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 11, inclusive, answered orally.

Post-Leaving Certification Courses

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

12 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in budget 2011 to impose a €200 charge on students attending post leaving certificate colleges; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47675/10]

The Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme provides an integrated general education, vocational training and work experience programme for young people who have completed their Leaving Certificate and adults returning to education. Its purpose is to enhance their prospects of gaining employment or progressing to further or higher education.

I am aware that any reduction in funding or additional charges present a challenge to individual learners as well as schools and VECs. However, this €200 per annum charge is modest and in addition, it is proposed that the cost will be met by the Exchequer on behalf of those students who are eligible under the maintenance grant scheme for students attending PLC courses. Eligible 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. It is estimated that approximately 50% of PLC learners are so eligible, thereby ensuring that those who are less well off continue to get the necessary supports to enable them to access education and training.

In 2010, my Department is providing some €175 million in funding for the PLC programme, covering staff costs and non-pay costs, as well as student support. It is estimated that savings of €4 million will be generated from the proposed charge which is about 2% of the overall cost of the programme. These savings will allow my Department to maintain the overall number of approved PLC places at 31,688 for the coming 2011/2012 academic year. In 2009/2010, VECs and other providers enrolled over 38,600 learners which is a commendable achievement and one which I hope can be maintained for the current academic year.

It is also important that we do not view PLC provision in isolation from other programmes to provide for further education and training. It is estimated that over 170,000 learners are availing of part-time and full-time further education programmes, including PLC, in 2010. The 2011 provision for these programmes will be maintained at similar levels to 2010.

In addition to further education provision, in 2011, FÁS will provide approximately 100,000 training places. On top of that, the Government is introducing several new measures to strengthen the framework of labour market activation supports for the unemployed, including a skills development and internship programme and an expansion of the Work Placement Programme.

Departmental Expenditure

Simon Coveney

Question:

13 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the proportion of the capital budget which remains unspent for 2010; if she will list the schools that were due to avail of this funding for capital projects but have not been able to proceed; the cost and location of each project; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47615/10]

The total capital available to my Department in the current year amounts to just over €785m. At the end of November close to €645m of this sum had been expended. To date in December a further €105m has been spent and this leaves a balance of just €35m to be spent over the remainder of the month.

The substantial reduction in construction prices in recent times has meant that my Department is now achieving significantly better value for taxpayers' money. In this regard, contract prices are now running at up to 40% lower than prices that prevailed during the boom period. As a result savings that accrue to the school building programme are available for use on other priority demands within my Department's capital programme critically in the current year ICT infrastructure and the higher education sector.

There are further matters occurring within the construction sector generally that are having an impact on spending on schools infrastructure. These include difficulties and delays being experienced by contractors in securing a bond. Possession of a bond is a prerequisite to awarding a contract. Additionally, there are third party planning appeals to some projects that inevitably contribute to delays in completing design work and progressing these projects to tender.

These issues notwithstanding, the Deputy can be assured that there are large scale building projects for 151 first and second level schools listed on my Department's website as progressing to construction, on site or completed in 2010. I will forward to the Deputy up to date details in respect of each of these projects. While all of these projects have been and will continue to be progressed through tender and construction the issues which I have outlined above result in previously anticipated spending targets not materialising in the current 2010. However these savings arising on the schools programme are available for expending on other priority capital areas of my Department. In this regard, I have been able to approve additional funding for ICT equipment in schools in the current year with funding also being channelled to our country's universities and institutes of technology to enable them to continue to accommodate an expanding student cohort.

At the Education Committee two weeks ago, I also referred to over 200 devolved grants to the value of €30m that have been approved for schools, but where over six months later, the school authority has not made any claim to draw down the funding. I will also forward to the Deputy the list of the schools and projects involved.

School Transport

Martin Ferris

Question:

14 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in budget 2011 to impose a €50 school transport charge on primary school children and increase the fee for secondary school children by €50 to €350; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47671/10]

The 2011 estimate for school transport services is €180 million compared to an allocation for 2010 of €186 million. Under the four year national recovery plan €4.5 million in savings will need to be secured in 2011, rising to €17 million in 2014, through a combination of increases in charges and the implementation of measures identified in the value for money review of the school transport scheme.

The primary charge is being introduced to ensure that school transport provided for eligible primary pupils is fully utilised. Given that the cost per child per annum of this service is approximately €1,020 per year, it is essential to ensure that the seats provided on buses daily are utilised to the maximum extent. Survey work undertaken over two surveys on selected primary and post primary routes in the context of the Value for Money Review showed that the average seat occupancy is 69% on the morning service and 64% on the evening service and at post primary it is 80% for the morning service and 74% for the evening service. With the termination of the 3 for 2 seating policy and the introduction of a separate seat for every child in 2006, if all pupils holding tickets were travelling on the bus daily these reserved seats on buses would not be empty. As a consequence of the policy of reserving a seat for each individual child, the surveys conducted showed that buses are now running with empty reserved seats.

In relation to the increase of €50 per annum for individual post primary pupils, while I recognise that difficult choices had to be made as part of the estimates process, it should be borne in mind that there was no increase in this charge in the current school year.

Research in the context of the value for money review showed that the annual cost per child of providing school transport is approximately €958. This new charge still only represents just over a third of the cost to the exchequer of providing this service for eligible post primary pupils.

It should be borne in mind that a significant number of eligible pupils holding medical cards are, and will continue to be, exempted from paying the charge. The latest data show that this represents 42% of all post primary pupils travelling, and using this percentage as a guide in respect of eligible primary pupils, it is estimated that based on current take up a total of 64,000 eligible pupils will be liable to pay charges in the 2011/2012 school year. Approximately 8,000 pupils with special educational needs will also continue to be transported free of charge.

Finally, I would point out to the Deputy that the maximum family charge to be levied at primary level for eligible pupils will be €110 while the overall combined maximum charge per family is not being increased from the current rate of €650. Parents will continue to be given the option of spreading the annual amount payable over two instalments in July and December.

Changes since 1998 in school transport changes are summarised in the table below:

Table showing School Transport Charges

Category of pupil

Rates effective from September, 1998

3rd term 2007/08 school year (term charge)

1st term 2008/09 school year (term charge)

Annual charge 2009/10 and 2010/2011 school year

Annual charge 2011/2012 school year

% increase Over 2010/2011

Post primary Eligible pupil

€33

€46l

€56

€300 – annual

€350 – annual

16.6%

€99 – annual

€138 – annual

€168 – annual

Eligible Senior Cycle pupil

€51

€71

€78

€300 – annual

€350 – annual

16.6%

€153 – annual

€213 – annual

€234 – annual

Eligible primary pupil

€50

Concessionary primary pupil

€26

€36

€40

€200 – annual

€200 – annual

Nil

€78 – annual

€108 – annual

€120 – annual

Concessionary post-primary pupil

€51

€71

€78

€300 – annual

€350 – annual

16.6%

€153 – annual

€213 – annual

€234 – annual

Maximum overall family contribution

€107

€150

€165

€650 – annual

€650 annual

Nil

€321 – annual

€450 – annual

€495 – annual

Maximum family contribution (Primary)

€110

Nil

Table showing amounts collected in charges in 2007, 2008 and 2009

2007

Expressed as a % of overall outturn for 2007

2008

Expressed as a % of overall outturn for 2008

2009 (Provisional)

Expressed as a % of overall outturn for 2009

Receipts

€6.626 million

4%

€8.751 million

4.7%

€11.6m

6.5%

Coibhneas Idir Daltaí agus Múinteoirí

Ulick Burke

Question:

15 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Ulick Burke den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an bhfuil athrú déanta aici ar an choibhneas idir daltaí agus múinteoirí (sonraí tugtha) i nGaelscoileanna; cén uair a rinneadh an t-athrú agus an dtuigeann sí an drochthoradh a bheidh ar obair na nGaelscoileanna dá bharr. [47376/10]

Tá caighdeánú an sceideal foirnithe do Ghaelscoileanna, i dtreo is go mbeidh sé mar an gcéanna leis sin atá i mbunscoileanna i gcoitinne, i measc líon beart buiséadacha atá ceaptha chun líon na múinteoirí a laghdú. Beidh feidhm ag na hathruithe seo ó Mheán Fómhair 2011 ar aghaidh.

As an athrú seo tiocfaidh laghdú de tuairim 50 post i nGaelscoileanna. Tá iomlán de bhreis is 1,500 post múinteoireachta insna scoileanna seo.

Cinnfear an méid tionchair a bheidh aige seo ag leibhéal na scoileanna aonair mar chuid den ghnáthphróiseas leithdháilte don scoilbhliain 2011/12 agus tabharfar fógra do scoileanna sa ghnáthshlí.

Buiséad is ea Buiséad 2011 a aithníonn chomh tábhachtach is atá an earnáil oideachais agus scileanna d'ionchais na hÉireann amach anseo. Bíodh is go mb'éigean roghanna deacra a dhéanamh chun coigiltí a shainaithint laistigh de shainchúram mo Roinne — ar a n-áirítear na hathruithe foirnithe do Ghaelscoileanna — tá an Rialtas tar éis a sheacht ndícheall a dhéanamh chun seirbhísí túslíne oideachais a chosaint i 2011. Táimid ar bhealach chuig pointe ag a mbeidh ár gcaiteachas iomlán poiblí tagtha ar ais chun comhchuibhis leis an méid is acmhainn dúinn mar thír agus tá sé de dhualgas ar gach réimse den Rialtas, Gaelscoileanna san áireamh, feidhmiú a fheabhas is féidir leo ar leibhéal laghdaithe acmhainní.

School Accommodation

David Stanton

Question:

16 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress she has made in providing additional second level school places in Midleton, Carrigtwohill and the east Cork area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47377/10]

The Forward Planning Section of my Department is in the process of analysing all areas in the country in order to determine the level of additional provision which will be required at both primary and post primary level up to 2017. Overall post-primary requirements in the Midleton, Carrigtwohill and the East Cork area will be fully considered in this context.

It is expected that initially any additional places would be provided by extensions to the existing schools. In this context, I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has, in the last two years, approved capital funding to provide additional accommodation in CBS Midleton, Midleton College and St Aloysius College to provide for the schools' immediate accommodation needs.

The progression of all large scale building projects arising from Forward Planning Section's analysis will be considered in the context of my Department's School Building and Modernisation Programme.

Departmental Expenditure

Arthur Morgan

Question:

17 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the cuts to the capital budget for education which will see a 9% cut for primary schools and a 20% cut for post-primary schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47677/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, the capital allocation for my Department for 2011 is €491m. This level of provision, at a time of budgetary constraint, reflects the Government's commitment to ensuring that urgently needed capital projects will receive priority.

Current market conditions mean that my Department will continue to achieve excellent value for money in relation to construction costs and land prices. This will allow my Department to carry out a major programme of capital works in 2011 and beyond in order to meet the demands for additional school accommodation arising due to recent demographic trends and demand for continued upgrading of the existing stock of buildings in the education sector.

Special Educational Needs

Damien English

Question:

18 Deputy Damien English asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if the review of special needs assistants by the National Council for Special Education has been completed; the total reduction in the number of special needs assistants at primary and second level since this review began; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47634/10]

As the review of special needs assistants is being conducted by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), I have arranged for your request for information to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Literacy-Numeracy Levels

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

19 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the measures she is taking to address the findings of the recent Programme for International Student Assessment, published by the OECD on 7 December 2010; her views on Ireland’s 12 place drop in reading literacy rankings in particular; the measures she is taking to put Irish education back into the top ten rankings for reading, science and maths; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47667/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

130 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her views on the recent OECD findings in its PISA study that Irish 15 year olds have fallen from fifth to 17th place in terms of literacy and 16th to 26th place in terms of numeracy; the reasons for these declines and her plans to reverse them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48037/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 19 and 130 together.

The results of the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment 2009 were published last week. The test results of Irish students were mixed. They scored above the OECD average in Science, at the OECD average in reading and below the OECD average in Mathematics.

Comparisons take place against the last year the subject area was the major focus of the PISA survey. Ireland's ranking rose from 20th to 18th in Science between 2006 and 2009 but it fell from 5th to 17th in Reading between 2000 and 2009 and from 20th to 26th in Mathematics between 2003 and 2009.

While I welcome the results Irish students achieved in the PISA tests for science, I am disappointed with the results in reading and maths.

The extent of the falls in the reading scores of Irish students are surprising as Irish students scored well above average in reading in all previous rounds of PISA. The National Assessments of Mathematics and English Reading also show stable literacy and numeracy levels among Irish primary students and standards have remained constant in the State Examinations taken by all students at post-primary level. Irish students also obtained a high literacy-related score in the International Civic and Citizenship Education (ICCS) study, ranking 7th out of 36 participating countries in 2009.

My Department has had detailed studies of the Irish data for PISA completed by the Educational Research Centre and by an independent team of experts from Statistics Canada. Both teams of experts have concluded that some, but not all, of the lower scores in reading and maths are explained by changes in the demographics of the group of 15-year-olds taking the test. Greater numbers of students whose first language is not Irish or English are now in our classrooms, as are greater numbers of students with special educational needs. We are being more successful in keeping our children in education longer but this means that there are weaker-performing students taking the PISA test that might not have remained in school in former years.

Both the experts from Statistics Canada and the ERC have advised that "it is likely that issues about the construction of achievement scores and establishing links (trends) across cycles of PISA contributed to the low scores of students in Ireland in reading and mathematics" and that the techniques used by PISA "have overestimated the size of the decline [in achievement]." The OECD also notes that the "performance changes are associated with a fairly large standard error."

Few educational systems have ever experienced actual changes in educational standards of the size reported for Ireland over the period of time covered by PISA. While Statistics Canada and the ERC have pointed out that Irish students' test scores have been declining in reading and maths, they have also have cautioned against placing undue importance on the single set of PISA 2009 scores. They believe that it is not possible to say whether the decline in the 2009 PISA tests indicates an actual decline in standards in Ireland.

Irrespective of whether or not the decline in the scores on the PISA test represent a real decline in standards, I am very concerned that Irish students did not achieve high scores on the PISA tests. It would also be unwise to ignore the possibility that the results may reflect some decline in standards in Irish schools. I believe that our focus should be on taking the actions needed to ensure that Ireland's students are among the high-performing countries in reading, maths and science. I believe that there is a need to improve Ireland's overall standards in literacy and numeracy and that is why the Government is taking a proactive approach to improving literacy and numeracy standards.

We have been concerned about our standards in maths for some time. A major reform programme "Project Maths" is underway and was rolled out to all second-level schools in September 2010. The Project involves a major curriculum revision, a different approach in the examinations papers and a nationwide programme of teacher education for existing mathematics teachers. Project Maths encourages more students to take mathematics at the higher level in the State examinations and aims to improve standards in mathematics generally. In addition, bonus points are being introduced for entry to higher education to encourage more students to study Leaving Certificate Higher Level Mathematics.

In November 2010, I launched "Better Literacy and Numeracy for Young People: A draft national plan to improve literacy and numeracy in schools." This sets out a range of significant measures to improve literacy and numeracy in early childhood education, primary and post-primary schools. It will involve major reforms to teacher education, the school curriculum, a whole-school focus on strategies to improve literacy and numeracy, curricular changes and a radical improvement in the assessment and reporting of progress at student, school and national level. I am confident that focussed attention on literacy and numeracy along the lines proposed in the Plan will improve the standards of Irish students over time and their performance relative to their international peers. In relation to Science, as the deputy will be aware, the government wide Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2006 to 2013 sets out a range of measures to further strengthen science teaching and learning, and to increase the uptake of senior cycle Physics and Chemistry, with the target of increasing participation in Leaving Certificate Physics and Chemistry to 20%. Measures include ensuring that the project based hands-on investigative approach now in place at junior cycle is extended to senior cycle, that the appropriate type of assessment is used and that there is an emphasis on the inter-disciplinary nature of science in society. The comprehensive set of measures provided for in the SSTI will build on the improvements made in recent years and ensure even greater support for science education.

Higher Education Grants

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

20 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her views on the number of mature students who are being denied higher education authority grants because the documentary proofs required in relation to independent living may not be available in all cases; if she will arrange to have such cases independently reviewed by an appropriate appeals procedure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47408/10]

For student grants purposes, students are categorised according to their circumstances either as students dependent on parents or a legal guardian, or as independent mature students. An independent mature student is defined as a mature student who was not ordinarily resident with his or her parents or legal guardian from the October preceding entry to an approved course.

When assessing the means of students other than independent mature students, the schemes specify that parental income or legal guardian's income must be taken into account. Independent mature students, on the other hand, are assessed without reference to their parents' income or that of a legal guardian. The reckonable income of an independent mature student is that of the candidate only and of his or her spouse where appropriate.

In order to establish a candidate's status as an independent mature student, documentary evidence is required as proof of a candidate's address from 1st October of the year preceding entry into college. In considering whether a mature student meets the conditions to be assessed independently of his or her parents, awarding authorities are obliged to satisfy themselves beyond doubt that an acceptable degree of proof of independent living in the relevant period has been submitted by the grant applicant.

The documentary evidence normally required includes utility bills, such as telephone, gas or electricity bill, evidence of registration with the Private Residential Tenancies Board or official documentation received at the address, for example, from a Government Department.

In exceptional circumstances, where it is not possible to produce such proofs of residence in the relevant period for demonstrable reasons, the awarding authority may, at its discretion, agree to accept other documentary evidence that provides an acceptable degree of proof of independent living in the relevant period. For example, while an affidavit, if accompanied by other supporting documentation, may be considered as evidence of independent living, an affidavit in isolation is not considered acceptable as sole proof of residency.

My Department has reviewed the requirements for establishing independent residency and is satisfied that the current practice in this regard is both reasonable and appropriate.

Departmental Expenditure

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

21 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the details of the pay savings and administrative efficiencies to lead to savings of €64 million in 2011 and €160 million in a full year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47409/10]

The following is a breakdown of pay savings and other administrative efficiencies which will amount to €64 million in savings in 2011, as recently announced in the context of the Budget:

Savings in the region of €24 million will be achieved by reducing teacher numbers through a combination of measures. These measures will lead to a deferral of 150 extra posts and to a reduction of up to approximately 1,200 posts from September 2011 (approximately 700 primary and 500 post-primary posts) which, however, will be partly offset by the addition of an estimated 875 new posts due to demographics.

The measures to reduce teacher posts include:

Deferral of the provision of 150 extra teachers originally planned to be allocated at primary and post-primary level in September 2011;

Changing the existing favourable pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) to the standard PTR for the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP).

Standardising the staffing schedule for Gaelscoileanna to the same that operates for other ordinary national schools.

Withdrawal of Resource Teachers for Travellers posts at primary level so that educational teaching supports to Traveller students will now be provided on the same basis as other students in schools. Alleviation measures will be put in place for schools with a high concentration of Traveller children. At post-primary level teaching hours for Travellers will be withdrawn, again with alleviation measures for schools with high concentrations of Traveller children.

A phased reduction of 500 over four years in the number of Language Support Teachers, through a demand driven reduction and, if necessary, a change in allocation rules over the period of the plan.

The redeployment of some 170 existing supernumerary posts in post-primary schools from September 2011;

The removal of 47 primary rural co-ordinator teaching posts currently allocated to DEIS rural primary schools. All of these schools, however, will continue to receive other DEIS supports including financial support, professional development supports, school meals and school books supports;

The withdrawal from September 2011 of 42 Visiting Teachers for Travellers posts, currently assigned to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB). The School Support services, including the School Completion Programme and the Home School Liaison Service under the NEWB, will be adapted to undertake work with Travellers in the future.

€10 million in savings will be secured from rule changes and efficiencies in relation to supervision and substitution arrangements in schools. This will include implementation of the flexibility measures provided for under the Croke Park Agreement whereby post-primary teachers will be available for an extra class period each week to cover for absent colleagues. There will also be a general tightening of the rules covering substitution. In addition, €1 million will be saved in 2011 through the impact of a 10% reduction in salary scales for new entrants to the public service, with all new entrants starting on the minimum point of the new scale. €16 million will be achieved through further reductions in public service numbers on the Education and Skills Vote, including in the Civil Service and the Non-Commercial State Agencies under the aegis of the Department.

€13 million in savings will be achieved through a range of non-pay administrative savings across the Civil Service and Non-Commercial State Agencies.

It is estimated that the above measures will achieve savings in the region of €160m in 2014.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

22 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which she proposes through the school building programme to accommodate a lower pupil-teacher ratio in the classroom; if she will ensure that all schools in respect of which she has received requests from the school authorities for such accommodation will be favourably considered given both the need to meet the accommodation requirements and the economic needs at this particular time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47380/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

48 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which she proposes, through the school building programme, to accommodate a lower pupil-teacher ratio in the classroom; if she will ensure that all schools in respect of which she has received requests from the school authorities for such accommodation in County Kildare will be favourably considered given both the need to meet the accommodation requirements and the economic needs at this particular time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47110/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 48 together.

Any school experiencing an immediate deficit in accommodation, for whatever reason, may apply for capital funding to my Department for additional accommodation. The assessment process will, inter alia, take account of existing accommodation in the school.

The standard area of classrooms at primary and post primary levels have remained the same for classrooms constructed in recent years. This allows plenty of space for the range of activities carried out under the modern school curriculum.

These class areas applied before the pupil teacher ratio was reduced and they served the needs of schools in terms of delivering the curriculum. Therefore, it is not my intention to revise them in light of adjustments in the pupil teacher ratio introduced in recent years.

FÁS Training Programmes

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

23 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has received a detailed proposal for the reform and restructuring of FÁS by the board of that organisation; the contents of that proposal; when she expects to make a decision regarding the restructuring of FÁS; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47393/10]

The Board of FÁS recently submitted its proposal for a new training agency. This takes into account the transfer of certain responsibilities from this Department to the Department of Social Protection. The proposal includes:

The provision of short to medium training courses ranging from level 3 to 6 on the NFQ delivered through a variety of methods including e learning;

The delivery of training through specific industry-related career cluster frameworks related by skills or products such as ICT, sales or marketing;

The same access to training programmes for persons with disabilities as other individuals except those who require higher levels of support including the assistance of Specialist Training Providers;

I met with the Board of FÁS last month to discuss its proposal. The proposal is currently being reviewed in my Department in the context of the National Skills Strategy with a view to ensuring optimum synergy with other actors in the further education and training area. Work on this process will continue in tandem with the integration of the employment programmes and employment services into the Department of Social Protection. I intend to announce final detail of the newly-focussed skills and training provider next year.

School Curriculum

Jack Wall

Question:

24 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the programmes she has in place to educate schools in relation to the effects of drugs; if these programmes involve students’ parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46047/10]

Social Personal and Health Education forms a mandatory part of the curriculum in primary schools and in junior cycle. The overall aim is to help develop students' self confidence and self-esteem, and promote the skills for living, for responsible decision making and for mental, physical and emotional well-being. Substance use education is included at primary level as part of the "safety and protection" and "taking care of my body" strand units, and is a specific module in the curriculum at post primary level.

It is set out in the Primary SPHE Curriculum for schools that an SPHE programme is most effective when it is based on consistency of approach and where the responsibility is shared by parents, teachers, children, Board of Management, health professionals and relevant members of the community. Close consultation with the partners, including parents, is seen as an essential element in the planning process and in regular reviews of the programme. This partnership approach helps to ensure that children are provided with a consistent experience in SPHE and are able to make connections between life at home, in the school and in the community. A similar approach is advocated in the Post-Primary SPHE Curriculum, advising that schools need well-structured continuing links with the lives of the students outside of schools, and that these links can provide parents with strategies for supporting the work of the school in its SPHE programme as well as helping teachers to prioritise particular SPHE modules.

The implementation of these programmes in schools is supported by the Professional Development Service for Teachers which provides training, advice and support to schools. The second level support service is operated jointly with the Health Sector. A range of resources is available to support the programmes. These include the Walk Tall Programme at primary level, On My Own Two Feet at post-primary level, the Teacher Guidelines for SPHE developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, a Substance Misuse Prevention Information Booklet for schools and parents, Guidelines for Developing a School Substance Use Policy, including a policy template, and links and references to relevant websites.

The guidelines provided to schools require that a committee is established representing the school board of management, principal, staff, students, and parents to develop a school's draft substance abuse policy, and that the draft policy is circulated as widely as possible for feedback, including to parents, before being finalised. A sample policy is also included on my Department's website which urges that schools organise information sessions for parents on the issue of substance abuse. Many schools organise such sessions on a regular basis.

There is scope for schools to offer alcohol and substance misuse programmes within the Transition Year programme. In addition to the above, the Department has, since 2001, provided funding for a large number of mainstreamed projects in local drugs task force areas. These projects, through a variety of programmes and activities, seek to encourage young people not to engage in drug-taking.

Most of these projects are administered by three VECs — Dublin City, Dublin County and Dún Laoghaire — while a small number are funded directly by the Department. With effect from January 2011, 21 of these projects will, by agreement and with a transfer of DES funding, become the responsibility of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA). These projects mainly provide for the employment of Youth Workers and Project Leaders and so will complement other youth projects funded by the OMCYA. Many projects currently receive allocations under a number of OMCYA funding streams, accordingly the transfer should enhance the services provided and minimise duplication of provision. DES will continue to administer the remaining projects.

Eighteen VECs also administer over 70 interim funded projects in drug task force areas around the country which are funded by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Outside of education settings, there is also a wide range of awareness-raising and prevention programmes in place to combat drug and alcohol misuse which are primarily the responsibility of, and are funded through, the Health Service Executive. The HSE provides information on drug and alcohol abuse for students and parents through the website www.drugs.ie.

Vocational Education Committees

Willie Penrose

Question:

25 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed amalgamation of vocational education committees from 33 to 16; if the draft heads of the required legislation have been prepared; if she will publish the legislation ahead of the forthcoming general election; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47391/10]

The Government has decided to reduce the number of VECs from 33 to 16 in order to deal with issues of scale and having regard to the current and prospective requirements of the education sector and has decided on the merger of particular city and or county VECs.

Consultations with the stakeholders, within the context of the Croke Park agreement, are underway in relation to the implementation of this Government decision. In addition, many of the detailed aspects of the restructuring will fall to be considered and worked through by my Department in conjunction with the VECs involved in any one merger before decisions are taken.

These changes will also require amendments to existing legislation and/or new legislative provisions. My Department has commenced work on the preparation of legislation with a view to bringing it forward during 2011.

It is anticipated that the project will have a timeframe for implementation of approximately 18 months.

Educational Disadvantage

Denis Naughten

Question:

26 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she is taking to support disadvantaged children in the classroom; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47406/10]

The majority of schools include among their pupils, children with disadvantaged backgrounds. In general most schools address the individual needs of these children without recourse to supplementary targeted resources.

Evidence has shown that disadvantage associated with poverty and social exclusion assumes a multiplier effect where the levels are highly concentrated in schools.

DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the action plan for educational inclusion, provides for a standardised system for identifying levels of disadvantage and an integrated School Support Programme (SSP). As a result of the identification and review processes, 876 schools have been included in the School Support Programme (SSP) under DEIS. These comprise 676 primary schools (urban and rural) and 200 second-level schools.

DEIS provides various supports for both primary and post primary schools. These include:

reduced pupil teacher ratio in primary schools in urban areas with most disadvantage;

allocation of administrative principal on lower figures than generally apply in primary schools in urban areas;

additional capitation funding based on level of disadvantage;

additional funding for schools books;

access to the School Meals Programme

access to numeracy/literacy supports and measures at primary level;

access to Home School Community Liaison services;

access to the School Completion Programme;

enhanced guidance counselling provision at post primary level;

access to planning supports;

provision for school library and librarian support in post primary schools with most disadvantage;

access to the Junior Certificate School Programme and Leaving Certificate Applied;

access to a range of professional development supports.

In the context of The National Recovery Plan, while it is expected that the majority of schools will be affected by the range of adjustments in ancilliary grants as well as in specific post allocations, supports that are provided directly to schools under the DEIS programme will remain largely unaffected, with the exception of the some 330 rural primary schools which will be affected by the withdrawal of the Rural Coordinator Scheme, which will be discontinued from September 2011.

My Department's main focus has been to retain, where possible, key resources in the schools targeted under the DEIS initiative and this is in line with the broad thrust of the recommendations of the Comptroller and Auditor General in his report on Primary Disadvantage in 2006.

An evaluation of DEIS has been undertaken by the Educational Research Centre on behalf of my Department and a report of this evaluation is expected shortly. The outcomes of the ERC evaluation will inform any future changes to the current programme.

Employment Support Services

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

27 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the further education, training and activation measures catered for by budget 2011; her strategy for providing such measures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47681/10]

The Government is committed to ensuring that an appropriate mix of training, work experience and educational responses are in place to support the unemployed and to enhance their employability. The training, work experience and education measures that are being implemented in 2011 are designed to help those who are unemployed gain valuable work experience, maintain close linkages with the labour market, improve their skills and education levels and ultimately to improve their career prospects.

The provision of training places for the unemployed for 2011 is currently being discussed between officials from my Department and the relevant providers. However, I expect that my Department will provide approximately 100,000 training places for the unemployed next year.

The number of places on the Work Placement Programme will be increased from the current 2,000 places to 7,500 places. This programme provides unemployed individuals with valuable work experience for up to 9 months which will considerably improve their chances of securing employment in the future. 5,000 of the additional places being delivered will be in the public sector. The remaining 500 additional places are for graduates in the private sector.

FÁS is being provided with a budget of €7.3m with the objective of providing on-the-job training for up to 1,000 apprentices in the public and private sectors. This is a proactive approach to ensure as many apprentices as possible are progressed through the relevant on-the-job phases of their apprenticeship and attain their necessary qualifications. FÁS intends to more than double the number of apprentices who can be placed and trained next year with provision for up to 1,000 places being made in the budgetary allocation. A number of other labour market activation measures will be introduced by FÁS in conjunction with the higher educational sector in 2011 to assist up to 700 redundant apprentices and craftsperson.

A new Skills Development and Internship Programme for the Unemployed will be introduced next year. This programme aims to enable the unemployed maintain their links with the labour market while also facilitating their upskilling and reskilling, thereby improving their employability. As part of the programme participants will undertake a 12 month placement in a private sector and will also receive a substantial education and training offering. It is expected that the programme will commence by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

My Department is committed to the provision of upskilling opportunities and has maintained the level of funding invested in Adult and Further Education despite the budgetary challenges faced. The level of overall expenditure on Further Education has grown from over €177 million in 2000 to almost €426 million in 2010. The 2010 level of provision will be maintained for 2011.

It is estimated that over 170,000 learners will avail of part-time and full-time further education programmes ranging from FETAC Level 1 to 6 this year through the network of VECs nationwide. Over 40,000 full time places are available in Youthreach, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Senior Traveller Training Centre (STTC), and Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programmes. An estimated 125,000 learners will avail of part time provision in Adult Literacy, Community Education and Back to Education Initiative (BTEI).

In the Higher Education sector approximately 156,000 places will be available. In addition, next year's provision for the unemployed includes a new €20 million Higher Education Labour Market Fund. The higher education sector has a key role to play in helping people who have lost their jobs to enhance their qualifications and related workforce skills. The aim of this Fund is to increase the number of part time and flexible up skilling opportunities available in the higher education sector so that people can continue to look for work and be available to take up employment while upgrading their qualifications and skills.

The suite of programmes that my Department will provide represents a significant diverse range of provision that is available for the unemployed in 2011.

Capitation Grants

Martin Ferris

Question:

28 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 to cut school capitation grants by 5%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47674/10]

Budget 2011 recognises the critical role of the education and skills sector to Ireland's future prospects. While difficult choices have had to be made to identify savings across my Department's remit, the Government has gone as far as it can to protect front-line education services in 2011.

€22 million in savings will be secured in 2011 though an average 5% reduction in funding grants to schools and Vocational Educational Committees. This reduction to capitation and ancillary grants for schools will reduce capitation rates, in most cases, to those that applied to schools between 2007 and 2008, with the exception of primary capitation, where the new rate will be between the 2008 and the current rate.

The reduced rates to ancillary and support services grants will reflect the reduction in pay that will apply, with effect from January 2011, to personnel who are paid from these grants, and who have not yet had the reduction applied to them, e.g. school cleaners and caretakers.

As agreed in the Renewed Programme for Government, schools will continue to receive an additional per capita payment to enable them to provide funding for books. In 2010, a total of €14.6 million issued, €7.8 million at primary and €6.8 million at post-primary. In addition, post-primary schools will continue to receive funding for Junior Certificate Schools Programme, Transition Year, Leaving Certificate Applied, Leaving Certificate Vocational and Physics and Chemistry. Total funding in 2010 amounted to €4.2 million. Details of the revised rates for each grant category will be issued to schools and VECs shortly.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

Pearse Doherty

Question:

29 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the Budget 2011 decision to reduce the vocational training opportunities scheme training allowance from €31.80 to €20.00 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47670/10]

The training allowance referred to by the Deputy is a training bonus payment made to Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Youthreach and Senior Traveller Training Centre (STTC) participants and FÁS trainees who have been in receipt of their relevant social welfare payment for at least 12 months directly before joining the VTOS, Youthreach, STTC or FAS course. This bonus is paid in addition to the weekly training allowance which is paid to participants in lieu of their social welfare payment.

Participants in these programmes are also eligible for a range of meal and travel allowances as well as for childcare support under the Childcare in Education and Training Scheme (CETS).

The decision to reduce the weekly training bonus payment from €31.80 to €20.00 was taken as part of Budget 2011.

College Registration Fees

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

30 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 to increase the student registration fee to €2,000; her views on whether this fee will adversely affect persons’ ability to attend third level courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47673/10]

As announced in the budget, a new flat Higher Education Student Contribution of €2,000 will be introduced with effect from the 2011/2012 academic year. This new student contribution will replace the existing Student Services Charge and will apply to all students who currently benefit under the free fees scheme. The Government was particularly conscious of the financial pressures that this charge may place on families where family income is marginally in excess of current eligibility levels for maintenance grant support and on families with more than one sibling in higher education at the same time. With this in mind, the current higher education grants schemes threshold will be increased to provide for an additional eligibility category of support qualifying for 50% Student Contribution. In addition, arrangements will be made 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 charge.

It is also important to remember that the contribution will be paid by the Exchequer in respect of students who qualify under the third level grant schemes. These students, who account for some 43% of all undergraduates, will not be impacted by any increase in charges.

Higher education institutions will also be asked to put in place arrangements under which a student may opt to pay the charge in two equal instalments of 50% in September and 50% in January in a given academic year.

Participation growth in Irish higher education has been significant over the past three decades, with the number of new entrants almost trebling in that period. The expansion of higher education opportunities continues to be an important policy priority for government. In the last three years higher education institutions have sought to respond to the increases in demand from school leavers and adults returning to education, including unemployed people, by increasing the number of full time places they offer and also by expanding part time and other flexible types of provision.

It should also be recognised that for students affordability is just one of a number of factors that impact on participation rates in higher education. There are a range of wider factors that also impact on participation, including social and cultural issues, prior academic attainment and teacher and parental expectations.

The Government is committed to ensuring that opportunities to engage in higher education continue to be made available to potential learners and that access to higher education will continue to be determined by a student's ability and not their financial circumstances.

School Accommodation

David Stanton

Question:

31 Deputy David Stanton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide funding for the construction of permanent accommodation for a primary school in Midleton (details supplied) under the school building and modernisation programme 2011; the further consideration she has given to the school’s proposal on the way the accommodation could be financed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47378/10]

My Department is in receipt of a major capital application for an extension from the school to which the Deputy refers. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 2.2 rating.

