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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 17 Dec 2009

Vol. 698 No. 5

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 7, inclusive, answered orally.

Arts Plan.

Brian Hayes

Question:

8 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans for national opera provision in view of reports of an amalgamation and if a new national opera company will be established in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47610/09]

I believe that Ireland should have its own National Opera Company. In this regard, it is my intention to establish a National Opera Company based in the capital. I intend that over the coming months my Department, supported by the Arts Council, Opera Theatre Company and Opera Ireland, will drive the process which will culminate in the formation of this new national company. Plans for the formation of this new venture are now moving ahead apace. I am in discussions with the Chairs of the two companies involved, together with the Chair of the Arts Council, to advance the realisation of this ambition. The technical funding of opera will remain unchanged in 2010. This means that the opera companies will receive their allocations from the Arts Council as they did in 2009. For the September 2010/September 2011 season, my Department will fund the new National Opera Company.

Tourism Industry.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

9 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if a study has been undertaken to assess the impact of the airport departure tax and the damage it is doing to our tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47390/09]

Joe Costello

Question:

18 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the recommendation of the tourism renewal group to abolish the airport travel tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47399/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

21 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to enhance the tourism industry here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39526/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

23 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans for the promotion and development of the tourism and catering industries in 2010 to ensure the industry can be competitive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47430/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

214 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans in conjunction with tourism interests to improve the competitiveness of the industry internationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48093/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9, 18, 21, 23 and 214 together.

The abolition of the air travel tax was just one of a range of measures recommended in the Report of the Tourism Renewal Group as part of a Framework for Action for the period to 2013. I refer the Deputy to my earlier answer to Priority Question No. 47909/09 in respect of progress on the Survival Actions in the Framework. The Government has to consider any measure with tax or spending implications within the wider context of fiscal sustainability and economic renewal. The recommendations of the Renewal Group were taken into account in framing the Budget — along with the views of the Commission on Taxation. The Commission recommended that a review should be undertaken by Government to assess the effects of the air travel tax on business in general and tourism in particular in the context of the pending inclusion of air travel in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme from 2012.

The Renewal Group based its Framework on its various consultations and consideration of tourism strategy. It did not commission formal quantitative assessments. I am advised that some analysis was carried out for Tourism Ireland when the tax was first proposed. This concluded that the impact of the travel tax on aggregate demand for air travel may not be significant although, in specific markets and at specific times, the impact of the €10 additional cost could have a negative impact on demand. I am also advised that, in a submission to the Commission on Taxation, the Chairman of Fáilte Ireland stated that its research estimated that the introduction of the tax would result in a net loss of over €30m to the Irish economy on an annual basis. I am also aware that three airlines commissioned a study of the impact of the Air Travel Tax, which they published last month.

However, the range of factors which affect the numbers of passengers — including inbound tourists — are so varied that any such attempt to put a definite figure on the impact of a single tax has to rest on a large number of assumptions. Even if a study's conclusions are robust, they must be seen in the context of the overall financial challenges we face. The air travel tax is an important revenue raising measure and, in its absence, the revenue would be sought elsewhere. The Government has tried to be as fair as possible in looking at areas for additional tax revenues. It is worth noting that fuel used by commercial airlines is completely exempt from tax.

As I said earlier, the recommendation to abolish the Air Travel Tax was only part of a wide-ranging set of Measures recommended in the Framework for Action which forms, from a tourism perspective, the strategic basis on which Government is responding to the current difficulties. I am fully aware of the many issues affecting the tourist industry, including the issues of costs and competitiveness. Drawing on the Report of the Group, I am determined — as I have already indicated in reply to earlier Priority Questions — to take the lead in identifying and driving the right measures to assist in ensuring that tourism survives and remains a major industry for Ireland and also to position the sector for recovery and growth as the Irish and global economies get back on track.

Question No. 10 answered with Question No. 7.

Swimming Pool Projects.

Jack Wall

Question:

11 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will reopen the local authority swimming pool programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47396/09]

No decision has been taken on the timing of a new round of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme. The matter will be reviewed in 2010. A total of 57 applications were received under the current round of the Programme, of which 45 projects have been completed and opened to the public. The priority now is to work with the relevant local authorities in completing the remaining 12 pool projects which are included in the current round. Since 2000 and, to date in 2009, total expenditure under the current round of the programme has been €142.7m and funding of €7.5m has been provided for 2010 to support existing projects. Five new pools opened to the public in 2009, at Athy and Naas, Co. Kildare, Dundrum, Co. Dublin, Claremorris, Co. Mayo and Roscrea, Co, Tipperary.

Tourism Industry.

James Bannon

Question:

12 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has received representations to engage with the British National Trust and the Stormont Minister for Arts, Culture and Leisure regarding assigning of causeway coast status to the northern peninsulas of County Donegal in order to encourage tourists at the Giant’s Causeway to follow on their holiday with a visit here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47566/09]

I have not received representations regarding the assignment of causeway coast status to Donegal's northern peninsulas. Furthermore the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism has been informed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Northern Ireland, who have responsibility for Tourism that they are unaware of any such representations by the National Trust or the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

In terms of cooperation generally, the Deputy will be aware that tourism is one of the recognised sectors for North-South Cooperation and in particular, Tourism Ireland, a north south body, markets the island of Ireland as a destination overseas. Tourism Ireland works closely with Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to encourage overseas visitors to explore the island as widely as possible. In the Netherlands, for example, promotional activity highlights Donegal and the North West region jointly with the Giant's Causeway and the Causeway Coastal Route.

I am glad to report to the House that yesterday I attended the North South Ministerial Council tourism sectoral meeting at which a presentation was made by Tourism Ireland on progress in 2009 and its marketing plan for 2010. The 2010 plans which Tourism Ireland expect will deliver growth of 3% in visitor numbers next year were well received and the budget to fund these initiatives is now in place.

Film Industry Development.

Bernard Allen

Question:

13 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if in contacts with officials of the Department of Finance in relation to tax breaks for the film industry he has sought to have games development and computer animated film included in this tax break; his views on the value to Ireland of the creation of a centre of excellence for digitally generated entertainment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47564/09]

Primary responsibility for the support and promotion of film-making in Ireland in respect of both the indigenous sector and inward productions is a matter for the Irish Film Board (IFB). This agency is funded through my Department and is independent of the Department in its operations. My Department's primary operational role in supporting the film sector relates to the administration of elements of Section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 that provides tax relief for investments in qualifying films. A qualifying film is a film for which the Revenue Commissioners have issued a certificate under Section 481. The types of film eligible for certification are — feature film, television drama, creative documentary and animation (whether computer generated or otherwise, but excluding computer games).

This scheme is kept under regular review in conjunction with the Irish Film Board and any enhancements necessary to retain or regain competitiveness are addressed and brought to the attention of the Minister for Finance as appropriate. The scheme was amended and enhanced in the Finance Acts of 2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and most recently in 2008. The amendments in 2008 extended the scheme for a further four years until the end of 2012, increased the overall ceiling on qualifying expenditure from €35m to €50m, increased the individual investor cap for those wishing to invest finance in film in Ireland to €50,000 per annum from the previous limit of €31,750 and increased the relief on that investment to 100% from 80%. Approval from the European Commission to introduce these changes was secured in March and the Minister for Finance subsequently signed the Commencement Orders on 16 March. These were significant enhancements and have resulted in 43 film projects being approved to date in 2009, up from 38 in 2008, with a total Irish spend of €102m.

I recently established an Audiovisual Content Production Industry Strategy Framework Group that will assist in providing a clear vision for the future of the industry. The whole area of computer games development will be examined as part of the work programme of the Group. Following the receipt of the Framework Report in the New Year I will examine it and if there is an opportunity to further develop the industry here, then I will pursue it in the ambit of extending the Section 481 Scheme and will bring it to the Minister for Finance seeking approval.

Sport and Recreational Development.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

14 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans for the proposed national sports campus; the progress made to date in terms of planning and design; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47547/09]

Planning permission has been obtained for Phase One of the National Sports Campus. The planning permission includes provision for

a multi-sport National Indoor Training Centre to provide world-class training facilities for more than 20 sports;

Sports Science and Medical facilities;

accommodation for sportsmen and women;

all-weather synthetic pitches for community recreational access; and

a National Field Sports Training Centre catering for Rugby, Soccer, Gaelic Games and Hockey.

I am also pleased to report that refurbishment work on the former Central Meat Control Laboratory has recently been completed and this is providing a headquarters for the Irish Institute of Sport.

However, because of the difficult economic constraints it is not possible to move forward with the main Phase One of the National Sports Campus project at this time. In the meantime, however, an amount of €3m capital has been provided in my Department's 2010 provision for the refurbishment of the former Marine Institute building at Abbotstown which will be used as a headquarters for national governing bodies of sport. Most of the remainder of the capital allocation, over €600,000, will be used to provide for capital maintenance at the National Aquatic Centre. It is my intention, as resources permit, to move ahead with the National Sports Campus which is one of the last major pieces of sports infrastructure required in this country.

Departmental Bodies.

Ulick Burke

Question:

15 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will report on plans to amalgamate the National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Art Gallery; if he will report on plans to merge the National Archives with the National Manuscript Commission and the National Library; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47574/09]

In regard to the Galleries, I believe, having examined the matter now in great detail, that the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National Gallery should remain stand alone entities and that the Crawford can be amalgamated with the National Gallery. I will formalise the matter in the New Year. Meantime, substantive progress is being made on the Heads of Bill in relation to the amalgamation of the National Library, the National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

Arts Council.

Liz McManus

Question:

16 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the impact cuts in the Arts Council budget will have on the arts here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47395/09]

As Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism I am committed to securing the best possible funding deal for the Arts Council and the arts sector generally. In recent years, allocations to the Arts Council have represented significant amounts of taxpayer's money in any context and have effectively transformed the arts, by facilitating increased access to and participation in the full spectrum of art forms around the country. Since 2002, Exchequer funding for the Arts Council has increased by 45% from €47.67million in 2002 to €69.15 million in 2010. In these difficult times I was delighted to be able to secure funding of this level for the Arts Council. For the arts, culture and film sector in 2010 I have secured €167m, an adjustment of 6% on 2009. The Government's sustained commitment to the arts is evidenced by this substantial level of funding. This Government is committed to supporting the arts and will continue to work with Arts Council as part of its programme to achieve this.

Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 6.
Question No. 18 answered with Question No. 9.

Tourism Industry.

Joan Burton

Question:

19 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his views on the recently published report (details supplied) carried out on behalf of the Irish Hotels Federation; his further views on the findings of this report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47391/09]

I refer the Deputy to my answer earlier today to Priority PQ number 3 on the same topic.

Sports Funding.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

20 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when the national sports facilities strategy will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47392/09]

A draft National Sports Facilities Strategy 2010-2015 has now been completed within my Department and has been circulated to a number of Government Departments and other relevant bodies for observations. Following receipt of these comments I intend to submit the strategy to the Government for its consideration and publication. The aim of the National Sports Facilities strategy is to provide high-level policy direction for future investment and grant assistance at national, regional and local level. The strategy also identifies the wider economic, health and social case for continued investment in sports facilities. It aims to prioritise areas for future investment and to ensure continued impact in the relevant areas.

Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 9.

National Concert Hall.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

22 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if funding will be provided for the National Concert Hall for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47397/09]

The Annual allocation for 2010 to the National Concert Hall is included in Subhead D3 of the Vote for my Department. The National Concert Hall has been allocated €3,316,000. The breakdown is current €3,072,000 (of which pay is €874,000 and non-pay is €2,198,000) and capital €244,000. The payroll and related adjustment arising from the Budget announcements will be allocated in the 2010 Revised Estimates.

Question No. 23 answered with Question No. 9.

Arts Plan.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

24 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the main policy objectives for the promotion of the arts in 2010 regarding the ongoing need for strategic expenditure that has traditionally yielded a high return on investment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47429/09]

My policy on the arts is to promote and strengthen the arts in all its forms, increase access to and participation in the arts, and make the arts an integral and valued part of our national life. For 2010, I have secured €167m for the arts, culture and film sectors, a 6% adjustment on 2010. Responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is primarily devolved to the Arts Council.

Sports Funding.

Denis Naughten

Question:

25 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the steps he is taking to secure adequate levels of funding for sport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47199/09]

We all appreciate the important role that sport plays in our society in promoting healthy lifestyles, creating a sense of identity and belonging, channeling energy in rewarding activity and bringing people together. I can assure the Deputy that this Government is committed to sport and believes in the contribution it can make to our society, for individuals and for communities. Thus the importance of the sport sector to the country is reflected in the commitments contained in the Renewed Programme for Government and the funding secured for the sector under Budget 2010. I am committed to increasing and developing participation and interest in sport, improving standards of performance and to developing sports facilities thereby contributing to healthier lifestyles and an improved overall quality of life.

A total of €48m has been provided for the Sports Capital Programme in 2010. The provision of €48m for Sports Capital projects will ensure that commitments arising in 2010 from previous allocations under the Sports Capital Programme will continue to be made and that a range of modern facilities will be brought in to use in 2010. Since 1998, over €725m has been allocated to 7,400 sports projects all over the country. Funding for the Irish Sports Council for 2010 is €49.8m, a reduction of 4% on the 2009 levels, but is a significant investment by Government to enable this important agency maintain existing programmes and build on recent significant progress in all areas including Local Sports Partnerships, Buntús, Women in Sport, Older People and Sport, Youth Field Sports and the High Performance Programme.

The Lansdowne Road Stadium, a key sports infrastructure project, remains on schedule to be completed on time and within budget in 2010. The allocation by the Department of €4.5m in 2010 represents the retention amount of the Government's funding for the project of €191m.

Ireland is the third largest breeder of thoroughbreds in the world and Irish horses and jockeys consistently succeed at the highest level. An estimated 27,000 jobs are supported by both the horse and greyhound industry in Ireland and significant inward investment is attracted to the country. Taking account of the need to continue to support both industries, €59.3m is being allocated by Government to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund in 2010. This is a reduction of 13% on the funding provided in 2009.

Unfortunately it will not be possible to proceed with the main Campus project in the short term because of financial constraints. An amount of €3m however is being provided to the National Sports Campus for the refurbishment of the former Marine Institute building at Abbotstown, which will be used as a headquarters for national governing bodies of sport. Most of the remainder of the €3.6m overall capital allocation will be used to provide for capital maintenance at the National Aquatic Centre. I am satisfied that the budgets provided for the various sports programmes in a very difficult budgetary environment will enable is to continue with the pursuit of our strategic objectives in the sport areas.

Redundancy Payments.

Enda Kenny

Question:

26 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to delays of up to 12 months in respect of statutory redundancy payments for persons who have lost their jobs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47931/09]

The Tánaiste and I are very concerned about the current delays being experienced by businesses and individuals in the processing of statutory redundancy payments and we have taken measures to improve this situation. However, the delays in processing are not generally of the order referred to by the Deputy if all relevant information and supporting documents have been supplied to the Department and are in order. Currently, the Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is 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.

On the basis of the latest figures available to end November 2009 these 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. Given the 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.

Work Permits.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

27 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of work permits issued on a county basis in each year from 2000 to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47758/09]

Please find below the figures as requested by the Deputy.

Permits Issued by County 2000-2009 (up to 15/12/2009)

Year

County

Total

New

Renewals

Group

2009

7,754

3,904

3,850

0

Undefined*

265

246

19

0

Antrim

1

0

1

0

Carlow

64

34

30

0

Cavan

66

14

52

0

Clare

123

64

59

0

Cork

524

247

277

0

Donegal

106

39

67

0

Down

1

0

1

0

Dublin

3,762

1,882

1,880

0

Galway

301

170

131

0

Kerry

87

29

58

0

Kildare

937

560

377

0

Kilkenny

65

26

39

0

Laois

36

5

31

0

Leitrim

14

6

8

0

Limerick

188

82

106

0

Longford

36

22

14

0

Louth

80

39

41

0

Mayo

87

39

48

0

Meath

234

81

153

0

Monaghan

40

15

25

0

Offaly

32

13

19

0

Roscommon

24

9

15

0

Sligo

35

13

22

0

Tipperary

201

90

111

0

Waterford

72

30

42

0

Westmeath

80

39

41

0

Wexford

71

20

51

0

Wicklow

222

90

132

0

2008

13,569

8,556

5,013

0

Undefined *

223

190

33

0

Antrim

2

0

2

0

Armagh

1

0

1

0

Belfast

3

0

3

0

Carlow

107

64

43

0

Cavan

144

74

70

0

Clare

209

122

87

0

Cork

946

623

323

0

Derry

1

0

1

0

Donegal

179

96

83

0

Down

1

1

0

0

Dublin

6,764

4,283

2,481

0

Galway

442

269

173

0

Kerry

188

100

88

0

Kildare

1,404

1,005

399

0

Kilkenny

137

79

58

0

Laois

74

44

30

0

Leitrim

35

21

14

0

Limerick

380

235

145

0

Longford

53

29

24

0

Louth

211

138

73

0

Mayo

142

92

50

0

Meath

425

196

229

0

Monaghan

66

29

37

0

Offaly

57

35

22

0

Roscommon

69

31

38

0

Sligo

73

39

34

0

Tipperary

363

219

144

0

Waterford

164

109

55

0

Westmeath

214

146

68

0

Wexford

137

86

51

0

Wicklow

355

201

154

0

2007

23,177

9,915

13,249

13

Undefined *

294

168

126

0

Antrim

5

3

2

0

Armagh

1

0

1

0

Belfast

4

0

4

0

Carlow

197

68

129

0

Cavan

370

59

311

0

Clare

455

134

321

0

Cork

1,483

615

868

0

Derry

1

0

1

0

Donegal

308

134

174

0

Down

16

11

1

4

Dublin

11,164

5,215

5,940

9

Fermanagh

1

1

0

0

Galway

922

333

589

0

Kerry

355

110

245

0

Kildare

2,249

1,185

1,064

0

Kilkenny

218

69

149

0

Laois

157

75

82

0

Leitrim

73

24

49

0

Limerick

697

294

403

0

Longford

77

30

47

0

Louth

303

115

188

0

Mayo

290

112

178

0

Meath

836

194

642

0

Monaghan

189

35

154

0

Offaly

122

43

79

0

Roscommon

145

38

107

0

Sligo

110

46

64

0

Tipperary

679

264

415

0

Waterford

278

95

183

0

Westmeath

288

111

177

0

FÁS Training Programmes.

John McGuinness

Question:

28 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on correspondence (details supplied) submitted by this Deputy on 8 October 2009 relative to a submission given to her on 26 February 2009 by a person (details supplied); if she sees any merit in the proposal; if funding or support is available from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47775/09]

I met with representatives of Oak Tree Home Care Ltd and Vision Training, which is also known as The Oak Tree/Vision Partnership, at which they presented me with a submission setting out an education, training and employment initiative aimed at enhancing the standard of professional care in Ireland. Given the training and re-skilling aspects at the centre of the project I asked FÁS to make contact with Oak Tree/Vision to see whether it could assist in any way.

I understand that staff from the FÁS South East Region have met with representatives of Oak Tree/Vision and explained to them the procurement arrangements, which are in place for all FÁS-funded training programmes. FÁS has also informed the company representatives that they would be contacted in the event of any training programmes coming on stream for which they could tender. Finally, I understand that the company has registered itself onto the FÁS/Enterprise Ireland National Register of Trainers.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

29 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of staff employed by her Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47802/09]

The number of staff employed by my Department on 1 January 2009 was 1074.93 (full time equivalents); and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009 was 1004.81 (full time equivalents).

Redundancy Payments.

