Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, answered orally.

Restorative Justice.

George Lee

Question:

11 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding restorative justice within the criminal justice system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5732/10]

There are two adult schemes currently operating in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary and in Tallaght, Dublin 24 which are funded by my Department, through the Probation Service and which operate on the principles of restorative justice with the twin aim of attempting to heal the harm done to victims and at the same time holding the offender accountable for his or her actions.

In the case of juveniles, restorative justice was introduced on a statutory basis for the first time in the Children Act 2001. There are two restorative justice initiatives provided for in the Act: A restorative conference or restorative caution included in the Garda Diversion Programme and a court-ordered restorative justice family conference delivered through the Probation Service.

The Garda Diversion Programme operates in accordance with Part 4 of the Children Act 2001, as amended, and under the general superintendence and control of the Garda Commissioner. The aim of the Diversion Programme is to deal with young people who offend, by way of administering a formal or informal caution, thus diverting the offender away from the courts and minimising the likelihood of further offending. The programme embraces, whenever possible, the principles of restorative justice and, at all times, it pays the highest regard to the needs of the victims. The programme has proven to be successful in diverting young persons away from crime by offering guidance and support to the young people and their families. This programme operates nationwide.

Family conferencing administered by the Probation Service at the request of the Courts under Sections 78-87 of the Children Act 2001 is another restorative practice and is available on a national basis. A family conference is based on the principles of restorative justice. The aim of the family conference is to divert the young person, who has accepted responsibility for his or her behaviour, from Court, from conviction and custody and from committing further offences.

As the Deputy will be aware a National Commission on Restorative Justice chaired by Judge Mary Martin was asked to look at this whole area. The final report of the Commission was published on 17 December, 2009. Comprehensive information on the operation of Restorative Justice in this jurisdiction is contained in Chapter 3 of the Report. The report and its recommendations are currently being examined by my Department having regard to resource and funding implications and against the background of the range of other non-custodial measures available to the courts. I will be bringing my proposals to Government in due course.

Juvenile Offenders.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

12 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of each of the ten different community sanctions that have been imposed by the courts as part of the provisions of the Children Act, 2001; if these community sanctions are available nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5704/10]

Information on sanctions imposed by the courts on young offenders is published each year in the Annual Report of the Courts Service. These reports are available on the Courts Service website, www.courts.ie and in the Oireachtas Library. The most recent such report is in respect of the year 2008. Related information is also available in the Probation Service Annual Report, the most recent of which is also in respect of the year 2008. This report is available on the Probation Service website, www.probation.ie and also in the Oireachtas Library.

I am informed, however, that the two services do not currently collect data to the level of detail requested by the Deputy. I should point out that one of the objectives of the National Youth Justice Strategy is to improve and increase the availability of reliable and relevant data on youth crime. My office is working with the Irish Youth Justice Service and other key stakeholders to achieve this objective.

While detailed information is not readily available, I am informed that the majority of probation orders made by the courts are conditional orders under Section 115(c) of the Children Act 2001. These are linked to the probation order available under the Probation Act 1907. However, it is important to note that the conditions generally imposed by the courts reflect to a large extent the wide spread of community sanctions available to the courts, including mentoring, training, activities and day centre conditions.

The Young Persons Probation Division of the Probation Service was extended in 2008 to provide a national service from bases in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Drogheda and Sligo. This has allowed for community sanctions to be made available nationwide.

I do believe that the use of these alternatives to custody are having an impact. The Courts Service Annual Report for 2008 shows that the proportion of court orders involving the detention of children has dropped from 20% of court orders in 2007 to 16% in 2008. This is welcome news and I look forward to the publication of data for 2009, which, I hope, will reflect further improvement.

Maintenance Payments.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

13 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to reform maintenance laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5729/10]

The provisions in the law for ensuring that payments continue to be made by spouses in support of their dependent spouses and children are comprehensive. They include enabling powers for the courts to order attachment of the earnings of a debtor spouse, to order the securing of payments to the maintenance creditor, to order the payment of lump sums and to order arrears of maintenance to be paid by instalments.

While the law generally operates successfully in this area I am aware that difficulties have arisen in some cases because of the effect of a judgment of the High Court last year. The High Court judgement in that particular case had implications for sections 6 (imprisonment in the case of non-payment of debt) and 8 (imprisonment relating to non-payment of maintenance) of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act 1940. The Enforcement of Court Orders (Amendment) Act 2009 made changes in the law consequent on that judgment. Whilst the particular judgment only referred to section 6, the legal advice was that section 8 should also be amended since it was constructed in a very similar way. The need to establish the debtor's ability to pay has changed the basis on which the enforcement system previously operated — particularly in maintenance cases.

I am in consultation with the Attorney General with a view to developing early proposals for legislation to resolve the difficulties that have arisen in respect of maintenance enforcement.

Garda Investigations.

Mary Upton

Question:

14 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Assistant Commissioner, who was appointed to examine the Garda investigation file into the 1970 murder of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo, has yet reported. [5617/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the investigation into the death of the person referred to by the Deputy was the subject of an intensive review in 2004.

I am further informed that the Commissioner appointed the Assistant Commissioner, Northern Region to examine the investigation file, which remains open, and is under the supervision of the Assistant Commissioner. Liaison is being maintained with the family of the person referred to.

The Deputy will appreciate that, as the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Garda Procedures.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

15 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when arrangements will be made to instruct members of the Garda Síochána that it is not necessary to take a longhand note of interviews with persons in custody when such interviews are being electronically recorded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5610/10]

My Department and the Garda Síochána, in consultation with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Office of the Attorney General, are considering proposals for a new system which would allow the taking of contemporaneous written notes to cease where interviews are electronically recorded.

There is however a complex range of training, technological and legal issues to be addressed before any changeover to a new system could take place, and of course the financial implications would have to be carefully assessed.

The Garda Síochána are at an advanced stage in developing proposals for the operational aspects of a new system. Because of the complexities involved, it is likely that any new system would initially be introduced on a pilot basis to allow all the operational and legal aspects to be fully tested and evaluated.

Sentencing Policy.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

16 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to an article in a newspaper (details supplied) regarding a District Court judge throwing out charges of drink driving on technicalities; the steps being taken to ensure that persons who should be found guilty of drink driving offences are not free to re-offend. [5535/10]

Subject to the Constitution and the law, the courts are independent in the exercise of their functions. The decision on whether a person should or should not be found guilty, based on the evidence presented, is entirely a matter for the court. It would be inappropriate for me to comment or intervene in any way in their decisions.

The court's decision in the case referred to by the Deputy is being examined by the prosecution authorities.

Cash for Gold Schemes.

Tom Sheahan

Question:

17 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether there is a role for the Garda in regulating the cash for gold industry that has recently mushroomed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5752/10]

Neither my Department nor An Garda Síochána have any function in relation to the regulation of legal transactions in gold. Furthermore, the purchase of gold is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation.

However, if members of the public have suspicions that goods being sold or traded may have been stolen, the correct action is for these suspicions to be referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation.

An Garda Síochána enforce the provisions of the criminal law in respect of theft and robbery, including theft and robbery of jewellery and precious metals. While the purchase of gold is not specifically regulated, the circumstances under which gold is being bought or sold may indicate the commission of certain offences, for example the handling of stolen property and or the possession of stolen property, which are offences under sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 respectively.

Road Traffic Regulations.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

18 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether it is satisfactory that in certain circumstances a garda without a full driving licence is permitted to drive a vehicle on public roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5739/10]

Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 provides for the general prohibition on driving a mechanically propelled vehicle without a driving licence. Subsection (6), however, provides that this requirement does not apply in relation to a member of the Garda Síochána driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in the course of his or her duty.

This is in line with other provisions of road traffic law which provide certain exemptions from road traffic requirements in relation to the use by a member of the Garda Síochána of a vehicle in the performance of his or her duties.

The report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate on roads policing made a number of recommendations relating to Garda driving and these are being considered by the Commissioner.

Garda Investigations.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

19 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received a report from the Garda authorities regarding the circumstances in which a quantity of explosives was unwittingly brought into this country by a Slovak citizen; the contact he has had with the Slovak authorities on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5594/10]

I refer Deputy Lynch to my reply to Question No. 8 today to Deputy Doyle. As I have indicated, the Garda Commissioner has appointed a Detective Chief Superintendent to inquire into all the circumstances surrounding the incident. That inquiry is ongoing and a report is awaited. Until that report is available, it is not possible to say for definite how the error occurred in Slovakia and what actions were taken by the authorities there when the error was discovered. When the report is completed I will consider what further action, if any, is required on my part.

Garda Strength.

Enda Kenny

Question:

20 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of members of the Garda Síochána that retired in 2009; the number of these vacancies that have been filled to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5710/10]

The total number of members who retired, either voluntarily or on age grounds, from An Garda Síochána in 2009 was 723. During 2009 over 900 students were attested as sworn members of An Garda Síochána and as of the 31st December 2009 the total strength of the force was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training. The Deputy will also be aware that I recently concluded negotiations with Minister for Finance for the filling of some 170 positions at management and supervisory levels in An Garda Síochána.

Drugs in Prisons.

Michael Creed

Question:

21 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the quantity, type and value of drug seizures in each prison here in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5758/10]

Recorded seizures of drugs in prisons are as set out in the following table:

Prison/Place of Detention

Number of Drug Seizures in 2009

Arbour Hill Prison

0

Castlerea Prison

65

Cloverhill Prison

97

Cork Prison

35

Dóchas Centre

11

Limerick Prison

75

Loughan House

12

Midlands Prison

93

Mountjoy Prison (male)

547

Portlaoise Prison

20

Shelton Abbey

19

St. Patrick’s Institution

92

Training Unit

60

Wheatfield Prison

167

Total

1,293

The Irish Prison Service does not have the facility to test substances found or seized and therefore cannot state definitively the type or value of drugs seized. Gardaí are contacted once suspected drug seizures are made and issues of investigation and prosecution fall within their remit.

The Irish Prison Service continues to work to implement its Drug Policy and Strategy, entitled "Keeping Drugs Out of Prison", which was launched in May 2006. Working to fulfil the commitments contained in the Policy and Strategy involves the implementation of stringent measures to prevent drugs from getting into prisons while, at the same time, continuing to invest in services within prisons to reduce the demand for illicit drugs in the prisoner population as well as meeting prisoners' treatment and rehabilitative needs.

Public Sector Pay.

Joe Costello

Question:

22 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the savings that will accrue to his Department arising from the public service pay cuts applied by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act; the number of personnel whose pay has been cut; the average reduction in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5588/10]

The estimated savings from the application of the recent public service pay cuts are currently being finalised with the Department of Finance pending publication of the Revised Estimate Volume later this month. The savings for my Department are likely to be in the region of €9.8 million in 2010. There are currently 2,860 whole time equivalent staff paid from the Departments Vote (Vote 19) and the pay reductions were applied in accordance with the provisions of the relevant circular from the Department of Finance.

Criminal Liability.

John Deasy

Question:

23 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views in respect of the criminal liability of home occupiers who injure trespassers while protecting their home; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5714/10]

Statutory protection for persons who are obliged to use force to defend themselves or their family members, other persons or property against attack are contained in sections 18 and 20 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997. The Act allows for the application of reasonable force by a person, (whether the attack occurs in the home or elsewhere), to defend themselves, others or property. A court or a jury in considering whether such force was reasonable in the circumstances must do so on the basis of the level of force the person responding to an attack considered was reasonable at that time.

The Court of Criminal Appeal has made the common law position on the question of an appropriate response to an attack in the home very clear in the judgement ofDPP v Barnes [2006] IECCA 165. The judgment in that case included the following statements:

"every burglary in a dwelling house is an act of aggression.......it is quite inconsistent with the doctrine of the inviolability of the dwelling house that a householder or other lawful occupier could ever be under a lawful obligation to flee the dwelling house. . . . . it follows from this in turn that such a person can never be in a worse position on point of law because he has decided to stand his ground in his house."

The Court stated that any intruder entering a home dwelling with criminal intent could expect to be met with a vigorous defence from the occupier.

While the common law position is as set out in theBarnes judgment and the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997 already provides protection for those who may resort to self defence in the face of an attack irrespective of the location, there is no statutory legislative provision dealing with the question of attacks specifically in the context of the home dwelling or the immediate vicinity of the dwelling. The Government had approved the Heads of a Bill dealing with this aspect of the law in 2007. The Bill was not progressed at that time as the Law Reform Commission (LRC) was in the course of a detailed examination of the issue of defences generally in the criminal law. This examination is now completed and the LRC published a Report on the matter in December 2009. Since then a General Scheme of a new Bill has been prepared in my Department and has been circulated to other Departments for their observations. I expect it to be in a position to bring forward proposals for a Bill on the topic of defence and the home dwelling to Government in the coming weeks and subject to Government approval it is my intention to have this proposed Bill introduced in the Oireachtas as soon as possible.

Garda Telecommunications.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

24 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda stations which currently have e-mail facilities and the number which do not; the steps that he is taking to ensure that all stations are provided with this form of modern communication in view of the recent report of the Garda Síochána Inspectorate on resource allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5584/10]

There are a total of 703 Garda locations throughout the State. According to the latest information available to me Email facilities are available at 347 networked locations within the Garda Síochána. Internal email facilities are provided to all ranks within An Garda Síochána via the PULSE environment. External Email facilities are also provided to all Gardaí from the rank of Inspector upwards and have to date been made available to members of other ranks and civilian staff based on operational needs identified by Garda management.

I welcome the recent Garda Inspectorate Report on Resource Allocation. I will do all that I can to support the Garda Commissioner as he implements reforms based on its recommendations.

Asylum Applications.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

25 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the legislative and administrative measures he proposes following the recent majority Supreme Court decision granting a judicial review of the decision to deport a failed asylum seeker; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5429/10]

The recent Supreme Court judgment granted the applicant leave to take a judicial review of the then Minister's decision to make a deportation order against her following the refusal of her application for asylum by both the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT). This decision was deemed by the Supreme Court to be compatible with the existing test for leave to take judicial review proceedings known as theO’Keefe test. At present my officials are engaged in consultations with the legal team who represented the State’s interests in this case in order to clarify the implications of the decision for the asylum/immigration work areas of my Department. It is too early to say what, if any legislative or administrative measures will be required arising from the judgment.

Prison Population.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

26 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of inmates in each of the State prisons here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5693/10]

I am advised that the numbers in custody on 3 February 2010 were as follows:

Prison/Place of Detention

Number

Mountjoy

637

Dochas

120

St. Patricks

211

Cork

309

Limerick (m)

306

Limerick (f)

24

Castlerea

366

Cloverhill

472

Wheatfield

436

Portlaoise

260

Arbour Hill

155

Training Unit

109

Midlands

513

Loughan

143

Shelton Abbey

99

Garda Deployment.

Denis Naughten

Question:

27 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to improve rural policing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5427/10]

Policing in local communities, either rural or urban, is a matter for all Gardaí and not just those assigned to the roles of community policing. It is worth noting, however, that the number of Gardaí exclusively assigned to community policing has increased considerably in recent times. The figures available at the end of 2009 show that there are 1,058 members of the Garda Síochána specifically assigned to community policing, out of a total attested strength of 14,547. By comparison, at the end of 2007, 630 members were assigned to community policing, and the present number represents an increase of almost 68% on that figure.

All members who are assigned to community policing operate on a full-time basis. These members are specifically tasked with the duty of liaising with communities within their policing Districts. The new Garda Síochána National Model of Community Policing was launched early in 2009. This new model is about renewing, re-invigorating and re-structuring the community policing function within the Garda Síochána to deliver:— a consistent national structure to the community policing function; a more coordinated and efficient Garda service to the community; and the spread of good practices and quality service in community policing on a national basis. The national strategies for Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert, both of which were launched in 2007, will also inform the organisation on how best to implement future crime prevention programmes and community policing programmes.

A National Community Policing Office has been established within Garda Community Relations Section to develop and oversee the implementation programme. The model is being rolled out nationwide in line with an action plan which has been developed for implementation. Training is ongoing and it is intended that every District Officer throughout the country will take ownership of community policing within his or her area of responsibility. The Garda Síochána National Model of Community Policing Report is available on the Garda websitewww.garda.ie.

Proposed Legislation.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

28 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans to amend the law in respect of the criteria needed to bring a complaint of rape to trial; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5723/10]

The decision on whether or not to bring a prosecution where an allegation of rape is made rests with the Director of Public Prosecutions. Under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1974, the Director acts independently in the performance of his functions and makes decisions on prosecutions independent of all other bodies and institutions, including that of Government. I have no plans to amend the law in this regard.

Juvenile Offenders.

Joe Carey

Question:

29 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will report on the manner the recently enacted gangland legislation will interact with the Irish Youth Justice Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5685/10]

The Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS) is an executive office of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform with responsibility for leading and driving reform in the area of youth justice. Working closely with the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, the IYJS is guided by the principles of the Children Act 2001. The IYJS funds organisations and projects providing services, including Garda and Probation Projects, to young people aged 12 to 17 years of age who find themselves in conflict with the law. These children may be involved with An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and the Courts Service. The IYJS is also responsible for the management and development of children detention facilities.

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, the primary purpose of which is to introduce additional measures targeted at combating organised crime, will interact with the youth justice system in the same way as other criminal legislation. The priority, of course, is to intervene in offending behaviour by young people before it develops into the type of criminal behaviour at which the legislation in question is aimed.

Tribunals of Inquiry.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

30 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the progress of the Smithwick tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5745/10]

The Smithwick Tribunal was established pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Acts 1921-2002, to enquire into suggestions that members of the Garda Síochána or other employees of the State colluded in the fatal shootings of RUC Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and RUC Superintendent Bob Buchanan in 1989. The Tribunal was established by the Oireachtas in May 2005 arising from the Weston Park Agreement between the Irish and British Governments in 2001. The Tribunal is chaired by Judge Peter Smithwick. The Tribunal Chairman is independent in his functions in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

The Tribunal is in an investigative phase at present. Although it is not possible to indicate a completion date at this point, I have no doubt that the Tribunal's Chairman is fully cognisant of the need for the Tribunal to fulfil its mandate as expeditiously as possible.

Drug Seizures.

Billy Timmins

Question:

31 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the quantity and values of seizures of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs here during 2009; the proportion of the overall drugs coming into here believed to be represented by these seizures; the steps he is taking to control the flow of illegal drugs into here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5755/10]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

70 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the quantity and values of seizures of heroin, cocaine, cannabis and other drugs here during 2007, 2008 and 2009; the proportion of the overall flow of drugs into the country that is believed to be represented by these seizures; the new initiatives he is planning to control the flow of illegal drugs into the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5611/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 31 and 70 together.

I set out as follows a tabular statement giving the latest available information in relation to drug seizures for 2007, 2008 and 2009. Due to the covert nature of the activity, it is not possible to give a reliable estimate of the proportion of drugs coming into the country that these figures represent. Through ongoing specific initiatives and intelligence-led operations An Garda Síochána continues to seize substantial quantities of illegal drugs destined for the streets in this jurisdiction and disrupting those criminals involved in the importation, distribution, sale and supply of illegal drugs in Ireland.

Drugs and organised crime are being prioritised by An Garda Síochána as a core focus for 2010, through the Commissioner's Policing Plan, 2010, which reflects Government strategies contained in the National Drug Strategy. Drugs units are in place in every Garda division and work in partnership with the Garda National Drugs Unit in tackling and targeting drug-related crime. Divisional and District Policing Plans also reflect the focus of the national Policing Plan in terms of drugs enforcement.

As part of a co-ordinated approach. An Garda Síochána makes full use of the international Garda Liaison Network, District and Divisional Drug Units, the Garda National Drugs Unit, the Organised Crime Unit and the Criminal Assets Bureau, as well as other specialist units and uniformed and plain-clothes personnel nationwide, in targeting drug supply reduction. An Garda Síochána also has in place a number of strategic partnerships at national and international level to address drug trafficking.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that An Garda Síochána is satisfied that, in addition to the considerable volume of drugs continuing to be seized, a significant impact has also been made by arresting and prosecuting a number of major players involved in drug trafficking. Gangs and other organised criminal groupings involved in drug-trafficking into Ireland have also been significantly disrupted and dismantled through the ongoing enforcement policies of An Garda Síochána. Recent and ongoing initiatives include:

The operation of the Organised Crime Unit on a permanent capacity,

Ongoing Irish involvement in the work of the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre in Lisbon,

The recent publication of the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Bill that will see the establishment, for the first time, of a national DNA database in Ireland,

The ongoing development and support by CAB of the Divisional Asset Profiler's Programme.

Furthermore, as the Deputy will know, I have in recent times introduced an extensive suite of criminal justice legislation targeted at those engaged in serious crime (including drug trafficking) including the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act, the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act and the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.

However, it is clear that we cannot tackle the problem of drug misuse through law enforcement measures alone. As set out in the Government's new National Drugs Strategy for the period 2009 to 2016, it is vital to address the problem in a co-ordinated way across the pillars of supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research. In this context, I can assure the House that my Department, and all the agencies under its aegis, remain fully committed to this approach and to the implementation of the Strategy.

The Garda authorities advise that the following tables show the quantities of drugs seized in 2007, 2008 and 2009 on the basis of cases reported to the Forensic Science Laboratory (valid to 29 January 2010). Statistics provided for 2009 are operational, provisional and liable to change.

2009

Drug Type

Quantity

Estimated Street Value

Cannabis

572,333 gms

6,867,996

Cannabis Resin

1,538,226 gms

9,229,356

Heroin

78,668 gms

11,800,200

Cocaine

118,259 gms

8,278,130

Ecstasy

18,711 tabs & 3,288.496 gms

257,979

Amphetamine

36,508.358 gms & 6 tablets

547,625

BZP

4,371 gms; 309,236.5 tablets; 2,360 capsules

1,776,532

Total Value

38,787,818

2008*

Drug Type

Quantity

Estimated Street Value

Cannabis

1,018,594 gms

2,037,188

Cannabis Resin

5,371,426 gms

37,599,982

Heroin

212,619 gms

42,523,800

Cocaine

1,691,387 gms

118,397,090

Ecstasy

119,413 tablets & 1,199.5 gms

1,254,080

Amphetamine

11,794.7 gms, 1,698 tablets

202,391

Total Value

202,014,531

2007

Drug Type

Quantity

Estimated Street Value

Cannabis

779,310.871 gms

1,558,622

Cannabis Resin

1,279,759.1 gms

8,957,883

Heroin

148,520 gms

29,704,000

Cocaine

1,769,027 gms

123,831,890

Ecstasy

285,017 tablets, 17,375.362 gms

3,718,920

Amphetamine

58,223 gms, 10,471 tablets

1,030,410

Total Value

168,739,218

Joint Policing Committees.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

32 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if money is to be made available to local authorities to roll out joint policing committees and local policing fora. [5539/10]

Joint Policing Committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Their purpose is to provide a forum where An Garda Síochána and the local authority — the two organisations which make the most significant contribution to preventing and tackling crime in a specific area — can come together, with the participation of members of the Oireachtas and community and voluntary interests, on matters affecting their area. The Committees are a partnership process which aims to improve the coordination between agencies and the quality of communications between all concerned.

Local Policing Fora are also established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005. These are intended to operate in a more informal way than the Joint Policing Committees and are intended to deepen the engagement between Gardaí, the local authority and neighbourhood communities. I have issued guidelines on the operation of the Fora in those areas where Local Drug Task Forces operate.

The work of the Joint Policing Committees and the Local Policing Fora does not entail additional functions for the agencies involved. Each agency involved is generally expected to meet the expenses arising for itself in establishing and operating the Committees and Fora from within its own budget.

Sentencing Policy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

33 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans regarding sentencing guidelines for sex offenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5538/10]

The judiciary has been developing a project to plan for and provide information on sentencing decisions. To support this initiative, a computerised information system has been developed to provide information on sentences and other penalties imposed for offences in criminal proceedings which may inform judges when considering the sentence to be imposed in an individual case.

A number of pilot projects have been run in several court jurisdictions, including Dublin, Cork and Limerick Circuit Criminal Courts; the Dublin District Court and the Court of Criminal Appeal. The outcomes will be reviewed and assessed by judges prior to final evaluation and establishment of the website. I understand it is envisaged that, in addition to the case content, which is being compiled following consultation with the Data Protection Commissioner, the website will contain references to leading cases on sentencing, summaries and links to significant judgements on sentencing law, some statistical data and academic material on sentencing.

Crime Levels.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

34 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of cases of murder in which firearms were used in respect of each year from 1998 to date in 2010; the number of such cases in which prosecutions for murder were initiated; the number of such cases in which convictions were secured; if he is satisfied with the level of detection and conviction in such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5612/10]

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Garda Strength.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

35 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí at all ranks who have opted for retirement or early retirement in the past 12 months; the number of positions filled arising from their retirement; the number of positions remaining vacant arising from the embargo on recruitment; the number of personnel, by rank, whose positions still remain unfilled; if and when it is expected such positions will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5644/10]

The total number of members who retired, either voluntarily or on age grounds, from An Garda Síochána in 2009 was 723. During 2009 over 900 students were attested as sworn members of An Garda Síochána and as of the 31st December 2009 the total strength of the force was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training. The Deputy will also be aware that I recently concluded negotiations with Minister for Finance for the filling of some 170 positions at management and supervisory levels in An Garda Síochána. The Commissioner is making the necessary arrangements to establish panels from which these vacancies will be filled.

Prison Building Programme.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

36 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made over recent months, if any, on the Thornton Hall project; if consideration has been given to rethinking this project in favour of a more feasible smaller institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5602/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government re-affirmed its commitment to developing a new prison campus at Thornton Hall, Kilsallaghan, County Dublin and also approved the launch of a new tendering process for the construction of a more affordable and better value prison campus at Thornton. The aim is to provide good quality, regime focussed prison accommodation with appropriate support and rehabilitative facilities for prisoners to prepare them for re-integration back into society.

The development is now proceeding on a phased basis with phase one comprising essential enabling works including the construction of the dedicated access road, perimeter wall and off-site services. Tenders for the construction of the access road are planned to issue in March/April of this year. A tender competition for the construction of the perimeter wall of the prison is planned to issue during the Summer of this year.

An EU wide tender competition for the appointment of technical advisors to the Irish Prison Service is already in progress. The Irish Prison Service is being assisted in this process by the National Development Finance Agency. In addition the National Development Finance Agency, on behalf of the Irish Prison Service, commenced a tender competition for legal advisers for the project on 19 January 2010.

It is intended to invite tenders for the construction of the main prison development later this year. All options have to be considered in the context of the detailed capital appraisal of the project. The idea of a multiplicity of smaller institutions on different sites around the Dublin area is simply far less practical than the proposals for a campus arrangement at Thornton.

Commissions of Investigation.

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

37 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take arising from the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5597/10]

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

45 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on extending the remit of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin to cover other dioceses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5596/10]

Liz McManus

Question:

50 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects the Garda investigation into matters arising from the report of the Commission of Investigation into the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5598/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 37, 45 and 50 together.

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

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

The findings of the Commission's report are positive with regard to the current Garda arrangements for dealing with such allegations. Nevertheless, after consulting with the Garda Commissioner, I have asked the Garda Inspectorate to review the Garda handling of allegations of child sexual abuse.

The Government requested the Commission of Investigation in early 2009 to extend its work to deal with the Catholic Diocese of Cloyne because of concerns which had arisen in relation to that diocese. I believe that the work of the Commission in relation to the Archdiocese of Dublin and the Diocese of Cloyne will serve the purpose of establishing how child sexual abuse cases were dealt with by the Church and State authorities so that lessons can be learned and remedies introduced.

I am informed by my colleague the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs that the Health Service Executive (HSE) is currently in the process of completing its audit of Catholic dioceses to ensure that it, as the statutorily responsible body, is fully aware of all cases of clerical child sex abuse known to the Church. A detailed questionnaire issued to each diocese and completed replies were received by the HSE from the head of each diocese. A number of dioceses asked to re-submit their questionnaire responses and those requests were assented to. The HSE also sought additional information with a view to checking this information against internal and Garda Síochána records. These actions have of necessity entailed a delay in the process, but with the expectation that it will improve outcomes. It is expected that the HSE will submit a comprehensive report to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs by the end of February for his consideration.