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

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, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase 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.

The Department has recently received an application from the school for a devolved grant for the replacement of temporary accommodation with a permanent structure. The application is under consideration and a decision on the matter will issue to the school authority in due course.

Higher Education Grants

Arthur Morgan

Question:

32 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 to cut the student maintenance grant by 4%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47676/10]

As announced in the Budget, a reduction of 4% is being applied to the rates of student grants. This reduction is being implemented in respect of all existing and new grant-holders from January 2011. This reduction is in line with reductions in other income maintenance payments including those for the unemployed.

The reductions in the rates of student grants were necessary to ensure that the system is not extended beyond what current resources will allow in a climate of overall pressures on public finances.

Students who qualify for student grants will continue to receive substantial grant funding, together with full support for payment of the student service charge. Those on particularly low incomes will also continue to receive a "top-up" in the special rate of grant.

In addition, some €5m will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. The access offices themselves will also continue to provide support and advice to students to enable them to continue with their studies.

Employment Support Services

Willie Penrose

Question:

33 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she is taking to assist persons under 25 years who are on the live register to find employment or to access retraining; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45547/10]

Last year, in order to minimise the drift into long-term unemployment, the Government through the Cabinet Committee on Economic Renewal, decided to prioritise four cohorts of the unemployed for support and assistance. The four cohorts are; the low skilled; those under 35 years of age; those on the Live Register for longer than 1 year and those suffering from structural unemployment in the manufacturing, construction and retail sectors.

The provision of training places for the unemployed for 2011 is currently being discussed between officials from my Department and the relevant providers. However, I expect that my Department will provide approximately 100,000 training places for the unemployed next year. In addition, my Department is also investing significantly in the Further and Higher Education sectors. In 2011 it is expected that 170,000 full time and part time Further Education places and 156,000 full time Higher Education places will be provided. The bulk of this provision is open to persons under 25 years of age when they meet the relevant criteria.

Included in this provision and of particular relevance to young people would be the following programmes.

The €32 million Labour Market Activation Fund, which will provide approximately 12,000 activation places for the unemployed. Almost sixty organisations were successful in the Labour Market Activation's Fund's tendering process. As part of their proposals, organisations had to demonstrate how they would improve the employability and enhance the skills of unemployed persons from the priority cohorts, including those under 35 years of age.

The Work Placement Programme was launched last year with a view to providing unpaid work experience for the unemployed in a real work environment. This Programme provides work experience placements for periods of up to nine months. Since the start of the programme a total of 2,574 people have commenced a placement under the programme. A total of 524 participants currently on the programme are under 25 years of age. In Budget 2011, the Government announced that the number of places on the Work Placement Programme will be increased from the current 2,000 to 7,500 with 5,000 additional places in the public sector. The remaining 500 places will be for graduates in the private sector.

The Government also announced the new Skills Development and Internship Programme in Budget 2011. This programme will provide participants with a placement in an enterprise in the private sector and access to a significant education and training element. It is intended that the programme will be operational by the end of the first quarter next year.

In relation to redundant apprentices, FÁS has introduced a number of measures which have assisted over 4,000 redundant apprentices with on and off-the-job training. FÁS is providing an expanded Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme for up to 1,000 apprentices in specified trades who have been made redundant. In addition, up to 700 places in the Institute of Technology for redundant apprentices and crafts persons will commence early next year.

FÁS has recently developed the Local Training Options (LTO) pilot programme under the Local Training Initiative programme. This pilot programme is increasing the capacity of the Local Training Initiative programme to respond to the needs of low or semi-skilled unemployed people aged between 18-25 years and who have low educational qualifications.

For early school leavers, there are 6,000 places available under the Youthreach Programme. The programme provides participants with two years integrated education, training and work experience. The programme facilitates early school leavers with opportunities to acquire certification and progress to further training or employment.

In summary, my Department will continue next year to provide a significant, diverse range of labour market activation provision to the unemployed, including those under 25 years of age. This will aim to keep young people active, close to the labour market and will improve their prospects of securing employment.

FÁS Training Programmes

Sean Sherlock

Question:

34 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills regarding the FÁS work placement programme for schools recently announced by her in circular 0066/2010, if she will confirm if these positions are open only to recently qualified graduates to enable them to obtain work experience; if schools will only be allowed to recruit persons with a recognised teaching qualification under this scheme; the positions non-teaching graduates will be eligible to apply for under this scheme; if she has considered the administrative burden this scheme will impose upon principals; the implications this programme will have for teachers who are currently relying on substitution jobs to make an income and gain experience; the safeguards that will be put in place to ensure existing members of staff will not be displaced by this scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47381/10]

Circular 66/2010, recently issued by my Department, permits schools to participate in the FÁS Work Placement Programme (WPP). 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.

Placements are open to both graduates and non-graduates. The year of graduation is not a factor in these placements. Schools are entitled to apply for placements in whichever area they deem appropriate. It is not confined to teachers or SNAs but rather will offer an opportunity for schools to engage people from a wide variety of disciplines. This may include teaching or non-teaching graduates or non-graduates. The level and type of skill required will be dependant on the placement offered by the school. It provides an opportunity for schools to access skills and experience which may otherwise be unavailable. Where a person is engaged to teach, however, he or she must be a registered teacher.

Participation in the programme is entirely voluntary. Schools who feel that they cannot offer a placement or do not wish to participate in the programme are not obliged to apply to FÁS for inclusion in the scheme. However, I would encourage schools to participate in the programme. By being innovative there is a real opportunity for schools to benefit from people with a diverse range of skills and for people who are out of work to retain their skills levels and broaden their experience.

It is a condition of the programme that any placements should not displace an existing member of staff or be used to fill a vacant post and each school must sign a declaration to this effect. The programme specifies that placements may not be used to cover vacancies. This includes substitute vacancies. Where a person on placement chooses to take up paid employment with the same employer, such as a teacher on placement wishing to undertake substitute work, then he or she forfeits the placement because a person cannot be an employee with the same school with which they have a placement. However, part-time employment in another school may be possible, subject to meeting the other requirements for the placement. In addition, if an individual is in receipt of a social welfare entitlement this may also have implications for any entitlement to retain social welfare payments as they would be means-tested as a result of the income they are receiving for substitute work. This is a matter for the Department of Social Protection.

Computerisation Programme

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

35 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 to significantly cut the allocation for schools information and communications technology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47678/10]

While the capital allocation of €1.5 million in 2011 for Schools Information and Communications Technology is lower than the 2010 allocation, it is important to note that two thirds of the proposed funding under the Smart Schools = Smart Economy Report has been provided to schools in the past 12 months. The Smart Schools = Smart Economy Report proposed that €150m be invested in the ICT in Schools Programme over a three year period and €92m in capital funding has been provided. Also to date in 2010, €9m has been spent on broadband connectivity to schools, continuous professional development and other initiatives to further integrate ICT into teaching and learning. The funding provided to date has allowed schools to ensure that at least the recommended baseline of ICT equipment is in place.

The focus in 2011 will be to build on the considerable progress made in equipping schools with the necessary ICT hardware. The ICT in Schools Steering Group established under the Smart Schools Report has a role to play in ensuring that the equipment deployed in schools to date will be utilised fully.

My Department will work closely with the National Centre for Technology in Education and the ICT in Schools Steering Group and focus on continuous professional development and increasing digital resources for schools. The ICT in Schools Steering group has responsibility for providing advice on future policy directions, taking account of technology developments and future trends and will advise on the organisational approach to integrating ICT into teaching and learning. The group also acts as a forum to foster the sharing of best practice in, and innovative approaches to, integrating ICT into teaching and learning.

My Department is currently assessing a number of innovative ICT projects and it is proposed to establish demonstration projects in schools which will assist my Department and the National Centre for Technology in Education in forming future ICT policy for schools.

Higher Education Grants

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

36 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 to reduce the automatic eligibility of mature students to the higher non-adjacent rate of grants payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47679/10]

The automatic eligibility of mature students to the higher non-adjacent rate of grant will be discontinued from the start of the 2011/12 academic year. However, mature students who reside 45 kilometres or more from their higher education institution will continue to be eligible for the higher non-adjacent rate of grant. Essentially, this will mean that all students in similar circumstances will now be treated in a similar way. The Government's approach to dealing with the current difficulties in the public finances has meant that, in making very difficult choices, the burden has been spread as fairly as possible. It is important to remember that qualifying students will continue to receive substantial grant funding, together with full support for payment of the €1,500 student service charge. Those on particularly low incomes will also continue to receive a significant "top-up" in the special rate of maintenance grant. In addition, some €5m will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. The access offices themselves will also continue to provide support and advice to students to enable them to continue with their studies.

Pearse Doherty

Question:

37 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will reverse the decision in Budget 2011 which will see changes to the non-adjacent rate of grant support whereby the distance required to qualify will effectively be doubled from 24km to 45 km for all existing and new applicants from September 2011; her views on whether such a proposal would adversely effect grant-holders ability to attend third level courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47672/10]

The change in the qualifying distance criterion for entitlement to the higher non-adjacent rate of grant from 24 to 45 kilometres has been introduced as one of a number of savings measures necessary to manage the increasing cost pressures in the student grants area.

The existing distance has been in place since the grant schemes were introduced in 1968. However, vastly improved transport facilities and road networks and better and more cost effective travelling options have altered commuting practice more generally in society over that time. Statistics indicate that some 45% of all full-time students now choose to live in their own or their parents' home during term time. Yet some 77% of grant holders are currently on the higher non-adjacent rate.

The new measure will come into effect from September 2011 resulting in a savings yield of some €10m in 2011, with a full-year saving of some €30m.

While the measures in relation to student grants outlined in Budget 2011 will result in changes to the rate of grant payable, none of the measures will result in a student losing a grant or becoming ineligible for a grant.

FÁS Training Programmes

Michael Ring

Question:

38 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her views on whether the 2000 places sanctioned under the work placement programme are sufficient in view of the fact that over 440,000 people are unemployed at the moment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43777/10]

Last year, the Government introduced the FÁS Work Placement Programme (WPP) to provide valuable work experience for unemployed individuals. The Work Placement Programme provides up to 9 months work experience to unemployed individuals and is open to employers from all sectors of the economy, including the private, public and the community and voluntary sectors.

Since the start of the programme a total of 2,574 people have commenced a placement under the programme and as of 3rd December there were a further 1,258 placements potentially available to be filled. In Budget 2011, as part of its response to the level of unemployment the Government announced the expansion of the Work Placement Programme from the current 2,000 places to 7,500 places. 5,000 of the additional places are in the public sector. Public sector bodies will be encouraged to actively participate in the programme and offer more placement opportunities to the unemployed. The other 500 places are to be provided for graduates in the private sector.

In addition to the WPP, the Government will also provide a broad range of training and employment places, Further Education places and Higher Education places next year. The unemployed will be able to access these places. Next year's provision for the unemployed also includes a new €20 million Higher Education Activation Fund, enhanced measures to assist redundant apprentices and a new Skills Development and Internship Programme that is intended to be operational before the end of the first quarter in 2011.

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

Joe Costello

Question:

39 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the amount of money the Government has obtained from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for the 1,200 SR Technic workers who were made redundant in 2009; the amount of money put into the fund by the Government; the services that have been provided through the fund to date; the amount of money that remains in the fund; the deadline for use of all moneys in the fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42722/10]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

43 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when funding from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund will be drawn down and dispersed to the ex-employees of a company (details supplied) for education, re-training and small business support purposes; the mechanisms that have been put in place to access and disperse the EU funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47720/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39 and 43 together.

The EU budgetary authorities have recently approved the Irish application for European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) co-financing assistance in support of 1,135 workers made redundant in 2009 at the SR Technics aircraft maintenance facility at Dublin Airport. This process culminated in the approval by the European Parliament of the Irish application on 11 November 2010.

The EGF application is for a total of €11.46m of which the EU contribution sought is €7.45m. A formal notification of the successful EU decision was received on 8 December and receipt of EU co-funding is expected shortly.

Notwithstanding the fact that no EU monies have been received by the Irish authorities to date, the relevant State agencies and educational bodies have, since March 2009, already provided the workers affected with a range of occupational guidance, training, educational opportunities and enterprise supports.

Under the EGF Regulation, EU co-funding can be used for measures delivered from the commencement of service provision to the affected workers until 9 October 2011.

Special Educational Needs

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

40 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her plans to meet the accommodation and special needs teaching requirements of children with autism, aspergers, attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or other special needs at primary and second level schools here; the extent to which she expects or intends to provide the necessary special needs assistants and teachers to meet such requirements in the present and unfolding economic situation; if she will ensure that these needs are kept to the fore in the planning and budgetary sectors of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47379/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

47 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her plans to meet the accommodation and special needs teaching requirements of children with autism, attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and or other special needs at primary and second level schools in County Kildare; the extent to which she expects or intends to provide the special needs assistants and teachers to meet such requirements in the present and unfolding economic situation; if she will ensure that these needs are kept to the fore in the planning and budgetary sectors of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47109/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 47 and 40 together.

The Deputy will be aware of my Department's commitment to ensuring that all children, including those with special needs, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs.

Children with special educational needs, including the specific conditions mentioned by the Deputy, have a range of placement options available to them. Many pupils with special needs, including those mentioned by the Deputy, attend mainstream schools alongside their peers. Depending on the extent of their special educational need, these pupils may receive support from the school's Learning Support teacher and/or additional tuition hours provided by a Resource teacher. In addition, schools with pupils enrolled who have significant care needs, can apply for additional support through the special needs assistant scheme.

Other pupils with special educational needs attend a special class attached to a mainstream school while some pupils attend a special school. These pupils are supported through lower pupil teacher ratios and, where necessary, special needs assistants. The Deputy will be aware that the expansion in the network of autism-specific special classes in schools has been a key priority in recent years.

My Department continues to fund special school transport arrangements for pupils with special educational needs. Funding is also provided to schools to purchase assistive technology and/or specialist equipment. In addition, funding can be provided for school buildings to be adapted where necessary.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers, for allocating supports to schools to support children with special educational needs. Schools, which have enrolled pupils with special educational needs that are eligible for such support, apply to the NCSE for the allocation of the necessary resources.

The Deputy will be aware that there has been unprecedented investment in providing supports for pupils with special needs in recent years, with over €1 billion being spent this year in supporting special educational provision this year.

There are now in excess of 20,000 adults in our schools working solely with pupils with special needs. This includes over 10,000 special needs assistants; over 9,000 resource and learning support teachers employed in mainstream schools; over 500 teachers in special classes and over 1,100 special school teachers.

The education of children with special educational needs remains a key Government priority and the Government will continue to provide for learning support and resource teacher posts and special needs assistant posts in schools.

Computerisation Programme

Leo Varadkar

Question:

41 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress in rolling out next generation broadband in primary schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44836/10]

My Department's ICT in Schools Programme addresses four broad areas — the provision of essential ICT infrastructure and networking within schools, the provision of access to broadband connectivity to school, up-skilling teachers' ICT skills and finally, integrating ICT within the curriculum and providing curriculum relevant digital content and software. Since 1998 almost €300m has been invested in the programme with some €50m being invested in broadband for schools.

Under the Schools Broadband Programme connectivity to the internet is routed through a National Broadband Network, developed by HEAnet — the National Education and Research Network provider. HEAnet controls the broadband access to schools, and it provides centrally managed services for schools such as security, anti-spam/anti-virus and content filtering. Access to resources such as on-line versions of Britannica and World Book are also only available through the Schools Broadband Network. A national helpdesk managed by the National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE) has been established to interface between the network, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the schools. It also provides schools with on-going advice and assistance. My Department has secured broadband services on behalf of schools and under the resultant contracts the best available connections, within resources, were provided.

Since commencement of the rollout of phase 2 of the Schools Broadband Programme in 2009 there has been over a 50% increase in bandwidth capacity, this is due to improved bandwidth speeds being made available to schools and the substantial reduction in the number of schools who are connected via satellite. Schools are only offered satellite connections where no alternative was offered during the procurement process. Should a better solution become available from the contractors over the lifetime of the contracts, schools will be migrated to the new solution.

Special Educational Needs

Denis Naughten

Question:

42 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she is taking to support children with a disability in the classroom; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47407/10]

The Deputy will be aware of my Department's commitment to ensuring that all children including those with special needs can have access to an education appropriate to their needs preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. This facilitates access to individualised education programmes, fully qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants and the appropriate school curriculum with the option, in line with each child's ability, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils.

My Department's policy is to provide for children with special educational needs to be integrated into mainstream schools unless such a placement would not be in their best interests or the interests of the children with whom they are to be educated. Some children may be supported in a special class attached to a mainstream school. These students have the option, where appropriate, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. Other children may have such complex needs that they are best placed in a special school.

Students with special educational needs have access to a range of support services including additional teaching and/or care supports. In special schools and special classes, students are supported through lower pupil teacher ratios. Special needs assistants may also be recruited specifically where pupils with disabilities and significant care needs are enrolled.

There are now in excess of 20,000 adults in our schools working solely with pupils with special needs. This includes over 10,000 Special Needs Assistants; over 9,000 resource and learning support teachers employed in mainstream schools; over 500 teachers in special classes and over 1,100 special school teachers.

My Department continues to fund special school transport arrangements for pupils with special educational needs. Funding is also provided to schools to purchase assistive technology and/or specialist equipment. In addition, funding can be provided for school buildings to be adapted where necessary.

My Department has also responded to the need to provide teachers with continuing professional development in special education. This has been a key priority in recent years. The establishment of the Special Education Support Service (SESS) to provide expert support, professional development and training opportunities in special education for school staff has been very significant. Last year alone 23,602 training places were provided through the SESS.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) was set up to improve the delivery of education services to persons with special educational needs arising from disabilities with particular emphasis on children. The NCSE, with its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), provides a service to schools seeking additional teaching and/or care supports for enrolled students who qualify for additional supports. Working locally on the ground, the SENOs are a focal point of contact for parents and schools.

The Deputy will be aware that there has been unprecedented investment in providing supports for pupils with special needs in recent years and Special Education continues to be a key Government priority. Over €1 billion is being spent in supporting special educational provision this year.

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 39.

Community Employment Schemes

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

44 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the new rates for special community employment participants; the budget allocation for training participants on a special community employment scheme for 2011; and if the budget has affected the so-called double payments. [47739/10]

The following are the details of the weekly pay rates for all Community Employment (CE) participants for 2011: CE Single Adult Rate: €208.00 Increase for Qualified Adult: €124.80 Full rate Child Dependant: €29.80 Half rate Child Dependant: €14.90.

In line with the transfer of budgetary and policy responsibility for CE to the Department of Social Protection commencing in 2011, the budget allocation for CE remains subject to agreement between FÁS and that Department.

The continued payment of all or part of a social welfare entitlement whilst simultaneously receiving a payment from Community Employment has not been affected by the 2011 Budget.

Child Abuse

Richard Bruton

Question:

45 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Ryan report did not substantially address those abused when placed by the State in foster care; if he plans to commission a report into abuse in foster homes; if he will extend the State compensation scheme to give redress to those who have been abused in foster homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47815/10]

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse is an independent body established pursuant to the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse Acts 2000 and 2005. The term "institution" was defined by the legislation to include "a school, an industrial school, a reformatory school, an orphanage, a hospital, a children's home and any other place where children are cared for other than as members of their families." Accordingly, foster care came within the scope of the definition of an institution. The Commission comprised two separate and distinct Committees which were required to report separately to the Commission as a whole. Chapter 15 of Volume 3 of the Commission's Final Report, is the final report of the work of the Confidential Committee and details the evidence heard from witnesses who reported being abused while in foster care.

The Redress Scheme was established in 2002 as an exceptional measure to address abuse in specified residential institutions and to quote the then Minister from the Second Stage Debate on the redress legislation "It is not, and was never intended to be, a panacea for every injustice committed on children". The inclusion of children abused in foster care was raised during the passage of the original legislation, however foster care settings were not included on the basis that there was no substantial evidence of widespread abuse in foster homes. Following the publication of the Ryan Report in May 2009, there were a range of demands for the redress scheme to be extended, including demands to include foster care settings. The Government considered these demands and in its statement of 15 April last indicated that it did not propose to revise the arrangements.

FÁS Training Programmes

Finian McGrath

Question:

46 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason FÁS students who passed all exams are not receiving their certificates. [47933/10]

I understand that FÁS, in the implementation of its new Training Standards System, discovered processing issues in the North East which gave rise to errors on requests which had been made by FAS to FETAC. Certificates for 53 learners on 6 courses were involved but the certificates in question had not issued to the learners involved. The errors arise from administrative, processing and data entry issues rather than with the quality of the programmes. FÁS informed FETAC on 10 November.

FETAC, on 10 November, 2010, decided to hold the issuing of certificates to FÁS. FETAC is now conducting an examination of the processes underpinning the requesting of certificates by FÁS from FETAC and are doing so with the full co-operation of FÁS which is in agreement with this approach. FETAC is visiting each of the 17 centres that request certificates from FETAC and, as of close of business on Wednesday 15 December, had completed 10 site visits. I understand that FETAC expects to complete the visits by the end of December and it will then consider the outcomes and determine next steps.

It has become clear as site visits have progressed that the issues encountered do not affect apprenticeship certificates or certificates issued under the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and that FETAC processing of these awards has recommenced. FETAC will be publishing a report of its examination which will outline any issues encountered and learners affected. I understand that FETAC will not be publishing outcomes in advance of the finalisation of the report. I can assure the Deputy that FÁS will address any issues raised in the FETAC report.

Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 40.
Question No. 48 answered with Question No. 22.

School Accommodation

Deirdre Clune

Question:

49 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the process by which a community can progress the development of a secondary school in their area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47700/10]

The Forward Planning Section of my Department is in the process of analysing all areas in the country in order to determine the level of additional provision which will be required at both primary and post primary level up to 2017. I have recently announced the setting up of a new framework in relation to the establishment of new second-level schools and their patronage. This will involve an expert Group to be known as the Second-Level Patronage Advisory Group that will consider applications for new schools and advise me in relation to those applications, having undertaken survey work of parental views and using the criteria to be set down. I plan to establish the group very shortly and I will seek their input prior to the finalisation of the detailed criteria and procedures. The progression of all large scale building projects arising from Forward Planning Section's analysis will be considered in the context of my Department's School Building and Modernisation Programme.

Schools Building Projects

Denis Naughten

Question:

50 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application by a school (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47709/10]

My Department is in receipt of a major capital application for an extension from the school to which the Deputy refers. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 4.1 rating. Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including this project, is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie. 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, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase 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.

Higher Education Grants

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

51 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare has difficulty proving they were living independently in view of the fact that they spent a year in Australia in relation to their application for a higher education grant; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47748/10]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC. Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority. An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC. Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal. No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

Special Educational Needs

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

52 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when special needs assistance to cover full school attendance of a person (details supplied) will be provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47749/10]

As the Deputy will be aware from my reply of the 7 December 2010, 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 (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

In considering applications for teaching and SNA support for individual pupils, the SENOs take account of the needs identified in the professional reports and decide whether the circumstances come within the Department's criteria. They then consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupil from its current level of resources.

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. I understand that access to SNA support has been granted for this child based on his current level of school attendance, and the NCSE have advised that the matter may be reviewed in light of any increased attendance.

My Departments Schools Division have advised that they have recently received an application from the local Education Welfare Officer (EWO) for home tuition support hours for the child in question. It should, be noted that the Schools Division home tuition scheme is designed to provide a measure of temporary interim educational support for children who do not have a school place. I understand my officials in Schools Division have confirmed to the EWO that the child does not qualify for home tuition support hours because he has a school placement. I have arranged for the details supplied to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Schools Building Projects

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

53 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a building project application by a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; the degree to which the project is on schedule; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47750/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a contractor has been appointed for the project to which he refers. It is anticipated that the project will commence construction shortly.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

54 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; when this matter is likely to proceed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47752/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the project to which he refers, commenced construction last January and is expected to be completed in early 2011.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

55 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when she received an application for large scale capital funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the matter is likely to proceed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47753/10]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

92 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a design team will be appointed for the required extension to a school (details supplied) in County Kildare. [47875/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 92 together.

The school to which the Deputy refers originally applied to my Department for large scale capital funding in September 2007. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale capital projects and assigned a Band 3 rating. Information in respect of the current school building programme along with assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie. The progression of all large scale building projects, including the project for this school, from initial design through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in the light of current competing demands on the capital budget of my Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

Schools Recognition

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

56 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which she has reviewed temporary recognition of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare with the objective of permanent recognition; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47754/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers currently operates with provisional recognition and has applied to my Department for permanent recognition status. My Department is prepared to consider the school's application subject to conditions as set out in a letter that issued to the school authority in June 2010 which included a requirement in relation to enrolments at the school and a satisfactory report from the Inspectorate as to the continued viability and operation of the school. My Department's Inspectorate has been requested to visit the school in this regard and to provide a report on the matter. The question of permanent recognition will be considered following receipt and consideration of the Inspector's Report and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority in due course.

Schools Building Projects

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

57 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress to date in relation to building works at a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47755/10]

The school in question received grant aid in 2007 to provide four resource rooms under my Department's Permanent Accommodation Scheme. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that construction works on the school have recently been completed.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

58 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress over the past three months in relation to an application for large scale capital funding by a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the matter is likely to proceed in view of increased demands on the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47756/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

60 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the timescale for granting of funding to a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the increased demands on the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47758/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

61 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a school (details supplied) in County Kildare will be granted funding under the application for large scale capital funding in view of the increased demands on the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47759/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

63 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position and progress over the summer period in respect of an application for large scale capital funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47761/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

68 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 177 of 3 June 2010, the position regarding an application for large scale capital funding; her plans to progress same in view of the long period of time that has elapsed since the application was made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47766/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

70 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for large scale capital funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the fact that an application for same was made 11 years ago; her plans to progress same given the long period of time elapsed since the application for same was made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47768/10]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

91 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will appoint a design team for the building of a permanent school (details supplied) in County Kildare. [47874/10]

Emmet Stagg

Question:

93 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will sanction the appointment of a design team for a school (details supplied) in County Kildare. [47876/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58, 60, 61, 63, 68, 70, 91 and 93 together.

I can confirm that the schools to which the Deputy refers have made applications to my Department for large scale funding. The applications have been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale capital projects and assigned an appropriate band rating. Information in respect of the current school building programme, along with assessed applications for major capital works, including the projects referred to by the Deputy, is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie. The progression of all large scale building projects, including projects for these schools, from initial design through to construction phase will be considered in the context of my Department's multi-annual School Building and Modernisation Programme. However, in the light of current competing demands on the capital budget of my Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of these projects at this time.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

59 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when a new school (details supplied) in County Kildare will be ready for occupation; if the projected completion date is in line with previous expectations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47757/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, the original contractor appointed for this project went into receivership and a completion contractor was subsequently appointed. The contract with the completion contractor commenced in April and it is envisaged that the new school will be ready for occupation early next year.

Questions Nos. 60 and 61 answered with Question No. 58.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

62 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when an application was first made by a school (details supplied) in County Kildare in respect of an application for large scale capital funding; the progress of same on a year by year basis since the application was submitted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47760/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers originally applied to my Department for large scale capital funding in 2001.

The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale capital projects and has been assigned a Band 2 rating.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with assessed applications for major capital works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is available on my 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.

Question No. 63 answered with Question No. 58.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

64 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress in the past six months of the advancement of a school building project in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47762/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the project to which he refers, commenced construction last August and is anticipated to be completed in late 2011.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

65 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the school building project for a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47763/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the project, for the school to which he refers, commenced construction in September 2009 and is expected to be completed in early 2011.

School Accommodation

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

66 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if provision has been made for the necessary temporary accommodation at a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47764/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school to which he refers was approved capital funding in May 2010 to provide three additional classrooms. The school authority has confirmed to my Department that it intends using this funding to provide permanent accommodation.

In November 2010, my Department approved an increase in the level of grant aid to the school to provide additional ancillary works at the school.

Schools Building Projects

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

67 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 178 of 3 June 2010, when it is likely that this project will progress to construction in view of the increased demands on the school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47765/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the construction phase for this project commenced on 12th July 2010.

Question No. 68 answered with Question no. 58.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

69 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 176 of 3 June 2010, the progress of this matter over the past three months; when a decision on this proposal will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47767/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

82 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills having regard to the urgent need for long term accommodation needs of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare, when a decision will be made on this proposal which was submitted some considerable time ago; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47780/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 82 together.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school to which he refers has been approved funding on a devolved basis to construct four mainstream classrooms. A letter regarding this matter issued to the school authority in September 2010. It is now a matter for the school management to deliver the project within the parameters of the grant sanctioned.

Question No. 70 answered with Question No. 58.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

71 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she has received any correspondence from the board of management of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare regarding the proposed building project; her plans for the short, medium and long term in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47769/10]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for an extension/refurbishment.

In accordance with the published criteria for large scale building projects, the project for this school has been assigned a Band 2 rating. My Department has recently received correspondence from the school management requesting a review of the assigned band rating. The school's request will be considered within the context of the published criteria and a decision will be conveyed to the school in due course.

Information in respect of the current school building programme along with all assessed applications for major capital works, including this project, 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 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 my Department, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of the project at this time.

In the meantime, it is open to the school management to apply to my Department for funding for temporary accommodation to meet its immediate needs.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

72 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the locations in County Kildare now deemed to have the worst pupil to teacher ratio; her plans to address the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47770/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

74 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her targets in respect of pupil to teacher ratio at primary level in County Kildare in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47772/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

78 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her targets in respect of pupil to teacher ratio in the coming year and for County Kildare; the way this compares with previous years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47776/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

98 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her targets in respect of pupil-teacher ratio in the coming year; the way this compares with previous years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47881/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

102 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills her targets in respect of pupil-teacher ratios at primary level throughout the country in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47885/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

104 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the location throughout the country now deemed to have the worst pupil to teacher ratios, her plans to address the issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47887/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 72, 74, 78, 98, 102 and 104 together.

The Statistics Section of my Department's website contains extensive information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) and class sizes in primary schools. The PTR in respect of all primary schools is currently only available at national level and not disaggregated by county or any other variable. The most recent statistical information relates to the 2009/10 school year.

Statistical information in respect of the 2010/11 school year is due for publication in September 2011.

Pupil numbers at both primary and post-primary level continue to increase and this results in an increased requirement for additional teachers for the foreseeable future. The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to schools is published annually on my Department's website. In terms of the position at individual school level the key factor for determining the level of resources provided by my Department is the pupil enrolment at 30 September of the previous year. While the staffing schedule allocates on the basis of an average number of pupils each individual school decides on how to arrange its classes.

School Staffing

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

73 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of teaching posts awaiting approval or otherwise awaiting to be filled in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47771/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

103 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total number of teaching posts awaiting approval or otherwise awaiting to be filled throughout the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47886/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 103 together.

The teacher allocation process for the current school year would have commenced earlier in 2010 and would be largely completed before schools open in September. In terms of the position at individual school level the key factor for determining the level of resources provided by my Department is the pupil enrolment at the 30 September of the previous year.

The recruitment, selection and appointment of teachers to all schools is a matter for each individual school authority as employer. Unlike other areas of the public service teaching vacancies continue to be filled in schools in the normal manner.

Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 72.

Schools Building Projects

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

75 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of school building projects for County Kildare currently before her; the total expected capital costs arising; the extent to which she intends to proceed with the programme in the coming year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47773/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

101 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of school building projects currently before her; the total expected capital costs arising; the extent to which she intends to proceed with the programme in the coming year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47884/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 75 and 101 together.

All projects currently progressing to tender, at tender stage, on-site and completed in 2010, including those projects in County Kildare are listed on my Departments web-site. For the Deputy's convenience I set out below a copy of the tabular statement outlining the current status of each these projects.

My Department's capital allocation for 2011 is €491m. This provision reflects the reduced allocation in 2011 for such expenditure overall. However, I am confident that the funding available will allow for demographic needs to be met and will provide for continued improvement to the stock of educational capital, particularly given falling land values and tender prices.

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010)

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Galway

08512U

Iomair NS, Killimor

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Galway

12706J

SN Sailearna, Indreabhán

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Donegal

16672P

St. Patrick’s NS, Lurgybrack

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Wexford

17017L

SN Phádraig, Crossabeg

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Kildare

17064U

Scoil Phadraig, Ballylinan, Athy

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Cork

17609N

Rathcormac NS, Rathcormac

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Cork

17667E

SN Pádraig Naofa, Whitechurch

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Meath

17821L

Scoil Nais Mhuire Naofa, Enfield, Co Meath

1.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Donegal

18052S

Scoil Mhuire gan Smál, Letterkenny

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

18451J

Scoil Lorcain, Eaton Square, Monkstown

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Cork

18786R

Sc Iosagain, Farranree

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

19474D

St. Colmcille’s Junior NS, Knocklyon, Templeogue (Linked to 19742C)

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Sligo

19495L

Carbury NS, The Mall

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Wicklow

19522L

St. Catherine’s Secondary School, Newcastle

1.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

19742C

St. Colmcille’s Junior NS, Knocklyon, Templeogue (Linked to 19474D)

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Galway

19795A

Tirellan Heights NS, Headford Road, Galway

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dublin Belgard

19878E

Ballycragh NS, Ballycragh, Firhouse, Tallaght, Dublin 24

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Monaghan

19936P

Gaelscoil Ultain, Monaghan Town

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Donegal

19971R

Gaelscoil Adhamanain, Letterkenny

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Kildare

20114D

Scoil Brid, Naas

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Galway

20199O

Oughterard NS, Oughterard

1.4

New School

Progressing to Tender

Louth

20349H

Scoil Oilibheir Naofa, Drogheda

1.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Cork

62690E

Scoil Mhuire, 2 Sydney Place, Wellington Road

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Louth

63920A

Dundalk, Grammar School, The Crescent

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Limerick City

64240G

St. Munchin’s College, Limerick City

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Tipperary SR

65240L

Scoil Mhuire Presentation Secondary School, Ballingarry, Thurles

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010) — continued

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Tipperary NR

65470F

Ursuline Convent, Thurles

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dublin Fingal

76062B

Castleknock Community College, Carpenterstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Monaghan

76091I

Gaelcholaiste Oriall, Monaghan Town

2.4

New School

Progressing to Tender

Monaghan

76095Q

Monaghan Institute of Further Education

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

81001L

Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Cork

81008W

Ashton Comprehensive School, Blackrock Road

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dublin Fingal

00697S

St. Brigid’s NS, Castleknock

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kildare

06209J

Athy Model School (linked to 16705E & 20192A)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Laois

07442U

Convent of Mercy NS, Borris in Ossory

2.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Wicklow

09760V

Powerscourt NS, Powerscourt, Enniskerry

2.2

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Cork

13450F

Rushbrook NS, Cobh

2.2

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin Fingal

15315J

St George’s NS, Naul Rd. Balbriggan

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Tipperary NR

15696B

Silvermines National School

2.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kildare

16705E

Scoil Phadraig Naofa, Athy (linked to 06209J & 20192A)

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Cork

16746S

Ballygarvan NS , Ballygarvan, Co Cork

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Meath

17213L

SN Mhuire, Ma Nealta, Ceannanus Mór

2.2

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Carlow

17501Q

Bennykerry NS, Bennykerry

2.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Laois

17617M

Scoil Chomhgain Naofa, Killeshin

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kerry

17646T

Sn Uaimh Bhreanainn, Ballymacelligott, Tralee

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kildare

17674B

SN Aine Naofa, Ard Cloc, Straffan

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin City

17936F

Scoil Eoin Baisde Snr, Clontarf (see also 19006Q)

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Offaly

18267Q

Croinchoill NS, Birr

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Cork

18279A

St. Mary’s NS, Waterpark, Carrigaline

1.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin City

19006Q

Scoil Eoin Baisde B Sois, Clontarf (see also 17936F)

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

19374W

Garran Mhuire, Goatstown, Dublin 14

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Galway

19506N

Cappataggle Central School, Ballinasloe

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Limerick

19587Q

St. Augustines Youth Encounter Project

1.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010) — continued

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Galway City

19858V

Gaelscoil Dara, Galway City

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Waterford City

20050D

Gaelscoil na Deise, Grace Dieu Road, Waterford (see also 20160K)

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Laois

20071L

Scoil Bhríde, Rathdowney

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Cork

20106E

Scoil Nioclais, Frankfield, Grange

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Longford

20128O

St. Matthew’s Mixed NS, Ballymahon

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Mayo

20142I

Scoil Íosa, Ballyhaunis

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Waterford City

20160K

Waterford Educate Together NS (see also 20050D)

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin Fingal

20161M

Donabate/Portrane ETNS

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kildare

20192A

Scoil Ath Í, Athy (linked to 06209J & 16705E)

1.1.