John Browne

Question:

30 Deputy John Browne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when a redundancy payment will be made in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford. [47806/09]

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 application for the individual concerned on 3 September, 2009, claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. This application awaits 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.

Job Losses.

Denis Naughten

Question:

31 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, further to Parliamentary Question No. 199 of 24 September 2008, the progress made to date on obtaining alternative employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47825/09]

Since the closure of the Green Isle, Boyle facility, Enterprise Ireland has been closely monitoring the situation as regards identifying a replacement employer. On 2 February this year, Enterprise Ireland accompanied an overseas visitor to view the company's facility in Boyle, and while this site proved to be too large for the project under consideration, the visitor has viewed other property in the Roscommon/Leitrim area. Currently, all relevant resources in Enterprise Ireland are being made available to assist this visitor in considering the region for current or future projects, and also to any other potential employer that may be identified.

Venture Capital Programmes.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

32 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the venture capital funds that have been established through her Department and its agencies; the amounts available through those funds; the take-up of those funds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47885/09]

A healthy venture capital market is a prerequisite for the growth and development of high potential start up companies. To date, Enterprise Ireland has been involved in three Seed and Venture Capital Programmes as follows:

Seed and Venture Capital Programme 2007-2012.

Seed and Venture Capital Programme 2000-2006, under the National Development Plan.

The EU Seed and Venture Capital Measure 1994-1999, under the Operational Programme.

Under the EU Seed and Venture Capital Measure 1994-1999, 15 separate venture capital initiatives were established with €43.9m committed under this Programme. The first of these initiatives was launched in May 1996. Under the 2000-2006 Programme, Enterprise Ireland committed €98m to continue development of the venture capital market for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ireland. This Programme committed capital to 15 funds. The 2007-2012 Seed and Venture Capital Scheme was launched to improve access to finance for SMEs and to further develop the Seed and Venture Capital Industry in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland has committed to investing €175m under this programme.

The Bank of Ireland Seed and Early Stage Equity Fund, which I launched in November of this year, is the eighth venture capital fund to be supported under the current scheme. Under this €26m fund, Bank of Ireland has committed €17m and Enterprise Ireland has committed €8m, with the balance of €1m being committed by the University of Limerick Foundation. This fund will focus on export orientated high potential start-up companies that operate in the technology (including green technology), food and financial services sectors, in addition to supporting patent and patent pending projects within Irish third and fourth level institutions. The fund is mandated to invest between €100,000 and €500,000 in companies within the outlined investment criteria.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

33 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the breakdown of the specific programme changes made by her Department to achieve the budgetary savings estimated for 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47887/09]

Overall, my Department's Estimate for 2010, including the National Training Fund, shows an increase in expenditure of €70.7 million compared to the 2009 Estimate. The additional funding will primarily be used to protect jobs and support those who are unemployed. Notwithstanding the overall increase in my Department's Estimate for 2010, many Subheads will have reduced allocations next year compared to 2009.

The areas in which savings will be achieved are as follows:

Reduction in funding to FÁS for training those in employment as increased resources are directed at training people who are unemployed (€6 million saving in 2010 compared to 2009).

Reduction in grant for Community Employment training and materials overhead (€7.6 million saving).

Reduction in part-time third level places and ending of Science Challenge within FAS (€4.5 million saving).

Cessation of the FÁS Training Allowance to new entrants who do not qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance (€3.2 million saving).

Reduction in Current Non-Pay funding for agencies and Offices under the aegis of the Department (€5.761 million saving).

Reduction in Current Non-Pay funding for Science and Technology programmes (€1.121 million saving).

Reduction in CE/Job Initiative allowances (€5 million saving).

Reduction in allocations to a range of other programmes and services (€1.343 million saving).

Reduction in Capital expenditure compared to 2009 (€14.3 million saving on 2009 base-line figure).

In addition, a reduction of €39.658 million was made to my Department's Estimate for 2010 in respect of payroll and related adjustments which will be distributed across my Department, its Offices and its agencies in the Revised Estimates Volume in the New Year. When these payroll reductions are taken into consideration, administration costs across my Department, its Offices and agencies will fall by 10% in 2010. Payments made to FAS participants will also reduce by approximately €15.5 million in 2010, in line with changes to social welfare allowances.

The measures outlined above are contributing to the stabilisation of the public finances while at the same time enabling resources to be targeted at helping enterprises to grow and create new jobs, maintaining investment in the Smart Economy, and assisting those who are unemployed through re-skilling and other appropriate supports.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

34 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of applications for FÁS ten week courses in 2009; the number of applications for FÁS 20 week courses in 2009; the number of FÁS ten week courses available in 2009; the number of FÁS 20 week courses available in 2010; if her Department or FÁS has undertaken an analysis of the needs of unemployed people presenting for training; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47888/09]

FÁS captures detailed data on the profile of all new clients who register with FÁS. This includes details of their education levels, qualifications, work experience and employment sought, etc. An analysis of the data is provided to the FÁS Executive Board and Board on a monthly basis with a view to informing future provision of services and programmes. In addition, FÁS also systematically captures requests for training which are not currently directly available through FÁS. The significantly expanded Technical Employment Support Grant has substantially addressed the latter demand from clients through an increased budgetary provision.

The number of courses scheduled in 2009 of up to and including 10 weeks duration was 4,039 with 71,721 participants. There were 644 courses of between 11 weeks to 20 weeks duration with 11,902 participants. It is estimated that there were approximately 120,000 applicants for these courses. The schedule of courses for 2010 has to be finalised; the type and frequency of course will reflect the needs of clients.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

35 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the agencies under her remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48011/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

36 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of agencies under her remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48025/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

37 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of agencies under her remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48039/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

38 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of agencies under her remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48055/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 35 to 38, inclusive, together.

The position in relation to Agencies under my remit is set out in the tables below.

Entitlement Payments

Agency

FÁS

Training Allowances for Job-Seekers attending FÁS training courses and for apprentices when attending off-the-job training

Carrying out of Inspections

Agency

IDA Ireland

Inspections linked to assessment of certain applications

Forfas

Accreditation (Irish National Accreditation Board, operating as a Committee of Forfas)

National Standards Authority of Ireland

Measuring instruments used in trade and quantities of goods (pre-packaged and loose from bulk)

National Consumer Agency

Enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act 2007 and other consumer legislation.

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

Periodic inspections of each of the nine prescribed Accountancy Bodies in Ireland

Health and Safety Authority

Routine and proactive inspections of workplaces.

FÁS

Monitoring a range of Schemes including Community Employment, Job Initiative, Local Training Initiative, and Community Training Centres.

Collection of Payments

Agency

Forfas

Accreditation Fees

Health and Safety Authority

On the spot fines under the EU Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road Legislation

Competition Authority

Statutory fees to accompany merger notifications.

National Consumer Agency

Credit Intermediaries Authorisation Fees and Pawnbroker licences, fixed payments notices

FÁS

FÁS / Enterprise Ireland National Register of Trainers (NRT), Safe Pass Card fee

Issuing of Licences

Agency

National Consumer Agency

Credit Intermediaries and Pawnbroker Licences

FÁS

Safe Pass, Construction Skills Certification Scheme, Quarrying Skills Certification Scheme

In relation to the collection of payments, I have limited the response to where I see the collection as linked to one of the primary functions of the agency, rather an ancillary, or consequential receipt of fees income. So, for example, I have not detailed the fact that IDA collects rents or receives grant refunds, nor that FÁS collects fees in respect of a range of training courses that it runs. This is not a clear division, but I would draw a distinction between the collection of payments, and say, receipt of income.

The issue of staff numbers is a day-to-day matter for the Agencies concerned, for which I have no function.

County Enterprise Boards.

Frank Feighan

Question:

39 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the role the county enterprise boards will have in assessing flood damage to businesses, homes and the farming community around the country; and if she intends utilising the boards to assist in this project. [48064/09]

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.

While the CEBs have gathered some information on their client businesses that have been affected by flooding they have no broad-based role in assessing actual flood damage to businesses or in gathering information on, or assessing flood damage to, domestic premises or farm premises or the wider community in general 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.

Departmental Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

40 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will provide a breakdown of the budget allocated to FÁS in 2010; the way in which this compares to 2009; the way in which additional short-term training places announced in budget 2010 are being funded; her views on whether no efficiencies could be found in the FÁS administration and expenses budget which was left unchanged at €150 million; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48133/09]

The breakdown of the FÁS budget for 2009 and 2010 is set out in the table below. The figures as set out for 2010 in relation to FÁS administration and general expenses will be reduced as part of the Revised Estimates process to take account of the reduction in the public sector pay bill as announced on Budget day. The additional short term training places announced in the Budget for 2010 will be funded from the 2010 FÁS Budget and will be delivered through efficiency savings.

2010 Allocation

2009 Allocation

€ millions

€ millions

Exchequer — Current

K1 — FÁS Administration and General Expenses

150.111

150.111

K2 — FÁS Training and Integration Supports

66.185

108.245

K3 — FÁS Employment Supports

417.338

440.669

Exchequer — Capital

K4 — FÁS Capital

6.500

10.000

FÁS — Pensions

K5 — FÁS Pension Payments

26.135

0.000

National Training Fund

FÁS — Training People in Employment

79.469

105.469

FÁS — Training People for Employment

298.332

248.558

FÁS — Skills Analysis

0.379

0.379

FÁS — Workplace Education Fund

2.800

3.005

TOTAL

1,047.249

1,066.436

Fraud Investigations.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

41 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she expects the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement to conclude its investigation into a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48141/09]

I have received no indication from the Director of Corporate Enforcement as to the timescale for the completion of this extensive and complex investigation. Several million documents are involved and the High Court has recently described the evaluation of them as ‘a daunting task'. However, I understand that the investigation is proceeding satisfactorily and that the Office of the Director is working closely with the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation with respect to its own investigations. The Director of Corporate Enforcement is independent in the performance of his compliance, investigation and enforcement functions under the Companies Acts.

Departmental Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

42 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the budget and staff allocation of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement every year since 2007; the number of investigations ongoing being conducted by the ODCE; her views on whether the office is adequately resourced to investigate alleged breaches of company law in the banking sector in a timely manner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48142/09]

The budget allocations of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in 2007, 2008 and 2009 were €4,823,000, €4,957,000 and €5,535,000 respectively. The numbers of full-time equivalent staff in the Office at the start of 2007, 2008 and 2009 were 34.8, 39.6 and 44.8 respectively. The current staff complement is 49.3. These staff include Gardaí and accounting, administrative, IT and legal expertise. In addition, the Garda Commissioner has made available in recent months a further five Gardaí to support the related Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and ODCE banking enquiries.

The Office has some 700 cases on hands. These include public complaints of alleged misconduct, reports by auditors of the suspected commission of indictable offences under the Companies Acts and reports by liquidators into the conduct of the directors of insolvent companies. I am informed that the investigations into Anglo Irish Bank and related banking matters are the primary focus of the Director at this time. As no ODCE request for additional staff is outstanding I am satisfied that the Director has sufficient staff to conduct these investigations.

Employment Rights.

Sean Fleming

Question:

43 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if sufficient resources will be made available to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which is under the aegis of her Department, to ensure that it is in a position to deal with claims in a prompt manner and to reduce the backlog that is causing financial hardship to persons who have recently been made redundant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48167/09]

The Employment Appeals Tribunal is an independent, quasi-judicial body under the aegis of my Department. Secretarial and administrative support is provided by Departmental staff. Additional administrative resources have been allocated to the Tribunal, both last year and this year, to help it process claims. I am aware that the Tribunal has been taking additional administrative and organizational steps aimed at reducing the waiting time for the hearing of redundancy-related claims. The Tánaiste and I will be keeping the matter under review and will take further action, if possible within the current constraints that exist in relation to resources.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

44 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of staff employed at the centre of excellence at Mount Locus, County Offaly; the grade of same staff; the number intended to be employed at the centre in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48175/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

45 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of persons who have been trained at the centre of excellence at Mount Locus, County Offaly since its opening to December 2009; the projected number of trainees expected to use the centre in 2010; the projected number of trainees who are expected to use the facility per year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48176/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

46 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the costs, including staff wages, of running the centre of excellence at Mount Locus, County Offaly since it opened to December 2009; the expected average annual cost of running the centre in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48177/09]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

47 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will outline by type the training courses provided at the centre of excellence at Mount Locus, County Offaly in 2009; the training courses by type that will be provided in the centre in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48178/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 to 47, inclusive, together.

The National Construction Centre at Mount Lucas was established to provide training of plant construction operators, including delivery of the full range of Construction Skills Certification Scheme programmes and Safepass, for which FÁS is the designated competent authority under the relevant Statutory Instrument (Recognition of Professional Qualifications Regulations 2008, SI no 139 of 2008). The Centre focuses on the development of skills used in Civil Engineering and Commercial Building sectors. Currently there are 1 Assistant Manager (Grade 7), 1 Instructor (Grade 8) and 1 Administration Assistant (Grade 10) based in the Centre. These are supplemented when necessary by technical support.

In 2009 two courses took place with a total of 10 trainees. One course is already scheduled for 2010, and more will be rolled out during the year. The mix will depend on the numbers presenting for training and the type of training required. Provision could therefore consist of 4 Construction Plant courses with 24 trainees or an alternative mix could be 3 Construction Plant courses with 18 trainees; 3 Cranes courses with 6 trainees (lower ratio) and 2 Banksman courses with 2 trainees (lower ratio). The costs in 2009 were made up of staff costs (€207,115), overhead costs (€191,000), training allowances (€26,603 to end November) and other training costs (€41,854) including some one-off set-up costs. The budget for 2010 has yet to be finalised.

Redundancy Payments.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

48 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding a payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork.. [48185/09]

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 7 September 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. This claim awaits 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.

Employment Support Services.

Michael McGrath

Question:

49 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason the second call under the employment subsidy scheme excludes companies with ten employees or fewer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48195/09]

The Employment Subsidy Scheme is designed to support the maintenance of vulnerable jobs and prevent people from being made redundant. As a result of the First Call, companies have now committed, as part of their application, to retaining in excess of 35,000 jobs. The Second Call is open to exporting and non-exporting companies from all sectors of the economy that employ more than 10 employees.

The aim of the Employment Subsidy Scheme is to maximise the number of jobs retained and to ensure that the funding available for the Scheme is utilised to its full potential. It is also intended that deadweight and displacement effects would be minimised by ensuring that a multiple of jobs subsidised will be retained and the scope for firms employing less than 10 people to offer substantial commitment in this regard is very limited. The second call criteria, apart from the broadening of the eligibility to non-exporting firms and to include short time jobs, are identical to the First Call as required to be consistent with the Temporary Framework under which the EU approved the funding for the scheme.

Redundancy Payments.

Tom Hayes

Question:

50 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason an application in respect of a person (details supplied) for payment of redundancy from the social insurance fund has not been processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48218/09]

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 application for the individual concerned on 7 April, 2009, claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer.

In this case, as in all cases where the employer claims inability to pay the employee(s) statutory redundancy, the Department requires the employer to provide sufficient proof to substantiate the claim. This includes providing the latest set of audited accounts for the company as well as certification from the company's Accountant or Solicitor attesting to the fact that the employer has insufficient assets to pay the redundancy entitlements. Providing this documentation is submitted and is in order, the Department pays the employee(s) directly from the Social Insurance Fund.

In this case, supporting information required from the employer was not provided to my Department. The employee has been advised by my Department to take a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) against the employer to seek a determination establishing the employee's right and entitlement to redundancy. Once such a determination is available, this allows the Department to make payment to the employee concerned. Should the outstanding documentation be provided by the employer during the period while the case is pending a hearing before the EAT, this would allow the claim to be processed by my Department in the usual way. This is the uniform procedure adopted by my Department in relation to all claims received where the Employer is unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements.

Financial Services Regulation.

Frank Feighan

Question:

51 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance if he will investigate the refusal by an insurance company to honour cover commitments arising from a claim for a break-in to premises (details supplied) in County Roscommon in view of the fact that a conviction was achieved against the perpetrator. [47948/09]

The Financial Regulator has informed me that the decision to pay a claim is a matter for an insurance company in conformity with the conditions of the insurance contract. They have also advised that a claimant who is unhappy with the treatment of their claim can refer the matter to the Financial Services Ombudsman for investigation. Details of the service provided by the Financial Services Ombudsman can be found at www.financialombudsman.ie. Finally, it should be noted that under a Memorandum of Understanding between the offices of the Financial Regulator and the Financial Services Ombudsman any wider issues coming to the attention of the Ombudsman in the course of an investigation can be referred to the Financial Regulator for consideration.

Flood Relief.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

52 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Finance the amount spent on flood prevention works in Waterford during 2008; and the projects this money was spent on. [47957/09]

The Flood Alleviation Scheme in Waterford is administered and run by Waterford City Council, with financial assistance from the Office of Public Works. To date, funding of €5,000,000.00 has been provided to Waterford City Council by the Office of Public Works for the design and construction of the Flood Alleviation Scheme. Phase 1 of these works is under construction, while Phases 2, 3 and 4 are at detailed design stage. The Office of Public Works continues to work with Local Authorities around the country on similar schemes.

Tax Code.

Michael Creed

Question:

53 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance the carbon tax yield per annum which will be derived from agricultural emissions; the cost per urban and rural household of the carbon tax as proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48084/09]

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. Based on material published by the ESRI, the overall average direct impact on households is estimated to be between €2 and €3 per week, depending on the profile of the household.

Architectural Heritage.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

54 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47762/09]

Enniscorthy Castle is in the ownership of Wexford County Council. It is currently undergoing restoration works that are part funded by OPW. The matter of its reopening as a Museum can be clarified by Wexford County Council.

Flood Relief.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

55 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a matter (details supplied). [47763/09]

Proposals for dealing with the flooding problems experienced in Enniscorthy were placed on formal Public Exhibition by the Office of Public Works in February of this year for a period of four weeks. A large number of observations were received following the Exhibition, of which a significant amount were opposed to the proposals. As both Wexford County Council and Enniscorthy Town Council are in partnership with OPW in bringing forward a flood relief scheme for the town, OPW has requested that the elected members of each council consider the current proposals, bearing in mind the amount of local opposition to these proposals, and make a formal observation, as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts. Once received, OPW will then decide, in conjunction with the Local Authority, how best to progress the scheme.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

56 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47792/09]

The number of staff employed in my Department (whole-time equivalent) was as follows:

1 January 2009 — 612.91

10 December 2009 — 564.03

Flood Relief.

Finian McGrath

Question:

57 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will support a matter (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [47836/09]

I am aware that because of previous claims experience, householders in different parts of the country, including areas in Dublin, have found it difficult to obtain insurance against flood damage. This is because the decision to provide any specific form of insurance cover and the price at which it is offered is a commercial matter based on the assessment an insurer will make of the risks involved and is one which neither I nor the Financial Regulator have any influence over. This risk assessment process which insurance companies apply is essential if a company is to be able to provide its services over the longer term and continue to remain solvent. Unfortunately, this means on occasions they have difficulty approving certain types of business because the risk of claims based on previous experience is too high.

It should be noted however that the Government is very conscious of the difficulties caused to certain householders by their inability to obtain insurance against flood damage. This is a problem which will almost certainly have been exacerbated by the recent flooding and consequently will have to be considered as part of its broader review of this general area.

Tax Code.

Richard Bruton

Question:

58 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of non-resident Irish nationals who will be subject to the domicile levy in the 2010 budget; the revenue which will be raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47846/09]

As I stated in my Budget speech, we must ensure that every wealthy Irish domiciled person who pays little or no Income Tax makes a contribution to the State. The proposed levy of €200,000, to which the Deputy refers, will be imposed on all Irish domiciled individuals who are covered by certain criteria concerning their income, asset holdings and payment of Irish tax. Full details will be announced in the upcoming Finance Bill.