Work is well under way on preparing legislation to provide a statutory framework for the sharing of soft information. The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is preparing Heads of a Bill in consultation with my Department, An Garda Síochána and the HSE. The findings of the Commission's report about collection and sharing of information will be taken fully into account in that process which will be completed in the very near future.

Prison Committals.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

38 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners in jails at the latest date for which figures are available; the number of occasions during the past five years on which the prison population has exceeded 4,000; the steps that are being taken to deal with prison overcrowding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5607/10]

I am advised that on 3 February 2010, there were 4,160 prisoners in custody and that the first time the number of prisoners in custody exceeded 4,000 was in October 2009.

The Irish Prison Service has been proactively engaged in an ongoing extensive programme of investment in prisons infrastructure which has involved both the modernisation of the existing estate and the provision of extra prison spaces. Since 1997 in excess of 1,670 new prison spaces have been provided. In addition, current projects will see a further 250 spaces provided by means of a new block in Wheatfield Prison which will accommodate approximately 200 prisoners and the re-opening of the Separation Unit in Mountjoy which will provide an additional 50 spaces. This extensive prison building programme speaks for itself.

In addition, work is expected to commence this year on a new accommodation block in the Portlaoise/Midlands prison complex which will provide 300 prison spaces. In the longer term, the Government remains firmly committed to replacing the prisons on the Mountjoy complex with modern prison accommodation at Thornton.

Sexual Offences.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

39 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the report of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, Rape and Justice in Ireland, which found that 7% of rapes reported to the Garda resulted in convictions; his plans to deal with this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5591/10]

I am aware of the report on the study commissioned by the Rape Crisis Network Ireland entitledRape and Justice in Ireland. The study relates to the attrition of rape cases, that is, the lack of progress on to completion of criminal cases, and more specifically, to the stages at which cases drop out from the criminal justice system, that is, from the initial report stage to the final stage of court proceedings. It should be noted that cases may not be progressed through the system due, for example, to insufficiency of evidence.

Over the past 18 months or so the main priority of Cosc — The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, has been the development of a National Strategy on Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence for the five-year period from 2010 to 2014. I can inform the Deputy that the issue of attrition of rape cases was raised, and has been considered in the context of the development of the National Strategy. The Strategy is close to completion and will be considered by Government shortly.

Crime Prevention.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

40 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if research has been carried out on a mechanism which would ensure traceability of automated teller machines and their contents in view of the fact that most vehicles have a tracking device in order that their owner knows exactly where they are and yet such devices as ATM machines can disappear without a trace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5425/10]

Regular meetings are held between An Garda Siochana and Financial Institutions to discuss bank security issues, including the systems and the processes in place for the conveyance, storage and dispersal of cash. For obvious reasons it would not be appropriate for me to comment on specific security systems being utilised by the financial or other sectors.

Criminal Legal Aid.

James Reilly

Question:

41 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on reports that legal aid applicants are waiting seven months to be appointed a solicitor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5750/10]

The Legal Aid Board is charged with the provision of a professional, efficient, cost effective and accessible legal aid and advice service and the Board is obliged to provide such legal services within the resources available to it. The Board's services are provided to clients through a network of thirty three law centres, including the Refugee Legal service (RSL), located throughout the country. This network is complemented by the use of private solicitors as required.

Demand and priority service

The Board strives to ensure that an applicant will be provided with an appointment with a solicitor by the earliest possible date. However, the Board's capacity to maintain front-line services at an acceptable level is under pressure, particularly in the context of significantly increased demand for services in the law centre network, excluding the RLS. Applications at law centres in 2009 were 18% ahead of demand in 2008; 38% ahead of 2007; and 45% more than in 2006.

There were almost 14,200 applications in 2009 as compared with some 11,900 in 2008, an increase of 1,300. Nevertheless, approximately 40% of applicants for general legal services were given a service promptly, whether through law centres (about 15%) or by having their case referred to the Board's private practitioner service.

Waiting times and numbers

The numbers of persons on the waiting lists on 1st January 2008, 2009 and this year were as follows:

1st January 2008

1st January 2009

1st January 2010

1,183

1,681

2,228

The waiting times in the Board's law centres at the beginning of the year and the end of the year were as follows:

Number of Law Centres

Number of months

1 Jan 2009

31 Dec 2009

0-1

3

2

1-2

6

2

2-3

11

9

3-4

5

6

4-5

3

4

5-6

1

3

6-7

0

1

7-8

0

1

8-9

0

1

In spite of this growth in demand, in only three of the 29 Law Centres is the waiting time seven months or longer. These centres are Tipperary (seven months), Wicklow (8 months) and Wexford (9 months). The number of cases referred to private practitioners under the private practitioner service for District Court cases was just over 3,900 in 2009 as compared with 2,850 in 2008.

Staff and other resources

The geographically dispersed nature of the legal aid service means that the scope for redeployment of staff resources is extremely limited, outside of the Dublin area and, to a lesser extent, in Cork and Galway. As a result, notwithstanding the efforts being made to reconfigure how the Board provides services and to deploy resources wherever possible to meet priority demands, there are a number of locations where there are acute service delivery problems. While the primary driving force behind increased waiting times and numbers is the increase in demand for legal services, the moratorium on the filling of staff vacancies also means that the Board must devise new and innovative ways of ensuring that it can meet the demands placed upon it in the current challenging environment.

Initiatives to meet increased demand

The Board has taken a number of steps in recent years to ensure that it is operating to the highest possible levels of effectiveness and efficiency. For example, the Board has undertaken a complete review of both its law centre and Head Office operations, as well as a risk management review and has, as a result, streamlined its operations to improve efficiency.

In addition, the Board has introduced a number of key changes and new initiatives to its systems and structures which are designed to improve the level of service being offered to its clients. One such initiative is the introduction of an "Advice Only Service" under which clients will be offered an early appointment with a solicitor to discuss their situation on an advice only basis. This has been introduced initially for law centres where applicants for legal services might have to wait for four months for an appointment with a law centre for services. The medium and longer term focus of this service is the timely provision of legal advice to all applicants.

A second initiative is the establishment of a "Model Law Centre" in Dublin, which is being utilised to develop best practice standards and to introduce further initiatives across the Board, including the development of new IT systems. By improving efficiency in the manner in which the Board provides legal services, it is expected that the capacity of the Board will be increased and that more applicants will be provided with a timely service.

The Board is seeking to take every step possible to ensure that applicants for its services will receive a timely service and in this regard all arrangements for delivery by the Board of legal aid and advice in the current difficult economic climate are under consideration. In particular, consideration is now being given to the extent to which it might be possible to extend the scope of the private practitioner service to increase the availability of legal aid and advice services and to provide for greater flexibility in responding to particular pressure points in law centres.

Garda Investigations.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

42 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the investigations that are under way into allegations that a small number of gardaí may have been providing information to criminal gangs thus potentially jeopardising investigations and putting other members of the force at risk in view of comments made by the Garda Commissioner in Templemore, County Tipperary, on 29 October 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5608/10]

I informed the Deputy's colleague, Deputy Costello, further to a similar question from him in November 2009 that, according to the Garda authorities, a number of investigations in relation to breaches of section 62, Garda Síochána Act 2005 were being conducted by the An Garda Síochána which, on completion, would be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions for directions as to whether any charges should be preferred. I will write to the Deputy with an update as soon as possible.

Sexual Offences.

Shane McEntee

Question:

43 Deputy Shane McEntee asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made in establishing an all-island sex offenders register; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5734/10]

The Sex Offenders Act 2001 contains a comprehensive series of provisions aimed at protecting children and other persons. The Act makes persons convicted of a range of sexual offences subject to notification requirements under its Part 2. The provisions of the Act also extend to any offenders convicted abroad of the same range of sexual offences who enter the State, including from Northern Ireland.

An Garda Síochána has a system in place for the monitoring of all persons subject to these requirements. The Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit monitors and manages the notification provisions. The Unit maintains all information relating to persons who have obligations under the Act. There is a nominated Garda Inspector in each Garda Division who has responsibility for the monitoring of persons subject to the requirements of the Act in their Division. As soon as the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Investigation Unit is advised by a relevant authority, such as the Irish Prison Service, the Courts Service or a foreign law enforcement agency, of the impending release or movement of sex offenders into their area this information is immediately passed to the nominated Inspectors, who are advised of information relevant to their Division.

An Garda Síochána and the PSNI maintain close contact and exchange intelligence on convicted sex offenders. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Irish and British Governments in 2006 on the sharing between the Gardaí and British police forces, including the PSNI, of information on sex offenders. An Garda Síochána and the PSNI subsequently signed an agreement on the sharing of personal data in relation to the investigation of sexual offences and the monitoring of sex offenders.

A High Level Group set up by my Department and involving An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service and the HSE is examining the arrangements in place for the management of sex offenders with a view to strengthening inter-agency co-operation and further enhancing public protection and safety. The group's remit includes a review of the procedures and legislation relating to the assessment, monitoring and supervision of convicted sex offenders.

I am currently reviewing the criminal law on sexual offences, including the provisions of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The review is taking into account the relevant legislative provisions in force in Northern Ireland. Should the need for changes to the law in this area be identified, I will bring proposals to Government seeking approval for the preparation of appropriate amendments to the legislation.

Garda Investigations.

Liz McManus

Question:

44 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a Garda file has been sent to the Director of the Public Prosecutions, arising from the seizure of 120 million cigarettes at Greenore, County Louth in October 2009; the estimated value of the cigarettes seized; if the vessel (details supplied), alleged to have been in the incident is still detained. [5599/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that Operation Samhna which was carried out in Greenore, Co. Louth in October 2009 resulted in the seizure of contraband cigarettes with an estimated value of €46.7 million. This operation was led by the Customs Service and was fully supported by An Garda Síochána, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Irish Naval Service and the Air Corps. In addition, officers from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and the Police Service of Northern Ireland were also present.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the seizure resulted in nine arrests. Following interviews, all of the persons arrested were released without charge, pending the completion of an investigation file by the Revenue Commissioners. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the investigation in this case is continuing, and consequently, a file has not yet been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The investigation is being carried out by Revenue Investigators and also involves Investigators from the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) who are co-ordinating investigations abroad with the relevant authorities in the Philippines. In this regard, a team involving officers from Revenue and OLAF have already visited the Philippines where they instigated the gathering of the necessary information.

I am further informed that the vessel involved in the incident was released on 6 November 2009 after it was established that the owners of the vessel, and the company to whom it had been first leased, were not involved in the activities in question.

Question No. 45 answered with Question No. 37.

Asylum Applications.

Denis Naughten

Question:

46 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of asylum applications which have been deemed withdrawn in the past five years due to their failure to inform the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of their change of address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5426/10]

I am not in a position to provide the Deputy with the information requested at this time. The information will be provided in due course.

Garda Transport.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

47 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason thousands of euro are spent on repairing old and unsafe Garda vehicles as replacing them with new vehicles would be more financially prudent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5765/10]

Garda Fleet Management policy is designed to ensure that Garda vehicles are maintained in accordance with manufacturers' guidelines so as to afford the greatest possible safety to Garda personnel.

Over the last number of years there has been a sustained programme of investment in Garda vehicles in terms of maintenance, running expenses and new purchases amounting to some €72 million in the period 2007 to 2009. In addition, in 2006 a major capital injection was made with the purchase of over 1,300 new vehicles. This prudent investment has enabled both the expansion of the fleet as well as lowering its age profile with consequent benefits to Garda members in terms of health and safety and lower maintenance costs. Since September 2006 the size of the fleet has increased by approximately 25% with some 70% of vehicles under 4 years old.

Detention Centres.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

48 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans for a new national children’s detention facility; when such a detention facility will become operational; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5603/10]

In March 2008, the Government approved the development of new national children detention facilities on the Oberstown campus near Lusk, Co. Dublin. The Office of Public Works has been charged with designing the new facilities and managing the procurement of the construction stage of the project. The design stage is well advanced with both concept and sketch designs having been completed. Consultation with the planning authorities to determine the appropriate planning mechanism to be used is now underway and work will commence shortly on developing detailed designs in consultation with the various stakeholders so that Request for Tenders documentation for construction can be prepared.

The completion date for the new facilities will be subject to the planning process to be followed but it is hoped, subject to any requirements that the planning authorities may have, that Phase 1 could be completed by mid-2013. The Deputy will be aware, however, that tendering for the construction of the new facilities will be subject to Government approval and to the necessary funding being made available.

Joint Policing Committees.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

49 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of joint policing committees that have been set up here; the local authorities that have not set up the structure to date; the reason for same; the chairperson of each joint policing committee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5534/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that up to last December joint policing committees have been established in 98 local authority areas. I am not in a position to provide the other information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Question No. 50 answered with Question No. 37.

Garda Strength.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

51 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of applications received during 2009 for early retirement from members of the Garda, broken down by rank; the way in which this compares with each year from 2002; his views on reports that a significant number of senior gardaí are planning to take early retirement; the implications of such retirements for policing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5593/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Promotions.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

52 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the 170 Garda promotions, for which Cabinet approval has been given, will be made to fill vacancies arising from the retirements now being experienced by the force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5592/10]

Promotions within An Garda Síochána are covered by the Garda Síochána Promotions Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 485 of 2006). The Commissioner is in the process of organising competitions from which successful candidates will be promoted to fill the vacancies in question and it is expected that this will be completed as soon as is practicable.

Departmental Expenditure.

Joan Burton

Question:

53 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will make a statement on his Department’s estimate for 2010. [5587/10]

Similar to all Government Departments the Estimates for the Justice Sector were published on Budget Day 9th December, 2009. I refer the Deputy to my press release on Budget Day in relation to the Estimates and response to Parliamentary Question (Ref 46162/09) on 10th December, 2009 in relation to this matter.

The Revised Estimates Volume is scheduled for publication later this month.

Question No. 54 answered with Question No. 9.

Witness Protection Programme.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

55 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons who have acted as witnesses in criminal trials and now have to avail of 24/7 Garda protection; the number of gardaí involved in this procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5702/10]

Witness intimidation is an offence pursuant to Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999, which specifies the offence as harming, threatening or menacing or in any other way intimidating or putting in fear another person who is assisting in the investigation of an offence by the Garda Síochána, with the intention of causing the investigation or course of justice to be obstructed, perverted or interfered with. Following the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, the offence is now punishable on indictment by a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to 15 years.

Since 1997 the Garda Síochána has operated a Witness Security Programme in response to attempts by criminal and other groups to prevent the normal functioning of the criminal justice system, including threats of violence and systematic witness intimidation. Legislation was not required to establish this Programme, but its operation is supported by Section 40 of the Criminal Justice Act 1999 which makes it an offence for any person, without lawful authority, to try to identify the whereabouts or any new identity of a witness who has been relocated under the Programme. The offence is punishable on indictment by a fine or a term of imprisonment of up to five years.

The Garda Síochána rigorously enforces the provisions in the law relating to witness intimidation and protection. In circumstances where the Senior Investigation Officer in a case has identified a witness who is crucial to the case and the evidence to be preferred is not available elsewhere, and there is a serious threat to the life of the witness or his/her family an application can be made, with the consent of the witness, to have him/her included in the Witness Security Programme. Where a threat to or intimidation of a witness or a potential witness arises during the course of criminal proceedings, the matter may be addressed through the trial judge, who has discretion to revoke bail or place other sanctions on the accused/suspect.

It is not the practice and it would be contrary to the public interest, for self-evident reasons, to give details of the operation of the Witness Security Programme, including any information on the persons or numbers of persons included in it or their geographical locations. A high level of confidentiality is essential to protect the individuals who may be involved in the programme and the operation of the programme.

In addition to the legislative provisions I have already outlined, section 16 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 allows a Court to admit, in certain specified circumstances, previous witness statements where a witness recants or refuses to testify at trial. This provision is designed to ensure that witness statements may still be available to the Courts even though the witness subsequently refuses to co-operate because of intimidation. Section 26 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 empowers a Court, following the conviction of a person for a serious offence, to make a "protection of persons" order. The purpose of the order is to protect the victim of the offence or any other person named in the order from harassment or intimidation by the offender. Other persons that might be listed in such orders include the relatives of the victim or witnesses.

Prisoner Releases.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

56 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners on temporary release at the latest date for which figures are available; the highest number on temporary release on any date during the past year; the average number of prisoners on temporary release during the year; the steps he is taking to deal with this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5606/10]

I have been advised that on 3 February 2010 there were 610 prisoners serving sentences of definite duration on temporary release. The numbers of such prisoners on temporary release fluctuates on a daily basis and to date in the year 2010, the numbers have fluctuated between slightly above 500 to slightly above 600.

The Criminal Justice Act 1960 as amended by the Criminal Justice (Temporary Release of Prisoners) Act 2003 sets out the framework for the temporary release of prisoners. Prisoners may be granted temporary release to assess a person's ability to reintegrate into society, to prepare him or her for release, to assist the Gardaí, on grounds of health, on other humanitarian grounds, to ensure the good government of prison and to maintain good order and humane and just management of the prisons. All prisoners on temporary release are subject to conditions and are returned to prison if their behaviour gives rise to concern. Public safety is the paramount consideration in any decision on granting temporary release.

Joint Policing Committees.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

57 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans to amend the legislation establishing the joint policing committees; the areas in which joint policing committees are operating; if he is satisfied with the performance of these policing committees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5601/10]

Joint Policing Committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Their purpose is to provide a forum where An Garda Síochána and the local authority — the two organisations which make the most significant contribution to preventing and tackling crime in a specific area — can come together, with the participation of members of the Oireachtas and community and voluntary interests, on matters affecting their area.

During 2006 and 2007, Committees were established in 29 local authority areas in a pilot phase, prior to extending them to all 114 county, city and town council areas. The guidelines under which these operated were amended in the light of the experience gained in their operation. On 24 September, 2008 I launched, with my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, amended guidelines, which took into account the experience gained during the pilot phase and provided for the establishment of Committees in all 114 local authority areas by the relevant local authorities and the Garda Commissioner. I am informed by the Garda authorities that up to last December Committees have been established in 98 local authority areas, representing 84% of the total.

The operation of the Committees is kept under ongoing review by my Department and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It should be noted that each Committee is required to submit an annual report of its activities, and these inform the ongoing consideration of the operation of the Committees.

I have no plans at this time to amend the legislation under which Committees operate.

Garda Reserve.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

58 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will report on the Garda Reserve Force; the number involved; and his proposals for the future of same. [5428/10]

At the end of 2009 there were approximately 484 attested members of the Garda Reserve.

The Government is strongly committed to the development of the Reserve. It has been a singularly successful initiative and reflects the strong sense of voluntary commitment from the individuals concerned. I am confident that it will continue to flourish into the future.

To date approximately 40 Reserve members of An Garda Síochána have moved on to become trainee full-time members. I believe that it is a significant success for the Garda organisation as a whole that Reserve members are being attracted to become full-time members and the Garda Síochána Admission and Appointments Regulations, which govern full-time entry to An Garda Síochána, provide that recognition is given for satisfactory service in the Reserve.

The specific duties assigned to members of the Garda Reserve are a matter for the Garda Commissioner under Section 15(5) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Garda Deployment.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

59 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda personnel engaged in providing driver and security services to the members of the Government, members of the judiciary, former Taoisigh or former Government Ministers; if he plans to review the numbers involved with a view to transferring some of these garda officers to front line duties fighting crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5609/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Compensation Scheme.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

60 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps he will take to reform the Garda compensation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5719/10]

The Garda Síochána (Compensation) Acts 1941 and 1945 provide for a scheme for compensation for Gardaí who have been killed or maliciously injured in the line of duty. The scheme provides for compensation for the family of a deceased member where death resulted from malicious injury and provides a mechanism to apply to my Department for authorisation for cases of malicious injury of a non-minor nature to be assessed by the High Court. It also provides for compensation to a member for a malicious injury of a minor nature where the duty being performed involved special risk.

There has been a shared view for some time that the existing scheme needs to be replaced with a more efficient process. The scheme, whereby all cases must go to the High Court, is liable to delays and high legal costs, and lacks facilities to settle claims in an efficient manner consistent with recent developments in processing personal injury claims. A Review Committee was formed after a High Court judgement in 1996 and recommended a replacement of the existing scheme. In 2008, my Department, through the Garda Conciliation and Arbitration (C&A) Scheme, revisited the work of the Review Committee.

My Department is currently working with Garda management and in consultation with the relevant stakeholders in the Garda C&A Scheme to develop proposals with the objective of establishing a more cost effective compensation scheme which will deal with compensation claims for malicious injuries in an efficient manner and to the satisfaction of all interested parties. I will carefully consider the final proposals and bring forward any necessary, related legislative measures.

Garda Deployment.

Jack Wall

Question:

61 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason the creation of 900 civilian posts within the gardaí has resulted in the release of just 144 garda personnel for frontline policing duties, as highlighted in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General; the steps he will take to ensure greater use of civilian personnel as recommended in the recent report of the Garda Inspectorate on Resource Allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5586/10]

Increased civilian support for the Garda Síochána does not necessarily take the form of one for one replacement of individual Gardaí with civilians. In some instances it enables the replacement of sworn members, who are engaged in exclusively clerical, administrative or technical duties, with civilian staff. In others, it allows sworn members who would otherwise have to devote a significant part of their working day to performing administrative duties to focus exclusively on front-line policing duties. Civilian staff may also be recruited to perform new or expanded administrative, managerial and professional support roles in the Garda Síochána, for example as crime analysts or IT specialists.

On this account, and because of the significant restructuring of roles, functions and business areas that has taken place at all levels of the Garda Síochána in recent years, it is difficult to quantify the exact number of posts which were occupied by sworn members but which today are held by civilians. I can however confirm that since 2003 the number of civilians in the Garda Síochána has risen to approximately 2,115 whole time equivalents. While this is still a lower proportion compared to some similar police services in other jurisdictions, the Commissioner is committed to increasing this number further as resources allow.

Civilian staff are now involved in the provision of vital support services in a wide range of administrative, professional, technical and industrial areas, including Human Resources, Training and Development, IT and Telecommunications, Finance and Procurement, Internal Audit, Communications, research and analysis, accommodation and fleet management, scene-of-crime support and medical services. In addition, a number of essential operational support areas are now wholly or largely staffed by civilian staff, such as the Central Vetting Unit and the Fixed Charge Processing Office in Thurles and the Garda Information Services Centre which is based in Castlebar. The Garda Síochána Analysis Service, to which I referred earlier, is staffed by qualified and highly trained civilian analysts. Civilian Telecommunications Technicians also provide front-line support to the whole of the Garda organisation across a range of technologies and services. The augmented civilian element in the Garda organisation which has been deployed by the Garda Commissioner in recent years has made a dramatic improvement to the effectiveness of law enforcement in this State through freeing Garda resources for front line policing.

EU Directives.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

62 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of EU Directives for which his Department has responsibility that remain to be implemented; the directives that are overdue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5613/10]

The information to reply to this question cannot be provided at this time. A reply will be provided at a later date.

Garda Powers.

Mary Upton

Question:

63 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if all sections of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009, have been brought into operation; the number of occasions on which the powers contained in the Act have been used since its enactment; the number of prosecutions transferred to the Special Criminal Court under the provisions of Section 8 of the Act; the number of charges that have proffered under the powers contained in the Act; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5616/10]

The Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 became law on 23 July 2009 and all sections of this Act are in operation. Section 8 of the Act schedules the organised crime offences specified for the purpose of the provisions under the Offences Against the State Act 1939 relating to the use of the Special Criminal Court.

This piece of legislation is aimed at tackling serious crimes and I can assure the House that An Garda Síochána have been actively using its provisions to target and disrupt organised criminal networks and their activities.

Given the serious nature of the offences dealt with under the legislation in question a full and thorough investigation of individuals and their activities is necessary and must be conducted before charges can be brought against them.

Given the relatively recent enactment of this legislation it remains too early to collate meaningful statistics in relation to the operation of all of its provisions. I am however advised that a number of investigation files have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána will continue to utilise all available legislation, including all the additional legislative provisions introduced by the Oireachtas in 2009 relating to organised crime, to develop and implement strategies to continue to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks.

Organised Crime.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

64 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of procedures, actions, prosecutions or other interventions that have been taken since or arising from the passage of the Criminal Justice Surveillance Act 2009, the Criminal Justice Miscellaneous Provisions Act 2009 and the Criminal Justice Amendment Act 2009; the success or otherwise of any or all of the prosecutions taken against organised criminal gangs under the aforementioned legislation; the number of gangland inspired criminal activities identified, recorded or noted that have been brought to the attention of the gardai and investigated since the passage of the legislation; the number of criminal procedures initiated under the legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5645/10]

As the Deputy is aware the legislation referred to in the question represents additional legislative resources that the Oireachtas has made available to An Garda Síochána to facilitate them in their fight against serious and organised crime.

Given the serious nature of the offences dealt with under the legislation in question a full and thorough investigation of individuals and their activities is necessary and must be conducted before charges can be brought against them.

Given the relatively recent enactment of this legislation it remains too early to collate meaningful statistics in relation to the operation of all of its provisions.

I am however advised that a number of Garda investigation files have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions and I can assure this House that members of An Garda Síochána continue to utilise all resources available to them in order to combat the activities of those engaged in criminality of all forms.

As Minister, I remain fully committed to supporting them in their ongoing efforts and will ensure that the necessary resources are made available as and when they may be required.

Departmental Staff.

Joe Costello

Question:

65 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of personnel in his Department, the Garda and agencies for which his Department has responsibility to whom the full public service pay cuts provided by the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act will not apply by virtue of Circular 28/2009 issued by the Department of Finance on 22 December 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5589/10]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the provisions of the Department of Finance Circular 28/2009 relating to the pay reductions for the grades of Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary and related public service grades where the pay reductions comprise both a reduction in the salary scale and the termination of the scheme of performance-related awards previously applicable to the grades which entailed an average payment of 10% of salary.

The number of personnel in my Department, An Garda Siochána and agencies under the aegis of my Department covered by these provisions is 36.

The position in relation to the Chief Executive Officers of three Non-Commercial State bodies under the aegis of my Department is the subject of further discussion with the Department of Finance.

Criminal Assets Legislation.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

66 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his plans for the appointment of an expert group to review the operation of the proceeds of crime legislation; if this group has been appointed; if so, the members of the group; when he expects this group to report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5590/10]

As the Deputy is aware I have asked that a Committee be formed to review the proceeds of crime legislation to ensure that it reflects our experience of the issue over the last number of years and remains a strong and effective deterrent to criminality.

This review will look at areas such as decreasing the amount of time which must elapse before criminal assets which have been frozen become the property of the State, increasing the powers of receivers over properties so as to immediately deprive criminals of the use of those properties, the short term seizure of assets believed to be the proceeds of crime pending determination of the Courts, further improving arrangements for sharing information with similar organisations in other countries and entering into arrangements with other countries where assets which are forfeited as a result of joint investigations can be shared.

I am advised that this Committee will meet for the first time in early February and will consist of senior representatives of An Garda Siochána, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Attorney General's Office and officials of my own Department. I have asked that this group report to me directly and I will then consider their findings in the light of any suggested amendments to legislation.

Drugs in Prisons.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

67 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of drug seizures made in prisons during 2009; the way in which this compares with each year from 2005; his views on the continuing extensive presence of drugs in our prisons; the steps he is taking to deal with this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5595/10]

The confiscation of drugs (or suspected drugs) was recorded by our prisons under the generic description of "prohibited articles/substances" prior to 2008. Therefore an accurate breakdown as requested by the Deputy for that period is not available without the manual examination of records going back over a considerable time period.

