocation is provided from the National Lottery each year for expenditure through the Votes of various Departments. Details of this allocation are published in Appendix 1 of the annual Revised Estimates Volume. However, for the Deputy's convenience, Table 1 below sets out the allocations made available in each year since 2005.

Table 1: Total National Lottery allocation to Departments 2005-09

Year

Total Allocation

€m

2005

232.7

2006

200.0

2007

230.0

2008

265.0

2009

270.0

Three of the subheads in my Department's Vote are partially funded from this National Lottery allocation. Details of the total expenditure (which includes both Lottery and Exchequer funding) on these subheads are provided in Table 2 below:

Table 2: Expenditure on D/CRGA subheads part-funded from National Lottery 2005-09 (to end-November)

Subhead

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009 (to 30 November)

€000

€000

€000

€000

€000

B.1 Supports for Community and Voluntary Sector

30,754

11,514

18,226

18,875

14,805

B.3 Local and Community Development Programmes

71,148

81,901

83,139

66,101

F.1 Ciste na Gaeilge

3,268

4,251

6,614

5,216

4,934

Notes:

Subhead B.1Supports for the Community and Voluntary Sector was Subhead K.1 Grants for Community and Voluntary Services in 2007, 2006 & 2005.

Subhead F.1Ciste na Gaeilge was Subhead C in 2007 & 2006.

With regard to the Dormant Accounts Fund, funding has been channelled through the Vote of my Department since 2006. Table 3 below summarises the expenditure in this regard for 2006-08. An allocation of €14.736m is available in 2009.

Table 3: Dormant Accounts expenditure through D/CRGA Vote 2006-08

Year

Out-turn

€m

2006

1.679

2007

7.194

2008

10.521

Question No. 251 answered with Question No. 39.

Public Order Offences.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

252 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to offer financial assistance to community groups attempting to combat anti-social behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47717/09]

The RAPID Programme nationally supports the development and implementation of locally led responses to anti-social behaviour and community safety. The principle resources available to RAPID areas are those provided through the budgets of the Departments and agencies involved in service delivery. The Garda resources provided to local divisions focus on ways in which targeted responses can be developed and implemented in partnership with local communities and other State agencies.

Over the past number of years, several innovative measures were introduced to RAPID areas in the area of community safety, for example, an anti-graffiti programme supported by the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Environment, Heritage and Local Government and my own Department, which provided an anti-graffiti impact to a wide range of cities and towns. This Programme is now closed.

Another such measure is the Community based CCTV Programme. This Scheme, which is operated by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, provides financial assistance to qualifying local organisations towards meeting the capital costs associated with the establishment of local community CCTV systems. My Department co-funds this measure on a 50/50 basis. The programme provides for a development grant of up to €100,000 for the establishment of a CCTV scheme. The grants relate to capital expenditure only — funding is not available for the operational, maintenance and/or running costs of the CCTV system. The roll-out of successful applications under this Programme is ongoing.

Urban Regeneration.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

253 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to assist rural or urban groups involved in urban regeneration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47718/09]

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department implements and funds a range of measures, programmes and schemes supportive of urban communities. This includes the RAPID Programme, which specifically has a regeneration focus for disadvantage areas in both provincial towns and larger urban settings. Details of the programmes and schemes operated by my Department, including guidelines, criteria and recipients of grant support, are available on my Department's website atwww.pobail.ie. All applications for funding received by my Department are assessed in line with the eligibility criteria of the relevant schemes.

The RAPID Programme aims to ensure that priority attention is given to tackling the spatial concentration of poverty and social exclusion within 51 designated RAPID areas nationally. Funding is provided under this programme specifically for the regeneration of these 51 RAPID areas, including funding for projects that focus on estate enhancement, graffiti removal, traffic calming, community closed-circuit television, health and sports facilities, and the provision of playgrounds and multi-use games areas. I should add that the programme is monitored by a National Monitoring Committee (NMC), which I chair, and an important element of each NMC meeting is the input received from the individuals and groups on the ground via the Area Implementation Teams in each of the RAPID areas.

In addition, my Department provides funding under a number of other measures to develop and deliver a range of community responses to the needs of individual communities, some of which may be of a regenerative nature.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

254 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48222/09]

The relevant expenditure, all of which was incurred in the course of carrying out necessary official business on behalf of my Department, is set out in the tables below:

Table: Official Flights — Minister

Year

Total Cost

2006

13,415

2007

14,794

2008

16,322

2009 to date

6,557

Social Welfare Benefits.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

255 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the details of welfare payments broken down by nationality and citizenship; the number of persons who applied for and were refused payment under the various schemes based on the failure of the person to satisfy the habitual residence condition in 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47249/09]

The numbers of those who were found not to satisfy the habitual residence condition, broken down by scheme and for each of the last 3 years, is as follows:

2007

2008

2009

Jobseeker’s Allowance

4,007

3,891

7,260

One-parent Family

284

210

381

Child Benefit

577

1,102

1,860

Disability Allowance

196

278

629

Carers Allowance

65

87

210

It is not possible to give an annual breakdown for the following schemes but the total numbers disallowed are as follows:

Scheme

Year

Number

State Pension non-con pension

2007-2009

146

Widows non-con pension

2007-2009

11

Blind Pension

2007-2009

3

One-Parent Family (Widows)

2007-2009

9

The Habitual Residence Condition must be satisfied by those on means tested payments, contributory schemes are not affected.

The details of the nationality of claimants, where available, are set out by scheme in tabular format below:

Country

One-parent Family

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Benefit

Afghanistan

1

93

3

Albania

13

103

31

Algeria

12

279

28

Angola

45

219

17

Argentina

3

11

19

Armenia

2

21

1

Australia

26

56

87

Austria

13

38

46

Azerbaijan

1

10

0

Bahamas

0

1

0

Bahrain

0

0

1

Bangladesh

4

60

145

Barbados

0

0

2

Belarus

22

57

75

Belgium & Luxembourg

21

53

35

Benin

2

9

0

Bermuda

0

1

0

Bhutan

1

2

0

Bolivia

0

2

0

Bosnia

24

60

17

Botswana

0

0

1

Brazil

34

69

190

British Indian Ocean

0

1

3

Bulgaria

32

75

96

Burkina Faso Upper

0

4

0

Burundi

5

17

2

Cameroon

79

154

10

Canada

38

46

68

Central African Rep

1

1

1

Chad

0

6

0

Chechnya

4

16

5

Chile

1

5

1

China

40

93

183

Colombia

2

9

10

Comoros

1

4

0

Congo

136

512

37

Costa Rica

0

1

1

Croatia

13

86

33

Cuba

7

21

5

Cyprus

6

4

3

Czech Republic

87

489

543

Denmark

4

20

23

Dominican Republic

0

1

1

Ecuador

0

2

0

Egypt

6

48

11

El Salvador

3

11

8

England

1,785

2,375

1,221

Equatorial Guinea

1

0

0

Estonia

116

188

299

Ethiopia

7

42

6

Finland

7

19

32

France

102

251

319

French Guyana

0

0

1

Gabon

1

1

0

Gambia

1

10

3

Georgia

21

89

7

Germany

178

442

386

Ghana

97

156

22

Greece

4

19

25

Grenada

2

0

0

Guatemala

1

0

3

Guinea

10

30

2

Guinea-Bissau

0

2

0

Guyana

0

2

0

Haiti

0

1

0

Honduras

0

1

1

Hong Kong

3

8

3

Hungary

50

264

464

Iceland

1

2

2

India

10

41

148

Indonesia

3

4

4

Iran

10

204

15

Iraq

12

238

20

Ireland

71,530

195,340

140,730

Israel

3

17

4

Italy

46

216

245

Ivory Coast

19

55

7

Jamaica

5

16

3

Japan

7

5

17

Jordan

2

11

2

Kazakhstan

11

35

6

Kenya

64

45

17

Kosovo

10

119

34

Kuwait

4

24

1

Kyrgyzstan

3

11

1

Latvia

606

1,289

1,656

Lebanon

3

19

9

Lesotho

3

1

1

Liberia

6

20

4

Libya

15

86

10

Lithuania

894

2,513

3,158

Luxembourg

0

3

2

Macao

0

7

1

Macedonia

0

5

0

Madagascar

0

1

1

Malawi

2

4

2

Malaysia

8

14

83

Maldives

3

5

2

Mali

0

1

0

Malta

7

14

43

Mauritania

1

3

1

Mauritius

4

10

14

Mayotte

0

1

0

Mexico

5

6

8

Moldova

65

193

125

Mongolia

9

6

10

Morocco

12

32

28

Mozambique

3

1

1

Namibia

0

0

1

Nepal

0

8

3

Netherlands

49

201

122

Netherlands Antilles

1

1

2

New Zealand

11

27

64

Nicaragua

0

0

2

Niger

5

15

3

Nigeria

1,486

2,049

476

Northern Ireland

155

674

306

Norway

6

4

15

Other

3,428

2,651

7,435

Pakistan

23

159

117

Panama

1

0

0

Peru

3

4

9

Philippines

49

45

346

Poland

1,369

7,084

11,100

Portugal

50

160

128

Republic Of Korea

0

6

3

Romania

355

856

433

Russia

140

249

188

Rwanda

24

36

8

Saudi Arabia

0

2

0

Scotland

219

409

166

Senegal

0

1

0

Serbia

2

13

4

Sierra Leone

31

64

17

Singapore

2

2

2

Slovakia

101

712

1,091

Slovenia

1

6

12

Somalia

100

347

19

South Africa

169

148

254

Spain

46

194

291

Sri Lanka

4

17

12

St. Lucia

1

0

0

Sudan

14

296

4

Suirinam

1

2

0

Swaziland

4

1

1

Sweden

21

33

57

Switzerland

10

10

18

Syria

2

22

5

Tajikistan

1

1

0

Tanzania

9

3

3

Thailand

15

21

51

Togo

21

60

11

Trinidad & Tobago

1

1

2

Tunisia

3

12

15

Turkey

4

58

82

Turks & Caicos Islan

0

0

1

Uganda

21

30

4

Ukraine

85

249

266

United Arab Emirates

0

1

1

United Kingdom

2,571

8,029

4,323

Uruguay

0

0

1

USA

150

293

254

Uzbekistan

12

26

5

Vanuatu

0

1

0

Venezuela

1

7

8

Vietnam

36

84

9

Virgin Islands (Us)