I am informed by Revenue that 5,867 non-resident individuals filed Irish tax returns for the 2007 tax year (the latest year for which figures are available) in respect of their Irish-source income or income derived from working here. Many of these non-residents are foreign nationals or have a foreign domicile. As this figure is not broken down by domicile or nationality, and non-resident individuals are not currently required to declare the value of their assets, it is not possible to estimate the number of individuals who will be subject to the levy. As a result it is not possible to estimate the potential yield from this measure.

Decentralisation Programme.

John O'Mahony

Question:

59 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance when he will announce the date for the relocation of the Department of Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47849/09]

In light of the budgetary constraints at this time and affordability issues, I have decided to defer proceeding with permanent accommodation in Charlestown. This location, along with other deferred locations, will be considered as part of the overall review of the programme in 2011.

Tax Code.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

60 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if the tax arrangements being utilised by a company (details supplied) to hire pilots who work for an airline are in compliance with the Finance Acts; if these pilots are taxed here or in an offshore location or partly in both jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47851/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

61 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if the Revenue Commissioners have advised a company (details supplied) which supplies pilots to an airline regarding a proposal by that company to form a large number of smaller companies each of whose directors includes three airline pilots in relation to tax compliance rules under the Finance Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47852/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

62 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if there are ongoing investigations by the Revenue Commissioners into whether an airline (details supplied) is compliant with the Finance Acts in relation to its utilisation of a British registered subcontractor for the airline’s key workers; if Revenue officials have briefed any meetings of pilots called by the airline, the British company or four accounting companies allegedly working for the airline and its associates as has been claimed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47853/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 to 62, inclusive, together.

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that due to their policy of confidentiality as regards taxpayers' affairs it is not possible to supply the information requested.

Capital Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

63 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance when the review of capital expenditure priorities referred to in budget 2010 will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47863/09]

It is intended to publish this review in the near future.

National Debt.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

64 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his forecasts of the national debt for each year for the next five years; his forecast of the interest payable on that debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47864/09]

It is estimated that the national debt will be some €76 billion at end-2009. The main factor in the projected increase in the national debt over the period 2010-2014 is the Exchequer Borrowing Requirement for each of these years. The Exchequer Borrowing Requirement for the years to 2014, as outlined in Table 10 on page C.20 of Budget 2010, is set out in Table 1 below. Based on these projections, the estimated debt servicing interest costs are also set out below. The National Treasury Management Agency have advised that, as is usual, these estimates were prepared on the basis of the prevailing market conditions for Irish Government bonds.

Exchequer Borrowing Requirement & Debt Service Interest Estimates 2010-2014

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

€bn

€bn

€bn

€bn

€bn

Exchequer Borrowing Requirement

18¾

18

14¾

12½

Debt Service Interest Estimate

Budgetary Policy.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

65 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the basis for his forecast of expenditure receipts and balances for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of those receipts and balances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47865/09]

Expenditure receipts, or Appropriations-in-Aid, are Departmental receipts which, with the approval of the Dáil, may be retained by a Department or Office to offset expenses instead of being paid into the Exchequer Account of the Central Fund. Departmental Balances, included in the figures for 2009 and 2010, are those amounts issued from the Exchequer Account of the Central Fund for Departmental spending in one year which remain unspent at year-end and are carried forward to be used the next year.

The principal components of expenditure receipts and balances, as published in Table 10 of the December 2009 Stability Programme Update, are the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) related Appropriation-in-Aid, the Health Levy and the Pension Levy. The table below shows a percentage breakdown of current Appropriations-in-Aid for 2010. The SIF related Appropriation-in-Aid includes income for 2010 and a drawdown of the accumulated surplus.

2010

%

SIF related Appropriations-in-Aid

55

Health Levy

16

Pension-Related Deduction*

6

Other Appropriations-in-Aid and Departmental Balances

23

Total

100

*This includes only pension levy receipts which accrue to the Exchequer as appropriations-in-aid. It does not include receipts from Local Authorities, Central Bank, the National Treasury Management Agency or the Oireachtas.

These remain the main components for 2011 to 2014 but the relative percentages vary from year to year.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

66 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the basis for his forecast of non-voted current expenditure for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of that expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47866/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

67 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the basis for his forecast of non-tax revenues for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of those revenues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47867/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

68 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his forecast of non-voted capital expenditure for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of those expenditures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47868/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

70 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the basis for his forecast of capital resources for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of those resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47870/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 to 68, inclusive, and 70 together.

Table 10 of the Stability Programme Update — December 2009, published on Budget day, sets out the projections for the 2009-2014 period which underpin the budgetary arithmetic. The underlying economic forecasts that are consistent with these fiscal projections are set out in Table 4 of the Stability Programme Update.

In terms of the key items that make up non-voted (Central Fund) current expenditure, non-voted capital expenditure, non-tax revenue and capital resources, the White Paper on Receipts and Expenditure for the year ending 31 December 2010, gives a detailed breakdown for 2009 and 2010 on a pre-Budget basis of these items. With the exception of non-voted (Central Fund) current expenditure, the estimates included in the White Paper for 2009 and 2010 for non-tax revenue, non-voted capital expenditure and capital resources were unchanged in the Budget. The White Paper is available on www.budget.gov.ie and was published on 5 December last.

Non Voted (Central Fund) Current Expenditure

The main item under non-voted (Central Fund) current Expenditure is debt servicing costs. It is estimated that over the forecast period, interest costs on the national debt will amount to approximately 70% on average of the overall Central Fund expenditure as set out in Table 10 of the Stability Programme Update for the years 2010-2014. As already outlined, the White Paper on Receipts and Expenditure for the year ending 31 December 2010 sets out the detailed pre-Budget breakdown of items under this heading for the period 2009 and 2010. With the exception of debt servicing there was no change to these estimates in the Budget. As the post-budget Exchequer Borrowing Requirement was lower than that set out on a pre-budget basis in the White Paper, savings of the order of €200 million on debt interest costs were factored into the budgetary arithmetic.

Non-Voted Capital Expenditure

The main item under Non-Voted Capital Expenditure is FEOGA payments. FEOGA payments are short term payments to finance Agriculture CAP expenditure in the final quarter of the year, in particular the Single farm payment. The CAP expenditure is fully funded by the European Union but recoupment is paid in arrears. Therefore FEOGA payments in the final quarter of the year are financed by the Exchequer and recouped from the EU in the following year and recorded as a Capital Resource. Therefore FEOGA is neutral on the Exchequer over time.

Capital Resources

The main item under Capital Resources are, as outlined above, FEOGA receipts. The other main components under this heading are other EU receipts, such as Cohesion Fund and ERDF receipts.

Non-Tax Revenue

The main components of Non-Tax Revenue are the surplus incomes from the Central Bank and the National Lottery and dividends on shares held by the Minister for Finance in State and other companies. In relation to the 2010 forecast for non-tax revenue, this figure also includes the one-off receipt of €140 million in respect of the winding up of Ulysses securitisation and the transfer to the Exchequer of €1 billion in respect of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008.

Aggregate forecasts for each of the headings above, for the years 2011-2014, are set out in Table 10 on page C.20 of Budget 2010. Details of the end-2009 outturn for each of these headings will be published by the Department of Finance on 5 January 2010.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

69 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the basis for his forecast of capital receipts for the period 2009-14 as set out in the Table 10 of the stability programme update; the principal components of those receipts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47869/09]

Expenditure receipts, or Appropriations-in Aid, are Departmental receipts which, with the approval of the Dáil, may be retained by a Department or Office to offset expenses instead of being paid into the Exchequer Account of the Central Fund. The forecast of capital receipts set out in Table 10 is based on figures provided by Departments in respect of their Votes. The bulk of capital receipts forecast for 2010 is accounted for by transfers to the Department of Transport under the Local Government Fund of €429.3 million. There is also a once off figure in 2010 of €50 million in respect of Asset Disposals by the HSE. The remaining €56.7 million is largely in respect of expected EU receipts spread over a number of Departments. Forecasts for future years are indicative and are largely based on the same components, with the exception of the once-off receipts from the HSE.

Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 66.

Tax Yield.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

71 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield from income levies in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47871/09]

The Income Levy is collected by the Revenue Commissioners as a component of Income Tax. In Budget 2010, it was forecast that income tax receipts of €11,530 million would be collected in 2010. The precise breakdown of this target between the individual components of Income Tax will be finalised in the context of preparing the monthly profiles by tax-head. As is customary, the monthly profiles for the forthcoming year are prepared following an analysis of the end-year outturn of the current year. However, at this stage it is expected that the yield from the income levy will be of the order of €1½ billion in 2010. Monthly profiles by tax-head will be published in January 2010.

Tax Code.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

72 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the 2% levy on incomes between €15,028 and €75,036; the expected yield from that levy in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47872/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

73 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the 4% levy on incomes between €75,036 and €174,980, the expected yield from that levy in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47873/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

74 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the 6% levy on incomes over €174,980; the expected yield from that levy in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47874/09]

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

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yields to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2010 incomes, of applying an increase of 1% to each of the current income levy rates of 2%, 4%, and 6% would be approximately €596 million, €48 million, and €43 million respectively. The corresponding yields in 2010 would be of the order of €431 million, €30 million and €22 million respectively. The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

75 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the 4% health levy rate, the expected yield from that levy on incomes up to €75,036 in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47875/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

76 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the 5% health levy rate; the expected yield from that levy on incomes over €75,036 in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47876/09]

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

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer from applying a 1% change to the 4% health levy rate on incomes up to €75,036 and a 1% change to the 5% health levy rate on incomes over €75,036 is estimated at €462 million and €90 million respectively. The corresponding yield in 2010 would be of the order of €336 million and €52 million respectively. The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2007 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends for the year 2010. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

77 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the breakdown of the programme changes that will be made in his Department, the Office of Public Works and the Revenue Commissioners to achieve the savings set out in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47895/09]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the programme changes to achieve the savings indicated in the Budget will be made across the range of business programmes, while priority will be given to supporting front line and customer services. The allocations set out in the Budget Estimates will be elaborated upon in due course in the Revised Estimates Volume and the outputs to be achieved with those allocations will be set out in the 2010 Output Statements.

Departmental Bodies.

Michael McGrath

Question:

78 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the public service bodies including, inter alia, State agencies, State bodies and commercial State companies whose employees are not subject to the public sector pension levy; the number of employees working for each body; the approximate annual payroll bill for each body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47929/09]

The pension-related deduction applies to those bodies defined as a ‘public service body' in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009. The bodies to which the definition of ‘public service body' does not apply are set out in the Schedule to that Act and are listed hereunder. The pension-related deduction does not apply to these organisations. I regret I do not have immediately to hand the details sought by the Deputy in relation to the number of employees working for each body or the associated payroll costs. The organisations concerned are:

1.Any body corporate established by Act of Parliament before 6 December 1922 that, upon its establishment, was of a commercial character.

2. Dublin Airport Authority, public limited company.

3. Cork Airport Authority, public limited company.

4. Shannon Airport Authority, public limited company.

5. Bord Gáis Éireann.

6. Bord na gCon.

7. Bord na Móna.

8. Córas Iompair Éireann.

9. Coillte Teoranta.

10. Electricity Supply Board.

11. Eirgrid.

12.A harbour authority within the meaning of the Harbours Act 1946 or company to which section 7 of the Harbours Act 1996 relates.

13. Horse Racing Ireland.

14. Irish National Stud Company Limited.

15. Irish Aviation Authority.

16. An Post.

17. An Post National Lottery Company.

18. Radio Teilifís Éireann.

19. Teilifís na Gaeilge.

20. Railway Procurement Agency.

21. Voluntary Health Insurance Board.

22. A subsidiary of a body to which the Schedule to the Act relates, including a subsidiary of any such subsidiary.

Michael McGrath

Question:

79 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the public service bodies including, inter alia, any State agencies, State bodies and commercial State companies whose employees are not subject to the public sector pay reduction under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill 2009; the number of employees working for each body, the approximate annual payroll bill for each body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47930/09]

The public service bodies whose employees are not subject to the public service pay reduction under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill 2009 are stated in the Schedule to that Bill which passed all Stages in the Dáil yesterday. The list is attached below. I do not have the details sought by the Deputy in relation to the number of employees working for each body, or the associated payroll costs. With the exception of the Chief Executives of the commercial State-sponsored bodies, the Minister is not responsible for setting the rate of pay for employees of any of the bodies listed.

1.Any body corporate established by Act of Parliament before 6 December 1922 that, upon its establishment, was of a commercial character.

2. Dublin Airport Authority, public limited company.

3. Cork Airport Authority, public limited company.

4. Shannon Airport Authority, public limited company.

5. Bord Gáis Éireann.

6. Bord na gCon.

7. Bord na Móna.

8. Córas Iompair Éireann.

9. Coillte Teoranta. 10. Electricity Supply Board.

11. EirGrid.

12.A harbour authority within the meaning of the Harbours Act 1946 or company to which section 7 of the Harbours Act 1996 relates.

13. Horse Racing Ireland.

14. Irish National Stud Company Limited.

15. Irish Aviation Authority.

16. An Post.

17. An Post National Lottery Company.

18. Raidió Teilifís Éireann.

19. Teilifís na Gaeilge.

20. Voluntary Health Insurance Board.

21. Railway Procurement Agency.

22. National Treasury Management Agency.

23.A subsidiary of a body to which this Schedule relates, including a subsidiary of any such subsidiary.

Tax Yield.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

80 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Finance the amount of income tax paid by persons in the Waterford area for the years 2004 to 2009 broken down by year. [47967/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the exact information sought for income tax on a county basis is not available. However, Revenue sheriffs, county registrars or their officers operate for the purposes of enforcement of tax debt within certain geographical boundaries known as a "bailiwick" which equates geographically with "county". Data on the net receipts of some taxes can be linked to bailiwicks to provide an estimated breakdown of receipts on a county basis. The table sets out the estimated breakdown of net income tax receipts for Waterford City and County, for the years 2004 to 2008 inclusive. Corresponding figures for 2009 will not be available until some time after the end of the year.

Year

PAYE

Income Tax (non-PAYE)

€m

€m

2004

131.8

53.8

2005

135.7

59.5

2006

141.7

65.8

2007

149.4

73.7

2008

138.0

68.1

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. Self-employed persons are associated on the tax record with the address at which the business is located, which may be in a different city or county to the home address.

Tax Code.

Michael Creed

Question:

81 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance if he will review the impact of tax individualisation in circumstances when due to a disability a spouse is not in a position to take up employment opportunities outside the home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47981/09]

The position is that a married one income couple benefit from a standard rate band of €45,400 which is €9,000 higher than the single rate band. They also have the benefit of the married person's credit in the amount of €3,660, which is double the single credit. Where the stay-at-home spouse in a married one earner couple cares for a dependent person, e.g. their child or an elderly relative, the couple may benefit from an entitlement to the home carer tax credit, which has a value of €900. The Commission on Taxation considered the issues associated with tax individualisation in its 2009 report. The Commission concluded that the present arrangements with regard to band structure and credits which apply to married one-earner and married two-earner couples should remain in place.

Flood Relief.

Michael Creed

Question:

82 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 78 of 10 December 2009, the amount of funding made available by the Office of Public Works to Cork County Council in 2009 for localised minor flood mitigation works; the allocation which it is proposed to make to Cork County Council in 2010 for these works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47982/09]

A total of €31,500 was allocated by the Office of Public Works to Cork County Council following assessment of applications received from the Council in respect of localised minor flood mitigation works in 2009. The OPW will be writing to Local Authorities shortly in relation to funding for flood mitigation works they propose to undertake in 2010. If a submission is made by Cork County Council, it will be evaluated, along with all other applications received, having regard to the total funding available for such works.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

83 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the agencies under his remit that process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48013/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

84 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48027/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

85 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48043/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

86 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48057/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 to 86, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of bodies under the aegis of my Department is outlined in the table.

Name of body

Comment

National Treasury Management Agency

The National Treasury Management Agency has a role in the collection of payments.

Five staff are involved in: Collecting commitment fees due from designated institutions in connection with the NTMA’s role under the Asset Covered Securities Act Collecting fees due from eligible institutions in connection with the NTMA’s role as scheme operator of the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme Collecting repayments and reimbursements from state authorities in connection with the NTMA’s role as the State Claims Agency Collecting reimbursements from state authorities in respect of the National Development Finance Agency.The National Treasury Management Agency does not have a role in carrying out inspections, issuing licences or processing entitlement payments.

State Laboratory

The State Laboratory has a role in the collection of payments. It provides an analytical service to coroners, Irish Medicines Board and some hospitals and charge for this service. In 2008, €469,000 was collected and there are 1.6 staff involved in the collection of these payments.The State Laboratory does not have a role in carrying out inspections, issuing licences or processing entitlement payments.

Commission for Public Service Appointments

The Commission for Public Service Appointments has a role in the issuing of licences. It deals with applications for recruitment licences to certain public service bodies who wish to carry out their own recruitment to positions as defined in the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004. In 2009 the Commission have issued two licences. Three staff are involved in this application process.The Commission for Public Service does not have a role in carrying out inspections, processing payments or processing entitlement payments.

Valuation Office

The Valuation Office has a role in carrying out inspections. There are a total of 86 Valuer staff in the Valuation Office engaged in the inspection of properties for valuation purposes. The core function of the Office is the valuation of properties for local authority rates. The Office also provides some valuation services to Government Departments and public bodies.The Valuation Office does not have a role in issuing licences, processing payments or processing entitlement payments.

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that data relating to staff deployment are not maintained in a manner which directly corresponds with the question. However, they have supplied me with the following breakdown of staff numbers, by their main business programmes, which may be helpful.

Programme

Number of staff*

Audit

864

Investigation and Enforcement

409

Compliance

807

Prosecution

84

Debt Management

423

Customer Service

2,149

Financial Management

116

Revenue Accounting and Banking

132

*Figures at 25 November 2009.

Within these broad classifications individual officers may have several "roles" as defined in the questions. For example staff in the Collector General's Division carry out tasks associated with payments, checking and licences. The same applies to many Revenue officials. I have been informed by the Office of Public Works that they are currently examining their processes and will forward a response directly to the Deputy.

Bank Closures.

Frank Feighan

Question:

87 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance if he will investigate the decision by the Danish owned National Irish Bank to close 25 branches and businesses here leaving many communities financially stranded and isolated and if he will have the relevant authorities at his disposal examine the background to this decision. [48066/09]

While I regret the closure of any bank branches the Deputy will no doubt appreciate that the provision of services by banks, including the location of branches, is a commercial decision for the banks. The Deputy might wish to note that there is a provision in the Financial Regulators Consumer Protection Code which imposes certain obligations on banks who have decided to close or move a branch in a given location. The relevant provision states:

"Where a credit institution plans to close or move a branch it must inform affected consumers in writing at least 3 months in advance and advise the Financial Regulator immediately thereof. The wider local community should also be informed, in advance, through notification in the local press."

This advance notification requirement is designed to give existing consumers the necessary time to choose another credit institution.

Tax Code.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

88 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Finance his views on the correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48085/09]

The recommendation for the immediate abolition of Stamp Duty in current economic conditions would see Exchequer receipts fall even further, at a time when it is vital to preserve resources. While the correspondence forwarded by the Deputy relates to Stamp Duty, it relates primarily to Stamp Duty on property. It is estimated that Stamp Duty net receipts for 2009 will be in the region of €900m, of which it is expected that residential property will account for €143m and non-residential for €160m. These estimated figures are based on the yield in the year to date. Should Stamp Duty be abolished, this loss to the Exchequer would have to be made up elsewhere. Stamp Duty on property will be reviewed in the context of potential changes to the taxation of property, such as the Commission on Taxation's recommendation to introduce a residential property tax and the commitment in the renewed Programme for Government to introduce a Site Valuation Tax on non-agricultural land.

