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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Vol. 733 No. 1

Written Answers

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].
Questions Nos. 1 to 9, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 10 to 32, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 33 and 34 answered orally.
Questions Nos. 35 to 39, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 40 to 54, inclusive, answered orally.

Defence Forces Recruitment

Pearse Doherty

Question:

55 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Defence his plans to increase the number of women in the Irish Defence Forces. [12055/11]

The Government is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for men and women throughout the Defence Forces and to the full participation by women in all aspects of Defence Forces activities. Unlike many other national armed forces, the Defence Forces have no restrictions as regards the assignment of men or women to the full range of operational and administrative duties. All promotions and career courses are open to both genders on merit. The Defence Forces prides itself on providing a gender neutral working environment. Policies on equality are being constantly communicated to all ranks. The Military authorities are alert and vigilant to this issue and are committed to addressing this matter in a continuing and proactive manner.

The number of female personnel serving in the Permanent Defence Force on 30 April 2011, the last date for which figures are available, was 570, of which 470 were serving in the Army, 32 in the Air Corps and 68 in the Naval Service. In terms of ranks the breakdown of female personnel serving on 30 April 2011 was 148 Officers, 168 Non Commissioned Officers and 254 Privates. The percentage of female personnel serving on 30 April was 5.90% of the overall strength of the Force on that date.

I have asked my officials in consultation with the Military authorities, to consider what other initiatives might be further considered to support an increase in the number of female personnel serving in the Permanent Defence Force.

Departmental Expenditure

Dara Calleary

Question:

56 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Defence if he will identify any red line issues in his Department in terms of the forthcoming spending review. [12071/11]

The commencement of a comprehensive review of expenditure across all Government Departments was recently announced. This review will assist the Government in consolidating the public finances and in targeting resources at Government objectives. In this context, officials from my Department, in consultation with the Military authorities, are currently examining Defence expenditure. The Review will present options for savings in line with an analytical template provided by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Departmental submissions will be reviewed by a central Steering Committee in advance of their being forwarded to Government. In order to ensure a comprehensive approach, no area of Defence expenditure will be exempted from the Review.

Delivering public services within a reduced resource envelope is a key challenge facing the entire public service. There is a requirement to ensure that programmes are effective and are delivered in the most efficient manner. It will also be necessary to prioritise within and between expenditure programmes, in light of the requirement for further fiscal consolidation.

The Defence Organisation has a proven track record of successful reform and modernisation. The skills acquired in this regard over the past decade will assist in identifying options for savings while maintaining the delivery of Defence services and capabilities to the greatest extent possible.

Defence Forces Training

Sandra McLellan

Question:

57 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the training provided to members of the Defence Forces prior to being deployed overseas that allow them to respond to incidences of gender-based violence and any of his plans to expand or improve this training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12049/11]

The Defence Forces ensures that its personnel deploying on active service to missions throughout the world receive detailed instruction in the areas of human rights afforded to minorities and women, cultural awareness issues and codes of conduct and behaviour, both for the conduct of their respective missions and also their individual behaviour. Furthermore, the Defence Forces have a workplace policy on human rights and a dignity charter designed to create awareness of the Defence Forces' role and obligations in relation to gender-based violence and human rights. The training instruction delivered is tailored in order to fit a mission specific profile and to further contribute to Ireland's obligations pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. Prior to overseas deployment on Peacekeeping Operations, Defence Forces Personnel are specifically briefed on the 5th United Nations Standard Generic Training Module, which examines the following areas:—

Code of Conduct for Military Peacekeepers

Cultural Awareness

Child Protection

In addition, in the course of mission preparation training, all units preparing for deployment are exercised and rehearsed in a variety of gender-based scenarios.

Additionally the United Nations Training School (UNTSI), based at the Defence Forces Training Centre on the Curragh, conducts two Human Rights Courses annually, one of which is open to invited international military and civilian participants. A core area examined in these courses is the issue of Gender-Based violence. This issue is also examined in two Civilian–Military Co-operation Courses (CIMIC) that are also conducted annually at the School. This year, for the first time, one of these CIMIC courses will be open to foreign participants.

Having regard to the extensive training already in place, there is no requirement at this time to expand gender training for the Defence Forces. The content of gender-related instruction and the range of training conducted is modified, on an ongoing basis, in accordance with best practice and international developments.

Defence Forces Deployment

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

58 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Defence if he will report on the cost to the State of the deployment of members of the Irish Defence Forces to Afghanistan since 2001 as part of the International Security Assistance Force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12048/11]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

308 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Defence if he intends to continue the deployment of Irish military personnel in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12287/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 58 and 308 together.

On 20 December 2001, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1386 under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorising the establishment of an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Ireland has participated in the NATO–led UN mandated mission since 5 July 2002, following the Government Decision of 2 July 2002, authorising the provision of seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force for service with the force. With the increasing use of more robust Chapter VII missions, the UN has turned to regional organisations such as the European Union, the African Union and NATO, to launch and manage operations on its behalf and under its authority.

Since 2002, the Government has reviewed and approved, on an annual basis, the continued participation by seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF. On 29 June 2010, the Government approved continued participation by seven members of the Permanent Defence Force in ISAF for a further period from July 2010 subject to ongoing review by the Minister for Defence.

All seven (7) members of the Permanent Defence Force serving with ISAF are based at ISAF's headquarters in Kabul. Two of these personnel (an officer and a non-commissioned officer) are serving in the Counter Improvised Explosives Device (C-IED) Cell. The Irish officer in the cell acts as a technical adviser to ISAF headquarters and he is supported by a Company Sergeant who provides analysis on improvised explosive devices and related matters.

The annual additional cost to the Defence Vote arising from participation by the Defence Forces in ISAF is approximately €320,000. The main element of the cost is in respect of the payment of Overseas Allowance to the seven members of the Defence Forces serving in ISAF.

It is proposed that the Defence Forces will continue to serve with ISAF in the immediate future. In this regard, I will shortly bring a proposal to Government for continued participation by members of the Permanent Defence Force for a further period from July 2011 subject to ongoing review.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

59 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will instruct his Ministers to follow the example of the Minister for Finance by publishing the departmental briefs they received on becoming Ministers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12536/11]

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

60 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Taoiseach if he will instruct his Ministers to follow the example of the Minister for Finance by publishing on their respective websites the incoming Minister Brief 2011 that they received on taking up their positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12537/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59 and 60 together.

I understand that all Departments — including my own — have placed the relevant briefing material on their websites.

State Visits

Seán Kenny

Question:

61 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Taoiseach if he plans to invite the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-Moon to Ireland. [12698/11]

I have no immediate plans to invite the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki Moon to Ireland. The Secretary General visited Ireland in July 2009. He would be most welcome to re-visit Ireland at any time.

Passport Applications

Finian McGrath

Question:

62 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding a passport application in respect of a person (details supplied). [12295/11]

Due to peak seasonal demand on all passport services at present, passport applicants may experience some delays in the delivery of their selected passport service. This is very much regretted.

In the case of the person in question, an application for a passport was made to the Irish Embassy in London and subsequently registered by the Passport Office in Balbriggan which processes these applications. I can confirm that a passport for the person in question was issued on 17 May 2011 by the Passport Office in Balbriggan. This was sent to the Embassy that day from where it will be posted to the applicant in time for her journey.

Finian McGrath

Question:

63 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the reason for the delays in the Passport Office. [12296/11]

Due to a surge in demand, the turnaround time for passport express applications received through the Passport Express system is currently running between 11 and 13 working days. It normally takes 10 working days. The Passport Express service is available for passport applications lodged in Ireland only. The Passport Service regrets the delay and any difficulties caused in this regard. Notice of the current extended turnaround time and its likely duration has been published on the Passport Service website www.passport.ie. The Passport Office has also informed An Post so that customers can be advised of the situation at the point of application. Applications made by ordinary post do not have a guaranteed turnaround service and normally take approximately 6 weeks. During the peak summer period, application processing times can lengthen for all passport applications. In such circumstances, priority continues to be given to applications made through the Passport Express Service. Passport demand in general is currently running at a level 13% higher than the same period in earlier years. At present the Passport Service is receiving an average of 4,260 applications per day. This is an unprecedented level of demand, with the number of applications received from Irish residents alone in two recent days at over 5,200, exceeding by 700 the highest number previously for any one single day.

The largest increase has been observed in passports for children between the age of 3 and 18 and is running 16% over previous years.

The system is also coping with an unprecedented demand for passports at short notice, with some 350 people per day coming to the public office seeking passports within a period of less than 10 days. To protect the integrity of the system and the quality of the passport, the Passport Service cannot provide standard passports within a single day. The shortest turnaround time available is three working days for applications received over the public counter accompanied by proof of travel, other than in cases of genuine emergency.

The processing of a passport is a complicated and highly skilled process. Irish passports are among the most advanced in the world. Each passport contains biometric technology to assist with identity verification and to provide a high level of security. The Office has also recently strengthened the passport issuing process by providing further safeguards against fraudulent applications.

Additional temporary staff have been recruited and are in training. Within a short period, seasonal overtime and the additional output provided by temporary staff will bring processing times back to normal levels.

We would strongly appeal to the public to assist the Passport Service by checking the validity of their passports before making bookings to travel abroad. A valid passport should be the first item on any checklist when considering foreign travel.

Departmental Staff

Seán Kenny

Question:

64 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of persons employed by his Department by grade; and the pay scale of each grade. [12705/11]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table below. The figures take account of officers of other Government Departments serving in our missions abroad, most notably Ireland's Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and in Visa Offices operated within Embassies by staff seconded from the Department of Justice and Equality, except where their salaries and other costs are borne by their parent Departments. The table reflects the position as it was on 30 April 2011. I should also inform the Deputy that the Department of Foreign Affairs is obliged to shed a total of 177 posts over the period March 2009 to end December 2014 under the Government's current Employment Control Framework.

Grade

Number serving

Standard payscale for the grade€ per annum

Secretary General

1

215,590

Second Secretary

2

188,640

Deputy Secretary

5

168,000

Assistant Secretary

37

127,796 – 146,191

Legal Adviser

1

127,796 – 146,191

Counsellor

49

80,051 – 98,424

Counsellor Higher

16

85,957 – 105,429

Principal Officer

11

80,051 – 98,424

Principal Officer Higher

5

85,957 – 105,429

Principal Development Specialist

5

92,672 – 105,356

Senior Development Specialist

17.6

74,514 – 89,898

Development Specialist

25.8

61,966 – 76,768

Assistant Legal Adviser

6.5

61,966 – 76,768

First Secretary

87.5

61,966 – 76,768

First Secretary Higher

21.6

67,913 – 84,296

Assistant Principal

52.9

61,966 – 76,768

Assistant Principal Higher

14

67,913 – 84,296

Professional Accountant Grade 1

2

65,247 – 80,814

Professional Accountant Grade 2

2

55,863 – 69,132

Assistant Principal Architect

1

85,957 – 105,429

Senior Architect

1

59,719 – 80,814

Translator

1

55,863 – 69,132

Third Secretary

80

31,619 – 55,415

Third Secretary Higher

31

40,734 – 57,215

Administrative Officer

3

31,619 – 55,415

Higher Executive Officer

40.8

43,816 – 55,415

Higher Executive Officer Higher

19.55

46,426 – 57,251

Librarian

1

43,182 – 55,967

HEO Systems Analyst

6

43,816 – 55,415

Executive Officer

72.6

29,024 – 45,616

Executive Officer Higher

19.3

29,024 – 47,379

Executive Officer Trainee Systems Analyst

5

29,024 – 45,616

Architectural Assistant Grade 2

1

27,578 – 40,209

Staff Officer

41.9

33,070 – 43,906

Clerical Officer

358

22,015 – 35,515

Clerical Officer Higher

76.6

23,042 – 36,267

Cleaner

16

19,868 – 23,067

Head Services Officer

1

27,980 – 34,954

Services Officer

26.8

20,806 – 27,739

Nightwatchman

3

20,868 – 25,671

Temporary Clerical Officer

63

19,813 – 31,963

Intern under Willing/Able/Mentoring Project

1

26,121 – 41,054

Political appointees:

Special Adviser

3

Details awaited from Dept Finance

Personal Assistant

4

43,715 – 56,060

Personal Secretary

3

23,820 – 47,755

Civilian Driver

3

32,965

Total

1,244.45

Local Staff at missions abroad

299.6

Total

1,544.05

Public Service Recruitment

Nicky McFadden

Question:

65 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the reserve jobs panel in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12400/11]

I am informed by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) that a competition for Temporary Clerical positions in the Public Service was announced by the PAS earlier this year. The purpose is to fill temporary vacancies arising in the Public Service as notified to the PAS over the coming year. Vacancies arising in the Department of Social Protection are among those being filled from this competition. This competition attracted in excess of 13,000 applicants who are competing for a relatively small number of vacancies. Following the first part of the selection process, candidates were rank ordered with only those placed highest being invited to interview. The number invited is determined by the number of vacancies arising in each of the regions concerned.

In the Longford/Westmeath region, there were approximately 600 applicants competing for 40 vacancies. There are 80 candidates placed in the top group who will be considered for interview in the first instance. In addition, others are placed in the reserve group. It is difficult to predict how many vacancies may arise in the Longford/Westmeath region during the life of this panel. Should a sufficient number of vacancies arise, PAS may be in a position to consider calling some candidates from the reserve group.

In the interests of candidate confidentiality, details relating to individual applications are not disclosed to third parties. However, individual candidates may contact the Recruitment Manager, PAS directly at 01-8587526.

Freedom of Information

Michael McCarthy

Question:

66 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm if the vocational educational committees are subject to the Freedom of Information Act; and if this is not the case, the reason for same. [12672/11]

The Vocational Education Committees are not currently covered by the Freedom of Information Act. However the Programme for Government provides that the Government will legislate to restore the Freedom of Information Act to what it was before it was undermined by the outgoing Government, and that it will extend its remit to other public bodies including the administrative side of the Garda Síochána, subject to security exceptions.

It also proposes to extend Freedom of Information, and the Ombudsman Act, to ensure that all statutory bodies, and all bodies significantly funded from the public purse, are covered.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is carrying out preparatory work to implement the above commitments. When this work is complete the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin T.D., will bring proposals to Government in relation to the Freedom of Information Acts. The proposals will include consideration of the extension of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Acts to Vocational Education Committees.

Tax Reliefs

John O'Mahony

Question:

67 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their DD1 form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12384/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a Form DD1 (Application for tax relief in relation to vehicles purchased for use by people with disabilities) was received in the Central Repayments Office, Monaghan on 15th April 2011. A letter of authorisation confirming that the remission of VRT has been authorised was issued on 12th May, together with a request for the VIN details of the vehicle being purchased. On receipt of VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), an Exemption Notification to facilitate the registration of the adapted vehicle will issue.

Ministerial Responsibilities

Michael McGrath

Question:

68 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the Minister, Deputy Howlin, is in the position to direct any members of his administrative staff; and the governance structures which currently apply in the areas which will be transferred to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. [12401/11]

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will be conferred with formal functions in relation to his Department under the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) Bill, 2011 which was published on 20 May 2011 and by way of transfer of functions Order timed to commence immediately after the enactment of the Bill.

In the interim, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform is working closely with staff of the Divisions that are transferring to the Department.

Any statutory functions that are now with the Minister for Finance and are proper to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will continue to be performed by the Minister for Finance pending the enactment of the Bill and the commencement of the transfer of functions Order referred to above.

Departmental Staff

Michael McGrath

Question:

69 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the person who is the Accounting Officer for the various sections of his Department. [12402/11]

Within the central government area, the Accounting Officer is usually the Secretary General or Civil Service head of a Department or Office to whom the Minister for Finance has assigned the responsibility for preparing the annual appropriation account for Votes under his or her aegis. In the table below, I have listed the Accounting Officers of Votes currently associated with the Department of Finance. The Accounting Officer for the Department is Mr. Kevin Cardiff and in the context of the establishment of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, it is proposed that Mr. Robert Watt, Secretary General for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will be appointed Accounting Officer for that Department. The establishment of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will also involve some realignment of bodies associated with the Department of Finance and the new Department.

Finance Vote Group — 23 May 2011

Vote

Organisation

Accounting Officer

Position

6

Department of Finance

Mr. Kevin Cardiff

Secretary General, Department of Finance

1

President’s Establishment

Mr. Kevin Cardiff

As above

12

Secret Service

Mr. Kevin Cardiff

As above

7

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

Mr. Ciaran Connolly

Secretary General, Public Service Management and Development, Department of Finance

5

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Mr. Gerard Smyth

Secretary and Director of Audit

8

Office of the Appeal Commissioners

Mr. John O’ Callaghan

Appeal Commissioner

9

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

Ms. Josephine Feehily

Chairman of the Revenue Commissioner

10

Office of Public Works

Ms. Clare McGrath

Chairman

11

State Laboratory

Mr. Dermot Hayes

State Chemist

15

Valuation Office

Mr. Dermot Quigley

Chief Executive & Commissioner of Valuation

16

Public Appointments Service

Mr. Bryan Andrews

Chief Executive Officer

17

Office of the Commission for Public Service Appointments

Mr. Andrew Patterson

Director

18

Office of the Ombudsman

Mr. Pat Whelan

Director General

Michael McGrath

Question:

70 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide details of all non-established persons currently working in his Department [12403/11]

There are currently 32 persons working in a non-established capacity in my Department, encompassing a combination of fixed-term contracts and contracts of indefinite duration.

Electronic Payments System

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

71 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance his e-payments strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12408/11]

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

72 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding the national payments implementation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12409/11]

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

Government policy is to promote the increased use of electronic payments throughout the economy, with the longer-term objective of significant reductions, over a number of years, in the volume of paper-based payments in use throughout the economy. This policy is fully aligned with and is developing in tandem with market and regulatory developments at EU level, including the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), the implementation of the Payment Services Directive from November 2009 and the recent implementation of the revised Electronic Money Directive from 30 April 2011. The Government has also promoted this policy objective through fiscal measures, including a reduction in stamp duty on combined ATM cards from €10 to €5 in Budget 2009, and an increase in stamp duty on cheques from 30 cent to 50 cent per cheque to further disincentivise cheque usage.

In 2009, at the request of the then Minister for Finance, the National Payments Implementation Programme Advisory Group provided recommendations to the then Minister for Finance on possible mechanisms to further promote the development of electronic payments in the economy. The Advisory Group's report found that Ireland still lags behind other EU Member States in terms of use of electronic payment instruments, such as credit transfers, direct debits and card-based payments.

The report endorsed the Government's commitment to the development and implementation of a new national payments plan. It also recommended a strategy to deal with those who currently do not have any facility to make and receive electronic payments and recommended the establishment of a Task Force to prepare the plan.

My Department is in discussions with stakeholders including the Central Bank of Ireland and the Irish Payment Services Organisation on how the recommendations of the Advisory Group can best be implemented and I propose to publish the Advisory Group's report in tandem with any future announcement on the next steps to be taken in relation to the Group's recommendations.

Separately, as part of the approval by the European Commission in July 2010 of restructuring of the banking sector, the Irish authorities committed to a number of market opening measures in order to enhance competition in the Irish banking market. One of the measures agreed was to implement a SEPA migration plan for the public sector by the third quarter of 2011. This commitment will promote economy-wide migration to SEPA which will, in turn, promote further competition in and modernisation of payment systems, including migration away from paper-based and cash processes. Draft legislation to set binding end-dates for full migration to SEPA is currently under consideration at EU level.

A separate commitment agreed with the European Commission of relevance to Government policy on electronic payments relates to support for and promotion of the availability of basic bank account services. I refer the Deputy to Question Reference No. 12410 on today's Order Paper which sets out progress to date in relation to this commitment.

Banking Sector Regulation

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

73 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Finance the progress made on the commitment in the recapitalisation programme on the obligation to provide and promote basic or introductory bank accounts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12410/11]

As part of the restructuring plan process currently under way with the European Commission, it has been proposed that the domestic banking sector will be required to support and promote the availability of a basic bank account. This is to be done in the context of the implementation of the Government's strategy on financial inclusion in the State.

Work has recently concluded on a review of the options available to achieve greater financial inclusion — including the introduction of basic bank accounts by 2012. The objective of the review, which was undertaken by the Social Finance Foundation on my behalf, is to identify recommended actions to achieve a substantial reduction in financial exclusion over a 3-5 year period.

The preparation of the review was overseen by a steering group chaired by my Department and comprised of key stakeholders. I understand a draft report, which sets out the recommendations from the review, is currently being finalised, and I intend to publish this for consultation purposes in due course.

Financial Services Regulation

Michael McCarthy

Question:

74 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Finance the number of registered moneylenders here; the number of licences granted to moneylenders in 2008, 2009 and 2010 separately; his role in terms of auditing and overseeing such companies; the criterion necessary to establish as a moneylending organisation here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12413/11]

The Central Bank has informed me that the number of licensed moneylenders as at 31 December in each year is as follows: 2008, 53; 2009, 52; 2010, 46. Moneylenders are required to apply to the Central Bank annually to have their licenses renewed. The number of licensed moneylenders on the public register, at any given time, is reflective of new applicants having been licensed and others having ceased trading.

I have no role in the auditing and overseeing of licensed money lenders. The Central Bank monitors licensed moneylenders' compliance with legislative and supervisory requirements by way of monitoring advertisements, themed inspections, general inspections and mystery shopping. The Deputy might wish to note that the Central Bank published the results of a themed inspection of licensed moneylenders on 18 February 2011, which showed a high level of compliance among firms.

The Central Bank has advised me that, prior to submitting an application for a moneylender's licence, an applicant must publish a notice of his/her intention to so apply in any national newspaper published in the State or in a local newspaper which is circulated in the District Court area where the applicant intends to engage in the business of moneylending.

The appropriate moneylending application form (new or renewal) must be completed and returned to the Central Bank with a number of items, for review and consideration. Section 93 of the Consumer Credit Act, 1995 (as amended) sets out the Central Bank's powers in relation to the grant or refusal of a moneylender's licence.

