Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 9, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 10 to 27, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 28 to 37, inclusive, answered orally.

National Drugs Strategy

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

38 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his views on the roll out of the new Dial to Stop Drugs campaign; if there have been any reports on its success to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46046/10]

Based on the positive evaluation of the original Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign, the ongoing support of the Gardaí and positive community feedback, I decided to relaunch the campaign with a more national focus. In this regard, on 6 October last I announced a two week national promotional campaign, to be followed by local campaigns at Drugs Task Force level. All the local campaigns have run, with the final one just having started on 13th December.

My belief in the campaign has been justified with a new record being set in October last for the number of calls received since the phone line opened in September 2008 — over 800 calls and 285 reports to the Gardaí. Calls in November totalled 553 with 179 reports, also a very high level. From September 2008 to date, a total of 8,684 calls have been made to the phone line with 2,485 reports generated. Calls received have been spread right across the country, including areas that that have not run a campaign.

I believe very strongly in the notion that communities should be empowered and should feel enabled to make a stand in a way that they need never fear will impact negatively on them. The Dial to Stop Drug Dealing Campaign is one measure to support local communities in this regard.

A full evaluation of the current phase of the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing campaign will be carried out on its completion at the end of the year.

Rural Development

Michael Creed

Question:

39 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has formally requested permission from the European Union to channel Leader funds through county enterprise boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46087/10]

The main objectives of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) are to improve the quality of life in rural areas and facilitate the diversification of the rural economy, and the individual measures under the Programme, including indicative allocations, are as follows:

Diversification into non-agricultural activities for farm families €16.66m;

Support for business creation and development — €48.26m;

Encouragement of tourism activities — €45.4m;

Basic services for the economy and rural population — €49.61m;

Village renewal and development — €54.2m;

Conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage — €51.7m;

Training and information on adapted and new skills — €29.45m; and

Implementing co-operation projects — €10.7m.

I am pleased with the progress to date under the RDP, which continues to facilitate access to significant financial resources for rural communities since it started in 2009. This has resulted in the proliferation of innovative and sustainable development projects all over the country, which are providing invaluable support to rural communities in these difficult times and there is no question of funds being diverted away from the RDP. The Deputy will appreciate, therefore, that the issue of requesting permission from the EU to channel funds through County Enterprise Boards does not arise.

The RDP currently has registered project activity of €80m, with almost €30m at an advanced stage of development. Expenditure to date amounts to over €50m, which includes funding for a diverse range of projects from support for micro-enterprise in rural areas to the build and maintenance of community infrastructure and the provision of training in a variety of disciplines for rural dwellers. I am confident that the activity funded under the RDP to date is contributing to the creation of the right conditions for the generation of sustainable, long-term job opportunities in rural areas.

I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to work with all relevant Departments, agencies and rural communities, through their Local Action Groups, to maximise all possible funding opportunities under the RDP.

Inland Waterways

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

40 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of applications for funding received under the recent grant announcement by Inland Waterways; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46049/10]

I am informed by Waterways Ireland that the 2011 Sponsorship Programme was advertised the week beginning 1st November 2010. The Waterways Ireland Sponsorship Programme aims to increase participation levels and frequency of use of the waterways under its remit by supporting a wide range of events.

By supporting events through the Sponsorship Programme, Waterways Ireland assists in bringing tourists to the waterways and their hinterland and thus provides an economic stimulus to the communities living along the waterways.

Support is provided to events on the basis of:

location and nature of the event (which must be water-based on one of the seven waterways under the remit of Waterways Ireland);

potential of the event to introduce new users to the waterways in an active capacity, i.e. not merely as spectators;

development of non-established events;

encouraging cross-border participation;

even distribution of sponsorship across all activities and all waterways; and

inclusion of participants from specified groups (such as people with dependents, people with a disability and members of the Traveller community) and from people of different ages, political opinion, race, religious belief, gender, marital status, and sexual orientation.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications for sponsorship was Monday 13th December 2010 at 3.00 p.m. and assessment of received applications will take place in the coming weeks. I am arranging for the Deputy to be advised in due course as to the number of applications that were received in total.

Question No. 41 answered with Question No. 33.

National Drugs Strategy

Willie Penrose

Question:

42 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 141, 143 and 144 of 24 Samhain 2010, his views regarding the data supplied by the Health Research Board showing the high level of drug use here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46043/10]

As indicated in my previous reply, the data to which the Deputy refers is primarily drawn from the 2010 annual report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), with the Health Research Board being the national agency through which the Irish input is channelled.

For the reasons outlined, I again stress the need for caution when using data to derive cross-European comparisons. Also, the Irish input on heroin is based on a study published by the National Advisory Committee on Drugs (NACD) in December 2009. As indicated at the time, due to a number of technical factors associated with the capture/recapture methodology used, the figures were regarded as an overestimate of the opiate-using population here. The NACD are currently undertaking research aimed at identifying an appropriate estimate model for use in Ireland, taking the data sources available into consideration.

I accept that heroin use remains a major problem in our country. All the indications are that, while the use of heroin is relatively stable in the Dublin region, it has become more widely dispersed around the country, particularly in the major cities and in towns across Leinster. The data under reference also emphasises the welcome increase in the number of people who are in receipt of treatment to deal with their drugs problems. As I pointed out previously, new opiate substitution services have opened this year in Cork, Tralee and Wexford, and these will be followed shortly by facilities in Kilkenny, Waterford, Limerick, Dundalk and Drogheda. Expansions of needle exchange services, detoxification facilities and rehabilitation services are also being implemented.

While the Drugs Prevalence Survey 2006/07 showed an increase in cocaine use, the data is being updated at present with fieldwork for the Drugs Prevalence Survey 2010/11 being undertaken. The initial outcomes from that survey will come to hand towards the end of next year. Ireland ranks in the mid-range among the EU countries for cannabis use, while the use of ecstasy is considered to be at a low level.

I am confident that the steps being taken across the supply reduction, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and research pillars of the National Drugs Strategy will continue to impact significantly on problem drug use in Ireland.

Willie Penrose

Question:

43 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the development of the strategy under the supply reduction pillar of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 to develop a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug related intimidation in communities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46042/10]

An Action was included under the supply reduction pillar of the National Drugs Strategy 2009-2016 —develop a framework to provide an appropriate response to the issue of drug-related intimidation in the community — with An Garda Síochána taking the lead role and also involving the Family Support Network and the Department of Justice and Law Reform.

An Garda Síochána have developed such a framework in co-operation with the other parties. The implementation of the framework on a pilot basis in the Dublin Metropolitan Area was announced at the Annual Work Conference of the Family Support Network, which I attended in October. The framework has been well received by the family representatives and its implementation in 2011 will be monitored with a view to possible expansion to the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, the Dial to Stop Drug Dealing Campaign, which I recently relaunched, is a further measure to support local communities in dealing with drugs problems in their midst. The campaign was devised as a safe and anonymous way for concerned citizens to pass information to the Gardaí who see it as an effective means of helping in the effort against drug dealing and the associated suffering in communities. Information given through the confidential line has led to a number of seizures, and has contributed greatly to Garda intelligence in the drugs area.

The issue of drug-related intimidation is something that is associated with the drugs trade on an international level. It is a most difficult issue to address in a comprehensive way but I am confident that the steps being taken will lead to improvements in the lives of many families. Meanwhile, I will continue to monitor the situation through the quarterly meetings of the Oversight Forum on Drugs.

Irish Language

Joe Costello

Question:

44 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the discussions he has had with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in regard to the electronic media and the Irish language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46054/10]

As the Deputy may be aware, the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language was approved by Government recently and will be published shortly. My Department is in regular contact with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on issues of mutual concern in relation to the Irish language and, indeed, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources was involved in the formulation of the Strategy as a member of the Cabinet Committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht.

Issues regarding the Irish language in the media, including new electronic media, are addressed in the Strategy.

Straitéis Fiche Bliain don Ghaeilge

Brian O'Shea

Question:

45 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Brian O’Shea den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Comhionannais agus Gaeltachta cathain a beidh an dréacht deiridh den Straitéis Fiche Bliain don Ghaeilge ag dul os comhair an Rialtais le haghaidh cinnidh; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [46056/10]

Rinne an Rialtas an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge a fhaomhadh ag a chruinniú ar 30 Samhain 2010. Tá sé i gceist an cháipéis chríochnúil a fhoilsiú go luath agus beidh tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ansin maidir leis na céimeanna atá le glacadh chun an Straitéis a chur i bhfeidhm.

Community Development

Denis Naughten

Question:

46 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps he is taking to facilitate the expansion of the role of integrated development companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45965/10]

Liz McManus

Question:

56 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the position regarding the various community development projects here; if he has had further meetings with their representative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46051/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 56 together.

As the Deputies will be aware, my Department has, over the past number of years, been pursuing a process of cohesion of local delivery structures in order to simplify and enhance the effectiveness of the delivery of a range of local development programmes.

The realignment of local delivery structures has reduced the overall number of local development bodies from 94 to 52. These comprise 15 Local Development Companies (LDCs) in urban areas and 37 integrated LEADER/LDC bodies in rural areas. These entities are all independent companies limited by guarantee.

The current phase of this work, which is now well advanced, is focused on integrating the various Community Development Projects across the country with the LDCs and this process, which has been the subject of extensive engagement with the various stakeholders, is due to be completed by the end of this year.

In this context, the Deputies may be aware that a national model involving full integration was set out by my Department. However, it was made clear that other options could be considered as long as they meet a range of criteria, including reduced structures, better integrated delivery of services, supporting efficiencies and reducing company law compliance requirements for CDPs. To date, I have approved four alternative models put forward by HSE South, the Limerick City CDPs/Paul Partnership, the Women's Sector CDPs and Northside Partnership. A small number of other alternative models remain under active consideration by my Department and the groups involved will be advised of the outcome shortly.

In terms of the work of the LDCs, my Department has extensive and ongoing engagement with the companies and provides funding to them to implement a number of programmes which enhance their capacity to be key facilitators of development in their respective areas. These programmes include:

The Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) which superseded the Local Development Social Inclusion and the Community Development Programmes from the beginning of this year. As part of its overall goals, the LCDP supports individuals into employment and self-employment through education, training, work experience, job placement, enterprise and the social economy in urban and rural areas. Funding of €67.5m has been made available in 2010 for the Programme.

The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 under which funding of the order of €425m is available. The main objectives of the Programme are to improve the quality of life in rural areas and facilitate the diversification of the rural economy. Funding is available under a number of specific measures, which include, for example, the encouragement of tourism activities, support for business creation and development, village renewal and development and basic services for the economy and the rural population. The Programme has facilitated access to significant financial resources to rural communities since it commenced. This has resulted in the proliferation of innovative and sustainable development projects all over the country, which are providing invaluable support to rural communities in these difficult times.

My Department will continue to work closely with the companies over the coming years to assist them in achieving positive outcomes for the communities they serve. As I have said in the past, my primary concern is to make every effort by minimising overheads and ancillary costs to ensure that the front-line services provided by — or supported through — my Department, especially those focused on the needs of the most disadvantaged communities, are protected.

Seirbhísí Trí Ghaeilge

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

47 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Jan O’Sullivan den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Comhionannais agus Gaeltachta an bhfuil sé sásta go bhfuil go leor oifigeach ar fáil sa Státseirbhís a bhfuil a ndóthain Gaeilge acu lena gcuid seirbhísí a sholáthar trí mheán na teanga sin; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [46058/10]

I dtús báire, ba mhaith liom a rá go n-aithním an dúshlán mór a bhaineann le dóthain oifigeach le hinniúlacht sa Ghaeilge a bheith ar fáil sa státseirbhís agus sa tseirbhís phoiblí go ginearálta le seirbhísí a sholáthar sa teanga sin. Ar ndóigh, mar is eol don Teachta, thagair an Coimisinéir Teanga do scála na faidhbe sin le gairid.

Ní miste a rá go bhfuil beartas leagtha amach ag an Rialtas le dul i ngleic leis an bhfadhb seo sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge a fhoilseofar go luath. Faoin mbeartas sin:

Ceapfaidh an Roinn Airgeadais agus an tSeirbhís um Cheapacháin Phoiblí socruithe cuí chun cur leis an gcohórt seirbhíseach poiblí atá in ann feidhmiú go dátheangach. Bunófar na socruithe sin de réir a chéile ag aithint na srianta atá faoi láthair ar earcaíocht san earnáil phoiblí.

Déanfar forbairt ar chóras creidiúnaithe caighdeán-bhunaithe neamhspleách d'inniúlacht Ghaeilge sa tseirbhís phoiblí laistigh den chreat oibre cáilíochtaí náisiúnta foriomlán atá ann faoi láthair. Dearfar agus tairgfear Dioplóma Náisiúnta sa Dátheangachas agus i gCleachtas Teanga d'fhonn cuidiú le seirbhísí ar ardchaighdeán a sholáthar don phobal i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. Léiríonn sé seo an tábhacht a bhaineann le hoiliúint sa Ghaeilge a sholáthar d'oifigigh atá ag obair cheana féin sa státseirbhís agus a bhfuil fonn orthu forbairt a dhéanamh ar a gcumas Gaeilge le seirbhísí a sholáthar trí mheán na teanga sin don bpobal.

Tá glactha ag Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla leis an ‘scéim teanga' mar an lár-ionstraim trína soláthrófar seirbhísí dátheangacha an Stáit don bpobal. Sonróidh scéimeanna teanga amach anseo na poist laistigh d'eagraíochtaí a mbeidh cumas sa Ghaeilge riachtanach dóibh.

Social Inclusion Initiatives

Joan Burton

Question:

48 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he is satisfied with the number of events that were organised for social inclusion week; if the list of events met the criteria as set out in the national strategy; the number of local authorities who organised such events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46038/10]

Two social inclusion weeks were organised under the Irish programme to mark the 2010 European Year Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

The main week took place from 17th to 21st of October and was led by the local authorities. The objective was to showcase best practice in local social inclusion initiatives and the work of the Social Inclusion Units that are in place in many local authorities, and to highlight the role of active citizenship in promoting greater social inclusion. Funding of €47,600 was made available by my Department to support the work. Twenty eight local authorities received €1,700 each to assist with their arrangements for the week.

I was impressed by the range of activities that took place and the way in which they sought to meet the principal objectives of the Year, which include involving every level of society in the work against social exclusion. Events included community competitions, exhibitions, workshops and projects to raise awareness about the impact of social exclusion in communities. There were also information initiatives about Traveller culture, ethnic diversity, homelessness and the work of the local authorities to bring about an inclusive society. Events aimed to reach out to older people, youth, and people with disabilities and promote their participation in their local community. Initiatives involved all levels of the community and included local schools, libraries, childcare providers, family resource centres, local businesses and sports clubs.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the local authorities, community groups and local voluntary organisations for their response and their commitment to the success of the Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion.

Tourism Industry

Kathleen Lynch

Question:

49 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to develop rural tourism in view of the need for support in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46048/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department operates a range of programmes and schemes to assist and support community, local and rural development. This includes programmes and activities supportive of rural tourism and the rural recreation agenda.

In particular, the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP), which my Department administers, represents a substantial investment in rural areas and indeed will play a significant role in terms of sustaining and developing rural tourism over the coming period. Under the programme, an amount of €45.4m is available for theEncouragement of Tourism Activities measure, which aims to encourage rural tourism built on the sustainable development of Ireland’s natural resources, cultural and natural heritage. The objective of this measure is to maximise the sustainable, regionally balanced, tourism potential of all rural areas through the provision of necessary infrastructure and the development of the countryside as a recreational resource for all. The measure currently has registered project activity of €11 million, with almost €8 million at an advanced stage of development. This activity has the potential to leverage in excess of €9 million in private matched funding.

My Department also co-ordinates the work of Comhairle na Tuaithe, which oversees the implementation of the National Countryside Recreation Strategy. The investments in this area also contribute significantly to the rural tourism product, especially activity tourism.

The implementation of my Department's Walks Scheme, as the first managed maintenance scheme for our walking trails, has seen a great improvement in the facilities and standards in this area. There are now nearly 40 trails covered by the Scheme. It should be noted that my Department has also contributed to a number of other rural recreation initiatives such as the development of certain disused railway lines as cycle/walkways, the Mayo Greenway being a recent such example.

My Department also supports the Irish Summer Colleges, which provide Irish courses in the Gaeltacht each year and are central to the promotion of rural cultural tourism in those areas. In 2010, over 24,000 students attended courses in the Gaeltacht and were accommodated in over 600 households throughout the region. Activities associated with the colleges, as well as various local events centred around them, and visiting parents, relatives, etc, provide a tremendous boost to the local Gaeltacht economy each year, as well as assisting in strengthening the Irish language in the Gaeltacht, the most important natural resource of the area. Údarás na Gaeltachta, which comes under the remit of my Department, has also made a significant contribution to rural tourism and the rural economy in the Gaeltact regions.

I should add that Waterways Ireland, a North/South Implementation Body, which is co-sponsored by my Department, is also engaged in the promotion and development of rural tourism within the context of its particular mandate in relation to the development of our inland waterways, which are a valuable and precious tourism resource. Waterways Ireland is currently formulating a new Marketing Strategy for the inland waterways, which will build on the many successes of previous marketing activities and will strengthen the relationships built up over the last decade with tourism agencies, local authorities, product providers and the private sector.

My Department will continue to contribute to rural recreation and tourism and will work with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and other key agencies, such as Fáilte Ireland, in this regard over the coming period. In this regard, I anticipate that the significantly increased funding available for tourism development under the RDP will be a considerable support to the development of rural tourism over the coming years.

Social Inclusion Initiatives

Jack Wall

Question:

50 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he is satisfied with the progress made to date in regard to the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion; the number of social inclusion projects or strategies reached since this Government took office in 2007; the number of projects or strategies put on hold; the number that has had their conclusion deadlines extended due to the economic crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46037/10]

Combating poverty and building an inclusive society are key priorities for the Government. The overall goal of theNational Action Plan for Social Inclusion, published in 2007, is to reduce the number of those experiencing consistent poverty in the population to between 2% and 4% by 2012, with the aim of eliminating consistent poverty by 2016. The plan prioritises 12 high level goals in relation to children, people of working age, older people, people with disabilities and communities. It identifies some 150 actions across Departments and agencies with a remit in social policy, as part of a strategic approach to make a decisive impact on poverty over the period to 2016.

CSO data from the annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) shows that in 2008 the consistent poverty rate was 4.2%, having fallen from 5.1% in 2007 and 8.2% in 2003.

The report on the implementation of the National Action Plan to the end of 2008 shows a similar pattern of progress in the actions of Departments to achieve the goals in the plan. This involved significant State investment in education, employment and training for lone parents and for people with disabilities; in health and community care for older people; in local and community development; and in integration initiatives for migrants.

The CSO figures for 2009, published on 25 November last, highlight the continuing importance of social transfers as a stabiliser for people in difficult economic circumstances. In 2009, social transfers reduced the ‘at risk of poverty' rate from 46% to 14.1%. This is a ‘poverty reduction effect' of 70%.

The rise in consistent poverty to 5.5% indicated in the 2009 figures is a cause for concern and reflects the increase in unemployment. In meeting the challenges that face us in the immediate years ahead, the Government is committed to prioritising those who are the most vulnerable and to protect as far as possible the frontline services in marginalised communities. The overriding objective now is to restore economic growth and maximise employment so that the recent progress made in tackling poverty can be continued and the goals in the National Action Plan for an inclusive and fair society can be achieved.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Joan Burton

Question:

51 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has any new plans or supporting programmes to existing plans to further promote a fair, tolerant and caring society; if he has, through our membership of the EU, the Council of Europe, the UN and the International Labour Organisation, initiated any new programmes or been involved in any negotiations, consultations and so on that can improve such a society; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46039/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs was established in March 2010. When announcing the decision to assign new responsibilities to the Department, the Taoiseach stressed the importance of social development and highlighted the continued importance of supporting the most vulnerable members of society and those working to make a difference right across our communities

Against this background, my Department operates and manages a range of schemes and programmes, which support the development of communities, urban and rural, and which tackle disadvantage and promote a fairer, tolerant and more caring society.

A key programme in this regard is the Local and Community Development Programme, which was launched in 2010, and under which funding of €63.5m will be provided in 2011 to communities across the country to tackle local issues, promote community development and encourage a more caring society.

My Department also operates schemes and measures which directly promote the equality and human rights agenda and which my colleague, Ms. Mary White, TD, Minister of State for Equality, Human Rights and Integration, has responsibility for. Details of all the schemes and programmes operated by my Department can be accessed on my Department's website at www.pobail.ie .

In relation to new plans and initiatives to promote a fair tolerant and caring society, I can advise the Deputy that Minister of State White has initiated a review of the legislation, structures and arrangements involving the Equality Authority, the Equality Tribunal and the Irish Human Rights Commission in order to enhance equality structures in an effective way. A scoping exercise to identify issues to be addressed in the review is underway.

In the context of the development of a fair and caring society for women, my Department continues to oversee the implementation of the National Women's Strategy, of which a triennial review is currently under way. Following completion of the review, it may be necessary to bring new proposals to Government to take account of changing priorities, including the requirements of Europe 2020.

The content of the all encompassing Strategy has been informed by the UN-Beijing Platform for Action to address gender discrimination and by a range of policy recommendations from the EU and the Council of Europe.

In addition, under the European Social Fund-supported Human Capital Investment Operational Programme, a new Equality for Women Measure, promoting equality of opportunity for women, was launched earlier this year. The total amount of funding identified for the Measure over the period 2008-2014 is approximately €11.5m and projects being currently funded under this Measure assist disadvantaged women preparing for training, education or employment; develop female entrepreneurship or support initiatives which help women advance their careers within employment.

My Department also has responsibility for promoting and co-coordinating the integration of legally resident immigrants into Irish society. In this regard, I might mention the Ministerial Council on Migrant Integration, which was recently established by Minister of State White and which consists of 74 immigrants from throughout the State who will advise on issues facing them.

Finally, as the Deputy will know, Mr. John Moloney, TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Disability and Mental Health, continues to work to support and create a fairer society for people with disabilities. In this regard, considerable work has been undertaken on the drafting of a National Disability Strategy Recession Plan, which I envisage will be finalised shortly.

Departmental Expenditure

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

52 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the total budget by his Department, for each of the past three years, for the Traveller policy division; if all funding was drawn down in each year; the headings under which it was drawn down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46040/10]

The Deputy will be aware that the Traveller Policy Division became part of my Department in June 2010. Prior to this, the Division formed part of the then Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Funding for the Traveller Policy Division forms part of the Equality Monitoring/Consultative Committees subhead. The portion of this subhead allocated to the Traveller Policy Division for the past three years is as follows:

2008 — €1.010m;

2009 — €826,000;

2010 — €417,600.

Of this funding, €860,000 was drawn down in 2008 and €763,000 was drawn down in 2009. The Deputy will appreciate that I am not yet in a position to give a final figure for 2010. However, I am informed by officials in my Department that it is expected that the majority of the funds allocated will be drawn down this year.

In addition, an allocation of €1.4m in dormant accounts funding was approved for Traveller projects, to be drawn down over the period 2009/2010. Of this allocation, a balance of €496,044 remains to be drawn down.

I am informed that the savings I have outlined were primarily as a result of slower than anticipated drawdown of funds for local projects administered by Pobal and also a reduction of 8% in Pobal administration fees.

My Department's Traveller Policy Division is responsible for coordinating policy in relation to Travellers. Funding from this Division is used principally to support interagency working through the City and County Development Boards and the work of the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee. Funding support for local projects is administered by Pobal through the Traveller Interagency Fund.

The Traveller Policy Division also funds mediation and related initiatives, especially in the light of certain serious situations which have arisen around the country in recent years. Funding is also provided for positive communications measures such as Traveller Pride Week, in line with a commitment inTowards 2016 from all of the social partners to give “concentrated attention” to achieving progress on Traveller issues, including “...measures to improve communication between Travellers and the general population”.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

53 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the basis on which he proposes to have administrative efficiencies in his Department leading to savings of €10 million in 2011 and €18 million in a full year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47125/10]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the savings outlined in section B.17 of the Summary of 2011 Budget Measures. The basis for these efficiencies is set out in greater detail in the recently published National Recovery Plan 2011-2014. For the Deputy's convenience, I have reproduced the relevant table from the plan below.

As can be seen from the table, the achievement of the necessary savings is a matter that extends broadly across my Department's Vote. To the maximum extent possible, the savings will include efficiencies, which will be sought not only in my Department itself, but also within the agencies and groups that it funds.

Yield 2011

Yield Full year

€m

€m

Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs

The key adjustments include reduced programme allocations particularly in community schemes, payroll savings and efficiencies in administrative non pay costs.

Developing Communities Reduced allocations across community development programmes / projects Adjustments in supports for the community & voluntary sector and volunteering

8.7

8.7

Other programmes

Tackling Problem Drug Use Savings across community based drugs projects

0.4

0.4

Rural Development Reduced funding for rural recreation

0.6

0.6

Gaeltacht & Island Development Reduced funding for Gaeltacht schemes/ services

1.4

1.4

Promotion and Maintenance of the Irish Language Savings across Irish language support programmes

0.6

0.6

Equality Reduction in funding for equality and integration projects

0.9

0.9

Disability Reduction in funding for disability projects

0.6

0.6

Other Services Reductions in other programmes and administration.

1.8

1.8

Other

Payroll savings:

1.0

6.0

Non-pay Administrative Savings:

3.1

5.5

Total CEGA savings:

19.0

27.0

Community Development

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

54 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which he has put forward proposals likely to positively impact on the present economic situation or assist in a national recovery programme; if he will set out the principles of any such proposals and the likely net impact on the economic situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46035/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

62 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his proposals for any changes in legislation or emphasis on any perceived need for legislation which might have the effect of the creation of opportunities for those throughout the urban and rural communities who are anxious to offer assistance towards economic resurgence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46034/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

352 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his priorities and objectives to support and encourage community based effort throughout the country in view of the likely need arising from the economic situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46436/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

353 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his priorities and objectives under the RAPID programme for 2011 and subsequent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46437/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

354 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his spending intentions under the CLÁR programme in coming year and over the next four years having particular regard to the needs of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46438/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

355 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to utilise community effort to generate economic revival over the next four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46439/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

356 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the main areas of expected expenditure by him over the next four years with particular reference to the need to generate economic growth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46440/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

357 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the extent to which he has carried out an assessment of the emerging needs of urban and rural communities with a view to how best to address such issues in the ongoing economic situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46441/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

361 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the way he proposes to assist community groups involved in local employment generating projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46446/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54, 62, 352 to 357, inclusive, and 361 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department operates and administers a range of schemes and programmes that support the social and economic development of rural and urban communities across the country. Details of these schemes, including funding available to assist community groups involved in local employment generating and economic revival projects can be accessed at my Department's website at www.pobail.ie

Key measures that my Department will promote in 2011 to support and encourage community-based effort throughout the country in the current economic situation and to utilise community effort to generate economic revival include the following:

The Local and Community Development Programme, under which a total of €63.5m will be made available in 2011, will assist communities to tackle poverty and social exclusion and encourage local employment opportunities through partnership and constructive engagement between Government and its agencies and people in disadvantaged communities nationally, in both urban and rural settings.

The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP), with funding of €425m available for the delivery of LEADER-type activities, will continue to be critical to rural communities during the current difficult economic times and will be key to achieving sustainable economic growth and stability in rural regions. To date, the RDP has leveraged private/community funding of approximately €43 million which also aids in the development of strong rural communities as well as economically viable business activity, all of which contributes to the creation of the right conditions for the generation of sustainable, long-term job opportunities.

In Gaeltacht areas, Údarás na Gaeltachta, which, over the two year period 2009-2010, has been provided with some €70m in Exchequer funding, will continue to play a major role in supporting local enterprise through the range of supports it provides to existing and start-up businesses and to local community initiatives.

In terms of promoting rural tourism, my Departments provides supports not only through the tourism measure of the RDP, but directly through the work of Comhairle na Tuaithe, the implementation of my Department's Walks Scheme and other rural recreation initiatives. My Department also provides support for the Irish Summer Colleges, which in 2010 catered for over 24,000 students attending courses in the Gaeltacht while being accommodated in over 600 households throughout the region, and are central to the promotion of rural cultural tourism in the Gaeltacht. Waterways Ireland, which is co-sponsored by my Department, is also engaged in the promotion and development of rural tourism within the context of its mandate in relation to the development of our inland waterways, which are a valuable and precious tourism resource.

In the current economic circumstances, we are faced with difficult decisions. The Government has considered a number of measures in the context of the National Recovery Plan 2011-14 and Budget 2011 to provide the basis for a sustainable approach to the current financial situation. Across Government, our approach has been to do this in as balanced a way as possible.

However, as the Deputy will be aware, allocations to most subheads in my Department's Vote have been reduced by varying amounts in the Budget, as is the case in all Departments. Within this context, my primary concern is to make every effort to ensure that the daily front-line services which are being provided with funding from my Department are protected, especially those focused on the needs of the most socially deprived communities. In the prevailing financial circumstances, it is clear that objectives will have to be pursued with less resources than previously. However, we will continue to strive to achieve good outcomes and value for money, notwithstanding these constraints. In the case of a number of my Department's capital programmes, such as CLÁR, the focus in 2011 will be on meeting existing commitments, rather than initiating new measures or projects.

Clearly, the changed circumstances in which we live today require a sharpening of focus for us all in terms of addressing the nature of the problems which now present themselves. In response to this changing context, working more closely with communities and providing focused and effective supports at local level will be key objectives for my Department in the coming period.

With regard to the issue of future legislative proposals, the main proposals envisaged at present are:

A Bill to amend the Dormant Accounts legislation for the purpose of improving the administrative efficiency of the existing operations of the Dormant Accounts Fund. It is anticipated that this Bill will be published shortly.

Arising from the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language, legislation will be brought forward in 2011 to establish an Irish Language and Gaeltacht Authority with responsibility for Irish language matters throughout the State. The new Authority will assume responsibility, inter alia, for relevant functions currently performed by Údarás na Gaeltachta, including an enterprise function.

Equality Issues

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

55 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the measures taken in Budget 2011 to tackle discrimination and safeguard equality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47123/10]

Funding of the order of €16.249m will be made available to support measures relating to equality and diversity during 2011. Among the key priorities for my Department will be the continuation of the vital work done by equality and human rights agencies, and the support of important integration and diversity management initiatives throughout the country. While some reductions are necessary, I expect that much of the required savings can be achieved through efficiencies in administration and overhead costs.

My Department's equality and rights agencies have been given adequate funding to continue their core work next year. The Equality Tribunal has been given a 9% increase. The allocations for the Equality Authority and Irish Human Rights Commission will allow them to continue promoting and researching issues of equality and human rights.

Supports for women have been protected, with full funding for the Equality for Women measure being maintained. This funding stream helps women throughout the country to access new opportunities for employment, training and enterprise, which is vital at this difficult economic time. The national women's organisations will receive combined funding of over €500,000 next year.

