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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 9 Feb 2010

Vol. 701 No. 3

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 135, inclusive, resubmitted.

Departmental Bodies.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

136 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Taoiseach if the expert private sector panel set out in the revised programme for Government has been established; the list of the members of the expert private sector panel; the number of meetings held by the panel to date; the decisions that were taken at those meetings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6067/10]

This commitment in the Programme for Government was made in the context of the ongoing work of the Innovation Taskforce which is looking at opportunities for Ireland to strengthen its position as a location for innovation and commercialisation in order to support sustainable employment in the context of ongoing investments under the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. The Taskforce is due to report shortly and its recommendations will inform how this commitment is implemented.

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

137 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Taoiseach the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6152/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

139 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Taoiseach the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6324/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 and 139 together.

No company has been granted a contract for projects worth more than the amounts stated above by my Department in the period 2000 to 2010.

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

138 Deputy Damien English asked the Taoiseach the number of external consultants currently working for or in his Department; the work they are carrying out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6206/10]

At present there are two consultancy firms working in my Department. The Organisational Review Programme (ORP) engaged the services of IPSOS MRBI for the administration and analysis of survey questionnaires to all staff of the four organisations (Central Statistics Office, Department of Health and Children, Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the Property Registration Authority) being reviewed under the second phase of the ORP. This work is close to completion.

Fitzpatrick Associates Economic Consultants were contracted to carry out a case study of the Garda Boundary Realignment Project. The case study will document the processes involved in implementing the boundary realignment and the learning achieved. It is intended that the case study will be shared with other relevant agencies and will support the pursuit of a standardised approach to the local structuring of public service management and delivery in line with the Government's Statement on Transforming Public Services.

Question No. 139 answered with Question No. 137.

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

140 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach if all the portable electrical equipment in his Department and related offices have portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6458/10]

It is the policy of my Department and NESDO that all portable electrical equipment used complies fully with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, Statutory Instrument No. 299 of 2007. A programme of regular inspections in relation to portable electrical equipment covered by the scope of the regulations is in place in my Department and NESDO where necessary to ensure that all relevant equipment is safe to use and certified in accordance with the Regulations.

Departmental Programmes.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

141 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Taoiseach the number of civil and public servants that have signed up for the cycle to work scheme; the cost of the scheme to date in 2010. [7580/10]

Seven civil servants have signed up for the Cycle to Work scheme in my Department. There is no discernible cost to my Department's vote in administering the cycle to work scheme to date in 2010. The bicycles and equipment are paid for by way of salary sacrifice by those acquiring the bicycles. There are minor costs in processing forms and in carrying the up-front costs until such time as those are offset by the gradual deductions from salary. Neither of these is quantifiable. The only material cost of the scheme to the State is the tax relief inherent in the scheme. The total amount sanctioned to date by way of cycle purchases for staff of my Department is €3,722.92.

Industrial Development.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

142 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding plans to establish an international content services centre here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6066/10]

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is responsible for this matter.

Redundancy Payments.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

143 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when redundancy payments will issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and the reason for delay. [6115/10]

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 16 September, 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.

Given the unprecedented increase in Redundancy Payment claims lodged with my Department since late 2008 it has proved impossible to maintain the customer service targets that previously obtained. The scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims with a cumulative figure for 2009 of 77,001. This figure exceeds the claims lodged for 2008 (40,607) by 90% and 2008 was, of itself, an exceptional year as compared with earlier years when claims received were of the order of 25,000. Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more acceptable turnaround processing times for redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken include:

the reassignment of 26.7 additional staff (full time equivalents) from other areas of the Department to the Redundancy Payments area since early 2009 with ongoing review of trends and demands. The current number of staff serving in the Redundancy Payments Section in terms of full time equivalents is 52.5;

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

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

The provision of better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against outstanding tax liabilities with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Tánaiste and I are monitoring closely the impact of these changes against the continuing influx of redundancy claims and it is clear that additional measures are required to help reduce the backlog of claims which currently stands in excess of 40,000. The Department is currently actively engaged in efforts to secure up to 16 additional staff resources deployed to the area in the first quarter of 2010.

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

144 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6145/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

154 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6317/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144 and 154 together.

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

Departmental Agencies.

Damien English

Question:

145 Deputy Damien English asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the cost associated with setting up and running the National Consumer Agency since its establishment to date in 2010; the breakdown on the cost of salaries, market research and publication of reports. [6174/10]

Following the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act 2007, the National Consumer Agency was established on a statutory basis on 1st May 2007. A total of €18,217,628 was incurred in the period from 1st May 2007 to 31st December 2009 in respect of the operation of the Agency. This included €8,378,777 in respect of salary costs, €536,636 in respect of market research costs and €197,716 in respect of the cost of the publication of reports.

County Enterprise Boards.

Damien English

Question:

146 Deputy Damien English asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of businesses that have received financial grant aid from each county and city enterprise board in 2008 and 2009; the average grant paid to same; the number of employment opportunities that have been created from each in tabular form. [6177/10]

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

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

147 Deputy Damien English asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of external consultants currently working for or in her Department; the work they are carrying out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6199/10]

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

FÁS Training Programmes.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

148 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the full-time staffing and full-time trainee numbers within the FÁS training centre at Tallaght, Dublin 24 on 31 January in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; the breakdown of the figures by persons engaged in centre management, manager, assistant managers and so on, administration, training instructors, general operatives, temporary instructors and trainees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6226/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

149 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the full-time staffing and full-time trainee numbers within the FÁS training centre at Finglas, Dublin 11 on 31 January in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; the breakdown of the figures by persons engaged in centre management, manager, assistant managers and so on, administration, training instructors, general operatives, temporary instructors and trainees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6227/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

150 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the full-time staffing and full-time trainee numbers within the FÁS training centre at Athlone, County Westmeath on 31 January in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; the breakdown of the figures by persons engaged in centre management, manager, assistant managers and so on, administration, training instructors, general operatives, temporary instructors and trainees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6228/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

151 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the full-time staffing and full-time trainee numbers within the FÁS training centre at Sligo, on 31 January in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; the breakdown of the figures by persons engaged in centre management, manager, assistant managers and so on, administration, training instructors, general operatives, temporary instructors and trainees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6229/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 to 151, inclusive, together.

The following four tables set out the full time staffing numbers in respect of the FÁS training centres at Tallaght, Finglas, Athlone and Sligo for each of the years in question. The fifth and final table indicates the number of trainees as at 31 January from 2007 to 2010.

Tallaght Training Services Staff

Grade

2007 Total

2008 Total

2009 Total

2010 Total

6

1.00

1

1

1

7

3.00

3

3

3

8

27.00

21

21

17

9

6.00

2

3

3

10

4.00

3

3

2

11

7.72

9

8

8

13

6.00

6

3

3

Total

50.72

44

41

37

Finglas Training Services Staff

Grade

2007 Total

2008 Total

2009 Total

2010 Total

6

1.0

1

1.0

1.0

7

2.0

3

3.0

3.0

8

24.5

22

20.0

21.0

9

4.5

4

3.0

3.0

10

5.0

4

7.5

3.5

11

6.0

5

6.0

7.0

13

4.0

4

4.0

4.0

Total

43

42

40.5

42.5

Athlone Training Services Staff

Grade

2007 Total

2008 Total

2009 Total

2010 Total

6

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.0

7

3.00

3.00

4.00

4.0

8

25.00

22.00

24.00

23.0

9

6.00

5.00

4.00

3.0

10

7.00

9.00

13.00

4.0

11

6.31

8.31

8.51

8.8

13

5.00

5.00

6.00

4.0

Total

50.31

46.31

51.51

47.8

Sligo Training Services Staff

Grade

2007 Total

2008 Total

2009 Total

2010 Total

6

1.00

1.00

1.00

1.00

7

1.00

2.00

2.00

2.00

8

12.66

12.66

10.66

10.66

9

2.00

1.00

2.00

1.00

10

5.00

5.00

8.20

4.00

11

5.00

4.00

4.00

4.00

13

7.50

7.50

5.80

5.80

Total

29.66

30.66

28.96

27.96

Grade

Staff

6

Manager

7

Assistant Manager

8

Certs & Standards Officer, Curriculum Officer, Development Officer, Instructor, Apprenticeship Instructor, ProjectCo-Ordinator, Training Officer/Adviser

9

Instructor, Apprenticeship Instructor, Training Officer

10

Administration Assistant, Assistant Curriculum Officer, Instructor, Apprenticeship Instructor, Senior Storeperson

11

Canteen Supervisor, Clerical Officer, Cook, Occupational Health Nurse, Storeperson

13

General Assistant

Trainee Numbers as at 31 January 2007-2010

Training Centre

31.01.2007

31.01.2008

31.01.2009

31.01.2010

Tallaght

533

427

382

767

Finglas

941

966

872

813

Athlone

1,757

2,007

1,875

1,730

Sligo

882

912

953

857

Total

4,113

4,312

4,082

4,167

Departmental Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

152 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of persons who applied for positions on the board of FÁS; the number short-listed; the number interviewed; the dates on which interviews took place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6230/10]

Following the publication of an advertisement, the Department received 127 expressions of interest in relation to membership of the Board of FÁS. A selection process was put in place in my Department, which resulted in a short-list of 28 persons. Following consultation with the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and the Minister for Education and Science, as required by the Labour Services (Amendment) Act 2009, I appointed the members to the Board of FÁS.

Employment Support Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

153 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the assistance available to self-employed persons who are struggling yet wish to continue in self-employment due to future contract plans; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6302/10]

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

Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 144.

Redundancy Payments.

Bobby Aylward

Question:

155 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, further to Parliamentary Question No. 209 of 3 November 2009, if payment of statutory redundancy will be awarded to the person (details supplied) in view of the fact that further information requested from the employer has been submitted. [6401/10]

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 lump sum applications in respect of the individuals concerned on 13 July, 2009. I understand that their claims have been processed and that payment is expected to issue within the next two weeks.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

156 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when a statutory redundancy payment will be awarded in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6448/10]

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 redundancy claim on behalf of the individual 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 individual directly with my Department.

Work Permits.

Denis Naughten

Question:

157 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of new work permits issued in each of the past five years; the number approved in each year for persons already resident here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6451/10]

Employment Permit Statistics for each of the last 5 years are shown in the table below. Information in relation to those approved for persons already resident in the State is not readily identifiable and will be supplied to the Deputy at a later date.

Employment Permits 2005 to 2009

New Permits

Renewals

Group

Issued

2005

7,354

18,970

812

27,136

2006

7,298

16,600

956

24,854

2007

10,134

13,457

13

23,604

2008

8,481

5,086

13,567

2009

4,024

3,938

7,962

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

158 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if all the portable electrical equipment in her Department, funding groups and subsidiary companies have portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6457/10]

According to the definition of portable electrical equipment in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007, the only portable electrical equipment used by my Department and the Offices of my Department would be floor cleaning equipment such as vacuum cleaners and buffers. For this type of electrical equipment there is an obligation on the Department and other employers to ensure that any such equipment, which is exposed to conditions likely to cause deterioration and consequent danger, undergoes a visual check by the user/employee and is periodically inspected by a person competent to assess the ongoing safety of the equipment.

Not all portable electrical equipment used at a workplace requires a test certificate according to the Health & Safety Authority. In cases where the equipment is subject to conditions causing deterioration then the equipment and associated leads and plug tops must be tested and certified by a person competent to carry out such tests. If the certificate issued by the competent person indicates that the equipment is unsafe to use, then that equipment must not be used until it has been made compliant and has been certified as such.

Following advice received from an outside competent person in the Health & Safety area, the relevant staff of my Department and the Offices of my Department have been required for the past few years to carry out visual checks prior to using portable electrical equipment in order to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that such equipment is safe to use. It is the policy of my Department to ensure that a competent person carries out inspections on any portable equipment used by relevant staff in the Department and the Offices of the Department following a visual check by a staff member who may have concerns on safety grounds or following a Risk Assessment and any such equipment is not used by staff of the Department until it has been certified as safe to use by the competent person.

Job Losses.

Michael McGrath

Question:

159 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will respond to correspondence received from an individual (details attached) in relation to a proposal to organise a seminar associated with securing employment. [6473/10]

I am aware of the correspondence enclosed with the Deputy's question, which was sent separately to the Department. It is being studied and will be replied to substantively in due course. Regarding the specific issue of the DELL and related redundancies in Raheen in January 2009, FÁS has provided guidance service and training courses to over 1,500 workers made redundant. Enterprise Ireland and the local Vocational Education Committees also continue to promote and offer their business advice, grant aid and educational services. A number of affected workers have already enrolled on training courses and in further and third level education at institutions in the Mid-West region to date.

To ensure that all relevant supports across all service providers are coordinated in a timely and effective manner any private service provider seeking to assist DELL workers — as referred to in the attachments to the Deputy's question — should in the first instance contact the FÁS European Globalisation Fund Coordination Unit (FECU) on 061 487900.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

160 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, further to Parliamentary Question No. 189 of 2 February 2010, her plans to rectify the issue outlined in the question. [6612/10]

As I said in my earlier reply, FÁS training allowances are aligned to a person's entitlement to supports for jobseekers and Department of Social and Family Affairs rules. Consequently, where a trainee is entitled to a DSFA benefit at course commencement, he/she will receive a FÁS training allowance for the duration of the training course. If a trainee is not entitled to a DSFA benefit at the commencement of the training course then he or she will not receive a training allowance.

Employment Rights.

Willie Penrose

Question:

161 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her attention has been drawn to the fact that workers here are being denied their rights due to the inadequate transposition of the EU directive on part-time work; the steps she will take to ensure that clause 5.3 of the directive is implemented; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6658/10]

I am satisfied that Clause 5.3 of Council Directive 97/81/EC concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC, has been correctly transposed by way of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001. I note that this is confirmed by a 2003 report on the implementation of the Directive undertaken by the European Commission's services. Clause 5.3 of the Framework Agreement is not a mandatory provision. It requires that, as far as possible, an employer should give consideration to a request by workers to transfer from full-time work to part-time and vice-versa. Ireland has, accordingly, met its responsibilities in relation to transposition of this clause of the Framework Agreement by way of a Code of Practice implemented under Section 13 of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001.

The Labour Relations Commission prepared a code of practice, based on the provisions in Section 13 of the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001, following consultation with the social partners. It was deemed to be a code of practice and implemented, in 2006, by the Industrial Relations Act 1990 (Code of Practice on Access to Part-Time Working) (Declaration) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 8 of 2006). Under Section 42(4) of the Industrial Relations Act 1990, the code is admissible in evidence in any proceedings before a court, the Labour Court, the Labour Relations Commission, the Employment Appeals Tribunal or the Equality tribunal.

Chris Andrews

Question:

162 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a company (details supplied) refuses to comply with the Labour Court recommendations, the next steps that can be taken by the employees’ union; if there is any recourse for companies that refuse to comply with Labour Court recommendations, having gone through the process; if not, the reason for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6715/10]

The industrial dispute involving workers from the company in question resulted from workers' concerns over the company's cost cutting proposals, involving redundancies and the introduction of new contracts of employment for the remaining workforce. The issues were referred to the Labour Court under section 20(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1969 and the union undertook to be bound by the Court's recommendation. The Labour Court hearing took place on the 28th September, 2009. The company did not attend the Court hearing, but provided a written statement setting out its position on the matters in dispute. The Labour Court issued its recommendation on 12 October 2009.

The Labour Court recommended that the company should pay redundancy terms of 6 weeks pay per year of service, inclusive of statutory entitlement. Any outstanding issues that could not be agreed between the parties, including the issue of selection criteria for redundancy, should be referred to an Arbitrator for final decision. I understand that the company agreed to accept the Labour Court Recommendation. Subsequently, a resolution to several issues in dispute was achieved at talks between the company and the union. In November 2009, the Labour Court nominated Mr Finbarr Flood as Arbitrator to consider the remaining outstanding issues. The Arbitrator met with the parties and issued his final and binding decision to the parties.

The Labour Court is a court of last resort in the industrial relations process, and it is expected that the parties come to the process in good faith and consequently are prepared to give serious consideration to the Court's recommendations. Ultimately, however, responsibility for the resolution of trade disputes is a matter for the parties involved. In my view, the experience and expertise of the Labour Court undoubtedly offers the best avenue for resolving the issues in this difficult dispute. In this context, I would urge the company to give positive consideration to the Court's recommendation on the dispute and to abide by the final decision made by the arbitrator appointed by the Court in this matter. In view of renewed contacts that I understand to have been pursued in a constructive spirit between the parties subsequent to the Labour Court's recommendation, I would urge all concerned to bring that same spirit to bear on the current situation.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Michael Ring

Question:

163 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will ascertain from FÁS if the changes announced in the budget 2010 regarding FÁS training allowances apply to course participants that were on training courses prior to the changes being introduced; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6737/10]

FÁS trainee allowances are directly linked to Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA) benefits received by those persons who are unemployed. Consequently, any change to the rate of DSFA benefits is also applied to FÁS trainees, including those who may have already been enrolled on a FÁS training course prior to the 2010 Budget adjustments.

Small Claims Court.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

164 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, further to Parliamentary Question No. 213 of 26 January 2010, her views on creating an exemption to such a requirement in the usage of the Small Claims Court procedure by limited companies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6782/10]

A consequence of the corporate right to sue and be sued is that a company cannot appear in court except through its solicitor or counsel, (unless the company is being prosecuted on indictment when it may appear in court by a representative appointed by the company). In the Battle v Irish Art Promotion Centre Ltd [1968] IR252, the Supreme Court refused such an application on the basis that the company was a different person, separate and distinct from its controlling shareholder. The Court also said that "a limited company cannot be represented in court proceedings by its managing director or other officer or servant. This is an infirmity of the company which derives from its very own nature. The creation of the company is the act of its subscribers; the subscribers, in discarding their own personae for the persona of the company, doubtless did so for the advantages which incorporation offers to traders. In seeking incorporation they thereby lose the right of audience which they would have as individuals; but the choice has been their own."

As I indicated in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 213 of 26 January 2010, the Supreme Court decision in the Battle's case is settled law here for some time, I am reluctant to undertake any review of the matter in the absence of some compelling grounds or demonstrated need for doing so. Notwithstanding the foregoing I understand that my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law reform has with effect from 11 January 2010, introduced new Court Rules to extend the current remit of the Small Claims Court procedure to include certain business claims. The new rules will facilitate claims from a business against another business in respect of goods or services not exceeding €2,000.

Community Employment Schemes.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

165 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if FÁS records the educational attainment of those individuals entering community employment schemes; if so, if she will detail the educational attainment of individuals entering community employment schemes in 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6792/10]

The table below sets out by number the educational attainment levels of those individuals entering Community Employment schemes in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Education

2007

2008

2009

Primary/none/no information

5,248

4,413

3,686

Junior

3,514

3,196

3,429

Leaving

2,329

2,357

2,593

Level 6 Higher Certificate

1,112

1,052

1,008

Level 7 Ord. Bachelor Degree

442

368

383

Level 8 Hon. Bachelor Degree

299

276

288

Level 9 Masters Degree/Post Grad Dip.

22

49

90

Level 10 Doctoral Degree/Higher Doctorate

1

1

1

12,967

11,712

11,478

Departmental Programmes.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

166 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of civil and public servants that have signed up for the cycle to work scheme; the cost of the scheme to date in 2010. [7573/10]

The number of staff in my Department and in the Offices of my Department who have signed up for the cycle to work scheme is 28. While the scheme is cost neutral to my Department, the total paid to date amounts to €20,988.79. I have no information about the take up of the scheme in the State Agencies that come under the aegis of my Department as that is a day to day administrative matter for each of the State Agencies.

Tax Code.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

167 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance if he has had any discussions on the ring-fencing of the tax on betting for the purpose of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund; his views whether it would be appropriate to ring-fence the moneys accruing from the Criminal Assets Bureau activities to the Exchequer for the purposes of community development or drugs projects in the areas affected by criminal drugs gangs and their activities. [6356/10]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

186 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance his views on the ring-fencing of the tax on betting for the purposes of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund; his further views whether it would be appropriate to ring-fence the moneys accruing from Criminal Assets Bureau activities to the Exchequer for the purposes of community development or drugs projects in the areas affected by criminal drugs gangs and their activities. [6357/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 186 together.

The Deputy may wish to note that the 2009 Budget publications announced that arrangements would end whereby the annual payment to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Fund would be automatically calculated by reference to the previous year's betting duty or the contribution to the Fund in the year 2000 adjusted for inflation. On the general question of ring-fencing funds, earmarking revenues for a specific expenditure programme would, in general, constrain the government in the implementation of its overall expenditure policy. In addition, if certain revenues were earmarked for particular projects any projects thus funded would be dependent on actual revenue collected from that source. Therefore, a fall in revenue generated by that source could imply a fall in expenditure on such projects.

I should point out that the proceeds from CAB are returned to the Exchequer. These funds are held in the Central Fund which is provided for under Article 11 of the Constitution. This fund, except where provided otherwise by law, is the destination of all State revenues and the source of all Government spending. It is not the policy to earmark funds from particular sources for specific projects. Furthermore, it is indeed a matter for Ministers in the first instance to prioritise their spending programmes in a cost effective way within the resources allocated to them.

Joe McHugh

Question:

168 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance if he will respond to a proposal (details supplied) that is designed to generate revenue for the Exchequer and promote enterprise opportunities for Irish purveyors of such services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6061/10]

I have no plans to introduce a port tax on international lorries coming into the state.

Decentralisation Programme.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

169 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the percentage of civil and public servants that have moved location under the decentralisation programme; the absolute number of civil and public servants that have moved location; the locations of all decentralised civil and public service offices to date; the position regarding the decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6063/10]

Just over 3,000 posts have relocated to date under the decentralisation programme, to almost 40 locations. Moves to Buncrana (Department of Social and Family Affairs) and to Trim (OPW) are under way at present and the buildings at Wexford (Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government) and Newbridge (Department of Defence) are expected to be ready for occupation by the Summer. This will bring the total number of staff moved under the programme to approximately 3,400 during the first half of this year. The project in Roscommon Town has commenced and I am hopeful that project in Tipperary Town and Portlaoise will commence in 2010.

In light of the budgetary constraints and affordability issues, I decided in the context of the Budget in December 2009 to defer proceeding with permanent accommodation in respect of the following priority projects: Carlow (Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment); Mullingar (Department of Education & Science); The Curragh (Defence Forces); Claremorris (Office of Public Works); Charlestown (Department of Community Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs); and Drogheda ( Department of Social & Family Affairs). All deferred locations will be considered as part of an overall review of the programme in 2011. Full details in respect of the total number of posts due to move, the posts moved and the posts deferred, as well as the property status of each project, are set out in the attached table. The Government's policy on public service numbers has impacted on overall numbers and has led to a reduction in numbers across individual locations.

