Written Answers

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 10, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 11 to 26, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 27 to 40, inclusive, answered orally.

Commemorative Events

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

41 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if he will initiate, encourage and sponsor cultural events to mark the forthcoming centenary of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 1916 Easter Rising in 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10614/11]

I refer the Deputy to my earlier reply to Priority Question No 29.

As we approach the Centenary of the Easter Rising and of many other events of profound historical significance, I believe there is a need for an extensive and balanced programme of commemorative activities and events reflecting the cultural, economic, social and political events of the period.

As already stated, the arrangements for National Commemorative Programmes are co-ordinated by the Department of the Taoiseach. Reflecting the strong interest of the Government, the Taoiseach wrote on 3rd May seeking nominations from Party Leaders with a view to the re-establishment of the All Party Oireachtas Consultation Group on Centenary Commemorations. This Oireachtas Consultation Group, which I will Chair, will offer a forum to consider the duration, scope and scale of an appropriate commemorative programme to cover the Centenary anniversaries of a momentous period of our national history.

The national commemorative arrangements will reflect official consideration and consultation on an inclusive basis in the Oireachtas. I would also welcome proposals from voluntary bodies, community groups and the Irish people at home and abroad. I envisage a multi-annual programme extending in the first phase to 2016.

The events of 1916 and the following years were momentous ones for the country. In the natural order of things, it is the first major anniversary to be addressed by a generation with no direct involvement in that period of struggle and conflict. Insulated in this way, there is an unprecedented capacity for objectivity and uninhibited dialogue.

I should not embark today on the discussions which will take place within the Consultation Group on the possible arrangements. It is sufficient to say that I am looking forward to meeting with the nominated representatives shortly to progress this initiative.

Questions Nos. 42 and 43 answered with Question No. 35.
Questions Nos. 44 and 45 answered with Question No. 38.

North-South Co-operation

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

46 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if he will outline the extent of co-operation between him and his equivalent in the Six Counties; if there are plans to extend this co-operation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10615/11]

My Department is committed to supporting North/South co-operation, particularly in the context of the Good Friday Agreement and the St. Andrew's Agreement.

As the Deputy is aware, there are two North/South Implementation Bodies under my Department's remit — Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga (the Language Body). The latter body consists of two agencies — Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency/Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch. These bodies were set up under the British-Irish Agreement Act 1999. Both of the Implementation Bodies carry out a range of activities in line with their remits with funding from the two Sponsor Departments — my own Department and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) in Northern Ireland.

I look forward, along with the Minister of State at my Department, Mr Donnchadh Mac Fhionnlaoich, T.D., to participating regularly in meetings of the North South Ministerial Council, in both the Waterways and Language sectoral formats and in its plenary format. I am advised that a North South Ministerial Council meeting in plenary format is to take place on 10 June next and that meetings in sectoral format for both Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga are currently being scheduled.

In general terms, it would be my objective to avail of all suitable opportunities to advance North/South co-operation across the range of my Department's functions, including arts, culture, language, islands and heritage. In this regard, I hope to make early contact with my Ministerial counterpart in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure when the appointment in question has been made by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Public Service Staff

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

47 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Taoiseach if public servants who were employed as enumerators for census 2011 can include their remuneration as an enumerator in the calculation of their pensionable income on retirement; and if a public servant retired within one year of being an enumerator, would that remuneration count as reckonable for pensionable purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10879/11]

In general persons employed as Census Enumerators have access to the Pension Scheme for Non-Established State Employees.

However, serving Public Servants are not entitled to membership of that scheme as it is not possible to get superannuation credit for two public service pension schemes at the same time.

The situation in respect of retired Public Servants is less clear cut. Service as an enumerator may or may not reckon for pension purposes depending on the terms of the superannuation scheme of which the person is a member and his or her employment history. If the Deputy has a particular case in mind I will have it examined for her.

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

48 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Taoiseach the number of currently employed public servants and retired public servants that were employed as census enumerators by the Central Statistics Office to carry out census 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10880/11]

Of the 4,835 enumerators currently employed to work on the census, 1,771 were in some form of employment at the time of taking up employment as an enumerator. Of these 507 indicated they were working in the public sector and 1,264 indicated they were working in the private sector. Precise information on the number of retired public servants employed as enumerators as requested by the Deputy is not available.

All of the recruitment for the census field operation has been carried out by the CSO under licence by the Commission for Public Service Appointments and complies with their strict recruitment principles regarding fairness, equality, openness and transparency.

Departmental Staff

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

49 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Taoiseach the number of persons employed by him by grade; the pay scale of each grade within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10899/11]

Statistics in relation to whole-time equivalent (WTE) staff numbers employed in my Department are compiled at the end of each calendar month. On 30th April, 2011, there were 165.41 WTE staff employed in my Department in general Civil Service grades. The table provides a breakdown by grade.

Grade

Number of WTEs Employed

Secretary General

1

Assistant Secretary

4

Principal Officer

13.6

Assistant Principal

21.4

Higher Executive Officer

22.3

Administrative Officer

8

Executive Officer

19.6

Staff Officer

10.43

Clerical Officer

37.5

SVO (Support Staff)

19.58

Total

165.41

Each of these staff are paid in line with the salary scales set out in Department of Finance Circular 28/2009. The number of staff employed in my Department will be reduced by approximately 25 wtes shortly when the staff currently working on public sector reform and a small number of support staff transfer to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I also intend to appoint five Special Advisers and eleven other appointees to my Department. Their terms and conditions of employment are being finalised at present but their salaries will be in keeping with the guidelines set by the Department of Finance for such appointments.

Dublin-Monaghan Bombings

Micheál Martin

Question:

50 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will meet with the families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 in advance of Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ireland. [10958/11]

I have arranged for a meeting this week with representatives of the families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. I look forward to discussing their concerns.

Passport Applications

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

51 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs when a passport will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10752/11]

The Passports Act, 2008 requires that before issuing a passport to a person, the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be satisfied as to the identity of each applicant and that the person is an Irish citizen. Documentary proof in respect of identity and entitlement to citizenship are required for all passport applications. These requirements are outlined in the passport application form notes that accompany each application form. Details are also available on the Department's website. Birth certificates are among the standard documents that are required for all applications that involve children and persons, aged 18 and over the age, who are first–time applicants. These certificates are critical to the passport process in the following ways:

Each certificate confirms and verifies the applicant's personal details such as his/her date and place of birth which appear on that person's passport.

They help to demonstrate the person's entitlement to Irish citizenship which is a prerequisite for passport issue; and

Details of parents are stated on these certificates. This is important to the Passport Service in ensuring that the full parental consent to the issue of a passport to a minor is provided.

In the case of the person in question, an application for a passport was received by my Department on 11 February, 2011. The application was supported by the applicant's certificate of naturalisation, which demonstrated his entitlement to Irish citizenship, and by an affidavit in regard to his birth details. In line with passport policy, the Department wrote to him on 21 February, 2011 requesting him to provide his birth certificate.

In a letter dated 11 March, 2011, the applicant claimed that due to the history of civil unrest in his country of birth, he was unable to provide his birth certificate. This matter was investigated recently and subsequently verified by the Department. As a result of this, a passport was issued to him on 9 May, 2011.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

52 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his understanding of his responsibilities under the trade aspect of his new portfolio. [10762/11]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

53 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will confirm that all responsibilities for trade will be transferred from the outgoing Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the new Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade when it is configured. [10763/11]

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

56 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the specific responsibilities that have been assigned to him in respect of trade matters; the systems that have been put in place to facilitate the interaction between his Department and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation; if any responsibilities in respect of trade will remain with that Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10924/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 53 and 56 together.

The promotion of Ireland's economic and trading interests overseas is a key focus of my Department, in co-operation with other relevant government Departments and State Agencies. Ireland's network of 76 Embassies and Consulates continues to work to restore Ireland's international reputation, which has been affected by the economic and financial crisis, and to support the export led growth which is crucial to our recovery.

Discussions, based on the Programme for Government, are ongoing with the current Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation in relation to the transfer of trade promotion responsibilities to my Department. A further enhanced role in trade promotion for my Department will provide a renewed emphasis for this work and will help facilitate a stronger relationship across all Departments and Agencies responsible for supporting the growth of Irish exports.

As arrangements have not yet been finally agreed, I cannot comment specifically on the breakdown of the responsibilities between my Department and the current Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

Trade Relations

Seán Kenny

Question:

54 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his plans to develop stronger links with Canada particularly in trade, tourism and education. [10817/11]

Ireland currently enjoys very good relations with Canada on every level. Our links in trade, tourism and education are particularly strong and growing. Canada is one of Ireland's top 20 trading partners with total trade over €1.5 billion. There is good potential for this to grow with Irish exports to Canada increasing by almost 30% in 2010. The investment links between the two countries are also significant as Ireland is currently the 5th largest recipient of Canadian outward investment. Canada is attractive to Irish companies in the IT, pharmaceuticals, and agri-food sectors looking for a North American base and receives almost 25% of Ireland's foreign direct investment abroad. Ireland's tourism industry also benefits from our good relations with Canada with almost 95,000 Canadians visiting Ireland in 2009, the last year for which figures are available. The promotion of economic and trading opportunities in all our priority markets is, of course, a key focus of my Department, and the Embassy network, in close co-operation with relevant Departments and State Agencies. In relation to Canada, the Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa is actively working to restore Ireland's international reputation, which has been affected by the economic and financial crisis, and to support Ireland's economic growth. The Embassy works closely with the State Agencies on the ground to advance Ireland's economic and trade interests in Canada. The Ambassador chairs the local trade, tourism and investment team, established under the Trade and Investing in a Smart Economy Strategy. This team has developed a detailed market plan and is already active in pursuit of specific targets.

Recent activity in this regard includes Embassy support for a Doing business in Ireland and the UK seminar in Montreal last month and Embassy representation at 34 events throughout Canada over the St Patrick’s Day period. At the majority of these events, the opportunities for trading with, and for visiting Ireland, were highlighted in a positive manner. The Embassy also collaborated on the inaugural business summit organised in Toronto by the Ireland Canada Business Association, which highlighted many positives of the Irish economy, the potential for Canadian investment in Ireland and for Irish companies to do business in Canada.

The Embassy in Ottawa supports Enterprise Ireland, which is leading the drive to promote Irish education in Canada under the recently launched "Education in Ireland" brand. Education Ireland will be exhibiting at NAFSA, the biggest annual gathering of international educators and Study Abroad advisors in North America, which will take place in Vancouver Canada at the end of this month. They will be joined by Irish universities, Institutes of technology and other colleges at this event.

Passport Applications

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

55 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs when a passport will issue in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10848/11]

The application was received through the ordinary postal system on 08 April 2011, rather than the priority Passport Express system operated in conjunction with An Post. Due to the present high level of demand, the turnaround time for non-Passport Express postal applications is currently approximately six weeks. On the basis that all necessary documents have been submitted it is expected that the passport should issue by 24 May.

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 52.

International Agreements

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

57 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs his views in relation to the Antarctic Treaty; if it is proposed that Ireland will join the 46 countries which have ratified this treaty; if ratification of the treaty will have any legislative implications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10925/11]

The question of Ireland's possible accession to the Antarctic Treaty System is under consideration in those Government Departments which have responsibility for the areas comprehended by the Antarctic Treaties. A Government Decision of 9 June 2010 authorised the then Minister for Foreign Affairs and the other relevant Ministers to conduct preparatory work on this issue. A process of interdepartmental consultation, chaired by my Department, is continuing. This includes an assessment of the legislative implications of accession; it is apparent that these could be significant.

Departmental Functions

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

58 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Finance the process under which he proposes to create new Departments and shift existing responsibilities of some over to others on a Department by Department basis; and if that requires legislative change. [10877/11]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

59 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Finance the timeframe under which he proposes to create the new Departments and shift existing responsibilities of some over to others. [10878/11]

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

The process of transferring functions from one Department to another is carried out by means of Government Orders under powers contained in section 6(1) of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Act 1939, while in some cases primary legislation may be needed. Each Order is carefully drafted so that all relevant legislation is listed in the Schedule to the Order. The Departments which held the functions which are being transferred to other Departments have been fully engaged in this task since the Taoiseach's announcements on 9 March. Orders to implement the majority of the changes have already been made.

On 29 March the Government made an Order transferring responsibility for the functions of the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in relation to Equality, Integration, Disability and Human Rights to the Minister of Justice and Law Reform with effect from 1 April 2011. A second Order was made to change the title of the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to the Minister for Justice and Equality — and a similar name change for the Minister's Department, with effect from 2 April 2011.

At the same Government meeting an Order transferring responsibility for the functions of the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport in relation to Tourism and Sport to the Minister for Transport with effect from 1 April 2011 was made. A further Order was made to change the title of the Minister for Transport to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport — and a similar name change for the Minister's Department, with effect from 2 April 2011.

On 5 April the Government made Orders to transfer the functions of the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in relation to Marine Tourism to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the functions in relation to the National Drug Strategy to the Minister for Health and Children, the functions in relation to Social Inclusion to the Minister for Social Protection, and the functions in relation to Gaeilge, Gaeltacht and the Islands to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. Each of these transfers came into effect on 1 May 2011.

On 19 April the Government made Orders transferring the "Heritage" functions from the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport with effect from 1 May 2011. The Department became the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on 2 May 2011. The Taoiseach also signed Orders on 19 April transferring further functions from the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. These functions included the "Community" functions, Waterways Ireland and the "Charities" functions.

On 10 May the Government made orders transferring functions of the Minister for Education and Skills regarding the National Educational Welfare Board to the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. Residual functions of the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs were transferred to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. The resulting shell of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, which has been left containing only the Family Affairs and Family Support Agency, has permitted an order to be signed with effect from 2 June 2011 renaming the Department as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

On May 10 the Government also signed an order transferring the Office of the Minister for Children functions, with effect from 3 June 2011, from the Minister for Health and Children to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. This in turn allowed an order to be signed renaming, with effect from 4 June 2011, the Minister for Health and Children and the Department of Health and Children as the Minister for Health and the Department of Health respectively.