Funding of initiatives to support the Traveller Community has been reduced by 4% on the 2010 allocation. However, it is expected that this reduction can be met from administrative savings. My Department will continue to support interagency working through the City and County Development Boards and the work of the National Traveller Monitoring and Advisory Committee. I also envisage continued funds for mediation and related initiatives, especially in the light of serious situations which have arisen around the country in recent years. Funding will also be provided for positive communications measures such as Traveller Pride Week, in line with a commitment in Towards 2016 from all of the social partners to give ‘concentrated attention' to achieving progress on Traveller issues, including ‘...measures to improve communication between Travellers and the general population'.

A combined allocation of €5.8m for the Office of the Minister for Integration and the European Refugee Fund will facilitate the continuation of measures to promote the integration of legally resident immigrants (including the Ministerial Council on Migrant Integration and grants to local authorities, sporting bodies, etc), as well as the funding of projects under the European Refugee Fund and the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. In fact, the provision in these subheads is very close to the likely outturn in 2010.

A further priority will be the advancement of the implementation of the National Disability Strategy, with a provision of €7.499m made for this sector in 2011.

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 46.

Community Development

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

57 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to develop the Ministerial Council on Integration; if he has had meetings with other Government Departments regarding the development of integration; the result of such discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46041/10]

As I indicated in my reply to Question No 91 on 3 Samhain 2010, the establishment of the Ministerial Council on Integration is one of the initiatives outlined in the policy statement —Migration Nation: Statement on Integration Strategy and Diversity Management — and is part of progressing work on immigrant integration policy in Ireland. The Cabinet Committee on Social Inclusion, Children and Integration and the Senior Officials Group which supports the Cabinet Committee are also involved in this work.

The Council provides a forum where immigrants can speak directly to me regarding their experience of integration in Ireland and assist me in better-informed policymaking by identifying issues and bringing them to attention. Inaugural meetings of the Ministerial Council on Integration have been held in all the regional fora of the Council. Following the completion of the inaugural meetings of the Ministerial Council, it is my intention to convene a formal meeting of the standing Cross-Departmental Group on Integration in the near future.

In accordance with the policy of mainstreaming of services for migrants, primary responsibility for the delivery of services rests with the relevant service providers and Government agencies at both central and local level. My Office engages with these bodies (and with relevant non-governmental organisations) on an ongoing basis with regard to issues relating to the integration of migrants. Issues which have been raised at the Ministerial Council are brought to the attention of the appropriate bodies.

Irish Language

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

58 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs his plans to develop the Irish language in an organic fashion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46052/10]

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

59 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the discussions he has had with the Department of Education and Skills regarding simplifying the grammar of the Irish language; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46053/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 and 59 together.

As the Deputy is aware, further to a Government decision in late 2008, my Department commenced a review of the Caighdeán Oifigiúil (Official Standard) for Irish earlier this year. It could be said that organic development is at the heart of this process. The Caighdeán has not been reviewed or updated since it was first published in 1958. In linguistic terms, it is inevitable that there will always be a gap between any spoken language and the official written standard for any language. However, it is widely accepted that this gap is now excessive with regard to the Irish language, since the spoken language has continued to develop over the last 50 years.

I appointed a Steering Committee to oversee the Review of the Caighdeán Oifigiúil, which is due to be completed in June of next year. The Department of Education and Skills has a representative on the Committee and its involvement in the process is crucial. Education is one of the areas where the new Caighdeán Oifigiúil will have most impact. What is clear from submissions received during the public consultations is that, above all else, people want clarity on rules in the Caighdeán. This may involve simplification in some instances, but simplicity was one of the criteria adopted by those who published the Caighdeán in 1958. As I stated at the outset of this Review, some rules will go, some rules will be amended, and completely new rules may be put in place. However in all cases, the criteria underpinning these decisions will epitomise the concept of organic development — clarity, internal consistency, simplicity and due regard to the spoken language in the Gaeltacht. Taken together, these show that organic development is a progressive yet complex process. It is my hope as Minister that the final result in this review process will highlight the best traits of such organic development, while also providing the clarity that people are looking for.

My proposals in relation to the development of the language at community level within the Gaeltacht and throughout the State will be set out in the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language, which will be published shortly, and in respect of which there are separate Questions to me on today's Order Paper.

Forbairt na Gaeilge

Brian O'Shea

Question:

60 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Brian O’Shea den Aire Gnóthaí Pobail, Comhionannais agus Gaeltachta cén dul chun cinn atá déanta leis an bhfoclóir leictreonach Gaeilge/Béarla ag Foras na Gaeilge; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [46057/10]

Tuigim ó Fhoras na Gaeilge go bhfuil dul chun cinn sásúil á dhéanamh maidir leis an bhfoclóir leictreonach Béarla-Gaeilge.

Is é an staid reatha ná go bhfuil Céim a hAon — céim na Pleanála agus an Deartha — curtha i gcrích cheana féin mar aon le cuid de Chéim a Dó. Baineann Céim a Dó le tiomsú an fhoclóra féin agus tá trí fhochéim i gceist, eadhon:

Céim 2(a), a bhaineann le cur le chéile bunachar Béarla an fhoclóra i bhfoirm creataí iontrála — cuireadh an fhochéim sin i gcrích le gairid;

Céim 2(b), a bhaineann le taobh na Gaeilge den fhoclóir a sholáthar — cuireadh tús leis an bhfochéim seo i bhfómhar 2009 agus leanfaidh an obair ar aghaidh go ceann dhá bhliain; agus

Céim 2(c), céim na heagarthóireachta — cuirfear tús leis an bhfochéim sin ag tús 2011 agus meastar go leanfaidh an obair ar aghaidh go dtí an tríú ráithe den bhliain 2012.

Ach Céim a Dó a bheith curtha i gcrích, leanfar ar aghaidh ansin go dtí Céim a Trí, a bhaineann le táirgeadh an fhoclóra féin. Cheana féin, tá ráitis spéise iarrtha maidir leis an sonrú teicniúil ar an leagan leictreonach den fhoclóir. Mar sin, comhairlítear dom go bhfuiltear ag súil leis an leagan críochnúil den fhoclóir a fhoilsiú i bhfoirm chlóite agus leictreonach ag deireadh na bliana 2012. Tá cur síos cuimsitheach ar an tionscadal iomlán le fáil ar an suíomh gréasáin, www.focloir.ie. Déantar nuashonrú rialta ar an suíomh sin agus, dá réir sin, bíonn teacht ag an bpobal ar an eolas is déanaí faoin tionscadal agus is féidir féachaint ar fhíorábhar an fhoclóra agus é á chur le chéile.

Is fiú dom a threisiú chomh maith go mbeidh mórchuid den obair a bhaineann leis an dtionscadal seo ina dúshraith luachmhar amach anseo le haghaidh tionscadail eile foclóireachta a bhfuil gá leo — foclóir nua Gaeilge-Béarla ach go háirithe.

Severe Weather Events

Jack Wall

Question:

61 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs if he is involved with other Government Departments in relation to the current weather conditions and the effects such conditions may have on those living alone and those living in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46036/10]

My Department is represented on the Inter-Agency Group on Severe Weather and is presently working with other Government Departments and agencies to assist and support communities across the country, including the elderly and vulnerable, and those living alone and in rural areas, during the current difficult weather conditions. As Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, I have written to the range of community groups and bodies with which my Department has an ongoing relationship to highlight the need for their members to continue to keep in regular contact with people who may find themselves housebound and living alone during the current inclement weather conditions, in order to ensure that such people have sufficient supplies of food and heat over the coming days and weeks. Indeed, I believe that the community sector is uniquely placed to do this work, given their local knowledge, networks and, most particularly, their "on the ground" presence.

The Deputy may also be aware that Muintir na Tíre, which is supported by my Department and the Department of Justice and Law Reform, has established a special helpline for older and vulnerable people that may be trapped in their homes due to the cold weather conditions and I know this helpline has been accessed by many over the last number of days.

I would like to acknowledge the very important and invaluable assistance being offered to communities across the country by the community and voluntary sector during the current inclement weather conditions. My Department will continue to work with the sector and with other Government agencies in order to assist those most affected and vulnerable at this time.

Question No. 62 answered with Question No. 54.
Question No. 63 answered with Question No. 37.

Rural Development

Denis Naughten

Question:

64 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the steps he is taking to support local enterprise start ups; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45964/10]

The Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (RDP) represents a substantial investment in rural areas and has a significant role to play in sustaining and creating rural employment. The main objectives of the RDP are to improve the quality of life in rural areas and facilitate the diversification of the rural economy. Axes 3 & 4 (LEADER) of the RDP, for which my Department has responsibility, continue to facilitate access to significant financial resources for rural communities. Enterprise support has always been a significant element of successive programmes facilitating rural development in Ireland, including the current and previous LEADER elements of such programmes.

I believe that the enterprise funding available under the RDP adds value to other supports available by specifically targeting rural areas and by seeking to reinforce the economic impact of similar and related interventions under other Axes of the RDP and, indeed, other national programmes.

I can assure the Deputy that I work closely with my Cabinet colleagues, particularly the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Mr Batt O'Keeffe, T.D., to promote increased co-operation between groups implementing LEADER and other agencies either directly or indirectly involved in supporting enterprise — specifically the County Enterprise Boards. Our aim is to ensure that we maximise the impact of all of the funding available and support enterprise and job creation in rural areas to the greatest extent possible, while at the same time ensuring that no unnecessary or inefficient overlaps or duplication occur.

The individual measures under the RDP that specifically support enterprise creation and development, including their indicative allocations, are as follows:

Diversification into non-agricultural activities for farm families — €16.66m;

Support for business creation and development — €48.26m; and

Encouragement of tourism activities — €45.4m.

To date the RDP has leveraged private/community funding of approximately €43 million which also aids in the development of strong rural communities as well as economically viable business activity, all of which contributes to the creation of the right conditions for the generation of sustainable, long term job opportunities.

In Gaeltacht areas, Údarás na Gaeltachta plays a major role in supporting local enterprise through the range of supports it provides to existing and start-up enterprises. Over the two year period 2009-2010, An tÚdarás has been provided with some €70m in Exchequer funding to allow it to pursue these objectives. In addition to Exchequer-voted funding, An tÚdarás also has access to other sources of income that enable it to promote and stimulate employment creating initiatives — for example, income generated from schemes such as the Community Employment Scheme and the Rural Social Scheme, income from dividends, fees and the sale/lease of assets, and employment support schemes operated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

Departmental Bodies

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

65 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Taoiseach if he has received an annual report for each of the past three years from the chairman of all State bodies under the aegis of his Department; if the pay of chief executives and employees of such bodies is fully in accordance with Government policy; if he will list any such bodies where this requirement under the code of practice for the governance of State bodies has not been met or no report has been received; if he will provide full details of such issues in such reports and if these reports will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46887/10]

I have received the Annual Report of the National Economic and Social Development Office (NESDO), which is the only agency under the aegis of my Department, for each of the past three years. The pay of the Chief Officer and all employees of the body are in full accordance with Government policy.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

66 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Taoiseach the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46919/10]

The tables below detail expenditure by my Department including Programme Subheads on refreshments and catering for official functions from 2008 to end November 2010.

Department

Year

*Catering for official functions (including lunches, receptions, dinners etc)

Refreshments (including tea, coffee, bottled water etc)

2008

**318,412.67

51,240.53

2009

91,139.47

37,299.98

Jan to end Nov 2010

76,670.83

23,631.37

*This includes costs associated with functions hosted on behalf of Government for visiting dignitaries, including Heads of Government and State.

**This also includes costs associated with additional functions held in 2008 including the official opening of the Battle of the Boyne site and a state funeral.

Programme Subheads

2008

Catering for official functions (including lunches, receptions, dinners etc)

Refreshments (including tea, coffee, bottled water, milk, soft drinks)

Tribunal of Inquiry

185.25

2,709.53

National Forum on Europe

102,578.87

1,548.68

Ireland Newfoundland Partnership

6,068.41

18.50

2009

Catering for official functions (including lunches, receptions, dinners etc)

Refreshments (including tea, coffee, bottled water, milk, soft drinks)

Tribunal of Inquiry

0.00

1,916.70

National Forum on Europe

16,361.77

926.12

Ireland Newfoundland Partnership

1,358.23

n/a

January to end November 2010

Catering for official functions (including lunches, receptions, dinners etc)

Refreshments (including tea, coffee, bottled water, milk, soft drinks)

Tribunal of Enquiry

€0.00

€1,731.01

Supplier names are detailed below:

Alternative Cater Hire

Artizan Food Company

Ballymascanlon Hotel

Banqueting Food Systems Ltd

Bewley's Food Systems Ltd

Bluebell Diary

Brambles Deli Cafe Ltd

Brennans Green Isle Hotel

Bridge House Hotel

Bryan S Ryan Ltd

Bunzl Irish Merchants

Cafe Crepe

Caife Duin Aill

Caterhire Ltd

City Hotel Derry

Claire Hanley Catering

Clarke's Bakery Ltd

Conaty's Catering

Conrad Hotel (Dublin)

Corporate Cuisine Ireland

Cypress Catering T/A Dobbins

De Braam Mineral Water Company Limited

Dobbins Outdoor

Dobbins Wine Bistro Ltd

Dublin Castle Gift shop

Egan Event Hospitality

EW Technologies

Fitzers Catering Ltd

Flair Hospitality

Gerard Kelly & Sons Ltd

Hotel Minella

Instant Coffee Services Ltd

Its a Bagel Ltd

John Coughlan Catering Ltd

Joint Services Committee

Knights Catering Ltd

Lawlor Office Supplies

Le Phare Coffee House

Leydens Ltd

Linenhall Arts Centre

Listons

Lyreco Ireland Ltd

Masterchefs Ltd

Molloy Catering

Munchies

Musgrave Foodservices

Nash Mineral Water

Old Ground Hotel Ennis

Pearl Brasserie

Peter Fowler Catering

Radisson SAS Royal Hotel

RASC Catering Mgt Ltd

Science Gallery

SFC Catering

Spar Merrion Row

Spencer Dock Convention

Taste Catering

The Clarence

The McWilliam Park Hotel

The Merrion Hotel

The Plaza Hotel

The Silk Road Cafe

The Westlin Hotel

Three Q Catering Limited

Tipperary Natural Mineral Water

University College Cork

Waterford Fringe Festival

Watkins Catering

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

67 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47007/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

68 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47022/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 68 together.

I have not made any public appointments since 22 November, 2010.

Preparations for the appointment of a new Public Service Board, to be chaired by Minister of State Dara Calleary, are continuing. With a majority of members from outside the Public Service, it will advise the Government on further opportunities and priorities for transformation and efficiency, and on the capacity of the Public Service to lead change and to deliver a high standard of performance. This will inform the approach of the Government and Public Service management to the transformation process over the period ahead.

Following the dissolution of two of the constituent bodies under the National Economic and Social Development Office (the NCPP and the NESF), it was decided that the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) should be reconstituted in a manner which takes into account the changes to the overall structure of Social Partnership, in particular the inclusion of the Environmental Pillar. It was also decided to increase the number of independent members to provide greater external input to the work of the Council. These changes coincided with the conclusion of the term of the Council in Summer 2010.

Last week, a motion of approval of the National Economic and Social Council (Alteration of Composition) Order 2010 was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, facilitating these changes. Consequently, I expect to appoint new members of the Council shortly. The majority of the membership is appointed on the basis of nominations received from social partner organisations.

Other than in these areas, I am not due to make any public appointments between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011 at present.

Migration Statistics

Alan Shatter

Question:

69 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Taoiseach the estimated number of Irish citizens who emigrated from the State during 2009; the number of Irish citizens who returned to reside here in 2009 and the net emigration and immigration figure for that year; and to ask that the same information be furnished for the period 1 January 2010 to 30 November 2010. [47108/10]

The most recent figures available on migration of Irish nationals can be found in the annual Population and Migration estimates which are published in respect of April each year.

The data in the table below was taken from this release and distinguishes the estimated number of Irish nationals who immigrated and emigrated in the twelve months to April 2009 and 2010 respectively.

The information requested by the Deputy for the period 1 January 2010 to the 30 November 2010 is not currently available.

'000's

Estimated Migration by Irish nationals, 2009-20101

Persons Year ending April

Immigration

Emigration

Net migration (derived)

2009

18.4

18.4

0.0

2010

13.3

27.7

-14.4

12009-2010 are preliminary.

Departmental Appointments

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

70 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Taoiseach the timetable involved in the filling of the recent vacancy for State solicitor for County Louth; the identity of the successful person or company and the salary given; if the position was advertised; the number of interviews that took place and the person who conducted such interviews; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46681/10]

The vacancy for State Solicitor for County Louth has been filled following a competition run by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Mr. Fergus Mullen, Solicitor, was appointed by the DPP on 1 December 2010.

The position was advertised in mid June. 19 applications were received by the closing date of 9 July and all 19 applicants were called to interview. They were interviewed by a three-person board set up by the DPP comprising two senior lawyers from the DPP's Office and one lawyer from outside the Office. Mr. Mullen was ranked first by the interview board.

The total package of remuneration for the Louth State Solicitor position is €229,282 per annum. The State Solicitor must provide for all accommodation costs, the salary of support staff and office expenses from this sum.

Schools Building Projects

John Deasy

Question:

71 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary schools in Waterford with applications for capital project assistance in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46860/10]

John Deasy

Question:

72 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of secondary schools in Waterford with applications for capital project assistance in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46862/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 71 and 72 together.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including projects for Waterford, is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.

However, for the Deputy's convenience, I am setting out below the relevant extracts from my Department's website for Waterford City and County for both primary and post primary schools.

All applications for major capital projects are assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band rating. The priority attaching to individual projects is determined by published prioritisation criteria, which were formulated following consultation with the Education Partners. There are four band ratings under these criteria, each of which describes the extent of accommodation required and the urgency attaching to it. Band 1 is the highest priority rating and Band 4 is the lowest. Documents explaining the band rating system are also available on my Department's website.

The progression of all large scale building projects from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of each individual project at this time.

Waterford — Applications on hand for Major Capital Works including those in Architectural Planning — Extracted from .Department's Website

County

Roll Number

School

Current Status

Application for

Provisional Band Rating

Waterford

01711O

S N Cill Rosanta Cill Mhic Thomais (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

07737Q

Villierstown N S Cappoquin (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

12007G & 18235D

Ferrybank Convent NS & Scoil Mhuire An Port Mor NS, Ferrybank

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

14568K

Killea Boys N S Dunmore East (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Waterford

15046I

St Stephens N S Waterford (Waterford City)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

15540Q

Ballyduff B 2 N S Ballyduff (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Waterford

16748W

S N Na Cille Cill Mhic Thomais Fhinn (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

16976M

S N Deaglan Portlairge (Waterford City)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

17159I

S N An Garrain Bhain Dungarbhain (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

17525H

Dunmore East Convent Ns Dunmore East (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Waterford

17535B

Fionnabhair NS, Fenor, Co. Waterford

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

17570M

S N Na Bhfiodh Cill Mhic Thomais (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

18167M

S N Aine Nfa Seafield Bonmahon (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

18380M

S N Faiche Liag Portlairge (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

18793O

Sc Naomh Eoin Le Dia Passage Road (Waterford City)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

19282R

St Johns Special Sch Dungarvan (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

19814B

Scoil Gearbhain Straid Emmett (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Waterford

19885B

Gealscoil Philib Barun Teach Realt Na Mara (Waterford County)

Application

New School

Band 2

Waterford — Applications on hand for Major Capital Works including those in Architectural Planning — Extracted from Department's Website

County

Roll Number

School

Current Status

Application for

Provisional Band Rating

Waterford

19953P

St Marys Ns Dungarvan (Waterford County)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

19955T

S N Na Toirbhirte Clocar Na Toirbhirte (Waterford City)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 3

Waterford

19970P

Portlaw N.S., Co. Waterford

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

20116H

Glor Na Mara NS, Tramore

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

64930I

C.B.S. Mount Sion (Waterford City)

Application

New School

Band 2

Waterford

64950O

De La Salle College Newtown (Waterford City)

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 4

Waterford

64990D

St. Angela’s Ursline Convent

Design Team to be appointed

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

72230W

St Declan’S Community College Kilmacthomas (Waterford County) — Post Primary

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 4

Waterford

72240C

Central Technical Institute Parnell Street (Waterford City) — Post Primary

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

76066J

Meánscoil San Nioclás Rinn O Gcuanach (Waterford County) — Post Primary

Application

Extension/Refurb

Band 2

Waterford

19108B

St. Martin’s Special School, Ballytruckle

Awaiting appointment of Design Team

New School

Band 1

Waterford

19244J

St. Jospeph’s Special School, Waterford City

Awaiting appointment of Design Team

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

18681D

Christ Church NS, Lower Newtown

Awaiting appointment of Design Team

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Waterford

20170N

Kilmacthomas NS

Early Architectural Planning

Extension/Refurb

Band 1

Total

32

Projects Progressing to construction, on site or completed 2010.

County

Roll Number

School

Current Status

Waterford

19629G

Holy Cross School, Ballycarnane, Tramore

Under Construction

Waterford

20076V

Bunscoil Bhothairena Naomh, Lismore

Under Construction

Waterford City

20050D

Gaelscoil na Deise, Grace Dieu Rd., Waterford

At Tender Stage

Waterford City

20160K

Waterford Educate Together

At Tender Stage

Waterford City

64970U

Colaiste na Maighdine, presentation Secondary School

At Tender Stage

Total

5

Large Scale Extensions/Refurbishments completed in past 5 years

County

Roll Number

School

Current Status

Waterford

13635R

Ballyduff NS, Kilmeaden

2008

Waterford

18462O

Scoil Lorcain NS

2008

Waterford

19539F

St. Pauls Junior School, Lisduggan

2008

Waterford

19853L

Gaelscoil Portláirge NS

2008

Waterford

17351A

SN Mhuire Baile Mhic Gonair

2007

Total

5

School Transport

James Bannon

Question:

73 Deputy James Bannon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has had their grant to take their children to school withdrawn; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46905/10]

The family referred to by the Deputy, in the details supplied, were in receipt of a remote area grant as there was no school transport service available to meet their transport needs.

However, Bus Éireann which operates the School Transport Scheme, on behalf of my Department, has advised that the family can now avail of a school transport service to and from school.

As a rule primary school transport routes are planned so that, as far as possible, no eligible child will have more than 2.4 kilometres to travel to a pick-up point. Parents/guardians have a responsibility to ensure that their children are brought safely to and collected safely from designated pick up and set down points. Bus Éireann has advised that the family referred to by the Deputy in the details supplied live within 2.2 kilometres from a pick up point and that this pick up point is considered to be as safe as other designated pick-up points being used throughout the country.

As the family has a level of service within guidelines, it is not proposed to alter the current arrangements.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

74 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the amount of money, under each heading, spent by her on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46911/10]

The table below provides the relevant information regarding the cost of refreshments for meetings and functions which took place in my Department and the Houses of the Oireachtas.

2008

2009

2010

Minister Mary Hanafin

NIL (to 6/5/2008)

n/a

n/a

Minister Batt O’Keeffe

€60 From 7/5/2008 to 31/12/2008

€432 From 1/1/2009 to 31/12/2009

€138 From 1/1/2010 to 22/3/10

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan

n/a

n/a

*€672 From 23/3/2010 to End of November

*The Tánaiste's costs for 2010 include two lunches she hosted in October, one for the Finnish Minister for Education and officials at a total cost of €180.55 and another for a Ministerial delegation from Saudi Arabia at a total cost of €356.75

The Companies who supplied the goods and services are the following:

Houses of the Oireachtas, Catering Services, Leinster House, Dublin 2

Regent Catering Associates, Marlboro Street, Dublin 1

D.S Catering, Athlone, Co Westmeath

Departmental Agencies

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

75 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to the recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Special Report No. 74, the reason four FETAC staff were given retirement packages which amounted to €800,000; if she will specify the grade and position these individuals each held; the length of service in FETAC and the wider public service; the person who authorised these payments; the measures being taken to recoup these unauthorised payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46924/10]

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

76 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the sums paid as part of early retirement packages or redundancy payments to staff within HETAC, FETAC and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland since the decision to merge these three bodies was taken; the number of staff let go during this period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46925/10]

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

FETAC have informed my Department that the decision to offer early retirement to staff in late 2008 was influenced by a number of factors. The reduction of numbers at certain grades was in line with the recommendations of an organisational review of FETAC undertaken by Farrell Grant Sparks. This review was in turn arranged in response to a recommendation in the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland external review of FETAC that identified structural imbalance in the organisation. FETAC also cited the expectation that efficiencies would arise from the forthcoming amalgamation of HETAC, FETAC and NQAI and that salary savings would be achieved over time arising from the early retirements.

I understand that three of the four former members of staff held the position of Development Officer, a senior technical grade in FETAC. The fourth member of staff held a Grade VI post, an administrative middle management position. A table showing the length of service and lump sum paid to each of the members of staff is set out below.

The Senior Management Team of FETAC, led by the Chief Executive Officer, authorised the early retirements. The approval of the Minister for Education and Skills and the consent of the Minister for Finance, required by FETAC's governing legislation, was not sought. Legal advice in respect of the recovery or reassessment of unauthorised benefits has been obtained and is being considered.

Apart from the FETAC early retirement scheme, no other staff have left FETAC, HETAC or the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland since the amalgamation announcement, other than through resignation, non-renewal of temporary contracts due to the moratorium on public sector recruitment, the expiry of a period of secondment from another organisation or normal retirement pursuant to the terms of the relevant pension scheme.

Grade

Total Service; Public Sector

Amount in FETAC

Lump Sum

Applicant A

Development Officer

37.128 years

5.586 years

151,868

Applicant B

Development Officer

32.9687 years

5.167 years

133,834

Applicant C

Development Officer

24.863 years

4.671 years

121,834

Applicant D

Grade VI

31.718 years

5.559 years

78,124

Work Placement Programme

Finian McGrath

Question:

77 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will support a matter regarding a placement programme (details supplied). [46935/10]

The Work Placement Programme is intended to assist people who are unemployed to develop their skills levels to secure work experience that will assist them in finding employment. My Department recently issued circular 66/2010 which permits schools to participate in the Work Placement Programme if they so wish.

The programme provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines and provides an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. The individuals on placement will, in turn, have the opportunity to utilise and develop their own skills.

This involves a placement for a defined period, rather than employment, and participants in this voluntary programme may be entitled to maintain their social welfare entitlements subject to the rules of the Department of Social Protection.

Schools may offer placements to teachers registered with the Teaching Council. Where a registered teacher is engaged he or she may undertake normal teaching duties if the school authority considers this appropriate and can make suitable arrangements. Schools may also use the programme to engage people in non-teaching roles, where non-teaching graduates and non-graduates may have valuable skills from which a school could benefit. It is a condition of the programme that any placements must not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post. This includes substitute vacancies. These conditions safeguard future employment opportunities in the education sector.

In addition, the Government has also decided to expand the number of placements offered under the Work Placement Programme. The number of places on the programme will be increased from the current 2,000 to 7,500 in 2011, with 5,000 of the additional placements being offered in the public sector.

Schools Building Projects

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

78 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the provision of a new school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46939/10]

The school referred to by the Deputy was announced earlier this year for the appointment of a design team. Representatives from the Board of Management of this school attended a briefing given by my Department to explain the tendering process and the steps involved.

The first stage of this process, which was carried out by my Department on behalf of the school, has been completed and pre-qualified lists of consultants have issued to the Board of Management. The next step will be for the Board of Management to issue invitations to the pre-qualified consultants to tender for the selection and appointment of the design team.

Site Acquisitions

Tom Hayes

Question:

79 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the discussions that have taken place between her and the Sisters of Mercy regarding the purchase of a site for a school (details supplied) in south Tipperary; the position regarding the terms of a contract for this site; the progress made in these contract discussions; the expected date for an agreed contract; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46940/10]

In 2004, agreement was reached to amalgamate the two primary schools referred to by the Deputy. The application for capital funding to facilitate this amalgamation was assessed and assigned a band rating of 1.4.

A technical inspection was carried out on the existing school buildings to determine which would be suitable to facilitate the amalgamated school. The report produced following this inspection concluded that the most suitable building to facilitate the amalgamation would be the girls' school. It also found that an additional portion of land would be required from the Sisters of Mercy to facilitate the development. The Department has received an offer of lands from the Sisters of Mercy under the Residential Institutions Redress compensation scheme. The Department is considering this offer in the context of the religious orders' response to the Government request for an increase in their contribution under the Redress scheme.

On conclusion of the acquisition of the site, the progression of the amalgamated school building project will be considered in the context of the Department's multi-annual school building and modernisation programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Schools Building Projects

Simon Coveney

Question:

80 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application by a school (details supplied) in County Cork for funding for an additional classroom; the funding available for this project and the timescale envisaged for the construction and completion of same. [46944/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers has made an application for capital funding to construct two classrooms and a Resource Room.

The application is currently under consideration and a decision will issue shortly to the Board of Management of the school.

Higher Education Grants

Arthur Morgan

Question:

81 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will list, on a county basis, the number of grant applications received and the number which have been processed for each local authority and vocational education committee here in tabular form. [46948/10]

The process of assessing and paying third level or further education grants is a matter for the relevant local authority or VEC.

I am aware that the timing of payment varies between the 66 awarding authorities depending on a number of variables including the volume of applications received, staffing resources and whether or not properly completed application forms have been submitted. Work prioritisation across different functions, and how available staff are deployed to execute those functions are matters for the management of each VEC and local authority concerned.

This year's student grant schemes include a number of significant administrative and service improvements aimed at addressing the issue of delay, which include an initial roll-out of a new online grant application system. The new system, introduced in both Irish and English, is already operating in 11 grant awarding authorities. Building on this initial phase for the current academic year, the ultimate aim will be to make it available to all applicants nationally.

Key among the other improvements introduced are a complete overhaul of the grant application form, streamlined administrative processes, advance payments to awarding authorities and publication of the grant schemes some two months earlier than last year. The Student Support Bill, which will provide for a fundamental and radical restructuring of the whole student grants administration function and provide for a single unified scheme is now listed to be taken at Report stage on 16 December 2010.

The table below details the number of new student grant applications received, awarded, refused, on-going, cancelled, yet to be processed, transferred and the number paid by the local authorities and Vocational Educational Committees for the 2010/11 academic year up to the week ended 3 December 2010 unless otherwise stated. The information has been supplied to my Department by the local authorities and the Vocational Education Committees.

My Department is in constant contact with grant awarding authorities to monitor the situation in relation to the processing and payment of student grants, particularly as a number of grant awarding authorities have not supplied up to date information in this matter. It recently wrote, on my behalf, to the heads of the grant awarding authorities to inform them that I am anxious to ensure that remaining applicants receive decisions on their grant applications as soon as possible and requesting their co-operation in prioritising this work in their Councils/Committees.