From May 2008 (when new security initiatives were first introduced) to 31 December 2008, there were 351 drug seizures within the Irish prison system. In 2009, prisons recorded seizures of drugs as set out in the table below. The security initiative introduced by the IPS clearly has greatly strengthened the ability of the prison system to intercept illicit substances. The following figures reflect the IPS's success in this regard:

Prison/Place of Detention

Number of Drug Seizures in 2009

Arbour Hill Prison

0

Castlerea Prison

65

Cloverhill Prison

97

Cork Prison

35

Dóchas Centre

11

Limerick Prison

75

Loughan House

12

Midlands Prison

93

Mountjoy Prison (male)

547

Portlaoise Prison

20

Shelton Abbey

19

St. Patrick’s Institution

92

Training Unit

60

Wheatfield Prison

167

Total

1,293

The Irish Prison Service does not have the facility to test substances found or seized and therefore cannot state definitively the type or value of drugs seized. Gardaí are contacted once suspected drug seizures are made and issues of investigation and prosecution fall within their remit.

The Irish Prison Service continues to work to implement it's Drug Policy and Strategy, entitled "Keeping Drugs Out of Prison", which was launched in May 2006. Working to fulfil the commitments contained in the Policy and Strategy involves the implementation of stringent measures to prevent drugs from getting into prisons while, at the same time, continuing to invest in services within prisons to reduce the demand for illicit drugs in the prisoner population as well as meeting prisoners treatment and rehabilitative needs.

Drug Users present with multiple and complex problems. The evidence would indicate that a multidisciplinary approach is needed to effectively care for this group and that maintenance of a personalised therapeutic relationship yields the best outcomes. Prisoners have access to a range of medical and rehabilitative services such as psychosocial services and work and training options which assist in addressing their substance misuse issues.

The Irish Prison Service has committed significant investment in recent years in responding to addiction issues in the prison system. The most significant new development was the awarding of a contract for addiction counselling services to Merchants Quay Ireland. The Addiction Counselling Service is, in conjunction with other developments, now delivering an average of 1,500 prisoner contacts per month.

The priority of my Department and the Irish Prison Service is, notwithstanding present resource difficulties, to ensure that an appropriate range of treatment services is available to all prisoners requiring same.

Garda Reserve.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

68 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of members of the Garda Reserve recruited to date; the stations to which they have been allocated; the number of applicants for the reserve currently in training; if he is satisfied with the rate of recruitment; when he expects that the full complement of 1,500 will be in place; if restrictions have been placed on recruitment to the reserve arising from budgetary restrictions; if he intends the review of the operation of the Garda Reserve, as recommended in the Report of the Garda Inspectorate on Resource Allocation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5585/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Stations.

Martin Ferris

Question:

69 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the plan for rationalisation of Garda stations in view of the Garda Inspectorate’s Resource Allocation Report. [5541/10]

The Garda Inspectorate was established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to ensure that Garda resources are used efficiently and effectively as measured by reference to the best standards of comparable police services. This is the sixth report of the Inspectorate and it focuses on the allocation of human resources in frontline, uniform policing.

The report contains many positive recommendations on how the fluctuating demand for policing services can be better measured and how Garda resources can be more efficiently deployed to meet that demand.

The Inspectorate's report suggests that fewer stations in the Dublin Metropolitan Region need to be open for administrative services to the public on a 24/7 basis, potentially freeing up more Gardaí for frontline operational duties. The Garda Inspectorate has not recommended the closure of any stations. The Garda Commissioner, who has made clear the priority he gives to maximising operational strength, will consider this recommendation in the context of the report as a whole and in the light of his assessment of Garda operational requirements.

Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 31.

Garda Strength.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

71 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the strength of An Garda Síochána at the latest date for which figures are available broken down by full members, persons who have attested but not yet concluded their training and persons in training; the expected number that will be recruited during 2010; the anticipated number at each category at the end of 2010; the number of members of the force that are expected to retire during 2010; the number that will be recruited in the first half of 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5614/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Operations.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

72 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the criteria used by the gardaí in determining which witnesses may use the entrance to the new Central Criminal Courts building in Dublin, which is normally used for those in custody and by members of the Garda and the Judiciary; if any witness who requests to use the entrance will be facilitated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5583/10]

As I have recently stated, this is a Garda operational matter on which are they best placed to make a decision. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the matter.

Crime Prevention.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

73 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied that there is sufficient Garda personnel in the six Border counties to control the spate of bank and other robberies as well as the worrying bomb threats from dissident groups; his views on whether it is essential to maximise security to track down and remove such elements at an early stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5424/10]

The allocation of Garda resources, including the distribution of personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and senior Garda management. They are aided in this by a distribution model which indicates the most effective means of distributing Garda personnel and acts as a guide to Garda management decision making. It takes into account different policing variables, including crime trends, socio-economic factors, and census information.

The Deputy will understand that it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the specific details of Garda activities to combat the threat posed by paramilitary groups. It is the case, however, that close co-operation exists at all levels between the Garda Síochána and its counterparts in Northern Ireland in the context of countering and investigating the activities of so-called dissident groups.

Crime Levels.

Jack Wall

Question:

74 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the crime figures for the final quarter of 2009, published by the Central Statistics Office; his views on the increase in the number of burglaries and robberies; the steps the gardai are taking to counter this trend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5618/10]

While I am concerned at some of the trends shown in the crime statistics released by the CSO for the last quarter of 2009, it would be unfair to An Garda Síochána not to recognise that there were reductions in nine of the fourteen crime groups covered by the statistics.

I welcome the decrease in the numbers of cases of manslaughter and dangerous driving causing death. However I am still concerned by the number of such crimes. Many murders are gang related which underlines the necessity of the tough legislation enacted last year and which is now being fully utilised by the Gardaí.

I am heartened by the decreases in public order offences (down 7.8%) and controlled drug offences (down 6.3%) shown in the CSO figures.

I note that all property crime (robbery, burglary and theft) increased by 2.2% in 2009. Both the Garda Commissioner and I are concerned at this increase. Some of this may be due to bogus callers to the homes of elderly and vulnerable people. I am awaiting a review of laws relating to introducing mandatory sentencing of those convicted of such crimes against the most vulnerable in society.

I note the increase of 80.5% in kidnapping and related offences and that this crime group includes abduction of persons under 16 years of age — generally in connection with family custody disputes. Much of this increase is accounted for by the inclusion of new human trafficking offences, which highlights the major work Gardaí have undertaken in this area.

In the present economic circumstances no area can be immune from pressure on public spending, but in the justice area the highest priority is being given to the frontline fight against crime. As evidence of this, the Government has agreed to 170 promotions taking place within An Garda Síochána which will enable senior posts to be filled. While we are facing difficult economic challenges I believe that the budgetary allocation for An Garda Síochána in 2010 will allow us to continue to prioritise resources to deal with crime.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

75 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of occasions in 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in which grenades, bombs or improvised explosives devices have been used; the number of occasions in each year when the gardaí called on the assistance of the Army Ordinance Unit to deal with such devices; the number of prosecutions initiated as a result of the discovery of such devices; his views on the increased use of such devices by criminal elements; the steps that he is taking to curb the use of such devices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5615/10]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 38 of 10 December 2009.

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the updated figure for such incidents in 2009 is 196 incidents and there have been 16 such incidents to 1 February 2010. In respect of the incidents that occurred to 1 February 2010 there have been three arrests. In respect of the incidents that occurred in 2008 and 2009 there has been a total of 92 arrests, there have been four convictions and in another 59 cases the matters are currently before the courts or files are with the DPP.

The remainder of the information provided previously is unchanged.

Gambling Review.

Willie Penrose

Question:

76 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made on the review of gambling announced by him in May 2009; when he expects this process to be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5604/10]

As the Deputy is aware, the major review of gambling currently under way in my Department is aimed at developing a new and comprehensive legal and organisational framework governing the gambling architecture in the State.

Any proposed new regulatory framework for gambling must be based on three important considerations which are the hallmark of most well-regulated gambling codes. These are:

that young people and the vulnerable are protected,

that gambling should in all respects be fairly and openly conducted, and

that gambling is kept free of crime.

The initial consultation phase of the review process is now completed. Since 1 May, 2009, material on my Department's website in this connection was viewed over 3,800 times; there have been 200 individual response to the invitation to register on the website in order to obtain e-mail updates on the review process; 69 submissions have been received from interested organisations and individuals and over 50 face-to-face meetings have been held with interested parties.

My Department is now completing an examination of the submissions received. Based on that examination and taking account of the Report of the Casino Committee,Regulating Gaming in Ireland, I hope to be in a position to seek Government approval of policy proposals for a new gambling architecture in the State.

Garda Investigations.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

77 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to calls for a reinvestigation of the unsolved murder of a person (details supplied); if he has discussed this matter with the Garda Commissioner. [5537/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the investigation into the death of the person referred to by the Deputy was the subject of an intensive review in 2004.

I am further informed that the Commissioner appointed the Assistant Commissioner, Northern Region to examine the investigation file, which remains open, and is under the supervision of the Assistant Commissioner. Liaison is being maintained with the family of the person referred to.

The Deputy will appreciate that, as the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this time.

Legislative Programme.

Willie Penrose

Question:

78 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he will bring forward legislative proposals to change the law on debt enforcement in view of his speech to a Law Reform Commission conference on debt on 18 November 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5605/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

80 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when, in respect of the relevant commitment given in the Revised Programme for Government, he will bring forward proposals for an extra judicial debt settlement mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5326/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 78 and 80 together.

The Law Reform Commission's Consultation Paper on Personal Debt Management and Debt Enforcement, published in September 2009, contains an extensive list of provisional recommendations for reform of the law on personal debt that includes provision for a system of non-judicial debt settlement. The Commission had indicated that the date for completion of submissions on its Paper was the end of January 2010. It is aiming to have its Final Report available by end of August 2010.

I can assure the Deputy that the Government is considering all avenues of approach in this area and, in so far as the final recommendations of the Law Reform Commission are concerned, it intends that early action be taken by the relevant Departments, including my Department.

Gangland Killings.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

79 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is concerned about the spate of gun murders to date in 2010; the steps that he is taking to deal with the upsurge of murders in the early weeks of 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5582/10]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 1 on today's Order Paper (Ref. 5800/10).

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 78.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Finian McGrath

Question:

81 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will support an education course (details supplied) in Dublin 9. [5871/10]

As Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment I do not have a role in the administration of individual cases. The administration of individual cases is a day-to-day matter for FÁS as part of its responsibility under the Labour Services Act 1987.

Departmental Agencies.

George Lee

Question:

82 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of staff employed by FÁS in 2009, broken down by grade, showing the average salary for each grade; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5775/10]

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

Staff as at December 2009

Grade

FTE

Average Salary

1

1

222,488.00

3

5

153,180.80

4

25

109,865.08

5

2

106,842.00

6

88

88,239.91

7

136.84

74,233.01

8

786.53

58,498.95

9

150.46

49,394.26

10

197.04

45,597.74

11

569.14

33,380.37

13

94.39

29,233.61

Total

2,055.40

51,010.99

The salaries quoted above are rates as at September 2008 and do not reflect the budget 2010 reduction in pay.

George Lee

Question:

83 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 201 of 26 January 2010, the details of any other one step increases as part of a major restructuring that occurred in FÁS; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5777/10]

The information requested is being researched. I will contact the Deputy again in the matter as soon as possible.

George Lee

Question:

84 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 201 of 26 January 2010, the amount it cost to the Exchequer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5778/10]

The information requested is being collated and will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Industrial Development.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

85 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the locations of the site visits made by the Industrial Development Authority to County Donegal for each year since 2003 on a yearly basis. [5781/10]

The location of the site visits by potential investors to County Donegal in each of the years 2003 to 2009 is set out on the following tabular statement.

IDA Ireland is actively encouraging new investment in Donegal in knowledge-based industries. This is part of a focused strategy to replace the traditional clothing and textile industries that have been declining in the north west region in recent years. During the last five years IDA-supported companies in Donegal have created over 663 new jobs.

There are presently 12 IDA Ireland-supported companies in Donegal, trading internationally and employing 1,683 full time and 128 part time people in software development, systems development and the medical technology industry. Donegal's industry base is transforming from the clothing and textile industry to high tech, high skill activity. Companies such asPramerica and UnitedHealth, which have located in Donegal are continuously growing and recruiting.

The agency's emphasis is to build up an international and financial services cluster and is making strides in delivering on this, evidenced by the existing quality of the companies and the recent announcement of an expansion of 123 jobs by SITA INC. In addition IDA is actively promoting Donegal as a successful location for high-end manufacturing mainly to companies in the medical technologies sector. This is proving successful with projects from Medisize and Zeus Industrial Products Inc. who have opened a European Operations Centre for the production and distribution of precision medical tubing products.

Another primary focus for IDA in Donegal is the designated linked Gateway of Letterkenny/Derry and significant investment has also been undertaken in developing property solutions through the provision of a Business and Technology Park along with three advance buildings in Letterkenny.

This focus involves developing stronger economic links with Invest Northern Ireland, which includes initiatives like the north west Business and Technology Zone. This is aimed at promoting the linked Gateway of Letterkenny/Derry in line with the objectives of the NSS 2002-2020 and the NI Regional Development Strategy 2025.

The delivery of physical, social and economic infrastructure is key to securing inward investment and IDA Ireland continues to be engaged in identifying and prioritising investment in these areas in association with local partners. In that context the interdepartmental group report published previously by Minister Martin outlined the wide range of infrastructure projects completed and under way which have and will continue to support the environment in Donegal for job creation.

Table showing the location of site visits by potential investors to County Donegal in each year of the seven-year period 2003 to 2009

Year

Locations Visited

2003

Letterkenny

Buncrana

2004

Letterkenny

Ballyshannon

Bunbeg

2005

Letterkenny

Donegal Town

2006

Letterkenny

Buncrana

2007

Letterkenny

2008

Letterkenny

Buncrana

2009

Letterkenny

Departmental Agencies.

George Lee

Question:

86 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the date the communications unit was established; if the staff were recruited internally or externally; if they were recruited internally, the section of FÁS from which they were recruited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5783/10]

The Communications Unit was established in January 2009 and reports to the Director of Corporate Support. The unit currently comprises 1 manager, 1 assistant manager, 3 project officers and 1 clerical officer.

The current staff were internally assigned from the former Corporate Affairs and the Services to Business areas of FÁS.

FÁS Training Programmes.

George Lee

Question:

87 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of clients that the jobs club dealt with in 2009; the number of clients that each of the 56 jobs clubs dealt with in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5785/10]

I am awaiting the final detailed figures for 2009 from FÁS and will communicate these to the Deputy when they are received. However, the provisional figure for the total number of clients that the jobs club dealt with in 2009 is 8,996.

George Lee

Question:

88 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the list of courses offered by FÁS; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5787/10]

The full list of FÁS training courses offered by FÁS training services is set out in the following table:

FÁS Training Services Training Course List for 2010

List No.

Course Category

Course Code

Course Title

1

SST

XX005

General Engineering Operatives

2

SST

XX006

Electronic Manufacturing Skills

3

SST

XX008

Welding

4

SST

XX010

Machine Tool Operating

5

SST

XX013

Construction Operatives

6

SST

XX014

Business Administration and Management

7

SST

XX022

Engineering Multi Skills

8

SST

XX028

Domestic Appliance Servicing

9

SST

XX030

Welding Intermediate

10

SST

XX036

Traditional Stone Wall and General Construction

11

SST

XX037

Hairdressing

12

SST

XX038

Heavy Goods Vehicle Driving (HGV) — Artic

13

SST

XX039

CSCS — Scaffolding — Basic

14

SST

XX040

Welding/Fabrication

15

SST

XX041

Pharmaceutical Process Operator

16

SST

XX043

Customer Care and IT Skills

17

SST

XX047

Internet Security Management

18

Bridging

XX050

Receptionists Skills

19

SST

XX055

Computer Applics — Self-Directed Learning

20

SST

XX065

Logistics and Distribution

21

SST

XX068

Enterprise Development

22

SST

XX069

Computer and Payroll Skills

23

SST

XX072

Retail Sales

24

SST

XX074

Coded Pipe Welding

25

SST

XX082

Electronics Technician

26

SST

XX083

Fashion Cutting and Technical Skills

27

SST

XX101

Injection Moulding Setter

28

SST

XX108

Personal Computer Maintenance

29

SST

XX114

Quality Assurance

30

SST

XX115

Computer Aided Draughting and Design

31

SST

XX118

Horticultural Training

32

SST

XX119

Graphics for the Print Media

33

SST

XX133

Repair and Servicing of Motor Cycles

34

SST

XX162

Security and Emergency Alarm Installation/Maintenance

35

SST

XX169

Personal Computer Networks Maintenance

36

SST

XX180

Beautician/Aestheticienne

37

SST

XX196

Sales Representative

38

SST

XX204

Pharmacy Sales

39

SST

XX214

Accounting Technician — Foundation Course

40

SST

XX235

Software Testing

41

SST

XX237

Business Appraisal and Start-Up Programme

42

SST

XX249

Computer Aided Engineering — Milling and Turning

43

Bridging

XX261

Preparatory Programme for Apprenticeship

44

SST

XX264

Desktop Publishing

45

SST

XX267

Interior Design — Foundation Course

46

Bridging

XX270

Introduction to Electronics and Computing

47

SST

XX272

Draughting — Building Services

48

SST

XX273

Computerised Accounts and Payroll

49

Bridging

XX274

Introduction to Photography and Computing

50

SST

XX283

Media Techniques — Radio

51

SST

XX292

Computer Aided Draughting/C.N.C. Milling and Turning

52

SST

XX299

Signwriting

53

SST

XX307

Production Management

54

SST

XX318

Television and Video Production

55

SST

XX320

Digital Design for Website Production

56

Return to Work

XX328

Jobs Club

57

SST

XX332

Industrial Automation

58

Return to Work

XX334

Pre-Employment Preparation Programme

59

SST

XX351

Interactive Media

60

SST

XX364

CSCS — Roof & Wall Sheet/Clad for Experienced Workers

61

Bridging

XX374

Urban

62

SST

XX381

Microsoft Office Specialist Program

63

SST

XX394

Heavy Goods Vehicle Driving (HGV) — Rigid

64

SST

XX395

Teleservices — English Language

65

Bridging

XX399

Chinese Language and Induction

66

Bridging

XX414

Basic Keyboard and Computer Skills

67

SST

XX424

Technical Sale and Customer Care Professionals

68

SST

XX425

CSCS — Scaffolding — Advanced

69

SST

XX426

Return to Work

70

SST

XX427

Software Developer ll

71

SST

XX430

Computer Applications and Office Skills

72

SST

XX438

Software Developer 1

73

SST

XX441

Foundation in Computer Aided Draughting

74

SST

XX444

Introduction to Computer Maintenance and Networks

75

SST

XX447

CSCS — 180° Excavator Operations for Experienced Workers

76

SST

XX448

CSCS — 360° Excavator Operations for Experienced Workers

77

SST

XX449

CSCS — Tractor Dozer Operations for Experienced Workers

78

SST

XX451

CSCS — Tower Crane Operations for Experienced Workers

79

SST

XX452

CSCS — Slinging and Signalling for Experienced Workers

80

SST

XX453

CSCS — Telescopic Handler for Experienced Worker

81

SST

XX454

CSCS — Mini Digger for Experienced Operatives

82

SST

XX455

CSCS — Mobile Crane For Experienced Operatives

83

SST

XX456

CSCS — Crawler Crane Operations for Experienced Operators

84

SST

XX457

CSCS — Site Dumper Operations For Experienced Workers

85

SST

XX458

CSCS — Articulated Dumper Operations for Experienced Workers

86

SST

XX459

CSCS — Remote Controlled Self Erecting Tower Crane Operations for Experienced Workers

87

SST

XX460

Manual & Computerised Payroll/Accounts

88

Bridging

XX465

ECDL — European Computer Driving Licence

89

SST

XX475

IBEC IR and HR Programme for Graduates

90

SST

XX484

Fundamentals of Info Comm Technology

91

SST

XX487

Hedge Fund Administration Diploma

92

Bridging

XX492

Japanese Language and Induction

93

Bridging

XX493

Child Care Assistant

94

SST

XX497

Fundamentals of Engineering

95

SST

XX542

Genesis — First Steps to Employment

96

SST

XX905

Linux Administration

97

SST

XX908

CSCS — Built Up Roofing — Single Ply for Experienced Workers

98

SST

XX909

CSCS — Built Up Roofing — Bituminous for Experienced Workers

99

SST

XX914

Web Design (CIW)

100

SST

XX917

New Media Creative Design

101

SST

XX919

Manual Handling

102

SST

XX920

Mobile Access Tower Operations

103

SST

XX923

Multimedia Training Facility

104

SST

XX925

CSCS — Scaffolding for New Entrants

105

SST

XX926

CSCS — Remote Controlled Self Erecting Tower Crane Operations for New Entrants

106

SST

XX927

Stonescaping

107

SST

XX928

Assessing Business Opportunities — Part Time

108

Return to Work

XX930

Return To Work — Part Time

109

SST

XX934

CSCS — 180° Excavator Operations for New Entrants

110

SST

XX935

CSCS — Telescopic Handler Operations for New Entrants

111

SST

XX940

CSCS — Tractor Dozer Operations for New Entrants

112

SST

XX942

CSCS — 360° Excavator Operations for New Entrants

113

SST

XX943

CSCS — Articulated Dump Truck Operations for New Entrants

114

SST

XX944

CSCS — Crawler Crane Operations for New Entrants

115

SST

XX945

CSCS — Mini Excavator Operations for New Entrants

116

SST

XX946

CSCS — Mobile Crane Operations for New Entrants

117

SST

XX947

CSCS — Site Dumper Operations for New Entrants

118

SST

XX948

CSCS — Slinger/Signaller Operations for New Entrants

119

SST

XX949

CSCS — Tower Crane Operations for New Entrants

120

Bridging

XX954

Core Employment Skills

121

Bridging

XX955

Delivery Driver

122

Bridging

XX963

Pathways to Employment

123

Bridging

XX964

Warehouse Operative — Introduction to Logistics

124

Bridging

XX966

Skills Sampling — Engineering

125

Bridging

XX969

Career Planning and Employable Skills

126

Bridging

XX972

Introduction to Warehousing and Distribution

127

Return to Work

XX973

I.T Office Skills — Part-Time

128

SST

XX974

Sound Engineering

129

SST

XX975

Chemical Process Plant Operator

130

SST

XX979

Networks and Windows 2003 Server

131

Bridging

XX980

Deciding Your Future

132

SST

XXR01

Seafaring Safety Skills

133

SST

XXR04

Securing Your Future Workskills

134

SST

XXR05

English For Migrant Workers — Construction Ind.

135

SST

XXR06

English For Migrant Workers — Generic Eng A

136

SST

XXR07

English For Migrant Workers — Generic Eng B

137

SST

XXR08

English For Migrant Workers — Hospitality Ind.

138

SST

XXR09

English For Migrant Workers — Security Ind.

139

SST

XXR11

Biopharma/Pharmachem Skills

140

SST

XXR12

CSCS — 360° Telescopic Handler Operations

141

SST

XXR15

Client Server Applications

142

SST

XXR16

CSCS — Principles of SteelFixing Operations

143

SST

XXR17

FIT — Warehousing and Data Entry

144

SST

XXR18

FIT — IT Office Administration and Design

145

SST

XXR21

FIT — Business Through Computers

146

SST

XXR23

FIT — IT and Customer Care

147

SST

XXR25

Instructor Induction Programme

148

SST

XXR27

Domestic Solar Hot Water Systems Installation

149

SST

XXR29

I.T. Support

150

SST

XXR30

Domestic Heat Pump Installation

151

SST

XXR31

Domestic Biomass Heating Installation

152

SST

XXR33

CSCS — Experienced Mobile Access Tower Operations

153

SST

XXR34

ECDL — Part-Time

154

SST

XXR36

Foundation in Audio-Visual Techniques

155

SST

XXR39

Retail Skills

156

SST

XXR45

Construction Plant Operating

157

SST

XXR50

FIT — IT Retail Sales & Customer Care

158

SST

XXR53

Kerb Flag & Paviour Laying/Experienced

159

SST

XXR55

Starting with Computers

160

SST

XXR57

CSCS — Signing, Lighting & Guarding on Roads

161

SST

XXR58

Traditional Stone Wall Building — Experienced

162

SST

XXR64

QSCS — 180° Excavator Quarry Operations — Experienced

163

SST

XXR65

QSCS — 360° Excavator Quarry Operations — Experienced

164

SST

XXR66

QSCS — Articulated Dumper Quarry Operations — Experienced

165

SST

XXR67

QSCS — Crawler Crane Quarry Operations — Experienced

166

SST

XXR68

QSCS — Front End Loader Quarry Operations — Experienced

167

SST

XXR69

QSCS — Mini Excavator Quarry Operations — Experienced

168

SST

XXR70

QSCS — Mobile Crane Quarry Operations — Experienced

169

SST

XXR71

QSCS — Rigid Dump Truck Quarry Operations — Experienced

170

SST

XXR72

QSCS — Site Dumper Quarry Operations — Experienced

171

SST

XXR73

QSCS — Slinger Signaller Quarry Operations — Experienced

172

SST

XXR74

QSCS — Telescopic Handler Quarry Operations — Experienced

173

SST

XXR75

QSCS — Tractor Dozer Quarry Operations — Experienced

174

SST

XXR76

Intelligent Building Control Systems

175

SST

XXR77

IT Applications and Business Communications

176

SST

XXR78

CSCS — Health & Safety at Roadworks

177

SST

XXR79

CSCS — Location of Underground Services

178

SST

XXR80

Childcare Supervisor

179

SST

XXR81

MySQL & PHP for Dynamic Websites

180

SST

XXR86

Finance — Foundation Programme

181

SST

XXR87

Web Design with Adobe Dreamweaver

182

SST

XXR88

Windows 2003 Server Management

183

SST

XXR92

CSCS Shotfiring

184

SST

XXR96

FIT — IT and Business Systems

185

SST

XXR97

FIT — IT and Communications Skills

186

SST

XXR98

FIT — IT and Reception Skills

187

SST

XXR99

World Skills Olympics

188

SST

XX01R

FIT — Microsoft Certified Professional

189

SST

XX02R

FIT — PC Maintenance

190

SST Short Course

XXZ01

Drainlaying

191

SST Short Course

XXZ02

Kerbing and Paving

192

SST Short Course

XXZ03

Communications and Customer Care

193

SST Short Course

XXZ04

Warehousing Purchasing and Procurement

194

SST Short Course

XXZ05

Telesales

195

SST Short Course

XXZ06

Landscape Construction

196

SST Short Course

XXZ07

Domestic Thermal Insulation

197

SST Short Course

XXZ08

Warehousing Storage and Distribution

198

SST Short Course

XXZ11

Warehouse Operations and Forklift Truck Driving

199

SST Short Course

XXZ12

Retail Sales

200

SST Short Course

XXZ13

ICT Product Sales

201

SST Short Course

XXZ14

Steps to Self Employment

202

SST Short Course

XXZ15

Spreadsheets

203

SST Short Course

XXZ16

Word Processing — MOS Core

204

SST Short Course

XXZ17

Manual and Computerised Accounts

205

SST Short Course

XXZ18

Clerical Receptionist

206

SST Short Course

XXZ19

Computerised Payroll

207

SST Short Course

XXZ20

Legal Practice and Procedures

208

SST Short Course

XXZ22

Concreting

209

SST Short Course

XXZ23

Renewable Energy

210

SST Short Course

XXZ24

Hydraulics

211

SST Short Course

XXZ26

CNC Competencies

212

SST Short Course

XXZ27

Pneumatics

213

SST Short Course

XXZ29

Programmable Logic Controllers — PLCs

214

SST Short Course

XXZ30

Electrical/Electronic Control Systems

215

SST Short Course

XXZ31

2D Computer Aided Draughting and Design

216

SST Short Course

XXZ32

Basic Word Processing

217

SST Short Course

XXZ33

Basic Spreadsheets

218

SST Short Course

XXZ34

Exhaust Replacement Fitting

219

SST Short Course

XXZ35

Tyre Replacement Fitting

220

SST Short Course

XXZ36

Welding — MMA Flat-Horizontal — Plate

221

SST Short Course

XXZ37

Welding — MMA Positional — Plate and Pipe

222

SST Short Course

XXZ38

Welding — MIG Flat-Horizontal — Plate

223

SST Short Course

XXZ39

Welding MIG Positional — Plate & Pipe

224

SST Short Course

XXZ40

Welding Pipe (Schedule 80)