The Taoiseach also signed an order on 10 May transferring, with effect from 1 June 2011, the residual functions of the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport in relation to Tourism and Sport to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. This has allowed an order to be signed renaming, with effect from 2 June 2011, the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport as the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht respectively.

The implementation of some of the changes to the structure of Government Departments will require primary legislation. In particular, initial legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General suggests that the transfer of the Irish Coast Guard from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food — which will subsequently be renamed the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine — cannot proceed in full without primary legislation. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is awaiting written legal advice to this effect.

A review of the legislation covering the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs functions is ongoing and primary legislation may be required in relation to some of them. The Department of Health and Children has already received advice from the Attorney General that primary legislation is required in relation to the Child Care Act 1991.

The Department of Justice and Equality has indicated that they will seek the Attorney General's advice regarding the possible requirement for primary legislation in respect of the transfer of certain functions of the Irish Youth Justice Service. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be established by primary legislation. I expect that I will be in a position to present the attendant Bill to the Government at its meeting of 17 May next.

There are a number of other Transfer of Functions/Alteration of Name of Department and Title of Minister Orders currently with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. These will be brought to Government as soon as possible at its meetings in May. At this stage, I cannot give a precise date for the completion of all of the changes to the structures of Government Departments as this depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the legislation governing the particular functions. I can assure the Deputy that everyone involved in the process, both in my own Department, in the Office of the Attorney General and in the other Departments concerned, is making every effort to complete all of the changes at the earliest possible date.

Fuel Smuggling

Gerald Nash

Question:

60 Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the growing problem of fuel smuggling, the growth in the illicit selling of such fuel and the estimated loss of substantial revenue to the Exchequer, he will review the legislation pertaining to the laundering and sale of such fuel; if he intends to introduce tougher penalties and sanctions under the legislation targeted at those who have been found to be involved in such activities by the courts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10896/11]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners, who are responsible for the collection of mineral oil tax and for tackling the illicit trade in fuel products, that they are conscious of the threat posed by laundered fuel, and that they have undertaken ongoing extensive enforcement action, which has led to the detection of oil laundries and the prosecution of individuals and companies involved. The Deputy will appreciate that, due to its nature, it is impossible to provide a reliably accurate estimate of the extent of any illegal activity. In 2010, four oil laundries and over 288,000 litres of laundered oil were seized. Also in 2010, nine retailers were found dealing in laundered oil, and eight haulage companies were detected using laundered oil. There were four convictions for laundered oil offences. Already, in the period January to 5 May this year, four laundries and 102,000 litres of laundered fuel have been seized. Two retailers and three haulage companies have been detected in respect of laundered oil offences and these cases are being considered for the institution of criminal proceedings.

The laundering of marked fuel, and dealing in and possession of the subsequent product are indictable offences under the following legal provisions:

Removal of a marker from marked fuel ("oil laundering"), dealing in laundered fuel, and keeping laundering equipment (section 102(3) Finance Act 1999).

Dealing in any illicit fuel (section 102 (1A) Finance Act 1999 as amended ).

Non compliance with the conditions for dealing in, and with, marked fuel (section 102(1B) Finance Act 1999as amended ).

The last two provisions were introduced, in 2007 and 2011 respectively, in response to particular aspects of the illicit fuel problem. The penalty on summary conviction for these offences is €5,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months. The penalty on conviction on indictment is a fine not exceeding €126,970 or a prison term of up to fine years, or both the fine and the imprisonment. It is worth noting that the latter penalty amount was introduced in the Finance Act 2010 and is a considerable increase on the previous penalty of €12,695.

Of course, as the Deputy is aware, the precise penalty imposed on conviction in each individual case is solely a matter for the Courts. These offence and penalty provisions will remain under review. I do not propose, however, to make a further increase to the level of penalties until the effectiveness of the most recent increases can be assessed.

Compensation Schemes

Sean Fleming

Question:

61 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance his plans to introduce compensation for persons who may have lost money as a result of purchasing shares in privatised State companies. [10772/11]

There are no plans to introduce a compensation scheme for persons who may have lost money as a result of purchasing shares in privatised State companies.

Banking Sector Regulation

Micheál Martin

Question:

62 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he will establish a framework to facilitate dialogue between management, staff and Government to agree principles and a process in the context of the restructuring of the banking sector. [10783/11]

Following my Statement on the restructuring of the domestic banking system on 31 March last, each of the covered institutions is required to prepare comprehensive plans detailing how the restructuring, reorganisation and deleveraging process will be implemented. Under the revised terms of the Financial Measure Programme agreed with the IMF and EU, these plans will also form part of the individual Restructuring Plans to be submitted to the European Commission for approval under State aid rules by 31 July 2011. This planning process will also encompass the significant human resource issues arising from the bank restructuring process. Consistent with standard practice and convention in the case of any corporate restructuring, each of the institutions is itself primarily responsible for the management of staff relations, including any industrial relations aspects that arise. This provides the appropriate framework to facilitate dialogue between management and staff interests on issues of common interest fully consistent with the principles and objectives of the Government's banking policy.

All of the relevant institutions will of course continue to be subject to their obligations under employment law including where specific consultation requirements arise in particular circumstances.

Legislative Programme

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

63 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance the date he will publish the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill which will provide for the establishment of a Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the location of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; the number of staff that will be allocated to the Department; and the number of advisers for same. [10796/11]

My intention is that Minister, Deputy Howlin, and I will present the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill for consideration by the Government at its meeting next Tuesday 17 May, with a view to publishing it as soon as possible thereafter. Staff of both the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will continue to work in their existing locations in Government Buildings in the Merrion Street/Merrion Row campus in addition to Lansdowne Road and Tullamore.

In regard to policy areas, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be comprised of staff currently allocated to the Sectoral Policy and Public Service Management Development Divisions of my Department together with the staff of the Modernisation Unit of the Department of the Taoiseach who have redeployed to my Department. After the changes, my Department will consist of policy areas within the Financial Services and Budget, Taxation & Economic Divisions. Areas such as Corporate Services Division (Human Resources and Facilities Management), Finance Unit, Salaries Section and the Press Office will continue to provide the same services to staff in both Departments on a shared-service basis. Similarly, services will be provided to both Departments by an IT Unit based in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The precise number of staff to be allocated to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently being finalised and assignments will be complete by the date of establishment. My colleague, the Minister, Deputy Howlin, has appointed one special advisor to date.

National Anthem

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

64 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance further to a parliamentary question the sources that were consulted by him or by representatives of the Government in reaching the determination that the translation Sinne Fianna Fáil in the current version of the National Anthem, as published on the Department of the Taoiseach’s website, is the appropriate and correct interpretation of the words soldiers are we, as composed by Peadar Kearney, in view of the appropriation of a translation for explicitly party political purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10806/11]

I understand that the Irish translation which became generally known and used was written perhaps as early as 1917 by Liam Ó Rinn, who later became Chief Translator to the Oireachtas. He translated the first line of the chorus, "Soldiers are we, whose lives are pledged to Ireland" as "Sinne fianna fáil, atá fá gheall ag Éireinn"'. With regard to the history, development and translation of the Anthem, I would direct the Deputy's attention to an article which appeared in "History Ireland" in Spring 1996 entitled "The Story of the National Anthem". The article was written by Ruth Sherry Professor of English in the University of Trondheim Norway. The full article is readily available on the internet using the following link:

http://www.historyireland.com/volumes/volume4/issue1/features/?id=113150

Departmental Expenditure

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

65 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his plans to have clawback measures in relation to the estimated €30 million consultancy cost for the Irish bank stress tests if information provided by the consultants turns out to be inaccurate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10850/11]

As I indicated in my response to the Deputy's previous question from last Wednesday re cost of consultancy for stress tests, the consultants concerned were engaged by the Central Bank and the Minister does not have a role in this area. The matter raised in the Deputy's question is a matter for the Central Bank. However, I understand from the Central Bank that the contracts with the consultants include performance criteria.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

66 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he plans to pursue a clawback from a company (details supplied) with regard to the disastrous advice on the blanket bank guarantee; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10851/11]

I understand from previous statements that the principal advisers to the Government on the night of 29 September 2008 were the official agencies. The company referred to in the Deputy's question was, therefore, assigned the task of consolidating the range of options being developed by all the State agencies in a paper for consideration by the Government. The Deputy may wish to note that the paper actually prepared by the company is now in the public domain — subject to certain redactions of commercially sensitive information having been published as part of the review of the guarantee decision by the Public Accounts Committee.

In overall terms the paper summarises the advantages and disadvantages of the different strategic options available to Government stating that there was no right answer. Indeed as pointed out in Governor Honohan's report on the banking crisis the paper set out arguments against the introduction of a blanket guarantee. In view of the foregoing, I do not believe that any useful purpose would be served by pursuing a legal claim in this case.

Credit Availability

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

67 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the number of cases referred to the banking credit review group in each month since its inception, wherein appeal was made against a decision by banks to refuse credit, working capital and overdraft facilities; the total number of cases dealt with to date; if a satisfactory solution was found in each or all cases; the extent to which the customers’ needs were met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10869/11]

There is no Banking Credit Review Group. I assume the Deputy is referring to the Credit Review Office. The Office was launched on 1 April 2010 and its function is to accept applications from SMEs, sole traders and small and medium-sized farm enterprises that have had their application for credit refused or reduced or have had credit facilities withdrawn by banks participating in the NAMA scheme, and feel that the bank's decision is unjustified. The Credit Review Office will, on application from the borrower, carry out an independent and impartial review of the bank's decision. The Credit Review Office review process operates after the borrower has unsuccessfully appealed through the bank's own internal appeals process. All participating banks are required to review their loan appeals policy and ensure that borrowers are made aware of their right to an internal appeal of an unfavourable lending decision. Table 1 illustrates the number of cases referred to the Credit Review Office in each month since its inception.

TABLE 1

DATE

No of cases referred to Credit Review Office

April 10

2

May 2010

5

Jun-10

4

July 2010

2

August 2010

5

September 2010

3

October 2010

7

November 2010

8

December 2010

5

January 2011

3

February 2011

6

March 2011

9

April 2011

9

May 2011

2

Total

70

Table 2 below illustrates the status of the applications received in the Credit Review Office. The information is correct up to 6 May 2011.

TABLE 2

Application Rec’d

Application Received

CRO Decision

6th May 2011

but held at Office until eligibility confirmed with Bank

and proceeding through Review process

Banks’ Credit Decision Upheld

Banks' Credit Decision Disputed/Bank Subsequently Provided Credit

More work required by Borrower and Bank or withdrawn by customer

Total

AIB

6

9

9

9

3

36

BoI

4

4

12

11

3

34

Total

10

13

21

20

6

70*

*Includes application awaiting eligibility confirmation.

Departmental Properties

Gerry Adams

Question:

68 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance in relation to the ground rents that are paid by the Office of Public Works, if he will provide a breakdown of the total cost of this annually and a breakdown of the amount the ground rents are for each property. [10885/11]

Gerry Adams

Question:

69 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance in relation to the 50 properties on which the Office of Public Works pays ground rents, the persons to whom the ground rents are payable. [10898/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 69 together.

The following table schedules the information pertinent to the 50 properties, which attract payment of ground rent by the Office of Public Works. The total annual amount is €5,128.94.

Location

Property

Rent PA

Landlord Details

CARLOW

Carlow Agriculture Office

6.98

CARLOW TOWN COUNCIL

SWANLINBAR

Swanlinbar GS+Cust Post + RAX

25.39

BRIDGET MCGOLDRICK

LISSYCASEY

Lissycasey GS + MQ

5.71

PATRICIA LYNCH

COBH

Cobh Custom House

4.39

COL W P H RUSHBROOKE

CORK

Cork C&E Parnell Place

66.03

MRS GILLIAN LEONARD

CORK

MacCurtain Street GS

28.53

THOMAS CROSBIE & COMPANY LIMITED

CORK

Cork Custom House

574.32

MS VICTORIA BEVAN

CORK

Cork Custom House

468.83

MRS B J KNIGHTS

CROSSHAVEN

Crosshaven 12 Hses incl GS+MES

19.05

DOVEY INTERNATIONAL

FERMOY

Fermoy GS

22.63

FERMOY ESTATES

GLENGARRIFF

Glengarriff/Garinish+M/land Pl

101.58

EXECUTORS OF GARDE ESTATE

YOUGHAL

Youghal Fmr Military Barracks

7.07

THOMAS FARRELL ESTATE

BUNDORAN

Bundoran GS + MQ

25.39

TRUSTEES OF THE WILL OF SIMON SHEIL

KILMACRENNAN

Kilmacrennan GS

5.08

EARL OF LEITRIM

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 11 — 13

230.2

EXECUTORS OF COYNE ESTATE

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 11 — 13

63.69

FITZWILLIAM LAND SECURITIES LTD

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 44

76.18

ERNEST PRESTON

DUBLIN 01

Thomas Lane 1-2

72.38

TADGH GLEESON

DUBLIN 01

O’Connell Street Upper 14 — 15

176.98

M.D. PENNEFATHER

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 4-5 Library

14.44

DUKE OF LEINSTER

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 23-28

7.62

DM MURPHY & A FREYNE

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 23-28

7.29

DM MURPHY & A FREYNE

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 23-28

18.2

DM MURPHY & A FREYNE

DUBLIN 02

Government Buildings

4.49

DUKE OF LEINSTER

DUBLIN 02

St Stephens Gr78-81IveaghHse

257.76

MRS JULIA HELY-HUTCHINSON

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 5 Inst/Advan St

69.84

EARL OF PEMBROKE

DUBLIN 02

St Stephens Gr 50-51

258.14

MRS W C KENNEDY & MRS H D WOOD

DUBLIN 02

Kildare Street 4-5 Library

13.42

DUKE OF LEINSTER

DUBLIN 02

Government Buildings

3.52

DUKE OF LEINSTER

DUBLIN 02

Fitzwilliam Pl 31 Advanced Stud

19.68

EARL OF PEMBROKE

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 16 Red Cross

69.84

PEMBROKE ESTATES MANAGEMENT LTD

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Row 7 — 9

87.03

FIRST MANAGEMENT

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Row 7 — 9

63.49

SIMON BROADHEAD

DUBLIN 02

Dublin Castle

7.33

DUBLIN CORPORATION

DUBLIN 02

Burgh Quay 13-14

177.76

IRISH PRESS PLC

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Street Upper 14 — 16

116.42

BANK OF IRELAND GROUP PROPERTY

DUBLIN 02

Merrion Square 6A (Fenian St)