Location

Organisation

Total Posts

Total Posts deferred

Posts Moved

Posts yet to Move

% moved at December 2009

Property Status

Arklow

NSAI

124

124

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Athlone

Education & Science

88

88

100%

Complete

Athlone

Higher Education Authority

64

64

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Athy

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

253

180

73

29%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Ballina

Road Safety Authority

62

62

100%

Complete

Ballinasloe

National Roads Authority

110

110

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Birr

FÁS

398

378

20

5%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Buncrana

Social & Family Affairs

102

87

15

85%

Complete

Carlow

Enterprise Trade & Employment

257

154

103

40%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Carrick-on-Shannon

Central Fisheries Board

54

54

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Carrick-on-Shannon (Phase I)

Social & Family Affairs

159

159

100%

Complete

Carrick-on-Shannon (Phase II)

Social & Family Affairs

90

90

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Carrickmacross

Social & Family Affairs

85

85

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Cavan

Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

301

244

57

19%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Cavan/Portlaoise/Galway

HIQA

80

80

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Charlestown

Community Rural & Gaeltacht

164

64

100

61%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Claremorris (Phase I)

Office of Public Works

104

73

31

30%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Claremorris (Phase II)

Office of Public Works

38

38

0%

Deferred

Clifden

Pobal

42

17

25

60%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Clonakilty

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

86

85

1

99%

Complete

Clonakilty

BIM

90

18

72

20%

Complete

Clonakilty

Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

47

47

100%

Complete

Cork

HIQA

100

44

56

44%

Complete

Curragh

Defence Forces

413

413

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Location

Organisation

Total Posts

Total Posts deferred

Posts Moved

Posts yet to Move

% moved at December 2009

Property Status

Donegal

Social & Family Affairs

258

258

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Drogheda

Transport

37

37

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Drogheda

Citizens Information Board

49

49

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Drogheda

Local Government Computer Service Board

101

101

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Drogheda

Railway Safety Commission

16

16

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Drogheda

Social & Family Affairs

499

499

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Dundalk

Sustainable Energy Ireland

34

23

11

32%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Dungarvan

OSI

206

206

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Edenderry

FETAC

44

44

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Edenderry

HETAC

34

34

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Edenderry

NQAI

18

18

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Enniscorthy

Bord Bia

76

76

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Fermoy

Agriculture Fisheries & Food

100

100

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Gaoth Dobhair (Phase I)

Foras Na Gaeilge

5

5

0%

Approved by Government to proceed

Gaoth Dobhair (Phase II)

Foras na Gaeilge

25

25

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kanturk

Office of Public Works

88

88

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kildare

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

380

380

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kildare (Naas)

Finance — CMOD

30

30

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kilkenny

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

62

62

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kilkenny

Arts Council

49

49

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Killarney

Arts, Sports & Tourism

103

79

24

77%

Complete

Killarney

Irish Sports Council

31

31

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Kilrush

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

57

57

100%

Complete

Limerick

Foreign Affairs

134

134

100%

Complete

Listowel

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

52

52

100%

Complete

Location

Organisation

Total Posts

Total Posts deferred

Posts Moved

Posts yet to Move

% moved at December 2009

Property Status

Longford

Irish Prison Service

133

133

100%

Complete

Loughrea

Road Safety Authority

40

40

100%

Complete

Loughrea

Transport

10

10

100%

Complete

Macroom

Agriculture Fisheries & Food

100

100

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Mallow

Fáilte Ireland

163

163

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Mitchelstown

CIÉ Group

200

200

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Monaghan

Combat Poverty Agency

25

25

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Mullingar

Education & Science

297

290

7

2%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Na Forbacha

Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

13

12

1

92%

Complete

Naas

IAASA

13

12

1

92%

Complete

Naas

Health Service Executive

300

300

0%

Deferred

Navan

Coroners Service

4

4

100%

Complete

Navan

Garda Civilian HR Division

38

38

100%

Complete

Navan

National Property Services Regulatory Authority

9

9

100%

Complete

Navan

Office of the Director of Probation Service

15

15

100%

Complete

Navan

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

100

100

100%

Complete

New Ross

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

125

125

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Newbridge

Defence

201

201

0%

Approved by Government to proceed

Newbridge

Defence Forces HQ

43

43

0%

Approved by Government to proceed

Newcastlewest

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

52

52

100%

Complete

Portarlington

Data Protection Commissioner

23

23

100%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Portarlington (advance party in Portlaoise)

Equality Tribunal (civil service)

42

34

8

19%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Location

Organisation

Total Posts

Total Posts deferred

Posts Moved

Posts yet to Move

% moved at December 2009

Property Status

Portarlington (advance party in Portlaoise)

NCCA (civil service)

37

25

12

32%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Portarlington

NEWB

14

14

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Portlaoise

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

595

310

285

52%

Approved by Government to proceed

Roscommon

Property Registration Authority

230

77

153

33%

Approved by Government to proceed

Roscrea

Equality Authority

41

25

16

39%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Roscrea

Garda Ombudsman Commission

23

23

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Shannon

Enterprise Ireland1

292

226

66

23%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Shannon

Irish Aviation Authority

102

102

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Sligo

Social & Family Affairs

88

72

16

82%

Complete

Thomastown

Health and Safety Authority

116

83

33

28%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Thurles

Garda HQ — Fixed Charge Processing Section

132

66

66

50%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Thurles

Garda HQ — Garda Central Vetting Office

67

67

100%

Advance party in place — to be reviewed in 2011

Tipperary Town

Private Security Agency

32

32

100%

Complete

Tipperary Town

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

186

63

123

34%

Approved by Government to proceed

Trim

OPW

334

222

112

66%

Complete

Tullamore

Finance

130

122

8

94%

Complete

Waterford

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

225

225

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Wexford

National Building Agency

63

63

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Wexford

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

270

128

142

47%

Approved by Government to proceed

Youghal

Public Appointments Service

100

100

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

Youghal

Valuation Office

100

100

0%

Deferred — to be reviewed in 2011

10,922

6,583

3,081

1,258

28%

1Includes 40 Shannon Development posts absorbed into EI.

Financial Services Regulation.

Finian McGrath

Question:

170 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will support a matter (details supplied). [6121/10]

Phil Hogan

Question:

195 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Finance his plans for persons who cannot repay their mortgage and are unable to sell their homes to clear their debt while building societies and banks want loans paid at high level fixed rates regardless of affordability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6503/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 195 together.

Home repossession should be and generally is the last resort for the lender. The preferred method of dealing with cases of arrears should be early intervention and engagement. In the revised Programme for Government we have stated that we will be:

Introducing new measures to protect families having difficulties with their home mortgage payments;

Examining ways of expanding the existing options available for dealing with debt situations;

Examining ways of expanding existing state sponsored mortgage-support measures.

I approved the setting up of the Inter-Departmental Mortgage Arrears Review Group, chaired by one of my officials, for the purpose of bringing together all relevant information in Departments and examining options, including initiatives in other jurisdictions, in relation to the matter of support for home owners facing the problems of mortgage arrears and repossessions. The Law Reform Commission (LRC) which is under the aegis of my colleague the Minister for Justice, Equality, and Law Reform is addressing the issues of debt management and enforcement. In addition I have been discussing with Cabinet colleagues possible further initiatives in this matter and will in due course be bringing proposals to Government.

Other arrangements in place to assist consumers who have fallen into arrears or are in danger of falling into arrears include the Mortgage Interest Supplement Scheme, which provides assistance where the mortgage relates to a person's principal private residence, and MABS which provides a national, free, confidential and independent service. The Financial Regulator's Consumer Protection Code requires that a regulated entity must contact the consumer as soon as it becomes aware that a mortgage account is in arrears and that it must have in place a procedure for handling accounts in arrears.

In response to the continuing difficulties being faced by mortgage holders, the Financial Regulator has written to all mortgage lenders informing them that with effect from 17 February 2010, the Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears has been amended to require that lenders must now wait twelve months from the time arrears first arise before applying to the courts to commence enforcement of any legal action on repossession of a borrower's primary residence. Contraventions of the Code may be subject to the imposition of administrative sanctions by the Financial Regulator. The requirements of the Consumer Protection Code, including those on mortgage arrears, continue to apply. The updated code and letter issued to institutions on Friday is available on the website at http://www.financialregulator.ie/processes/consumer-protection-code/Pages/codes-of-conduct.aspx.

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

171 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6147/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

182 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6319/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 182 together.

The table below sets out the details of contracts granted by my Department and by the offices under its aegis, for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010.

Contracts for projects worth more than €10m granted in the period 2000 to 2010

Office

Date

Company Name

Contract Value

Brief outline of the project

Office of the Minister for Finance

08/05/2002

Consortium comprising eircom and Vodafone

Not possible to quantify as it is a drawdown facility but aggregated drawdowns likely to significantly exceed €10m

5 year central drawdown contract for all public bodies to source voice and data telecommunications services.

Office of the Minister for Finance

01/05/2008

Tetra Ireland

Not possible to quantify as it is a drawdown facility but aggregated drawdowns likely to significantly exceed €10m

10-year central drawdown contract for all emergency and security services to source highly secure digital radio voice and data communications

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

2003-2006

Accenture

€18m

Root and branch redesign of the PAYE Employees and P35 systems and their related interfaces internally and to other departments. Re-platforming of the new system off the legacy mainframe computer and on to open servers. Incorporation in Revenue Integrated Taxation Services and Revenue On-Line Services frameworks.

The State Laboratory, the Office of the Appeals Commissioner, the Valuation Office, the Public Appointments Service and the Commission for Public Service Appointments did not grant any such contracts during the period in question. In the time available the Office of Public Works was unable to provide the information requested. The information is being collated by that office and will issue directly to the Deputy.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Joe Costello

Question:

172 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Finance the functions of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the business loans which Ireland has with the bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6155/10]

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was established in 1991 to provide finance to help build market economies in the former Soviet Bloc countries following the fall of Communism. In more recent times the mandate of the Bank has been expanded to allow lending in Mongolia and Turkey. The EBRD provides project finance and equity for banks, industries and businesses, both new ventures and existing companies. It also works with publicly-owned companies to support privatisation, the restructuring of state-owned firms and the improvement of infrastructure. Ireland joined the EBRD as a founding member in 1991 but cannot borrow from the Bank in view of the Bank's mandate.

Tax Code.

Kieran O'Donnell

Question:

173 Deputy Kieran O’Donnell asked the Minister for Finance the implications for parents intending to transfer ownership of a site or land to their children on foot of proposed changes in this area under the Finance Bill 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6159/10]

Transfers from a parent to a child of a site not exceeding one acre in size and €500,000 in value are exempt from both Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duty, where the site is to be used to build the child's only or main residence. The Commission on Taxation recommended the abolition of these exemptions (recommendation 8.20). The Government considered this and other recommendations of the Commission in the context of Budget 2010 and Finance Bill 2010 but it was decided not to address these matters at this stage.

Public Sector Pay.

Joan Burton

Question:

174 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of decisions he has taken under section 6 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 by direction to exempt a particular public servant or a class or group of public servants from the operation of section 2 of that Act or to modify the operation of that section, indicating the particular public servant or class or group of public servants involved; the nature of the exemption or modification involved; the dates on which any relevant decision was made; the nature of submissions made to him in relation to such decisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6164/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

178 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his views on section 6 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 regarding the position of contract researchers in the higher education sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6225/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 and 178 together.

I refer to my reply to Questions Nos. 4758/10, 5095/10 and 5137/10 on 2 February 2009. I directed under Section 6 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest No. 2 Act 2009 that the pay adjustments should be modified in respect of Assistant Secretary, Deputy Secretary and related grades in the civil and public service on 22 December 2009 and on 18 January 2010, and that an exemption from the pay reductions should apply in respect of public service employees that may be paid at or near the statutory minimum wage on 27 January 2010.

Public Service Recruitment.

Frank Feighan

Question:

175 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 89 of 3 December 2009, the way a person with a disability ensures that their attention is drawn to vacancies and when they must apply in order that they are considered under the 3% target for employment in the public service for persons with disability. [6169/10]

As stated in my reply to the Deputy on 3 December 2009, the position in relation to the opportunities for employment to the Public Service generally is limited by the recruitment and promotion moratorium which was announced on 27 March last year, but the moratorium does not apply to the "Willing, Able, Mentoring Programme" and the 3 per cent target for employment for persons with disabilities. Recruitment to positions in the Civil and Public Service is carried out by the Public Appointments Service, the central recruitment agency for the Civil and Public Service and conducted in strict compliance with the Codes of Practice set out by the Commission for Public Service Appointments. Codes include the "Code of Practice governing the External and Internal Appointments of Persons with Disabilities to Positions in the Irish Civil Service and Certain Public Bodies".

All posts are advertised on the Public Appointments Service website www.publicjobs.ie and in relevant national newspapers. Candidates interested in pursuing a career in the Civil and Public Service may register as a member of the Public Jobs website. They can apply for jobs online and register for updates on new Public Service opportunities. Once registered they can receive job alerts matching their requirements via email and/or SMS text alerts. Candidates with a disability can apply for any post for which they are eligible. When registering with the website, applicants can indicate if they have any special needs and every attempt is made to provide the accommodations that might be required during the assessment process. All vacancies specify in the advertisement the closing date for receipt of applications.

The Deputy may wish to note that the Public Appointments Service has an Access Officer who can provide or arrange for and co-ordinate the provision of assistance and guidance to persons with disabilities accessing its service. I can assure the Deputy that the Government gives a high priority to policy on the employment of people with disabilities. All reasonable measures to promote and support the employment of people with disabilities continue.

The Public Appointment Service, on behalf of the Civil Service, has held recruitment competitions confined to persons with disabilities. The most recent competition was at Executive Officer level advertised in March 2007. In an effort to attract as many applicants as possible for this recruitment competition the advertisement was sent to a number of voluntary organisations representing people with disabilities. It was also advertised on the Public Jobs website, in national newspapers and was issued to each Government Departments' Disability Liaison Officer.

Officials in my Department consult with organisations that provide sheltered and supported employment to persons with disabilities. As a practical example, all Government Departments and Offices in the Civil Service participated in the Irish Association of Supported Employment Annual Job Shadow Initiative 2009. This national project is designed to bring together people with disabilities and local employers in the spirit of collaboration to enable job seekers explore the world of work. The initiative gives people with disabilities the unique opportunity to shadow a workplace mentor as he/she goes through their working day. It is envisaged that through exposure to a work setting, job seekers throughout Ireland will learn more about job requirements and employers expectations.

In addition, a number of Government Departments and Offices in the Civil Service are involved in a work experience graduate programme for persons with disabilities, known as "Willing, Able, Mentoring" (WAM) for the past six years. This programme gives practical effect to Government and Civil Service policy on improving employment prospects for persons with disabilities. This programme is not subject to the moratorium.

As the Deputy is aware the 3 per cent target for employment of persons with disabilities in the Public Service remains in place, notwithstanding the recruitment and promotion moratorium. The recent 2008 report published by the National Disability Authority stated that all Government Departments in the Civil Service achieved or exceeded the 3 per cent employment target in compliance with Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005. In relation to other areas of the Public Sector, each Minister is responsible for compliance with and reporting on the target set in the Disability Act 2005 for the employment of persons with disabilities in public bodies under his or her aegis.

Departmental Properties.

Damien English

Question:

176 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Finance the buildings that his Department is renting and leasing for which a building energy rating certificate has been issued; a building energy rating certificate has not been issued; and the rating for each building where a certificate has been issued. [6186/10]

All buildings offered for rent or lease from 1 January 2009 require a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate. In addition to this requirement, all large Public Service buildings require a BER certificate in a prescribed form, so called Display Energy Certificate (DEC). For a building being offered for rent or lease it is the responsibility of the Landlord or his Agent to provide the BER certificate. Schedule 1 attached, lists the buildings leased by the Office of Public Works (OPW) since 1 January 2009. The OPW does not hold records of the BER Certificates for these buildings. The OPW has prepared Display Energy Certificates for the large rented/leased buildings listed in Schedule 2. Large leased/rented buildings for which Display Energy Certificates are currently being compiled are listed in Schedule 3.

Schedule 1

Building Name

Location

Carlow CRO Storage

Carlow

Cavan Temp DSFA Office

Cavan

Westpark Business Campus Build 4000

Shannon

Cork HIQA Decent Office

Cork

Bunbeg Temporary Garda Station

Donegal

Dublin Port Crosbies Yard DAF

Dublin 3

Smithfield Office of Film Classification

Dublin 7

Dublin Airport Terminal Building

Dublin

Swords Temporary DSFA Office

Swords

Swords National Museum Storage

Swords

Ballybane Garda Community Office

Galway

Lettermore GS Temporary

Galway

Portlaoise Agriculture Gandon Court

Portlaoise

Limerick Estuary House

Limerick

Monaghan Revenue MTEK

Monaghan

Wexford Temporary Dec Office 2 DEHLG

Wexford

Wexford DTC

Wexford

Schedule 2

Building Name

Department

Rating

29-31 Adelaide Road

Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

E1

6-7 Hanover St

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

D1

85-93 Lower Mount St

Revenue Commissioners

E2

Ashtowngate

Revenue Commissioners

E2

Carrick-on-Shannon DSFA

Social & Family Affairs

C3

Clondalkin SWO

Social & Family Affairs

C3

Customs House

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

C3

Davitt House

Enterprise, Trade & Employment

E

Dept Justice Clonmel St

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

C3

Dockgate Galway

Defence

D1

Gandon House

Social & Family Affairs

E2

Harcourt St (76-78)

Foreign Affairs

F

Houston Hall

Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

D1

Joyce House

Social & Family Affairs

E2

Kildare St (44) & Setanta Building

Transport & Revenue Commissioners

C2

Letterkenny High Road

Revenue Commissioners

E1

Mespil Road

Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

D2

Oisín House

Social & Family Affairs

F

Revenue Furry Park Santry

Revenue Commissioners

C1

Revenue Johns House Tallaght

Revenue Commissioners

D1

Roscrea Civil Defence School

Defence

D2

Schedule 3

Building Name

Department

Atlas House — Tralee

Refugee & Integration

Balbriggan Passport Office

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Burgh Quay (13-14)

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Carlow Decentralised Offices

Enterprise, Trade & Employment

Clare St (22-25)

Transport

Clonmel Government Offices

Social & Family Affairs

Phoenix House

Courts Service

Dept. Education Punches Cross Limerick

Education & Science

Dún Laoghaire SWO

Social & Family Affairs

Ely Place (7-8)

Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Finglas SWO

Social & Family Affairs

Garda Harcourt Square

Garda Síochána

Harcourt Road (4-5)

Comptroller & Auditor General

Hatch St (13-15)

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Hibernian House Cork

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Hynes Building Galway

Social & Family Affairs

Kings Inn St SWO

Social & Family Affairs

Lansdowne House

Revenue Commissioners

Limerick Revenue Warehouse

Revenue Commissioners

Listowel Revenue

Revenue Commissioners

Lower Grand Canal St

Dept. Justice

Mullingar SWO

Social & Family Affairs

Navan Government Offices

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

NEPS Mullingar

Education & Science

NEPS Naas

Education & Science

Parnell House

Companies Office

Passport Office Molesworth St

Foreign Affairs

River House — Limerick

Revenue Commissioners

St. Stephen’s Green (94)

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

Thomas St SWO

Social & Family Affairs

Timberley House/Ballaugh House

Finance/Refugees Appeals Tribunal

Townsend St (157-164)

Social & Family Affairs

Wicklow Government Offices

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

177 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Finance the number of external consultants currently working for or in his Department; the work they are carrying out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6201/10]

The details of the external consultants currently working for or in my Department/the offices under its aegis, together with a brief outline of the work they are carrying out, is set out in the table:

Office

Details

Office of the Minister for Finance

Arthur Cox has an acknowledged expertise in the field of commercial law and its size allows it to dedicate sufficient resources to the unfolding financial issues of relevance to the section. Arthur Cox Solicitors were initially engaged on 24 September 2008 to provide legal advice in connection with the drafting of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Act 2008 and drafting and execution of the Guarantee Acceptance Deeds under the Scheme. Thereafter resources have been concentrated on matters arising in relation to the Scheme following its introduction, the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, NAMA, the Recapitalisation Scheme and the draft legislation on the Building Societies Act.

PwC are currently undertaking work for the department on reviewing the Restructuring Plans submitted by BoI, AIB and Anglo Irish Bank to the EUCommission in 2009 and which are subject to ongoing negotiation with the Commission.

Valuation Office

Advice is being received on the preparation of the Appropriation Accounts and the implementation of a new software package

Office of the Commission for Public Service Appointments

Matheson Ormsby Prentice are providing legal adviceInstitute of Public Administration are providing training and production of an audit manual

Tierney & Associates are providing accountings services

Noel Ryan & Associates are providing internal audit services

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

There are currently four firms engaged by the Revenue Commissioners to carry out consultancy services in the following areas:

Consultancy services in respect of the valuation of motor vehicles and other related services.

Consultancy on various HR issues.

A Lean Six Sigma review of certain data processing functions.

Office of Public Works

Brooker Consultants are providing services relating to a Quality Management System for our Architectural Services Division.

The details provided are in relation to specific consultancies paid for from Subhead A7 — Consultancy. In the course of its normal business activity, the Office of Public Works engages technical consultants on many of its projects, primarily architectural and engineering. The costs of these consultants would be included in the overall project cost.

The Public Appointment Service, the Office of the Appeals Commissioner and the State Laboratory currently have no external consultants working for them.

Question No. 178 answered with Question No. 174.

Ethics in Public Office.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

179 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the designated positions of employment added to the schedule since the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Position in Public Bodies) Regulations 2004; the designated positions of employment deleted by virtue of the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Position in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6237/10]

The schedule to S.I. No. 698 of 2004 (Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) Regulations 2004) lists positions of employment in departments and offices that are prescribed for the purposes of the definition of "designated position of employment" in section 18 of the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995. Typically, these are positions that interface with the commercial sector, or are involved in public procurement, contracts, etc. This means the Ethics Acts apply, as appropriate, to persons who occupy such positions. Regulation 4 of S.I. No. 698 of 2004 also prescribes for the purposes of "designated position" all positions of employment in departments and offices, in respect of which the maximum salary is not less than the maximum salary of a principal (general service grade, Class B PRSI) in the Civil Service. This means some positions will not appear by name in either the 2004 or the 2010 statutory instruments, as the position is prescribed with reference to its remuneration and not by name.

Each year since the regulations were issued, the schedule has been updated to reflect organisational changes in the Civil Service and to bring within the remit of the Ethics Acts positions of employment in order to ensure, where a conflict of interest could arise between the public interest and an interest of a jobholder, a function will not be performed without the disclosure of that interest. Departments and offices inform my Department of the positions to be prescribed on this basis. This updating process, which keeps the remit of the Ethics Acts up-to-date, has been welcomed by the Standards in Public Office Commission in its annual reports. This annual update process results in the replacement of the Schedule to S.I. No. 698 of 2004 with a new schedule.

Appendix 1 lists positions of employment included in the schedule to the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. No. 5 of 2010) that are not included in the schedule to the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) Regulations 2004 (S.I. No. 698 of 2004).