0

1

0

Wales

50

74

34

Yemen

0

3

0

Yugoslavia

6

25

18

Zaire

18

35

8

Zambia

21

34

19

Zimbabwe

86

90

61

Country

Invalidity Pension 2009

Northern Ireland

107

Isle of Man

1

United States of America

54

France

11

Netherlands

3

Belgium

1

Italy

5

Denmark

24

Greece

3

Luxembourg

2

Spain

64

Portugal

1

Switzerland

1

Austria

3

Canada

35

Australia

350

New Zealand

1

Sweden

9

Norway

5

Finland

4

Bulgaria

1

Poland

11

Cyprus

2

Turkey

2

Germany

72

Romania

1

England

98

Scotland

8

Wales

4

Canary Islands

1

Philippines

1

Thailand

3

Czech Republic

4

Lithuania

4

Latvia

1

Monaco

1

Family Income Supplement

Country Name

Grand Total

Albania

5

Algeria

16

Angola

13

Argentina

2

Australia

10

Austria

10

Bahrain

2

Bangladesh

207

Belarus

11

Belgium

8

Bosnia

7

Brazil

166

Bulgaria

27

Burma

2

Cameroon

13

Canada

6

Chad

1

Chechnya

1

China

44

Congo

27

Croatia

13

Czech Republic

48

Democratic Republic Of Congo

5

Denmark

6

Dominican Republic

1

Egypt

58

England

305

Estonia

47

Ethiopia

1

Finland

5

France

47

Georgia

2

Germany

65

Ghana

20

Greece

2

Hungary

128

Iceland

1

India

51

Indonesia

2

Iran

1

Iraq

2

Ireland

16,480

Israel

3

Italy

29

Ivory Coast

4

Jamaica

2

Japan

4

Kazakhstan

1

Kenya

10

Kosovo

5

Kyrgyzstan

1

Latvia

445

Lebanon

2

Liberia

2

Libya

7

Lithuania

728

Luxembourg

1

Macedonia

1

Malaysia

30

Maldives

1

Malta

7

Mauritus

6

Mexico

1

Moldova

38

Mongolia

2

Morocco

14

Nepal

15

Netherlands

31

New Zealand

4

Niger

2

Nigeria

466

Northern Ireland

34

Other

1,757

Pakistan

142

Paraguay

1

Peru

4

Philippines

94

Poland

3,023

Portugal

38

Republic of Korea

1

Romania

71

Russia

38

Rwanda

2

Scotland

46

Senegal

1

Sierra Leone

6

Slovakia

128

Slovenia

1

Somalia

14

South Africa

39

Spain

14

Sri Lanka

15

Sudan

2

Sweden

5

Switzerland

5

Syria

10

Taiwan

1

Tanzania

1

Thailand

9

Togo

8

Tonga

1

Tunisia

3

Turkey

13

Uganda

1

Ukraine

68

United Kingdom

832

USA

34

Uzbekistan

1

Vietnam

5

Wales

7

Yugoslavia

4

Zambia

2

Zimbabwe

12

Cuba

1

Guatemala

1

Macao

1

Ecuador

1

Illness Benefit and Injury Benefit by Nationality at w/e 04/12/2009

Country

Illness Benefit

Injury Benefit

France

49

2

Belgium

9

0

Netherlands

34

2

Germany

74

3

Italy

40

0

United Kingdom

1,573

23

Ireland

73,843

864

Denmark

5

0

Greece

1

0

Portugal

42

3

Spain

46

0

Luxembourg

1

0

Northern Ireland

73

0

Bosnia

5

0

Palestine

1

0

England

327

5

Scotland

77

0

Wales

14

0

Norway

3

0

Sweden

9

1

Finland

9

0

Switzerland

3

0

Austria

5

0

Malta

4

0

Yugoslavia

2

0

Turkey

4

0

Poland

881

97

Hungary

47

4

Romania

41

1

Bulgaria

15

0

Albania

2

0

Kosovo

3

0

Belarus

3

0

Croatia

3

0

Serbia

1

0

Czech Republic

47

3

Morocco

7

0

Algeria

5

0

Tunisia

2

0

Libya

2

0

Egypt

10

0

El Salvador

1

0

Estonia

25

1

Niger

1

0

Guinea

1

0

Sierra Leone

1

1

Ivory Coast

2

0

Nigeria

75

2

Cameroon

3

1

Congo

3

0

Zaire

1

0

Somalia

1

0

Uganda

1

0

Tanzania

1

0

Mozambique

1

0

Mauritus

0

2

Zambia

2

0

Zimbabwe

5

1

Malawi

1

0

Namibia

1

0

Kazakhstan

3

0

USA

59

3

Canada

13

1

Mexico

1

0

Guatemala

1

0

Latvia

123

6

Lithuania

222

14

Jamaica

2

0

Venezuela

1

0

Moldova

8

0

Brazil

23

0

Argentina

1

0

New Zealand

6

0

Lebanon

1

0

Syria

1

0

Iraq

1

0

Iran

0

1

Jordan

3

0

Kuwait

1

0

Russia

21

0

Pakistan

34

1

India

46

3

Bangladesh

7

0

Maldives

1

0

Sri Lanka

1

0

Thailand

4

0

Malaysia

3

0

Slovakia

66

7

Philippines

79

4

South Africa

34

2

Mongolia

2

0

China

16

5

Japan

1

0

Macao

1

0

Australia

14

0

Nauru

1

0

Ukraine

23

3

Child Benefit Week Ended 13 Dec 09

Customer Stats

Afghanistan

34

Albania

181

Algeria

203

Angola

207

Argentina

61

Armenia

16

Australia

367

Austria

142

Azerbaijan

12

Bahamas

2

Bahrain

7

Bangladesh

561

Barbados

1

Belarus

247

Belgium

148

Belize

4

Benin

13

Bermuda

1

Bhutan

2

Bolivia

9

Bosnia

168

Botswana

21

Brazil

601

British Indian Ocean Territory

4

Brunei

1

Bulgaria

300

Burkina Faso Upper Volta

2

Burundi

13

Cambodia/Kampucia

8

Cameroon

247

Canada

295

Cape Verde

2

Central African Rep

4

Chad

2

Channel Islands

4

Chechnya

22

Chile

21

China

1,300

Colombia

31

Comors

5

Congo

514

Cook Islands

1

Costa Rica

1

Croatia

158

Cuba

36

Cyprus

17

Czech Republic

626

Democratic Republic of Congo

61

Denmark

100

Dominican Republic

7

Ecuador

16

Egypt

202

El Salvador

19

England

5,198

Eritrea

19

Estonia

482

Ethiopia

46

Fiji

4

Finland

160

France

1,164

French Guyana

1

Gabon

1

Gambia

13

Georgia

101

Germany

1,364

Ghana

331

Greece

39

Grenada

2

Guatemala

4

Guinea

31

Guinea-Bissau

2

Guyana

1

Haiti

1

Honduras

5

Hong Kong

41

Hungary

677

Iceland

6

India

3,741

Indonesia

43

Iran

89

Iraq

210

Ireland

395,678

Isle of Man

4

Israel

53

Italy

561

Ivory Coast

59

Jamaica

43

Japan

168

Jordan

48

Kazakhstan

71

Kenya

181

Kosovo

98

Kuwait

14

Kyrgyzstan

18

Lao Peoples Democratic Republic

1

Latvia

3,356

Lebanon

29

Lesotho

6

Liberia

20

Libya

165

Liechtenstein

1

Lithuania

6,290

Luxembourg

23

Macao

12

Macedonia

6

Madagascar

2

Malawi

18

Malaysia

292

Maldives

24

Mali

1

Malta

125

Mauritania

7

Mauritus

142

Mexico

62

Moldova

657

Mongolia

150

Montserrat

11

Morocco

128

Mozambique

8

Myanmar

1

Namibia

4

Nepal

57

Netherlands

448

Netherlands Antilles

2

New Zealand

161

Nicaragua

4

Niger

23

Nigeria

6,200

Northern Ireland

921

Norway

48

Oman

2

Other

108,598

Pakistan

1,226

Palestine

17

Panama

5

Paraguay

5

Peru

45

Philippines

3,197

Poland

22,674

Portugal

359

Qatar

1

Republic of Korea

48

Romania

2,458

Russia

969

Rwanda

35

Saudi Arabia

6

Scotland

557

Senegal

4

Serbia And Montenegro

36

Seychelles & Dep

2

Sierra Leone

101

Singapore

24

Slovakia

1,200

Slovenia

14

Somalia

223

South Africa

1,078

Spain

772

Sri Lanka

93

St. Helena & Dependencies

1

St. Lucia

2

St. Vincent

2

Sudan

285

Suirinam

2

Swaziland

7

Sweden

240

Switzerland

75

Syria

34

Taiwan

18

Tajikistan

5

Tanzania

24

Thailand

403

Togo

72

Tonga

1

Trinidad & Tobago

14

Tunisia

27

Turkey

107

Turkmenistan

1

Uganda

49

Ukraine

918

United Arab Emirates

3

United Kingdom

15,805

United States Minor Outlying I

1

Unknown

17

Uruguay

5

USA

1,687

Uzbekistan

47

Venezuela

34

Vietnam

135

Wales

106

Yemen

5

Yugoslavia

80

Zambia

90

Zimbabwe

354

Departmental Staff.