31.74

THE TRUSTEES GEORGE SIMPSON HOSPITAL

DUBLIN 04

Burlington Road 10

1.21

EARL OF PEMBROKE

DUBLIN 06

Cathal Brugha Barracks

25.39

KILRUDDERY FARMS

DUBLIN 06

Cathal Brugha Barracks

275.73

KILRUDDERY FARMS

DUBLIN 06

Cathal Brugha Barracks

419.36

SWEETMAN ESTATE

DUBLIN 06

Terenure GS + Tel Exch + RAX

36.62

STANLEY SIEV

DUBLIN 07

Four Courts

220.27

THE HON SOCIETY OF KINGS INNS

DUBLIN 09

Botanic Gdns

78.91

BIRDFIELD SECURITIES LIMITED

DUBLIN 09

Botanic Gdns

24.9

BIRDFIELD SECURITIES LIMITED

DUBLIN 14

Dundrum Central Mental Hospital

59.58

GWENDOLINE GUILFORD

DUBLIN 15

Abbotstown Farm

2.34

FITZWILLIAM LAND SECURITIES LTD

KILLARNEY

Killarney National Park + Office

105.4

LAKE HOTEL LIMITED

TRALEE

Tralee Music School

3.31

EXECUTORS OF FINNERTY ESTATE

TRALEE

Tralee SWO — Godfrey Place

76.18

THOMAS J O’BRIEN & ROBERT J O’BRIEN

PORTLAOISE

Portlaoise Decentral Site

128

IDA IRELAND

LIMERICK

Limerick Henry/Cecil/Glentwort

64.12

SISTERS OF MERCY

LIMERICK

Limerick Custom House Hunt Museum

26.96

JAMES DUNDON

LIMERICK

Limerick OPW Regional Office

33.48

ULSTER BANK

DROGHEDA

Drogheda Government Offices

29.29

TRUSTEES OF LEIGHS CHARITY

BIRR

Birr GS

76.18

CAPT T B HACKETT

WATERFORD

Waterford OPW Office

12.7

RICHARD BAYLY

WATERFORD

Waterford Gov Off-Catherine St

13.97

O’DOHERTY WARREN & ASSOCIATES

NEW ROSS

New Ross Fmr GS

25.39

GOVERNOR & COMPANY OF BANK OF IRELAND

WEXFORD

Wexford Gov Off — Anne Street

181.23

T G ROBERT HUGHES

Mortgage Arrears

Frank Feighan

Question:

70 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Finance if there is any mortgage relief or financial assistance available to couples who are in difficulty with repayments. [10913/11]

On the question of the availability of tax relief in relation to interest paid in respect of mortgages, the Deputy will be aware that Mortgage Interest Relief was refocused in Budget 2009 to assist first-time buyers. The rates were increased from 20% to 25% for first-time buyers in years 1 and 2 of their mortgage and to 22.5% for years 3, 4 and 5. There is also a commitment in the Programme for Government to help homeowners in distress and the Government will examine a number of proposals in relation to this.

One of these relates to increasing mortgage interest relief to 30% for First Time Buyers who bought between 2004 and 2008 and to finance this in part by abolishing mortgage interest relief for new buyers from June 2011. When this proposal has been thoroughly examined and analysed and the findings and recommendations are presented to me, I will decide on the appropriate action to be taken. However, it is unlikely that any measures will be introduced before Budget 2012. As regards the availability of financial assistance the Mortgage Interest Supplement Scheme provides financial assistance to eligible claimants where the mortgage relates to the claimant's home. The scheme is managed by the Department of Social Protection. It currently supports approximately 18,500 mortgage holders.

Civil Service Staff

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

71 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Finance his plans to re-open the panel arising from the confined executive officer competition of 2006 which was closed in June 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10920/11]

The Department of Finance Circular 26/2006 sets out details of the confined competition for promotion to Executive Officer in the Civil Service. The terms of the Circular did not envisage appointments being made from the competition after 30 June 2008. For operational reasons this panel was extended until 30 June 2009.

In the context of the implementation of savings measures on public service numbers, in March 2009 the Government announced a Moratorium on recruitment and promotion in the public service. With regard to the Moratorium, my Department decided that it would not be appropriate to seek any further extension to the panel set up under Circular 26/2006 and the panel closed on 30 June 2009. This is in line with the policy applying to promotion panels for other civil service grades where panels for promotion to the grades of Higher Executive Officer, Assistant Principal Officer and Principal Officer have also closed in 2009. I do not have any plans to re-open this or any other closed panels.

Training and Work Experience Programmes

Tom Fleming

Question:

72 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on proposals by the previous Government regarding a €63 million retraining and upskilling fund for approximately 20,000 unemployed bricklayers, carpenters and architects and other building workers. [10874/11]

On 9 June 2010 a provisional application for co-financing support from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in respect of workers made redundant in the construction sector in Ireland between 1 July 2009 and 31 March 2010 was submitted by my Department to the European Commission. This provisional application was costed at 63m Euros, of which an EU contribution of 65% (41m Euros) was sought under the EGF with the remaining 35% (22m Euros) to be funded from national sources. The European Commission subsequently requested the breakdown and finalisation of the provisional applications into three separate applications by individual NACE 2 code. Final applications with a combined total value of 55m Euros (of which 65% is sought under the EGF) were duly submitted to the Commission in February 2011.

These applications encompass a total affected population of almost 9,100 redundant workers. The lower total cost of the finalised applications reflects the interim experience of FÁS and other bodies and agencies supplying training, education and enterprise supports of more limited participation by affected workers than originally envisaged and lower than projected unit costs of certain of the supports being taken up. The three EGF applications are currently being examined by the European Commission with relevant supports being provided, as appropriate, through national funding in the interim.

Schools Refurbishment

Alan Farrell

Question:

73 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a list of all schools, primary and post primary, in Dublin North that have applied for and are approved for funding under the summer works scheme 2011. [10764/11]

Details of those schools in North County Dublin who were approved funding under the Summer Works Scheme 2011 are set out for the Deputy's information. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that as part of the Government's Jobs Initiative, details of which were announced yesterday, €40m in funding has been made available for building works in schools. The list of schools that will benefit from this announcement is available on my Department's website www.education.ie. My Department will be in contact with those schools approved for funding under this initiative shortly with further details relating to progressing the projects in question.

Schools

DUBLIN

15650A

CORDUFF N S LUSK

Electrical

DUBLIN

16970A

ST MOLAGA SENIOR NS BREMORE

Electrical

DUBLIN

17284L

BALDOYLE B N S SCOIL NAISIUNTA BAILE DUILL

Electrical

DUBLIN

18412W

S N C NAOMH PADRAIG DONABATE

Mechanical

DUBLIN

19393D

MHUIRE IOSEF JUNIOR VERBENA ESTATE

Electrical

DUBLIN

19533Q

S N MUIRE AGUS IOSEF BAYSIDE

Electrical

DUBLIN

19578P

ST HELENS JUNIOR N S ST HELENS JUNIOR N S

Mechanical

DUBLIN

91315O

SCOIL PHOBAIL CHUIL MHIN CLUAIN SAILEACH

Mechanical

Schools Building Projects

Alan Farrell

Question:

74 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the rebuilding of a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; if he is committed to this project; if there is a timeframe in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10765/11]

The project referred to by the Deputy is currently at an early stage of Architectural Planning. It forms part of the 2011 Building Programme, which was announced in January, of projects to progress to secure planning permission with a view to preparing tender documents in 2011 or 2012.

The Design Team are currently working on finalising the Stage 2a submission (Develop Sketch Design) which is expected to be submitted to my Department shortly. When this is received it will be reviewed by my Department and my officials will then contact the school regarding the further progression of the project.

Alan Farrell

Question:

75 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed post primary school at a location (details supplied) in County Dublin; if he is committed to the provision of this school; if there is a timeframe in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10766/11]

The Forward Planning Section of my Department is currently examining all areas of the country to determine where additional provision will be required at both primary and post-primary level up to 2017. Overall post-primary requirements in the area referred to by the Deputy will be fully considered in this context. The priority for my Department will be to ensure there are enough post-primary places in areas that have experienced the most rapid population growth.

My Department has recently announced plans to open at least 13 new post-primary schools over the next five years in the following locations — Gorey, Doughiska (Galway), Lucan (Clonburris), Kingscourt, Ashbourne, Mulhuddart, Blanchardstown West, Drogheda, Claregalway, Maynooth, Naas, Navan and North County Dublin/South County Louth.

Special Educational Needs

Brendan Ryan

Question:

76 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills with a view to planning for the next school year, when school principals will be made aware of their allocation of special needs resource teachers for the school year 2011-2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10789/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating resource teaching hours to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Education and Skills (DES) is required to ensure that the overall allocation of teaching posts does not exceed the targets set out in the Governments Employment Control Framework.

The DES had planned for a certain amount of increased growth in teacher numbers across the school sector in 2011, in line with increased demographic growth. In respect of resource teaching hours for children with special educational needs, allowance was made for growth in 2011 over and above normal demographic increase levels.

In 2010, the total number of Whole time Equivalent (WTE) posts provided for resource hours teaching (including under the General Allocation Model) was approximately 9,600 WTE posts. By comparison approximately 9,950 WTE posts are provided for 2011.

My Department requested the NCSE to provide data on the numbers and rate of application for additional resource teaching hours to date this year so that this information can be considered in the context of the Departments Employment Control Framework obligations. The NCSE has also been asked to pause sanctioning additional resource teaching support hours to allow for collection and consideration of this data by the DES, in conjunction with the NCSE. It should be noted that this is a temporary suspension of the allocation process in order to allow for consideration and analysis of this issue prior to any decisions being made.

The NCSE issued a Circular to schools advising them that the final date for schools to submit any outstanding, completed, applications for resource teaching supports is 13th May 2011. On receipt of all outstanding applications the DES and NCSE will be in a position to consider resource allocation for the coming school year, in the context of the Departments Employment Control Framework obligations. Schools will be notified of their allocations as soon as possible.

In the interim, children who are eligible for resource/ learning support teaching can receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools.

Michael McGrath

Question:

77 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a child’s application for a place to enrol in a special speech and language class at a school (details supplied) in County Cork.. [10798/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through the local special educational needs organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports. This includes applications for the establishment of special classes. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

Responsibility for enrolment to these classes rests with the individual school authority. In circumstances where a child meets the criteria for Specific Speech and Language Disorder, as outlined in my Department Circular 0038/2007, and who is not enrolled in a special class for SSLD the child may qualify for additional teaching support where he/she is enrolled in a mainstream school. Applications for such support may be made to the NCSE through the local SENO. Pupils with mild speech and language difficulties may qualify for supplementary teaching support from within the school's general allocation of learning support/teaching support.

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.

Employment Support Services

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

78 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 3 May 2011, if he will provide details of the sums of money allocated by each of the organisations charged with administering the scheme; the number of persons dealt with by each of the organisations concerned and the timescale for operation of the scheme. [10808/11]

At the end of December 2010 some 1,731 beneficiaries had been provided with personalised services under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) programme in support of redundant workers at the Dell computer manufacturing plant in Raheen, Co. Limerick and at relevant ancillary enterprises. These beneficiaries are broken down as follows:- — 1,046 through FÁS programmes, — 328 through Vocational Education Committees programmes, — 189 through public and private third level educational institutions and colleges — 168 through the City and County Enterprise Boards.

In addition, guidance services were provided to 2,529 beneficiaries.

Ireland is required to use the EGF financial contribution received from the EU budgetary authorities before 29 June 2011 and must send its final report for the execution of the financial contribution to the European Commission not later than 29 December 2011.

In this context it is not yet possible to provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure on the EGF programme in advance while claims from various service providers are still awaited or being processed and any relevant reconciliations as between national and EU funding still require to be assessed and verified.

Schools Refurbishment

Seán Kenny

Question:

79 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of funding he has provided to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 13 for refurbishments or extension to the school for each year since 2005 to date in 2011. [10812/11]

The yearly capital funding in respect of refurbishment and extension work at Donahies Community School from 2005 to date in 2011 is as follows:

Year

Amount

2005

82,874.53

2006

517,849.27

2007

417,623.55

2008

17,025.00

2009

110,910.56

2010

180,215.71

2011

92,626.00

Schools Building Projects

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

80 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be made available for major capital works at a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10857/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a school building project. In accordance with the published criteria for large scale building projects, the project for this school has been assigned a Band 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 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 Department’s capital budget, it is not possible to give an indicative timeframe for the progression of a project for the school in question at this time.

Pearse Doherty

Question:

81 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if further progress has been made with an application for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10860/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, the Major Capital Building Programme for 2011 was announced earlier this year. Unfortunately, due to the numbers of applications for major capital works, the Department was unable to include this project.

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

The progression of all large scale building projects, including this project, from initial design stage through to construction phase will be considered in the context of 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 acquisition of a site for the provision of a new school referred to by the Deputy was at Contract stage. However, following the planning authority's refusal of planning permission for the proposed new school building, my officials have been reviewing the case and have been liaising with the Chief State Solicitor's Office regarding the refusal, as the contract for the site acquisition was subject to planning permission being secured.

Home-School Liaison Scheme

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

82 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed curtailments to home school community links services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10891/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that there is no curtailment to Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) Services, which is a major component of DEIS, (Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools), the action plan for educational inclusion. The current provision of HSCL services will remain in the 200 post primary and 345 urban primary schools participating in DEIS. Clarification has been sought on arrangements for filling HSCL posts in schools due to updated arrangements for the filling of teaching posts for the 2011/2012 school year. My Department will notify each of the 545 schools mentioned above when clarification is obtained, which is expected shortly.