Appendix 2 lists positions of employment included in the schedule to the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) Regulations 2004 that are not included in the schedule to the Ethics in Public Office (Designated Positions in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2010.

The inclusion of a position of employment in Appendix 2 does not necessarily mean that the position, or that the functions associated with the position, are no longer within the scope of designated positions of employment under the Ethics Acts. For example, certain positions would now be designated under separate regulations made under the Ethics Acts that are applicable to public bodies (i.e. S.I. No. 15 of 2010 (Ethics in Public Office (Prescribed Public Bodies, Designated Directorships Of Public Bodies and Designated Positions in Public Bodies) (Amendment) Regulations 2010). Certain positions may also be described differently in the schedule to S.I. No. 5 of 2010 or may now be prescribed by regulation 4 of S.I. No. 698 of 2004, while other positions may no longer exist.

Appendix 1

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food/An Roinn Talamhaíochta, Iascaigh agus Bia

Assistant Principal Officers, Administrative Officers and Higher Executive Officers dealing with Animal Feedingstuffs, Pesticides, Genetic Resources and the Apiculture Programme in Crop Production and Safety Division and engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Assistant Principal Officers, Administrative Officers and Higher Executive Officers in Meat Policy Division

Assistant Principal Officers, Administrative Officers and Higher Executive Officers in Personnel Division, Milk Policy Division and Animal Health and Welfare Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Assistant Principals in Seafood Policy and Development Division and Higher Executive Officers in Seafood Policy and Development Division whose duties involve fisheries resources management

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Services, Health & Safety Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders.

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in Erad Division/Veterinary Medicines Division, Food Safety Liaison Division, National Beef Assurance Scheme, Corporate Affairs Division, Finance Division and Laboratory Administration Unit engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers dealing with applications, payments and contracts in the Forest Service

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in Livestock Division involved in making grants in aid to Agri-Food Organisations

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in On Farm Investments, Subsidies and Storage Division

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in Internal Audit Unit

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in the Suckler Herds Section engaged in the recommending, approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Superintending Surveyors, Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers in the Single Payment Division, engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Assistant Principal Officers in the Accounts Division, Meat Hygiene Section and Animal By-Products Section

Assistant Principal Officers, Higher Executive Officers, Area Superintendents and Agricultural Inspectors in the Agriculture Appeals Office

Veterinary Inspectors in the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy and Animal By-Products Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors, Assistant Agricultural Inspectors, Forestry Research Manager and Forestry Research Coordinator engaged in the recommending of funding under the Food Institutional Research Measure, Stimulus Research Fund and COFORD/Forestry Research Programmes

Tree Improvement and Silviculture Officer

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Feedingstuffs, Fertilisers, Grain, Pigs and Poultry Division, engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Integrated Controls Division, engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Forestry Inspectors Grade I

Forestry Inspectors Grade II

Forestry Inspectors Grade III

Ecologist Grade III

Archaeologist Grade III

Engineer Grade I

Engineer Grade II

Engineer Grade III

Veterinary Inspectors, Supervisory Agricultural Officer, Technical Agricultural Officers and Market Support Officers carrying out approvals/inspections at meat establishments

District Superintendents engaged in the procurement of factories for the slaughter of reactors and the procurement of hauliers for the transport of reactors

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors engaged in the evaluation of varieties under the Crop Variety Evaluation Programme and who also engage in the recommendation of tenders and the purchase of essential equipment for the evaluation programme

Agriculture Inspector engaged in the registration of varieties in the National Catalogue of Agricultural Plant Varieties and in the publication of The Official Journal of National Plant Variety Rights

Agricultural Inspectors in the Potato Centre, Raphoe, the Seed Testing Laboratory and Crops Laboratory engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Horticulture and Plant Health Division, engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts/grant aid or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Pesticide Registration and Control Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Pesticide Residues, Plant Health and Seed Testing Laboratory Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in the Dairy Science Laboratories at Backweston, Cork and Limerick

Agricultural Inspectors and Assistant Agricultural Inspectors in Seed Testing and Plant Pathology Laboratories

The Chief Technologists, Deputy Chief Technologists, Quality Managers and Senior Seed Analysts

Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism/An Roinn Ealaíona, Spóirt agus Turasóireacht

Professional Accountant

Assistant Principal, Corporate Support Unit

Assistant Principal, Arts Capital Grants

Assistant Principal, Director Grants Programmes, Culture Ireland

Assistant Principal, Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme

Assistant Principals, Tourism Development

Assistant Principals, Tourism Marketing Policy and Impact Assessment

Assistant Principal, Arts, Film and Music

Assistant Principals, Cultural Institutions

Assistant Principal, Cultural Institutions Special Projects

Assistant Principal, Stadium/Sports Campus/Major Projects

Assistant Principals, Sports Capital Review

Assistant Principal, Sports Section

Assistant Principal, Internal Audit Unit

Assistant Principal, Director of Major Projects and Communications Culture Ireland

Higher Executive Officer, Corporate Support Unit

Higher Executive Officer, Arts Capital Grants

Higher Executive Officer, Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme

Higher Executive Officers, Tourism Development

Higher Executive Officers, Tourism Marketing Policy and Impact Assessment

Higher Executive Officer, Culture Ireland

Higher Executive Officers, Arts, Film and Music

Higher Executive Officers, Cultural Institutions

Higher Executive Officer, Sports Unit

Higher Executive Officer, Internal Audit Unit

The National Archives/An Chartlann Náisiúnta

ICT Manager

Assistant Principal Officer

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources/An Roinn Cumarsáide, Fuinnimh agus Acmhainní Nádúrtha

Assistant Principals (Corporate Planning & Finance Unit)

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs/An Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Tuaithe agus Gaeltachta

Administrative Officers

Agricultural Inspector

Assistant Agricultural Inspector

Engineer Grade I

Engineer Grade II

Chief Placenames Officer

Higher Placenames Officer

Placenames Officer

Translator

Accountant Grade I

Department of Education and Science/An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

Assistant Principals, Higher Executive Officers, Executive Officers Information Technology Unit

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers Accommodation & Services Unit

Assistant Principals and Training Officer, Staff Training and Development Unit

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers Personnel Section

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers Finance Unit

Higher Executive Officers Internal Audit Unit

Engineers, Planning and Building Unit

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment/An Roinn Fiontar, Trádála agus Fostaíochta

Office of Science and Technology

Assistant Principal — Industrial Research & Commercialisation Committee

ESF (European Social Fund) Policy and Operations Unit

Assistant Principal — Head of ESF Managing Authority

Assistant Principal — Head of EQUAL (EQUAL Community Initiative in Ireland) Managing Authority

Personnel, Training and Development Unit

Assistant Principal — Training and Development

Higher Executive Officer — Training and Development

Assistant Principal — Personnel

Assistant Principal — HR Policy

EU Affairs and Competitiveness Unit

Accountant Grade 1/Tax Policy Specialist

Information Technology Unit

Higher Executive Officer/Administrative Officer posts

Internal Audit Unit

Assistant Principal and equivalent posts

Higher Executive Officer and equivalent posts

European Social Fund (ESF) Financial Control Unit

Assistant Principal and equivalent posts

Higher Executive Officer and equivalent posts

Organisation Unit

Assistant Principal and equivalent posts

Higher Executive Officer and equivalent posts

Executive Officer posts

Information/Quality Customer Service (QCS) and Health and Safety Unit

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

Industrial Relations Unit

Assistant Principal, Social Partnership

Higher Executive Officer, Social Partnership

Patents Office/Oifig na bPaitinní

Senior Examiner of Patents, Patents Office

Examiner of Patents, Patents Office

Assistant Principal, Trade Marks Branch, Patents Office

Assistant Principal, Patents Administration, General Administration and Copyright

National Employment Rights Authority/an tÚdarás Náisiúnta Cearta Fostaíochta

Legal Advisor

Assistant Principal, Strategic Affairs

Assistant Principals, Inspection Services

Assistant Principal, Information Services

Accountant

Labour Court/An Chúirt Oibreachais

Administration Manager

Higher Executive Officer, Secretariat and Support Services Section

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government/An Roinn Comhshaoil, Oidhreachta agus Rialtais Áitiúil

Inspector (Environment) Grade I

Inspector — Building Standards Section

Engineering Inspector (Housing Inspectorate)

Supervising Inspectors (Housing Inspectorate)

Housing Inspectors (Housing Inspectorate)

Senior Building Inspectors (Housing Inspectorate)

Architectural Inspectors (Housing Inspectorate) whose duties involve advising on design quality and technical aspects of various social housing programmes

Planning Inspector — engaged in the recommending or approving of research contracts in relation to the Irish Spatial Data Infrastructure

Assistant Principal (Franchise Section) — responsible for procurement in relation to the storage/disposal of electronic voting machines

Higher Executive Officer/Administrative Officer (Franchise Section) — responsible for procurement in relation to the storage/disposal of electronic voting machines

Assistant Principal (Franchise Section) — responsible for procurement of the annual advertising campaign in relation to the register of electors

Higher Executive Officer (Franchise Section) — responsible for procurement of the annual advertising campaign in relation to the register of electors

Senior Meteorologist (IT Division, Met Éireann) whose duties involve the management of ICT-related capital and current expenditure at Met Éireann with respect to ICT procurement and associated contracts with ICT suppliers and service providers

Senior Meteorologist (Instrumentation and Environmental Monitoring Division, Met Éireann)

Senior Meteorologist (Commercial Division, Met Éireann)

Assistant Principal (Planning System and Spatial Policy) whose duties involve the procurement of consultants and assessment of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding applications from planning authorities

Assistant Principal (Corporate Development-Accommodation) whose duties involve the award of service contracts

Assistant Principal (Corporate Development- Decentralisation) whose duties involve the award of service contracts

Assistant Principal (Corporate Development-Organisation/Training) whose duties involve the procurement of office equipment and the procurement of training

Higher Executive Officer (Corporate Development-Organisation/Training) whose duties involve the procurement of training

Higher Executive Officer (Corporate Development-Organisation/Training) whose duties involve the procurement of office equipment

Assistant Principal (ICT Unit)

Technical Officer (ICT Unit)

GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Manager (ICT)

Senior Architect (Architectural Heritage Advisory Unit) who acts on behalf of the Minister as statutory consultee under Part IV Planning and Development Act 2000

Senior Architect (Strategic Development Unit) who acts on behalf of the Minister as statutory consultee under Part IV Planning and Development Act 2000

Senior Architect (National Inventory of Architectural Heritage) whose duties involve the management and development of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Assistant Principal (Heritage Policy and Architectural Protection Section) whose duties involve the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Engineering Inspector (Water Inspectorate) whose duties involve the assessment of local authority tender award recommendations for both services and works contracts

Assistant Principal (National Monuments Service) whose duties involve the authorisation or procurement of archaeological services

Archaeologists whose duties involve in the provision of strategic input and recommendations on planning approvals, and in procurement or authorisation of archaeological services

Quantity Surveyor Inspector (Environment)

Senior Assistant Fire Adviser

Assistant Fire Adviser

Department of Finance/An Roinn Airgeadais

Financial Services Division — Assistant Principals/Higher Executive Officers/Administrative Officers

Financial Stability Social Finance Initiative — Assistant Principals/Higher Executive Officers/Administrative Officers

Consolidation/Modernisation of Financial Services Legislation and Advisors Forum — Assistant Principals/Higher Executive Officers/Administrative Officers

National Lottery Section — Administrative Officers

Internal Audit Unit — Administrative Officers

Accommodation and Services — Assistant Principal/Higher Executive Officers

Departmental Training Unit- Assistant Principal/Higher Executive Officers

Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit — Expenditure Evaluator/Assistant Principals

Civil Service Training & Development Centre (CMOD) — Assistant Principals/Higher Executive Officer

Common Systems Unit HRMS, CMOD — Assistant Principal

Office of Public Works/Oifig na hOibreacha Poiblí

Assistant Principal Officer

Senior Architect

Engineer Grade I

Valuer Grade I

Quantity Surveyor Grade I

Professional Accountant Grade I

Chief Technical Officer (Government Supply Agency)

Higher Executive Officers

Architect

Engineer Grade II

Valuer Grade II

Quantity Surveyor Grade II

Professional Accountant Grade II

Librarian

Works Manager

Materials Control & Purchasing Manager

Assistant Chief Technical Officer

Superintendent, Furniture Branch

Chief Inspector of Stores

Inspector of Textiles

National Public Procurement Operations Unit

Director

Principal Officers

Assistant Principal Officers and equivalent

Higher Executive Officers

Executive Officers

Department of Foreign Affairs/An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha

Assistant Principal/First Secretary Outsourcing, Corporate Development Section, Development Cooperation Directorate

Assistant Principal/First Secretary, Procurement Section, Corporate Services Division

Assistant Principal/Procurement Officer, Irish Aid

Assistant Principal, Procurement Unit (Vote 28)

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform/An Rionn Dlí agus Cirt, Comhionannais agus Arthchóirithe Dlí

Financial Shared Services

Assistant Principal with responsibility for IT/Personnel/Corporate Services/Financial Accounting

Assistant Principal in Customer Service Unit

Higher Executive Officers — IT Division

Higher Executive Officer — Corporate Services

Corporate Services Division

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

Information Technology

Assistant Principals

Administrative Officer

Higher Executive Officers

Human Resources Division (Recruitment)

Assistant Principal Officer

Higher Executive Officer

Human Resources Division (Training)

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

COSC — The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence

Strategy, Support and Communications Unit — Assistant Principal

Head of Administration, Assistant Principal

Researchers: Higher Executive Officer and equivalent

Irish Youth Justice Service

Assistant Principals with authority to purchase

Accountant

Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service

Assistant Principal Officer with power to purchase

Higher Executive Officers with power to purchase

Executive Officers with power to purchase

The Equality Tribunal/An Binse Comhionannais

Executive Officer — general purchases

Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner/Oifig an Choimisinéara Iarratas Dídeanaithe

Organisation & Finance

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

Executive Officer

IT Unit/AISIP (Asylum and Immigration Strategic Integration Programme)

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officers

Corporate Office

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

Human Resources/Training

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officers

Office of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal/Oifig an Bhinse Achomhairc do Dhídeanaithe

Organisation & Finance/IT/Corporate Office/HR/Training

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission/Coimisiún Ombudsman an Gharda Síochána

Corporate Services:

Assistant Principal Officers, Higher Executive Officers and Executive Officers with powers of purchase

Secretariat and Policy:

Assistant Principal Officer

HR/Training:

Higher Executive Officer

Irish Prison Service/Seirbhís Príosún na hÉireann

Assistant Principals with authority to purchase in the IT Directorate

Higher Executive Officers with authority to purchase in the IT Directorates

Pharmacist in the Healthcare Directorate

Governor Grade II

Governor Grade III

Deputy Governors, Assistant Governors, Mechanical Inspectors and Electrical Inspectors in the Building Services Division

The Probation Service/An tSeirbhis Phromhaidh

All Assistant Principals with authority to purchase

All Higher Executive Officers with authority to purchase

Reception and Integration Agency/An Áisíneacht Fháilte agus Comhtháite

Assistant Principals with responsibility for procurement of transport services, procurement of accommodation in the commercial sector and with responsibility for dealing with contracts of services with State owned properties

Administration Officers with responsibility for procurement of accommodation in the commercial sector

State Pathology Service

Senior Scientist

Executive Officer

The Parole Board

Assistant Principal

Higher Executive Officer

The Courts Service/An tSeirbhís Chúirteanna

Assistant Principal Officers and Higher Executive Officers with responsibility for placing and managing external contracts

Department of Social and Family Affairs/An Roinn Gnothaí Sóisialacha agus Teaghlaigh

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in ISD (Information Systems Division) with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal, Higher Executive Officers and Executive Officers in Quality Customer Services with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal and Administrative Officer in Website Customer Contact Channel Strategy and eGovernment Strategy with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals, Higher Executive Officers and Executive Officers in Information Services with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Press Officer

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Facilities Management Unit with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal in Business Architect Section with authority to purchase and with authority to enter in contracts

Assistant Principal in Child Benefit Section with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals in Corporate Development Unit with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal and Higher Executive Officers in Systems Support Unit, Personnel Branch with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Staff Development Unit with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals on the Service Delivery Modernisation Team in Social Welfare Services, Sligo, with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals in charge of VFM Studies in the Programme Evaluation Unit with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Accounts Branch with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal and Higher Executive Officers in Household Benefits and Free Travel, with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal and Higher Executive Officers in Procurement/Project Governance Services with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Client Identity Service with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principal in Client Eligibility Services with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers in Employment Support Services, with authority to purchase and with authority to enter into contracts

Department of Transport/An Roinn Iompair

Assistant Principals with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Higher Executive Officers with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Surveyors within the meaning of the European Communities Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Regulations 1998 and under the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1992

Ships Surveyors

Engineering Surveyors

Nautical Surveyors

Marine Radio Surveyors

Aeronautical Officer

Transport Planner

Sustainability Adviser

Search and Rescue (SAR) Operations Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Pollution and Salvage Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Voluntary Services and Training Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Divisional Controller (Irish Coast Guard)

Operations & Training Officer (Irish Coast Guard)

Electronics Officers (Irish Coast Guard)

Hydrographic Officer (Marine Survey Office)

Office of the Attorney General/Oifig an Ard-Aighne

Advisory Counsel Grade III

Assistant Principal (Finance & Deputy Head of Administration)

Assistant Principal (HR Manager)

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel Grade II

Professional Accountant

Central Statistics Office/An Phríomh-Oifig Staidrimh na hÉireann

Assistant Principals with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Statisticians with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Higher Executive Officers with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Executive Officers with authority to enter into contracts and with authority to purchase

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions/Oifig an Stiúrthóra Ionchúiseamh Poiblí

All positions of employment, in respect of which the maximum salary is not less than the maximum salary of a higher executive officer (general service grade, Class B PRSI) in the Civil Service

Appendix 2

Department of Agriculture and Food

Assistant Principals and Higher Executive Officers dealing with (a) Animal Feeding stuffs and Pesticides in Crop Production and Safety Division and (b) in Animal Health and Welfare Division, Beef Public Storage Division, Accommodation Division, Agricultural Structures Division, Milk Policy Division, Erad Division and Food Safety Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders,

Assistant Principals in Beef Export Refunds and On Farm Investments Division, Animal By-Products Section, Area Aid Division and Other Market Supports Division engaged in the recommending or approving of contracts or in the processing of tenders,

Chief Technologist

Senior Forestry Inspectors

Head of Forest Protection Service (Forest Service Section)

Forestry Inspectors Grade 1

Forestry Inspectors Grade 11

Forestry Inspectors Grade111

Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism

Corporate Support Division

Assistant Principal in Training Unit

Higher Executive Officer in Training Unit

Line Divisions

Assistant Principal in ACCESS Grants Unit

Higher Executive Officer in ACCESS Grants Unit

National Museum

Head of Conservation

Head of Marketing

Head of Irish Antiquities Division

Head of Arts and Industry Division

Head of Natural History Division

Keeper/Manager Museum of Country Life

Assistant Principal (Administration)

Facilities Manager

Senior Graphic Artist

Senior Photographer

Education Officer

Registrar

The National Library

Keeper

Keeper — Administration

Library Administration Officer (Higher Executive Officer)

Office of the Attorney General

Advisory Counsel Grade 111

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel Grade 11 (Statute Law Revision Unit)

Assistant Principal (Deputy Head of Administration)

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel Grade 11

Central Statistics Office

Assistant Principal — Census Support, Dublin

Assistant Principal — Training and Development, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Training and Development, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Training Policy and Support, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — PMDS, Cork

Assistant Principal — Personnel, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Personnel, Cork

Assistant Principal/Analyst — Information Technology, Dublin

Assistant Principal — Industry, Cork

Statistician — Industry, Cork

Assistant Principal — Information, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Information, Cork

Assistant Principal — Administration, Dublin

Assistant Principal — Finance, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Administration, Dublin

Assistant Principal — Office Services, Cork

Higher Executive Officer — Office Services, Cork

Assistant Principal — Methodology and Development, Cork

Statistician — Methodology and Development, Dublin

Assistant Principal — Database Administrator, Cork

Assistant Principals/Analysts — Systems Development Section (SDS), Cork

Higher Executive Officers/Analysts — SDS, Cork

Executive Officers/Analysts — SDS, Cork

Assistant Principal — Networks Manager, Cork

Assistant Principal — Networks Manager, Dublin

Higher Executive Officers — Computer Support, Cork

Higher Executive Officers — Computer Support, Dublin

Statistician — Computer Support, Cork

Public Appointments Service

Senior Psychologist

Assistant Principal, IT Manager

Assistant Principal, Project Office Manager

Assistant Principal, Recruitment Specialist

Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources

Engineers — Grade I

Engineers — Grade II

Engineers — Grade III

SAR Operations Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Pollution and Salvage Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Voluntary Services and Training Manager (Irish Coast Guard)

Surveyors within the meaning of the European Communities Merchant Shipping (Port State Control) Regulations 1998 and under the Merchant Shipping Acts 1894 to 1992)

Ships Surveyors

Engineering Surveyors

Nautical Surveyors

Marine Radio Surveyors

Senior Sea Fishery Officers

Sea Fishery Officers

Sea Food Control Manager

Assistant Principal (Corporate Planning & Finance MIF Units)

Assistant Principal — Foreshore Leases & Licences (Coastal Zone Management Division)

Assistant Principal — Aquaculture Licences (Coastal Zone Management Division)

Assistant Principals — Chairs of grant-aid approval boards (Seafood Policy and Development Division)

Assistant Principal — Deciding Officer on Sea Fishing Boat Licensing & Registration (Sea Fisheries Administration Division)

Registrar General of Fishing Boats appointed under S.I. No. 294 of 1997

Appeals Officer(s) appointed under section 6 of the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 2003

Higher Executive Officers — Deciding Officers on Sea Fishing, Boat Licensing & Registration (Sea Fisheries Administration Division)

Director of Public Prosecutions

Professional Officer Grade IV

Prosecution Solicitor

Deputy Principal Legal Executive

Assistant Principal Legal Executive

Higher Legal Executive

Law Librarian

Assistant Principal

Assistant Principal/Information Technology

Higher Executive Officer

Higher Executive Officer/Systems Analyst

Department of Education and Science

Assistant Principals with responsibility for the procurement of information technology equipment, Information Technology Unit

Higher Executive Officers with responsibility for the procurement of information technology equipment, Information Technology Unit (Operations Section)

Higher Executive Officers with responsibility for the procurement of furniture/equipment/services, Accommodation and Services Section

Assistant Principals with the responsibility for the procurement of furniture/equipment/services, Change Management Unit

Higher Executive Officers with responsibility for the procurement of furniture/equipment/services, Change Management Unit

Assistant Principal, Staff Training and Development Unit

Training Officer, Staff Training and Development Unit

Higher Executive Officers with responsibility for the procurement of furniture/equipment/services, Personnel Section

Engineer Grade I and II, Planning and Building Unit

Quantity Surveyor, Planning and Building Unit

Architectural Assistants, Planning and Building Unit

Assistant Principal, National Educational Psychological Service

Higher Executive Officer, National Educational Psychological Service

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Assistant Principal (Organisation Unit)

Assistant Principal (IT Unit)

Assistant Principal (Personnel — dealing with accommodation issues)

Department of Finance

Assistant Principal — Semi State Bodies Section

Higher Executive Officer — Semi State Bodies Section

Inspector of Taxes (Higher Grade) — International Financial Services Centre Section

Assistant Principals — Human Resource Development Section, CMOD

Departmental Staff.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

180 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will reintroduce the three-year career break for civil servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6241/10]

As the Deputy will be aware that the Special Civil Service Incentive Career Break Scheme 2009 was introduced as a once-off measure that was included in the Supplementary Budget on 7 April 2009. There is no current proposal to extend the scheme.