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kerry

20197K

Kenmare NS, Kenmare

1.4

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin Fingal

20201V

Tyrrelstown ETNS

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Meath

20215J

St Pauls NS Rathoat

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin Fingal

20252P

Gaelscoil Bhaile Brigín, Balbriggan (Linked to 20282B)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kildare

20271T

Scoil Naomh Uilig, Rickardstown, Newbridge

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin Fingal

20282B

Bracken ETNS, Balbriggan (linked to 20252P)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Louth

20294I

Aston Village ETNS

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20303G

Lucan East ETNS, Clonburis

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin City

60450U

Colaiste Mhuire, CID Campus, Cabra, Dublin 7

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kerry

61440W

St Mary’s CBS, Tralee

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Kilkenny

61580P

Loreto Secondary School, Granges Road

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Westmeath

63290Q

Loreto College, Mullingar

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Louth

63870L

Drogheda Grammar School

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Waterford City

64970U

Presentation Secondary School, Waterford City

2.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Sligo

65170Q

Summerhill College, Sligo

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Tipperary NR

72370P

Borrisokane Community College, Tipperary

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Tipperary NR

72440K

Nenagh VS, Nenagh

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Meath

76103M

Colaiste Na hInse, Laytown

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010) — continued

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Wexford

76127D

Gorey Post-Primary School

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Cavan

06998Q

SN Tulach a Mhile, Corlough

2.2

New School

In Construction

Kildare

11976K

Scoil Choca Naofa, Kilcock, Co. Kildare

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

in Construction

Limerick

13026P

Kilfinane National School

2.2

New School

In Construction

Laois

14260F

Abbeyleix Sth NS, Abbeyleix

2.2

New School

In Construction

Kilkenny

15160G

Marymount N.S., The Rower, Inistioge

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin City

16964F

Scoil Mhuire Ogh 1, Loreto College, Crumlin Rd, Dublin 12

2.5

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Donegal

17268N

SN An Br M O Cleirigh, Creevy, Ballyshannon

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Offaly

17523D

SN Cronain Naofa, Dromakeenan

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Offaly

17637S

SN Sheosaimh Naofa, Beál Átha na gCarr, Tullamore

2.2

New School

In Construction

Kildare

17662R

Scoil Bhride Kill NS

1.1

New School

In Construction

Monaghan

18028V

Corr a Chrainn NS, Corr a Chrainn

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Louth

18069M

Naomh Seosamh, Mell, Drogheda

1.1

New School

In Construction

Donegal

18219F

SN Chonaill, Machaire Chlochair, Bun Beag

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin Belgard

18324C

Scoil Bride C, Palmerstown

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Carlow

18363M

SN Muire gan Smal, Green Lane

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Kildare

18654A

Caragh NS, Naas

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Westmeath

18812P

Loch an Ghair NS Mullingar

2.2

New School

In Construction

Limerick City

18991S

JFK Memorial School, Ennis Road

2.4

New School

In Construction

Meath

19253K

Scoil Naomh Barra, Wilkinstown

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Louth

19598V

Muire na nGael NS, Bay Estate, Dundalk

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Waterford

19629G

Holy Cross School, Ballycarnane, Tramore

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin Fingal

19898K

Gaelscoil an Duinnigh, Feltrim, Swords

1.1

New School

In Construction

Wicklow

20016D

Gaelscoil Uí Cheadaigh, Bray

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Mayo

20046M

Gaelscoil Na Cruaiche, Cathair na Mart, Co. Mayo

1.1

New School

In Construction

Kildare

20058T

Sc Uí Fhiach, Maynooth

1.1

New School

In Construction

Waterford

20076V

Bunscoil Bhothar na Naomh, Lismore

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin (Fingal)

20095C

Gaelscoil Bhrian Boroimhe, Swords, Co Dublin

1.1

New School

In Construction

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010) — continued

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Cork

20105C

Star of the Sea Primary School, Passage West

1.4

New School

In Construction

Dublin City

20139T

Inchicore NS, Sarsfield Road, Dublin 10

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin (Fingal)

20145O

Swords Educate Together NS, Applewood, Swords, Co Dublin

1.1

New school

In Construction

Meath

20180Q

Scoil Eoin National School, Navan

1.1

New School

In Construction

Kerry

20196I

Ballybunion NS

1.4

New School

In Construction

Louth

20205G

St Mary’s Parish School,Drogheda

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin Fingal

60010P

Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

60860Q

Our Lady’s School, Templeogue Road, Terenure, Dublin 6W

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Cavan

61060M

St Patrick’s College, Cavan, Co. Cavan

2.3

New School

In Construction

Kildare

61710C

Meánscoil Iognáid Ris, Naas

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Wicklow

61800D

Presentation College, Bray

2.2

New School

In Construction

Galway City

62970K

Coláiste Iognáid SJ Bothar na Mara

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Limerick City

64201T

Ardscoil Ris, North Circular Rd, Limerick

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Roscommon

65100S

Scoil Mhuire, Strokestown, Co Roscommon

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Offaly

65610S

Colaiste Choilm, O’Moore Street, Tullamore, Co Offaly

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

70030E

Senior College, Dun Laoghaire

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Donegal

71240U

Stranorlar Vocational School (Finn Valley College)

2.2

New School

In Construction

Wexford

71630K

Vocational College, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Longford

71690F

Ballymahon Vocational School

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Mayo

76060U

Davitt College, Castlebar

4.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin Fingal

76098W

Pobail Scoil Setanta, Phibblestown (see also 20247W)

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin Fingal

76104O

Donabate Community College

1.1

New School

In Construction

Donegal

91409A

Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair, Derrybeg, Letterkenny

4.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Kildare

00779U

Presentation Convent, Maynooth

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Meath

00885T

Ratoath Jnr NS, Ratoath (Linked to 20200T)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Roscommon

01607T

Scoil Náisiúnta Cor Na Fola, Athlone

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Major Projects progressing to construction, on-site or completed (14th December 2010) — continued

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Wicklow

10111O

Lacken National School, Lacken, Blessington, Co Wicklow

2.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Kildare

13350A

Scoil Bhride, Athgarvan

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Clare

14830U

Barefield N.S., Ennis

2.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Limerick

16237U

Dromtrasna NS Abbeyfeale

1.3

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Kildare

16345A

Scoil Bhride, Nurney, Co. Kildare

2.2

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Meath

16646O

St Marys Convent NS Trim

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Westmeath

17089N

Cluain Maolain NS, Cluain Maolain, An Uaimh

2.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Meath

17964K

SN Mhuire Naofa, Rathfeigh

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin City

18646B

Springdale NS, Lough Derg Rd., Raheny

2.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Meath

20200T

Ratoath Snr NS, Ratoath (Linked to 00885T)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin Fingal

20202A

Balbriggan ET

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Meath

20216L

Scoil Oilibheir Naofa, Laytown

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin Fingal

20231H

St. Benedicts Ongar NS, Littlepace

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin Fingal

20247W

Scoil Ghráinne Community National School , Phibblestown (see also 76098W)

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Kildare

20271T

Scoil na Naomh Uilig, Rickardstown, Newbridge (Phase I)

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Kildare

70650L

Athy Community College (St. Bridgets Post Primary School)

1.3

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Galway

91514U

Glenamaddy Community School, Glenamaddy

1.4

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Special Educational Needs

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

76 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of autism or other special teacher units currently available at all mainstream schools in County Kildare; the full extent of the requirement; the number of applications for such facilities currently before her; her intentions to respond to such requests; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47774/10]

The Deputy will be aware that the Government is committed to ensuring that all children with special educational needs, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

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 students with special education needs. The SENO will also consider applications from schools to establish special classes for students with autism. I set out below, for the Deputy's information, a list provided by the NCSE of schools approved for ASD classes in the Kildare area.

When a school is approved for an ASD/Special Needs Unit, and its existing accommodation does not meet this need, the school may apply to my Department for funding for such accommodation. All such applications are afforded a high priority. In some cases, if it is not possible to carry out a major extension to the school in the time available, temporary accommodation is put in place. I can confirm to the Deputy that all schools in Kildare that applied for additional accommodation in this regard in 2010 were provided with funding.

Roll Number

School Name & Address

Class Type

No. of Classes

18288B

Scoil Micheál Naofa, Athy

2 : Mild General Learning Disability

1

3 : Moderate General Learning Disability

1

Autism

5

7

20271T

Scoil na Naomh Uilig, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

4 : Severe/Profound General Learning Disability

1

Autism

2

3

20114D

Scoil Brid, Oldtown, Naas, Co Kildare

Autism

2

2

18515J

Scoil an Linbh Iosa, Prosperous, Naas, Co Kildare

Autism

2

2

19459H

Leixlip GNS, Leixlip, Co Kildare

Autism

2

2

19675N

Scoil Bhride, Kilcullen, Co Kildare

Autism

2

2

19995I

North Kildare Educate Together, Clane Road, Celbridge

Autism

2

2

18093J

Clogherinkoe NS, Moyvalley, Co Kildare

Autism

2

2

20292E

Maynooth Educate Together, Celbridge Rd., Maynooth

Autism

1

1

91371B

Colaiste Chiarain, Leixlip

Autism

1

1

61661P

Salesian Secondary School, Celbridge

Autism

1

1

70720G

St. Farnans VEC, Prosperous, Naas

Autism

1

1

70710D

St. Patricks, Community College, Naas

Autism

1

1

00779U

Presentation Girls PS, Maynooth

Autism

1

1

18449W

St Conleth’s NS, Derrinturn, Carbury.

Autism

1

1

17873H

St Conleth’s & Mary’s Junior School

Autism

1

1

70650L

Athy Community College, Athy

Autism

1

31

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

77 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which she has received requests for special needs teachers from school authorities in County Kildare; the degree to which her response has met such needs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47775/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

99 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which she has received requests for special needs teachers from school authorities throughout the country; the degree to which her response has met such needs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47882/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 99 together.

As the Deputy will 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 to schools to support children with special educational needs.

The NCSE is an independent agency with responsibility for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream and special schools. Additional teaching supports are allocated as necessary by the NCSE in line with my Department's policy to support children with special educational needs. Schools which have enrolled pupils with special educational needs that are eligible for such support apply to the NCSE for the allocation of the necessary resources. The NCSE has outlined the processes involved in the consideration of applications for special needs supports in its Circular 01/05 which is available on www.ncse.ie.

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

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 72.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

79 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total requirement in respect of speech and language teachers available in County Kildare at present; the way this meets the local requirement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47777/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

97 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the current total requirement in respect of speech and language teachers available in each county at present; the way this meets the local requirement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47880/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 97 together.

My Department provides for the establishment of special classes for specific speech and language disorder (SSLD) in primary schools. Applications to establish such classes are considered by the special educational needs organiser (SENO) and those meeting the criteria for establishment are approved by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

A full-time teacher is assigned to each class, and classes operate with a reduced pupil-teacher ratio of 7:1. A minimum number of five eligible pupils is then required for a school to retain a SSLD class. There are 66 special classes for children with SSLD in primary schools nationwide. A list of these classes is attached. Speech and language therapy services are provided to these classes by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

It is to be noted in general that the NCSE will consider applications from schools for the establishment of special classes and will also discontinue classes, as required in line with my Department's policy.

As the Deputy will be aware, the HSE is funded to provide therapy services, including speech therapy services for children.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

80 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total requirement of special needs assistants as identified by the various school authorities at primary level in County Kildare at present; the degree to which she has responded to such requests in the past six months; her plans by way of provision for 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47778/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

96 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total requirement of special needs assistants as identified by the various school authorities at primary level in each county at present; the degree to which she has responded to such requests in the past six months; her intentions by way of provision for 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47879/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 80 and 96 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers, 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.

School Staffing

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

81 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total number of teachers, permanent and temporary, employed at primary and second level schools in County Kildare; the extent to which this has fluctuated in each of the past three years; the way the pupil to teacher ratio was affected over the period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47779/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

95 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total number of teachers, permanent and temporary, employed at primary and second level schools; the extent to which this has fluctuated in each of the past three years to date in 2010; the way the pupil to teacher ratio was affected over the period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47878/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 95 together.

The information which the Deputy has requested in relation to the total number of teaching posts at primary and post primary level is as follows:

Public Sector Numbers (Whole Time Equivalents)

Primary Teachers

Post-Primary Teachers

Dec-07

30,765

27,627

Dec-08

31,856

28,254

Dec-09

31,731

27,736

Sep-10

32,120

27,960

The number of teaching posts is available at national level only and not disaggregated by geographical area.

The Statistics Section of my Department's website contains extensive information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) in primary and post primary schools. The PTR is currently only available at national level and not disaggregated by county or any other variable. The most recent statistical information relates to the 2009/10 school year. Statistical information in respect of the 2010/11 school year is due for publication in September 2011.

Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 69.

Schools Building Projects

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

83 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 184 of 3 June 2010, the band rating in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; her plans to advance this project in the next six months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47781/10]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers made an application to my Department for large scale capital funding for an extension. The application has been assessed in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria for large scale building projects and assigned a Band 2 rating.

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

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

Ministerial Appointments

Michael Ring

Question:

84 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the Government appointments made to State boards, State bodies, public bodies, State agencies, State enterprises, judicial positions and all State positions from 1 June 2010 to date in 2010 in tabular form. [47787/10]

The information requested is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy.

FÁS Training Programmes

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

85 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the percentage of beneficiaries of training provided by FÁS specialist training providers who have progressed to the labour market, broken down annually, for the years 2006 to 2009 inclusive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47826/10]

The information in the format requested by the Deputy is not currently readily available. I will respond to him directly with this information as soon as possible.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

86 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide a breakdown of the rate of labour market progression of participants in FÁS training for the years 2005 to 2009, inclusive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47827/10]

Data on post-programme outcomes for FÁS trainees are collected by means of a large follow-up survey carried out every 2/3 years. Two such surveys have been carried out over the period covered in the Question. The most recent survey was conducted in the last quarter of 2009, and covered outcomes for trainees who completed training just over a year earlier (during the period June-September 2008). (Table a)

The survey identifies the proportion of trainees in various programmes who have a) entered employment or b) gone on to further education or training during the year since they completed courses. On the assumption that the survey period figures are representative of all leavers for the year concerned, the following estimates can be made for persons who completed the main FÁS training programmes for unemployed people in 2008: One third of trainees had found employment, and a similar proportion had engaged in further training/education, within the year since they completed training. In total, some two thirds of participants had therefore progressed.

This most recent survey covered a period when unemployment was rising rapidly — from about 7% at the time the trainees completed their courses to almost 13% at the date of the survey.

The earlier prior survey, covering leavers from late 2005, was carried out in late 2006. Again on the assumption that the survey period figures are representative of all leavers for the year concerned, the following estimates can be made for persons who completed the main FÁS training programmes for unemployed people in 2005: (Table b)

Over half of the trainees had found employment, and one third had engaged in further training/education, within the year since they completed training. In total, some 80% of participants had therefore progressed. This earlier survey was carried out at a time when unemployment was much lower and falling — from 4.6% at the time the trainees completed their courses to 4% at the date of the survey.

FÁS collects employment data following the completion of each training course and at various intervals following course completion when data is made available by contracted trainers and occasionally by participants themselves. However, this data does not present an accurate picture of job placement success as many participants do not choose to make further contact with FÁS after they have completed their course. It is for this reason that FÁS commissions follow up surveys as the main source of comprehensive information on the post-training experience of trainees.

Table A: FÁS Trainee Outcomes 2008

Programme

Number completing in 2008

Survey-based estimate for found employment within approx 12 months

Survey-based estimate for entered further training/education within approx 12 months

%

Number

%

Number

Bridging/ Foundation

6,800

27

1,800

33

2,200

Community Training Centres

2400

27

600

33

800

Local Training Initiatives

3,300

35

1,200

33

1,100

Return to Work

900

19

200

34

300

Specific Skills Training

8,000

37

3,000

35

2,800

Traineeship

2,600

54

1,400

27

700

Total Training

24,000

33

7,900

33

7,900

Table B: FÁS Trainee Outcomes 2005

Programme

Number completing in 2005

Survey-based estimate for found employment within approx 12 months

Survey-based estimate for entered further training/education within approx 12 months

%

Number

%

Number

Bridging/ Foundation

6,400

47

3,000

36

2,300

Community Training Centres

2,100

55

1,200

34

700

Local Training Initiatives

2,800

46

1,300

44

1,200

Return to Work

1,300

36

500

22

300

Specific Skills Training

6,800

67

4,600

26

1,800

Traineeship

2,000

78

1,600

32

600

Total Training

21,400

57

12,200

33

7,100

Higher Education Grants

Joe McHugh

Question:

87 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the reason students applying for back to education and student support are allowed a maximum break from the academic system of one year; if an exemption can be made for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal whose personal family circumstances prevented them from proceeding with their studies for a period of more than one year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47829/10]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for the relevant grant awarding authority i.e. the applicant's local authority or VEC.

Where a grant application is refused, the reason for the refusal is given by the grant awarding authority.

An applicant may appeal the decision to the relevant local authority or VEC.

Where the grant awarding authority decides to reject the appeal, the applicant may appeal this decision to my Department by submitting an appeal form outlining clearly the grounds for the appeal.

No appeal has been received by my Department to date from the candidate referred to by the Deputy.

Site Acquisitions

Tom Hayes

Question:

88 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the progress made in securing a site for a school building project (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47853/10]

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.

FÁS Training Programmes

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

89 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills with regard to the FÁS work placement programme for teachers announced by her, if it is possible for teachers who use this scheme to gain the relevant experience required for the higher diploma qualification; if she will encourage trainee teachers to apply to higher diploma programmes ahead of the deadline of 14 January 2011 on the assumption that the work placement programme will be of aid to them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47862/10]

In the event that newly qualified primary teachers in a placement under the FÁS Work Placement Programme can meet the conditions associated with the operation of the primary probationary process, as outlined in circular 58/2010, there will be nothing to preclude them from applying to be probated.

I do not intend to encourage students to apply to undertake the Higher Diploma in Education study based solely on the ongoing provision of the Work Placement Programme. The provision of teaching placements under the scheme is at the discretion of individual boards of management and, as such, I cannot guarantee that placements would be available for all teaching graduates. However, I would encourage both schools and individuals to participate in the programme. There is a real opportunity for schools to benefit from people with a diverse range of skills and for people who are out of work to develop skills and broaden their experience.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

90 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 100 of 23 November 2010, when information will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47871/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled by FÁS. It is a complex exercise and, therefore, the information requested is not easily available. I will reply to the Deputy as soon as I have the figures requested to hand.

Question No. 91 answered with Question No. 58.
Question No. 92 answered with Question No. 55.
Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 58.

Schools Building Projects

Emmet Stagg

Question:

94 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 114 of 30 September 2010, if she will sanction the provision of a gaelcholáiste for north Kildare. [47877/10]

As I previously outlined to the Deputy the Forward Planning Section of my Department is in the process of analysing all areas in the country in order to determine the level of additional provision which will be required at both primary and post primary level up to 2017. Overall post-primary requirements in the North Kildare area, including the case for the provision of a new Irish language post-primary school will be considered in this context.

A multi-million Euro building project has been provided for Coláiste Cois Liffe, Lucan to cater for a long term projected enrolment of 600 pupils. This Gaelcholaiste, under the aegis of Co. Dublin VEC was built to serve the needs of the west Dublin /north Kildare area, including Maynooth and Kilcock. The enrolment for 2009/10 in Coláiste Cois Life was 345 and therefore this school would appear to have capacity to cater for the North Kildare area.

In addition to this I have recently announced the setting up of a new framework in relation to the establishment of new second-level schools and their patronage, whereby an expert Group to be known as the Second-Level Patronage Advisory Group will consider applications for new schools and advise me in relation to those applications, having undertaken survey work of parental views and using the criteria to be set down.

The progression of all large scale building projects arising from Forward Planning Section's analysis will be considered in the context of my Department's School Building and Modernisation Programme.

Question No. 95 answered with Question No. 81.
Question No. 96 answered with Question No. 80.
Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 79.
Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 72.
Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 77.

Special Educational Needs

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

100 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the total number of autism or other special teaching units currently available at all mainstream schools throughout the country; the full extent of the requirement; the number of applications for such facilities currently before her; the way she intends to respond to such requests; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47883/10]

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years. In excess of 420 classes have now been approved around the country at primary and post primary level, including many in special schools.

The Deputy will also be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating special needs resources to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The NCSE will continue to support schools, parents, children and teachers and special needs assistants will continue to be deployed to schools to meet children's needs in line with my Department's policy.

I have arranged for your request for information to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 75.
Question No. 102 answered with Question No. 72.
Question No. 103 answered with Question No. 73.
Question No. 104 answered with Question No. 72.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

105 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, further to Parliamentary Question No. 97 of 11 November 2010, if she will make an immediate decision on the home tuition grant for a child (details supplied); the reason for the delay in making this decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47911/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that officials from my Department wrote to the parent of the child in question on December 1st advising her that home tuition has been sanctioned until the end of the current school term. My Department will be in further contact with her shortly in this regard.

Social Welfare Benefits

Paul Kehoe

Question:

106 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when the forms required to make a social welfare claim will be completed and returned to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47913/10]

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.

Proposed Legislation

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

107 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when the Education (Qualification and Training) Bill will be published; when she expects it will be debated on Second Stage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47917/10]

The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Bill is a substantial piece of legislation dealing with a range of qualifications and quality assurance issues in the context of the establishment of an amalgamated qualifications and quality assurance body. The Bill will be published early in the new year and I hope that it will be debated at second stage shortly thereafter.

Departmental Programmes

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

108 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if the institutes of technology are participating in the scheme whereby an unemployed teacher can be taken on by the institute and work for social payments. [47922/10]

The Work Placement Programme provides up to 9 months work experience to unemployed individuals and is open to employers from all sectors of the economy, including the private, public and the community and voluntary sectors. The 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.

Participation on the programme is voluntary and participants may be entitled to maintain their social welfare entitlements subject to the rules of the Department of Social Protection. In addition, 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. All higher education bodies, including Institutes of Technology have been specifically urged to facilitate the placement of graduates in line with the commitment in the Renewed Programme for Government that provides for the taking on of 1,000 graduates to provide additional capacity and skills across the public service. In addition, the Government have decided that the number of places on the Work Placement 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.

School Transport

Joe McHugh

Question:

109 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the way the removal of the closed school rule, which guarantees free transport to students, will impact on this commitment as a result of the new €50 charge per student; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47938/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

110 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will confirm that the minimum 3.2 km distance requirement from primary schools for the purposes of school transport will be changed; if she will give a detailed explanation of these changes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47939/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

111 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the way savings will be made under the closure of the closed school rule and the removal of the catchment boundary rule; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47940/10]

Joe McHugh

Question:

112 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the way students who fall within the new distance ruling for primary school transport will be facilitated from a school transport point of view; if she will address an example case (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47941/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 112, inclusive, together.

The report of the Value for Money Review of the School Transport Scheme, which will outline the recommendations of the Steering Committee, has recently been finalised and the findings and recommendations in the report were considered as part of the budget and estimates process. The report is to be considered by Government in advance of publication in the near future.

The 2011 estimate for school transport services is €180 million compared to an allocation for 2010 of €186 million. Under the four year national recovery plan €4.5 million in savings will need to be secured in 2011, rising to €17 million in 2014, through a combination of increases in charges and the implementation of measures identified in the value for money review of the school transport scheme. The primary charge is being introduced to ensure that school transport provided for eligible primary pupils is fully utilised. This charge will apply to all eligible primary pupils including pupils who retain school transport eligibility under the Closed School Rule.

Given that the cost per child of this service is approximately €1,020 per year, it is essential to ensure that the seats provided on buses daily are utilised to the maximum extent. Survey work undertaken over two surveys on selected primary routes in the context of the Value for Money Review showed that the average seat occupancy is 69% on the morning service and 64% on the evening service.

It should be borne in mind that eligible pupils holding medical cards will be exempted from paying the charge. The latest data shows that 42% of all post primary pupils travelling are currently exempt from paying the charge, and using this percentage as a guide in respect of eligible primary pupils, it is estimated that based on current take up a total of 64,000 eligible pupils will be liable to pay charges in the 2011/2012 school year. Approximately 8,000 pupils with special educational needs will also continue to be transported free of charge. Also, I would point out to the Deputy that the maximum family charge to be levied at primary level for eligible pupils will be €110 while the overall combined maximum charge per family is not being increased from the current rate of €650 per annum. Parents will continue to be given the option of spreading the annual payments over two instalments in July and December.

In relation to the Deputy's query on the ‘Closed School Rule (CSR)' I would advise that from the beginning of the 2011/12 school year the distance criteria will be applied to all pupils attending primary schools and the exemption under the CSR will cease. This means that children who reside less than 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) from the school of attendance and who are availing of free transport to that school under the CSR will lose their transport eligibility. From the 2012/13 school year, eligibility based on the CSR and the central school rule will cease for all new children entering primary schools. Existing primary pupils availing of transport under the CSR will retain transport eligibility for the duration of their schooling, provided the requisite distance is met.

Regarding the transport eligibility of the pupil referred to by the Deputy in the details supplied, provided this pupil resides 3.2 kilometres or more from the school of attendance, s/he will continue to retain school transport eligibility until s/he completes her/his education at this school. Finally, from the 2012/13 school year, the use of the catchment boundary system will cease for all new post-primary children. Eligibility for all new children entering post-primary transport will be determined on the basis of their nearest post-primary centre or school. Current arrangements will remain in place for existing eligible post primary pupils for the duration of their schooling. There are no plans to change the distance eligibility criteria for primary or post primary pupils at this stage.

Schools Building Projects

Denis Naughten

Question:

113 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for a new school building by a school (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47948/10]

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

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, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase 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.

Special Educational Needs

Denis Naughten

Question:

114 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she is taking to meet the educational requirements of autistic children; the timetable for having all such requirements in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47950/10]

The Deputy will be aware of my Department's commitment to ensuring that all children, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs in school settings. This facilitates access to individualised education programmes, fully qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants and the appropriate school curriculum with the option, in line with each child's ability, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils.

My Department's policy is to provide for children with special educational needs, including autism, to be included in mainstream schools unless such a placement would not be in their best interests or the interests of the children with whom they are to be educated. Some children may be supported in a special class attached to a mainstream school. These students have the option, where appropriate, of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. Other children may have such complex needs that they are best placed in a special school. Students with special educational needs have access to a range of support services including additional teaching and/or care supports. In special schools and special classes, students are supported through lower pupil teacher ratios. Special needs assistants may also be recruited specifically where pupils with disabilities and significant care needs are enrolled.

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years. In excess of 420 classes have now been approved around the country at primary and post primary level, including many in special schools. My Department has put in place a training programme for teachers in autism-specific interventions including Treatment and Education of Autistic Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS) and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) through the Special Education Support Service.

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating special needs resources to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. The NCSE will continue to support schools, parents, children and teachers and special needs assistants will continue to be deployed to schools to meet children's needs in line with my Department's policy. SENOs with their local knowledge and expertise are a valuable resource to parents in sourcing an educational placement.

The Deputy will also be aware that my Department provides grant aid under the Home Tuition Scheme to provide early education intervention for pre-school children with a confirmed diagnosis of autism or to parents of children with autism who are awaiting an educational placement.

Public Service Reform

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

115 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the performance management systems implemented in her Department as specified in the Public Service Agreement 2010-14; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47963/10]

My Department implements the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) as agreed in General Council Reports 1368, 1398 and 1452. Performance management in my Department and indeed across the civil service is already linked to promotion and to incremental progression.

The systems in place to address underperformance are now being assessed in light of the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 which contains a commitment to "introduce significantly improved performance management across all Public Service areas. Following the current review, the Performance Management and Development System will be strengthened with promotion and incremental progression linked in all cases to performance and the implementation of appropriate systems to address under-performance, including, where appropriate, training or, where necessary, through disciplinary procedures".

In the civil service, work is well underway towards achieving this goal. The 2010 Evaluation of PMDS has been completed and negotiations with the Unions have commenced in relation to how the PMDS can be further strengthened. The Department of Finance has started rolling out initiatives, such as focus groups, in order to identify barriers to addressing under-performance, aimed at strengthening PMDS . My Department is committed to continuing its existing policies in addressing under-performance and to implementing any further changes to strengthen PMDS to support this position.

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

116 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of staff working within her Department who are employed on a short-term, temporary or consultative basis in the years 2009 and 2010; the costs of payment to such staff in each of those years; the number of any such staff who have been previously employed in the public service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47977/10]

Eleven retired school inspectors were engaged by my Department in 2009 and 2010. Ten were assigned to carry out probationary inspections on newly recruited teachers while one has been contracted as the interim manager of three community primary schools pending the amendment of the Vocational Education Act to enable patrons of the schools concerned to establish boards of management. The cost involved in 2009 was €186,844.81 and €26,301.96 to date in 2010. A retired school principal works part-time as Chairperson on the Commission for School Accommodation and received a sum of €2,160 in 2009 and €2,760 to date in 2010.

Nineteen temporary clerical officers were employed at my Department in 2009 at a cost of €216,368. Twelve temporary clerical officers and one temporary executive officer were employed at my Department in 2010 at a cost of €147,385. These staff were primarily engaged to carry out front line services. Sixteen of the staff employed in 2009 were employed previously in the public service while five of the staff engaged in 2010 were engaged previously in the public service. The majority of this previous service was of a temporary nature.

Site Acquisitions

Joan Burton

Question:

117 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will provide an update on the status of the site being acquired for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 15; if she has taken ownership of this site; the funds that have been set aside in the Estimates for 2011 for the construction of this school; the timeline for the delivery of this school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47996/10]

As the Deputy will be aware, Fingal County Council are leading the negotiations in relation to the acquisition of a site for the school in question. Fingal County Council have advised my Department that they expect the outstanding legal matters to be completed shortly thereby allowing for the onward disposal of the site to my Department. Once the site has been acquired and transferred to my Department, 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

Joan Burton

Question:

118 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the funds that have been set aside in the Estimates for 2011 for the construction of schools (details supplied); the timeline for the delivery of these schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47997/10]

The two schools to which the Deputy refers, were announced for the appointment of design teams in February 2010. The first of these projects is currently at an advanced stage of the tender process, the second is in architectural planning. The notification of decision to grant permission for the first school issued on 6th December 2010 and is currently being reviewed by my Department.

School Staffing

Noel Ahern

Question:

119 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will examine a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48015/10]

The issues raised by the Deputy primarily related to the recent budget. Budget 2011 is a budget that recognises the critical role of the education and skills sector to Ireland's future prospects. While difficult choices had to be made to identify savings across my Department's remit, the Government has gone as far as it could to protect front line services in 2011.

The Deputy also raised issues about the amendment to section 30 of the Teaching Council Act. Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act 2001, which has not yet been commenced, provides that only registered teachers can be remunerated out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas. While it is still the aim of the Minister that all teachers in schools be registered with the Council (and therefore fully qualified), it is apparent that to commence Section 30 as it stands could have a serious negative impact for a small number of schools where, in specific circumstances, unqualified personnel are required in the short term. Section 12 of the Education (Amendment) Bill 2010 is necessary for the amendment of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act to allow for the employment, only in certain exceptional and limited circumstances, of persons who are not registered teachers under the Act.

It is the policy of my Department that only qualified personnel should be employed by schools. Circular 40/2010, which issued earlier this year, directs schools to ensure that teachers proposed for appointment to publicly paid teaching posts are registered with the Teaching Council and have qualifications appropriate to the sector and suitable to the post for which they are proposed. In addition, my Department recently issued a reminder to school authorities calling on schools to give priority to newly or recently qualified teachers when making appointments for periods of substitution and other temporary appointments.

Disadvantaged Status

Noel Ahern

Question:

120 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills if she will clarify the current staffing complement and the complement for the next school year for a school (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48018/10]

The school to which the Deputy refers qualifies for a range of staffing supports under Band 1 of DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the action plan for educational inclusion, which includes reduced pupil teacher ratio in primary schools in urban areas with most disadvantage, an allocation of administrative principal on lower figures than generally apply in primary schools in urban areas and access to Home School Community Liaison Service. In the context of The National Recovery Plan, the Government has taken a decision to provide educational teaching supports to Traveller students on the same basis as other students in schools. Traveller students who require additional tuition will receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools. All schools will be advised to select students for learning support on the basis of priority of need.

The impact at individual school level will be determined as part of the allocation process for 2011/12 school year and schools will be notified in the normal manner.

Third Level Fees

Noel Ahern

Question:

121 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding tax relief on third level fees; if tax relief is available for all universities including private; if same can be claimed by the parents and if there are any conditions regarding age, living at home and so on; if the rate is 20% or 41%; if it can be claimed by others for example brothers or sisters if parents were not in tax net; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48020/10]

Section 473A of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 provides for tax relief, at the standard rate of tax, for tuition fees paid in respect of approved full/part-time courses in both private and publicly funded third level colleges and universities in the State and any other EU Member State. This relief also extends to approved post-graduate courses in non- EU member states.

Further details and conditions in relation to this tax relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.

FÁS Training Programmes

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

122 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of public sector bodies who have applied for and been approved for the FÁS work placement scheme to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48023/10]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

123 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of private employers who have applied for and been approved for the FÁS work placement scheme in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48024/10]

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

124 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of applicants who have been placed and commenced work under the FÁS work placement programme; the location of these placements on a county basis; the FÁS areas at which work placements need to be filled in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48025/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 to 124, inclusive, together.

As of 15th December 2010 the number of public sector bodies who have applied for and have been approved to participate in the Work Placement Programme is 206.The number of private employers who have applied for and been approved to participate in the Work Placement Programme in 2009 is 559. In addition, the number of private employers who have applied for and been approved to participate in the programme to 15 December 2010 to 3,772. FÁS does not collect data on a county basis but rather on its regional structure.

The number of applicants who have been placed and commenced work under the Work Placement Programme to 15 December 2010 is 2,574 (see table below).

It should be noted that in Budget 2011 the Government announced that the number of places on the Work Placement Programme will be increased from 2,000 to 7,500 places. 5,000 of the additional places will be in the public sector. The remaining 500 additional places are for graduates in the private sector. All public sector bodies will be encouraged to actively participate in the programme.