Value for Money Reviews

Nicky McFadden

Question:

83 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the value for money review in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10893/11]

This value for money review is part of the normal review processes undertaken by all Departments on an annual basis on selected areas of expenditure and is being conducted in line with the standard procedure for value for money reviews. These procedures require that the views of stakeholders be obtained and the public consultations were designed to achieve this aim. This was done by issuing a direct invitation to relevant interest groups to provide a submission. The interest groups included the school patron bodies, management bodies, teacher unions, national parents' council, Irish language groups and other groups who operate in the area of social inclusion.

The letter issued on 8th February 2011 and a deadline for reply was given for 18th March 2011. As these groups represent a wide spectrum of membership it could be reasonably expected they would communicate with their membership in regard to the review. In addition to the direct letter of invitation issued to these groups, a general invitation for submissions was posted on the Department's website also at the same time. Indeed the large response of in excess of 1,000 submissions seems to support the view that there is high general awareness of the review and a lot of interest in it.

The review will attempt to explore the general policy options for re-organisation of small schools including the sharing of resources and clustering arrangements towards small schools. I think it is important to clarify that this study is part of an overall requirement across all Government Departments to have a rolling programme of such studies.

This review was initiated last October by the previous Fianna Fail — Green Party Government and is not driven by any ideology. The study is simply about ascertaining the facts to inform future policy. It does not mean that any policy decision has been taken at this point or that any particular outcome is sought. Given that the Government has recently announced a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, all Government expenditure and programmes will come under similar scrutiny.

The terms of reference acknowledge the important role primary schools play in their local communities. In considering any policy change in relation to small schools, the Department of Education and Skills is conscious that there is a wider dimension to be considered in addition to the cost of maintaining small schools.

Among the issues that will need to be taken into account are questions such as availability of diversity of provision, ethos of schools, parental choice, language of instruction, travel distances, transport costs and the impact of schools on dispersed rural communities. The review will examine the locations of small schools relative to each other and to other schools of a similar type. It will also examine the costs of running small schools and the educational outcomes associated with small schools.

Educational quality for the students must be one of the main criteria in any consideration of primary school size. We must also consider the needs of local communities and wider social and cultural factors. Decisions on school provision and reorganisation must be widely perceived to be cost-effective, equitable and reasonable. These decisions need to be based on a rigorous evaluation of requirements and needs, not just at a local level but also at both regional and national levels.

Redundancy Payments

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

84 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a redundancy payment will be issued to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10895/11]

I can confirm that an application for redundancy has been received by my Department from the person referred to by the Deputy. Applications for redundancy are being received on an ongoing basis and are processed in date order of receipt. My Department will be in direct contact with the Deputy in the coming days to provide an update on this individual application.

Schools Building Projects

Noel Coonan

Question:

85 Deputy Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for building works in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; when a decision will issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10907/11]

The project to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of the tender process. Subject to no issues arising, it is envisaged that the project will commence construction this summer.

School Staffing

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

86 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of language support teachers in schools in County Meath this academic year in tabular form on a school by school basis; the number of language support teachers nationally on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10956/11]

There are over 1,120 language support posts at primary level and 280 whole time equivalent posts at post primary level in the current school year. The additional information sought by the Deputy, would take some time to provide in the format requested. I regret that my Department is not able to provide the requested breakdown on a county by county basis at this time. The main focus of the Teacher Allocation Section within my Department, is the allocations process for the 2011/12 school year and the redeployment of surplus teachers into vacancies.

School Transport

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

87 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions in place for children who attend gaelscoileanna outside the standard eligibility distance for school bus service; the provisions in place for a group of children from one particular area who attend gaelscoileanna beyond the standard eligibility distance when there is less than the minimum eligible number for a bus service to be maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10957/11]

The changes to school transport services were announced in the 2011 Budget by the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party Government and derive from a recommendation in the recently published Value for Money Review of the scheme.

The Deputy will be aware that, included in these changes, was an increase from 7 to 10 of the number of eligible pupils, residing in a distinct locality, required to establish or retain a school transport service. A Remote Area Transport grant towards the cost of private transport arrangements, is payable to families of eligible pupils, for whom no service is available.

Given the major financial constraints facing the country, I cannot reverse the changes to school transport as announced by the previous government. We all have to understand the legacy of economic mismanagement which the last Government gave to the country.

Job Losses

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

88 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he has been involved with an organisation (details supplied) and if he will provide an update on the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10780/11]

I received a letter of notification of proposed redundancies from Arcadia Group Ltd. in April 2011, signalling the possibility of up to 100 redundancies arising from the potential closure of Arcadia Group stores situated in the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. As responsibility for redundancy has transferred to the Department of Social Protection, this correspondence has been forwarded to my colleague, Minister Joan Burton T.D. I understand that the Arcadia Group announced the closure of the stores concerned in a dispute over lease renewal and rent. Both Arcadia Group Ltd. and the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre management have since expressed their intention to engage constructively to seek a positive resolution to the matter. As this is an issue for negotiation between the two parties, it would not be appropriate for me to have any involvement in the matter.

Smithfield Market

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

89 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he has received the advice from the Attorney General in relation to the future of Smithfield Horse Fair, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10782/11]

I recently received the advice of the Attorney General in relation to the Smithfield Market. Essentially the Attorney has advised that the owner of the market right in respect of the Smithfield Market is Dublin City Council and that the Council enjoys ample powers to regulate the market under the Casual Trading Act 1995. I have written to the Lord Mayor of the Council advising him of the Attorney's advice.

Work Placement Programme

Brendan Ryan

Question:

90 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Social Protection if there is scope for discretion within the guidelines of the Government’s work placement programme to allow a provider who rewards a successful participant with a full-time job to re-apply to become a provider of a subsequent placement under the WPP. [10787/11]

The work placement programme provides up to 9 months work experience to unemployed individuals, including graduates. The programme is open to all sectors of the economy, including the private and public sectors, as well as the community and voluntary sectors. The aim of the programme is to assist unemployed people, including graduates, to establish or maintain links to the labour market and to gain valuable work experience in a real work environment that will enhance their employment prospects.

There are a number of steps taken by FÁS in managing the work placement programme to prevent organisations from exploiting the scheme. For instance, all potential providers must confirm with FÁS the following:

That the placement will not be provided to fill an existing vacancy.

That the placement will not be provided to displace an existing employee.

Under the guidelines a cooling off period of 3 months must elapse before another placement in the same area of activity is approved. If the placement is in another area of activity from the previous placement no cooling off period will apply. FÁS will review any subsequent applications for placement in an organisation in light of experience of a previous placement. This review will take into consideration the experience of the participant and the results of monitoring visits. FÁS will reconfirm with the employer that the placement sought is not a substitution for a job vacancy.

Departmental Accommodation

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

91 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection the plans that are in place to streamline the social welfare services to include the provision of a local office in Portlaoise town; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10759/11]

At present, social welfare services in Portlaoise are provided from a Branch Office by an independent contractor and also through the Social Welfare Inspectors Office in Government Buildings. The Branch Office services include a general information service for the public, accepting all forms of social welfare claims; registration and maintenance of jobseekers claims including processing of jobseekers and one parent family payments. The Social Welfare Inspectors Office provides facilities for the Inspectors to conduct interviews for the assessment and review of eligibility for social welfare schemes along with general information office mornings which are held on a weekly basis for the public. The Special Investigation Unit and the Jobs Facilitator also provide services to the people of County Laois from this office.

The Department plans to establish a Control Office in Portlaoise to cater for the processing of claims from the 3 Branch offices in County Laois (Portlaoise; Rathdowney and Portarlington). The new office will be responsible for deciding entitlements to Jobseekers payments for people attending the three Branch Offices in County Laois and for processing One Parent Family Payment claims from lone parents in the county. It will also serve as a centre for conducting interviews and for registration of Personal Public Service numbers.

The Office of Public Works has identified a suitable location for the new office and is currently negotiating a lease on behalf of the Department. Following conclusion of these negotiations the office will be opened to the public.

Social Welfare Benefits

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

92 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of social welfare rent supplement cheques being paid to landlords who are not registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board as per legislation. [10791/11]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

93 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that rent supplement cheques are not paid to landlords who are not registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board. [10792/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 93 together.

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, landlords are legally obliged to register tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), however, not all tenancies are required to be registered with the PRTB as the relevant legislation, the Residential Tenancies Act, provides for certain exceptions.

Where registration is required, the landlord has up to one month after the commencement of the tenancy to register it with the PRTB at the standard fee and longer to register at a higher fee. It is not, therefore, practical for the Department to insist that a tenancy be registered before rent supplement can be paid to the tenant as the establishment of the tenancy will be dependent on rent supplement being awarded. As such the information requested by the Deputy is not available.

The Department works closely with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) to help ensure that rent supplement tenancies comply with the statutory system of tenancy regulation and safeguards.

The Department advises the PRTB of all new rent supplemented tenancies to assist them in implementing tenancy regulations and co-operates in any initiatives taken by the PRTB to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act. It is accepted that there is a need to ensure that all landlords, including those renting out property to people in receipt of rent supplement, comply with the terms of the Residential Tenancies Act. The PRTB has been given powers to deal with unregistered landlords and the information provided by the Department to the Board should help them to exercise these powers, while not placing rent supplement recipients in an unworkable and vulnerable position.

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

94 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) that had previously been habitually resident here and moved to live and work in another country for ten years, resumed their permanent residence here, is now experiencing extreme difficulty in demonstrating that they satisfy the requirements of the habitual residence condition. [10794/11]

An application for jobseeker's allowance, by the person concerned was refused by a deciding officer of the Department on the grounds that she did not satisfy the habitual residence conditions. Similarly, her application for supplementary welfare allowance was also refused by a Community Welfare Officer of the HSE.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that appeals by the person concerned against both decisions have been registered in that office on 9 February 2011 and 24 March 2011 respectively and have been referred to an Appeals Officer who, in due course, will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

The annual intake of appeals has increased from 14,070 in 2007 to 32,432 in 2010, an increase of 18,362 (130.5%) and currently it appears that another 30,000 will be received during 2011. This has impacted on the processing time for appeals which, in 2010, was 27.4 weeks for cases dealt with by way of summary decisions and 45.6 weeks for those who were given an oral hearing. In order to be fair to all appellants, appeals are dealt with in strict chronological order.

In an effort to reduce these processing times, the Department has made 9 additional appointments to the office in recent weeks. These assignments will augment the 3 appointments made to the Office in 2010, bringing the total number of Appeals Officers serving in the office to 29.

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

Departmental Staff

Seán Kenny

Question:

95 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons employed by her by grade and the pay scale for each grade. [10818/11]

The table below shows a breakdown, by grade, of the number of full-time equivalent posts in the Department at 1st April 2011.

Grade

1.4.2011

Secretary General

1

Deputy Secretary

1

Assistant Secretary

7

Chief Appeals Officer

1

Medical Advisor

1

Deputy Medical Advisor

1

Medical Assessor

22

Principal Officer

37.4

Assistant Principal

194.93

Administrative Officer

11.4

Higher Executive Officer

635.78

Executive Officer

883.42

Staff Officer

617.75

Clerical Officer

2,348.23

Head Services Officer

2

Service Officers

95.53

Services Attendant

10

Cleaners

8

Total Posts

4,878.43

Details of the salary scales applicable to the grades are as set out in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2.

Salary Scales for those paying modified PRSI (Class B) as they commenced employment in the civil service prior to April 1995

Grade

Standard Scale

Higher Scale

Secretary General

191,417

N/A

Deputy Secretary

168,000

N/A

Assistant Secretary

127,796-146,191

N/A

Chief Appeals Officer

85,957-105,429

N/A

+ Annual Allowance 11,978

Chief Medical Advisor

93,197-113,503

N/A

Deputy Chief Medical Advisor

N/A

N/A

Medical Assessor

80,051-98,424

N/A

Principal

80,051-98,424

85,957-105,429

Assistant Principal

61,966-76,768

67,913-84,296

Higher Executive Officer

43,816-55,415

46,426-57,251

Administrative Officer

31,619-55,415

40,734-57,251

Executive Officer

29,024-45,616

29,024-47,379

Staff Officer

33,070-43,906

N/A

Clerical Officer

22,016-35,515

23,024-36,267

Head Services Officer

27,980-34,954

N/A

Services Officer

20,806-27,739

N/A

Services Attendant

20,806-27,376

N/A

Cleaner

19,868-23,067

N/A

Salary Scales for those paying Class A PRSI as they commenced employment in the civil service after April 1995

Grade

Standard Scale

Higher Scale

Secretary General

N/A

N/A

Deputy Secretary

N/A

N/A

Assistant Secretary

N/A

N/A

Chief Appeals Officer

N/A

N/A

Chief Medical Advisor

N/A

N/A

Deputy Chief Medical Advisor

97,416-110,844

N/A

Medical Assessor

84,132-103,472

N/A

Principal

84,132-103,472

90,355-110,844

Assistant Principal

65,185-80,678

71,359- 88,598

Higher Executive Officer

46,081-58,294

48,831-60,224

Administrative Officer

33,247-58,294

42,838-60,224

Executive Officer

30,516-47,975

30,516-49,837

Staff Officer

34,771-46,171

N/A

Clerical Officer

23,177-37,341

24,255-38,135

Head Services Officer

29,428-36,754

N/A

Services Officer

21,732-29,181

N/A

Services Attendant

21,732-28,808

N/A

Cleaner

20,747-24,282

N/A

Pension Provisions

John Lyons

Question:

96 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Social Protection the steps she is taking to deal with potential difficulties arising from persons whose compulsory retirement age in their place of employment will apply in advance of the minimum age of qualification under the contributory State pension once the IMF-EU requirements in relation to the raising of pension age are phased in. [10824/11]

The challenges facing the Irish pension system are significant. In particular, the task of financing increasing pension spending will fall to a diminishing share of the population. There are currently six workers for every pensioner and this ratio is expected to decrease to less than two to one by 2050.