Departmental Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

181 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to means, such as internal audit reports or risk registers, of an agency under his Department’s remit that paid for travel for at least 52 non-staff members on a single trip that was referenced in a recent Comptroller and Auditor General report; the monitoring arrangements that are in place by his Department to ensure agency compliance with his Department’s foreign travel guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6260/10]

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the Central Bank and Financial Service Authority of Ireland. Under the Central Bank Acts and the Statute governing the European System of Central Banks the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (the Bank) is an independent institution not subject to direction by either the Minister for Finance or the Government in the discharge of its functions. The management of travel arrangements for the staff of the Bank is determined by the executive and the Board of the Bank. I acknowledge the swift action taken by the Governor of the Bank in ending the practice of payment of travel costs to spouses of staff of the Bank accompanying them to overseas events.

Question No. 182 answered with Question No. 171.

Financial Services Regulation.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

183 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to ensure that the moratorium on housing repossessions and the code of conduct on mortgage arrears will be extended for those 6,400 households who have failed to pay their mortgages for a year or more and will be open to repossession of their homes from March 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6333/10]

On 27 February 2009 a Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (the Code) was introduced for all mortgage lenders. This Code contained a requirement that lenders must wait six months from the time arrears first arise before applying to the courts to commence enforcement of any legal action on repossession of a borrower's primary residence. In response to the continuing difficulties being faced by mortgage holders, the Financial Regulator has written to all mortgage lenders informing them that with effect from 17 February 2010, the Code has been amended to require that lenders must now wait twelve months from the time arrears first arise before applying to the courts to commence enforcement of any legal action on repossession of a borrower's primary residence.

Contraventions of the Code may be subject to the imposition of administrative sanctions by the Financial Regulator. The requirements of the Financial Regulator's Consumer Protection Code, including those on mortgage arrears, continue to apply. The updated code and letter issued to institutions on Friday 5 February 2010 is available on the website at http://www.financialregulator.ie/processes/consumer-protection-code/Pages/codes-of-conduct.aspx.

While the extension of the statutory code to 12 months is a welcome development, it should be noted that it does not necessarily follow that legal action will commence once the statutory 12 month timeframe has elapsed. The revised Code on Mortgage Arrears mandates that the lender “must not seek repossession of the property until every reasonable effort has been made to agree an alternative repayment schedule with the borrower”. Further, even where legal action is being taken to obtain an order for repossession, the Code mandates the lender to maintain contact with the borrower and, if agreement can be reached “the lender must enter into repayment arrangements and put on hold proceedings in the event of agreed regular repayments being maintained.”

In addition, the Irish Bankers Federation published a Statement of Intent in November 2009 which provides further reassurance to homeowners who find themselves genuinely unable to maintain repayments on their principal private residence. The Statement of Intent has been agreed and supported by all IBF members. The IBF Oversight Committee on the implementation of the Statement of Intent will include a representation from the Money Advice and Budgeting Service. Overall, I am satisfied that the new arrangements in place provide strong protections to all mortgage-holders who are genuinely unable to meet their mortgage commitments.

Architectural Heritage.

John McGuinness

Question:

184 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the works to be undertaken at Kilkenny Castle, during the course of 2010 and in particular the work to be carried out in the long hall; his plans to use the castle grounds and long hall for events such as dinners and receptions in conjunction with local business and the hospitality sector; if the manager of events at the castle will promote the use of the castle and the parade tower locally, nationally and at international level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6340/10]

The Office of Public Works as part of an ongoing programme of improvement works at Kilkenny Castle, plans to carry out major safety upgrading works to the electrical systems in the castle. These are necessary to enable the venue to be used for suitable public events. Kilkenny Castle is recognised as a very important National Historic Property and the Office of Public Works remains committed to maintaining, managing and presenting it to the best effect. In this regard the OPW will continue to cooperate with interested external parties.

Tax Code.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

185 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the implications of the EU ruling that local authority services will have VAT added in the future. [6351/10]

The Finance Bill, which was published on Thursday 4 February, includes provision to make public bodies subject to VAT in accordance with the European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland of 16 July 2009 in Case C-554/07. In summary, the VAT Act is being amended to provide that public bodies, including local authorities, are made subject to VAT where they engage in activities that could lead to a distortion of competition with private operators. More specifically, they will become subject to VAT where they engage in activities (a) other than in their capacity as a public authority (e.g. regulatory functions); (b) in the case of their capacity as a public authority when their treatment as non-taxable could lead to a distortion of competition; and (c) as outlined in Annex I of the EU VAT Directive, unless otherwise exempted, and unless the activity is carried out on such a small scale as to be negligible.

Services that will become liable to VAT include such services as waste collection, landfill and recycling services; off-street parking; toll roads; the operation of leisure facilities; rent from certain lettings of commercial property; and the supply of staff and data. It should be noted that such services are already subject to VAT if provided by a private operator. The standard or the reduced VAT rates will apply as appropriate. The changes will apply from 1 July 2010.

However, other services operated by public authorities are not being made subject to VAT by the Finance Bill provision, as they are otherwise exempted. In that context, for example, the supply of water, education, health and passenger transport services are not being made subject to VAT as they are otherwise exempted from VAT. Examples of the types of activities by public bodies where a charge applies which will remain outside the scope of VAT, include parking fines, fees for passports, driving licences etc, development levies, casual trading licences and certificates of compliance. These are purely regulatory functions.

Business customers that charge VAT will not be affected by this change as they can claim deduction for any VAT charged by a public body. The impact on private individuals, VAT exempt entities and other non-registered bodies, will depend on whether, and the degree to which, the VAT is passed on by the public bodies, which in any event should be limited somewhat since public bodies providing the service will have entitlement to deduct VAT on their inputs.

Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 167.

Public Sector Pay.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

187 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 238 of 26 January 2010, the reason a formal reply has not yet been issued; and if he is now in a position to furnish a reply to the question. [6389/10]

Section 6 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 provides that, in certain limited circumstances, the Minister for Finance may by direction exempt or vary the application of the pay reductions provided for in the Act to public servants, or groups of public servants. The Minister has directed that an exemption from the pay reductions in the legislation should apply where those reductions would reduce the pay rate of public servants to, at, or below the statutory minimum wage. The direction will apply only to a small number of very atypical employments in the public service, normally linked to employment as part of intellectual disability support programmes. This exemption will apply in the case raised by the Deputy.

Departmental Staff.

Joan Burton

Question:

188 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the procedures that are in place or are proposed to be put in place following the passing of the Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Act 2005 for the appointment of civil servants to Departments and their promotion; the powers that are to be delegated by Ministers to their Secretaries General; the powers that are to be retained in regard to Civil Service regulation; the powers that will be retained in relation to the appointment, removal and discipline of Secretaries General; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6403/10]

The Deputy will be aware that the appointment and promotion of civil servants in Government Departments is regulated by the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004. The Minister for Finance is responsible for all matters relating to recruitment in the Civil Service, including: eligibility criteria, staffing numbers, grading, pay and all working conditions of civil servants. The recruitment and promotion moratorium announced on Friday 27th March 2009 applies to the civil service; the Minister for Finance has the authority to allow for the filling of some vacancies in very exceptional circumstances through recruitment or promotion.

The Civil Service Regulation (Amendment) Act 2005 was enacted on 9th July 2005. The Act amended the Civil Service Regulation Act 1956 to allow the management framework set out in the Public Service Management Act 1997 to take effect. Under this framework, each Secretary General or Head of a Scheduled Office is responsible, by virtue of being the appropriate authority, for managing all matters pertaining to appointments, performance, discipline and dismissal of civil servants below Principal Officer level. Each Minister is the appropriate authority for civil servants at and above Principal level. The Government will continue to dismiss directly a civil servant who is the Head of a Scheduled Office or a civil servant who holds a position as a Revenue Commissioner.

The Act also introduced a number of other Human Resources Management (HRM) changes. These include the following:

civil servants, other than those dismissed directly by Government, were brought within the scope of the Unfair Dismissals Acts and the Minimum Notice and Terms of Employment Acts;

disciplinary action may be taken in cases of underperformance;

any suspension pending the conclusion of a disciplinary investigation will be suspension on full pay;

the range of possible disciplinary sanctions have been broadened to include suspension without pay;

people aged over 65 years may be engaged as civil servants provided they are new entrants.

The practical procedures to give effect to the 1956 Regulation Act are included in a Disciplinary Code which is agreed with the staff side under the Conciliation and Arbitration scheme. With the new Act, a new Disciplinary Code was required to take account of the emphasis on performance. This revised Code was officially agreed in June 2006.

Turning to the delegation of powers and functions under section 5 of the Civil Service Regulation Acts 1956-2005, the practical implementation of the powers in relation to the dismissal of staff envisaged in the Public Service Management Act 1997 was constrained by the Civil Service Regulation Act 1956, which provided that all established civil servants hold office at the will and pleasure of the Government; and therefore only the Government has authority to dismiss them.

However, the 1997 Act provided for amendments to the 1956 Act, subsections 5(2) and 5(3). This means that, although the Government retains ultimate dismissal authority, the Government can delegate this authority. The amended section 5(2) provides that the Government may authorise a Minister to exercise its powers of dismissal in relation to an officer at Principal level and above (who is not a Head of a Scheduled Office, or a Revenue Commissioner); while the amended section 5(3) provides that a Secretary General or Head of a Scheduled Office may exercise the power to dismiss staff below Principal level. An added protection is put in place for officers at and above Principal level, in that section 5(6) provides that a Minister cannot dismiss such an officer without having received a written recommendation to do so from the Secretary General or Head of Scheduled Office in which the officer works.

Tax Code.

Michael Ring

Question:

189 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if employees who are absent due to maternity leave but are in continuous employment should be liable for the income levy on their maternity benefit payment when it is paid as part of their wages; if the rebate of the levy comes from their employer or the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6405/10]

The position is that maternity benefit, in common with other social welfare payments, is not subject to the income levy. If income levy has been deducted from the wages of an employee in respect of maternity benefit, the employer may deal with any levy refund arising when the employer is carrying out the end of year reconciliation. For income levy deducted and not refunded by an employer, the employee may make a claim to the Revenue Commissioners for any repayment that may be due.

Michael Ring

Question:

190 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance if an unregistered farmer can make a VAT refund claim in respect of VAT incurred in the construction of a wind turbine, in view of the fact that the structure is set in concrete and therefore does alter the farm; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6406/10]

Farmers who are not registered for VAT are not in the normal course entitled to credit for, or repayment of, VAT incurred by them on their business inputs. The Value-Added Tax (Refund of Tax) (No. 25) Order, 1993provides for refunds to unregistered farmers for tax borne on the “construction, extension, alteration or reconstruction of any building or structure which is designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business”. However, while the installation of an alternative energy generator may be the construction of a structure, such a structure is not “designed for use solely or mainly for the purposes of a farming business”. It is designed rather to generate electricity for wherever required. Consequently, the installation of alternative energy generators does not come within the scope of the VAT refund order.

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

191 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance if all the portable electrical equipment in his Department and subsidiary companies have portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6456/10]

I am aware of the requirement under section 81 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007 of the requirement to have certain portable electrical equipment, inspected and certified. I am advised that not all portable electrical equipment used at the workplace requires a test certificate. Under the General Application Regulations 2007, employers must ensure that portable equipment which is exposed to conditions likely to cause deterioration and consequent danger, undergoes a visual check by the user and is periodically inspected by a person competent to assess the ongoing safety of the electrical equipment. My Department has made arrangements to have the necessary inspections, and certification where relevant, carried out.

As regards the Government Offices which come under the aegis of my Department, I am informed as follows. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners has no portable electric equipment as queried by the Deputy.

In the Office of Public Works the requirements of S.I. No. 299 of 2007, Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, are complied with and all portable equipment is maintained in a manner fit for safe use throughout the Department. The specific requirements of S.I. No. 299 for portable appliance testing of equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration liable to result in danger is complied with in such circumstances as this applies under Safety, Health and Welfare procedures. The use of electrical equipment below a rated voltage of 125volts is in many cases a preference in areas where such dangers are anticipated. Precise information on portable appliance test certificates is not available.

The Valuation Office is not aware that any portable equipment in the Office is exposed to conditions causing deterioration liable to result in danger. The Office holds no portable appliance test certificates. The Public Appointment Service does not have portable electric equipment, which is exposed to conditions causing deterioration, requiring testing and certification. The Office of the Ombudsman is not aware that any portable equipment in the Office is exposed to conditions causing deterioration liable to result in danger, and it holds no portable appliance test certificates. All portable electric equipment in the State Laboratory has the necessary certification under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 229 of 2007. In accordance with Public Financial Procedures the Exchequer carries its own insurance.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme.

Michael McGrath

Question:

192 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the payment of the 8% coupon rate to the Government by banks (details supplied) further to the recapitalisation of both institutions in 2009. [6474/10]

As a condition of State Aid approval, in relation to the recapitalisation by the Irish Government of both AIB and Bank of Ireland, the EU Commission required that the two banks each prepare and present restructuring plans to the Commission. The plan for Bank of Ireland was submitted on 30 September 2009 and the plan for AIB was submitted on 13 November 2009. The restructuring plans must comply with EU guidelines in this regard and have regard to EU State aid rules.

The commitment to burden sharing by the institution is a key consideration of the EU requirements for restructuring plans. Drawing on this, the EU issued guidelines in October 2009 aimed at clarifying their position on burden sharing, in particular in relation to the non-payment of discretionary coupons for hybrid capital instrument holders. The basis to the Commission's policy is to ensure that the amount of State aid should not exceed the minimum necessary and to achieve appropriate burden sharing with bond holders. Commission practice in this area is guided by the principle that transactions such as coupon payments reduce the total regulatory capital of an institution and this is incompatible with a situation where those same institutions are still reliant on State aid to fulfil regulatory capital requirements.

In response to the Commission's policy in this area, AIB and Bank of Ireland have both had to announce to the market that they cannot make discretionary coupon payments on Tier 1 and upper Tier 2 capital instruments. Non-payments of these coupons gives rise to a so-called "dividend stopper" which prevents payments on a range of other hybrid capital instruments held by the two institutions including the cash coupon on the State's Preference Shares. This would result in the activation of an alternative payment mechanism which would give rise to issuance of ordinary shares related to the cash amount of the dividend that would otherwise have been payable.

I am determined, in the context of ongoing discussions with the European Commission to secure agreement on the banks' restructuring plans, to resolve this issue to ensure that the State receives appropriate remuneration for the State's recapitalisation of these banks. Importantly, the European Commission is also open to finding a solution particularly since payment of a cash dividend on the State's Preference Shares was an important element of the Commission's approval for the State aid provided to the banks. I will keep the Deputy updated on progress in this matter.

Financial Services Regulation.

Richard Bruton

Question:

193 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if merchants who provide credit to farmers are regulated by the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority; if there are any upper limits on the rate of interest which such merchants can charge. [6498/10]

Entities regulated by the Financial Regulator that provide credit include banks, building societies, credit unions, retail credit firms, home reversion (equity release) firms and moneylenders. These entities, excluding credit unions, must comply, inter alia, with the requirements of the Financial Regulator's Consumer Protection Code, with the exception of moneylenders who must comply with the requirements of the Regulator's Consumer Protection Code for Licensed Moneylenders. The Codes set out a number of general principles requiring regulated entities to act in the best interests of consumers and to treat consumers honestly, fairly and professionally and also include specific rules in relation to the provision of credit.

There may be other entities, outlets or arrangements through which consumers, including farmers, may receive credit. These include friendly societies, retail shops where in-store credit is provided and hire purchase arrangements. In these cases, the credit facilities provided would be outside the terms of the Consumer Protection Code and would not be regulated by the Financial Regulator. Friendly societies fall under the remit of the Registrar of Friendly Societies while credit intermediaries fall under the remit of the National Consumer Agency. Examples of credit intermediaries include garages and retailers who arrange loans, leasing and hire purchase for consumers.

The Financial Regulator has no statutory role in the setting of retail interest rates and there are no interest rate caps in relation to the industry categories which the Financial Regulator supervises in this jurisdiction, apart from the interest rate cap imposed on the credit union sector. Interest rates and products are not regulated so each institution determines the rate it charges its customers, depending on a number of factors such as cost of funds and commercial considerations such as competition, risk pricing and the impact on deposit rates.

The principal legislation under which credit unions are regulated in Ireland is the Credit Union Act 1997 as amended. One of the objects referred to in the conditions of registration of a credit union is the "creation of sources of credit for the mutual benefit of its members at a fair and reasonable rate of interest". In relation to interest on loans under Section 38 of the Credit Union Act, a credit union may charge interest on loans made to its members under certain conditions, one of which is that the interest on the loan shall not at any time exceed one per cent per month on the amount of the loan outstanding at that time. The interest on the loan shall in every case include all the charges made by the credit union in making that loan. The rate of interest charged on any class of loans granted at a particular time shall be the same for all loans of the class.

Moneylending firms in Ireland are authorised by the Financial Regulator under the Consumer Credit Act 1995. Interest rate caps for moneylenders are not provided for in this Act and the Financial Regulator does not have the power to cap interest rates on an industry wide basis. However, the Consumer Director of the Financial Regulator may form an opinion on whether the cost of credit charged by a firm is excessive. A person must not conduct moneylending unless they hold a licence and maintain a business premises which is not a residence.

Public Sector Pay.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

194 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if he will amend the policy whereby the public service pay cut is applied to civil servants on a split week basis as follows, 5% reduction on earnings up to €15,000 and 7.5% reduction on earnings above €15,000 per year; and his views whether the current policy is inequitable. [6502/10]

I refer to my reply to Question No. 4890/10 on 2 February 2010.

Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 170.

Tax Code.

Bobby Aylward

Question:

196 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the recommendations of the report of the Commission on Taxation, changes will be made to the capital acquisitions tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6676/10]

The Commission on Taxation recommended the reduction of Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) business relief and agricultural relief from 90% to 75%, and an overall cap on the reduction via these reliefs of €3 million (Recommendations 8.70 and 8.71). The Commission also recommended that the two reliefs be amalgamated (recommendation 8.72). In the context of Budget 2010 and Finance Bill 2010 the Government considered these and other recommendations of the Commission but it was decided not to address these matters at this stage. The Finance Bill, which was published last Thursday, 4 February, contains proposals to reform and modernise the administration of CAT, including provisions that certain complex reliefs, including business relief and agricultural relief, can only be claimed electronically. This is in line with recommendation 5.42 of the Commission on Taxation report, that taxpayers should be required to file returns electronically where detailed data is needed to evaluate tax expenditures.

Departmental Staff.

Sean Fleming

Question:

197 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the number of civil servants that availed of the cost neutral early retirement scheme for each year since 2000 to date in 2010; the number of civil servants that availed of the incentivised scheme for early retirement in 2009 and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6686/10]

The number of civil servants who availed of the cost neutral early retirement scheme for each year since 2000 is as follows:

Cost Neutral Early Retirement

Year

Number

2000

0

2001

0

2002

0

2003

0

2004

7

2005

93

2006

70

2007

59

2008

52

2009

74

2010

1

Total

356

(Please note that, as cost neutral early retirement, only came into effect in April 2004, there could be no take-up during the years from 2000 to 2003).

The number of civil servants who availed of the incentivised scheme for early retirement in 2009 and to date in 2010 is as follows:

Incentivised Scheme for early Retirement

Year

Number

2009

751

2010

49 to date

Total

800

International Agreements.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

198 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue that has been generated arising from memorandums of understanding and the anti-contraband and anti-counterfeit agreements between the Government and tobacco companies in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6700/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the sum of $1,359,995.81 (€907,329.25) was received on 7 December 2009 in respect of Ireland's portion of the phased payments due for 2009 under Article 8 of the International Agreement concluded with Japan Tobacco International (JTI). The sum in question was transferred to the Exchequer on 22 December 2009. As previously stated Ireland does not qualify for similar payments under the International Agreement that was concluded with Philip Morris International (PMI) as Ireland was not one of the initial signatories to the Agreement, to whom such payments are confined.

Furthermore, no seizure payments were received from either of these companies in 2009 because the cigarettes seized by Ireland did not qualify for payment either because they were below the minimum threshold, or were in free circulation in the European Union or they were counterfeit. As regards, Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), while no revenue or payments flow directly from such MOUs, the tobacco manufacturers continue to co-operate and share information with Revenue in tackling cigarette smuggling.

Social Insurance.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

199 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if he has estimated the amount that will be raised per annum by the proposed universal social contribution when it replaces PRSI, pension and health levies; the amount forecast; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6704/10]

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

200 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the average contribution per taxpayer per annum to the proposed universal social contribution when it replaces PRSI, pension and health levies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6705/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 199 and 200 together.

The position is that, as announced in the Budget, it is my objective to introduce in 2011 a new system of just two charges on income as follows:

A new universal social security contribution will replace employee PRSI, the Health Levy and the Income Levy. It will be paid by everyone at a low rate on a wide base as a collective contribution to public services.

Income Tax will apply on a progressive basis to those with higher incomes reflecting their capacity to make a greater contribution.

Work has already commenced on this project in my Department in consultation with the relevant Government Departments and the Revenue Commissioners. This work will of course include consideration of the potential yield as well as the required contributions of individual taxpayers. The details relating to this initiative will be announced in the context of the 2011 Budget.

Flood Relief.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

201 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Finance if and when a decision will be made to install a single authority to oversee the management of the River Shannon and its tributaries in an effort to reduce the incidence of unnecessary flooding causing untold hardship to so many rural families; if such authority will be empowered to impose regulations over the various constituent bodies such as Waterways Ireland, fisheries board, ESB, national parks and wildlife service, the Office of Public Works and other stakeholders that use the Shannon navigation system irrespective of their present mandates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6731/10]

A number of agencies, including the ESB, Shannon Regional Fisheries Board, relevant local authorities and Waterways Ireland have a specific statutory function or a responsibility in relation to aspects of the control and management of the Shannon basin and its water levels. The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government also has a role in relation to managing environmental aspects of the catchment. Future management of the Shannon must take account of relevant EU legislation relating to rivers, in particular, the Water Framework Directive and the Floods Directive.