225

SST Short Course

XXZ41

Welding TIG Alum & SS plate

226

SST Short Course

XXZ42

Welding TIG Alum & SS Plate & Pipe

227

SST Short Course

XXZ44

Introduction to Computer Hardware

228

SST Short Course

XXZ45

Multimedia Authoring

229

SST Short Course

XXZ46

Digital Image Editing

230

SST Short Course

XXZ47

Makeup

231

SST Short Course

XXZ50

Windows Server Administration

232

SST Short Course

XXZ51

Foundations in IT

233

SST Short Course

XXZ52

Basic IT Maintenance

234

SST Short Course

XXZ53

3D Computer Aided Draughting and Design

235

SST Short Course

XXZ62

Medical Devices Industrial Skills

236

SST Short Course

XXZ78

Built Up Roofing-Single Ply (Experienced Workers)

237

SST Short Course

XXZ79

Built Up Roof Felter-Bituminous

238

SST Short Course

XXZ95

Domestic Biomass Installation

239

SST Short Course

XXZ99

Building Energy Rating Assessor

240

SST Short Course

XX01Z

Principles of Management

241

SST Short Course

XX02Z

Practical Management

242

SST Short Course

XX03Z

Security Personnel

243

SST Short Course

XX07Z

Computer Basics

244

SST Short Course

XX09Z

Customer Service Agent

245

SST Short Course

XX11Z

Domestic Thermal Insulation & External Rendering Techniques

246

SST Short Course

XX12Z

Air Tightness Testing & Measurement

247

SST Short Course

XX13Z

Air Tightness Installation

248

SST Short Course

XX19Z

VB.Net Programming

249

SST Short Course

XX20Z

JAVA Programming

250

SST Short Course

XX21Z

C++ Programming

251

SST Short Course

XX23Z

Executive Networking and Support Programme

252

SST Short Course

XX24Z

Installation of Domestic Photo Voltaic Systems

253

SST Short Course

XX26Z

Planning for the Future

254

SST Short Course

XX28Z

Personal and Professional Development

255

SST Short Course

XX29Z

Management Development

256

SST Short Course

XX30Z

Core Management Skills

257

SST Short Course

XX32Z

Career Reorientation Programme

258

SST Short Course

XX35Z

Fork Lift Truck Operator — Novice

259

SST Short Course

XX36Z

ECDL

260

SST Short Course

XX38Z

KNX Building Control Systems

261

SST Short Course

XX39Z

Entrepreneurship Programme

262

SST Short Course

XX40Z

Digital Electronics and Networking

263

SST Short Course

XX41Z

Radio Broadcasting Foundation

264

SST Short Course

XX43Z

IT Maintenance

265

SST Short Course

XX44Z

Vinyl Floor Installer

266

SST Short Course

XX46Z

Training and Development

267

SST Short Course

XX47Z

CompTIA Network+ 2009

268

SST Short Course

XX49Z

Choices — Personal & Technical Development

269

SST Short Course

XX50Z

International Travel Industry Studies

270

SST Short Course

XX53Z

Equestrian Tourism Assistant Ride Leader

271

Refresher

XXD01

Advanced Roofing Skills -Short Course

272

Refresher

XXD02

Stair Construction — Short Course

273

Refresher

XXD03

Plaster Mouldwork — Refresher Course

274

Refresher

XXD04

Roofing — Refresher Course

275

Refresher

XXD05

Diesel Engine Management Systems — Refresher Course

276

Refresher

XXD06

Stair Construction — Straight — Refresher Course

277

Refresher

XXD07

Electrical Testing & Verification — Refresher

278

Refresher

XXD10

Kitchen/Wardrobe Manufacturing & Installation — Refresher

279

Refresher

XXD12

Fascia, Soffit, Verge & Roof Maintenance — Refresher

280

Refresher

XXD13

Motor Operation, Control and Fault Analysis

281

Traineeship

XXS30

Office Administrator Traineeship

282

Traineeship

XXS33

Software Developer Traineeship

283

Traineeship

XXS39

Forestry Operative Traineeship

284

Traineeship

XXS40

Freight Forwarding Clerk Traineeship

285

Traineeship

XXS41

Sales and Marketing Assistant Traineeship

286

Traineeship

XXS42

Legal Secretary Traineeship

287

Traineeship

XXS45

Supply Chain Logistics Traineeship

288

Traineeship

XXS47

Leisure Centre Instructor Traineeship

289

Traineeship

XXS48

Jewellery Manufacturing Operative Traineeship

290

Traineeship

XXS51

Childcare Practitioner Traineeship

291

Traineeship

XXS52

Beauty Therapist Traineeship

292

Traineeship

XXS53

Pharmacy Sales Assistant Traineeship

293

Traineeship

XXS57

Financial Adviser’s Assistant Traineeship

294

Traineeship

XXS59

Auto — Turning Operator/Setter Traineeship

295

Traineeship

XXS60

Equestrian International Instructor Level 1 (BHSAI) Traineeship

296

Traineeship

XXS63

Business Systems Service Technician Traineeship

297

Traineeship

XXS64

Outdoor Activity Instructor Traineeship

298

Traineeship

XXS65

Thatcher Traineeship

299

Traineeship

XXS67

Telecommunications Technical Operator Traineeship

300

Traineeship

XXS68

Trainee Jockey Traineeship

301

Traineeship

XXS72

Racing Groom — Traineeship

302

Traineeship

XXS73

Private Security Personnel — Traineeship

303

Traineeship

XXS76

Employed Door Security Personnel

304

Traineeship

XXS77

Employed Security Guarding Personnel

305

Traineeship

XXS78

IT Support Specialist — Traineeship

306

Traineeship

XXS79

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship

307

Traineeship

XXS91

Sales Service Fitter Traineeship

308

Traineeship

XXS92

Medical Secretary — Traineeship

309

Traineeship

XXR37

Electro-Mechanical Automation Traineeship

310

Phased Traineeship

XXK01

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship Phase 1

311

Phased Traineeship

XXK02

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship Phase 2

312

Phased Traineeship

XXK03

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship Phase 3

313

Phased Traineeship

XXK04

Childcare Practitioner Traineeship Phase 1

314

Phased Traineeship

XXK05

Child Care Practitioner Traineeship Phase 2

315

Phased Traineeship

XXK06

Childcare Practitioner Traineeship Phase 3

316

Phased Traineeship

XXK07

Beauty Therapist Traineeship Phase 1

317

Phased Traineeship

XXK08

Beauty Therapist Traineeship Phase 2

318

Phased Traineeship

XXK09

Beauty Therapist Traineeship Phase 3

319

Phased Traineeship

XXK10

Leisure Centre Instructor Traineeship — Phase 1

320

Phased Traineeship

XXK11

Leisure Centre Instructor Traineeship — Phase 2

321

Phased Traineeship

XXK12

Childcare Practitioner Traineeship Phase 1 and 2

322

Phased Traineeship

XXK13

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship Phase 1 and 2

323

Sponsored Training

XX126

Gas Installation — Safety — Sponsored Training

324

Sponsored Training

XX416

Gas Installation 2 — Sponsored Training

325

Sponsored Training

XX417

Gas Installation Update — Sponsor Training

326

Sponsored Training

XX421

Safepass — Sponsored Training

327

Sponsored Training

XX906

Gas Installer Domestic (G.I.D.) — Sponsored Training

328

Sponsored Training

XX910

Fork Lift Truck Operator — Novice — Sponsored Training

329

Sponsored Training

XX911

Fork Lift Truck Operator — Experienced — Sponsored Training

330

Sponsored Training

XX939

Injection Moulding — Sponsored Training

331

Sponsored Training

XX488

Multimedia Training — Sponsored Training

332

Sponsored Training

XXR03

Advanced Diploma in Hairdressing — Sponsored Training

333

Sponsored Training

XXR26

CNC Machine Setting and Operation — Sponsored Training

334

Night Training

XXQ01

Safety Health & Welfare at Work

335

Night Training

XXQ04

Web Page Design (Intro)

336

Night Training

XXQ06

Oil Burner Servicing

337

Night Training

XXQ09

Interior Design

338

Night Training

XXQ10

Programming in Java (Intro)

339

Night Training

XXQ101

Manual Handling

340

Night Training

XXQ102

The Digital Darkroom Retouch Tech

341

Night Training

XXQ103

MS Office Specialist (Excel Expert)

342

Night Training

XXQ104

SBA Electrician P2 T1 Revision

343

Night Training

XXQ105

SBA Electrician P2 T2 Revision

344

Night Training

XXQ108

Adv Digital Imaging — Photoshop CS

345

Night Training

XXQ11

2 Dimensional C.A.D

346

Night Training

XXQ110

ACCA Paper 1 CAT

347

Night Training

XXQ111

ACCA Paper 2 CAT

348

Night Training

XXQ112

ACCA Paper 3 CAT

349

Night Training

XXQ113

ACCA Paper 4 CAT

350

Night Training

XXQ114

Bookkeeping Module A

351

Night Training

XXQ115

Bookkeeping Module B

352

Night Training

XXQ118

Principles & Practice 2D CAD Level 3

353

Night Training

XXQ119

ACCA Paper 5 CAT

354

Night Training

XXQ12

Desktop Publishing Level 2

355

Night Training

XXQ120

ACCA Paper 6 CAT

356

Night Training

XXQ122

Artic Driving EC Licence

357

Night Training

XXQ123

Bus Driving D Licence

358

Night Training

XXQ126

ECDL Part 1

359

Night Training

XXQ127

ECDL Part 2

360

Night Training

XXQ13

Wood Turning Level 2

361

Night Training

XXQ130

ECDL PART 3

362

Night Training

XXQ140

ACCA Paper 7 CAT

363

Night Training

XXQ141

ACCA Paper 10 CAT

364

Night Training

XXQ143

ACCA Paper 8 Course

365

Night Training

XXQ146

Project Management (Basic)

366

Night Training

XXQ149

Advanced Web Design

367

Night Training

XXQ153

Door Security

368

Night Training

XXQ154

Security Guarding

369

Night Training

XXQ160

Manicure/Pedicure (ITEC Certificate)

370

Night Training

XXQ163

Gas Installer Domestic (G.I.D.)

371

Night Training

XXQ165

Domestic Biomass Heating Installation

372

Night Training

XXQ166

Domestic Heat Pump Installation

373

Night Training

XXQ167

Domestic Solar Hot Water Systems Installation

374

Night Training

XXQ169

CV Preparation

375

Night Training

XXQ17

Electronics (Basic)

376

Night Training

XXQ170

Autocad 2010 3D Modelling

377

Night Training

XXQ171

3D CAD Revit Architecture

378

Night Training

XXQ172

Computer Basics (Equal Skills)

379

Night Training

XXQ173

Computer Basics (e-Citizen)

380

Night Training

XXQ174

Legal Practice and Procedures

381

Night Training

XXQ175

3D Model Design — Civil Survey

382

Night Training

XXQ176

3D Max 2010 Design Visualisation

383

Night Training

XXQ177

Preparing for Business Enterprise — ILM Certificate

384

Night Training

XXQ179

Coaching for Change

385

Night Training

XXQ181

Transport and Distribution

386

Night Training

XXQ182

Warehousing and Inventory

387

Night Training

XXQ187

Market Gardening

388

Night Training

XXQ19

ILM Cert in Mgt. (Intro)

389

Night Training

XXQ190

Keyboard Skills Basic

390

Night Training

XXQ192

Nail Technology Diploma (ITEC)

391

Night Training

XXQ194

Reducing Home Energy Costs

392

Night Training

XXQ21

Computerised Accounts

393

Night Training

XXQ22

Desktop Publishing Level 1

394

Night Training

XXQ23

ECDL

395

Night Training

XXQ24

Introduction to Computers

396

Night Training

XXQ25

Start your Own Business

397

Night Training

XXQ26

MS Office Specialist (Word Core)

398

Night Training

XXQ27

MS Office Specialist (EXCEL Core)

399

Night Training

XXQ28

MS Office Specialist (ACCESS Core)

400

Night Training

XXQ29

ILM Cert in Management

401

Night Training

XXQ33

ECDL Spreadsheet Advanced

402

Night Training

XXQ36

TIG Welding (Basic)

403

Night Training

XXQ40

MS Office Specialist (Word Expert)

404

Night Training

XXQ41

MS Office Specialist (Outlook)

405

Night Training

XXQ42

Clerical/Receptionist Skills

406

Night Training

XXQ43

Plumbing (Basic)

407

Night Training

XXQ44

Computerised Payroll

408

Night Training

XXQ45

CV and Interview Preparation

409

Night Training

XXQ48

Hairdressing (Basic)

410

Night Training

XXQ52

Gas Welding — Course

411

Night Training

XXQ53

Electrical (Basics)

412

Night Training

XXQ56

PC Maintenance

413

Night Training

XXQ58

AutoCad (Introduction)

414

Night Training

XXQ59

Programmable Logic Controllers

415

Night Training

XXQ64

Digital Imaging Using Photoshop

416

Night Training

XXQ66

Cert in Training & Development

417

Night Training

XXQ67

Supervisory Management

418

Night Training

XXQ68

Arc Welding (Basic)

419

Night Training

XXQ69

Mig Welding

420

Night Training

XXQ70

Sales Rep. & Customer Care

421

Night Training

XXQ71

Occupational First Aid

422

Night Training

XXQ72

Warehouse Management

423

Night Training

XXQ73

Introduction to Stores Management

424

Night Training

XXQ74

Manual Accounts & Payroll

425

Night Training

XXQ76

Jewellery Stone Setting

426

Night Training

XXQ78

Powerpoint, Email & Internet

427

Night Training

XXQ79

Word Processing Advanced

428

Night Training

XXQ82

Introd. to Internet/E-mail

429

Night Training

XXQ83

Roofing — Cutting & Calculating

430

Night Training

XXQ84

SAGE Accounts and Payroll

431

Night Training

XXQ85

Computer Appreciation

432

Night Training

XXQ86

Machine Tool Operating

433

Night Training

XXQ87

Preparation for ECDL

434

Night Training

XXQ88

Gas Welding Basic

435

Night Training

XXQ92

Woodturning Level 1

436

Night Training

XXQ93

Computerised Accounts Level 2

437

Night Training

XXQ96

Gas Installation — Safety

438

Night Training

XXQ97

Safepass

439

Night Training

XXQ98

Rigid Truck Driving

440

Night Training

XXQ99

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

441

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL01

ECDL

442

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL02

ECDL Mod 1 Concepts of Information & Communication Technology

443

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL03

ECDL Mod 2 Using the Computer and Managing Files

444

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL04

ECDL Mod 3 Word Processing

445

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL05

ECDL Mod 4 Spreadsheets

446

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL06

ECDL Mod 5 Using Databases

447

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL07

ECDL Mod 6 Presentation

448

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL08

ECDL Mod 7 — Web Browsing & Communication

449

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL09

Photoshop CS3

450

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL12

Microsoft Word 2003

451

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL13

Microsoft Word 2003 Expert

452

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL14

Microsoft Excel 2003

453

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL15

Microsoft Excel 2003 Expert

454

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL16

Microsoft PowerPoint 2003

455

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL17

Microsoft Access 2003

456

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL18

Microsoft Outlook 2003

457

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL19

Microsoft Word 2007

458

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL20

CompTIA A+Essentials

459

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL21

Microsoft Excel 2007

460

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL22

Microsoft Access 2007

461

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL23

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007

462

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL24

Microsoft Outlook 2007

463

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL25

CompTIA A+ 2006 IT Technician

464

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL26

Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices ICND) Part 1

465

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL27

Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices (ICND) Part 2

466

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL28

CompTIA Network+ 2005

467

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL29

Windows Server 2003 Managing a Server Environment

468

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL30

Windows XP Installation & Administration

469

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL31

CIW Foundations v5

470

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL32

CIW Site Design v5

471

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL33

CIW eCommerce Designer v5

472

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL34

Dreamweaver CS3

473

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL35

Flash CS3

474

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL36

Java Programming S.E. 6

475

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL37

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 — Web

476

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL38

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 — Windows

477

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL39

Bookkeeping and Payroll 2009

478

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL40

Project Management (CAPM)

479

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL44

Microsoft .NET Framework — Application Development Foundation

480

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL45

ECDL Modules 1, 2, 3 and 7

481

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL46

ECDL Modules 3, 4, 5 and 6

482

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL47

Manual Payroll

483

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL48

2D — The Principles and Practice of CAD (01)

484

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL49

Computerised Accounts

485

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL50

Computerised Payroll

486

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL51

Manual Bookkeeping

487

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL52

CompTIA Network + 2009

488

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL53

Industrial Automation-Programmable Logic Controllers

489

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL54

Industrial Automation-Pneumatics

490

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL55

Industrial Automation-Electrical/Electronic Control Systems

491

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL57

Leadership & Management — ILM Certificate

492

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL58

Microsoft Office Master 2007 (BT)

493

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL61

Microsoft Office Master 2007

494

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL62

Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Certificate

495

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL64

FÁS eLearning at the Library

496

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL65

Retail Skills

497

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL66

Transport and Distribution Logistics

498

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL67

2D — The Application and Modification of CAD (02)

499

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL68

Self Employment and Career Development — Ignite

500

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL69

Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)

501

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL70

ITIL v3 Foundation (IT Service Management)

502

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL71

Prince2 Foundation (Project Management)

503

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL73

Windows Server 2008 Active Directory Configuration

504

Online Tutor Support Workshops

XXL75

Dreamweaver CS4

505

On-line Course

XXN01

ECDL

506

On-line Course

XXN02

ECDL Mod 1 Concepts of Information & Communication Technology

507

On-line Course

XXN03

ECDL Mod 2 Using the Computer and Managing Files

508

On-line Course

XXN04

ECDL Mod 3 Word Processing

509

On-line Course

XXN05

ECDL Mod 4 Spreadsheets

510

On-line Course

XXN06

ECDL Mod 5 Using Databases

511

On-line Course

XXN07

ECDL Mod 6 Presentation Skills

512

On-line Course

XXN08

ECDL Mod 7 Web Browsing and Communication

513

On-line Course

XXN09

Photoshop CS3

514

On-line Course

XXN12

Microsoft Word 2003

515

On-line Course

XXN13

Microsoft Word 2003 Expert

516

On-line Course

XXN14

Microsoft Excel 2003

517

On-line Course

XXN15

Microsoft Excel 2003 Expert

518

On-line Course

XXN16

Microsoft PowerPoint 2003

519

On-line Course

XXN17

Microsoft Access 2003

520

On-line Course

XXN18

Microsoft Outlook 2003

521

On-line Course

XXN19

Microsoft Word 2007

522

On-line Course

XXN20

CompTIA A+ Essentials

523

On-line Course

XXN21

Microsoft Excel 2007

524

On-line Course

XXN22

Microsoft Access 2007

525

On-line Course

XXN23

Microsoft PowerPoint 2007

526

On-line Course

XXN24

Microsoft Outlook 2007

527

On-line Course

XXN25

CompTIA A+ 2006 IT Technician

528

On-line Course

XXN26

Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices (ICND) Part 1

529

On-line Course

XXN27

Cisco Interconnecting Network Devices (ICND) Part 2

530

On-line Course

XXN28

CompTIA Network+ 2005

531

On-line Course

XXN29

Windows Server 2003 Managing a Server Environment

532

On-line Course

XXN30

Windows XP Installation & Administration

533

On-line Course

XXN31

CIW Foundations v5

534

On-line Course

XXN32

CIW Site Designer v5

535

On-line Course

XXN33

CIW eCommerce Designer v5

536

On-line Course

XXN34

Dreamweaver CS3

537

On-line Course

XXN35

Flash CS3

538

On-line Course

XXN36

Java Programming S.E.6

539

On-line Course

XXN37

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 — Web

540

On-line Course

XXN38

Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 — Windows

541

On-line Course

XXN39

Bookkeeping and Payroll 2009

542

On-line Course

XXN40

Project Management (CAPM)

543

On-line Course

XXN43

Generic Skills for Employment

544

On-line Course

XXN44

Microsoft .NET Framework — Application Development Foundation

545

On-line Course

XXN45

ECDL Modules 1, 2, 3 and 7

546

On-line Course

XXN46

ECDL Modules 3, 4, 5 and 6

547

On-line Course

XXN47

Common Modules for Apprentices

548

On-line Course

XXN52

Comp TIA Network+ 2009

549

On-line Course

XXN65

Dreamweaver CS4

George Lee

Question:

89 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of spaces reserved for apprentices at each of the FÁS centres; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5788/10]

I refer the Deputy to the reply given to Parliamentary Question 2980/10 of Tuesday 26 January 2010. As requested, this data was issued to the Deputy yesterday.

Community Employment Schemes.

George Lee

Question:

90 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 84 of 1 December 2009, if she will provide this information for 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5795/10]

The following table indicates the number of completed years as at the end of 2009 for Community Employment participants (Supervisors excluded):

Completed Years

2009

00

7,906

01

5,299

02

3,777

03

2,233

04

1,182

05

963

06

424

07

160

08

92

09

42

Grand Total

22,078

Cross-Border Projects.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

91 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the cross-Border programmes, initiatives, areas of co-operation and so on which her Department is currently engaging in or about to engage in with its counterparts in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5817/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Benchmarking Awards.

George Lee

Question:

92 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 163 of 26 January 2010, the criteria of the staff that were evaluated; and the results of the evaluation process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5821/10]

The Job Initiative (JI) Team Leaders were assessed on similar Towards 2016 compliance criteria to those used for the Community Employment supervisors. These criteria were formulated by FÁS in conjunction with this Department and with the agreement of the Department of Finance and the union representatives of the Job Initiative team leaders. The criteria, as set out in my earlier reply, encompassed co-operation with the principles concerning public service modernisation and flexibility; industrial relations stability; co-operation with the roll-out of the FÁS Community Services Management (CSM); implementation of quality assurance policies and procedures; and co-operation with ongoing operational and technological change on schemes.

On final evaluation, all relevant Job Initiative projects (i.e. those with a team leader) achieved the requisite compliance level with the requirements for receipt of the Towards 2016 Phase 3 and 4 increases.

Industrial Development.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

93 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of companies that are supported by the Industrial Development Authority on a county basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5824/10]

There were 987 IDA supported companies operating in Ireland in 2009. A breakdown of that number on a county-by-county basis is shown in the following tabular statement.

Despite the difficult global economic environment Ireland continues to attract foreign direct investment from many of the world's leading companies and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will continue to be a key driver of employment, exports and growth. Ireland's corporate tax rate of 12.5%, our multilingual skilled workforce and our strategic location to serve markets in Europe, has served us well in attracting investors and will continue to do so. Many multinational companies are restructuring their global operations, leading to global rationalisation, making it particularly important to work to retain current investment, stimulate expansion, and secure new projects.

I am in the process of reviewing a new strategy for the future direction of FDI, which IDA has developed, and subject to my approval, will shortly be published. This strategy will set out some specific initiatives, which IDA will be undertaking to retain existing and secure new FDI. In addition, it will identify opportunities in the FDI markets, while stressing the importance of restoring our relative international competitiveness if we are to maximise FDI potential.

While it is clear that we are operating in a very difficult economic environment, there are still investment opportunities in global markets and IDA will continue to compete vigorously for projects for Ireland. Already in 2010 IDA has had some success in attracting FDI and to date there have been eight announcements with the potential to create at least 350 new jobs.

Table showing the number of IDA supported companies in Ireland in 2009 on a county-by-county basis

County

Number of IDA supported companies

Carlow

9

Cavan

5

Clare

9

Cork

134

Donegal

13

Dublin

482

Galway

48

Kerry

14

Kildare

26

Kilkenny

4

Laois

4

Leitrim

5

Limerick

39

Longford

7

Louth

22

Mayo

18

Meath

14

Monaghan

6

Offaly

7

Roscommon

8

Sligo

20

Tipperary North

4

Tipperary South

11

Waterford

32

Westmeath

18

Wexford

11

Wicklow

17

Total

987

Redundancy Payments.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

94 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding an application for payment of redundancy in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5843/10]

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 20 July, 2009 claiming inability to pay on behalf of the employer. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees, such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from July 2009. I understand that in this case, my Department is in contact with the appointed liquidator and, as soon as the outstanding issue is resolved, the claim will be processed without further delay.

Disadvantaged Areas.

Jack Wall

Question:

95 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she plans to address problems in areas adjacent to the Border Midlands and Western regions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5844/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Work Placement Programme.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

96 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the work placement programme is supposed to provide work experience to 2,000 unemployed individuals in view of the fact that there have been 257 placements as of 20 January 2010 and only 955 vacancies for placements are available; the locations at which the other 748 people who are supposed to be facilitated under the programme are to be placed; if State agencies and public bodies will be mandated to take on unemployed people under this scheme if no other companies are forthcoming; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5848/10]

As of 3 February 2010, 327 individuals had commenced their placements under the work placement programme. In addition, there are a further 1,066 placements currently available to be filled throughout Ireland. The location of these available placements is outlined in the table below.

The programme is open to State agencies and public bodies to provide placements. At this stage there are no plans to mandate such bodies to provide placements under the work placement programme. However, FÁS are continuing to promote the programme with potential providers in the public, private and community and voluntary sectors. It is expected that the number of placements will continue to rise and will I anticipate reach 2,000 in the coming months.

The FÁS areas in which work placements are available

FÁS Region

Areas/Counties

Number of Available Posts 3rd Feb 2010

Dublin Central

Baggot Court, D’Olier House, Parnell Street, Ballyfermot, Cabra

152

Dublin North

Baldoyle, Balbriggan, Swords, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Finglas

92

Dublin South

Rathfarnham, Crumlin, Tallaght, Clondalkin, Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Loughlinstown

111

Midlands

Kildare, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath

76

Mid West

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

92

North East

Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan

104

North West

Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo

71

South East

Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary South, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow

137

South West

Cork, Kerry

111

West

Galway, Mayo, Roscommon

120

Total

1,066

Health and Safety Regulations.

Jack Wall

Question:

97 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if an application by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has been investigated by the Health and Safety Authority; if so, if a decision has been reached in relation to the matter; if not, if there is a waiting list in relation to having such matters investigated; if so, the period of time involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5849/10]

The carrying of inspections and investigations by the Health and Safety Authority and its resultant conclusions re compliance or non-compliance with the law are day-to-day operational matters for the Authority, which have clear implications for its prosecutorial functions.

The enforcement of the statutory occupational health and safety code is a function assigned to the Authority, which is an independent agency under its foundation Act, the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has no function with respect to operational matters carried out by the Authority, including inspections and investigations undertaken by qualified Inspectors under the Act.

Departmental Agencies.

George Lee

Question:

98 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way employment services officers have been employed by FÁS each year from 1997 to 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5869/10]

Employment Services Officers are engaged on permanent and pensionable contracts of employment covering a number of working arrangements i.e. full-time/part-time.

FÁS Training Programmes.

George Lee

Question:

99 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of persons who took part in an online course provided by FÁS in 2009, an evening course provided by FÁS in 2009 and a one day course provided by FÁS in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5870/10]

Full data on on-line courses, evening courses and one-day training courses provided by FÁS in 2009 is not currently available. FAS has stated that this data will be compiled by the end of the first quarter of 2010 at which point I will communicate the information to the Deputy.

George Lee

Question:

100 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the types of training interventions provided by FÁS; the number of persons that received each of these training interventions in 2009; the number of persons that received a training intervention in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5876/10]

The information requested is being collated and will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as possible.

George Lee

Question:

101 Deputy George Lee asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 85 of 1 December 2010, the final number of persons to have received a training intervention in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5879/10]

The information requested is still being collated and will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Employment Rights.

Michael Kennedy

Question:

102 Deputy Michael Kennedy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the regulations that applied in respect of the Magdalene laundries which carried on business activities over many decades; if statutory inspections under health and safety regulations were carried out; if proper records existed in respect of working time, holiday time, and accidents at work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5880/10]

The information supplied by the Deputy does not provide a sufficient basis to indicate whether this question relates to matters which come within the remit of my Department or in relation to which I have day-to-day responsibility.