The location of these placements by region:

FÁS Region

Areas/Counties

Number of Placements Commenced

Dublin Central

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

472

Dublin North

Baldoyle, Balbriggan, Swords, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Finglas

176

Dublin South

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

274

Midlands

Kildare, Laois, Longford, Offal, Westmeath

237

Mid West

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

192

North East

Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan

214

North West

Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo

98

South East

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

287

South West

Cork, Kerry

360

West

Galway, Mayo, Roscommon

264

Total

2,574

The FÁS areas at which work placements need to be filled in tabular form:

FÁS Region

Areas/Counties

Number Of Available Placements

Dublin Central

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

197

Dublin North

Baldoyle, Balbriggan, Swords, Blanchardstown, Coolock, Finglas

105

Dublin South

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

142

Midlands

Kildare, Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath

114

Mid West

Clare, Limerick, Tipperary

73

North East

Cavan, Louth, Meath, Monaghan

87

North West

Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo

73

South East

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

223

South West

Cork, Kerry

144

West

Galway, Mayo, Roscommon

101

Total

1,259

Schools Building Projects

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

125 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills when the second level Vocational Education Committee school planned for Clonburris, Lucan will be built; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48026/10]

I recently announced that I would be exploring new methodologies for the delivery of major school building projects. As part of this process, I announced that some VECs would be tasked with the procurement and delivery of major school building projects.

I am pleased to confirm to the Deputy that County Dublin VEC has been asked to proceed with the procurement and delivery of a new second level school building project planned for Clonburris in Lucan, Co. Dublin, which is to be under the patronage of the VEC in partnership with Educate Together.

As my decision was only recently announced, the Deputy will appreciate that plans for the new school are at an early stage and it is not possible to be specific about the timeframe for delivery of the project at this time.

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

126 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the purchase of land at St. Edmundsbury to build a national school to accommodate a school (details supplied) including the price of the land; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48027/10]

As part of the contract exchange between the OPW and the vendor, an outline planning application for the above school was submitted to South Dublin County Council by the OPW. Due to commercial sensitivities it is not the Department's policy to provide details of the purchase cost of sites acquired in 2010 as this information could prejudice ongoing negotiations for school sites.

Once the 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.

Higher Education Grants

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

127 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the steps she will take to ensure that maintenance grants are made available to third level students efficiently and in a timely manner; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48028/10]

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 on-line 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.

My Department is in constant contact with grant awarding authorities to monitor the situation in relation to the processing and payment of student grants. 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.

Schools Building Projects

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

128 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the new school buildings planned to commence in Dublin Mid-West constituency in 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48029/10]

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

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.

I regret to inform the Deputy that information on school building projects is not available by constituency. However, for the Deputy's convenience, a list of projects for County Dublin is attached for ease of reference.

County

Roll No.

School

Band Rating

Project Description

Status

Dublin

19878E

Ballycragh NS, Ballycragh, Firhouse, Tallaght, Dublin 24

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

76062B

Castleknock Community College, Carpenterstown Road, Castleknock, Dublin 15

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

18451J

Scoil Lorcain, Eaton Square, Monkstown

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

19474D

St. Colmcille’s Junior NS, Knocklyon, Templeogue (Linked to 19742C)

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

19742C

St. Colmcille’s Junior NS, Knocklyon, Templeogue (Linked to 19474D)

2.1

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

81001L

Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock

2.2

New School

Progressing to Tender

Dublin

20303G

Lucan East ETNS, Clonburris

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

17936F

Scoil Eoin Baisde Snr, Clontarf (see also 19006Q)

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

19006Q

Scoil Eoin Baisde B Sois, Clontarf (see also 17936F)

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

60450U

Colaiste Mhuire, CID Campus, Cabra, Dublin 7

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

00697S

St. Brigid’s NS, Castleknock

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

15315J

St George’s NS, Naul Rd. Balbriggan

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20161M

Donabate/Portrane ETNS

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20201V

Tyrrelstown ETNS

1.1

New School

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20252P

Gaelscoil Bhaile Brigín, Balbriggan (Linked to 20282B)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20282B

Bracken ETNS, Balbriggan (linked to 20252P)

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

20095C

Gaelscoil Bhrian Boroimhe, Swords, Co Dublin

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin

20145O

Swords Educate Together NS, Applewood, Swords, Co Dublin

1.1

New school

In Construction

Dublin

18324C

Scoil Bride C, Palmerstown

2.3

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

19374W

Garran Mhuire, Goatstown, Dublin 14

2.2

Extension/refurbishment

Tender Stage — Progressing to Construction

Dublin

16964F

Scoil Mhuire Ogh 1, Loreto College, Crumlin Rd, Dublin 12

2.5

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

20139T

Inchicore NS, Sarsfield Road, Dublin 10

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

19898K

Gaelscoil an Duinnigh, Feltrim, Swords

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin

60010P

Loreto Secondary School, Balbriggan

1.1

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

76098W

Pobail Scoil Setanta, Phibblestown (see also 20247W)

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin

60860Q

Our Lady’s School, Templeogue Road, Terenure, Dublin 6W

2.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

70030E

Senior College, Dun Laoghaire

1.4

Extension/refurbishment

In Construction

Dublin

76104O

Donabate Community College

1.1

New School

In Construction

Dublin

20202A

Balbriggan ET

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin

20231H

St. Benedicts Ongar NS, Littlepace

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin

20247W

Scoil Ghráinne Community National School , Phibblestown (see also 76098W)

1.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Dublin

18646B

Springdale NS, Lough Derg Rd., Raheny

2.1

New School

Practical Completion 2010

Employment Support Services

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

129 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills the number of places that have been made available to date on labour market activation courses; the number that have been filled on a county basis, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48030/10]

As part of Budget 2010, the Government announced the creation of a €20 million Labour Market Activation Fund, intended to deliver 3,500 places on training and education programmes for the unemployed. Its objective was to stimulate innovation in the provision of training and activation measures for jobseekers seeking to up-skill and get back into work. The Fund is being targeted to specific priority groups among the unemployed: the low skilled, and those formerly employed in declining sectors — construction, retail and manufacturing sectors, with particular emphasis on the under 35's and the long-term unemployed.

On 5th August, an additional allocation of €12 million, financed in part by savings in proposed European Globalisation Fund expenditure, was made available by the Department of Education and Skills, enabling funding to be offered to 33 additional projects. This brought total funding to €32 million for 59 projects proposing to provide up to 12,000 education and training places for the unemployed. Twenty-six projects providing for over 6,300 education and training places, in all geographical regions, benefited from the initial fund of €20 million.

In the main, Phase 1 projects are meeting their targets. As of end-November some 5,408 or 87% of Phase 1 places were already filled, with further courses coming on stream in January 2011. On the basis of current information, it appears that the targets for places to be provided as set out in tenders by projects will be met.

Thirty-three projects providing for some 5,400 places in all geographic regions benefited from the second tranche of funding allocated in August. Many of the phase 2 projects are still in the process of recruiting participants and further courses are coming on stream January 2011. In line with contractual arrangements Phase 2 projects are required to submit a progress report on implementation of the project early in 2011. It is therefore not possible yet to state the total number of beneficiaries from the Fund. However figures submitted to date by programme provider indicate that over 60% of place have already been filled.

It has not been possible to provide numbers on a county by county basis. However this data is been collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy in due course.

Question No. 130 answered with Question No. 19.

Environmental Funds

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

131 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if an environmental clean energy fund has been established by the banks covered under the State guarantee; the funding each institution has provided to the fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47953/10]

There was no condition under the Covered Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme or the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme requiring the banks covered under State guarantees in relation to environmental funds. As part of the agreement on the 2009 recapitalisation of Bank of Ireland and AIB, both banks committed to establish a €100 million fund to support environment friendly investment and innovations in clean energy. These funds have been established and both banks have been reporting on disbursements from them on a quarterly basis. This information is commercially sensitive.

More recently, in the context of NAMA and the associated recapitalisations, both banks have agreed to set up a further fund of up to €100 million for Environmental, Clean Energy and Innovation projects. This is in addition to the €100 million provided under the 2009 recapitalisation. It is envisaged that these funds will come on-stream when the initial funds are exhausted.

Tax Code

John Deasy

Question:

132 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the number of companies in Waterford city and county approved for accelerated capital allowance in 2009 and 2010; the amount of funding involved in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47689/10]

It is not clear if the Deputy has in mind a particular type of capital allowances or all capital allowances in general. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the latest available data in relation to capital allowances claimed by companies is for the tax year 2008. Corporation tax returns for 2008 show total capital allowance claims of approximately €118 million by some 1,589 companies in Waterford city and county. A breakdown of these claims to identify claims for accelerated allowances is not available.

It should be noted that some of the claims may not have been fully used in the tax year due to insufficient profits being available to absorb all of the relief.

No doubt the Deputy is aware of the scheme of accelerated capital allowances for expenditure on new specified energy-efficient equipment. The scheme came into operation in late 2008 for companies and data on the use of the scheme was requested from companies in the Corporate Tax return (CT1) for the first time in respect of accounting periods ending in 2009. Therefore, the first information in relation to this scheme should be available in 2011 when all of the returns for the tax year 2009 have been received and processed.

The figures for capital allowance claims set out above were given 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".

Companies are associated on the tax record with the county address of the head-office or branch with which contact is established for tax purposes, which may be different to the city or county addresses of other branches. The distribution of corporate tax between regions can also vary from year to year as companies relocate.

John Deasy

Question:

133 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the total number of sole traders, trusts and partnerships registered 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. [47690/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the number of tax registrations for sole traders, trusts and partnerships for Waterford City and County in past 5 years and to date in 2010 are given in the table below:

Total to Date

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010 to date

Sole Traders (Male)

5,098

1,067

1,042

1,094

822

598

475

Sole Traders (Female)

2,225

430

467

427

369

319

213

Total

7,323

1,497

1,509

1,521

1,191

917

688

Partnerships

701

154

169

149

116

71

42

Trusts

71

20

21

8

13

8

1

John Deasy

Question:

134 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the total number of employers registered for PAYE/PRSI 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. [47691/10]

Unfortunately, it was not possible to collate the information required for this answer in the time allowed. I will provide the Deputy with the answer in writing shortly.

Pension Provisions

Michael McGrath

Question:

135 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will respond to an issue raised in correspondence (details supplied) regarding budget proposals. [47706/10]

The issue raised is the payment from public service pension schemes of transfer amounts to beneficiaries of Pension Adjustment Orders (PAOs) granted under the Family Law Acts. The Family Law Acts are the responsibility of the Minister for Justice and Law Reform and any regulations made under those Acts are the responsibility of the Minister for Social Protection. The Acts provide that, in certain prescribed circumstances, payment under the orders must be made in the form of transfer amounts calculated on an actuarial basis. Civil and public service schemes are subject to the legislation in the same way as are pension schemes in the private sector and must pay transfer amounts when obliged to do so. A transfer amount will reflect the pension, which may be reduced as appropriate, at that time.

Tax Code

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

136 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance if it is possible to apply the new stamp duty measures or a reduced stamp duty retrospectively to the few persons who purchased their homes in the month prior to the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47715/10]

The Stamp Duty reforms 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, 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. I have no plans to make the changes suggested by the Deputy. The overall transaction costs for property transfers are much lower this year than in recent years because of the decline in property values.

John Perry

Question:

137 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Finance if he will reverse the decision to make full medical card holders liable for the new universal social charge in view of the extreme financial hardship many such holders are already experiencing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47719/10]

The position is that having an entitlement to a medical card will not exempt an individual from the Universal Social Charge (USC). However, it should be noted that payments from the Department of Social Protection such as job seeker's benefit, job seeker's allowance and the contributory and non-contributory State pension will be exempt from the USC. Therefore, the Universal Social Charge will apply to the income or portion of the income of a medical card holder to the extent that it is not a payment from the Department of Social Protection. Furthermore, the legislation provides that where an individual's total annual income which is chargeable to the USC, is below €4,004 in a year of assessment, the USC would not apply. In addition, those who are over 70, will not be liable to the higher rate of 7%.

I am satisfied that these concessions protect those on low incomes and those in receipt of payments from the Department of Social Protection.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

138 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the artists tax exemption in some form to performing musicians and actors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47733/10]

Section 195 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides an exemption from tax for the profits or gains arising to a person from the publication, production or sale of an original and creative work which has artistic or cultural merit in any of the five categories set out in the legislation, namely, a book or other writing; a play; a musical composition; a painting or other like picture; or a sculpture. The legislation does not include performing musicians and actors, per se. However, performers who write their own compositions could avail of the exemption in respect of the income from such compositions. Similarly, actors that write their own plays can avail of the exemption.

Under the legislation, the Revenue Commissioners are required to make a determination as to whether or not a work has artistic or cultural merit before the exemption can be awarded. It is difficult to see how the performance, by musicians and actors, of the artistic and cultural creations of others could merit the provision of a tax exemption in its own right.

Ministerial Appointments

Michael Ring

Question:

139 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance the Government appointments made to State boards, State bodies, public bodies, State agencies, State enterprises, judicial positions and all State positions from 1 June 2010 to date in 2010 in tabular form [47790/10]

In the period in question the following government appointments were made to bodies under the aegis of my Department:

Name of Body

Name of Appointee

Date appointed

The Commission of investigation into the Banking Sector

Mr Peter Nyberg

08th July 2010

Conciliation and Arbitration Board for the Civil Service

Mr Turlough O’Donnell

All appointed 21 July 2010

Mr Tom Wall

Mr Gerard Barry

Mr Kieran McGovern (Adjudicator)

Semi-State Bodies

Enda Kenny

Question:

140 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the total amount of dividends in euro received by the Exchequer from the ESB, Bord na Móna, Bord Gáis, Coillte and Eirgrid on an annual basis from 2000 to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47804/10]

The information sought by the Deputy is set out in the table.

Year

ESB

Bord na Móna

Bord Gáis

Coillte

Eirgrid

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

2000

14.0

2001

50.6

2002

19.0

21.7

2003

18.7

9.8

2004

63.8

9.7

2005

73.5

10.1

2006

68.8

3.9

9.1

2007

63.0

8.0

8.4

2008

123.0

12.0

27.9

2.6

2009

78.0

5.0

38.0

2010 (to date)

90.0

3.3

30.0

Financial Support Programme

Leo Varadkar

Question:

141 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will clarify the issues around the interest rate that will be paid by Ireland as part of the International Monetary Fund-EU loan facility; the different rates for the IMF, European Financial Stability Fund, European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism and bi-lateral loans from the UK, Denmark and Sweden; if money will be drawn down from different funds at different times and at different rates or will it all be aggregated; his views on claims in a magazine (details supplied) that Ireland will have to pay interest on money even before it is drawn down; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47855/10]

The Government agreed on 28 November 2010 to the provision of a €85 billion financial support programme for Ireland in the context of a joint EU-IMF Programme. The State's contribution to the programme will be €17.5 billion while the external support will amount to €67.5 billion. The external assistance being provided is as follows:

€22.5 billion from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM)

€22.5 billion from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and bilateral loans from the UK, Sweden and Denmark.

€22.5 billion from the IMF.

The average interest rate on the €67.5 billion available to be drawn from these three external sources under the EU-IMF programme is 5.82 per cent on the basis of market rates at the time of the agreement. The actual cost will depend on the prevailing market rates at the time of each drawdown. The average life of the borrowings, which will involve a combination of longer and shorter dated maturities, under each of these sources is 7.5 years and the interest rates applying to borrowings from each are set out below based on market rates at the time of the agreement.

EFSM

The interest rate on the EFSM loan will be 5.7% which is comparable to IMF rates. Under Council Regulation (EC) No. 407/2010 of 10 May 2010 the rate is made up of the cost of borrowing by the European Commission and a margin which is charged to the Member State concerned. The margin which has been agreed for the EFSM loan to Ireland is 2.925% within the overall interest rate of 5.7%.

EFSF

The interest rate on the EFSF loan is 6.05%. The EFSF borrows on the international capital markets on the strength of guarantees provided by Euro area countries (excluding Ireland and Greece). In order to obtain the top AAA rating from the credit rating agencies it was necessary for the EFSF to put in place certain enhancements in the form of collateral and the cost of these arrangements are reflected in the interest rate charged by EFSF on its lending.

IMF

The interest rate on the IMF loan is 5.7%. IMF lending is denominated in the Fund's unit of account, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The SDR comprises a basket of four currencies, Euro, Sterling, the US Dollar and Japanese Yen. The IMF's lending rate is based on the three month floating interest rates for the currencies in the basket. The interest cost on the IMF loans is expressed as the equivalent rate when the funds are fully swapped into fixed rate Euro of 7.5 years duration. This expresses the interest rate in terms which can be compared with the cost of borrowing from EU sources.

UK bilateral loan

The interest rate on the UK loan is 5.9%. The amount lent to Ireland by the UK will be the sterling equivalent of €3.8bn. The interest rate is based on a 7.5 year period. The rate on each tranche will be a fixed rate, set by adding a fixed margin to the sterling 7.5 year swap rate at the time of disbursement. The interest charge is aligned with international rates and is between the EFSM and EFSF rates.

Bilateral loans from Sweden and Denmark

Discussions have not yet commenced on the bilateral loans with Sweden and Denmark. It is anticipated that loans will be disbursed in tandem from the EU and IMF. Disbursements of the UK loan which is backloaded will commence following the IMF third review of Ireland's Memorandum of Understanding in September 2011.

It is important to note that the (blended) interest rate of 5.8% on these loans is at a far lower cost than would be available to Ireland in the financial markets. It is designed to avoid overburdening the Member State concerned or acting as an impediment to economic growth while at the same time providing an incentive to return to the markets. At present the yield on Irish government bonds is over 8% in the secondary markets as compared to the rate of 5.8% at which we will be borrowing under the EU-IMF Programme. We will not be obliged to drawdown any of these loans if there is an opportunity to return to the markets at sustainable rates or we can access funds at lower cost elsewhere.

There have been suggestions made that Ireland is being charged an excessive rate of interest compared to that available to Greece under the Euro Area Loan Facility. This is not correct. The loan facility to Greece is based on three-year loans — those to Ireland on 7.5 years. Moreover, as has widely been reported, the Greek authorities have sought to have their borrowing realigned on similar terms to Ireland's.

The conditionality attached to drawdown is provided for in the relevant loan agreements which will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. It is not correct to suggest that Ireland will have to pay interest on money before it is drawn down. I might explain, however, that under the terms of the EFSF there is provision for the retention of a loan specific cash buffer in order to underpin the AAA rating attached to EFSF borrowings and there are as normal in such circumstances some transactions costs in this connection, details of which will be set out in the EFSF Loan Facility Agreement.

Budget Statement

Róisín Shortall

Question:

142 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the reason the budget night information leaflet from the Department of Finance contained political statements as opposed to budget facts as has been the standard practice for many years; when such a fact sheet will be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47863/10]

The Budget process is the key mechanism through which Government fiscal policy is determined and presented each year. Generally, therefore, the annual Budget booklet is a necessarily long and very detailed publication.

In order to provide Deputies and others with the key information with regard to the main budgetary aggregates and the taxation and expenditure policy measures being introduced, in a quick and easily accessible format, the practice has developed whereby a Budget Summary Leaflet is prepared as part of the Budget documentation.

The contents of this leaflet are not formally prescribed but generally the information contained in it is based on the contents of the Financial Statement of the Minister for Finance.

The Budget 2011 Summary Leaflet contains a significant amount of factual information on the measures introduced in Budget 2011, including in the areas of taxation, public spending and the labour market. It also sets the context in which Budget 2011 is being introduced, namely the requirement for a significant fiscal adjustment to be implemented in order to continue with the process of restoring sustainability to the public finances and the recently announced joint IMF/EU programme of financial assistance. I deemed this to be appropriate in the context of the very significant complexities of the current economic situation.

Public Interest Directors

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

143 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Finance the Irish banks that have public interest directors on their boards; in the case of each director when he or she was appointed; the remuneration of each such director; the duties each director was required to carry out in the public interests; the term of office of each such Director; and to whom do the public interests Directors report [47920/10]

The Deputy will be aware that public interest directors though nominated by me have been appointed by the boards of the various covered institutions. Details of individual public interest directors including remuneration are published in the annual reports. The general rule is that directors, including non-executive directors, owe their duties to the company. The interests of the company are paramount. Public Interest Directors bring in addition to other experiences, a civic mindedness and a sense of what is in the public interest and this experience will inform their sense of what is in the covered institutions' interests. To a great extent the public interest and the covered institutions' interests are likely to coincide. A solvent, liquid, low-risk, prudentially run, profitable company which is a going-concern and which has the confidence of its stakeholders is as much in the public interest as it is in the interests of the institutions.

Flood Relief

Denis Naughten

Question:

144 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance the total allocation of funding made under the European Solidarity Fund for the flooding of November 2009; the conditions attached to these funds; the plans for the dispersal of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47927/10]

My Department made an application to the EU Commission for funding under the EU Solidarity Fund. A regional application was made as the estimate of the extent of the damage does not meet the Solidarity Fund's threshold of 0.6% of GNI or 935.5m euro for a national disaster. 111.5m euro of the 276.9m euro costs to the State were eligible for assistance under the EU Solidarity Fund criteria or 21.4% of total direct costs. This included damage to roads, infrastructure, the provision of temporary accommodation and the costs incurred by the rescue services. The EU Solidarity Fund does not fund full reconstruction nor does it fund prevention works. It funds emergency operations to allow a rapid return to normal living conditions.

The Commission informed the Department on 14th September 2010 that it is proposing financial aid amounting to 13.02m euro in response to Ireland's application to the EU Solidarity Fund. This amount has been confirmed by the European Parliament and the European Council by way of an amending budget procedure.

The funds received will be used to recoup in part the significant expenditure incurred by the State in responding to the emergency. As soon as the budget appropriations become available, consultation will begin with the relevant Departments and local authorities to determine how the money will be recouped to them.

Pension Provisions

Róisín Shortall

Question:

145 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the basis on which he is estimating that €10 million can be raised in 2011 and €20 million in a full year through the lowering of the standard fund threshold in relation to pension funds and the reason such estimates were not provided in reply to recent parliamentary questions. [47931/10]

Róisín Shortall

Question:

146 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance the basis on which he is estimating that €5 million can be raised in 2011 through the reduction of the overall life time limit on tax free lump sums to €200,000; and the reason such estimates were not provided in reply to recent parliamentary questions. [47932/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 146 together.

In my response to previous questions from the Deputy in these matters in October last, I explained that there is currently no underlying data available to my Department or to the Revenue Commissioners on which to base reliable estimates of the savings across the various scenarios outlined by the Deputy. Information on the numbers and values of individual pension funds or benefits are not generally required to be supplied to the Revenue Commissioners by the administrators of pension schemes and personal pension arrangements. Likewise, information on all retirement lump sum payments is not required to be provided by pension administrators.

I indicated that my Department had approached the pensions industry with a view to obtaining data in these areas on which to base a response to the Deputy. To date, no data has been provided in response to that request.

In the meantime, in Budget 2011, I reduced the Standard Fund Threshold (SFT) by over 50% with transitional arrangements for those with relevant pension rights above the reduced threshold on Budget Day. In addition, I also changed the tax arrangements applying to retirement lump sums so that, among other things, amounts of retirement lump sums in excess of €200,000 and below 25% of the reduced SFT will be taxed at the standard rate of income tax.

For the reasons already outlined, the estimated yields from these measures are quite conservative, based as they are on incomplete data and using very broad assumptions.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

147 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance if the universal social charge will be applied to a single person in receipt of a State pension with an occupational pension of less than €4,004 that is, where their gross income is greater than €4,004 but where the gross income less the value of the State pension is less than the €4,004 threshold [47936/10]

The position is that payments from the Department of Social Protection such as the contributory and non-contributory State pension will be exempted from the Universal Social Charge and are not included in an individual's overall income for the purpose of the Universal Social Charge (USC). The legislation also provides that where an individual's total annual income which is chargeable to the USC is below €4,004 in the year of assessment, the USC will not apply.

Therefore, based on the information provided by the Deputy, a single person with an occupational pension of less than €4,004 per annum will not be subject to the USC.

Public Service Agreement

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

148 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the action taken to create a unified public service labour market; the details of the review to revise contractual and other arrangements as specified in the public service agreement 2010-14; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47958/10]

In 2008 the OECD Review of the Irish Public Service identified the need to move towards a more integrated Public Service. This would involve networked approaches to working with increased flexibility for workers. The report of the Task Force on the Public Service, Transforming Public Services, endorsed the need for a more integrated Public Service and a move to a unified labour market as a way of heightening the service-wide identity of Public Servants. This would include removing barriers to movement between different sectors and organisation in the Public Service as a means of promoting deeper collaboration, and putting in place the means to redeploy employees across existing boundaries to areas of greatest priority.

The Croke Park Agreement provides that, to the greatest extent possible, there will be standardised terms and conditions of employment across the Public Service with the focus initially within sectors. The redeployment arrangements in the Croke Park Agreement will be used to ensure flexibility in the deployment of staff in light of the reduced numbers. The sectoral Action Plans outline the initial programme of changes proposed by management to achieve the reforms, efficiencies and savings needed in each sector, including where appropriate, standardisation of non-pay conditions. I expect Public Service managements to pursue vigorously the changes proposed for their sectors.

Transforming Public Services also recommended the establishment of a Senior Public Service aimed at developing and managing Public Service leaders and reinforcing Public Service values and a system-wide identity. The Government has decided to proceed with this recommendation, with the Senior Public Service being established initially in the Civil Service before being extended to the wider Public Service.

In Budget 2010 I announced the introduction of a new single pension scheme for new entrants to the Public Service in 2011. Relevant legislation is in the course of preparation. The new scheme will be based on a career-average system and later pension age and will reduce longer-term pension costs significantly.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

149 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the performance management systems implemented in his Department as specified in the public service agreement 2010-14; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47966/10]

The Performance Management System in operation in my Department is the Performance Management Development System (PMDS) introduced throughout the Civil Service on foot of General Council Report 1452. The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 contains a commitment ‘to introduce significantly improved performance management across all Public Service areas, and following the current review, the Performance Management and Development System will be strengthened with promotion and incremental progression linked in all cases to performance and the implementation of appropriate systems to address under-performance, including, where appropriate, training or, where necessary, through disciplinary procedures".

In the civil service work is well under way on achieving this goal. The 2010 Evaluation of PMDS has been completed. Negotiations with the Unions have commenced in relation to how the PMDS can be strengthened.

Performance management in the civil service is already linked to promotion and to incremental progression and the systems in place to address underperformance are now being assessed.

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

150 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff working within his Department who are employed on a short-term, temporary or consultative basis in the years 2009 and 2010; the costs of payment to such staff in each of those years; the number of any such staff who have been previously employed in the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47980/10]

During 2009, 2 people were employed on a short-term, temporary or consultancy basis by my Department. The annualised salary costs for 2009 was €290,203. During 2010, 7 people (including those employed in 2009) were employed on a short-term, temporary or consultancy basis by my Department. The annualised salary costs for 2010 was €739,474. The numbers above do not include staff on temporary secondment from other Civil Service Departments or Offices. 3 of those employed are on secondment from other areas of the public service.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

151 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the EU Commission’s autumn economic forecasts in so far as they concern Ireland; his views on whether the implication is that the EU Commission does not have confidence in Ireland meeting its fiscal deficit target of below 3% by 2014; his further views on whether the implication of the debt-to-GDP forecasts contained therein imply that the EU Commission expects that the cost of recapitalising the Irish banking system is likely to be some €10 billion higher than previously acknowledged, even before the revised PCAR analysis is carried out; his views on whether this scenario is deeply worrying; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47990/10]

The EU Commission's Autumn Forecasts project real GDP growth of 0.9% for 2011 and 1.9% for 2012 after an anticipated marginal decline of 0.2% for 2010. My Department's forecasts are 1.7% for 2011 and 3.2% for 2012 after a marginal increase of 0.3% for 2010. Reuters also publish a monthly survey of private sector economic forecasts (typically 10 economists surveyed). The results are known as the Reuters consensus forecast. The consensus forecast for end-November was published in early December. For next year the consensus is for GDP growth of 1.6% (DoF is 1.7%). The GNP projection for next year is 1.0% (DoF is also 1.0%). The headline in the Reuters circular is "Economists views ... closer to that of the Irish government than the more pessimistic EU Commission". Economic forecasts are, by their very nature, highly uncertain — forecasting is not an exact science especially at the current juncture.

The differences between the Department and the EU Commission mainly relate to private consumption — the Department is taking the view that the budgetary consolidation measures will help restore confidence and lead to some decline in the rate of savings by households.

In terms of the debt-to-GDP ratio, the Commission is forecasting a debt-to-GDP ratio of 114% by 2012 whereas my Department anticipates a debt-to-GDP ratio of 102% by 2012. Some of the difference is explained by the Commission's lower economic growth forecasts and hence its higher projected deficits in the medium term. However, some of the differences relate to the assumptions that the Commission has made in relation to banking sector recapitalisation needs.

If developments in the Irish economy were to evolve in line with the Commission's forecasts, it would take Ireland until 2015 to reach a deficit to GDP ratio of 3%. The Ecofin Ministers have granted Ireland an extra year to achieve a deficit of less than 3% of GDP in the event that it is required. The budgetary plans, as set out in Budget 2011 and the National Recovery Plan are based on achieving a deficit of less than 3% of GDP by 2014 and these plans are realistic in the current circumstances.

The joint EU-IMF programme of financial assistance for Ireland provides for up to €35 billion to be made available to support the banking system with €10 billion available for immediate recapitalisation and the remaining €25 billion provided on a contingency basis.

The budgetary forecasts contained in Budget 2011 assume that the €10 billion for immediate recapitalisation comes from the State's own resources, through the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) and other domestic cash resources, and as such does not add further to General Government Gross debt.

Banks Recapitalisation

Joan Burton

Question:

152 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on reports attributed to the Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank recently to the effect that the further costs of recapitalising the Irish banking sector will run to more than the €35 billion currently envisaged as the maximum under the terms of the International Monetary Fund — EU programme of external assistance; if he will provide a revised estimate of the likely total cost of recapitalising the Irish banking sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47991/10]

The Deputy will be aware that I have already stated that I do not agree with the comments made by the Chairman of Anglo. The Central Bank set out its estimates of the banks' capital requirements following the results of the PCAR exercise on 30 September. The PCAR takes account of all elements of the banks' loan books, including the mortgage loan books. It has taken a realistic view of the likely losses to mortgage lenders. Indeed, the loss rates that have been used in both the base and stress case scenarios are in excess of the latest official figures released by the Central Bank.

Furthermore, the detailed review undertaken by the external authorities of the financial status of the Irish banks and, in particular, of the Central Bank's PCAR exercise was an important part of the technical discussions underpinning the negotiated package of assistance with the IMF and our European partners. The Governor of the Central Bank recently confirmed that the external experts had found no fault with the methodology used for the PCAR stress test earlier this year.

As part of the agreed assistance package, the Government has committed that the minimum core tier 1 capital ratios for AIB, Bank of Ireland, ILP and EBS Building Society will be increased from 8% to 10.5%. This decision is consistent with recent international trends for banks to hold higher levels of higher quality capital, reflecting both the new Basel III standards and market expectations. As an immediate step towards enhancing confidence in the sector, the Central Bank is instructing these institutions to increase their capital levels so that they meet a 12% core tier 1 ratio (after taking account of expected future losses out to December 2012).

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Question:

153 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance in respect of bonuses paid by credit institutions covered by the eligible liabilities guarantee, if he will set out the tax arrangements; if income tax becomes payable on these bonuses in the year in which they were earned or the year in which they are paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47992/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that income tax is chargeable on employee bonuses in respect of the year in which those bonuses were earned, although PAYE tax is deducted in the year in which they are actually paid. Where the marginal income tax rate is the same for the year of payment and for the year the bonus was earned — for example, the rate has remained at 41% since 2007 — the tax deducted under PAYE will have discharged the correct liability. Employee bonus payments are charged to the Income Levy and the Health Levy, or the Universal Social Charge for 2011 onwards, for the year in which the payment is made, irrespective of the year in which the bonuses were earned.

Joan Burton

Question:

154 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance, in respect of bonuses paid by Allied Irish Bank, when he first became aware of the payment of sums of €54 million and €40 million in the years 2009 and 2010 respectively; when he became aware of these bonuses; if he sought to introduce a system for reducing or mitigating them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47993/10]

In July 2009, Allied Irish Banks (AIB) brought to the attention of my Department that certain legacy issues had arisen regarding pre-existing contractual payments arising from their 2008 Capital Markets bonus scheme. The 2009 Scheme was withdrawn. These issues related to overseas locations where legal action had been threatened or initiated by some AIB employees. AIB advised that awards due to Irish based staff under the same bonus scheme had been deferred. AIB, based on legal advice available to them, paid these and other similarly pre-existing contractual bonus commitments whilst continuing to defer the awards due to Irish based staff.

In April 2010, AIB informed my Department that legal action to obtain payment of awards outstanding to Irish based employees had been initiated. They indicated that the legal opinion they had procured stated that the bank had a legal obligation to make these payments. They further advised that the aggregate value of the awards was c€35.5m covering 1,460 employees with no senior executives involved.

The legal advice, I received at that time, was that there were no legal powers available to me based on the circumstances pertaining to stop AIB from fulfilling any legal commitment. In July 2010, AIB were advised that the matter of the payment of the awards to Irish based employees under the 2008 Scheme was a matter for the board of AIB to determine whether it had a legal obligation in relation to the awards.

The Deputy will be aware of the ensuing events which led to the High Court Order of 3 November 2010 in relation to a particular case and the subsequent controversy which ensued over the proposed payment of the remaining awards. The Deputy will also be aware that, following recent consultations, based on legal advice from the Attorney General that it was now possible in view of the changed circumstances of the bank since the bonuses were earned to stipulate that the provision of further State funding to AIB will be conditional, inter alia, on the non-payment of any bonuses.

Joan Burton

Question:

155 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance in respect of bonuses paid after September 2008 by credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee, the reason the obligations in respect of these bonuses was not either reviewed or made subject to emergency financial measures in the public interest in the form of a surtax or a de minimis rule whereby bonuses would be taxed at a minimum effective rate of circa 80%, or their abolition in view of the institutions’ reliance on State support and inability to meet financial commitments; if such options were examined by him or by any of the authorities advising him; if so, if he will publish this advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47994/10]

The position regarding the payment of bonuses to senior management and staff in the covered institutions since the publication of the CIROC Report in March 2009 is that the legal advice at the time was that pre-existing contracts had to be honoured and bonuses relating to such contracts should be paid. For details of the bonuses paid out by the covered institutions since September 2008 the Deputy should refer to my answer to PQ 47995. The Deputy will be aware that a breakdown of bonus amounts and staff levels show that many were for performance related payments to Junior Management, Professional/ Specialist and Clerical Grades. However, very substantial sums have also been paid to people at higher levels, including the €1ml paid to the CEO of INBS in November 2008.

Since the commencement of the Government Guarantee Scheme in September 2008 many of the covered institutions have become more dependent on State support for their funding. This additional reliance on Government intervention has changed the situation with regard to payment of any bonuses, and as a result I have taken action to introduce provision in the Credit Institutions (Stability) Bill 2010 which will stem the payment of bonuses for those banks receiving State support by way of capital investment by the Government. The question of a surtax is one which I will consider in the context of the forthcoming Finance Bill.