General Government Debt

Peter Mathews

Question:

75 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the most recent figure for the general Government debt as calculated by EUROSTAT; the amount of the debt that is promissory notes which are yet to be paid to the banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12426/11]

As part of our bi-annual Maastricht returns we submitted our estimate of General Government Debt to Eurostat on March 31st this year. Following the usual consultation process, Eurostat published the details of the government debt and deficit levels for all EU 27 countries on April 26th. Ireland's General Government Debt for 2010 was estimated to have been €148 billion, or 96.2% of GDP. Included in this figure was €30.8 billion issued as promissory notes to certain Irish financial institutions. Despite this, no money was actually borrowed for these promissory notes in 2010. The reason the full amount of these promissory notes was included is because Eurostat rules require that debt be recorded in the year in which the obligation was recognised. The promissory notes will be paid over to the financial institutions in annual tranches. The first tranche of €3.08bn was paid in March this year.

Bank Debt

Peter Mathews

Question:

76 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the value of bonds outstanding in the six Irish banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12427/11]

I am assuming the Deputy is referring to the total senior and subordinated bonds in the covered institutions. On 1 April 2011, the Central Bank published the total senior and subordinated debt issuances by those banks covered by the Guarantee as at March 2011. This information is available on the Central Bank's website at www.centralbank.ie. The total value of bonds as at March 2011 was €64,326 million.

The Central Bank of Ireland has advised me that as at 6th May 2011, the total value of bonds outstanding with the six banks covered by the Guarantee is €62,517 million.

Bank Funding

Peter Mathews

Question:

77 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the amounts owing by the six Irish banks to the ECB; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12428/11]

Peter Mathews

Question:

78 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the amounts owing by the six Irish banks to the Irish Central Bank; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12429/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 78 together.

The Central Bank of Ireland publish figures monthly on ECB lending to the Irish banking sector in its Money and Banking Statistics. The latest figures published by the Central Bank of Ireland (Table A.4 .1 Domestic Market Credit Institutions: Aggregate Balance Sheet) show that ECB lending to the six domestic banks totalled almost €82.8bn at the end of March. The end-April figures for ECB lending to the six banks are not due to be published by the Central Bank until the end of May. The March figure shows a reduction of almost €6bn from the end-February figure of almost €88.7bn. Much of this reduction in ECB borrowing that took place during March was due to the maturity or ineligibility of collateral being used in the operations.

The latest figures published by the Central Bank of Ireland (Table A.2 Financial Statement of the Central Bank of Ireland) show that the ‘Other Assets' of the Central Bank totalled €54.1bn at the end of April. This ‘Other Assets' figure includes lending by the Central Bank of Ireland to the six domestic banks.

The Deputy will be aware that the agreed EU-IMF Programme provides for a recapitalisation, fundamental downsizing, restructuring and reorganization of the Irish banking sector. The aim of the process is a smaller banking system, which will be capitalised to highest international standards should allow the financial institution access to normal market sources of funding. This will enable the Irish banks to reduce their reliance on Eurosystem and Central Bank funding mechanisms.

Mortgage Lending

Peter Mathews

Question:

79 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the amount of mortgage loans outstanding to the six Irish banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12430/11]

I assume that the six Irish banks referred to by the Deputy are the six banks covered by the Government Guarantee Scheme (Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, EBS Building Society, Irish Nationwide, Irish Life and Permanent, Anglo Irish Bank). I have been advised by the Central Bank of Ireland that the amount of mortgage loans outstanding to the six banks is €139 billion of which €73.2bn is for Private Domestic Homes (PDH) in the Republic of Ireland at end of March 2011.

The Deputy may also wish to note that according to the latest Central Bank of Ireland statistics, for the quarter ended March 2011 there were 782,429 private residential mortgage accounts held in the Republic of Ireland to a value of almost €116 billion. These figures include mortgages with other lenders not covered by the Government Guarantee Scheme.

Private Sector Lending

Peter Mathews

Question:

80 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the outstanding credit advanced to the Irish private sector by the six Irish banks; the average interest rate of this credit; the average remaining term of loan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12431/11]

I assume that the Deputy is referring to the credit institutions covered by the Irish Government Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme. I am informed by the Central Bank that the total amount of credit advanced to the Irish private-sector (non-financial corporate, households, non-bank financial intermediaries) on balance sheets by the credit institutions covered by the Irish Government Eligible Liabilities Guarantee Scheme at end-March was €225.3 billion. A weighted average interest rate for credit in total is not available, but the weighted average interest rate on outstanding loans to households and non-financial corporations in the market as a whole was 3.75 per cent at end-March. I do not have details on the remaining term of this credit as the monetary statistics are collected on the basis of the original maturity of the instruments concerned.

National Cash Reserves

Peter Mathews

Question:

81 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance the value of cash reserves and all other investments held by the National Treasury Management Agency and the National Pensions Reserve Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12432/11]

The value of the cash reserves are:

National Treasury Management Agency

The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) was established in December 1990 to manage the assets and liabilities of the Irish Government/Exchequer. I am informed by the NTMA that cash reserves and other investments of €18.8 billion were held by the NTMA as of 18 May 2011, consisting of:

Exchequer Account — €5.2 billion

Cash on Deposit — Commercial Banks — €9.1 billion

Dormant Accounts Fund — €0.2 billion

Housing Finance Agency Guaranteed Notes — €3.7 billion

Other Ministerial funds — €0.6 billion

Total — €18.8 billion

The money placed on temporary deposit with the commercial banks has the effect of reducing the need for reliance on the Central Bank's exceptional liquidity assistance (ELA) facility. It also earns a higher return than if placed with the Central Bank. The €5.2 billion in the Exchequer Account represents the standard level of cash maintained by the NTMA to ensure the ongoing liquidity of the Exchequer. Under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland, Ireland is to provide €17.5 billion as its contribution to the programme. Of this amount, €10 billion will be provided from the National Pensions Reserve Fund and the balance of €7.5 billion from domestic cash resources.

National Pensions Reserve Fund

The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) was established on 2 April 2001 under the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000 for the purpose of meeting as much as possible of the cost to the Exchequer of social welfare pensions and public service pensions to be paid from the year 2025 until the year 2055, or such other year as may be specified by order. Subsequent amendments to the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act provide that the Minister for Finance may direct the National Pensions Reserve Fund Commission to invest in certain credit institutions, buy Government bonds and, until 2013, provide money to the Exchequer for capital purposes.

The total value of the National Pensions Reserve Fund, according to its most recently-published figures, was €23.2 billion at 31 March 2011. This can be broken down as shown in the following table.

As at 31 March 2011

€ billion

Directed Investments:

—invested in Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks on the direction of the Minister for Finance 2009

7.9

—held in cash on foot of a direction from the Minister for Finance in February 2011

5.5

(this will form part of the contribution required from the Exchequer under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland)

Discretionary Portfolio:

(i.e., available to the NPRF Commission for investment):

—investments held by the NPRF Commission

8.4

—held in cash by the NPRF Commission

1.4

Total

23.2

The NPRF Commission was directed to realise a further €4.5 billion in April 2011, bringing the amount set aside by the NPRF Commission for the EU/IMF Support Programme from €5.5 billion to the full €10 billion envisaged.

Financial Services Regulation

Barry Cowen

Question:

82 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Finance the number of complaints that are pending review by the Financial Services Ombudsman; the average waiting time for these cases; and his views on whether the Ombudsman has sufficient resources. [12472/11]

I am advised by the Financial Services Ombudsman that from January 2010 to date the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau has received over 10,000 complaints from individuals against financial service providers. In that period, 3,455 findings were issued and a further 6,107 cases were closed or settled. Currently 1,317 cases are with the investigation team and a further 1,158 cases are awaiting to be assigned to an investigator. The average waiting time for a finding to be issued once it has been decided to investigate a case is 9 months.

My officials are currently in discussions with the Financial Services Ombudsman's Bureau regarding resources. I should point out that the Financial Services Ombudsman is independent in the carrying out of his duties and that there is no role for me in the day to day workings of the office.

National Asset Management Agency

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

83 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the number of properties in Dublin central that are with the National Asset Management Agency. [12482/11]

NAMA advises me that the property or other assets securing loans transferred to NAMA remain in the possession of the debtor unless enforcement action is taken against the debtor by NAMA. Where enforcement action is taken by NAMA, the agency may ultimately take ownership of property but it is expected that in the majority of these instances the property will be managed by a receiver who is the agent of the debtor but who acts in accordance with NAMA's instructions. NAMA informs me that to date, it has not taken possession of property assets in Dublin Central or elsewhere. However, NAMA has approved the appointment of receivers in 57 cases to date. NAMA advises that in such cases, it is the responsibility of the receiver to realise the value of the property assets and to set the proceeds against the borrower's indebtedness.

Information on the location of properties which are under the control of NAMA receivers is not yet available but I am informed that, under an initiative currently in preparation, NAMA will shortly include on its website a database of properties which are under the control of receivers appointed to enforce against NAMA debtors (appointed either directly by NAMA or by participating institutions working on its behalf). This will provide a single source of information on NAMA assets which are for sale and it will be updated on a very regular basis. It is expected to be up-and-running within a matter of weeks.

National Debt

Pearse Doherty

Question:

84 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the total current level of debt held by the Government at the end of the first quarter of 2011 including details of the debt by lenders including the European Central Bank, EU, International Monetary Fund, Irish Central Bank, senior bondholders, subordinated bondholders, private banking institutions and by purpose of loan, that is, bank recapitalisation, National Asset Management Agency funding, Government current and capital expenditure; and if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the total projected interest on these loans for 2011. [12531/11]

National Debt is essentially the debt of the Exchequer and the increase in the level of National Debt from some €75 billion at end-2009 to just over €93 billion at end-2010 was primarily due to the fact that the Exchequer recorded a deficit of €18.7 billion in 2010. Just under €12.6 billion of the Exchequer deficit in 2010 related to the excess of current expenditure over current revenues while the balance was made up by the excess of capital expenditure over capital receipts. The purpose of Government borrowing is to meet the overall gap between total expenditure and total revenue and, as such, borrowing does not relate specifically to any expenditure item.

Ireland's National Debt stood at just under €101 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2011, up from just over €93 billion at the end of 2010. The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) publishes a breakdown of the instruments comprising national debt as at end-March 2011 and end-December 2010 and this is set out in the following table.

As sovereign debt is mainly issued through tradeable instruments, it is often sold on by the original purchaser on the secondary market. As such, there is no means of definitively ascertaining the current holders of outstanding Irish government debt. However, the Central Bank of Ireland estimates that international investors held 82¼ per cent of Irish Government bonds at end-2010. Interest costs on the National Debt in 2011 are estimated at €5.2 billion. This estimate is consistent with the budgetary projections contained in the recently published Stability Programme Update.

It should be noted that the National Debt differs from the General Government Debt, which is the standard measure used within the EU for comparative purposes. General Government debt stood at €148 billion or 96 per cent at end-2010. General Government Debt includes the National Debt as well as Local Government debt and some other minor liabilities of Government. As it is a gross measure, it does not allow the netting off of liquid assets, as is the case with the National Debt. In addition, due to fact that the General Government Debt operates on an accruals basis, the €31 billion in Promissory Notes committed to financial institutions in 2010 was added in full to the General Government Debt in that year. The cash payments to these institutions will only take place on a phased basis, beginning in 2011, with the first payment of €3.1 billion at the end of March.

While General Government gross debt at end-2010 stood at €148 billion, net debt was lower. Taking account of the funds held in the discretionary portfolio of the National Pensions Reserve Fund and other liquid assets, General Government net debt is estimated to have stood at approximately €117 billion or 76 per cent of GDP at end-2010.

As regards the outstanding debt of the banking sector, although the borrowings of the six covered institutions are being supported through the various bank guarantees, the debts of these institutions are not included in the calculation of the National Debt or the General Government Debt. The amount of guaranteed liabilities under the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee scheme as at the end of March 2011 was approximately €110 billion.

In terms of Central Bank and ECB lending to these institutions, the Central Bank has disclosed that, at the end of March 2011, borrowings from the ECB for the six covered institutions was €79.2 billion. The Central Bank has also disclosed that the value of the other assets category within its Financial Statement stood at €67 billion at end-March, with the substantial majority of this being comprised of Emergency Liquidity Assistance to the covered institutions.

Finally, as the Deputy is aware, the State's borrowing needs are currently being funded through the Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support. By the end of March of this year, approximately €12 billion had been drawn down from the European funding facilities — the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM) — while a further €5.8 billion had been drawn down from the IMF.

Instruments Comprising the Debt as at 31 March 2011

Instrument

31 March 2011

31 December 2010

€ billion

€ billion

Medium/Long Term Liabilities (Note 1)

108.1

90.8

Short Term Liabilities (Note 2)

1.7

6.2

Less Liquid Assets

-22.3

-16.2

Net Short Term Liabilities

-20.6

-10.0

Retail debt (Note 3)

13.4

12.6

Total National Debt

100.9

93.4

Note 1

Bonds quoted on the Irish Stock Exchange

89.8

90.1

Other Bonds and Private Placements

0.6

0.6

Borrowings under Joint EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland

17.6

0.0

Other

0.1

0.1

Total

108.1

90.8

Note 2

Irish Treasury Bills

1.2

5.9

Exchequer Notes

0.4

0.2

Section 69

0.0

0.0

European Commercial Paper Programmes

0.5

0.8

US Commercial Paper Programmes

0.0

0.0

Other

-0.4

-0.7

Total

1.7

6.2

Note 3

Savings Certificates/National Solidarity Bond

4.6

4.3

Savings Bonds

4.5

4.2

NIS

0.5

0.5

Prize Bonds

1.4

1.3

Post Office Savings Bank Fund Deposit Accounts

2.5

2.3

Total

13.4

12.6

Note 4: All the figures in the above table are rounded to one decimal place; as a result some subtotals may not add correctly.

Note 5: Figures for 31 Dec 2010 and 31 March 2011 are unaudited. Retail debt balances are estimates and subject to change.

Consultancy Contracts

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

85 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance the consultancy contracts undertaken by a company (details supplied) on behalf of his Department in each of the years from 1993 to 2001; and the amounts paid to same during this period. [12542/11]

The following table details amounts paid to the company in question from 1993 to 2001.

Year

Amount

Detail

2001

£32,224.93

Public Transport Evaluation

Departmental Agencies

Brendan Griffin

Question:

86 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance in view of the €2.5 million in compensation paid to an organisation (details supplied) and the Supreme Court order for costs against Campus Stadium Ireland in the VAT dispute, if he intends to make the executive services team accountable for these losses to the Exchequer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12554/11]

This matter involves a State agency that falls within the aegis of my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is a matter therefore for him whether or not there is an issue that needs to be followed up.

Flood Relief

Michael McGrath

Question:

87 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a certain flood relief project (details supplied) in County Cork. [12565/11]

The Office of Public Works is currently considering an application received from Cork County Council for funding under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works Scheme to undertake works at the location concerned. The proposed works involve the construction of flood defences in the area. It is expected that a decision on the application will be made in the near future.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

88 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if information has been published showing the current effective income tax rate including the universal social charge for a person in different circumstances, such as single, married and so on. [12636/11]

The 2011 Budget Booklet, Annex A pages C19-C21 provides a comprehensive illustration of the average tax rates for the years 1997 to 2011 inclusive, for the various house-hold types at different income levels under a range of PRSI classes such as full PRSI (Class A) and self-employed (Class S). This information can also be obtained on the following website http://www.budget.gov.ie.

Croke Park Agreement

Sean Fleming

Question:

89 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance when the next detailed report will be issued in relation to the Croke Park agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12639/11]

Progress under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 is overseen by the Implementation Body, established in July 2010 and chaired by Mr. P.J. Fitzpatrick. In line with paragraph 1.16 of the Agreement, a review of progress is to be undertaken on an annual basis by the Body to determine the sustainable savings that have been achieved. The first such review is currently underway. As part of the review, the Body is assessing detailed submissions from each sector on the progress to date on delivering the actions set out in their sectoral Action Plans as well as details on sustainable savings achieved over the past twelve months.

I understand that the Body will shortly finalise its report which will then be submitted to Government for consideration and published thereafter.

Departmental Properties

Sean Fleming

Question:

90 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the payments by the Office of Public Works to an organisation (details supplied) in County Laois or to the Department of Education and Skills in connection with that organisation for each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12640/11]

The Minister for Education and Skills is the registered owner of the property. No payments were made to Heywood Community School or to the Department of Education by the Office of Public Works in respect of the property.

Pension Fund Levy

Michael McGrath

Question:

91 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance his views on the implications of the proposed pension fund levy on the take-up of private pensions and the contribution levels of existing pension holders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12647/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

92 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will confirm that he does not intend to extend the proposed pension fund levy beyond pension funds to include other assets including commercial and household deposit savings and life assurance funds. [12650/11]

Michael McGrath

Question:

93 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the measures he will bring forward to moderate the impact of the pension fund levy on defined benefit pension schemes which are in deficit and may be required to reduce employee benefits to meet solvency requirements. [12651/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 91 to 93, inclusive, together.

I would very much hope that individuals already saving for their retirement and those considering doing so would not be influenced in a negative way by the pension fund levy. The levy is a relatively small charge on the significant assets of pension funds, much of which are represented by investments outside of Ireland. As the legislation introducing the levy makes clear, it is for a temporary four year period only and pension funds are being asked to make a contribution to getting the domestic economy moving again over that period. This is a reasonable and targeted tax measure being introduced to fund the various measures set out in the Jobs Initiative. The country is facing an economic and unemployment crisis and the Jobs Initiative will help tackle that crisis and applying a temporary levy to pension funds is less damaging economically than raising other taxes.

I am aware that the pensions sector is also concerned, given the imposition of the temporary levy, about the commitment in our agreement with the EU/IMF to reduce the tax relief on pension contributions starting next year. I have undertaken to examine this issue in the context of the results of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure currently being undertaken by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, and any resulting scope for fiscally neutral changes to the EU/IMF agreement.

There has been some speculation that the Government would proceed to "raid" investment funds or deposit accounts. I want to assure the House that the Government has no plans whatsoever in this regard. The Government regards it as its top priority to safeguard the security of savings and would not wish to consider any step that would impact negatively upon confidence. Other savings or investment products have not benefited from the generous tax reliefs that pension savings have historically been granted and continue to receive. Deposit accounts and savings products have already been subjected to additional taxation in recent budgets, via the increase in the rate of DIRT and exit taxes, neither of which impacted on pension funds.

The levy will not apply to occupational pension funds where the trustees pass a resolution to wind-up the fund and where the trade or undertaking in relation with which the scheme was established is insolvent. Neither will it apply, for example, to the assets of occupational pension funds in respect of the provision of retirement benefits to active, deferred or former retired members whose employment in relation to the scheme is and always was exercised outside the State. The aim, in this context, is to exclude members of pension funds approved by the Revenue Commissioners who have no connection with Ireland as such.

The chargeable persons for the purpose of the pension fund levy will be the scheme administrators, that is the trustees or other persons having the management of the assets of the pension schemes or plans. It will be up to those trustees and administrators to decide whether and how the levy should be passed on and who should be impacted and to what extent, given the particular circumstances of the pension schemes or pension plans for which they are responsible. In that regard, and as already indicated since the announcement of the levy, legislative provision is being made to allow pension scheme trustees or administrators the option to adjust the benefits payable under pension schemes or plans.

National Lottery Funding

Sean Fleming

Question:

94 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the amounts received from the national lottery in respect of worthy causes for each of the past five years; the amounts paid out to each Department in each of those years; the current balance on hand in his Department; his plans to distribute the funding that is being raised by the national lottery for good causes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12659/11]

The surplus generated by the National Lottery is transferred regularly to the Exchequer. The surplus transferred is applied to part-fund the Exchequer allocations to a specified range of expenditure subheads across various Votes. The amount transferred to the Exchequer from the National Lottery surplus, together with details of the total Exchequer allocations to the relevant subheads are published each year in Appendix 1 of the annual "Revised Estimates for Public Services".

The following table is a summary of the information contained in Appendix 1 of the "Revised Estimates for Public Services" for the past five years.

Exchequer Allocations to Government Departments for subheads that are part-funded by the National Lottery (€m)

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Vote 6Department of Finance

8.618

8.618

8.618

8.618

8.618

Vote 25Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

75.023

82.800

97.663

90.459

91.590

Vote 26Department of Education and Skills

39.041

44.954

2.618

1.148

1.060

Vote 27Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs

87.368

105.641

108.519

97.289

88.716

Vote 35Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport

178.277

186.907

196.939

183.765

168.263

Vote 36Department of Defence

0.749

0.879

0.803

0.800

Vote 39Department of Health and Children

3.757

3.901

3.985

3.985

3.786

Vote 40Health Service Executive

6.344

10.241

9.052

9.983

10.052

Vote 41Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

43.567

39.340

38.600

Total

399.177

443.941

471.764

435.387

410.685

Of which:transferred to the Exchequer from the surplus of the National Lottery

200.000

230.000

265.000

275.000

250.000

Note: Since 2005, the expenditure allocations for the relevant subheads exceed the amount available from the National Lottery surplus. Therefore, these subheads are now described as being "part-funded by the National Lottery" and the balance of the expenditure comes from normal Exchequer sources.

An estimated amount of €230m will be available from the National Lottery in 2011 to support Exchequer funding for good causes. The proposed expenditure on good causes by the various Government Departments is set out in Appendix I of the Revised Estimates for 2011.

Dara Murphy

Question:

95 Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider authorising an updated version of the national lottery beneficiary compendium in view of the fact that the most recent version was published in 1998. [12663/11]

For the past number of years, each Government Department with responsibility for expenditure that is part-funded by the National Lottery surplus publishes details of such expenditure (including lists of recipient organisations and amounts involved) on the Department's website. Links to all this data are also provided from the National Lottery's website. In view of this, there are no plans to prepare an updated National Lottery Beneficiary Compendium.

Government Expenditure

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

96 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance the date upon which the Government’s capital expenditure review, with the focus on programmes and projects that will best support economic recovery, will be completed. [12677/11]

The Review of Capital Expenditure is currently underway and is running in parallel with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. It is intended that the review will be completed in the autumn. Programmes and projects that support economic recovery will be at the core of the capital review.

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Question:

97 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the reason tax relief on rent paid does not apply to local authority tenants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12692/11]

Section 473 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 provides tax relief at the standard rate to individuals who pay for private rented accommodation that is used as their sole or main residence. The level of rent qualifying for rent relief depends on an individual's marital status and age. In Budget 2011, it was announced that rent relief was being withdrawn on a phased basis. No new claimants are allowed from 7 December 2010 and existing claimants will continue to receive the relief on a reducing basis, with a complete cessation of the relief from 2018. The maximum tax credit available under the scheme in 2011 is €1,280/€640 per annum for a married couple/individual over 55 years of age and €640/€320 for a married couple/individual under 55 years of age.