The Water Framework Directive, which is primarily concerned with water quality, is the responsibility of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, operating through a network of River Basin District committees containing representatives of major stakeholders. The Floods Directive requires that the level of flood risk in each catchment in the country, including the Shannon, should be identified and that a prioritised plan of measures be drawn up to address the risk in areas where it is significant. This is to be done by undertaking a Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study (CFRAM) for each catchment. These studies must be completed by 2015, and must be reviewed every 6 years thereafter.

The Office of Public Works will take the lead coordinating role in the carrying out of the Shannon FRAM. The study, which is expected to commence in mid-2010, will involve consultation with all of the main stakeholders, including the ESB, Waterways Ireland, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Fisheries Board and relevant Local Authorities. The EU requires that the implementation of the Floods Directive and the Water Framework Directive should be closely coordinated in each Member State. This provides the basis for the development of an integrated, coordinated approach to the management of all matters relating to the River Shannon. The Floods Directive will be transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument shortly. The effect of this is, rather than creating a single agency as suggested by the Deputy, to give to the OPW the necessary statutory authority to ensure the participation of the stakeholders in the process of effectively managing flood risk in the Shannon catchment.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

202 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance, further to parliamentary Question No. 83 of 21 January 2010, the extent to which he has evaluated the areas in County Kildare which have been subjected to severe flooding in the past three months; the extent to which it is intended to implement the necessary measures to ensure protection against a recurrence thereby minimising future damage to property in the areas in question; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6744/10]

In 2009 the Office of Public Works (OPW) introduced two new initiatives relating to the provision of minor flood alleviation works for rivers and for coastal protection and under this initiative, provided funding to Kildare County Council to complete a programme of flood relief works for the River Toni in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. These works were completed in 2009 and as a result Celbridge experienced no fluvial flooding during the recent flooding. I should also mention that I have recently extended the aforementioned scheme and increased the funding that will be made available by OPW this year. An initial allocation of €6 million is being made available for works and studies to address flooding and coastal protection which can be undertaken in 2010 compared to approximately €2 million which was allocated in 2009.

My Officials continue to meet regularly with Kildare County Council to discuss how best to prioritise the areas in the county which have a history of flooding and/or been subjected to recent flooding. As a result of these meetings Kildare County Council will be submitting flood relief proposals from other locations in the county for inclusion in the programme of minor works for 2010. It should be noted that all applications for funding of minor works will be considered by OPW and prioritised as part of the overall strategy for dealing with flooding throughout the country and it will also be a prerequisite that any works considered will take cognisance of the Liffey Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) study that forms part of the National CFRAM programme, which is being rolled out in 2010.

Furthermore, the Commissioners of Public Works have agreed to allocate funding to complete a programme of flood alleviation works in the Johnstown area, and Kildare County Council has been successful in obtaining planning approval in accordance with Part 8 of the planning and development regulations for this scheme. It is envisaged that the scheme will get underway later this year subject to the Local Authority being able to resolve outstanding issues in relation to land acquisition and site investigation.

Tax Code.

Thomas Byrne

Question:

203 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding income tax for a person resident and working here but employed by a Northern Irish company and paid in sterling; the position regarding excise duties in view of the fact that the person would be provided with a car registered in Northern Ireland as a company car to drive here in the course of their employment. [6786/10]

The position is that an individual resident in the State is chargeable to income tax here on his or her worldwide income. In addition, even if the individual were not resident here, he or she is chargeable to tax here in respect of income and benefits arising from an employment exercised in the State. In the case outlined by the Deputy, the salary arising from the individual's employment is chargeable to income tax here under what is known as Schedule E, with the employer making deductions at source under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system here.

Where a car is made available to an individual by reason of their employment, a charge to income tax arises in respect of this benefit in kind and the employer must also make the appropriate deductions under the PAYE system from the "cash equivalent" of the private use of the company car. Where an employer has to convert sterling to euro for the purpose of applying the PAYE system, Revenue will accept the exchange rate at either:

(a) the date of calculation, in the Employer's records, of the tax liability related to the payment, or

(b) the actual date of payment,

provided that the method chosen is used on a consistent basis, and where the rate at (a) is used, the date of calculation of the tax liability is not later than the date of payment. In addition, a vehicle provided by a Northern Irish company to an individual resident in the State for the purposes of that individual carrying out the duties here of his or her employment here must be registered in the State and the necessary Irish vehicle registration tax (VRT) paid.

The Deputy may be aware that there is a VRT and registration exemption in respect of cars temporarily imported into the State by persons established outside the State. However, from the information supplied by the Deputy, the car in question is not a temporary import and, therefore, does not qualify for VRT exemption and must be registered in the State.

Departmental Expenditure.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

204 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 235 of 26 January 2010, regarding the payment to interview board members, the persons who were board members, the amount they were paid in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6795/10]

The information requested cannot be provided in respect of the estimate for 2010, as the number and composition of interview boards will depend on the number and nature of the positions for which interviews will be held during the year. However, a total of €334,000 was paid to individuals and organisations in respect of Interview Board Members fees in 2009. This represents 631 interview days and 70 individuals or organisations were in receipt of payments. The pay rates for Interview Board Members are determined, from time to time, by my Department and the rates were reduced by 10% in May 2009. Payments are not made to serving Civil or Public Servants who act on Interview Boards. The Public Appointments Service strives to use serving officers to act on Interview Boards, however this is not always possible.

Tax Code.

Joe Behan

Question:

205 Deputy Joe Behan asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify the tax relief arrangements on medical expenses in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6954/10]

The position is that tax relief will continue to be granted at the marginal rate (up to 41%) in respect of nursing home fees for 2010. The person concerned may make a claim to have this included as a tax credit for the current year and should contact his local tax district in that regard.

International Monetary Fund.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

206 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the Irish commitment at a recent meeting of the G20 to contribute to a special fund addressed to the needs of indebted countries; if the fund is to be led by the International Monetary Fund; if so, the guiding principles that exists for the fund; and if they will include debt cancellation. [6962/10]

I understand the Deputy is referring to the International Monetary Fund's New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) which has not, however, been designed to deal with debt cancellation. The NAB is essentially a set of credit arrangements between the IMF and member countries and institutions to provide supplementary resources to the IMF to forestall or cope with an impairment of the international monetary system or to deal with an exceptional situation that poses a threat to the stability of that system. Arrangements for a new and expanded NAB are currently under negotiation.

In April 2009, G20 Leaders agreed to increase the resources available to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by up to USD500bn, thereby tripling the total pre-crisis lending resources of the IMF to USD750, to support growth in emerging market and developing countries. This agreement was endorsed by the International Monetary and Financial Committee, the European Council and Ecofin Ministers. The increase in IMF resources is to be made in two steps:

(i) through the immediate provision of bilateral loans up to USD250bn from IMF member countries to the IMF; and

(ii) by subsequently rolling over these loans and making additional provision into an expanded and more flexible New Arrangements to Borrow NAB), increased by up to USD500 bn.

At the Spring Council 2009, the EU agreed to provide temporary bilateral loans of €75bn to the IMF. Ireland agreed to provide its share — a loan facility of €1.3bn — based on Ireland's new IMF quota. On 17 September 2009, EU Heads of State agreed to further increase support to the IMF by increasing the €75bn to €125bn (approx USD175bn) by rolling over EU bilateral loans into the new NAB and making further financial commitments to NAB. The result of this agreement for Ireland is that our share of the new and expanded NAB (based on Ireland's IMF quota) would be approximately €2bn, inclusive of Ireland's bilateral loan of €1.3bn.

On 13 January 2010, the Government decided in principle to approve Ireland's participation in the IMF's New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB), for increasing IMF resources, and Ireland's provision to the NAB of a loan facility of approximately €2bn, subject to agreement on terms and conditions. Like a number of EU countries, Ireland's provision of the bilateral loan to the IMF and participation in NAB will be met using Central Bank resources. Legislative provision for the bilateral loan and Ireland's participation in NAB will be required.

Tax Code.

Willie Penrose

Question:

207 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if an ex gratia sum payment which is payable to employees who take redundancy is subject to income tax; the position regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7009/10]

Statutory redundancy payments are exempt from income tax. In addition, ex-gratia redundancy payments in excess of the statutory redundancy amount are exempt from income tax up to certain limits namely—

a basic exemption of €10,160 plus €765 per complete year of service in excess of the statutory redundancy;

or

Standard Capital Superannuation Benefit i.e. 1/15th of the person's annual income (average of the last three years) for each year of employment less any tax-free lump sum which is received or receivable under any approved or statutory pension scheme.

The basic exemption from income tax as outlined above can be further increased by up to €10,000 if the person is not a member of an occupational pension scheme. This can only be claimed if the person has not made any claims in respect of a lump sum received in the previous 10 tax years. It is open to the taxpayer to choose whichever relief is of most benefit. Any amount of redundancy payment in excess of whichever exemption applies, is liable to income tax.

National Treasury Management Agency.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

208 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance further to his press release of 2 February 2010 regarding the delegation of banking functions to the National Treasury Management Agency, the legislative basis on which this order is or will be based; if this order has been signed; the date on which this occurred; if not, when he will sign such an order; the date when he expects to lay this document before the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7010/10]

As indicated in my press release, the form of a draft order is currently being discussed with the Attorney General's Office. This order will provide for the delegation under the National Treasury Management Agency Act 1990 of certain banking functions to the National Treasury Management Agency. I expect these discussions to be completed shortly. Arising from these discussions an order will be made by Government which will be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as practicable thereafter.

Departmental Programmes.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

209 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance the number of civil and public servants that have signed up for the cycle to work scheme; the cost of the scheme to date in 2010. [7575/10]

The number of bikes purchased by my Department and the bodies under the aegis of my Department in 2009 to date in 2010 is 278. The only material cost of the scheme to the State is the tax relief inherent in the scheme. The total amount sanctioned to date by way of cycle purchases for staff of my Department and the bodies under the aegis of my Department is €193,710.

Voluntary Sector Funding.

Joe McHugh

Question:

210 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children her views of the important role of an association (details supplied) in the delivery of public health services; her further views on increasing the amount of funding to that foundation annually; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6131/10]

David Stanton

Question:

248 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to a recent study carried out by an organisation (details supplied); the policy of her Department regarding these matters; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6599/10]

Olwyn Enright

Question:

250 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will direct the Health Service Executive to meet with a foundation (details supplied) to discuss its cost and outcomes analysis of alternative models of care for young children with severe disabilities here; if she will meet it to examine this report and help the foundation further develop its care for young children in the home to the age of six years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6606/10]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

274 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will agree to an early meeting with the Jack and Jill Foundation to discuss the provision of care for severely disabled children. [6793/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210, 248, 250 and 274 together.

The current challenging budgetary situation does not permit the funding of new developments other than through a reallocation of existing resources. The HSE currently engages with Jack and Jill on a quarterly basis and will include consideration of this report during 2010, in the context of the development of integrated services for children with a disability. The HSE provided funding of €585,000 to the Jack and Jill Foundation in 2009.

Preschool Services.

Richard Bruton

Question:

211 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if the AMI Montessori qualification is recognised as justifying the higher rate of payment in recognition of higher staff skills under the preschool subsidy scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6635/10]

I have responsibility for the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which was introduced in January 2010. A higher capitation rate of €75 per week (€2,850 p.a.) is available to sessional playschool services in which all childcare workers have qualification levels above the minimum requirements for the scheme. To qualify for the higher capitation rate all pre-school leaders in the service must hold a qualification in a relevant discipline at a minimum of Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and have 3 years experience working in the sector. All pre-school assistants must hold a relevant FETAC level 5 qualification or its equivalent.

The AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) Montessori College offer both a 2 year and a 3 year Montessori course with entry to the third year being dependent on a student achieving a distinction at the end of year 2. Neither of these courses are currently placed on the NFQ although I understand that the College has applied to the Higher Education and Training Awards Council to have them accredited and placed on the NFQ. In the meantime, as the Department of Education and Science gives restricted recognition to AMI Montessori qualifications awarded on completion of the 3 year full time course, this qualification is being accepted by my Office as meeting the qualification criterion for the higher capitation rate.

National Drugs Strategy.

Finian McGrath

Question:

212 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [6769/10]

Willie Penrose

Question:

218 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take to curtail or ban the opening of head shops here; if her attention has been drawn to the strong community campaign to have such a ban put in place; the legislative proposals she has in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6077/10]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

233 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 123 of 21 January 2010, when, in view of the increased urgency and concern, the secondary legislation under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 in relation to control of substances currently being sold in head shops will be before Dáil Éireann. [6236/10]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

235 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding discussions in respect of the banning of substances sold in head shops. [5540/10]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

283 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the timeframe for the secondary legislation under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 to deal with substances being sold in head shops. [6855/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 212, 218, 233, 235 and 283 together.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and its associated regulations control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland's obligations under international conventions and/or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland. The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review. For example, in 2006 psychotropic ("magic") mushrooms were banned and their possession and sale is now illegal. On 31 March 2009, BZP was similarly subjected to legislative control measures and criminal sanctions.

In the light of the health risks associated with some of the products being sold in so-called "head shops", I intend to make regulations before the end of June which will introduce controls, similar to those introduced recently in the UK, on a range of substances which are currently on sale in head shops. These regulations will make the possession and sale of these substances illegal and subject to criminal sanctions. Some of the substances in question have legitimate uses — for example, in the production of plastics and industrial solvents. It will be necessary to assess the level of use of these substances by industry in Ireland and the implications for industry of placing these substances under the ambit of Misuse of Drugs legislation. In accordance with EU law, it may also be necessary to notify the Commission of the proposed regulations in case they impact on legitimate industrial activities and this imposes a 3 month stand still period on implementation of the regulations.

Minister of State John Curran, who has responsibility for co-ordinating the National Drugs Strategy, has identified head shops as an area of concern, and is currently considering the options available to more effectively control the activities of head shops. A Research Advisory Group (RAG) has been established to identify possible options for the regulation of head shops. The RAG held its first meeting on 13 January 2010. It has representatives from the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, the Departments of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Health and Children, the Health Research Board, Revenue Custom's Service, the Forensic State Laboratory and other relevant stakeholders. The RAG will report incrementally until its work is complete.

Medical Cards.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

213 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7002/10]

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

Hospital Services.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

214 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide the funding necessary to allow persons (details supplied) in Dublin 16 to move to insulin pump therapy through Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6058/10]

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

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

215 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of hospitals with medical assessment units; the number of new medical assessment units added to the hospital system since 2005 to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6069/10]

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

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

216 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of new hospices established since 2006 to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6070/10]

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

Cancer Screening Programme.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

217 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children if BreastCheck will be made available for women over 64 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6071/10]

BreastCheck provides free mammograms to all women aged 50-64. Since October 2009 Breastcheck has been available in all counties. During 2009 over 122,000 women were screened and this number will increase during 2010. It is my intention to extend Breastcheck to women in the 65-69 age group as soon as resources and capacity allow. In the meantime women of any age who have concerns about breast cancer should seek the advice of their GP who will, if appropriate, refer them to the symptomatic breast services in one of the eight designated specialist cancer centres.

The National Cancer Screening Service has been asked to review the potential for efficiencies and cost savings in areas identified in the HIQA Report of the evaluation of the use of resources in the national population based cancer screening programmes and associated services. Any savings identified may be used to meet the costs of further development of screening services, including the BreastCheck programme. The immediate priority for the National Cancer Screening Service is to ensure that preparatory work for the national colorectal screening programme takes place this year and in 2011 in order for screening to commence in early 2012 for men and women in the 60 to 69 age group.

Question No. 218 answered with Question No. 212.

Medical Cards.

Michael Ring

Question:

219 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo was not notified when their medical card was withdrawn; and if the card will be reinstated. [6080/10]

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

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

220 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will assist in having a medical card approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork on medical grounds. [6082/10]

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

Hospital Services.

James Bannon

Question:

221 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has had three dates for surgery at the Mater Hospital, Dublin, cancelled in January 2010, in view of the commitment by her Department to give priority to patients from counties Longford and Westmeath, when the cancer unit was taken from the Midlands Regional Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6085/10]

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

Health Services.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

222 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the treatment services in place for cocaine users; the number of cocaine treatment clinics operating here; if new treatment projects and clinics will open in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6101/10]

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

Medical Aids and Appliances.

Michael McGrath

Question:

223 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the review of the supply of prosthetic limbs in County Cork; if the persons using a prosthetic limb will be consulted as part of the review; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6107/10]

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 to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Michael Creed

Question:

224 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children if a replacement medical card will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6113/10]

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

Jack Wall

Question:

225 Deputy Jack Wall 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 Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6114/10]

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

Drugs Payment Scheme.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

226 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health and Children if the drugs repayment scheme operates on a monthly basis or on the basis of 28 days; and the reason some pharmacists supply medicines for 28 days and others operate a 30 day system. [6127/10]

I understand that some drugs and medicines are supplied by manufacturers in 28 day packages. However, the position in relation to the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) is that no family or individual need pay in excess of the monthly threshold which is currently €120, in respect of medication for use in any calendar month. The Health Service Executive Primary Care Reimbursement Service, formerly the GMS (Payments) Board, which is responsible for reimbursing community pharmacists under the DPS, so advised all community pharmacists in 1999 on the establishment of the DPS.

Medical Cards.

Michael Ring

Question:

227 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the decision regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and the breakdown of calculations. [6136/10]

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

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

228 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6149/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

237 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6321/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 and 237 together.

Details of the information requested by the Deputy has been forwarded to three of the agencies under my Department's remit for direct reply to him. These are the Health Service Executive; the National Treatment Purchase Fund and the National Cancer Screening Service. The remainder of the information requested by the Deputy is not readily available but will be forwarded to him as soon as it has been collated.

Medical Cards.

Joan Burton

Question:

229 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children the background and rationale to the decision to centralise the medical card application service to the primary care reimbursement service; the connection of this centralisation to the budget 2009 decision to means test all persons applying for a medical card aged 70 years and over which is enshrined in the Health Act 2008; the preparation undertaken and consideration given to the initiative prior to the announcement to centralise on 24 December 2008; the effect of the centralisation on persons over 70 years; the success of the centralisation; if problems have been encountered to date in 2010; the extent to which the medical card application process has been improved to be more efficient and faster; the extent to which it has deteriorated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6167/10]

Following the change in medical card eligibility for persons aged 70 and over in the Health Act 2008, the Health Service Executive (HSE) through its Service Plan for 2009, advised the Department of its decision to centralise the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications and renewals to the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. The HSE has indicated that this decision was taken in the context of the Executive's requirements to make efficiencies in business practices that could realise savings in a very challenging economic environment and provide a modern service to the public within sustainable levels of expenditure.

I fully support the HSE's decision to centralise the processing of all medical card applications and reviews. I wrote to all Oireachtas members on 19th January 2010 outlining 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.

Hospital Services.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

230 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if an appointment will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6168/10]

The scheduling of patients for hospital treatment is a matter for the consultant concerned in each case and is determined on the basis of clinical need. Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant involved.

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

231 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of external consultants currently working for or in her Department; the work they are carrying out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6203/10]

The information requested regarding external consultants currently working for or in my Department is set out in the attached document, a copy of which has issued directly to the Deputy. The information set out relates to external contracts placed by my Department related to the provision of services including the provision of advice and expertise, and the undertaking of studies, surveys and other services.

External Consultants currently working for/in the Department

No.

Consultants currently working for/in the Department

Details of work being carried out

1

Coyle Hamilton Willis

Actuarial, accounting, insurance & economic advice services in relation to the health insurance market, as & when required

2

Life Strategies Ltd

Actuarial, accounting, insurance & economic advice services in relation to the health insurance market, as & when required

3

CRA International UK Ltd

Actuarial, accounting, insurance & economic advice services in relation to the health insurance market, as & when required

4

Mercer Ireland Ltd

Actuarial, accounting, insurance & economic advice services in relation to the health insurance market, as & when required

5

The study is being conducted by UCD and lead by Professor Cecily Kelleher

The All-Ireland Traveller Health Study (AITHS) is a comprehensive study of the health and social status of the Traveller community in Ireland. The findings of the study will be used to evaluate progress to date with regard to Traveller health and to plan future policy in the area. Final report of the study is due in June 2010.

6

Peter Cassells Consulting Limited

Chairing the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body

7

Economic and Social Research Institute

Research commissioned on: National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland (NLSCI)

8

Dr. Satya Brink, HR Development Canada

International expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Steering Group

9

Professor Ann Sanson, Network coordinator, Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

International expertise provided to the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland Steering Group

10

Child and family research centre, National University of Ireland, Galway

Children as Carers — A study of the extent to which children undertake inappropriate care roles

11

Professor Robbie Gilligan, The Children’s Research Centre, Trinity College, Dublin

Research commissioned on: A follow up study on the educational and social support experiences of young people in long term foster care

12

Dr. Evelyn Mahon, Trinity College, Dublin

Research commissioned on: A study of parent-child contact agreements andArrangements based on Court Records

13

Jim Halley, 2 Collaborate

Survey of clients of the Office of the Disability Appeals Officer (ODAO) to ascertain level of satisfaction with our communication process.

14

Fiona Keogh, Dunlaoghaire, Co. Dublin

Research Support for the Disability Sector VFM Expert Reference Policy Group

15

Carole C Devaney, Monkstown, Co. Dublin

Editing of Report — “National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-Rehabilitation Services 2010-2015”

16

William Fry Solicitors

Provision of independent legal advice to the National Oversight Committee for Repayment Scheme for Long Stay Charges.

17

Cnag ar an Doras

Evaluation and Report of the Comhairle na nOg Development Fund 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 and Inclusion Programme 2008

18

Cnag ar an Doras

Evaluation and Report of the Inclusion Programme 2009

19

Cnag ar an Doras

Project Manager for the national consultation with Children Living in the Care of the State

20

Cnag ar an Doras

Evaluation and Report on the work of the Children and Young Peoples Advisory Forum

21

Liz Harper

Support for the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Inclusion Programme participant organisations

22

Liz Harper

Evaluator of the Dáil na nÓg Council

23

Anna Gunning

Support and facilitation for the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Children and Young People’s Forum meetings

24

Niamh McCrea

Support and facilitation for the OMCYA Children and Young People’s Forum meetings

24

Irish Heart Foundation

Provision of Nutrition Policy advice

Nursing Homes Support Scheme.

Richard Bruton

Question:

232 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if a patient who is in a nursing home sacrifices the 15% cap on the contribution towards nursing home costs from the family home if they sell the home while in the nursing home; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6232/10]

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme aims to prevent people from having to sell their family home to fund their long-term care. If, however, a person applies for the Nursing Home Loan but subsequently chooses to sell the family home, the amount loaned on the basis of that asset up to that point must be repaid within six months of the sale. Thereafter, the proceeds of the sale would be treated as Cash Assets and would not be subject to the 7.5% (member of a couple) or 15% (single person) cap on property/land, as appropriate. Cash Assets are taken into account at a rate of 5% per annum for as long as the person remains in nursing home care.