Joan Burton

Question:

156 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance in respect of bonuses paid after September 2008 by credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee, the number of staff at each of the institutions who have received bonuses for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; the sums of money that have been paid by each institution by way of bonuses in each of the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47995/10]

The Deputy will be aware that since the introduction of the Government Guarantee Scheme in September 2008 there have been a number of Government backed initiatives which impact on the operational environment and place specific restrictions and limitations on the covered institutions in relation to the payment of bonuses to their senior management and staff. I refer to the publication of the CIROC report and the subscription agreements for the recapitalisation of Bank of Ireland and AIB, the nationalisation of Anglo Irish Bank, and the later capital injections by Government in support of the EBS and INBS. I would point out to the Deputy that the covered institutions operate in an arms length capacity in relation to operational issues. It is a matter for the respective individual boards and senior management to determine and implement pay policy in their organisations subject to their relevant operating environment.

From enquiries made, I am informed by the respective institutions that the position regarding the issues raised by the Deputy in relation to their organisation is as laid out in the following appendix. I am still awaiting a reply from Bank of Ireland which I will forward on to the Deputy as soon as I receive it.

Year that bonuses were paid

Bank

No. of staff paid

Total amount of bonuses paid

After Sept 2008

BOI

AIB

681

€1.3m

Anglo Irish

1,594

€20,771,353

EBS

Nil

Nil

INBS

318

€1,448,000

IL&P

13

€11,834

2009

BOI

AIB

1,387

€19.3m

Anglo Irish

10

€396,603

EBS

35

€145,600

INBS

2

€12,300

IL&P

509

€745,680

2010

BOI

AIB

Nil

Nil

Anglo Irish

5

€273,787

EBS

69

€326,006

INBS

1

€9,000

IL&P

103

€46,891

Regarding AIB, of the €19.3m paid in 2009, €18.3m was paid to overseas staff. The remainder represents payments to 750 staff in areas such as contact centres. Anglo Irish Bank has ceased to award bonuses since 2009. Bonus payments reported in the table above refer to bonuses paid that were awarded prior to 2009. The payment amounts set out in the 2008 section of the above table are in respect of bonuses earned prior to that period. There were ten bonus awards paid during 2009. The breakdown was as follows: nine were contractual entitlements to a deferred portion of a bonus earned in previous years and one was a performance related bonus in respect of year 2008 but implemented for payment in 2009. There were five bonus awards paid during 2010. All of these awards were contractual entitlements to a deferred portion of a bonus earned in previous years. There were no performance related bonuses awarded during 2010.

No management or general bonuses have been paid in EBS Group since 2008 with the exception of two cases set out below which relate to a contractual remuneration structure in one case and a once off retention payment in the other case. In January 2009, as part of their normal contractual remuneration structure, 35 employees in staff grades in EBS' Direct Call Centre received bonuses averaging €4,160 per employee. In January 2010 the same category of 43 staff grade employees received an average bonus of €2,442. Exceptionally in January 2010 as part of a once off contractual retention scheme, 26 employees in the EBS Broker business subsidiary, Haven Mortgages Ltd., received lump sum retention payments averaging €8,500 per employee.

INBS advise that in November 2008, the former Chief Executive of the Society received a bonus of €1m from the Society. As set out in the INBS 2008 annual report and accounts, this comprised part of his overall remuneration of €2.313m in 2008 which also included €450,000 described as "other payments" in the report. The Society further advises that, apart from the payments to the former Chief Executive in 2008, payments totalling €378,000 were paid to 314 staff in December 2008 in line with similar payments made at Christmas in preceding years. This payment was not made in either 2009 or 2010 and has now been discontinued. In addition, performance related bonuses totalling €70,000 were paid to three staff in 2008. Two staff received payments totalling €12,300 in 2009, one of which was a contractual payment and the other an ex-gratia payment. One member of staff received a contractual payment of €9,000 in 2010, but which will no longer apply in the future.

The breakdown in the level of staff receiving bonuses in Irish Life and Permanent is as follows: Specialist / Professional and Clerical staff received bonuses in respect of the three years 2008, 2009 and 2010. Executive and Senior Management received bonuses in 2009 only and included with other staff levels in the table above. Junior Management received bonus payments for 2009 and 2010. The number of payments which is the number reported as number of staff paid in the table may differ from the actual number of staff paid, as some staff members may have received more than one payment in the year.

Departmental Properties

Joan Burton

Question:

157 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the action he has taken during 2010 to find an appropriate use for the old Allied Irish Banks branch building on Blanchardstown Main Street in Dublin 15; the cost of providing ongoing security, maintenance, insurance and other costs for this building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47999/10]

Planning permission has been obtained to convert the former Allied Irish Banks branch building in Blanchardstown for use as a Driving Test Centre and this is a development option when funding becomes available. In this regard this building is also being assessed as to its suitability for use on other State requirements.

Ongoing maintenance costs (electricity) are of the order of €4,750.00 per annum. There are no costs in 2010 associated with security. Insurance costs do not arise as the State carries its own insurance.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Question:

158 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance, in respect of the directors at each of the credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee, the number of directors in office since before the introduction of the bank guarantee; the name of these Directors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48000/10]

I would point out, to the Deputy that, contrary to public perception, a lot of changes at director level at the covered institutions have taken place. The Government has sought to bring certainty to the operation of the Irish financial system by making progressive changes at board level and implementing other measures such as changes in the manner that new director appointments are now made. It is not only a change of personnel that is required but a change of culture. The public interest aspect of decisions taken at board level of these institutions has to have a much greater prominence. Based on information supplied to me by the 6 covered institutions, 28 directors representing 38% of those who were in office pre the introduction of the Government Guarantee are still in situ. I do not propose to list the names of those directors. 46 cessations by directors from office (62% of aggregate board strength pre September 2010) have taken place since that time.

Tax Reliefs

Noel Ahern

Question:

159 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding tax relief on third level fees; if tax relief is available for all universities including private; if same can be claimed by the parents and if there are any conditions regarding age, living at home and so on; if the rate is 20% or 41%; and if it can be claimed by others, for example brothers or sisters, if parents were not in tax net. [48019/10]

Section 473A of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 provides income tax relief in respect of the cost of tuition fees paid on behalf of a student who is undertaking ‘an approved course' at ‘an approved college'. A list of the approved courses and approved colleges can be found on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie. The maximum limit on tuition fees for each course for the academic year 2010 / 2011 is €5,000 @ 20% (standard rate).

The tax relief is confined to tuition fees only and does not extend to items such as registration fees, administration fees, accommodation, etc. Tuition fees that are, or will be, met directly or indirectly by grants, scholarships, employer contribution or other means are to be deducted in arriving at the net fees qualifying for tax relief. The relief may be claimed at the end of the tax year or, for PAYE taxpayers, the relief may be claimed via the PAYE system during the tax year when the fees have been paid.

There is no age restriction or requirement to live at home attaching to the relief. For the tax year 2007 onwards, an individual can claim tax relief on fees paid as long as he/she has actually paid the qualifying fees. For example, a parent can claim the tax relief in respect of fees paid in respect of a course pursued by a son or daughter. Likewise, a brother or sister of a student can claim the tax relief provided that the brother or sister actually paid the fees. However, a brother or sister of a student cannot claim the tax relief if the fees are paid by their parents.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Noel Ahern

Question:

160 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the original amalgamation of the Dublin Savings Bank which had branches in Thomas Street and Abbey Street; if dormant accounts legislation existed at the date of the original amalgamation; if so, the amount that went to the dormant accounts fund; if the legislation came later, the amount passed over in initial implementation of the Act by the Dublin Savings Bank or overall parent company at the relevant time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48021/10]

The Dublin Savings Bank was merged into the Trustee Savings Bank in 1988 and now forms part of Permanent TSB. The merger preceded the Dormant Accounts legislation by more than a decade. The Dormant Accounts Act 2001 established the Dormant Accounts Fund. The Act provided for the first transfer of moneys to the Fund in respect of dormant accounts to be made not later than 30 April 2003. Permanent TSB transferred 17,397,639 euros to the Fund on 15th April 2003. Any person who held an account in the Dublin Savings Bank and has a dormant account query should, in the first instance, directly contact Permanent TSB.

Public Service Staff

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

161 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Finance the numbers employed in the public sector, by sector, at the end of 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48032/10]

Information on the numbers employed in the Public service, on a functional classification basis at end 2008, end 2009 and Quarter 3 2010 is presented in the following table.

Table 1*

2008

2009

2010

Qtr4

Qtr4

Qtr3

Civil Service

39,313

37,356

36,604

Defence Sector

11,265

10,736

10,397

Education Sector

94,663

92,984

93,253

Health Sector

111,025

109,753

108,801

Justice Sector

15,692

15,117

14,847

Local Authorities

35,008

32,044

31,211

NCSA

12,474

11,801

12,152

Total

319,440

309,791

307,265

*Note that the above figures are on a whole-time equivalent basis, and are subject to revisions reflecting methodological changes and updated information regarding numbers in particular sectors.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

162 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide the full estimate of the annual cost of each tax expenditure on the statute books; if he will itemise each of those that are to be withdrawn over the course of the national recovery plan; to set out the saving to the Exchequer in each of the next four years of these measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48033/10]

In relation to the first part of the Deputy's question the reply is provided at Annex 1 and sets out the most recent information available as advised by the Revenue Commissioners. The second part of the question relating to tax expenditures that are to be withdrawn over the course of the National Recovery Plan are as set out in Annex 2. The National Recovery Plan provided for a series of restrictions to and curtailments of entitlement to a wide range of reliefs. I am pleased to say that all the general tax expenditure measures highlighted in the Plan have either been abolished or otherwise restricted in Budget 2011. Indeed the Budget took measures beyond those in the Plan. A total of 14 reliefs are being abolished (5 on a phased basis), 10 are restricted with a further 6 measures taken to reduce costs in the pensions area. The yield from these combined measures will be of the order of €300 million in 2011 and will increase to around €1,500 million by 2014 (inclusive of additional planned measures).

Revenue is generated by economic activity, not by increased tax rates. High tax rates and a narrow base of economic activity may raise far less revenue than lower rates on a much wider base. Accordingly, the National Recovery Plan is concerned not just with the "quantity” of revenue to be raised but also with the “quality ” of the measures adopted and their ability to deliver sustainable structural reforms. At the end of this process we must have confidence that we have a revenue system that is fit-for-purpose.

For these reasons, there must be an emphasis on base broadening across the tax system.

We are increasing the numbers paying tax. An income tax system where more than 45% of tax units paid no income tax was not sustainable.

Tax expenditures and reliefs are being abolished or restricted: higher earners cannot shelter themselves from paying their fair share of tax.

By broadening the base at both ends of the income spectrum, the nominal rates of tax can be kept lower while the effective rate can be raised in a way that is fairer to all. This is an unprecedented broadening of the tax base to distribute the burden and ensure that those who can pay most will pay most.

ANNEX 1

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the total identifiable costs to the Exchequer of all income tax and corporation tax allowances, reliefs, exemptions and tax credits available are set out in the following tables for 2006, the most recent year for which the necessary detailed historical information is available. Relevant notes relating to items in the tables are also included.

Estimates of the prospective yield to the Exchequer in 2011 from the abolition or standard rating of each deduction and relief from incomes over the specified ranges are not available. These estimates could not be provided without undertaking an extensive and costly development of the Revenue tax model nor would they capture any behavioural change on the part of taxpayers as a consequence of such change or their economic effects. Estimates of the costs of tax deductions and reliefs for 2007 are currently being compiled.

Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2006 and 2005

The following table IT 6 shows the estimated cost in terms of revenue forgone of the personal tax credits and the main reliefs and deductions allowable under the income tax system. A number of reliefs which apply both to individuals and companies is also included and the cost shown in relation to these reliefs covers income tax and corporation tax.

An adjustment is included in the cost figures applying to income tax to compensate for incomplete numbers of tax returns on record at the time of compiling the estimates.

The tax credits and reliefs listed in the table serve varying purposes. Many are essentially structural reliefs through which individual tax liabilities are adjusted to reflect relative taxable capacity. The main personal tax credits are a good example of this since they may be regarded as part of the progressive income tax structure representing a band of income chargeable at a zero rate. Others, such as relief for interest paid in full or investment in corporate trades, are tax-based incentives in favour of specific groups or activities which are designed to promote certain aspects of public policy.

In computing taxable profits, account needs to be taken in some way of the depreciation of capital assets incurred in earning those profits. To this extent, the figures in the table of the "costs" of capital allowances should not be regarded as measuring a "loss of tax revenue" on profits. To compute such "loss", regard would have to be had to the excess of the amount of the capital allowances at current rates over the amount of the normal allowances.

The figures shown for the basic personal tax credits (married, single and widowed) are the costs of these tax credits as if all other tax credits and the exemption limits did not apply. They do not include individuals who are not on Revenue records because their incomes are below the income tax thresholds. The cost figures for the exemption limits are based on the excess of the exemption limits over the basic personal tax credits.

The figures of cost are for 2006 and 2005 and all figures are based on tax due in respect of assessments for each year and not on tax receipts within that year. The figure against each credit or allowance represents the additional tax which would become payable if the tax credit or allowance were withdrawn assuming no consequent change in the behaviour of taxpayers (for example, in relation to the reliefs for savings), or the amounts of payments (for example, interest payable on certain savings schemes might need adjustment to take account of the new tax liability). The numbers of claimants of each credit or relief are shown for both years to the extent that they are available. The numbers included are the taxpayers who would be adversely affected by the withdrawal of the respective credit or relief.

In the calculations, each tax credit or allowance has been dealt with separately and on the assumption that the rest of the tax system remained unchanged. It would be therefore inaccurate to calculate the effect of withdrawing all the credits, reliefs and allowances by simply totalling the figures. For example, the costs shown for capital allowances and stock relief are also calculated on the basis of separate withdrawal of these reliefs. Their combined cost would be greater than the sum of the separate costs because allowances are not always fully set off against available profits. For instance, a person with €1,000 gross trading profits, €1,000 capital allowances and €1,000 stock relief would pay no tax if either of the reliefs were withdrawn but would pay tax on €1,000 profits if both reliefs were withdrawn. In this case, the cost of each relief separately is nil but the combined cost is tax on €1,000. Basic data is not available to enable an estimate of the combined cost of these reliefs to be made. The figures for estimates based on tax returns have been grossed up to an overall expected level to adjust for incompleteness in the numbers of returns on record at the time the data was extracted for analytical purposes.

Finally, the estimates shown in many cases are tentative and are subject to revision in the light of later information. Some of the cost figures included in the table for 2005 reflect revisions to figures previously published in the 2007 Report.

INCOME TAX AND CORPORATION TAX

TABLE IT6: Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2005 and 2006

(1) Estimated cost for

2005

2006

€m

Numbers

€m

Numbers

INCOME TAX

Exemption limits:

General Exemption(2)

0.0

0

0.0

0

Child Addition(2)

0.3

1,000

0.2

800

Age Exemption(2)

61.5

49,600

62.0

50,100

Married Person’s Credit(3)

2,268.9

756,500

2,396.9

777,700

Single Person’s Credit(3)

1,854.3

1,330,100

2,137.2

1,494,700

Widowed Person’s Credit(3)

132.2

71,500

155.2

78,400

Additional Credit to Widowed Person in Year of Bereavement

4.7

4,000

4.5

4,000

Additional Bereavement Credit to Widowed Parent

4.3

2,400

4.9

2,300

Additional Personal Credit for Lone Parent

194.1

124,900

186.11

23,100

Homecarer Credit

63.9

87,900

61.8

85,000

Additional Credit for Incapacitated Child

10.3

10,400

16.0

11,000

Employee (PAYE) Credit

2,030.8

1,493,300

2,522.0

1,626,700

Dependent Relative Credit

1.0

15,200

1.4

15,500

Person Taking Care of Incapacitated Taxpayer

1.8

660

2.8

820

Age Credit

20.6

68,800

28.3

76,700

Blind Person’s Credit

0.8

890

1.2

880

Medical Insurance Premiums(4)

229.6

1,073,400

260.5

1,134,800

Health Expenses

134.0

260,700

167.2

348,800

Contributions Under Permanent Health Benefit Schemes, after Deduction of Tax on Benefits Received(5)

3.2

21,600

3.1

23,000

Employees’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes(6)

423.4

565,200

543.3

693,100

Employers’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes(6)

90.0

296,500

120.0

363,100

Exemption of Investment Income and Gains of Approved Superannuation Funds(6)(7)(11)*

1,050.0

N/A

1,200.0

N/A

Exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK(6)

370.0

296,500

510.0

363,100

Tax Relief on “tax free” lump sums(6)

120.0

N/A

130.0

N/A

Retirement Annuity Contracts(6)

357.7

121,200

435.9

125,900

Personal Retirement Savings Account(6)

42.2

32,900

56.4

45,200

Interest paid:

Loans relating to Principal Private Residence

279.0

587,800

351.6

668,400

Other(8)

22.2

4,800

31.1

4,900

Rent Paid in Private Tenancies

48.1

144,500

64.0

171,800

Expenses Allowable to Employees under Schedule E

65.0

908,800

71.2

960,400

Third Level Education Fees

14.3

29,900

15.7

30,800

Exemption of Certain Earnings of Writers, Composers and Artists

34.8

2,220

65.9

2,890

Dispositions (Including Maintenance Payments made to Separated Spouses)

18.9

6,100

20.2

7,640

Exemption of Interest on Savings Certificates, National Instalment Savings & Index Linked Savings Bonds

129.5

N/A

216.3

N/A

Rent a Room

3.3

2,820

3.9

3,560

Exemption of Income of Charities, Colleges, Hospitals, Schools, Friendly Societies, etc.(9)

19.8

N/A

35.0

N/A

Donations to Approved Bodies

34.0

63,800

49.5

107,100

Donations to Sports Bodies(10)

0.2

430

0.3

580

Retirement Relief for certain Sports Persons(10)

0.3

42

0.2

32

Exemption of Irish Government Securities where owner not ordinarily resident in Ireland(11)*

169.3

N/A

197.0

N/A

Exemption of Statutory Redundancy Payments

72.8

22,000

77.7

22,100

Service Charges

17.2

304,700

21.4

363,900

Top Slicing Relief — Reduced Tax Rate for Payments in Excess of Exemption Amounts Made as Compensation for Loss of Office

11.1

1,480

20.2

2,050

Revenue Job Assist allowance

0.4

550

0.3

360

Allowance for seafarers

0.4

200

0.3

170

Trade Union Subscriptions

11.8

272,100

19.2

294,300

Exemption From Tax of Certain Social Welfare Payments:

Child benefit*

366.6

373,500

377.4

375,300

Early childcare Supplement*

N/A

N/A

64.9

192,000

Maternity allowance*

9.6

10,800

12.2

14,900

Exemption of Income arising from the Provision of Childcare Services

N/A

N/A

0.3

230.0

Approved Profit Sharing Schemes*

55.8

55,000

87.8

87,500

Savings-Related Share Option Schemes*

6.2

N/A

2.8

N/A

Approved Share Option Schemes*

0.4

464

3.4

1,400

Relief for New Shares Purchased by Employees

N/A

N/A

0.2

184

Investment in Corporate Trades (BES)

16

1,650

21.4

2,000

Investment in Seed Capital

1.3

42

1.2

42

Stock Relief*

2.0

N/A

2.0

N/A

Relief for expenditure on significant buildings and gardens

3.3

84

6.2

180

Donation of Heritage items

5.8

7

5.7

5

Special Savings Incentive Scheme

597.4

1,083,600

438.9

718,570

INCOME TAX AND/OR CORPORATION TAX(12)

Employee Share Ownership Trusts*

1.8

16,800

6.3

16,300

Total Capital Allowances:(13)

1,877.5

266,200

2,036.3

260,700

Rented Residential Relief — Section 23(14)*

239.7

4,126

252.4

4,132

Effective Rate of 10% for Manufacturing and Certain Other Activities(15)

396

3,034

384.1

2,831

Double Taxation Relief

439.1

13,200

590.0

15,400

Investment in Films*

15.7

1,500

36.4

3,500

Group Relief

421.6

1,578

255.6

1,592

Research & Development Tax Credit(16)

65.2

135

74.7

141

NOTES ON TABLE IT 6

(1) Figures accompanied by an asterisk* are particularly tentative and subject to a considerable margin of error.

(2) The cost figures for the exemption limits are based on the excess of the exemption limits over the basic personal tax credits. They include the cost of marginal relief for taxpayers whose incomes are not greatly in excess of the exemption limits.

(3) The figures shown for the basic personal tax credits (married, single and widowed) are the costs of these tax credits as if all other tax credits and the exemption limits did not apply. They do not include individuals who are not on Revenue records because their incomes are below the income tax thresholds.

(4) Arising from the change over to Tax Relief at Source the figures relate to the number of policies issued. These include policies where subscriptions were paid by businesses on behalf of their employees.

(5) Part of the cost of contributions to Permanent Health Benefit Schemes is not identifiable as a result of the move to a “net pay” basis for contributions by PAYE taxpayers from 6 April 2001.

(6) See the following table “Green Paper on Pensions” for background commentary and cost figures for 2007.

(7) Arising from the work on the “Green Paper on Pensions” (2007) the basis for costing this item was changed for 2005 and is not directly comparable with the figures for earlier years. See also the following table “Green Paper on Pensions” for more recent figures.

(8) “Other” relates to borrowings for purposes such as acquiring an interest in a company or partnership or to pay death duties.

(9) The cost of exempting the income of charities, colleges, hospitals, schools, friendly societies, etc. from income tax includes the sums repaid in respect of tax credits, income tax deducted at source (certain dividends, other investment income and payments received under covenant), and also includes tax on (see Note 10) (a) donations made by the PAYE and self-employed sectors to approved bodies (b) income tax repayments on foot of PAYE donations. It also includes the cost of exempting certain bodies from the deduction on income arising from government securities. Information is not available about other income received gross.

(10) The cost figures for relief for donations to Approved Sports Bodies and for certain Sports Persons are based on self assessment returns.

(11) In the absence of other information, tax has been assumed at the standard rate of income tax even though a different rate might be appropriate in many cases.

(12) The costs included for corporation tax are by reference to accounting periods which ended in the years 2005 and 2006.

(13) The cost shown for capital allowances does not include any cost associated with “unused capital allowances”, that is, capital allowances which are not absorbed by a company in the accounting period in which they arise because they exceed the amount of the company’s profits of that accounting period which are available for offset. Unused capital allowances can be offset as losses against taxable profits arising in the previous accounting period and against certain profits arising in future accounting periods and can be offset against the profits of another company in the same group of companies. It is estimated that €3,340 million of unused capital allowances were claimed in respect of 2006 accounting periods but as the proportion of this item which is included in previous years losses and in group relief is not separately identifiable a reliable estimate of the cost of the capital allowance element cannot be provided.

(14) The tax cost shown for section 23 type relief is the estimated ultimate tax cost relating to the total allowable expenditure in respect of claims made in 2005 and 2006 tax returns for the first time. The cost shown is for income tax cases only.

(15) The cost does not include any notional cost associated with IFSC companies. The International Financial Services activity in Ireland represents new business which has developed as a result of, among other things, the concessionary tax rate. This means that as the cost of the concessionary rate is not just the difference between the concessionary tax rate and the full tax rate, it is therefore not quantifiable. In regard to the cost shown for the effective rate of 10 per cent for manufacturing and certain other activities, no account is taken of the fact that without these incentives, many enterprises may not have set up here. To the extent that profits earned by such enterprises would not have been available for Irish tax purposes, part of the cost figure shown might be regarded as notional.

(16) The costs shown for R&D is for claims for R&D on corporation tax returns for accounting periods ending in 2005 and 2006. However, the cost includes the cost associated with claims where the company was entitled to the credit but was unable to absorb it in that accounting year.

Green Paper on Pensions — updated estimates of cost for 2007

As part of the work on the Green Paper on Pensions, a review was carried out of the current regime of incentives for supplementary pension provision with a view to developing more comprehensive and reliable estimates of the cost of reliefs in this area. The review examined, among other things, the current reliefs and incentives for investment in supplementary pensions and the data available on which to base reliable estimates of the costs in revenue foregone to the Exchequer.

The review drew on newly available 2007 aggregate data on contributions to pension schemes by employers and employees arising from a P35 initiative introduced on foot of provisions that were included in Finance Act 2004 with a view to improving data quality. Estimates of the cost of tax for private pension provision updated for 2007 are included in the table below:

Estimate of the cost of tax and PRSI reliefs for private pension provision 2007

Estimated costs

Numbers*

€ million

Employees’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

590

708,100

Employers’ Contributions to approved Superannuation Schemes

150

385,100**

Estimated cost of exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK

540

385,100

Exemption of investment income and gains of approved Superannuation Funds

900

Not available

Retirement Annuity Contracts (RACs)

420

123,900

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs)

65

56,400

Estimated cost of tax relief on “tax-free” lump sum payments

130

Estimated cost of PRSI and Health Levy relief on employee and employer contributions

240

Not available

Gross cost of tax relief

3,035

Estimated tax yield from payment of pension benefits

410

Net cost of tax relief

2,625

*Numbers as included in P35 returns from employers to Revenue for 2007. Figures are as verified to date but may be understated and subject to revision.

**This is numbers of employees for whom employers are contributing to occupational pension funds as included in P35 returns to Revenue for 2007. Figures are as verified to date but may be understated and subject to revision.

The breakdown and make-up of these estimated costs of reliefs differ from presentations of costs in this area for previous years in a number of respects and are not directly comparable. For further details on the cost of tax and other reliefs and the changes in the methodology, refer to pages 106 and 107 of the Green Paper on Pensions which is available at www.pensionsgreenpaper.ie.

Certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax — uptake and estimated potential cost to the Exchequer in terms of income tax and corporation tax forgone based on 2006 tax returns

Provisions were included in the Finance Acts of 2003 and 2004 to enable new statistical data on the uptake of tax relief for certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax to be obtained from tax returns. This information, derived from changes introduced by the Revenue Commissioners to income tax returns and corporation tax returns for 2006, is set out in the following table.

The figures shown include the amounts claimed in the year but exclude amounts carried forward into the year either as losses or capital allowances, and include any amounts of unused losses and/or capital allowances which will be carried forward to subsequent years.

Tax Incentive/Income Exemption

Amount Claimed

Assumed maximum tax cost

Number of claimants

€m

€m

Urban renewal

351.7

140.5

3,436

Town Renewal

93.0

38.7

1,149

Seaside Resorts

15.7

6.4

1,167

Rural Renewal

94.0

38.0

2,137

Multi-storey car parks

40.2

16.6

119

Living Over the shop

7.1

2.7

82

Enterprise Areas

7.4

3.0

129

Park and Ride

6.9

2.8

32

Holiday Cottages

22.9

9.5

660

Hotels

277.1

106.6

1,515

Nursing Homes

35.5

14.7

538

Housing for the Elderly/infirm

3.4

1.4

95

Hostels

1.96

0.82

23

Guest Houses

0.2

0.1

7

Convalescent Homes

4.1

1.7

18

Qualifying Private Hospitals

25.2

10.6

284

Qualifying sports injury clinics

0.1

0

3

Buildings Used for certain childcare purposes

14.3

6.0

304

Student Accommodation

162.5

64.3

1,059

Exemption of profits or gains from Greyhounds

0.4

0.1

6

Exemption of profits or gains from Stallions

90.7

22.5

185

Exemption of profits or gains from Woodlands

13.6

5.4

1,231

Exempt Patents (section 234, TCA 1997)

395.0

83.8

1,120

Totals

1,662.9

576.2

15,299

Notes:

The figures shown relate to the various reliefs/incentives and exemptions as specified in the 2006 form 11 and CT1.

There were concerns that in some instances the new, separately categorised data on property incentives may not have been correctly entered on the Tax returns. Revenue drew the attention of the relevant tax practitioner bodies to these deficiencies to rectify them in future returns and also increased awareness among its own staff involved in processing tax returns of the need to ensure, through closer examination of the returns, that they are correctly completed.

The estimated costs have assumed tax foregone at the 42% rate in the case of income tax and 12.5% in the case of corporation tax. This means the figures shown correspond to the maximum Exchequer cost in terms of income tax and corporation tax. However, the actual Exchequer cost could be lower, particularly in relation to the exempt income items, as the income could be subject to deductions for allowable expenses and other costs thereby reducing the level of income that would be actually subject to tax.

Some of the costs shown above are included in the costs shown for capital allowances and section 23 relief in Table IT6. For example, exempt income included above is not part of capital allowances.

Reliefs in Respect of which Costs are not Currently Quantifiable or are Negligible or are not Identifiable within Total Aggregates.

Exemption in respect of certain income derived from the leasing of farm land;

Relief for new shares purchased on issue by employees;

Relief from averaging of farm profits;

Exemption for income arising from payments in respect of personal injuries;

Exemption of certain payments made by Haemophilia HIV Trust;

Exemption of Pensions, Benefits or Gratuities Payable to Veterans of the War of Independence their Widows or Dependents;

Exemption of lump sum retirement payments;

Relief for allowable motor expenses;

Tapering relief allowable for taxation of car benefits in kind;

Reduced tax rate of 10% for authorised unit trust schemes;

Reduced tax rate of 10% for special investment schemes;

Exemption of certain grants made by Údarás na Gaeltachta;

Relief for investment income reserved for policy holders in life assurance companies;

Relief for various business related expenses such as staff recruitment, rent, legal fees, and other general expenses;

Exemption in certain circumstances on the interest on quoted bearer Eurobonds;

Exemption of payments made as compensation for loss of office;

Exemption of scholarship income;

Exemption for income received under Sceim na bhFoghlaimeoiri Gaeilge.

Tax Reliefs

Joan Burton

Question:

163 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the way the revised arrangements for tax relief on pension contributions, as set out in the national recovery plan, will apply to top earners over the next five years; if he will set out a schedule to demonstrate this impact; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48034/10]

Unfortunately, it was not possible to collate the information required for this answer in the time allowed. I will provide the Deputy with the answer in writing shortly.

Employment Support Services

Joan Burton

Question:

164 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will publish a full cost benefit analysis of the business expansion scheme; if he will publish before Second Stage of the 2011 Finance Bill a full cost benefit analysis of the BITES scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48035/10]

A full review of the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) was carried out in 2006. The report can be obtained from the Department of Finance website, at http://www.finance.gov.ie/documents/publications/Reports/BESSCSReport.pdf. This review highlighted the lack of equity capital support for small firms in their start up and early development phases, how vital the scheme had been in the past for such firms and the continuing needs in this regard. It also noted the potential return to the economy from indigenous Irish companies and the clear support for continuation from a large number of representative and other bodies in the public and private sector.

Following this review, the Government decided to extend the scheme until the end of 2013, and enhance it in certain respects. The approval of the European Commission for the scheme was granted in August 2007. In Budget 2011, I announced that the BES is being reformed and will be renamed the Employment and Investment Incentive (EII). This incentive will come into operation once the necessary approval from the European Commission has been received. In the meantime, the existing scheme will continue to operate. An Ex Ante Economic Impact Analysis of EII will be published at the same time as the forthcoming Finance Bill. Evaluation of the current BES will feature as part of this report.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Question:

165 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance in respect of the directors at each of the credit institutions covered by the bank guarantee, the sum of money that has been paid to directors by way of fees and emoluments for each of the years 2008 to 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48036/10]

The Deputy will be aware that directors at the covered institutions, including public interest directors who are nominated by me, are appointed by the respective boards. Accordingly, disclosure of details of their remuneration is covered by various rules and procedures. The guidelines on fees payable to directors are as set out in the report of the Covered Institutions Remuneration Oversight Committee established under Covered Institutions Financial Support legislation. The information sought by the Deputy, to the extent that it has been released publicly by the respective covered institutions, is available in their Annual Reports.

Tax Reliefs

Joan Burton

Question:

166 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 20 of 8 December 2010, if he will provide a breakdown of interest allowed for tax purposes in respect of the construction and property development sectors for each tax year from 2000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48038/10]

It is assumed that the Deputy is seeking information on the amount of interest on borrowings claimed as a deduction for corporation tax by companies in the property or construction sectors for year 2000 and onwards.

As indicated in my reply of 8 December to parliamentary question number 46635/10 information in relation to interest claimed as a deduction is so far available only for the tax years 2007 and 2008. In corporation tax returns for 2007 interest claimed by these companies was just over €1 billion, with an assumed associated maximum tax cost of approximately €129 million as indicated in the earlier reply. The corresponding interest claimed in corporation tax returns for 2008 was just over €1.3 billion, assuming an associated maximum tax cost of approximately €165m.

This information is not available for years prior to 2007 because the source of the data, which is the inclusion of extracts from all company accounts within corporation tax returns, was not a requirement for all companies prior to 2007.

The sector identifier on the tax records that is used to identify the property or construction sectors is based on the 4-digit NACE code (Rev. 1), which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system.

Tax Collection

Joan Burton

Question:

167 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if under section 11(1) of the Income Tax (Employment) (Consolidated) Regulations SI555/2001 the Inspector of Taxes is obliged to issue all employees with notification of determination of tax credits; if he will confirm that it is the intention of the Revenue Commissioners to issue automatically such notices to employees for the 2011 tax year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48049/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that Regulation 11, subsection (1) of the Income Tax (Employments) (Consolidated) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 559 of 2001) as amended by Regulation 2 of the Income Tax (Employments) Regulations 2009 (S.I. No. 573 of 2009) does not oblige the Inspector of Taxes to issue all employees with notification of determination of tax credits. The Regulation allows the Inspector to send, make available or cause to make available notice of his or her determination of tax credits and standard rate cut off point to the employee. This accommodates, for example, the making available of the Notice of Determination through Revenue's on-line PAYE Anytime service whereby employees can view their tax credits and print off their Notice of Determination.

I am advised by Revenue that they have decided not to automatically issue a Tax Credit Certificate to each PAYE taxpayer for 2011. Such individuals can either, view a copy of their Tax Credit Certificate online on Revenue's PAYE Anytime service or, request a copy by texting Revenue or by using Revenue's automated telephone service. Revenue has already advertised the availability of detailed information on how the Budget changes affect PAYE taxpayers and will be conducting a major marketing campaign early in the New Year to inform PAYE taxpayers of how they can access their Tax Credit Certificate.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

168 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the gross interest charged by the International Monetary Fund on the drawdown of special drawing rights; to set out the maturity of this lending arrangement; the nature and terms of the interest rate swap, currency swap or other derivate contracts related to the drawdown of SDRs by Ireland, including the margin or other cost charged on these contracts; the net interest, inclusive of associated derivate contracts, being paid by Ireland in respect of its drawdown of SDRs from the IMF; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48050/10]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issues on the basis of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the IMF in 1969, to supplement its member countries' official reserves. Its value is based on a weighted basket of four key international currencies (US dollar, Euro, Sterling and Yen), and SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. The loan available to Ireland is worth €22.5bn but is denominated in SDRs (i.e. SDR 19.5 billion). It will have an average life of 7.5 years. Each tranche as it is drawn down will have a four year capital holiday, and repayments will be made in 12 equal six monthly instalments beginning after 4.5 years.

The interest rate charged is based on a floating rate based on three month money rates in the respective SDR currencies. The lending rate on Ireland's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) is tied to the IMF's market-related interest rate, known as the basic rate of charge*, which is, in turn, linked to the SDR interest rate (which is calculated on a weekly basis). The SDR Rate for the week starting 22 November 2010, which the calculations in this note are based on, was 0.37%.