For the assistance of the Deputy, I should say that statutory obligations under employment law generally rest with employers. Statutory obligations under occupational health and safety law are primarily a matter for employers although employees also have duties. In both codes, the issue of the existence of an employment contract is central.

While employers may have obligations to keep certain records under both codes, if the matters, which the Deputy may have in mind, are alleged to have occurred a long time ago, it is unlikely that there will be any statutory requirement on employers, should they still exist, to maintain relevant records up until the present day.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Mary Upton

Question:

103 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her plans to ensure that persons in the age group 18 to 25 years, that are in education or training and availing of jobseeker’s allowance, will be able to proceed to either further training, education, or employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5928/10]

To enable unemployed individuals, including those who are aged between 18 and 25 years of age, to continue to access education, training and work experience programmes, the Government has significantly expanded existing activation provision. For instance, my Department will this year deliver approximately 147,000 training and work experience places for the unemployed compared to the 66,000 places that were delivered in 2008.

This additional provision has been achieved through increased resources, providing an increased range of different course types and introducing new initiatives such as the work placement programme. Under this programme, participants can avail of a work experience placement of up to nine months. In addition, there is also specific provision aimed at early school leavers such as the Youthreach programme, which currently has 6,000 places.

As there are no limits on the number of FÁS training interventions that an individual can receive, all individuals are free to take up further training courses upon the completion of the programme they are currently on subject to availability.

It has also been decided that certain cohorts of the unemployed are accorded priority access to the current range of supports. These cohorts are as follows:

People with low skills or education levels, i.e. unemployed people who do not have a leaving certificate qualification or equivalent;

People who are on the live register for long periods (over one year)- this includes people who are in receipt of jobseeker's allowance/benefit for one year or longer;

People who are under 35 years of age, with at least 30% of training places reserved for those aged under 25 years;

People who were previously employed in sectors that have been most affected by restructuring and where recovery to near previous levels is not in prospect in the short to medium term (mainly construction, manufacturing and wholesale/retail trade).

As the under 25s account for 19.6% of those currently on the live register I am seeking to ensure that young people will have enhanced access to FÁS labour market activation provision this year.

Company Closures.

Noel Ahern

Question:

104 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the case of a company (details supplied); the companies that have been assisted to date in 2010 from the sale of the company; the number of jobs created; the EU and other funds available to redundant employees of the company; if retirement or retraining grants will be available; if the hangers have been fully stripped or if equipment is retained there; if grants will be available to qualified avionic technicians for refresher courses to keep their qualification in place which must be carried out every two years; if she was involved in the open day back to education event; the person who organised it; the way it was funded; the reason workers were not properly informed; if all workers will be given an opportunity for application and assessment; the reason there is mention of time running out and end of assessments and so on; if her Department, EU or another agency fund this retraining education process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5943/10]

On 2 September 2009, I announced the establishment of Dublin Aerospace Limited, a new aviation maintenance provider supported by Government through Enterprise Ireland. Dublin Aerospace aims to establish a best-in-class maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility at Dublin Airport, servicing APUs, landing gear, base maintenance and training. The company has commenced operations with 70 initial employees recruited. This number is anticipated to grow to 226 jobs.

The garage business unit of SR Technics has been taken over by the M50 Truck and Van Centre who were successful in securing the airside vehicle maintenance contract from SR Technics.

Aer Lingus has decided to undertake line maintenance operations previously contracted to SRT. A number of employees will transfer from SRT to the new line maintenance operation at Aer Lingus.

Last October, my Department submitted a provisional application to the European Commission for co-financing support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) towards the cost of a personalised package of training, educational and entrepreneurial services to workers made redundant at SR Technics.

The Commission has sought additional information in relation to the application which my Department is currently preparing. State agencies such as FÁS and Enterprise Ireland have made, and continue to make, the full range of their employment, training, guidance and advisory services available to workers made redundant at SR Technics. The EGF does not support passive social protection measures such as retirement pensions or unemployment benefits. The EGF only funds active labour market interventions such as job-search assistance, occupational guidance, training and re-training, outplacement assistance and entrepreneurship promotion and aid for self-employment.

The information day for former SR Technics workers held at the ALSAA, Dublin Airport on 9 December was organised and funded by Dublin City University. All former SR Technics workers who had engaged with FÁS Employment Services were invited to attend. Statutory bodies and agencies such as FÁS, Enterprise Ireland, County Dublin VEC and a large number of third level educational establishments from Dublin and Dundalk were present. Reimbursement of these costs will be sought by my Department under the technical assistance budget available under the EGF.

Subsequent to the information day, learning assessment seminars at All Hallows College aimed at assessing the skills, aptitudes, experience and occupational preferences of former workers were held in January with a view towards guiding interested workers into the most appropriate avenue of further or third level study, to commence, in many cases, from the second academic semester in February 2010.

In the event of a successful EGF application, EGF measures provided for eligible workers must be implemented by October 2011.

Pension Provisions.

Frank Feighan

Question:

105 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a spouse of a public servant that worked as a home maker all their lives has no automatic right or entitlement to part of their spouse’s pension, whether they are the spouse of a garda, and so on; and the steps she will take to address this problem. [5994/10]

Public service pension schemes are a matter for the Minister for Finance. My Department has no responsibility in this area other than to operate the relevant schemes in respect of its staff in accordance with the regulations set down by the Minister for Finance.

Appointments to State Boards.

Joe McHugh

Question:

106 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the names of those appointed to the new board of FÁS; the sectors from which each of these new board members has been drawn; if the new board of FÁS includes a representative of unemployed persons or an unemployed person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5997/10]

The new Board has been appointed on the basis of relevant experience and competencies in areas encompassing the functions of FÁS as provided for in the Labour Services (Amendment) Act 2009; finance, corporate governance and public administration. The names and areas of experience of those appointed to the new Board of FÁS are set out in the table below:

Name

Area of Experience

Mr. Michael Dempsey (Chair)

Commerce and Corporate Governance

Mr. Tony Dempsey

Education/Training, Community Activities and Commerce

Mr. Seán Gallagher

Electronics/Telecommunications/Commerce

Mr. Martin Hogan

Education/Training/Commerce

Mr. Seán O’Longain

Education/Training/Corporate Governance/Public Administration

Ms Emer Gilvarry

Employment Law/Dispute resolution

Ms Annette Hughes

Economics/Construction/Energy/Commerce

Dr. Brendan J. Murphy

Education/Training/Engineering

Ms Margaret Sweeney

Commerce/Corporate Governance

Mr. Dermot Curran

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Representative.

Mr. Paul O’Toole

Director General of FÁS. Ex-officio member of the Board.

Departmental Bodies.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

107 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the establishment of a sub-group on a comprehensive employment strategy. [6002/10]

Work on the further development of a draft outline for a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities is on-going with a view to setting out a continuum of supports to employment that is comprehensive across the full range and spectrum of disabilities. In this regard a Cross-Sectoral Group co-chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and the Department of Health and Children has been established. It also include representatives from the Department of Social and Family Affairs, the Health Service Executive, and FÁS.

The purpose of the group is to provide a mechanism for a cross sectoral approach between Government Departments and agencies with responsibility for delivering Government policy in respect of training and employment services for people with disabilities. In addition, the group seeks to progress a targeted action plan based on the commitments in the relevant Departmental Sectoral Plans under the Disability Act 2005.

Discussions are on–going in the sub-group in respect of these objectives with a view to finalising the draft outline for a comprehensive employment strategy as soon as possible. On completion of this work, it is intended that the strategy will be referred back to the Consultative Forum under the Sectoral Plan of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and employment for proposed sign-off.

Redundancy Payments.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

108 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the demand for payment under redundancy payments system sent to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6009/10]

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.

The Redundancy Payments System of my Department does not have on record any current redundancy claim outstanding on behalf of the employer referred to. If the Deputy is in a position to provide further details, I would be happy to pass these on to my Department or, alternatively, contact could be made by the employer directly with my Department.

Tax Yield.

Mary Upton

Question:

109 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the expected yield from the carbon tax in 2010; the amount of this money that has been ring fenced to improve energy efficiency, alleviate fuel poverty and promote rural transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5918/10]

It is estimated that the carbon tax, inclusive of VAT, will yield approximately €250 million in 2010. The revenue will, amongst other things, be used to boost energy efficiency, to support rural transport and to alleviate fuel poverty. It is the general practice not to ring-fence revenues for specific purposes but rather take an overall view on priorities in the context of Expenditure decisions which, of course, are dependent on Exchequer revenues. In this regard revenues from the carbon tax will facilitate investment in the aforementioned areas.

Tax Code.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

110 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17 who owns one third of a house and looks to buy out the remaining two thirds of the house, which is owned by their parents, is liable to stamp duty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5786/10]

Stamp duty is charged on the transfer of ownership of property by way of any instrument as specified under the First Schedule of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999. In this case, it appears that as ownership of an interest in a property is being transferred such a transaction, if effected by the execution of an instrument, could be liable to stamp duty under the provisions of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999.

The liability to duty of this instrument depends on certain conditions of the transfer and the circumstances of the purchaser. These conditions would be: 1. the value of the property or interest held in the property, and 2. the circumstances of the purchaser insofar as s/he is regarded as a first time buyer and owner-occupier.

With effect from 30th December 2009, a return must be completed in respect of the instrument in order to assess the charge to stamp duty and, on the payment of the stamp duty (if any), to obtain a stamp.

Cross-Border Projects.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

111 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the cross-Border programmes, initiatives, areas of co-operation and so on which his Department is currently engaging in or about to engage in with its counterparts in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5818/10]

North South cooperation continues to be a high priority for the Government. In particular, the Government is committed to realising the full potential for the development of all-island co-operation through the North South Bodies and the areas of co-operation established under the Good Friday Agreement. My Department, together with the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland, is co-sponsor of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), one of the North South Bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement. The SEUPB manages the cross border EU co-funded PEACE and INTERREG programmes.

The aim of the current PEACE III 2007-2013 Programme is to reinforce progress towards a peaceful and stable society and promote reconciliation. It promotes social and economic stability in Northern Ireland and the Border Region (Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth) by supporting actions to promote cohesion between communities. The value of the programme, including EU and national contributions, is €333m.

The Cross Border INTERREG IVA 2007-2013 Programme (Northern Ireland/ Ireland/Scotland) aims to support strategic cross-border co-operation for a more prosperous and sustainable region. The Programme, which has a strong business and economic focus, covers Northern Ireland (excluding Belfast), the Irish Border Region counties and western parts of Scotland. The value of the programme, including EU and national contributions, is €256m.

The Government is committed to strengthening and deepening North/South cooperation over the period ahead to the mutual benefit of those from all communities, North and South.

Decentralisation Programme.

Michael Ring

Question:

112 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if a site has been bought in County Mayo for the purpose of decentralisation of his Department, in particular for the site inCharlestown and the site at Knock Airport; if either of those sites were actually purchased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5839/10]

Under the Government's Decentralisation Programme it was originally intended to relocate the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to Knock, Co. Mayo and, accordingly, a site was purchased at Knock Airport. When planning permission was refused for the proposed development at Knock Airport, the Government decided that Charlestown should be the new location for the Department. The Commissioners of Public Works identified a suitable site in Charlestown and terms were agreed. The purchase was not completed because the Government decided to defer a final decision on the decentralisation of the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to Mayo until 2011.

Tax Clearance Certificates.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

113 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5841/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that an application for a Tax Clearance Certificate was issued to the person on 3rd December 2009. If he returns the application form to his Revenue District, or applies on line through www.revenue.ie, the application for the Tax Clearance Certificate will be considered.

Tax Code.

Joe Carey

Question:

114 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on those that may have begun orthodontic treatment prior to budgetary changes in the MED2 system choosing to pay by instalment over the period 2008 to 2009 (details supplied). [5846/10]

The position is that with effect from 1 January 2009, relief in respect of qualifying health expenses, with the exception of relief in respect of nursing home expenditure, is granted at the standard rate of tax. Prior to that date, the relief was available at the taxpayer's marginal rate. Relief in respect of qualifying health cost is normally claimed for expenses that were paid in each tax year, from 1 January to 31 December. However, an election may be made to claim in respect of expenses incurred in the tax year even though they are paid later. If so elected, all amounts claimed for the year must relate to amounts incurred in that year. In this case, if all of the treatment was carried out in 2008 and the balance of payment was made in 2009, relief can be allowed at the taxpayer's 2008 marginal rate. If the treatment was ongoing into 2009, relief must be claimed for 2009, for treatment carried out and paid for in that year, at the standard rate.

Public Service Contracts.

Joe McHugh

Question:

115 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the companies that received public contracts for specific projects worth €10 million or more from the State since 2004 to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5851/10]

The identity of companies awarded public contracts is not held centrally in the Department of Finance; it would be held by individual contracting authorities. The following table provides aggregated information on the number of contracting authorities (including commercial State bodies covered by public procurement rules) which awarded contracts in excess of €10 million in the years 2005 to 2008, based on statistics compiled by the Department of Finance for these years.

Year

Total No. of Contracts Awarded over €10 million

No of Contracting Authorities

2005

32

19

2006

69

30

2007

74

39

2008

75

37

Tax Code.

Joan Burton

Question:

116 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a post-budget ready reckoner for 2010. [5884/10]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the Income Tax Ready Reckoner for 2010.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that, in view of the relatively limited purpose that would be served in updating the pre-Budget 2010 Ready Reckoner to a post Budget basis, they have no plans to devote resources to carrying out this relatively significant task. The need for it is further reduced this year because of the absence of any changes made to tax credits, bands or rates in Budget 2010. Costings for Budget 2011 will be based on a pre-Budget Income Tax Ready Reckoner which will be produced over the Summer and published on theDepartment's website in the Autumn in the usual way. Finally, I should point out that the Pre-Budget Income Tax Ready Reckoner for 2010 is available on my Department's website at www.finance.gov.ie

Tax Collection.

Michael Kennedy

Question:

117 Deputy Michael Kennedy asked the Minister for Finance the records that exist for payments of PAYE by Magdalene Laundries; if records of P35 annual statements or its equivalent are available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5885/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that information submitted by businesses in regard to employee details is confidential to the businesses and employees concerned. It is not clear that the Deputy is making representations on behalf of the employer or employees concerned and accordingly Revenue is not in a position to provide the information requested.

Banking Sector Regulation.

Mary Upton

Question:

118 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance if, as part of his extension of the State’s protection to the banking industry here, he will demand that banks who wish to be regulated should be required to focus on either classic retail functions or on market actions; his views on whether such a distinction in the previous decade would have meant that the National Asset Management Agency would not have been required in view of the fact that those banks which speculated in the market would not be systemically important to the economy here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5923/10]

The toxic loans in the Irish banking system are land and development loans and these are not the type of business that would be separated out by the proposals made by the Deputy. With regard to future regulatory changes, the Government is reforming the institutional structures for financial regulation to prevent a recurrence of inappropriate and unsustainable business practices in the financial services sector. We as a Government are moving forward through NAMA, the new guarantee scheme and the credit review system towards the objectives of maintaining a stable financial system and getting credit flowing to the real economy. These initiatives will contribute to the Government's number one priority, the creation and protection of Irish jobs.

Public Procurement.

Michael McGrath

Question:

119 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the efforts being made across the public sector to ensure synergies are achieved in public procurement; and, for example, if procurement is organised on a collective basis for local authorities, schools, hospitals, and State agencies to secure maximum purchasing power and value for money. [5932/10]

A number of initiatives have been taken to secure efficiencies and to maximise value for money in public procurement. For example, my Department establishes and manages framework arrangements for the purchase of personal computers (desktops and laptops), colour and mono printers, mobile telephony services, a Government Communications Network for voice, data and video and associated products and services. These national frameworks allow public bodies to operate much simpler procurement processes for these requirements. The arrangements maximise volume discounts and provide for reductions in administrative and transaction costs for suppliers and public sector purchasers. They are designed for use across the public sector and, for example, are tailored to the needs of the National Centre for Technology in Education to meet needs down to local school level.

Similar type arrangements are in place for requirements in particular sectors. For instance, the Health Service Executive has a dedicated Procurement Directorate which contracts on a HSE wide basis across all categories of expenditure. Recent examples are — vaccines, electricity, medical equipment, renal dialysis and mobile telephony. HSE Procurement Directorate has established approximately 35 framework agreements for the purchase of certain categories of supplies and services. Likewise, in a collaborative purchasing arrangement, the local authority sector has an online system of national tender lists for plant hire, haulage, tool hire and other common supplies and services acquired by 30 local authorities.

A National Public Procurement Operations Unit (NPPOU) was established by Government in 2009 within the Office of Public Works. It subsumes the functions of the former Government Supplies Agency which placed contracts for commonly acquired supplies and services for the central Government sector. The NPPOU's remit includes:

(i) organising the procurement of common goods and services (e.g. office equipment, furniture, vehicles, fuel, electricity, travel, clothing, printing, advertising) across the public service;

(ii) operating and developing the electronic tendering system and further developing and deploying appropriate and cost effective e-procurement systems;

(iii) providing professional procurement advice to the public service;

(iv) assisting where appropriate with specialist procurement undertaken directly by public service bodies;

(v) organising networks of procurement professionals; and

(vi) developing procurement training and education measures.

During 2009, the NPPOU brought together statistical information on the procurement expenditure of the top thirty spenders among state agencies. This is now being used by the Unit in its strategic approach to purchasing in various markets in 2010.

Public Sector Staff.

Brian Hayes

Question:

120 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the number of public servants that were earning more than €40,000 per year and in view of the most recent pay cut find themselves earning less than €40,000 and therefore paying a lower rate of PRSI as a consequence; if this group of public servants find that their take home pay has increased from December 2009 to January 2010; if his attention was drawn to this when Budget 2010 was framed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5935/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest relevant historical information available on the incomes of employees taxed under the PAYE system is derived from income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2007. Accordingly earnings data for public sector employees in respect of 2009 and 2010 is not currently available. While public servants on a salary in excess of €40,000 per annum were with effect from 1 January 2010 subject to a pay reduction, there is no reduction in the applicable PRSI rate.

Tax Code.

Noel Ahern

Question:

121 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the extended mortgage relief announced in Budget 2010; if it will apply to a mortgage that commenced in 2003; the options that are available to assist a first time buyer, who purchased in 2003, who is still experiencing negative equity and who has suffered pay cuts of approximately 20% in the past few years; and if measures in Budget 2010 will be extended in full or pro-rata for mortgages outlined up to 10 years. [5944/10]

In Budget 2010, I announced that I would be extending mortgage interest relief up to the end of 2017 for those whose entitlement to relief was due to end in 2010 or after. I should point out that this measure does not extend to those who took out qualifying loans in 2003. While circumstances and house prices differ, it is necessary to select a cut-off point in these matters. House prices increased significantly in 2004 and thereafter.

I would accept that many people are suffering financially in the current climate. However, as the Deputy will be aware there are already a number of supports in place, such as the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, the Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme and the services provided by the Money Advice Budgeting Services. I have spoken about these extensively in this House over the past number of months. Since my Budget speech, I have also written to the Financial Regulator requesting that consideration be given to extending the moratorium on mortgage arrears from 6 months to 12 months for all mortgage lenders.

In the Renewed Programme for Government, the Government has committed to a review of the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and the recently agreed protocol between the Irish Bankers Federation (IBF) and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) on debt default with a view to expanding the options available for dealing with mortgage problems. I have discussed with Cabinet colleagues the best way in which to proceed in this matter and will bring proposals to the Government.

Finally, it should be noted that loans taken out on or after 1 January 2013 will not qualify for mortgage interest relief and that mortgage interest relief will be abolished completely for the tax year 2018 and subsequent years. Full details of the changes proposed in relation to mortgage interest relief are provided in the Finance Bill 2010 published today.

Flood Relief.

Richard Bruton

Question:

122 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance his assessment of the Wad catchment which has twice been the cause of flooding in the past year; the shortcomings in the original interim proposals submitted by Dublin City Council which were rejected by his Department; and the progress made to date in 2010 in developing a solution for the entire catchment. [5947/10]

At a meeting of the Office of Public Works and Dublin City Council on 29 July 2009, the Council presented an interim report by consultants on the River Tolka, the Wad River sub-catchment and the Donnycarney, Dublin 5 area. This report analysed the flooding events of early July 2009, hydraulically modelled the Wad River catchment, and reported on suggestions for alleviating flooding from severe storm events in the future.

The report found that the previously preferred local flood alleviation option — namely, the construction of a duplicate Wad culvert — would not be a viable option, as it might increase the risk of flooding downstream in a built-up area close to the Clontarf seafront. It did, however, recommend that a full Catchment Study, including Cost Benefit Analysis, should be carried out to establish the most appropriate measures to alleviate flooding in the area in the medium term. Dublin City Council has appointed consultants to carry out the study. Dublin City Council expects the study to be completed by the middle of 2010.

Richard Bruton

Question:

123 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he has sanctioned investment in a flood defence for the seafront at Clontarf, Dublin 3; and when he will release funding and commence works. [5948/10]

The Office of Public Works and Dublin City Council have been in discussions in relation to the flood relief aspects of the North City Arterial Water Main Works to be undertaken by the City Council. The City Council has completed a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) of the flood defence aspects of their scheme, and have supplied a copy of this to the OPW. In light of the CBA, further discussions will be held between OPW and the City Council, with a view to determining how best to proceed with appropriate flood relief measures for the general Clontarf area. In the circumstances, it is not yet possible, at this stage, to give a definite start-up date for specific works.

Tax Collection.

Bobby Aylward

Question:

124 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Finance if he will arrange payment or refund of stamp duty to persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [5951/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that on 19 April 2007 a Deed of Transfer for the transfer of property to the persons concerned was received by Dublin Stamping District together with a payment €189,900. To date, Revenue has not received an application for the refund of this stamp duty. A valid claim for the repayment should be submitted within 4 years from the date the instrument was stamped.

Frank Feighan

Question:

125 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance when a notice of tax assessment for the year 2008 will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim. [5969/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the 2008 Self Assessed Income Tax return of the named person was received on 9th December 2009. The due date for this return was 31st October 2009.

Large quantities of Income Tax returns received before the due date are currently being processed in order that taxpayers, who lodged their returns on time, will receive their Notice of Assessment in the coming weeks. The returns of taxpayers that were received after the 31st October 2009 will be dealt with as soon as possible after the processing of timely returns has been completed.

Tax Code.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

126 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance if he will amend the recently introduced system of carbon taxation to ensure that this tax is not applied to fuels that significantly reduce carbon emissions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5983/10]

Paul Kehoe

Question:

127 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance if he will incentivise consumer choice regarding carbon saving fuels such as bio-fuels by ensuring that all bio-fuels are exempt from the recently introduced carbon tax in the Finance Bill 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5984/10]

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

I announced in the Budget that a carbon tax at a rate of €15 per tonne is being introduced on fossil fuels. The tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from midnight, 9 December 2009; and will apply from 1 May 2010 to kerosene, marked gas oil (also known as "green diesel" or "agricultural diesel"), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), fuel oil and natural gas. The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat is subject to a Commencement Order.

A Financial Resolution was adopted on Budget night in respect of petrol and auto-diesel and provided that those conventional transport fuels with a biofuel component of less than 10% would be taxed in full as petrol or auto-diesel as appropriate. However, the carbon tax charge would not apply to the biofuel element where biofuel constitutes more than 10% of the blended petrol or auto-diesel product. Such an approach was deemed necessary for administrative ease, however, I have received a number of representations concerning this approach and consequently the long-term approach in relation to the treatment of biofuels is being further considered as part of the Finance Bill process.

Mortgage Debt.

Joe McHugh

Question:

128 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance if, further to public comments made (details supplied) he will make a comprehensive statement on the range of measures that he will introduce to assist defaulting mortgage holders in 2010; the thrusts and specifics of these measures; the approximate amount of funds that will be invested in these schemes; when the measures will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5993/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

129 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance if, further to public comments (details supplied) he will identify the names or sectors of those who will make up the panel of experts; the number of persons who will sit this panel; if this panel will include retired banking personnel with experiences in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5995/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 and 129 together.

The Deputy will be aware of the supports in place for those homeowners who are in difficulty with their mortgage repayments, including the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears, the Mortgage Interest Subsidy Scheme and the services provided by the Money Advice Budgeting Services, all of which I have spoken about extensively in this House over the past number of months.

In addition, in my Budget speech in December the Government refocused mortgage interest relief on those who bought their homes at the peak of the market, many of whom find themselves in negative equity. Where a homeowner's entitlement to mortgage interest relief would expire in 2010 or after, they will now continue to receive it up to the end of 2017. Since my Budget speech, I have written to the Financial Regulator requesting that consideration be given to extending the moratorium on mortgage arrears from 6 months to 12 months for all mortgage lenders.

As an additional support, the Irish Banking Federation has announced that its members will offer further reassurance to homeowners in difficulty with their mortgage repayments by holding off on legal action against those in difficulty, as long as the borrower complies with a mutually acceptable arrangement that can then be reviewed on a six-monthly basis. This new undertaking by IBF members is in addition to the existing safeguards provided by the Statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears that applies to all institutions regulated in this country, not just the institutions covered by the Bank Guarantee Scheme.

In the Renewed Programme for Government, the Government has committed to a review of the measures with a view to expanding the options available for dealing mortgage problems. I have discussed with Cabinet colleagues the best way in which to proceed in this matter and will bring proposals to Government.

The House will be aware that an Inter-Departmental review group, chaired by my Department, has begun an examination of additional measures that might be taken. The Group has met on two occasions and work has commenced on bringing forward options for dealing with these matters. The Mortgage Arrears Review Group is examining options for improving State supports for home owners with mortgage arrears including schemes in operation in the USA and UK. These schemes are designed to address particular problems for particular groups of home owners and include options for re-financing mortgages, modifying the terms of existing loans, shared equity, and purchase of mortgages for the purpose of renting back to the home owner.

Vaccination Programme.

Dan Neville

Question:

130 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will make a statement on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [5773/10]

I have always accepted the consensus view of the relevant expert bodies that the introduction of a universal high uptake vaccination programme in young girls, in conjunction with population based cervical screening, could significantly reduce overall cervical cancer incidence. The issue was not, therefore, whether the case for a cervical cancer vaccination programme was accepted by myself and the Government — because it always was — but how to place such a programme in order of clinical priorities for the allocation of scarce resources available for public health services and for the cancer programme in particular.

Recently I requested the HSE to initiate a tendering process for the procurement of a HPV vaccine with a view to commencing a HPV vaccination programme for all girls in first year in secondary school and until this process was completed I was not in a position to say if or when I would introduce this programme. This tendering process for the vaccine is now complete. We can now purchase the vaccine at a price much lower than we expected to pay in 2008 and at a price much closer to what is being paid in other countries. In these circumstances, the programme can now be delivered from the extra resources committed in this year's budget to the overall Cancer Programme.

The HSE is committed to starting this campaign during the current school year. This will involve the free vaccination of up to 30,000 girls mainly in school settings and an announcement of the details of the full programme involved will be made by the HSE in the near future. The programme will continue with vaccine being offered to all girls in first year in secondary school each year but it is not proposed to extend the vaccination programme to other classes at present. Unfortunately it will not be possible to refund the costs of vaccinations administered privately.

Hospital Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

131 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the proposals the Health Service Executive have to downgrade the services in Mayo General Hospital, County Mayo; the reason for such proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5793/10]

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

Hospitals Building Programme.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

132 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the construction of the 120 bed facility for cystic fibrosis patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin 4 which was due to be operational in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5797/10]

A new ward block to replace existing accommodation is being developed at St. Vincent's University Hospital, the national tertiary centre for the treatment of adults with cystic fibrosis which currently treats 50% of patients with the condition.

This facility will provide single room en-suite inpatient accommodation (100 rooms) and a dedicated day unit for people with cystic fibrosis, including 10 single day treatment rooms with en-suite sanitary facilities. Tenders for this development are currently under consideration. The Health Service Executive estimates that the construction, equipping and commissioning of this block will take approximately 18 months. It is intended that the development will become operational as early as possible in 2011.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Mary Upton

Question:

133 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the length of time it will take to process an application for the fair deal scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5816/10]

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

Cross-Border Projects.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

134 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children the cross-Border programmes, initiatives, areas of co-operation and so on which her Department is currently engaging in or about to engage in with its counterparts in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5819/10]

North/South Cooperation takes place at three levels viz. North South Ministerial Council (NSMC), Joint Departmental Projects and Cooperation And Working Together (CAWT).