Local Authorities — Processing Position as at week ending 3.12.10

Local Authorities

Number of New Applications

Awarded

Refused

Ongoing/ Further Information or Documentation Requested

Cancelled/ Withdrawn

Yet to be processed

Transferred

Paid

Carlow Co. Council

233

158

25

40

4

0

6

151

Cavan Co. Council

293

174

26

53

7

17

16

174

Clare Co. Council

682

375

27

179

0

79

22

253

Cork City Council

775

267

69

198

6

137

98

208

Cork Co. Council

1,608

215

166

452

22

640

113

179

Donegal Co. Council

877

454

112

180

31

0

100

300

Dublin City Council

2,457

976

331

283

58

418

391

748

Dun/Rath Co. Council

827

254

101

250

14

111

97

197

South Dublin Council

863

292

93

206

14

123

135

213

Fingal Co. Council

996

241

167

173

0

311

104

101

Galway Co.Council

2,504

793

106

834

44

543

184

793

Kerry Co. Council

703

438

67

126

13

0

59

370

Kildare Co. Council

1,052

295

53

195

23

271

215

295

Kilkenny Co. Council

432

301

40

41

18

0

32

235

Laois Co. Council

396

257

41

23

17

5

53

257

Leitrim Co. Council

225

139

15

37

1

0

33

123

Limerick Co. Council

724

169

59

150

17

264

65

91

Limerick City Council

283

151

15

85

2

11

19

0

Longford Co. Council

207

128

18

32

8

0

21

112

Louth Co. Council

602

169

32

141

9

197

54

49

Mayo Co. Council

642

388

45

45

27

20

117

247

Meath Co. Council

735

195

118

218

4

200

0

147

Monaghan Co. Council

323

188

38

34

5

0

58

166

Offaly Co. Council

229

144

29

15

9

12

20

140

Roscommon Co.Council

481

321

38

45

21

0

56

321

Sligo Co. Council

301

164

22

66

18

0

31

137

Tipperary (NR) Council

312

197

21

51

13

10

20

159

Local Authorities — Processing Position as at week ending 3.12.10— continued

Local Authorities

Number of New Applications

Awarded

Refused

Ongoing/ Further Information or Documentation Requested

Cancelled/ Withdrawn

Yet to be processed

Transferred

Paid

Tipperary (SR) Council

451

238

44

50

1

79

39

216

Waterford City. Council

174

81

27

42

7

0

17

72

Waterford Co. Council

537

346

23

0

11

317

Westmeath Co. Council

390

260

36

58

8

0

28

260

Wexford Co. Council

514

270

83

94

21

6

40

215

Wicklow Co. Council

776

326

53

131

10

138

118

159

VECs — Processing Position as at week ending 3.12.10

VECs

Number of New Applications

Awarded

Refused

Ongoing / Further Information or Documentation Requested

Cancelled / Withdrawn

Yet to be processed

Transferred

Paid

Co. Carlow VEC

337

312

15

6

0

2

2

132

Co. Cavan VEC

1,129

636

165

238

22

44

24

500

Co. Clare VEC

1,230

631

141

331

47

0

80

238

Co. Cork VEC

2,669

336

159

1,325

46

715

88

200

City of Cork VEC

1,130

338

195

347

24

35

191

137

Co. Donegal VEC

1,990

1,016

197

471

198

10

98

840

City of Dublin VEC

2,684

766

459

1033

54

62

310

313

Co. Dublin VEC

2,893

429

272

1,133

41

737

281

154

Dun Laoghaire VEC

375

147

60

88

4

2

74

118

City of Galway VEC

627

421

57

71

8

0

70

314

Co. Galway VEC

1,921

805

118

245

40

558

155

194

Co. Kerry VEC

1,816

1,084

178

361

113

7

73

448

Co. Kildare VEC

1,310

418

145

549

20

55

123

0

VECs — Processing Position as at week ending 3.12.10— continued

VECs

Number of New Applications

Awarded

Refused

Ongoing / Further Information or Documentation Requested

Cancelled / Withdrawn

Yet to be processed

Transferred

Paid

Co. Kilkenny VEC

848

418

102

67

0

201

60

131

Co. Laois VEC

709

298

75

178

15

79

64

88

Co. Leitrim VEC

403

235

24

61

9

36

38

72

City of Limerick VEC

572

329

79

60

84

20

0

0

Co. Limerick VEC

996

469

127

286

29

26

59

150

Co. Longford VEC

718

417

88

93

67

0

53

248

Co. Louth VEC

1,133

658

148

120

6

107

94

232

Co. Mayo VEC

1,538

581

18

0

31

908

0

175

Co. Meath VEC

1,307

518

154

358

58

157

62

142

Co. Monaghan VEC

847

453

103

0

40

171

80

183

Co. Offaly VEC

749

457

100

143

24

5

20

112

Co. Roscommon VEC

810

561

102

82

18

0

47

266

Co. Sligo VEC

944

383

49

391

37

40

44

203

Co. Tipperary NR VEC

929

425

119

232

46

70

37

202

Co. Tipperary SR VEC

756

597

45

49

30

0

35

215

Co. Waterford VEC

510

311

66

133

0

0

0

113

City of Waterford VEC

573

133

45

112

13

243

27

126

Co. Westmeath VEC

931

508

133

186

23

0

81

188

Co. Wexford VEC

1,768

307

215

803

19

249

175

372

Co. Wicklow VEC

1,038

417

103

218

22

161

117

116

Information from the following Local Authorities refers to week ending 29. 10.10 Wicklow.

Information from the following Local Authorities refers to week ending 5. 11.10 Waterford County incomplete.

Information from the following Local Authorities refers to week ending 19 11.10 Louth.

Information from the following Local Authorities refers to week ending 26. 11.10 Westmeath.

Information from the following VEC's refers to week ending 5. 11.10 Wexford.

Information from the following VEC's refers to week ending 26. 11.10 Tipperary SR, Tipperary NR, City of Limerick, Mayo.

Information from the following VEC's refers to week ending 19.11.10 Laois.

Information from the following VEC's refers to week ending 12.11.10 Meath.

This information has been supplied to the Department by the local authorities and the Vocational Education Committees.

School Staffing

Brendan Howlin

Question:

82 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 226 of 29 September 2010, if the staff side have indicated their views on the matter; the progress made towards completion of the consultation process in respect of contracts of indefinite duration for unqualified or incompletely qualified teachers; when the final contract for use by schools and vocational educational committees will be issued; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46950/10]

A draft contract of indefinite duration and draft fixed term contracts for unqualified individuals employed in teaching posts have been sent to the Staff side, and their views are awaited.

The final contracts will be issued for use by schools and VECs when the consultation process is completed.

Work Placements

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

83 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide details of the way an unemployed teacher or special needs assistant can apply to work in a school and receive social benefits. [46993/10]

My Department has recently issued a circular which permits schools to participate in the FÁS Work Placement Programme (WPP) if they so wish. This FÁS programme is intended to assist people who are unemployed to retain their skills levels and secure work experience that will assist them in finding employment. This involves a placement for a defined period, rather than employment, and participants in this voluntary programme may be entitled to maintain their social welfare entitlements subject to the rules of the Department of Social Protection.

The WPP provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines which has not existed up until now and offers an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. The individuals on placement will, in turn, have the opportunity to utilise and develop their own skills.

Placements are not confined to teaching or SNA posts. It is a condition of the programme that any placements must not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post. This provision includes substitute vacancies. People interested in applying for placements under the scheme should contact their nearest FÁS office as all placements will be advertised through FÁS.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

84 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if she will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46999/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

85 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will list all public appointments that she is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47014/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 84 and 85 together.

I assume the Deputy is concerned with appointments to State Boards that come under the aegis of my Department. Since the 22nd, November 2010 to date I have made 6 appointments to Boards which are contained in the tabular statement below. They are new appointments with the exception of Mr. Scott at Tipperary Rural & Business Development Institute (T.R.B.D.I.) who is a re-appointment. The appointees listed do not receive any remuneration for carrying out their functions. They are entitled to claim travel and subsistence expenses that arise in carrying out their duties.

I am aware that eight vacancies will arise on the National Qualification Authority on the 25th, February 2011. There are also eight vacancies on the Higher Education Authority and fifteen on the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology.

I have requested officials at my Department to compile a full list of vacancies on bodies under the aegis of my Department and I will forward it to the Deputy when it is available.

Board

Name

Tenure

N.U.I. Maynooth

Pro Martin G Curley

22/11/2010 to 29/10/2015

Ms. Teresa Murray

22/11/2010 to 29/10/2015

The Dental Council

Mr. Gerry Horkan

22/11/2010 to 29/10/2015

Letterkenny Ins of Tech

Cllr Michael Fleming

30/11/2010 to 04/12/2011

Tipperary Rural & Bus Dev

Ms. Paula Murray

22/11/2010 to 08/12/2011

Mr. Darragh Scott (Student Rep)

2/12/2010 to 30/11/2011

Schools Building Projects

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

86 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) in County Cork will be given permission to commence construction of a new building; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47031/10]

My Department has reached agreement, in principle, subject to contract with Cork County Council and is in on-going liaison with the Local Authority in relation to the proposed acquisition of a site. Due to the commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions, I am not in a position to comment further at this time. Once this acquisition is concluded, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

School Staffing

Michael Noonan

Question:

87 Deputy Michael Noonan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the position of a special needs assistant at a school (details supplied) in County Limerick is to be terminated from December 2010; if she will have the matter examined with a view to reversing the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47033/10]

As the Deputy may be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

I have arranged for the details supplied to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Schools Building Projects

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

88 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when the classroom extension will be provided to a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47078/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department recently approved funding for alteration works — extension of a classroom at the school in question.

Pension Provisions

Richard Bruton

Question:

89 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if part-time teachers who have not been given permanent contracts have access to a pension scheme; if she has made arrangements for such persons to contribute to a personal retirement savings account; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47087/10]

Pension arrangements for primary, secondary, community and comprehensive teachers are governed by statutory superannuation provisions. Under these provisions admission to the pension schemes is mandatory for teachers, including permanent, temporary, part-time and substitute teachers, appointed to approved teaching positions in schools who are paid salary, out of monies voted by the Oireachtas, through the Payroll operated by my Department. A number of part-time teachers who are employed by management authorities and paid by grant to the school, will from January 2011 be paid through my Department's payroll and will contribute to the pension scheme from then. Provision is being made to enable these teachers to reckon past part-time service for pension purposes subject to the usual terms and conditions including the payment of appropriate contributions.

Apart from the circumstances outlined above, where part-time teachers are paid by grant to the school, it is a matter for the management authority of the employing school to make provision for access to a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) for such personnel. The management authority is not required to contribute to a PRSA.

Schools Building Projects

Martin Ferris

Question:

90 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a school’s (details supplied) application for a classroom extension will be decided upon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47093/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department recently approved funding for alteration works — extension of a classroom at the school in question.

Postgraduate Scholarships

Leo Varadkar

Question:

91 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Studies is in a position to issue a call for a scheme 1, postgraduate scholarship for 20 November 2012; if so, when she expects IRCHSS to be able to do so; the number of scholarships to be offered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47094/10]

The Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) will issue a call for proposals under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme on 7th January 2011. The closing date for applications will be the 21st February 2011. While the number of awards is dependent on the outcome of the competitive assessment process, it is envisaged that awards will be maintained at a similar level to 2010, with funding commencing in Autumn 2011. A pre-announcement of the impending call has been placed on the IRCHSS website (www.irchss.ie).

Schools Building Projects

Emmet Stagg

Question:

92 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 98 of 11 November 2010, the reason the school authorities have not been contacted in relation to the process in appointing a design team for the project. [47114/10]

Officials from my Department have spoken with the school's Principal on a number of occasions since 11th November and have advised that the school authorities will shortly be invited to a briefing in the Department's offices in Tullamore at which the process for tendering for a design team will be explained to them.

My officials will again be in contact with the school authorities when a date for the briefing is finalised.

FÁS Training Programmes

Alan Shatter

Question:

93 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will detail all FÁS courses which are currently taking place or which have taken place in a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16 since September 2008; in respect of each course, under whose aegis such course is or was held; and in respect of each course, if it is or was part time or full time, the number of hours duration per day and if daytime or evening. [47115/10]

Alan Shatter

Question:

94 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will detail all moneys paid out in respect of FÁS courses held in a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16 from September 2008 to date in 2010; to whom such moneys were paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47116/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 94 together.

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

Contracts are paid on a per capita basis; this means that there is a set fee for each participant based on a minimum number of trainees. The fees are reduced when the number falls below the set minimum level. Furthermore, each contract is subject to stipulated placement targets — both at the conclusion of the course and 4-6 months after its completion. FÁS retains a percentage of the contractor fee which becomes payable when these targets have been met.

Balinteer Community School — FAS Contracted Course between Sept 2008-Dec 2010

Start Date

Finish Date

Course Title

Contract Number

Contract Value

Contractor

PT

FT

Day

Hours per day

Evening

Hours per Evening

25/09/2009

21/11/2009

Manual & Computerised Accounts

2438

15,655.00

Creative Training

7.15 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

12/10/2009

13/11/2009

Basic Computers

2877

8,350.00

Creative Training

7.15 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

27/10/2009

22/01/2010

Comptia Networks+

3048

20,740.00

Creative Training

7.15 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

29/03/2010

17/07/2010

Childcare Traineeship P3

3700

27,120.00

Creative Training

7.15 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

11/10/2010

18/12/2010

ECDL

4028

25,336.00

Business Management Institute

7.5 Hrs ( Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

05/04/2010

09/07/2010

Healthcare Traineeship P3

3703

23,730.00

Creative Training

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

05/04/2010

09/07/2010

Healthcare Traineeship P4

3704

23,730.00

Creative Training

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

31/05/2010

02/07/2010

Warehouse Operator and Forklift Driver

3979

22,000.00

Irish School of Motoring

7 Hrs ( Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

31/05/2010

02/07/2010

Warehouse Operator and Forklift Driver

3980

22,000.00

Irish School of Motoring

7 Hrs ( Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

08/06/2010

08/10/2010

ECDL

4024

25,336.80

Business Management Institute

7 Hrs ( Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

14/06/2010

15/10/2010

ECDL

4025

25,336.80

Business Management Institute

7 Hrs ( Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

09/08/2010

10/12/2010

ECDL

4026

25,336.80

Business Management Institute

7 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

13/09/2010

14/11/2010

ECDL

4027

25,336.80

Business Management Institute

7 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

16/08/2010

17/09/2010

Computer Basics

4150

7,450.00

Clane College

7 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

20/09/2010

22/10/2010

Computer Basics

4151

7,450.00

Clane College

7 Hrs (Mon -Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

Balinteer Community School — FAS Contracted Course between Sept 2008-Dec 2010

Start Date

Finish Date

Course Title

Contract Number

Contract Value

Contractor

PT

FT

Day

Hours per day

Evening

Hours per Evening

25/10/2010

26/11/2010

Computer Basics

4152

7,450.00

Clane College

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

29/11/2010

07/01/2011

Computer Basics

4153

7,450.00

Clane College

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

11/10/2010

12/11/2011

Warehouse Operator

4421

19,500.00

ISM

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

08/11/2010

10/12/2010

Warehouse Operator

4422

19,500.00

ISM

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

06/09/2010

28/01/2011

Childcare Pract Traineeship P1+2

4342

26,400.00

Midland School of Childcare

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

18/10/2010

11/03/2011

Childcare Pract Traineeship P1+3

4344

26,400.00

Midland School of Childcare

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3.25 Hrs Fri

22/09/2008

13/03/2009

ECDL

1885

38,240.00

Creative Training

7 Hrs × 2 Days per week

19/10/2009

12/03/2010

Childcare Pract Traineeship

2819

33,900.00

Creative Training

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

27/10/2009

02/04/2010

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship

2803

37,290.00

Creative Training

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

27/10/2009

02/04/2010

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship

2802

37,290.00

Creative Training

7. 5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5.Hrs Fri

06/04/2009

05/06/2009

Manual & Computerised A/cs

3437

15,655.00

Creative Training

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

17/05/2010

06/08/2010

Comptia Networks +

3939

20,740.00

Creative Training

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

08/07/2009

18/09/2009

Basic Computers — Short Course

2481

6,700.00

Creative Training

6.5 hrs × 2 days per week

15/05/2009

31/07/2009

Basic Computers — Short Course

2480

6,700.00

Creative Training

6.5 hrs × 2 days per week

15/05/2009

31/07/2009

Basic Computers — Short Course

2479

6,700.00

Creative Training

6.5 hrs × 2 days per week

08/03/2012

16/04/2010

Basic Computers -

2876

10,020.00

Creative Training

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 5 Hrs Fri

Balinteer Community School — FAS Contracted Course between Sept 2008-Dec 2010

Start Date

Finish Date

Course Title

Contract Number

Contract Value

Contractor

PT

FT

Day

Hours per day

Evening

Hours per Evening

28/09/2009

04/12/2009

Basic Computers — Short Course

2476

7,950.00

Creative Training

7.5 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 4 Hrs Fri

10/03/2008

14/11/2008

Healthcare Assistant Traineeship

1742

57,960.00

Creative Training

7 Hrs (Mon-Thurs) & 3 Hrs Fri

15/09/2008

06/12/2009

Return to Work

1744

28,600.00

Creative Training

4 hours × Mon — Fri

22/09/2009

13/03/2009

ECDL Part time

1886

38,240.00

Creative Training

5 hours × Mon — Fri

Evening Courses Balinteer Community School — between Sept 2008 — Dec 2010

21/09/2009

27/11/2009

ECDL

PO 4500268749

6,000.00

Creative Training

3 Hrs × 12 Evening per week

21/09/2009

27/11/2009

Preperation for ECDL

PO 4500268749

2,350.00

Creative Training

3 Hrs × 1 Evening per week

21/09/2009

27/11/2009

Start Your Own Business

PO 4500268749

2,350.00

Creative Training

4 Hrs × 1 Evening per week

16/06/2010

19/08/2010

ECDL

PO 4500287367

9,080.00

Creative Training

3 Hrs × 2 Evening per week

Alan Shatter

Question:

95 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills whether she has any concerns about adults who have not been vetted attending FÁS courses in a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16 when pupils are attending the school and her policy applicable to such arrangements. [47117/10]

My Department issued a circular to all school authorities in late 2005 urging trustees and Boards of Management to make their facilities available, where possible, for community education and recreation purposes.

It appears that the school in question is making some of its school facilities available for the running of FÁS courses.

Decisions in relation to the use of school facilities are at the discretion of the school authorities, subject to the condition that the needs of the students attending the school are prioritised in the first instance. School authorities must always be cognisant of their responsibility to provide a duty of care towards the pupils in the school. It is therefore essential that the Board has appropriate measures in place to safeguard the welfare and safety of its pupils.

In relation to vetting, the current arrangements for vetting of teaching and non-teaching staff are set out in Department Circular 0094/2006 which is available on my Department's website. My Department has also recently issued a new circular (0063/2010) which updates and expands the Garda vetting requirements for all primary and post-primary schools. The requirements of this circular are effective from 1 January 2011.

School Transport

John Deasy

Question:

96 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in primary schools in Waterford city and county availing of school transport in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47146/10]

Bus Éireann, which operates the School Transport Schemes, on behalf of my Department, has advised that the following numbers of primary pupils availed of school transport services in the years 2005 to 2009:

Year

Number of Cases

2005

1,485

2006

1,513

2007

1,502

2008

1,479

2009

1,495

The final figures for 2010 are not yet available.

John Deasy

Question:

97 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in secondary schools in Waterford city and county availing of school transport in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47147/10]

Bus Éireann, which operates the School Transport Schemes, on behalf of my Department, has advised that the following numbers of post-primary pupils availed of school transport services in the years 2005 to 2009:

Year

Number of Cases

2005

1,657

2006

1,624

2007

1,604

2008

1,640

2009

1,642

The final figures for 2010 are not yet available.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

John Deasy

Question:

98 Deputy John Deasy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of persons in Waterford city and county receiving the long-term unemployment bonus paid to vocational training opportunities scheme students in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47148/10]

I should clarify for the Deputy that my Department does not hold information on where participants live. However, the number of participants in Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme courses delivered by County and City of Waterford Vocational Education Committees (VECs) who were in receipt of the long-term unemployment bonus for each of the last five years and to date in 2010 is set out as follows:

County Waterford VEC

City of Waterford VEC

2010

54

85

2009

32

108

2008

59

100

2007

69

118

2006

69

111

2005

68

110

Schools Building Projects

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

99 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress made in providing a permanent school building for a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47164/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a new school. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band rating of 2.2. Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie.

The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Site Acquisitions

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

100 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a permanent site for a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47166/10]

A suitable site has been identified, for the school referred to by the Deputy, which is in the ownership of Limerick County Council. My officials are in on-going liaison with the Local Authority in relation to an agreed means of ownership / interest in the site. Due to the commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions, I am not in a position to comment further at this time. Once this acquisition is concluded, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Schools Building Projects

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

101 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a permanent building for a school (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47169/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a new school. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a band rating of 2.2. Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie.

The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in light of current competing demands on the capital budget of the Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Third Level Fees

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

102 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the amount that will be raised by replacing the student services charge at third level with a flat higher education contribution of €2,000; the funds that will be raised by applying a €200 charge for post-leaving certificate students; if she will also provide each figure net of the amount that will be offset by student grant assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47200/10]

The total additional revenue that will be generated by Higher Education institutions by replacing the existing €1,500 per year Student Services Charge with a flat Higher Education Student Contribution of €2,000 with effect from the 2011/2012 academic year is estimated to amount to some €55 million. Of the additional €55m, the contribution that will be paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the third level grant schemes will amount to some €28m. The new Student Contribution will apply to all students who currently benefit under the 'free fees' scheme. In addition, higher education institutions will be asked to put in place arrangements under which a student may opt to pay the contribution in two equal instalments of 50% in September and 50% in January in a given academic year.

The overall net additional revenue will be reduced by virtue of the commitment to increase the current higher education grants schemes threshold to provide for an additional eligibility category of support qualifying for '50% Student Contribution' and the arrangements to provide that second and subsequent siblings from a single family will not have to bear the full increased cost of the new €2,000 contribution. Whilst it is not possible to provide a precise calculation, it is estimated that the reduction in additional revenue may amount to some €8 million.

In relation to the introduction of a new €200 annual contribution for Post Leaving Certificate students, it is estimated that the total additional revenue that will be generated will amount to some €7.5 million and by up to €4 million net when payments by the Exchequer on behalf of those students who are eligible under the student grant schemes are taken into account. Eligible PLC students may include those in receipt of the Back to Education Allowance provided that they meet all of the terms and conditions of the relevant student grant scheme.

Vocational Education Committees

Richard Bruton

Question:

103 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if a request for an investigation has been made by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47310/10]

My Department responded to a representation received on behalf of the person referred to by the Deputy and referred the matter to the relevant Vocational Education Committee (VEC), as the VEC is the person's employer in this case.

Teachers’ Remuneration

Emmet Stagg

Question:

104 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason a qualified teacher is being paid at the unqualified rate as a substitute teacher despite her Department being aware of the qualification since October 2010; and the reason the person (details supplied) in County Kildare is on emergency tax when her Department received their tax credit from the Revenue Commissioners on 30 October 2010. [47311/10]

Officials from my Department were in contact with the person referred to by the Deputy recently and the matters raised by him are now resolved.

Work Placement Programme

Niall Collins

Question:

105 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide this Deputy with a reply to a matter (details supplied). [47317/10]

My Department recently issued circular 66/2010 which permits schools to participate in the Work Placement Programme if they so wish. The Work Placement Programme is intended to assist people who are unemployed to develop their skills levels and secure work experience that will assist them in finding employment. The programme provides a mechanism for schools to offer placements to graduates and non-graduates from a wide variety of disciplines and provides an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. The individuals on placement will, in turn, have the opportunity to utilise and develop their own skills. This involves a placement for a defined period, rather than employment, and participants in this voluntary programme may be entitled to maintain their social welfare entitlements subject to the rules of the Department of Social Protection.

Schools may offer placements to teachers registered with the Teaching Council. Where a registered teacher is engaged he or she may undertake normal teaching duties if the school authority considers this appropriate and can make suitable arrangements. Schools may also use the programme to engage people in non-teaching roles, where non-teaching graduates and non-graduates may have valuable skills from which a school could benefit. It is a condition of the programme that any placements must not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post. This includes substitute vacancies. These conditions safeguard future employment opportunities in the education sector. In addition, the Government has also decided to expand the number of placements offered under the Work Placement Programme. The number of places on the programme will be increased from the current 2,000 to 7,500 in 2011, with 5,000 of the additional placements being offered in the public sector

Parking Levy

Paul Nicholas Gogarty

Question:

106 Deputy Paul Gogarty asked the Minister for Finance the details of the new parking levy announced earlier this year; if this will be coming into place in January 2011 as earmarked, or if this has been delayed; the location at which companies with large numbers of employees will be able to access more information on the proposed roll-out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47237/10]

The introduction of the car parking levy has been the subject of a considerable degree of work undertaken by officials in my Department, the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The necessary preparatory work has now been completed and I am currently considering a date for the commencement of the levy. An employee will be liable to the levy where he or she has an entitlement to use a parking space for the parking of a vehicle covered by the levy, the parking space is provided directly or indirectly by the employer, and the parking space is located in an area designated by the Minister for Finance, initially within Dublin city. This will be extended to other urban areas at a later date. The levy is €200 per annum, in general.

A reduced levy applies where car parking spaces are shared between employees provided that the ratio of employees to each car parking space is 2:1 or more. In these circumstances, the levy for employees with an entitlement to park will be reduced to €100. Where an employee's normal pattern of work is on the basis of part-time or job-sharing arrangements, then the levy amount payable is reduced pro-rata, but not below a minimum of 50 per cent of the amount otherwise due. A reduction in the levy can also apply in the case of shift workers. There are exemptions for disabled persons, employees of the emergency services, and for occasional use of a parking space, including by retired employees.

The scheme will require the employer to deduct the levy from the employee through the payroll system and return the levy to Revenue. Deductions of the levy will be spread throughout the year in line with the frequency of salary payments. The Revenue Commissioners have published a guidance document covering implementation of the levy, this is availableon www.revenue.ie.

Tax Collection

John Deasy

Question:

107 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons in Waterford city and county who were prosecuted for non-payment of value added tax in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46874/10]

I draw to the Deputy's attention that this is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. However, I am advised by Revenue that the number of cases in Waterford city and county prosecuted for non-filing of value added tax returns in each of the past five years and to date in 2010 is as follows.

Year

Number of Cases

2005

0

2006

1

2007

1

2008

2

2009

1

2010 (to date)

5

In this context it should however be noted that the main focus of Revenue's response to non-payment of VAT — and indeed other taxes and duties — is through debt collection and recovery measures involving, inter alia, referral of debt cases to the sheriff, referral of debt cases to one of its contracted external firms of solicitors for the institution of legal proceedings in the Courts or attachment of debts owed by third parties to a defaulting taxpayer.

Flood Relief

Rory O'Hanlon

Question:

108 Deputy Rory O’Hanlon asked the Minister for Finance the number of applications from each local authority in the country for funding to alleviate individual episodes of flooding in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46879/10]

The number of applications submitted by each Local Authority to date in 2010 under the Office of Public Works Minor Flood Works and Coastal Protection scheme is as follows:

Local Authority

Number

Cavan County Council

26

Kildare County Council

5

Sligo County Council

1

Cork County Council

42

Laois County Council

1

South Dublin County Council

2

Cork City Council

1

Leitrim County Council

8

Tipperary North County Council

8

Clare County Council

22

Limerick County Council

33

Tipperary South County Council

11

Carlow County Council

3

Longford County Council

10

Waterford County Council

4

Donegal County Council

21

Louth County Council

8

Westmeath County Council

7

Dublin City Council

3

Mayo County Council

16

Wexford County Council

16

Fingal County Council

6

Meath County Council

4

Wicklow County Council

13

Galway City Council

2

Monaghan County Council

11

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council

1

Galway County Council

111

Offaly County Council

12

Kilkenny County Council

6

Kerry County Council

16

Roscommon County Council

31

Following assessment of the applications submitted, total funding of €16m has been allocated by the OPW under the scheme. Further applications are being received and assessed on an ongoing basis.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

109 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46914/10]

Refreshments for meetings or functions which I hold in my office are normally purchased from the Department's canteen or local shops. The total spent in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for this is listed in the table below. The details of the breakdown requested by the Deputy are not readily available as these are not generally recorded electronically.

Year

Amount Spent

2008

254.89

2009

217.74

2010

957.78

Tax Code

Finian McGrath

Question:

110 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will examine and support a proposal regarding patent royalty tax exemption (details supplied). [46934/10]

The tax exemption for patent income has been in place for over 30 years and has applied to income received by an individual or company from a qualifying patent subject, since 2008, to an annual limit of €5 million. A tax exemption has also applied, subject to certain conditions, to distributions paid by companies from exempt patent income. These exemptions have been abolished with effect from 24 November 2010. The decision to abolish the relief was taken in the light of a recommendation to this effect by the Commission on Taxation. As part of its review of all tax expenditures, the Commission on Taxation examined the relief for patent income to determine if its continued operation was justified on cost benefit grounds. The Commission found that the relief has not had the desired impact on innovation and R&D activity and that, despite various refinements to the scheme over the years, it was not a particularly well-targeted measure providing good value for money.

The Government agrees with the conclusions of the Commission and believes that in the current challenging times scarce resources should be focussed instead on the R&D tax credit scheme. The R&D credit scheme provides a more direct and effective incentive for enterprises to innovate and invest in R&D activities and the scheme has been enhanced considerably in recent years to make it one of the most competitive of its kind anywhere.

Abolition of the patent income exemption will yield €50 million to the Exchequer in a full year and this is provided for in the National Recovery Plan. Alternative options for curtailing the relief were considered in the context of the Plan, such as limiting the tax free payment to a fixed amount per annum. While a limit of €40,000, as suggested in the proposal referred to in the question, would provide some savings, it would still mean a significant cost to the Exchequer and would be difficult to justify on the basis that it would provide tax-efficient means for remunerating employees.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

111 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will deal with a matter regarding a levy (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46945/10]

I can inform the Deputy that Section 45 of Finance Act 2008 introduced new tax provisions in relation to profits derived from petroleum exploration and production activities. A new tax called a "profit resource rent tax" will apply at rates of 5%, 10% or 15% in addition to the corporation tax rate of 25% that currently applies to profits from petroleum activities. It will apply when profits exceed certain defined levels. This will be worked out by a formula that relates the profits from a petroleum field to the capital investment in the field. The new tax provisions give effect to the Government Decision of 30 July 2007 that a new regime would apply in relation to petroleum profits from discoveries made from 2007 onwards. I have no plans to introduce a levy along the lines proposed by the Deputy.