However, tax relief is not available on rent paid in the following circumstances:

Tenancies held from Local Authorities, Government Departments or the Office of Public Works

A tenancy for a freehold estate or interest, or a tenancy for a definite period of 50 years or more and

Tenancies in relation to which there us an agreement that the rent paid may be treated as a consideration or part consideration for the purchase or future purchase of the property.

Rent relief is not available for Local Authority tenancies because these rents are, in effect, subsidised. Tenants pay rents which are calculated with reference to household income and ability to pay. In practice, the level of rent is well below the prevailing market rent. Furthermore, among the other advantages which local authority tenants enjoy are greater security of tenure vis-à-vis the wider rental sector and the right to buy the property at a marked discount.

Motor Vehicle Seizures

Seán Kenny

Question:

98 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the number of vehicles seized by the Customs and Excise for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and to date in 2011; the penalties applied to drivers in order to get their vehicle released; and the number of vehicles that have been crushed. [12703/11]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the law provides for the seizure of motor vehicles in respect of which customs, excise or vehicle registration tax offences have been committed. However, except where serious offences such as cigarette or drug smuggling are involved, or where there are particular aggravated circumstances, it is normal Revenue practice to return seized vehicles to their owners on payment of a compromise penalty in lieu of prosecution.

The following table reflects the information requested by the Deputy.

Vehicles Seized and released on penalty payment

Year

Vehicles Seized

Penalty Paid

2007

1,244

1,178,026

2008

1,837

1,663,252

2009

2,218

1,486,502

2010

2,344

1,443,079

2011 to date

868

415,675

Since 2007, the total number of seized vehicles that have been destroyed by crushing is 215. Precise figures for vehicles actually crushed in individual years are unavailable. Roadworthy vehicles that are not returned to their owners are disposed of by tender through the registered motor trade.

National Drugs Strategy

Seán Kenny

Question:

99 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the number of dogs in each Customs dog unit; and his plans to increase the number of dogs. [12704/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that their Customs Service currently deploys 13 units, each comprising a detector dog and handler, at strategic locations throughout the country. The dogs are used to detect drugs, tobacco and cash. Passive dogs are used as this allows for the screening of passengers as well as merchandise and baggage. The detector dog units play an important role in delivering on Revenue's commitments to the Supply Reduction Pillar of the Government National Drugs Strategy. In keeping with these commitments Revenue has considerably enhanced its drug detection capability on a number of fronts in recent years. Dog teams also play a key role in detecting illicit tobacco products and the transit of cash derived from criminal activity. The number of dog units was increased from 6 in 1993 to 9 in 2003 and it now stands at 13.

Revenue carries out ongoing assessment of the drugs, tobacco and currency smuggling risks and allocates additional resources where necessary. While the dog units are primarily stationed within their region of assignment, they are available for deployment elsewhere when appropriate. The Revenue Commissioners have recently approved the establishment of an additional tobacco detector dog unit. It is envisaged that this unit will become operational in 2012.

As part of its strategy Revenue ensures that the detector dog units maintain a high public visibility at the ports, airports, postal depots and freight forwarding premises in which they routinely operate. The Customs dog units also assist An Garda Síochána in the course of operations, when their presence is requested.

Banking Sector Regulation

Shane Ross

Question:

100 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Finance the status of those who will interview candidates for the positions on bank boards as advertised in the media; the way the interview board was selected; the interviewers’ expertise in the financial area; if they will be selected purely from the ranks of his Department; if there will be any representatives of the private sector on the interview board; the procedures they will adopt for interviewing; if interviewers will be politically approved; if they will be expected to declare any possible conflicts of interest; and if he will identify the officials in his Department who will carry out the initial process that eliminates some of the applicants from reaching the interview process. [12740/11]

As already communicated to the Deputy, the next phase of the process to shortlist and evaluate the large number of expressions of interest received — just short of 500 when control checks were applied to the total number of applications received — is under consideration.

Bank Guarantee Scheme

Peter Mathews

Question:

101 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 102 of 17 May 2011, if he will also provide this breakdown to this Deputy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12756/11]

My officials are in the process of gathering this information and I will provide the Deputy with the breakdown as he has requested as soon as it is available.

Banking Sector Regulation

Brendan Griffin

Question:

102 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance the grievance procedures that exist for customers of State supported banks or financial institutions; his plans for reviewing existing grievance procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12777/11]

The Central Bank's Consumer Protection Code (the Code) is applicable to all entities which the Central Bank regulates (regulated entities). These entities include State supported banks and financial institutions. The Code requires, among other things, that a regulated entity must ensure that in all its dealings with customers and within the context of its authorisation it acts:—

honestly, fairly and professionally in the best interests of its customers and the integrity of the market,

with due skill, care and diligence in the best interests of its customers.

Any breach of the Code may be considered under the Central Bank's Administrative Sanctions Procedure.

If the customer falls within the definition of "consumer" for the purposes of the Code and he or she feels that he or she has been improperly treated, or that he or she has grounds for complaint for some other reason, then a complaint should be made directly to the regulated entity. If the complaint has not been addressed to his or her satisfaction, the person may refer the complaint to the Financial Services Ombudsman, who deals with individual consumer complaints. The Ombudsman will adjudicate on the complaint on the basis of the regulatory requirements on the regulated entity.

For the purposes of the Code a "consumer" is any of the following:—

a) a natural person acting outside his or her business, trade or profession,

b) a person or group of persons but not an incorporated body with an annual turnover in excess of €3 million,

c) incorporated bodies having an annual turnover of €3 million or less in the previous financial year,

d) a member of a credit union.

The Central Bank is currently undertaking a review of the Code and issued a Consultation Paper last October. I understand that, as part of this review, a second consultation paper is to be published at the end of June.

Tax Code

Catherine Byrne

Question:

103 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Finance the reason VAT is payable on the carbon tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12778/11]

The amount on which VAT is chargeable, in accordance with section 37(1) of the Value-Added Tax Consolidation Act 2010, is the total consideration receivable by the supplier, "including all taxes, commissions, costs and charges whatsoever" but not including the VAT itself. VAT is governed by the EU VAT Directive, to which Irish VAT law must comply. Article 78 of the VAT Directive provides that the taxable amount shall include "taxes, duties, levies and charges, excluding the VAT itself".

In this respect, where a supply of service, such as a utility bill, includes carbon tax, VAT law dictates that VAT should be calculated on the carbon tax element of the charge as well as the charge for the service. The same situation applies in the case of other excises, including for example excises on petrol, auto-diesel, tobacco and alcohol products.

Guidance in relation to the VAT treatment of the total consideration receivable by a supplier is set out in the VAT Guide. This publication is available on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie.

Banking Sector

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

104 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Finance the reason he paid the IBEC membership fee for Anglo Irish Bank in the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12786/11]

I have paid no fees to IBEC in respect of Anglo Irish Bank. As the Deputy is aware, the day to day running of the bank is a matter for the Board of Anglo Irish Bank. This includes matters in respect of representation and training requirements for its staff. Prior to and after nationalisation, the membership of and fees paid to IBEC, to which the Deputy refers, are a matter for the board of Anglo Irish Bank.

Tax Code

Pearse Doherty

Question:

105 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a full list of all personal and corporation tax expenditures currently operating here; and if he will provide an estimation of the revenue lost to the State as a result of these and previously existing expenditures in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 including a breakdown of revenue lost per expenditure type. [12855/11]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the total identifiable costs to the Exchequer of all income tax and corporation tax allowances, reliefs, exemptions and tax credits available are set out in the following tables for 2007 and 2008, the most recent year for which the necessary detailed historical information is available. Relevant notes relating to items in the tables are also included.

Index of Tables and Notes

a) Note on the Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2007 & 2008

b) Table IT 6 showing Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2007 & 2008

c) Notes on Table IT 6

d) Note on Green Paper on Pensions

e) Estimate of cost of certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax for 2007 and 2008

f) Note on reliefs in respect of which costs are not currently quantifiable or are negligible or are not identifiable within total aggregates.

Estimates of the corresponding costs to the Exchequer for years 2009, 2010 and 2011 are not available.

COST OF TAX CREDITS, ALLOWANCES AND RELIEFS 2007 AND 2008

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

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

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

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

The figures shown for the basic personal tax credits (married, single and widowed) are the costs of these tax credits as if all other tax credits and the exemption limits did not apply. They do not include individuals who are not on Revenue records because their incomes are below the income tax thresholds. The cost figures for the exemption limits are based on the excess of the exemption limits over the basic personal tax credits. The figures of cost are for 2008 and 2007 and all figures are based on tax due in respect of assessments for each year and not on tax receipts within that year.

The figure against each credit or allowance represents the additional tax which would become payable if the tax credit or allowance were withdrawn assuming no consequent change in the behaviour of taxpayers (for example, in relation to the reliefs for savings), or the amounts of payments (for example, interest payable on certain savings schemes might need adjustment to take account of the new tax liability).

The numbers of claimants of each credit or relief are shown for both years to the extent that they are available. The numbers included are the taxpayers who would be adversely affected by the withdrawal of the respective credit or relief.

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

The figures for estimates based on tax returns have been grossed up to an overall expected level to adjust for incompleteness in the numbers of returns on record at the time the data was extracted for analytical purposes.

Apart from the artists exemption, these figures do not take account of the application of the restriction of reliefs originally provided for in section 17 of Finance Act 2006, which took effect from 1 January 2007. The restriction was extended by Section 23 Finance Act 2010.

Finally, the estimates shown in many cases are tentative and are subject to revision in the light of later information.

INCOME TAX AND CORPORATION TAX

TABLE IT6 Cost of Tax Credits, Allowances and Reliefs 2007 and 2008

(1) Estimated cost for

Tax Relief Provision

2007

2008

€m

Numbers

€m

Numbers

INCOME TAX

Exemption limits:

General Exemption (2)

0.0

0

0.0

0

Child Addition (2)

0.2

800

0.3

900

Age Exemption (2)

75.3

51,500

90.8

57,700

Married Person’s Credit (3)

2,776.7

834,900

2,944.9

853,100

Single Person’s Credit (3)

2,392.0

1,552,800

2,406.8

1,503,300

Widowed Person’s Credit (3)

171.3

79,500

184.3

81,100

Additional Credit to Widowed Person in Year of Bereavement

4.8

4,000

4.9

4,000

Additional Bereavement Credit to Widowed Parent

6.6

2,400

6.9

2,300

Additional Personal Credit for Lone Parent

199.0

122,200

197.4

116,700

Homecarer Credit

68.5

92,200

79.5

93,100

Additional Credit for Incapacitated Child

31.7

11,700

39.0

12,300

Employee (PAYE) Credit

3,153.1

1,732,000

3,253.8

1,710,200

Dependent Relative Credit

1.8

17,600

2.0

18,700

Person Taking Care of Incapacitated Taxpayer

4.6

1,070

5.8

1,260

Age Credit

33.7

82,900

42.3

88,100

Blind Person’s Credit

2.0

1,240

2.1

1,320

Medical Insurance Premiums (4)

300.3

1,195,300

321.0

1,322,400

Health Expenses

225.7

496,300

266.8

542,600

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

3.6

26,300

4.0

29,200

Employees’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes (6)

590.0

708,500

655.0

792,600

Employers’ Contributions To Approved Superannuation Schemes (6)

150.0

364,700

165.0

362,700

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

900.0

N/A

685.0

N/A

Exemption of employers’ contributions from employee BIK

540.0

364,700

595.0

362,700

Tax Relief on “tax free” lump sums (6)

130.0

N/A

140.0

N/A

Retirement Annuity Premiums

407.9

121,300

352.8

116,000

Personal Retirement Savings Accounts

61.1

46,600

73.8

53,900

Interest paid:

Loans relating to Principal Private Residence

542.7

720,000

704.6

778,100

Other (7)

46.9

5,300

48.5

5,400

Rent Paid in Private Tenancies

82.1

206,000

96.5

222,100

Expenses Allowable to Employees under Schedule E

69.8

894,400

75.2

835,900

Third Level Education Fees

18.1

34,500

19.9

36,000

Exemption of Certain Earnings of Writers, Composers and Artists

27.4

2,650

21.8

2,630

Dispositions (Including Maintenance Payments made to Separated Spouses)

20.5

7,220

22.3

7,820

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

130.3

N/A

88.1

N/A

Rent a Room

4.7

3,180

5.6

3,600

Exemption of Income of Charities, Colleges, Hospitals, Schools, Friendly Societies, etc. (8) (10)

30.7

N/A

35.8

N/A

Retirement Relief for certain Sports Persons.(9)

0.2

20

0.2

17

Exemption of Irish Government Securities where owner not ordinarily resident in Ireland (10)*

240.8

N/A

320.8

N/A

Exemption of Statutory Redundancy Payments

87.6

25,000

85.4

29,800

Service Charges

24.4

413,100

27.1

455,200

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

27.8

3,020

44.7

3,790

Revenue Job Assist allowance

0.3

360

0.2

330

Allowance for seafarers

0.3

170

0.3

160

Trade Union Subscriptions

20.7

316,300

26.4

341,900

Exemption From Tax of Certain Social Welfare Payments:

Child benefit*

355.0

347,760

435.3

401,200

Early childcare Supplement*

84.3

193,200

98.3

195,200

Maternity allowance*

15.2

20,950

18.2

23,420

Foster Care Payments

29.4

3,330

28.1

3,470

Exemption of Income arising from the Provision of Childcare Services

0.7

400.0

0.8440.0

Approved Profit Sharing Schemes*

107.6

98,870

99

111,180

Savings-Related Share Option Schemes*

11.9

2,600

1.3

2,800

Approved Share Option Schemes*

3

1000

0.08

280

Relief for New Shares Purchased by Employees

0.2

210

0.3

280

Investment in Corporate Trades (BES)

17.5

1,900

55.7

3,200

Investment in Seed Capital

2.3

63

1.7

56

Stock Relief*

2

N/A

2.0

N/A

Relief for expenditure on significant buildings and gardens

5.0

210

5.9

290

Donation of Heritage items

5.3

4

4.7

5

Donation of Heritage property to the Irish Heritage Trust

1.9

7

3.6

4

INCOME TAX AND/OR CORPORATION TAX (11)

Donations to Approved Bodies

47.6

110,700

52.4

131,100

Donations to Sports Bodies. (9)

0.4

700

0.3

850

Employee Share Ownership Trusts*

4.4

26,000

8.4

29,200

Total Capital Allowances (12)

2,019.2

270,900

2,176.6

270,200

Rented Residential Relief — Section 23 (13)*

133.6

2,920

74.7

2,429

Effective Rate of 10% for Manufacturing and Certain Other Activities (14)

406.9

2,667

160.9

1,046

Double Taxation Relief

610.8

17,600

596.5

18,000

Investment in Films*

31.1

3,000

32.8

3,200

Group Relief

254.1

1,936

450.3

2,430

Research & Development Tax Credit (15)

165.6

479

146

582

NOTES ON TABLE IT 6

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

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

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

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

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

(6) See the following note on "Green Paper on Pensions" for background commentary on the basis of the cost figures.

(7) "Other" relates to borrowings for purposes such as acquiring an interest in a company or partnership.

(8) The income on which the cost of exemption for charities, colleges, hospitals, schools, friendly societies, etc. from income tax is based includes repaid income tax that has been deducted at source on dividends, other investment income and payments received under covenant, donations and associated tax relief by the PAYE sector to approved bodies and donations by the self-employed and corporate sectors to approved bodies and approved sports bodies. Information is not available about other income received gross.

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

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

(11) The costs included for corporation tax are by reference to accounting periods which ended in the years 2007 and 2008.

(12) The cost shown for capital allowances does not include any cost associated with "unused capital allowances", that is, capital allowances which are not absorbed by a company in the accounting period in which they arise because they exceed the amount of the company's profits of that accounting period which are available for offset. Unused capital allowances can be offset as losses against taxable profits arising in the previous accounting period and against certain profits arising in future accounting periods and can be offset against the profits of another company in the same group of companies. It is estimated that €2820 million and €3587 million of unused capital allowances were claimed in respect of 2007 and 2008 accounting periods respectively but as the proportion of this item which is included in previous years losses and in group relief is not separately identifiable a reliable estimate of the cost of the capital allowance element cannot be provided.

(13) The tax cost shown for section 23 type relief is the estimated ultimate tax cost relating to the total allowable expenditure in respect of claims made in 2007 and 2008 tax returns for the first time. The cost shown is for income tax cases only.

(14) The cost shown for manufacturing relief for 2008 is compiled using the basic data available but for technical reasons associated with a system redesign it is understood to be understated by at least €100m.

(15) The costs shown for R&D is for claims for R&D on corporation tax returns for accounting periods ending in 2007 and 2008. However, the cost includes the cost associated with claims where the company was entitled to the credit but was unable to absorb it in that accounting year.

Green Paper on Pensions –Review of Estimates of Cost

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

The review drew on newly available 2006 aggregate data on contributions to pension schemes by employers and employees arising from a P35 initiative introduced on foot of provisions that were included in Finance Act 2004 with a view to improving data quality. Estimates of the cost of tax for private pension provision updated for 2007 and 2008 are included in table IT6. The breakdown and make-up of these estimated costs of reliefs differ from presentations of costs in this area for years PRIOR TO 2005 in a number of respects and are not directly comparable further details on the cost of tax and other reliefs and the changes in the methodology are contained in pages 106 and 107 of the Green Paper on Pensions which is available at www.pensionsgreenpaper.ie.

Certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax — uptake and estimated potential cost to the Exchequer in terms of income tax and corporation tax forgone based on 2007 and 2008 tax returns

Provisions were included in the Finance Acts of 2003 and 2004 to enable new statistical data on the uptake of tax relief for certain property-based tax incentives and incomes exempt from tax to be obtained from tax returns. This information, derived from changes introduced by the Revenue Commissioners to income tax returns and corporation tax returns for 2007 and 2008, is set out in the following tables.

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

2007 Tax Incentive/Income Exemption

Amount Claimed

Assumed maximum tax cost

Number of claimants

€m

€m

Urban renewal

280.0

109.3

3,501

Town Renewal

86.1

34.6

1,128

Seaside Resorts

20.3

8.0

1,231

Rural Renewal

121.9

48.6

2,807

Multi-storey car parks

24.0

9.6

147

Living Over the shop

8.0

3.0

93

Enterprise Areas

7.0

2.8

137

Park and Ride

3.3

1.4

33

Holiday Cottages

30.7

12.4

832

Hotels

307.1

118.0

1,893

Nursing Homes

45.3

18.3

687

Housing for the Elderly/infirm

6.3

2.6

166

Hostels

1.8

0.72

24

Guest Houses

0.1

0.02

8

Convalescent Homes

1.2

0.5

27

Qualifying Private Hospitals

29.6

12.1

330

Qualifying sports injury clinics

4.3

1.8

59

Buildings Used for certain childcare purposes

24.2

9.8

420

Qualifying Mental Health Centres

0.0

0.0

1

Student Accommodation

108.7

42.0

941

Exemption of profits or gains from Greyhounds

0.4

0.1

13

Exemption of profits or gains from Stallions

59.6

11.2

226

Exemption of profits or gains from Woodlands

21.8

8.5

1,886

Exempt Patents (Section 234, TCA 1997)

528.2

90.9

1,251

Totals

1,719.8

546.5

17,841

2008 Tax Incentive/Income Exemption

Amount Claimed

Assumed maximum tax cost

Number of claimants

€m

€m

Urban renewal

224.6

84.5

3,271

Town Renewal

60.5

23.7

965

Seaside Resorts

14.5

5.7

1,051

Rural Renewal

84.6

34.2

2,634

Multi-storey car parks

16.8

6.6

136

Living Over the shop

6.1

2.5

81

Enterprise Areas

6.2

2.5

138

Park and Ride

1.7

0.7

19

Holiday Cottages

26.8

10.8

833

Hotels

300.6

114.7

1,966

Nursing Homes

47.6

19.4

725

Housing for the Elderly/Infirm

7.4

3.0

179

Hostels

1.62

0.66

21

Guest Houses

0.3

0.11

10

Convalescent Homes

1.3

0.5

33

Qualifying Private Hospitals

30.2

12.3

340

Qualifying sports injury clinics

3.7

1.5

58

Buildings used for certain childcare purposes

29.9

12.0

511

Qualifying Mental Health Centres

0.1

0.0

3

Student Accommodation

58.0

22.7

790

Caravan Camps

1.5

0.6

10

Mid Shannon Corridor Tourism Infrastructure

1.8

0.7

12

Exemption of profits or gains from Greyhounds

0.0

0.0

9

Exemption of profits or gains from Stallions

91.4

14.8

183

Exemption of profits or gains from Woodlands

49.4

13.0

2,357

Exempt Patents (section 234, TCA 1997)

187.2

50.2

1,184

Totals

1,302.4

455.0

18,089

These figures do not take account of the application of the restriction of reliefs originally provided for in section 17 of Finance Act 2006 and which took effect from 1 January 2007. The restriction was extended by Section 23 Finance Act 2010. Notes:

The figures shown relate to the various reliefs/incentives and exemptions as specified in the 2007 and 2008 form 11 and CT1.

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

The estimated costs have assumed tax foregone at the 41% rate in the case of income tax and 12.5% in the case of corporation tax. This means the figures shown correspond to the maximum Exchequer cost in terms of income tax and corporation tax. However, the actual Exchequer cost could be lower, particularly in relation to the exempt income items, as the income could be subject to deductions for allowable expenses and other costs thereby reducing the level of income that would be actually subject to tax.

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

RELIEFS IN RESPECT OF WHICH COSTS ARE NOT CURRENTLY QUANTIFIABLE OR ARE NEGLIGIBLE OR ARE NOT IDENTIFIABLE WITHIN TOTAL AGGREGATES.

Relief from averaging of farm profits;

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

Exemption of certain payments made by Hemophilia HIV Trust;

Exemption of lump sum retirement payments;

Relief for allowable motor expenses;

Tapering relief allowable for taxation of car benefits in kind;

Reduced tax rate for authorised unit trust schemes;

Reduced tax rate for special investment schemes;

Exemption of certain grants made by Údarás na Gaeltachta;

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

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

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

Exemption of payments made as compensation for loss of office;

Exemption of scholarship income;

Exemption for income received under Sceim na bhFoghlaimeoiri Gaeilge.