Pension Provisions.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

89 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 111 of 9 December 2009, if he will provide the details of the 25 pensions with additional awards approved by him in tabular form including details such as job title, grade, value of additional notional payment in each case and date of award; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48132/09]

Further to Parliamentary Question No. 111 of 9 December 2009, the following tables below set out the value to the 25 individuals concerned of the award of notional service in terms of additional pension (annual cost) and lump sum (once-off cost). As the numbers involved are small in each year any further breakdown by job title, date or grade as requested would not be appropriate. However, I can say that 18 of the individuals concerned were in the Health sector, 3 in the Civil Service, and 4 in other areas of the Public Service. In almost every case the actual post in question was abolished. Awards of notional service ranged from just under 1 year to 10 years.

2007

Pension

Lump Sum

1

6,956

25,888

2

14,506

43,518

3

4,759

14,277

4

5,834

17,500

5

7,079

21,236

6

9,159

27,476

7

12,308

36,926

8

13,896

41,686

9

2,619

7,857

2008

Pension

Lump Sum

10

12,761

39,541

11

15,976

47,925

12

14,532

43,595

13

12,569

37,707

14

3,240

9,720

15

2,999

8,996

16

5,803

17,411

17

19,283

42,243

18

34,433

65,090

2009

Pension

Lump Sum

19

17,171

51,513

20

9,171

27,512

21

1,257

3,772

22

14,065

42,193

23

14,891

44,673

24

11,623

34,748

25

11,097

33,290

Tax Code.

Phil Hogan

Question:

90 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Finance the way a carbon tax of €15 a tonne will change the price of a litre of unleaded gasoline, a litre of diesel, housing natural gas kWh, 1,000 litres of household fuel oil, a bale of briquettes, a tonne of domestic coal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48138/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners a carbon tax at a rate of €15 per tonne should impact on the price of the goods highlighted by the Deputy as set out in the table below. It should be noted that a carbon tax came into effect on 10 December 2009 in respect of petrol and auto-diesel. The carbon tax on heating products will come into effect from 1 May 2010, and solid fuels by commencement order from a later date.

Fuel Type

Unit

Pre Budget Price

Carbon tax per unit @ €15 (Vat inc.)

% Change in price

%

Auto-diesel

Litre

1.10

0.049

4.4

Petrol

Litre

1.19

0.042

3.5

Kerosene

1,000 litres

516.00

43.14

8.4

Marked Gas Oil

1,000 litres

539.00

46.87

8.7

LPG

1,000 litres

720.00

27.97

3.9

Natural Gas

13750 kWh

800.00

47.86

6.0

Peat Briquette

Bale

3.85

0.39

10.1

Coal

Tonne

405.00

44.83

11.1

Departmental Expenditure.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

91 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Finance in view of the underspend of approximately €35 million on energy efficiency schemes in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, his views on the allocation in February 2009 of €75 million for this purpose; if he is satisfied that the system of allocation of grants was sufficiently efficient to ensure the money was spent; the measures he is taking now to address the serious underspend; the discussions he has had with Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources regarding an outturn which shows an underspend of over 50% of capital funding in that Department on energy efficiency measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48205/09]

The Government decided, in February of this year, as part of a reallocation of funds across Departments to make an additional €75 million available for labour intensive investment in home insulation and energy efficiency measures. €36.5 million of this additional funding was allocated to the two insulation schemes operated under the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, by Sustainable Energy Ireland, the Warmer Homes Scheme and the Home Energy Savings Scheme.

My Department monitors expenditure trends by all Departments and was aware that expenditure on energy efficiency schemes by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources was running behind profile during 2009. This was a matter in the first instance for the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources. I understand that due to the need to set up the appropriate systems and resources in advance of its opening the Home Energy Saving Scheme opened to applications on 25 March 2009 and applicants had six months from the date of acceptance of their application by SEI to complete works and draw down the grant. This inevitably meant that it was the Autumn before any significant level of drawdown commenced. I am informed that significant commitments have now been incurred on foot of applications under the Home Energy Saving Scheme and that Minister Ryan is confident that allocations for 2010 for energy efficiency will be spent.

The Government attaches high importance to energy efficiency schemes which is why, in my recent Budget, I allocated €90 million for the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in 2010 for a National Energy Efficiency Retrofit Programme.

Flood Relief.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

92 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the flooding at Cockstown West, Ardrahan, County Galway in which two houses have been flooded for the past three weeks and are still under water (details supplied); if the Office of Public Works has a plan to minimise the extent of the flooding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48208/09]

Office of Public Works Engineers met with the owner of the properties at Cockstown West, Ardrahan referred to by the Deputy. As a result, the property owner has, within the past week, submitted to the OPW a report prepared by his Engineer in relation to the flooding problem. This report is currently being considered.

Under a scheme introduced this year, the OPW will shortly be writing to all Local Authorities seeking prioritised applications for funding for localised minor flood mitigation works that the Authorities propose to undertake in 2010. If Galway County Council submits an application in relation to works at Ardrahan that meet the economic and environmental eligibility criteria of this scheme, it will be considered, along with any other applications received from the Council and other Local Authorities, having regard for the overall funding available for such works.

Tax Code.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

93 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance, further to his budget announcement regarding the extension of mortgage interest for home owners in negative equity, the basis and the person by whom it is determined that a home owner has negative equity status. [48209/09]

As I announced in my Budget, mortgage interest tax relief will be extended until 2017 for those who took out a qualifying home loan in 2004 or after. Tax relief at current rates for the first seven years will be available for qualifying loans taken out up to 1 July 2011 and at a reduced level once the seven years is complete, until 2017. Transitional tax relief, also at a reduced level, will be available from 1 July 2011 for qualifying loans for the following 18 months up to end 2012. There will be no relief for interest paid on home loans taken out after that date and the entire scheme will terminate in 2017. Full details will be provided in the Finance Bill.

Many of those who purchased homes from 2004 onwards, when house prices were at their peak, may now find themselves in negative equity, depending on the particular circumstances of the purchase. However, qualification for the extension of mortgage interest tax relief is based on the commencement date of a qualifying home loan and not the equity status of the mortgage holder's home. Put simply, negative equity will not be a criterion for eligibility for tax relief on the interest payable on qualifying home loans.

National Monuments.

Mary Upton

Question:

94 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the proposed Kennedy memorial homestead, County Wexford; the estimated cost of this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47393/09]

The Minister for Finance announced in Budget 2010 that he wishes to mark, in a modest way, the life and work of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy by assisting a project at the Kennedy Homestead. The Office of Public Works intends to initiate detailed discussions with the owners of the Kennedy Homestead in Dunganstown and with other key stakeholders, such as Wexford County Council, with a view to developing proposals, which could form either specific works or more general support for the Homestead. The Office of Public Works would be particularly interested in identifying projects, which could strengthen the link between the Homestead and the nearby JFK Arboretum. It is hoped that discussions can get under way in the New Year.

Disabled Drivers.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

95 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the high and low rates of mobility allowance which will apply in 2010. [47744/09]

In 2010the Higher Rate of Mobility Allowance for non-beneficiaries of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (DD&DP) Scheme will be €208.50 per month. The Lower Rate for eligible beneficiaries of the DD&DP Scheme will be €104.25 per month.

Medical Cards.

John Perry

Question:

96 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will ensure a person (details supplied) in County Sligo will have their general practitioner visit card reinstated as a matter of urgency. [47745/09]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists.

John O'Mahony

Question:

97 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) will be called for their cerebral angiogram in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, prior to the date they have been given. [47750/09]

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

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

98 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will assist in having a person (details supplied) transferred from an acute hospital to a community hospital. [47756/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

99 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47761/09]

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

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Question:

100 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [47769/09]

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

Finian McGrath

Question:

101 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [47771/09]

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.

Hospital Services.

Phil Hogan

Question:

102 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will assist a person (details supplied) in respect of an ENT procedure at Waterford Regional Hospital. [47779/09]

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

Adoption Services.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

103 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will clarify if post adoption services will be included in the Adoption Bill for the 40,000 plus adopted people here and the children who will be adopted; if she will include a tracing service for adopted persons; and if she will address the issue of adoption certificates for adopted people who can only obtain them in a different way from the rest of the population. [47781/09]

Under the new Bill, there is no specific provision to provide post adoption services. Adopted children have, and will continue to have, the same eligibility and entitlements to health and personal social services and special education needs as any child in Ireland. However, the Bill does make statutory provision for the notification by adoptive parents of the adoption on return to Ireland with a child. This notification must be made both to the Adoption Authority for the purposes of registering the child as well as to the HSE, so that the child receives all of the normal child health surveillance services available through the public health system.

As regards information and tracing for adopted persons, again, the Bill does not cover this area as there is already an effective administrative system for dealing with the issue of information and tracing. The Information and Tracing Unit in the Adoption Board provides an advice and referral service for those seeking to trace or to obtain medical or personal information. The National Adoption Contact Preference Register (NACPR) assists adopted people and their natural families to make contact with each other, exchange information, or to state their contact preferences.

In November 2007, the Adoption Board launched the "Standardised Framework for the Provision of a National Adoption Information and Tracing Service" to set standards and provide guidance and advice for information and tracing services providers nationally. In relation to Information and Tracing for persons adopted from abroad, I understand that subject to resources, the Adoption Board intends to undertake a consultation process with interested parties to determine how best to address the information and tracing needs of those who have been adopted from abroad.

The provisions governing the registration of domestic adoptions and the issue of birth certificates drawn from the register of adoptions are set out in section 22 of the Adoption Act, 1952. Under these provisions, the Registrar General is charged with maintaining an Adopted Children Register and also to keep an index to make traceable the connection between each entry and the corresponding entry in the register of births. The index is not open to public inspection and no information from it may be given to any person except by order of a Court or of the Adoption Board. A certified copy of an entry in the Adopted Children Register, if purporting to be issued under the seal of Oifig an Ard-Chláraitheora, shall, without further proof, be received as evidence of the facts stated therein and any requirement of law for the production of a certificate of birth shall be satisfied by the production of such certified copy.

Under the above provisions, birth certificates for adopted persons are available only from the Office of the Registrar General. While it is appreciated that this may cause a degree of inconvenience in certain instances the security and confidentiality of the Adopted Children Register is of paramount importance and it is for this reason only that the restriction on availability exists. For this reason also, there are no plans to amend the legislation to change the current arrangements in relation to this matter.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

104 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff employed by her Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47799/09]

There were 529.31 WTEs employed in my Department at the beginning of 2009. An additional 24.17 WTEs transferred into my Department during the year as a result of the transfer of youth affairs responsibilities from the Department of Education and Science, other functions from the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and the dissolution of the National Council on Aging and Older People and the Women's Health Council under the rationalisation of agencies programme.

Even allowing for these additions, the overall number of people employed at the end of November 2009 had fallen by 40.03 WTEs to 489.28 WTEs. This represents an overall decrease of nearly 8% since the start of the year. Staffing levels in my Department over the coming years will be decided in consultation with the Department of Finance and taking account of the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes. Account will also be taken of the outcome of the review of my Department under the Organisational Review Programme (ORP), which is being carried out under the aegis of the Department of An Taoiseach. The ORP Report on the review of my Department is expected shortly.

The distribution of staffing across the Department at the end of November is as follows:

Distribution of Staffing across the Department

WTE

Department of Health & Children

439.03

Adoption Board

31.25

Office of the Ombudsman for Children

9.00

Health Repayment Scheme Appeals Office

7.00

Office of the Disability Appeals Officer

3.00

Total

489.28

Serving numbers in my Department are collated at the end of every month and the December 2009 figures are not therefore available yet .

Foreign Adoptions.

Denis Naughten

Question:

105 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the interim measures she intends to put in place in respect of foreign adoption applicants who have submitted applications in advance of the enactment of the Adoption Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47817/09]

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

The current policy position, as set out in the Adoption Bill 2009, is that for an adoption to be registered under the Bill it must be effected in a contracting State to the Hague Convention or in a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement. For non-Hague countries only those adoptions effected prior to the commencement of the new law can be registered on the Register of Inter-Country Adoptions to be established under the Bill. The issue of transitional measures for prospective parents who are at a definable stage in the adoption process when the Bill is enacted and who wish to continue to adopt a child from a non-Hague, non-bilateral country, is being examined. Prospective adoptive parents have waited a long time and it is my intention to be as flexible as possible in relation to applicants.

Hospital Services.

Denis Naughten

Question:

106 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in upgrading the sterilisation facilities at Roscommon County Hospital; when construction will commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47826/09]

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

Health Services.

Billy Timmins

Question:

107 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 515 of 3 November 2009, the position regarding the home care package for west Wicklow; if in view of the need for new applicants to have access to this funding extra funding can be allocated for this essential package as a matter of urgency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47827/09]

I understand that the Health Service Executive replied to the Deputy's previous question on the 2nd December 2009. In the circumstances, as this is a service matter, the Deputy's question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

108 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will ensure that funding continues to be made available to enable the small number of persons here who have a bone anchor hearing aid have necessary maintenance carried out by the specialist ENT surgeon who attends the Mater Hospital, Dublin (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47844/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Noel Ahern

Question:

109 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of an application for a medical card renewal in respect of a person (details supplied). [47848/09]

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

Health Services.

James Reilly

Question:

110 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of doctors who have contracted to offer general practitioner services in the proposed primary care centre at a site in Castle Islands, Balbriggan, County Dublin; the number of staff and categories of staff who will work at this centre; the range of services that will be offered; the size of the centre; the estimated build cost and site cost; who will fund the project; if there will be diagnostics available in the centre such as X-ray, endoscopy, dexa scanner and so on; if a minor surgery facility for day surgery will be available; if there will be a gym and physio rehabilitation facilities in the building; the completion date for this project; if planning permission has been applied for; if funding has been allocated and maintained in the capital budget for this project; the position regarding the properties in Balbriggan that will become unoccupied if this centre is built; if direct public transport facilities will be available to the centre; the catchment area the centre intends to serve; the projected population of Balbriggan if all zoned lands were built on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47850/09]

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

Vaccination Programme.

Denis Naughten

Question:

111 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children when she intends to roll out the cervical cancer vaccination programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47903/09]

As I have stated on many occasions in the past, I remain committed to the introduction of a cervical cancer vaccination programme at the earliest possible opportunity having regard to clinical priorities and the effective use of available resources.

Mental Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Question:

112 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 208 of 23 June 2009, if she will provide an update on the funding issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47908/09]

On foot of a submission from my Department, €25m of the proceeds of the sales of mental health assets, lodged to the Exchequer in previous years, has now been provided to the HSE through the Supplementary Estimate for 2009, to fund mental health capital developments. The funding will go towards projects such as the development of new child and adolescent units in Cork and Galway, a Community Nursing Unit in Ballinasloe, a day centre in Clonmel etc.

In addition, Budget 2010 has provided for a multi-annual programme of capital investment in high priority mental health projects consistent with ‘ A Vision for Change’ to be funded from further disposals. In 2010 the HSE will proceed to dispose of surplus assets and reinvest an initial sum of €43m in the mental health capital programme. Provision for continued funding of the programme will be made in the 2011 Estimates and subsequent years, in the light of the previous year’s programme of asset sales. The mental health capital programme will provide a range of facilities across the entire spectrum of mental healthcare facilities including acute psychiatric units, child and adolescent units, day hospitals, community nursing units and high support hostels, and will provide the infrastructure necessary to enable its transformation into a patient-centred, flexible and community based mental health service, where the need for hospital admission is greatly reduced, whilst still providing in-patient care when appropriate.

Health Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

113 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of hours being provided under the home help scheme in County Donegal in 2009; the number of hours that will be provided per month in 2010; if she expects this number to be reduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47918/09]

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

General Medical Services Scheme.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

114 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children when a reply will issue from the Health Service Executive to Parliamentary Question No. 145 of 12 November 2009. [47919/09]

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

Hospital Staff.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

115 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of unfilled vacancies at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; the areas in which they are located; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48004/09]

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

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

116 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the agencies under her remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48015/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

117 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of agencies under her remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48029/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

118 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of agencies under her remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48045/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

119 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of agencies under her remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48059/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 119, inclusive, together.

The information requested is being compiled by my Department and will be forwarded to the deputy when available.

Health Service Staff.

Phil Hogan

Question:

120 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Health and Children further to a reply to a previous parliamentary question, if one of the Health Service Executive posts of dedicated officer for elder abuse was the subject of a mediation process; if this reference to a mediation process is a reference to the special mediation process established under the terms of the final framework agreement (details supplied) between the interim HSE and the IMPACT trade union; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48063/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Thomas Byrne

Question:

121 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath. [48067/09]

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

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Question:

122 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff employed in the Health Service Executive by grade category (details supplied) as at the end of 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48068/09]

The Health Service Executive's Health Service Personnel Census indicates that, as at 31/10/2009 (latest figures), the numbers employed in the public health service are as follows:

Numbers (WTE excld. career break) employed in the public health service

Grade category

31/10/2009

Medical/ Dental

8,121.54

Nursing

37,636.11

Health & Social Care Professionals

15,880.29

Management/ Admin

17,708.16

General Support Staff

11,998.60

Other Patient & Client Care

18,724.72

Total

110,069.42

Hospital Staff.

James Reilly

Question:

123 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of staff categories within each grade category, for example the details on all nursing grades; the number of staff per category and the pay scale for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48069/09]

The information requested is being collated in my Department and will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

James Reilly

Question:

124 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of nurses and midwives broken down by grade on 1 January 2005 and the end of June 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48070/09]

The number of nurses and midwives working in the Public Health Service at the beginning of 2005 and at the end of June 2009 are set out in the following table. All figures are expressed in Whole Time Equivalent terms and sourced from the Health Service Personnel Census.