Increasing State pension age is one of the ways in which we can sustain the pensions system and also maintain the value of the State pension at 35% of average earnings. Therefore, as announced as part of the National Pensions Framework, State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This will begin in 2014 with the standardisation of the State pension age at 66 and will be increased to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 in 2028. As agreed under the EU/IMF Memorandum of Understanding, these changes will be provided for in legislation by mid 2011.

Given the changes to State pension age outlined in the Framework, both employees and employers must be encouraged to change their attitudes to working longer. In the workplace, employers must seek to retain older employees and create working conditions which will make working longer both attractive and feasible for the older worker. Where this is not possible and people leave paid employment before State pension age, they will be entitled to apply for another social welfare payment until they become eligible for a State pension, as is the current situation.

The Department of Social Protection operates a range of employment support measures designed to encourage and support social welfare recipients of working age to reduce their dependency on welfare payments. While the primary responsibility for job creation rests with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, this Department already has a role in supporting people from welfare to work. The National Employment Action Plan process is a key element in addressing the progression needs of those on the Live Register. It provides a stimulus to job search and affords an opportunity to explore, under professional guidance, the full range of employment and training services offered by FÁS.

Grants Payments

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

97 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Social Protection the level of State grants and or other supports given by her or any agency or State body attached to her Department to the Institute of International and European Affairs during the past two decades up to 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10845/11]

The Departments records, which are only readily available from 1998 onwards, show that a small number of payments totalling €45,371 were made to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) since 1998 in respect of corporate membership subscriptions, the Student Summer Job Scheme, reimbursement of costs of teas and coffees for meetings and the purchase of a publication.

The Department has no record of any payments of grants or other supports to the Institute.

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

None of the above statutory bodies have made payments to the Institute of International and European Affairs during the past two decades up to 2011.

In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman (OPO) comes under the remit of the Department and the Department makes payments on its behalf. There are no records of payments to the IIEA on behalf of the OPO.

Social Welfare Appeals

Liam Twomey

Question:

98 Deputy Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) may expect to have their medical file reviewed for carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10867/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 25 March 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Social Welfare Services on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the appeal in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

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

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

99 Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the refusal of the chief medical advisor to refuse carer’s allowance to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10875/11]

The application for carer's allowance by the person concerned was received on the 26 January 2011. On the 25 February 2011, following examination of the medical evidence by a medical assessor, she was refused on the grounds that the care recipient is not so disabled as to require full time care and attention as prescribed in regulations. She was notified of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review or appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

Additional medical evidence was received and was examined by a medical assessor. However, this information did not alter the opinion of the medical assessor and, accordingly the deciding officer's decision remains unchanged. On 14 April 2011 she was notified of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of appeal to the SWAO.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

100 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason habitual residence was denied to a person (details supplied); when a decision will issue regarding an appeal of this decision; in examining the appeal, if she will consider the nationality, the ownership of a principle residence here and the fact that other family members reside here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10892/11]

A claim for Jobseeker's Allowance by the person concerned was disallowed by the Deciding Officer on the grounds that he did not satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case.

There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 when the intake rose to 32,432. This has significantly impacted on the processing time for appeals which require oral hearings and, in order to be fair to all appellants, they are dealt with in strict chronological order. In the context of dealing with the considerable number of appeals now on hand, the Department has made a further 9 additional appointments to the office in recent weeks.

While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person's oral hearing will be heard, but he will be informed when arrangements have been made.

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

Question No. 101 answered with Question No. 35.

Public Safety Regulations

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

102 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if he will reconsider the refusal of Waterways Ireland to install railings around the quayside in Grand Canal Dock Harbour, Dublin, after a number of recent fatalities and accidents in view of the increasing number of persons, especially young families with children, living in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10876/11]

At the outset, may I express my regrets at the fatalities referred to by the Deputy and offer my sympathies to all those affected.

I have raised this issue with Waterways Ireland and have been informed by its Chief Executive that, following discussions with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, Waterways Ireland has no plans to install railings around the quayside in the Grand Canal Dock Harbour. I understand, however, that Waterways Ireland will continue, in consultation with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, to keep safety issues in the Grand Canal Dock area under close review.

Fishing Industry Development

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

103 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the projects he has received to reopen salmon fishery at Meelick, County Offaly; the progress that has been made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10786/11]

As the Deputy may be aware, the primary motivation in aligning the management of the wild salmon fishery with the scientific advice is the conservation of the declining salmon stocks. It is vital to afford every protection to the at-risk salmon stocks and to clearly prioritise conservation over catch. Ireland must fulfil its obligations under the Habitats Directive, namely to maintain or restore fish stocks, protected by the Directive, to favourable conservation status.

The river Shannon, including the salmon fishery at Meelick, has been closed to salmon angling since 2007 under the current wild salmon management regime due to poor stock levels. The estimated number of fish required upstream of Parteen Weir is in excess of 40,000 salmon and according to estimates there are less than 1,000 wild salmon spawning in the catchment. In order to address this deficit, in 2008 the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board, now Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI), initiated the Shannon Salmon Restoration Project. This project, which draws on existing resources, sets about taking a fresh look at the issues facing the survival of wild salmon in the Shannon and its tributaries upstream of Parteen weir. Led by IFI the steering group draws together the expertise of scientists of the Marine Institute and University College Cork, together with management of ESB Fisheries and IFI. The broad objectives of the project, which were developed following a recent consultative process with anglers and local interest groups, are to address fish passage and habitat degradation on a long-term sustainable basis. I welcome the efforts of the group towards the restoration of the salmon stocks sufficient to enable the reopening of the fishery in the future.

Missing Persons

Joan Collins

Question:

104 Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 114 and 115 of 20 April 2011, if any organisations have applied for funding to run the 116000 missing child phone number from any Government Department; and if any organisation expressed an interest in tendering for the phone line but cost became a barrier to bidding. [10750/11]

I can confirm that my Department has not received any application for funding of this service. Similarly, I understand that no application has been made to either the Department of Justice and Equality or the Department of Health and Children, who have policy functions in this area.

The allocation of specific numbers in the 116 number range of numbers, which are reserved for services of social value, is managed in Ireland by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). In November 2007, ComReg alerted potential service providers, through an advertisement campaign, to the existence of the range of numbers beginning with 116, including the 116000 hotline for missing children. The November 2007 advertisement invited suitable applicants to apply for the setting up of services of social value under the specified numbers. I am advised by ComReg that no organisation has yet applied for the missing children hotline number 116000.

While my Department has responsibility for policy and legislation governing electronic communications, the provision of services using electronic communications infrastructure, including services of social value like the 116000 hotline for missing children, is not a matter in which I have a function.

Sale of State Assets

Terence Flanagan

Question:

105 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is proposing to sell the ESB; if his attention has been drawn to the large scale opposition to its sale; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10753/11]

There are no proposals at present to sell the ESB or any of the State's energy assets.

The Report of the Review Group on State Assets and Liabilities has recently been submitted to the Government and published. The Government has stated that the recommendations of that Report will be considered and that consultations will take place with the stakeholders. I am aware that there are many diverging views in relation to issues arising in any consideration of a sale of State assets.

Telecommunications Services

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

106 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the steps he has taken to prevent scams and fraud being perpetrated by the providers of regulated premium text services; if he has had any discussion with the Regulator, ComReg in relation to this matter; and if so, the result of these discussions; if he will bring in amending legislation to deal with this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10773/11]

The primary purpose of Part 2 of the Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act 2010 is to ensure the more effective regulation of the premium rate sector in the interest of consumer protection, including the prevention of scams and fraud by the providers of regulated premium text services.

Under the provisions of that Act, ComReg shall make regulations specifying the classes or types of premium rate services (PRS) that require to be licensed, the terms and conditions that may be attached to a licence and the information that premium rate service providers shall provide to ComReg upon request. The Act also provides that ComReg will, in consultation with the industry and other interested parties, prepare and publish a code of practice to be followed by premium rate service providers. Compliance with the code of practice is a condition of a licence.

The Act also provides ComReg with adequate and effective enforcement powers to ensure that these conditions are met. It provides the necessary investigation powers for ComReg to ensure that the conditions of a licence are being complied with. ComReg has the power to revoke, amend or suspend a PRS licence (with immediate effect if necessary) where it finds the holder has failed to comply with a licence condition.

I am fully satisfied that ComReg has all the statutory powers necessary to protect the interests of PRS users.

Child Care Services

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

107 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to review the practice of charging of commercial rates on community child-care initiatives that are registered charities and not for profit organisations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10751/11]

Commercial rates are local property taxes that are levied by local authorities on commercial properties rateable under the Valuation Act 2001. Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered on the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation. The determination of the annual rate on valuation, which is applied to property valuations to calculate rates, is a decision taken locally by the elected members of a local authority in their annual budget.

With regard to the application of rates to childcare facilities, local authorities levy rates on commercial establishments. Where child care provision is within a community facility, operating in a non-profit capacity, commercial rates do not generally apply.

Fire Services

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

108 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will review a decision by a local authority (details supplied) in relation to front line services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10758/11]

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under section 10 of the Fire Services Act 1981. My Department's role is one of supporting and assisting fire authorities in delivering fire services through the provision of funding under the fire service capital programme and though setting of general policy.

Under Section 26 of the Fire Services Act 1981, each fire authority is required to prepare, and as occasion requires revise, plans for fire and emergency operations which, inter alia set out the location of fire stations in the authority's functional area. The making and revision of a plan is a reserved function of the local authority.

Dog Breeding Establishments

Terence Flanagan

Question:

109 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will sign the statutory instruments regarding puppy farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10771/11]

The Dog Breeding Establishments Bill 2009 passed all stages in the Seanad on 14 July, 2010 and was signed by the President on 21 July, 2010. I understand that the Act was not commenced, under the last Government, primarily in order to allow sufficient time for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to progress the Greyhound Welfare Bill 2010, providing separately for the regulation of greyhounds. This bill was introduced in the Seanad in January 2011 and remains on the Seanad Order paper.

I am keeping the issue of commencement of the Act under review.

Local Authority Services

Sean Fleming

Question:

110 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to obtain information on the number of mortgages issued on a local authority basis, including those issued by the Housing Finance Agency or other State organisations as appropriate; the number of these mortgages that are in arrears, the extent of the problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10775/11]

The Housing Finance Agency does not issue loans to homeowners but provides loan finance to local authorities who on-lend to low income households. Information regarding the number and types of loans issued by local authorities has been collected by my Department as part of the statistical quarterly returns since 1994. However, I have no plans to collect information on loans issued prior to 1994.

The most recent published data available to me are the Service Indicators 2009, published earlier this year. This publication shows local authority mortgage arrears levels running at 15.08%, an increase of 3.38% on 2008. Despite worsening economic conditions generally, repossession remains extremely rare for local authority borrowers with only 103 repossessions across all local authorities carried out in the five year period 2005 -end June 2010. This includes 40 voluntary repossessions or abandonments.

Section 34 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 enables a housing authority to enter into an arrangement with a household for the rescheduling of payments of accumulated arrears, including interest, due to it in respect of specified rents, equity charges and loans, where the authority is satisfied that the household would otherwise suffer undue hardship.

Local authorities can and do exercise the powers available to them and endeavour in all arrears cases to engage proactively and constructively with a distressed borrower with the aim of enabling a household remain in their home.

In addition, to reflect the content of the Central Bank's revised Code of Conduct — which replaced the previous code from 1 January 2011 and was informed by the deliberations of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt — my Department is currently preparing updated guidance to local authorities in consultation with the City and County Managers Association.

Where any borrower, either from a local authority or from a private financial institution, is facing difficulties in meeting mortgage repayments, they should engage proactively and constructively with the lender to seek to achieve an agreed solution.

Sean Fleming

Question:

111 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will issue comprehensive guidance on mortgage arrears to local authorities; the consultation process and the persons involved in drawing up these guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10776/11]

My Department issued comprehensive guidance to local authorities on the treatment of mortgage arrears in March 2010. That guidance was closely based on the Central Bank's first statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears.

To reflect the content of the Central Bank's revised Code of Conduct — which replaced the previous code from 1 January 2011 and was informed by the deliberations of the Expert Group on Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt — my Department is currently preparing updated guidance to local authorities in consultation with the City and County Managers Association.

Illegal Dumping

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

112 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a legal impediment exists preventing local authorities from publishing the names of those persons successfully detected of illegal dumping; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10809/11]

The Data Protection Commissioner has indicated to my Department that actions taken by local authorities in publishing the names and addresses of those persons fined or convicted as a result of littering or illegal dumping, whether by way of publication on local authority websites or by notices published in the local press which are paid for by the local authority, would be in breach of the principles of data protection. These principles are set down in the Data Protection Act 1988 as amended by the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003, and in particular, by Section 2A of that Act.

Data Protection legislation is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

Fire Services

Seán Kenny

Question:

113 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of additional fire appliances and fire fighting equipment he has provided to Dublin Fire Brigade for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011 and the number of requests that are currently outstanding within his Department for additional resources. [10815/11]

The provision of a fire service, including the provision of fire fighting and emergency equipment, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities as set out in the Fire Services Act, 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and equipment.

The number and nature of specific annual approvals for Dublin Fire Brigade arise from correspondence and discussions with the City Council. A total of six fire appliances were approved for Dublin Fire Brigade over the period 2007 to date, resulting in the delivery thus far of four Class B fire fighting appliances and one Turntable Ladder appliance. Proposals for the acquisition of fire appliances under the 2011 Fire Services Capital Programme are currently under consideration in the Department. Notwithstanding the ongoing consideration of the 2011 Programme, there are currently no outstanding requests with my Department from the City Council for additional fire appliances or fire fighting equipment.

It is generally recognised that, following significant capital investment over a decade, the fire appliance fleet in Dublin, as well as across the country, is in very good condition, and likewise the range and status of specialist fire service equipment is in keeping with international best practice.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Dan Neville

Question:

114 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding funding under the Dormant Accounts Fund in respect of a club (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10823/11]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 257 of 10 May 2011 which sets out the position in this matter.