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 212.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Liz McManus

Question:

234 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Health and Children if the proposed Adoption Bill will recognise direct adoptions from Hague ratified contracting states where such adoptions are legislated for and administered in line with the Hague Convention good practice guidelines; if she will table an amendment to the Bill giving recognition to such adoptions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6269/10]

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

With regard to the issue of "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.

Question No. 235 answered with Question No. 212.

Hospital Services.

Pat Breen

Question:

236 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for bed closures at a hospital (details supplied) in County Clare; her plans to extend surgical facilities at this hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6303/10]

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

Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 228.

Michael Ring

Question:

238 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical procedure will be carried out on a person (details supplied) from County Mayo. [6349/10]

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

Hospitals Building Programme.

Pat Breen

Question:

239 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will report on the timeframe for the capital development programme at a hospital (details supplied) in County Clare; if a project manager has been appointed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6382/10]

I am committed to ensuring that all necessary developments are put in place at the hospital to support the ongoing reconfiguration within the region. My Department is currently reviewing the HSE's draft capital plan for the period 2010-2014 and following up with the Executive where further details may be required. The plan requires my approval with the consent of the Minister for Finance. Details of the plan will be published by the HSE following its approval.

Medical Cards.

Mary Upton

Question:

240 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the processing of medical card applications for persons over 70 years is taking a long time; the further reason the system is not made easier for elderly applicants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6386/10]

Following the change in medical card eligibility for persons aged 70 and over in the Health Act 2008, the Health Service Executive (HSE) through its Service Plan for 2009, advised the Department of its decision to centralise the processing of all medical card and GP visit card applications and renewals to the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. The HSE indicated that this decision was taken in the context of the Executive's requirements to make efficiencies in business practices that could realise savings in a very challenging economic environment and provide a modern service to the public within sustainable levels of expenditure.

I fully support the HSE's decision to centralise the processing of all medical card applications and reviews. I wrote to all Oireachtas members on 19 January 2010 outlining 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. As aspects of the Deputy's question refer to operational matters, 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.

Michael Ring

Question:

241 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be seen by an occupational therapist. [6444/10]

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

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

242 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has been referred to the National Treatment Purchase Fund for orthopaedic intervention; when surgery will take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6449/10]

The scheduling of patients for hospital treatment is in each case determined on the basis of clinical need. Therefore should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, then he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant involved. The primary remit of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) is to facilitate treatment for those public patients waiting longest for surgery. I have asked the Fund to respond to the Deputy in relation to the particular case raised.

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

243 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the Health Service Executive and the Health Information and Quality Authority are not carrying out the portable appliance test of all moveable electrical equipment in offices, hospitals, centres and so on as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6452/10]

The Health Information and Quality Authority have indicated that they have no such equipment that requires to be tested under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulation. In respect of the Health Service Executive, as this is a service matter it has been referred to them for direct reply.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

244 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if all the portable electrical equipment in her Department has a portable appliance testing certificate as required by Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same. [6453/10]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

245 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if all the portable electrical equipment in her Department and subsidiary or grant aided companies has portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if her further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6468/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 244 and 245 together.

S.I. No. 299 requires that equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration liable to result in danger and supplied at a voltage exceeding 125 volts alternating current is visually checked by the user before use and is periodically checked by a competent person, appropriated to the nature, location, and use of the equipment. In general, portable equipment in use in the Department of Health and Children would not fall within the scope of S.I. No. 299. However, it is our standard practice to adhere to prescribed maintenance arrangements for electrical and other equipment.

Hospital Services.

Michael Ring

Question:

246 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be called for a procedure at University College Hospital, Galway. [6504/10]

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

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

247 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will put the National Quality Standards: Residential Settings for People with Disabilities published by the Health Information and Quality Authority in 2009 on a statutory footing; if she will implement mandatory inspections of residential institutions for all persons with disabilities and not just children; when she will do same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6598/10]

My Department is currently working closely with HIQA and the HSE with the view to commencing the Health Act 2007 to allow for the independent registration and inspection of all residential centres and respite services for children with a disability. The intention is to have this registration and inspection system in place by December 2010, as committed to in the Ryan Commission report Implementation Plan.

Children with disabilities in generic residential centres under the Child Care Act 1991, are already covered by the standards and inspection regimes applying to those centres. The new registration and inspection system will incorporate all centres providing residential or respite care to children with disabilities, including those centres run by voluntary organisations that are currently excluded from inspection under the Child Care Act 1991.

In respect of residential services for adults with disabilities, I will shortly be bringing detailed proposals to Government with regard to the protection of vulnerable adults with disabilities who are currently in institutional care.

As Deputies will be aware, "National Quality Standards: Residential Settings for People with Disabilities" have been published by HIQA. Following a public consultation process initiated by HIQA they were formulated by a Standards Advisory Group that comprised officials of HIQA, my Department, the HSE, service providers, organisations representing people with disabilities and service users. These standards will provide a national framework for quality, safe services for persons with disabilities in a residential setting. At present the standards apply only to adult services but work is at an advanced stage to develop standards for children's services.

Given the current economic situation, to move to full statutory implementation of the standards, including regulation and inspection, presents significant challenges at this time. However, notwithstanding the difficulties of immediate statutory implementation, my Department, the HSE and HIQA have agreed that progressive non-statutory implementation of the Standards will now commence, and that they will become the benchmark against which the HSE assesses both its own directly operated facilities and other facilities that the HSE funds. Discussions are ongoing regarding the development of self-assessment tools, providing awareness training for service providers and the introduction of an appropriate level of external validation for relevant settings.

A number of preliminary processes are already in place within the HSE to facilitate this work. For example, compliance with the HIQA standards is included in the Service Level Arrangements being implemented between the HSE and service providers. As part of the ongoing review of Service Level Arrangements, service providers will now be required to demonstrate compliance with the standards through the provision of audit outcomes. I am informed by the HSE that the majority of service providers have already commenced a review of their services within the context of the HIQA standards and many service providers have also achieved external accreditation over the past number of years.

In addition, I am assured by the HSE that it has a robust system in place to deal with any complaints made in relation to the treatment of persons with disabilities in residential care. This includes ensuring that all HSE funded service providers of residential care have appropriate complaints procedures that are in line with HSE policy.

Question No. 248 answered with Question No. 210.

Hospital Services.

Charles Flanagan

Question:

249 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children when funding will be available in order for the renal service at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore, County Offaly, to be fully commissioned and staffed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6600/10]

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

Question No. 250 answered with Question No 210.

Medical Cards.

Michael Ring

Question:

251 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be renewed in view of the fact that all the necessary information has been submitted. [6623/10]

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

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Joe McHugh

Question:

252 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the focus and thrust of the reviews that are being conducted in respect of under review countries; the outcome of the adoption laws if these countries are deemed to be incompliant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6626/10]

The reviews undertaken by the Adoption Board in relation to foreign adoptions are reviews of legal compatibility between Ireland and the country concerned. In the event that the legislation is found to be incompatible the inter-country adoption may not be recognised as a foreign adoption under section 1 of the Adoption Act 1991. This provision is carried forward in the Adoption Bill 2009.

Pharmacy Services.

Brendan Howlin

Question:

253 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some pharmacists charge above the agreed mark-up and dispensing fee in relation to prescribed medicines; if she has a monitoring or reporting system in place to deal with such breaches and to ensure redress for aggrieved pharmacy customers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6627/10]

On 1 July last, I made regulations under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 to specify the fees and other payments to be made to pharmacists who dispense drugs and medicines under the GMS (medical card), the Drug Payment Scheme (DPS), the Long Term Illness Scheme (LTI) and other community drugs schemes. 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. Retail Mark-up was reduced from 50% to 20%. Wholesale Mark-up was reduced from 17.66% to 10% of the ex-factory price of drugs.

It is my view that the fees and mark-ups set out in the regulations should be applied to all transactions where a person produces a DPS card, including transactions where expenditure has not reached the €120 monthly threshold under the DPS scheme. I have been disappointed to learn that some pharmacists are not applying the fees and mark-ups in this manner. I have raised this matter with the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) and intend to pursue it further.

Health Services.

Joe McHugh

Question:

254 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will review services that are provided to sufferers of cystic fibrosis; if she plans to change existing services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6630/10]

I have consistently emphasised the need to improve facilities and services to persons with cystic fibrosis. Following publication of the Pollock Report in 2005, the Health Service Executive established a Working Group to undertake a detailed review of cystic fibrosis services. The Group, which was multi-disciplinary in its composition and included representation from the Department of Health and Children, was asked to review the current configuration and delivery of services to persons with cystic fibrosis in Ireland. The report was published in October 2009. Many of its recommendations had already been implemented.

Some 50 additional staff including consultant, nursing and allied health professionals, have been appointed across the hospital system in recent years to enhance the level of services provided for persons with cystic fibrosis. The HSE was asked to place a particular focus on the development of services at the National Adult Tertiary Referral Centre at St. Vincent's Hospital. The hospital currently treats over 50% of the CF adult population. A number of capital projects have been completed at the hospital and have helped to improve facilities. These include a new ambulatory care centre, the refurbishment of St. Camillus Ward, and a new Emergency Department which includes single room accommodation.

The refurbishment of accommodation to provide eight single en-suite rooms for patients with cystic fibrosis was completed in August 2008 and the beds are now operational. This brings the total level of in-patient accommodation for the treatment of respiratory patients (including people with CF) at the hospital to 63 beds.

A new ward block to replace existing accommodation is being developed at the hospital. This facility will provide single room en-suite in-patient accommodation (100 rooms) and a dedicated day unit for people with CF, including 10 single day treatment rooms with en-suite sanitary facilities. Tenders for this development are currently under consideration. It is estimated 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. The new facility will include accommodation for cystic fibrosis patients with appropriate isolation facilities for the treatment of their condition. The HSE is now working with St. Vincent's to identify opportunities for patients who do not require tertiary level care to be treated close to home where adult services have been developed in the other specialist centres.

A number of other significant capital developments are being progressed for cystic fibrosis patients throughout the country, including in Beaumont Hospital. Capital funding has been provided for the development of outpatient facilities for patients with CF treated at Beaumont Hospital. The project is in two phases and the first phase (decanting) was completed at the end of 2009. The second phase is due for completion in the second quarter of 2010. HSE funding enabled the construction of a three storey building consisting of two floors each of 14 single rooms, and 8 bed HDU and two additional ICU rooms (within existing ICU).

Services for patients with cystic fibrosis are also provided at Our Lady's Hospital, Crumlin, Children's University Hospital, Temple Street, Tallaght Hospital, Cork University Hospital, Waterford Regional Hospital, Mid Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, University College Hospital Galway and Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda. The Cystic Fibrosis Registry of Ireland (CFRI) receives support funding from the HSE. Ireland is the only European country to commit public funding to a CF registry. The CFRI is now in a position to produce relevant data on 90% of people with CF in Ireland. The average enrolment of people with CF in other country registries is approximately 80%.

The Newborn Screening for Cystic Fibrosis Steering Group was established in June 2009 under the Chairmanship of Professor Gerry Loftus, Professor of Paediatrics, Galway. This group has a broad membership from key stakeholders and experts in the field of cystic fibrosis. The screening programme will commence implementation in 2010 provided all the necessary general and specific screening programme governance arrangements are in place. The Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland has made representations to the HSE in respect of people with Cystic Fibrosis living in Donegal for whom attendance at the CF centre in Belfast might be more convenient. The HSE is pursuing this through Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT).

I am conscious that further improvements are required, including the need to develop community outreach services to facilitate the treatment of patients outside of a hospital setting where appropriate. Taken together, the planned developments represent a tangible improvement in the quality of services for people with cystic fibrosis.

Michael McGrath

Question:

255 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the requirements a private business must meet in order to be recognised by the Health Service Executive as a provider of home care services for older persons here; the steps such a business must undertake to secure the relevant approval. [6639/10]

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

Preschool Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

256 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the rights of children with disabilities to attend preschool and to have a special needs assistant if one is required; if a child (details supplied) in County Limerick will be allocated a special needs assistant in order that they will have the equivalent access to preschool education as other children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6644/10]

All pre-school services are required to make reasonable accommodation for children with special needs, as required under the Equal Status Acts 2000 to 2004. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which was introduced in January this year, and provides for a free pre-school year for all eligible children in the year prior to commencing primary school, includes a number of provisions specifically intended to assist children with special needs. One of these is that, while the age range in which children qualify for the scheme is, generally, between 3 years 3 months and 4 years 6 months in September of the relevant year, exceptions are allowed where a child has been assessed as having a special need which will delay his or her entry to primary school. In such cases, the pre-school year relevant to such children will be taken as their qualifying year.

Additionally, the general requirement under the ECCE scheme that a child would be expected to attend 4 or 5 days each week will not apply to children with special needs where a shorter week would be more appropriate to their needs. Many specialist pre-school services arrange for children attending their services to also attend a mainstream service for 1, 2 or 3 days a week. As a result, 1 full week place in the mainstream service could cater for 2 or more children with special needs on a pro-rata basis. Where appropriate, children with special needs attending a mainstream pre-school service on a pro-rata basis can avail of a second free pre-school year. Should additional flexibility in the arrangements for the scheme be required by specialist pre-school services for children with special needs, these will also be considered.

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

Hospital Services.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

257 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients in County Louth treated for foot ulcerations, which did not require a full or partial lower limb amputation in 2007 and 2008; the number of those patients who had diabetes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6651/10]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

258 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of patients under 65 years residing in County Louth treated for foot ulcerations, which did not require a full or partial limb amputation in 2007 and 2008; the number of those patients who had diabetes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6652/10]

Arthur Morgan

Question:

259 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of full or partial lower limb amputations carried out on patients residing in County Louth in 2007 and 2008; the number of those patients who had diabetes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6653/10]

I propose to takes Questions Nos. 257 to 259, inclusive, together.

The information requested is contained in the table:

Hospital Inpatient Enquiry: Foot Ulcerations, Lower Limb Amputations and Diabetes

Area of Residence

Louth

National Total

2007

2008

2007

2008

Number of admissions with a diagnosis of foot ulcerations and without a full or partial lower limb amputation

148

94

3,826

3,777

— Number of these patients with a diagnosis of diabetes

35

37

1,361

1,298

Number of admissions aged under 65 with a diagnosis of foot ulcerations and without a full or partial lower limb amputation

70

27

1,100

987

— Number of these patients with a diagnosis of diabetes

13

11

412

421

Number of full or partial lower limb amputations

24

19

703

667

— Number of these patients with a diagnosis of diabetes

12

10

334

338

Source: Hospital Inpatient Enquiry.

Note: Data refer to discharges from publicly funded acute hospitals. Private hospitals are not included.

The HSE is currently developing a programme for diabetes which will establish an integrated diabetic service between community and hospital. Its objective is to improve specific targets to reduce both acute and chronic complications. It will also include effective foot care to reduce severe infection and amputation in diabetes. The recommendations of the Expert Advisory group will be progressed within the context of the Diabetes programme.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Richard Bruton

Question:

260 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in opening a facility (details supplied) in County Dublin which was granted a derogation from the moratorium on recruitment but has not yet been granted despite the fact that the building has been completed since July 2009; and if her attention has been drawn to the very acute needs of the proposed residents. [6657/10]

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 Staff.

Arthur Morgan

Question:

261 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of security at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth in each of the past five years; the number of security personnel employed in each of the past five years; if security personnel at this hospital have certificates from the Private Security Authority; if security personnel are employed directly by the Health Service Executive or agency workers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6659/10]

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

Misuse of Drugs.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

262 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the substances in products sold in head shops that are currently banned. [6679/10]

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

The list of scheduled substances is kept under ongoing review. For example, in 2006 psychotropic ("magic") mushrooms were banned and their possession and sale is now illegal. On 31 March 2009, BZP was similarly subjected to legislative control measures and criminal sanctions. The Department is currently examining how the substances contained in SPICE, the BZP derivatives and others can be controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation. It is my intention to make the necessary regulations before the end of June.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

263 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the policy regarding the sale and use of pseudoephedrine. [6680/10]

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant used in the treatment of colds and flu. The sale and supply of medicinal products containing pseudoephedrine is covered in the Medicinal Products (Prescription and Control of Supply Regulations) 2003 as amended. Products containing pseudoephedrine are exempt from prescription control at the low doses specified in the Regulations; however, under Regulation 6(1) such products are sold in pharmacies under conditions where the supply is effected by or under the personal supervision of a pharmacist.

Pseudoephedrine is also controlled by the EU Regulations 273/2004 and 111/2005 on Drug Precursors and the European Communities (Control of Precursors) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 558 of 2009). This legislative framework lays down rules for the monitoring of trade in drug precursors (such as pseudoephedrine) within the EU and with Third Countries. This legislation places obligations on operators (including manufacturers and distributors) to obtain a licence to possess or place drug precursors on the market.

Health Services.

Sean Fleming

Question:

264 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive the necessary tests and treatment in view of their difficult medical situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6685/10]

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

Child Care Services.

Sean Fleming

Question:

265 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health and Children the payments made to date and the payment yet to be made by her Department to a child care group in respect of a new child care facility (details supplied) in County Laois; if she is satisfied that all funds paid to date have been used in respect of the child care facility; if outstanding grant payments will be used for this purpose; if she is further satisfied with the financial arrangements regarding the provision of the new child care facility paid for by a grant from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6687/10]

I have responsibility for implementing the National Childcare Invention Programme 2005-2010 (NCIP), under which capital grant funding is made available to community and commercial child care providers for the development of child care facilities. I understand that the company in question was approved capital grant funding under the NCIP of up to €1 million in March 2007, to develop a child care facility and that the facility in question is at an advanced stage. I also understand from Pobal, who assist my Office in administering the NCIP, that €910,494 of the capital grant has been paid to the company to date and all reporting requirements in relation to eligible expenditure under the NCIP have been complied with.

Medical Cards.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

266 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [6708/10]

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

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

267 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding foreign adoptions and in particular in relation to persons who have been waiting years to complete the adoption process; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6650/10]

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

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

I announced on 26 January my intention to bring forward on 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.

Applicants for inter-country adoption must undergo a detailed statutory assessment process, which is undertaken by professional social workers, and must be approved by the Adoption Board before a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to adopt abroad can be issued to them from the board.

I acknowledge that persons applying for inter-country adoption are currently experiencing unacceptably long delays as regards waiting times for assessment. Requests for assessment for inter-country adoption are continuously increasing and Ireland currently has one of the highest rates for inter-country adoption in Europe. The Health Service Executive has responsibility for the assessments of applicants for adoption through its social work service. I have asked the Health Service Executive to do everything possible to reduce waiting times and assessment times for prospective adopters which currently are excessively long. In addition, Part 13 of the Adoption Bill 2009 provides for the registration of accredited bodies to carry out aspects of the adoption process, including assessment.

Health Services.

Ned O'Keeffe

Question:

268 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an appeal lodged in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [6743/10]

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

Medical Cards.

Michael Ring

Question:

269 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if it will be processed. [6755/10]

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

Health Service Funding.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

270 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children when section 39 funding allocations will be announced. [6780/10]

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

Health Service Plan.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

271 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive is required to produce a national service plan for 2010; and when this will be available. [6781/10]

Under section 31(1) of the Health Act 2004, the HSE is required to prepare an annual National Service Plan. The plan must indicate the type and volume of health and personal social services to be provided by the HSE. I approved the HSE National Service Plan 2010 on 5 February 2010 under section 31(8) of the Health Act 2004. In approving the plan, I highlighted to the HSE the necessity that it delivers at a minimum, the levels of service set out in the plan as well as operating within the limits of its Voted allocation. During 2010, the HSE will provide me with detailed information related to service activity levels by way of monthly performance reports against the plan. The plan was laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas on Monday, 8 February 2010 in line with section 31(13) of the Health Act 2004 and was subsequently published on the HSE's website at www.hse.ie.

Vaccination Programme.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

272 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children the persons entitled to receive the HPV vaccine; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6784/10]

Deirdre Clune

Question:

273 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide the HPV vaccine to girls over 12 years who would be at risk for family reasons of contracting cervical cancer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6785/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 272 and 273 together.

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.

Question No. 274 answered with Question No. 210.

Adoption Services.

Michael McGrath

Question:

275 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children when she expects the Adoption Bill 2009 to be enacted. [6796/10]

The Adoption Bill 2009 was published in January 2009 and completed all stages in the Seanad by May 2009. Second Stage was commenced in Dáil Éireann on 18 November 2009 and completed on 21 January 2010. Committee Stage is scheduled to commence on 17 February 2010 and it is hoped that the Bill will complete its passage through both Houses shortly thereafter.

Inter-Country Adoptions.

Michael McGrath

Question:

276 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the list of countries that are currently Hague compliant in terms of inter-country adoption; the implications for couples intending to adopt from non-Hague countries who will not have received their declaration of eligibility prior to the enactment of the Bill. [6797/10]

The Adoption Board has provided a list of countries/territories that are compliant/non-compliant with Hague and/or Irish Adoption Law. Details are available on the Adoption Board website at www.adoptionboard.ie. The Adoption Bill 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of inter-country adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future inter-country adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted.

The current policy position, as set out in the Adoption Bill 2009, is that for an adoption to be registered under the Bill it must be effected in a contracting State to the Hague Convention or in a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement. In addition I announced on 26 January my intention to bring forward on 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.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Michael McGrath

Question:

277 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide information regarding public hospital waiting lists (details supplied). [6800/10]

The management of out-patient waiting lists is a matter for the HSE and the individual hospitals concerned. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

Michael McGrath

Question:

278 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide information regarding public hospital waiting lists for surgery (details supplied). [6801/10]

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

Health Service Properties.

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

279 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children the Health Service Executive plans for a house (details supplied) in Dublin 4; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6802/10]

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

Health Service Staff.

Dan Neville

Question:

280 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health and Children the regulatory regime for psychotherapists. [6804/10]

The ongoing regulatory programme undertaken by my Department has seen the introduction of the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005, providing for statutory registration for 12 designated health and social care professional grades. The structure of the system of statutory registration will comprise a registration board for each of the professions to be registered, a health and social care professionals council with overall responsibility for the regulatory system and a committee to deal with disciplinary matters.

As a first step in the implementation of the system of statutory registration, I launched the Health and Social Care Professionals Council in March 2007. The CEO and an administrative staff member were appointed in 2008 and an additional two senior administrative staff took up duty with the council in late 2009. These appointments will greatly assist the council in its ongoing work in preparing for the establishment of the individual registration boards, the first of which (the Social Work Registration Board) is to be established shortly. The council is currently working to put in place the necessary structures for registration, education and fitness to practise for the 12 health and social care professions designated in the Act and it is hoped to bring additional registration boards on stream in late 2010.