Schools Building Projects

Paul Connaughton

Question:

106 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason an application by a school (details supplied) in County Galway is not a category 1 application in view of the fact that the school is in such poor condition; his views that it should be in category 1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12288/11]

The school referred to by the Deputy submitted a major capital application in November 2010. The application was given a preliminary assessment and was assigned a band 2 rating in accordance with the published prioritisation criteria.

Schools are rated band I when they serve a rapidly developing area where either there is no existing school or where existing provision is unable to meet the demand for places.

A rapidly developing area is defined as:

Located in a large urban centre or within commuting distance of a large urban centre.

An area that has experienced major and significant demographic change in the past ten years. Also

All available information indicates that the process of sustained development is set to continue with a corresponding major and significant impact on the demographics of the area.

There is clear evidence of substantial pressure for pupil places in all schools serving the area.

No school in the area is operating below capacity.

No school is accommodating a sizeable or significant number of pupils from outside of its catchment area.

The school referred to by the Deputy does not meet the criteria of a Band 1 project with an enrolment in 2010 of 33 pupils. However, I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department recently approved a devolved grant for the school to build a permanent extension comprising 1 mainstream classroom and 1 learning support/resource room. This will greatly address the deficits of accommodation at the school.

The school's major capital application will be reviewed on foot of the approval of the new permanent extension and will be banded accordingly.

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

Michael McGrath

Question:

107 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the appointment of a design team for a planned new school building (details supplied) in County Cork. [12297/11]

As the Deputy is aware, the school's project was included on the list of projects announced on 24 January 2011 where briefs will be formulated in 2011 and the process of appointing a Design Team will commence.

The next steps will be to finalise the Schedules of Accommodation to meet the current and future needs of the school. In this regard, my Department will be in contact with the School Authorities in due course.

Special Educational Needs

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

108 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions for the July provision for students at a school (details supplied) in County Meath. [12328/11]

I wish to clarify for the Deputy that participation in my Department's July Provision Scheme is an option for all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism or severe to profound general learning disability that choose to extend their education services through the month July. Home based tuition of 10 hours per week for the four weeks in question is provided to children who attend schools which choose not to participate in the scheme.

School Management

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

109 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his official policy regarding the administration of medicines to children at ABA schools; the procedures that exist to allow parents to provide permission to staff to administer drugs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12329/11]

Under the provisions of the Education Act 1998 the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school.

It is important that the school management authority requests parents to ensure that the school is made aware of any medical condition suffered by any pupil attending. Where the school is aware of potential difficulties that may arise as a consequence of a medical condition suffered by one or more pupils, it may be possible for the management authorities, working in conjunction with the parents, teachers and children to put preventative measures in place to lessen the possibility of any difficulties arising or to ensure that, if a pupil suffers from an illness requiring medication, that appropriate treatment is available.

As the Deputy may be aware, the administration of medicines in primary schools is the subject of an agreement between the Irish National Teachers Organisation and the organisations representing school management at primary level. While this agreement specifies that no teacher can be required to administer medicine or drugs to pupils, it also sets out procedures that must be followed where a teacher or teachers agree to do so. The position is that either the parents of the child should make themselves available to administer medication as required or where they wish the staff in the school to administer it they should indemnify the school.

It is my Department's experience that once the matter has been discussed in detail with the Board of Management and teachers of a school, and once all parties are clear as to the procedures to be followed, arrangements can normally be made to administer the type of medicine which may be required.

Schools Building Projects

Michael McCarthy

Question:

110 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will issue a progress report on a new school (details supplied) planned for County Cork; when work on the project will commence; and if he will explain his position on the issue in view of the fact that the matter is now in its 14th year. [12348/11]

The school to which the Deputy refers has applied to my Department for capital funding for the provision of a new school. The application has been assessed in accordance with published prioritisation criteria for large scale projects and assigned a band 2 rating.

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.

My Department is working with Cork County Council to identify a suitable site. Given the commercially sensitive nature of this matter, it would not be appropriate to provide any further information at this time. Once a suitable site has been acquired, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Schools Refurbishment

Niall Collins

Question:

111 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools from Limerick city and county that have applied for funding under the summer works scheme for 2011; the number that have not been approved funding; if he will provide a list of those schools not being provided with funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12364/11]

I can confirm to the Deputy that 96 Primary and Post-Primary schools from Limerick City and County applied for funding under the Summer Works Scheme for 2011.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that 40 schools were successful under this year's Summer Works Scheme. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and, accordingly, I can confirm that the remaining 56 schools were unsuccessful on this occasion.

Details of the successful applicants under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme were announced on 30th March 2011 and are published on the Department's website, www.education.ie. €41.2m will be made available under the Summer Works Scheme and will see major improvements in primary and post primary schools around the country including Limerick City and County. 453 primary and post-primary schools across the country have been successful in their applications for funding under the Summer Works Scheme this year.

€40 million will be made available through the Jobs Initiative to fund 374 primary and post-primary school building projects. These funds will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as special needs access, toilet facilities, roof works and window replacements. It is envisaged that the investment will also create 2,400 direct and 480 indirect much needed jobs in the construction sector.

I have set out as follows a list of the schools in Limerick City and County who applied for and were granted funding under both schemes, as requested by the Deputy.

Summer Works Scheme/Jobs Initiative 2011 — Limerick City and County

County

Sector

School

Approval

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

20233L SCOIL CHAITRÍONA CAPPAMORE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

19966B ST JOSEPHS DRUMCOLLOGHER (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

19800N MILFORD GRANGE N SCHOOL MILFORD (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

19200M ST VINCENTS SP SCHOOL LISNAGRY (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18717V S N CIARAIN CILLFIOBHNAI (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18653V SCOIL NAOMH IOSEF RATHKEALE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18612H SCOIL MHUIRE ACHADH LIN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18236F SCOIL NAOMH MUIRE BEAL ATHA DA THUILLE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18177P SCOIL AINE NAOFA RATH CAOLA (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17814O GEAROID UI GHRIOBHTHA LOUGHILL (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17364J SCOIL BAILE AN AIRD BAILE AN AIRD (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17299B SCOIL MHUIRE EFFIN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17155A ATHLACCA N S ATHLACCA (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

13790G BULGADEN N S BULGADEN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

12975N ST JOSEPHS CONVENT NEWCASTLE WEST (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

12613C GLENBROHANE N S GARRYSPILLANE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

09915B MARTINSTOWN N S KILLMALLOCK (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

04469C S N FIODHNACH KILLMALLOCK (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

02813E S N SHEANAIN FOYNES (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

91502N JOHN THE BAPTIST COMMUNITY SCHOOL HOSPITAL (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

76061W COLAUSTE NA TROCIARE (MERCY COMMUNIRY COLLEGE) RATHKEALE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

71700F COLAISTE MHUIRE ASKEATON (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

64180O SALESIAN SECONDARY COLLEGE PALLASKENNY (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

64050B ST JOSEPH’S SECONDARY SCHOOL DOON (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

20018H MARIA KING PRESENTATION PRIMARY SEXTON STREET (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

19830W CORPUS CHRISTI N S MOYROSS (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

19667O OUR LADY OF LOURDES N S ROSBRIEN (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

17671S MARIA AUXILIATRIX N S FERNBANK (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

16444C SCOIL PADRAIG NAOFA C DUBLIN ROAD (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

15320C ST MICHAELS NS CBS GROUNDS (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

81014R CRESCENT COLLEGE COMPREHENSIVE DOORADOYLE RD (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

71930W LIMERICK COLLEGE OF FURTHER EDUCATION, LIMERICK SENIOR COLLEGE MULGRAVE STREET (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64300V SCOIL CARMEL O’CONNELL AVENUE (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64280S SALESIAN SECONDARY SCHOOL FERNBANK (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64270P LAUREL HILL COLÁISTE FCJ CNOC NA LABHRAS (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64240G ST MUNCHIN’S COLLEGE CORBALLY (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64201T ARDSCOIL RIS NORTH CIRCULAR RD (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64200R COLÁISTE MHICHIL SEXTON STREET (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64260M LAUREL HILL SECONDARY SCHOOL FCJ LAUREL HILL (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

18692I CATHERINE MC AULEY SP S ASHBOURNE AVE (LIMERICK CITY)

Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

20184B GALVONE NS KENNEDY PARK (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

19894C AN MHODH SCOIL ASCAIL UI CHONAILL (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

19475F ST BRIGIDS NS SINGLAND (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

19331E SCOIL CHRIOST RI B CAHERDAVIN (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

18872K SCOIL IDE CORBALLY (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

18677M SCOIL MATHAIR DE CUAR BOTHAR THEAS (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

17941V ST MUNCHINS G N S BALLYNANTY (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

17737W OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE SCHOOL JANESBORO (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

17445J SCOIL LILE NAOFA KILEELY (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

16910F SCOIL IOSAGAIN SRAID SEASNAIN (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Primary School

06936R ST JOHNS CONVENT CATHEDRAL PLACE (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

91446G ST ENDAS COMMUNITY SCHOOL KILMALLOCK RD (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK CITY

Post Primary School

64290V ARDSCOIL MHUIRE CORBALLY (LIMERICK CITY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

20193C SCOIL MOCHEALLÓG KILMALLOCK (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

20133H SCOIL DEAN CUSSEN BRU NA NDEISE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

20102T ST FERGUS PRIMARY SCHOOL GLIN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

20094A SCOIL CHRIOST AN SLANAITHEOIR BAILE AN GHARRAI (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18600A S N MA RUA MA RUA (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18516L S N LIOS NA GROI LISNAGRY (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18426K SCOIL IDE NAOFA RAITHINEACH (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18367U S N TOINN AN TAIRBH CAPPAMORE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18260C SCOIL MHUIRE BEAL AN ATHA (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18161A CASTLECONNELL N S CASTLECONNEL (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

18142T SCOIL CNOC LOINGE B KNOCKLONG (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17951B SCOIL O CURAIN B NEWCASTLEWEST (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17937H SCOIL MOIN A LIN CASTLEROY (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17871D SCOIL CILL CHURNAIN KILCORNAN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17738B SCOIL TOBAR PADRAIG TOBAR PHADRAIG (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17593B SCOIL NAOMH MHUIRE CNOC UI COILEAIN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17487C SCOIL NAIS CATHAIR CHINN LIS CATHAIRCINNLIS (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17438M SHANAGOLDEN N S SHANAGOLDEN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

17212J SCOIL NAIS CNOC AINE CNOC AINE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

16713D SCOIL NA MBRAITHRE DOON (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

16508C SCOIL ATHAIN LISNAGRY (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

16439J SCOIL NA MBEARNAN PALLASAGREEN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

16264A ABBEYFEALE B N S 1 ABBEYFEALE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

15700M CLOVERFIELD N S CLOVERFIELD (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

15680J SCOIL AN SPIORAID NAOMH ROXBOROUGH (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

15226K CAHERLINE N S CAHERLINE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

14231V NICKER N S NICKER (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

14067L FEDAMORE N S FEDAMORE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

12631E PALLASKENRY N S PALLASKENRY N S (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

11955C COOLCAPPA N S ARDAGH (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

11280T CARRICKERRY N S ATHEA (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

10991B GARRYDOOLIS N S PALLASAGREEN (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

09401Q MONOGAY NATIONAL SCHOOL NEWCASTLEWEST (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

09306W CROOM NATIONAL SCHOOL CROOM (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

09296W OUR LADYS ABBEY SCOIL NA GCAILINI (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

09132P CARNANE MXD N S FEDAMORE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

07900B BALLYSTEEN N S ASKEATON (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

07117J S N LOCH GUIR HOLY CROSS (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Primary School

02358G TEMPLEGLANTINE N S TEMPLEGLANTINE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

71810M COLÁISTE POLAIL MHICHÍL CAPPAMORE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

71790J DESMOND COLLEGE STATION ROAD (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

64150F GLENSTAL ABBEY SCHOIL MURROE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

LIMERICK COUNTY

Post Primary School

64130W SCOIL PÓL KILFINANE (LIMERICK COUNTY)

Not Approved

Schools Building Projects

Niall Collins

Question:

112 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to problems with a school building project (details supplied); the reason building work has ceased; when it is likely to resume; the contingency plan that exists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12365/11]

My Department is aware of the problems with the school building project to which he refers. My Department is liaising with the Board of Management and their Design Team in relation to next steps.

Higher Education Grants

John O'Mahony

Question:

113 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the support available to a person who is working full time and has been offered a full-time third level education course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12404/11]

Under my Department's student grant schemes, students who are entering approved courses for the first time are eligible for grants where they satisfy the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to age, residence, means, nationality and previous academic attainment.

Details of the 2011/12 student grant scheme are due to become available following publication, which is currently planned for end-May 2011. Information and application forms will then be made available on the website, www.studentfinance.ie which also provides comprehensive information on the full range of supports available in further and higher education, including the student grant, the Student Assistance Fund and other relevant supports.

New applicants may apply for grant assistance to their local authority or Vocational Education Committee, depending on their choice of course. Online application will be possible for a number of grant awarding authority areas. Eligible students with particularly low reckonable incomes may also qualify for the special rate or "top-up" grant.

Post-Leaving Certificate Education

Simon Harris

Question:

114 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered a representation made by a third level institution (details supplied) in connection with additional post-leaving certificate places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12414/11]

On 11 May, my Department wrote to providers inviting applications for the allocation of the additional 1,000 Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) places announced as part of the Government's Jobs Initiative. As the institution referred to by the Deputy is under the management of County Wicklow Vocational Education Committee (VEC), it is for that VEC to submit the application, rather than the institution itself.

To date, no application has been received from County Wicklow VEC. The closing date for receipt of applications is 24 May and the allocations will be notified to providers shortly thereafter.

Simon Harris

Question:

115 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details on the roll out of the 1,000 additional post-leaving certificate places announced in the jobs initiative; the way he will distribute these geographically; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12415/11]

On 11 May, my Department wrote to providers inviting applications for the allocation of the additional 1,000 Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) places announced as part of the Government's Jobs Initiative.

In allocating places, my Department will have regard to current and previous demand from individual providers, current and previous uptake (enrolment trends), current allocations to individual providers and the overall number of places available. All applications will be dealt with equitably and on their own merits.

The closing date for receipt of applications is 24 May and the allocations will be notified to providers shortly thereafter.

School Accommodation

Dan Neville

Question:

116 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue on an application for funding under the devolved school grant in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Limerick. [12446/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers has recently applied to my Department seeking funding to provide additional accommodation.

This application is currently being assessed. Officials in my Department will convey a decision on the application to the school authority when the assessment process has been completed.

Special Educational Needs

Peter Mathews

Question:

117 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will increase funding for an academy (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12470/11]

It is understood that the Deputy's question refers to a proposal for an academy for children with autism which was submitted to my Department for consideration by an organisation in Dublin 13. My Department will respond to the submitted proposal in the near future. The Deputy will be aware that my Department has no direct funding arrangements with the group in question.

Consideration of this proposal will take account of my Department's policy in this regard, which is focused on ensuring that all children, including those with autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network. This facilitates access to individualised education programmes, fully qualified professional teachers who may draw from a range of autism-specific interventions, including ABA, special needs assistants, and the appropriate school curriculum with the option where possible of full/partial integration and interaction with other pupils. As each child with autism is unique it is important that children have access to a range of interventions so their broader needs can be met.

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

Reflective of the important role of continuing professional development my Department has put in place a training programme for teachers in autism-specific interventions including Treatment and Education of Autistic Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH), Picture Exchange Communications System (PECS) and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) through the Special Education Support Service.

The Deputy will be familiar with the ABA pilot scheme which was funded by my Department for the past decade. All of the centres which participated in this scheme have been granted recognition as special schools for children with autism. These schools will operate in line with my Department's policy. I am pleased to update the Deputy that following their recognition the new schools are currently progressing well in the transitional phase. Twelve schools have opened and the remaining school is scheduled to open shortly. It is my intention to continue to support this transitional process.

The pilot scheme was established in the absence of a network of school-based special classes for children with autism which is now available. The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of this network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years. In excess of 430 classes have now been approved around the country at primary and post primary level, including many in special schools.

Higher Education Grants

Timmy Dooley

Question:

118 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) seeking a grant can change their status from a mature student dependent on their parents to an independent mature student as this is the correct classification in view of the fact that the original application was completed incorrectly. [12477/11]

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for a student's local grant awarding body — the relevant local authority or VEC. The student in question should, therefore, contact his grant awarding authority and make arrangements to amend his original application form and to provide the proofs required to support the revised information.

In the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form and the necessary proofs that must be provided, the Deputy will appreciate that it would not be possible for me to say whether or not the student in question can or should be assessed as a mature student.

However, in relation to the specific clauses in the 2010 student grant schemes governing this issue, the position is that a student may be assessed as an independent mature student if he/she has attained the age of 23 on the 1st of January of the year of first entry to an approved course or of re-entry following a break in studies of at least three years and is not ordinarily resident with his/her parents from 1 October 2009. Otherwise he/she would continue to be assessed on the basis of his/her parents' income.

Schools Refurbishment

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

119 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review a decision regarding a school (details supplied) in view of the conditions highlighted in an appeal. [12487/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy applied for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme.

A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011. Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised under the Summer Works Scheme funding this year and I regret that the application made by the school in question was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

The school has recently written to my Department relating to the matter and a response will issue to the school in due course.

Expenditure Reviews

Joe McHugh

Question:

120 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12492/11]

I take it that the Deputy's question relates to this school in the context of the value for money review on small schools which is under way at present. The value for money review on small schools 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.

A letter, inviting submissions, issued on 8 February 2011 to these interest groups and a deadline for reply was given for 18 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. With regard to the specific school referred to by the Deputy the existing rules and current sustainability limits will continue to apply and there are no plans at this time to close this school.

School Text Books

Brendan Smith

Question:

121 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if, in view of the widespread concerns of the costs of school text books, he has met with school book publishers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12494/11]

My Department has no role in the production or publication of school text books. However, my Department does issue guidance to school principals to ensure that the changes to school book lists are kept to a minimum. I do not have any current plans to meet school book publishers in this regard at present, but it is an issue which will be kept under review. My Department issued funding to primary schools in April and will issue funding to post-primary schools in June to enable them to provide assistance for school books.

Details of the funding were notified to schools by circulars 0023/2011 (primary level) and 0024/2011 (post-primary level), which are available on my Department's website. In these circulars, schools are urged to use this funding to establish book rental schemes, as these are the most effective means of lowering costs for all students. Funding is allocated on the following basis:

€11 per pupil in primary schools;

€21 per pupil in primary schools within the Delivering Equality in Schools (DEIS) scheme;

€24 per pupil in post-primary; or

€39 per pupil in post-primary schools within the DEIS scheme.

This funding arrangement affords schools the autonomy to utilise funding in the most effective way based on their particular knowledge of their student needs. The previous system required schools to apply each year to my Department for a book grant, which resulted in a significant administrative burden, both for schools and my Department.

Schools Refurbishment

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

122 Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) in Dublin 6w will be granted funding to carry out important works under a works grant. [12512/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy applied for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme.

A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications and accordingly it has been necessary to prioritise some categories of works over others. Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised for Summer Works funding this year and I regret that the application made by the school in question was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

In addition to the 2011 Summer Works Scheme, a further €30 million has been made available this year under the Jobs Initiative to fund school building works in 374 primary and post-primary schools. These funds will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as special needs access, toilet facilities, roof works and window replacements. The Deputy may be aware that a new two storey extension was completed at the school in January 2008 comprising of four classrooms, two resource rooms, staff facilities, toilet and kitchen facilities, lift and circulation areas. Other works included the demolition of an existing single storey classroom extension to the rear of school, fire-proofing and upgrade of existing internal doors and glazed screens in the existing double-storey school building and refurbishment of the existing ground level toilet block and reception area, landscaping and all associated site works. The building project cost in the region of €3m.

School Staffing

Robert Troy

Question:

123 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of teachers currently employed on temporary contracts in both primary and secondary schools in the country; the number of these contracts that will be renewed or converted to permanent contracts for the next academic year; when employees on temporary contracts and the schools concerned will be advised as to his plans for these contracts and the support, to find new employment; and if he will provide for teachers who are made unemployed if their temporary contract is not renewed or made permanent. [12535/11]

The process of allocating teaching resources to schools for 2011/2012 and the arrangements for filling vacant or new teaching posts, including temporary posts, takes place in the context of the EU/IMF Programme of Support for Ireland and the Public Service Agreement 2010/2014. It is necessary for my Department to exercise additional control and reporting measures this year to ensure that the numbers of teachers employed in schools is consistent with the EU/IMF Programme of Support for Ireland.

This requires that all permanent and fixed term positions are in the first instance made available to those surplus teachers with either permanent contracts or contracts of indefinite duration.

The purpose of these changes is to ensure all surplus teachers are absorbed into vacancies that exist in other schools. Flexible redeployment arrangements are required in order to ensure all surplus permanent teachers are redeployed into vacancies. The country simply cannot afford to have surplus teachers in a school while permitting recruitment to take place in another school. The Government is committed to ensuring the delivery of frontline services is protected as much as possible in our education system.

It is the intention of the Department to restore recruitment from fixed-term teachers on the main panels, supplementary panels or public advertisement at the earliest possible opportunity, after all the surplus permanent teachers have been redeployed. When this process is completed there will be greater clarity in relation to the overall position of teachers on fixed-term contracts. It is too early at this stage to speculate what this impact will be.

Employment Support Services

Clare Daly

Question:

124 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if, in view of his acknowledgement that the former workers (details supplied) in receipt of the European globalisation funds will not be guaranteed the funding to finish the educational programmes which they began under this scheme, he will agree to meet with these workers to discuss their situation and options for future education and re-training. [12539/11]

The co-funding of relevant education and training measures through the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in support of redundant S R Technics workers is strictly time limited to finish on 9 October 2011. This end date is determined at two years from the date of application in accordance with the regulations governing the operation of the fund, and cannot be extended. This position has always been made clear to both service providers and to beneficiaries of EGF support, including the former S R Technics staff in question.

Officials from my Department met a delegation of the former workers last month and discussed in detail both the position in relation to EGF funding and the full range of options and supports that are available to students generally, including former S R Technics staff, who wish to pursue education programmes in the publicly funded higher education system.

I have also written to a member of the delegation re-emphasising the position as outlined. The Department of Social Protection has already confirmed that if the students remain on the programme on a full-time basis beyond the EGF cut-off date that they will be entitled to retain their Back to Education Allowance. This would be a considerable advantage to the students in terms of providing income support while progressing in education.