Pat Breen

Question:

256 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the qualifications required for the position of medical assessor to assess applications for domiciliary allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47253/09]

All of the Department's Medical Assessors must have at least six years satisfactory experience in the practice of medicine since registration and must be registered on the general register of medical practitioners while holding an appointment. They are all fully qualified and experienced practitioners who provide a second opinion to that of the person's own doctor for the guidance of the Department's Deciding Officers. They are also bound by the ethical conduct and behaviour guidelines of the Medical Council. In addition, Medical Assessors assessing applications for Domiciliary Care Allowance also hold various Post-Graduate higher qualifications in Paediatrics Medicine, Surgery, Occupational Medicine, Public Health Medicine and all have received special training in Human Disability Evaluation.

Social Welfare Offices.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

257 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a social welfare office (details supplied) has a lengthy processing time; the measures she will take to address the workload of this office; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47303/09]

The length of time it takes to process claims varies depending on the complexity of the claim, the availability of the necessary documentation from the applicant and or his/her employer. The average processing times for Jobseeker's Benefit have been reduced to 2 weeks in November 2009. In the case of Jobseeker's Allowance, the need to carry out additional enquires including the assessment of means and whether the claimant satisfies the Habitual Residence Condition adds to the time it takes to process such claims. It is acknowledged that processing times for Jobseeker's Allowance in this office are too long and steps have been taken to bring them back to acceptable levels. These include:

New claims for Jobseeker's Allowance (where means or Habitual Residence Condition are not a factor) are being immediately investigated and are fast tracked for decision.

An additional Social Welfare Investigator has been assigned since October 2009 to address the backlog of claims awaiting investigation and consequently improve claim processing times.

A temporary office in Edenderry has been secured by the Department to schedule interviews for Jobseeker's Allowance customers and the assessment of means.

Claims awaiting determination of the Habitual Residence condition have been identified and decided.

The Regional Local Support Office Unit (LOSU) is providing support for the processing of Jobseeker's Benefit and Allowance claims for the Edenderry Branch Office.

As of week ending 12th September 2009 there were 674 Jobseeker's Allowance and Benefit claims awaiting decision. This has been reduced to 351 claims on 11th December 2009 which represent a 48% decrease in the number of claims awaiting decision. While every effort is made to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible, anyone who is under financial pressure while awaiting a decision on their claim for a jobseeker's payment can apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

Social Welfare Fraud.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

258 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons prosecuted for social welfare fraud in each payment area in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47347/09]

The number of criminal cases finalised in court for the first 11 months of 2009 was 334. The breakdown of the cases by type is set down in the tabular statement.

Criminal cases finalised in Court to end November 2009

Unemployment

Illness

Others

Employer

Total

Outcome

JA

JB

IB/DA

OPFP

**

Withdrawn

1

1

0

0

0

1

3

Fined

120

95

6

3

0

3

*227

Probation Act

23

20

1

1

0

1

46

Adjourned — Liberty to re-enter

2

2

0

0

0

0

4

Prison Sentence

3

6

0

0

**1

0

**10

Suspended Sentence

12

7

3

1

0

0

23

Struck Out/Dismissed

6

3

0

0

2

1

12

Community Service

4

1

0

2

0

1

†8

Convicted no penalty imposed

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

Total

172

135

10

7

3

7

334

JA — Jobseekers Allowance; JB — Jobseekers Benefit; IB — Illness Benefit; DA — Disability Allowance; OPFP — One Parent Family payment.

*4 cases received a fine and a suspended sentence.

†4 cases received community service and a fine.

**1 case received a prison sentence and a fine.

Others = 3 Employee Obstruction of a social welfare inspector.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

259 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people prosecuted for social welfare fraud from 2000 to date and in 2009; the average time taken to process these cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47348/09]

The number of people prosecuted between 2000 and the end of November 2009 is set down in the tabular statement below. Under social welfare legislation, a prosecution for a summary offence may be brought within 2 years from the date that the offence was committed; or 18 months from when sufficient evidence to justify instituting legal proceedings came into the possession of the Department. All such cases are submitted by social welfare inspectors to the Department's Central Prosecution Service (CPS) for possible criminal proceedings. A brief in relation to each case is forwarded by CPS to the Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO) to initiate legal proceedings within the required timeframe through the District Courts. The cases with addresses outside Dublin and county are dealt with by the relevant local state solicitors based around the country.

The Courts are totally independent of the State and judges have the discretion to decide on the appropriate penalty to be applied in any case having regard to the evidence presented to them in relation to the case. It is the offence which is the subject of the prosecution, however, some judges choose to adjourn cases to monitor the recovery of the debt arising from the fraud. The average time to bring a case to conclusion through the courts varies. An analysis of the 334 cases finalised in court up to the end of November 2009 found that 14 (4.2%) cases were submitted to CPS for prosecution in 2009; 137 (41%) were submitted in 2008; 78 (23.4%) were submitted in 2007; 98 (29.3%) were submitted between 2003 and 2006. The balance of 7(2.1%) were submitted between 1997 and 2002.

DSFA Criminal Prosecutions

Year

Criminal cases finalised in court

2000

199

2001

199

2002

168

2003

209

2004

273

2005

269

2006

266

2007

239

2008

324

2009 end-(Nov)

334

Public Service Cards.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

260 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her plans to issue photo identification cards; when this will be rolled out; if it will be rolled out to all social welfare claimants at the same time; the cost of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47349/09]

The Department has developed, in conjunction with a number of other government departments, the specifications for a Public Service Card (PSC) under the SAFE (Standard Authentication Framework Environment) programme. The specification provides for identification features, including a photograph. The PSC is to act as a key for access to public services in general, identifying and helping to authenticate individuals. Department of Finance sanction to proceed with the PSC project was received on 23 October 2009. The remobilisation plan for the project began immediately.

It will be necessary to procure a new registration and card management functionality, to support issuing the new PSC. Separate sanction from the Department of Finance will be required before the request for tender can issue. The necessary development work and organisation change will mean the full implementation of the Project will not be achieved until the second half of next year. It is anticipated that the managed service provider will be in a position to provide at that time. The planned complete roll out is expected to take up to four years. The Department plans to issue the cards to selected groups of its customers on a phased basis. Following a public procurement exercise, a preferred bidder for the production and personalisation of the card was identified. Negotiations with the preferred bidder are nearing completion and it is expected that a contract will be signed shortly. Last week's Budget provided €7million to allow the roll out of cards to commence in 2010.

Decentralisation Programme.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

261 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding the proposed decentralisation of Government offices to Drogheda, County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47387/09]

Under the current decentralisation programme, the Department's Head Quarters, Social Welfare Appeals Office, Information and Communications Technology Division (ICT) and Citizens Information Board are designated to relocate to Drogheda. Following a recent review of the decentralisation programme, which took account of the changed economic circumstances and the deterioration in public finances, the Minister for Finance has decided to defer proceeding with permanent accommodation in Drogheda. This location will be considered as part of the overall review of the decentralisation programme in 2011.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

262 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons in Dublin 15 in receipt of jobseeker’s benefit, jobseeker’s allowance, one parent family payment, transition pension, non-contributory State pension, contributory State pension, carer’s allowance and disability benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47461/09]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the attached tabular statement:

Number of Recipients in Dublin 15

Scheme

Number of Recipients

Jobseeker’s Benefit

3,542

Jobseeker’s Allowance

3,761

One-Parent Family Payment

2,383

State Pension (Transition)

117

State Pension (Contributory)

1,708

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

478

Carer’s Allowance

469

Illness Benefit

1,426

Noel Ahern

Question:

263 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a profile of persons is established of those who have become unemployed and signed on for jobseeker’s benefit or allowance recently, for example, in the last 12 to 18 months; if details of the new unemployed by age, education, skills, experience and so on is available; the way in which FÁS or other agencies tasked with the role of education, upskilling or retraining can do so if a profile of persons is not available; and if she has refocused or is she running the same courses as we did for the long-term unemployed. [47465/09]

Under the National Employment Action Plan (NEAP) all persons between the ages of 18 and 65 years who are approaching 3 months on the Live Register are identified by the Department of Social and Family Affairs and referred to FÁS for interview. The purpose is to facilitate access to the range of employment and training services offered by FÁS. FÁS captures detailed data on the profile of all clients who register with FÁS. This includes details of their education levels, qualifications, work experience and employment sought. This information has helped inform FÁS provision, including the recent development of an expanded range of training programmes using a variety of modes of delivery (e.g. short duration courses, long duration courses, e-learning and blended learning courses, evening/part-time courses).