Nurses and Midwives (broken down by grade)

Grade

01/01/2005 WTE

30/06/2009 WTE

Advanced Nurse Practitioner (General)

5.79

40.59

Area Director Nurse & Midwifery Planning & Development

2.00

Clinical Midwife Specialist

10.15

28.58

Clinical Nurse Instructor/Teacher

17.41

53.26

Clinical Nurse Manager 1

1,343.26

1,435.35

Clinical Nurse Manager 1 (Mental Health)

277.11

225.78

Clinical Nurse Manager 1 — Theatre

8.24

18.86

Clinical Nurse Manager 2

2,532.64

2,965.82

Clinical Nurse Manager 2 (Mental Health)

995.44

1,059.73

Clinical Nurse Manager 2 — Night

62.92

58.9

Clinical Nurse Manager 2 — Theatre

114.42

117.98

Clinical Nurse Manager 3

232.88

303.46

Clinical Nurse Manager 3 (Mental Health)

28.83

41.36

Clinical Nurse Manager 3 — Night

86.8

83.03

Clinical Nurse Manager 3 — Theatre

17.40

20.22

Clinical Nurse Specialist (General)

405.13

640.42

Clinical Nurse Specialist, Infection Control

24.50

47.89

Clinical Nurse Specialist (Mental Health)

92.7

153.22

Clinical Skills Development Director

1.00

Director of Nursing 1

19.00

21.90

Director of Nursing 1, Assistant

169.03

246.11

Director of Nursing 2

19.50

22.11

Director of Nursing 2A

14.00

14.00

Director of Nursing 2, Assistant

155.96

210.83

Director of Nursing 3

29.75

27.09

Director of Nursing 3, Assistant

32.00

30.09

Director of Nursing 4

81.15

73.11

Director of Nursing 4, Assistant

25.84

39.20

Director of Nursing 5

48.61

37.54

Director of Nursing, Deputy

3.00

2.00

Director of Nursing (Mental Health)

40.5

28.5

Director of Nursing (Mental Health), Assistant

176.99

171.99

Director of Nursing & Midwifery

2.00

Director of Nursing/ Midwifery Education Centre

13.01

14.72

Director of Public Health Nursing

34.00

28.55

Director of Public Health Nursing, Assistant

139.29

178.38

Director of the Nursing & Midwifery P&D Unit

4.00

5.00

Director of the Nursing & Midwifery P&D Unit, Asst

1.00

2.00

Nurse Planner

1.00

Nurse Tutor

86.05

22.45

Nurse Tutor (Mental Health)

31.39

Nurse Tutor (Midwifery)

12.92

1.80

Nursing/ Midwifery Clinical Placement Co-ordinator

97.05

128.46

Nursing/ Midwifery Practice Development Co-ordinator

22.78

21.85

Nursing Services Director

1

Nursing Unclassified

51.69

45.56

Practice Nurse Facilitator

3.80

6.67

Principal Nurse Tutor

11.58

2.00

Principal Nurse Tutor (Mental Health)

2.00

1.00

Professional Development Nursing Officer

1.00

1.00

Public Health Nurse

1,428.83

1,490.09

Public Health Nurse, Senior (Immunisation)

12.8

1.80

Public Health Nurse, Student

31.98

111.78

Specialist Co-ordinator, Nursing

18.62

21.60

Staff Midwife

549.44

1,026.84

Staff Midwife, Senior

56.45

140.96

Staff Nurse, Community Mental Health

69.06

130.87

Staff Nurse, Dual Qualified (General)

887.95

516.89

Staff Nurse, Dual Qualified (Intellectual Disability)

6.36

Staff Nurse, Dual Qualified (Mental Health)

98.94

71.20

Staff Nurse — General

15,421.73

16,768.20

Staff Nurse General (Community)

36.21

77.58

Staff Nurse — Intellectual Disability

1,114.52

1,215.84

Staff Nurse, Mental Health

2,190.94

2,272.90

Staff Nurse (Psychiatric), Community

32.81

Staff Nurse, Senior (Dual Qualified)

666.96

708.32

Staff Nurse, Senior (Dual-Qualified Mental Health)

106.12

162.86

Staff Nurse, Senior (General)

1,762.02

2,008.35

Staff Nurse, Senior (Intellectual Disability)

125.03

159.05

Staff Nurse, Senior (Mental Health)

1,255.48

1,164.38

Staff Nurse, Senior (Sick Children)

29.32

66.93

Staff Nurse — Sick Children’s

369.69

511.54

Diploma Student Midwife

330.81

Student Midwife

173.32

Student Nurse, General (Degree) *

461.85

Student Nurse, Intellectual Disability (Degree) *

82.33

Student Nurse, Mental Health (Degree) *

136.14

Student Nurse, Sick Children’s (Post Registration)

166.13

76.93

Total

34,312.96

38,281.66

Source: Health Service Personnel Census.

*These students who are on rostered placement, displace nurses at the ratio of 2 students to 1 nurse. For example, in General nursing 922 individual students are counted as 462 WTEs.

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Question:

125 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of psychiatric nurses working in mental health services broken down by grade on 1 January 2005 and the end of June 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48071/09]

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

James Reilly

Question:

126 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of management and administration staff broken down by grade on 1 January 2005 and the end of June 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48072/09]

The information requested will be forwarded directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

James Reilly

Question:

127 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of social workers employed in the Health Service Executive; the various grades of social workers; the number who are job sharing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48073/09]

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

James Reilly

Question:

128 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number and percentage of permanent and temporary posts per grade category in the Health Service Executive as at June 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48074/09]

The number (WTE excl. career break) and percentage of staff in the public health service by category of employment, as recorded in the HSE's health service personnel census by grade category, as at June 2009, is as follows:

Numbers (WTE excl. career break) employed in the public health service, as at June 2009

WTE Permanent

WTE Job-Sharing

WTE Temporary

WTE Locum

WTE Part-time

WTE Sessional

WTE Training

Total WTE

General Support Staff

8,211.82

189.63

1,640.01

431.36

1,916.86

31.25

6.67

12,427.60

Health & Social Care Professionals

11,768.10

275.31

1,946.84

212.91

1,493.56

63.49

196.95

15,957.16

Management/ Admin

13,901.19

548.11

1,507.44

233.22

1,580.97

6.2

0

17,777.13

Medical/ Dental

2,202.39

40.22

1,017.00

195.23

255.55

97.24

4,261.93

8,069.56

Nursing

26,419.06

1,456.58

4,237.50

644.99

4,586.51

24.17

912.85

38,281.66

Other Patient & Client Care

11,952.65

371.66

2,408.51

1,091.33

2,676.83

45.2

1.45

18,547.63

TOTAL

74,455.21

2,881.51

12,757.30

2,809.04

12,510.28

267.55

5,379.85

111,060.74

Percentage in Grade Category in the public health service, as at June 2009

WTE Permanent

WTE Job-Sharing

WTE Temporary

WTE Locum

WTE Part-time

WTE Sessional

WTE Training

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

General Support Staff

66.08

1.53

13.20

3.47

15.42

0.25

0.05

Health & Social Care Professionals

73.75

1.73

12.20

1.33

9.36

0.40

1.23

Management/ Admin

78.20

3.08

8.48

1.31

8.89

0.03

0.00

Medical/ Dental

27.29

0.50

12.60

2.42

3.17

1.21

52.81

Nursing

69.01

3.80

11.07

1.68

11.98

0.06

2.38

Other Patient & Client Care

64.44

2.00

12.99

5.88

14.43

0.24

0.01

TOTAL

67.04

2.59

11.49

2.53

11.26

0.24

4.84

James Reilly

Question:

129 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the level of absenteeism in 2009 in the Health Service Executive; the breakdown of absenteeism among staffing categories; the associated cost of agency staff as a result of this absenteeism; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48075/09]

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

James Reilly

Question:

130 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the average basic annual salary of medical laboratory technicians; the average additional annual payments to medical laboratory technicians in respect of overtime, call out, additional duties or for any other reason; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48076/09]

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

James Reilly

Question:

131 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide a breakdown of the way in which pay savings of €659 million, as announced in budget 2010 will be achieved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48077/09]

The Health Estimate for 2010, as announced on 9th December 2009, provided for a range of measure designed to bring costs into line with what we can afford, rather than reducing services. At the same time, the Government is ensuring that sufficient resources are made available to respond to priority demographic and other needs, particularly in services for older people and cancer, and to support ongoing reform of our public health services.

The Budget provision for the health sector includes €659 million in pay savings, which take account of the Government decisions on public service pay reductions, including:

general pay reductions, and higher reductions for those on higher pay on foot of the recent Report of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration;

a proposed further reduction in the fees payable to certain health professionals;

and savings associated with the moratorium on recruitment and promotion.

The precise manner in which these savings will be achieved in the Health sector is now a matter for my Department, agencies under the aegis of my Department and the Health Service Executive.

Departmental Expenditure.

James Reilly

Question:

132 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of the way in which budget 2010 savings of €141 million in drugs costs will be achieved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48078/09]

I recently had discussions with the representative bodies of the pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking further reductions in the price of drugs supplied to the Health Service Executive (HSE). Planned reductions in ex-factory prices will save €121m in 2010, with knock-on savings of €20m at wholesale and retail level. These savings are in addition to savings of approx €80m in 2010 arising from the terms of the 2006 agreements with the pharmaceutical manufacturers. It is also my intention to introduce a system of reference pricing combined with generic substitution under the GMS and community drugs schemes. This will encourage greater use of cheaper generic alternatives and lead to further savings in the State's drugs bill. The legislation to do this will be introduced during 2010.

James Reilly

Question:

133 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details of the way in which budget 2010 savings of €30 million in dental treatment will be achieved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48079/09]

It has been decided to put a cash limit on the Dental Treatment Scheme in 2010 — based on the expenditure incurred by the Scheme in 2008. My Department has asked the HSE to examine the means of achieving this. I expect the HSE to revert to my Department shortly with its proposals.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

134 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who have applied for the new nursing home package replacing subvention; the number of cases sanctioned to date; if she is satisfied with the progress of the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48088/09]

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

Health Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

135 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to a previous parliamentary question, if she will review the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48128/09]

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

Sean Fleming

Question:

136 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical procedure will be carried out on a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48168/09]

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

Medical Cards.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

137 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the fact that the transfer of the processing of medical card applications for the over 70 years to the Health Service Executive’s primary care reimbursement service is causing hardship and stress to those who are left without medical card cover for long periods due to the delay in processing applications; the steps she will take to have the situation rectified; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48171/09]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

138 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the difficulty being encountered by over 70s medical card applicants in accessing the position regarding the progress of their applications, when they can be 15 minutes or more waiting for their telephone calls to be answered by the reimbursement service telephone line; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48172/09]

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

139 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to delays in processing applications for over 70s medical cards for those whose cards have expired and also for new applicants; and if she will indicate the action she is taking to deal with the situation which is unfair to elderly applicants most of whom have previously held medical cards. [48173/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 to 139, inclusive, together.

The Health Service Executive, with my full support, has decided to centralise the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications and renewals at its Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. 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. The process commenced in January 2009 when the PCRS took over the processing of 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 to the PCRS. The phased implementation allows 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 advised that the transfer of the case load from the two local health offices included a backlog of some 6,500 cases. These are being dealt with as a matter of urgency by the PCRS. 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 providing additional resources to respond to phone queries, the majority of which relate to the outstanding applications. The HSE has advised my Department that local health 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 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. The HSE has advised that when fully implemented, this measure will ensure:

Improved turnaround time for the processing of applications (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.

In relation to the specific issues raised by the Deputy about the processing of medical card applications and reviews in respect of persons aged 70 or over, such persons are now required to undergo a means assessment. Under this assessment the person is required to complete a simplified review form, and provide up-to-date evidence of their income. To date this year, 26,713 reviews in respect of persons aged 70 or over and their dependants have been received in the PCRS. The HSE has reported the following in relation to these reviews:

22,726 (85%) have been completed with eligibility confirmed to the client.

Additional information has been requested from 3,194 persons (12%).

735 (2.8%) are currently going through the assessment process.

58 (0.2%) lost eligibility as their current income is above the income thresholds.

85% of the completed reviews, where all the relevant information was supplied, were completed within 20 days, with 95% completed within 30 days.

The HSE has indicated that it has no control over delays where relevant information is not provided but it has confirmed that when the required information is received, the review is processed without further delay.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

140 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of European Union nationals resident here who are automatically entitled to a medical card irrespective of age or means, pursuant to Regulations (EC) 1408/71; and if she will provide a breakdown on the member states or origin of such medical card holders. [48174/09]

The information sought by the Deputy is not provided by the Health Service Executive to my Department as a matter of routine. Therefore, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

141 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children to explain the reason three public dentist positions remain unfilled in the Cavan and Monaghan area; the duration of these vacancies; when she intends issuing approval for the recruitment of suitably qualified practitioners to fill same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48181/09]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists.

James Reilly

Question:

142 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22, who is in constant pain with a knee problem, and has been referred to an orthopaedic consultant by his general practitioner cannot get an appointment with the consultant for approximately 2.5 years; if she will make representations to have this person’s predicament addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48191/09]

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

Medical Cards.

James Reilly

Question:

143 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if children aged 14 to 16 years of unemployed parents are covered for treatment and examination by dentists under their parents’ medical cards and if she will inquire whether the 14 year old child (details supplied) in County Meath whose parents are unemployed and have a medical card is covered for dental treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48192/09]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

144 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 has to wait 14 months for a heart echocardiogram and angiogram for which they were referred by a consultant doctor at a Dublin hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48201/09]

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

Health Service Staff.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

145 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to proceed with the transfer of community welfare officers from the aegis of the Health Service Executive; the way in which it is intended to ensure that those most in need of the services of the community welfare officers may continue to access the service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48202/09]

The Community Welfare Service (CWS) of the HSE administers the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme (SWA), which includes rent supplement, on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. In February 2006, the Government decided, inter alia, that the CWS should be transferred to that Department. Provision has been made in the Social Welfare and Pensions Acts 2007 and 2008 for the transfer of the administration of the SWA scheme from the HSE to the Department of Social and Family Affairs. These provisions are subject to a commencement order.

On 28 April 2009, the Government considered a report on the progress of the transfer of functions programme. The Government directed that the transfer of the CWS proceed and that the associated industrial relations difficulties be referred to the national IR institutions. In the Renewed Programme for Government October 2009, the Government restated its intention to transfer the Community Welfare Service from the HSE to the Department of Social and Family Affairs in 2010.

There are significant benefits to be achieved in transferring the administration of the SWA from the HSE to the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The Government's priority is to ensure that the transfer is managed in a well-planned and efficient manner, and that a high standard of service to the public is maintained during the transition. The transfer will alleviate pressure on the HSE and facilitate it in concentrating on its core health and personal social service functions. The transfer will not lead to any changes in the exercise of discretion by community welfare officers when dealing with applications for the supplementary welfare allowance. The flexibility and responsiveness which is inherent in the scheme will remain. This flexibility and responsiveness have been very much in evidence in the role community welfare officers have played in providing financial assistance to persons who have been affected by the recent flooding crisis.

A considerable amount of preparatory work for the transfer of the CWS to DSFA has already been completed. The IT, accommodation and financial management aspects are well advanced. The necessary legislative changes have been made and are subject to a Commencement Order. I can also report that all of the relevant parties (my Department, the HSE, the Department of Social and Family Affairs, IMPACT and SIPTU) are actively engaged in intensive discussions, which are being facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission.

State Property.

Michael Ring

Question:

146 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport the reason Mayo County Council is refusing to allow a caretaker’s agreement regarding a venture (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47845/09]

During a meeting between the Irish Coast Guard, the Chief State Solicitor's Office, Mayo County Council and their solicitors on the 11th June 2008, the Coast Guard was advised that such an Agreement was unacceptable at that time. The CSSO Office have advised that the present proposals are unsatisfactory for the Department, and that the Irish Coast Guard would be in a weak position if there was a disagreement in the future which could expose the Department to additional costs.

The Irish Coast Guard has recently reminded Mayo County Council that it is still willing to proceed along the lines of a Caretakers Agreement to allow the volunteers enter the building whilst legal difficulties are corrected and that the Coast Guard would be willing to further pay a reasonable percentage of the remaining monies due on foot of such access. The Director of the Coast Guard and the Director of Services for Mayo County Council are currently dealing directly on the matter and will be meeting today 17th of December at the Council offices in the latest effort to move the issue forward.

Cycle Facilities.

Michael McGrath

Question:

147 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport if his Department has received any proposal from Cork City Council regarding plans to introduce a public bicycle scheme similar to that put in place by Dublin City Council this year. [47923/09]

My Department received an application under the Smarter Travel Project Fund from Cork City Council regarding a proposed feasibility study for a public bike scheme. A total of 121 applications for funding were received, and on this occasion, this application from the Council has not been successful. However, there are other projects in the Cork City area short-listed for funding under the Smarter Travel Project Fund.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

148 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Transport if he has received correspondence from Waterford City Council regarding plans to introduce a public bicycle scheme similar to that put in place by Dublin City Council this year. [47976/09]

I am informed that my Department has no record of having received correspondence from Waterford City Council regarding plans to introduce a public bicycle scheme similar to that put in place by Dublin City Council.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

149 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47798/09]

The number of whole time equivalent staff employed by my Department on 1 January 2009 was 559. The number of whole time equivalent staff employed in my Department on 10 December 2009 was 520.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

150 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport the breakdown of the programme changes that will be made in order to achieve the savings in his Department outlined in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47898/09]

The current allocation for my Department in the recent Budget announced an underlying expenditure cut of €60 million. This is made up of

Pay and administrative savings of €2.9 million which will be achieved through the Incentivised Career Breaks, Shorter Working Year and Incentivised Early Retirement schemes together with cutbacks in travel and incidental expenses across all activities within the Department.

A reduction of €0.65 million in the administrative expenditure of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and of €13.8 million on regional and local road maintenance. The NRA reductions will be achieved by natural wastage and efficiency savings. The regional and local roads reductions will be offset by the combined benefits of falls in material costs, in particular the lower cost of bitumen, and general reductions in construction related costs.

A reduction of €3.5 million in expenditure on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF). This saving is being achieved through efficiencies and cost reductions and will not impact on service delivery in 2010.

A reduction of €27 million in public service provision payments to CIE, which will be achieved through cost reduction and efficiency measures and service adjustments to reflect reduced patterns of demand.

Elimination of €11.1 million in unitary payments on capital expenditure arising from the early repayment of CIE borrowing for capital investment purposes.

A reduction of €1 million in Railway Safety Commission (RSC) administrative expenditure. This will not have any adverse effect on the Commission's regulatory functions as they will be funded by a levy under the Railway Safety Act 2005.

A reduction of €0.35 million in the administrative expenditure of the Railway Procurement Agency which will be met from efficiencies within the organisation.

My Department's capital allocation for 2010 is €2.1 billion which is €298 million lower than the revised Estimates allocation for 2009. The following are the principal changes:

The national roads provision is down €287 million.

The regional and local roads provision is reduced by €21.5 million.

The provision for public transport is only €3 million lower than 2009.

The allocation for carbon reduction measures has been increased by 150% to €25 million.

The regional airports provision is down €3 million and the allocation for the maritime sector is up almost €5 million.

Departmental Reports.

Denis Naughten

Question:

151 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport, further to Parliamentary Question No. 572 of 16 September 2009, the position regarding the review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47905/09]

My Department has completed the review of the Disabled Parking Scheme and I have approved the recommendations in full. I expect the review to be published on the Department's website shortly, and implementation of the recommendations will then get underway.

Departmental Bodies.

Michael McGrath

Question:

152 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport the remuneration package of the chief executive of the Irish Aviation Authority for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; if he has legal power to instruct the authority to change the remuneration package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47924/09]

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) is a commercial state-sponsored company, which was established in 1994 under the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993. Under Section 38 of the Act, the Board of the Irish Aviation Authority decides on the terms and condition of employment (including the remuneration package) of the Chief Executive, following consultation with the Minister for Transport and with the consent of the Minister for Finance. Under Section 39 of the Act, the Authority is required to have regard to Government or nationally agreed guidelines or Government policy concerning remuneration and conditions of employment of staff and to comply with the directive of the Minister for Transport given with the consent of the Minister for Finance

Details of the remuneration of the Chief Executive of the IAA are included in the company's annual report, a copy of which is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas each year. The 2009 accounts have not yet been prepared but will be finalised, audited and published in the early part of 2010 and will contain the details of the remuneration package of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for 2009. I am advised that the CEO took a voluntary 10% pay cut in 2009.

Michael McGrath

Question:

153 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport the details of the remuneration package of the chief executive of Dublin Airport Authority for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009; if he has legal power to instruct the authority to change the remuneration package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47925/09]

Details of the remuneration package of the Chief Executive of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) are included in the company's annual report and a copy of the annual report is laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas each year and is available in the Oireachtas library. Under Section 29(3) of the Air Navigation and Transport Act 1998 the terms and conditions of employment of the DAA CEO are a matter for the Board subject to the consent of the Minister for Transport given with the approval of the Minister for Finance. Moreover, under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, it is the responsibility of the Chairman and Board of each State body to implement Government policy in relation to the total remuneration of the Chief Executive. In this regard the DAA Chief Executive's pay and emoluments must be agreed by the DAA Board within the remuneration levels approved by my Department with the consent of the Department of Finance.