It should also be noted that All Hallows College has been extremely helpful in running what was originally a part-time course on a fulltime basis under the EGF programme in order to accelerate students' progress on a modular basis and maximise the scope for them to benefit from the EU funding available.

It is open to the students to engage with All Hallows College to seek a reduced course fee for continuance of the course fulltime but at their own expense. Alternatively, the relevant students could potentially transfer to other fulltime courses in the public system which are part of the Free Fees Scheme without losing their Back to Education Allowance.

As the full facts of the situation have already been fully conveyed to the delegation by my officials, I do not propose to meet with these workers at this time.

Departmental Programmes

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

125 Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an organisation (details supplied) has completed repayments for outstanding sums owed in relation to two programmes; the amounts, if any, of sums that have been written off; if the organisation has received any funding since September 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12544/11]

In relation to the first-named programme, all instalments due to date under the relevant settlement agreement have been paid. The payments are scheduled for completion in 2014. In relation to the second-named programme, a settlement of this dispute has been agreed, the terms of which are confidential under the settlement agreement reached. No other funding has been provided by my Department to this organisation since September 2010.

Special Educational Needs

Brendan Griffin

Question:

126 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will facilitate the transfer of children with special needs into primary, secondary school or different settings by easing the cap on the allocation of special needs assistants and resource teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12558/11]

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 teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts as well as a temporary suspension of the allocation of additional resource teaching support hours.

In respect of SNA support, the NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of SNA support to eligible schools. The NCSE has asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intends to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

In respect of resource teaching support, the NCSE has issued a Circular to schools advising them that the final date for schools to submit any outstanding, completed, applications for resource teaching supports was 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.

Schools Building Projects

Willie O'Dea

Question:

127 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the situation at a school (details supplied) in County Limerick in which a company has closed its site and has left a subcontractor without payment for works already completed and certified by the quantity surveyors; when the subcontractor is likely to be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12559/11]

The contract for the project to which the Deputy refers is between the Board of Management and the main contractor. There is no contractual relationship between any of the sub-contractors engaged on this project and either my Department or the Board of Management.

In general all sub-contractors employed on school building projects are employed directly by the Main Contractor or indirectly by the Main Contractor through other sub-contractors. It is a matter for all sub-contractors to agree terms and conditions and a schedule of payments with the Main Contractor as their direct employer.

I can confirm that all moneys due to be paid under the terms of the main contract have been paid to the main contractor. My Department is liaising with the Board of Management and their Design Team in relation to next steps.

Schools Refurbishment

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

128 Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the criteria used in awarding the second allocation of grants under the summer works scheme 2011; the priority given to the application of a school (details supplied) in County Mayo for new external windows in circumstances when a school extension is under construction and the existing windows are more than 30 years old and not fit for purpose; and if this school will be prioritised for future funding. [12561/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy applied for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme. A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011. Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised under the Summer Works Scheme funding this year and I regret that the application made by the school in question was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school. In light of further funding being made available under the Government's Jobs Initiative, projects submitted under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme were considered further. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding it was necessary to further prioritise categories of works in respect of access for all, toilets, roofs and post primary school windows projects, I regret that the application referred to above was also unsuccessful under the Initiative.

Third Level Fees

Seán Kenny

Question:

129 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason diplomas in a college (details supplied) are not included on the list for approved colleges for tax relief for fees; the criteria for inclusion; and if it is possible to change the current status. [12563/11]

Section 473A, Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, as amended by Section 11 of the Finance Act 2011, provides for tax relief, at the standard rate of tax, for tuition fees paid in respect of approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including certain approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in E.U. Member States and in non EU countries.

Under the legislation, the definition of an "approved college" extends to any university or similar institution of higher education in a Member State of the European Union (other than the State) which is maintained or assisted by recurrent grants from public funds of that or any other Member State of the European Union (including the State), or is a duly accredited university or institution of higher education in the Member State in which it is situated.

An approved undergraduate course is defined in the legislation as a full-time or part-time undergraduate course of study of at least two years duration in an approved college. An approved postgraduate course is defined as a postgraduate course of study leading to a postgraduate award in an approved college.

Tax relief is not available for tuition fees unless these criteria are met and I have no plans in the current economic climate to extend the scope of this arrangement. I understand that the college in question is a private college located in the UK. I also understand that the college is working towards full accreditation of its courses with the relevant regulating bodies. This development would allow for tax relief to be claimed on tuition fees charged by the college provided the course criteria that I have outlined are also met. Further details in relation to tax relief on tuition fees are available from the Revenue Commisioners on www.revenue.ie

Schools Building Projects

Michael McGrath

Question:

130 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a planned extension to a primary school (details supplied) in County Cork; and a time line for the completion the project. [12564/11]

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 once construction commences the project will take approximately eighteen months to complete.

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

131 Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the school building programme in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12623/11]

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has reached agreement, in principle, subject to contract with Cork County Council, in relation to the proposed acquisition of a site for the school to which he refers. Liaison with the Local Authority on the matter is ongoing. Due to the commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions, I am not in a position to comment further at this time.

Once this acquisition is concluded, the proposed building project will be considered in the context of the capital budget available to my Department for school buildings generally.

Special Educational Needs

Mick Wallace

Question:

132 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which stands to lose a full-time special needs assistant form September 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12628/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

136 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which is awaiting clarification as to its allocation of special needs assistants for September 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12632/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 136 together.

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 teachers and Special Needs Assistants to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts.

The NCSE has issued a circular to all schools advising of the allocation process for the 2011/2012 school year. A key feature of the amended scheme will be to provide for an annual allocation of Special Needs Assistant support to eligible schools. The NCSE asked schools to submit all applications for SNA support to them by 18th March, 2011 and intend to inform schools of their annual SNA allocation as soon as possible, in advance of the coming school year.

Disadvantaged Status

Mick Wallace

Question:

133 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford in which the loss of a rural co-ordinator will have a very serious impact on the most disadvantaged pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12629/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

139 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford in which the loss of a rural co-ordinator will have a serious impact on the most disadvantaged pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12635/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 139 together.

The decision to remove the Rural Coordinator Service from 331 rural DEIS schools was a measure taken by the last Fianna Fail — Green Party Government to secure some €24 million in savings in the 2011/2012 school year. The service will therefore be discontinued with effect from 31 August 2011.

I do not intend to revisit the decision of the previous Government to withdraw rural coordinator posts. The Deputy will understand that Ireland is effectively now in economic receivership because of the disastrous legacy of the last Government. The requirements to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision.

This measure will not affect the provision of HSCL services which remain in 200 post primary and 345 urban primary participating in DEIS. DEIS rural primary schools will continue to receive the following supports:

additional capitation funding based on level of disadvantage ;

additional funding for schools books;

access to the School Meals Programme.;

access to numeracy/literacy supports and measures;

access to planning supports;

access to a range of professional development supports.

The set of measures included in the National Recovery Plan 2011 to 2014 impacts on every sector of the public service and will unquestionably lead to significant challenges for schools as well as my Department in the coming years. The major challenge will undoubtedly be to seek improved outcomes for children with fewer resources.

Traveller Education

Mick Wallace

Question:

134 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which will face serious difficulties as regards learning support provision from September 2011 due to the loss of its resource teachers for Travellers and one language support teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12630/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

137 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which stands to lose four of its learning support staff from September 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12633/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

138 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which stands to lose a resource teacher for Travellers from September 2011 despite the fact that the number of Traveller pupils attending the school will actually increase next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12634/11]

Mick Wallace

Question:

144 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which will lose two resource teachers for Travellers from September 2011, placing enormous pressure on what is left of the special education needs team; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12655/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 134, 137, 138 and 144 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision to withdraw Resource Teacher for Travellers was taken by the previous Government as part of the last Budget. The requirement to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision.

Resource Teacher for Traveller posts/Teaching Hours for Traveller pupils will be withdrawn, effective from 31st August 2011. Traveller pupils who are eligible for learning support teaching should receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools. All schools should select students for learning support on the basis of priority of need.

Limited alleviation or adjustment measures are being provided to assist schools that have high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by Resource Teachers for Travellers.

In respect of DEIS, (Developing Equality of Opportunity in Schools), Traveller enrolments have been included in the valid enrolment for the purpose of allocating additional staffing under DEIS from the 2011/12 school year. The schools involved have already received their staffing allocations for next year.

For schools other than DEIS schools in receipt of enhanced pupil teacher ratios, alleviation measures are being provided to assist schools with high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by RTT posts. Any alleviation measures must be considered in the context of the very limited resources that are available to my Department. As such, alleviation measures are being concentrated on schools which had 33 or more pupils supported by RTT posts, based on 2009/10 school year enrolments.

In respect of language support provision, I wish to clarify for the Deputy that significant support is provided to schools in this regard. The level of extra teaching support provided in respect of language support to any school is determined by the numbers of eligible pupils enrolled and the associated assessed levels of those pupils' language proficiency. This is done through an annual application process in the Spring/Summer of each year. All such applications are currently being processed and schools will be notified of the outcome shortly.

Mick Wallace

Question:

135 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Wexford which will lose 66% of its learning support from September 2011 due to the withdrawal of the resource teacher for Travellers posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12631/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision to withdraw Resource Teacher for Travellers was taken by the previous Government as part of the last Budget. The requirement to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision.

Resource Teacher for Traveller posts/Teaching Hours for Traveller pupils will be withdrawn, effective from 31st August 2011. Traveller pupils who are eligible for learning support teaching should receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools. All schools should select students for learning support on the basis of priority of need. Limited alleviation or adjustment measures are being provided to assist schools that have high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by Resource Teachers for Travellers.

In respect of DEIS, (Developing Equality of Opportunity in Schools), Traveller enrolments have been included in the valid enrolment for the purpose of allocating additional staffing under DEIS from the 2011/12 school year. The schools involved have already received their staffing allocations for next year.

For schools other than DEIS schools in receipt of enhanced pupil teacher ratios, alleviation measures are being provided to assist schools with high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by RTT posts. Any alleviation measures must be considered in the context of the limited resources that are available to my Department. As such, alleviation measures are being concentrated on schools which had 33 or more pupils supported by RTT posts, based on 2009/10 school year enrolments. With regard to schools which have less than 33 Traveller pupils previously supported by RTT posts, within the context of the limited resources which are available and taking into account Government policy and the Employment Control Framework, my Department will consider whether further limited alleviation measures can be provided for schools for whom it can be demonstrated that they have been disproportionately effected by the alleviation/adjustment measures outlined above, in comparison to schools of a similar size and circumstances.

Question No. 136 answered with Question No. 132.
Questions Nos. 137 and 138 answered with Question No. 134.
Question No. 139 answered with Question No. 133.

Physical Education Facilities

Sean Fleming

Question:

140 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of funding approved to a school (details supplied) in County Laois in respect of sports facilities in each of the past five years. [12641/11]

I can confirm to the Deputy that the following amounts have been provided to the school referred to by the Deputy in respect of sports facilities in each of the past five years.

Year

Amount

2010

15,340

2009

Nil

2008

Nil

2007

4,000

2006

Nil

Both the above grants were general PE Equipment grants which were provided to all post-primary schools in these years.

Schools Building Projects

Sean Fleming

Question:

141 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding permanent recognition for a school (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12642/11]

Sean Fleming

Question:

142 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the building programme in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Laois; if a site has been acquired for the new school; the position regarding negotiations on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12643/11]

Sean Fleming

Question:

147 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Laois; the situation on the building programme; if a site has been identified for the new school; the position regarding negotiations on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12671/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141, 142 and 147 together.

I can confirm for the Deputy that my Department has agreed the acquisition of a suitable site zoned Community and Education for the school concerned, subject to contract. The site is in the Strawhill area of Carlow and as part of contract exchange it will be necessary for my Department to secure a planning consent on the site. A planning application in relation to this site has been prepared and will be lodged with the planning authority, Carlow County Council, this week.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy also that a project to provide a new school was included in the Ministerial announcement of the 24th January 2011, where accommodation briefs will be formulated in 2011 and the process of appointing a Design Team will commence, once the site is acquired.

I can also confirm that the matter of permanent recognition for the school will form part of this process.

School Transport

Mattie McGrath

Question:

143 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the value for money report undertaken by him and particularly inquiries relating to school transport provision. [12646/11]

The Value for Money Review of the School Transport Schemes was carried out as part of the 2009-2011 round of Value for Money Reviews approved by the previous Fianna Fáil-Green Party Government and was conducted in accordance with the criteria for such reviews set out in the Department of Finance Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative Guidance Manual. The emphasis in such reviews is on the efficiency and effectiveness of the programmes under examination to assess value for money in their delivery.

The Report on this review was published last March and is available on my Department's website.

Question No. 144 answered with Question No. 134.

Special Educational Needs

Charles Flanagan

Question:

145 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the issue of meeting the needs of children with Specific Speech and Language Disorder, SSLD; if he considers it desirable that additional capitation grants to schools should be ringfenced and used to meet the needs of those children on whose behalf it is given, particularly in the matter of enhanced rates of capitation funding paid in respect of children with special education needs, who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools; if he will consider reducing the flexibility and discretion to schools in respect of the targeting of this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12661/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department provides an extensive range of supports for pupils with Specific Speech and Language Disorder (SSLD). My Department provides for the establishment of special classes for Specific Speech and Language Disorder in primary schools. Applications to establish such classes are considered by the school's assigned Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) and those meeting the criteria for establishment are approved by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

A full-time teacher is assigned to each class, and classes operate with a reduced pupil-teacher ratio of 7:1. Speech and language therapy services are provided to these classes by the Health Service Executive (HSE). An enhanced capitation grant is provided to schools operating special classes for pupils with Specific Speech and Language Disorder. The current rate is €912 per pupil. In circumstances where a child who meets the criteria for Specific Speech and Language Disorder as outlined in my Department's Circular 0038/2007 and who is not enrolled in a special class for SSLD may qualify for additional teaching support where he/she is enrolled in 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.

The Deputy is aware that enhanced rates of capitation funding are paid in respect of children with special educational needs who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools. Increases in recent years in these enhanced rates have brought the top rate up to over €900 per pupil in comparison with the standard capitation rate of €190 per pupil.

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's Circulars 40/2009 and 48/2009 clarify issues relating to the allocation of funding for schools. Schools have flexibility and discretion on how to target funding to the school's own priorities, based on its knowledge and understanding of the needs of the students it serves.

National Lottery Funding

Dara Murphy

Question:

146 Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details in relation to the amount of funding allocated from the National Lottery Beneficiary Fund since 1998 to projects in the Dáil Constituency of Cork North Central under schemes (details supplied). [12664/11]

My Department provides grant-in-aid funding, part-funded by the National Lottery, to a number of organisations providing adult education, cultural and scientific activities. The funding is for their general running expenses.

The Department has not allocated funding from the National Lottery Beneficiary Fund to any projects in the Cork North Central constituency in the categories referred to by the Deputy. However, my Department does provide grant-in-aid to the Feis Maitiú based in the Father Mathew Hall in Cork City.

Details of funding provided by the Department to Feis Maitiú over the past five years are as follows:

Year

Amount

2006

44,500

2007

45,000

2008

45,000

2009

41,000

2010

38,500.

In 2011, funding of €36,700 has been provided for Feis Maitiu.

Funding for youth grants is the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Health and Children who will provide a reply on this aspect of your question.

Question No. 147 answered with Question No. 141.

Institutes of Technology

Michael McCarthy

Question:

148 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is a ministerial function to appoint all members to the boards of institutes of technology; if he will furnish a breakdown of board membership in respect of Cork, Tralee and Waterford ITs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12673/11]

The ordinary members of the boards of the Institutes of Technology are appointed by the Minister on the recommendation of the relevant Vocational Education Committee in accordance with the provisions of the Institutes of Technology Acts 1992 to 2006. The chairman is nominated and appointed by the Minister. The board memberships in respect of Cork, Tralee and Waterford Institutes of Technology are as follows:

CORK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GOVERNING BODY

Chairperson: Vacant

President: ex officio member

Six appointed under Section 4(1)(a) and (b) RTC (Amendment) Act, 1994

Cllr. J.A. Corr (City of Cork VEC)

Cllr. Catherine Clancy (City of Cork VEC)

Mr. Ted Owens (City of Cork VEC)

Barra Ó Briain, (Co. Cork VEC)

Ms. Aileen Pyne, MCC (Co. Cork VEC)

Rt. Rev. Canon G.A. Salter (Co. Cork VEC)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(c)

Dr. Áine Ní Shé (Academic staff representative)

Mr. John O'Sullivan (Academic staff representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(d)

Mr. Eoin Deane (Non-academic staff representative)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(e)

Mr. John Lane (Student representative)

Ms. Vicky Fitzpatrick (Student representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(f)

Ms. Áine Piggott (ICTU)

Five appointed under Section 4(1)(g)

Ms. Valerie Gleeson (Arts Council)

Ms. Mary Keane (Assoc. of Principals and Vice Principals of Post Primary Schools)

Mr. Billy O'Neill (Institution of Engineers in Ireland)

Mr. Jim Woulfe (Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society Ltd.)

Mr. Mark Whitaker (Cork Chamber of Commerce)

INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, TRALEE GOVERNING BODY

Chairperson: Cllr. Flan Garvey

Acting President: ex officio member

Six appointed under Section 4(1)(a) and (b) RTC (Amendment) Act, 1994

Ms. Ann O'Dwyer (Kerry Education Service)

Cllr. Terry O'Brien (Kerry Education Service)

Vacancy (Kerry Education Service)

Cllr. Mairead Fernane (Kerry Education Service)

Mr. Peter Considine (Co. Clare VEC)

Cllr. Mary Jackman (Co. Limerick VEC)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(c)

Vacancy (Academic staff representative)

Vacancy (Academic staff representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(d)

Mr. Tony Murphy (Non-academic staff representative)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(e)

Vacancy (Student representative)

Vacancy (Student representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(f)

Mr. Andrew McCarthy (ICTU)

Five appointed under Section 4(1)(g)

Mr. Don Twomey (Engineers Ireland)

Ms. Monica Sheehan (Health Service Executive)

Mr. Tim O'Donoghue (Kerry Diocesan Youth Service)

Ms. Harriet Cotter (Enterprise Ireland)

Ms. Aoife O'Brien (IBEC)

WATERFORD INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY GOVERNING BODY

Chairperson: Dr. Donie Ormonde

President: ex officio member

Six appointed under Section 4(1)(a) and (b) RTC (Amendment) Act, 1994

Cllr. Mary Roche (City of Waterford VEC)

Cllr. Pat Hayes (City of Waterford VEC)

Mr. Paddy Lavelle (County Waterford VEC)

Cllr. John Fahey (Tipperary S.R. VEC)

Cllr. Paddy Kavanagh (Co. Wexford VEC)

Cllr. Mary Hilda Cavanagh (Co. Kilkenny VEC)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(c)

Dr. Joseph Power (Academic staff representative)

Ms. Mairead Meagher (Academic staff representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(d)

Mr. Tony Whelan (Non-academic staff representative)

Two appointed under Section 4(1)(e)

Mr. Conor Doyle (Student representative)

Ms. Denise McCarthy (Student representative)

One appointed under Section 4(1)(f)

Cllr. Jack Walsh (ICTU)

Five appointed under Section 4(1)(g)

Sr. June Fennelly (Church Bodies)

Ms. Helen Lambert (Construction Industry Federation)

Ms Anne Caulfield (Waterford Chamber of Commerce)

Mr. Frank Dolphin (IBEC)

Dr. Rob Landers (Health Service Executive)

Schools Amalgamation

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

149 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be made on the issuing of a new roll number to facilitate the amalgamation of two schools (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12675/11]

My Department is in receipt of correspondence dated 17th May last regarding the proposed amalgamation to which the Deputy refers. The correspondance is currently under consideration and officials from my Department will be in contact with the Management Authority of the school in due course.

Departmental Funding

Michael McGrath

Question:

150 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports made available by him to the National Parents’ Council, Primary, on an annual basis; and if he will define the relationship between his Department and the National Parents’ Council. [12682/11]

The Education Act 1998 gives recognition to the important role which parents play in the education system through their involvement in parents' associations. The Act also recognises the role which national parents' associations may play in offering guidance to local associations. My Department recognises the National Parents' Council Primary (NPCp) as having an important role in giving a voice to parents at national level and liaises with it on educational issues in the primary sector.

The National Parents' Council Primary (NPCp) was set up in 1985 as the representative organisation for parents of children attending primary school. It is a company limited by guarantee. The Board of the NPCp is constituted in accordance with its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The NPCp is responsible for its own day to day operations. Individual parents' associations at school level may affiliate to the national council.

In recognition of the role which the NPCp fulfils my Department supports it by way of funding. In 2010 my Department provided the NPCp with €330,000 for core funding for the running of the council and €106,488 for support for parents representatives in their role on Boards of Management and reviewing ongoing Training and Quality Assurance. The indicative funding allocation for 2011 is €330,000 for core funding and €106,488 for training courses and information seminars.

Schools Building Projects

Timmy Dooley

Question:

151 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason he has not been in contact with a national school (details supplied) in County Clare regarding the appointment of a design team. [12683/11]

As you are aware, the school's project was included on the list of projects announced on the 24th January 2011 where briefs will be formulated in 2011 and the process of appointing a Design Team will commence.

The next step will be to finalise the Schedule of Accommodation to meet the current and future needs of the school. In this regard, my Department will be in contact with the School Authorities in due course.

International Students

Seán Kenny

Question:

152 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps being taken in the USA to attract additional US students to study here. [12699/11]

The Government is committed to strengthening education relations with the USA, including by attracting increased numbers of students.

We start from a strong position. According to figures last year from the Institute of International Education, Ireland is the ninth most popular destination for US Study Abroad students, and the fastest growing along with China.

I myself will be visiting Chicago in July, where, among other things, I will be addressing meetings at the National Association of Fellowship Advisors, an influential network who play a major role in assisting potential US postgraduate students with decisions about study and research location.

At present Enterprise Ireland's plans are giving priority to increasing the number of US undergraduate students in Ireland, and there are a range of initiatives underway including market research, development of new marketing collateral, targeted advertising (especially in the Irish-American media), developing networks in new markets in the US and strengthening links with alumni.

The George Mitchell Scholarship programme also plays a crucial role in attracting high-calibre US students to Ireland and in profiling Ireland in the US as a destination for high-quality overseas education.