FÁS has expanded the options available to the jobseeker to upskill and gain accreditation for re-entry into the labour market. FÁS through the Technical Employment Support Grant, which has been significantly expanded, funds training which is not currently directly available from FÁS. This measure has substantially addressed demand from clients to meet their training needs. The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) report "National Profiling of the Unemployed in Ireland" recently issued . The objective of the report is to identify metrics other than duration of unemployment to target additional supports for people at risk of becoming long-term unemployed.

This comprehensive study, which also looks at international practice in the area of early intervention and profiling models, will prove very significant in targeting scarce resources at those who are furthest from the labour market. In order to ensure the progression of the profiling initiative legislative provision for capturing profile data and for its use in selecting claimants for intervention was made in the Social Welfare Pensions Act earlier this year. The Department is examining the process changes required for the implementation of profiling of the unemployed.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

264 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the name, title and number of special advisers in her Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47499/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

265 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47514/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

266 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47529/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

267 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47544/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 264 to 267, inclusive, together.

Since my appointment as Minister for Social and Family Affairs on 7th May 2008, I have appointed, on a contract basis for my term of office, one Special Advisor, Ms. Averil Power, whose current annual salary is €100,191. This salary will be reduced as a result of the reduction in public service pay rates as announced in last week's Budget. The Special Adviser is on call on a seven day per week basis and is not entitled to overtime. She is a member of the superannuation scheme for non-established civil servants and is paying the pension levy.

The Deputy may be interested to know that there were more than twice as many Ministerial staff in this Department in 1996. At that time, there were 17 staff in the Minister De Rossa's office, 3 of whom were non-civil servants. Minister De Rossa also had a policy unit with 6 staff, 5 of whom were non-civil servants. No such unit has been put in place by any Minister since 1997. The Department also had a Minister of State in 1996, Bernard Durkan TD, who had 13 staff. The total staffing, therefore, was 36 in 1996, compared with 13 now. The total number of non-civil servants was 12 at that time, compared with 3 at present.

The roles and functions carried out by the Special Advisor are as set out in Section 11 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 i.e. to assist the Minister by providing advice, by monitoring, facilitating and securing the achievement of Government objectives that relate to my Department and by performing such other functions as may be directed by the Minister. I am satisfied that the Special Advisor contributes to the effectiveness of the system in a manner and to an extent that fully justifies the associated costs.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

268 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of reports, documents and memos in her Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if she will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47560/09]

The Department is committed to providing a quality customer service in Irish and meeting obligations under the Official Languages Act. The number of documents translated to Irish and the associated costs in the years 2007, 2008, and to date in 2009 is given in the attached table:

Year

Documents Translated into Irish

Cost

Number of Documents

2007

DSFA Annual Report 2006

8,000

1

Social Welfare Appeals Office Annual Report 2006

3,200

1

EU Guide — “Your Social Security Rights in Ireland”

2,500

1

Guide to Social Welfare Services

7,100

1

Scheme for Official Languages Act

1,300

1

Social Inclusion Report

4,200

1

Document on Social Inclusion

4,700

1

Miscellaneous documents e.g. Social Welfare forms, booklets, signage and web content

50,000

175

Total

81,000

182

2008

DSFA Annual Report 2007

6,700

1

Social Welfare Appeals Office Annual Report 2007

2,200

1

EU Guide — “Your Social Security Rights in Ireland”

4,300

1

Guide to Social Welfare Services

10,800

1

Pensions — Green Paper

20,000

1

Statutory Instrument

1,500

1

DSFA Strategy Statement

2,100

1

Annual Output Statement

600

1

Update of Programme for Government

1,300

1

2008

Miscellaneous documents e.g. Social Welfare forms, booklets, signage and web content

43,500

199

Total

93,000

208

2009

DSFA Annual Report 2008

5,700

1

Social Welfare Appeals Office Annual Report 2008

1,400

1

HRC Guidelines

1,800

1

DSFA Data Protection Report

3,300

1

Customer Action Plan 2009-2011

800

1

Miscellaneous documents e.g. Social Welfare forms, booklets, signage and web content

30,000

349

Total

43,000

354

Social Welfare Appeals.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

269 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a domiciliary care allowance appeal will be heard in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47725/09]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, following receipt of the relevant Departmental papers including comments on the grounds of appeal, the appeal from the person concerned 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.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

270 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48230/09]

The amounts spent on commercial flights by my predecessors and me while on Government business for 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009 are set out in the following table:

From — To

Minister

Home Travel

Foreign Travel

1/1/09 — date

Mary Hanafin

0

10,773

2009 Total:

10,773

7/5/08 — 31/12/08

Mary Hanafin

0

922

1/1/08 — 7/5/08

Martin Cullen

0

7,750

2008 Total:

8,672

14/6/07 — 31/12/07

Martin Cullen

0

0

1/1/07 — 14/6/07

Seamus Brennan

0

0

2007 Total:

0

1/1/06 — 31/12/06

Seamus Brennan

0

5,283

2006 Total:

5,283

The totals shown include the cost of flights paid directly to the relevant travel company, these expenses relate to a number of events such as St. Patricks Day, EU Presidency engagements, EU Council of Ministers meetings and other similar engagements.

Curragh Camp.

Jack Wall

Question:

271 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Defence the number of primary and secondary schools using the swimming pool at the Curragh Camp, County Kildare; if all applications have been provided for; the number of schools on a waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47277/09]

To date, a total of twenty one (21) schools have been granted permission to use the Curragh Swimming Pool. All applications by schools have been provided for and there is no waiting list.

Departmental Properties.

Jack Wall

Question:

272 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the protection of the Curragh Plains, County Kildare; if his Department, in seeking to make a report on the matter, will accept submissions from interested bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47278/09]

As indicated in my reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 349 and 352 of 10 November, 2009, the way forward will involve a review by my Department of the varying usage of the lands by a range of different interests in the Curragh. In that regard the Department will consider any submissions received from interested parties.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

273 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Defence the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47491/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

274 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Defence the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47506/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

275 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Defence the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47521/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

276 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Defence if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47536/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 to 276, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the name, title, number and annual salary of special advisers in my Department is set out below.

Name

Title

No.

Salary Scale as at 01/12/2009

Derek Mooney

Special Adviser (Non-established)

1

Principal Officer standard scale €86,168 – €89,819 – €93,449 – €97,109 – €100,191 – €103,389 – €106,582

Suzanne Coogan

Press Adviser (Non-established)

1

Principal Officer standard scale €86,168 – €89,819 – €93,449 – €97,109 – €100,191 – €103,389 – €106,582

This salary will be reduced as a result of the reduction in public service pay rates announced in last week's Budget. The Special Advisers are on call on a seven day per week basis and are not entitled to overtime. The special advisers are members of the Unestablished Civil Service Pension Scheme and pay the pension levy. My Department does not make any contribution to this Scheme.

The appointment of Special Advisers and/or Programme Managers has been a feature of all Governments since 1994 and the rate of pay has always been closely aligned to the pay of the Principal Officer grade in the civil service. The Special Advisers at my Department are appointed in accordance with the terms of the Public Service Management Act 1997 and the Guidelines issued by the Department of the Taoiseach.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

277 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Defence the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47552/09]

Since the commencement of the 30th Dáil, my Department has spent a total of €8,193.73 on translation of reports, documents and memos into Irish. These costs were incurred in order to implement the provisions of the Official Languages Act 2003. The costs are broken down in the following table:

Translation Costs

Publication

Translation Cost (incl. VAT)

Totals per year

2007 (14 June to 31 December)

Appropriation Accounts 2007

309.49

Preparing for Major Emergencies Handbook

463.81

773.30

2008

Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2007

2,701.92

Appropriation Accounts 2008

326.70

Department of Defence and Defence Forces Strategy Statement 2008-2010

1,293.51

Preparing for Major Emergencies Handbook

121.00

Defence 2008 Progress Report on Implementation of the Programme for Government

403.91

4,847.04

2009

Department of Defence and Defence Forces Annual Report 2008

2,357.34

Appropriation Accounts 2009

102.18

2 Press Releases

113.87

2,573.39

*Total Translation Costs

8,193.73

*This does not encompass costs incurred by the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces or the Civil Defence Board.

Departmental Properties.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

278 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding the transfer of land (details supplied) in his Department’s possession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47699/09]

Earlier this year my Department contacted all the interested parties who use the property concerned with a view to selling the area used to each of them. All of these groups responded and indicated their wish to purchase. However, a difficulty has arisen with one group in relation to the area involved. As a result of this dispute a number of the sales have been deferred. My Department is endeavouring to find a resolution to the dispute, without recourse to the Courts, in a way that addresses the long-term objectives of the various parties. Once this is achieved my Department will be in a position to continue with the disposal of the property.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

279 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the number of times each Minister used the Government jet to date in 2009; the costs of using the Government jet to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47704/09]

The Ministerial Air Transport Service is provided by the Air Corps to facilitate members of the Government in fulfilling their official engagements at home and abroad. The Service is primarily provided by the Gulfstream IV and Learjet 45 aircraft, which were specifically acquired for that purpose. Until recently, the Beechcraft Super King Air 200 turbo-prop aircraft was also used as a back up aircraft for short and medium haul Ministerial Air Transport missions, in addition to its primary pilot training role. The CASA Maritime Patrol Aircraft are occasionally tasked with MATS flights in exceptional circumstances and where the dedicated MATS aircraft are not available. The information requested regarding the number of times each Minister used the Ministerial Air Transport Service to date in 2009 is presented in the tabular statement.