Fiscal Policy

Terence Flanagan

Question:

112 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will deal with a matter regarding a stimulus package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46978/10]

As I indicated in my Budget address last week, economic activity in Ireland has stabilised and recovery in the real economy is beginning to take shape. Building on progress already made, the purpose of the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 is to plot a course to sound, sustainable growth for the economy. Budget 2011 represents the first instalment of that Plan. The approach being taken by the Government in the Plan and in Budget 2011 will help to dispel uncertainty and will give consumers and businesses confidence to spend in the economy.

The Government is satisfied that this is the most sustainable approach to support an acceleration of growth in the economy.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

113 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47002/10]

There have been no appointments to the boards or bodies under the aegis of my Department since 22 November 2010.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

114 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47017/10]

The Independent Mediation Officer for the Civil Service Grievance Procedure is due to be appointed for a further year from the 1 January 2011. This appointment is sent to the Staff Panel for their agreement and then it is forwarded to the Minister for Finance for approval. The term of office of the current Board of the Public Appointments Service is due to finish on 20th February 2011. A new Board consisting of one Chairperson and seven members will be due to be appointed from that date. The CEO will continue to be an ex officio member of the Board.

One vacancy will arise on the National Treasury Management Agency Advisory Committee on 31 December 2010.

In accordance with the terms of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010, the Minister for Finance may make between 1 and 3 further appointments to the Central Bank Commission in addition to the appointments already made to the Commission in October 2010.

Personal Debt

Joe McHugh

Question:

115 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether false assumptions obtaining between 2000 and 2007 about consumer income, long-term economic productivity and consumer behaviour resulted in the collapse of the Irish banking system; his further views on whether the various bank guarantee schemes and bank bailouts, including budget 2011 introduced by the Government, in effect transfer credit institutions’ liabilities onto the State; if a logical continuation of this principle requires credit institutions to enter into debt clemency agreements with creditors whose 2000 to 2007 investments were based on the same false assumptions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47029/10]

I would not accept that reliance on false assumptions about income, long term economic productivity and consumer behaviour were the sole reasons for the difficulties faced by the banking sector although they could all be classed as playing their part. Other factors included loan impairments, particularly in the property sector, falling asset prices, bank lending policies and bank remuneration policies. The Irish Government took a number of decisive steps to stabilise and maintain the banking sector including the introduction of the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008, the initial recapitalisation of AIB and Bank of Ireland, the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee scheme, NAMA the investments in Anglo, Irish Nationwide and EBS and most recently the joint EU-IMF Programme for Ireland which includes a facility of up to €35 billion to support the banking sector.

I would not accept that these actions should be categorised as transferring the credit institutions' liabilities onto the State and I want to make it clear that debt clemency arrangements would further increase the exposure of the State. In relation to debt clemency for NAMA debtors, the NAMA Board has stated clearly in its Business Plan that it will enforce personal guarantees to the greatest extent feasible.

Tax Code

Terence Flanagan

Question:

116 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will deal with a matter (details supplied) regarding a levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47071/10]

I understand that the levy referred to by the Deputy is the pension related deduction legislated for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 (as amended). This deduction is to be made from the remuneration of each public servant in accordance with the Tables in Section 2 of that Act (as amended by Section 13 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2009).

The current rate at which the deduction is to be made is as follows;

First €15,000 of earnings — exempt

Between €15,000 and €20,000 — 5%

Between €20,000 and €60,000 — 10%

Above €60,000 — 10.5%.

The deduction rates for all public servants (including Gardaí and Fire Brigade workers) are as set out above. The amount of levy payable by each individual public servant is based on their individual rate of remuneration.

National Debt

Leo Varadkar

Question:

117 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the level he estimates the national debt will be as of 31 December 2010 and 31 December 2011. [47076/10]

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) have advised that at end-2009 the national debt stood at €75.2 billion. Based on the projections for the Exchequer Borrowing Requirement for the years 2010 and 2011, as set out in Budget 2011, the estimate for the level of national debt at end-2010 is approximately €94 billion and is approximately €112 billion at end-2011.

Tax Code

Richard Bruton

Question:

118 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if the tax advantages that previously applied just to married couples now applies to couples who have entered into a civil union; if similar provisions apply to persons who have been cohabiting, but who have not yet formalised their relationship in a civil union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47086/10]

It is intended that the necessary legislative changes to give effect to the tax consequences of the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010 will be included in the forthcoming Finance Bill. The provisions will have effect for the year of assessment 2011 and will provide the same tax treatment for registered civil partners as for married couples. Individuals who are cohabiting and who are neither married nor in a registered civil partnership will continue to be treated for tax purposes as single persons.

Public Sector Pay

Terence Flanagan

Question:

119 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance if he will deal a matter regarding the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47098/10]

The 10% reduction announced in the Budget will apply to new entrant public servants with effect from 1 January 2011. Detailed guidelines on the implementation of this measure that will issue shortly, will provide that public servants who leave and subsequently re-enter the public service after a short break in service will not be considered new entrants.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

120 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the phasing out of property based tax incentives by 2014, as set out in the National Recovery Plan and the Budget 2011, will ensure that those taxpayers subject to the minimum effective tax rate will not be able to derive financial benefit, through deferred tax relief, from these property incentives after 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47203/10]

As set out in my Budget 2011 speech and summary measures, a "guillotine" provision will ensure that all unused property-based capital allowances and section 23 reliefs are lost after 2014 and an impact assessment will be undertaken into the phased abolition and the "guillotine" provision. This impact assessment will include consideration of how restricted relief carried forward under the high earners restriction should be dealt with in the context of a "guillotine" provision for all unused property-based capital allowances and section 23 reliefs.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

121 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the amount Ireland has contributed to the International Monetary Fund in quotas and subscriptions in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; the position regarding subscriptions and quotas in view of the recent agreement with the European Central Bank, EU and International Monetary Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47132/10]

The majority of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) financial resources are generated by the subscriptions of member states. Each member is assigned a quota, broadly based on its size relative to the world economy. A member's quota determines its maximum financial commitment to the IMF, its voting power, and has a bearing on its access to IMF financing. Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs*), the IMF's unit of account. A member must pay its subscription in full upon joining the Fund: up to 25 percent must be paid in SDRs or widely accepted currencies (such as the U.S. dollar, the euro, the yen, or the pound sterling), while the rest is paid in the member's own currency (in Ireland's case this is the euro).

Ireland's current IMF quota is SDR 838.4 million or 0.38%. Our quota level has been at this level for the years 2005-2010. A quarter of this is paid in SDRs, while the remainder remains a contingent liability on the Central Bank's balance sheet until drawn down by the IMF. It should be noted that quotas make funds available for use and the IMF can call on members at any time to contribute. Details of transactions on the Central Bank's IMF accounts are set out in the Annual Report on Ireland's Participation in the IMF and the World Bank (available at www.finance.gov.ie).

In 2008, a general review of quotas at the IMF took place. Once ratified, Ireland's holding will increase to 0.528% or SDRs 1,257 million. Furthermore, under the fourteenth review of quotas, the recent G20 Summit in Korea agreed to a set of proposals which will ultimately result in Ireland's quota being increased again to 0.724% or SDR 3,449.9 million. Ireland's quota level is not affected by the Joint EU/IMF Programme.

*At 24 November 2010 €1 = SDR 0.86547

Tax Reliefs

John Deasy

Question:

122 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of farmers in Waterford availing of the existing 25% general stock relief for farmers in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47143/10]

John Deasy

Question:

123 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of farmers in Waterford availing of the special incentive stock relief of 100% for certain trained young farmers in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47144/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 and 123 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that details of claims for stock relief claimed by farmers are not captured in such a way as to provide a basis for compiling the information requested by the Deputy.

John Deasy

Question:

124 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of artists in Waterford City and County availing of the tax exempt earnings provisions in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47145/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the available information relates to the exemption of certain earnings of writers, composers and artists in Waterford city and county who made income tax returns for the four income tax years 2005 to 2008, the latest year for which the necessary detailed information is available, and is as follows:

Tax Year

Number of claimants

2005

30

2006

42

2007

35

2008

31

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit. An estimated breakdown of the figures on a geographical basis is available on the basis of "bailiwick", meaning, in this case, the jurisdiction or boundaries within which Revenue Sheriffs, County Registrars or their officers operate for the purposes of enforcement of tax debt and which equates geographically with "county".

Benchmarking Awards

John Deasy

Question:

125 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the year in which benchmarking was introduced and the cost in that year and each subsequent year in respect of public sector workers and public sector pensioners. [47152/10]

The first Public Service Benchmarking Body was established under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness on 19 July 2000. The average award recommended in the report was 8.9%. The total pay and pension costs amounted to approximately €1.2bn. The year-on-year cost was as follows:

Year

Amount Spent

€m

2003

592

2004

306

2005

166

2006

128

The second Public Service Benchmarking Body was established in January 2006. The Body recommended increases for only 15 of the 109 grades examined. The increases were not implemented and no costs arose for the Exchequer.

Tax Collection

John Perry

Question:

126 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in County Sligo has received a bill from the Revenue Commissioners for €3,200; if he will confirm that the bill is correct; if he will ensure that if correct, payment can be made on a phased payment basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47153/10]

I have no role in assessing or confirming an individual's tax liability or in making payment arrangements. These are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person in question is issued with a tax return (Form 12) annually as he is in receipt of owner-occupier relief under the Rural Renewal Scheme.

This person incorrectly received a refund €4,215.70 on 2 April 2008 for the tax year 2007 because, when his tax return for that year was processed, his spouse's income details (which he had not shown on the return) were inadvertently omitted. The incorrect 2007 refund came to light this year and, on 18 August 2010, the person in question was informed of the approximate amount of this underpayment in a telephone conversation with the Sligo Revenue Office. He was also informed of the option of collecting the underpayment over a number of years and it was arranged that he would further contact the Sligo office to arrange a meeting to discuss his tax affairs.

As the person in question had not contacted the Sligo office to arrange a meeting, a PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) for the year 2007 issued on 23 November 2010, showing a net underpayment of €3,466.91. The Revenue Commissioners advise me that the option of making the payment over a number of years, previously offered, is still available and the person in question should contact the Sligo office (071 9148614) to make the necessary arrangements.

Personal Earnings

Joan Burton

Question:

127 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will set out, according to the most recent data from the Revenue Commissioners, the number of persons earning less than €5,000, between €5,001 and €10,000, less than €14,000, less than or equal to the minimum wage, less than or equal to the proposed minimum wage of €7.65, between €10,001 and €15,000, between €15,001 and €20,000, between €20,001 and €30,000, between €20,001 and €30,000, between €30,001 and €40,000, between €40,001 and €50,000, between €50,001 and €60,000, between €60,001 and €70,000, between €70,001 and €80,000, between €80,001 and €90,000, between €90,001 and €100,000, between €100,001 and €125,000, between €125,001 and €150,000, between €150,001 and €175,000, between €175,001 and €200,000, between €200,001 and €250,000, between €250,001 and €300,000, between €300,001 and €350,000, between €350,001 and €400,000, between €400,001 and €450,000, between €450,001 and €500,000, between €500,001 and €750,000, between €750,001 and €1,000,000, between €1,000,001 and €2,000,000, between €2,000,001 and €3,000,000, between €3,000,001 and €4,000,000, between €4,000,001 and €5,000,000, €5,000,000 or greater and less than the average industrial wage. [47157/10]

The information requested, estimated by reference to the income tax year 2010, is set out in the following table. However, because of the Revenue Commissioners' obligation to observe confidentiality in relation to the taxation affairs of individual taxpayers and small groups of taxpayers, the breakdown by income bands requested by the Deputy is not provided in relation to incomes exceeding €2 million due to the small numbers of income earners with incomes in excess of that level.

All income earners for Income Tax Year 2010 (provisional)

Gross Income

Numbers

0-5,000

228,716

5,001-10,000

184,571

10,001-14,000

159,676

14,001-15,000

38,898

15,001-15,514

21,000

15,515-17,542

83,243

17,543 -20,000

111,098

20,001-30,000

408,875

30,001-33,343

109,483

33,344 -40,000

187,686

40,001-50,000

202,568

50,001-60,000

134,600

60,001-70,000

93,895

70,001-80,000

66,643

80,001-90,000

46,572

90,001-100,000

32,373

100,001-125,000

47,355

125,001-150,000

22,265

150,001-175,000

12,005

175,001-200,000

7,135

200,001-250,000

7,854

250,001-300,000

4,271

300,001-350,000

2,625

350,001-400,000

1,672

400,001-450,000

1,091

450,001-500,000

808

500,001-750,000

1,889

750,001-1,000,000

633

1,000,000-2,000,000

608

Over 2,000,000

188

Total

2,220,296

The minimum wage annualised at €17,542 and the new minimum wage annualised at €15,514 are included among the income ranges in the table. The latest available average industrial wage of €33,343, which relates to 2009, is also included among the income ranges in the table. It should be noted that the income ranges shown in the above tables relate to Gross Income as defined in Revenue Statistical Report, 2006. The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2008 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. These are, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised. It should be noted that a married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Pension Provisions

Joan Burton

Question:

128 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he has sought or received advice as to the constitutionality of the introduction of an average 4% cut in public sector pensions, for those already in receipt of a pension or who retire before the end of the grace period, on the basis that it may involve the retrospective and unilateral amendment of an employment contract whereby public servants make a contribution to their pension through superannuation over the course of their working lives in the expectation of a given income in retirement; if he is satisfied that this reduction in pensions does not violate the Croke Park Agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47180/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the Office of the Attorney General advised on all aspects of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill. The public service pension reduction measure is in accordance with the Croke Park Agreement. Section 3 provides that the calculation of public service pensions is not affected.Nothing in section 2 shall affect the calculation of any public service pension entitlement (including an entitlement to a lump sum and an entitlement to periodic payments of pension or other benefits) of a person who is a pensioner or becomes a pensioner on or at any time before the relevant date or, in the case of a pensioner falling under paragraph (c) of the definition of “pensioner” in section 1, at any time after that date.” Implementation of the measure, therefore, does not impact on the calculation of pensions, nor is there any change in the future method of determining pension increases. Also, in the case of those retiring up to end-February 2012, the measure will be applied to pensions as calculated by reference to the pre 1 January 2010 pay rates.

Tax Code

Joan Burton

Question:

129 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that persons who completed the purchase of a house in the days and weeks running up to the announcement of Budget 2011 may have been exposed to significant stamp duty bills; if he plans to back-date the change to stamp duty by a reasonable period of time to provide these home owners with some relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47196/10]

The Stamp Duty reforms as announced in the Budget have two aims: stimulation of the property market and commencing the necessary infrastructure for the commitment in the National Recovery Plan to introduce a Site Value Tax. As a result of the changes, Stamp Duty at a rate of 1% where the property value is under €1m and 2% on the excess above €1m, will now be payable on all residential property transactions. I have, however, put in place a transitional arrangement: where a binding contract has been entered into before 8 December 2010, and the effect of this measure would increase the Stamp Duty otherwise chargeable, there will be a transition period whereby Stamp Duty can be calculated and charged under the old regime, so long as the instrument effecting the transfer of the property is executed before 1 July 2011.

I am aware that there will always be winners and losers in a situation such as this, but unfortunately this will happen no matter what date is chosen to commence any new measure and this is regrettable. While there may be additional Stamp Duty costs for some purchasers, the overall transaction costs for property transfers are now much lower than in recent years because of the decline in property values.

Denis Naughten

Question:

130 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance if he performed an evaluation of the specific implications for the upper Shannon tax designated area of the restriction of section 23 relief to the income from the property itself; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47219/10]

The Department of Finance, the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and independent consultants carried out major detailed reviews of certain tax incentive schemes in 2005. A key recommendation of these reviews was that a cost benefit analysis should be carried out on any proposed future scheme prior to their introduction. A tax incentive scheme for the mid-Shannon region was subsequently proposed and my Department in line with the new policy engaged Goodbody Economic Consultants to carry out an assessment of the costs and benefits of the proposed scheme. The report was completed in March 2006. The aim of this scheme is to encourage the provision of tourist infrastructure in the mid-Shannon region. If tourists need accommodation there are already plenty of hotels and B&Bs in the area — however at present tourists do not stay in the area in the large numbers we would want. What is needed are tourist related facilities that will encourage people to stay in the area and experience what the mid-Shannon region has to offer. This scheme aims to promote the provision of such facilities. It is not anticipated that the restriction of Section 23 relief will impact significantly on the Mid-Shannon Scheme.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

131 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider the issues regarding section 23 properties raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47223/10]

My Department together with the Revenue Commissioners has been engaged in detailed discussions with the Office of the Attorney General in relation to the many complex issues associated with the legacy property relief schemes which continue to cost the Exchequer several hundreds of millions of Euro a year in tax forgone. The measures announced in the Budget are intended to be proportionate but also effective in terms of reducing the burden on the Exchequer. An impact assessment will be carried out in advance of the 2014 deadline to identify any significant effects of the proposed changes with the aim of providing for such effects in a future Budget in advance of the 2014 guillotine. I realise that these measures may be severe on some people but the economic situation requires that I explore as many avenues as possible to achieve Exchequer savings.

Dental Practice Incomes

Joe McHugh

Question:

132 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether investments in dental businesses that were made in the period 2003 to 2007 were based on assumed annual turnover figures dating from that period; his further views on the outcome of the November 2010 survey of dental practices conducted by the Irish Dental Association, which shows that practice incomes have fallen by 35% to 40% nationally this year, and if he acknowledges that 70,000 fewer dental procedures were conducted in this State to date this year than last year because of changes to the PRSI scheme; if he further acknowledges the very high costs associated with dental practice commencement during the period 2003 to 2007; if the State plans to assist pertinent struggling young practitioners with borrowings from banks in which the State is a shareholder via debt forgiveness or renewed credit arrangements that are affordable; his further views on whether, notwithstanding distressed credit issues, the existing practitioners offer the best hope of partial finance recoupment; his views on creditor-financier liability in this context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47229/10]

The operation of the Treatment Benefits Scheme, which includes Dental Benefit, is funded from the Social Insurance Fund and is the responsibility of my colleague Mr Eamon O Cuív TD, Minister for Social Protection.

I am informed by the Department of Social Protection that payments made under the Treatment Benefit Scheme show a drop of 59.8% in 2010 over 2009. However as dental practice incomes also include private payments and HSE payments it is not possible for that Department to know what the overall reduction in income to dental practices was in 2010. Approximately 933,000 fewer treatments were paid as part of the Dental Benefit Scheme in 2010, as compared to 2009. The Department of Social Protection is not in a position to quantify the overall reduction in treatments as they may also be carried out and paid for privately or as I have indicated part of the HSE's parallel dental scheme. The Government has no specific plans to assist young dentists in debt.

The decisions financial institutions operating in Ireland make on an application for credit or restructuring of existing credit arrangements is a commercial decision for the institution concerned. The Department of Finance has no direct function in relation to individual's decisions on these matters. A general debt forgiveness scheme would have costs not only for the bank, but also for the Government. Banks would require further capital support which in turn would be passed on to the tax payer. A debt forgiveness policy raises its own issues such as "fairness" and "moral hazard" for those who are managing to make their repayments.

Tax Statements

Jack Wall

Question:

133 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Finance if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be furnished with a P21 for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47238/10]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a PAYE Balancing Statement (P21) for the tax year 2009 will issue to the person concerned shortly.

National Lottery Funding

John Deasy

Question:

134 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of National Lottery funding allocated to projects in the area of health in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46888/10]

The funding made available by my Department in each of the past 5 years and to date in 2010 to community organisations in Co. Waterford from the National Lottery Fund is set out below.

2010

Waterford Branch, Irish Foster Care Association, Barristown, Passage East, Co. Waterford — €25,000.

2009

Barnados Teen Parent Support Programme, Storehall Business Park, Kilcronan, Waterford — €41,729.

The funding made available by my Department to voluntary organisations from the National Lottery Fund, including the breakdown by programme and a list of each body in receipt of funding is set out on my Department's website — www.dohc.ie

Health Services

James Bannon

Question:

135 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) will be called for orthodontic treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46901/10]

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

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

136 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money, under each heading, spent by her on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46916/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statements below.

Year

Name of Company

Costs

2008

Leinster House Catering

€17.40

2009

Nil*

2010 to date

Nil*

*The Minister does not normally request refreshments for meetings.

Suicide Prevention

James Reilly

Question:

137 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the annual budget made available to the National Office for Suicide Prevention on a per annum basis since its establishment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46981/10]

The budget for the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP) is set by the Health Service Executive. The total annual funding available to support suicide prevention initiatives is in the region of €8 million which includes the annual budget for the NOSP. The following table provides details of the annual budget for the NOSP since 2005:

Year

Funding

€m

2005

1.5

2006

2.7

2007

4.5

2008

4.5

2009

4.3

2010

3.7

An additional €1m has been provided in this year's budget for suicide prevention. This funding will enable the NOSP to build on initiatives to date and bring added momentum and new impetus to their activities to address the increasing incidence of suicide. The following areas will be targeted:

develop the number and range of training and awareness programmes;

improve and standardise the response to deliberate self harm;

develop the capacity of primary care to respond to suicidal behaviour and consider new models of response;

ensure that helpline supports for those in emotional distress are coordinated and widely publicised.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

138 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if she will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47004/10]

Where fees are approved, there are four categories of fees payable to chairpersons and directors of state-sponsored bodies. The applicable category is determined by the salary of the CEO of the body relative to certain Civil Service salary scales. The applicable rates with effect from 1st January 2010 are:

Category

Chair

Director

1

29,888

14,963

2

20,520

11,970

3

11,970

7,695

4

8,978

5,985

The appointments made since the 22nd November are as follows:

Board

Fees

Member

Term of Office

Appointment Details

Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal

Daily Rate of €992.68 plus VAT

Ms Karen Fergus SC

5 Years

Re-Appointment as decided by Minister

Irish Blood Transfusion Service Board

Category 3

Ms Helen O’Leary MB

3 Years

New Appointment on recommendation of CEO

Voluntary Health Insurance Board

Category 2

Ms Cathriona Hallahan

5 Years

New Appointment as decided by Minister

Leo Varadkar

Question:

139 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will list all public appointments that she is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47019/10]

The following vacancies will arise between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011 are as follows:

Board

Number of Vacancies Arising

Advisory Committee for Human Medicines (IMB)

12

Advisory Committee for Veterinary Medicines (IMB)

12

Beaumont Hospital Board

2

Dublin Dental Hospital Board

14

Food Safety Consultative Council

23

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

1

Irish Medicines Board

8

Scientific Committee of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI)

15

Dental Council

4

Health Insurance Authority

5

Health Services

Michael Ring

Question:

140 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive an appointment with the orthodontic clinic in Galway. [47041/10]

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

Pat Breen

Question:

141 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47066/10]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Catherine Byrne

Question:

142 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children if the nursing home support scheme makes provision for married couples to be accommodated in the same nursing home when both persons are assessed as being in need of long-term care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47067/10]

A fundamental principle enshrined in the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 is that of patient choice. Once a person receives approval for financial support, they can choose to enter any nursing home that is participating in the scheme in any part of the country, subject to the nursing home having an available bed and being able to cater for the person’s particular needs. This applies to public, private and voluntary nursing homes alike.

Therefore, a married couple can be accommodated in the same nursing home provided that it can cater for their individual needs and has available beds.

Children in Care

Seán Power

Question:

143 Deputy Seán Power asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 96 of 14 October 2010, the reason it has not been answered despite assurances on 23 November 2010 that a reply would issue on or before the 26 November 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47068/10]

My Department has been advised by the HSE that a response was issued to the Deputy on 13th December 2010, and that an email was sent to advise of this on that date.

Health Service Staff

Billy Timmins

Question:

144 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47072/10]

The Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement (ISER) was announced by the Minister for Finance in his Supplementary Budget Statement of 7 April 2009. This replaced all existing early retirement schemes, and no others were available after the closing date of the ISER, until the introduction of the Voluntary Early Retirement and Voluntary Redundancy schemes which I announced on 1 November 2010.

The Government decided in November 2010 that in view of the need to achieve a permanent reduction in the number employed in the public health sector from 2011 onwards, and to facilitate public health reform, that a targeted scheme should be introduced for certain grades in the health sector. As this scheme post dated the retirement date of the person in question, its terms were not, unfortunately, available to him.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

145 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to review the list of long-term illnesses covered under the long-term illness scheme; if she will consider including the very rare condition Addison’s disease to the scheme; if a long-term illness scheme card could be issued to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47077/10]

There are no plans to extend the list of eligible conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme.

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme no individual or family pays more than €120 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines. The scheme is easy to use and significantly reduces the cost burden for families and individuals incurring ongoing expenditure on medicines.

In addition, people who cannot, without undue hardship, arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. In the assessment process, the Health Service Executive can take into account medical costs incurred by an individual or a family. Those who are not eligible for a medical card may still be able to avail of a GP visit card, which covers the cost of general practice consultations.

Health Service Allowances

John McGuinness

Question:

146 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application for rent allowance now under appeal will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [47082/10]

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

Health Services

Michael Ring

Question:

147 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 91 of 18 November 2010, when a full and detailed response will issue from the Health Service Executive. [47092/10]

My Department has been advised by the Health Service Executive (HSE) that a reply will issue to the Deputy on 14 December 2010.

Child Deaths

Alan Shatter

Question:

148 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if the report being prepared by the Independent Review Group into the death of children in care will be completed by 31 December 2010 as originally promised; if any time extension has been requested and or granted for the furnishing of the report; when it has been finalised and received; when it will be published; if, to date, she has received any reports indicating that the numbers of children who died in care since the commencement of the year 2000 exceed 188; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47101/10]

I established the Independent Review Group on Child Deaths (IRGCD) on March 8th 2010. The Group is composed of Ms Norah Gibbons and Mr. Geoffrey Shannon.

The HSE have transferred the relevant files to the IRGCD, via my Office. The HSE originally identified 188 files for transfer to the Independent Review Group on Child Deaths in respect of children who died while in care, children who were known to the child protection services and young people who had been in care as children and died after their 18th birthday. Following that transfer, and as had been previously indicated, the HSE re-examined all of its records to check whether there were any other outstanding cases which should be passed to the Review Group. In the course of that examination, the HSE identified a further 11 cases, 9 relating to children known to the services and 2 young adults. All of the relevant files were passed to the IRGCD in October, and they form part of the work now being carried out by the group.

The Group has sought certain clarification in relation to information presented to it and the HSE is responding to queries raised. As well as the extra files provided in October, a number of the files presented were the subject of ongoing reviews in the HSE and this delayed the transfer of these files to the Independent Review Group. Taking these factors into account, coupled with the need for a thorough and complete process and the large amount of case work presented, it is likely that the Group will report to me in February 2011.

It should be noted that part of the work of the IRGCD is to analyse the categorisation of the deaths being examined and to ensure that the cases placed in each category are correct.

Alan Shatter

Question:

149 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive has provided her with a schedule of clear timelines for completing all reviews of child deaths which are currently in progress but not yet complete; if such schedule includes, in respect of each review, milestone dates for completion of the review, finalisation of the report and publication of an executive summary; when she proposes to lay a copy of the schedule before the Houses of the Oireachtas and publish it; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47103/10]

The Schedule referred to has not yet been received from the HSE, but I am informed that it is to be provided very shortly. I will lay a copy of the schedule before the Houses as soon as it has been received.

Alan Shatter

Question:

150 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive, as promised in their statement of 24 May 2010, collated the numbers of deaths of children who were known to social services over the past decade who were not in the care of the State; if this information has yet been furnished to her and if she will detail the information received and if it has been referred to the Independent Review Group on Child Deaths. [47106/10]

The Independent Review Group on Child Deaths (IRGCD) was established on March 8th 2010. The Group is composed of Ms Norah Gibbons and Mr. Geoffrey Shannon.

The HSE has collated the information and relevant files required for the work of the Review Group, including the cases referred to by the Deputy. This material was provided to my Office which transferred it to the Review Group. Following the first transfer of files, the HSE re-examined all of its records to check whether there were any other cases which should be passed to the review group. A further 11 cases were identified, 9 of which related to children known to the child protection services. These additional files have also been transferred to the Group. It is likely that the Group will report to me in February 2011. It should be noted that part of the work of the IRGCD is to analyse the categorisation of the deaths being examined and to ensure that the cases placed in each category are correct. I do not deem it appropriate at this juncture, given that the work of the Review Group is ongoing, to detail any specific information provided to the Group.

Child Care Services

Alan Shatter

Question:

151 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received recent reports from the Health Service Executive with regard to the progress made by it in implementing the PA Consulting Reform Plan with regard to child care services; in the context of any such report received, the nature of the progress made; if she has been informed of any continuing industrial relations issues which are continuing to impede the implementation of the recommendations made in the PA Consulting report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47107/10]

The findings of the Strategic Review of the Delivery and Management of Children and Family Services, (known as the PA Consulting Report) are helping to inform the HSE in the restructuring of services at national and regional level. The report is the subject of regular discussion with the HSE, most recently as part of the preparation of its Service Plan for 2011.

I expect that the 2011 Service Plan will include a strong and measurable commitment on the part of the HSE to further progress the implementation of the findings of the PA Report. I will be meeting with HSE senior management later this week at which the matter will be the subject of further discussion. I look forward to completion by the HSE of initial testing of the recommendations in selected regions in 2011 and to an expanded roll-out beyond these areas.

I am unaware of particular industrial relations issues which may serve to impede progress. I recently convened a meeting with IMPACT to discuss a range of issues of mutual concern, including implementation of this report.

In addition to progressing the implementation of the specific recommendations contained in the PA Report, the HSE is also in the process of strengthening its capacity to deliver on the necessary changes and reforms required. In this context, I raised in recent months the need for the appointment of an individual at National Director level who has a proven track record to lead the reform of Children and Family Services. The HSE was very receptive to the proposal and to the need for the appointment of a person who would have the authority to deliver on the wide and ambitious reform programme in this area. The post-holder will lead structural, information, and managerial improvements within a clear service model that focuses on best outcomes for families and children. The appointee will have oversight responsibility for ensuring that services are delivered appropriately, safely and of a high quality in line with statutory obligations. This will be the second senior management appointment in this area and it builds on the recruitment in 2009 of a new Assistant National Director with dedicated responsibility for Children and Family services.

The recruitment process for the new National Director of Children and Family Services is at the final stage and an announcement will be made very shortly by the HSE in this regard.

Hospital Charges

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

152 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has given any consideration to providing support to persons who have to cover the costs of surgery, post-operative recovery and loss of earnings because they have been fitted with defective hip replacements; if she will consider setting up a loan guarantee scheme for those who cannot afford, but have no option, but to seek legal redress from the manufacturer of the devices; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47111/10]

The HSE has established an Incident Management Team to coordinate the national recall of patients who received specific hip replacement products manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics. Approximately 3,300 patients have received these implants in Ireland, in public or private hospitals, and they have been invited for a recall assessment and possible treatment. It is expected that for most patients this process will be precautionary only and that further treatment will not be needed. The Incident Management Team includes a patient representative and member of the Irish Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery and of the independent hospital sector, to ensure coordinated management of this issue. The Team is also in contact with the company in relation to the fulfilment of the commitment by DePuy to cover the costs of the recall process and any remedial treatment that may be required. In the circumstances I have no plans to establish financial support arrangements such as the Deputy has suggested.