Teacher Support Services

Timmy Dooley

Question:

153 Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider abolishing the professional development service for teachers support service considering that it is not meeting the continuous professional development needs of teachers; if he will revert back to establishing the two main support services that were in existence the primary professional development service and the second level support service or if he will consider basing the continuous professional development service on a regional structure and have a more equal distribution of primary and post primary secondees to deliver continuous professional development in education centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12710/11]

I have no plans to abolish the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST).

The PDST is a team of seconded teachers, which offers professional development support to primary and post-primary teachers on a wide range of topics. The PDST was established in September 2010, following a reconfiguration of the support services in existence prior to that date. Given the budgetary and personnel restrictions now prevailing, my Department has a much reduced level of seconded teachers available to provide continuing professional development for teachers in comparison with previous years. For this reason, the number of personnel in the PDST is significantly reduced from the total numbers available to the Primary Professional Development Service and the Second Level Support Service, and the other support services which were involved in the reconfiguration. The PDST team was established on a regional basis following a competitive process where serving secondees in the 2009/2010 school year were invited to apply for a position in the new service. The successful candidates were chosen on merit, and would have displayed an ability to operate on a generic and cross-sectoral level.

2011 is the first full year of the operation of the PDST, and the service will be centrally involved in implementing measures to improve literacy and numeracy from the 2011/2012 school year.

Educational Projects

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

154 Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the work programme and application of a centre (details supplied) to an Irish situation; and if he will confirm if he will lend his support to this organisation and its programmes. [12717/11]

I have received information from the organisation referred to by the Deputy and I have outlined to it the work of the Department in areas of relevance, such as addiction, substance use, stress and behaviour. I have also given details of contact points for further information.

I understand that the organisation in question is delivering and developing courses to deal with the issues outlined above. It is open to the organisation to seek to have its programmes validated by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) or the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC).

School Services Staff

Arthur Spring

Question:

155 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the decision to terminate the position of rural co-ordinator at a school (details supplied) in County Kerry will be reversed due to the vital role the position plays in the community. [12741/11]

The decision to remove the Rural Coordinator Service from 331 rural DEIS schools was a measure taken by the last Fianna Fail — Green Party Government to secure some €24m in savings in the 2011/2012 school year. The service will therefore be discontinued with effect from 31 August 2011. I do not intend to revisit the decision of the previous Government to withdraw rural coordinator posts. The Deputy will understand that Ireland is effectively now in economic receivership because of the disastrous legacy of the last Government. The requirements to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision.

This measure will not affect the provision of HSCL services which remain in 200 post primary and 345 urban primary participating in DEIS. DEIS rural primary schools will continue to receive the following supports:

additional capitation funding based on level of disadvantage;

additional funding for schools books;

access to the School Meals Programme;

access to numeracy/literacy supports and measures;

access to planning supports;

access to a range of professional development supports.

The set of measures included in the National Recovery Plan 2011 to 2014 impacts on every sector of the public service and will unquestionably lead to significant challenges for schools as well as my Department in the coming years. The major challenge will undoubtedly be to seek improved outcomes for children with fewer resources.

Schools Building Projects

Dan Neville

Question:

156 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No 380 of 5 May 2010 if he will provide the necessary funding in 2011 to a school (details supplied) in County Kerry in view of the fact that they need to upgrade the physical environment of the school [12742/11]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that in November 2010 my Department approved a devolved grant of €250,000, to the school to which the deputy refers. This funding was granted to build a permanent extension comprising 2 mainstream classrooms, 1 Art Room and a toilet block. The school have no applications for additional accommodation with my department at this time.

School Curriculum

Regina Doherty

Question:

157 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the success of the project maths programme post primary schools to date; the likelihood of a performance review on this programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12743/11]

A major programme of reform in Mathematics is under way in all second level schools since September last, building on the experience of 24 schools which began the programme in 2008. Project Maths is being implemented on a phased basis over a three period across 5 strands of mathematics as follows:—

Phase 1: Strand 1 — Statistics and Probability + Strand 2 — Geometry and Trigonometry;

Phase 2: Strand 1+2+ Strand 3 — Number + Strand 4 — Algebra;

Phase 3: Strand 1+2+3+4+ Strand 5 — Functions.

Strands 1 and 2 began in all schools in September 2010 for first examination in 2012 at Leaving Certificate and 2013 at Junior Certificate. Strands 3 and 4 will begin in 2011, and strand 5 will start in 2012.

Project Maths has been widely welcomed by the partners in education and the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs. Implementation of the programme is monitored by a steering committee representing my Department, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the State Examinations Commission. An external research and evaluation programme is also planned.

The initial results for Project Maths in the 24 schools where students sat the Leaving Certificate examination in Strands 1 and 2 in 2010 were published by the State Examinations Commission. These showed that results were broadly in line with the national trends in maths, but

there was a lower A rate (11.2% Project Maths v 14.3% mainstream) but slightly higher ABC rate in the Project Maths schools at all levels;

18.7% took higher level in the Project Maths schools, compared with 16.0% in mainstream schools;

there were significantly improved EFNG rates at Ordinary level in Project Maths schools (5.4% v 9.8% in mainstream schools).

Post-Leaving Certification Courses

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

158 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the certificate course in leadership and advocacy at Dundalk IT, which caters for students with an intellectual disability across the north-east region, will be maintained and the required grants for its continuation be provided into the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12747/11]

Regina Doherty

Question:

162 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the continuation of the leadership and advocacy course in Dundalk IT and similar courses which awards a certificate to those students with intellectual disabilities; and the alternative plans that have been made for the students of this course in the eventuality that the course is cut due to lack of funding. [12801/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 158 and 162 together.

My Department has no role in the provision of funding for the Certificate Course in Leadership and Advocacy at Dundalk Institute of Technology. In addition, the Institute does not accredit the course but it does provide classroom facilities, assists with student selection at the beginning of each course and facilitates a graduation ceremony at the end of the programme.

I understand that the course was funded by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform until 2008. Since that time the course was funded by Meath Intellectual Disability Work Advocacy and You Ltd (Midway Services) in the North East, which is a voluntary organisation part-funded by the HSE. I also understand that, as a result of reduced HSE funding, Midway Services is no longer in a position to continue to provide the course at this time. In the circumstances, the Deputies may wish to raise this matter with the HSE.

Schools Refurbishment

Catherine Byrne

Question:

159 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review an application for funding for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 10 under the schools summer works scheme 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12780/11]

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy applied for funding under the 2011 Summer Works Scheme.

A list of 453 successful schools was announced on 30 March 2011. Applications from schools for gas, mechanical and electrical works were prioritised under the Summer Works Scheme funding this year and I regret that the application made by the school in question was not selected. A letter to this effect has issued to the school.

In addition to the 2011 Summer Works Scheme, a further €30 Million has been made available this year under the Jobs Initiative to fund school building works in a further 374 primary and post-primary schools. These funds will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as special needs access, toilet facilities, roof works and window replacements. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding it was necessary to further prioritise categories of works in respect of access for all, toilets, roofs and post primary school windows projects, I regret that the application referred to by the Deputy was also unsuccessful under the initiative.

Departmental Payments

James Bannon

Question:

160 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Skills when payment will issue to a company (details supplied) in County Longford for State works, as non-payment of same is threatening the viability of the company, subcontracted to carry out the works, but now facing the loss of at least 20 jobs due to delayed payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12787/11]

There is no contractual relationship between the sub-contractor to which the Deputy refers and my Department. In general all sub-contractors employed on school building projects are employed directly by the Main Contractor or indirectly by the Main Contractor through other sub-contractors. It is a matter for all sub-contractors to agree terms and conditions and a schedule of payments with the Main Contractor as their direct employer. I can confirm that all monies due to be paid under the terms of the main contract have been paid to the main contractor. My Department is liaising with the Board of Management and their Design Team in relation to next steps.

Teaching Qualifications

James Bannon

Question:

161 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath has now been prevented from taking up employment as a resource teacher due to not being a registered teacher, despite years of training and experience in psychology and teaching; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12789/11]

The Teaching Council aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of teaching, learning and professional conduct in our schools. It is the policy of my Department that only a teacher registered with the Teaching Council, and who has qualifications appropriate to the sector and suitable to the post for which he or she is proposed, should be employed by schools. Unregistered personnel should not be appointed except in exceptional circumstances and then only when all avenues for recruiting registered teachers have been exhausted and only for quite limited time periods.

Where an individual wishes to teach in a school funded by the Oireachtas then they should contact the Teaching Council to assess their eligibility for entry to the register of teachers. Registration under Regulation 2 (Primary) or 3 (Montessori and Other Categories) are currently recognised as appropriate registration in order to gain access to the qualified rate of pay as a resource teacher in a special school setting. Registration as a Post Primary teacher (Regulation 4) is also acceptable where a proportion of the pupils attending the special school are of post primary age (i.e. 12 years or older) and where second level programmes are provided by the school.

Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 158.

School Staffing

Michael McGrath

Question:

163 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the application of the public sector recruitment embargo to teaching posts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12802/11]

Unlike most other areas of the public service teaching vacancies are being filled in accordance with published Department criteria.

However, the process of allocating teaching resources to schools takes place in the context of the EU/IMF Programme of Support for Ireland and the Public Service Agreement 2010/2014. It is necessary for my Department to exercise additional control and reporting measures this year to ensure that the numbers of teachers employed in schools is consistent with the EU/IMF Programme of Support for Ireland.

This requires that all permanent and fixed term positions are in the first instance made available to those surplus teachers with either permanent contracts or contracts of indefinite duration. The purpose of these changes is to ensure all surplus teachers are absorbed into vacancies that exist in other schools. Flexible redeployment arrangements are required in order to ensure all surplus permanent teachers are redeployed into vacancies. The country simply cannot afford to have surplus teachers in a school while permitting recruitment to take place in another school. The Government is committed to ensuring the delivery of frontline services is protected as much as possible in our education system.

It is the intention of the Department to restore recruitment from fixed-term teachers on the main panels, supplementary panels or public advertisement at the earliest possible opportunity, after all the surplus permanent teachers have been redeployed. Through these redeployment measures, the Government is committed to ensuring the delivery of frontline services is protected in as much as possible in our education system.

Brendan Griffin

Question:

164 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) has been placed on the supplementary teaching panel for County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12805/11]

The main focus in the Teacher Allocation Section within my Department at present is the redeployment panels for permanent teachers. The Department will consider queries in relation to supplementary panel rights for fixed-term teachers, including the teacher referred to by the deputy, when the initial work on panels for redeployment of surplus permanent teachers is completed. Such teachers are advised to contact my Department at Primaryallocations@education.gov.ie.

Paul Connaughton

Question:

165 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) in County Galway will receive a teacher under special alleviation measures following from the reduction of resource teachers for Travellers. [12812/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that the decision to withdraw Resource Teacher for Travellers was taken by the previous Government as part of the last Budget. The requirement to make expenditure savings and to ensure that staffing numbers remain within the Public Service Employment Control Framework prevent me from re-visiting this decision.

Resource Teacher for Traveller posts/Teaching Hours for Traveller pupils will be withdrawn, effective from 31st August 2011. Traveller pupils who are eligible for learning support teaching should receive this tuition through the existing learning support provision in schools. All schools should select students for learning support on the basis of priority of need.

Limited alleviation or adjustment measures are being provided to assist schools that have high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by Resource Teachers for Travellers.

In respect of DEIS, (Developing Equality of Opportunity in Schools), Traveller enrolments have been included in the valid enrolment for the purpose of allocating additional staffing under DEIS from the 2011/12 school year. The schools involved have already received their staffing allocations for next year.

For schools other than DEIS schools in receipt of enhanced pupil teacher ratios, alleviation measures are being provided to assist schools with high concentrations of Traveller pupils who were previously supported by RTT posts. Any alleviation measures must be considered in the context of the limited resources that are available to my Department. As such, alleviation measures are being concentrated on schools which had 33 or more pupils supported by RTT posts, based on 2009/10 school year enrolments.

With regard to schools which have less than 33 Traveller pupils previously supported by RTT posts, within the context of the limited resources which are available and taking into account Government policy and the Employment Control Framework, my Department will consider whether further limited alleviation measures can be provided for schools for whom it can be demonstrated that they have been disproportionately effected by the alleviation/adjustment measures outlined above, in comparison to schools of a similar size and circumstances.

I understand my Department will be finalising the limited alleviation measures for schools that are losing RTT posts. The position of the school referred to by the Deputy is being considered by my Department and the school will be notified as soon as is possible.

Library Projects

John Lyons

Question:

166 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills the annual cost of running the junior certificate school programme library programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12819/11]

The Junior Certificate Schools Programme (JCSP) includes a Demonstration Library Project. This project establishes high quality, fully stocked and equipped modern school libraries and provides each with a professional librarian. The funding currently available to support the running of the project in 2011 is approximately €2.3 million.

John Lyons

Question:

167 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of librarians employed under the junior certificate school programme library programme whose contracts are up for renewal this year; his plans regarding renewal of these contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12820/11]

The Junior Certificate Schools Programme (JCSP) includes a Demonstration Library Project. This project establishes high quality, fully stocked and equipped modern school libraries and provides each with a professional librarian. There are 31 Librarians working with this project and I am pleased to say that all of these Librarians will be retained for a further year.

School Accommodation

Jim Daly

Question:

168 Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will fund the shortfall in funding required to construct the extension to a school (details supplied) in County Cork in view of the fact that the population of the school has increased by 50% in the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12823/11]

I can confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers applied to my Department in November 2010 seeking funding to provide one mainstream classroom, and was approved this additional accommodation in January 2011. My Department are not currently in receipt of any correspondence for additional funding.

Home-School Liaison Scheme

Andrew Doyle

Question:

169 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of home liaison officers in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010; the number of home liaison officers available by county for these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12849/11]

Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) is a mainstream preventative programme and a major component of DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools), the action plan for educational inclusion, which targets pupils at risk of not reaching their potential in the educational system because of background characteristics which tend to adversely affect pupil attainment and school retention. It focuses directly on the salient adults in children's educational lives while seeking direct benefits for the children themselves.

Whereas information requested by the Deputy on a county basis is not readily available, the overall position is as follows: 1,107 schools (876 DEIS & 231 Non DEIS) had the services of 544 HSCL/rural coordinators following the introduction of DEIS from 2006 to August 2009. A small number of these schools received a grant in lieu as they are geographically isolated and cannot be clustered with other schools. Under Budget 2009, in order to contain public sector spending, one of the decisions taken by the previous government was to advance the withdrawal of HSCL/rural services from schools that had HSCL prior to DEIS but were not selected to participate in DEIS. As a consequence, there remained 452 HSCL/rural coordinators providing a service to 876 DEIS schools ( 345 urban primary, 331 rural primary & 200 post primary) from the 2009/2010 school year.

Legislative Programme

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

170 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans for a new Fair Trade Bill for producers; the measures he is considering to end predatory practices in the retail sector and introduce transparency on margins and profitability for large retailers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12758/11]

The Programme for Government contains a specific commitment to "enact the Fair Trade Act, which will ban a number of unfair trading practices in the retail sector such as ‘hello money’ which suppliers have to pay to secure a place for their goods on supermarket shelves”. It is my intention to give effect to this commitment by including an enabling provision in the legislation currently being prepared by my Department to merge the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority, which will allow for the introduction of a statutory Code of Practice to regulate particular practices in the grocery goods sector.

I have recently received the report of the facilitator appointed by my predecessor to engage with the various stakeholders to explore the possibilities of agreeing a Voluntary Code of Practice to regulate relationships and practices in the Grocery Goods Sector. The report of the facilitator is currently being considered. The Government is strongly committed to ensuring that Ireland continues to have vibrant agri food and retail sectors, particularly given the importance of these sectors to the national economy. The Government considers it important, therefore, that there is balance in the relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector. The introduction of a Code of Practice is intended to achieve such a balance taking into account the interests of all stakeholders in the grocery goods sector including the interests of the consumer and the need to ensure that there is no impediment to the passing-on of lower prices to consumers.

In so far as the issue of predatory practices is concerned, competition law already prohibits undertakings who hold a dominant position in the marketplace from abusing that position. Predatory practices would include dominant undertakings engaging in predatory pricing whereby prices are set so low to the extent that the competitive process itself is damaged. Persons who have concerns that undertakings in the retail sector or elsewhere may be abusing their dominance in the marketplace by engaging in practices such as predatory pricing should bring their concerns to the attention of the Competition Authority so that they may be investigated.

Job Creation

Finian McGrath

Question:

171 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the reason the Industrial Development Agency rejected a plan for jobs on the north side of Dublin (details supplied). [12300/11]

I am informed that the site referred to by the Deputy is not in IDA ownership and that IDA had no involvement with any plans for jobs along the lines mentioned. IDA's role is to promote manufacturing and internationally traded services industry. Retailing operations such as those mentioned here are outside its remit.

Patent Applications

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

172 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the supports available for persons when applying for patents in view of the fact that the cost of using an agency can be prohibitive; the support available for persons who have no previous experience in applying for patents; his plans to increase the number of patent applications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12326/11]

My Department, through the work of the Patents Office, Enterprise Ireland and the County Enterprise Boards offer a range of supports to assist and enable entrepreneurs and enterprises to engage in the optimal exploitation of research and development, and specifically in applying for patents. The Patents Office is an independent statutory body whose functions are concerned with the granting of patents, registration of trademarks and designs and the administration and maintenance of these industrial property rights. The Office is charged with assessing and adjudicating on patent applications after they are submitted formally and the appropriate fees are paid.

The Office provides information supports to applicants through the Office's website www.patentsoffice.ie, including a detailed Patent Application Guide for applicants who wish to file a patent application without using the services of a patent agent. The Patents Office also provides an Intellectual Property (IP) clinic service providing members of the public, inventors, entrepreneurs and business people an opportunity to discuss with Patents Office staff their ideas and matters concerning IP (patent, trade mark or design) applications they intend to make or have already made to the Office. These one to one meetings are very supportive in providing basic guidance on procedures and forms required for the registration of IP rights, the process of obtaining IP protection in Ireland or abroad and the timeframes involved, assistance in constructing a do-it-yourself search strategy for patents, trade marks or registered designs and accessing and using online patent, trade mark and design databases. To avail of this service, an appointment should be made through The Patents Office Information Centre at (056) 7720126 or by email at patlib@patentsoffice.ie.

Enterprise Ireland also provide advice on intellectual property matters to companies in Ireland, supported by the Enterprise Europe Network. Companies are guided in the use of free resources such as the Patent Office databases and Espacenet, the European patent searching tool. It is intended to further enhance this support through the appointment of a dedicated person in Enterprise Ireland to assist entrepreneurs who wish to protect their technology. This new central contact will be responsible for all intellectual property related queries from companies and the higher education research system.

Since April 2010, the Patents Office, Enterprise Ireland, the Enterprise Europe Network and County Enterprise Boards have partnered to present seminars at a range of regional locations under the working title of "Building a Business on your Ideas". Seminars have taken place in Kilkenny, Donegal, Thurles, Dublin, Cork and Galway, with further events planned for Dundalk and Dublin again. The events have been well attended and very strong interest has been shown in the various supports available.

In conclusion it should be borne in mind that, because patent law and practice, and the drafting of the specification describing an invention, are detailed and complex matters, unless the applicant has had specialised training in this field it is advisable that consideration be given to engaging the services of a patent agent. The number of patent applications from Ireland to the European Patents Office increased from 484 in 2008 to 490 in 2009, while 961 applications for patents were received by the Irish Patents Office. I am satisfied that national supports for research, development and innovation will continue to result in new inventions that are patented.

Legislative Programme

Joe Costello

Question:

173 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will bring forward the legislation proposals to extinguish the market right at Smithfield horse market, Dublin 7. [12336/11]

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.

Dairy Industry

Dara Calleary

Question:

174 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the financial supports available within his Department for firms seeking to expand within the dairy ingredients sector. [12458/11]

Enterprise Ireland works with companies, which fall into three main categories:

Manufacturing and internationally traded services; companies employing ten or more people (and with a focus on exporting);

Innovation led start-ups with the potential to grow on international markets (and entrepreneurs with the ability to initiate projects that can compete in international markets) and

Irish food companies employing ten or more (with a focus on exporting), both those home-grown in Ireland, and those that are overseas owned or controlled (FDI).

Companies in these three main categories, including in the dairy ingredients sector, are eligible to apply for all of Enterprise Ireland's services and supports, within the frameworks of legislative and State Aid regulations (for example, conditions relating to the size of a company). Enterprise Ireland provides direct support to Companies to increase their capability to export, including in-company R&D, Innovation, Start-up Funding, Market Development, Competitiveness, and Management Development. The agency also provides supports to companies, institutions and researchers in the areas of Research Collaboration and Commercialisation — aimed at delivering maximum economic return for the State's expenditure on Science Technology and Innovation.

In addition, client companies of Enterprise Ireland in the dairy ingredient sector are eligible for support under all elements of the Food Competitiveness Fund, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and which supports business transformation through ‘lean' business process initiatives, management development and leadership initiatives. Companies engaged in changing how they operate will expect to benefit from increased productivity and quality as well as reductions in manufacturing costs.

Investment continues under the €100 million Dairy Investment Fund, which has been allocated in full following a competitive selection process awarded and is managed by Enterprise Ireland on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. The primary purpose of this Fund is to increase efficiency by supporting the upgrading of plant and buildings for competitiveness and development of value-added products. Many of the projects grant-aided under the Fund will lead to significant gains for the dairy industry through new product development, greater production efficiencies and increased export capability.

Insurance Industry

Peter Mathews

Question:

175 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if competition law forbids insurance companies from forcing customers to use specific companies for motor repairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12498/11]

Determination of whether certain business practices breach competition law is ultimately a matter for the Courts to decide. I understand the arrangement referred to by the Deputy is one whereby insurance companies actively recommend certain approved repairers to their policyholders with the approved repairers selected on the basis that they meet various qualitative standards and, in return, are guaranteed a minimum flow of work. Service Level Agreements are generally entered into by the insurance company and the approved repairer. Nonetheless, policy-holders are free to select a repairer of their choice.

The Competition Authority, which is the independent statutory body responsible for enforcing competition law in the State, has previously advised my Department that such arrangements do not appear to breach competition law but, in fact, appear to result in a more cost effective service being provided to the general public. More recently, the Authority has conducted market enquiries with insurance companies on the matter and it appears to remain the policy of insurance companies to allow policy-holders to choose repairers.