My Department follows the normal practice in the aviation business of costing aircraft by reference to the cost per flying hour under either of two headings:

(a) The direct cost, i.e. the costs which are additional to those associated with having the aircraft and which only arise when the aircraft is flown including maintenance, fuel and support services; and

(b) The total cost, i.e. the direct cost plus the costs associated with having the aircraft, i.e. depreciation and personnel costs

The current rates per hour used to establish these costs in relation to Air Corps aircraft used in provision of Ministerial Air Transport Service are as follows:

Aircraft

Average Direct Cost Per Hour

Average Total Cost Per Hour

Gulfstream

4,050

7,890

Learjet

1,270

2,950

Beechcraft

1,320

1,770

CASA

1,335

2,821

Appendix 1: Gulfstream IV 2009

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

14/01/2009

16/01/2009

350

Baldonnel – Helsinki – Baldonnel

Health

19/01/2009

19/01/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

22/01/2009

22/01/2009

40

Baldonnel – Derry – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

23/01/2009

23/01/2009

120

Baldonnel – Derry – Baldonnel – Cork – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/ Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)/ Foreign Affairs/ Education/ Transport/ Finance/ Health/ Social & Family Affairs/Agriculture/Arts,Sports & Tourism

29/01/2009

30/01/2009

240

Baldonnel – Zurich – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

01/02/2009

06/02/2009

1,030

Baldonnel – Cork – Damascus – Beirut – Abu Dhabi – Dubai – Brussels – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

09/02/2009

10/02/2009

180

Dublin – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

15/02/2009

20/02/2009

1,355

Baldonnel – Cork – Washington – Mexico City – Havana(Cuba) – St Johns Newfoundland (Canada) – Cork – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

24/02/2009

26/02/2009

950

Baldonnel – Shannon – N’Djamena – Abeche – N’Djamena – Shannon – Baldonnel

Defence

01/03/2009

01/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

14/03/2009

18/03/2009

900

Baldonnel – Teterboro – White Plains – Teterboro – Washington – Shannon

An Taoiseach/Foreign Affairs

19/03/2009

20/03/2009

220

Shannon – Brussels – Baldonnel – Cork – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/Foreign Affairs

22/03/2009

23/03/2009

270

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

Education & Science

21/03/2009

21/03/2009

100

Baldonnel – Cardiff – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

05/04/2009

05/04/2009

270

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/Foreign Affairs

26/04/2009

01/05/2009

1,130

Baldonnel – Knock – Riyadh(Saudi Arabia) – Jeddah(Saudi Arabia) – Doha(Qatar) – Knock – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

07/05/2009

07/05/2009

270

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

11/05/2009

12/05/2009

180

Baldonnel – Cork – Brussels – Baldonnel

Education & Science

Appendix 1: Gulfstream IV 2009 — continued

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

14/05/2009

16/05/2009

215

Baldonnel – Paris (Le Bourget) – Northolt – Baldonnel

Finance

18/05/2009

18/05/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

18/05/2009

20/05/2009

350

Baldonnel – Frankfurt – Milan – Amsterdam – Baldonnel

Finance

27/05/2009

29/05/2009

190

Baldonnel – Brussels – Knock – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

08/06/2009

08/06/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Finance/Health & Children

09/06/2009

09/06/2009

100

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Health & Children

13/09/2009

15/09/2009

250

Baldonnel – Vaxjo(Sweden) – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

21/09/2009

23/09/2009

810

Baldonnel – Teterboro – White Plains – Teterboro – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

17/09/2009

17/09/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

21/09/2009

21/09/2009

90

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

30/09/2009

01/10/2009

240

Baldonnel – Landvetter(Sweden) – Baldonnel

Finance

29/10/2009

30/10/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/Foreign Affairs

19/11/2009

19/11/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

30/11/2009

02/12/2009

490

Baldonnel – Athens(Greece) – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

30/11/2009

30/11/2009

120

Baldonnel – Northolt – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/ Foreign Affairs

10/12/2009

11/12/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/MOS Taoiseach

07/12/2009

07/12/2009

180

Baldonnel – Shannon – Brussels – Shannon – Baldonnel

MOS Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

14/12/2009

14/12/2009

80

Baldonnel – Derry – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/ Transport & Marine/Social & Family Affairs/ Finance/ Foreign Affairs/ Education & Science / Tánaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)/ Agriculture, Fisheries & Food.

Appendix 1: Learjet 45 2009

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

14/01/2009

16/01/2009

280

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

Justice Equality & Law Reform

22/01/2009

22/01/2009

80

Baldonnel – Shannon – Baldonnel

Health

18/01/2009

18/01/2009

90

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

20/01/2009

20/01/2009

90

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

25/01/2009

26/01/2009

180

Baldonnel – Cork – Brussels – Baldoonel

Foreign Affairs

21/01/2009

21/01/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

29/01/2009

30/01/2009

130

Baldonnel – Northolt – Knock – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

19/02/2009

19/02/2009

45

Baldonnel – Cardiff – Baldonnel

Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

20/02/2009

20/02/2009

90

Baldonnel – Cardiff – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

23/02/2009

23/02/2009

180

Baldonnel – Cork – Brussels – Cork – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

26/02/2009

26/02/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Justice Equality & Law Reform

27/02/2009

27/02/2009

80

Baldonnel – Shannon – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

01/03/2009

02/03/2009

770

Baldonnel – Cork – Bari – Sharm El Sheikh – Rome – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

04/03/2009

06/03/2009

195

Baldonnel – Brussels – Knock – Baldonnel

An Tanaiste (Enterprise Trade & Employment)

09/03/2009

09/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

11/03/2009

11/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

03/03/2009

03/03/2009

80

Baldonnel – Belfast (Aldergrove) – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

10/03/2009

10/03/2009

80

Baldonnel – Belfast (Aldergrove) – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs/Justice, Equality & Law Reform

23/03/2009

23/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

19/03/2009

19/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance/MOS Taoiseach

27/03/2009

28/03/2009

270

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

30/03/2009

30/03/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Transport

26/03/2009

26/03/2009

80

Baldonnel – Belfast (Aldergrove) – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

02/04/2009

03/04/2009

135

Baldonnel – Prague – Baldonnel

Finance

09/04/2009

09/04/2009

75

Baldonnel – Cork – Knock – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

05/04/2009

05/04/2009

40

Baldonnel – Cork – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

Appendix 1: Learjet 45 2009— continued

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

22/04/2209

22/04/2009

120

Baldonnel – Northolt – Heathrow – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

23/04/2009

24/04/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

27/04/2009

27/04/2009

200

Baldonnel – Cork – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

30/04/2009

30/04/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Health

04/05/2009

04/05/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

12/05/2009

12/05/2009

270

Baldonnel – Madrid – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

05/05/2009

06/05/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

13/05/2009

13/05/2009

295

Baldonnel – Prague – Shannon – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

15/05/2009

15/05/2009

35

Baldonnel – Cork – Knock – Baldonnel

An Tanaiste

25/05/2009

25/05/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

12/06/2009

12/06/2009

275

Baldonnel – Bydgoszcz(Poland) – Cork – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

11/06/2009

11/06/2009

130

Baldonnel – Heathrow – Belfast(Aldergrove) – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

08/06/2009

08/06/2009

120

Baldonnel – Cork – Northolt – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

14/06/2009

15/06/2009

200

Baldonnel – Cork – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

24/06/2009

26/06/2009

190

Baldonnel – Knock – Paris(Le Bourget) – Derry – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise,Trade & Employment)

18/06/2009

19/06/2009

220

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel – Cork – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/Foreign Affairs

21/06/2009

22/06/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food / MOS Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

26/06/2009

28/06/2009

465

Baldonnel – Corfu – Thessaloniki – Corfu – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

05/07/2009

05/07/2009

125

Baldonnel – Jonkoping(Sweden) – Baldonnel

Health & Children

06/07/2009

06/07/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

07/07/2009

07/07/2009

265

Baldonnel – Jonkoping(Sweden) – Baldonnel

Social & Family Affairs/Health & Children/MOS Enterprise Trade & Employment

08/07/2009

09/07/2009

190

Baldonnel – Paris (Le Bourget) – Baldonnel

Education & Science

10/07/2009

10/07/2009

80

Baldonnel – Farranfore – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

15/07/2009

17/07/2009

310

Baldonnel – Stockholm – Cork – Baldonnel

Justice Equality & Law Reform

23/07/2009

24/07/2009

265

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Basel Mulhouse – Baldonnel

Transport

Appendix 1: Learjet 45 2009— continued

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

27/07/2009

27/07/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

27/08/2009

27/08/2009

60

Baldonnel – London (Heathrow) – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

04/09/2009

07/09/2009

1105

Baldonnel – Stockholm – Sofia – Cairo – Khartoum – Cairo – Rome – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

01/09/2009

02/09/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

14/09/2009

14/09/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

05/10/2009

05/10/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

07/10/2009

07/10/2009

120

Baldonnel – Northolt – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

19/10/2009

19/10/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Finance/Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

26/10/2009

27/10/2009

200

Baldonnel – Luxembourg – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs/MOS Foreign Affairs

02/11/2009

02/11/2009

80

Baldonnel – Derry – Cork – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

09/11/2009

09/11/2009

250

Baldonnel – Berlin – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach

05/11/2009

06/11/2009

120

Baldonnel – Northolt – Heathrow – Cork – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

12/11/2009

13/11/2009

130

Baldonnel – Jersey – Baldonnel

An Taoiseach/ Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

16/11/2009

17/11/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

MOS Foreign Affairs

25/11/2009

25/11/2009

80

Baldonnel – Belfast City – Baldonnel

Health & Children

30/11/2009

30/11/2009

90

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

30/11/2009

30/11/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Health & Children/Justice, Equality & Law Reform

01/12/2009

01/12/2009

180

Dublin – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance / Health & Children

02/12/2009

02/12/2009

90

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Finance

07/12/2009

07/12/2009

220

Baldonnel – Cork – Brussels – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs / MOS Foreign Affairs

15/12/2009

16/12/2009

180

Baldonnel – Brussels – Baldonnel

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

14/12/2009

14/12/2009

80

Baldonnel – Cork – Baldonnel

Health & Children

Appendix 1: Beechcraft 2009

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

29/01/2009

29/01/2009

45

Baldonnel – Belfast City – Baldonnel

Foreign Affairs

Appendix 1: CASA 2009

Date

Return Date

Min. Time On Board

Route

Minister

12/11/2009

12/11/2009

40

Baldonnel – Shannon – Baldonnel

Tanaiste (Enterprise, Trade & Employment)

National Archives.