North South Ministerial Council

The five designated areas of cooperation are Accident and Emergency/Acute Services, Emergency Planning, Cancer Research, High Technology and Health Promotion and progress continues to be made on these area of cooperation. Progress is also reviewed at the NSMC Health Sectoral meetings. The latest meeting was held in Belfast in November 2009 and the next meeting is expected to take place in Dublin in mid 2010.

Joint Departmental Projects

My Department and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (NI) have undertaken a number of joint projects. These include the establishment of a new radiotherapy centre at Altnagelvin Hospital (to be completed by 2015) and proposals to collaborate in providing Paediatric and Congenital Cardiac Services in Belfast and Dublin. A joint Feasibility Study on the potential for future cooperation has also been completed. The Study made a number of recommendations across an extensive range of health services. I have approved the Study and my colleague the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety is currently considering the matter. Other joint Departmental initiatives include collaboration in other areas such as Suicide prevention, Pandemic Flu Planning, Child Protection and GP Out of Hours Services.

Cooperation And Working Together (CAWT)

Outside of the formal structure of the North South Ministerial Council the main vehicle for North/South cooperation is CAWT with a specific focus on border counties. Both Health Departments have agreed to appoint CAWT as the Delivery Agent for the European INTERREG IVA 2006-2013 Programme — €30million for health related Projects over the lifetime of the Programme. The Operational Programme for the Health measure has been approved and implementation of various cross Border projects has commenced.

Medical Cards.

Jack Wall

Question:

135 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5830/10]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

136 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application (details supplied) submitted under the nursing home fair deal scheme. [5835/10]

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

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

137 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application (details supplied) under the nursing home fair deal scheme. [5836/10]

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

Medical Cards.

Michael McGrath

Question:

138 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5852/10]

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

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

139 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the centralisation of medical card applications; the local Health Service Executive offices that are still processing applications and the offices that have been centralised; if there is a timetable for centralisation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5855/10]

I wrote to all Oireachtas members on 19th January 2010 regarding the Health Service Executive's decision to centralise the processing of all medical card applications and reviews and I outlined a range of measures being employed by the Executive to address issues arising from this initiative and I also referred to the various enhancements that this process will facilitate upon completion. In addition, my letter gave details of the two Local Health Offices (LHOs) that have already been centralised and referred to the HSE's intention to transfer the processing of medical card and GP visit card applications/reviews from all other LHOs in April this year. I am able to confirm to the Deputy that the information provided in my letter reflects the current position in this regard.

As the other aspect of the Deputy's question is an operational matter, 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.

Hospital Accommodation.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

140 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of acute hospital beds in the State in January 2010; the number of same in January 2009; the number of public acute hospital beds; the number of private acute hospital beds; the projected number of same for January 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5856/10]

Acute bed numbers in public hospitals are counted as an average of beds available over each year, given that the number of beds available in each hospital can vary over any year for operational reasons. The number of acute beds in private hospitals at any time is not collected or verified by the Department of Health and Children or by the HSE, but data are provided by those hospitals themselves or by a representative association.

The national average number of acute hospital beds available in public hospitals in 2007, the latest year for which validated data has been compiled by the HSE, was 13,688. This includes both in patient beds and day places. An average of approximately 20% of these are categorised as private beds. In addition, there is private bed capacity in private hospitals.

My Department has requested the HSE to provide validated data on the national average number of acute hospital beds available in 2008 to the Deputy as soon as this becomes available.

In projecting forward to 2011, I am more concerned to see the most effective use of acute bed capacity for patient best care, through shortened lengths of stay and more day case activity, rather than projecting a particular number of beds. The quality of acute bed capacity, that is, the achievement of more single-occupancy rooms and a reduction of multi-bedded wards, is also an important consideration for better outcomes for patients.

Hospital Charges.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

141 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated cost of a public hospital bed for a year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5857/10]

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

Medical Cards.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

142 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated average cost of a full medical card for a year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5858/10]

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

143 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the estimated average cost of a general practitioner only medical card for a year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5859/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 142 and 143 together.

There are two main cost factors associated with medical cards and GP visit cards, firstly the capitation and other payments made to General Practitioners (GPs) and, secondly, the cost of drugs supplied to patients.

GPs who hold contracts under the General Medical Services (GMS) Scheme with the Health Service Executive (HSE) are remunerated principally on the basis of fees and payments set out in the Health Professionals (Reduction of Payments to General Practitioners) Regulations 2009, which came into effect on 7th July last. Included among these fees are more than 50 different capitation fees. The fees vary depending on the age and gender of the patient and the distance he or she lives from the GP's surgery. For example, fees range from €76.98 for a male patient under 5 years living 3 miles or less from the GP's surgery to €218.37 for a female aged 65-70 years living more than 10 miles from the surgery. In addition, there are special capitation rates of €280.31 for persons over 70 residing at home and €896.07 for persons over 70 residing in private nursing homes. There are also a range of additional payments; for example, in respect of out of hours consultations, temporary residents, special items of services (e.g. suturing), panel size, practice support allowances and locum expenses.

As regards the supply of drugs and medicines, medical card holders receive these free of charge while GP visit card holders avail of the Drugs Payment Scheme, which involves a co-payment of the first €120 spent per family in any calendar month. Drugs costs vary significantly depending on the patient's medical condition.

Given that there were 1,478,560 medical card holders and 98,325 GP visit card holders on the 31st December 2009, the variety of payment arrangements and the variation in drug costs, a single average annual cost figure in respect of the medical card and GP visit card is not a sufficiently refined measure for policy options and decisions. For the Deputy's information, estimated total expenditure in 2009 on the GMS Scheme (medical cards and GP visit cards) was approximately €1.9 billion.

I will shortly approve the HSE's 2010 Service Plan which provides estimates of the cost of the GMS Scheme in 2010. I will arrange to have a copy of the Plan sent to the Deputy as soon as possible thereafter.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

144 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who have availed of the general practitioner only medical card since its introduction; the estimated cost of administration of this scheme in that time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5860/10]

Details of the number of GP visit card holders are provided to my Department each month by the Health Service Executive (HSE). The figures are provided on a net basis, showing the balance after new cards have been issued and other cards, as appropriate, have been deleted from the Executive's database, e.g. following a review of a person's circumstances. The most recent figures provided by the HSE to my Department reflect the position on 31st December 2009 and show 98,325 GP visit card holders on that date.

As the other information sought by the Deputy is not provided by the HSE to my Department as a matter of routine, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address these matters and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

145 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of primary care teams established in the State since 2001; the number of same that operate from one primary care centre; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5861/10]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

146 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application lodged under the nursing home fair deal scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5862/10]

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

Health Services.

James Bannon

Question:

147 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has not been awarded home help hours by the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5864/10]

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

James Bannon

Question:

148 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide home help to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath. [5866/10]

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

Neuro-Rehabilitation Services.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

149 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received the Report of Findings of the Muscular Dystrophy Ireland National Survey 2009; her views on the needs identified in this report including the need for improved access for persons with muscular dystrophy to multidisciplinary muscle clinics to ensure that they are able to access specialists to help manage their condition, the need for improved processes for applications for aids and adaptations, and the need for enhanced provision of respite care and personal assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5877/10]

I have met with Muscular Dystrophy Ireland on a number of occasions and I have discussed a range of issues with the organisation and their members including the provision of services.

The Department of Health and Children and the Health Service Executive have established a Working Group to develop a policy and strategy for the provision of neuro-rehabilitation services. The Working Group's terms of reference included the development of an appropriate policy framework for rehabilitation and a preferred model of care for the provision of neuro-rehabilitation services to people with neurological conditions and other significant physical conditions, including people with muscular dystrophy. A report is expected in the first half of 2010.

The Government is also undertaking a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the health and personal social services for people with disabilities in Ireland. This review is part of the Government's Value for Money and Policy Review programme for 2009-2011. This in-depth review will assess how well current health and personal social services for people with disabilities meet their objectives. The evaluation will focus on the current provision of disability services and explore the way forward for the development of services within a value for money and policy framework. The objectives of the review are to examine disability services in Ireland funded by the Health Service Executive, deliver a comprehensive analysis of data in relation the services and service providers and review current policy objectives and provide policy objectives for further service provision. A structured consultation process with both service users and service providers, including people with muscular dystrophy, is an integral part of the review. It is expected that the review will develop proposals to achieve optimal effectiveness and efficiency within the existing substantial resources expended on health and personal services for people with a disability and also support the future planning and development of services.

Adoption Services.

Joe Behan

Question:

150 Deputy Joe Behan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Adoption Bill 2009 will recognise direct adoptions from Hague ratified contracting states when such adoptions are legislated for and administered in line with the Hague Convention good practice guidelines; if not, if the bill will be amended to give recognition to such adoptions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5892/10]

I announced on 26 January my intention to bring forward at Committee stage an amendment to the Adoption Bill 2009 that will enable prospective adoptive parents to proceed with an adoption from a non-Hague or non-bilateral country, if prior to the establishment date, they have been issued with a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to adopt. The proposed amendment requires that the Adoption Authority (to be set up under the Act) would be satisfied that the particular adoption meets all the standards of the Hague Convention.

With regard to "independent" adoptions, I would draw the Deputy's attention to the provisions set out in Part 13 of the Adoption Bill which identify the restrictions on a person in seeking to make arrangements for adoptions. It also identifies the particular role of accredited authorities in this regard.

Prompt Payments System.

Ulick Burke

Question:

151 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied that agencies under the aegis of her Department, and hospitals under the aegis of the Health Service Executive, are complying with the Prompt Payment of Accounts Act, 1997; if she has issued instructions or directives to ensure compliance with this Act, if her attention has been drawn to late payments arising in the health sector generally to suppliers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5894/10]

As the Deputy will be aware the agencies under the aegis of my Department and the hospitals under the aegis of the HSE are public bodies for the purpose of all Prompt Payment Legislation, including the Prompt Payment of Accounts Act 1997 and the European Communities (Late Payment in Commercial Transactions) Regulations 2002, and are therefore obliged to comply with the provisions of the legislation. It is a matter for each agency to ensure that it complies with the legislation. The 2008 Accounts for each of the agencies under the aegis of my Department have been examined and the Comptroller and Auditor General has not referenced any case where prompt payment legislation has been breached. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Services Executive to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy in relation to hospitals under the aegis of the HSE.

Health Service Staff.

Ulick Burke

Question:

152 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Health Service Executive issued a tender (details supplied) for the procurement of non-consultant hospital doctors and consultants to regularise the industry and safeguard hospitals and patients and that despite successful tenderers having signed service level agreements with the HSE, the HSE has still not implemented the tender; her views on this delay and its impact on patient safety; when the agreements will be implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5895/10]

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. It is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public.

In relation to the tender process referred to by the Deputy, the HSE has advised that the intention is to appoint successful parties onto a Framework Agreement for the provision of Recruitment Agency Services for NCHDs and Consultants. This Framework will require these parties to sign formal service level agreements ensuring full compliance with the HSE's requirements. The Framework Agreement has been signed off by the HSE and the Recruitment Agencies and covers the terms for engagement with multiple suppliers for the next two to four years. It is intended to finalise and implement year one of this Agreement in February 2010.

Preschool Services.

Mary Upton

Question:

153 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether it is fair and equitable that some children, due to their date of birth, will not be able to avail of the early childhood subvention; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5924/10]

Mary Upton

Question:

154 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children if appeals have been submitted to her Department in relation to the early childhood subvention; if so, the number of these appeals that were successful; if any appeals were successful, the reason for accepting the appeals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5925/10]

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

I have responsibility for the free Preschool Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which was introduced in January of this year.

The scheme is open to children aged between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months in September of each year. This means that children born between 2 February 2006 and 30 June 2007 qualify for the free preschool year in September 2010 and children born between 2 February 2007 and 30 June 2008 will qualify for the free preschool year in September 2011. Exceptions to the upper age limit are allowed where children are developmentally delayed or it is necessary to accept children at an older age due to the enrolment policy of local primary schools. I understand that, to date, 108 appeals on these grounds have been allowed with 105 of these being allowed on the basis of developmental delay and 3 being allowed on the basis of the enrolment policy of local primary schools.

While the majority of children commence school between the age of 4 years 6 months and 5 years 6 months, it is accepted that some parents choose to send their children to primary school at an earlier age and the ECCE scheme allows for children to avail of the preschool year and still commence primary school when they are just over 4 years 2 months of age. However, the objective of the scheme is to make early learning in a formal setting available to all children in the key developmental year before they commence primary school, with appropriate age related activities and programmes being provided to children within a particular age cohort. Targeting the preschool year at a particular age cohort is clearly fundamental to the scheme and it is necessary, therefore, to set minimum and maximum limits to the age range within which children will participate in the scheme each year.

I am satisfied that the age range set for the scheme achieves a reasonable balance between supporting the provision of appropriate age related programmes and activities and providing flexibility to parents and their children and there are no plans to review the position at this stage.

Medical Cards.

Michael McGrath

Question:

155 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5930/10]

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

Prescription Charges.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

156 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the way the proposed charge on medical card prescriptions will be administered; the stage at which the case will be taken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5949/10]

As announced in the Budget last December, in order to address rising costs in both the GMS and Long Term Illness schemes, and to influence to some degree demand and prescribing patterns, a 50 cent charge per prescription item is to be introduced, subject to a monthly ceiling of €10 per family. The full details of the prescription charges are being worked out and will be set out in new legislation which is required to give effect to their introduction.

Preschool Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

157 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the preschools which will participate in the new free preschool scheme in Dublin 3, Dublin 5, Dublin 9 and Dublin 17; the number of children who will participate in the scheme in Dublin 3, Dublin 5, Dublin 9 and Dublin 17; the number of eligible participants in Dublin 3, Dublin 5, Dublin 9 and Dublin 17; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5957/10]

I have responsibility for the implementation of the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which commenced in January of this year. Approximately 4,000 pre-school services throughout the country are participating in the ECCE scheme. Each of these was required to make a return to my Office, by 29 January 2009, giving details of qualifying children attending. As these returns are currently being processed, I am not yet in a position to furnish the information requested by the Deputy. I understand that the Childcare Directorate of my Office will complete the processing of service returns very shortly following which details of the number of children availing of the scheme, broken down by reference to the areas covered by the City and County Childcare Committees (CCCs), will be available.

Pharmacy Regulations.

Pat Breen

Question:

158 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 249 of 7 July 2009, if the recently introduced dispensing fee structure agreed by the Health Service Executive with pharmacists applies to drugs dispensed under the drugs payment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5958/10]

On 1 July last, I made regulations under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 Act, to reduce payments to pharmacists by the Health Service Executive under the GMS and community drug schemes. The reductions applied to the Drugs Payment Scheme.

The main changes were:

A new dispensing fee structure based on a sliding scale as follows: €5 for first 20,000 items, €4.50 for next 10,000 items and €3.50 for the remaining items. This applies to items dispensed under the GMS (Medical Card), Drugs Payment Scheme and Long Term Illness Scheme.

Retail Mark-up in the Drugs Payment Scheme is reduced from 50% to 20%.

Wholesale Mark-up reduced from 17.66% to 10% of the ex-factory price of drugs.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

159 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will implement the recommendation contained in the Health Research Board publication (details supplied) regarding the merging of the national intellectual disability database and the national physical and sensory disability database; if so, the way this will be done; the timescale for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5960/10]

David Stanton

Question:

160 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on developing a disability database or databases which are designed as a medical epidemiological tool and would contain details of diagnoses, more specifically to record the incidence of autism spectrum disorders in our population and to ascertain the services that are required by this section of population; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5961/10]

David Stanton

Question:

161 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether the recommendation contained in the Health Research Board Publication (details supplied) that her Department should work in conjunction with the Health Research Board to exploit the research potential of the existing data on disability and to use this data on disability to inform the allocation of resources, particularly the multi-annual funding; the way in which her Department is doing same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5962/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 159 to 161, inclusive, together.

The Department of Health and Children is committed, in partnership with other stakeholders, including the Health Research Board, to the development of improved health information systems including data requirements for health and personal social services for people with a disability. The development of information systems must recognise the requirements of the Disability Act 2005 and the current disability databases. I expect the outcome of the Department's Value for Money Expenditure and Policy Review of Disability Services to direct the future information requirements for the provision of health and personal services for people with a disability.

The focus of health service provision for people with a disability is not a medical diagnosis. The Disability Act provides for, among other things, an individual assessment of need, a person centred service statement and the provision of individualised supports. This policy moves away from the provision of segregated, health based, group services for people with a disability.

The National databases provide information in relation to the level of services being provided and current and future needs of people with a disability. The databases do not identify persons with specific disabilities such as Autism or Downs Syndrome.

Mental Health Services.

David Stanton

Question:

162 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if a national mental health information system will be established in view of the need which was outlined in a Vision for Change; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5963/10]

Wisdom, a joint Health Service Executive and Health Research Board information system has been developed to record in-patient and community care activity in the mental health service, in response to recommendations made in "A Vision for Change". The primary functions of Wisdom are to assist in the coordination of mental health services for the individual, to provide management information to improve the effectiveness of service provision, to provide data for national reporting purposes and research. The system has the potential to be used ultimately for national reporting on mental health services in Ireland and for research to inform mental health policy, planning and practice. Wisdom is currently being rolled out in Donegal in a proof of concept phase. This phase is eighteen month duration and is due to be completed in June 2010.

Health Services.

David Stanton

Question:

163 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Information Quality Authority, in partnership with other health agencies, has developed a national health information database inventory to be used to identify the full range of existing health information sources and assist in the identification and prioritisation of information deficiencies as laid out in the 2004 publication (details supplied) by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5964/10]

The Health Information Quality Authority, in partnership with other health agencies, is in the process of developing an inventory of the major national health information sources. It is planned to publish this inventory later this year. This work represents the first phase of a larger project. Working with other health agencies, the Authority then intends to develop a set of standards aimed at improving the overall quality, use and ultimately coverage of health information nationally.

Medical Cards.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

164 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied); and when a decision will be made on same. [5971/10]

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

John McGuinness

Question:

165 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application for a medical card, now under appeal, will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [5973/10]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

166 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of nursing home residents that have applied for and or been approved for the fair deal scheme; the number of these residents that are in public nursing homes; the number of same in private nursing homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5989/10]

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

Nursing Home Subventions.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

167 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount being charged per week per resident by the Health Service Executive in public nursing homes; if different charges have been introduced in respect of different residents in public nursing homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5990/10]

Individuals who were in public nursing homes prior to the commencement of the scheme on the 27th October 2009 can either apply for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme or can continue to pay €153.25 per week in accordance with the Health (Charges for In-patient Services) (Amendment) Regulations 2008.

For new entrants to public nursing home care since the commencement of the scheme, the cost of care for each nursing home has been determined using the definition of "long-term residential care services" provided in the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 underpinned by an agreed set of cost components which has been laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. The HSE has published the weekly cost of care in each public, private and voluntary nursing home on the Nursing Homes Support Scheme page of its website.

Under the scheme, individuals make a contribution to the cost of their nursing home care based on their means. The HSE meets the full balance of cost over and above the individual's contribution in public, private or voluntary nursing homes approved for the purpose of the scheme.

Medical Cards.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

168 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5998/10]

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

Mental Health Services.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

169 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will make a statement on the issue of young persons with mental health issues being placed in adult facilities. [6003/10]

The HSE has prioritised the development of mental health services for children and young people. During 2009 the bed capacity for children and adolescents almost doubled, bringing the total number of in-patient beds to 30. In addition, two purpose built 20-bed units are under construction in Cork and Galway. In December 2009, there were a total of 55 Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams. A further eight teams are in development.

The inappropriateness of admitting children to units providing care and treatment to adults is recognised but in the absence of an alternative, such admissions are sometimes necessary for the safety and treatment of the child. In arriving at a decision to admit a child to an adult unit, due consideration is given to the risks to the child of not admitting him /her, and the potential adverse effects of such an admission. The Mental Health Commission has issued an addendum to their code of practice relating to the admission of children to psychiatric hospitals which provides that:

a) No child under 16 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st July 2009;

b) No child under 17 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2010; and

c) No child under 18 years is to be admitted to an adult unit in an approved centre from 1st December 2011. If, in exceptional circumstances, the admission of a child to an adult unit in an approved centre occurs, the approved centre is obliged to submit a detailed report to the Mental Health Commission outlining why the admission has taken place.

Ambulance Service.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

170 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if ambulance transport on a weekly basis will be provided for persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6014/10]

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

Health Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

171 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is still possible to investigate, assess or offer assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if she will initiate inquiries; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6015/10]

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.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

172 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the further support or back up that is expected to be provided to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if is intended to put in place a specific programme to meet the requirements identified in the course of the psychological assessment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6016/10]

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.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

173 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will consider the provision of specific hospice beds to facilitate the densely populated areas of north Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6017/10]

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

Medical Cards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

174 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6018/10]

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

Care of the Elderly.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

175 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if and when a permanent bed will be made available for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who is anxious to obtain a place at Maynooth Community Hospital or a private nursing home in the vicinity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6019/10]

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

Medical Cards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

176 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if an emergency medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6020/10]

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

Road Network.

David Stanton

Question:

177 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport if he has received correspondence from Youghal Town Council regarding the need for emergency local road repair funding; if such funding will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5881/10]

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

When Exchequer grants for regional and local roads are allocated each year, my Department does not hold back a reserve allocation, at central level, to deal with weather contingencies. Holding back such an allocation would mean a reduction in the road grant allocations made to all local authorities at the beginning of each year.

The allocations made to local authorities are inclusive of a weather risk factor. Local authorities are expressly advised in the annual road grants circular letter that they should set aside contingency sums from their overall regional and local roads resources to finance necessary weather related works.

My role in addressing damage caused to the road network is in disbursing the amount of money provided in the 2010 Estimates for funding regional and local roads, that is, €411.177 million, in the fairest manner possible.

I have received a submission from Youghal Town Council, seeking additional funding for the repair of roads damaged by the recent severe weather. I will have regard to this information when deciding on the 2010 regional and local road grand allocations. I will announce the allocations by mid February 2010 at the latest.

Road Traffic Offences.

Martin Ferris

Question:

178 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport if the parents of a victim of a fatal traffic collision are entitled to have the official CT 68 accident report form released to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5789/10]

It is my understanding that the Garda Síochána create a CT 68 form following a road traffic collision. The form, which contains statistical data pertaining to the collision, is copied to the RSA for analytical purposes, before being passed to the Local Authority in whose functional area the collision took place. The decision to release the form is a matter for the relevant Local Authority.

Aviation Security.

Mary Upton

Question:

179 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if legislation is required to introduce full body scanners at airports here; if such legislation is required and will be considered; if not, the protocols that will be applied to ensure that a person’s dignity is maintained at all times; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5916/10]

Aviation security at EU airports is governed by EU Regulations (EC) Nos. 2320/2002, 300/2008 and 820/2008. These Regulations established common Community rules in the field of civil aviation security, in force since January 2003. These Regulations and a series of supplementary implementing Regulations have been adopted into our National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP).

All Irish airports with commercial flights are required to comply with the requirements of the EU Regulations and the National Civil Aviation Security Programme. These requirements include measures for the screening of departing passengers, their cabin and hold baggage. The EU Regulations stipulate that all departing passengers and their cabin baggage shall be screened in order to prevent prohibited articles from being introduced into security restricted areas and on-board aircraft. The Regulations also specify the means by which passengers may be screened, including hand search and walk-through metal detection (WTMD) equipment. The use of body scanners as a method of screening passengers has yet to be approved by the EU. However, EU Regulations allow for trialling of new types of security equipment and body scanner technology has been and, continues to be, trialled at a number of EU airports. A special meeting of the European Union Regulatory Committee for Civil Aviation Security was held in Brussels on 7 January 2010. The Committee received a factual report from the authorities of the Netherlands and the United States on the serious incident that took place on flight NW 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on 25 December 2009.

Following an exchange of views on the security situation in the aftermath of that incident, the Committee unanimously underlined the need for an EU approach to addressing the security situation, including the use of imaging technology, commonly referred to as body scanners, as one means for screening passengers.

The Commission is considering an initiative on imaging technology to reinforce passenger security, while at the same time addressing the conditions for using such technology, in particular, privacy, data protection and health issues.

I am aware that Dublin Airport Authority has issued a tender notice seeking expressions of interest for the supply of body scanners. Dublin Airport Authority has indicated that this is merely a first step in preparing for the possible use of such technology and is aware that deployment at any airport in the State, even on a trial basis, would be subject to approval by my Department and the European Commission.

Consideration of the use of body scanners has not reached the stage where any decision has been made as to whether, and if so to what extent, legislative measures will be required. I have been advised by my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that any measure introduced will have to comply with the rights and protections provided for in our Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Road Network.

Mary Upton

Question:

180 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if a national audit of roads has been carried out to accurately assess the level of subsidence on roads caused by the recent weather conditions; the additional funding he plans to make available to allow county councils to carry out this repair work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5921/10]

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

When Exchequer grants for regional and local roads are allocated each year, my Department does not hold back a reserve allocation, at central level, to deal with weather contingencies. Holding back such an allocation would mean a reduction in the road grant allocations made to all local authorities at the beginning of each year.

The allocations made to local authorities are inclusive of a weather risk factor. Local authorities are expressly advised in the annual road grants circular letter that they should set aside contingency sums from their overall regional and local roads resources to finance necessary weather related works.

My role in addressing damage caused to the road network is in disbursing the amount of money provided in the 2010 Estimates for funding regional and local roads, that is, €411.177 million, in the fairest manner possible.

I have, however, asked local authorities to provide details of exceptional road related costs associated with the November 2009 flooding and recent prolonged severe weather, which fall outside the normal financial provision for winter maintenance. I will have regard to this information when deciding on the allocations.

I will announce the 2010 regional and local road grant allocations by mid February 2010 at the latest.

Jack Wall

Question:

181 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport if a local authority has made an application for funding to his Department for a specific infrastructure development (details supplied) in County Kildare; the position regarding this application; if same will be included in the funding allocation for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5970/10]

I refer the Deputy to the reply given to Dáil Question number 154 of 3 December 2009. The position remains unchanged, except that because of the severe recent weather conditions Local Authorities will be asked to prioritise expenditure on roads damaged during that period.

Data Protection.

Mary Upton

Question:

182 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the legislation regarding data retention; if it is intended to extend data retention to Internet communications; his views on the infringement of a person’s privacy by this movement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5919/10]

The legislation governing the retention of telephony data is at present at Part 7 of the Criminal Justice ( Terrorist Offences) Act 2005. The Communications (Retention of Data) Bill 2009, at present before this House, in transposing Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council into Irish law, will extend the obligation to retain data to internet data. The data can only be requested by the law enforcement authorities for the prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of serious offences, the safeguarding of the security of the State and the saving of human life. The retention period for internet data will be 12 months and the data to be retained will only be concerned with the who, when and where of a communication. The content of a communication will not be retained and cannot be requested.

The question of privacy is addressed at paragraph (9) of the recitals to the Directive. It states that under Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), everyone has the right to respect for his or her private life and his or her correspondence. Public authorities may interfere with the exercise of that right only in accordance with the law and where necessary in a democratic society,inter alia, in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The paragraph also states that because retention of data has proved to be such a necessary and effective investigative tool for law enforcement in several Member States, and in particular concerning serious matters such as organised crime and terrorism, it is necessary to ensure that retained data is made available to law enforcement authorities for a certain period, subject to the conditions provided for in the Directive. It concludes that the adoption of an instrument on data retention that complies with the requirements of Article 8 of the ECHR is therefore a necessary measure.

The Bill now before the House fully complies with the provisions of the Directive and, accordingly, I am satisfied that it is a proportionate response to the balance to be achieved between persons' privacy and the needs of law enforcement authorities in tackling serious crime and safeguarding the security of the State.

Visa Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

183 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if or when a visitor’s visa will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6012/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Deployment.