Rural Transport.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

154 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the amount of funding that has been allocated to the rural transport programme under budget 2010; the amount that will be directly allocated to the RTP in total and individually to each of the 36 rural transport companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47993/09]

The provision for the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) 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. Pobal, which administers the RTP on behalf of my Department, makes specific funding allocations to individual RTP community transport groups from funding provided by my Department. Neither I, nor my Department have any role in relation to the specific funding allocations for these groups.

Smarter Travel Policy.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

155 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the increase from €10 million to €25 million for the smarter travel programme under budget 2010; if he will indicate the carbon reduction programmes that will be financed under smarter travel in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47995/09]

When I published Smarter Travel in February this year I indicated that the ambition in that strategy required investment over a long period of time in a series of integrated measures. These measures, whether they involve promoting active travel through cycling and walking, behavioural change through workplace travel plans and use of more energy efficient technology all combine to reduce carbon emissions.

My Department commenced the implementation of Smarter Travel immediately following its publication. I announced a series of investments in cycling and walking infrastructure as well as two funds to support Smarter Travel. The first of these, the Smarter Travel Demonstration Projects Fund, yielded 121 submissions and 35 of these have been shortlisted. When I launched the fund I committed to investment of €3 million per annum. The second fund, the Smarter Travel Demonstration Fund, is estimated at €50 million over 5 years and is aimed at Local Authorities in getting then to adopt an integrated approach in delivering the targets in Smarter Travel at local level. 39 submission were received and 11 have been shortlisted for stage 2 assessment.

I am pleased to announce that the 2010 allocation for Smarter Travel measures has increased significantly. This reflects the Government's commitment to the new strategy despite the difficult economic circumstances. Details of progress on implementing the new agenda are placed on the website www.smartertravel.ie on a quarterly basis.

Departmental Expenditure.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

156 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the status of the proposals on transport contained in the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes; if he is considering implementing any further recommendations on transport from the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47996/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

157 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the €60 million reduction in current expenditure under budget 2010; the programmes and agencies that will be affected by this reduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47997/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 and 157 together.

The Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes recommended full year savings of €127 million in my Department's current expenditure provision. The proposed expenditure reductions included:

A saving of €2.9 million on administrative expenditure, pay and non-pay;

A reduction of €36.2 million on roads and road related expenditure, including €20 million on road maintenance;

A saving of €68 million on public transport expenditure, including €55 million from operational efficiencies among the CIE companies. The balance of €20 million was to be accounted for by savings in aviation and cross-programme expenditures.

The Report also included recommendations on additional revenue raising measures such as asset disposals and road pricing and proposed some organisational restructuring such as the merger of agencies and functions. As part of the preparations for the Budget, my Department submitted a list of possible expenditure reduction options to the Department of Finance which took account of the recommendations in the Report. That submission also included a preliminary evaluation of the non-revenue reduction recommendations in the Report.

The current allocation for my Department in the recent Budget announced an underlying expenditure cut of €60 million. This is made up of

Pay and administrative savings of €2.9million which will be achieved through the Incentivised Career Breaks, Shorter Working Year and Incentivised Early Retirement schemes together with cutbacks in travel and incidental expenses across all activities within the Department.

A reduction of €0.65million in the administrative expenditure of the National Roads Authority (NRA) and of €13.8million on regional and local road maintenance. The NRA reductions will be achieved by natural wastage and efficiency savings. The regional and local roads reductions will be offset by the combined benefits of falls in material costs, in particular the lower cost of bitumen, and general reductions in construction related costs.

A reduction of €3.5million in expenditure on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF). This saving is being achieved through efficiencies and cost reductions and will not impact on service delivery in 2010.

A reduction of €27 million in public service provision payments to CIE, which will be achieved through cost reduction and efficiency measures and service adjustments to reflect reduced patterns of demand.

Elimination of €11.1million in unitary payments on capital expenditure arising from the early repayment of CIE borrowing for capital investment purposes.

A reduction of €1million in Railway Safety Commission (RSC) administrative expenditure. This will not have any adverse effect on the Commission's regulatory functions as they will be funded by a levy under the Railway Safety Act 2005.

A reduction of €0.35 million in the administrative expenditure of the Railway Procurement Agency which will be met from efficiencies within the organisation.

The Report's other recommendations on additional revenue reduction measures and organisational restructuring are under continuing consideration within my Department at present.

Public Transport.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

158 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the public service obligation allocation for CIE, Irish Rail, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus under budget 2010. [47998/09]

The Estimates provision in respect of the public service obligations of the CIÉ companies for 2010 is €276.189 million. Allocation of this provision between the subsidiary companies is a matter for the National Transport Authority in consultation with the companies.

Road Network.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

159 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the 15% reduction in roads improvement and maintenance budget under the 2010 transport capital budget; the road building and maintenance plans that will be affected by the budgetary reductions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47999/09]

As part of the necessary correction to the public finances, the overall budget for the improvement and maintenance of national, regional and local roads will be reduced by 15% from €1.9 billion in 2009 to €1.6 billion in 2010. While reduced, €1.6 billion is still a significant investment in this very important sector and has to be considered in the context of the very high levels of funding provided for roads over the last decade.

In relation to national roads, I should point out that the funding being provided will allow for the Major Interurban (MIU) routes and the upgrading of the M50 to be completed by end 2010 as envisaged under Transport 21. In addition, the 2010 funding will allow the National Roads Authority (NRA) to progress some other strategic road projects. It will, of course, be necessary for the NRA to keep its programme for future years under review in the light of the available public finance.

With regard to regional and local roads, a programme of works for 2010 has yet to be decided. The level of grants allocated to individual authorities is determined each year having regard to a number of factors including the total funds available in a particular year, eligibility criteria for the different grant schemes, road pavement conditions, length of road network, the need to prioritise projects and competing demands from other local authorities. I will be announcing the 2010 regional and local road grant allocations early in the New Year.

Public Transport.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

160 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the capital provision for public transport investment in budget 2010; the Transport 21 infrastructure projects that have no funding allocation for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48000/09]

The capital provision for public transport investment in 2010 is €625 million. This will see the completion of a number of important projects such as:

Western Rail Corridor Phase 1;

Luas extension to Cherrywood;

Kildare Rail Project;

Navan Rail Line Phase 1.

Construction work will continue in 2010 on the Luas extension to Citywest, which is on target for completion in 2011.

In keeping with the commitment in the Renewed Programme for Government, priority is being given to the delivery of Metro North and the DART Underground Programme and the required funding will be provided to advance these projects in 2010. In addition, planning and design work will continue on all other Transport 21 public transport projects with a view to the earliest possible delivery as financial resources become available. Funding is also being provided for a number of important public transport programmes, including railway safety, accessibility, integrated ticketing, traffic management/bus priority and Real Time Passenger Information.

On national roads, the Major Inter Urban network will be fully completed by end 2010, with the following schemes opening to traffic:

N7 Nenagh — Limerick;

N7 Limerick Tunnel;

M7 Castletown — Nenagh;

M7/M8 Portlaoise — Cullahill/Castletown;

N9 Waterford — Knocktopher;

N9 Carlow — Knocktopher Motorway service areas (Tranche 1).

In addition, the M3, Clonee to North of Kells, scheme will complete in 2010 as will the M50 Upgrade. Construction will continue on the N18 Gort to Crusheen, an important element of the Atlantic Road Corridor, and on the N21 Castleisland Bypass. The National Roads Authority are also preparing a number of new projects for delivery by public private partnership, principally on the Atlantic Road Corridor and the N11 route. These will move through procurement during 2010 and some will commence construction in early 2011.

Departmental Expenditure.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

161 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the funding that has been allocated to the Road Safety Authority under budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48001/09]

The 2010 capital allocation for the Road Safety Authority is €200,000. The current expenditure allocation for the same year is being finalised to take account of the pay savings announced on Budget Day.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

162 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the allocation for regional airports and for aviation public service obligations under budget 2010; the way in which this figure compares to the allocations for 2005 to 2009, inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48002/09]

My Department provides financial support to six regional airports in the State: Ireland West Airport Knock, Kerry Airport, Waterford South East Regional Airport, Donegal Airport, Sligo Airport and Galway Airport for airport capital development and operations, as well as Public Service Obligation (PSO) air services connecting these regional airports other than Waterford and Derry Airport to Dublin Airport. The total capital and current expenditure for the years 2005 to 2009 as well as the allocation for 2010 are set out in the following table:

Spent 2005

Spent 2006

Spent 2007

Spent 2008

Spent 2009

Allocation 2010

Capital Expenditure

1,700,000

800,962

1,503,170

9,024,000

4,714,773

3,000,000

Current Expenditure including PSO Air Serviceand operational subvention payments

21,408,163

17,186,000

17,748,000

18,040,459

18,115,758

16,926,000

As regards current spending on PSO Air Services, the spending for the years 2005 to 2009 and allocation for 2010 are as follows:

Spent 2005

Spent 2006

Spent 2007

Spent 2008

Spent 2009

Allocation 2010

PSO Air Services

19,202,000

15,522,000

15,484,000

15,300,000

14,770,758

15,229,496

The 2010 allocation for the PSO Air Services allows for the continuation of contracted services next year.

My Department also provides cross-border funding to Derry City Council for a runway safety project at City of Derry Airport. This is a co-funding arrangement agreed by the Irish and UK Governments. So far, the two Governments have each paid £6.05m Sterling (€7.57m) towards the cost of this project. A balance of £1.09m Sterling (€1.26m) is payable in 2010.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

163 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the agencies under his remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48018/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

164 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48032/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

165 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48048/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

166 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48062/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 163 to 166, inclusive, together.

The following table lists the Agencies under the aegis of my Department and the role they have in processing entitlement payments, the role in carrying out inspections, the role in collection of payments and the role in the issuing of licences.

Name of Agency/Body

Process Entitlement Payments

Carry out inspections

Issue Licences

Collection of payments

Commission for Aviation Regulation

X

X

X

X

Irish Aviation Authority

X

X

X

Commission for Taxi Regulation

X

X

Road Safety Authority

X

X

X

Railway Safety Commission

X

The numbers of staff involved in these various roles are day-to-day operational matters for the Agencies involved.

There are seven agencies under the remit of this Department that are covered by the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003. Each Freedom of Information Officer in these bodies is responsible for collecting the fees where applicable. The bodies concerned are: Commission for Aviation Regulation; Medical Bureau of Road Safety; National Transport Authority; Railway Procurement Agency; Commission for Taxi Regulation; the National Roads Authority and the Marine Casualty Investigation Board.

Departmental Expenditure.

Joe McHugh

Question:

167 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport, further to a recent parliamentary question, if he will confirm a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48156/09]

My Department is awaiting a report on the scale and cost of works while will determine the order in which work will be done. I will review the matter in the second quarter of 2010 and work will commence on one of the stations as soon as funding permits. My hope is that the work will be underway next year.

Departmental Correspondence.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

168 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48086/09]

As the Deputy will be aware, the correspondence in question relates to S.I. No. 471 of 2009 which specifies that Section 132 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 will come into force on 28 February 2010. I have noted the comments contained in that correspondence. The provision in question was commenced having regard to all relevant considerations and to the broad economic context which must inevitably inform policy choices of this nature. It received broad support from all sides of the House.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

169 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47793/09]

The number of whole-time equivalent staff serving in my Department and agencies staffed by it on 1 January and 10 December 2009 was 2,271 and 2,108 respectively. The foregoing figures do not include bodies in the wider Justice sector which recruit their own staff such as the Courts Service, Garda Síochána, Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, Legal Aid Board, Property Registration Authority and non-administrative staff in the Irish Prisons Service.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

170 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the breakdown of the programmatic changes that will be made in order to achieve the savings in his Department outlined in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47897/09]

I can inform the Deputy that despite the current difficult financial climate it has been possible to allocate funding, although at reduced levels in some cases, to most of the existing programmes in respect my Department's Vote. The Deputy will note from the estimates published recently that only two subheads; B.3 Commission for the Victims of the Northern Ireland Conflict and G.18 Graffiti Removal have not been allocated funding in 2010. The Victims Commission had completed its work and the Graffiti Removal activity was a demonstration/pilot project. This work would in the longer term, be for local authorities to champion and direct I have consistently sought to prioritise funding in relation to frontline law enforcement services, particularly those involved in the fight against serious crime. Consistent with this approach is the increased funding allocated to both the Forensic Science and State Pathology Laboratories in 2010. In line with previous years I will continue to ensure that all the Votes under the remit of my Department are managed on a group basis and ensure that resources are prioritised to meet the challenges facing the Justice Sector in 2010, wherever they arise.

Departmental Correspondence.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

171 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his office has received correspondence from a city council (details supplied) in relation to concerns expressed about the conditions at Mountjoy Prison, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47920/09]

I can confirm that correspondence the subject of this Parliamentary Question was in fact addressed to the Director General of the Irish Prison Service. A comprehensive reply has recently issued from my Office.

Courts Service.

Michael McGrath

Question:

172 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will consider extending the role of the small claims court to deal with disputes between businesses involving sums of money below a certain level. [47946/09]

I am currently reviewing the situation in this regard and will make a decision in due course.

Drug Seizures.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

173 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of drugs seized in County Waterford during 2009. [47971/09]

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

Criminal Prosecutions.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

174 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of drug charges brought in County Waterford during 2009. [47972/09]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 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.

Garda Operations.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

175 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí based in County Waterford that were injured in the course of duty during 2009. [47973/09]

I have requested the information sought by the Deputy from the Garda Commissioner and I will write to the Deputy directly when this information is to hand.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

176 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the agencies under his remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48016/09]

I can inform the Deputy that administrative staff of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal process applications for compensation, in the first instance, for submission to Tribunal members who decide if the applications come within the remit of the Scheme and the amount to be awarded in compensation. Currently, there are 4.8 full time equivalent members of staff assigned to the Tribunal.

Richard Bruton

Question:

177 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48030/09]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out below.

Equality Tribunal

11 staff at Equality Officer level have a role in carrying out equal pay inspections.

Garda Síochána Inspectorate

A total of 9 persons including the Chief Inspector and 2 Members of the Inspectorate (both posts currently vacant) are involved in carrying out inspections.

Inspector of Prisons

The Inspector of Prisons is an independent, statutory body, which carries out inspections of prisons and places of detention. There are 3 staff involved in the carrying out of inspections, namely the Inspector and two other staff members. There is a total of 4 staff, including the Inspector, assigned to this Office.

Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO)

One member of IFCO's staff is engaged in inspection work.

Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

On average 2.5 members of staff of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner carry out inspection work.

Private Security Authority (PSA)

The PSA currently has four full and one temporary part-time Inspectors who carry out inspection work.

Reception and Integration Agency (RIA)

There are 6 staff members who are core members of the internal inspection team and an additional 4 staff members who carry out inspections as required. In addition, the RIA has for the past number of years engaged independent assessors with expertise in the field to conduct inspections on its behalf. The independent assessor conducts inspections on every accommodation centre at least once a year.

An Garda Síochána

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

Richard Bruton

Question:

178 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48046/09]

I can inform the Deputy that the information requested is set out below:Courts Service It is estimated that a full time equivalent of 5 people are involved in the central accounts office. In addition to those staff dedicated to the financial accounting aspects of fines collection, there are also staff involved in the wider courts administration system that would have as part of their role an input to the fines administration process, e.g. issuing fines notices, issuing warrants and receipting fines paid into local offices. It is not possible to accurately quantify the numbers involved.

Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner employs 1.5 members of staff who have a role in the collection of payments.

Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO)

The number of IFCO staff involved in the collection of payments is 5.

Legal Aid Board

The Board collects contributions from persons being provided with legal services. This is undertaken by staff in law centres as part of their general duties and it would not be possible to determine the number of staff involved.

Office of the State Pathologist

1 member of staff in the Office of the State Pathologist issues invoices to Coroner's offices (which fall under the remit of the various city and county councils) in respect of post mortem and inquest fees.

Private Security Authority (PSA) The collection of licence fees by the Authority involves 2 staff members.

An Garda Síochána

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

Richard Bruton

Question:

179 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48060/09]

I can inform the Deputy that the information requested is set below:Courts Service In most cases District and Circuit Court staff work on licensing matters as part of their normal work. The Deputy may also wish to note that there are 2 staff who work full-time on licensing matters in the District Court in Dublin. Irish Film Classification Office Two members of staff deal with the issuing of licences in the Irish Film Classification Office. Private Security Authority The Authority’s Licensing Division consists of 14½ staff. An Garda Síochána I have requested this information from the Garda Authorities and I will contact the Deputy when it is to hand.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

180 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the proposal to deport a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48106/09]

I refer the Deputy to my detailed Reply to his earlier Parliamentary Question, No. 112 of Thursday, 2 July, 2009, in this matter. As the Deputy is aware, Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) provides the Minister with powers to amend or revoke a Deportation Order. An application seeking to revoke a Deportation Order must set out new facts or circumstances which have arisen and which were not capable of being advanced at the time the decision to deport was made. My Department has no record of such an application having been made by, or on behalf of, the person concerned. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

181 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress to date in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48107/09]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in March 2008. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that further processing of the application has commenced and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

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

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

182 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the residency status of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48108/09]

The person concerned has been granted temporary permission to remain in the State for a one year period to 14 July 2010. This decision was conveyed to the person concerned by letter dated 14 July 2009 to the last known address as notified by the person concerned. The legal representative of the person concerned was also notified of this decision.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

183 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status of an application for citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48109/09]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in April 2007. I decided in my absolute discretion to grant a certificate of naturalisation and the person in question was informed of that decision in a letter issued to him on 18 November, 2009. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that documentation was requested to finalise his application on 11 December, 2009. On receipt of the requested documentation a certificate of naturalisation will issue to the person concerned.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

184 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48110/09]

I refer the Deputy to my Reply to his recent Parliamentary Question, No. 275 of Tuesday, 17 November 2009. The position in the State of the person concerned is as set out in that Reply.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

185 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the delay in issuing citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48111/09]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in November 2007. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 24 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that processing of the application is at an advanced stage and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

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

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

186 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will re-examine the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48112/09]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 16th May, 2000. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The person concerned was informed by letter dated 29th July 2002 that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given three options in accordance with Section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), to be exercised within 15 working days. Namely, to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to the making of a Deportation Order or to make representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why he should not be deported.

His case was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999, (as amended), and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended), on the Prohibition of Refoulement. On 5th August 2003, the then Minister refused permission to remain temporarily in the State and instead signed a Deportation Order in respect of the person concerned. Notice of the Order was served by registered post requiring the person concerned to ‘present' to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. The person concerned continues to meet the presentation requirements of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (G.N.I.B.) in accordance with Section 8(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended. The matters raised in the more recent correspondence are currently under consideration. The person concerned should continue to meet GNIB's presentation requirements.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

187 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the residency status of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48113/09]

The person concerned, accompanied by her child, applied for asylum on 9 February 2006. This application was withdrawn on 15 February 2006 by the person concerned. Arising from the withdrawal of her asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 17 July 2007, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against her. She was also notified, of her entitlement to submit an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State. Representations were submitted on behalf of the person concerned at that time.

The person concerned also made an application for permission to remain in the State on the basis of being a parent of an Irish Citizen child, born in the State before 1 January 2005, in accordance with the revised arrangements announced by the then Minister on 15 January 2005, commonly referred to as the IBC/05 scheme. This application was received after the Scheme's closing date of 31 March 2005 and the person concerned was informed of the rejection of her application by letter dated 23 July 2009.