Enda Kenny

Question:

280 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Defence if he will confirm that the British security archives, commonly referred to as the Kilmainham papers, are under the control of his Department; if these papers are available to the public and to historians for research purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47727/09]

Enda Kenny

Question:

281 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Defence if he will confirm that selected material from the British security archives, referred to as the Kilmainham papers, was transferred to the National Library and the National Archives and that this material is available to the public; if he will further confirm that the remainder of these papers is lodged with the Irish Army intelligence corps under the aegis and responsibility of his Department but have not been available to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47728/09]

Enda Kenny

Question:

282 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Defence if his attention has been drawn to the location of all papers relevant to the British security archives, commonly referred to as the Kilmainham papers; if he will confirm that all material removed from the office of Sir Hauser Greenwood on 13 January 1922 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham is now available for public perusal or historian research purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47729/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 280 to 282, inclusive, together.

The Defence Forces do not hold the documents referred to. I have made enquiries into the matter and I have been informed that the papers are held in the National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 and are available for viewing.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

283 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Defence the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48223/09]

I did not use a commercial flight while engaged in Government business during the period in question.

Housing Associations.

Bernard Allen

Question:

284 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when a decision will be made by a housing association (details supplied). [47247/09]

My Department has no function with regard to decision making by individual approved housing bodies.

Dog Licences.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

285 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of dogs licensed in 2008; the income from these licences; the cost of the scheme; the number of dogs here; his views on the need to have a more efficient dog licence collection system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47262/09]

In 2008 a total of 215,190 licences were issued providing an income of €2.8m to local authorities in that year. This compares to a cost of administering the service of €5.7m. The dog control services operated by local authorities include, dog wardens, dog pounds/shelters, inspections, dealing with stray dogs including collection, return, rehoming or disposal together with enforcement and related activities. As can be seen from the figures, there was a shortfall of some €2.9m nationally in operating the dog control services. My Department will shortly be introducing the Dog Breeding Establishments Bill, 2009, and intends to raise the cost of dog licence fees to €20 for an individual dog licence. This will be the first time the licence fee has increased since 1998. The revenue raised will help offset the cost to local authorities of dog control services and further incentivise the collection of fees.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

286 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47494/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

287 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47509/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

288 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47524/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

289 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47539/09]

I propose to take Question Nos. 286 to 289, inclusive, together.

The information requested is set out in the following table:-

Name

Grade

Current Salary 2009

Ryan Meade

Special Adviser

93,449

David Healy

Special Adviser

93,449

Liam Reid

Special Adviser: Press and Information Officer

100,191

Donall Geoghegan*

Special Adviser*

177,547

*Mr. Geoghegan's salary is paid from my Department's vote but he is based in the Department of the Taoiseach. The annual salaries quoted above will be reduced in line with the public service pay cuts announced in the recent Budget.

As outlined in their contracts the above staff had the option of joining the Non-contributory Pension Scheme for Non-established State Employees or having their membership of an approved private pension fund paid for by the Department subject to certain conditions. Two are members of the Non-contributory Scheme and two have private pensions. The cost to the Department to date in 2009 of pension contributions to 4 Special Advisers is €26,314.

The primary function of special advisers is to monitor, facilitate and help secure the achievement of Government objectives. They are also tasked with keeping me informed and advising me on a wide range of business, financial, political and media matters. My advisers liaise with a number of other Government Departments and act as a point of contact in my office for other Ministers and their advisers. They also liaise, on my behalf, with organisations and interest groups outside of Government.

The employment of staff by my Department, including Special Advisers, is subject to my Department's compliance with an authorised staffing number set by the Department of Finance and upon which my Department reports on a monthly basis. The employment of staff is also subject to the agreed Administrative Budget provisions for staff salaries. The number and pay of Special Advisers has been determined by the Government and individual appointments have been approved by Government.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

290 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47555/09]

In accordance with the Official Languages Act 2003 and the principles of Quality Customer Service, my Department is committed to providing quality services in Irish and/or bilingually to its customers. The Department's commitments in this regard are set out in its Irish Language Scheme 2009-2012 which builds on the progress made over the period of the Department's first Irish Language Scheme 2005-2008.

The Department produces a broad range of documents across each of its policy areas. These documents include reports, strategy statements, policy documents, advertisements, leaflets, posters, letters, and application forms. Since the commencement of the 30th Dáil it is estimated that in excess of 150 such documents have been translated into Irish. Some of these smaller documents (e.g. letters, application forms) have been translated internally by members of staff who have volunteered to undertake such work on anad hoc basis. The cost of translating, and indeed the number, of such documents is not always available. The table appended here sets out the cost of translating into Irish reports, policy documents and strategy statements produced since June 2007. These were translated using the services of an external translator.

Date of publication

Document title

Cost of translation (incl. VAT)

Jun-07

Report on the Scheme of Performance related awards for local authority managers, assistant managers and directors of services

67.76

Dec-08

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Statement of Strategy 2008-2012

1,673.28

Jan-08

Environment Fund Annual Accounts 2006

242.00

Apr-08

Annual Report Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government 2007

4,519.53

Jun-08

Stronger Local Democracy-Options for Change — Green Paper on Local Government Reform

9,391.00

Jun-08

Branching Out: Future Direction of Public Libraries

4,029.30

Aug-08

Report on the Scheme of Performance related awards for local authority managers, assistant managers and directors of services for 2007

67.76

Sep-08

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Appropriation Account 2007

765.88

Nov-08

National Policy on Town Wall Defences

373.25

Nov-08

The Way Home: A Strategy to address Adult Homelessness in Ireland 2009-2012

4,229.40

Nov-08

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee Report & Accounts 2005

338.80

Nov-08

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee Report 2006

368.95

Nov-08

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee Report 2007

433.66

Nov-08

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee Report 2008

461.70

Nov-08

Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities (reprint of earlier publication in 2007 — involved small amendment to earlier Irish version)

84.70

Apr-09

Environment Fund Annual Accounts 2007

303.75

Apr-09

White Paper on Local Government Reform

1,136.00

May-09

Annual Report of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government 2008

4,099.07

May-09

Local Government Fund Annual Accounts 2007

182.05

Jun-09

Archaeological Planning — Codes of Practice (ESB, Irish Concrete Federation and Eirgrid)

1,260.37

Jun-09

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Irish Language Scheme 2009-2012

1,074.49

Jul-09

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Customer Service Action Plan 2009-2011

1,334.50

Jul-09

Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015

3,510.67

Jul-09

Payment Policy for Suppliers and Potential Suppliers

111.46

Aug-09

Report in Relation to Section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act

120.95

Sep-09

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government Appropriation Account 2008

775.11

Sep-09

2008 Annual Report Rent Tribunal

1,136.00

Total cost

42,091.39

Local Authority Funding.

David Stanton

Question:

291 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the net amount which will accrue to local authorities as a result of the introduction of the €200 charge on non-principal residences in 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47691/09]

As of 14 December 2009, €53,586,540 has been collected as a result of the charge on non-principal private residences, all of which, less transaction and administrative costs, accrues to local authorities. It is expected that a similar figure will be raised in 2010.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

292 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48226/09]

The following table sets out the total cost of commercial flights incurred by me and by my predecessor since January 2006:

Year

Total cost of commercial flights

2006 (Minister Roche)

16,816.64

2007 (Minister Roche)

4,381.87

2007

13,257.89

2008

9,785.79

2009

3,117.44

It should be noted that, in some instances, the costs incurred were refunded to the Department by the European Council or by the Commission.

Energy Efficiency.

Finian McGrath

Question:

293 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47274/09]

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. For households on low incomes, such as those in receipt of fuel allowance, invalidity or disability benefit, the Warmer Homes Scheme managed by SEI will install cavity wall insulation, attic insulation, a boiler lagging jacket, draught proofing measures and Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). Advice is also provided to householders on minimising energy use. These measures are provided free or at a token cost.

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, with a further significant expansion of the scheme planned for 2010. Further information on the Warmer Homes Scheme is available by calling 1800-250204, by emailing warmerhomes@sei.ie or at:

www.sei.ie/Grants/Warmer_Homes_Scheme. 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.