Charlie O'Connor

Question:

184 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will allocate additional resources to gardaí at Tallaght Garda station, to allow for an effective response to the threat to the bus service in Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5767/10]

As of the 31st December 2009 the total strength of An Garda Síochána was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training.

The allocation of Garda resources, including the distribution of personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and senior Garda management. They are aided in this by a distribution model which indicates the most effective means of distributing Garda personnel and acts as a guide to Garda management decision making. It takes into account different policing variables, including crime trends, socio-economic factors, and census information.

In relation to the specific issue raised by the Deputy, this will be taken into account by Garda Management when they are considering the distribution of resources in the area in question.

Visa Applications.

Billy Timmins

Question:

185 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5771/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Deportation Orders.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

186 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5779/10]

The persons concerned, a mother and two children, arrived in the State in late 2007 and formally applied for asylum on 27 November 2007. The two children were included as dependants in the mother's asylum application meaning that any decision made in relation to her case applied equally to the children. The asylum application was refused following the consideration of the application by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. A third child was born in the State in early January 2008 and this child's application was also refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of the asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999, the persons concerned were informed, by letter dated 6 March 2009, that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of them. They were given the options, to be exercised within a period of 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to deportation or of submitting written representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why Deportation Orders should not be made against them. They were also notified of their entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the provisions of the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006. The persons concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection and also submitted representations pursuant to Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999.

The application for Subsidiary Protection was examined following which a decision was taken to refuse the application. This decision was communicated to the persons concerned by letter dated 20 May 2009. The case of the persons concerned was then examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 on the prohibition of refoulement. Consideration was given to all representations submitted by and on behalf of the persons concerned and due regard was had for all national and international jurisprudence in terms of the humanitarian aspects of this case. On 27 May 2009 Deportation Orders were signed in respect of the persons concerned.

Section 3(11) of the Immigration Act 1999 provides the Minister with powers to amend or revoke a Deportation Order. An application to revoke the Orders in respect of this family was made by its legal representatives on 1 February 2010. Such an application to be successful 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. This application will be considered as soon as possible and a decision will be taken to either affirm or revoke the Orders.

Court Proceedings.

Billy Timmins

Question:

187 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reply to a query (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5811/10]

Andrew Doyle

Question:

188 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reply to a query (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5812/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 187 and 188 together.

Proceedings connected with the matter referred to by the Deputies are currently before the courts. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to make any comment at this time.

Billy Timmins

Question:

189 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reply to a query (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5813/10]

Proceedings connected with the matter referred to by the Deputy are currently before the courts. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to make any comment at this time.

Firearms Licences.

John O'Mahony

Question:

190 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the introduction of a reduced gun licence fee for persons over 70 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5826/10]

There are no plans to introduce a reduced gun licence fee as suggested by the Deputy.

Residency Permits.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

191 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the conflicting advice from the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service and the Garda National Immigration Bureau regarding whether persons who hold Irish-born child residency visas can renew their visa at their local GNIB office or correspond directly with the IBC unit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5842/10]

I wish to inform the Deputy that I am aware of the situation to which he refers, which is specific to the parents of Irish born children granted permission to remain in the State under the IBC 05 scheme. The practical arrangements for the registration of those parents who are being granted renewal of their permission to remain in the State have been discussed and agreed with the Garda National Immigration Bureau. I should add that a notice clarifying the arrangements will shortly appear in the newspapers and will be posted on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website.

Garda Deployment.

John O'Mahony

Question:

192 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the location of the western regional rapid response emergency Garda unit in counties Mayo and Galway; when this unit will come into operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5853/10]

The allocation of Garda resources, including the distribution of personnel and location of units, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and senior Garda management, taking into account a range of policing factors. I will write to the Deputy with any available update on the specific issue he raises, subject to any considerations of operational confidentiality.

Juvenile Offenders.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

193 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the details of his proposal to move the Finglas child and adolescent service to Oberstown, County Dublin; the reason staff have not been consulted about or informed of these proposals; the implications of these proposals for the existing staff in Finglas; the proposals for the existing places in Finglas; if he will give assurances that these will not be lost to the juvenile justice system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5899/10]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 178 to 180, inclusive, on Thursday, 26 November 2009.

I am informed by the Irish Youth Justice Service that discussions facilitated by the Labour Relations Commission are continuing with the Unions representing the staff involved, and I am being kept up to date by my officials on developments in this regard. As for the number of bed places, I would like to reiterate again that there are sufficient surplus beds, both remand and committal, in Oberstown to accommodate children as the phased transfer from the Finglas Child and Adolescent Centre takes place.

Garda Reserve.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

194 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of arrests that have been carried out by members of the Garda Reserve since its establishment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5911/10]

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

195 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if, in view of the report on Garda resources by the Garda inspectorate, he envisages the Garda Reserve developing along the same lines as the reserve forces in the United Kingdom and other countries where reserve members, after a certain period of time and service, are fast tracked into full-time service instead of the current situation where Garda Reserve members who apply to become full-time gardaí have to go through the normal recruitment process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5912/10]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

196 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the fact that so far, only 50 members of the Garda Reserve have joined An Garda Síochána as full-time members in view of the fact that many of the 50 had already applied before they entered the reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5913/10]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

197 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will report on the current system of recruitment of Garda Reserve members who apply to become full-time members of An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5914/10]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

198 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on proposals that after a certain period of service and experience gained by Garda Reserve members, they should be allowed to take on more duties and powers to develop the role and help their full-time colleagues more; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5915/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 to 198, inclusive, together.

At the end of 2009 there were approximately 484 attested members of the Garda Reserve with over 160 additional personnel in training. The Government is strongly committed to the development of the Reserve. It has been a singularly successful initiative and reflects the strong sense of voluntary commitment from the individuals concerned. I am confident that it will continue to flourish into the future.

To date approximately 40 Reserve members of An Garda Síochána have moved on to become trainee full-time members. I believe that it is a significant success for the Garda organisation as a whole that Reserve members are being attracted to become full-time members and the Garda Síochána Admission and Appointments Regulations, which govern full-time entry to An Garda Síochána, provide that recognition is given for satisfactory service in the Reserve. I have no proposals to amend the Regulations at this stage but I will keep the position under review.

The specific duties assigned to members of the Garda Reserve are a matter for the Garda Commissioner under Section 15(5) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.

Juvenile Offenders.

Mary Upton

Question:

199 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the sanctions that are available when children under the age of 12 years are considered to be involved in unacceptable behaviour in a community; the supports that are available to the parents or guardians of such children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5926/10]

I presume the Deputy, in referring to "unacceptable behaviour" of children, means behaviour of a criminal nature. I wish to inform the Deputy that on 16 October 2006 the age of criminal responsibility was effectively raised from 7 to 12 years. This came into force under Part 5 of the Children Act 2001, as amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006. Under the new provisions, no child under the age of 12 years can be charged with an offence. An exception is made for 10 and 11 year-olds charged with very serious offences, such as unlawful killing, a rape offence or aggravated sexual assault. In addition, the Director of Public Prosecutions must give consent for any child under the age of 14 years to be charged.

Section 53 of the Children Act sets out a series of clear steps which a member of An Garda Síochána should undertake when faced with a child under the age of criminal responsibility who commits an offence—

The Garda should take the child to its parent or guardian.

Where the Garda has reasonable grounds for believing that the child is not receiving adequate care or protection, the Garda shall inform the HSE of the child's name, address and age and the circumstances in which the child came to the attention of An Garda Síochána.

Where the Garda has reasonable grounds for believing (a) that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and welfare of the child, and (b) that it would not be sufficient to await an emergency care order, the Garda may remove the child to safety.

Section 53(4) of the Children Act states that it is the duty of the HSE to apply for a care order or supervision order where it appears to the HSE that the child is unlikely to receive the care and protection it requires under the circumstances described above.

Mary Upton

Question:

200 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if parents or guardians are legally responsible for the unacceptable behaviour of their children; the actions that will be taken; the supports that will be provided to prevent or reduce incidents of such behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5927/10]

I presume the Deputy, in referring to "unacceptable behaviour" of children, means behaviour of a criminal nature. I wish to inform the Deputy that the Children Act 2001, as amended, provides for a number of measures in relation to parental responsibility in respect of children aged 12 to 17 who are found guilty of offences or who are involved in anti-social behaviour. With regard to children under 12 years of age, I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 199 today.

Section 111 of the Act provides that in any proceedings in which a child is found guilty of an offence, the court may make an order for the supervision of the child's parents where it is satisfied that a wilful failure of the child's parents to take care of or control the child contributed to the child's criminal behaviour. Section 113 of the Act provides that where a court is satisfied of the guilt of a child and that the appropriate way of dealing with the case is to make a compensation order, it may order that the compensation be paid by the parent or guardian of the child instead of the child. Section 114 of the Act provides that a parent or guardian may be ordered by the court to enter into a recognisance to exercise proper and adequate control over their child. If the child is found guilty of another offence as a result of said parent or guardian failing to exercise such control, the parent or guardian would forfeit the recognisance. It should be noted, however, that the imposition of any particular sanction referred to above on the parents or guardians of an offending child is a matter for the judiciary.

In addition, Part 13 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 introduced new measures with effect from 1st March 2007 to tackle anti-social behaviour of children through a civil process. These measures provide that when a Garda becomes aware of anti-social behaviour, the Garda may issue a behaviour warning to the child. Failure to obey the warning may result in a good behaviour contract being made involving the child, their parent(s) or guardian and the Gardaí. If a contract is broken or if it is not working, it can be renewed or, an application can be made to the Children Court for a Civil Behaviour Order. In addition to the Order, the court may also make a plan for the child to be supervised by their parents or guardian.

Sentencing Policy.

Michael McGrath

Question:

201 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the introduction of mandatory sentencing across a number of serious criminal offences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5934/10]

I am aware that the issue of mandatory sentencing has been the subject of a certain amount of public debate in recent months. In this regard I have contacted the Attorney General in the matter and I understand that the Attorney has made a formal request under Section 4 of the Law Reform Commission Act 1975 to the Law Reform Commission for an examination of the issue of mandatory sentencing generally. I am informed that this matter is to be included in the Commission's programme of work for 2010.

Legal Services.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

202 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath. [5938/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to her question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

203 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [5939/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Garda Investigations.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

204 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the crime detection rate by Garda division in 2007, 2008 and 2009. [5942/10]

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

205 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 98 of 7 November 2007 the impact that the postponing of certain sections of the Disability Act and Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004 and other elements of the National Disability Strategy will have on Ireland’s ability to ratify the UN Convention on the rights of person with disabilities signed in March 2007; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5965/10]

David Stanton

Question:

206 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a decision has been taken on whether Ireland will sign up the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5966/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205 and 206 together.

The provisions in the Disability Act 2005 and the Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, referred to by the Deputy, are the responsibility of the Departments of Health and Children and of Education and Science, respectively. No decision has been taken on the signing by Ireland of the Optional Protocol of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Legislative Programme.

David Stanton

Question:

207 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the Mental Capacity Bill will be published; when he will ratify the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5967/10]

It is the Government's intention to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as quickly as possible, taking into account the need to ensure that all necessary requirements under the Convention are being met. The Government Legislation Programme, published on 19 January last, indicates that the Mental Capacity Bill is expected to be published in the current Dail session. Work on what is involved by way of implementation of the various other provisions in the Convention, which are extensive, continues in the relevant Departments.

Garda National Immigration Bureau.

John McGuinness

Question:

208 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if Garda National Immigration Bureau cards will be renewed in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [5978/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Citizenship Applications.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

209 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for certificate of naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied). [5999/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Prison Medical Service.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

210 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners in Mountjoy Prison, Clover Hill Prison and St. Patrick’s Institution, Dublin, suffering from mental health illnesses and issues; and the resources available to them in prison. [6000/10]

Ireland is no exception to the international phenomenon where the prevalence of severe mental illness is significantly worse among offenders and prisoners in custody compared to the general population. To properly discharge our responsibilities to prisoners with a mental health disability it is essential that we seek to integrate and further develop services, with statutory and voluntary partners. Mental health service provision in prisons must form part of the overall community response to this disability. In recent years, the Irish Prison Service has specifically sought to actively recruit nurses with a mental health background. As a consequence, the skill profile among that group has significantly changed and the health care team in our custodial institutions team are better equipped to meet the mental health needs of prisoners. Current arrangements between the Central Mental Hospital (CMH) and the Irish Prison Service have ensured that 20 consultant-led in-reach forensic mental health sessions are held weekly in prisons in Dublin and Portlaoise. The waiting list for admission to the CMH is reviewed weekly on the basis of reports, following assessments, and the relevant priority is attached to each likely submission. In late 2008 and early 2009, ten additional beds were made available at the CMH. The availability of the additional beds has been of considerable assistance to prison management and healthcare staff in tackling waiting lists for prisoners who require admission to the CMH in providing appropriate mental healthcare to treat acutely mentally ill prisoners. The number of prisoners that engaged with the Mental Health Services in Mountjoy, St. Patrick's and Cloverhill Institutions over the months Nov 2009, Dec 2009 and Jan 2010 are set out in the following table:

Institution

Mountjoy St.

St. Patrick’s

Cloverhill

Nov-09

24

32

32

Dec-09

25

25

28

Jan-10

27

23

36

The Mental Health Services in Mountjoy are provided by staff from the Central Mental Hospital, on a sessional basis. This service is led by a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, and comprises of four registrar led clinics, one consultant led session and three CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) led sessions. The service has been enhanced with the recent establishment of a nurse led mental health clinic. The opening of the refurbished Separation Unit in Mountjoy Prison later in the year, will facilitate improved facilities for the assessment, treatment and ongoing supervision of vulnerable prisoners in an appropriate setting. Decisions will then be made by the clinical team regarding their future case management either within the prison estate or in an external clinical setting. Cloverhill Prison has a dedicated Psychiatric Inreach and Court Liaison Service which attends the prison five days a week. The service is led by a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, two registrars and three community mental health nurses. All new committals are screened and assessed by IPS nursing and medical staff and receive a further screen by the Psychiatric Inreach and Court Liaison Service. Those requiring review are then assessed by the Psychiatric Inreach and Court Liaison Service. The Cloverhill Prison Inreach and Court Liaison Service received awards for best hospital project and best overall healthcare project "An Duais Mor" at the 2009 Irish Healthcare Awards.

In addition to arranging for treatment in prison and transfers to the Central Mental Hospital, the service has facilitated diversion of over 300 patients, mainly charged with very minor offences to local treatment facilities, following liaison with the courts. An Adult Forensic Psychiatrist attends St. Patrick's Institution for 12 hours a week. All new referrals are seen at the first opportunity on a needs basis. St. Patrick's Institution also has a senior psychiatric registrar from the CMH assigned to it who attends once per week. All referrals specifically requested by the GP and any prisoner that the health care multidisciplinary team have concerns about are reviewed by this CMH psychiatrist. In addition, an addiction psychiatrist from the HSE provides one session per week to St. Patrick's Institution.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

211 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the citizenship application will be processed in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Dublin; the stage of this application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6011/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

212 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the extent to which medical and other consideration will be taken into account in the matter of residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6021/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

213 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will reconsider his decision to refuse family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6022/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

214 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will give consideration on health and humanitarian grounds to the application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6023/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

215 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Questions Nos. 223 of 21 January 2010 and 706 of 3 November 2009, the extent to which favourably or otherwise without condition as to time endorsement affects their application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6024/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

216 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason some means cannot be found to simplify the procedure whereby application for residency and qualification for citizenship can be progressed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare, who is expected to return to their home country to update their original passport notwithstanding the fact that this may not be possible for a variety of reasons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6025/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

217 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6026/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

218 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6027/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

219 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency and family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6028/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

220 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position to date in determination of long-term residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6029/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

221 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if and when an application for citizenship and residency will be concluded in the case of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6030/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

222 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 192 of 17 December 2009, the position regarding the case of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 15 who require extension or update of their status to facilitate their employment requirements; the date based on their work records to date they will be deemed not to require a work permit having particular regard to previous correspondence from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment which appears to conflict with his reply of 17 December 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6031/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Missing Persons.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

223 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of women reported missing here since 1975; the extent of ongoing investigation into their disappearance; the degree of progress; the extent to which such cases are being actively pursued on a regular basis; if profiles of the perpetrators were created; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6032/10]

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

224 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of persons reported missing without trace in each year since 1975; the number of gardaí currently dedicated to their investigation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6033/10]

I am not in a position to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time, but will do so as soon as the information is available.

Garda Stations.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

225 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda stations listed or deemed to require upgrading; the schedule for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6034/10]

The Garda accommodation programme is based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána and it is brought forward in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Garda accommodation requirements are considered in the context of the Garda Síochána's identified accommodation priorities and in light of available resources.

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Organised Crime.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

226 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of criminal gang leaders detained and charged to date under the terms of the Criminal Justice (Surveillance) Act 2009, the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6036/10]

This suite of legislation is aimed at tackling serious crimes and I can assure the House that An Garda Síochána have been actively using its provisions to target and disrupt organised criminal networks and their activities.

Given the serious nature of the offences dealt with under the legislation in question a full and thorough investigation of individuals and their activities is necessary and must be conducted before charges can be brought against them.

Given the relatively recent enactment of this legislation it remains too early to collate meaningful statistics in relation to the operation of all of its provisions.

I am however advised that a number of Garda investigation files have been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions and I can assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána will continue to utilise all available legislation, including all the additional legislative provisions introduced by the Oireachtas in 2009 relating to organised crime, to develop and implement strategies to continue to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks.

Crime Levels.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

227 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of burglaries or break-ins reported to the gardaí in County Kildare relating to premises protected by various forms of security alert systems; if any particular intruder alert deficiency has been identified in the course of investigations arising therefrom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6037/10]

Issues relating to deficiencies in alarm systems are matters for the service providers concerned and, accordingly, not within the remit of my Department.

I am not in a position to provide the other information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy.

Garda Strength.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

228 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí who retired in the past 12 months; the number of new recruits in the same period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6038/10]

The total number of members who retired, either voluntarily or on age grounds, from An Garda Síochána in 2009 was 723. During 2009 over 900 students were attested as sworn members of An Garda Síochána and as of the 31st December 2009 the total strength of the force was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training. The Deputy will also be aware that I recently concluded negotiations with Minister for Finance for the filling of some 170 positions at management and supervisory levels in An Garda Síochána.

Garda Deployment.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

229 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí available in each Garda station throughout County Kildare; the degree to which this has fluctuated in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6039/10]

I regret that the information requested by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

230 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if adequate personnel and staffing levels have been achieved to meet the requirements of the various Garda task forces or disciplines set up within the force; the number, if any, of such groups currently deficient in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6040/10]

As of the 31st December 2009 the total strength of An Garda Síochána was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training. The allocation of Garda resources, including the distribution of personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner, his senior managers and Divisional Officers. Garda management is aided in this by a distribution model known as the Garda Establishment Redistribution Model (GERM).

I am advised by the Commissioner that this model indicates the most effective means to distribute Garda personnel and acts as a guide to Garda management decision making. It takes into account many different policing variables, including crime trends, socio-economic factors, and census information. The allocation of Garda personnel is determined by these factors and also takes account of the policing requirements of each individual Division.

Organised Crime.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

231 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the action taken to monitor the movement of criminal gang members between this country and other EU and non-EU locations; the number of such movements intercepted in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6041/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

232 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if members or leaders of criminal gangs wanted by the gardaí have left this jurisdiction in the past two and a half years; if efforts have been made for their extradition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6042/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

233 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of times the principals or members of known criminal gangs have left this jurisdiction and returned in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6043/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 to 233, inclusive, together.

An Garda Síochána continues to work closely with other international law enforcement agencies to ensure that those involved in criminality do not find safe havens for their activities regardless of their geographical location.

To this end Garda Liaison Officers are based in London, The Hague, Madrid, Paris, Europol and Interpol in order to provide a conduit to facilitate the sharing of information and intelligence on those suspected of involvement in criminality, including those suspected of involvement in the trafficking of illegal drugs. Most recently, a Garda and a Customs Liaison Officer have been assigned to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre (Narcotics) in Lisbon which focuses primarily on coordinating action against drug trafficking from West Africa and South America.

Where action is required to further frustrate the activities of Irish criminals who are based abroad, An Garda Síochána may avail of a range of options available to them under Mutual Legal Assistance arrangements, including the European Arrest Warrant scheme.

The compilation of specific statistics relating to the number of times persons of interest are known to have entered or left this jurisdiction would take an inordinate amount of staff time and could not be justified given other pressing demands on resources.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

234 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for long-term residency or citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6044/10]

It is not possible to provide the information sought by the Deputy at this time. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Travel Documents.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

235 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if and when a travel document will issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6045/10]

I regret to advise the Deputy that it is not possible to provide a response to his Question at this time. The information sought by the Deputy will be provided at a later date.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

236 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when stamp four will issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6046/10]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the mother of the person in question was granted permission to remain in the State in February of 2002 under the arrangements then in place for the non-EEA parents of Irish citizen children. I understand that this permission expired on 6 April, 2009 and has not been renewed since.

Persons under the age of 16 years who reside as part of a family unit in which the parents of that unit have permission to remain in the State automatically avail of the permission granted to their parents. On reaching the age of 16, such persons are required to apply to my Department to have that permission registered in their own right. The person to whom the Deputy refers is therefore advised to write to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service at PO Box, 10003, Dublin 2 outlining her family circumstances. Her case will then be assessed by the relevant officials and she will be contacted directly and informed of any decision made regarding her status in the State and any conditions attaching to same.

International Agreements.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

237 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs when the signing of the Optional Protocol for International Covenant, regarding mental health, will take place. [6003/10]

I refer the Deputy to Question No. 397, Reference No. 4697/10, answered on Tuesday 2 February.

Sports Funding.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

238 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism when the next round of applications for national lottery funding will be advertised and open for clubs and organisations to apply for funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5946/10]

Under the Sports Capital Programme, which is administered by my Department, and part funded from the proceeds of the National Lottery, funding is allocated to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country.

While no decision has been made on the timing of the next round of the Programme, €48 million has been provided in my Department's Vote in the 2010 Estimates to cover payments to be made from the C1 subhead, out of which grants are paid for the provision of sports and recreation facilities in respect of previously awarded grants.

Community Development.

Pat Breen

Question:

239 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the implications that funding will have on a group (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5799/10]

As I outlined previously to the House, my Department has seen the need to redesign its community development/social inclusion programmes, particularly the Local Development Social Inclusion (LDSIP) and Community Development Programmes (CDP), drawing on good international practice and to support the ongoing evaluation of the programmes.Both programmes had a community development element and were delivered through separate local delivery structures. These programmes came to an end on 31 December 2009 and have been superseded by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).

In advance of proceeding to establish a single programme across CDPs and Partnerships, my Department undertook an evaluation of individual community development projects. Many of these projects span across two decades, with quite diverse activities. The objective of the review was to identify those projects that produce tangible, appropriate benefits for the communities they serve. The vast majority of projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, fell into this category and have been provided with funding under the new programme in 2010.

I am pleased to have been able to ring-fence funding for community development projects for 2010 and to maintain it at 2009 levels. In few other areas of public spending has it been possible to do this.

The aim of the new LCDP is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities. The new programme preserves elements of good practice from the CDP/LDSIP Programmes and will enable groups to objectively demonstrate the positive impacts they are securing for local communities. An implementation strategy, involving the stakeholders, is underway for LCDP roll-out over the course of 2010.

Jack Wall

Question:

240 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of persons employed by the community development programmes that have been successful in obtaining funding for 2010. [5814/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

241 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of community development projects that have been unsuccessful in obtaining funding for 2010; if all of the CDPs appealed the decision; the number of appeals that were successful; the areas in which such unsuccessful CDPs operated; the number of persons employed in each of the CDPs that have being unsuccessful; the total funding drawn down by each unsuccessful CDP in each of the past three years; the main thrust of the work of each unsuccessful CDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5828/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

242 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to overcome the shortcomings of communities that have seen the funding withdrawn from their community development projects under the recent decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5829/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

243 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to address the funding raised voluntarily by community development projects, both those that have received funding to continue operations in 2010 and those that were unsuccessful in their recent appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5831/10]

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

As I outlined previously to the House, my Department has seen the need to re-design its community development/social inclusion programmes, particularly the Local Development Social Inclusion (LDSIP) and Community Development Programmes (CDP), drawing on good international practice and to support the ongoing evaluation of the programmes. Both programmes had a community development element and were delivered through separate local delivery structures. These programmes came to an end on 31 December 2009 and have been superseded by a new programme, the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).

The aim of the new programme is to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities. The new programme preserves elements of good practice from the CDP/LDSIP Programmes and will enable groups to objectively demonstrate the positive impacts they are securing for local communities. An implementation strategy, involving the stakeholders, is underway for LCDP roll-out over the course of 2010.

In advance of proceeding to establish the LCDP, my Department undertook an evaluation of individual CDPs. Many of these projects span across two decades, with quite diverse activities. The objective of the review was to identify those projects that produce tangible, appropriate benefits for the communities they serve. The vast majority of projects fell into this category and were offered funding under the new programme in 2010.

Where projects were not recommended for continued funding, an appropriate appeals mechanism was provided and a CDP Appeals Board established. The Appeals Board completed its work on 29 January 2010 and the Deputy may be aware that its report has been published on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie. I am also arranging to have a copy forwarded directly to the Deputy.

Following the initial review by my Department, 29 projects were deemed non-viable. Of these, 24 projects submitted an appeal to the CDP Appeals Board, of which 10 were successful. The following table lists the 14 projects that were unsuccessful in their appeals, as well as the funding each received in the period 2007-09. Some 23 full-time staff equivalents in total were funded within the 14 projects in question.

Table: CDPs that were unsuccessful in their appeals to the CDP Appeals Board, and the funding drawn down by these projects in the period 2007-09

Project

Core funding, including grants received

2007

2008

2009

Clonmel Traveller Development Project, Co. Tipperary

33,000

54,446

66,800

Community Action Programme (CAP), Ballymun, Dublin 11

141,080

139,751

123,484

Community Technical Aid, Dublin 1

141,500

145,000

128,122

Edenmore Community Development Project, Dublin 5

52,390

79,494

74,268

Equal Access (SPLTU), Dublin 24

106,000

107,000

86,954

Inner City Renewal Group, Dublin 1

129,500

127,625

116,193

Kilmore West CDP, Dublin 5

121,600

120,483

106,459

LINK CDP, Dublin 10

125,000

126,000

111,334

North Clondalkin CDP, Dublin 22

124,000

117,800

89,388

North West Inner City Women’s Network, Dublin 7

73,500

98,852

79,612

Partners, Dublin 6

150,000

150,000

132,540

The P.I.E.C.E Project, Dublin 17

45,000

45,000

39,762

Southside CDP, Co. Louth

103,000

115,252

98,963

West Tallaght Resource Centre, Dublin 24

180,000

190,000

156,594

The range of services provided and activities supported by the projects listed in the Table above would include:

provision of information, advice and support to particular target groups e.g. unemployed people, lone parents, Travellers, youth, young families, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups;

provision of practical assistance to community groups (e.g. photocopying, facilities, training, information and advice);

provision of adult education courses and training opportunities;

support for local enterprise and job creation initiatives; and

identification of policy issues arising from the work of the projects and support for participation in local development initiatives.

I am advised that the projects in question have been informed by the Appeals Board of its decision to uphold the original decision of my Department to cease CDP funding for them. The Deputy will appreciate that it is now a matter for the voluntary boards of management in each case to decide the future strategy for their companies in light of the decisions of the Appeals Board. My officials have been in contact with each of the projects concerned and have indicated that if the company decides to cease operations and to wind-up, my Department will, without prejudice, seek to assist the directors in discharging their statutory responsibilities. While such assistance could include limited financial assistance in appropriate circumstances, due account would have to be taken of the nature and extent of any net liabilities incurred by the companies and the financial and regulatory limitations applicable to my Department.

The number of core staff (full-time equivalents) employed by CDPs that have been successful in obtaining funding under the new LCDP for 2010 is of the order of 290. It is intended that the new programme will be implemented nationally on an integrated basis and through new integrated structural arrangements involving the 53 local development companies and the remaining CDPs.