However, if the Deputy is aware of any alleged anti-competitive behaviour by an insurance company, he should address his complaint to the Competition Authority who will consider each case on its merits. It is, of course, open to any aggrieved party alleging anti-competitive practices, including abuse of a dominant position, to take a private action under Section 14 of the Competition Act 2002.

County Enterprise Boards

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

176 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he will support a complex (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12695/11]

My Department does not provide direct funding or grants to businesses but provides funding to a number of State Agencies, including the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs), through whom assistance is delivered directly to businesses.

The role of Kerry County Enterprise Board as part of the CEB network, is to provide support for small businesses with 10 employees or fewer in the start-up and expansion phases, to promote and develop indigenous micro-enterprise potential and to stimulate economic activity and entrepreneurship at local level, with priority being given to manufacturing and internationally traded services. While their primary function is to promote enterprise, CEBs can support individuals, firms and community groups provided that they have the capacity to achieve commercial viability which is vital to job creation.

Each CEB delivers a series of Programmes to underpin this role and they can provide both financial and non-financial assistance to a project promoter. The forms of financial assistance which are available, subject to certain eligibility criteria, include Priming Grants, Expansion/ Development Grants and Feasibility/ Innovation Study Grants. The provision of non-financial assistance can take the form of a wide range of business advice such as Programmes covering Business Management, Mentoring, E-commerce, Enterprise Education, and Women in Business networks.

Kerry CEB has advised my Department that they are familiar with the promoters and their proposed venture. The CEB has confirmed that they have engaged with the promoters and following an application for CEB assistance, the Board has approved financial assistance in the form of a Feasibility Study Grant towards this venture. The CEBs maintain a unique relationship with both clients and local businesses throughout their communities and can specifically tailor their programmes to meet the evolving needs and requirements of these small enterprises. It is in this regard that I would advise the promoters to maintain contact with their local CEB as their venture continues to develop into the future.

EU Directives

Catherine Byrne

Question:

177 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the position regarding the EU directive on Temporary Agency Workers 2008/104/EC which is due to be transposed into Irish law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12779/11]

EU Member States are required to transpose the provisions of the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work (2008/14/EC) into national law by 5 December 2011. A central objective of the Directive is that Member States afford protection to temporary agency workers by applying the principle of equal treatment in terms of the basic working and employment conditions e.g. pay, annual holidays etc. to agency workers in the same way as applies to workers that are directly recruited by a hirer undertaking to do the same job.

My Department initiated a public consultation on the national transposition of the directive in October last. Observations were provided by a number of stakeholders and interested parties and this has resulted in follow-up bilateral meetings between my Department and a number of respondents to further elaborate on positions. This is now informing the preparation of draft legislation by my Department to be approved by the Government in advance of the publication of a Bill. The timeline for publication of the Bill will have regard to the tight legislative timeline in order to meet the transposition deadline.

An important feature of the Directive is the possibility for the conclusion of a Framework Agreement, by the social partners at the national level which would allow for a "waiting period" to apply before equal treatment applies. In the UK, the Confederation of British Industry and the Trades Union Congress concluded a Framework Agreement that allows for a waiting period of 12 weeks before equal treatment will apply. The Government attaches significant importance to the conclusion of a Framework Agreement in the context of Ireland's national transposition in order to maintain our cost competitiveness vis-à-vis our main trading partners in Europe and we will be working with the Social Partners towards that end.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

178 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 537 of 17 May 2011, the reason he is not in a position to issue similar instructions to the agencies under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12793/11]

I have no direct function in relation to the exercise of the day-to-day administrative decisions of the Agencies under my remit. I am referring the specific question as to membership of IBEC to each of the Agencies under my remit with a request to respond to you directly in the next week.

Civil Registrations

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

179 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection under which legislation could a birth certificate be amended in 1962 in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1. [12484/11]

A birth certificate would have been amended in 1962 under the provisions of section 27 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act (Ireland), 1880 and under the Regulations for the Discharge of the Duties of Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Ireland (1880 — regulations 168-171)

Under these provisions and regulations birth entries were amended, on the authority of a Superintendent Registrar, in order to correct factual errors. Amendments were made following the production to a registrar of one or more statutory declarations from persons required to give information under the Act. This information would then have been entered in marginal notes, which were made in the original entries as part of the amendment process at the time.

Following the amendment of the original entries, the amended entries became the only valid entries in relation to the births, under the statutory provisions, and the original entries could not be issued as certified copies. In the case of the person (details supplied), documentation in relation to the amendment, such as the statutory declaration referred to above, cannot be located by the Registrar General. As such, it can only be presumed that amendment was carried out by the registrar in accordance with the statutory provisions in force at the time and subject to the production of satisfactory evidence in support of the statutory declaration that was the basis of the application for the amendment.

There is a legal principle which states that official acts enjoy the presumption of correctness, unless they can be shown to be incorrect. This is notwithstanding the fact that records or documents relating to the act cannot be located. In the case of the entry at issue here, the legal presumption of correctness stands, unless evidence can be produced that it is incorrect. The person (details supplied) has been in direct contact with the office of the Registrar General and has been informed of the position as outlined above.

Employment Support Services

Brendan Griffin

Question:

180 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection if persons with a disability, including deaf persons, will be allowed participate on the Tús programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12557/11]

Tús is a community work placement initiative which will provide up to 5,000 short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. Some €30 million has been provided in the Department's Estimates in 2011 to fund the roll-out of the initiative. Participants will, in the first instance, be identified by the Department of Social Protection by applying the following conditions:

A person must be unemployed and in receipt of a jobseeker's payment for at least 12 months, and

Currently be in receipt of jobseekers allowance, and

Be fully unemployed.

The purpose of Tús is to focus on those people who are long-term unemployed. For this reason, eligibility is at present confined to those on the Live Register for 12 months and in receipt of jobseeker's allowance. These provisions are to ensure a targeted approach to those currently affected by long-term unemployment. There is no exclusion for a person with a disability if they satisfy the above criteria. People in receipt of a disability allowance have access to a range of other supports such as family income supplement, back to work enterprise allowance, back to education allowance and earnings disregards. Additionally, people with disabilities wishing to access the labour market are provided with a range of supports by FÁS, including community employment.

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

181 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to re-introduce a redundancy programme for persons employed under the FÁS jobs initiative programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12733/11]

There are no plans under consideration to introduce a redundancy programme for participants on the FÁS Job Initiative programme. However, from time to time, due to operational reasons, individuals and Job Initiative team leaders have been offered redundancy on a voluntary basis. This is only done on an exceptional basis and occurs when the number of participants or team leaders is reduced, leaving the particular scheme to be no longer viable, and where participants could not be facilitated on any other programmes in their area.

Departmental Funding

Finian McGrath

Question:

182 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will secure funding for a law centre (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [12914/11]

Seán Kenny

Question:

196 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide further funding in 2011 through the grants for the development and promotion of information and welfare right to a centre (details supplied) to enable them to provide the vital services to their local community. [12674/11]

Terence Flanagan

Question:

198 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding funding for a centre (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12724/11]

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

199 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason funding has been withdrawn from an organisation (details supplied) which provides services to the local community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12739/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 182, 196, 198 and 199 together.

The Department has invested significant funding to the organisation concerned over the years in support of the services it provides within the Dublin North-Central and Dublin North-East areas.

The funding is provided under the scheme of grants for the development and promotion of information and welfare rights. Applications for grants are made by way of completing and submitting an application form annually which is then assessed in the context of the scheme and the financial resources available. In considering previous applications the Department has advised the organisation to secure funding from more appropriate revenue sources in the public and private sectors. While acknowledging that progress has been made by the organisation in developing additional revenue streams through its own activity, the Department remains the primary funder.

With regard to continued funding by the Department €175,000 has so far been provided in 2011 in order to ensure services are maintained. Officials met with the organisation concerned in April to discuss further funding. Following the meeting a letter issued to the chair of the board outlining the Department's position and that it was prepared to meet with representatives of the board to discuss the situation. Arrangements are currently being made with the organisation to secure a date for this meeting that is suitable for all parties.

Social Welfare Appeals

Paul Connaughton

Question:

183 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection if an appeal on an application for carer’s allowance will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway. [12289/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 15 December 2010. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 05 April 2011 and the appeal will be referred to an Appeals Officer, in due course, who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Legislative Programme

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

184 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Social Protection the date on which she will introduce transgender recognition legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11864/11]

The Gender Recognition Advisory Group was established in 2010 with the following terms of reference:—

"To advise the Minister for Social Protection on the legislation required to provide for legal recognition of the acquired gender of transsexuals. In particular, to propose heads of a bill to provide for:—

The establishment of a process for legal recognition of the acquired gender of persons suffering from Gender Identity Disorder, who have made the transition from one gender to another;

The establishment of a gender recognition register;

The granting of entitlement to marry in the legally recognised reassigned gender; and

Any other provisions as may be deemed necessary consequent to the main provisions of the Bill.

The Group is made up of representatives of various Departments and Offices of State. The group has met on a number of occasions and has engaged in extensive consultation with a range of representative organisations and individuals with knowledge and expertise in the area, both in Ireland and abroad. I understand that the draft report is at an advanced stage of preparation and I would expect that the report will be completed within a matter of weeks. As the Deputy will be aware, there are a number of detailed stages and procedures involved in drafting and enacting legislation, so it is not possible for me to set out a timetable for the introduction of legislation in this matter at the present time.

Social Welfare Appeals

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

185 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12374/11]

Having considered all the evidence and following a second medical examination, the appeals officer disallowed the appeal for the person concerned. Payment of invalidity pension was terminated with effect from 5th November 2009. The decision of an appeals officer is final and conclusive in the absence of fresh facts or evidence. With regard to the latest information received on 19 May 2011 in relation to the person concerned, it is considered that it contains no fresh facts or evidence and accordingly there is no ground to review the appeals officer's decision.

Social Welfare Benefits

Pat Breen

Question:

186 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12375/11]

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on the 24th March 2011. This application was referred to one of the Department's Medical Assessors, who found that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. A letter issued on 19th May 2011 advising the person concerned of the decision. In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds, the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days.

Social Insurance

John O'Mahony

Question:

187 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Social Protection the dental treatments available to persons under the PRSI scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12385/11]

The dental treatment benefit scheme is an employment-based scheme, available to customers (and their dependent partners) who have paid a certain number of PRSI contributions. For claims made in 2011, customers aged over 25 years need the following to qualify:

(1) A total of 260 Class A, H, E, or P PRSI contributions paid since first starting work, and

(2) 39 contributions either paid or credited in 2009, and

(3) 13 contributions paid in any of the last three years.

The dental benefit scheme currently offers a free yearly oral examination for those customers who meet the PRSI-based qualification conditions.

Social Welfare Benefits

Billy Kelleher

Question:

188 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will introduce measures to allow qualified adults receive the living alone allowance in cases where the spouse or partner resides in a nursing home on a permanent basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12395/11]

The living alone increase is an additional payment of €7.70 per week made to people aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of certain social welfare payments and who are living alone. It is also available to people who are under 66 years of age who are living alone and receiving payments under one of a number of invalidity type schemes. It is not a benefit in its own right and cannot be paid unless there is an entitlement to one of the qualifying payments.

An increase for qualified adult is payable to a person whose spouse/partner is wholly or mainly maintained by him/her, and where the weekly means of the spouse/partner come within certain specified limits. Although this social welfare increase is awarded to, and remains the entitlement of the social welfare recipient, it is paid directly to the spouse/partner. The increase attaches to the principal payment and cannot be paid unless there is an entitlement to a social welfare payment.

In a case where the person in receipt of the principal payment resides in a nursing home an increase for a qualified adult may be paid provided the qualified adult continues to be wholly or mainly maintained by the person who lives in the nursing home. However, as the living alone increase attaches to the person in receipt of the principal payment, it cannot be paid to the qualified adult. There are no plans to review the position.

Electronic Payments System

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

189 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Social Protection if the target, which came from a Government decision of 7 December 2004 on increasing the use of e-payments by Government Departments and in the public sector, of having 96% of cheque payments changed by the end of 2010 was met; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12405/11]

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

190 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide a breakdown of the percentage of payments under each scheme carried out by electronic fund transfer to financial institutions, by electronic information transfer via An Post and by cheque in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12406/11]

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

191 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Social Protection her e-payments strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12407/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 to 191, inclusive, together.

Government policy aims to facilitate and promote greater use of electronic payments in the economy in the interests of developing a modern payments environment in Ireland. My Department plays an important role in this regard.

The Department currently issues well over 80 million payments in respect of over 50 welfare schemes on a weekly, monthly and annual basis depending on the scheme type. These are delivered via electronic transfers to An Post and to banks, building society accounts and certain credit unions. There has been a significant increase in the use of e-payments in my Department since the Government decision in 2004 to which the Deputy refers. The initiatives taken by the Department to date have seen the percentage of customer using electronic payment transmission instruments rising from 38% in Jan 2004 to 91% in January 2011. Pension books containing personal payable orders were phased out in September 2009. Over this period arrangements have also been put in place to provide electronic payment transfers to those living in residential institutions. By the end of 2010, less than 9% of payments were issued by cheque. A detailed breakdown of payments for 2010 by scheme and method is set out in the following table.

The Department also made good progress in extending electronic payments to its own staff. By end 2010 approximately 96% of staff received their salary payments by electronic fund transfer (EFT) and it is intended that this figure will rise to 100% by end July. In addition 99% of staff who incurred travel and subsistence costs were reimbursed by electronic fund transfer (EFT). We will continue to apply strategies and solutions that harness suitable opportunities in the technology and financial services sectors to improve existing services, maximise efficiencies and support financial inclusion and customer service.

In this regard, my Department is currently finalising a new payment strategy through which the Department will continue to modernise the payment of welfare benefits. The emerging strategy is compatible with national Government policies and objectives such as better public services, more effective e-payments and the National Payments Implementation Programme. The strategy, which takes into account international developments in delivering welfare payments, the need for good and effective controls and the costs associated with making these payments, will be published later this year.

Percentages of payments by scheme and payment method from January to December 2010

%

%

%

%

%

Cheque

Postal Voucher

EIT*

EFT

Total

State Pension ( Contributory)

0.3

0

44.3

55.4

100

State Pension ( Transition)

0.04

0

30.14

69.82

100

State Pension ( Non-Contributory)

0.2

0

76.52

23.28

100

Pre-Retirement Allowance

1.5

0.01

64.6

33.9

100

Illness Benefit

27.97

0

0.32

71.71

100

Invalidity Pension

0.31

0

52.04

47.65

100

Occupational Injury Benefit

1.37

0

72.94

25.69

100

Disablement

26.33

0

0

73.67

100

Disability Allowance

0.3

0

59.7

40

100

Child Benefit

0

0

37.81

62.19

100

Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partners/Guardians Con Pen

0.49

0

60.82

38.69

100

Widow’s/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partners/Guardians Non Con Pen

0.25

0

68.27

31.47

100

Deserted Wives Benefit/Allowance

0.12

0

74.24

25.64

100

One Parent Family Payment

0.07

0.01

51.9

48.02

100

Maternity Benefit

6.19

0

0

93.81

100

Family Income Supplement

1.48

0

0.67

97.85

100

Carers Allowance

0.55

0

60.82

38.63

100

Carers benefit

0

0

11.55

88.45

100

Rent

100

0

0

0

100

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

31.99

0

51.96

16.05

100

Back to Work

0.21

0

2.88

96.91

100

Blind Person Pension

0.28

0

55.64

44.09

100

Jobseekers Benefit

36.63

0.04

59.82

3.51

100

Jobseekers Allowance

8.52

0.07

75.3

16.12

100

Smallholders

0

0

68.61

31.39

100

Farm Assist

1.04

0

35.34

63.63

100

Total

8.76

0.01

51.98

39.25

100

*EIT — Electronic Information Transfer

Departmental Staff

Clare Daly

Question:

192 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection the relationship between her and the 26 community welfare officers employed in the rent supplement unit in Santry, Dublin 9. [12534/11]

Late last year agreement was reached between the Health Service Executive (HSE) and unions representing the Community Welfare Officers that the staff of the Community Welfare Service (CWS) would transfer to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1st January 2011 on a secondment basis initially. The period of secondment is to last for 9 months until the end of September 2011. During this period these staff will remain employees of the HSE but are subject to the general direction and control of the Minster for Social Protection.

From 1 October 2011 it is intended that the staff of the CWS will be transferred fully to the Department as civil servants and will be accountable to the Minister in the same way as other civil servants. I have been advised that a number of staff in the CWS were employed in a temporary capacity by the HSE in 2010 for a period of six months, including some of the staff in the rents unit in question. These contracts were subsequently extended to June 2011 when they are to be gradually withdrawn.

Employment Support Services

Clare Daly

Question:

193 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will address the anomaly whereby persons are prevented from taking up employment in programmes such as the Tús Programme operated by Fingal County Council if they have engaged in short-term work administered by FÁS, but are still unemployed, especially in relation to one particular case (details supplied). [12540/11]

Tús is a community work placement initiative which will provide up to 5,000 short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. Some €30 million has been provided in the Department's Estimates in 2011 to fund the roll-out of the initiative. This initiative is delivery via the network of local development companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas. Participants will, in the first instance, be identified by the Department of Social Protection by applying the following conditions: a person must be unemployed and in receipt of a jobseeker's payment for at least 12 months; currently be in receipt of jobseekers allowance; and be fully unemployed.

The purpose of Tús is to focus on those people who are long-term unemployed. For this reason, eligibility is at present confined to those on the Live Register for 12 months and in receipt of jobseeker's allowance. These provisions are to ensure a targeted approach to those currently affected by long-term unemployment. I have noted the circumstances identified by the Deputy in this instance. However, given the current recruitment process to supervisory/team leader positions advertised by the local development companies, it is not open to me to vary the eligibility criteria at this time.

Citizen Information Services

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

194 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will advise the Citizens Information Board that they should include a heading of disability on their homepage under which all potential entitlements for children and adults with disabilities could be grouped. [12562/11]

The citizens information website is divided into fourteen categories, which are all accessible from the www.citizensinformation.ie homepage: Birth, Family and Relationships; Consumer Affairs; Death and Bereavement; Education and Training; Employment; Environment; Government in Ireland; Health; Housing; Justice; Money and Tax; Moving Country; Social Welfare; and Travel and Recreation.

Information for people with disabilities is integrated into the website's main categories. For example, information on disability allowance can be found in the "Disability and Illness" section in the Social Welfare category, and information on the motorised transport grant can be found in the "Transport and disability" section in the Travel and Recreation category.

There are also a number of documents that aim to cut across the website's categories and provide an overview of a particular area such as the "Caring for a child with a disability" and "Working with a disability" documents. A checklist is also included which references relevant information in the areas of social welfare, transport and mobility, work, education and training, health services and taxation. The publication "Entitlements for People with Disabilities", which was updated in 2010, and a new publication "Entitlements for children with disabilities" are also available on the Citizens Information Board website www.citizensinformationboard.ie. In addition, the www.assistireland.ie website is a comprehensive, online database of assistive technologies and suppliers.

However, in order to improve access and provide multiple paths to information on the website the Citizens Information Board is currently working on the development of checklists for various categories of people, including people with disabilities. The checklists will help people to navigate the site by having an overview of all potential entitlements relevant to their particular circumstances and a link to the relevant sections of the website.

Employment Support Services

Billy Timmins

Question:

195 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the national internship scheme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12566/11]

Work is being finalised on the development of the National Internship Scheme so that it will be ready for launch by the beginning of July. The scheme will be operated on the basis that host organisations who meet the eligibility criteria will advertise internship positions. Individuals wishing to take up an internship will contact a host organisation directly and then partake in a selection process run by the organisation resulting in that host organisation selecting their preferred candidates, subject to those candidates being eligible.

An individual is not precluded from approaching an organisation directly with a view to that organisation offering them an internship opportunity under the scheme. However, all internship positions will be available for eligible persons to apply for and the decision as to who will receive the internship will be made by the host organisation. Further details relating to the criteria and how to apply for the scheme will be launched in the coming weeks.

Question No. 196 answered with Question No. 182.

Social Welfare Benefits

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

197 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of public and civil servants in receipt of family income supplement [12715/11]

There are currently approximately 24,581 people in receipt of a weekly family income supplement (FIS) payment of which 2,566 (10%) are public servants. The number of civil servants who are receiving FIS is included in the figure for public servants. A separate breakdown for civil servants is not currently available.

Questions Nos. 198 and 199 answered with Question No. 182.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

200 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12746/11]

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of this case took place on 29 March 2011 and the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in the light of all the evidence submitted, including that adduced at the oral hearing. The person concerned will be notified of the Appeals Officer's decision when the appeal has been determined.

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

Social Welfare Benefits

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

201 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection when a disability allowance claim will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12765/11]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 29th March 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 9th May 2011 and the appeal will be referred to an Appeals Officer, in due course, who will decide whether the case can be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

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

Social Welfare Appeals

John McGuinness

Question:

202 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 79 of 12 May 2011, if she will review the case in view of the fact that the person has already indicated to the supplementary welfare allowance section that they do not have the means to meet their bills, that they are in arrears with their mortgage, that they are too ill to cope and that they require immediate financial assistance; and if she will expedite the case. [12794/11]

The position remains as advised in Question No. 79 which was answered for the Deputy on 12 May 2011. The Health Service Executive (HSE), who decide on all entitlements under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, has advised that if the person concerned is experiencing exceptional financial difficulties then they should contact the community welfare officer at his local health centre.

Pension Provisions

John McGuinness

Question:

203 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for a State pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; the timeframe for a decision in this case; and if she will expedite the matter. [12795/11]

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 hands, 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 s/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.

Social Welfare Appeals

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

204 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to deal with the delays in processing domiciliary allowance appeals; if she is in a position to transfer staff from other sections of the Department to deal with the backlog of appeals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12816/11]

The average waiting time for a domiciliary care appeals dealt with by way of a summary decision in 2010 was 26.8 weeks, while the average time to process an oral hearing was 49.1 weeks. These processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation. These include all activities during this period including time spent in the Department for comments by the deciding officer on the grounds of appeal put forward by the appellant and any further investigation, examination or assessment by the Department's inspectors and medical assessors, that is deemed necessary. As can be seen from the figures, a considerable period of time is added to the process when an oral hearing is required because of the logistics involved in this process. In order to be fair to all appellants, these appeals are dealt with in strict chronological order.

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. In the context of dealing with the considerable number of appeals now on hands, the Department has made a further 9 additional appointments to the office in recent weeks.