Water Services

Thomas Pringle

Question:

115 Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the Killybegs WWTP will go to tender as part of the Donegal Bay waste management plan group B; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10853/11]

Under the Donegal (Group B) Wastewater Treatment Plants contract, which is included in my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 as a contract to start during the lifetime of the Programme, it is envisaged that wastewater treatment plants will be constructed at Killybegs, Bundoran, Glencolumbcille and Convoy under a single Design/Build/Operate contract. My Department is awaiting Donegal County Council's submission of Tender Documents for the contract.

Social and Affordable Housing

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

116 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of income-related old Housing Finance Agency loans still in payment on a county basis; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that mortgage protection insurance on these loans may be inadequate; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that some loans may not be issued at all and that some home owners may be unaware their debt is unsecured; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10926/11]

My Department does not collect data on either the number or value of income related loans that remain outstanding. Mortgage Protection Insurance (MPI) was introduced in July 1986 as a means of protecting housing loan borrowers in the event of death or disability. It was mandatory for new borrowers but excluded existing borrowers at that date. The majority of income related loans were extended pre-1986 and would not have had mortgage protection.

However, as part of the renewal of the MPI scheme in 2003, life cover was extended to pre-1986 loan holders on a voluntary basis. If home owners who took out their loans prior to 1986 opted out of the scheme they may not have adequate life cover. Currently death cover is extended to age 75 and disability cover to age 65 for individual and joint borrowers. In the circumstances, I consider the cover provided by the scheme to be adequate.

Housing Grants

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

117 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to amend the grant schemes which provide support for the adaptation or improvement of homes occupied by elderly or disabled persons; if he will consider putting in place a multi-annual funding stream for local authorities in order to achieve more efficient use of resources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10927/11]

My Department's involvement with the Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability relates primarily to the recoupment of a proportion of local authority expenditure on the payment of individual grants. The grant schemes, introduced in November 2007, are funded by 80% recoupment available from my Department together with a 20% contribution from the resources of the local authority. The detailed administration of the schemes, including the assessment and approval of applications, is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

At my Department's request, the Centre for Housing Research carried out an evaluation of the grant schemes in consultation with stakeholders, including the local authorities, representative organisations for older people and persons with a disability, and with a cross-section of grant applicants. The need for revised guidelines with regard to the payment of grants by local authorities to approved applicants will be considered in the light of the evaluation report.

To provide for continuity in the processing of applications and the payment of grants under the various grant measures, local authorities were advised by my Department that they could commit up to 50% of their current year allocation in respect of grant payments falling due in the following year.

National Identity Card

Brendan Ryan

Question:

118 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm that the Garda age card must be accepted by licensed premises, and not a passport, as proof that a person has reached the legal age for purchasing alcohol and is of an age to be allowed entry to a licensed premises. [10788/11]

Under section 31 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988 (as amended), a licensee shall not sell or deliver, or permit any person to sell or deliver, intoxicating liquor to any person for consumption by a person under 18 years on the licensed premises. While that section does not specify the manner in which the licensee must establish that a person is over the age of 18 years, it provides that in any proceedings for a contravention of its provisions, it shall be a defence for the licensee to prove that the person in respect of whom the charge is brought produced a Garda age card relating to himself or herself.

While a licensee may choose to accept a passport or other form of identity card as proof that a person is over the age of 18 years, particularly in the case of young tourists or visitors, only production of the Garda age card provides a defence for the licensee in the event of any proceedings for a contravention of section 31 of the 1988 Act.

Garda Equipment

Seán Kenny

Question:

119 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of breathalyser machines in each Garda station in the Dublin region. [10819/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are six evidential breath testing instruments (intoxilysers) in use in the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), with one located in each of the Garda Divisions comprising the DMR.

The allocation of evidential breath testing instruments remains under review by Garda management. Following the deployment of new evidential breath testing instruments, arising from the introduction of lower breath alcohol concentration limits, it is planned to allocate an additional three machines to the DMR. I am further informed that there are 188 hand held roadside breath testing devices (alcometers) issued to Garda stations within the DMR.

Closed Circuit Television Systems

Seán Kenny

Question:

120 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he plans to increase the number of Garda closed circuit television units in Dublin city centre and the cost of providing ten additional CCTV units. [10820/11]

I have asked the Garda Commissioner for the information sought in the Deputy's Question. I will revert to the Deputy as soon as the information becomes available.

Garda Strength

Seán Kenny

Question:

121 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí in each divisional crime task force. [10821/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that on the latest date for which figures are readily available, the personnel strength in each Garda Division was as set out in the following table.

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

760

Tipperary

383

Sligo/Leitrim

324

DMR North Central

677

Cork City

697

Clare

317

DMR North

800

Cork North

307

Mayo

313

DMR East

470

Cork West

317

Galway

611

DMR South

626

Kerry

333

Roscommon/Longford

301

DMR West

789

Limerick

649

Westmeath

262

Kilkenny/Carlow

315

Donegal

464

Meath

310

Wicklow

352

Cavan / Monaghan

383

Kildare

324

Laois/Offaly

318

Louth

312

Waterford

301

Wexford

277

For security and operational reasons, it is Garda policy not to disclose the number of Gardaí attached to each Divisional Task Force.

Garda Transport

Seán Kenny

Question:

122 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of additional Garda vehicles purchased in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; if additional vehicles will be purchased later this year; and if he will provide a breakdown of the number of marked and unmarked cars purchased in each of these years. [10822/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table outlines the vehicle details sought by the Deputy from 2007 to date in 2011:

Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

No. of Vehicles Purchased Cars, Motorcycles & Vans

363

190

0

165

7

Marked Cars

100

56

0

90

0

Unmarked Cars

103

64

0

69

0

Future transport requirements will be pursued in the context of identified Garda priorities and in the light of available resources.

Citizenship Applications

Simon Harris

Question:

123 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is possible to waive the €950 fee in respect of an application for citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied). [10849/11]

Under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship (Fees) Regulations 2008, which came into effect on 1 August 2008, the prescribed fee to be paid by the applicant on the issue of a certificate of naturalisation is as follows:

(a) where the application is made on behalf of a minor, a fee of €200.00;

(b) where the application is made by a widow or widower whose spouse was, immediately before death, an Irish citizen, and who has not, subsequent to the spouse's death, become a naturalised citizen of a state other than the State, a fee of €200.00;

(c) in the case of all other applications, a fee of €950.00;

(d) the fee payable under (a), (b) or (c) shall be nil, if the application for the certificate concerned is made by or on behalf of a refugee or stateless person or by or on behalf of a programme refugee.

As payment of the appropriate fee is a statutory requirement for the issue of a certificate of naturalisation, it cannot be waived.

Sean Conlan

Question:

124 Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding citizenship in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10864/11]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in December, 2007. The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible. In that context, as I outlined in response to Parliamentary Question Number 69 of 7 April last, I can inform the Deputy that I have initiated steps within my Department to provide for speedier processing of applications to bring about a substantial reduction in the processing timescale. The new arrangements will be publicly announced once my Department is in a position to implement them.

The granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. I should remind the Deputy that queries in relation to the status of individual Immigration cases may be made direct to INIS by Email using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. The service enables up-to-date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek this information through the more administratively expensive Parliamentary Questions process.

Extradition Arrangements

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

125 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he intends to seek the extradition of any person or persons in connection with the collapse of the banking system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10870/11]

The European Arrest Warrant Act 2003, which became law on 1 January 2004, gives effect to the European Union Council Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European Arrest Warrant and the surrender procedures between Member States. It puts in place simplified procedures for the surrender of persons between the Member States of the EU. Under the provisions of the Act, a court may, upon application made by or on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, issue a European Arrest Warrant in respect of a person where it is satisfied, inter alia, that a domestic warrant has been issued for the arrest of that person but has not been executed and the person may not be in the State. As the Deputy will appreciate, both the courts and the DPP are independent in the exercise of their functions and, as Minister for Justice and Equality, I have no function in the making of such an application.

In relation to a person outside the EU, a request for extradition can only arise where the Director of Public Prosecutions has decided that an individual should be prosecuted in the first instance. The decision to seek the extradition of a person charged with a criminal offence in this State rests with the Director.

Garda Stations

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

126 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of custody cells in each of the stations in the J and R districts in the Dublin region; the number of cells reserved for females only and the number of cells reserved for persons aged under 18 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10900/11]

I am advised by the Garda authorities that the following table shows the number of Garda cells in each of the stations comprising the Raheny and Coolock Garda Districts:

District

Garda Station

No. of Cells

Raheny (‘J’)

Raheny

2

Clontarf

3

Howth

2

Coolock (‘R’)

Coolock

4

Malahide

2

Swords

2

There is currently no provision for segregated cells in the Raheny or Coolock Garda Districts. However, the Criminal Justice Act 1984 (Treatment of Persons in Custody in Garda Síochána Stations) Regulations prohibit the placing of male and female prisoners in the same cell. Both District Headquarters stations have a holding area which is used for the detention of juveniles detained within the District.

Court Accommodation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

127 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to have Swords District Court, County Dublin, fully wheelchair accessible and also to have prisoner holding cells within the court; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10901/11]

I am asking the Chief Executive of the Courts Service for a report in the matter and I will revert to the Deputy at the earliest opportunity.

Garda Recruitment

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

128 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons currently on the panel of Garda trainees awaiting to commence training; when the Garda college in Templemore, County Tipperary, will begin accepting applicants from the panel, some of whom have been on the panel for over two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10914/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are currently 410 Garda applicants that have successfully completed stages 1 and 2 of the application process. Of these there are a total of 164 applicants who have completed all stages of the application process and are approved for entry to the Garda College. The remaining candidates are being processed through background screening, medical examination and physical competency tests.

As the moratorium on Public Service Recruitment continues to apply to An Garda Síochána, no date has been fixed for future intakes into the Garda College or for the commencement of a recruitment competition. A decision on when recruitment will re-commence will take into account the rate of retirement in the Garda Síochána and Government targets for reductions in public service numbers.

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

129 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the current waiting times for the processing of an application for Garda vetting; if he will consider allowing the statutory declaration to be used while waiting for the Garda clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10921/11]

I do have concerns at the length of time currently being taken to process vetting applications. I recognise that it is important to process these applications within a reasonable time frame both for the benefit of the applicants and the organisations involved. I am informed by the Garda authorities that at present there are a total of five gardaí, 76 full-time Garda civilian personnel and ten temporary civilian personnel assigned to the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU). This represents a very significant increase in the level of personnel assigned to the unit, which stood at only 13 before the current process of development in Garda vetting began in 2005.

A number of immediate measures are being taken to improve the situation. The sanction of the Department of Finance has been obtained to retain the services of ten temporary employees in the GCVU. A further sanction has been obtained to engage an additional ten temporary employees for the Unit and these are now being recruited. This should have an impact on processing times. In addition, further steps are under consideration with a view to alleviating the pressure on the staff of the GCVU and to reduce the time taken for the processing of applications. I am informed by the Garda Authorities that, at present, the average processing time for vetting applications received at the GCVU is approximately 10 weeks.

The average processing time for vetting applications fluctuates in line with periods of increased demand. In processing an individual vetting application, additional time may be required in cases where clarification is needed as to the details provided or where other enquiries need to be made, for example, when the person in question has lived and worked abroad. There will always be a reasonably significant time period required to process a vetting application. Registered organisations have been advised to take account of this in their recruitment and selection process. However, the Gardaí make every effort to reduce the time to the minimum possible consistent with carrying out what are very necessary checks.

The vetting service has been expanded greatly in recent years as part of an ongoing, phased programme to roll-out vetting to an increasing number of organisations in the child and vulnerable adult care sectors. This target group is the clear policy priority. Under the current arrangements applications are made to the GCVU by organisations which are registered with the Gardaí for vetting purposes. In response to these applications, which can only be made with the consent of the vetting subject, the Gardaí will release the factual information available to them on convictions and prosecutions, whether successful or unsuccessful, completed or pending. This information is returned to the registered organisation.

Given the importance of the vetting process in protecting and promoting the safety of vulnerable persons, and in preventing crime, it is not considered that a statutory declaration would provide a sufficiently robust alternative mechanism, even on a temporary basis, to support the decision making process of organisations employing or engaging people to work with children or vulnerable adults.

Residency Permits

Joe Costello

Question:

130 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider reinstating permission to remain in the State in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10923/11]

I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the permission to remain in the State of the person concerned expired on 30 October 2010. He has recently made an application for further permission to remain in the State and this is now being considered.

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

Jack Wall

Question:

131 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare is entitled to recognition under his Department guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10954/11]

The person concerned is currently legally resident in the State on Stamp 3 conditions. If, however, she wishes to have her case for an upgrade to Stamp 4 considered, in accordance with the principles of the Zambrano Judgment, she should attend at her local Garda Registration Office and have the following documentation in her possession:

(i) her own Passport,

(ii) her current GNIB Card,

(iii) her child's Irish Passport,

(iv) her child's Birth Certificate and

(v) documentary evidence of her address in the State.

If the person concerned satisfies the Zambrano criteria, then, all other things being equal, her status will be upgraded to Stamp 4 conditions. However, in circumstances where the Garda Registration Office is not satisfied that a person meets the Zambrano criteria, the case will be referred back to my Department for further examination.

The Deputy might wish to note that the terms of the Zambrano Judgment will not be applied to third country parents of an Irish citizen child or children who have been convicted of serious and/or persistent criminal offences.

Jack Wall

Question:

132 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding a permit application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10955/11]

From the information provided by the Deputy, it is being assumed that the person concerned is seeking to establish as to whether the recent European Court of Justice Judgment in the Zambrano case might impact on her case.

The position is that any person who wishes to have their position in the State examined in accordance with the principles of the Zambrano Judgement must submit the following documentation to the INIS Repatriation Division, Department of Justice and Equality, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2.

(a) A colour copy of the bio-data page of the Irish citizen child's passport,

(b) The Irish citizen child's original Birth certificate — a copy is not acceptable,

(c) A colour copy of the bio-data page of the applicant's own passport,

(d) Two colour passport sized photographs, signed on the back by the applicant,

(e) Documentary evidence that the Irish citizen child is living in the State,

(f) Proof of the applicant's address and residence in Ireland (e.g. current utility bills etc.),

(g) Documentary evidence of the role the applicant is playing in his/her child's life (e.g. letters from schools, crèches etc.) and

(h) Any other information that the applicant considers relevant to his/her case.