The Government also recognises that the effective communication of energy saving information and advice to the elderly and other vulnerable customers is crucial. The updated Keep Well and Warm booklet, and the associated website — http://www.wellandwarm.ie — provide energy saving advice as well as information on grant schemes and other supports. Some 132,000 copies of the booklet have been circulated this year.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

294 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway was refused a grant under the home energy saving scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47267/09]

The Home Energy Saving (HES) Scheme, which is being implemented by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), provides grant assistance to homeowners wishing to install roof and wall insulation, highly efficient boilers and heating controls in their homes. In order to avail of the scheme, homeowners must use a contractor registered with SEI for the Scheme. All works carried out under the Scheme are underpinned by a comprehensive SEI Technical Specification and Code of Practice for these contractors, which ensure that works undertaken are of the highest quality, materials installed are fit for purpose and overall the investment by the homeowner and the Exchequer constitutes good value for money.

The applicant in this case sought a grant for internal wall insulation which was not awarded. The rules of the Scheme require that internal wall insulation installed must achieve a U-value of 0.27 W/m2K for external walls. I am informed by SEI that in this case the U-value achieved was significantly below this standard and therefore could not be considered for grant aid under the Scheme.

The rules of the Scheme require that the contractor must sign a declaration of works on completion. In this, the contractor declares that all works have been done in a manner that is fully compliant with the Terms and Conditions of Contractor Registration and the Home Energy Saving Scheme Code of Practice and Standards and Specifications Guidelines. The applicant may have recourse to the contractor on the basis of declarations made by him. This could entail having the works brought up to the standard required, at which point SEI could reconsider the grant payment request. As part of its quality framework and disciplinary process, SEI investigates matters of possible non-compliance with the contractor's code of conduct.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

295 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47489/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

296 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47504/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

297 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47519/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

298 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47534/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 to 298, inclusive, together.

Information requested by the Deputy regarding special advisers employed in my Department from 1 January 2009 is as follows:

Name

Title

Salary

Ms Bríd McGrath

Press Adviser

93,449

Mr Stephen O’Connor*

Special Adviser to Minister

107,485

Ms Suzanne Duke

Special Adviser to Minister of State

93,449

*Mr O'Connor took up duty on 29 June 2009 following the resignation of the previous incumbent of the post, Mr Morgan Brazilian.

The annual salaries quoted above will be reduced in line with the public service pay cuts announced in the recent Budget. My Department does not incur any pension costs associated with the retention of the above named advisers. Both Ms McGrath and Ms Duke are members of the Non-contributory Pension Scheme for Non-established State Employees. Mr O'Connor, who is on secondment, retains the pension arrangements of his substantive position.

Special advisers appointed to my Department by the Government in accordance with the Public Service Management Act, 1997, provide the assistance necessary in securing the achievement of Government policy objectives that relate to my Department. I am satisfied that they represent effective and efficient use of taxpayers' money.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

299 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47550/09]

There were twenty five such translations carried out in my Department since the commencement of the 30th Dáil, at a cost of €20,957.60. The details are shown in the table below.

Name of Document

Cost of Translation into Irish

National Broadband Scheme Public Notice “Assessment of the Effect of the National Broadband Scheme on the Environment”

€497.54 (Not possible to split costing between printing and translation)

Next Generation Broadband — Gateway to a Knowledge Ireland.

1,530.95

S.I. 284 of 2008 Electricity Regulation Act 1999 (Public Service Obligations) (Amendment) Order 2008

Nil

S.I. No. 135/2008 European Communities (Postal Services) (Amendment) Regulation 2008

Translated in-house

1st Annual Report on the Implementation of the Programme for Government 2007-2012

1,453.94

GSI 2007 Annual Report

2,468.40

GSI 2008 Annual Report

2,044.30

Application Form for the BenefIT 2 Grant Scheme

Nil

Customer Service Charter 2009-2011 (Internal)

215.78

Customer Service Charter 2009-2011 (External)

179.33

Annual Report 2007

5,459.07

Annual Report 2008

2,750.76

Statement of Strategy 2008-2010

3,043.39

Customer Service Action Plan 2009-2011

1,314.14

I.R. Uimh. 319 de 2009 An tOrdú um Cheadúnas Teilifíse (Díolúine d’aicmí de Ghléasanna Teilifíse) 2009

Translated in-house

I.R.Uimh. 389 de 2009 An tordú um Údarás Craolacháin na hÉireann (Lá a Bhunaithe) 2009

Translated in-house

Broadcasting Act 2009

Translated by Houses of Oireachtas Staff

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to Valhalla Oil and Gas Limited

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to ElectroMagnetic GeoServices ASA

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Ireland (Offshore) Limited

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to Wavefield Inseis ASA

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to OHM Limited

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to Lansdowne Celtic Sea Limited

Translated in-house

Notice of Intention to Grant a Petroleum Prospecting Licence to TGS-Nopec Geophysical Company ASA

Translated in-house

The Handbook on Oil Supply Disruption Contingency Measures- General Overview and Legislation

Translated in-house

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

300 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48221/09]

The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available and is currently being compiled. I will arrange for it to be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is completed.

Alternative Energy Projects.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

301 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his views in the context of the preparation of an offshore renewable energy development plan and the commissioning of a strategic environment assessment of that plan, on the way in which offshore wind projects with valid applications for foreshore leases pending determination will be affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47427/09]

In considering applications under the Foreshore Acts my Department consults with a range of statutory consultees and also takes due regard of broad Government policy on related matters. In the case of offshore renewable energy projects appropriate consideration is given to Government policy on energy provision in determining applications.

Milk Quota.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

302 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the length of time the milk quota of a deceased dairy farmer remains with the family after death prior to reverting back to the Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47228/09]

Where there are no deliveries made against a milk quota during two consecutive milk quota years (1 April to 31 March) the milk quota reverts to the national reserve with effect from the 1 April in the third year. This milk quota can be returned to the successor if they become a producer within two years of the date of reversion. However, due to the length of time that it can take to grant probate, the milk quota will not be taken into the national reserve while the affairs of the estate are still being settled.

Grant Payments.

Bobby Aylward

Question:

303 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment of REPS 4 will issue to a person (details supplied). [47248/09]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–2013 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 that of the person named, is at an advanced stage. I hope to be in a position to release the 75% payment due on valid applications later this week and the remaining 25% once the last of the on-the-spot inspections for 2009 has taken place.

304.Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason the area based payment for 2009 has not been awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

An application under the 2009 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 13 May 2009. Payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme commenced on 22 September, with payments issuing in respect of those cases cleared for payment at that stage. This application was selected for and was the subject of a ground eligibility and full Cross Compliance inspection. The inspection is completed and the application has now been fully processed. Payments under the Single Payment Scheme have issued with payments under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme due to issue shortly.

Flood Relief.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

305 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if an application for aid arising from damage to silage bales due to flooding has been received from a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if the application has been successful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47264/09]

An application under the Scheme of Aid for Damaged Fodder was received from the person named on 11th December 2009. Under the Scheme, farmers are required to demonstrate that the fodder was damaged and the extent of that damage and to this end all applications under the scheme will be subject to an inspection. This application was issued for inspection by the Department's local staff on the 14th December 2009. Immediately the inspection has been completed the application will be processed, on the basis of the losses verified by the inspection, with a view to payment issuing without delay to the person named.

Departmental Expenditure.

Richard Bruton

Question:

306 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his expenditure on public relations, advertising, consultancies, conferences and away days in the period before and after the decision to halve expenditure on these activities; if he is satisfied that every effort is made to minimise expenditure that does not have a direct impact on the Department’s key performance indicators. [47425/09]

The Government announcement of 8 July 2008 required that all expenditure by Departments on consultancies, advertising and public relations would be significantly reduced for the remainder of that year and by at least 50% in 2009 compared with 2008. There was no expenditure on public relations in either 2008 or 2009. The expenditure on consultancies and advertising is set out in the table below. As a result of contracts in place which overlapped into 2009 it was not possible to reduce the expenditure on consultancies to 50% of the 2008 level. However, I am satisfied that every effort has been made to minimize expenditure on consultancies and advertising in the period in question.

2008

2009 (To–date)

€M

€M

Consultancies

2.413

1.767

Advertising

1.196

0.429

Seafood Sector.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

307 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the status of the recently opened innovation and seafood development centre in Clonakilty, County Cork; the number of seafood businesses that it has attracted so far; the different type of fish species in use by the centre; the way in which plans to attract other businesses to the centre are progressing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47439/09]

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Irish State agency with responsibility for developing sustainable Irish Sea Fishing and Aquaculture industries, is an independent statutory agency. As the matters raised are operational matters for BIM. I have asked the CEO of BIM to respond directly to the Deputy.

Fisheries Protection.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

308 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of fishing fines and offence notices issued to boats operating out of Cork based ports during the years 2004 to 2009, inclusive, with a break down on the type of offence by year. [47440/09]

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

309 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of fishing fines and offence notices issued to boats operating out of Irish ports during the years 2004 to 2009, inclusive, with a break down on the type of offence by year. [47441/09]

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

310 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of fishing fines and offence notices issued to non-Irish boats operating in Irish waters during the years 2004 to 2009 inclusive, with a breakdown on the type of offence by year. [47442/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 308 to 310, inclusive, together.

These are matters for the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA), an independent authority, which was established under Sea Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Act 2006 on January 1st 2007. The Act clearly provides that the Authority is independent in the exercise of its functions and as such I have no remit as to its work programme or its strategic deployment of resources. I have, however, asked the SFPA to reply directly to the Deputy.