I have arranged to have the Deputy's question forwarded to the Health Service Executive for a more detailed response.

Health Services

Finian McGrath

Question:

153 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if the BTEC social care practice HND course is recognised by the Health Service Executive. [47133/10]

This matter has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Departmental Agencies

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

154 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the pay increases awarded to staff at the VHI in the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; the amounts of any increases and the reasons for same; if any pay increases have been awarded to management at the company; the amounts of any such increases and the reasons for same; if any bonuses have been awarded to staff or management at the company in those years; the total amount of any such bonuses and the amounts received by individuals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47138/10]

The Chief Executive Officer of the VHI was appointed on 1 May 2008 on a salary scale of €243,602-€304,450. This salary scale was revised to €249,693-€312,061 in September 2008 on foot of the conclusions of Hay Management Consultants on the remuneration of Chief Executives of Commercial State Bodies. No further increases have been applied since.

The Chief Executive Officer of the VHI is entitled to participate in a Performance Related Award Scheme in line with the provisions and principles of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector. No awards were made to the CEO in respect of 2008 and 2009.

The terms and conditions of employment of other employees of the VHI are a matter for the Board.

The following amended reply was received from the Department on 11-8-2011:

The Chief Executive Officer of the VHI was appointed on 1 May 2008 on a salary scale of €243,602-€304,450. This salary scale was revised to €249,693-€312,061 in September 2008 on foot of the conclusions of Hay Management Consultants on the remuneration of Chief Executives of Commercial State Bodies. No further increases have been applied since.

The Chief Executive Officer of the VHI is entitled to participate in a Performance Related Award Scheme in line with the provisions and principles of the Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector. Awards of €37,500 were made to the CEO in respect of each of the years 2008 and 2009.

The terms and conditions of employment of other employees of the VHI are a matter for the Board.

Health Service Staff

Paul Connaughton

Question:

155 Deputy Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is satisfied that elements contained in the Croke Park Agreement militate unfairly against long serving members of the nursing profession who may retire but now find that they will be unfairly financially penalised because of the cost neutral factor contained in that agreement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47159/10]

I am not aware of the cost neutral factor contained in the Croke Park Agreement to which the Deputy refers, nor am I aware of elements of the Croke Park Agreement that impact specifically on retiring members of the nursing profession.

Hospital Staff

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

156 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of consultant ophthalmic surgeons attached to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; the average waiting time to see an ophthalmic surgeon in Beaumont; the number of persons on the waiting list at Beaumont; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47185/10]

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

Eating Disorders

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

157 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children if funding is being made available, in certain cases, to persons suffering from eating disorders to enable them to complete treatment programmes at a centre (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47206/10]

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

Departmental Expenditure

Michael Creed

Question:

158 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the shortfall in funding provided by the Health Service Executive titled demography funding to provide residential places for clients with an intellectual disability; if she will quantify the level of demand for such funding in each of the HSE regions and the costs involved to provide a demand led service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47254/10]

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

Medicinal Products

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

159 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has asked the Irish Medicines Board to review their decision in the past to approve the drug Mefloquine or Lariam in view of the fact that the drug has been linked with severe psychological and physical side effects, including a number of deaths among soldiers in Ireland who served on missions abroad, and its withdrawal as a drug for soldiers in other armies around the globe specifically for those reasons. [47289/10]

I have been advised by the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) that concerns about the potential for Lariam to cause neuropsychiatric disorders have been identified and reviewed at both national and EU level. As new information on the product has become available, the product information leaflet has been updated and now includes the following:

"Patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances (including depression) or convulsions should not be prescribed Lariam prophylactically, as it may precipitate these conditions."

"Lariam can cause neuropsychiatric disturbances. If psychiatric disturbances occur during prophylactic use, Lariam should be discontinued and an alternative prophylactic agent should be recommended. Disturbances have ranged from confusion and anxiety to severe neuropsychiatric effects (including hallucinations, psychotic or paranoid reactions, depression), and symptoms may persist up to several weeks after discontinuation of the drug. Rare cases of suicidal ideation and suicide have been reported though no relationship to drug administration has been confirmed. Patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances should not be prescribed Lariam prophylactically.

Patients should be advised to obtain medical advice before the next weekly dose of Lariam, if any concerning or neuropsychiatric symptoms develop. Discontinuation of Lariam should be considered, particularly if neuropsychiatric reactions occur. The need for alternative antimalarial therapy or prophylaxis can then be evaluated."

The IMB has advised healthcare professionals of these risks by letter to and in their Drug Safety Newsletter.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Pat Breen

Question:

160 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be facilitated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47296/10]

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

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

161 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will request the Health Service Executive to expedite necessary surgery in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47300/10]

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

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

162 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46921/10]

The amount of money spent by my office on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 is set out in tabular form overleaf.

Year

Amount

2008

5,925.15

2009

3,138.98

2010 (to date)

616.30

Total

9,680.43

Supplier names and address are set out in tabular form below.

Supplier name

Supplier Address

Catering Section, Joint Services Committee, House of the Oireachtas

Leinster House, Dublin 2

Davenport Hotel

Merrion Square, Dublin 2

Angela Kelly T/A Jemange Catering Company

9 Royal Canal Terrace, Phibsboro, Dublin 7

Elmglen T/A Jone Deli

South Leinster Street, Dublin 2

Regent Catering Services

Leeson Lane, Dublin 2

Proposed Legislation

Noel Ahern

Question:

163 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the wearing of helmets by cyclists; in relation to school children, if it is currently policy to encourage the wearing of such helmets or if it has the back up of legislation; and if he will consider introducing legislation in view of the urgent need for same due to the fact that children feel they are victimised if seen to be wearing helmets which are unfashionable and thus will not wear same. [46957/10]

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

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

164 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47009/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

165 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011 [47024/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

As the Deputy should be aware public appointments are made by the Public Appointments Service.

Public Transport

Niall Collins

Question:

166 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport if he will provide this Deputy with a copy of the licence applications (details supplied) and any other relevant documentation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47090/10]

Under Statutory Instrument No. 566 of 2010, responsibility for the licensing of Public Bus Passenger Services was transferred from my Department to the National Transport Authority (NTA) with effect from 1 December 2010. The NTA should be contacted directly in relation to the information sought.

Departmental Expenditure

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

167 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the level of funding allocated to a scheme (details supplied) under the rural transport programme; if he will restate his commitment to continue funding this particular scheme into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47099/10]

Pobal administers the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) on behalf of my Department. Neither I nor my Department have any role in relation to the day-to-day management issues pertaining to the Programme or in allocating funds to particular groups. However I understand from bal that an amount in excess of €171,000 has been allocated to the North Fingal Rural Transport Company this year. €10.6 million is being provided for the RTP in 2011 in recognition of the important role it plays in combating rural isolation, particularly for the elderly.

State Companies

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

168 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the pay increases awarded to staff at Coras Iompair Éireann in the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; the amounts of any increases and the reasons for same; if any pay increases have been awarded to management at the company; the amounts of any such increases and the reasons for same; if any bonuses have been awarded to staff or management at the company in those years; the total amount of any such bonuses and the amounts received by individuals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47135/10]

Pay increases, bonuses and any other emoluments paid to the staff of Córas Iompair Éireann are a matter for the Board of the company. In the case of the Executive Chairman such remuneration levels must be approved by the Minister for Finance in consultation with myself as Minister for Transport. Under the Minister for Finance's Guidelines on Chief Executive pay and conditions payments made to Chief Executives or equivalent are required to be published in the annual accounts of the State body.

Air Services

John Deasy

Question:

169 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport the changes in support for regional air services from mid-2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47149/10]

The estimates published on 7 December 2010 show that there is a reduction of €5.5 million in the estimate for regional airports current expenditure in 2011 as against the 2010 estimate. This reduction relates to the curtailment of public service contracts for air services. The current Public Service Obligation (PSO) contracts for services linking Dublin Airport with the regional airports at Derry, Donegal, Sligo, Ireland West Airport Knock, Galway and Kerry Airports commenced on 22 July 2008 and are due to expire on 21 July 2011.

The Deputy will be aware of the Value for Money (VFM) Review of Exchequer Expenditure on the regional airports programme was recently completed. The review was carried out to assist me in evaluating the appropriate scale of a regional airports programme in future years bearing in mind aviation policy objectives, the updated EU legislation, the improved surface links under the NDP and Transport 21 and the need to address the difficulties with our public finances. The Review is being considered by Government and it is intended that it will be published shortly. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on any likely PSO scheme beyond 2011 in advance of the Government decision in the matter.

Cycle Facilities

Chris Andrews

Question:

170 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the canal cycle route and when the route is expected to be completed. [47177/10]

This is a Dublin City Council project, towards which my Department is providing funding. Progress has been made on the route on the south side of the city. As a recent decision of the Council in relation to construction of a proposed bridge over the River Tolka will affect development on the north side of the city, my Department has requested the City Council to assess the implications and review proposals for the northern section of the route. Pending receipt of this, I am not in a position to comment on the timescale for the completion of the overall project.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

171 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46917/10]

As a matter of general practice my office does not purchase refreshments specifically for meetings and functions I am involved in. Other costs may arise in my Department for the provision of these items for meetings held by Department officials. However, I am advised that any such expenditure is not likely to be significant.

Crime Prevention

Finian McGrath

Question:

172 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will support a matter. (details supplied). [46958/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the location referred to is within Raheny Garda Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of one incident of burglary in the location referred to by the Deputy, the investigation of which is ongoing. No further incidents have been recorded in the area during 2010. A member of the local Community Policing Unit is specifically assigned to the area referred to and attends residents' meetings to help address their concerns. The area is subject to regular patrols by uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Community Policing and Mountain Bike Units and the District Detective and Drug Units, supplemented as required by the Divisional Crime Task Force and Traffic Corps personnel.

Local Garda management closely monitors and keeps under review patrols and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities in the area, to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the public. The situation is kept under review. Current policing plans in the area are designed to address issues of crime and public order offences. Community policing is a central feature and core value of Garda policing policy, and current policing strategies are predicated on the prevention of crime, public order offences and anti-social behaviour.

Court Procedures

Joan Burton

Question:

173 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of single parents have experienced great difficulties arising from the changes in legislation relating to orders of maintenance; his plans to address the anomalies that have arisen in relation to enforcement proceedings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46982/10]

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

A High Court judgment last year had implications for sections 6 (imprisonment in the case of non-payment of debt) and 8 (imprisonment relating to non-payment of maintenance) of the Enforcement of Court Orders Act 1940. The Enforcement of Court Orders (Amendment) Act 2009 made changes to both sections consequent on that judgment in accordance with legal advice. While the law generally operates successfully in this area my attention has been drawn to the fact that difficulties have arisen in some cases. As a result, I have published proposals for the better enforcement of maintenance orders. These proposals are contained in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 which is currently before the House.

Deportation Orders

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

174 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform when a decision will issue regarding a person (details supplied) who is appealing a deportation; if he will confirm that all relevant appeal documents have been received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46994/10]

Arising from the expiration of her permission to remain in the State on student conditions, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 8 June 2010, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against her. Representations were received on behalf of the person concerned.

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

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

175 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration both in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47005/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

176 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47020/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 and 176 together.

The full information sought by the Deputy is not readily available or easily accessible and requires a significant trawl of departmental and in some cases the records of bodies for which the department is responsible. I have asked that subject to other ongoing departmental and agency priorities this work be completed without undue delay. When it is to hand I will communicate with the Deputy.

Garda Recruitment

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

177 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of applicants that have successfully completed stages one and two of the selection process for the Garda Síochána and are being processed through background screening, medical examination and physical competence test and so on; the number of candidates who have completed these stages and will begin training in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47028/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 410 Garda applicants who have successfully completed stages 1 and 2 of the application process. Of these there are a total of 164 applicants who have completed all stages of the application process and are ready for entry to the Garda College when recruitment re-commences. The remaining candidates are being processed through background screening, medical examination and physical competency tests. The National Recovery Plan 2011- 2014 provides for a reduction in the number of members of An Garda Síochána to 13,000 by the end of 2014. This reduction, and the rate at which it is achieved through retirements, will be taken into account in determining when recruitment will re-commence.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

178 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if it is still the intention to proceed with the establishment of a panel of approved candidates for Garda recruitment, which was announced in June 2010; if so, when it is likely that such a panel of approved candidates will be established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47054/10]

The moratorium on recruitment and appointments continues to apply to An Garda Síochána with provisions for exceptions following agreement with the Minister for Finance. The purpose of organising a recruitment campaign earlier this year was to begin the process of establishing a panel of potential applicants who could go on to be recruited as members of An Garda Síochána. Since that announcement was made, the National Recovery Plan 2011- 2014 was developed and published. The plan provides for a reduction in the number of members of An Garda Síochána to 13,000 by the end of 2014. This reduction, and the rate at which it is achieved through retirements, will be taken into account in determining when recruitment will commence.

Asylum Applications

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

179 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding changes for applicants for subsidiary protection who are residing here for over five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47062/10]

There has been no change in the processing of applications for Subsidiary Protection as referred to by the Deputy. On a regular and ongoing basis my Department assesses the cases on hand to ensure that, as far as possible, persons who are waiting for a decision for the longest periods have their cases finalised first. The factual position is that any case where an application for Subsidiary Protection has been made will be considered in accordance with the legislation i.e. the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). When consideration of the application has been completed, the applicant is notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the applicant's case file, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under the various headings set out in Section 3(6) of the 1999 Act.

Residency Permits

Michael Ring

Question:

180 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if a decision has been made on an application for a change of status from stamp 2 to stamp 3 for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [47097/10]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy made an application to change his current immigration status on the 14 October 2010. Applications are dealt with in chronological order and I am informed that officials in INIS will be in touch with this person shortly.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Asylum Applications

Alan Shatter

Question:

181 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform with regard to the total number of unaccompanied children who arrived in the State between 1 January 2002 and 30 September 2010 being 1,871 children, the number that has been allowed to remain here upon attaining 18 years of age and the numbers whose applications to remain presently await determination. [47102/10]

I am informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that unaccompanied minors are dealt with in accordance with section 8(5)(a) of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) which provides that, where it appears to an Immigration Officer or an authorised officer that a child under the age of 18 years who has arrived in the state and is not in the custody of any person, that child must, as soon as is practicable be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) and thereupon the provisions of the Child Care Act, 1991 apply to the child.

As the Deputy will be aware, it is open to the unaccompanied minors to apply for refugee status if they so wish. All asylum applications, whether they relate to adults or children, require an investigation to be carried out to determine whether refugee status should be granted or refused. Clearly in the context of determining asylum applications involving unaccompanied children, regard will be had for the age and maturity of the child. In circumstances where an unaccompanied minor is placed in the care of the HSE pursuant to the provisions of the Refugee Act, 1996, the making of a decision with regard to an asylum application is taken by the HSE on behalf of the child.

The Deputy might also wish to note that in the instances where refugee status is refused, the unaccompanied children involved will be made aware of the entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State and to submit written representations to the Minister as to why a Deportation Order should not be made and any such communications are again copied to the HSE and to the child's legal representative.

It is not possible to dis-aggregate the cases of previously unaccompanied children who were subsequently granted permission to remain in the State from the overall figures for persons granted permission to remain in the State.

The Deputy might also wish to note that it is not uncommon for persons arriving in the State as unaccompanied children to be re-united with family members already in the State and once such re-unification is achieved, the HSE will no longer be required to act as guardian to such children.

Garda Strength

Alan Shatter

Question:

182 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will detail for each of the years 1999 up to and including the year 2010 with regard to the Garda Síochána, the number of chief superintendents, superintendents and inspectors on the Garda force and the projected number as at the 1 January 2011. [47104/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of each of the ranks referred to by the Deputy, as at 31 December 1999-2009, and 30 September 2010, the latest date for which figures are readily available, is set out in the table below. I am further informed that as of 10 December 2010, 2 Chief Superintendents, 9 Superintendents and 9 Inspectors have either retired or declared their intention to retire between 1 October 2010 and 31 December 2010.

Year

Chief Superintendents

Superintendents

Inspectors

1999

46

168

263

2000

46

169

293

2001

46

171

288

2002

47

171

294

2003

47

173

294

2004

47

168

291

2005

47

173

288

2006

46

166

287

2007

52

185

330

2008

52

187

344

2009

39

167

317

30/09/2010

47

177

342

Work Permits

Alan Shatter

Question:

183 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the rules currently applicable to granting permission to non-EU citizens who wish to move to and work in Ireland to do so; the number of such applications received during the period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009 and 1 January 2010 to 30 November 2010; the nationality of the individual applicants in the case of each of the aforesaid periods; and the number of applicants who were successful and granted permission to reside in and work here; the numbers unsuccessful and their nationalities in each case. [47105/10]

The current position with regard to non-EEA nationals who wish to move to and work in Ireland is that certain such nationals are required to apply for a work permit to take up employment in the State. The issuing of work permits is a matter for the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Innovation. When a work permit is secured, the individual, if from a visa required country must apply for the appropriate visa to enter the State. If the person is belonging to the class of non-nationals who are not visa required, they are expected to produce documentation at the port of entry to satisfy the Immigration Officer of their intent. When in the State, all non-EEA nationals who intend to remain here longer than 90 days must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau where their passport will be endorsed with the appropriate immigration stamp and a Garda National Registration card will be issued to them.

The categories of persons also given access to the labour market in the State and not requiring a work permit to take up employment include spouses of Irish Nationals, partners in a de facto relationship with an Irish national, who meet the qualifying criteria, spouses and dependants of EU nationals, persons who were granted permission to enter the State as researchers, persons who are granted refugee status in the State, family members of refugees who are granted family reunification. Persons who hold permission to remain under these categories are also entitled to seek employment in the State by virtue of holding such permission. All persons in these categories are required to register their presence in the State with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Due to the range of categories of persons who are allowed to come and work in the State and, in certain circumstances, overlapping conditions related to their permission to remain, it is not possible in the time available to dis-aggregate the numbers and nationalities of such persons as requested by the Deputy. However, the following statistical information has been provided by the Work Permits Division in the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Innovation which will give the Deputy the numbers of Employment permits issued in the year 2009 and up to 31 October 2010. The numbers of permits issued include nationals already in the State but who have changed jobs.

Year

Nationality

New

Renewals

Issued

Refused

Withdrawn

2010

3,394

3,877

7,271

990

199

Albania

2

2

4

0

3

Algeria

2

5

7

0

0

Andorra

1

0

1

0

0

Anguilla

1

0

1

0

0

Antarctia (Aust. Ext. Territories)

1

0

1

0

0

Argentina

7

6

13

1

1

Armenia

1

0

1

0

0

Australia

59

37

96

26

6

Azerbaijan

0

1

1

0

0

Bahrain

4

1

5

2

0

Bangladesh

25

61

86

30

7

Barbados

1

0

1

0

0

Belarus

18

18

36

4

1

Bosnia Herzegovina

1

5

6

1

0

Botswana

10

3

13

2

0

Brazil

74

269

343

59

7

Brazilian

0

1

1

0

0

Bulgaria

69

1

70

8

2

Cameroon

1

0

1

1

0

Canada

69

31

100

8

4

Chile

2

1

3

0

0

China

135

183

318

95

5

Colombia

3

3

6

0

1

Congo (Democratic Republic of)

0

1

1

0

0

Croatia

6

21

27

2

0

Cuba

0

3

3

0

0

Egypt

11

16

27

5

2

El Salvador

1

0

1

0

0

Ethiopia

2

5

7

0

0

Ghana

1

1

2

1

0

Guatemala

1

0

1

0

0

Hong Kong

1

9

10

4

0

India

864

1,133

1,997

112

33

Indian

0

1

1

0

0

Indonesia

7

2

9

2

0

Iran

3

5

8

0

0

Iraq

1

2

3

0

0

Israel

8

9

17

0

0

Jamaica

1

0

1

0

0

Japan

24

15

39

3

0

Jordan

7

0

7

1

1

Kazakhstan

0

1

1

0

0

Kenya

2

5

7

1

0

Korea (Republic of (North)

1

0

1

1

0

Korea (Republic of (South)

15

10

25

1

0

Kosovo

1

1

2

1

0

Kuwait

6

0

6

0

0

Kyrgyz Republic

1

1

2

0

1

Latvia

3

2

5

0

0

Latvia (Alien)

0

0

0

1

0

Lebanon

5

1

6

4

0

Liberia

2

0

2

0

0

Libya

0

0

0

1

0

Macedonia (FYR)

0

4

4

0

0

Malawi

0

4

4

1

0

Malaysia

187

85

272

41

10

Maldives

1

0

1

0

0

Mali

0

1

1

0

0

Mauritania

1

1

2

1

0

Mauritius

14

13

27

20

1

Mexico

7

4

11

2

2

Moldova

23

67

90

16

3

Mongolia

1

2

3

0

0

Morocco

11

10

21

2

0

Myanmar (Formerly Burma)

1

3

4

4

1

Nepal

3

30

33

4

1

New Zealand

30

32

62

13

2

Niger

0

1

1

1

0

Nigeria

20

39

59

18

1

Oman

1

1

2

0

0

Pakistan

65

101

166

59

5

Palestine

2

0

2

1

0

Peru

0

0

0

1

1

Philippines

234

989

1,223

109

25

Qatar

1

0

1

0

0

Romania

766

5

771

130

18

Russian Federation

21

50

71

8

2

Samoa

1

0

1

0

0

Samoa(USA)

0

0

0

1

0

Saudi Arabia

2

1

3

0

0

Serbia

7

4

11

1

0

Seychelles

0

0

0

1

0

Singapore

8

3

11

0

0

South Africa

68

133

201

44

13

Sri Lanka

7

36

43

3

0

St Vincent and the Grenadines

0

0

0

1

0

Sudan

3

0

3

3

0

Syria

3

3

6

5

1

Taiwan

2

1

3

0

0

Tanzania

0

2

2

0

0

Thailand

30

61

91

22

12

Tonga

1

1

2

0

0

Trinidad & Tobago

3

1

4

3

0

Tunisia

2

4

6

2

0

Turkey

38

18

56

15

4

Uganda

1

1

2

2

0

Ukraine

65

144

209

29

5

United Arab Emirates

3

0

3

0

0

United States of America

281

101

382

34

16

Uruguay

2

1

3

2

0

Uzbekistan

1

2

3

2

0

Venezuela

3

4

7

0

0

Vietnam

6

6

12

4

0

Western Samoa

0

1

1

0

0

Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of)

0

2

2

1

0

Zambia

2

2

4

1

1

Zimbabwe

6

31

37

6

1

2009

3,815

3,835

7,650

1,781

441

Albania

2

4

6

2

0

Algeria

7

9

16

8

1

Argentina

17

7

24

8

2

Armenia

0

2

2

0

0

Australia

116

66

182

33

4

Azerbaijan

1

0

1

0

0

Bahrain

4

7

11

1

0

Bangladesh

62

114

176

75

14

Barbados

1

0

1

0

0

Belarus

15

38

53

22

2

Bosnia Herzegovina

2

3

5

7

1

Botswana

16

11

27

9

1

Brazil

88

196

284

132

23

British National (Overseas)

0

0

0

1

0

Bulgaria

23

1

24

2

0

Burundi

0

1

1

0

0

Cameroon

1

2

3

3

0

Canada

88

46

134

16

6

Chile

1

7

8

4

0

China

188

207

395

198

12

Colombia

1

4

5

3

0

Costa Rica

4

0

4

0

0

Croatia

10

14

24

7

1

Cuba

0

1

1

0

0

Ecuador

0

1

1

0

0

Egypt

18

19

37

11

1

Estonia (alien)

0

0

0

1

0

Ethiopia

5

3

8

2

0

Fiji

1

0

1

0

0

Gambia

1

0

1

1

0

Georgia

1

2

3

2

0

Ghana

0

1

1

2

0

Guyana

3

0

3

0

0

Honduras

1

2

3

0

0

Hong Kong

13

10

23

8

0

India

916

788

1,704

195

54

Indian

1

0

1

0

0

Indonesia

0

3

3

5

0

Iran

5

7

12

4

2

Iraq

3

0

3

2

0

Israel

17

7

24

1

0

Jamaica

1

0

1

2

0

Japan

28

16

44

4

0

Jordan

11

8

19

1

1

Kazakhstan

2

0

2

0

0

Kenya

6

6

12

11

0

Korea (Republic of (South))

20

6

26

3

0

Kosovo

2

1

3

3

0

Kuwait

3

0

3

0

0

Kyrgyz Republic

2

1

3

1

0

Latvia

1

3

4

4

1

Latvia (Alien)

0

4

4

2

0

Lebanon

4

5

9

2

0

Libya

0

2

2

3

0

Macedonia (FYR)

0

1

1

0

0

Malawi

1

1

2

0

0

Malaysia

338

119

457

72

18

Maldives

1

0

1

0

0

Mauritania

0

1

1

2

0

Mauritius

26

21

47

11

0

Mexico

9

5

14

3

0

Moldova

36

86

122

37

3

Mongolia

2

3

5

3

0

Morocco

20

14

34

5

3

Myanmar (Formerly Burma)

0

5

5

7

2

Nepal

22

13

35

9

7

New Zealand

58

64

122

34

4

Niger

0

0

0

0

1

Nigeria

26

31

57

16

2

Oman

4

0

4

0

0

Pakistan

89

97

186

88

14

Palestine

0

0

0

1

0

Paraquay

1

0

1

0

0

Peru

0

2

2

2

1

Philippines

396

995

1,391

284

58

Romania

192

1

193

15

8

Russian Federation

34

35

69

26

1

Samoa

2

0

2

0

0

Samoa (USA)

0

1

1

1

0

Saudi Arabia

1

0

1

0

0

Senegal

0

1

1

0

0

Serbia

8

4

12

0

0

Seychelles

3

0

3

0

0

Sierra Leone

1

0

1

0

0

Singapore

14

2

16

1

0

Solomon Islands

1

0

1

0

0

South Africa

171

223

394

83

20

Sri Lanka

23

31

54

14

4

Sudan

7

3

10

2

2

Syria

2

3

5

3

0

Taiwan

4

0

4

0

0

Tanzania

5

0

5

0

1

Thailand

61

79

140

58

13

Timor East

0

1

1

0

0

Tonga

0

2

2

1

0

Trinidad & Tobago

12

3

15

2

0

Tunisia

1

6

7

6

0

Turkey

27

14

41

16

125

Turkmenistan

0

1

1

0

0

Uganda

1

0

1

0

0

Ukraine

72

168

240

114

12

United Arab Emirates

11

0

11

0

0

United States of America

391

111

502

50

12

Uruguay

2

0

2

0

0

Uzbekistan

0

1

1

1

0

Venezuela

0

2

2

1

2

Vietnam

11

7

18

2

0

Yemen

1

0

1

0

0

Yugoslavia (Federal Republic of)

2

6

8

1

1

Zambia

0

5

5

0

0

Zimbabwe

14

31

45

9

1

Asylum Applications

Niall Collins

Question:

184 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the options that remain and are open to a non-Irish national who has been served a notice pursuant to section 14(1) of the Immigration Act 2004 which will allow the person to remain here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47112/10]

Section 14(1) of the Immigration Act 2004 provides that the Minister may, by notice in writing, require a non-national who does not have permission to be in the State to comply with either or both of the following conditions: that her or she reside or remain in a particular district or place in the State; that he or she report at specified intervals to an immigration officer or member of the Garda Síochána specified in the notice or to the registration officer of the registration district in which he or she is resident, and the non-national shall comply with the requirement.

Section 14(2) stipulates that a non-national who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence. It is open to an individual who has received such notice to write to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services outlining his/her particular circumstances so that his/her particular case may be considered under the relevant immigration legislation.

Garda Strength

John Deasy

Question:

185 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of the Garda Síochána stationed in each Garda district in Waterford city and county in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47150/10]

John Deasy

Question:

186 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of members of the Garda Síochána Reserve stationed in each Garda district in Waterford city and county in each of the past three years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47151/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 185 and 186 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of An Garda Síochána and the number of Garda Reserves assigned to each Garda District in the Waterford Garda Division in the years referred to by the Deputy and as at the latest date for which figures are readily available is set out in the table below.

31/12/06

31/12/07

31/12/08

31/12/09

30/09/10

District

Gardaí

Gardaí

Reserve

Gardaí

Reserve

Gardaí

Reserve

Gardaí

Reserve

Dungarvan*

56

62

61

66

67

1

Tramore

44

47

2

50

2

53

2

50

2

Waterford*

157

169

7

179

8

190

16

190

17

*2006, 2007 and 2008 figures take account of the boundary changes.

Citizenship Applications

Bobby Aylward

Question:

187 Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service office has received any correspondence recently from the registrar general’s office in Nairobi; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47160/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in June 2010.

The application is currently being processed in the normal way with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for decision in due course. To date no correspondence has been received from the registrar general's office in Nairobi.

I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Garda Recruitment

Terence Flanagan

Question:

188 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will deal with a matter (details supplied) regarding the Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47184/10]

I am reviewing the current entry requirements into An Garda Síochána in consultation with the Commissioner. This review will of course take into account the recommendations of the Report referred to by the Deputy.

Garda Operations

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

189 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will report on Garda Operation Shannon; the number of persons arrested and charged to date; the number of stolen vehicles recovered to date; the number of gardaí involved to date; the cost of the operation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47187/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that Operation Shannon, which commenced in 2006, is an ongoing investigation by the Stolen Motor Vehicle Section of the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation into the theft and sale by organised crime groups of stolen vehicles, supported by counterfeit vehicle registration documentation.

Since the commencement of the investigation, 221 stolen vehicles have been recovered. Twenty three persons have been arrested, some of whom have been convicted for offences relating to deception, handling or possession of stolen vehicles or possession of counterfeit documents. Four of those convicted had prison sentences imposed, while others were ordered to pay compensation to unsuspecting parties who had purchased such stolen vehicles. Two persons are awaiting trial.

I am also informed that a breakdown as sought by the Deputy of the cost of this investigation, which remains ongoing, could not be made available without a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources.

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

190 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will report on Garda Operation Foolscap; the number of gardaí involved; the number of persons arrested and charged to date; the amount of drugs seized; the amount of firearms seized; the amount of stolen property recovered to date and the cost of the operation to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47188/10]

I am advised by the Garda authorities that Operation Foolscap was established in the Galway Garda Division in October 2009. It is an ongoing operation targeting the activities of a particular organised crime group.

The number of members of An Garda Síochána involved in the Operation can vary with up to 150 Gardaí involved at certain times, including members of the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and Crime & Security personnel.