The Health and Social Care Professionals Council will enable health and social care professionals to practise in a regulated, controlled and safe environment and in a manner which will ensure the provision of high-quality interventions, meeting the challenges of increasingly complex and evolving care for service users. While the proposed system of statutory registration applies, in the first instance to 12 health and social care professions, the legislation empowers the Minister for Health and Children to include, on the basis of specific criteria, additional health and social care professions in the regulatory system by regulation over time, as appropriate. However, the priority for the Health and Social Care Professionals Council is to establish statutory registration for the 12 designated health and social care professions in the first instance. The issue of inclusion of other grades, such as psychotherapists, within the scope of statutory registration will be considered after the initial designated 12 professional grades have been fully dealt with.

Medical Cards.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

281 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if a medical card will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6842/10]

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

Assisted Human Reproduction.

John O'Mahony

Question:

282 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will introduce legislation to protect human embryos outside the womb. [6854/10]

The Supreme Court recently decided in the RvR (frozen embryos)case that the frozen embryos at issue in the case do not have the constitutional protection of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution. It is my intention to bring forward proposals to Government later this year with a view to drafting legislation to govern the area of Assisted Human Reproduction and related practices. The work involved in developing these proposals will examine and consider — among other things — the issues arising from the frozen embryos Supreme Court judgment.

Question No. 283 answered with Question No. 212.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

David Stanton

Question:

284 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of repayments made under the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006 to date; the number of cases in which funds have been deposited into patient private property accounts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6949/10]

The Health Service Executive has responsibility for administering the Health Repayment Scheme in conjunction with the appointed scheme administrator KPMG accountants and McCann Fitzgerald solicitors. A total of 35,300 claims have been received for the scheme. In excess of 35,000 or 99.3 % of all claims have been concluded. To date a total of 18,898 repayments of maintenance charges to the value of €423 million have been processed under the scheme. This includes 4,463 repayments deposited to patient private property accounts valued at €112 million. The remaining claims are being progressed currently and it is expected that these will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Hospital Closures.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

285 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children when it is proposed to close Heatherside Hospital, County Cork; if consideration has been given to retaining the hospital within the Health Service Executive with a view to changing its use to cater to the local population as a community facility; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7001/10]

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

Food Labelling.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

286 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the introduction of traffic light colour coding for food packaging to indicate the relative healthiness of the food product; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3852/10]

The issue of the presentation of the mandatory nutrition declaration is currently being considered in the context of the EU proposal for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumers. This proposal was introduced in January 2008. Since then, it has been discussed at an EU working group, on which Ireland is represented by the Department of Health and Children and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

The proposal makes allowance for a mandatory nutrition declaration. This will compel the Food Business Operator to display the food's energy value, the amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt. During the course of the working group's discussions, consideration has been given to the best way in which to present the declaration. Two of the main forms of presentation are Traffic Lights and Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs). The former involves the use of red, yellow and green colours on the label to indicate if a product is healthy or not. The latter is a more detailed system, involving the display of the percentage of the consumer's Guideline Daily Amount contained in the food, for each of the main nutrients.

The group considers that it is difficult to determine a preference for one method of presentation over the other. While the proposal may not be finalised until late 2010 at the earliest, it seems likely that the group will recommend that both schemes of presentation should be permitted. Ireland considers this to be the best course of action.

Health Service Staff.

Deirdre Clune

Question:

287 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the level of orthodontic services based in St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork; the number of orthodontists employed in the Cork region; the number of patients on the waiting lists for orthodontic services in the Cork region; the length of waiting time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7015/10]

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

Departmental Programmes.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

288 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of civil and public servants that have signed up for the cycle to work scheme; the cost of the scheme to date in 2010. [7577/10]

Under the cycle to work scheme, the Department advances the cost of the cycle and equipment to the relevant staff members, who then repay the cost net of tax by way of deduction from salary over 12 months. The principal cost of the scheme to the State is the tax relief given to participants. To date 26 staff in my Department have availed of the cycle to work scheme and in 2010 staff have purchased cycles to the value of €1,362.00 under the scheme.

Cycle Facilities.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

289 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the completion of the Sutton to Sandycove cycle and walking track, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6300/10]

My Department meets with Dublin City Council on a regular basis in relation to a number of cycling projects, including the Sutton to Sandycove route, which I am anxious to progress. I am pleased to report that progress is being made on the route. A key section of the Sutton to Sandycove route (i.e. from Sir John Rogerson's Quay via the Samuel Beckett Bridge to Fairview) forms part of the Dublin City premium cycle route from Portobello to Fairview Park that I have pledged to support in 2010. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is also providing funding for this section.

With regard to other sections of the route I have previously expressed my concern to Dublin City Council about the potential cost of proposals that are emerging in relation to some of these. I am particularly concerned in relation to any expectation that the provision of premium cycling infrastructure along this route must necessarily involve very substantial costs associated with design approaches which are not appropriate to the current economic circumstances or are primarily related to coastal protection works. My officials will continue to engage with Dublin City Council to get solutions which offer the best value for money for cycling and walking.

Michael McGrath

Question:

290 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport if funding is available for schools wishing to erect a bicycle shelter on campus. [6098/10]

My Department, through the then Dublin Transportation Office, supported in 2008 and 2009 the provision of cycling parking facilities in schools which actively participated in An Taisce's Green-Schools Travel Programme and which demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of cycling. 790 spaces in 39 schools were provided in 2008 and a further 1,790 spaces in 114 schools were provided in 2009.

Data from that programme indicates that the best results are achieved from providing cycle parking in schools in conjunction with cycling training — which, along with other alternative sustainable travel options, my Department also supports through the programme. Where this was done, a six-fold increase in cycling rates was achieved in urban schools and almost a three-fold increase in rural schools. I envisage that support for cycle parking in schools in 2010 will be channelled through the Green Schools Travel Programme and through a number of projects that will be delivered with support from the Smarter Travel Projects Fund. I am pleased to say that I am making €2 million available this year to support the Green Schools Travel Programme.

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

291 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6153/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

294 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6325/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 291 and 294 together.

CHC Ireland Limited have been granted a contract for more than €15 million for the provision of search and rescue helicopter services for the Irish Coast Guard.

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

292 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Transport the number of external consultants currently working for or in his Department; the work they are carrying out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6207/10]

There are currently seven external consultants working for my Department. The work they are carrying out is contained in the following table:

The Work being carried out

EU Article 4 checks on Irish rail expenditure under the ESIOP.

Aviation Adviser for the Irish Coast Guard Search & Rescue Helicopter service

Process Auditor for new Irish Coast Guard Search & Rescue Helicopter service tender procedure.

To assess the quality and robustness of project development and implementation of selected Transport 21 projects with regard to compliance with the appraisal and procurement guidelines.

To give advice on the financial, economic and technical aspects of the Transport 21 Capital Investment Programme

To review compliance by the State Agencies responsible for the delivery of transport infrastructure with the appraisal and procurement guidelines during the project appraisal stage

Review of DoT Guidelines on Common Appraisal Framework, reviewing Transport 21 Project Business Cases and drafting post project review methodology

Due Diligence Report on Arklow Harbour

Road Network.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

293 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport when the stretch of road between Ballindine and Miltown on the N17 will be improved in view of the fact that this was the scene of a tragic accident in November 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6308/10]

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

310 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport the measures taken to prevent such tragedies as the 17 November 2009 incident, in which four young persons lost their lives on the N17 between Mayo and Galway, from happening in the future; if he will sign an on-line petition in support of the families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6956/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293 and 310 together.

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme element of Transport 21. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads, including the N17 between Ballindine and Miltown, is a matter for the National Roads Authority under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Question No. 294 answered with Question No. 291.

Rail Network.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

295 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the number of kilometres of the rail network here that are electrified; the way this compares with railway electrification in states across the EU; the measures he proposes to increase the level of rail electrification here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6443/10]

Matters relating to the development of the rail network, including electrification, are a matter for Iarnród Eireann in the first instance. I have asked the company to respond directly to the Deputy with the statistical information sought. The DART underground programme will involve a significant expansion in the number of kilometres of electrified track. The Deputy will be aware that since 1 December 2009 rail investment in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA), including the development of the DART underground programme, is a matter which comes under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). There are currently no plans for additional electrification of rail lines other than the works under the DART underground programme.

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

296 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Transport if all the portable electrical equipment in his Department and subsidiary companies have portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6454/10]

My Department implements an ongoing PAT programme in order to ensure that portable equipment used in Departmental premises is maintained in a manner fit for safe use. Comprehensive reports were prepared by an external consultant engaged for this purpose in 2007 in respect of the Department's main premises at 25 Clare Street, 44 Kildare Street, Frederick Buildings (South Frederick Street) and 59 Dawson Street, Dublin 2. These buildings house the great majority of the Department's staff. A number of minor issues arose from these tests and appropriate remedial action was taken. Records of this programme are retained.

It is planned to test portable equipment in remaining Department premises later this year and in the event of any safety issues arising remedial action will again be taken to eliminate any safety concerns. In so far as agencies under the aegis of my Department is concerned, this is a matter for direct attention by the agencies themselves.

Road Network.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

297 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the Department to whom responsibility for keeping roads passable lies in the event of adverse weather conditions; the Minister in overall charge; the person who has authority to call on the assistance of the Army; if the National Roads Authority is responsible for providing and spreading gritting materials on national primary roads; his views on whether one authority should take responsibility for all roads here in the event of a major weather emergency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2459/10]

Local authorities have statutory responsibility for the maintenance of all public roads under section 13 of the Roads Act 1993 and this includes winter maintenance. Funding for winter maintenance of national roads is allocated to local authorities by the National Roads Authority (NRA). I provide grants in respect of regional and local roads to supplement local authorities' own resources. These allocations are inclusive of a weather risk factor and local authorities are expressly advised to set aside contingency sums to finance weather related works.

My Department has commenced a review of the transport aspects of the recent severe weather and that will include consideration of whether there should be any organisational changes of the type referred to by the Deputy. During the recent severe weather the Defence Forces were available on request to assist local authorities. While the priority was to provide assistance for emergencies the Defence Forces were available to assist in other ways including with transport and personnel. Under the Strategic Emergency Planning Guidance the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government has the lead role in co-ordinating the national response to severe weather and my Department has a major support role in relation to the transport-related aspects of that response.

Rail Network.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

298 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport the cost to date of the Kildare route project; and the expected expenditure to complete the project in full. [6625/10]

Since 1 December 2009, this is a matter which comes under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). The Oireachtas Liaison Officer for the NTA is Mr. Matt Benville, The National Transport Authority, 59 Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

Rural Transport.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

299 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport if he has been briefed by Bus Éireann on the recently announced programme of cutbacks to routes and services; if his attention has been drawn to the cancellation of the morning Bus Éireann service from Carrigans via St. Johnston and Raphoe in County Donegal which affects many communities in east Donegal; the steps he is taking to address the problem of the public transport gap in rural communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6738/10]

I have been briefed on the measures being taken by Bus Eireann to ensure its financial viability. Decisions in relation to individual services are matters for the company with the approval, where necessary in the case of subvented services, of the National Transport Authority.

Shipping Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

300 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the degree to which he will encourage and develop sea transport with reference to the development of the ports and harbours, roll-on roll-off services and increased frequency and location of ferry services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6806/10]

As Minister for Transport I feel it is important that the market offers a diverse range of viable maritime links in and out of the State. This is vital to facilitate trade and tourism. Ireland has one of the most extensive short sea networks in Europe with multiple operators and various alternative modes of shipping available. Our roll-on roll-off and ferry services between Ireland and the UK are amongst the most frequently served services in Europe. Any new services must be market driven. Over the past decade we have seen a 68% increase in the amount of freight capacity services serving the Ireland to UK and European markets.

Ireland is well served by ferry links to the UK and continental Europe. These links are frequent and competitive. The services can be viewed on an interactive map on the website of the Irish Maritime Development Office (www.imdo.ie). The Irish Government encourages intra and inter port competition for ferry services which has been facilitated by the infrastructural and capacity developments at our ports. Shipping operates in a highly liberalised global market environment, which has enhanced competition on the key Irish routes. The ongoing development of our shipping network has provided the Irish market with more competition, choice and frequency in accessing the global market place.

My Department through its agency the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) continues to support and assist Irish and foreign owners establish new shipping services, providing them with expert market intelligence and analysis.

Rail Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

301 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the intended investment and expenditure on the expansion of all sections of the rail service, current and proposed, in the next three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6807/10]

Since 1 December 2009, rail investment in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) is a matter which comes under the remit of the National Transport Authority (NTA). In regard to rail investment outside the GDA, we have made clear in our renewed programme for Government that we remain committed to the provision of a safe and efficient network of rail services. A major focus of rail investment in the coming years will be continued investment in the safety of the rail network through the Third Railway Safety Programme, 2009-2013, and I am pleased to say that I have been able to allocate €96 million to this programme in 2010.

In general, given the current difficult funding environment, it will not be possible to progress all the projects in Transport 21 in accordance with the ambitious timescale envisioned at its launch. I am committed however to maintain investment to the maximum amount possible, and to progress planning where possible so that we are in a position to move swiftly to construction as and when funding becomes available. This applies in particular to phases 2 and 3 of the Western Rail Corridor, and to the second phase of the Cork commuter rail project, on the Cork-Mallow line.

Road Safety.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

302 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the number of road accident blackspots currently publicly identified on the various road networks throughout the country; if requests have been received for funding to address this issue from either the National Roads Authority or the local authorities as appropriate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6808/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

303 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if, from his Department’s Vote, head or subhead, it might be appropriate to allocate funding to the National Roads Authority or the local authorities for the specific purpose of addressing road accident blackspots throughout the country; the extent to which funding has been requested for that purpose in the past; the degree to which he will respond in the future having regard to the public comment on the issue. [6809/10]

I propose to take Questions 302 and 303 together.

The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national road projects is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Acts 1993 to 2007 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. I understand that the NRA each year provides funds for safety related works on national roads. The selection and prioritisation of projects to be funded is a matter for the NRA in conjunction with the relevant the local authority.

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.

Since 2000, road grants have been paid from my Department's regional and local road grant allocations to local authorities under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Works Scheme for regional and local roads. Funding is allocated to locations which show possible contributory factors or accident patterns which may respond to low cost road improvements. In 2009, grants totalling €5.86 million were paid under the scheme to local authorities. I will announce the 2010 regional and local road grant allocations shortly.

Air Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

304 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which airport charges here compare with the charges in other airports at similar locations throughout Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6810/10]

As I have previously informed the Deputy, the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) regulates airport charges levied at Dublin Airport. Charges at Cork and Shannon are set by the airport authority. Passenger charges levied at the six regional airports, which are owned and operated independently, are a matter for each airport concerned. In relation to comparable charges at other European Airports, I have been informed by the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) that independent research indicates that charges at Dublin are towards the lower end of a broad comparison group of the top airports in Europe. I also understand from the DAA that charges at Cork and Shannon also compare favourably with European benchmarks.

Transport 21.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

305 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which the Transport 21 proposals previously announced by him have been affected or are expected to be affected by the revised programme for Government; the way this compares with the previously announced programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6811/10]

In Transport 21, the Government identified the programmes and projects in the national roads, public transport and regional airports sectors that it wished to see prioritised for implementation in the ten-year period from 2006 to 2015 within an overall capital provision of €34 billion. These projects and programmes can be found on the Transport 21 website (www.transport21.ie). However, in the light of the changed economic circumstances, it has been necessary to review investment priorities across all Government Departments. The results of this review are reflected in the Renewed Programme for Government and my Department’s Transport 21 priorities for the coming years are as follows:

for national roads, the priorities are:

the completion by end 2010 of the five major inter-urban motorways and the M50 upgrade

the progression of the Atlantic Road Corridor.

for public transport, the priority is to deliver significantly increased long term capacity to the network through:

the construction of Metro North

the construction of DART Underground and the implementation of the associated electrification, signalling and rolling stock investments

investment in buses, bus priority and real time passenger information, subject to the implementation of the recent cost efficiency reviews and the availability of subvention

it is important that we continue planning other projects to enable their earliest possible delivery when the economic situation improves.

These priorities for investment are set out in the Renewed Programme for Government.

It is unlikely that all of the projects originally identified in Transport 21 will be completed by 2015. However, no projects have been cancelled and Transport 21 continues to provide the strategic framework for capital spending on transport infrastructure into the future.

Road Safety.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

306 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the way he envisages the recently announced 30 km/h speed limit for certain parts of Dublin city affecting transport costs if replicated throughout the country in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6813/10]

Statutory responsibility for the application of special speed limits through the making of special speed limit bye-laws is vested in the elected members of county councils and city councils. In setting a special speed limit a local authority must assess various factors with the primary focus being on road safety. It is, quite appropriately, a matter for the local authority to assess the various local factors at play in setting a special speed limit including any potential transport costs.

Departmental Expenditure.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

307 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport his proposals for investment in each segment of the transport sector over the next three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6814/10]

Transport 21 continues to provide the strategic framework for capital spending on transport infrastructure in the areas of national roads, public transport, and regional airports into the future. However, in the light of the changed economic circumstances, it has been necessary to review investment priorities across all Government Departments. The results of this review are reflected in the Renewed Programme for Government and in my Department's transport priorities for the coming years which are as follows:

Roads

My Department's priorities for national roads are the completion of the major inter-urban network and the M50 upgrade by end 2010 and the progression of the Atlantic Road Corridor. The priority for regional and local roads will be to maintain the current level of funding and to focus that expenditure on protecting existing investment on these roads.

Public Transport

In addition to completing a number of important projects which are already underway, the priority for public transport is to deliver significantly increased long term capacity to the network through:

the construction of Metro North;

the construction of Dart Underground and the implementation of the associated electrification, signalling and rolling stock investments;

investment in buses, bus priority and real time passenger information, subject to the implementation of the recent cost efficiency reviews and the availability of subvention.

Airports

State airport investment is funded by the Dublin Airport Authority without recourse to the Exchequer. The priority for Exchequer investment in regional airports is the completion of existing contractual commitments.

Sustainable Travel

The priority for sustainable travel is the completion of a number of projects that are currently under construction. Further projects will be started in 2010. In particular, schemes will be selected from the Smarter Travel Demonstration Areas Fund and the Smarter Travel Demonstration Projects Fund competitions. Details of these will be available on www.smartertravel.ie as progress is made.

Maritime Transport

Government ports policy states that the commercial port companies should fund capital investment projects from their own resources without recourse to the Exchequer. However the Department will continue to fund remedial works at regional harbours.

Planning

We will also continue planning other investment projects across the sector to enable their earliest possible delivery when the economic situation improves.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

308 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if moneys from the Vote for his Department under any heading or subheading have been allocated or awarded to any body, group or agency including the National Roads Authority or Kildare County Council; if mention was made to address the urgent need for road restoration following the recent weather conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6815/10]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to grant allocations made in respect of roads. The 2010 allocations for national roads were announced on 1st February 2010, the details of which are set out in the National Roads Authority document entitled: "Grant Allocations to local authorities for National Roads — 2010", a copy of which I recently had placed in the Oireachtas Library. Included in that document is a detailed breakdown of the allocations made to each local authority, including Kildare County Council, to fund both the improvement and the maintenance of national roads during the year. I will shortly announce the 2010 regional and local road grant allocations.

Road Safety.

Enda Kenny

Question:

309 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Transport if he has received a set of recommendations from Mayo County Council in respect of changes to the speed limit that apply in the county; when this proposal will be acted upon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6950/10]

I have not received recommendations from Mayo County Council in respect of changes to the speed limits that apply in that county. Statutory responsibility for the application of special speed limits through the making of special speed limit bye-laws is vested in the elected members of county councils and city councils.

Question No. 310 answered with Question No. 293.

Search and Rescue Service.

John O'Donoghue

Question:

311 Deputy John O’Donoghue asked the Minister for Transport if the second factory acceptance test on equipment for marine rescue in respect of an area (details supplied) in County Kerry which was due to start in early December 2009 has in fact commenced; if the said equipment which was expected prior to the end of December 2009 has been delivered; and when work will commence on the adaptation of this building. [6960/10]

The second factory acceptance test on all the Integrated Communications System (ICS) equipment was successfully completed in November 2009. The equipment for Valentia currently resides in the main Coast Guard Stores in Dublin. My Department is awaiting a report on the scale and cost of the works required at Malin Head and Valentia. This report will determine the order in which the work will be done. I will review the matter in the second quarter of 2010 with an intention that, subject to funding, work will commence on at least one of the Rescue Coordination Centres this year.

Child Support Payments.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

312 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding child maintenance and arrears outstanding; if he is committed to ensuring that maintenance payments are made when due; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6380/10]

I refer the Deputy to the reply to her Question No 369 on 2nd February 2010.

Parental Leave.

Emmet Stagg

Question:

313 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on the issue of paternity leave; and if he has had discussions with the Department of Social and Family Affairs on the issue. [6772/10]

My Department, in consultation with the social partners, is examining the issue of paternity leave as part of a review of maternity, parental and paternity leave as promised in the Agreed Programme for Government and the Social Partnership agreement "Towards 2016". I can confirm that officials from my Department have had discussions on the matter with the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

The issue of the introduction of a statutory entitlement to paternity leave was examined before, in 2002, by a working group made up of representatives of the social partners and relevant State bodies, as part of the review of the Parental Leave Act 1998. The working group could not reach a consensus on the issue. The possibility of introducing an entitlement to paternity leave has recently been raised at EU level at the European Parliament in the context of a review of maternity leave entitlements. My Department continues to examine the issue of maternity, parental and paternity leave, taking into account also developments at EU level.

Registration of Title.

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

314 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the Property Registration Authority’s move towards the e-conveyancing of land certificates, specifically pertaining to documents that have been saved and the location at which they are being kept; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6955/10]

I would like to refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 366 of 2 February, 2010 which sets out the position in relation to this matter.

Residency Permits.

Willie Penrose

Question:

315 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath for review of a decision, in respect of the refusal to grant them the appropriate rights pursuant to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, will be heard; if same will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6075/10]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person concerned made an application for residence in the State based on his marriage to a British national on 30 January 2009. The person referred to by the Deputy was informed of the decision to refuse his application on 7 July 2009. A request by the applicant and his spouse for a review of this decision was received on 8 September 2009. All applications for review are dealt with in chronological order of date of receipt and the decision to refuse this application remains under review.

Asylum Applications.

Finian McGrath

Question:

316 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support the case of a person (details supplied). [6122/10]

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 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 (as amended) 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. For such an application to be successful it would need to 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 based on all the information at my disposal. Once such a decision has been made, this decision, and the consequences of the decision, will be conveyed in writing to the persons concerned.

Departmental Procurement.

Joe McHugh

Question:

317 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €10 million in the period 2000 to 2010. [6150/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

336 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the companies that have been granted contracts for projects worth more than €15 million in the period 2000 to date in 2010. [6322/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 317 and 336 together.

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.