Flood Relief.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

311 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of farms in County Cork impacted by the recent flooding; the number of animals destroyed; and the volume of crops destroyed. [47443/09]

I announced the implementation of a €2 million targeted Scheme of Aid for Damaged Fodder on 27th November 2009. This Scheme is targeted at farmers, who encountered damage to fodder (silage, hay, straw, concentrates) in areas that suffered flooding in November 2009. Under the Scheme, farmers are required to demonstrate that the fodder was damaged and the extent of that damage.

Initially, the deadline for receipt of applications under the scheme was 11 December and by the deadline my Department received some 240 applications, 3 of which came from County Cork. However, as I am particularly conscious of the ongoing severe conditions still being experienced by farmers in the affected regions, I have decided to extend the closing date by one week, to 18 December, for the submission of applications for this emergency aid. There is no prospect of extending the closing date beyond the 18 December. Payments will begin issuing later this week to those farmers who have already submitted applications and I would encourage those who have yet to do so to submit their applications immediately.

Animal Identification Scheme.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

312 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the estimated cost of introducing a compulsory electric tagging system for sheep here. [47444/09]

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

314 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the benefits of introducing the compulsory electronic tagging of sheep; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47446/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 312 and 314 together.

It is my view that the introduction of electronic identification (EID) should be on a voluntary basis for those farmers who could clearly derive benefit from the technology. This view has not been supported at EU level and the introduction of EID for sheep must come into force on a mandatory basis on 31 December 2009 having been already deferred from 1 January 2008.

It is difficult to be precise with regard to costs as this is a new initiative. It is my intention to minimise costs for producers by availing of a "slaughter derogation" which allows for the vast majority of Irish sheep to be excluded from the EID requirement. Only those animals retained for breeding or live exports over the coming years would have to be electronically tagged and so the additional costs to farmers in any given year are being kept to a minimum. Farmers will not be required to purchase readers since, as is the case at present, an ear tag will continue to have a number on it that is readable to the human eye so there will be minimal change to current practice. The additional annual cost to the average farmer with a flock of 100 sheep is estimated to be approximately €30 to €40.

Christy O'Sullivan

Question:

313 Deputy Christy O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the status of negotiations with the European Union regarding the compulsory electric tagging of sheep here. [47445/09]

Under Council Regulation 21/2004 as amended the implementation date for the mandatory introduction of electronic tagging (EID) of sheep is definitively set at 31 December 2009. I have consistently sought the introduction of EID on a voluntary basis and most recently at the Agriculture Council on 20 November 2009. However, there is not sufficient support among other Member States or from the European Commission for any further changes in relation to the date for the mandatory introduction of EID. The prevailing view at EU level is that Member States should proceed with implementation.

In these circumstances, we now must prepare for the introduction of EID during the course of next year. I would urge the stakeholders to engage with my officials with a view to implementing a system best suited to Irish conditions. It is my intention to minimise costs for producers by availing of a "slaughter derogation" which allows for the vast majority of Irish sheep to be excluded from the EID requirement. Only those animals retained for breeding and live exports over the coming years will have to be electronically tagged and so the additional costs to farmers in any given year are being kept to a minimum. Farmers will not be required to purchase readers since, as is the case at present, an ear tag will continue to have a number on it that is readable to the human eye so there will be minimal change to current practice.

Question No. 314 answered with Question No. 312.

Departmental Fees.

Seán Connick

Question:

315 Deputy Seán Connick asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the fees for notifying his Department of chemical pest control products has increased from €300 to €3,000; his views on whether this increase will place financial strain on individuals and companies in the pest control industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47475/09]

The level of fees charged by my Department is determined by the type of approval sought by the applicant and reflects the amount of evaluation work involved in the assessment of the application. Annual renewal fees of €300 are levied on each pesticide product on the Irish market. Fees were introduced following consultation and agreement with the chemical industry. The current fee structure has remained unchanged since January 2008 and therefore is not expected to place any additional financial strain on applicants.

Ministerial Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

316 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the name, title and number of special advisers in his Department between 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47487/09]

Brian Hayes

Question:

317 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the details of the annual salaries in cash amount, and not merely in grade level, of special advisers in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47502/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 316 and 317 together.

There are three Special Advisers employed in my Department. Their details are as follows:-

Name

Title

Annual Salary

Dermot Ryan

Special Adviser to Minister Brendan Smith

116,142.91

Philip Hannon

Media Adviser to Minister Brendan Smith

99,845.46

Stiofán Nutty

Special Adviser to Minister of State Trevor Sargent

102,439.22

Brian Hayes

Question:

318 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the details of the total cost of pension contributions associated with the retention of special advisers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47517/09]

A total of €21,226.91 was paid to 2 special advisers (Media Advisor to Minister Smith and Special Advisor to Minister of State Sargent) by way of contributions towards their pensions for 2009.

Brian Hayes

Question:

319 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will defend the spend of taxpayers’ money on such additional expertise, as provided by special advisers, when resources are scarce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47532/09]

I am satisfied that expenditure on special advisors in my Department represents good value for money. In each case, special advisors employed by my Department are remunerated in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Department of Finance.

Irish Language.

Brian Hayes

Question:

320 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the number of reports, documents and memos in his Department that have been translated into Irish since the commencement of the 30th Dáil; if he will give a breakdown of the reports and the cost per document of the translation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47548/09]

A total of 68 reports, documents and memos were translated since the commencement of the 30th Dáil on 14 June 2007. Details of these documents and the translation cost in respect of each are set out in the following table.

Description

Total Cost

E.U. Regulation

512.40

Document on Veterinary Medicine

900.24

Press Release

225.64

EU Premium Notice

150.28

Council Speaking Note l

81.89

EU regulation

534.72

Press Release

176.70

EU Spirits Regulation

3,544.82

Revision of STO 3631

169.40

Amendments EU Regulation Spirits

169.40

Press Release

176.70

Document on Horticulture Patent

291.89

Notices for the National Ploughing Championships

84.70

Introduction to Annual Report

60.50

Notice re Blue Tongue

84.70

Council Speaking note

204.26

26 Letters

1,594.53

Note re REPS Payment

84.70

Horticulture Document

60.50

Powerpoint presentation on Bluetongue

60.50

Posters

60.75

Speaking Notes for Council

60.75

Minister’s Speech

74.98

Fisheries Documents

60.75

Waterford Food Festival Speech

164.20

Leaflet re Bluetongue

207.38

Document re Healthy Eating

63.82

Update of Blue Tongue document

42.53

Survey Questions 2009

60.75

Council Speaking Notes

60.75

Official Languages Website — Proofing

60.75

Fisheries Document

60.75

Farmer’s Charter

1,258.01

Notices for National Ploughing Championships

121.50

Notice re Labelling of Fresh meat

60.85

Annual Report — Appeals Unit

3,229.70

DAFF Annual Report

16,873.87

Programme for Government Material

1,577.72

Statement of Strategy

2,732.11

Annual Review & Outlook

7,364.74

Programme for Government Document

3,260.14

Annual Review & Outlook

7,890.88

Annual Report of the Department

4,499.63

Accounts Report

617.10

Pesticide Report

5,041.30

Pesticides Annual Report

1,345.73

Notices for National Ploughing Panel Championships

169.40

Grant Payments.

Noel Coonan

Question:

321 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason for the delay in payments in respect of the rural environment protection scheme to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; when payment will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47660/09]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–2013 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 that of the person named, is at an advanced stage. I hope to be in a position to begin releasing the 75% payment due on valid applications later this week and the remaining 25% once the last of the on-the-spot inspections for 2009 has taken place.

Noel Coonan

Question:

322 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a REP scheme payment will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; the breakdown of the amount to be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47661/09]

An issue has arisen during the processing of the REPS 4 application from the person named and my officials will be in touch with him shortly. Processing of the application cannot be completed until this issue been resolved.

Michael Ring

Question:

323 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be awarded their second year REPS 4 payment. [47695/09]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–2013 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 that of the person named, is at an advanced stage. I hope to be in a position to begin releasing the 75% payment due on valid applications later this week and the remaining 25% once the last of the on-the-spot inspections for 2009 has taken place.

Michael Ring

Question:

324 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be awarded their first year REPS 4 payment. [47696/09]

An issue has arisen during the processing of the REPS 4 application from the person named and my officials will be in touch with him shortly. Processing of the application cannot be completed until this issue been resolved.

Departmental Reports.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

325 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the Lost at Sea report will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47738/09]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Ombudsman's Special Report to the Oireachtas in relation to her investigation of a complaint made by an unsuccessful applicant under the Lost at Sea Scheme. The Ombudsman's special report was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on Monday, 14 December last.

Ministerial Travel.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

326 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the amount spent by each Minister engaged in Government business on commercial flights during 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48219/09]

The following is the information requested by the Deputy:

2006 —Minister Coughlan, €1,731.20; Minister Smith, €5,855.83; and Minister Wallace, €1,459.41

2007 —Minister Coughlan, €12,280.52; Minister Smith, €2,365.81; Minister Wallace, €423.08; Minister Sargent, €2,623.15; and Minister Browne, €2,469.48;

2008 —Minister Coughlan, €3,824.37; Minister Smith, €1,837.55; Minister Wallace, €5,887.46; Minister Sargent, €6,799.93; Minister Browne, €5,690.37; and Minister Killeen, €2,161.82;

2009 —Minister Smith, €8,266.83; Minister Sargent, €1,139.89; and Minister Killeen, €1,722.09.

Higher Education Grants.

John Deasy

Question:

327 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason for the delay in payment of a third level grant to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and when payment will issue from Waterford County Council. [47690/09]