To date, thirteen charges have been preferred against ten persons arrested on foot of the Operation. The charges relate to a range of alleged offences including offences under the following provisions: Section 71A of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as inserted by section 5 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (directing a criminal organisation); Section 72 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 as inserted by section 6 of the Criminal Justice (Amendment) Act 2009 (participating etc in organised crime); Section 12 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 (Burglary); Sections 3 and 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977 and 1984 (possession of controlled drugs and possession of controlled drugs for unlawful sale or supply). Drugs, including cannabis herb and a quantity of cocaine, with a total estimate street-value of approximately €57,000 have been seized. No firearms or stolen property have been recovered to date. The cost of this Operation, which remains ongoing, is not readily available and would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources to calculate same.

Criminal Justice System

Alan Shatter

Question:

191 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the reason for the oversight in the criminal justice system which led to the death of a person (details supplied) on 31 December 2009; and the ongoing risks to the general public if the system remains unchanged. [47286/10]

The investigation by Judge Michael Reilly, Inspector of Prisons, into the handling of the sentencing, release and post release procedures in the criminal matter that is the subject of the Deputy's Question highlighted a number of very serious failings which took place across four criminal justice agencies following the sentencing in absentia of an individual to a four year term of imprisonment. Several of the failures resulted from human error and others occurred because of the lack of systematic procedures to pick up on these errors when they occurred.

As I outlined to the House on 7 December 2010, I appointed Mr. Pat Folan, a former Director General of the immigration services, to oversee the implementation of the recommendations put forward by Judge Reilly. Significant changes have since been introduced to the system on foot of Judge Reilly's report with the aim of ensuring that the mistakes such as those identified will not reoccur. The progress achieved is detailed in the report of the Implementation Group which has been laid before the Houses and is also available on my Department's website www.justice.iehttp://www.justice.ie/.

The new procedures that are now in place will serve to increase efficiency and effectiveness and enhance the overall accountability requirements on agencies and individual officials, as well as promote the timely sharing of relevant information between the Justice agencies.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Sean Fleming

Question:

192 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the current backlog of cases with the Garda central vetting unit; the number of staff who are working in the unit; the target in terms of the timescale for clearances to be issued in future; when this target is expected to be reached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47312/10]

The Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) provides employment vetting for a large number of organisations in Ireland registered with the Gardaí for this purpose and which employ persons in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or training capacity to positions where they would have substantial, unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

The GCVU has managed a substantial increase over recent years in the numbers of vetting applications it receives — 187,864 in 2007; 218,404 in 2008 and 246,194 in 2009. At present, there are approximately 60,000 vetting applications in the course of being processed.

The processing time for vetting applications fluctuates in line with periods of increased demand. Furthermore, additional time may be required to process an individual vetting application in cases where clarification is required as to the details provided or where other enquiries need to be made, for example, when the person in question has lived and worked abroad. There will always be a reasonably significant time period required to process a vetting application. Registered organisations have been advised to take account of this in their recruitment and selection process. However, the Garda makes every effort to reduce the time to the minimum possible consistent with carrying out the necessary checks. I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the current average processing time for vetting applications received at the GCVU is approximately ten weeks.

The allocation of Garda resources, including personnel, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. There are currently a total of 89 gardaí and Garda civilian personnel assigned to the Vetting Unit, including an additional ten persons recruited to the Unit on a temporary basis due to the current high volume of applications. Overall, this represents a very significant increase in the level of personnel assigned to the unit, which stood at only 13 before the current process of development in Garda vetting began in 2005. In addition, overall staffing arrangements at the Unit are kept under review.

House Prices Database

Sean Fleming

Question:

193 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform how the proposals regarding the new database on house prices are expected to work; how the information will be compiled and the source of the information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47313/10]

I can inform the Deputy that it is my intention to bring forward amendments to the Property Services (Regulation) Bill to give the new Property Services Regulatory Authority the statutory function in relation to publishing details of residential sales prices.

The amendments will provide that details which, under existing stamp duty legislation, must be supplied to the Revenue Commissioners for stamp duty purposes within 30 days following the sale or lease of property will be made available to the Property Services Regulatory Authority for publication at regular intervals. Publication of this house price data will ensure the required level of market transparency and meet the needs of statutory and other bodies involved in tracking market trends and compiling statistical data on the property market.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

194 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, tea and coffee, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010, in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and its address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46915/10]

Light refreshments, such as tea and coffee, are provided at certain meetings and functions held in Iveagh House, and come from the stocks centrally purchased by my Department's Protocol Division.

Details of expenditure by Protocol Division on tea, coffee and bottled water, including the relevant service provider, are included in the table below. It has not been possible in the time available to provide all the information requested.

The majority of the refreshments included in the table are used for official hospitality at my Department which is instrumental to the ongoing efforts to promote a positive perception of Ireland internationally and to further strengthen and develop links with other countries with a view to advancing our values and economic interests.

My Department is very conscious of the need to achieve value for money on expenditure in this area and, as with all expenditure, appropriate financial controls and regulations are in place.

Supplier

2008

2009

2010 (to date)

Bewley’s Ltd. Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin 17.

Tea

1,058.57

409.16

812.82

Pallas Foods Ltd. Newcastle West, Co. Limerick.

G. Elliott & Sons Ltd. 4/10 Camden Row, Dublin 8.

Coffee

4,882.99

3,852.93

5,401.10

Java Republic Roasting Co. The Roastery, 510 Mitchelstown Road, Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15.

Viking Direct, Unit 35, Rosemount Business Park, Dublin 11.

De Braam Trading Ltd. Fordstown, Rathmolyon, Co. Meath.

Bottled water

4,149.26

5,157.41

3,445.92

G. Elliott & Sons Ltd.4/10 Camden Row, Dublin 8.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

195 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; whether each was a re-appointment or a new appointment; the details of the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47003/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

196 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47018/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 and 196 together.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I make appointments to four bodies — the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange (the Fulbright Commission), the Development Education Advisory Committee and the Irish Aid Expert Advisory Group.

I re-appointed Ms. Una Halligan to the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange for a fourth two-year term with effect from 11 December 2010, and I re-appointed Professor Geraldine McCarthy to the Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange for a second two-year term with effect from 11 December 2010. The Ireland-United States Commission for Educational Exchange enjoys autonomy of management and administration in accordance with section 2(5) of the Educational Exchange (Ireland and the United States of America) Act, 1991. Members of the Commission serve without remuneration but they are reimbursed by the Commission for reasonable expenses necessarily incurred by them in the discharge of their functions.

None of the other bodies have had appointments made to them in the period in question.

I make appointments to the Emigrant Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) following consultations with our Embassy in London and the Irish Abroad Unit in my Department. The question of the appointment of a new committee is currently under consideration by the Embassy in London and appointments will likely be made early in 2011 for a two-year term. The committee consists of twelve members, including two officers from our Embassy in London, who act as Chair and Secretary to the committee. The ten voluntary committee members were appointed in May 2009 and their term runs until 31 December 2010. The primary role of the committee is to advise me on the allocation of grants to Irish community organisations in Britain under the Emigrant Support Programme.

No appointments to the other bodies which fall under the aegis of my Department are envisaged for the period in question.

Territorial Claims

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

197 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the claim by Denmark and the Faroe Islands to the United Nations for a portion of the North Sea continental shelf which is part of the Rockall area in the Atlantic claimed by Ireland; the impact this will have on Ireland’s claim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47224/10]

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea each State Party to the Convention is entitled to continental shelf for 200 nautical lines from its coast. States with an extended continental shelf that stretches beyond 200 nautical miles are obliged to lodge a claim with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf within 10 years of becoming party to the Convention. Ireland claims continental shelf extending beyond 200 nautical miles both to the west and to the south of the country. For the purposes of our claims we have divided the extended shelf into three sectors. One of these three sectors lies in part of the Hatton-Rockall Area of the North-East Atlantic, which extends up to 500 nautical miles from the State's west coast. There is an agreed Ireland-UK boundary here but it is not accepted by Iceland or the Faroe Islands, which make their own claims in this area. The four countries have met regularly since 2001 in an effort to resolve the overlapping claims issue, but to date have been unable to reach agreement. The 10-year deadline for the making of submissions to the UN Commission expired for Ireland in May 2009. The Government therefore lodged the national claim for this area at the end of March 2009. The deadline for the Faroe Islands is 2014 (because Denmark, which is responsible for the foreign relations of the Faroe Islands, only became a party to the Convention on the Law of the Sea in 2004) and the authorities in the Faroes had kept us informed of their intention to make their submission this year. That submission was lodged with the Commission in New York on 2 December last.

The Commission's rules of procedure prevent consideration of a submission concerning a disputed area without the consent of all the states concerned. Accordingly the purpose of making submissions in accordance with the deadline, as Ireland, the UK and the Faroes have all now done, is to stop the clock on the deadline and preserve each country's legal position. In the meantime, the four states intend to keep the matter under regular review and will meet again in the New Year. We continue to work for the creation of conditions that will permit consideration of Ireland's submission by the Commission as soon as possible.

The State's continental shelf has already been successfully extended beyond 200 nautical miles in the area to the west of the Porcupine Bank where 39,000 square kilometres of additional seabed has recently been designated under the 1968 Continental Shelf Act. Together with France, Spain and the UK, we have also made a successful submission to the UN Commission in relation to a large area of seabed in the Celtic Sea and Bay of Biscay and the four countries have recently begun discussions on its division between them.

Foreign Investigations

Mattie McGrath

Question:

198 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he intends to take to require the Botswana Government to act upon a report (details supplied) and bring to justice those who murdered an Irish citizen. [47234/10]

Mattie McGrath

Question:

199 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he will now take with the Botswana authorities to ensure a meeting (details supplied) takes place as a matter of urgency. [47235/10]

I propose to take Question Nos. 198 and 199 together.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 73 of last Thursday, 9 December, in connection with this case mentioned by him. As he will be aware from that reply, the Department of Foreign Affairs is still awaiting a formal response from the Office of the President of Botswana with the findings of their review of this case and until this has been received and considered it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.

Human Rights Issues

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

200 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to reports that US military personnel have been using the drug mefloquine (Lariam) to psychologically torture or experiment with detainees in Guantánamo Bay detention centre, including a practice called pharmacologic waterboarding and the administration on arrival of a dose five times that recommended to tackle malaria; if he has raised this matter with the US Administration as being contrary to conventions on the treatment of prisoners or detainees or prisoners of war; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47290/10]

I am aware that a number of blogs on the Internet have alleged recently that the US Department of Defence forced detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility to take a high dosage of the anti-malarial drug, mefloquine, whether they presented with malarial symptoms or not. These remain unsubstantiated allegations and have not been raised with the US authorities.

Together with our EU partners, Ireland continues to encourage the US to bring about the closure of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in the shortest possible time and to treat those detained there in accordance with the requirements of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Diplomatic Communications

Finian McGrath

Question:

201 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support a matter (details supplied) in order to retain a free, open and transparent media at an international level and within the United States of America. [47309/10]

The exchange of information between governments, reporting by diplomatic missions and the assessment of diplomatic personnel are an important aspect of the formulation of foreign policy and the conduct of international relations. For a variety of reasons, including political and commercial, it is important that such exchanges take place in confidence. This is not inconsistent with a commitment to freedom of the media and of expression. I do not propose to comment on the publication by the Wikileaks website of alleged United States diplomatic cables.

As the individual referred to is the subject of legal proceedings it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this particular case.

Pension Provisions

Terence Flanagan

Question:

202 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will deal with a matter (details supplied) regarding pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47043/10]

I understand that the Deputy has clarified that he is referring to State pensions.

There are three types of State pension: State pension (transition), State pension (contributory) and State pension (non-contributory). Both State pension (transition) and State pension (contributory) are among a number of social welfare schemes based upon social insurance. Payments based on social insurance contributions are funded through pay-related contributions to the social insurance fund by employers, employees and the self-employed with subvention, where necessary, by the State. In the case of contributory pensions, payment is made on reaching pension age provided the qualifying conditions, which include having paid a minimum number of contributions at an appropriate rate and reaching a minimum average annual contribution rate, have been met. There are no residency conditions attached to contributory payments as the pensioner has built up an entitlement based on contributions paid over his/her working life.

The State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested payment for persons over 66 years of age and is funded entirely by taxation. All income is assessable as means and this includes cash income, private pensions, foreign pensions, the value of any property (excluding the claimant's own home) and the value of any investments, monies held in financial institutions and capital which the claimant or their spouse may have. A person seeking the payment must also be habitually resident in the State.

The current Government policy in relation to pensions is laid out in the National Pensions Framework which was launched in March of this year. The framework includes a number of changes to the State pension in order to make it more transparent, simple and equitable for those reaching pension age. Among the changes outlined are changes to the social insurance conditions and increases to the State pension age however there are no plans to alter the residency requirements or reduce the pensions of those who are non-residents.

Private Rented Accommodation

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

203 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will review the decision in respect of a person (details supplied) who has been required to move house because the rent for which rent supplement is sought is €4.30 in excess of the limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47178/10]

In the timeframe available, I regret that my Department is not in a position to reply to this question. My Department will be in contact with the Deputy over the coming days and will reply in full to the question raised.

Social Welfare Fraud

John Deasy

Question:

204 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons found to have committed welfare fraud in Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; the types of fraud involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46865/10]

Criminal prosecutions are taken against persons who defraud the social welfare payments system and employers who fail to carry out their statutory obligations. Prosecutions are not reported by region therefore the information requested is not available.

Social Welfare Benefits

John Deasy

Question:

205 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of jobseeker’s benefit in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46866/10]

John Deasy

Question:

206 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46867/10]

John Deasy

Question:

208 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of the lone parent allowance in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46871/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205, 206 and 208 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following tabular statement. The numbers in receipt of the three payments was broadly stable at about 7,500 in aggregate in 2005 and 2006. The numbers of recipients of each of the payments rose in 2007. The number of Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit, taken together, rose again in 2008 and 2009 and remains stable over the first eleven months of 2010. The numbers on One Parent Family payment remained stable at just below 3,000 from 2007 to 2009 but has seen a slight increase to 3,100 in 2010.

Table: Jobseekers Benefit, Jobseekers Allowance and One Parent Family Payment for County Waterford for period December 2005 to date.

Jobseekers Benefit*

Jobseekers Allowance*

One Parent Family Payment

December 2005

2,034

2,980

2,582

December 2006

1,934

3,162

2,658

December 2007

2,033

3,353

2,911

December 2008

4,106

4,503

2,970

December 2009

4,270

6,852

2,992

November 2010

2,890

8,320

3,105

*Refers to Dungarvan and Waterford local offices only.

John Deasy

Question:

207 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of rent allowance in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46868/10]

The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. Since 2005, the number of individuals in receipt of rent supplement in Waterford has increased by 27%. The information the Deputy has requested is provided for in the following tabular statement.

Rent Supplement Recipients in Waterford 2005 to present

Year

No. Recipients

*2010

2,291

2009

2,267

2008

2,126

2007

1,776

2006

1,737

2005

1,804

*On 3rd December 2010.

Question No. 208 answered with Question No. 205.

John Deasy

Question:

209 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons currently in receipt of farm assist payments in County Carlow; the number of applications for farm assist payments in County Carlow currently being processed; the number of persons in County Carlow in receipt of farm assist payments in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46890/10]

John Deasy

Question:

210 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons currently in receipt of farm assist payments in County Kilkenny; the number of applications for farm assist payments in County Kilkenny currently being processed; the number of persons in County Kilkenny in receipt of farm assist payments in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46891/10]

John Deasy

Question:

211 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons currently in receipt of farm assist payments in County Wicklow; the number of applications for farm assist payments in County Wicklow currently being processed; the number of persons in County Wicklow in receipt of farm assist payments in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46892/10]

John Deasy

Question:

212 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons currently in receipt of farm assist payments in County Meath; the number of applications for farm assist payments in County Meath currently being processed; the number of persons in County Meath in receipt of farm assist payments in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46893/10]

John Deasy

Question:

213 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons currently in receipt of farm assist payments in County Clare; the number of applications for farm assist payments in County Clare currently being processed; the number of persons in County Clare in receipt of farm assist payments in each of the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46894/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 to 213, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following tabular statement.

Table: Farm Assist by Selected Counties, 2005 to 2010

County

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010 (October)

Pending Decision (October 2010)

Carlow

57

58

52

56

70

99

7

Clare

354

404

393

417

511

626

22

Kilkenny

117

113

118

112

135

174

8

Meath

52

50

48

57

74

92

16

Wicklow

52

55

54

51

55

75

5

James Bannon

Question:

214 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for jobseeker’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46900/10]

The person concerned submitted an application for Jobseekers Allowance on 8 November 2010. The payment of Jobseekers Allowance is subject to a means test and in this regard the file was forwarded to a social welfare inspector who conducted a means assessment on 24 November 2010. The inspector's report is complete and has been returned to Longford Local Office where a decision will issue to the person concerned this week.

Pension Provisions

James Bannon

Question:

215 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has been refused a State pension transition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46904/10]

The qualifying conditions for State pension (transition) require the applicant to:

have entered insurable employment before attaining the age of 55 years.

have at least 260 paid contribution weeks, from employment since entry into insurance.

satisfy the yearly average condition.

The person concerned applied for State pension (transition) in May 2010. His claim was disallowed on the grounds that he does not satisfy the yearly average condition, as he only has a yearly average of 14 PRSI contributions from the date of his commencement of insurable employment to the end of the last full tax year prior to his 65th birthday. A yearly average of at least 24 would be required to qualify for State pension (transition). Any PRSI contributions in respect of periods of self-employment are specifically excluded from calculations to determine entitlement to State pension (transition), although they can be used to determine entitlement to State pension (contributory). A yearly average of at least 10 would be required to qualify for State pension (contributory) from age 66.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

216 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Social Protection the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008 to date in 2010, inclusive, in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46918/10]

The following table sets out the Department's expenditure on refreshments for meetings and functions from 2008 to 10 December 2010. This expenditure is included in the Incidental Expenses subhead of the Department's Vote.

Year

Amount

2008

149,786

2009

100,682

up to 10/12/2010

61,812

The type of expenses included beverages, refreshments and lunches for meetings, functions and training courses. Expenditure on each subcategory is not recorded separately on the Department's financial management system.

A listing of suppliers of such goods and services from 2008 to 10 December 2010 are set out in Appendix 1. This schedule does not include instances where employees of the Department have been reimbursed for costs paid by them directly for business related expenditure.

Supplier Name

Address

A Slice of Life

7 Connaught Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Academy Plaza Hotel

10-13 Findlater Place, Off O’Connell St., Dublin 1

Altmore Tea Rooms

2nd Floor, Castle Buildings, Tara Street, Tullamore

Annebrook House Hotel

Austin Friars St, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Anner Hotel

Dublin Road, Thurles, Co Tipperary

Arches Coffee House

Unit 5, Carroll Village, Dundalk, Co Louth

Ballykisteen Hotel

Limerick Junction, Co Tipperary

Berman & Wallace Ltd

Belfield Office Park, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

Betelnut Café

Mermaid Arts Centre, Main Street, Bray, Co. Wicklow

Bewleys Coffee Ltd

Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin 17

Bloomfield House Hotel

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Blue Mountains Café

185 Townsend St, Dublin 2

Bon Appetit

Malahide, Co Dublin

Brambles Deli Café

Unit C4, South City Business Pk, Tallaght, Dublin 24

Brannigan’s Bar

9 Cathedral St, Dublin 1

BWG Foods Limited

Finiskin Road, Sligo

Cafe Gusto

3 Washington Street, Cork

Cafe Riva

Unit 7, 17 Northwest Business Park, Ballycoolin, Dublin 15.

Cahill’s

6 Ballintemple, Cork City, Co Cork

Campbell Catering Ltd.

Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin 17

Cassidys Hotel

Cavendish Row, Upper O’Connell St, Dublin 1

Cater Hire Ireland

Unit 9, Stillorgan Industrial Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.

Clarence Hotel

6- 8 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

Coach Lane Restaurant

1-2 Lord Edward St., Sligo

College Delicatessen

185 Townsend Street, Dublin 2

Common Purpose Irl Ltd Cork

Albert Quay Hse, Albert Quay, Cork

Competition Press

54 Sandymount Ave, Dublin 4

Conaty’s Catering

116A Lwr. Kilmacud Rd., Stillorgan, Co. Dublin

Conlon’s Food Hall

14 Church Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Conrad Hotel, Dublin

Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2

Context

Oranmore, Co. Galway

CORI-Justice Office

Bloomfield Ave, Off Morehampton Rd, Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Corporate Express (Irl) Ltd

Liosban Retail Centre, Tuam Rd, Galway

Cosgroves Centra Supermarket

Maugheraboy Road, Sligo

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Dublin Airport

Crumbs Sandwich Bar

5 Bridge St, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim

Supplier Name

Address

Cruzzo Restaurant

Marina Village, Malahide, Co. Dublin

Donegal Catering Equipment

Coneyburrow Road, Lifford, Co Donegal

Elaine Maguire

c/o Canteen Con Colbert House, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

ELY CHQ

22 Ely Place, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Fairways Hotel & Conference Centre

Dublin Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Federation of Irish Societies

London

Floridita Restaurant

Dublin

Food Solutions Ltd.

Coes Rd, Dundalk, Co. Louth

G. Elliott & Sons Ltd.

4/10 Camden Row, Dublin 8

Gallaghers Hotel

100 Main St, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Gemma’s Farmhouse Kitchen

c/o Dept. Of Agriculture, Old Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise, Laois

Grand Hotel

Malahide, Co. Dublin

Harbourmaster Bar

Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Harvey’s Point — Restaurant & Country Hotel

Lough Eske, Donegal Town, Donegal

Headfort Arms Hotel,

Kells, Co. Meath

Hibernian Fine Foods Ltd

Hibernian Court, Longford

Hilton Dublin Airport

Northern Cross, Malahide Rd, Dublin 17

Hochtief Facility Management

Landscape House, Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14

Hugh Jordan & Co Ltd

Unit 4, Airways Ind. Est., Santry, Dublin 17

Ice House

Ballina, Co Mayo

Il Vignardo Restaurant

Store Street, Dublin 1

International Centre for Local & Regional Dev.

Eimear Donnelly, 39 Abbey St, Armagh BT61 7EB

Irish Taxation Institute

1st Flr, South Block, Longboat Quay, Grand Canal Harbour, Dublin 2

Jacobs Ladder

4 Nassau Street, Dublin 2

Knights Catering

5 Upper O’Connell St., Dublin 1

L.S. Catering Ltd

5 Upper O’Connell St., Dublin 1

Life Café Bar

Dublin

Linda Bowan

c/o Canteen, DSFA, St Oliver Plunkett Rd, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

Londis

Convenience Store, 8 Drumfinn Pk, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

Longford Arms Hotel

Main Street, Longford

Lord Bagenal Inn

Main Street, Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow

Lough Rynn Castle Ltd

Lough Rynn, Mohill, Co Leitrim

Lydon House Catering Ltd

3 Buttermilk Walk, Middle Street, Galway

Mac Torcaills

15 Townsend St., Dublin 2

Maldron Hotel

Oranmore, Galway

McCabes Delicatessen

37 Tara Street, Dublin 2

McCambridges

38 Shop St., Galway

Supplier Name

Address

Mona Lisa

Dublin 2

Ms. Amanda Gill

8 Taobh An Sruthain, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

Munchies

Millennium Walk, Dublin 1

Newgrange Hotel

Bridge St., Navan, Co Meath

Norton Group

Unit 3B, Airport Business Park, Cloghran, Co. Dublin

O’Briens (Fine Wines)

Unit 33, Spruce Avenue, Stillorgan Industrial Estate, Co. Dublin

O’Briens Irish Sandwich Bar

Tara St., Dublin 2

O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel

Hospitality House, 16-20 South Cumberland St, Dublin 2

Phresh Coffee Shop

Poolbeg, St. Dublin 2

Plaza Hotel

Tallaght, Co. Dublin

Quinsworth & Tesco

Sligo

Radisson Hotel

Paddy Harte Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Radisson SAS Farnham Est. Hotel

Farnham Estate, Cavan

Regent Catering Facility

River Cottage, Umberstown Little, Trim, Co Meath

Roasted Bean Coffee Co

53 Talbot St, Dublin 1

Robert Reades

19 Store Street, Dublin 1

Sally Ann Luykx

Private Caterer, 43 North Strand Road, Dublin 3

Sligo Park Hotel.

Pearse Road, Sligo

Temple Bar Hotel

Fleet St., Dublin 2

The Bush Hotel

Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim

The D Hotel

Scotch Hall, Marsh Rd, Drogheda, Co. Louth

The French Paradox

Dublin 4

The Glasshouse

Swan Point, Sligo

The Gresham Metropole

Mac Curtain Street, Cork

The Harbourmaster Bar

Dublin 2

The Landmark Hotel

Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim

The Pig & Heifer

6 Guild Court, Amiens Street, Dublin 1

The Pitstop Café

Northside Civic Centre, Bunratty Road, Coolock, Dublin 17

The Spiced Bean Café

Mary St, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

The Westin Hotel

College Green, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2

Tipperary Water

16 Cherry Orchard Estate, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10

Toni’s Bistro

Main St, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

Trinity Capital Hotel

Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Value Centre Cash & Carry

Finiskin Road, Sligo

Wynn’s Hotel

35-39 Lr Abbey Street, Dublin 1

Question No. 217 withdrawn.

Medical Aids and Appliances

Jack Wall

Question:

218 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is entitled to medical appliance benefit in their own right or that of their spouse; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46942/10]

The medical appliance benefit scheme is a scheme under which qualified customers may reclaim part of the cost of the purchase or repair of a hearing aid. Eligibility is based on PRSI contributions.

Only PRSI classes A, E, H, and P are reckonable for eligibility for this benefit. Neither the person concerned nor her spouse have sufficient qualifying PRSI contributions paid. They have most recently paid Class S (self-employed) contributions, which do not count towards qualifying for this benefit. Therefore neither person is qualified.

Unemployment Statistics

Arthur Morgan

Question:

219 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in long-term unemployment on a county basis in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46955/10]

The total number of persons on the Live Register at the end of November 2010 was 425,002, of which 150,327 were classified as having been unemployed for over one year. A breakdown of the 150,327 by county is contained in the tabular statement.

The number of persons in long-term unemployment at end November 2010.

County

> 1 year

Carlow

2,361

Cavan

2,773

Clare

3,960

Cork

14,153

Donegal

8,031

Dublin

35,676

Galway

8,351

Kerry

5,185

Kildare

5,572

Kilkenny

2,566

Laois

2,944

Leitrim

1,304

Limerick

7,402

Longford

2,170

Louth

6,230

Mayo

4,608

Meath

3,283

Monaghan

2,217

Offaly

3,166

Roscommon

1,352

Sligo

1,803

Tipperary North

2,134

Tipperary South

3,064

Waterford

5,315

Westmeath

3,546

Wexford

6,810

Wicklow

4,351

Grand Total

150,327

Social Welfare Benefits

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

220 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will reinstate supplementary welfare payment for a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46970/10]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised that rent supplement is not payable to the person concerned as she has refused three offers of accommodation provided by a housing authority.

Social Welfare Appeals

Michael Ring

Question:

221 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection when an appeal will be heard in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [46974/10]

Payment of illness benefit, to the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an examination by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work.

An appeal was opened on 20 November 2010 and the Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department was asked for the documentation in the case and the Deciding Officer's comments on the grounds of the appeal. In that context, an examination by another Medical Assessor will be carried out. The person concerned will be notified when arrangements for the examination have been completed.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Code

Beverley Flynn

Question:

222 Deputy Beverley Flynn asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo meets the social welfare criteria for a place on a rural social scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46979/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) provides supplementary income to certain categories of low income farming and fishing families. The Scheme is operated by my Department and managed at local level by the Local Development Companies in rural areas and Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Gaeltacht.

The person referred to has made an application to participate on the RSS and is currently receiving a qualifying payment. Decisions with regard to the placement of Participants and projects undertaken in the Achill area rests with Údarás na Gaeltachta who will be able to advise the person further.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

223 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will review the case of person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has been turned down for a mortgage subsidy. [46987/10]

Mortgage interest supplement is subject to a means test which is normally calculated to ensure that, after payment of rent or mortgage interest, an eligible person has income equal to the rate of basic supplementary welfare allowance appropriate to their family circumstances, less a minimum contribution, currently €24, which each recipient is required to pay from his or her own resources.

The Health Service Executive has advised that there is no entitlement to mortgage interest supplement in this case as the weekly mortgage interest payable by the person concerned of €23.80 is less than the weekly minimum contribution of €24 that applicants are obliged to pay from their own resources.

Pension Provisions

Michael Ring

Question:

224 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection the way a rate of contributory pension was calculated in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [46991/10]

The qualifying conditions for State pension (contributory) require the applicant to

have entered insurable employment before attaining the age of 56 years.

have at least 260 paid contribution weeks, from employment or self-employment, since entry into insurance.

satisfy the yearly average condition.

The person concerned satisfies the above conditions and has a total of 628 reckonable (paid and credited) PRSI contributions. When this total is divided by 47 (the number of years from date of entry into insurance to the end of the last tax year prior to reaching age 66), this gives a yearly average of 13 contributions, and entitles her to a reduced State pension (contributory) of €115.20 (50% of the maximum rate).

As the spouse of the person concerned is currently in receipt of an increase for qualified adult (IQA) of €130.10 per week in his jobseeker's allowance in respect of her, it was considered more financially beneficial to reject the claim for State pension (contributory) in favour of continued IQA payment at the higher rate.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

225 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length oftenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47006/10]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department.

There have been no appointments to any of the above statutory bodies since 22 November 2010 to date.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

226 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47021/10]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department.

The Social Welfare Tribunal

There are no new appointments to the Social Welfare Tribunal scheduled for the period 14 December 2010 to 28 February 2011. The current members of the Tribunal were appointed on the 5 of October 2009 and are not due for renewal until 4 October 2012.

Citizens Information Board

The Citizens Information Board has one vacancy at present. The name of the appointee has yet to be decided.

The Pensions Board

The current term of office of Pensions Board members is due to expire on 20 December 2010 and I am in the process of appointing new members for a period of 5 years as provided for in legislation. There are 17 members of the Pensions Board including the Chairman. All appointments are made by me, of which 9 are on the nomination of certain bodies.

Section 9 of the Pensions Act 1990 as amended and the First Schedule to the Act, provides that the Board shall consist of a Chairman and 16 ordinary members, who shall be appointed to the Board by the Minister. The term of office of the Chairman and the Board Members shall be for a period not exceeding 5 years.

The Pensions Board is a representative body and while all of its members are appointed by the Minister for Social Protection, the Pensions Act provides that of the 16 ordinary members, the Board must comprise representatives of:

Trade Union Members,

Employers,

Occupational Pension Schemes,

The Actuarial Profession,

The Accounting Profession,

The Legal Profession,

Consumer Interests,

Pensioner Interests,

The Minister for Finance, and

The Minister for Social Protection.