In that context, continuing CDPs retain their capacity to raise funding voluntarily and to apply any such funding to the purposes for which it was raised.

Under the new programme, local development companies will be able to identify and meet the needs of communities and I have asked that particular attention be given to RAPID areas and to those areas where CDPs are no longer operating.

As I have previously indicated, my primary concern is to make every effort to ensure that the front-line services provided by, or supported through, my Department — especially those providing tangible benefits for the most disadvantaged communities — are protected.

Social Welfare Benefits.

James Bannon

Question:

244 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an application for farm assistance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath which was submitted in early December 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5865/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

245 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a decision on a carer’s allowance appeal will be made in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5768/10]

Tom Hayes

Question:

246 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a decision will issue on a domiciliary care allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5769/10]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

247 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a carer’s allowance appeal will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5770/10]

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

255 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5815/10]

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

258 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; when the application will be completed and processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5823/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

274 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5887/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 245 to 247, inclusive, 255, 258 and 274 together.

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Pat Breen

Question:

248 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5774/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Jack Wall

Question:

249 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has had their household benefits refused; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5780/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Jack Wall

Question:

250 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is on a reduced rate of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5782/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

251 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will reinstate the entitlement to a State contributory pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5784/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Bernard Allen

Question:

252 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a decision will be made on an application for living alone allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork made in October 2009. [5794/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Finian McGrath

Question:

253 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [5798/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

254 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when social welfare payment will be restored in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5806/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Question No. 255 answered with Question No. 245.

Social Insurance.

Michael Ahern

Question:

256 Deputy Michael Ahern asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason an old insurance number in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork that was used in all Government and social welfare dealings from 1971 to 2 December 2009 was never questioned and was not given as a PPS number but was given to another person; and their position in relation to their retrospective entitlements in the meantime. [5820/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Mary Upton

Question:

257 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10 is receiving their correct disability payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5822/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Question No. 258 answered with Question No. 245.

Finian McGrath

Question:

259 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will support a matter (details supplied). [5825/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Frank Feighan

Question:

260 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a decision will issue on an application for family income supplement in respect of a person (details supplied). [5827/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

261 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position in relation to a person who was using her old insurance number since 1971 (details supplied). [5834/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Jack Wall

Question:

262 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a claim for jobseeker’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5837/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Billy Timmins

Question:

263 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding the household benefits package in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if this can be re-examined and awarded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5847/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

264 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an application for jobseeker’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5850/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

265 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she has received the requested information from the Department of Education and Science; if she is in a position to make a determination on the pension entitlement of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5854/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

James Bannon

Question:

266 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason the contributory old age pension of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has been reduced from €153 to €46; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5867/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Insurance.

Michael Kennedy

Question:

267 Deputy Michael Kennedy asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the records that exist for payments of social welfare by Magdalene laundries in respect of deductions from wages paid to women working in these institutions; if she is satisfied that correct payments have been received by her Department for such workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5868/10]

According to a search of the Department's records in the time available, there do not appear to be returns available in relation to any organisation or organisations, which may be collectively described as Magdalene Laundries. I am aware that the Deputy has notified the Department of a particular case and the matter is being investigated. I will be in touch with him as soon as possible.

In terms of the operation of the social insurance system, the Department holds contribution and claim history records for employed and self-employed contributors. Social insurance plays a key role in the provision of social protection in Ireland. As such, the contribution records established and maintained by the Department are used to determine eligibility for a range of benefits at certain specified times in a customer's life.

Since 1953, the Social Welfare Acts have defined the various types of employment that are insurable under the social insurance system while also providing for the management and operation of that system (known, since 1979, as Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI)). Clearly, the integrity of the system is dependent on timely and accurate returns being made to the Social Insurance Fund by employers, employees and the self employed — again as laid down in social welfare legislation. A statutory basis therefore exists for,inter alia, the remittance and recording of contributions, inspection of employer records and, where necessary, ensuring compliance in matters relating to social insurance contributions.

Records held by the Department for employees are on the basis of the person's Personal Public Services Number, formerly the Social Insurance or PRSI Number. Prior to 1979, social insurance contributions were recorded for each individual worker against this number; deductions were sent directly to the Department whereby employers purchased stamps for their employees and recorded them on cards. These cards were forwarded each year to the Department and the details recorded on each person's register sheet. Since 1979, contributions due to the Social Insurance Fund are collected in the main by the Revenue Commissioners together with income tax due. All employers must make tax/PRSI returns to the Revenue Commissioners which then compile the data and send it to the Department.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Jack Wall

Question:

268 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is not in receipt of child benefit for one of their children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5872/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Michael Ring

Question:

269 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be awarded a contributory pension in view of the contributions they have made. [5873/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Michael Ring

Question:

270 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will review the decision to cease the contributory State pension to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if the pension will continue; and if she will request that the overpayment be cancelled as per section 246(1)(a) and (b) of S.I. No. 142 of 2007. [5875/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

271 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason for the delay in processing applications for child benefit and early child care supplement in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and if she will expedite these outstanding applications. [5882/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

272 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person (details supplied) will receive their weekly contributory pension. [5883/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

273 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an invalidity pension claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5886/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

284 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an invalidity pension claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5907/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 and 284 together.

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Question No. 274 answered with Question No. 245.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

275 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a disability allowance claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5889/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

276 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5890/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

277 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [5891/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

278 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5893/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

280 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5903/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

281 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a carer’s allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5904/10]

Sean Sherlock

Question:

282 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a carer’s allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5905/10]

John McGuinness

Question:

292 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will be expedited; if a decision on the appeal will be issued in view of the submission made by the person; and the early clarification they obtained from her Department relative to their circumstances and employment intentions. [5976/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 to 278, inclusive, 280 to 282, inclusive, and 292 together.

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

279 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when arrears of a one parent family payment will be issued in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5900/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Questions Nos. 280 to 282, inclusive, answered with Question No. 276.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

283 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a carer’s allowance claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5906/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Question No. 284 answered with Question No. 273.

Pension Provisions.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

285 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an allocation for contributory State pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5908/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Code.

Mary Upton

Question:

286 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her views on the fact that people are required to be in private rented accommodation for six months before they can receive rent allowance; her further views on whether this limits people’s movement in attempt to secure employment and-or pursue their education where they may have to move from one location to another; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5917/10]

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. Its primary purpose is to assist existing tenants who can no longer afford their rent, for example, because they have become unemployed. The Rent Supplement Scheme is not intended to be an alternative to the social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer.

The 2009 Supplementary Budget introduced new arrangements for access to rent supplement. In order to qualify for a rent supplement, from the 27 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. However, 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 authority to be eligible for and in need of social housing support, which the local authority is not in a position to provide at that time.

In all other cases, a person who wishes to apply for rent supplement is referred, in the first instance, for an assessment of eligibility for social housing support by the local housing authority in the area where the claim to rent supplement is made and the person intends to reside. Only when the person has been assessed as being eligible for and in need of social housing support, does the person become eligible for consideration for rent supplement.

A person would not normally be entitled to rent supplement while engaged in full-time education. However, if an applicant has an entitlement to a back to education allowance, the person concerned may be entitled to rent supplement, subject to various conditions of the scheme being satisfied. Where a person has an entitlement to a back to education allowance and applies for rent supplement, the same criteria (the 183 day rule or has had a housing needs assessment completed with the relevant local authority) apply. A person moving accommodation, whilst in receipt of rent supplement, does not automatically lose their entitlement to rent supplement. A person moving location for the purposes of increasing the likelihood of securing full-time employment should therefore not lose their rent supplement entitlement, provided they continue to meet the other conditions of the scheme.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Noel Ahern

Question:

287 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an application for a social welfare payment in respect of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and the reason the payment is not yet in order. [5945/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

288 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will reinstate the entitlement to contributory State pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5950/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Dan Neville

Question:

289 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will make a statement on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [5952/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Michael McGrath

Question:

290 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be entitled to any State transition pension on reaching 65 years or the State contributory pension on reaching 66 years. [5953/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

John McGuinness

Question:

291 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if she will be approved for the pension; and if she will expedite a response. [5975/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Question No. 292 answered with Question No. 276.

John McGuinness

Question:

293 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Carlow is entitled to the full value of their claim while they were out sick from work for the period 12 May 2008 to 21 November 2008; and if their employer was entitled to recoup the social welfare payments from their salary. [5977/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

John McGuinness

Question:

294 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will examine the contributions made over a 23-year period by a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny to determine if they are entitled to benefit in their own right. [5979/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

John McGuinness

Question:

295 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason rent allowance payment has been cut from €96.10 to €42.36 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [5980/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

John McGuinness

Question:

296 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny is entitled to family income supplement and mortgage relief. [5982/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Pension Provisions.

Frank Feighan

Question:

297 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs her views on whether it is fair that a person who has paid compulsory PAYE contributions for the required length of time but is three months short due to their age is only paid half their pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5986/10]

In the time available, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

298 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will review the decision to reject the appeal of refusal in respect of mortgage interest supplement in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6005/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

299 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare qualifies for disability allowance or invalidity pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6047/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

300 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when jobseeker’s allowance will be awarded in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6048/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

301 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if the household benefit package will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6049/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

302 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was not considered a qualified person for payment of one-parent family allowance on the grounds of habitual residency in view of the fact that they have lived continuously in this country since 3 September 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6050/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

303 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Dublin was deemed not to qualify for one-parent family allowance on the grounds that they failed to meet habitual residency requirements in view of the extent of their residency here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6051/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

304 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if mortgage interest supplement payment will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the fact that their income has reduced to a social welfare payment of €196.00 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6052/10]

In the time available it is not possible to provide the information requested.

Burial Grounds.

Joe McHugh

Question:

305 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no humanist or secular graveyard in County Donegal; the action he will take to address this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5776/10]

The management of burial grounds and the provision of burial facilities is a matter for each individual local authority. I, as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, have no direct role in the matter.

Departmental Investigations.

Billy Timmins

Question:

306 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will reply to a query (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5807/10]

Andrew Doyle

Question:

307 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will reply to a query (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5808/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 306 and 307 together.

I can confirm that I have received a request for an investigation on the lines outlined in the questions and that I have this matter currently under examination.

Departmental Records.

Billy Timmins

Question:

308 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will reply to a query (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5809/10]

Andrew Doyle

Question:

309 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will reply to a query (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5810/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 308 and 309 together.

I have arranged for all of the records released by my Department under the Access to Information on the Environment Regulations 2007 on the matters outlined in the questions to be forwarded to the Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council for circulation to all members of the council. I have arranged also for this material to be furnished to both Deputies.

Local Authority Grants.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

310 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will take action on the Report of Findings of the Muscular Dystrophy Ireland National Survey 2009 which found that the majority of persons with muscular dystrophy need to move house or adapt their homes to make them suitable to their needs but that 60% of persons who received local authority grants to adapt their homes state that grants are not sufficient to meet the cost; if he will improve the grant scheme in terms of the amounts available, the numbers of persons entitled and the reduction of unacceptably long waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5878/10]

The Government's housing policy statement, Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities, reflects the commitment to develop a national housing strategy for people with a disability. Work on the strategy is well advanced under the aegis of a National Advisory Group, headed by my Department and involving the Department of Health and Children, the Health Service Executive, social partners and other relevant stakeholders including the National Disability Authority.

The strategy will support the provision of tailored housing and housing supports for people with a disability and will have particular regard to people who have a mental health disability. The outcome of the evaluation of the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability, which is currently ongoing, will be considered in the strategy. The strategy is expected to be completed later this year.

Under the terms of the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability, which is administered by the local authorities, grants of up to €30,000 are available to assist people with a disability to have necessary adaptations, repairs or improvement works carried out in order to make their accommodation more suitable for their needs and to facilitate the continued occupancy of their own homes. Eligible works include the provision of access ramps, stair lifts, accessible showers, wheelchair access and extensions. The level of grant assistance available is significant and I have no plans to increase it, particularly taking account of the better value now available due to falling prices in the construction sector.

My Department requested local authorities to submit details of their funding requirements under the grant schemes for 2010 by 22 January. The information received is being examined at present with a view to determining the allocations as quickly as possible.

Waste Management.

Mary Upton

Question:

311 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his plans to introduce a deposit scheme for glass bottles and jars in order to further encourage their recycling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5920/10]

Deposit and refund schemes can contribute to the recovery rates for certain types of packaging waste. Directive 94/62/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on packaging and packaging waste (the Packaging Directive) is based on the concept of producer responsibility, which effectively requires producers to contribute to the waste management costs of products which they have placed on the market. Under the Directive, Ireland was required to achieve a 25% recovery rate of packaging waste by 1 July 2001, increasing to a 50% recovery rate by 31 December 2005.

Practical implementation of the Directive in Ireland is organised mainly through a collective industry-based compliance scheme operated by Repak Limited which is operating successfully. Directive 2004/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Packaging Directive introduces a new increased packaging waste recovery target of 60% (with 55% by way of recycling) as well as material specific recycling targets for glass, paper/board, metals, plastics and wood. The National Waste Report 2008 states that packaging waste recovery increased to 65% in that year, indicating that Ireland has met and exceeded the target recovery rate of 60% set by the Packaging Directive for 2011.

The recycling target for glass, which Ireland has to achieve by 2011, is 60%. Ireland has already exceeded this target, the recycling rate for glass in 2008 being 74%.

I am conscious that despite progress on recycling we need to continue to improve our performance. The comprehensive review of waste management policy, underpinned by the recently published Eunomia Report, which I have initiated, will also consider the desirability of other producer responsibility schemes, including deposit and refund.

Turbary Rights.

Denis Naughten

Question:

312 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the 32 designated bogs, on which the 10 year derogation has now expired, are closed to turf cutting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5929/10]

Within the coming weeks, I expect to receive a report from an inter-departmental working group that I established last year to make recommendations on managing the cessation of turf cutting within these sites. I will conclude my consideration of these recommendations as rapidly as possible, and will then be in touch with affected individuals and representative groups in regard to the position.

Social and Affordable Housing.

Michael McGrath

Question:

313 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the vacant affordable housing stock for each local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5931/10]

It should be recognised that there will always be a certain level of stock of unsold affordable units on hands at any given time, whatever the prevailing housing market conditions. The slowdown in sales of affordable housing has moved in step with the process of correction in the wider housing market. Since late 2008, my Department and the Affordable Homes Partnership have been working closely with local authorities to ensure that unsold affordable housing units are deployed effectively.

Very considerable progress has been made on both the sale of affordable housing — despite the current difficult economic and banking climate — with over 1,300 affordable homes sold in the first 9 months of 2009, and the deployment of unsold affordable homes for other purposes, including temporary use under the social leasing or RAS schemes.

Details of the numbers of unsold units on hands by local authority area are set out in the following table. While the sale of the affordable units on hands remains the preferred option, the local authorities are considering a wide range of options to bring these units into use.

Local Authority Area

Unsold affordable housing units on hands (excluding units deployed for other housing purposes)

Number in process of sale

Net number of units on hands available for sale.

County Carlow

20

0

20

County Cavan

9

0

9

County Clare

21

0

21

Cork City

158

54

104

County Cork

159

24

135

County Donegal

18

18

0

Dublin City

233

46

187

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

208

84

124

Fingal

245

100

145

Galway City

13

6

7

County Galway

60

0

60

County Kerry

38

13

25

County Kildare

62

10

52

County Kilkenny

23

0

23

County Laois

30

4

26

County Leitrim

1

0

1

County Limerick

17

2

15

Limerick City

0

0

0

County Longford

1

0

1

County Louth

12

0

12

County Mayo

17

0

17

County Meath

35

18

17

County Monaghan

0

0

0

North Tipperary

1

0

1

County Offaly

2

0

2

County Roscommon

2

0

2

County Sligo

3

0

3

South Tipperary

23

0

23

South Dublin

81

18

63

Waterford City

20

0

20

County Waterford

2

2

0

County Westmeath

25

3

22

County Wexford

2

0

2

County Wicklow

24

5

19

Totals

1,565

407

1,158

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

Dan Neville

Question:

314 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding a scheme (details supplied) in County Limerick. [5955/10]

Dan Neville

Question:

316 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding a sewerage scheme (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5968/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 314 and 316 together.

The Adare Sewerage Scheme and the combined Athea, Askeaton, Foynes, Glin and Shanagolden Sewerage Scheme were included for funding in my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2007-2009.

I understand that Limerick County Council is advancing the detailed planning of the Adare scheme. As regards the combined scheme, my Department is currently examining the Council's Preliminary Report and a decision on it will be conveyed to the Council as soon as possible.

Further progress on both schemes awaits the finalisation of the Water Services Investment Programme for 2010 to 2012, taking into account the priority attached to the schemes by Limerick County Council in its recent assessment of needs. In July 2009, local authorities were asked to submit an assessment of needs for water and sewerage services to my Department by 23 October 2009. My Department is currently considering these assessments, which form a key input to the development of the 2010 to 2012 Water Services Investment Programme. In conducting their assessments, local authorities were asked to prioritise schemes and contracts for progression over the coming years based on key environmental and economic criteria. I expect to publish the Water Services Investment Programme 2010 to 2012 early this year.

Local Authority Charges.

Michael Ring

Question:

315 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the legislation which gives local authorities the ability to charge a €2,000 levy to persons who are approved planning permission for possible road damage. [5956/10]

Section 34(1) of the Planning and Development Act 2000 provides that planning authorities may attach conditions to a grant of planning permission. Section 34(4) lists specific conditions that may be attached, but this is expressly without prejudice to the generality of the power to attach conditions set out in subsection (1).

The interpretation and application of the relevant legislation is a matter for planning authorities in the first instance, An Bord Pleanála on appeal, and ultimately the Courts.

Question No. 316 answered with Question No. 314.

Local Authority Rates.

John McGuinness

Question:

317 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government his views on the need for reform of the local authority commercial rates system; if he will introduce a simple appeal process in relation to the valuation of a property; they way that a valuation is arrived at; if he will instruct local authorities to reduce the commercial rate in view of the current economic climate and the need to being costs into line to improve competitiveness here; if he will amend legislation putting the onus on commercial tenants to pay the rate in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5981/10]

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. Commercial rates are normally paid by the occupier of the premises in question.

The levying and collection of rates are matters for each individual local authority and the determination of the Annual Rate on Valuation (ARV), which is applied to property valuations to calculate rates, is a decision taken locally by the elected members of a local authority in their annual budget. I, as Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, have no direct function in the matter.

I am nevertheless aware of the economic pressure on local businesses and in 2009 and 2010 I specifically requested that local authorities exercise restraint in setting commercial rates in order to support competitiveness in the economy and to protect the interests of communities. Local authorities have responded well to this request and I will continue to keep the approach by them to rates under regular review.

The question of the valuation of industrial and commercial premises is a matter for the Minister for Finance, as the Valuation Office comes under his remit.

Water Supply.

Richard Bruton

Question:

318 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will estimate, in percentage terms, the volume of treated water which leaks into the ground in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5988/10]

The operation, maintenance and management of the water supply are in this instance a matter for Dublin City Council. The Service Indicators in Local Authorities 2008 report, a copy of which is available from the Oireachtas Library, includes information on Unaccounted for Water (UFW) in each local authority.

During the period from 1996 to 2002 Dublin City Council, as the lead authority in the Dublin area for the water conservation programme, implemented active leakage detection and reduction, carried out some mains renewal and installed leakage control infrastructure. This work, which was funded under my Department's Water Services Investment Programme, resulted in water lost through leakage, and otherwise unaccounted for, being reduced from over 42% to about 28%.

My Department is now funding Dublin City Council's watermains rehabilitation programme, which is designed to build on the work already done and reduce further the level of unaccounted for water.

Sheltered Housing.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

319 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of sheltered housing projects anticipated, planned or scheduled at locations throughout County Kildare; the degree to which this is likely to increase the availability of sheltered housing in line with current or anticipated requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6007/10]

It is a matter for individual housing authorities to plan the composition and management of their social housing investment programmes having regard to the specific social housing needs and priorities in their areas and to the Exchequer funding allocations available to them.

My Department will shortly meet with Kildare County Council as part of the Annual Housing Action Plan process at which time the Council's proposals, including those it may have for sheltered housing, will be considered in the context of its priorities for funding from within its 2010 social housing investment allocation.

Departmental Schemes.

Jack Wall

Question:

320 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide grants to persons who wish to update their heating systems in their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5897/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

321 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of grants allocated under the warmer homes scheme and the warmer homes scheme plus; the amount of funding provided under these grants; the plans to extend this grant; if funding for this grant will be continued in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5898/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

322 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of grants allocated under the home energy saving scheme; the amount of funding allocated under these grants; his plans to extend this grant; if funding will be continued during 2010 for this grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5901/10]

Jack Wall

Question:

323 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of grants allocated to County Kildare under the warmer home scheme, the warmer home plus scheme and the home energy saving scheme; the amount of funding under the three schemes that will be allocated to County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5902/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 320 to 323, inclusive, together.

Financial supports are available to homeowners under two schemes funded by my Department for people who wish to update the heating systems in their homes.

For households on low incomes such as those in receipt of fuel allowance, invalidity or disability benefit, the Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS) managed by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) will install cavity wall insulation, attic insulation, a boiler lagging jacket, draught proofing measures and CFLs. Advice is also provided to householders on minimising energy use. These measures are provided free or at a token cost. Private contractors under the Warmer Homes Scheme Plus were also engaged in 2009 to provide increased interventions such as central heating and internal drying insulation.

Through these mechanisms, the WHS was delivered to 16,240 homes in 2009 which includes 3,571 under the WHS Plus. A further 2,886 homes received the ESB's Home Insulation Scheme. Some €20 million was provided for the scheme in 2009 including a contribution of €5 million from ESB and BGE. This enabled energy efficiency improvements to be made to over 19,000 vulnerable homes at a cost of €14.518 million in 2009.

Householders can also avail of grants of up to 40% of the cost of energy efficiency improvement measures under the Government's Home Energy Saving Scheme (HES). This Scheme, which is administered by SEI, provides grant assistance to homeowners for retrofit energy efficiency measures such as attic and wall insulation, very high-efficiency boilers, heating controls and Building Energy Rating (BER) assessments.

The HES was allocated €49 million in 2009. The Scheme attracted 40,724 applications by the end of the year of which 36,454 were approved for grant aid. In 2009, SEI paid out €16.26 million to improve the energy efficiency of 18,183 homes.

Funding is allocated to both HES and WHS on a national basis. SEI informs me that a total of 81 households in County Kildare had services provided to them under the WHS in 2009; 825 households under the Warmer Homes Scheme Plus and 669 under the Home Energy Savings Scheme.

Funding in 2010 of €13 million for the WHS and €29.5m for the HES was announced on Budget Day together with €50m for the National Energy Retrofit Programme.

This Programme will further reduce energy costs and carbon emissions in homes and business while also creating employment and developing a sustainable market for energy services in Ireland. The detailed design and specification of the new programme is being finalised by my Department and SEI. The Programme will be the subject of a public consultation in the near future. In broad terms the Retrofit Programme will bring together the HES and the WHS as well as support programmes for business and the public sector. It will also involve the development and promotion of energy services by the energy companies.

This new Programme has the potential to be the most innovative, ambitious, energy-related initiative ever introduced in Ireland. It will significantly reduce CO2 emissions and contribute to meeting the national efficiency targets including the target of 33% set for the public sector. It will also create significant employment in the energy and construction sectors in support of economic renewal.

It is important to stress that pending the introduction of the Retrofit Programme, the HES and the WHS are fully open for business in 2010.

Tax Code.

Paul Kehoe

Question:

324 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his Department has discussed the new system of carbon taxation with the Department of Finance; his views on the impact of the application of this carbon taxation to fuels such as bio-diesel which are reducing carbon output here; if he has raised the issue of carbon taxation with the Department of Finance and has proposed amending the system of carbon taxation to ensure that carbon reducing and environmentally friendly fuels are not subject to a carbon levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5985/10]

It was announced in the Budget that a carbon tax at a rate of €15 per tonne is being introduced on fossil fuels. The tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from midnight, 9 December 2009; and will apply from 1 May 2010 to kerosene, marked gas oil (also known as "green diesel" or "agricultural diesel"), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), fuel oil and natural gas. The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat is subject to a Commencement Order.

A Financial Resolution was adopted on Budget night in respect of petrol and auto-diesel and provided that those conventional transport fuels with a biofuel component of less than 10% would be taxed in full as petrol or auto-diesel as appropriate. However, the carbon tax charge would not apply to the biofuel element where biofuel constitutes more than 10% of the blended petrol or auto-diesel product. Such an approach was deemed necessary by the relevant Departments for administrative ease. However, I gather that the Minister for Finance has received a number of representations concerning this approach and that the long-term approach in relation to the treatment of biofuels is being further considered as part of the Finance Bill process.

Both my officials and I have had a series of discussions on this subject with the Department and Minister for Finance since late November.

Grant Payments.

Denis Naughten

Question:

325 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a decision will be made on an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5796/10]

REPS 4 is a measure under the current Rural Development Programme 2007–13 and is subject to EU Regulations which require detailed administrative checks on all applications to be completed before the first payments issue. Payments have issued to those applicants whose applications cleared the administrative checks. The administrative checks are carried out manually in the Department's local offices and queries arose on a significant number of applications in the course of the checking procedure, including the plan belonging to the person named. This query related to chemical phosphorus levels. The application will now be returned to the applicant requesting that an amended plan be submitted. Payment will issue as soon as possible on receipt of the amended plan.

Crop Losses.

John Deasy

Question:

326 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his plans to provide compensation to vegetable growers who have lost their crops due to the recent bad weather and for whom the viability of their business is now in doubt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5832/10]

John Deasy

Question:

327 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if funding is available from the European Union to provide compensation to vegetable growers who have lost their crops due to the recent bad weather; if he has applied for such funding; when such compensation will be made to the affected growers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5833/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 326 and 327 together.

I am aware that since Christmas Ireland has experienced very severe frost conditions which have resulted in losses to vegetables. Following a preliminary assessment of the crop losses caused by the severe weather conditions, I yesterday announced the introduction of a limited scheme of financial assistance to certain potato and vegetable growers who have suffered significant losses of produce due to frost damage.

Grant Payments.

James Bannon

Question:

328 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Longford will be awarded REP scheme four payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5863/10]

Payment will issue to the person named within 10 working days.

Harbours and Piers.

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

329 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his Department’s annual investments in the Dinish wharf development project at Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre, County Cork in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5888/10]

The Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Development Project is a comprehensive integrated multi-annual project designed to address a range of navigational, safety and infrastructure deficits which existed in Castletownbere.

The investment in the total integrated project includes the removal of an old unsafe pier on Dinish Island and replacement of this with a new and extended pier on Dinish Island, however, expenditure on this specific element cannot be easily separated out from the other linked elements of the overall project.

The investment in the project to date includes:

Substantial dredging of the approach channel to the harbour.

Substantial dredging of a deep water berthing basin at the site of the new pier development.

Dredging of the inner bay and around the town pier.

Infilling of the foreshore near the town pier to facilitate a new RNLI station.

Disposal and export of a very substantial quantity of contaminated dredge spoil.

The removal of the "perch rock" which was a significant obstruction in the approach channel.

The construction of a 210 metre pier on Dinish Island.

The expenditure that my Department has incurred on the integrated Development project at Castletownbere Fishery Harbour Centre since 2006 is set out in a table:

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

€10,241,265

€7,396,981

€6,933,805

€7,441,470

€404,672 (to date)

Ulick Burke

Question:

330 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the amount of moneys invested annually by his Department in the ferry terminal pontoons project at Rossaveal Fishery Harbour Centre, County Galway in 2004 to 2010 inclusive in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5896/10]

Work on the ferry terminal pontoons project at Rossaveal Fishery Harbour Centre commenced in 2007 and included the installation of necessary piles together with the fabrication and installation of the pontoons. The expenditure incurred by my Department is set out in a table:

2007

2008

2009

2010

€1,136,815

€1,261,212

€3,422,890

Nil (to date)

Departmental Funding.

Joanna Tuffy