In addition, an applicant must provide answers to the following questions:

(a) Has he/she ever been convicted of a criminal offence in the State or abroad? If so, he/she must provide specific details.

(b) Are there any charges pending against him/her in the State or aboard? If so, he/she must provide details.

The Deputy might wish to note that a representative of my Department wrote to the person concerned on 6th May, 2011 to advise her of the documentation she must submit before her case could be considered further.

Departmental Staff

Seán Kenny

Question:

133 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Defence the number of persons employed in his Department by grade and the pay scale for each grade. [10814/11]

The number of whole time equivalent staff employed in the Department at 30 April 2011 was 346.35. The breakdown by grade and pay scale is set out in the table.

Grade

No of Staff

Higher & Standard Pay Scale effective from 1 January 2010 (Excluding Long Service Increments)

PPC Higher & Standard Pay Scales effective from 1 January 2010 (Excluding Long Service Increments)

Secretary General

1

€188,640

€198,568

Assistant Secretary

2

€127,796 — €146,191

€134,523 — €153,885

Director *

1

€85,957 — €99,236

€90,355 — €104,327

Principal

13.6

€85,957 — €99,236(H)€80,051 — €92,672 (S)

€90,355 — €104,327(H)€84,132 — €97,417 (S)

Assistant Principal

33.7

€67,913 — €79,337(H)€61,966 — €72,268 (S)

€71,359 — €83,385(H)€65,185 — €75,934 (S)

Prof Accountant(Grade 1)

1

€65,247 — €75,476(S)

€68,553 — €79,319(S)

Technical Officer II

1

€55,863 — €64,956(S)

€58,765 — €68,260(S)

Higher Executive Officer

54.99

€40,734 — €57,251(H)€43,816 — €51,653 (S)

€48,831 — €60,224(H)€46,081 — €54,329 (S)

Administrative Officer

2

€40,734 — €57,251(H)€31,619 — €51,653 (S)

€42,838 — €60,224(H)€33,247 — €54,329 (S)

Executive Officer

72.46

€29,024 — €47,379(H)€29,024 — €42,760 (S)

€30,516 — €49,837(H)€30,516 — €44,967 (S)

Staff Officer

27.6

€33,070 — €41,473(S)

€34,771 — €43,616(S)

Clerical Officer

119

€23,042 — €36,267(H)€22,015 — €33,735 (S)

€24,255 — €38,135(H)€23,177 — €35,471 (S)

Storekeeper

2

N/A

€24,196 — €32,000(S)

Services Officer

12

€20,806 — €25,858(S)

€21,732 — €27,213(S)

Watchman

1

€20,868 — €23,926(S)

€21,799 — €25,185(S)

Superintendent of Cleaners

1

€22,003 — €23,581(S)

€23,161 — €24,824(S)

Cleaners

1

€19,868 — €21,536(S)

€20,749 — €22,645(S)

*The post of Director is graded at Principal Officer Higher and attracts an annual pensionable allowance of €11,978 (Modified Rate) or €12,608 (PPC Rate) as appropriate.

Personal Pension Contribution (PPC) scales apply where officers were employed since 6th April 1995, pay class A rate PRSI and make a personal pension contribution.

All the above staff are appointed in accordance with the terms of the Public Service Management Act 1997 and the Guidelines issued by the Department of the Finance.

Departmental Properties

Jack Wall

Question:

134 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Defence the position regarding lands (details supplied) in view of the consideration to the recommendations of the McCarthy report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10932/11]

The Defence property portfolio is kept under review to ensure the most effective use of military resources having regard to the roles assigned by Government to the Defence Forces. In relation to properties that are surplus to military requirements the Department will dispose of them taking into account market conditions. As is the norm, where a property is leased the leasee will be given first option to purchase the property. The lands owned by the Department in County Kildare consist of the Curragh Plains, properties on the periphery of the Curragh, Magee Barracks, Kildare Town and a property in Clane. Agreement has been reached in relation to the property in Clane and it is currently being conveyed. There are six properties located in Orchard Park, Curragh and an agreement is in place to sell one of these. The Department is prepared to sell the remainder subject to reasonable offers being made by the occupiers. Consideration is currently been given to dispose of the properties on the periphery of the Curragh. The Department is considering the future of the old barracks in Kildare Town following the withdrawal of Kildare County Council's interest in acquiring it.

Grant Payments

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

135 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will review a single farm payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly. [10757/11]

The person named initially established 75.74 Single Payment entitlements with a total value of €19,383.96. Following a successful application under the Force Majeure/Exceptional Circumstances measure of the Single Payment Scheme the years 2000 and 2002 were excluded from the calculation of his entitlements and his Single Payment entitlements were based on the reference year 2001 only. This had the effect of increasing the value of his entitlements to €24,130.01.

The person named currently holds 75.74 entitlements with a total value of €24,130.01. There are no grounds for any further review of the entitlements held by the person named.

Tom Hayes

Question:

136 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment of a REP scheme application will issue in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10768/11]

The person named commenced REPS 4 in June 2008 and received the year 1 payments in March and July 2009, and their year 2 payments on the 31st Dec 2009 and 23rd July 2010.

The first instalment of 75% of the year 3 payment was made on the 24th April 2011. The person named submitted an adjusted plan on the 2nd July 2010 reducing the area claimed to match areas on their Single Payment Application.

Payment of the final 25% cannot be made until outstanding checks on this adjusted plan are finalised and compliance with the scheme conditions has been fully established. Payment will issue at the earliest possible date once all checks have been completed.

Tom Hayes

Question:

137 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment on a REP scheme application will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10769/11]

The person named commenced REPS 4 in April 2008 and has received full payment in respect of both year 1 and 2.

75% of the year 3 payment was made in 21st April 2011. Payment of the final 25% cannot be made until outstanding checks are finalised and compliance with the scheme conditions has been fully established. Payment will issue at the earliest possible date once all outstanding checks have been completed.

Agribusiness Incentives

Patrick Deering

Question:

138 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his plans to encourage young farmers to stay in agribusiness in order to achieve the targets set out in Harvest 2020. [10802/11]

A number of tax incentives are in place to encourage the transfer of land to young trained farmers. These include:

100% stamp duty relief on transfers of agricultural land and buildings to young trained farmers;

100% stamp duty relief on land purchased by young trained farmers;

Retirement relief on Capital Gains Tax for disposals to family members;

Retirement relief on Capital Gains Tax for farm disposals up to the value of €750,000 and marginal relief on disposals above this threshold;

Retirement relief on Capital Gains Tax for lands which had been transferred in the Early Retirement Scheme; and

100% stock relief for young trained farmers.

New entrants to farming have been catered for each year since 2005 under the Single Payment Scheme National Reserve. For effective operation of this reserve scheme, certain farming-related educational qualifications and off-farm income limits apply.

In regard to assisting young farmers to remain in the sector, in the case of my Department's on-farm investment schemes, grant aid is available to young farmers for the purposes of supporting investments in relation to poultry and sow welfare, dairy equipment, sheep fencing/handling equipment, and rainwater harvesting equipment. In the case of three of these schemes (Dairy Equipment Scheme, Sheep Fencing/Handling Scheme, and Rainwater Harvesting Scheme), the criteria for selecting applications for approval include the provision of additional marks for young farmers or young trained farmers.

In the dairy sector, since the inception of the Milk Quota Trading Scheme in 2007, almost 73 million litres of milk quota has made its way into the hands of young farmers, and they will have an opportunity to further augment that figure under future Trading Schemes, the next of which will be announced in early September.

The introduction of milk quota increases under the November 2008 Health Check agreement provided an opportunity to further encourage new entrants to dairying. The New Entrants Scheme resulted in the allocation of a total of 14.4 million litres of quota to 72 new entrants in 2009, and a further 14 million litres was allocated to 73 new or recent entrants in 2010. The assessment of applications for the allocation of a further 14 million litres for 2011 is currently under way and I expect to be in a position to announce the results of this scheme by the end of the month. The scope for further schemes will be reviewed with the farming organisations in due course.

The Presidency Conclusion on the "CAP towards 2020" which was agreed by most member states and which I supported at the Council of EU Agriculture Ministers on March 17th outlined the need to better address the specific needs of young farmers in the reformed CAP.

Grant Payments

Patrick Deering

Question:

139 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will receive their single farm payment. [10804/11]

An application under the Single Payment Scheme/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme was received from the person named on the 20th of April 2010. This application was selected for a Ground Eligibility and Cross Compliance inspection.

During the course of the Ground Eligibility inspection, discrepancies were found which resulted in the claimed area of 203.99ha being reduced to a payable area of 131.57ha. The principle reason for this reduction was lands in Co. Wicklow (Parcel No. Z10714038) declared as 72.84 ha of permanent pasture on the 2010 application. At inspection it was determined that this parcel was not being farmed as it was found to have been neither stock-proofed nor maintained in good agricultural and environmental condition and as such was deemed ineligible for payment as per the terms and conditions of the scheme. As the total entitlements held are 178.88 and the difference between the area claimed and the area found is greater than 50% no payment could issue for 2010.

The person named was informed of this decision and he was also advised of his right to seek a review of this decision and to have the outcome of any such review appealed to the Independent Agriculture Appeals Office.

An application for review has been received and is currently under consideration and the person named will be notified of the outcome as soon as it is available.

Stray Horses

Andrew Doyle

Question:

140 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the amount of staff time and money that has gone into assisting the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in its efforts to deal with abandoned horses for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10844/11]

Under the Control of Horses Act 1996, Local Authorities have the primary role for dealing with wandering or straying horses. The Act includes provisions for seizure and detention of stray horses and disposal of horses seized. I am empowered by the Act to make grants available to each Local Authority towards expenses they incur in its implementation.

It is not possible to quantify the exact amount of Department staff time involved in this area of work because these duties are amongst a range of duties performed in the veterinary and animal welfare areas of the Department. Ordinarily a portion of time of an Assistant Principal Officer and a small number of support staff is allocated to this function, while Veterinary Inspectors across all Department regional veterinary offices become involved where necessary.

In so far as expenditure is concerned, my Department has provided funding as follows to Local Authorities to assist them in implementing Control of Horses Act: 2008 — funding of €1.988m provided, 2009 — funding of €2.156m provided and 2010 — funding of €2.466m provided.

Grant Payments

Tom Hayes

Question:

141 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a single farm payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary in respect of 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10861/11]

As the Deputy is aware, the person named is one of three applicants who have each declared part of the same commonage land on their SPS applications: two applicants each declared a half share, while the third claimed a one-third share. All applicants have submitted varying degrees of proof in support of their claims to my Department in support of their declarations. Notwithstanding that the onus rests with the individual claimants concerned to clarify the position regarding their respective rights to the commonage land concerned, my Department has decided to undertake a field survey on the land. It is envisaged that this will be done in the coming weeks.

Sean Conlan

Question:

142 Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when an area aid payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10862/11]

While I have arranged for one of my Department's officials to make direct contact with the person named, I can confirm that the outstanding payment due to the applicant under the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme will issue shortly.

Sean Conlan

Question:

143 Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when a REP scheme payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10863/11]

The person named commenced REPS 4 in June 2009 and received the first year's payment in full.

75% of the year 2 payment has been approved by my officials and will issue shortly. Payment of the final 25% will issue at the earliest possible date once all checks have been completed.

Pat Breen

Question:

144 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10953/11]

The person named registered 10 animals under the 2010 Suckler Welfare Scheme. Payment has issued in respect of 2 animals. The person named has not submitted details of the required measures for the remaining animals. Therefore, no payment can be made to the applicant until this information is submitted to my Department and has been found, during validation checks, to comply with the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme.

Departmental Funding

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

145 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs the level of State grants or other supports given by her or any agency or State body attached to her Department to the Institute of International and European Affairs during the past two decades up to 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10847/11]

As the Deputy will be aware, on foot of the restructuring of Government Departments announced by the Taoiseach in March 2011, functions that previously were under the remit of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs — shortly to be re-named as the Department of Children and Youth Affairs — have now transferred to 6 reconfigured Departments.

I am advised that no grants or supports of the nature referred to by the Deputy were paid to the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) by the Family Support Agency, which is the sole agency under my Department's aegis at this time. Responsibility in regard to other agencies formerly within my Department's ambit have now transferred to the relevant receiving Departments.

My Department has been a corporate member of the Institute of International and European Affairs. Details of the annual membership renewal fee paid to the IIEA by my Department are available for the years from 2004 onwards and are provided in the table below.

Year

IIEA Membership Renewal Fee

2005

5,000

2006

5,000

2007

6,000

2008

6,000

2009

6,000

2010

6,000

2011

6,000

Total

40,000

Health Service Allowances

Pat Breen

Question:

146 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for mobility allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10761/11]

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

Medical Cards

Jack Wall

Question:

147 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10754/11]

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

Health Services

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

148 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children when an application for speech therapy will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10779/11]

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

Medical Cards

Jack Wall

Question:

149 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person (details supplied) is the holder of a valid medical card; if so, will they be issued with a valid card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10793/11]

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

Special Educational Needs

Michael McGrath

Question:

150 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a child’s application for a place to enrol in a special speech and language class at a school (details supplied) in County Cork. [10797/11]

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

Medical Cards

Patrick Deering

Question:

151 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow and if he will expedite a response. [10801/11]

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

Hospital Services

Patrick Deering

Question:

152 Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Health and Children when he will put to use the empty beds in the District Hospital Carlow in view of the fact that this would reduce the pressure for beds at St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny; and when he will fully staff theCarlow Hospital with nursing staff to care for patients in this community-based hospital. [10805/11]

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

Medical Cards

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

153 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [10810/11]

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

Health Services

Seán Kenny

Question:

154 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children the full range of services currently available at health centres (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [10813/11]

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

Departmental Agencies

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

155 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children if he is now taking responsibility for the Health Service Executive; if he will investigate a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10852/11]

The Government plans to introduce legislation later this year to remove the current legal requirement for the HSE to have a Board. Once this is done, a new governance structure will be put in place to make the health services much more directly accountable to me.