The Minister will, by order, appoint a new Chairman and ordinary members to the Board with effect from 21 December 2010.

Office of the Pensions Ombudsman

There are no appointments due to be made by the Minister in respect of the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman during the period specified.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

227 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will review a decision denying the habitual residence of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47025/10]

The person concerned was refused jobseeker's allowance on the grounds that she does not satisfy the habitual residence condition. She was advised of this decision and of her right of appeal.

Michael Ring

Question:

228 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 222 of 30 November 2010, if he will explain where income is coming from for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo in view of the fact this person has not worked since January 2010. [47051/10]

The information which formed the basis of the means assessment for fuel allowance in this case was taken from the claimant's income from employment for 2009. As the Department has no evidence of cessation of the claimant's employment, and he did not indicate cessation of his employment in his claim form, income for 2010 was taken to be the same as that for 2009, for the purposes of the means assessment.

If the person concerned has ceased employment, he should provide a copy of his P45 to this office at his earliest convenience. His entitlement to fuel allowance will then be re-examined and he will be informed in writing of the outcome without delay.

Question No. 229 withdrawn.

Sean Sherlock

Question:

230 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a rent allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47060/10]

In the time frame available, I regret that my Department is not in a position to reply to this question. My Department will be in contact with the Deputy over the coming days and will reply in full to the question raised.

John McGuinness

Question:

231 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection if rent allowance will be paid in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if he will expedite a response. [47081/10]

In the time frame available, I regret that my Department is not in a position to reply to this question. My Department will be in contact with the Deputy over the coming days and will reply in full to the question raised.

Social Welfare Appeals

Michael Ring

Question:

232 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 229 of 10 November 2010, when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be assessed by a medical assessor; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47134/10]

Payment of disability allowance, to the person concerned, was refused by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that she was medically unsuitable for disability allowance. An appeal was opened and in the context of that appeal, her case was reviewed by a second Medical Assessor who also expressed the opinion that she was medically unsuitable.

I am informed by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that, in the light of this second medical opinion, that office decided to afford her an opportunity of setting out the complete and up to date grounds of her appeal. On receipt of her response the relevant departmental papers will be requested from the Department and the appeal will then be referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Code

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

233 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 1258 of 29 September 2010, if he will review the rejection of an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); if he will consider that the appeals officer refers to the close proximity of the separated parents’ accommodation while, in reality, they live at opposite sides of the city; if he will consider that where each party has custody for 50% of the time one party is judged to have no obligation to provide accommodation; if he will indicate in cases of joint custody, where rent allowance is paid to one party only, the percentage of cases it is paid to the father only; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47171/10]

Supplementary welfare allowance scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE) on behalf of the Department. Neither I nor my Department has any input into individual decisions.

The HSE has advised that the person concerned was refused a rent supplement on the grounds that his rent was in excess of the limit prescribed for his family circumstances. The HSE has further advised that this decision was upheld by the HSE's designated Appeals Officer and that this decision was subsequently upheld also by the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

As I stated in my previous reply every claim for rent supplement is determined by the HSE having regard to the particular circumstances of the applicant. Any person seeking a rent supplement must first satisfy the Executive that they have a housing need that they are unable to meet from their own resources. In addition, the Executive must be satisfied that the residence is reasonably suited to the residential and other needs of the claimant. In a case where parents have joint custody of a child, the needs of both parents to have adequate accommodation to look after the child are taken into account by the Executive when an application for a rent supplement is being determined.

It is open to the person concerned to apply for rent supplement in respect of accommodation below the prescribed rent limit.

There are no statistics available on the payment of rent supplement in relation to household affected by joint custody orders.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

234 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; if he will offset the amount of €1,679.80 from the arrears of disablement benefit on grounds of financial hardship; if he will also reduce to €10 the amount to be deducted to clear the amount overpaid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47198/10]

It is the Department's policy to seek recovery of overpayments as soon as possible.

In determining the appropriate rate of recovery of overpayments, the department considers all relevant facts or circumstances including how the overpayment occurred and a person's ability to repay. The department may withhold any arrears due to a customer including arrears due from another scheme or claim.

The person concerned incurred this substantial overpayment amounting to €18,636.20 from 2 January 2003 to 4 May 2005 when he failed to disclose his income from employment, while he was in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment. His local social welfare office wrote to him on 7/7/2005 notifying him of the overpayment and seeking his repayment proposals. In doing so it was suggested that he repay in a single lump sum or monthly instalments of €100 by standing order to the Department.

He chose neither, and from 7 July 2005 to 2010 while he was in employment, he did not repay any part of this overpayment. This is despite the fact that his income from employment was in excess of the average industrial wage.

The person's current weekly entitlement before deductions is:

Disablement Benefit:

45.40

Illness Benefit (½ Rate):

98.00

One-Parent Family Payment:

285.40

428.80

His current actual payments after deductions are:

Disablement Benefit:

25.40

Illness Benefit (½ Rate):

98.00

One-Parent Family Payment:

275.40

398.80

His current payments are €113.40 per week over the supplementary welfare allowance rate for a person of his circumstances.

On this basis, the department has determined that it is appropriate that the lump sum arrears due to him, in the sum of € 1,679.80, in respect of his claim for disablement benefit be offset against the existing overpayment and that he should repay €30 per week. On this basis, if the person remains on a social welfare payment, this overpayment will be recovered in approximately 11 years.

The department may review this repayment plan should his circumstances change.

Social Insurance

Joan Burton

Question:

235 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Social Protection if, in view of the equalisation of PRSI rates paid by employees and the self-employed as announced in budget 2011, self-employed workers will be entitled to claim jobseeker’s benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47218/10]

In 2011, self-employed workers will be liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% — the same personal rate as is paid by ordinary employees.

However, employers also make a PRSI contribution of 10.75% in respect of their employees, resulting in the payment of a combined 14.75% rate per employee under full-rate PRSI Class A. As a result, ordinary employees can build entitlement towards the full range of social welfare benefits. Class S contributions will continue to provide cover for long-term benefits such as state pension (contributory) and widow's/widower's pension (contributory) only.

PRSI coverage is related to the risks associated with employment or self-employment, the annualised system of contributions for self-employed people and the practicalities of administering and controlling access to short-term payment for self-employed people. A system of separate arrangements for employed and self-employed workers within a social insurance context is common in other European social protection systems.

It may also be noted that the 2005 Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund, found that the fund favours the self-employed over the employed when both employer and employee contributions are included in respect of the employed person. The analysis demonstrates that, despite the fact that they are eligible for a narrower range of benefits, self-employed persons can gain substantially more from the fund than employees.

There are no plans to extend cover for short-term benefits to this group of insured workers. Any such measure would have significant financial implications and would have to be considered in the context of a much more significant rise in the rate of contribution payable.

Social Welfare Appeals

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

236 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an appeal for carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47232/10]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 29 June 2010. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received back in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 10 November 2010 and the appeal will be referred in due course to an Appeals Officer who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Questions Nos. 237 to 240, inclusive, withdrawn.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

241 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the amount of money, under each heading, spent by her on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46920/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, I assumed responsibility as Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport earlier this year. The total amount spent on the items in question in the context of ministerial meetings and functions in the 2010 calendar year to date is €577. It is not possible to break down the amounts under the headings listed by the Deputy as this information is not readily available. The refreshments are sourced from various local establishments.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

242 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if she will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47008/10]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to appointments to State boards. In that context,I have made no formal appointments to any state boards under the aegis of my Department since 22 November 2010.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

243 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she will list all public appointments that she is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47023/10]

The following table sets out current vacancies and vacancies expected to arise between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011, in agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Body

Current Number of Vacancies

Vacancies expected to arise between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011

National Archives Advisory Council

6

0

Tourism Ireland Ltd

1

0

National Sports Campus Development Authority

1

4

Arts Council

0

5

Abbey Theatre

1

1

Board of Governors and Guardians of the National Gallery of Ireland

2

0

National Museum of Ireland

Up to 6

0

Departmental Funding

Dinny McGinley

Question:

244 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if a grant has been approved for the development of a facility (details supplied) in County Donegal; the amount of funding that has been approved; if part of the grant has been paid; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47047/10]

The club in question applied for funding under the 2007 and 2008 Sports Capital Programmes. These eligible applications were assessed and received grant funding under the programme of €750,000 in 2007 and €500,000 in 2008. These provisional allocations were made towards the new stadium in Stranorlar. The club was also successful under the 1999 programme and received a grant of €190,461 for Finn Park.

These grant allocations are subject to the terms and conditions of the Programme, which include the execution of a Deed of Covenant and Charge. A Deed provides, inter alia, for a refund of the grant in the event of the facility not continuing to be used for the purpose for which the grant was allocated. The Department's legal adviser, the Chief State Solicitor's Office (CSSO), deals with the grantee's solicitor in executing this Deed. The signed deeds were returned to the CSSO at the start of December for onwards transmission to the Club's solicitor. Once the legalities have been finalised and it is understood that they are almost completed, arrangements for a payment will be made.

Joe Costello

Question:

245 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if she will help secure the continued operation of an organisation (details supplied) from their current location; if she will consider purchasing the building as an arts facility; if she has engaged with the National Asset Management Agency in looking at the use of vacant buildings for creative arts projects; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47049/10]

Capital funding for arts and cultural projects supported by my Department is primarily provided from the Cultural Development subhead, D5, of Vote 35 of the Revised Estimates Volume.

Under this subhead, capital grants have been awarded for the development of arts and cultural infrastructure throughout the country. Integrated arts centres, theatres, museums, galleries, arts studios and creative and performance spaces have received capital funding. The purchase of buildings is not considered as eligible expenditure under this subhead. A capital grant of €14,000 was provided in 2010 to the Complex Arts Space for stage lighting equipment.

Current funding for organisations such as Complex Arts Space is normally provided by the Arts Council, who are statutorily independent in making funding decisions.

Sports Capital Programme

Seán Power

Question:

246 Deputy Seán Power asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the number of successful applications submitted and the amount of funding granted to an organisation (details supplied) under the national lottery sports capital programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47225/10]

The club in question has received six allocations since 1999 totalling €746,185 under the Department's Sports Capital Programme. This funding has been drawn down in full by the grantee.

Waste Management Charges

Billy Timmins

Question:

247 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding old age pensioners and their refuse collection in the past in that when the county councils collected the refuse there was a waiver scheme in operation for OAP’s and those on low incomes but now that they are privatised they have to pay the full cost; if there are schemes that they can avail of to assist with such payment; his plans to introduce an allowance like the telephone or electricity allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47075/10]

Billy Timmins

Question:

257 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding old age pensioners and their refuse collection in that in the past when the county councils collected the refuse there was a waiver scheme in operation for OAPs and those on low incomes but now that they are privatised they have to pay the full cost; if there are any schemes that persons can avail of to assist with such payment; his plans to introduce such a grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47074/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 and 257 together:

Waste management services have traditionally been provided at a local level, with individual arrangements being locally determined and tailored to local circumstances. The present legal framework reflects this. In accordance with section 52 of the Protection of the Environment Act 2003, the determination of waste management charges, and any associated waiver scheme, is a matter for the relevant local authority, where it acts as the service provider. Similarly, where a private operator provides the collection service, it is a matter for that operator to determine charges. Generally speaking, waiver schemes do not operate in respect of privately supplied collection services.

My Department has previously engaged with the Department of Social Protection to explore the issues involved in relation to waivers. These discussions did not identify a role for the social welfare system in providing income support in that regard.

My Department also understands that previous legal advice obtained by a local authority suggests that in an area which is serviced by the private sector the local authority may not provide a waiver in respect of charges for a service which is not directly provided by the local authority. However, a local authority does have discretion itself to provide a waste collection service, including a waiver of some or all of the charges which it may determine, or to procure competitively for a service provider to collect waste on its behalf. The Programme for Government agreed in 2007 signalled a fundamental change of policy in relation to waste management. The Programme's objectives to implement this policy change included a commitment to carry out an international review of waste management plans, practices and procedures and to act on the conclusions. The report, by a group of Irish and international consultants engaged to carry out a major study to underpin the conclusion of the review, was published in November 2009.

In July 2010, I published a Draft Statement of Waste Policy for public consultation as part of the development of a new national waste management policy for the coming decade and beyond. One of its proposals is to make local authorities responsible for collection of household waste. This would provide a framework, through which they, or one or more agents acting on their behalf, would be able to deliver high quality services, while affording operators the economies of scale provided by such an organisation of the market.

Delivery of such a changed market structure would be achieved through a competitive tendering process. This approach would in turn facilitate the delivery of various public service obligations including the provision of waivers for customers of both public and private sectors, ensuring that the cost of such provision is borne in an equitable manner. The public consultation period has now closed and I am currently examining the 77 submissions received with a view to finalising the Waste Policy Statement and bringing it to Government at the earliest opportunity.

Social and Affordable Housing

John Deasy

Question:

248 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the number of persons in Waterford city and county who were allocated social housing in each of the past ten years and to date in 2010; the categories of housing involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46873/10]

My Department collates and publishes a wide range of housing statistics that inform the preparation and evaluation of housing policy. The full range of data compiled can be viewed on my Department's website, www.environ.ie , where data on First Time Lettings by local authorities (up to 2006) and on Casual Vacancies (to 2009) are displayed.

Local Authority Funding

Frank Feighan

Question:

249 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if the local authority budget for County Roscommon and County Leitrim will remain at the same level as in 2010. [46875/10]

Under the terms of the Local Government Act 2001, it is in the first instance a matter for each local authority to prepare and adopt a balanced annual budget for the coming year.

Local authorities are required to adopt budgets which are sufficient to meet the expenditure arising in the year in accordance with the terms of section 10A of the City and County Management Act 1955, as inserted in that Act by section 113 of the Local Government Act 2001. General-Purpose Grants are the contribution that my Department makes to local authorities to meet the gap between the cost to them of providing a reasonable level of day-to-day services and the income they obtain from other sources. A total of €790m in General-Purpose Grants will be provided to local authorities from the Local Government Fund for 2011. These grants are allocated having regard to a range of factors including the overall funding available for the grants, the cost to each local authority of providing its services, the income available to each local authority from local sources and specific grants, and the need to ensure that each local authority receives a baseline allocation that will provide financial stability.

I am satisfied that the general purpose allocations I have provided for 2011, together with the income available from other sources, will enable Roscommon and Leitrim County Councils to provide a reasonable level of service to their customers.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

250 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46913/10]

The information requested is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Election Management System

Finian McGrath

Question:

251 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the reason one million Irish citizens abroad are not allowed to vote in the next general election. [46959/10]

In order to be able to vote at elections and referenda in this jurisdiction, a person's name must be entered in the register of electors for a constituency in the State in which the person ordinarily resides.

Postal voting is provided for in electoral law in respect of certain categories of person who are entered in the register of electors. The Electoral Act 1992 provides for postal voting by whole-time members of the Defence Forces, members of the Garda Síochána, and Irish diplomats serving abroad and their spouses. Subsequent legislation enacted by the Oireachtas has extended postal voting to other categories: electors living at home who are unable to vote because of a physical illness or a physical disability (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996); electors whose occupation, service or employment makes it likely that they will be unable to vote in person at their local polling station on polling day and full-time students registered at their home who are living elsewhere while attending an educational institution in the State — in these cases, the law provides for completion of the necessary voting documentation at a Garda station (the Electoral Act 1997); certain election staff employed at the poll outside the constituency where they reside (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001); and electors who because of the circumstances of their detention in prison pursuant to an order of a court are likely to be unable to go in person on polling day to vote (the Electoral (Amendment) Act 2006).

While electoral law is subject to ongoing review I have no proposals at present to alter existing arrangements for postal voting.

Environmental Policy

Liz McManus

Question:

252 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the Government’s policy of green procurement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46972/10]

My Department, in close consultation with the National Public Procurement Policy Unit of the Department of Finance and the National Procurement Service in the Office of Public Works, is in the process of finalising Ireland's first National Action Plan on Green Public Procurement. The provisions of this National Action Plan will apply to procurement officers across the entire public sector. Seven priority areas will be identified in the National Action Plan — construction; transport; energy; food and catering services; paper; textiles; and cleaning products and services. Other areas are likely to be identified as implementation of the Plan progresses. It is intended to finalise and publish the Plan early in 2011.

Special Areas of Conservation

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

253 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will arrange to have the work expedited on a project (details supplied). [46988/10]

The proposed works to which the Question refers are within a candidate Special Area of Conservation and are therefore subject to the requirements of the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 to 2005. They involve the removal of trees that form part of a priority habitat type — alluvial woodland — for which the site is designated for protection. Any such works are required by EU and national transposing law to comply with Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, which includes a detailed examination of the potential impacts of such proposed works. My Department is in discussion with the Office of Public Works in relation to the steps to be taken in this regard, and is seeking to have the issue brought to a conclusion as soon as possible.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

254 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a reappointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47001/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

255 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47016/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 254 and 255 together.

The following table sets out relevant information in respect of all persons appointed to the state boards under the aegis of my Department since 22 November 2010 and vacancies due to arise between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011.

Day to day operational matters, including travel and subsistence allowances for officials, board members or directors of the agencies under the aegis of my Department, are a matter for the agency or body concerned and my Department does not routinely collect information in this regard.

The agencies have been reminded of the ongoing requirement to adhere to Department of Finance guidelines concerning travel, subsistence and associated expenses. The Government decision to reduce travel and subsistence rates has been brought to their attention and they were instructed to implement the reduced rates with effect from 5 March 2009.

The boards of An Bord Pleanála and the Environmental Protection Agency are executive in nature and the members are full-time salaried positions.

Name of State Body/Board

Public appoint-ments since 22 November 2010

Term of Office

Method of Selection

Fees Per Annum

Re-appointment or New Appointment

Vacancies arising from 14 December 2010 to 28 February 2011

An Bord Pleanála

1 Ordinary Board member & 1 Deputy Chairperson

Comhar Sustainable Development Council

Chair of COMHAR

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Dr. Berna Grist

7 December 2010 to 30 April 2012

Appointed as an ordinary Director to the Executive Board by the Minister under Section 17(3) of the DDDA Act 1997

11,970

New Appointment

Dublin Docklands Development Authority — Council

Eamonn O’Reilly

7 December 2010 to 30 April 2012

Nominated by the Dublin Port Authority under Section 16(6)e of the DDDA Act 1997

Nil

New Appointment

The Heritage Council

Caro-lynne Ferris

Five year period (effective from the 31st October, 2010)

Ministerial appointment

5,985

Re-appointment

The Minister may appoint up to a maximum of 6 additional members in order to bring the membership of the Council to the maximum of 17 permitted under the Heritage Act 1995

Brendan Dunford

5,985

Mary Keenan

5,985

Gabriel Cooney

Nil

Housing Finance Agency

1

Name of State Body/Board

Public appoint-ments since 22 November 2010

Term of Office

Method of Selection

Fees Per Annum

Re-appointment or New Appointment

Vacancies arising from 14 December 2010 to 28 February 2011

Private Residential Tenancies Board

Conn Murray

1 December 2010 to 30 November 2014

Ministerial appointment representing City and County Managers

Nil

New Appointment

Joe Meehan

1 December 2010 to 30 November 2014

Ministerial appointment representing the Department of Social Protection

Nil

New Appointment

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland (RPII)

2

National Building Agency

Rich Howlin

In each case 1 year from 1 January 2011

Ministerial appointment

11,970

Re-Appointment

Eddie Lewis

Nil

Re- Appointment

John O’Connor

Nil

New Appointment

Marie McLaughlin

Nil

New Appointment

John McCloskey

7,695

Re-Appointment

Peter Carey

Nil

New Appointment

Ann McGuinness

7,695

New Appointment

Gordon Richards

Nil

Re-Appointment

Housing and Sustainable Communities Ltd*

Marie McLaughlin

In each case 30 November 2010 until the formal establishment of Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, which is likely to be late 2011.

Ministerial appointment

Nil

New Appointment

John McCloskey

Nil

New Appointment

Peter Carey

Nil

New Appointment

Ann McGuinness

Nil

New Appointment

*Housing and Sustainable Communities Ltd was formed as a Private Single Member company subsidiary of the National Building Agency. It undertakes functions in relation to management of land arising as a result of the land aggregation scheme and leasing. The Board of "Housing and Sustainable Communities Ltd" will be paid a fee as part of their directorship of the National Building Agency from 1 January 2011 (the board is the same for the NBA and only get paid one fee).

Planning Issues

Brian O'Shea

Question:

256 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding the review of the retail planning guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47063/10]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 17 of 25 November 2010. My Department is currently reviewing the Retail Planning Guidelines which were originally published in 2001 and updated in 2005.

An Issues Paper, which set out high-level and strategic issues for retail planning, was published in June 2010 to provide an opportunity for stakeholders and interested parties to assist in identifying key issues to be considered in the context of preparing and drafting revised guidelines. Almost 200 submissions were received through this consultation process and the issues raised in these submissions are currently being examined in drafting the updated guidelines.

It is intended that revised draft guidelines will be published for public consultation early next year, thus affording stakeholders and interested parties a further opportunity to input into the policy formulation process before the statutory guidelines are finalised later in 2011. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality between Ireland and the EU/IMF, the review is also addressing the issue of the cap on retail floor space contained in the current guidelines.

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 247.

Departmental Correspondence

Leo Varadkar

Question:

258 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he has received representations in respect of a matter (details supplied); if, on foot of these representations, he has made any further representations to Departments or agencies; if he will detail each such communication and the response received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47096/10]

I received correspondence from the promoters of the project referred to in the question on 28 January 2010. Further correspondence on the matter was received from Wicklow County Council on 3 November 2010.

I wrote to the Minister for Transport on 4 May 2010, setting out my understanding of the transport issues related to the proposed development and sought his assistance in facilitating further dialogue between the National Roads Authority and Wicklow County Council on these issues. I received no response from the Minister for Transport on the matter.

Turbury Rights

Denis Naughten

Question:

259 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the provision made in the 2011 Estimate to compensate turf cutters; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47129/10]

As set out in the reply to Question no. 11 on 25 November 2010, I intend to revert to Government shortly regarding the arrangements for those who have been affected by the requirement to cease turf cutting on protected raised bogs. The provision of compensation will be considered in that context, having regard to the overall resources available to my Department from the Exchequer and the Environment Fund.

Local Authority Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

260 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the salary of each county manager by local authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47131/10]

Salaries of City and County Managers are set out in the City and County Managers (Remuneration) (No. 2) Order 2010. The salaries for City and County Managers are set out in the table.

Local Authority Manager

Salary

Dublin City Council

189,301

Cork County Council

162,062

Fingal County Council

South Dublin County Council

Cork City Council

153,260

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council

Kildare County Council

Meath County Council

Limerick City Council

142,469

Clare County Council

Donegal County Council

Galway County Council

Kerry County Council

Kilkenny County Council

Limerick County Council

Louth County Council

Mayo County Council

South Tipperary County Council

Westmeath County Council

Wexford County Councill

Wicklow County Council

Galway City Council

132,511

Waterford City Council

Carlow County Council

Cavan County Council

Laois County Council

Leitrim County Council

Longford County Council

Monaghan County Council

Offaly County Council

Roscommon County Council

Sligo County Council

North Tipperary County Council

Waterford County Council

Local Authority Funding

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

261 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the amount of money that has been allocated in 2010 to Limerick City Council, Limerick County Council and Clare County Council to provide houses for persons who are moving from regeneration areas; the amount that has been spent by each local authority for this purpose; if there is an upper limit on the sum to be paid for any individual house; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47161/10]

Under the Limerick Regeneration Programme there is a commitment to provide replacement housing for those individuals and households where the properties they currently occupy are scheduled for demolition in the short to medium term or where the individual or household has expressed a wish to move elsewhere within the regeneration areas, or where the acquisition of the property by Limerick City Council will promote the sustainable communities objectives and address issues relating to anti-social behaviour or criminality. In these situations. Limerick City Council, in partnership with the Limerick Regeneration Agencies, may offer replacement housing within the regeneration areas or within the City Council area, and, subject to compliance with an agreed protocol with Limerick County Council and Clare County Council, within the administrative areas of Limerick County and Clare County Councils.

As part of the overall allocation of €35 million for Limerick Regeneration in 2010, the following allocations were made for the purposes of relocating households to facilitate regeneration:

Allocation 2010

Claimed to Date

€ million

€ million

Limerick City Council

10.15

5.80

Limerick County Council

3.50

3.55

Clare County Council

0.50

0.35

Total

14.15

9.70

Only a proportion of the relocations facilitated by Limerick City Council actually involve the movement of individuals or households outside of the regeneration areas with many opting to remain in Moyross, Southill, Ballinacurra Weston and St. Mary's Park. Of the €5.8 million recouped to date to Limerick City Council, €3.94 million related to relocations outside of these areas.

In terms of the cost of acquiring properties, all acquisitions are subject to a regional acquisitions threshold and an independent valuation. Details of the cost thresholds for the relevant local authorities are set out in the following table:

Benchmark Threshold

Upper Threshold

Limerick City Council

224,000

244,000

Limerick County Council (City Environs)

224,000

244,000

Limerick County Council

184,000

204,000

Clare County Council

184,000

204,000

Motor Taxation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

262 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown of motor tax receipts by each CO2 category and engine size category for 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47186/10]

The information requested is set out in the tables.

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private Standard in 2008 by Engine CC.

Engine CC

Total

not over 1,000

28,572,674

1,001 to 1,100

2,374,754

1,101 to 1,200

34,353,318

1,201 to 1,300

48,518,291

1,301 to 1,400

174,460,779

1,401 to 1,500

24,097,023

1,501 to 1,600

134,598,264

1,601 to 1,700

3,664,703

1,701 to 1,800

69,288,551

1,801 to 1,900

81,163,826

1,901 to 2,000

126,776,918

2,001 to 2,100

511,471

2,101 to 2,200

20,996,326

2,201 to 2,300

6,689,736

2,301 to 2,400

4,406,952

2,401 to 2,500

23,798,235

2,501 to 2,600

2,296,210

2,601 to 2,700

5,553,074

2,701 to 2,800

6,449,561

2,801 to 2,900

1,429,904

2,901 to 3,000

28,491,563

3,001 or more

23,543,955

Total

852,036,088

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private CO2 in 2008 by Band.

CO2 Band

Total

A

368,999

B

3,186,985

C

3,435,052

D

1,571,545

E

1,021,219

F

634,512

G

64,064

Total

10,282,376

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private Standard in 2009 by Engine CC.

Engine CC

Total

not over 1,000

27,165,763

1,001 to 1,100

2,143,283

1,101 to 1,200

32,042,014

1,201 to 1,300

44,689,520

1,301 to 1,400

169,724,019

1,401 to 1,500

22,949,126

1,501 to 1,600

133,621,526

1,601 to 1,700

3,389,735

1,701 to 1,800

67,142,744

1,801 to 1,900

82,988,447

1,901 to 2,000

127,705,985

2,001 to 2,100

486,124

2,101 to 2,200

20,955,236

2,201 to 2,300

6,827,757

2,301 to 2,400

4,304,336

2,401 to 2,500

22,943,683

2,501 to 2,600

2,267,499

2,601 to 2,700

5,737,108

2,701 to 2,800

6,414,289

2,801 to 2,900

1,142,923

2,901 to 3,000

28,306,956

3,001 or more

22,546,205

Total

835,494,278

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private CO2 in 2009 by Band.

CO2 Band

Total

A

1,441,301

B

10,225,842

C

11,250,677

D

6,637,357

E

4,221,404

F

2,643,443

G

530,622

Total

36,950,646

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private Standard in 2010 (Jan to Nov) by Engine CC.

Engine CC

Total

not over 1,000

23,681,073

1,001 to 1,100

1,820,372

1,101 to 1,200

27,708,420

1,201 to 1,300

37,998,618

1,301 to 1,400

148,870,577

1,401 to 1,500

20,410,910

1,501 to 1,600

118,302,963

1,601 to 1,700

2,995,620

1,701 to 1,800

59,010,807

1,801 to 1,900

75,925,389

1,901 to 2,000

114,110,049

2,001 to 2,100

406,911

2,101 to 2,200

18,823,184

2,201 to 2,300

6,204,516

2,301 to 2,400

3,732,043

2,401 to 2,500

20,053,896

2,501 to 2,600

1,991,469

2,601 to 2,700

5,015,573

2,701 to 2,800

5,719,893

2,801 to 2,900

804,195

2,901 to 3,000

24,655,550

3,001 or more

19,040,001

Total

737,282,029

Breakdown of Motor Tax Receipts for Vehicles taxed as Private CO2 in 2010 (Jan to Nov) by Band.

CO2 Band

Total

A

4,597,285

B

15,996,620

C

14,465,775

D

8,946,758

E

5,222,695

F

3,443,319

G

1,005,550

Total

53,678,002

Environmental Policy

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

263 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the position regarding moneys contributed to the Global Climate Change Alliance; the person to whom this money will be allocated and the amount of same; the projects on which the money will be spent; the way the moneys will be administered; the oversight of the expenditure of the moneys that will take place; if overseas aid will play any role in relation to the expenditure; the amount of moneys in total that Ireland has committed to pay to the Global Climate Change Alliance in addition to the contribution; the dates on which we agreed we have to pay our contribution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47278/10]

Following approval by Dáil Éireann, my Department is in the process of finalising arrangements to make the fast start finance contribution of €23 million which was the subject of the supplementary estimate debate at the Select Committee on the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on 9 December 2010. As indicated in my statement on the supplementary estimate, the contribution will be made through the Global Climate Change Alliance established and operated by the European Commission. The contribution, once transferred to the Commission, will be used together with other EU funding provided through the Alliance, in accordance with the main objectives which I set out in my statement. Administrative and oversight arrangements are elements of the ongoing discussions between my Department and the European Commission.

The contribution is additional to overseas development assistance. However, it is positive that the Alliance is already active in a number of Ireland's priority overseas development assistance (ODA) countries. My preference, which is being pursued in the discussions with the Commission, would be to target our contribution to support adaptation in one or a number of our priority ODA countries.

The fast start finance package was a positive outcome at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, and I am pleased that the outcome of the recent Cancún climate conference shows welcome signs of progress in rebuilding trust between the Parties and moving the process forward.

The developed country Parties who associated with the Copenhagen Accord (including the EU and all Member States) agreed to provide the fast start finance package for developing countries over the three years 2010 to 2012. Ireland's commitment made at Copenhagen is for a €100 million contribution over the three year period. The practical arrangements for making the actual contributions are a matter for each of the developed countries supporting the package.

I cannot over-emphasise the responsibility that rests on developed countries to strengthen and progress the international negotiations by honouring the fast-start-funding commitment in the Copenhagen Accord. The proposed contribution through the Global Climate Change Alliance is a very positive step for Ireland, both in helping developing countries deal with climate change and in supporting the ongoing international effort to find agreement on an effective global response.