The position in the State of the person concerned will now be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned. The cancellation of the passport of the child of the person concerned is not a matter for which my Department has responsibility.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

188 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency or naturalisation in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48114/09]

The first named person concerned applied for asylum on 21 June 2002. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the first named person concerned was informed, by letter dated 14 April 2003, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. Representations were submitted on behalf of the first named person concerned at that time.

His case was examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement and all representations received were considered in arriving at a decision in his case. On 28 June 2004 a Deportation Order was signed in respect of the first named person concerned. Notice of this Order was served by registered post dated 11 January 2005. This communication advised the first named person concerned of the legal requirement that he present himself at the Offices of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) on 20 January 2005 in order to make travel arrangements for his deportation from the State. The first named person concerned failed to ‘present' on this occasion and, as such, was classified as evading his deportation.

On 14 August 2008, an application for revocation of the Deportation Order, under Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), was submitted on behalf of the first named person concerned. This application is under consideration in my Department at present. When a decision has been made on this application, the first named person concerned will be notified in writing of that decision and of the consequences of the decision. The second named person concerned was granted refugee status in the State in 2003. This decision was conveyed to the second named person concerned by letter dated 13 June 2003.

Refugee Status.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

189 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the procedures followed in the application for refugee and residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6; if he will review the issue on the basis of changed circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48115/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question no. 222 of 3rd April, 2008. The status of the person concerned remains as set out in that reply. The person concerned continues to meet the presentation requirements of the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in accordance with Section 8(1)(b) of the Immigration Act 1999, as amended. He is due to present again on 7th January, 2010. I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum and for temporary leave to remain in the state, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport him is justified.

However, if new information or circumstances have come to light, which have a direct bearing on his case and which have arisen since the original decision to deport was made, there remains the option of applying to me for revocation of his Deportation Order pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act, 1999, as amended. However I wish to make clear that such an application would require substantial grounds to be successful. The effect of the Deportation order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

190 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the process of citizenship will be completed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48116/09]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in February 2008. I decided in my absolute discretion to grant a certificate of naturalisation and the person in question was informed of that decision in a letter issued to her on 10 June, 2009. Documentation requested from the person concerned in order to finalise her application was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department on 4 November, 2009.

In practice, a necessary period of time elapses while applications that have been approved have their certificates of naturalisation prepared, as certificates must be printed, signed and sealed under strict controls. A certificate of naturalisation will issue to the person concerned in the near future.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

191 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the residency status of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48117/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply given to Question number 291 of 7th October, 2009. The position remains unchanged. The person concerned continues to evade deportation and is therefore liable for arrest and detention. He should present himself to the Garda without further delay.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

192 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 171 of 3 December 2009, if his attention has been drawn to correspondence from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment in the case a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if he will further extend residency in the case of their spouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48125/09]

Long term residency is granted on the basis that a non-EEA national has completed five years legal residency in the State on work permit / work authorisation / working visa conditions. Residency is calculated from the corresponding stamp 1 or stamp 4 endorsements in an applicant's passport and not by the dates of commencement and expiry of each work permit. Periods of time where a person has not had legal residency cannot be counted in any application for long term residency.

As previously stated in Parliamentary Question 171 on 3 December 2009, an application for long term residency for the first named person is currently being processed. A decision is likely to be reached by mid-2010. It is advised that all applicants keep their permission to remain in the State up to date while their application is pending.

In relation to the correspondence from the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment, referred to by the Deputy, I can confirm that it is on file and the only purpose that it serves is to confirm the validity dates of work permits issued to the person concerned. The second person in question currently has an application for renewal of his permission to remain under consideration. A decision will issue in due course.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

193 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 219 of 2 December 2009, if an examination was sufficiently detailed to justify the outcome in the case of persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48126/09]

As I stated in my reply to Question number 219 of 2nd December last, I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum, for temporary leave to remain in the State and for Subsidiary Protection, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport her is justified. The effect of the Deportation order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

194 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 166 of 3 December 2009, if he will defer further action in the case in respect of a person (details supplied) pending a full investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48127/09]

As I stated in my reply to Question number 166 of 3rd December last, I am satisfied that the applications made by the person concerned for asylum, for temporary leave to remain in the State and for Subsidiary Protection, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined and, as such, the decision to deport her is justified.

An application seeking to revoke a Deportation Order must set out any new facts or circumstances which have arisen since the original decision to deport was made. Any such application submitted would be considered on its merits, having due regard to all refoulement issues, and following such consideration a decision would be taken to either affirm or revoke the Order. No representations have been received to date in this regard. The effect of the Deportation order is that the person concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. The enforcement of the Deportation Order is an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Juvenile Offenders.

Noel O'Flynn

Question:

195 Deputy Noel O’Flynn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of young offenders attending Westview House from both the probation service and the day centre being run by Ogra and youth workers on each day of the week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48190/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 168 on 9 December 2009 and to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 214 on 15 December 2009. The position remains as stated.

Human Rights Issues.

Tom Kitt

Question:

196 Deputy Tom Kitt asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the current Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Parliament of Uganda; if he has expressed his concerns abut this Bill to the Ugandan Government; the implications the passing of the Bill will have; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47741/09]

Uganda is one of the nine Programme Countries where Ireland has a commitment to long term strategic assistance. An important aspect of our programme of support for Uganda is a focus on good governance and respect for human rights. I am very concerned about the implications of the Private Members Bill which was tabled in the Ugandan Parliament in October, which is described by its proponents as an "Anti-Homosexuality Bill".

I have followed this issue closely and have discussed it in detail with our Ambassador to Uganda. Through our Embassy in Kampala, the Government has expressed our deep concerns about the Bill to the Government of Uganda. We have also coordinated closely with our EU partners in order to raise our concerns with the Ugandan authorities as a human rights issue. On 3 December, through the Swedish Presidency, the European Union formally raised its concerns about the draft Bill in a meeting with the State Minister of Foreign Affairs. Our Embassy in Kampala has also been engaging with the Uganda Human Rights Commission on issues relating to discrimination against sexual minorities. It has also sought the views of local human rights and representative groups on how the international community can most effectively support efforts to oppose such discrimination.

It is important to note that neither President Museveni nor the Government of Uganda has yet taken an official position on the Private Members Bill. I can assure the Deputy that Ireland will remain actively engaged with the Government of Uganda, pressing it to ensure that the Bill does not pass into law.

Overseas Development Aid.

Liz McManus

Question:

197 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs in view of the recently announced commitment that Ireland will contribute €100 million to help developing nations cope with the effects of climate change if this funding will come from existing overseas aid budget or if it will be a separate funding measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47749/09]

The Taoiseach will travel to Copenhagen today to head Ireland's delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in the final days 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, focusing on ways in which the EU can support them in responding to the enormous challenges of climate change.

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 has also stated clearly that climate change financing must not undermine or jeopardise the fight against poverty. 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.

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

Human Rights Issues.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

198 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the negotiations for a free trade agreement with Colombia; and if he supports the call that negotiations be suspended in view of the Colombian Government’s lack of respect for human and trade union rights in view of the assassinations of trade unionists. [47782/09]

EU relations with Colombia are conducted in the framework of regional relations between the EU and the Andean Community comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In 2007, negotiations aimed at concluding a comprehensive Association Agreement between the EU and the Andean Community were formally launched. This Agreement will cover all facets of relations between the EU and these countries, including political dialogue, cooperation and trade. In addition, a multiparty free trade agreement is being negotiated between the EU and two member states of the Andean Community — Colombia and Peru — within the overall framework of the Association Agreement. The negotiations are being carried out by the Commission on the basis of a mandate from the Council.

The negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia is part of an EU strategy to support and encourage the Colombian Government as it tries to restore the authority of the State after decades of violent civil conflict. By engaging with Colombia in this way, the EU strongly believes it can influence the Government in a manner that also results in greater respect for human rights. Ireland fully supports that strategy. We recognise that the promotion of peace and stability in Colombia requires a comprehensive, multi-strand strategy which tackles simultaneously the various social and economic elements underlying the conflict. Our approach and that of the European Union is to engage with the Colombian Government as it emerges from decades of terrorism and to influence that process in a manner that strengthens the Government's commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

I am aware of and share the deep concern that has been expressed at the manner in which trade union activists, human rights defenders and journalists 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 ongoing EU-Colombia dialogue on human rights and in regular contacts at political level.

Last month, during a visit to Colombia to present credentials, Ireland's Ambassador to Mexico 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 unions leaders and explained the considerable attention that their plight has attracted in Ireland. The Foreign Minister confirmed that this is a priority issue for Colombia and that every effort was being made to address the position in the context of a difficult security situation. 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 and their views in relation to the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement.

I am of the view that continuing the FTA negotiations with Colombia at this time offers the best opportunity to ensure that the concerns of EU Member States at the human rights situation in that country and, in particular, the treatment of trade union activists are fully addressed by the Colombian government. To this end, Ireland, along with other EU partners will continue to input to the European Commission negotiators to ensure a balanced outcome to the negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement with Colombia and one which gives due prominence to the protection of human rights. In addition, I am writing to the EU Trade Commissioner to underline our interest in an effective human rights clause being included in the agreement.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

199 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47789/09]

The number of staff employed by my Department, excluding those who are locally recruited abroad, was 1332 on 1 January 2009 and 1279 on 10 December 2009. This is the number of actual staff working in the Department, including worksharing staff.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

200 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the breakdown of the programme changes that will be made in order to achieve the savings in his Department outlined in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47896/09]

The Budget 2010 statement and the Estimates for Public Services and Public Capital Programme published on 9 December provides for a total of €714 million for my Department for 2010 under Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs) and Vote 29 (International Cooperation). Under Vote 28, €56.4 million is allocated to programmes, which represents a reduction of €12.8 million on the corresponding allocation for 2009.

Savings amounting to €9m will accrue from the fact that support for the Referendum Commission will not be required in 2010 and reductions that will emerge on our contributions to International Organisations. Many of these contributions are denominated in dollars and during 2009 savings have already been made on foot of exchange rate gains. The Emigrant Support Programme to support Irish emigrants overseas and to facilitate extensive Irish-related cultural, business and community projects, will continue next year with a total allocation of just under €13m, a reduction of €2.2 million. This is sustainable without reducing support for frontline organisations assisting the most vulnerable and needy Irish emigrants who will remain the core focus of the programme.

Expenditure will be reduced by just over €1 million following the winding-up of the programme of support for the transition of EU applicant countries and the member states that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007. This programme has been very useful in assisting these countries in transition and in developing good relations with countries where we have not had a long-term presence.

Funding to my Department for Information services is reduced by €500,000 and funding to support cultural relations with other countries is reduced by €45,000. The grant-in-aid paid to European Movement Ireland and the Irish UN Association is reduced by €76,000. This reflects a reduction of €16,000 or 6.4% in funding of the European Movement Ireland and the discontinuation of funding for the Irish UN Association. All other programmes on Vote 28 retain their 2009 allocations.

On Vote 29, the proposed allocation for Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 2010 is €536m compared with €571m for 2009. However, ODA as a percentage of Gross National Product (GNP), which is the internationally recognised measure of a donor's ODA programme, has now been stabilised and, based on current projections, will amount to 0.52% of GNP in 2010. Ireland's total allocation to ODA in 2010 is €671 million, including an estimated €135 million from other Government Departments and Ireland's share of the EU Development Cooperation budget.

Detailed allocations across the programme have yet to be finalised but will reflect our core objectives of poverty reduction and a focus on results. I expect that we will be providing in excess of €100 million to NGOs and missionaries, over €100 million to fight HIV and AIDS and other communicable diseases and over €50 million for emergencies and assistance to fragile states. We will also ensure our commitments to our nine Programme Countries, seven in Africa and two in Asia are met.

Foreign Conflicts.

Enda Kenny

Question:

201 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his position in relation to an incident (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47932/09]

Relations between Armenia and Turkey have long been overshadowed by the events which resulted in the tragic deaths of very large numbers of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire more than ninety years ago. Both sides hold sharply different historical interpretations of these events. More recently, there have been signs of an improvement in this difficult relationship. I welcome the signature by Armenia and Turkey of protocols on 10 October 2009 in which they agreed to establish diplomatic relations and re-open their common border. The protocols must now be ratified in each country, a process that may not be easy given the long history of ill feeling between both countries.

However, the agreement reached on the protocols has the potential to not only enhance relations between the two countries, but also peace and stability in the wider region. Hopefully, as their relationship moves forward and develops, Armenia and Turkey will also be able to come to terms with their shared past. I understand that, as part of the agreement, it is intended to establish a sub-commission on historical issues. The Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister visited Dublin on 3 November 2009 and met with Minister of State Roche and officials from my Department. During her visit the Deputy Minister briefed on the Armenia-Turkey protocols. There was also an exchange of views on Ireland's experience of conflict resolution in relation to Northern Ireland.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

202 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the agencies under his remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48014/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

203 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48028/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

204 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48044/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

205 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48058/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 to 205, inclusive, together.

There are no state boards, agencies or regulatory bodies operating under the responsibility of my Department. There are however currently three bodies; two Advisory Committees and one Educational Commission, which operate under the aegis of my Department; the Development Education Advisory Committee; the Government Emigrant Services Advisory Committee; and the Fulbright Commission. These bodies do not have any role in regard to the processing of entitlement payments; the carrying out of inspections; collection of payments; or the issuing of licences.

The Development Education Advisory Committee was established in 2003 following the recommendations of the Ireland Aid Review Committee. Its purpose is to advise the Minister, the Minister of State and Irish Aid on development education policy.

The Government Emigrant Services Advisory Committee (previously known as Díon) was set up in 1984 to advise the Government on the welfare of the Irish community in Britain. The Committee’s primary role is to advise on the distribution of Government support to voluntary agencies providing front line services and community care to Irish people in Britain.

The Fulbright Commission (The Board of the Ireland — United States Commission for Educational Exchange) finances study, research, teaching and other educational activities between Ireland and the United States of America. As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have some statutory obligations in regard to this organisation; including the appointment of four members of the eight-member Commission. While my Department makes an annual grant in aid payment to the Commission, it has statutory autonomy of management and I have no responsibility for the day to day running of the organisation.

Passport Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

206 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason a passport has not been returned to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48101/09]

The person in question submitted his application for a passport having lost his first Irish passport and the vital documents which provide evidence of his citizenship. Section 7 of the Passports Act 2008 requires that before issuing a passport to a person, the Minister shall be satisfied that the person is an Irish citizen, and as to the identity of the person. The passport office is investigating the case and will be in further contact with him shortly.

Tourism Industry.

Mary Upton

Question:

207 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he will explain the proposed reduced price transport for senior citizens from other countries scheme highlighted in budget 2010; his views on the stimulus this project will give to the tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47992/09]

In his Financial Statement on Budget 2010 made last week, my colleague, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Finance, announced that Iarnród Éireann has agreed to participate in a new scheme, to be developed by Fáilte Ireland, as an imaginative initiative to increase tourism numbers next year. The scheme, which is to be aimed at senior citizens visiting Ireland from abroad, will offer vouchers for greatly discounted rail travel throughout Ireland. The initiative responds to proposals from the tourism industry to extend the current free travel scheme for senior citizens resident in Ireland to British visitors.

The potential of such an initiative to generate interest in Ireland as a destination was recognised by the Tourism Renewal Group. Anything that adds value and sends out a message of affordability for potential visitors to the island of Ireland is welcome in the current highly competitive environment. The Renewal Group's Report recommended that an off-season scheme be piloted, at no additional cost to the Exchequer, to widen access to free public transport for OAP visitors from abroad. It is in that context that the Minister for Finance made his announcement. As explained in his Financial Statement, more information on this initiative will be given by Fáilte Ireland and Iarnród Éireann in the coming weeks when the details have been finalised.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

208 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47790/09]

On 1 January 2009, there were 180 individual members of staff employed in the Department, which includes the National Archives of Ireland. (The Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) figure was 173.97). On 10 December 2009, there were 163 members of staff employed in the Department. (The WTE is 157.32).

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

209 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the breakdown of the programmatic changes that will be made by his Department to achieve the savings in his Department, as outlined in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47889/09]

Savings for my department in 2010 will be achieved through reductions in allocations across the range of programmes in the area of tourism, sport and cultural supports as outlined in the 2010 Estimates for Public Services. I would refer the Deputy to my detailed reply today to Priority Question No. 2 on the impact of budget cuts.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

210 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the agencies under his remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48006/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

211 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48020/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

212 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48034/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

213 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48050/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 to 213, inclusive, together.

None of the agencies under the remit of the Department process entitlement payments. Four of the agencies have a role in carrying out inspections, as set out below with the numbers of staff involved in this role.

Agency

Inspection Type

Staff Nos. Involved in Inspection

Bord na gCon

Inspection of licensed trainers kennels and inspection of artificial insemination centres for dogs.

1 (whole-time equivalent)

Fáilte Ireland

Inspection of registered tourist accommodation sector and inspection of non-registered tourist accommodation sector.

None. Functions carried out by enterprises under contract to Fáilte Ireland

Irish Sports Council

Inspection of national trails network.

1.5

National Museum of Ireland

Inspection of archaeological material on loan or held by local museums; inspection of objects and records held by holders of excavation licenses; inspection of archaeological stores; and inspection of archaeological excavations.

6 Not full time as functions carried out only as required

Three of the agencies have a role in the collection of payments, as set out below with the numbers of staff involved in this role.

Agency

Inspection Type

Staff Nos. Involved in Collection

Bord na gCon

Collection of trainer license fees.

0.2

Horse Racing Ireland

Collection of fees associated with horse racing registrations and entries.

1

Fáilte Ireland

Collection of fees for the registration and registration renewal of registered tourist accommodation and collection of fees for the non-registered tourist accommodation sector.

None. Functions carried out under contract as stated above

Fáilte Ireland

Collection of payments for in-company and external training programmes.

1 (whole-time equivalent)

Finally, five of the agencies have a role in issuing licenses, as set out below with the numbers of staff involved in this role.

Agency

Licensing

Staff Nos. Involved in Licensing

Bord na gCon

Licensing of greyhound trainers; licensing of artificial inseminators; licensing of greyhound public sales; licensing of greyhound race tracks; and bookmaker permits.

5

Fáilte Ireland

Registration of specific tourist accommodation types, where registration is a statutory requirement.

None. Functions carried out under contract

Horse Racing Ireland

Licensing of on course (racecourse) betting permits.

0.15

National Gallery of Ireland

Licensing to export of works of art (within the European Union).

2

National Museum of Ireland

Licensing to alter archaeological objects and licensing to export archaeological objects.

2

Question No. 214 answered with Question No. 9.

Tourism Industry.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

215 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if his attention has been drawn to the financial position of hotels, pubs and guest houses in the current economic climate; his plans to address this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48094/09]

There is no doubt that the tourism industry as a whole, including the hospitality and catering sectors, has had a very difficult year in 2009. This Government is committed to maximising the contribution of tourism to economic recovery in 2010. My Department's Tourism Services Budget for 2010 is over €155m, representing an increase of 2% on 2009. The increased allocation of public resources — at a time of major fiscal retrenchment — is clear recognition by Government of the important role that the tourism and hospitality sector will play in Ireland's economic recovery.

It should be noted that Budget 2010 incorporates a range of measures and initiatives to renew Irish tourism. Key elements build on actions recommended in the recent Report of the Tourism Renewal Group. These measures to assist the tourism sector were welcomed by their representative federations.

In commenting on these measures the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF), representing hoteliers and guest house operators, welcomed the acknowledgement by Government of the important role of tourism in the economy. The IHF also welcomed the budget measures introduced including maintaining funding in the level of tourism marketing, a trebling of the allocation for tourism product development, a new voucher scheme to enable discounted travel for senior citizens from abroad and a reduction in excise duty on alcohol products all of which will assist the sector going forward. The Vintners Federation of Ireland also welcomed the excise duty reductions noting that they should help stimulate growth and jobs not just in the hospitality industry, but across the whole retail sector.