In advance of this legislation, an Interim Board for the HSE will be put in place. It will be made up of senior representatives from my Department and the HSE, under the existing Board Chairman. The Interim Board will allow for greater integration and less duplication between the HSE and the Department in the delivery of services.

In relation to the specific details supplied, as this is a HR matter relating to a named individual, it has been referred to the HSE, who hold this person's information, for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Medical Cards

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

156 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will expedite approval of a medical card in respect of a person (detail supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10854/11]

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

Departmental Agencies

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

157 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has received and reviewed the April 2011 report Child Poverty: Ireland in Recession from the End Child Poverty Coalition and the Children’s Rights Alliance Report Card 2011; his views on both reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10855/11]

My Department has asked the relevant agencies to furnish the information concerned to the Department and I will communicate further with the Deputy as soon as it is to hand.

Long-Term Illness Scheme

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

158 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to include Crohn’s disease on the list of approved medical conditions to qualify under the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10856/11]

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

169 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to introduce the condition panhypopituitarism under the long-term illness scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10919/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 169 together.

There are no plans to extend the list of conditions covered by the Long Term Illness Scheme. However, the terms of the scheme will be reviewed in the context of the Governments proposals for Universal Health Insurance and free GP care at the point of delivery.

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

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

Hospital Staff

Eamonn Maloney

Question:

159 Deputy Eamonn Maloney asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of consultants employed in each of the five teaching hospitals in Dublin; and the number of consultants employed in each of the emergency departments of the five teaching hospitals in Dublin. [10858/11]

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

Health Services

Gerald Nash

Question:

160 Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to relieve the pressure on referrals to paediatric diabetes services in the Dublin area and provide much-needed intensive services located directly in the north east for the estimated 350 children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes living in Counties Louth, Meath, Cavan and Monaghan. [10859/11]

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

Cancer Screening Programme

Liam Twomey

Question:

161 Deputy Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Health and Children if he has conducted a cost benefit analysis and a value for money audit on the national cervical cancer screening programme’s contract with a company (details supplied) taking into account the loss of jobs in our own health sector; the number of repeat smears requested within a three to six month timeframe; the number of false positives and false negatives detected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10866/11]

As the Deputy's questions relate to the delivery of services, I have asked the HSE to reply to him directly.

Health Services

Billy Timmins

Question:

162 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children when arrears of domiciliary care allowance will be awarded to a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow. [10883/11]

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.

Terence Flanagan

Question:

163 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will respond to a matter (details supplied) regarding services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10888/11]

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

Medical Cards

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

164 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [10889/11]

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

Jack Wall

Question:

165 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10894/11]

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

Hospital Services

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

166 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Cork who has been referred to the orthopaedic department at Cork University Hospital will be given an appointment; if consideration will be given to the patient's age and deteriorating condition as notified by their general practitioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10897/11]

The management of hospital services generally, including outpatient waiting lists, is a matter for the Health Service Executive and the individual hospitals concerned. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the case investigated and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Health Services

Michael McCarthy

Question:

167 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to upgrade and or establish treatment facilities in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation services; if he favours community-based treatment units or larger facilities based in urban centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10904/11]

There have been significant changes in the patterns of drug misuse, involving a greater range of drugs, increased use of cocaine, poly-substance use (including alcohol) and a greater geographical spread of problem drug use.

A priority of the National Drugs Strategy (interim) 2009-2016 is to develop an integrated national treatment and rehabilitation service for all substance users. The Strategy targets a 25% increase in residential rehabilitation places by 2012 based on 2008 figures. The HSE's Service Plan for 2011 identifies the need to develop treatment services in residential and community based settings. Additional funding of almost €2.5m has been provided to the four regions of the HSE for the development of additional frontline addiction services including additional psychology services, counselling and outreach services. The HSE is also working to provide additional detox beds.

Each year over the past six years the HSE has increased its provision of methadone, both in clinics and in the community. The number of patients attending for treatment has increased by 25% from 9,917 in 2004 to 12,553 in 2010. Each year, over the past five years, 800 new clients have been provided with methadone, an increase of approximately 7.5% per annum with around 450 per annum successfully completing their treatment episode in any one year.

Dessie Ellis

Question:

168 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will ensure that a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 is facilitated; and if he will make an exception in this case due to severe medical problems. [10905/11]

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

Question No. 169 answered with Question No. 158.

Departmental Expenditure

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

170 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health and Children his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding funding. [10922/11]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is happy to consider the Jack and Jill Report "There's no place like home" as part of its engagement with the Foundation. Neither my Department or the HSE were involved in the preparation of the report. I would agree, in general, that children's needs are most appropriately met and provided in the home. We also need to ensure that there is more efficient use of resources. Many children availing of services provided by the Jack and Jill Foundation also avail of other disability services. The report did not compare the respective costs of the home based care provided by the Foundation with the cost of similar services provided by the HSE.

I can assure the Deputy that the HSE will continue to fund the Jack and Jill Foundation in 2011. The HSE is working with the Jack and Jill Foundation to identify and prioritise the needs of the children on a case-by-case basis and will ensure that no child is hospitalised for want of adequate home support, provided by the Jack and Jill Foundation or by the HSE.

My Department is undertaking a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the health and personal social services provided to people with disabilities. This review is part of the Government's Value for Money and Policy Review Programme. The review will focus, in particular, on the scope for achieving greater efficiency and effectiveness from the substantial resources expended on services for people with disabilities and will support the future planning and development of such services.

Health Services

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

171 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will consider correspondence (details attached); if he will prioritise the provision of services requested for child and adolescent type 1 diabetes sufferers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10928/11]

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

Medical Cards

Jack Wall

Question:

172 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10931/11]

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

John McGuinness

Question:

173 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Health and Children his plans to centralise the processing of all medical card applications in Dublin; if all applications and appeals will be dealt with by the same section; his intentions in regard to the redeployment of staff who dealt with the application process in each region; the arrangements he will put in place to accommodate public inquiries and representations from public representatives; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10934/11]

The Health Service Executive is moving ahead with its plans to centralise the processing of all medical cards and GP visit card applications and renewals to its Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) in Dublin. This project is well under way and almost 40% of medical card applications are now processed centrally by the PCRS. The issues in relation to the redeployment of staff are being progressed in accordance with the Croke Park Agreement.

Last year a new online Medical Card application service was launched (www.medicalcard.ie) which guarantees a 15 day turnaround for complete applications. This new facility was developed to enable people, anywhere in the country, to apply online for a medical card, as is the case with many other public services. More than 5,000 online applications are being received each month with more than 50% of these made outside of normal office hours. The new online medical card application is suitable for people who are likely to quality for a medical card on income grounds. On line assessments are immediate and for applicants who supply all evidence/documentation and are eligible on income grounds, medical card delivery is guaranteed within 15 days of receipt of the completed application pack. Applicants who are over the income limits (i.e. Discretionary Cases) are informed immediately and may apply to the HSE for assessment in the normal way, if they wish. Any person who has applied through the national office can now view the status of their medical card application or review online, using a unique reference number which is provided to each applicant immediately on application receipt. These online facilities are under continuous development with additional online services to be made available throughout 2011.

I am arranging to have all deputies and senators circulated with a list of contact names and telephone numbers in each Local Health Office, including the Central Office, to respond to queries and representations in relation to medical card/GP visit card applications. Local Health Offices will continue to assist the general public with their queries.

Issues in relation to the redeployment of staff are being progressed in accordance with the Croke Park Agreement.

Disabled Drivers

Finian McGrath

Question:

174 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding parking permits (details supplied). [10887/11]

Last year my Department published a review of the Disabled Parking Scheme which was conducted in close consultation with the bodies responsible for issuing Disabled Parking Permits, the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA). One of the issues considered in the review was the question of criteria for eligibility for a Disabled Parking Permit. At the time, the criteria permitted blanket grants of permits to people with a variety of medical conditions. The review found that there had been a vast increase in the number of permits issued over the years, and that this had given rise to concerns that those most in need, and for whose benefit the Scheme was originally devised, i.e. those with serious mobility impairments, often had trouble finding available disabled parking spaces.

The review recommended a revision of the eligibility criteria to focus the Scheme more particularly on those with significant mobility impairments. On the basis of this review I am bringing in new criteria from 1 June 2011 which will ensure that the Scheme functions better to help those it is meant to help. In relation to the specific type of case the Deputy mentions, all applications for Disabled Parking Permits will be dealt with by the DDAI and IWA on the same basis as other applications, and, if the individuals meet the criteria in terms of serious mobility impairment, they will of course be eligible for a permit.

Rail Services

Terence Flanagan

Question:

175 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the position regarding duty passes (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10749/11]

The issue raised is a matter for Iarnród Éireann. I have referred the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Air Services

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

176 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the criteria used to remove the public service obligation subsidy from the Derry to Dublin air route in view of the fact that there is neither a motorway nor a direct rail line connecting Derry, the fourth largest city on the island and gateway to the north west, to Dublin. [10755/11]

I understand that the decision to reduce to two the number of routes covered by PSO air services was taken by the previous Government in line with the Value for Money Review of Exchequer Expenditure on the Regional Airports Programme. This Review took account of a number of factors including the performance of the services, the requirement to make best use of scarce Exchequer resources as well as improvements in alternative transport modes and changes in EU legislation covering PSO services.

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

177 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, if he refuses to reverse his decision to remove the public service obligation subsidy from the Derry to Dublin air route, if he will engage with both Iarnród Éireann and Translink in the Six Counties asking them to organise a better synchronised Derry-Belfast-Dublin rail connection with an affordable price for commuters based on rates for rail routes connecting Dublin to cities and towns a similar distance away. [10756/11]

As I stated in my reply to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 28 and 30 of the 20th April, 2011, I do not intend to revisit the previous Government's decision in relation to the Derry Airport PSO.

In the first instance this is a commercial issue with the provision of rail services between Derry, Belfast and Dublin being an operational matter for Iarnród Éireann in the Republic and for Translink in Northern Ireland. Noting that, I have referred the Deputy's question to Iarnród Éireann for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

However, I will discuss the issue with my soon to be appointed colleague from the Northern Irish Executive in due course.

Training Programmes

Terence Flanagan

Question:

178 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10795/11]

This is an operational matter for the airline. The Minister has no function in this matter. While the Minister for Finance holds a 25.1% stake in the airline, the day to day running of the company is a matter for the company's management and the board.

Sports Funding

Seán Kenny

Question:

179 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the budget allocated to the Olympic Council of Ireland, Swim Ireland, the Irish Sports Council, the Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association for 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011. [10816/11]

The Irish Sports Council (ISC), which is funded by my Department, is the statutory body responsible for the promotion, development and coordination of sport which includes responsibility for dealing with the recognised sporting organisations and allocation of funding to same.

The following is the funding allocated to the ISC from 2008 to 2011;

2008

2009

2010

2011

€m

€m

€m

€m

57.182

51.677

49.572

46.877

The ISC was established on a statutory basis on 1st July, 1999, and the functions of the Council are outlined in Section 6 of the Irish Sports Council Act 1999. This includes recognition, for purposes of funding or for any other reason, of any sporting or recreational activity, including dealing with sporting organisations and allocation of funding to same. Details of funding to the Olympic Council of Ireland, Swim Ireland, Golfing Union of Ireland and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association are available from the Irish Sports Council. I have referred the question to them for direct reply. I ask the Deputy to contact my office if a reply has not been received within ten days.

Grant Payments

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

180 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the level of State grants or other supports given by him or any agency or State body attached to his Department to the Institute of International and European Affairs during the past two decades up to 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10846/11]

The information requested by the Deputy over a 20 year period is not readily available and would involve an inordinate amount of time and resources to compile. However, I can confirm from the records available that my Department is a corporate member and pays the standard annual membership fee to the Institute. As with all departmental spending, this will be reviewed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review process currently under way.

I note that the Dublin Airport Authority and CIE are listed as foundation members of the Institute and I have, accordingly, referred the Deputy's question to both companies for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Irish Coast Guard

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

181 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason the Irish Coast Guard is now not being allowed to replace staff who are retiring; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that by the end of 2011 this will result in a shortage of nine radio officers. [10915/11]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

182 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that as a result of a shortage of staff in the Irish Coast Guard, the ability of the Irish Coast Guard to provide a search and rescue service is severely restricted and his views on whether the consequences of this staff shortage, if not addressed urgently, could potentially lead to loss of life at sea. [10916/11]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

183 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that although permission was granted to replace three radio officers on the Irish Coast Guard who retired in 2010 and a panel of 15 was selected, owing to the slow recruiting process, no new officers have taken up their posts, and with a three-month training process, it will mean that new staff are required immediately to avoid the collapse of the Irish search and rescue network. [10917/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 to 183, inclusive, together.

The Coast Guard is continuing to provide full day and night watch and rescue co-ordination services utilising the three centres in Dublin (National Maritime Operations Centre), Malin and Valentia.

As part of my Department's commitment to the modernisation of the Coast Guard communications and coordination system a new national maritime communications infrastructure is being rolled out which will, when fully implemented, allow for greater interoperability and work sharing by the three centres. For example, work currently being undertaken on the project will facilitate the connection of the entire communications grid later this year, thus enabling greater efficiencies to be realised across the three co-ordination centres at that time.

My Department undertook, as part of the Croke Park Agreement, to carry out a strategic review of the Irish Coast Guard, including the watch manning system which accounts for the majority of the Coast Guards staff. The Coast Guard review will also take account of efficiencies that may be possible due to the introduction of the new technology referred to earlier.

Three new Watch Officers are expected to be in position by next month and to have completed their training by the autumn. Further recruitment from the existing panel will be the subject of discussions between my Department and the Department of Finance following on from the strategic review. Recognising the challenges faced by long lead-in times for the recruitment and training of Watch Officers, I intend to have the review completed as quickly as possible.