Wildlife Protection

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

264 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government if, in view of the position taken by National Parks and Wildlife Service to ban the hunting and shooting of wild birds because of the severe weather, he will consider a similar ban on the hunting of mammals such as fox, hare, deer and so on. [47299/10]

Due to the recent severe weather conditions I decided to introduce a temporary closure of the hunting season for wild birds for the period from 8 December, 2010. This temporary closure ends tonight (14 December).

I have no powers to control the hunting of foxes as they are not a protected species under the Wildlife Acts. I did not consider it necessary to ban the hunting of deer or hares or other animals protected under the Wildlife Acts. I am aware that some of the hunting bodies brought in voluntary hunting bans for deer for their members and I appreciate their efforts in this regard. In relation to hares I understand that a number of coursing meetings were postponed during the recent severe weather.

My Department will continue to monitor and review the situation regarding the hunting of wild game on a daily basis as long as the threat of very cold weather persists.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

265 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name of the company used to supply the refreshments and the address; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46908/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the amount spent in my Department on refreshments for meetings and functions, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 from the Department's catering allocation, is as set it in the table below.

There has been an ongoing review of spending and value for money analysis across the administrative budget over the last three years. As the Deputy will see this review has resulted in significant decreases in spending over the period in question.

There is a small additional spend on refreshments from "programme" allocations in respect of some meetings but this small spend is not disaggregated from the overall spend in these instances.

Period

Amount

2008

42,287.98

2009

26,261.00

Jan–Sept 2010

9,154.91

Total

77,703.89

Telecommunications Services

Liz McManus

Question:

266 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the draft code of practice from premium rate phone services as published by ComReg has no provision for refunds unlike its RegTel predecessor; if his further attention has been drawn to other areas that are not covered by this new draft code of practice that were previously covered by RegTel; his views on these changes; if he has been alerted to instances where companies are in breach of RegTel’s code of practice but have not been investigated by ComReg; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46971/10]

The Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act 2010 transferred the function of regulating premium rate services to ComReg. Under that Act, ComReg shall make regulations specifying the licence conditions which premium rate service providers must comply with. These conditions will include the basis and circumstances upon which refunds may be made. Section 9 of the Act, also provides that where ComReg finds that a premium rate service provider has not complied with or has breached a condition attached to his or her licence, it shall require the provider to remedy the non-compliance or breach and to refund any charge imposed by the provider on any end user in respect of the premium rate service connected with the non-compliance or breach within a specified time period.

Unlike the previous regulatory regime, which was governed by a non-statutory code of practice, the provisions of the 2010 Act place the regulation of premium rate services and the issue of refunds on a statutory basis, and thus ensure that the users of premium rate services are fully protected in law. As ComReg is independent in its functions, it is a matter for ComReg to determine, following consultation with all stakeholders, whether the code of practice should also include provisions for refunds.

It shall be a condition of a premium rate service licence that any code of practice to be published by ComReg will be complied with. I am confident that ComReg, in consultation with all interested parties, will ensure that its code of practice will include all the necessary provisions that are necessary for the effective regulation of this sector.

Energy Resources

Liz McManus

Question:

267 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the amount spent on fossil fuel imports for each year 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; if he will provide a breakdown of total fossil fuel use here across the main sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46973/10]

The Energy Policy and Statistical Support Unit (EPSSU) of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland gather and publish a wide range of data on energy related matters. This includes detailed data on energy consumption and prices, broken down by sector.

SEAI does not publish official financial estimates due to the inherent difficulties associated with the fact that fuel prices change through time, and different prices are charged for different volumes. Specific data on the amount spent on imports is therefore not available; however it is possible to estimate overall expenditure by the consumer on the basis of an overall price approximation.

Total Primary Energy (and imports)

2007

2007 (imports)

2008

2008 (Imports)

2009

2009 (imports)

Coal

1,554

1,463*

1,475

1,635

1,214

1,326

Peat

701

0

845

0

856

0

Oil

9,023

9,064

8,964

9,169

7,745

8,081

Gas

4,292

3,924

4,491

4,135

4,309

3,988

All figures expressed in ktoe (kilo tonnes of oil equivalent).

Total Final Consumption (2009)

€000

%

Total Final Consumption

12,990,074

Coal

156,161

1%

Peat

200,267

2%

Oil

8,441,917

65%

Gas

735,881

6%

Renewables

77,315

1%

Electricity

3378534

26%

Sectoral Breakdown

Industry

1,818,727

14%

Transport

6,338,428

49%

Residential

3,152,739

24%

Services

1,404,359

11%

Agriculture

275,821

2%

Telecommunications Services

Pearse Doherty

Question:

268 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the arrangements he has made for locations (details supplied) in County Donegal who are not included in the rollout of the national broadband scheme and who are unable to avail of broadband in their areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46989/10]

Pearse Doherty

Question:

269 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources when he plans to launch the rural broadband scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46990/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 268 and 269 together.

The provision of telecommunications services, including broadband services, is a matter for private sector service providers operating in a liberalised market regulated by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Broadband services are provided by private service providers over various platforms including DSL (i.e. over telephone lines), fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fibre and satellite.

ComReg's website www.callcosts.ie provides detailed information on the various private sector telecommunications products and services available on a county by county basis, including County Donegal.

Broadband services are now available throughout the entire National Broadband Scheme area and a list of the Electoral Divisions (EDs) covered by the NBS in County Donegal is provided below.

However, despite Government and private investment in broadband, I am aware that there continues to be a small percentage of premises throughout the country that will not be capable of receiving broadband services. This is primarily due to technical and other reasons (suitability of a telephone line, distance from an enabled exchange, no line of sight etc.).

The European Commission has set aside a portion of the European Economic Recovery Programme (EERP) funding for rural broadband initiatives. Using this funding, which will be augmented by an Exchequer contribution, I intend, subject to Government approval, to formally announce the launch of a Rural Broadband Scheme before the end of this year. This scheme will aim to provide a basic broadband service to individual un-served rural premises outside of the NBS areas. Un-served premises in Crove Upper, Carrick, County Donegal, will be eligible to apply under the scheme.

There will be a competitive process to engage a service provider who will offer a broadband service to qualified applicants under the scheme.

While the exact details have yet to be finalised, I expect that the service offered under this scheme would at least match the service offered under the NBS. This process will be technology neutral — it will be a matter for the bidders to decide which technical approach they propose in their bids.

Information in relation to acceptance of applications and the process of qualification under the scheme will be made available in due course when the scheme is launched.

National Broadband Scheme

Electoral Divisions (ED) Covered by the NBS in County Donegal

ED Name

ED Reference No.

ALTNAPASTE ED

57001

ARAN ED

57003

ARDMALIN ED

57005

ARDS ED

57006

BALLINTRA ED

57007

BALLINTRA ED

57008

BALLYSHANNON URBAN ED

57012

BINBANE ED

57014

CARROWKEEL ED

57025

CARTHAGE ED

57026

CAVANGARDEN ED

57031

CHURCH-HILL ED

57032

CLIFF ED

57033

CLOGHAN ED

57034

CLOGHER ED

57036

CREENASMEAR ED

57043

CREESLOUGH ED

57044

CROVEHY ED

57046

DOE CASTLE ED

57052

DUNAFF ED

57056

DUNLEWY

57060

EANYMORE ED

57061

FANAD NORTH ED

57064

FANAD WEST ED

57065

FEDDYGLASS ED

57066

FINTOWN ED

57068

GARTAN ED

57069

GLEN ED

57070

GLENALLA ED

57071

GLENLEHEEN ED

57076

GORTAHORK ED

57081

GRAFFY ED

57083

GROUSEHALL ED

57090

KILGOLY ED

57094

KILLYMASNY ED

57099

LAGHY ED

57104

LETTERMACAWARD ED

57108

LOUGH EASK ED

57110

MAAS ED

57112

MALIN ED

57116

MALINBEG ED

57117

MEENACLADY ED

57119

MEENCARGAGH ED

57120

PETTIGOE ED

57126

SEACOR ED

57134

ST JOHNSTOWN ED

57135

TAWNAWULLY ED

57139

TEMPLECARN ED

57140

TEMPLEDOUGLAS ED

57141

TERMON ED

57142

TULLYNAUGHT ED

57146

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

270 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46996/10]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to appointments to boards of State bodies under the aegis of my Department.

There has been one new appointment made by me to a State board since 22nd November 2010. This was an appointment to the board of Bord Gáis Éireann on 23rd November 2010 as follows:

Body

Number of new appointments since 22/11/10

Annual amount of fee due

Selection Process

Term

Bord Gáis Éireann

1

€15,750

Ministerial appointment under relevant statute

Up to 5 years

The payment of expenses to directors of boards is a day to day operational matter for each body in line with the relevant Department of Finance guidelines.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

271 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47011/10]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to appointments to boards of State bodies under the aegis of my Department. I can inform the Deputy that the existing vacancies and vacancies that are anticipated will arise are as set out in the table below:

State Body

Total Number of Vacancies (existing and due to arise)

An Post

1

Commission for Communications Regulation (no board — 3 person commission)

1

Digital Hub Development Agency

8

Bord na Móna

4

Electricity Supply Board

6

Irish National Petroleum Corporation Ltd

1

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

1

Inland Fisheries Ireland

1

The Mining Board

1

Inland Fisheries

John Deasy

Question:

272 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number and types of fishing licences issued in County Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47035/10]

Salmon and eel fishing licences are issued by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) in accordance with the Fisheries Acts 1959 to 2010. I have been informed by IFI that the following number and types of licences have been issued in County Waterford from 2005.

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Salmon — Commercial Licences

Draft

5

5

0

0

2

2

Head Weir

1

1

0

0

0

0

Snap

15

15

0

0

7

7

Drift

162

162

0

0

0

0

Total

183

183

0

0

9

9

Salmon — Angling Licences

One day

73

121

156

152

100

80

Annual district

232

442

316

313

330

330

Annual national

88

216

58

107

115

107

Annual Juvenile

8

62

219

84

35

39

21 day licence

118

542

310

418

400

316

Eel Fishing Licences

Basket (baited pot)

16

16

16

16

0

0

Telecommunications Services

Pat Breen

Question:

273 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason a person (details supplied) is being charged for a telephone connection for broadband; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47052/10]

The provision of electronic communications networks and services is undertaken by telecommunications service providers who operate in a fully liberalised market. The regulation of telecommunications service providers, including regulatory issues surrounding fixed line and broadband services is the responsibility of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), in accordance with its functions under the Communications Regulation Act 2002, as amended, and the EU Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications.

In accordance with Regulation 3(4) of the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Universal Service and User's Rights) Regulations 2003 (S.I. No. 308 of 2003), ComReg may specify requirements to be complied with by the designated Universal Service Provider (eircom) in relation to the reasonableness of requests for connection at a fixed location to the public telephone network. ComReg currently deem a threshold level of €7,000 on expenditure for connection to the public telephone network at the standard connection charge to be a reasonable and proportionate cost to be borne by the USP. Where connection cost exceeds this threshold, applicants will be offered the option of getting service by paying the excess above the €7,000 limit.

There are, however, a number of platforms for delivery of broadband. Service providers are now offering broadband by fixed wireless, mobile, satellite, cable, fibre or DSL over standard telephone cable across the country. The general area of Broadford, County Clare is covered by the National Broadband Scheme (NBS). The NBS service provider "3" is providing broadband services in all of the designated Electoral Divisions within the NBS area, including in the Broadford area. 3 may be contacted at telephone number 1800944791 regarding the National Broadband Scheme.

Departmental Bodies

Niall Collins

Question:

274 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of persons, either employees or contractors, in a company (details supplied) who received payments in excess of €250,000 in the years 2009 and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47113/10]

RTÉ is an independent national public service broadcaster whose remit and obligations are set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009.

Section 114(1) of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 states the principal objects and associated powers of RTÉ and Section 98 provides that it shall be independent of the pursuance of these objects, subject to the requirements of the Act. As such I, as Minister, have no function in RTÉ's day to day matters such as general staffing levels and salaries.

I do, however, have a role in the appointment of the Director General of RTÉ. Section 89(3) of the Broadcasting Act, 2009 provides that the consent of Government is required before RTÉ appoints or removes the director general or alters his or her remuneration or his or her terms and conditions.

I can confirm that the remuneration of the Director General of RTÉ was set at €260,726 on 1 June 2009 after a salary reduction of 12.5% was applied to this remuneration. The current salary of the Director General remains at this level.

Departmental Expenditure

Leo Varadkar

Question:

275 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure by his Department on petroleum services in 2010; the estimated expenditure of same for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47213/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

276 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure by his Department on mining services in 2010; the estimated expenditure of same for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47214/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

277 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure by his Department on geoscience initiatives in 2010; the estimated expenditure of same for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47215/10]

Leo Varadkar

Question:

278 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure by his Department on energy research programmes in 2010; the estimated expenditure of same in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47216/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 275 to 278, inclusive, together.

The following table sets out the 2010 estimate, the 2010 spend to end November and the 2011 estimate as announced in last weeks Budget for the expenditure programmes raised by the Deputy.

While it is likely that there will be some under spend at year end, it is expected that it will be lower than end November spend might suggest as timing issues resolve themselves and increased uptake on some programmes translates into increased expenditure.

Subhead

2010 Estimate

2010 Expenditure*

2011 Estimate

€000

€000

€000

Energy Research

House of Tomorrow R&D

305

262

Renewable Energy R&D

2,013

1,348

Low Carbon / Passive Housing

1

Ocean Energy

8,105

2,493

Energy Policy & Statistical Support / Modelling

1,250

959

Smart metering

750

383

Micro-generation

489

501

Renewable Energy Technologies in Fuel & Transport R&D

624

215

Energy Research Centre

Other Energy Research Programmes

800

601

14,337

6,762

20,400

Petroleum Services

Funding of Petroleum Scholarships

1

Petroleum Infrastructure Support Group

5,166

Continental Shelf

16

1

North West Forum

34

Strategic Environmental Assessment

150

77

5,367

78

1,367

Mining Services

6,710

469

4,700

Geoscience Initiatives

4,285

800

2,208

* To end November 2010.

Question No. 279 withdrawn.

Grant Payments

Ulick Burke

Question:

280 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will receive the outstanding amount of grants due under the single payment area aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46896/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 10 May 2010. However a number of the land parcels listed on the application required digitisation. An advance payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme issued to the person named on 21 September and an advance payment under Single Payment Scheme issued on 18 October in respect of the clear eligible area. A balancing payment under Single Payment Scheme issued on 1 December based on the clear eligible area.

An official from my Department has made direct contact with the person named in relation to a mapping issue that arose during the processing of the application. The applicant is submitting a map to enable my Department resolve this outstanding query.

Immediately this process is complete, provided no further errors are identified, the application will be processed in full with a view to payments due issuing shortly thereafter.

Ulick Burke

Question:

281 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Galway will receive a single farm payment; if the necessary adjustments have been made to the digitised maps so that payment can be made to the approved area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46897/10]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 14 May 2010.

This application was selected for a Ground Eligibility and Animal Identification Inspection. The inspection process is complete and the results have now been processed.

During the course of the Ground Eligibility inspection discrepancies were found with the following parcels G29626023 and G29637024. Inadequate deductions were made for scrub and swamp/bog was found in parcel G29828016. This resulted in the claimed area of 18.77ha being reduced to 11.69ha. As there is an over declaration of over 20% no payment will be made under the Single Payment Scheme/ Disadvantaged Area Scheme for the year in question.

A formal decision issued to the person named on 1 October 2010 that advised him of his right to seek a review of the decision within 21 days to the District Inspector and of his right to appeal the outcome of any such review to the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

John Deasy

Question:

282 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason for the delay in issuing payment of single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; if he will ensure that an advance payment is expedited to prevent any financial hardship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46899/10]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 17 May 2010. This application was selected for and was the subject of a Ground Eligibility and Full Cross Compliance Inspection. The inspection process is complete and the results are now being processed.

Under EU regulations governing the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the Single Payment Scheme all Ground Eligibility Inspections must be completed before any payment can issue to any applicant under either scheme, including those not selected for a Ground Eligibility Inspection.

In the vast majority of cases that were inspected amendments have had to be made to the maps in order that the Land Parcel Identification System that is used for making payments to farmers is kept up-to-date. Processing of these changes is continuing with priority being given to applications that were the subject of a Ground Eligibility Inspection.

Departmental Expenditure

Brian Hayes

Question:

283 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the amount of money, under each heading, spent by him on refreshments for meetings and functions, including sandwiches, teas and coffees, and bottled water, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; the name and the address of the company used to supply the refreshments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46907/10]

Due to the volume of the information requested by the Deputy, it was not possible to provide it in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Grant Payments

Phil Hogan

Question:

284 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when an application for the calf welfare scheme will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46926/10]

The person named had seven animals for consideration under the 2009 Suckler Welfare Scheme. While payment has already been made in respect of six of these, an error was identified in respect of the remaining animal, which has been notified to the person named. Immediately this matter is satisfactorily resolved, the further payment due will issue.

Phil Hogan

Question:

285 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46933/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 4 May 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Phil Hogan

Question:

286 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46936/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 6 May 2010. During the validation of the application, an over-claim was identified in respect of one land parcel. This matter has now been resolved following correspondence between the person named and my Department.

A number of parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation; immediately this process is complete, provided no errors are identified, the application will be further processed.

Phil Hogan

Question:

287 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46937/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 15 May 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly .

Phil Hogan

Question:

288 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46938/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 15 May 2010. The 50% advance payment, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Phil Hogan

Question:

289 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46941/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 17 May 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Denis Naughten

Question:

290 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) will receive a payment; the reason for the delay in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46946/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 10 May 2010. During the processing of the application a number of queries arose, in addition to the necessary re-digitising of a number of parcels. The initial queries were resolved and the re-digitising of parcels completed, thereby allowing payments to issue to the person named on 16 November and 1 December.

However, subsequently another query was highlighted, relating to the eligibility of a number of forestry parcels; this has recently been resolved and, provided no further errors are identified, the outstanding balancing payment due will issue shortly.

Animal Welfare Bodies

Tom Hayes

Question:

291 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the ex gratia payments to animal welfare groups will be paid now to ensure that shelters are not forced to close due to shortage of funds during the current cold snap; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46947/10]

My Department is currently finalising arrangements to provide ex gratia payments to a number of animal welfare bodies and the payments will issue shortly.

Grant Payments

Denis Naughten

Question:

292 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food further to Parliamentary Question No. 537 of 6 May 2009 the position regarding the recovery of funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46952/10]

Agreement was reached with the company in question for a full and final settlement of €10,000 of the original grant-aid amount of €65,280.

The settlement amount recovered reflected the fact that the equipment was in use for its intended purpose for a significant part of the four year period on restriction on change of use and was not disposed of during the four year period.

Animal Welfare

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

293 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide emergency funding to the various societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals nationwide or to local authorities to deal with the many starving, abandoned or neglected horses around the country who during the snowy period have virtually no access even to grazing sustenance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46975/10]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

294 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the urgently required animal protection and welfare legislation is ready for publication and if it places responsibility for equine welfare firmly with the Department as the current divided role between the Department and local authorities is not working to protect horses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46976/10]

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

295 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will provide emergency funding to local authorities for distribution to the prevention of cruelty to animals nationwide or to deal with the many starving, abandoned or neglected horses around the country who during the snowy period have virtually no access even to grazing sustenance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46977/10]

I propose to take Question Nos. 293 to 295, inclusive, together.

I am aware from ongoing communications between officials of my Department and representatives of Local Authorities and Animal Welfare Organisations that there is a continuing risk of abandonment of horses. Horses are usually found straying or abandoned on waste lands/public roads etc and Local Authorities have powers to deal with these issues under the Control of Horses Act 1996. This Act assigns to Local Authorities the primary role for dealing with such horses and it contains provisions on the seizure and detention of stray horses, the confiscation of horses which stray repeatedly and the disposal of seized horses.

In view of the pressure being placed on Local Authorities in dealing with an increasing number of abandoned horses, I have to date this year approved payments of almost €2 million to Local Authorities to assist them in their work under the Control of Horses Act. The issue is not one of funding but on how to bring greater efficiencies to the operation of the Act in dealing with, for example, horses that are found wandering and straying repeatedly. In this respect, officials of my Department are continuing to work with Local Authority representatives on a strategy to improve implementation of the Act throughout the Local Authority areas and will examine those Local Authority areas where the Control of Horses Act has been working particularly well with a view to extending some of the best practices to all areas.

Mindful too of the work carried out by welfare bodies in delivering animal welfare, in December 2009 my Department made ex-gratia payments totalling €1.185m to 112 animal welfare organisations to assist with their work during in 2010. My officials are in regular contact with representatives of welfare bodies, particularly through the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Council and they have asked those welfare organisations that have the capacity to deal with larger animals, such as horses, to consider placing greater resources in promoting horse welfare. In July last, in response to my Department's invitation to animal welfare bodies on provision of ex-gratia funding in 2010 a large number of applications were received. Processing of these applications is now being finalised and I expect shortly to be in a position to announce this year's funding to welfare organisations.

I would like to emphasise that, regardless of the amount of state funding being provided to assist with horse welfare, owners and keepers are ultimately responsible for protecting the welfare of animals in their care. The main legislation in the State governing cruelty to horses is the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 1965 which states that any person causing cruelty or unnecessary suffering to any animal shall be guilty of an offence. This legislation is enforced by the Garda Síochána.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department's statutory responsibility extends to the welfare and protection of farmed animals only i.e. animals normally bred or kept for the production of food or for use in or for the purpose of farming. However, the Government recently approved for drafting the Animal Health and Welfare Bill which gives effect to commitments in the Programmes for Government, including the updating of existing animal health and welfare legislation to ensure that the welfare of all animals, including non-farmed animals, is properly protected and penalties for offenders are increased significantly. The Bill provides for my Department to assume responsibility for policy and legislation relating both to the health and welfare of all animals, including non-farmed animals, but it is envisaged that, for practical reasons, operational responsibility will remain with local authorities, the Garda etc, where it is more efficiently discharged. An important provision of the Bill will provide for powers of intervention where an animal is deemed to be at risk. It is also proposed that there will be a specific duty of care on owners/keepers to ensure that the welfare and well-being of animals is adequately protected as well as addressing such issues as the prevention of unnecessary suffering of animals and abandonment of animals.

Grant Payments

Michael Creed

Question:

296 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive a single farm payment. [46984/10]

An application under 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 6 May 2010. The 75% advance payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 21 September and 18 October 2010 respectively, were on the basis of the land cleared at that stage, as a number of parcels declared required digitising.

Balancing payments under the scheme, would, in normal circumstances, be confined to those whose applications are fully processed, specifically, where all digitising is finalised. However, following recent consultation with the EU Commission, agreement was reached whereby, in addition to issuing balancing payments to those farmers whose applications are fully processed and whose maps are fully digitised, payments will also issue to those farmers where some or all of their maps are still to be digitised, with the payment being calculated on the basis of the digitised land confirmed otherwise eligible.

I am pleased to say that, because of this change, many farmers, including the person named, whose balancing payments would otherwise have been delayed until their digitising is complete, have now received an interim balancing payment; in the case of the person named, the interim balancing payment issued on 1 December. These farmers, including the person named, will receive the final instalment of their balancing payment when their maps are re-digitised and their applications are fully clear.

Departmental Appointments

Leo Varadkar

Question:

297 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all public appointments since 22 November 2010; in each case the remuneration in salary, expenses and any other forms of compensation associated with each such appointment; the length of tenure in each case; if it was a re-appointment or a new appointment and if he will detail the selection process undertaken in each instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46995/10]

The information sought by the Deputy is as follows:

Public Appointments since 22.11.2010

Salary

Expenses or other compensations

Length of tenure

Re-appointment or new appointment

Selection Process for this appointment

Mr Kieran Dunne

11,970

T&S as per Civil service rates

30 Nov 2010 – 29 Nov 2013

Re-appointment

Ministerial decision.

Prof Fergal O’Gara

11,970

T&S as per Civil service rates

2 Dec 2010 – 1 Dec 2013

Appointment

Nominated by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation under the Acts of An Bord Bia.

Leo Varadkar

Question:

298 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list all public appointments that he is due to make between 14 December 2010 and 28 February 2011. [47010/10]

The following list represents the vacancies due to arise during the period referred to by the Deputy for the State Bodies that come within the remit of my Department.

Body

Vacancies between 14 December 2010 to 28 February 2011

Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board (ALAB)

4

Bord Bia

1

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

1

Coillte Teoranta

1

Horse Racing Ireland

3

Marine Institute

1

Grant Payments

Dinny McGinley

Question:

299 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the balance of area aid based payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47045/10]

An application under the 2010 Disadvantaged Area Scheme was received from the person named on 14 April 2010. The 75% advance payment under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme, which issued on 21 September, was on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Dinny McGinley

Question:

300 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when the balance of single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal. [47046/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 14 April 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Tom Hayes

Question:

301 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47050/10]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 17 May 2010. This application was selected for and was the subject of a Ground Eligibility and Full Cross Compliance Inspection. The inspection process is complete and the results are now being processed. Under EU regulations governing the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the Single Payment Scheme all Ground Eligibility Inspections must be completed before any payment can issue to any applicant under either scheme, including those not selected for a Ground Eligibility Inspection.

In the vast majority of cases that were inspected amendments have had to be made to the maps in order that the Land Parcel Identification System that is used for making payments to farmers is kept up-to-date. Processing of these changes is continuing with priority being given to applications that were the subject of a Ground Eligibility Inspection.

Martin Ferris

Question:

302 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) will receive a single farm payment. [47055/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 17 May 2010. A payment under the Single Payment Scheme issued to the person named on 8 December in respect of the clear eligible area, however, some of the land parcels listed on the application required digitisation. This process is now complete and the balancing payment due will issue shortly.

John McGuinness

Question:

303 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if the balance of single farm payment will be paid in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [47083/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 4 May 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 18 October and the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

Willie Penrose

Question:

304 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the steps he will take to expedite single farm payment, disadvantaged area scheme and REP scheme payments due to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47091/10]

An application under 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 6 May 2010.The 75% advance payment under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme and the 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 21 September and 18 October 2010 respectively, were on the basis of the land cleared at that stage, as a number of parcels declared required digitising.

Balancing payments under the scheme, would, in normal circumstances, be confined to those whose applications are fully processed, specifically, where all digitising is finalised. However, following recent consultation with the EU Commission, agreement was reached whereby, in addition to issuing balancing payments to those farmers whose applications are fully processed and whose maps are fully digitised, payments will also issue to those farmers where some or all of their maps are still to be digitised, with the payment being calculated on the basis of the digitised land confirmed otherwise eligible.

I am pleased to say that, because of this change, many farmers, including the person named, whose balancing payments would otherwise have been delayed until their digitising is complete, have now received an interim balancing payment; in the case of the person named, the interim balancing payment issued on 1 December. These farmers, including the person named, will receive the final instalment of their balancing payment when their maps are re-digitised and their applications are fully clear. The REPS application of the person named will be processed further immediately as the necessary digitising is completed.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

305 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan will receive the balance of their area aid related payment and single farm payment as they have only received payment relevant to nine hectares out of 52 hectares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47202/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Area Scheme was received from the person named on 29 April 2010. The 50% advance payment under the Single Payment Scheme, which issued on 5 November, the further 30% payment under the same Scheme, which issued on 1 December, as well as the 75% advance payment under the Disadvantaged Area Scheme which issued on 21 September, were on the basis of those parcels cleared for payment at that stage, as a number of other land parcels listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation. This process is now complete and the application is being processed, with a view to the further payments due issuing shortly.

John O'Mahony

Question:

306 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their single farm payment and disadvantaged area aid payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47121/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme / Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 5 May 2010. Following digitising of a parcel declared, an over-claim was revealed, which has since been resolved following correspondence with the person named. Outstanding payments under both Schemes will issue shortly.

John O'Mahony

Question:

307 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their payment under the cow suckler scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47122/10]

The person named registered 14 animals under the 2009 Suckler Welfare Scheme. While one animal was deemed ineligible, as it was sold before weaning, and a second animal was born as a twin (each Suckler Cow is only paid on once in a scheme year, the twin being therefore not eligible), payment in respect of the remaining 12 animals issued to the person named last week. This represents full payment due to the person named.

Horse Racing Ireland

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

308 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the pay increases awarded to staff at Horse Racing Ireland in the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; the amounts of any increases and the reasons for same; if any pay increases have been awarded to management at the company; the amounts of any such increases and the reasons for same; if any bonuses have been awarded to staff or management at the company in those years; the total amount of any such bonuses and the amounts received by individuals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47140/10]

The policy in relation to determining and approving the remuneration of each Chief Executive of each state body under the auspices of my Department is that set out by Government and in Department of Finance guidelines.

The CEO of Horse Racing Ireland was awarded two pay increases of 2.5% in 2008, on 1 March and 1 September. These increases were in accordance with Government guidelines. The CEO subsequently took a voluntary pay reduction of just over 8% in 2010 to give a current salary of €175,200.

The CEO was awarded a bonus of €65,000 in respect of his performance in 2008 and a bonus of €57,000 in respect of his performance in 2009. To date, €43,911 of the 2008 award and €40,539 of the 2009 award has been paid.

Remuneration of other members of staff in Horse Racing Ireland is an operational matter that falls within the remit of the Board.

Departmental Schemes

Pat Breen

Question:

309 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if new applicants will be facilitated with the agri-environment options scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47155/10]

I intend, subject to the constraints of the expenditure ceilings set out in of the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014, to re-open AEOS in 2011 for up to 10,000 participants with a maximum payment level of €5,000. Entry into the scheme will be open to farmers who were participants in REPS in the past or to those who wish to participate in an agri-environment scheme for the first time.

Grant Payments

Phil Hogan

Question:

310 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47156/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on 22 April 2010. During the validation of the application, an over-claim was identified in respect of one land parcel as well as three parcels with forestry dual claims. These matters have now been resolved following correspondence between the person named and my Department. However, one further land parcel listed on the application of the person named required re-digitisation; immediately this process is complete, provided no errors are identified, the application will be further processed.

Phil Hogan

Question:

311 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47172/10]

An application under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme was received from the person named on 10 May 2010. Under EU Regulations, applicants, who afforest part of their holding from 2009 onwards and wish to benefit from the Single Payment, are required to retain at least 10% of the eligible hectares declared in 2008 (by the applicant or their predecessor) in an agricultural activity, subject to a minimum of 3 hectares. This requirement was clearly specified in the Scheme Terms and Conditions.

Under the 2010 Scheme, the person named declared 0.71 eligible hectares, the remaining lands declared comprising Forestry. Consequently, no 2010 Single Payment is payable to the person named.

Departmental Schemes

Pat Breen

Question:

312 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the reason a person (details supplied) did not qualify for their agri-environment option scheme in a special area of conservation from the time of application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47174/10]

The EU rules governing the AEOS and Natura Schemes require that comprehensive administrative and validation checks must be carried out on all applications before letters of approval may issue. Natura and Commonage appl