Large loans, like the one extended to Ireland, carry a surcharge of 200 basis points, paid on the amount of credit outstanding above 300 per cent of quota. Ireland's current quota stands at SDR 838.4 million and the IMF loan is SDR 19.5 billion, which represents about 2,320 per cent of quota. If credit increases above 300 per cent of quota after three years, the surcharge rises to 300 basis points. A service charge of 50 basis points is also applied on each drawdown.

Based on the SDR rate for the week starting 22 November 2010, the IMF interest rate, including the service charge, at the current quota level, gives a cost of borrowing of 3.62 per cent in the first three years, rising to 4.49 per cent in the following years (see tables below).

Initial Interest Rate:

Interest Rate Calculation of an IMF Loan

First 300 per cent of quota @ 1.38%

Next 2,020 per cent of quota @ 3.38%

Weighted Average Interest Rate: 3.12%

Service Charge 0.50%

Estimated Average Interest Rate 3.62%

After three years:

Interest Rate Calculation of an IMF Loan

First 300 per cent of quota @ 1.38%

Next 2,020 per cent of quota @ 4.38%

Weighted Average Interest Rate: 3.99%

Service Charge 0.50%

Estimated Average Interest Rate 4.49%

As mentioned above, the loan liability is in SDRs, hence, the underlying rate is floating. The interest rate charged by the IMF at the time of loan tranche drawdowns will depend on the prevailing SDR rate, the quota level and the cost of swap transactions from SDR to euro. It was estimated at the time of the agreement with the IMF that the cost would translate to 5.7% if the SDR loan proceeds were swapped to fixed rate euro of a 7.5 year maturity. The actual cost will depend on the prevailing market rates at the time of each drawdown.

*Rate of Charge = SDR Interest Rate + 100 basis points + 0.01 Adjustment for Deferred Charges.

Legislative Programme

Joan Burton

Question:

169 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the new or amending legislation arising from the EU-International Monetary Fund bailout; if he intends this legislation to be enacted before his Government leaves office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48051/10]

As the Deputy is aware, the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill 2010 was published on 14 December 2010, completed all stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas over the course of 15 and 16 December 2010 and has been signed into law by the President as the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010. The Act provides the legislative basis for the reorganisation and restructuring of the banking system agreed in the joint EU — IMF Programme for Ireland. It provides broad powers to the Minister for Finance (in consultation with the Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland) to act on financial stability grounds to effect the restructuring actions and recapitalisation measures envisaged in the Programme. The Act applies to banks that have received financial support from the State, domestic building societies and credit unions. The Act is the first important step in putting in place an extensive Special Resolution Regime (SRR) that will provide for a comprehensive framework to facilitate the orderly management and resolution of distressed credit institutions. As agreed under the Programme, draft legislation providing for the introduction of a comprehensive SRR, consistent with best international practice and the evolving EU framework, is scheduled for introduction to the Oireachtas by end-February 2011.

The Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 also provides for the amendment of the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2008 to facilitate the State's own contribution to the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland over the next three years.

In addition to the Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act, the NAMA legislation will be amended to underpin the valuation and acquisition of land and development loans below a value threshold of €20m.

The Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1927 effectively requires that the Finance Act must be enacted within four months of Budget Day. For this year's Budget Day of 7th December, the Finance Bill has to be signed by the President by 6th April. The Finance Bill is normally published around the end of January and, typically, passed by the Oireachtas over an eight week period. In relation to Finance Bill 2011, which will be published in January, a decision has yet to be taken in relation to the final timetable.

The Social Welfare Act, 2010 has been passed. Provisions announced in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 in relation to the National Minimum Wage and the reduction of public service pension costs require legislation, and to this end the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Bill 2010 has been approved by both Houses of the Oireachtas.

In the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014, the Government sets out proposals for a range of budget reforms to underpin the sustainability of the Irish public finances into the future, including a Budget Advisory Council to provide an independent commentary on the Government's budgetary planning, by means of assessing the appropriateness of the budgetary stance and the aggregate targets being adopted; a medium term expenditure framework to ensure that public expenditure is managed within fixed, sustainable limits; and a Fiscal Responsibility Law to put key reform measures on a statutory basis. These commitments are also reflected in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland.

Other areas where it is at present envisaged that legislation will arise in the context of the EU-IMF Programme are detailed in the Memorandum of Understanding which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 14 December 2010. Many of the proposals concerned are already contained in the National Recovery Plan. These include measures related to the labour market including measures designed to reduce the risk of long-term unemployment; increases to the state pension age under the Government's National Pension Framework;and legislative changes to remove restrictions to trade and competition in sheltered sectors and to enhance competition in open markets.

Banking Sector Regulation

Joan Burton

Question:

170 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the progress made with preparations for the introduction of a special resolution regime for Irish banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48052/10]

The Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill 2010 which completed all stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas on 16th December 2010 provides the legislative basis for the reorganisation and restructuring of the banking system agreed in the EU-IMF Programme. It is the first step in putting in place an extensive Special Resolution Regime that will provide for a comprehensive framework to facilitate the orderly management and resolution of distressed credit institutions. In line with the commitment in the Programme agreed with the external authorities my Department is working in conjunction with the Central Bank of Ireland to publish legislation by end-February 2011 to strengthen the legal framework for dealing with distressed deposit-taking institutions. This draft legislation will broaden the available resolution tools with the aim of promoting financial stability.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

171 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the net exposure of the National Asset Management Agency and the credit institutions supported by the eligible liabilities guarantee to derivative instruments; the extent to which these exposures arise from hedging arrangements or from speculative positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48053/10]

I can confirm that there are no derivative instruments covered under the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee. In relation to NAMA, I am advised that NAMA does not enter speculative derivative positions but rather seeks to use derivatives to manage to the greatest extent possible, the Balance Sheet exposures arising from the transfer of assets from participating institutions. For example, NAMA has to use currency derivatives to hedge the foreign exchange exposure which arises on the purchase of foreign currency loans with Euro denominated NAMA Securities. In addition NAMA uses interest rate derivatives to assist in hedging interest rate risk arising on NAMA Securities and borrower derivatives which transferred to NAMA.

Public Service Pay Scales

Joan Burton

Question:

172 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the proposal to introduce a new pay scale for entrants to the public service is also to include TDs and Senators elected at the next general election; if the new arrangements will necessitate legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48054/10]

The Oireachtas (Allowances to Members) and Ministerial and Parliamentary Offices Act 2009 provides that with effect from the next election long service increments will be abolished and that a single rate of pay for TDs and a single rate for Senators will be payable. I have no plans to bring forward any legislation to reduce that rate of pay further.

Banking Sector

Joan Burton

Question:

173 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to proceed with the Allied Irish Banks rights issue priced at 50 cent per share, underwritten by the National Pensions Reserve Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48055/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

196 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the recently announced arrangements for restructuring the Irish banking sector, he plans to proceed with the Allied Irish Banks rights issue, as announced on 30 September 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48078/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 173 and 196 together.

The Deputy will be aware that arising from the Programme of Financial Support and the Central Bank announcement of 28 November 2010, Allied Irish Banks p.l.c. is required to raise sufficient capital to achieve a capital ratio of at least 12% Core Tier 1 by 28 February 2011.

To date, AIB has announced an anticipated raising of €3.4 billion Core Tier 1 own funds through the disposal of assets and it is required to raise the balance of up to €9.8 billion by end February.

It has been decided not to proceed with the State Underwritten Open Offer and Placing referred to by the Deputy because of the significant increase in the capital requirements of the Bank and the difficulty in completing and issuing the required transaction related documentation in the time available.

The Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010 was commenced on 21 December 2010. As previously stated by me, the Government intends to use the provisions of the Act before year end to ensure that AIB continues to meet its capital requirements as prescribed by the Central Bank. To the extent that the bank cannot raise the capital required through its own resources to meet the end February target, the Government is committed to providing the balance.

Joan Burton

Question:

174 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on the progress with the restructuring and consolidation of the Irish banking system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48056/10]

The State's primary consideration in its involvement in the banking system is to protect, in the public interest, the financial and economic system of the State. Therefore, all of the Government's actions in the banking area are designed to support the development of a reformed and reinvigorated banking system that can serve our economy in a proper manner and, within which, there is scope for all viable credit institutions operating in the Irish market to play their full part. The agreed joint EU — IMF Programme of Financial Support builds upon the banking measures taken to date and provides for further reform and reorganisation of the banking sector. The fundamental objective of the Programme, in so far as it relates to banking, is to determine the appropriate size of the banks and to capitalise them so that they will be in a position to meet the real needs of the economy and to enable them operate with reduced public support, including reducing the funding reliance on the eurosystem and the Central Bank of Ireland. The Programme provides for a range of deleveraging measures, including appropriate actions to dispose of assets, as well as the enhanced re-capitalisation of certain banks. To that end, further restructuring and viability plans for the relevant credit institutions will be submitted to the European Commission, including a plan for the resolution of Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in a manner that will fully protect their depositors, realise the maximum value from the two institutions' non-NAMA assets over time and minimise capital losses.

National Pensions Reserve Fund

Joan Burton

Question:

175 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance, based on the latest valuations, if he will provide a breakdown of the National Pensions Reserve Fund into moneys committed to the banking system, moneys committed to the banking system but not yet drawn down, moneys foreseen to form part of the International Monetary Fund — EU for assistance package, and the remainder; if he plans to introduce amending legislation to allow for the use of these funds to further fund the banking system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48057/10]

The National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission — who control and manage the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) — publishes its statutory annual report, as well as quarterly performance reports on the Commission's website www.nprf.ie. The most recent quarterly report, to 30 September 2010, valued the Fund at €24.5 billion. On 30 March 2009, I directed the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission to invest €3.5 billion in preference shares issued by Bank of Ireland and on 12 May 2009 I directed the Commission to invest €3.5 billion in preference shares issued by Allied Irish Banks plc (AIB). I gave these directions having consulted the Governor of the Central Bank and the Regulatory Authority and having decided that the investments were required in the public interest to prevent potential serious damage to the financial system in the State and to ensure the continued stability of that system.

These investments were in perpetual preference shares with an annual non-cumulative fixed dividend of 8% payable in cash or, in the case of non-payment by either bank of the cash dividend, ordinary shares in lieu. The preference shares could be repurchased at par up to the fifth anniversary of the issue and at 125% of face value thereafter. Warrants issued with, but detachable from, the preference shares gave an option to purchase up to 25% of the enlarged ordinary share capital of each bank (following exercise of the warrants). The warrants were exercisable at any time from the fifth to tenth anniversary of issue of the preference shares or immediately prior to any takeover or merger of the bank concerned, whichever is earlier. The number of ordinary shares which may be acquired pursuant to the exercise of the warrants was subject to anti-dilution protection in line with market norms for warrants. Accordingly, the warrants will be proportionately adjusted for any increase or decrease in the number of ordinary shares in issue resulting from a subdivision or consolidation of units of ordinary shares. The warrants will also be proportionately adjusted for any capital distributions by the bank and for certain bonus issues or rights issues by the bank.

In February and May 2010 the Fund received ordinary shares in Bank of Ireland and AIB respectively in lieu of cash as payment of the first dividend on its preference share investments. The payment was made in the form of ordinary shares as the European Commission requested that discretionary coupon payments on Tier 1 and Upper Tier 2 capital instruments in Bank of Ireland and AIB not be paid while it considered each bank's restructuring plan. The number of shares issued in each case represented the amount of the annual preference share dividend divided by the average share price in the 30 trading days prior to the date of issue.

On 25 April 2010, again having consulted the Governor of the Central Bank and the Regulatory Authority and again having decided that it was required in the public interest to prevent potential serious damage to the financial system in the State and to ensure the continued stability of that system, I issued directions to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission to convert part of its €3.5 billion holding of Bank of Ireland preference stock into ordinary stock as part of the capital raising exercise announced by the bank on 26 April. The details of the transaction are as follows:

Placing/ Conversion (Step 1)

The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) subscribed for 576 million units of ordinary stock. In exchange for this stock the NPRF converted 1,036 million units of preference stock at their issue price of €1.00 into ordinary stock.

Warrant cancellation

The NPRF received €491 million in cash in return for the cancellation of the warrants issued in conjunction with the preference stock.

Rights Issue (Step 2)

The NPRF participated in the Bank of Ireland rights issue taking up the full allocation to which it was entitled at a price of €0.55 per unit of ordinary stock. In order to exercise the rights, the NPRF converted a further 627 million units of its preference stock into ordinary stock.

Fees

The NPRF received €52 million in fees for its participation in the transaction.

Change in dividend rate on preference stock

The dividend rate on the remaining preference stock increases from 8.00% to 10.25%.

The transaction involved no new investment by the NPRF in Bank of Ireland and was funded entirely via conversion of preference stock. Including the cancellation of the warrants issued in conjunction with the preference stock and fees, the NPRF received total cash income of €543m from Bank of Ireland for participation in the transaction.

The NPRF's directed investment in Bank of Ireland now consists of:

1,900 million units of ordinary stock valued at their current market price (36% of the bank's ordinary stock in issue); and

1,837 million units of preference stock held at their issue price of €1.00 paying an annual dividend of 10.25%.

The NPRF's directed investment in AIB now consists of:

3,500 million units of preference shares held at their issue price of €1.00 paying an annual dividend of 8.00%.

198 million ordinary shares valued at their current market price (18% of the bank's ordinary stock in issue).

The current value of these investments, following their restructuring, is €6.6 billion.

The NPRF Commission publishes information on the overall return on and value of the investments it holds at my direction in credit institutions in its quarterly Performance and Portfolio Updates. The value of the Discretionary Portfolio i.e. those investments made by the Commission under the Fund's investment policy as set out in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000, was €17.9 billion at end September 2010.

The Government announced on 28 November 2010 that it had agreed in principle to the provision of €85 billion of financial support to Ireland by Member States of the European Union through the European Financial Stability Fund and the European Financial Stability Mechanism, bilateral loans from the UK, Sweden and Denmark, and the International Monetary Fund's Extended Fund Facility on the basis of specified conditions.

The State's contribution to the €85 billion facility will be €17½ billion, which will come from the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) and other domestic cash resources. This means that the extent of the external assistance will be reduced to €67½ billion.

The Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Bill which is currently before the Houses provides for the reorganisation and restructuring of the banking system agreed in the joint EU — IMF Programme and includes a number of amendments to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 which will facilitate the State's own contribution to the EU/IMF Programme. No further legislation is envisaged at this time.

National Asset Management Agency

Joan Burton

Question:

176 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if the €20 million floor on counterparties participating in the National Assets Management Agency is to be lowered or abolished to take account of the agreement with the EU-International Monetary Fund for external assistance; the estimated total amount of loans now expected to be taken over by NAMA; the estimated total consideration expected to be paid by NAMA in respect of these loans; when the loan transfer period will be completed; if amending legislation is necessary to take account of these new arrangements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48058/10]

NAMA was established to remove land and development and associated loans from the books of participating institutions as provided by the National Asset Management Agency (Designation of Eligible Bank Assets) Regulations 2009. It had been announced on 30 September 2010 that where the total exposure of a debtor was below a €20 million threshold at Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland then the loans of that debtor would not be transferred to NAMA. This was intended to achieve operational efficiencies in the management of NAMA's loan portfolio and to allow for the completion of all NAMA transfers by the end of the year. However, this has been further reviewed in the context of the Programme of Financial Support for Ireland and a decision was taken to include the sub €20m land and development loans with a view to achieving further deleveraging. This does not constitute an expansion beyond the original focus of NAMA on land and development loans.

The precise number and value of the loans to transfer and the consideration to be paid are yet to be determined. It is expected that the loans will be acquired by end-March 2011. Amendments will be necessary to the National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 to provide for the valuation and acquisition of these loans on a pooled basis and these amendments will be introduced early in 2011. As stated in the Programme, NAMA will build on the existing outsourcing arrangements with the banks for the management of these smaller loans.

External Assistance Package

Joan Burton

Question:

177 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a detailed breakdown, by source, by maturity and by rate, of the €67.5 billion external assistance package agreed with the EU-International Monetary Fund with an average interest rate of 5.83%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48059/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

189 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a detailed breakdown, by source, by maturity and by rate, of the €67.5 billion external assistance package agreed with the EU-International Monetary Fund with an average interest rate of 5.8%; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48071/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 and 189 together.

The external assistance being provided under the joint EU- IMF Programme is as follows:

€22.5 billion from the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM)

€17.7 billion from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and €4.8 billion in bilateral loans from the UK, Sweden and Denmark.

€22.5 billion from the IMF.

The average interest rate on the €67.5 billion available to be drawn from these three external sources under the EU-IMF programme was estimated to be 5.82 per cent on the basis of market rates at the time of the agreement. Since then, however, market conditions have deteriorated. The actual cost will depend on the prevailing market rates at the time of each drawdown. The average life of the borrowings, which will involve a combination of longer and shorter dated maturities, under each of these sources is envisaged to be 7.5 years. The details set out below on the interest rates for the specific loans are based on the rates applying when the Programme was agreed at end-November.

EFSM

The interest rate on the EFSM loan was estimated at that time to be 5.7% — comparable to IMF rates.

Under Council Regulation (EC) No. 407/2010 of 10 May 2010 the rate is made up of the cost of borrowing by the European Commission and a margin which is charged to the Member State concerned. The margin, which has been agreed by ECOFIN, for the EFSM loan to Ireland is 2.925% within the overall indicative interest rate of 5.7%.

EFSF

The interest rate on the EFSF loan was estimated at that time to be 6.05% — comparable to the loan facility for Greece. This rate comprised three elements — the actual cost to the lender, a margin of 2.47%, and a commitment fee of 0.5%.

The EFSF borrows on the international capital markets on the strength of guarantees provided by Euro area countries (excluding Ireland and Greece). In order to obtain the top AAA rating from the credit rating agencies it was necessary for the EFSF to put in place certain enhancements in the form of collateral and the cost of these arrangements are reflected in the interest rate charged by EFSF on its lending.

IMF

The interest rate on the IMF loan was estimated at that time to be 5.7%.

IMF lending is denominated in the Fund's unit of account, Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). The SDR comprises a basket of four currencies, Euro, Sterling, the US Dollar and Japanese Yen. The IMF's lending rate is based on the three month floating interest rates for the currencies in the basket. The interest cost on the IMF loans is expressed as the equivalent rate when the funds are fully swapped into fixed rate Euro of 7.5 years duration. This expresses the interest rate in terms which can be compared with the cost of borrowing from EU sources.

UK bilateral loan

The interest rate on the UK loan is estimated at 5.9%.

The amount lent to Ireland by the UK will be the sterling equivalent of €3.8bn. The interest rate is based on a 7.5 year period. The rate on each tranche will be a fixed rate, set by adding a fixed margin of 2.29% to the sterling 7.5 year swap rate at the time of disbursement. There will also be a commitment fee of 0.5% per annum on drawdowns expected in the year.

The interest charge is aligned with international rates and is between the EFSM and EFSF rates.

Bilateral loans from Sweden and Denmark

Detailed discussions have not yet commenced on the bilateral loans with Sweden and Denmark.

It is anticipated that loans will be disbursed in tandem from the EU and IMF. Disbursements of the UK loan which is backloaded will commence following the IMF third review of Ireland's Memorandum of Understanding in September 2011.

It is important to note that the (blended) indicative interest rate of 5.82% on these loans is at a far lower cost than would be available to Ireland in the financial markets, even if that indicative interest rate would have increased somewhat in the meantime as a result of a deterioration in market conditions. The rate of interest to apply is designed to avoid overburdening the Member State concerned or acting as an impediment to economic growth while at the same time providing an incentive to return to the markets. At present the yield on Irish government bonds in the secondary markets is almost 9% for 10 year bonds, and 8.5 % for 7.5 year bonds as compared to the indicative rate in late November of 5.82% for borrowings under the EU-IMF Programme. We will not be obliged to drawdown any of these loans if there is an opportunity either to return to the markets at sustainable rates or to access funds at lower cost elsewhere.

Debt Servicing Costs

Joan Burton

Question:

178 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will set out the assumed average interest rate on the national debt underpinning the national recovery plan; the impact, in terms of cash flow and average interest rate, on the forecast general Government balance for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as set out in the national recovery plan as a result of the agreement on external assistance with the EU-International Monetary Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48060/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

188 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide revised forecasts for national debt service costs by 2014 as set out in the national recovery plan to take account of the average interest rate of 5.8% negotiated as part of the programme of external assistance negotiated with the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and EU Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48070/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 178 and 188 together.

Debt servicing costs are made up of three separate components: (i) debt interest payments, (ii) the sinking fund provision and (iii) debt management expenses.

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has advised that the estimates for debt servicing costs in the National Recovery Plan were prepared on the basis of the market conditions for Irish Government bonds prevailing at the time of preparation of the Plan and for reasons of commercial sensitivity the NTMA does not disclose the assumed interest rate underpinning the estimates.

However, in the context of the joint IMF/EU programme of financial assistance, it was announced that the combined annual average interest rate on drawdowns from the different facilities would be 5.82% per annum, on the basis of prevailing market rates at the time of the agreement.

The NTMA has advised that 5.82% is the interest rate assumed on new debt issuance in the Budget 2011 forecasts.

I have been advised by the NTMA that the debt service estimates underpinning the Budget 2011 public finance forecasts are as set out in the table below. Debt servicing costs are made up of three separate components: (i) debt interest payments, (ii) the sinking fund provision and (iii) debt management expenses.

€ billion

2011

2012

2013

2014

Estimated National Debt Servicing Costs

5.6

6.8

7.8

8.7

The NTMA has advised that of the estimated €5.6 billion cost of servicing the national debt in 2011, €5 billon will come from the Exchequer with the remaining €0.6 billion coming from the Capital Services Redemption Account.

As the 5.82% interest rate on new debt issuance assumed in the Budget 2011 forecasts is a more favourable interest rate than had been factored into the debt servicing forecasts underpinning the National Recovery Plan, the debt servicing estimate for 2011 underpinning the Budget 2011 forecast is just under €200 million lower on a cash basis than that underpinning the National Recovery Plan forecast.

However, the full cash saving is not reflected in the forecast of the General Government deficit for 2011 contained in Budget 2011, as the General Government deficit is calculated on an accruals basis. The structure of the joint IMF/EU programme of financial assistance has led to some interest payments on the 2011 disbursement not being payable until 2012. The 2011 cash figure does not include these amounts but the 2011 accrual figure must do.

In 2012, the estimated saving in the Budget 2011 forecast compared to the National Recovery Plan forecast is approximately €200 million on a cash basis. In 2013 and 2014, the estimated savings are over €400 million and over €500 million respectively on a cash basis as the full benefit of borrowing at lower projected interest rates over the previous years of the forecast period, than those assumed in the National Recovery Plan, materialises.

Since agreement on the joint IMF/EU programme of financial assistance at end-November, market conditions have deteriorated. The actual cost of servicing the borrowing under the programme will depend on the prevailing market rates at the time of each drawdown.

Insurance Industry

Joan Burton

Question:

179 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on progress with the re-structuring of Quinn Group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48061/10]

On 3 June the High Court granted the Joint Administrators permission to appoint advisors on any prospective sale of Quinn Insurance Ltd (QIL). The advisors, on behalf of the Joint Administrators, issued an information memorandum on 27 August on the sale of the company to interested parties which set out a two stage process for selecting a purchaser. The first stage required the submission of a non-binding indicative proposal by Friday 17 September. I understand that following evaluation by the advisors and the Joint Administrators of the above mentioned proposals, a limited number of prospective purchasers were shortlisted by the Administrator to participate in Phase II of the sale process. They have conducted further due diligence including the consideration of the necessary commercial information underlying the company to enable them make a final bid.

The next step in the process is that it is expected that the Joint Administrators will decide on a preferred bidder shortly with a view to entering into detailed discussions with them to seek to conclude an agreement. I understand that the Administrator wants to conclude a sale transaction as soon as possible.

Finally, the Deputy should note that the role of the Joint Administrators is to assess bids on the basis of protecting the interests of policyholders and returning the company to a sound commercial footing. It should also be noted that retention and protection of employment is a very important priority of the Joint Administrators, subject to their other responsibilities.

Fiscal Responsibility Law

Joan Burton

Question:

180 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the constitutionality of a fiscal responsibility law as envisaged in both the national recovery plan and the draft memorandum of understanding to be signed with the International Monetary Fund; his plans to bring in legislation to enact such a fiscal responsibility law; if he intends to act in cognisance of the recent discussions and conclusions of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service, including its recently published Report on Macro-economic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48062/10]

Joan Burton

Question:

195 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the constitutionality of a budget advisory council as envisaged in the national recovery plan and the draft memorandum of understanding; if he envisages bringing in legislation to put such a council on a statutory footing; if he intends to act in cognisance of the recent discussions and conclusions of the Joint Oireachtas on Finance and the Public Service, including its recently published Report on Macro-economic Policy and Effective Fiscal and Economic Governance; the powers he envisages allocating to this council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48077/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 180 and 195 together.

The provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Bill will be published in the New Year. The Dáil and Senate will then have the opportunity to discuss its contents. The Bill will take into account relevant discussions by the Oireachtas so far. I do not propose to publish a Bill that is unconstitutional.

National Asset Management Agency

Joan Burton

Question:

181 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if it is intended that the scope of the National Asset Management Agency be expanded beyond its original focus on land and development loans to cover commercial, personal and mortgage loan books; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48063/10]

The National Asset Management Agency Act 2009 provides for expansion of the scope of NAMA but only where the Minister is of the opinion that such an action is necessary for the purposes of the Act. An expansion of the scope of NAMA was not included in the Programme of Financial Support for Ireland and there are no plans at present to expand the scope of NAMA.

Financial Services Regulation

Joan Burton

Question:

182 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider moving from 50% to 100% industry cost coverage of financial regulation in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48064/10]

I have asked officials in my Department to undertake a process of consultation with the Central Bank and representatives of the financial services industry with a view to examining how a move towards 100% funding of the regulation of financial services by the industry might come about. However, under the provisions of the Central Bank Act 1942 (Sections 33J and 33K) Regulations 2010 a supplementary levy has already been imposed on credit institutions covered by the Credit Institutions (Financial Support) Scheme 2008 to recoup 100% of the costs of the more intensive level of supervision necessary to ensure compliance by relevant credit institutions with the provisions of the Scheme. The Governor of the Bank, in a statement to the financial services industry in December 2009, signalled his expectation of an increasing degree of industry funding for financial regulation. The Central Bank also identifies its intention to move towards 100% funding of the cost of financial regulation by the financial services industry in its strategic plan for the years 2010 to 2012.

Personal Debt

Joan Burton

Question:

183 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on progress with the implementation of the recommendations of the expert group on mortgage arrears and personal debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48065/10]

The Deputy will be aware that the Mortgage arrears and Personal Debt Expert Group (Group) concluded its work last month having submitted to me an Interim Report on 6th July 2010 and their Final Report on 16th November 2010. A complete list of all the recommendations is included in Chapter 2 of the Final Report available at (www.finance.gov.ie ). Since then the Central Bank having consulted widely published a revised Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears (CCMA) on the 6th December 2010. The revised CCMA closely follows the recommendations of the Group and will apply to all regulated mortgage lenders with effect from 1 January 2011. The Central Bank will also be writing to lenders to issue directions under Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 which will mean they cannot impose arrears charges or penalty interest on borrowers who are co-operating with the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process.

The Deputy should note that in addition to those recommendations being implemented through amendments to the CCMA other recommendations will require legislative support involving my own Department, the Departments of Social Protection (DSP), Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG), Justice and Law Reform (DJLR).

In the case of my own Department recommendations to do with the scope and the admissibility in Court of the CCMA will be examined in the context of the preparation of the second Central Bank Bill.

In order to implement those recommendations in relation to the mortgage interest supplement scheme (MIS) changes to both primary and secondary legislation will be required. The Department of Social Protection is currently developing an implementation plan that will set out a framework for the future of the scheme.

New regulations and guidance are currently being developed by DEHLG in the context of the social housing reform programme to provide that housing authorities could disregard the household's current accommodation for the purposes of determining eligibility for social housing support. I am informed that work is ongoing on the development of a new needs assessment process which will allow an earlier trigger point for the social housing needs assessment process to take place where a case has been determined to be unsustainable in the long term, following exploration of all other options.

It has already been indicated by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to the House on several occasions that he intends to give early attention to the Final Report on Personal Debt Management and Debt Enforcement of the Law Reform Commission which has just been published. That Report contains recommendations on comprehensive reform of the system of personal insolvency law in Ireland.

In the interim, the Minister, in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010, which is before the House, has provided for:

(i) a reduction in the application period to the Court for discharge from bankruptcy from 12 to 6 years, and

(ii) automatic discharge from bankruptcy where the adjudication order has existed for 20 years.

The commitment in the Renewed Programme for Government of October 2009 indicates that debt enforcement will be reformed in light of the deliberations of the Law Reform Commission.

Recommendations which are not required to be supported by legislation or are not being underpinned by the revised CCMA are not obligatory on the lender. However as the recommendations are intended to be of benefit to the lender as well as the borrower it is assumed that lenders will cooperate and implement the Groups proposals or variations of them. The Group further recommends that those systems and supports for borrowers in difficulty as set out in their Reports should be reviewed within 18 months of commencement in order to inform whether alternative policy actions are required. This review will also include the level of take up by all lenders.

Banking Sector

Joan Burton

Question:

184 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance in the context of the programme of external assistance negotiated with the EU-International Monetary Fund, the way it is envisaged that the Irish banks are to be weaned off the European Central Bank’s emergency liquidity assistance, and how the sovereign is to redeem debt as it matures over the 2011-2014 period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48066/10]

Further deleveraging of the banks is required under the financial sector reforms set out in the Programme of Financial Support and there are a variety of ways in which the banks may be deleveraged. Both AIB and BOI will significantly reduce their loan books by transferring their remaining land and development books to NAMA. For operational reasons it was previously agreed to hold loans below the €20m threshold in the banks and not transfer them to NAMA. However my Department is now preparing legislation to underpin the transfer and management of these loans which would avoid many of those operational issues and would align the interests of the participating institutions with those of NAMA in terms of maximising realisation of value. Other forms of deleveraging could involve the sale or securitisation of loan portfolios, divisions or subsidiaries. Such transactions could be supported by appropriate credit enhancement mechanisms, which will help secure a progressive and balanced reduction in bank size consistent with the prudent drawdown of resources from the Contingent Capital Facility. In addition, the Central Bank will complete a Prudential Liquidity Assessment Plan (PLAR) for 2011 setting out measures to achieve a steady deleveraging and to bring about a reduction in the reliance of the banks on Central Bank funding by the end of the programme period.

Tax Code

Joan Burton

Question:

185 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if measures to combat fuel poverty have been examined and are foreseen in the context of the proposal set out in the national recovery plan to double the rate of the carbon tax to €30 per tonne; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48067/10]

The proposal over the period of the National Recovery Plan to double the price of carbon from €15 to €30 per tonne underlines the commitment to actions to reduce emissions and mitigate climate change. It was decided not to increase the carbon tax rate in 2011 because of other tax increases faced by householders. The carbon tax will be increased on a phased basis in 2012 and 2014. The Government has been, and remains, fully committed to protecting vulnerable households from energy poverty. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is working closely with the Ministers for Social Protection and Environment, Heritage and Local Government, to deliver a fully cohesive Government response to the challenges of addressing energy affordability in Ireland through a combination of institutional supports, investment in improving the energy efficiency of housing stock and the wide availability of advice on energy efficiency. I understand the new Strategy will be brought to Government in the coming weeks.

The affordable energy strategy will be the framework for building upon the many measures already in place to protect households at risk from the effects of energy poverty. These measures include social welfare supports such as the Fuel Allowance and the Household Benefits package, as well as thermal efficiency-based measures such as the Warmer Homes Scheme (WHS), which provide significant energy efficiency improvements in low-income homes. The number of homes that were upgraded under the WHS in 2008 were 5,343, 16,240 in 2009 and 22,949 to date in 2010.

Joan Burton

Question:

186 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the preparatory work undertaken to date by him on the implementation of the site value tax as foreseen in both the programme for Government and the national recovery plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48068/10]

As the Deputy is aware, the National Recovery Plan included a site value tax which will be introduced with a fixed household charge of €100 per annum in 2012, with a value-based addition being introduced in 2013. Initial consultation on the implications of a recurrent annual tax on property has taken place with relevant stakeholders. Work is currently under way in preparation for relevant legislation to be published in Finance Bill 2011.

Joan Burton

Question:

187 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the rationale for eliminating the property based tax incentives over four years, as envisaged in the national recovery plan, as opposed to eliminating them in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48069/10]

In the Joint Programme for Government we committed to end unnecessary tax reliefs. The National Recovery Plan sets out the measures by which we will achieve the phased abolition of the property-based "legacy" tax reliefs over the period of the Plan. The Government has sought to adopt a pragmatic and balanced approach and provide for an orderly winding down of these schemes to reduce and eliminate the remaining cost to the Exchequer.

In the Budget I announced measures targeted at passive investors which will restrict the carry forward of capital allowances and limit Section 23 relief to income from the individual Section 23 property.

In addition a "guillotine" provision will ensure that all unused capital allowances after 2014 and Section 23 reliefs are lost. This provision will effectively terminate all property-based reliefs in 2014.

An Impact Assessment will be carried out to identify any significantly anomalous and unfair effects of the proposed changes in advance of the 2014 guillotine.

Question No. 188 answered with Question No. 178.
Question No. 189 answered with Question No. 177.
Question No. 190 disallowed.

Joan Burton

Question:

191 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the distributional impact of the 2011 budget; the likely distributional impact of the national recovery plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48073/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners of the distribution effects on income earners as set out in the table below. The table includes the distributional effect on income earners on a pre and post Budget 2011 basis and the corresponding distribution of the impact of the income tax changes proposed in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 in terms of projected 2011 incomes. A distribution in terms of projected 2014 incomes is not available. The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2008, adjusted as necessary to take account of the most recent data available for income and employment trends in the interim. They are, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.

Exempt

Standard Rate* (incl. those whose liability at higher rate is fully offset by credits)

Higher Rate liability not fully offset by credits

Total number of cases

Number of cases

As % of all cases

Number of cases

As % of all cases

Number of cases

As % of all cases

2010

982,900

44.3%

925,500

41.7%

311,900

14.0%

2,220,300

2011 on a pre-Budget basis

975,600

43.9%

930,400

41.8%

318,800

14.3%

2,224,800

2011 on a post-Budget basis

843,400

37.9%

978,500

44.0%

402,900

18.1%

2,224,800

National Recovery Plan**

799,200

35.9%

956,200

43.0%

469,400

21.1%

2,224,800

*Includes those benefiting from the system of marginal relief taxation.

**In terms of projected 2011 incomes.

Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

As set out in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014, it is proposed to reduce the level of credits and bands by 16.5% beginning with a 10% reduction as announced in Budget 2011.

It is estimated that the measures introduced in Budget 2011 will reduce the numbers of income earners exempt from Income Tax to 38% in 2011. The numbers with a liability at 41% will increase to 18% in 2011. The estimates for 2014, assuming a total reduction of 16.5% in credits and bands, indicate that about 36% of income earners will be exempt from Income Tax and about 21% will have a liability at 41%.