Joe Costello

Question:

318 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of promotional posts within the Garda Síochána that remain unfilled because of budgetary cutbacks; the number of such posts that have been filled but remain unpaid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6154/10]

As of 31st December 2009 the strength of the force was 14,547 with an additional 232 students in training. While some 700 members of the force retired in 2009 over 900 students were attested as sworn members in the same period. The Deputy will be aware that I recently secured sanction from the Minister for Finance for a significant derogation from the moratorium on recruitment and appointments in the public service. As a result of this some 170 positions will be filled in An Garda Síochána in the very near future. The Commissioner is in the process of organising competitions from which successful candidates will be promoted to fill vacancies throughout the force and it is expected that this process will be completed as soon as is practicable.

Garda Deployment.

Joe Costello

Question:

319 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda officers who are community gardaí; the percentage of the force that are community gardaí; if he will establish a promotional path for community gardaí within An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6156/10]

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. Personnel attached to Community Policing are eligible to go forward for promotion through a competitive process which is regulated by the terms of the Garda Síochána (Promotion) Regulations (Statutory Instrument No 485 of 2006). There is no provision for a special promotion system for Community Gardaí.

Registration of Title.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

320 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that important information is being lost as a result of the shredding of documents as a result of the Property Registration Authority’s move towards e-conveyancing; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that such documents are of enormous benefit to persons wishing to research their family tree; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6162/10]

I take it that the Deputy is referring to a newspaper article which appeared in the "Irish Times” on 23 December, 2009. I would like to refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 366 of 2 February, 2010 which sets out the position in relation to this matter.

Visa Applications.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

321 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will be given on an application for a visa in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6163/10]

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.

Consultancy Contracts.

Damien English

Question:

322 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of external consultants currently working for or in his Department; the work they are carrying out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6204/10]

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 Deployment.

Jack Wall

Question:

323 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the criteria that determine the allocation of community gardaí to an area; if it is as a percentage of population, the number of gardaí attached to a station or the status of the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6223/10]

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, socioeconomic factors, and census information.

Policing in local communities, either rural or urban, is a matter for all Gardaí and not just those assigned to the role 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 website www.garda.ie.

Jack Wall

Question:

324 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of community gardaí attached to the new Kildare division of An Garda Síochána; the stations that they are attached to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6231/10]

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.

Jack Wall

Question:

325 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied that gardaí will provide proper services to a town (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the fact that the Garda complement of numbers as allocated for the specific area is short a sergeant and five gardaí due to retirements, promotions, transfers and so on; if the embargo will be lifted to provide the replacements to ensure a full complement of staff for the area to overcome the undue stress that is being placed on the present staff due to such shortages; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6238/10]

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, socioeconomic factors, and census information.

The Deputy will be aware that I recently secured sanction from the Minister for Finance for a significant derogation from the moratorium on recruitment and appointments in the public service. The Commissioner is in the process of organising competitions from which successful candidates will be promoted to fill vacancies in the force and it is expected that this will be completed as soon as is practicable. 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.

Closed Circuit Television Systems.

Jack Wall

Question:

326 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a local authority (details supplied) has made an application for funding to his Department regarding the provision of closed circuit television for a town within its area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6239/10]

I regret that the specific information requested in relation to the local authority referred to by the Deputy is not readily to hand. I will write to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Joe McHugh

Question:

327 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to individuals to whom bench warrants have been issued and are still outstanding who continue to claim social welfare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6267/10]

The matter referred to by the Deputy has not been brought to my attention. I will revert to the Deputy when relevant information becomes available.

Garda Strength.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

328 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of garda retirements in every rank in the new Galway Garda division in 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6278/10]

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.

Visa Applications.

Damien English

Question:

329 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding a visa application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath. [6279/10]

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.

Willie Penrose

Question:

330 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will expedite an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6281/10]

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:

331 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an application for citizenship will be concluded in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6285/10]

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:

332 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress of an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; when the process will be concluded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6286/10]

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.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

333 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6289/10]

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.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

334 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in Cork who is awaiting subsidiary protection and leave to remain; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6292/10]

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.

Garda Security Escorts.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

335 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost to the Exchequer of cash in transit escorts for security companies over the past five years; the changes he has recently made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6299/10]

The situation with regard to cash escorts and the recovery of costs from the banking industry has developed over the last few years from a situation whereby the banks made a flat contribution, regardless of costs, to the situation that currently obtains, whereby an agreed formula is used to calculate the costs incurred by the State and a mechanism employed which secures close to full recovery of these costs from the banking industry. In 2005 the costs incurred by the Garda Síochána in respect of cash escorts were in the order of €6.1 million. The flat contribution made by the banking industry to these costs was €4.25 million (this amount was paid in 2006 — the banks' contribution to the costs of one year is paid in arrears the following year). The net cost to the Exchequer in respect of cash escorts in 2005 was therefore in the order of €1.85 million.

In respect of the costs of cash escorts incurred in 2006 onwards, these are dealt with by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the then Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform in May 2007. This MoU allows for the recovery of the costs of cash escorts from the banks. The costs are calculated using a formula which takes into account a number of factors including pay and allowances, subsistence, overtime, fuel and transport costs. The total arrived at is then discounted by 10%. This discount was agreed on the basis that the Government has always taken the view that there is a public interest issue in relation to the secure movement of cash. In addition, the decision to provide an escort is made by the Gardaí on an operational basis, not at the request of the banks and the discount acknowledges this.

The amounts received from the banking industry since the MoU was signed, in respect of the banks' contribution to the costs of Garda cash escorts, as calculated using the formula described above, are listed below:

2006 — €4,997,126;

2007 — €4,881,265;

2008 — €4,823,000.

Please note that, as with the 2005 figure of €4.25 million, these payments were all received in the following year to that in which the costs were incurred. The figure for 2009 is not yet available.

Question No. 336 answered with Question No. 317.

Work Permits.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

337 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will assist a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 to regain their Garda national immigration bureau stamp four; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6327/10]

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.

Prison Staff.

Dan Neville

Question:

338 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [6342/10]

It has not been possible to ascertain the position on this issue in the time available for reply. The information will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Dan Neville

Question:

339 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prison officers appointed to the Prison Service in 2009; the number of prison officers in Portlaoise Prison; the number who were appointed to Portlaoise Prison in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6346/10]

It has not been possible to provide the information required in the time available for reply. The information will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Criminal Assets Bureau.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

340 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of money the operations of the Criminal Assets Bureau cost annually since its foundation. [6353/10]

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.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

341 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of moneys and the value of assets seized by the Criminal Asset Bureau annually; and the amount of money that has been returned to the Exchequer annually since its inception. [6354/10]

The Criminal Assets Bureau, pursuant to its statutory remit, has pursued the proceeds of crime by using powers granted under the relevant Proceeds of Crime legislation and provisions under the Revenue and Finance Acts, and legislation and regulations under the Department of Social & Family Affairs. The following tables show the monies and estimated value of assets seized under each of the relevant headings from 1996 to 2008. The figures for 2009 are currently being compiled.

Table 1

Section 2 Interim Orders

Section 3 Interlocutory Orders

Section 4 and 4A

Section16(b)

1996

£2,101,000.00

£2,048,000.00

1997

£2,334,680.00

£1,496,180.00

1998

£1,682,544.65

£1,091,412.62

1999

£1,500,000.00

£813,659.00

2000

£838,536.00

£1,641,215.00

Stg£52,230.00

2001

£1,872,654.72

£1,342,951.10

(€2,377,781.00)

(€1,705,196.15)

Stg£491,114.09

Stg£279,635.70

Total 1996-2001

IR£10,329,415.37

IR£8,433,417.72

Euro Equivalent

€13,115,652.02

€10,708,231.61

2002

€3,709,086.00

€2,504,669.00

Stg£17,802,004.00

Stg£1,993,094.00

US$ 5,558,377.00

US$ 5,247,821.00

2003

€3,045,842.00

€71,699.00

Stg£12,150.00

Stg£557,070.00

2004

€1,027,152.18

€1,688,651.63

€275,875.43

Stg£6,115

Stg£375.00

2005

€5,860,335.00

€1,200,525.57

€2,002,738.41

US$314,619.54

Stg£26,760

US$130,000

2006

€2,836,479.97

€726,350.94

€2,459,864.79

€53,000,000

Stg£294, 289.39

2007

€9,804,193.14

€9,848,432.84

€1,435,340.59

Stg30,690.00

2008

€5,022,050.89

€2,501,802.57

€2,802,460.37

Stg4,860.00

Stg150,314.76

Totals 1996-2007

€44,420,791.20

€29,250,363.16

€8,976,279.59

€53,000,000

Stg£18,693,452.48

Stg£3,007,249.46

US$5,872,996.54

US$5,377,821.00

Table 2: Taxes and Interest

Year Ending

Taxes Assessed

Taxes & Interest Demanded

Taxes Collected

31/12/1996

£3,151,893.00

£3,443,998.00

£0.00

31/12/1997

£6,258,169.00

£5,210,687.00

£198,230.00

31/12/1998

£6,544,047.00

£10,794,598.00

£621,749.00

31/12/1999

£7,853,356.00

£13,454,013.00

£2,361,280.00

31/12/2000

£9,935,088.00

£4,858,216.00

£6,769,218.00

31/12/2001

£14,678,657.00

£6,571,986.00

£18,556,321.00

Total 1996-2001 Irish Punts

£48,421,210.00

£44,333,498.00

£28,506,798.00

Euro Equivalent

€61,482,254.14

€56,291,930.00

€36,196,166.00

31/12/2002

€9,954,554.00

€12,830,763.00

€10,003,816.00

31/12/2003

€7,405,114.00

€7,198,272.00

€9,991,022.00

31/1220/04

€5,519,473.75

€5,497,448.58

€16,408,649.08

31/12/2005

€14,078,811.95

€4,888,817.85

€16,376,598.71

31/12/2006

€13,720,476.72

€16,473,749.55

€19,192,906.56

31/12/2007

€18,370,867.10

€19,130,179.43

€10,009,459.27

31/12/2008

€23,435,212.28

€13,922,430.83

€5,891,624.85

Total

€153,966,763.94

€136,233,591.24

€124,070,242.47

Table 3: Social Welfare Statistics

Year

Overpayments Assessed

Savings

Sums Recovered

1996

£33,234.75

£0.00

1997

£185,769.30

£233,618.64

1998

£281,072.63

£221,474.00

1999

£327,755.00

£268,974.00

2000

£0.00

£108,011.30

2001

£249,976.00

£151,845.00

€166,279.82

Total 1996-2001 Irish Punts

£1,077,807.68

£983,922.94

Euro equivalent

€1,368,533.45

€1,249,324.42

2002

€350,347.00

€155,481.00

€51,909.36

2003

€518,885.00

€109,654.00

€199,702.77

2004

€262,048.84

€222,921.40

€273,073.61

2005

€338,296.00

€216,054.00

€293,948.00

2006

€439,703.77

€297,743.80

€139,524.42

2007

€531,957.71

€550,976.80

€136,623.59

2008

€358,725.63

€712,615.60

€182,198.30

Total

€4,168,497.40

€3,514,771.02

€1,443,259.87

The amounts of moneys returned to the exchequer under the Proceeds of Crime Act are listed as follows:

Year

Total for 2003

82,437.32

Total for 2004

341,023.95

Total for 2005

2,008,938.41

Total for 2006

2,970,589.51

Total for 2007

254,651.94

Total for 2008

6,129,313.63

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

342 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the value of assets and moneys currently held by the Criminal Assets Bureau or awaiting court orders allowing disposal of properties; the amount of money expected to be transferred to the Exchequer from the CAB in 2010 and into the near future. [6355/10]

The Criminal Assets Bureau, pursuant to its statutory remit, has pursued the proceeds of crime by using powers granted under the relevant Proceeds of Crime legislation and provisions under the Revenue and Finance Acts, and legislation and regulations under the Department of Social & Family Affairs. Monies collected under the provisions of the relevant revenue and Social Welfare legislation are returned to their respective Departments with other monies being returned to the Exchequer.

It is not possible to predict the amount of monies which will be transferred to the Exchequer during 2010 until an Order has been perfected by the High Court or money has been collected under the Taxes or Social Welfare Acts. The following table shows the monies and estimated value of assets seized under each of the relevant headings from 1996 to 2008. Figures for 2009 are currently being compiled.

Table 1

Section 2 Interim Orders

Section 3 Interlocutory Orders

Section 4 and 4A

Section 16(b)

1996

£2,101,000.00

£2,048,000.00

1997

£2,334,680.00

£1,496,180.00

1998

£1,682,544.65

£1,091,412.62

1999

£1,500,000.00

£813,659.00

2000

£838,536.00

£1,641,215.00

Stg£52,230.00

2001

£1,872,654.72

£1,342,951.10

(€2,377,781.00)

(€1,705,196.15)

Stg£ 491,114.09

Stg£ 279,635.70

Total 1996-2001

IR£10,329,415.37

IR£8,433,417.72

Euro Equivalent

€13,115,652.02

€10,708,231.61

2002

€3,709,086.00

€2,504,669.00

Stg£17,802,004.00

Stg£1,993,094.00

US$5,558,377.00

US$5,247,821.00

2003

€3,045,842.00

€71,699.00

Stg£12,150.00

Stg£557,070.00

2004

€1,027,152.18

€1,688,651.63

€275,875.43

Stg£6,115

Stg£375.00

2005

€5,860,335.00

€1,200,525.57

€2,002,738.41

US$314,619.54

Stg£26,760

US$130,000

2006

€2,836,479.97

€726,350.94

€2,459,864.79

€53,000,000

Stg£294,289.39

2007

€9,804,193.14

€9,848,432.84

€1,435,340.59

Stg30,690.00

2008

€5,022,050.89

€2,501,802.57

€2,802,460.37

Stg4,860.00

Stg150,314.76

Totals 1996-2008

€44,420,791.20

€29,250,363.16

€8,976,279.59

€53,000,000

Stg£18,693,452.48

Stg£3,007,249.46

US$5,872,996.54

US$5,377,821.00

Table 2: Taxes and Interest

Year Ending

Taxes Assessed

Taxes & Interest Demanded

Taxes Collected

31/12/1996

£3,151,893.00

£3,443,998.00

£0.00

31/12/1997

£6,258,169.00

£5,210,687.00

£198,230.00

31/12/1998

£6,544,047.00

£10,794,598.00

£621,749.00

31/12/1999

£7,853,356.00

£13,454,013.00

£2,361,280.00

31/12/2000

£9,935,088.00

£4,858,216.00

£6,769,218.00

31/12/2001

£14,678,657.00

£6,571,986.00

£18,556,321.00

Total 1996-2001 Irish Punts

£48,421,210.00

£44,333,498.00

£28,506,798.00

€ Equivalent

€61,482,254.14

€56,291,930.00

€36,196,166.00

31/12/2002

€9,954,554.00

€12,830,763.00

€10,003,816.00

31/12/2003

€7,405,114.00

€7,198,272.00

€9,991,022.00

31/12/2004

€5,519,473.75

€5,497,448.58

€16,408,649.08

31/12/2005

€14,078,811.95

€4,888,817.85

€16,376,598.71

31/12/2006

€13,720,476.72

€16,473,749.55

€19,192,906.56

31/12/2007

€18,370,867.10

€19,130,179.43

€10,009,459.27

31/12/2008

€23,435,212.28

€13,922,430.83

€5,891,624.85

Total

€153,966,763.94

€136,233,591.24

€124,070,242.47

Table 3: Social Welfare Statistics

Year

Overpayments Assessed

Savings

Sums Recovered

1996

£33,234.75

£0.00

1997

£185,769.30

£233,618.64

1998

£281,072.63

£221,474.00

1999

£327,755.00

£268,974.00

2000

£0.00

£108,011.30

2001

£249,976.00

£151,845.00

€166,279.82

Total 1996-2001 Irish Punts

£1,077,807.68

£983,922.94

Euro equivalent

€1,368,533.45

€1,249,324.42

2002

€350,347.00

€155,481.00

€51,909.36

2003

€518,885.00

€109,654.00

€199,702.77

2004

€262,048.84

€222,921.40

€273,073.61

2005

€338,296.00

€216,054.00

€293,948.00

2006

€439,703.77

€297,743.80

€139,524.42

2007

€531,957.71

€550,976.80

€136,623.59

2008

€358,725.63

€712,615.60

€182,198.30

Total

€4,168,497.40

€3,514,771.02

€1,443,259.87

Garda Deployment.

Pat Breen

Question:

343 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of vacant positions in all ranks in the Clare Garda division; his plans to fill these vacancies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6381/10]

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.

Prisoner Releases.

Brian O'Shea

Question:

344 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners sentenced to eight months imprisonment or under, that have been released on licence since 1 January 2009 and to date in 2010; the length of the sentence that has been served in each case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6391/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the gathering of all the detailed information requested would require a disproportionate and inordinate amount of staff time and effort and could not be justified in current circumstances where there are other significant demands on resources. I have been advised that on 5th February 2010 there were 613 prisoners in total 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.

Asylum Applications.

Denis Naughten

Question:

345 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the longest waiting time to date for a final decision on an asylum application in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6394/10]

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.

Health and Safety Regulations.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

346 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if all the portable electrical equipment in his Department and subsidiary or grant aided companies such as the Courts Service of Ireland, An Garda Síochána, Irish Prison Service and so on, have portable appliance test certificates as required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulation S.I. No. 299 of 2007; if not, the reason for same; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a PAT must be carried out on all moveable electrical equipment in offices, centres and so on, to ensure the safety and welfare of both employees and employers; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that records of all such tests must be kept for at least five years to allow the Health and Safety Authority to carry out random spot checks and that insurance companies and underwriters are already seeking proof of compliance prior to renewal of policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6466/10]

S.I. No. 299 of 2007 does not require the issue of a certificate for all portable electrical equipment but only for portable electrical which falls under section 81(1)(c)(i) and (ii). I can inform the Deputy that my Department uses competent qualified electricians to carry out appropriate maintenance on all electrical equipment.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

347 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 Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6497/10]

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.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

348 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has initiated a review of the national disability strategy; if so, the terms of reference of the review; the agency or person who is carrying out the review; when the review will be complete; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6611/10]

Irefer the Deputy to my reply to his Question No. 78 of 10 November 2009. I have nothing further to add to the details of that reply.

Departmental Agencies.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

349 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the national property services regulatory authority; the cost to date in 2010 and the ongoing costs of the NPSRA; the number of personnel employed; the expenditure on salaries and the location of their offices; the expenditure and the actual function of the NPSRA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6636/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the Auctioneering/Estate Agency Review Group recommended the establishment of the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) and that the Government decided that the Authority should be established on a statutory basis. The Property Services (Regulation) Bill 2009, which will give effect to this, is currently before the Houses of the Oireachtas awaiting Seanad Committee Stage. In the meantime, the PRSA continues to discharge appropriate functions on a non-statutory basis.

The main functions of the new Authority include:

Establishing and administering a comprehensive licensing system covering all providers of property services, (i.e. Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Letting Agents and Property Management Agents — collectively known as Property Services Providers). This extended system will replace the current licensing system for Auctioneers and House Agents under the Auctioneers and House Agents Acts 1947 to 1973;

Setting and enforcing standards for grant of licences (e.g. educational/training standards; levels of professional indemnity insurance) as well as standards to be observed in the provision of property services by licensees;

Establishing and administering a system of investigation and adjudication of complaints relating to the provision of property services, including imposition of sanctions as appropriate;

Conducting audits and inspections of Property Services Providers as part of a general compliance and enforcement function;

Developing and enforcing Codes of Practice;

Promoting increased consumer protection and public awareness (where appropriate in liaison and cooperation with other statutory bodies and professional and consumer bodies) of property services in general and the cost to consumers, risks and benefits associated with the provision of those services;

Producing guidance material for the industry and the public;

Establishing, maintaining and administering a Compensation Fund to compensate parties who lose money as a direct consequence of the dishonesty of a licensee;

Enforcing licensees obligations under the legislation through general investigations, inspections and court prosecutions;

Liaison and cooperation with overseas Authorities;

Acting as "State Competent Authority" for the purpose of Money Laundering legislation.

The PSRA is currently located in Abbey Buildings, Abbey Road, Navan, Co. Meath. In addition to its Chief Executive designate there are six full-time and two part-time staff. Expenditure by the Authority to date in 2010 is €38,715 (Pay: €36,089, Non-Pay: €2,626).

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Question:

350 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 54 of 10 December 2009, if the six departmental disability sectoral plan progress reports have been completed; the action taken as a result of the reports; when they will be laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas as per commitments in the Disability Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6629/10]

The reports on progress on implementation of the Sectoral Plans were laid before both Houses on 5 February 2010 following approval of them by the Government.

Residency Permits.

Bernard Allen

Question:

351 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an application for family reunification will be decided upon in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [6695/10]

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.

European Courts.

Alan Shatter

Question:

352 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the consideration given to designating the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and the European Court of Justice sitting in Luxembourg as prescribed bodies to which section 40(7)(b) of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 apply and to ask that the aforesaid courts be so prescribed by an order of the Minister pursuant to the 2004 Act to ensure that no difficulty arises in the giving of information or evidence given in proceedings to which section 40 of the 2004 Act applies which result in a related hearing taking place in either of the aforementioned European courts. [6711/10]

One designation only has been made by Order of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform under section 40(7) of the Civil Liability and Courts Act 2004 and no other designations are in contemplation at present. However, the operation of section 40 of the Act of 2004 continues to be reviewed by my Department.

Citizenship Applications.

Michael Noonan

Question:

353 Deputy Michael Noonan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress that has been made on an application for naturalisation by persons (details supplied) in County Limerick; when he expects a decision to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6712/10]

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 Strength.

Andrew Doyle

Question:

354 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of Garda personnel, by grade, in County Wicklow that have applied to retire in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6760/10]

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.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

355 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Garda Operation Feather is still active; if so the number of persons arrested and charged to date under this operation; the number of gardaí involved; the cost of the operation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6794/10]

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.

Garda Age Cards.

Denis Naughten

Question:

356 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the cost of operating the Garda age card in 2009; the number of cards issued in 2009; the waiting time for processing applicants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6798/10]

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.

Prison Suicides.

Dan Neville

Question:

357 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prisoners who died by suicide in 2007, 2008 and 2009 under headings (details supplied). [6803/10]

All deaths in prison custody are the subject of a Garda investigation and an inquest held in a Coroner's Court. The cause of death is determined by a jury on the basis of the information presented to the Court. There are strategies and plans in place in all institutions for the prevention of suicides. The circumstances of each death in prison custody are also examined by a multi-disciplinary group in each institution. Their objective is to identify, where possible, measures which might be implemented to contribute to a reduction in the risk of deaths in the future. In addition, the Irish Prison Service Steering Group for the Prevention of Self-Harm and Death in the Prison Population provides a forum for collating the reports of the local groups and disseminating significant findings throughout the prison system.

The number of suicides recorded in Irish prisons for the years 2007 and 2008 are 7 and 11 respectively. Statistics for 2009 are not currently available and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

358 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 633 of 19 January 2010, the way this case is affected by a recent court decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6818/10]

The person concerned was removed from the State on foot of a valid deportation order on 3rd February, 2010.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

359 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for citizenship in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6820/10]

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.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

360 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6821/10]

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.