Arts Funding.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

216 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to encourage the development of local community support facilities such as community centres or theatres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48095/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

219 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the discussions he has had with those involved in the promotion of the arts at local level in County Kildare (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48118/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

220 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the discussions he has had with those involved in the promotion of the arts at local level with a view to establishing local theatres (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48119/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216, 219 and 220 together.

Responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is primarily devolved to the Arts Council. The allocation to the Council in 2010 is €69.15 million. Under the ACCESS programme, my Department is responsible for the provision of capital monies for arts centres, theatres, museums and so forth. In 2008 and 2009 alone, €52m was paid in respect of such facilities. A further €16m is provided in the 2010 Estimates for regional arts capital projects. While no new round of the ACCESS programme has been launched it is my intention to have such a launch as soon as the overall budgetary situation improves.

Sport and Recreational Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

217 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to offer a programme of enhanced grant aid for the provision of local and community based indoor sporting and recreational facilities to meet the increasing requirements of youth (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48098/09]

No decision has been made on the timing of future rounds of the Sports Capital Programme. Any future programme will be guided by the outcome of the National Sports Facilities Strategy which is nearing completion.

Decentralisation Programme.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

218 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the extent to which decentralisation targets have been met by his Department to date in 2009; the cost to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48099/09]

The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism was designated for relocation to Killarney, Co. Kerry, under the Government's Decentralisation Programme, which was announced in the 2004 Budget. The Department, excluding the National Archives, was designated an "early mover" by the Decentralisation Implementation Group. To date, 79 members of staff (including two service officers who were recruited locally) have relocated to the new purpose built offices which opened last December in Killarney. However, the Government moratorium on recruitment and promotion has impacted on the ability of the Department to proceed with further transfers at present.

In order to provide an efficient and effective service to its stakeholders including the Minister, Minister of State and the Houses of the Oireachtas, particularly when the Dail is in session, 20 posts were identified as requiring a predominantly Dublin presence while officers in those posts also spend periods of time in Killarney. In addition, extensive use is made of the video-conferencing facilities in the Department and every effort is made to co-ordinate and "cluster" meetings in order to keep the need for travel between the two locations to a minimum. The property expenditure for the Department's relocation to Killarney under the Decentralisation Programme is a matter for the OPW. The total non-property expenditure to date for the Decentralisation Programme for the Department is €1.16m.

Questions Nos. 219 and 220 answered with Question No. 216.

Sport and Recreational Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

221 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the degree to which funding through his Department has been allocated and drawn down by the sporting and recreational bodies to which it was allocated to date in 2009; the way in which this compares with 2007 and 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48120/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

224 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to assist the local sporting organisations by way of allocation of capital grants for the provision of facilities here; the amount likely to be spent under this heading in 2010 as compared with 2008 and 2009 respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48123/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

226 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he expects to meet the requirements for the provision of sporting and recreational facilities indoor and outdoor on foot of applications on hand or in previous years; the degree to which he expects to meet in full, withhold or defer the relevant funding for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48211/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221, 224 and 226 together.

In each of the three years in question the full amount of the sub-head allocation, provided in my Department's Estimates, to cover payments to grantees allocated funding under the Sports Capital Programme was paid out. A total of €48m has been provided for the Sports Capital Programme in 2010. This provision will ensure that commitments arising in 2010 from previous allocations under the Sports Capital Programme will continue to be met and that a range of modern facilities will be brought in to use in 2010. The amounts paid out in 2008 and 2009 were €58.673m and €60.137m respectively. As the Deputy will be aware no new applications under the Sports Capital Programme were invited in 2009. The question of reopening the Programme to new applications in 2010 is being considered.

Museum Accommodation.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

222 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the extent to which museum space here is sufficient to accommodate the display of all items of historical significance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48121/09]

The National Museum of Ireland is the national repository for all archaeological objects that may be discovered. The Museum is also charged with the conservation and display of the National Collection of moveable heritage and the expansion and enhancement of that Collection. As a collecting agency the Museum will always have material in storage. All archaeological objects found, with no known owner, belong to the State.

The National Museum of Ireland became an independent non-commercial semi-state body under the terms of the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 with effect from May 2005 and operates under the Board appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Act. Therefore I have no statutory role in relation to the functions of the Museum. I wish to point out however, that my Department, in collaboration with the Office of Public Works, has enabled the Museum to obtain storage accommodation in Swords, Co. Dublin.

The National Museum of Ireland manages the Designated County Museum scheme. Designated museum are legally entitled to retain objects on behalf o the State. Designated museums have to meet strict guidelines in the care of objects. They employ a full-time professional curator and have the resources and skills to care for objects. The National Museum will lend objects for display only to designated museums. All archaeological objects, on loan from the National Museums, remain State property. Designated museums will accept an archaeological object only if it is of local interest and be used for educational or display purposes. In general, objects that are primarily of national interest will normally be acquired by the National Museum.

The following are Designated County Museums: Cavan County Museum, Clare County Museum, Cork Public Museum, County Museum Dundalk, Donegal County Museum, Kerry County Museum, Limerick Museum, Monaghan County Museum, Tipperary South County Museum and Waterford Treasures Museum. The Department has a scheme for the support of non-State museums and galleries and for the encouragement of co-operation between National Cultural Institutions and local museums and galleries.

Sport and Recreational Development.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

223 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism his plans to target areas of social deprivation in the provision of grants for major sporting and recreational facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48122/09]

One of the stated aims and objectives of the SCP is to prioritise the needs of disadvantaged areas in the provision of facilities. Since 2003, at the initiative of this Department and in consultation with DCRGA, it was decided that areas that have been designated by Government for special support through the schemes administered by DCRGA, i.e. RAPID, Local Drugs Task Force and CLÁR areas, should be treated as disadvantaged under the SCP.

Projects identified as being located in areas designated as disadvantaged, or as serving disadvantaged areas, are targeted and prioritised in a number of ways. They are permitted to have a lower level of minimum own funding available (20% for projects in CLÁR areas and 10% for RAPID and Local Drug Task Force areas in comparison with the normal 30%) towards their project, and they may also receive extra marks during the assessment process. Successful projects under the SCP in RAPID areas may qualify to receive additional top-up funding of up to 30% of their SCP allocation, payable by DCRGA, in addition to their sports capital allocation.

Through these measures the SCP has invested over €146 million in designated disadvantaged areas. In turn, top-up arrangements from the D/CGRA in RAPID and CLÁR areas has allowed further allocations of more than €22 million to be made. No decision has been made on the timing of future rounds of the Programme.

Question No. 224 answered with Question No. 221.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

225 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number and location of applications for grant aid received from sporting or community groups throughout County Kildare in the past 12 months; if he will respond favourably to such applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48124/09]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to the Sports Capital Programme. No round of the Programme was advertised in 2009 and therefore no applications have been received this year by my Department from sporting or community groups in County Kildare.

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 221.

Community Development.

John McGuinness

Question:

227 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has considered documentation submitted by this Deputy on 8 December 2009 following his meeting (details supplied) regarding a project at that location; if he is in a position to respond; if funding will be available for such projects in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47778/09]

No decisions have been made in relation to these proposals to date.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

228 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of staff employed by his Department on 1 January 2009; and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009. [47796/09]

The number of staff (whole-time equivalents) employed in my Department on the dates referred to by the Deputy was as follows: 1 January 2009, 273.24; 10 December 2009, 252.84.

Blacksmithing Industry.

Enda Kenny

Question:

229 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will indicate the work of Ceárta Inneoa Teo over the past five years; the extent of the blacksmithing industry here; the proposed use of equipment stored in a facility owned by Údarás na Gaeltachta (details supplied); if it is proposed to revive the blacksmithing school operated there; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47828/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No 436 on 9 June 2009 and to Question No 800 on 3 November 2009. In the first instance, it should be noted that my Department is not responsible for the development of the blacksmithing industry in Ireland. Furthermore, I have been advised by Údarás na Gaeltachta that there have been no further developments in the matters referred to by the Deputy.

Departmental Expenditure.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

230 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the breakdown of the changes that will be made to programmes overseen by his Department in order to achieve the savings set out for his Department in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47891/09]

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. The breakdown of these reductions is provided in the recently published Budget Estimates volume. However, for the Deputy's convenience, the following table shows the breakdown by Programme Area of my Department.

Programme Area

2009 Estimate

2010 Estimate

% Change

%

Developing Communities

163,316

140,908

-14

Tackling Problem Drug Use

40,611

36,200

-11

Rural Development

102,422

101,627

-1

Gaeltacht & Islands Development

85,918

62,501

-27

Promotion of the Irish Language

9,375

6,591

-30

North –South Co-operation

55,102

52,990

-4

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. Details of the breakdown under the various subheads will not be available until the publication of the REV in the early part of 2010.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Question:

231 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the agencies under his remit who process entitlement payments; the number of staff who process entitlement payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48008/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

232 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of agencies under his remit that have a role in carrying out inspections; the number of staff involved in the carrying out of inspections broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48022/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

233 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the collection of payments; the number of staff involved in the collection of payments broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48036/09]

Richard Bruton

Question:

234 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of agencies under his remit who have a role in the issuing of licences; the number of staff involved in the issuing of licences broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48052/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 234, inclusive, together.

I have taken entitlement payments to mean prescribed payments that are made to persons or organisations entitled to receive such payments under any statutory provisions. Relevant information furnished to me by Waterways Ireland (WI) is set out below. None of the other agencies within the ambit of my Department have any role in the activities referred to by the Deputy.

WATERWAYS IRELAND

Role in carrying out inspections

Under byelaws, WI has the power to inspect any craft on its network if it has a requirement to do so.Under the provisions of Health & Safety (H&S) legislation, all supervisory staff carry out regular H&S inspections as set out in WI’s Safety Statement.

Number of staff involved in carrying out inspections

38

Role in the collection of payments

Toll charges for lock passages, bridge openings, dry dock admissions and payments for Smart Cards are collected by the lock keepers on the network.Monies are also collected in respect of rents, leases and licences.

Number of staff involved in the collection of payments

41

Role in the issuing of licences

WI issues licences to individuals and commercial concerns for the conduct of commercial operations on the waterways, to facilitate the installation of equipment over or through WI’s property, for the erection of signage, for the letting of WI property to individuals.

Number of staff involved in the issuing of licences

3

Security of the Elderly.

Michael Ring

Question:

235 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the budget allocation for the scheme of community supports in respect of older people in 2010; the number of elderly persons that will be catered for under this scheme in 2010 as compared to previous years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48154/09]

The Deputy will be aware of my intention to put revised arrangements for this Scheme in place early in 2010, following a review this year. Pending full implementation of these new arrangements, the existing Scheme will remain open for applications. All applications received by my Department have been processed and grant support has been provided to almost 6,400 older people this year. The total value of grants paid to community groups is over €2 million.

The final allocation for the Scheme for next year will not be settled until the Revised Estimates are published. However, my intention is that monitored alarms will be made available to all applicants that might apply in 2010 either through the provision of new equipment or enhancing the capacity of community groups to reuse the stock of equipment already in their ownership.

Departmental Expenditure.

Michael Ring

Question:

236 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 295 and 296 of 13 October 2009, his views on that fact that some agencies within the remit of his Department are incurring overtime expenses which are far in excess of those incurred by his Department; his plans to reduce such costs in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48155/09]

I assume that the agencies which the Deputy has in mind are Waterways Ireland and the North South Language Body.

In Waterways Ireland's case, the busiest times on the waterways are at weekends and during the longer days of the summer, when overtime is required to provide a proper customer service. During these periods (and indeed during the navigation season as a whole), staff are required to keep the locks manned and the system open. Overtime is also incurred during the seasonal maintenance programme (e.g. weed cutting), which is weather dependent. In times of emergencies and at times of adverse weather conditions, staff are also required to work beyond their normal working hours in order to protect the infrastructure and minimise the risk to the public. I am assured by Waterways Ireland that it seeks constantly to manage overtime effectively within the constraints of managing an organisation which supports the leisure and tourism industry, with consequent seasonal focus. I might also add that the Body will be required to implement further efficiency savings next year, in addition to those achieved in relation to 2009.

In relation to the Language Body, overtime costs for Foras na Gaeilge reduced from €40,691 in 2008 to €22,252 in 2009 as a result of the implementation of efficiency savings. I understand that the overtime costs in question relate principally to reception and security at headquarters when the premises are open to the public after normal office hours, business peaks in the Irish language book distribution section and promotional activities outside of office hours.

I understand that overtime costs for the Ulster-Scots Agency were significantly reduced from stg£16,884 in 2008 to stg£4,672 in 2009 following the employment of additional staff. Overtime costs for 2009 relate specifically to peaks in workflow and specific marketing activity, which required additional work at weekends. The Agency's policy is that overtime must be approved in advance on the basis of a clearly identified need. I am informed by both agencies of the Language Body that overtime is authorised only when absolutely necessary and that strict monitoring of authorisations will continue in 2010, particularly in the light of further agreed efficiency savings to be achieved in the Body next year.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

237 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of social welfare claims excluding pensions paid in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47739/09]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

238 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of social welfare claims excluding pensions that were paid in County Cavan; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47740/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 237 and 238 together.

Statistics on welfare recipient numbers are published at county level in the Department's Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services publication. The information requested by the deputy in respect of the end December 2008 are contained in the attached tabular statement.

Recipients of Social Welfare Payments in Cavan and Donegal, 2008.

Scheme Name

Cavan

Donegal

Pre-Retirement Allowance

133

752

Widow/er’s (Contributory) Pension*

1,492

3,261

Widow/er’s (Non-Contributory Pension

50

185

One-Parent Family Payment

1,093

3,755

Deserted Wife’s Benefit*

73

177

Deserted Wife’s Allowance

6

28

Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)

6

24

Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)

6

12

Maternity Benefit

358

538

Health and Safety Benefit

1

1

Illness Benefit

1,183

3,034

Invalidity Pension*

628

1,606

Carer’s Benefit

29

100

Disablement Pension

184

375

Injury Benefit

25

27

Interim Illness Benefit

11

11

Death Benefit Pension*

10

20

Disability Allowance

1,191

4,433

Blind Pension

17

81

Carer’s Allowance*

775

2,731

Back to Work Self-Employed

62

430

Back to Work Employee

27

248

Back to Education Allowance

88

418

Farm Assist

273

1053

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

663

1,259

Child Benefit

9,575

20,628

Live Register

5,073

15,264

Total

17,959

45,187

*Those aged over 66 who would not have received a decrease in payment rate are included in the above figures. Statistics on the age of recipients are not available on a county basis.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

239 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the rate of domiciliary care allowance in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47743/09]

The rate of Domiciliary Care Allowance remains unchanged for 2010 at €309.50 per month.

John O'Mahony

Question:

240 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when carer’s benefit will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [47751/09]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned has been referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in the case. The person concerned will be notified when the necessary arrangements have been made. The Social Welfare Appeals Office is an office of the Department that is independently responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Finian McGrath

Question:

241 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will support a matter (details supplied). [47786/09]

Finian McGrath

Question:

243 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the percentage of social welfare recipients not in receipt of 100% of social welfare allowances. [47833/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 241 and 243 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled and will be forwarded as soon as it becomes available.

Departmental Staff.

Michael D'Arcy

Question:

242 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of staff employed by her Department on 1 January 2009 and the number of staff employed on 10 December 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47800/09]

Since early 2008, the Department has experienced significant pressure on customer services due mainly to the increase in the Live Register. In recognition of this pressure, the Government has approved an increase in the number of staff working in the Department. The following table details the number of staff employed in the Department on 1 January 2009 and 10 December 2009.

Number of Posts

Number of People

1st January 2009

4,539.06

4,933

10th December 2009

4,805.26

5,151

In line with the Government moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the Civil Service, the additional staff have been sourced by the redeployment of serving Civil Servants from other Government Departments.

Question No. 243 answered with Question No. 241.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

244 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a decision will be made on a back to school allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied). [47841/09]

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance scheme is administered on behalf of the Department by the Community Welfare division of the Health Service Executive (HSE). A person may qualify for payment of the allowance ifs/he is in receipt of a social welfare or HSE payment, is participating in an approved employment scheme or attending a recognised education or training course and has household income at or below certain specified levels at the time of the application for the allowance.

The Executive has advised that the person concerned was refused the back to school clothing and footwear allowance as her household income is in excess of the specified limit for her family size. The person concerned appealed the decision to an Appeals Officer of the HSE and no decision has been made on the appeal to date. The person concerned will be contacted directly by the HSE when a decision has been made on her appeal.

Social Insurance.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

245 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the higher rate of employers PRSI; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47877/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

246 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in the lower rate of employers PRSI; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47878/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

247 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in PRSI for the self-employed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47879/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

248 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the full year impact of a 1% change in employees PRSI; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47880/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

249 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the yield from increasing the PRSI ceiling to €100,000; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47881/09]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

250 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her estimate of the yield from abolishing the PRSI ceiling; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47882/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 245 to 250, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy regarding changes to PRSI rates and thresholds are set out in the attached table.

Changes to PRSI Rates & Thresholds

Yield

€m

1% increase in Employers higher PRSI rate

423.0

1% increase in Employers lower PRSI rate

59.0

1% increase in the Self-Employed PRSI rate

108.0

1% increase in Employees PRSI rate

373.0

Raise the employee PRSI ceiling to 100,000

38.2

Abolition of the PRSI ceiling

119.5

Social Welfare Code.

Michael Ring

Question:

251 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the checks that are carried out to ascertain if people have been accused of, alleged to be or involved in anti-social behaviour in any other tenancy that they may have had before they were approved rent allowance in another part of the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47912/09]

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from another source. Social Welfare legislation provides the Health Service Executive with the authority to refuse, suspend or terminate payment of a rent supplement in the case of a person who has been required to deliver up possession of a dwelling provided by a housing authority or an approved body where the reasons for that requirement include anti-social behaviour or the interests of good estate management.

In the case of private rented accommodation, tenancy arrangements involve a contract between the landlord and tenant and tenant behaviour is a matter for the landlord in the first instance. There are a number of avenues open to landlords in such cases, including the mediation service for landlords and tenants operated by the Private Residential Tenancies Board and/or recourse to the Garda Síochána and/or the Courts in relation to the enforcement of the law in dealing with anti-social behaviour. If necessary, the landlord may seek termination of the tenancy which, if effected, would result in the termination of rent supplement. I am satisfied that existing measures in relation to rent supplement are adequate and I have no plans to make any changes to social welfare legislation in this regard.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

252 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons receiving rent allowance in County Mayo; and the number of these recipients who are on the local authority housing list in County Mayo. [47913/09]

Michael Ring

Question:

255 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the consultation which takes place between the local authorities and Health Service Executive before rent allowance is approved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47922/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 252 and 255 together.

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from another source. There are 3,079 recipients of rent supplement in County Mayo. Information in relation to the number of rent supplement recipients who are on local authority housing lists is not maintained by the Department. This information is available from the relevant housing authority in Mayo.

The 2009 Supplementary Budget introduced new arrangements for applications for rent supplement. In order to qualify for rent supplement, from the 27 th July 2009, a person must have been residing in private rented accommodation or accommodation for homeless persons (or any combination of these) for a period of 183 days within the preceding 12 months of the date of claim for rent supplement. A person may also qualify for rent supplement where an assessment of housing need has been carried out within the 12 months preceding the date of claim and the person is deemed by the relevant local