These changes are necessary in the context of the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 to rebalance the income tax system which is unsustainable and fails to provide the adequate yield.

National Asset Management Agency

Joan Burton

Question:

192 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of proposed changes to the scale and scope of operations to be undertaken by the National Asset Management Agency, it is envisaged that a new business plan will be prepared for NAMA; the proposed timeline for the introduction of such a revised business plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48074/10]

The NAMA Business Plan is a matter for the Board of NAMA. In July 2010, the Board published a business plan which projects that the Agency will return a profit to the taxpayer of €1.0 billion in Net Present Value (NPV) terms under its central scenario whereby NAMA recovers the LEV (Long Term Economic Value) of the assets. I understand that the Chairman of NAMA has recently indicated that there is no compelling basis for revising that estimate at present but that the Board is likely to review some Business Plan projections in the light of the final figures for acquired loans and associated acquisition values once all the due diligence has been completed.

Fiscal Policy

Joan Burton

Question:

193 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on proposals to set up a permanent successor fund to the European Financial Stability Facility; if he expects that conditionalities attached to any such fund would necessitate amendments to the Lisbon Treaty; to report on the ECOFIN discussions of these arrangements on 6 December; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48075/10]

The European Council agreed on 28-29 October on the need to set up a permanent crisis mechanism to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole. The Council asked President Van Rompuy to undertake consultations on a limited change to the EU Treaties in order to establish the mechanism. At their meeting on 28 November 2010, Eurogroup Ministers agreed that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will be based on the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and be capable of providing financial assistance packages to euro area Member States under strict conditionality functioning according to the rules of the current EFSF. The Ecofin Council of 7 December 2010 took note of work in progress on this issue in the run-up to the December European Council. As the Deputy will be aware, in the light of a report by President Van Rompuy, the European Council on 16-17 December 2010 agreed on the text of a limited amendment to the Treaty to provide for the establishment of the proposed mechanism. It decided to immediately launch the simplified revision procedure provided for in Article 48(6) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). It also decided that consultations should now take place with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the ECB so as to allow formal adoption of the decision in March 2011, completion of national approval procedures by the end of 2012, and entry into force on 1 January 2013.

The proposed Treaty amendment provides that "The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality."

The amendment to the Treaty will be pursued through the simplified revision procedure under Article 48.6 which applies where the proposed amendment does not involve any transfer of competence to the Union. I welcome the proposals which are important for the EU, the euro area and for Ireland. Subject to the views of the Attorney General, it is not anticipated that the proposed Treaty amendment will give rise to the need for a referendum.

The December European Council also called for Finance Ministers of the euro area and the Commission to finalise work on the intergovernmental arrangement setting up the future mechanism by March 2011, integrating the general features set out in the Eurogroup statement of 28 November 2010, which the Council endorsed. The mechanism will be activated by mutual agreement of the euro area Member States in case of risk to the stability of the euro area as a whole.

GDP Growth Forecasts

Joan Burton

Question:

194 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the EU Commission most recent forecast of GDP growth of 0.9%, and public budget balance of -10.3%, in Ireland for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48076/10]

The EU Commission's Autumn Forecasts project real GDP growth of 0.9% for 2011 whereas my Department's forecasts are for 1.7% for 2011. Reuters also publish a monthly survey of private sector economic forecasts (typically 10 economists surveyed). The results are known as the Reuters consensus forecast. The consensus forecast for end-November was published in early December. For next year the consensus is for GDP growth of 1.6% (DoF is 1.7%). The GNP projection for next year is 1.0% (DoF is also 1.0%). The headline in the Reuters circular is "Economists views . . . closer to that of the Irish government than the more pessimistic EU Commission".

Economic forecasts are, by their very nature, highly uncertain — forecasting is not an exact science especially at the current juncture.

The differences between the Department and the EU Commission mainly relate to private consumption — the Department is taking the view that the budgetary consolidation measures will help restore confidence and lead to some decline in the rate of savings by households.

The EU Commission is forecasting a General Government deficit of 10.3% of GDP in 2011. My own Department is forecasting a deficit of 9.4% next year. The main reasons for the difference are explained by the Commission's lower economic growth forecasts and their assumptions with regard to banking sector recapitalisation needs.

Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 180.
Question No. 196 answered with Question No. 173.

Joan Burton

Question:

197 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce new or amending legislation to allow for a capital injection into the Educational Building Society from the National Pensions Reserve Fund; if he will provide an update on the State’s proposed disposal of EBS, and the timeline for its completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48079/10]

The Financial Regulator on 30 March 2010 identified a total capital requirement of €875m for EBS that would have to be in place to meet PCAR requirements by 31 December 2010. In my Dáil statement of the same date, I confirmed that, should private capital not be forthcoming, the EBS capital requirement would be met either partly or fully through the issuance of Special Investment Shares (SIS) and a Promissory Note from the State. €350m has already issued to the society earlier this year in the form of Special Investment Shares and a Promissory Note. On 14 December the Government gave approval for a capital injection from the Central Fund of €525m in EBS Building Society (EBS) in return for the issuance of further Special Investment Shares (SIS) by the Society. This injection was required to ensure that the Society could meet the Financial Regulator's capital ratio requirements following the transfer of further loans from the Society to NAMA on 17 December 2010.

In relation to the sales process two bids for EBS are now being considered; one from Irish Life & Permanent and the other from an international consortium led by Cardinal Capital Group. The process of final negotiations with these parties is continuing and it would not be proper for me to comment further on the detail at this stage.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Question:

198 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on the fact that the decision to introduce the bank guarantee was made on the basis of the best advice available at the time; if he will publish the written record of any such advice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48080/10]

I would like to direct the Deputy to the Honohan report and in particular to chapter 8 where Professor Honohan sets out in detail the actions taken by the Authorities in advance of the introduction of the Guarantee. In this report Professor Honohan states "It is hard to argue with the view that an extensive guarantee needed to be put in place, since all participants (rightly) felt that they faced the likely collapse of the Irish banking system within days in the absence of decisive immediate action. Given the hysterical state of global financial markets in those weeks, failure to avoid this outcome would have resulted in immediate and lasting damage to the economy and society. There would have been additional lost income and employment surely amounting, if it could be quantified, to tens of billions of euros." The Governor's report contains a detailed account of events leading up to the provision of the Guarantee including in relation to the advice that would have been received by the Minister from the Central Bank and Financial Regulator. I would like to draw the Deputy's attention in particular to paragraph 8.19 of the report in which the Governor states that the clear consensus of those bodies was that the problems being experienced by the domestic credit institutions was essentially one of liquidity rather than solvency as a consequence of a world-wide "financial tsunami". In addition in his discussions with the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance and the Public Service on 15 June last the Governor stated that the Minister would not have been aware of solvency concerns relating to the banking system because the Financial Regulator did not have solvency concerns.

At the request of the Committee of Public Accounts, the Accounting Officer of my Department furnished the Committee with copies of the key documents in connection with the introduction of the Bank Guarantee. In compiling these documents my Department had to work within considerable legal and logistical constraints including legal privilege, contractual and copyright issues, issues of banking confidentiality and commercial sensitivity of documentation, cabinet confidentiality etc. For these reasons some documents were not released to the Committee and in other cases portions were redacted particularly where institution-specific material was involved. I understand that all of the material provided to the Committee by my Department has been published by the Committee on its website.

Banks Recapitalisation

Joan Burton

Question:

199 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his plans to proceed with the issue of promissory notes to the value of €6.4 billion to Anglo Irish Bank and €2.7 billion to Irish Nationwide in line with his statement of 30 September 2010; if so, when this issue is scheduled to take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48081/10]

In line with my Statement of 30 September capital is to be provided to Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society in the order of €6.4 billion and €2.7 billion respectively. An application under State Aid rules was made to the European Commission and in this regard was approved on 21 December. It is intended that the capital, in the form of Promissory Notes, will be injected into the institutions before year end.

National Asset Management Agency

Joan Burton

Question:

200 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance his views on widely circulated reports of property developers with loans that have been transferred to National Asset Management Agency who are living abroad in trophy houses; if his attention has been drawn to the upset these reports are causing among the general public at a time of severe tax hikes and spending cuts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48082/10]

I am aware that the Chairman of NAMA has recently outlined a range of measures which the Agency is adopting in its drive to ensure that debtors meet their obligations. In addition to significant lifestyle changes which are being forced on these debtors, they are also required to reverse asset transfers and to grant NAMA legal charges over their unencumbered assets. I am informed that three debtors have already agreed to the reversal of some €130m in asset transfers as part of their business plan agreements with NAMA. In relation to asset transfers, in circumstances where it is obvious that the purpose of an asset transfer, whether to a spouse or otherwise, was a pre-emptive attempt to put assets beyond the reach of NAMA, NAMA has a number of statutory remedies available to it. These include the provisions of the Conveyancing Act, the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009 and some provisions of the NAMA Act. Section 211 of the Act provides that NAMA may apply to a Court to declare a disposition to be void if it can show that the effect of the disposition was to impair the value of an eligible bank asset or any rights that NAMA would have acquired but for the disposition.

Ultimately, where the evidence available to NAMA is that a debtor has failed, as part of a sworn statement, to disclose all his assets as part of the debtor business plan process, he will be faced with very serious consequences. NAMA has made it very clear that it will not work with debtors who fail to co-operate fully and openly with it. NAMA will also pursue through the courts debtors who fail to co-operate with it in terms of agreeing to the reversal of asset transfers or to the granting of legal charges over unencumbered assets.

Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme

Joan Burton

Question:

201 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the level of guarantee income from the eligible liabilities guarantee that is foreseen in the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 in the national recovery plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48083/10]

The amounts included in the National Recovery Plan in respect of guarantee income from the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee are: 2011 — €800 million, 2012 — €300 million, 2013 — €150 million, and 2014 — €150 million. The Deputy will of course appreciate that, in accordance with the fundamental accounting principle of prudence, all forecasts made by my Department must be based on the current position vis a vis EU State aid approval. Therefore, forecasts for the period after June 2011 are in respect of fees for long-term debt issued under the ELG Scheme, which are paid on an annual basis.

Accordingly, the Deputy should note that these estimates may change if there are changes to the availability and scope of the guarantee or to the level of guarantee fees approved under EU State aid rules.

Public Service Staff

Joan Burton

Question:

202 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a summary per Department, agency and local authority of total staff on an full time equivalent basis at present; the way numbers are expected to evolve over the coming four years; a summary per Department, agency and local authority of staff pension contributions including through employers’ PRSI, employee contributions and the pension levy; a summary per Department, agency and local authority of numbers and proportion of staff making the full pension contribution; a summary per Department, agency and local authority of gross and net annual cost of pension provision and total outstanding pension liabilities; the lowest, highest and average pension contribution and pension payout for each Department, agency and local authority; the number of public service pensioners at each Department, agency and local authority with a public service pension income of €0-12k, €12-24k, €24-60k, €60-75k, €75-100k and in €50k intervals up to €500k; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48084/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in tables 1 to 6 below. Table 1 sets out the information in relation to public service numbers by Departmental Vote Groups, Functional Sector (where relevant), Non Commercial State Agency and Local Authority. This data which is sourced from the Public Service Numbers system is on a whole time equivalent (w.t.e) basis for Quarter 3 2010. Table 2 set out the indicative public service numbers ceilings for 2011 — 2014 by Ministerial Vote Group, broken down by Civil Service, Sector and Non-Commercial State Agency (NCSA), consistent with Table 4.3 of the National Recovery Plan. I am not in a position to provide a breakdown of each Ministerial staffing ceiling by organisation for future years because that is a matter for each Minister to decide on an ongoing basis in light of their and the Government's policy priorities.

Table 3 gives a detailed summary of staff pension contributions, including information on the total contribution, the number of staff making full pension contributions and the lowest, highest and average contributions for Departments and office in the Department of Finance Vote Group. Information in relation to staff in other Departments and Offices should be sought from the relevant Ministers.

Vote 7, Superannuation and Retired Allowances, which is part of the Finance Vote Group, covers members of the Established Civil Service Superannuation Scheme and also Non- Established Civil Service Superannuation Scheme and also the Spouses and Children of members of the Spouses and Children's Contributory Scheme for Established Civil Servants and members of the Spouses and Children's Contributory Scheme for Non-established Civil Servants. Table 4 gives a summary of the lowest, highest and average pension payout relating to the last payday in 2009 for Vote 7 and Table 5 provides a breakdown of pensioners by pension band relating to the last payday in 2009. Information in relation to pension schemes under the auspices of other Minsters should be sought from the relevant Ministers.

Table 6 outlines the 2011 estimate for the gross and net cost of pension provision by Vote. As outlined on Page 71 of the National Recovery Plan the Comptroller and Auditor General's report on Public Service Pensions Special Report no. 68, October 2009 estimated the actuarial cost of public service pensions at €108 billion of which approximately €13.5 billion relates to civil service pensions paid out of Vote 7. Further information in relation to these pension schemes can be sought from the relevant Ministers.

Table 1 — Public Service Numbers Q3 2010

Qtr3

Department

307,265

TAOISEACH GROUP

2,016

ATTORNEY GENERAL

136

Civil Service

117

NCSA

19

Law Reform Commission

19

CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE

782

Civil Service

782

CHIEF STATE SOLICITOR

230

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

191

Civil Service

191

OIREACHTAS

461

Civil Service

461

TAOISEACH

214

Civil Service

194

NCSA

21

National Economic and Social Development Office

21

FINANCE GROUP

9,128

COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE APPOINTMENTS

8

Civil Service

8

COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE APPOINTMENTS

8

COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL

149

Civil Service

149

COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL

149

FINANCE

609

Civil Service

547

NCSA

62

Special EU Programmes Body

62

OFFICE OF PUBLIC WORKS

1,857

Civil Service

1,857

OMBUDSMAN

87

Civil Service

87

PRESIDENTS ESTABLISHMENT

22

Civil Service

22

PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS SERVICE

103

Civil Service

103

REVENUE COMMISSIONERS

6,060

Civil Service

6,060

STATE LABORATORY

90

Civil Service

90

VALUATION OFFICE

144

Civil Service

144

JUSTICE GROUP

24,176

COURTS SERVICE

1,020

Civil Service

1,020

COURTS SERVICE

1,020

GARDA

16,571

GARDA CIVILIANS

1,951

GARDA

14,620

JUSTICE & LAW REFORM

2,450

Civil Service

2,450

Justice Sector

227

Centres for Young Offenders

227

PRISONS

3,547

Civil Service

3,547

PROPERTY REGISTRATION AUTHORITY

588

Civil Service

588

ENVIRONMENT

33,275

ENVIRONMENT

33,275

Civil Service

1,195

Local Authorities

31,211

City Council — Cork

1,382

City Council — Dublin

6,328

City Council — Galway

449

City Council — Limerick

496

City Council — Waterford

388

County Council — Carlow

301

County Council — Cavan

428

County Council — Clare

824

County Council — Cork

2,278

County Council — Donegal

1,000

County Council — Dun Laoire

1,151

County Council — Fingal

1,444

County Council — Galway

885

County Council — Kerry

1,214

County Council — Kildare

920

County Council — Kilkenny

557

County Council — Laois

390

County Council — Leitrim

298

County Council — Limerick

687

County Council — Longford

299

County Council — Louth

681

County Council — Mayo

1,102

County Council — Meath

674

County Council — Monaghan

419

County Council — Offaly

424

County Council — Roscommon

479

County Council — Sligo

505

County Council — South Dublin

1,351

County Council — Tipperary North

526

County Council — Tipperary South

654

County Council — Waterford

510

County Council — Westmeath

481

County Council — Wexford

783

County Council — Wicklow

825

Regional Assemblies

37

Regional Authorities

39

NCSA

869

Affordable Homes Partnership

15

An Bord Pleanála

162

An Comhairle Leabharlanna

16

Dublin Docklands Authority

27

Environmental Protection Agency

329

Heritage Council

15

Housing Finance Agency

11

Irish Water Safety Association

5

Limerick Northside Regeneration Agency

7

Limerick Southside Regeneration Agency

9

Local Government Computer Services Board

85

Local Government Management Services Board

27

National Building Agency

47

Private Residential Tenancies Board

69

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

47

EDUCATION GROUP

97,374

EDUCATION & SKILLS

97,374

Civil Service

1,599

EDUCATION & SKILLS

1,287

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION

107

STATE EXAMS COMMISSION

203

Education Sector

93,253

College of Education/Non-HEA Institutions

100

Dublin Dental Hospital

138

First Level Education

40,986

Home Economics Colleges

0

Institutes Of Technology

8,334

Second Level Education

32,737

Universities/HEA Institutions

10,960

NCSA

2,522

— Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (2010 Transfer to 3rd Level)

78

— Royal Irish Academy (2010 Transfer to 3rd Level)

77

— Royal Irish Academy of Music (2010 Transfer to 3rd Level)

64

Foras Áiseanna Saothair

1,989

Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

37

Grangegorman Development Agency

4

Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

31

Higher Education Authority

52

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology

5

Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science

5

National Education Welfare Board

101

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

25

NCTE

18

The Teaching Council

37

COMMUNITY, EQUALITY & GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

1,008

COMMUNITY, EQUALITY & GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

1,008

Civil Service

373

COMMUNITY, EQUALITY & GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

373

NCSA

635

Boord o Ulster-Scotch (An Foras Teanga)

21

Family Support Agency

38

Foras na Gaeilge (An Foras Teanga)

53

Human Rights Commission

12

National Disability Authority

35

Údarás na Gaeltachta

96

Waterways Ireland

367

Western Development Commission

14

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

1,508

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

1,508

Civil Service

1,508

COMMUNICATIONS ENERGY & NAT. RESOURCES

1,336

Civil Service

267

NCSA

1,070

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

33

Commission for Communication Regulation

121

Commission for Energy Regulation

63

Digital Hub Development Authority

16

Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission

57

Inland Fisheries Ireland

418

National Oil Reserves Agency

5

Ordnance Survey Ireland

296

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

61

AGRICULTURE

5,534

AGRICULTURE

5,534

Civil Service

3,695

NCSA

1,840

Bord Bia

104

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

129

Marine Institute

195

National Milk Agency

0

Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

100

Teagasc

1,312

TRANSPORT

1,069

TRANSPORT

1,069

Civil Service

506

TRANSPORT

506

NCSA

564

Commission for Aviation Regulation

18

Commission for Taxi Regulation

35

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

35

National Roads Authority

133

National Transport Authority

32

Railway Safety Commission

13

Road Safety Authority

299

HEALTH GROUP

110,433

HEALTH & CHILDREN

1,632

Civil Service

477

NCSA

1,153

An Bord Altranais — The Nursing Board 1985

42

Blood Transfusion Service

568

Dental Council 2001

5

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

79

Food Safety Promotion Board

32

Health & Social Care Professionals Council 2007

5

Health Information and Quality Authority

149

Health Insurance Authority

9

Health Research Board

73

Irish Medicines Board

252

Medical Council

51

Mental Health Commission

39

National Cancer Registry Board

48

National Cancer Screening Service

263

National Council — Prof Dev of Nursing and Midwifery

12

National Paediatric Hospital Development Board

3

National Social Work Qualifications Board

7

National Treatment Purchase Fund

47

Office of Tobacco Control

3

Opticians Board 1956

2

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland 1875

22

Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

16

HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE

108,801

Health Sector

108,801

ENTERPRISE GROUP

3,053

Civil Service

955

ENTERPRISE, TRADE & INNOVATION

914

LABOUR RELATIONS COMMISSION

41

NCSA

2,098

City and County Enterprise Boards

133

Competition Authority

41

Enterprise Ireland

839

Forfás

113

Health and Safety Authority

189

IDA Ireland

264

InterTrade Ireland

44

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

12

National Consumer Agency

45

National Standards Authority of Ireland

176

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

75

Science Foundation Ireland

51

SFADCo Ltd (Industrial)

117

TOURISM, CULTURE & SPORT

1,446

NATIONAL GALLERY

118

Civil Service

118

TOURISM, CULTURE & SPORT

1,328

Civil Service

157

NCSA

1,171

Arts Council

52

Bord Scannan na hÉireann (Irish Film Board)

16

Chester Beatty Library

36

Crawford Gallery

14

Fáilte Ireland

411

Irish Museum of Modern Art

93

Irish Sports Council

27

National Concert Hall

64

National Library of Ireland

96

National Museum of Ireland

174

National Sports Campus Development Authority

5

SFADCo (Tourism)

24

Tourism Ireland

160

DEFENCE

10,754

DEFENCE

10,754

Civil Service

357

DEFENCE

357

Defence Sector

10,397

Air Corps

777

Army

8,615

Naval Service

1,005

SOCIAL PROTECTION

5,155

SOCIAL PROTECTION

5,155

Civil Service

5,027

NCSA

128

Citizens Information Board

90

Pensions Board

39

Table 2 — Breakdown of Table 4.3 from National Recovery Plan

2011

2012

2013

2014

Finance

9,010

8,968

8,810

8,676

Civil Service

8,953

8,914

8,758

8,625

NCSA

63

57

55

52

Taoiseach

1,621

1,496

1,486

1,464

Civil Service

1,584

1,461

1,453

1,431

NCSA

37

35

33

33

Justice

23,127

22,886

22,647

22,404

Civil Service

9,377

9,303

9,231

9,154

Sector

13,750

13,583

13,416

13,250

of which Gardai

13,500

13,333

13,166

13,000

Environment

32,711

32,318

31,866

31,830

Civil Service

1,140

1,125

1,108

1,089

NCSA

821

793

757

741

Sector

30,750

30,400

30,000

30,000

Education

97,144

97,805

98,624

99,282

Civil Service

1,595

1,573

1,550

1,530

NCSA

2,272

2,143

2,039

2,002

Sector

93,278

94,090

95,035

95,750

CEGA

995

970

936

916

Civil Service

362

356

349

343

NCSA

634

614

586

574

Foreign Affairs

1,436

1,515

1,468

1,410

CENR

1,256

1,201

1,152

1,130

Civil Service

260

257

253

248

NCSA

996

944

899

882

Agriculture

5,232

5,104

4,965

4,877

Civil Service

3,605

3,536

3,468

3,411

NCSA

1,627

1,569

1,497

1,466

Transport

1,008

982

949

927

Civil Service

468

461

451

440

NCSA

540

521

498

487

Health

106,874

105,293

103,707

102,157

Civil Service

465

448

431

421

NCSA

1,089

1,044

996

976

Sector

105,320

103,800

102,280

100,760

ETI

2,885

2,769

2,662

2,611

Civil Service

869

859

844

826

NCSA

2,016

1,910

1,818

1,785

TCS

1,253

1,217

1,170

1,146

Civil Service

262

261

258

253

NCSA

991

956

912

893

Defence

10,869

10,767

10,662

10,658

Civil Service

369

367

362

358

NCSA

10,500

10,400

10,300

10,300

Social Protection

5,083

5,071

4,913

4,695

Civil Service

4,964

4,957

4,804

4,588

NCSA

119

114

109

107

Oireachtas

457

450

443

433

Table 3 — Finance Vote Group — Staff Pension Contributions 2010

Staff Pension Contribution Data 2010 (including through employers' PRSI employee contributions and the pension levy)

Office/Dept

Staff making Full Pension Contribution*

Proportion of Overall Serving Staff

Total Pension Contribution;

Lowest*

Highest

Average

Finance

238

34%

4,844,113

1.68

43,110

6,910

C&AGs

111.6

74%

1,895,000

5,134.00

42,920

13,161

CPSA

5

50%

51,440

326.45

8,974

5,144

Office of the Ombudsman

46

48%

980,000

439.00

27,902

5,974

PAS

89

76%

699,693

13.71

23,819

4,893

Revenue

2,423

39%

46,285,976

0.16

34,610

6,505

State Lab

50

54%

697,481

9.28

14,033

6,707

Valuation Office

84

56%

1,523,887

1,350.00

14,900

9,769

OPW

270

39%

3,339,776

4.63

28,390

8,668

*Staff Recruited after April 1995 making full pension contribution.

**The lowest contribution represents the contribution made by employees serving for very short periods throughout 2010 and is not representative of the lowest contribution made by full-time employees employed for the full year.

Table 4* — Lowest, Highest and Average Pension Payouts 2009 — Vote 7

Gross per Annum

Pensioners

Lowest pension**:

9

Highest pension:

155,002

Average pension:

21,507

Surviving Spouses

Lowest pension**:

16

Highest pension:

99,415

Average pension:

10,243

*Voluntary sacrifices (of full or partial pension entitlement) are not captured by this data.

**The Lowest pension payout represents pensions to staff and their surviving spouses with very short pensionable service.

Table 5 — Vote 7 — Breakdown of Pensioner by pension band 2009

Pension

No. of pensioners

No. of Spouses

0-12k

5,022

2,855

12k-24k

3,041

1,110

24k-60k

4,601

439

60k-75k

93

10

75k-100k

180

1

100k-150k

104

0

150k

1

0

Table 6 — 2011 Estimates for the gross and net cost of pension

All figures in €'000

Vote

Gross 2011

Net 2011

V6 — DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

4

4

V7 — SUPERANNUATION AND RETIRED ALLOWANCES

469,905

387,655

V19 — JUSTICE AND LAW REFORM

1,618

1,033

V20 — GARDA SÍOCHÁNA

368,773

332,049

V25 — ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

4,135

4,135

V26 — EDUCATION AND SKILLS

1,090,941

885,890

V27 — COMMUNITY, EQUALITY AND GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

4,602

4,602

V30 — COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY & NR

2,765

2,765

V31 — AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

46,429

46,429

V32 — TRANSPORT

1,344

1,344

V34 — ENTERPRISE, TRADE AND INNOVATION

49,909

44,020

V35 — TOURISM, CULTURE AND SPORT

9,971

9,728

V37 — ARMY PENSIONS

207,935

201,719

V39 — HEALTH AND CHILDREN

1,007

1,007

V40 — HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE

702,164

506,914

Vote Total

2,961,502

2,429,294

Preschool Services

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

203 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if an urgent review of a late application for early childhood care and education scheme can be undertaken in the case of a preschool (details supplied) in County Kildare in order that they can avail of same from January 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47746/10]

I have responsibility for implementing the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme, which provides for a free pre-school year for eligible children in the year before they commence primary school.

Childcare services wishing to participate in the ECCE scheme must be in a position to provide the free pre-school provision when the school year commences in September of the relevant year. It is a requirement of the scheme that participating sessional services provide the free pre-school provision for 3 hours a day, five days a week for 38 weeks each year and full or part time services provide the free pre-school provision for 2 hours 15 minutes each day, five days each week for 50 weeks each year. It would not be possible for services to enter the scheme after the commencement of the school year and provide the full pre-school provision required under the scheme.

Childcare services that did not meet the deadline for entry to the scheme in the current school year should contact the local City and County Childcare Committee early in 2011 to establish what arrangements are in place for entry to the scheme in the school year commencing in September 2011.

Hospital Services

Martin Ferris

Question:

204 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be admitted to the orthopaedic hospital in Croom. [47707/10]

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

Primary Care Facilities

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

205 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children her estimate for the average cost of provision, including site acquisition, planning, construction and completion of a single primary care facility under normal procurement and tendering procedures, non public private partnership; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47711/10]

Management of the Health Service Executive property portfolio is a service matter. Therefore your question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.

Drugs Payment Scheme

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

206 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if it is the case that a full-time student who is over 23 years, lives at home with their parents and has no income cannot be included in the family’s drugs repayment scheme; if not, can they qualify for a medical card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47714/10]

Under the Drugs Repayment Scheme, no individual or family has to pay more than the prescribed monthly amount (currently €120) in any calendar month for prescribed drugs, medicines and appliances for use by that person or his/her family in that month.

Family expenditure covers the nominated head of household, who must be an adult, his/her spouse (including a person with whom he/she is living as husband or wife) and children under 18 years. Expenditure by dependants over 18 years and under the age of 23 years who are in full time education may also be included. A dependant with a physical disability or mental handicap or illness who cannot maintain himself/herself fully, who is ordinarily resident in the family home, may be included in the family expenditure under this Scheme regardless of age.

Persons aged 16-25 years, who are dependent on Medical Card or GP Visit Card holders, are eligible for Medical Card/GP Visit Cards.

Hospital Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

207 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) has been refused the surgical procedure they require; when they will have this surgery; and the reason they have been unable to obtain the medical information they requested regarding their situation and care plan. [47716/10]

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

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

208 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to extend the fair deal scheme to include care in the community. [47734/10]

I understand that this question relates to the following statement in the National Recovery Plan 2010-2014 — ‘building on the success of the Fair Deal scheme, the introduction of an approach to community support for older people which takes need and financial means into account on a nationally consistent basis'.

The Department of Health and Children, in consultation with the HSE, is currently preparing proposals to ensure that access to long-term community services is provided on a nationally consistent and equitable basis having regard to each person's care needs and means. The proposals are at a very early stage, therefore, it is not possible to provide any further detail at the present time.

Ministerial Appointments

Michael Ring

Question:

209 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the Government appointments made to State boards, State bodies, public bodies, State agencies, State enterprises, judicial positions and all State positions from 1 June 2010 to date in 2010 in tabular form. [47792/10]

The appointments made to State boards\agencies since 1 June 2010 are as follows:

Name

Board

Date of Appointment

Dorothy Donovan

Health and Social Care Professionals Council

27/10/2010

Conor Burke

Health Research Board

12/06/2010

Colin Doherty

Health Research Board

12/06/2010

John McCormack

Health Research Board

12/06/2010

Prem Puri

Health Research Board

12/06/2010

Marion Rowland

Health Research Board

12/06/2010

Frank Dolphin (Chairperson)

Health Service Executive

15/08/2010

Nuala Hunt

Health Service Executive

11/10/2010

Jane O’Brien

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

01/11/2010

Hilary O’Leary

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

06/12/2010

Paolo Rebulla

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

03/06/2010

Elizabeth Cogan

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

Diane Duggan

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

Christine Long

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

Eugene Magee (Chairperson)

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

Jane Smith

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

Frank Turvey

Leopardstown Park Hospital Board

05/09/2010

John Bonnar (Chairperson)

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Michael Davenport

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Eilish Hardiman

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Brian O’Mahony

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Susan O’Shea

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Barry White

National Haemophilia Council

22/07/2010

Brendan Drumm

National Paediatric Hospital Development Board

16/08/2010

Mary Brazil

National Treatment Purchase Fund

09/11/2010

Rita Hayes

National Treatment Purchase Fund

09/11/2010

John Horan (Chairperson)

National Treatment Purchase Fund

03/06/2010

Dermot Mullane

National Treatment Purchase Fund

09/11/2010

Tom Murphy

National Treatment Purchase Fund

03/06/2010

Val Collier

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Damien Courtney

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Chris Curtin

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Pat Dunne

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Monica Egan

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Ursula Fernee

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Denis Gallagher

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Fiona Geraghty

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Mary Hargaden

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Ned Kelly

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Valentine O’Kelly

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Suzanne Quin

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Cormac Quinlan

Social Workers Registration Board

05/08/2010

Maureen Lynott

St James’s Hospital Board

01/09/2010

Liam Downey

VHI

13/10/2010

Cathriona Hallahan

VHI

23/11/2010

Nuala Doherty

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Finbarr Murphy

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Philomena Hanna

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Denis O’Sullivan

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Michael Donnellan

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Michelle Shannon

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Roger Killeen

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Cathal Flynn

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Dermot Stokes

Children Acts Advisory Board

18/10/2010

Laura O’Brien

Consultative Council on Hepatitis C

05/08/2010

Daniel McGing

Drug Treatment Centre Board

14/07/2010

Miriam Cashell

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Charlie Daly

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Tom Collins

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Dan Collins

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Anne Nolan

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Pat O’Mahony

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Eimear Killian

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Eamon Corcoran

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

19/11/2010

Frank Dolphin

Health Service Executive

15/08/2010

Padraic White

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Gabriel Burke

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Arnie Hill

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Dermot Kelleher

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

John Kennedy

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

John McCormack

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Claire McNicholas

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Eugene Murray

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Risteard O’Laoide

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Tony O’Brien

St Luke’s Hospital Board

01/07/2010

Karen Fergus

Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal

06/12/2010

Children in Care

Richard Bruton

Question:

210 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she plans to commission a report into abuse in foster homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47816/10]

The provision of foster care is central to child welfare and protection. As the Deputy is aware, the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) commenced an inspection of HSE Foster care services in 2007 and more recently in Dublin in September, 2009 under Section 69 of the Child Care Act, 1991.

In July 2010 the Health Information Quality Authority published its inspection report of the foster care services for Dublin North West, North Central and North Dublin which indicated that in Dublin North West and Dublin North Central there were large numbers of children in care living with carers, who were not seen by a social worker for a considerable period and where a large number of carers were not formally approved by the HSE in line with the Child Care Regulations 1995. A large proportion of these placements were in relative care placements i.e. where a child had been placed formally in the care of a relative and that relative was in receipt of an allowance from the HSE. The inspection findings indicated that the standards of foster care in Dublin North were of a good quality.

In September 2010 HIQA published its report of an inspection of four Local Health Areas in HSE South. Overall the findings from this inspection were positive; however there were deficits in the formal assessment of some relative carers and up to 25 children of the 690 in foster care did not have an allocated social worker due to staff maternity leave. Overall inspection reports found the children were safe and well. HIQA brought their concerns to the attention of the HSE who developed an action plan to address the weaknesses identified. An additional 200 social workers have been approved, resourced and put in place this year in order to ensure, at a minimum, that every child in care has access to an allocated social worker.

It is a positive development that inconsistencies in practice and identified problems are now being identified through the work of the HSE's own internal audit processes and through the inspection process of HIQA. The challenge facing the HSE is the need to ensure that all necessary measures are taken as a priority to address the weaknesses identified. Any allegation of abuse of a child in the care of the State should be notified to the statutory authorities in accordance with Children First. In addition Section 10 of the National Standards for Foster Care sets out good practice in relation to dealing with issues of alleged abuse of children in foster care.

Health Services

Denis Naughten

Question:

211 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans she has to provide ultraviolet light therapy in the midlands; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47840/10]

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

Denis Naughten

Question:

212 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will outline the procedure for awarding a contract (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47841/10]

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

Medical Cards

Denis Naughten

Question:

213 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the current processing time in each PCCC for medical cards; the steps being taken to address this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47842/10]

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

Health Services

Denis Naughten

Question:

214 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the urgent status of primary care centres (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47843/10]

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

Medical Cards

Leo Varadkar

Question:

215 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children if non-EU national students who are resident here for more than a year are eligible to apply for a medical card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47857/10]

Under the Health Act, 2004, determination of eligibility for Medical Cards is the responsibility of the HSE. Medical Cards are issued to persons who, in the opinion of the HSE, are unable to provide general practitioner, medical and surgical services for themselves and their dependants without undue hardship.

Entitlement to health services in Ireland is primarily based on residency and means rather than nationality or citizenship. Any person, regardless of nationality, who is accepted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) as being ordinarily resident in Ireland is entitled to either full eligibility or limited eligibility for health services. The HSE normally regards a person as "ordinarily resident" in Ireland if he/she satisfies the HSE that it is his/her intention to remain in Ireland for a minimum period of one year. The HSE would regard a non-EU national student as ordinarily resident in Ireland if he/she is attending a registered course of study of at least one academic year's duration.

Hospital Services

Willie Penrose

Question:

216 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take to have a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath admitted to Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, to have a procedure carried out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47864/10]

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

Health Services

Emmet Stagg

Question:

217 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children if the new public community welfare office for Naas, County Kildare, will open in January 2011 [47873/10]

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

Health Service Allowances

John Deasy

Question:

218 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons in Waterford city and county in receipt of domiciliary care allowance in each of the years 2005 to 2009; the amount spent on domiciliary care allowance in each of those years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47910/10]

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

Health Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

219 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will directly intervene and reverse the decision to close a nursing home (details supplied) in the interest of health and safety of senior citizens, in view of the fact that the Health Information and Quality Authority did not recommend closure, that there are still residents wishing to remain to live in the facility and widespread support within the community for its current use and retention for the future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47918/10]

Under the Health Act 2004, the Health Service Executive has sole operational responsibility for the delivery of health and social services, including those at facilities such as Loughloe House in Athlone. Accordingly, I have referred this matter to the Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

220 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive is in negotiations with private interests or is considering disposal of the site for the proposed primary care unit at Clonbrusk in Athlone and outline future provision of same [47919/10]

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

Denis Naughten

Question:

221 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason an organisation (details supplied) has failed to secure additional funding from the Health Service Executive to run its vital services in 2011; if her attention has been drawn to the implications this will have for parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47928/10]

Denis Naughten

Question:

222 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the Health Service Executive has not taken over or funded the support of 24 children over the age of four years, even though it assumed responsibility for their care in June 2010; if her attention has been drawn to the financial implications this is having on an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47930/10]

I propose to take Question Nos. 221 and 222 together.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is working jointly with the Jack and Jill Foundation to identify and prioritise the needs of the children on a case-by-case basis. If a child needs hospital care, the HSE will provide this. However, the HSE is prepared to work closely with Jack & Jill to ensure that no child is hospitalised for want of adequate home support, provided by Jack and Jill or the HSE. The Health Service Executive will continue to fund Jack & Jill in 2011 on the same basis as in 2010, subject to any overall resources limitations that may arise for all providers in the disability sector generally, but it is not in a position to provide additional funding for the Foundation to compensate for the drop in its private fund-raising.

Hospital Staff

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

223 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of social workers, occupational therapists, rehabilitation assistants and language therapists currently in Beaumont hospital for the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47935/10]

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

General Practitioner Services

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

224 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the extreme hardships that will be faced by low and middle income earners as a result of the budgetary measures, and in view of mounting evidence that persons are already avoiding needed medical treatment due to cost, she will move to control general practitioners fees; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47937/10]

Consultation fees charged to private patients by General Practitioners (GPs) are a matter of private contract between the doctor and the patient. While I have no role in relation to such fees, I would expect GPs to have regard to the overall economic situation in setting their fees. My colleague the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation has also called on providers of professional services in the private sector to adjust their fees in line with the reductions in fees of those providing such services in the public sector.

The Medical Council's Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners states that the fees charged should be appropriate to the service provided and that patients should be informed of the likely costs before the consultation and treatment. GPs who hold a General Medical Services contract with the Health Service Executive must not seek or accept money from medical card or GP visit card holders in respect of routine treatment. On 1st November 2010, 1,712,929 persons had access to free GP services (1,598,823 medical card holders and 114,106 GP visit card holders).

Departmental Funding

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

225 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if funds will be made available in the budget to fund the missing children’s 116000 number. [47944/10]

The issue of children who go missing is primarily a matter for the Garda Síochána. A hotline for missing children is in operation in some EU Member States. My Office is currently involved in discussions with other relevant Government Departments in relation to the establishment of this service. The issue of the funding of this is under consideration.

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Denis Naughten

Question:

226 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 191 of 7 July 2010, if she will provide an update on discussions between the Irish Blood Transfusion Service and the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47945/10]

The position has not changed and there are currently no plans to extend the list of eligible conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme, which was introduced on a statutory basis in 1971.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) is considering the options and opportunities for an expansion of its service for haemochromatosis patients throughout the country, and is exploring this position with stakeholders at present. In this regard, I have asked the Director of Quality and Clinical Care in the HSE to work with the IBTS in relation to setting national guidelines for the management of haemochromatosis.

Community Care

Denis Naughten

Question:

227 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 134 of 3 December 2009, if approval has been granted to proceed to tender; when work is expected to commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47949/10]

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

Hospitals Building Programme

Denis Naughten

Question:

228 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the timetable for the completion and operation of the new cystic fibrosis unit at St. Vincent’s hospital, Dublin. [47951/10]

St Vincent's University Hospital and the HSE are working to ensure the earliest possible delivery of the new ward block. The project is progressing according to schedule.

The contract for construction of the new facility was signed on the 14 October 2010. The site has been handed over to the contractor. An architect has been appointed, the contractor, design team and project manager are on site and construction work has commenced. The site had previously been cleared in readiness for construction to begin. It is expected that construction of the building will take 18 months. Completion is expected as early as possible in 2012.

Health Services

Joe Carey

Question:

229 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will bring forward a procedure in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47952/10]

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

Croke Park Agreement

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

230 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the performance management systems implemented in her Department as specified in the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47968/10]

The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 contains a commitment "to introduce significantly improved performance management across all Public Service areas and following the current review, the Performance Management and Development System will be strengthened with promotion and incremental progression linked in all cases to performance and the implementation of appropriate systems to address under-performance, including, where appropriate, training or, where necessary, through disciplinary procedures"

In the Civil Service work is well under way on achieving this goal. The 2010 Evaluation of PMDS has been completed. Negotiations with the Unions have commenced in relation to how the PMDS can be strengthened. The Organisational Review Programme review of my Department published last September sets out an action plan for operating PMDS to improve and maintain performance levels as well as deal with underperformance within the Department. This action plan overlaps significantly with the performance management measures required for the implementation of the Public Service Agreement (2010-2014).

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

231 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff working within her Department who are employed on a short-term, temporary or consultative basis in the years 2009 and 2010; the costs of payment to such staff in each of those years; the number of any such staff who have been previously employed in the public service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47982/10]

I understand that the Deputy's question relates to temporary staff employed for periods of up to twelve months. I can confirm that there were 2 such contracts during the period concerned and the total salary involved was €27,810. Neither employee had previous public service experience.

Patient Private Property Fund

Denis Naughten

Question:

232 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 228 of 6 July 2010, the value of payments made to date; the payments made in 2010; the number of payments which have been issued; when repayments will commence in the western region; the timetable for the completion of this process; the total number of persons to be refunded and the value of the refunds; the provision made in the 2011 estimate for administration and for payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47989/10]

This question refers to retained interest on Patient Private Property Accounts. Payment to the value of €66,946 has issued in respect of 1,120 patients to date.

While no payments have issued in 2010, it is hoped to progress payments in 2011, including in the western region, but this is subject to resources being available to do so.

The identification of the total number of people to be refunded and the value of such refunds are yet to be established from records retained at each individual care centre, and is part of a significant workload involved in completing payments. There is no specific provision for administration. Interest retained since 2005 is lodged in the Central PPP Fund for distribution and is managed and audited separately from all other HSE accounts.

There is no requirement on clients or next of kin to make an application for this payment.

The HSE have again expressed their willingness to provide full briefing on PPP related issues to the Deputy, or to meet with him to answer his queries, if he so wishes.

Eating Disorders

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

233 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take to increase public health care for persons with eating disorders; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48007/10]

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

Hospital Accommodation

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

234 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the average annual cost of a public bed in an acute hospital [48039/10]

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

Hospital Staff

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

235 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will request the Health Service Executive to expedite an appointment for a person (details supplied) at the Adelaide and Meath hospital, Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48040/10]

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

Rural Transport Services

Richard Bruton

Question:

236 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the overall reduction in the budget for the rural transport scheme for 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47821/10]

John Deasy

Question:

244 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport the amount of money that has been appropriated for rural transport programmes in Waterford in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47813/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236 and 244 together.

Pobal administers the Rural Transport Programme (RTP) on behalf of my Department and is responsible, among other things, for allocating funds to individual community transport groups from funding provided by my Department. I understand from Pobal that the following amounts were allocated to the RTP Programme in Waterford:

Year

2005

163,747

2006

185,986

2007

301,781

2008

307,898

2009

310,953

2010

329,338

€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. This is a reduction of some 3.6% on the 2010 allocation.

Departmental Funding

Arthur Morgan

Question:

237 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Transport the date on which the winning towns will be awarded the funding of €50 million under the smarter travel initiative launched by him and due for decision in July 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47701/10]

No decision has yet been announced regarding the outcome of the Smarter Travel Areas Competition. The future of this Programme will be considered in the context of the recently announced budget for 2011 and the National Recovery Plan.

Taxi Regulations

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

238 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport when he was last briefed by the Commission on Taxi Regulation and the National Transport Authority on current market conditions and proposed new regulations for the taxi industry; if he has made any recent policy proposals to the Commission on Taxi Regulation in respect of the ongoing deteriorating conditions for the taxi workforce; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47723/10]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

239 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport when the Commission on Taxi Regulation will be incorporated into the National Transport Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47722/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

The Public Transport Regulation Act, 2009, provides for the transfer of functions and staff of the Commission for Taxi Regulation (CTR) to the National Transport Authority (NTA) upon the making of an Order by me. I will shortly make the Order to give effect to the transfer effective from 1 January 2011.

On transfer of functions, the NTA will continue the independent regulatory role of the former CTR and I will, as currently, have no role in the regulation of the taxi sector.

The CTR has published a Strategy Statement for 2010-2014 which sets out the key objectives for the developing the regulatory framework for the taxi sector. In addition the CTR published an Action Plan for 2010-2011 that set outs measurable targets through which the Strategy Statement objectives could be achieved.

Taking account of its statutory independence and its reporting requirements, my officials have regular contact with the Commission for Taxi Regulation on corporate governance issues and general policy relating to the taxi sector. However I have no plans at this time to change the current independent regulation of the sector as provided for in legislation. When the NTA takes on the taxi regulation function it will be open to individuals or taxi representatives to present views to the NTA about their concerns about the taxi sector and the NTA will have the opportunity to consider those views under the terms of its independent statutory mandate.

Departmental Staff

Simon Coveney

Question:

240 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Transport if any member of staff in his Department or associated agency received a bonus between 2009 and 2010; if so, when and the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47732/10]

No bonus payments were made to any member of staff in my Department between 2009 and 2010. The payment of bonus payments to staff members of the bodies under the aegis of my Department is a matter for the Board of the State Company concerned. Under the Minister for Finance's Guidelines on Contracts, Remuneration and other Conditions of Chief Executives and Senior Management of Commercial State Bodies, a representative of my Department attends and contributes views at the Remuneration Committee meeting of each commercial State body where bonus payments for Chief Executives are being considered.

I wrote to each commercial State body in February 2009 requesting that consideration be given by the Board to achieving a significant reduction in or elimination of bonus awards to Chief Executives payable for 2009 and also 2010. I also wrote to non-commercial State bodies in May 2009 stating that it would be appropriate that consideration of any bonus payments to Chief Executive Officers be suspended pending the issue of further guidelines from the Department of Finance. These issued in February 2010 and requested that bonus schemes in non-commercial bodies be suspended indefinitely. Details of any bonus payments made to the Chief Executive Officer are required to be published in the annual accounts of the State body.

Ministerial Appointments

Michael Ring

Question:

241 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport the Government appointments made to State boards, State bodies, public bodies, State agencies, State enterprises, judicial positions and all State positions from 1 June 2010 to date in 2010 in tabular form. [47796/10]

In my capacity as Minister for Transport I do not make Government appointments.

Air Services

John Deasy

Question:

242 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport the amounts of financial grant aid and public service obligation funding that has been made available to each regional airport in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47811/10]

PSO air services subvention is set out in the following table:

PSO Contract Amounts, per contract year

Jul 05 to Jul 06

Jul 06 to Jul 07

Jul 07 to Jul 08

Jul 08 to Jul09

Jul 09 to Jul10

July10 to July 11

Galway

2,953,594

3,004,919

3,041,058

3,271,344

3,314,239

3,430,810

Kerry

3,013,556

3,003,493

3,008,433

1,750,000

1,750,000

1,750,000

Sligo/Donegal

4,966,108

5,157,252

5,403,422

5,378,689

5,639,552

5,906,329

Knock/Derry

3,895,112

4,083,235

4,287,719

3,837,595

4,336,276

4,476,732

14,828,370

15,248,899

15,740,632

14,237,628

15,040,067

15,563,871

The Sligo/ Donegal and Knock/ Derry routes are operated under a combined contract. Ryanair have discontinued providing the Kerry PSO service since November 2010 and are operating a daily service outside the PSO arrangement at no cost to the exchequer. Operational subvention (OPEX) is set out in the following table:

Airport

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Donegal

255,000

64,600

44,000

0

131,000

278,000

Sligo

255,000

231,200

9,000

0

313,000

395,000

Knock

400,000

0

0

0

445,000

761,000

Galway

280,000

677,848

859,000

1,200,000

962,000

1,800,000

Kerry

400,000

0

0

0

0

0

Waterford

650,000

687,685

1,352,000

1,540,000

1,494,000

1,585,000

Total

2,240,000

1,661,333

2,264,000

2,740,000

3,345,000

4,819,000

Because of a projected shortfall in the resources available to fund the OPEX scheme, after allowing for estimated requirements for the PSO Air Services Programme for 2010, the six Regional Airports were allocated OPEX funding on a pro rata basis in July of this year with no airport getting the full amount it might otherwise expect.

I have decided to provide additional funding for the Scheme for 2010 in line with the OPEX contracts. All the Airports submitted additional information in support of their applications for funding. The combined allocations are as outlined in the above table. Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) is as in the following table:

Airport

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Donegal

112,575

49,490

299,524

992,610

33,536

See below

Sligo

55,852

124,000

303,911

1,907,729

223,607

See below

Knock

3,212,180

529,365

699,465

4,626,956

3,874,017

See below

Galway

692,015

0

673,892

1,049,691

453,624

See below

Kerry

394,650

98,107

189,074

334,393

45,000

See below

Waterford

123,690

0

1,174,489

1,907,729

223,607

See below

Total

1,700,000

800,962

3,340,355

9,023,959

4,714,773

See below

The provision in my Department's Vote to fund the CAPEX grant scheme for all the Regional Airports in 2010 is €3 million. Grant aid for urgently required work at Knock and Donegal airports was approved for this year together with the completion of projects which had been contractually committed prior to July 2008. Just over €1.06m had been drawn down as at 13th December 2010 by the airports with further funds to be drawn down by year end.

John Deasy

Question:

243 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Transport the number of passengers inbound and outbound using each regional airport in each of the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47812/10]

Passenger numbers at the six Regional Airports since 2005, including those available to date in 2010, are set out below:

Passengers Statistics

Part of 2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

Donegal

Up to Nov.

44,640

50,750

64,532

60,388

56,656

47,776

Galway

Up to Oct.

134,209

194,158

266,897

309,302

248,972

252,897

Kerry

Up to Oct.

346,490

356,247

423,291

389,434

392,400

382,678

Knock

Up to Nov.

555,407

607,228

629,000

556,357

621,171

530,084

Sligo

Up to Nov.

19,780

26,706

42,493

44,533

34,310

39,593

Waterford

Up to Sep.

70,499

111,837

143,465

118,771

82,826

74,357

Question No. 244 answered with Question No. 236.

Public Transport

Joe McHugh

Question:

245 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport in reference to the Public Service Obligation, the total budget allocated to this fund regarding transport; the persons eligible to draw down from this budget and the criteria or technical requirement; the breakdown of the allocation for County Donegal, Bus Éireann and private operators; the way it is awarded and monitored; the actual allocation to each of the above; if a service is discontinued by the operator, what happens to the allocation toward that service; the result of the most recent value for money and performance audit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47835/10]

The total budget for PSOs for air services for the period July 2010 to July 2011 is €15,563,871 of which €5,906,329 is allocated for PSO air services between Donegal Airport and Dublin and between Sligo Airport and Dublin. These two PSO air services are operated under a combined contract. PSO funding is also provided for air services between Dublin Airport and Kerry, Galway, Knock, and Derry airports.

Contracts for provision of PSO air services are awarded to the successful air carrier following an EU public tendering process. Carriers are required to comply with specific key performance standards which are set out in the relevant contracts. The Value for Money Review of Exchequer Expenditure on the Regional Airports Programme, including regarding PSOs for air services, has been completed and is at present being considered by Government. It is expected that, in the light of that Review, decisions on funding for regional airports in future years will be made shortly. Allocations in respect of bus transport public service obligations is a matter for the National Transport Authority (NTA) based on public service contracts between the NTA and providers, including Bus Éireann.

Air Services

Denis Naughten

Question:

246 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport further to Parliamentary Question No. 464 of 20 April 2010, if he will update Dáil Eireann on the issues raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47924/10]

Statutory responsibility for the regulation of safety standards of civil aviation in the State has been vested in the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) under the Irish Aviation Authority Act 1993. Following a microlight accident near Carnew, Co. Wicklow in September 2007, the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) of my Department issued Safety Recommendation (SR) 24 of 2008. This gave rise to the review by the IAA of the regulatory and operational framework of microlight operations in Ireland. The IAA consulted extensively with the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI), other aviation representative bodies and all stakeholders through a public consultation process.

In August 2010, the IAA published new technical requirements for the licensing and operation of microlights. Aeronautical Notice P.17 was issued on the 26th August 2010. The IAA also published new technical requirements to encourage more foreign microlight pilots to visit Ireland on a temporary basis. While the IAA have now completed the review, they will continue to consult with aviation representative bodies, such as the NMAI, to continuously improve safety in aviation in Ireland. The AAIU has informed me that as the required review has been completed, SR 24 of 2008 is considered closed.

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

247 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the performance management systems implemented in his Department as specified in the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47972/10]

The Department of Transport implements the Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) as agreed in General Council Reports 1368, 1398 and 1452. My Department also has a PMDS Policy which underpins these agreements.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

248 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff working within his Department who are employed on a short-term, temporary or consultative basis in the years 2009 and 2010; the costs of payment to such staff in each of those years; the number of any such staff who have been previously employed in the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47986/10]

Details as requested by the Deputy for 2009 and 2010 are as follows. There were 8 staff employed in 2009 on temporary contracts at a cost of €59,683. There were 2 staff employed in 2010 on temporary contracts at a cost of € 39,674. I am not aware of any of the above staff being employed previously in the public service.

Commercial Rent Review

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

249 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans to offer relief under the national recovery plan to retail tenants locked into upward only rent reviews under existing leases having regard to the action points listed in 2.24 of the plan to assist other sectors; if his attention has been drawn to the serious threat to employment in the retail sector unless relief is forthcoming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47848/10]

One of the Action Points listed in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 refers explicitly to the implementation of the proposals of the Working Group on Transparency in Commercial Rent Reviews. The responsibility for addressing this Action Point lies with my Department and I am fully committed to progressing the proposals of the Group in a timely manner.

Garda Investigations

Terence Flanagan

Question:

250 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will deal with a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47708/10]

I abhor this particularly sinister type of criminality where an employee's family become unwitting players in such acts.

In relation to the particular case referred to by the Deputy, I am informed by the Garda Commissioner that the incident remains the subject of an active and ongoing investigation. I am also informed that a local Detective Sergeant has been appointed to liaise with the individual and the family and has kept them apprised of developments in this investigation. In addition, the Superintendent for the locality is also available to discuss any concerns they may have about the investigation.

My Department has established an office to service the Commission for the Support of Victims of Crime. The Commission funds the Crime Victims Helpline which provides information on what services are available to victims of crime and other supports. It can be contacted at its freephone number: 1850 211 407. I recently launched the 'Victims Charter and Guide to the Criminal Justice System' to help victims of crime. The Charter provides a written framework of rights and entitlements against which crime victims can measure the standard of treatment received in their dealings across all sections of the criminal justice system. It also sets out what a person can do if his/her expectations as a victim are not met.

Prison Committals

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

251 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of children who have a parent in prison each year; the policies in place to mitigate the damage caused to children by the imprisonment of a parent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47717/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service does not collect statistics on the children of prisoners.

As part of its overall strategy in relation to the rehabilitation of prisoners, the Irish Prison Service pursues a service-wide approach aimed at sustaining and maintaining prisoners' relationships with their families, in as normal a manner as possible. The Service continues to work in partnership with the Probation Service and other statutory, voluntary and community agencies and services to provide best possible service and supports to prisoners' families.

Purpose-built centres for prison visitors are located outside the main entrances of Mountjoy Prison, St. Patrick's Institution, Limerick Prison, Cloverhill Prison and the Midlands Prison and Castlerea. They offer comfortable waiting facilities, light refreshment and, in some instances, a crèche.

Under the Prison Rules sentenced prisoners are entitled to one visit per week but additional special visits for compassionate or family reasons are approved at the Governor's discretion. The option of providing longer visits may be granted where circumstances permit. Remand prisoners are entitled to a visit on any week day. Sentenced prisoners are also entitled to one phone call per day while remand prisoners are entitled to not less than five phone calls per week. The Governor of the prison also has the discretion to grant prisoners special phone calls for family compassionate reasons.

The majority of visits are supervised in sight, but not in hearing, of prison staff to ensure good order and security and to prevent the passing of contraband. Some institutions have visiting boxes or family rooms that trusted prisoners can avail of for non-screened family visits. The ‘family visit' system is incentive based and is very successful. Prisoners are facilitated with non-screened family visits if they take a full and active part in the regime available and if they have not had a disciplinary report for a period of time in advance of the family visit taking place.

Families can also expect that offenders will be accommodated close to them. Prisoners are accommodated in prisons as close to their family where possible subject to operational and security considerations. It is open to all prisoners to apply for temporary release for milestone family events such as communions, confirmations etc. All requests for temporary release or escorted outings are considered on a case by case basis and subject to appropriate security considerations.

Proposed Legislation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

252 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the measures he will take to review the activities of cash-for-gold operations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47721/10]

Martin Ferris

Question:

257 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his views on the proliferation of gold for cash shops where gold is bought over the counter with seemingly no requirement to produce evidence of direct ownership; his plans to tackle this area which many believe is encouraging theft; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47849/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 252 and 257 together.

The Deputy will be aware that there has been a significant increase in the number of outlets offering to buy gold for cash in towns and cities in the State. I understand that some established jewellers also offer to buy gold and jewellery for cash. In addition it is understood that many kiosks are situated in hotels or shopping centres operated by individuals that are employed by a number of companies buying gold for cash. The prevalence of this trade would appear to be linked to the high price that gold now commands on international markets, and the ‘cash for gold' concept would appear to be an international phenomenon. I am aware that the trade gives rise to concerns reported in communities about crime that may be linked to the cash for gold trade.

The informal purchase of jewellery is not specifically regulated in criminal legislation; however the circumstances under which jewellery is being bought and/or sold may indicate the commission of certain offences, for example handling stolen property and / or possession of stolen property under sections 17 and 18 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001.

Section 17 of the Act in essence provides that a person is guilty of handling stolen property if he or she, knowing that the property was stolen or being reckless as to whether it was stolen, dishonestly receives or arranges to receive it, or undertakes, or assists in, its retention, removal, disposal or realisation by or for the benefit of another person, or arranges to do so. A person guilty of handling stolen property is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.

Section 18 of the Act in essence provides that a person who, without lawful authority or excuse, possesses stolen property knowing that the property was stolen or being reckless as to whether it was stolen, is guilty of an offence. A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.

An Garda Síochána enforce the provisions of the criminal law in respect of theft and robbery including the theft and robbery of jewellery and gold. Should members of the public have suspicions that goods being sold or traded may be stolen, the correct action is for these suspicions to be referred to An Garda Síochána for investigation.

To take account of concerns about the matter, my Department last month formally asked the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána to ascertain his view as to the extent, if any, that criminal offences are being committed in the procurement and receipt of gold and similar items in transactions carried out at the cash for gold locations. In particular the Commissioner has been requested to examine whether the trade may be linked generally or in particular areas to burglary offences; whether Criminal Justice legislation, and in particular, the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 is adequate in the context of cash for gold transactions; whether criminal elements involved in organised crime or otherwise may be connected with the operation and ownership of the cash for gold outlets; and whether any new legislative provision may be required to address criminality in respect of cash for gold transactions.

I can assure the Deputy that as soon as the outcome of this examination of the matter is to hand, I will make an assessment as to what if any action, legislative or otherwise may be required.

Road Traffic Offences

Finian McGrath

Question:

253 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding parking problems at a location (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [47736/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the location referred is in Raheny Garda Sub-District. Local Garda management is aware of difficulties being experienced at the location.

The member of the local Community Policing Unit allocated to the area has been in contact with local residents and the management of educational facilities nearby. The Garda authorities understand that the educational facilities have contacted parents in relation to the matter.

The area is subject to patrols, particularly during peak traffic periods, by Garda Sub-District and District personnel, including Divisional Traffic Corps personnel. Fixed charge penalty notices and parking fines are regularly issued for offences contrary to the Road Traffic Acts detected in the locality.

Residents have been advised to report any further such incidents. Local Garda management will continue to monitor the situation.

Deportation Orders

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

254 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of applications to revoke a deportation order and the number of deportation orders revoked in 2009 and 2010. [47742/10]

In reply to the Deputy's question on the number of applications to revoke a Deportation Order, these statistics are not recorded in my Department in a manner as would enable me to readily provide the Deputy with the requested information. Any piece of correspondence submitted on behalf of an applicant after a Deportation Order is made against them is potentially an application to revoke the Deportation Order. However, not all such pieces of correspondence are accepted as applications to revoke. Therefore, the Deputy will appreciate that the extraction and complication of such information would involve the deployment of staff from core duties such as case processing to manually examine and cross reference an inordinate amount of files. This could not be justified as an effective use of staff where there are other significant demands on such resources within my Department.

A total of thirty four deportation orders were revoked in 2009 and a further twenty eight have been revoked up to 10th December 2010.

Refugee Status

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

255 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of proposals to revoke a persons refugee status he has issued, and the number of persons whose refugee status has been revoked in 2009 and 2010. [47743/10]

In 2009, twenty eight letters proposing to revoke refugee status were issued. In eleven of those cases status was revoked. To date, in 2010, thirty two letters proposing to revoke refugee status have been issued and status has been revoked in twenty four cases.

Illegal Immigrants

John Deasy

Question:

256 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of persons refused entry at Irish airports each year for the past five years and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47810/10]

The following table shows the total number of persons refused Leave to Land, pursuant to the provisions of Immigration Act, 2004, for each year between 2005-2010:

Year

Number

2010

2,811 (to 30 November 2010)

2009

3,857

2008

5,390

2007

5,854

2006

5,556

2005

4,714

Total

28,182

However, a number of those persons who had been refused Leave to Land were subsequently permitted to enter the State, having made application for protection pursuant to the provisions of the Refugee Act, 1996, as amended. The following table shows the number of such persons, for each year between 2005 and 2010:

Year

Number

2010

284 (to 30 November 2010)

2009

317

2008

345

2007

454

2006

506

2005

449

Total

2,355

Question No. 257 answered with Question No. 252.

Departmental Staff

Leo Varadkar

Question:

258 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if any staff have been promoted in his Department in the past six months; the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47856/10]

The staffing numbers of my Department and agencies staffed by it have declined by in excess of 300 since the Moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service was introduced at the end of March 2009. The Department of Finance has sanctioned the filling of a limited number of priority posts as exceptions to the Moratorium, which has led to a small number of promotions over the last six months.

Prison Staff

Denis Naughten

Question:

259 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans to recruit prison officers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47946/10]

The Deputy will be aware that in accordance with Government Decisions on the implementation of savings measures on public service numbers, more generally referred to as the moratorium on public sector recruitment, filling of vacancies in the Irish Prison Service is subject to the approval of the Minister for Finance. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that sanction has been granted by the Minister for Finance to recruit an additional 80 recruit prison officers, from an existing recruitment panel, to meet the immediate needs of the prison service particularly in view of new prison places coming on stream. I can further advise that it is envisaged that the new recruits will begin training in early 2011.

Garda Recruitment

Denis Naughten

Question:

260 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans to recruit gardaí; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47947/10]

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.

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

261 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the performance management systems implemented in his Department as specified in the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47969/10]

The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 contains a commitment to significantly improve performance management across all Public Service areas with promotion and incremental progression linked in all cases to performance and the implementation of appropriate systems to address under-performance, including, where appropriate, training or, where necessary, through disciplinary procedures.

Performance in my Department is managed under the Civil Service wide Performance Management Development System (PMDS) and is already linked to promotion and to incremental progression. My Department is continuing to make every effort to strengthen and improve the process in particular in relation to the identification and management of under-performance.

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

262 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of staff working within his Department who are employed on a short-term, temporary or consultative basis in the years 2009 and 2010; the costs of payment to such staff in each of those years; the number of any such staff who have been previously employed in the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47983/10]

I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 273 for answer on 9 November, 2010, in which I provided information on the salary costs for 2008 and 2009 for staff employed on fixed term contracts.

In 2010 the Department employed a total of 22 staff on temporary fixed term contracts at a total salary cost of approximately €1 million. These figures do not include individuals who were appointed for short periods to cover shortfalls arising from staff absences on the shorter working year scheme etc or individuals who were appointed on work placements.

It is not possible to provide the information requested on the number of such staff who have been previously employed in the public service as a full employment history would not exist in all cases.

Garda Strength

Joan Burton

Question:

263 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of community police currently stationed at Blanchardstown station in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47998/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of the Community Policing Unit Blanchardstown Garda Station, as at the latest date for which figures are readily available was 23.

The Deputy will appreciate that, as with any large organisation, the numbers in any unit will fluctuate from time to time due to, for example, transfers, retirements, resignations etc.

Child Maintenance Orders

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

264 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans to bring in new legislation in respect of child maintenance debtors; the changes planned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48008/10]

My proposals for the better enforcement of maintenance orders are contained in section 22 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2010 which is before the House.

Censorship Measures

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

265 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform his plans to regulate the placing of magazines with adult content on shelves in retail outlets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48009/10]

I can inform the Deputy that any person may make a complaint regarding a publication to the independent Censorship of Publications Board in accordance with the provisions of the Censorship of Publications legislation, and in particular the Censorship of Publications Regulations, 1980. The Board's only function is to decide whether or not to prohibit a publication. In the event that a publication is prohibited it is an offence to sell or distribute that publication. Neither my Department nor the Board has any power to apply restrictions with respect to the display in retail outlets of items which are not prohibited under the Act.

Proposed Legislation

Noel Ahern

Question:

266 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform regarding the proposed new legislation on begging; the position regarding same; the stage same is at; if it is his priority and intention to have it passed into law during the course of the life of this Dáil; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48017/10]

The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill 2010, when enacted, will provide a basis for dealing with the public order aspects of begging. The Bill has completed Committee Stage in the Dáil and is awaiting Report Stage. It will then be presented to the Seanad.

The Bill is in response to the High Court's judgement in Dillon v. The DPP. The Court held that the legislation previously used, namely, section 3 of the Vagrancy (Ireland) Act 1847, was unconstitutional.

The Bill creates an offence of begging and, in addition, it gives the Gardaí important new powers to direct persons who are begging to desist and to move on from the area. These powers may be exercised at a variety of locations, including in the vicinity of ATMs, vending machines, entrances to private dwellings and business premises.

I am pleased to say that arising from amendments brought by me and accepted at Committee Stage, the Bill now also includes new offences relating to organised begging. Penalties of up to five years imprisonment are proposed.

I am aware of the importance of this Bill and of the concerns expressed by traders and others about begging. I am therefore very keen to have the legislation enacted without delay.

Overseas Development Aid

Denis Naughten

Question:

267 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the impact of the 2011 Estimate on the overseas development aid budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47710/10]

For 2011, the Government has provided an overall allocation for Official Development Assistance (ODA) of €669 million. Of this total, €534 million will be administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and a further estimated €135 million will come from other Government Departments, including Ireland's share of the EU Development Co-operation budget. The 2011 allocation ensures our ODA effort is stabilised at approximately 0.52% of GNP which remains ahead of the EU average. In the context of our very difficult economic circumstances, I believe this is a significant achievement, and clear evidence of our commitment to the fight against global poverty and hunger. As I have stated many times the stabilisation of our public finances and the return of economic growth are the best foundations for restoring growth to the development aid programme.

The Government's aid programme is the Irish people's aid programme.We are proud of its strong international reputation for quality and effectiveness and in particular for its sharp focus on the poorest countries and communities in sub-Saharan Africa. I am determined to maintain the high quality of our aid programme and ensure that we continue to deliver a programme that has maximum impact and is rigorously focused on achieving clear results for the lives of the poor and the hungry.

Ireland has provided international leadership on the issue of hunger and nutrition over the last two years. The recent publication of the Report of the Hunger Envoy has outlined clearly the achievements to date. These achievements have been lauded by other donor partners, particularly the United States, and by many of our own NGOs, including Dochas, the umbrella body for key NGOs. Next year's ODA budget will ensure that we continue to save lives and rebuild livelihoods in some of the poorest countries in the world, including those affected by conflict.

Human Rights Issues

Brian O'Shea

Question:

268 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support the campaign of the Baha’i international community for the release of seven former members of the Yaran group in Iran (details supplied) and all the Baha’is who are imprisoned throughout Iraq; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47860/10]

As the Deputy will be aware from my previous replies on this matter, I am very conscious of the discriminatory treatment of the Baha'i community in Iran and of the particular case of the seven former Baha'i community leaders (known collectively as the Yaran), who have been in detention since 2008 and were sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment in August 2010, with this sentence subsequently being reduced to ten years. I have received a copy of the recent letter sent by the Baha'i community in Iran to the Head of the Iranian Judiciary, Ayatollah Larijani, asking for the release of these detainees, a call which I fully support as I know do many Members of this House. I have personally raised the case of the seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders, and matters relating to human rights and religious freedom generally, directly with the Iranian authorities at the highest levels, including with the Iranian Foreign Minister in June this year. In addition, my Department frequently conveys my concerns on such matters to the Iranian Ambassador here. Officials of my Department also meet regularly with members of the Baha'i community in Ireland.

The EU High Representative issued a strong declaration on 12 August, which Ireland fully supported, expressing the EU's serious concern about the sentencing and calling for their immediate release. The declaration drew attention to Iran's obligations to guarantee freedom of religion under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory. It also called on Iran to put an end to the persecution of the Baha'i community. This follows an earlier EU statement on 12 January, also strongly supported by Ireland, asking that the trial respect international standards. In the event, there was no independent observation of the proceedings and even the defendants' lawyers, to whom the Baha'i had very limited access during their detention, had some difficulty in obtaining entry. There appears to be no evidence that the seven Baha'i have done anything to incur the displeasure of the Iranian authorities other than practice their faith.

The Government is extremely concerned about this sentencing and other signs of the continued and indeed worsening oppression of the Baha'i minority, including reports of the detention of other Baha'i community members, the denial of education and the violation of property rights. It would appear that the Iranian authorities are persecuting a minority for their religious beliefs and that they are actively trying to suppress that faith. Ireland will continue to call strongly for the immediate release of the seven Baha'i leaders and the end to the persecution of members of this faith in Iran, including through bilateral contacts, with our EU partners and at the UN.

Departmental Staff

Lucinda Creighton

Question:

269 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the performance management systems implemented in his Department as specified in the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47967/10]

The original Performance Management and Development System (PMDS) for the civil service was introduced in May 2000 following central discussions between Civil Service Management and Unions. Following its evaluation by external consultants in June 2004 it was agreed to expand the system in June 2005 by integrating it with other aspects of human reso