I am assured by the Chief Appeals Officer that she is keeping current processes under continuous review with a view to achieving a more effective throughput of appeals, while ensuring that any progress does not conflict with due process in terms of the rights of appellants and adherence to the requirements of natural justice

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

205 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Social Protection when a domiciliary care appeal case will be heard in respect of a person(details supplied) in County Meath. [12817/11]

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. The person concerned 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.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

206 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a supplementary welfare allowance and mortgage interest allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) and when a decision will issue. [12853/11]

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has advised that the person concerned was refused mortgage interest supplement as she has sufficient income to meet her mortgage interest costs and that this decision has not been appealed. The HSE further advised that there is no record of an application for a basic supplementary welfare allowance payment.

Architectural Heritage

Sandra McLellan

Question:

207 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if he will provide an update on his discussions with the Bank of Ireland regarding the handover of their College Green Dublin branch for use as a literary centre. [12316/11]

I have written to the Bank of Ireland seeking to engage with it in relation to the future of the historic College Green building. A follow-up meeting is arranged.

Voluntary Bog Purchase Scheme

Frank Feighan

Question:

208 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport the position regarding an application for sale of bogland in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim; and when payment will issue. [12468/11]

My Department has no record of having received an application under the voluntary bog purchase scheme from the individual referred to in the Deputy's Question. Should the Deputy wish to supply additional details to me, however, I will have the matter examined further by my Department.

Departmental Funding

Michael McCarthy

Question:

209 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport his arts strategy for the next year; the timeline for its implementation; the steps he is taking to ensure that funding in his Department is being ring-fenced to support various art projects and groups of both a national and local nature; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12306/11]

Primary responsibility for the promotion of the arts at all levels throughout the country is devolved to the Arts Council. The Council is funded by my Department and is independent in its day to day operations, including funding decisions. The total allocation to the Arts Council for 2011 is €65.16m. In the context of the 2012 Estimates I will endeavour to maximise continuing Government support for the arts.

National Commemorative Events

Robert Troy

Question:

210 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport if a decision has been reached on the date, time and location in Ulster for this year’s National Famine Memorial Day. [12854/11]

While the National Famine Commemoration is normally held in mid-May of each year, this year's will take place at a later date in 2011. The National Famine Commemoration Committee, which I chair, will meet very shortly with a view to finalising the date and venue for the 2011 event. I envisage that I will be in a position to announce details of the 2011 Commemoration subsequent to that meeting.

Departmental Bodies

Michael McGrath

Question:

211 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide details of the membership of the Inland Fisheries Board, including the nomination procedure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12553/11]

Section 12 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010 (No. 10 of 2010) provides that the Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) shall consist of nine members including the Chairperson. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is empowered to appoint three members including the Chairperson on his own nomination and two members on the nomination of the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

Section 12(3) of the Act provides that three members of the Board shall be appointed by the Minister on the nomination of the Oireachtas Joint Committee for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. In accordance with Section 13 of the Act the Minister appointed one Board member who was elected by the staff of IFI. The term of office of members of IFI is provided for under section 14 of the Inland Fisheries Act 2010. Details of the membership of IFI is as follows:

Member

Nominated By

Date Appointed

Term of Office

Brendan O’Mahony (Chairperson)

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

1 July 2010

5 Years

Lal Faherty

Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs

1 July 2010

5 Years

Frances Lucey

Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government

1 July 2010

3 Years

Andrew Duncan

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

1 July 2010

3 Years

John Carroll

Oireachtas Joint Committee for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

3 November 2010

3 Years

Michael McGreal

Oireachtas Joint Committee for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

3 November 2010

4 Years

John Geary

Oireachtas Joint Committee for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

3 November 2010

5 Years

Marcus McMahon

Elected Staff Representative of Inland Fisheries Ireland

17 November 2010

5 Years

Muireann O’Neill

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

7 December 2010

4 Years

Alternative Energy Projects

Billy Timmins

Question:

212 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the fact that the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland is no longer supporting biomass or heat pump technologies and is still grant aiding gas and oil condensing burners (details supplied); when this charge was introduced; the reason this was introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12637/11]

The Better Energy grant levels have been set to ensure that the level of Exchequer support is in line with market prices. Since the Greener Homes Scheme and Home Energy Savings (HES) schemes were launched in 2006 and 2009 respectively, there have been substantial reductions in the prices being charged for most of the measures covered by the schemes, the exception being external insulation, which is a relatively new technology in Ireland.

The grants for renewable technologies were recast in September 2007, again in July 2008 (on foot of changes to Part L of the Building Regulations), and once more in early 2010. The grants were amended in order to reflect falling market prices and the need to keep Exchequer incentive levels at an appropriate level in relative terms.

Measures being supported under the Better Energy programme are those designed to deliver the greatest energy savings, maximising the value achieved from the available budget allocation. In terms of prioritising available resources the focus must be on measures which deliver the best value for money in energy terms and for the consumer. In this context, state support is best served by prioritising building fabric improvements, then space and water heating efficiency and finally renewables.

Support for biomass and heat pumps through the Greener Homes Scheme was designed to develop a mature and functioning market, which is now in place. In addition, there was a considerable administrative overhead given the number of applications that were processed under this scheme.

The grant available for a new oil or gas boiler represents a contribution to the additional cost incurred by the homeowner in choosing a high efficiency boiler (i.e. greater than 90% efficiency) versus the standard required by the building regulations (i.e. greater than 86% efficiency). The homeowner must also install heating controls in order to avail of the €160 subsidy.

Broadcasting Services

John O'Mahony

Question:

213 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will waive a levy imposed on a school (details supplied) who operate a school radio. [12299/11]

Section 33 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 requires the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to recoup the expenses properly incurred by the Authority and its statutory committees in the performance of their functions through the imposition of a levy or charge on public service broadcasters and broadcasting contractors. The terms of this levy, including method of calculation, are required to be set out in a Levy Order.

The Broadcasting Act 2009 (Section 33) Levy Order 2010 Statutory Instrument No. 7 of 2010 was enacted by both Houses of the Oireachtas on the 20th of January, 2010. There is no provision in the legislation for me, as Minister to grant a waiver in respect of the imposition of this levy on any broadcaster holding a broadcasting contract.

Energy Prices

Frank Feighan

Question:

214 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the procedure for households to avail of Electric Ireland’s new lower rates; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty in getting in touch with any person within this company using their advertised phone number; and if every household can receive a slip with their ESB bills to enable them to apply for this scheme. [12358/11]

I have no statutory function in the setting of energy prices, whether in the regulated or non-regulated sector. Responsibility for the regulation of the electricity and gas markets is a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), which is an independent statutory body. ESB Electric Ireland's price plans and its roll out are a day-to-day operational matter for ESB Electric Ireland in which I have no function. I will, however, bring the Deputy's query to the attention of ESB Electric Ireland.

Telecommunications Services

Robert Troy

Question:

215 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he has been in contact with Eircom regarding the upgrade of the phone exchange to enable the provision of broadband at a location (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12359/11]

The provision of broadband services is, in the first instance, a matter for private sector service providers operating in Ireland's fully liberalised telecommunications market, regulated by the independent regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Broadband services are provided by a number of private service providers over various platforms including DSL (i.e. over telephone lines), fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fibre and satellite. Decisions relating to the upgrading of eircom exchanges are commercial matters for the management of the company. I have no role or function in such matters.

Alan Farrell

Question:

216 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans to deliver high speed broadband services to the Naul, County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12424/11]

Alan Farrell

Question:

217 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his plans for the complete delivery of high speed broadband services to north County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12425/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 and 217 together.

The provision of broadband services is, in the first instance, a matter for private sector service providers operating in Ireland's fully liberalised telecommunications market, regulated by the independent regulator, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). Broadband services are provided by a number of private service providers over various platforms including DSL (i.e. over telephone lines), fixed wireless, mobile, cable, fibre and satellite.

Under the NewERA proposals in the Programme for Government to deliver higher broadband speeds, there is a commitment to co-invest with the private sector and commercial Semi State sector to provide Next Generation Broadband to every home and business in the State. Consideration of how best to advance these proposals is being advanced by my Department with other stakeholders across Government.

Additionally, in order to accelerate the development of high speed broadband, my officials have been engaging with industry. The Next Generation Broadband Taskforce (NGBT), which I chair, will consider how best to roll out Next Generation Broadband. The NGBT, which includes representatives of large network owners and smaller telecommunications services providers, will meet shortly to discuss policy and related matters. I expect that the NGBT will be helpful in terms of identifying the optimal policy position to deliver wider customer access to high-speed broadband.

Offshore Exploration

Catherine Murphy

Question:

218 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he is satisfied that the consent (details supplied) granted on the 25 February 2011 regarding the Corrib gas project fully complied with the judgment of the ECJ in case 2009/50 Commission v. Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12543/11]

The judgement referred to by the Deputy is a judgement about the manner in which Ireland transposed an EC environmental Directive. It is not a judgement on the validity of any consent granted to a project or programme.

As I indicated to the House in my reply to Question Number 178 on 22 March 2011, it is my understanding that the consents referred to by the Deputy are valid consents.

Energy Conservation

Michael McGrath

Question:

219 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the position regarding the introduction of a pay as you save financial model as part of the new better energy grant scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12620/11]

Pay as you save is a financial model which would allow energy consumers to finance energy efficiency upgrades through the energy savings generated. The Programme for Government commits to the roll out of a pay-as-you-save scheme after 2013 to enable the home energy efficiency programme to continue without recourse to public funding. My Department is working with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, the utilities and financial institutions to develop proposals for the introduction of a national pay-as-you-save scheme in line with this timeframe.

There are considerable complexities involved in the development of a PAYS scheme and comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders will be required. I expect to bring forward legislation to underpin the scheme next year.

In the interim, I have secured an additional €30 million to support Better Energy as already announced.

National Lottery Funding

Sean Fleming

Question:

220 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will outline separately in each of the past five years the amount received by his Department in respect of national lottery funding; the grants approved by him; the amounts actually paid out by him; the position regarding the balance yet to be paid out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12723/11]

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has not received National Lottery Funding in any year since its formation in June 2007. Arising from the Deputy's question I am examining whether this Department ought to be making such application in the future.

Energy Conservation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

221 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will report on the results of CER’s smart metering trials; when the roll out of the national smart meter programme will commence; the form that it will take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12727/11]

The National Smart Metering Programme is a central component of strategy to radically enhance management of energy demand, deliver smart networks and enable greater energy efficiency through the use of cutting-edge technology. It is also in line with EU requirements where Member States are obliged to progress smart metering.

Development of a national smart meter programme is progressing to schedule. Phase 1 of the programme concludes this year with the completion of Technology Trials and Customer Behaviour Trials for both electricity and gas smart metering. The aim of the Customer Behaviour Trials is to determine the potential for smart meters to achieve measurable change in consumer behaviour in terms of assisting them to reduce their peak and overall energy usage. The electricity trials, which have been among the most comprehensive and robust smart metering trials conducted internationally to date, have recently been completed and the findings were published by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) on 16 May. The findings generally indicate that a national rollout of electricity smart metering can assist consumers in being more efficient in their use of electricity and as a result reduce consumer electricity costs and carbon emissions. The results of the gas smart meter trials will be published by the CER later this year.

A critical component of Phase 1 of the national smart meter programme is the associated cost-benefit analysis, which will crucially inform the Government's decisions in due course relating to a national smart metering rollout. The Cost-Benefit Analysis for electricity smart metering was recently finalised by the ESRI, informed by the electricity trials findings and other data. This comprehensive analysis, which was also published by the CER on 16 May, concludes that a positive net benefit for consumers would arise from a national rollout of electricity smart metering.

The positive findings from the electricity smart metering trials and associated cost-benefit analysis will inform and facilitate the further development of the national smart meter programme. The CER proposes to undertake a consultation with stakeholders in the coming months on the proposed high level regulatory design and implementation approach for a national smart metering rollout. It is proposed that this consultation will cover both electricity and gas smart metering, taking into account also the results of the gas smart meter trials and associated cost-benefit analysis, which are due in August. The CER expects to be in a position to publish its decision on a national smart metering rollout for electricity and gas in October. Publication of the CER's decision will mark the formal conclusion of Phase 1 of the programme. Following the CER Decision and further analysis by my Department, I intend to bring forward proposals on the Programme to Government towards the end of the year.

Inland Fisheries

Brendan Griffin

Question:

222 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if mono or multi-mono netting will be permitted for draft net salmon fishermen in view of the changes to conservation measures that are now in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12784/11]

I understand that the Deputy is referring to the proposal to re-open the licensed commercial fishery in Castlemaine Harbour, County Kerry.

In its recent report on the outcome of the pilot fishery conducted in the harbour during the summer of 2010, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) recommended that a licensed commercial fishery should be permitted in Castlemaine Harbour in 2011, inside the rivers Laune, Maine and Caragh and within specified areas of the harbour. IFI has, inter alia, recommended the use of multi-strand monofilament draft nets for fishing in this proposed fishery.

The use of multi strand monofilament nets was monitored as part of the Castlemaine pilot and having considered the findings IFI recommend that this method be used for the prosecution of a licensed fishery in the Harbour. I am advised that the catch advice provided by the Standing Scientific Committee has already factored in the precautionary approach and the fishery is constrained by quota and timing. Thus the management advice recommends that fishermen be permitted to use the most efficient methodology possible to harvest their quota of fish.

IFI recommend that even though all draft net fisheries are subject to quota and timing restrictions, the introduction of monofilament and multistrand monofilament nets should only be considered on a case by case basis and based on best scientific and management advice.

I propose, therefore, to introduce a Bye-law to provide for the opening of the Castlemaine Harbour fishery and to allow the use of multi-strand monofilament in fishing for salmon and sea trout, subject to the outcome of the 30 day consultation on the required amendment to the Wild Salmon and Sea Trout Tagging Scheme Regulations 2011.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

223 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources further to Parliamentary Question No. 307 of 17 May 2011, the reason he is not in a position to issue similar instructions to the agencies under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12792/11]

As stated in my reply to Question No. 307 from the Deputy, the payment of subscriptions by State Agencies in respect of corporate membership of organisations, including Irish Business and Employers Confederation is a day-to-day operational issue for the Agencies themselves.

I have requested the Agencies to provide the information directly to the Deputy.

National Lottery Funding

Dara Murphy

Question:

224 Deputy Dara Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide details of the amount of funding allocated from the National Lottery Beneficiary Fund since 1998 to projects in the Dáil constituency of Cork North Central as part of the community development programme. [12667/11]

Some €7.1 million has been provided through the Community Development Programme to 7 Community Development Projects in Cork City since 2002. Details of individual annual amounts provided to each Project since 2002 are set out on an annual basis in the following table.

Details of funding provided to Projects for the period prior to 2002 are not held by my Department. However, I understand that this information is available in the Dáil Library.

Table of funding for Cork City CDPS 2002-2010

Name of Group

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Ballyphehane Togher CDP

120,448

109,430

115,876

127,600

135,000

138,677

147,000

129,889

129,889

Farranree CDP

106,200

100,200

112,975

124,164

118,100

136,689

140,000

123,704

123,704

Glen CDP

83,889

80,080

92,704

96,300

121,584

117,500

126,500

114,290

111,775

Gurranabraher CDP

0

0

0

23,000

34,320

33,000

67,500

54,676

59,981

Mahon CDP

176,579

110,000

117,250

129,150

136,697

158,561

151,000

133,424

133,424

Mayfield CDP

221,815

109,000

220,531

115,185

125,184

140,465

131,500

116,193

116,193

We the People

115,613

101,600

111,537

116,945

122,850

139,711

136,000

117,519

118,467

Total

824,544

610,310

770,873

732,344

793,735

864,603

899,500

789,695

793,433

Services for People with Disabilities

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

225 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will have arrangements made for all major and big hotels here be requested to have available one bedroom that would be fully disabled person friendly. [12694/11]

Part M (Access for People with Disabilities) of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, as amended, makes provision for the access and use of buildings, including hotels, by people with disabilities. Building Regulations apply to new buildings and, in certain circumstances, to works involving an extension, material alteration or material change of use to an existing building.

Specific guidance on how a hotel can comply with its obligations under Part M is set out in TGD-M, with specific provisions included in section 1.18. In general terms, one guest bedroom out of every twenty is required to be suitable in terms of size, layout and facilities for independent use by a wheelchair user.

Part M/TGD-M of the Building Regulations has recently been reviewed and the revised requirements and guidance will come into effect from 1 January 2012. Guidance in relation to accessible sleeping accommodation, in particular, has been considerably enhanced.

Planning Issues

Brian Stanley

Question:

226 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if there has been a local labour clause inserted into the agreement for the regeneration of an area (details supplied). [12304/11]

Planning permission was granted on 5 May 2011 for a mixed use development with 253 residential units, offices, retail units, restaurants, community sports facilities and a cinema at this location. It is envisaged that some 139 of the residential units will be used for social housing with a significant number being set aside as replacement units for current residents. This planning decision is another step in the PPP procurement process for the regeneration of the Charlemont Flat Complex. This will allow Dublin City Council to proceed to the next stage, a value for money assessment of the involvement of the private sector, whereby a benchmark price is set against which tenders will be evaluated. This benchmark is prepared in partnership with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and my Department.

The inclusion of a local labour clause, along with other aspects of the bid process, will form part of the discussions with the NDFA in formulating the benchmark price. While it is not possible at this stage in the process to provide details of the final agreement, every opportunity to stimulate local employment opportunities, subject to legislative constraints, will be explored. The provision of commercial, retail and cinema units at this location will, of itself, provide local employment opportunities, in addition to those arising during the construction and implementation phases of the project.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

227 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, having regard to the objective of reuniting dormant account holders and policyholders or their next of kin with their dormant funds and unclaimed policies in credit institutions and insurance undertakings, the current reserve within the dormant accounts fund against future claims; the way this level of reserve compares to dormant accounts funds internationally; if any consideration has been or is being given to revising the level of reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12307/11]

The current reserve within the Dormant Accounts Fund as of the 31 March 2011 is €46m. The reserve fund is retained by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to meet future reclaims and cover the expenses of the Board and the NTMA.

Under Section 17(4) of the 2001 Act, the NTMA has determined, with the approval of the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, given with the consent of the Minister for Finance, that 15% of the total moneys received by the Fund and not yet reclaimed should be paid into the Reserve Account. The value of the Reserve Account at end 2010 was €348 million.

Comparing the Reserve Account to international standards is not relevant as the Reserve Account is used primarily to meet reclaims (where a previously dormant account is reactivated by its owner) and therefore the determination of the appropriate level of the Reserve Account is driven by the trend within Ireland in reactivation of previously dormant accounts. The level of the Reserve Account is reviewed annually as part of the investment plan for the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

228 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the current level of surplus or otherwise in the dormant accounts fund; in the event of a tapering off of disbursements from the dormant accounts fund the strategic role envisaged from this balance in the national finances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12308/11]

The Dormant Accounts Acts provide for an annual transfer by credit institutions and insurance undertakings of monies in accounts determined to be dormant into the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF). Since its establishment in April 2003 to the end of March 2011, the transfers to the DAF have totalled some €589m, which includes interest earned of some €35m. Funds reclaimed in that period by account holders amounted to approximately €209m. The net value of the Dormant Accounts Fund (uncommitted funds) is €52.5million. On 1 May 2011, the functions relating to Dormant Accounts, previously administered by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, transferred to my Department.

A summary of the current status of the DAF is available on the website www.pobail.ie and I am arranging for a copy to be sent to the Deputy in the coming days. This provides a profile of the Fund showing yearly inflows, reclaims, disbursements, etc, from 2003 to the end of March 2011. Disbursements from the DAF are paid from the Votes of the relevant Departments which, in turn, are reimbursed from the Fund. Expenditure under the Fund is spread across some 10 Departments and Agencies.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

229 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the social, economic or other policy objective that has been achieved by exempting dormant balances in credit unions from the provisions of the Dormant Accounts Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12309/11]

The position as regards dormant accounts funding is that, in practical terms, increasing the amount available in the Fund does not necessarily allow for the introduction of new dormant accounts measures or programmes. While applying the provisions of the dormant accounts legislation to credit union accounts would increase the amount available in the Fund, Government Departments and agencies would still have to source monies for dormant accounts programmes and measures from their Exchequer allocation, in the same way as with any other funding programmes. When the monies expended on dormant accounts measures and programmes are reimbursed from the Dormant Accounts Fund, the refund is to the Exchequer rather than to the spending Department. For this reason, dormant accounts expenditure is subject to the same constraints within Departments as any other spending programmes.

At a time of significant budgetary pressures, resulting in reduced allocations across Government Department Votes, there is a need to prioritise existing funding programmes. Expenditure on new dormant accounts measures or programmes could reduce spending on other existing programmes and serve to increase Government debt levels. As such, creating a potential new source of dormant accounts funding, such as credit union accounts, would serve little practical purpose at this time.

However, this is a matter I am prepared to keep under review, particularly in the context of any improvement to the budgetary situation.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

230 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the degree to which reports of dormant balances for a given year by the covered financial institutions are independently inspected, verified or examined for accuracy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12310/11]

Under the Dormant Account Act 2001, as amended, and the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, the Financial Regulator may authorise inspectors for the purpose of ensuring compliance by financial services providers with the provisions of the legislation. I do not have a remit in this matter.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

231 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, in relation to disbursements on dormant accounts measures, the way this will operate in the instance of the Health Service Executive; if the Health Service Executive has to source funding for dormant accounts programmes from its Exchequer allocation; once the HSE incurs the expenditure, if it is reimbursed from the Exchequer from the dormant accounts fund in the form of an appropriation-in-aid paid through the Department of Health and Children; if so, if he considers this the most cost-effective and benefit-effective way to expedite dormant accounts measures in the health sector including expenditure on suicide prevention programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12311/11]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

237 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm that, as currently constituted, the Government accounting procedures treat it as an increase of the national debt when money from the dormant accounts fund is disbursed to a community-based or other project in the areas of economic and social disadvantage, educational disadvantage, schemes, programmes or services for persons with a disability and suicide prevention; pursuant to this, if he sees merit in reviewing the manner in which disbursements from the dormant accounts fund are treated in the Government accounts procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12451/11]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231 and 237 together.

Under the Government Accounting procedures, disbursements on dormant accounts measures are paid in the first instance "up front" from each Agency or Department's Vote in the same way as with any other spending programme. Therefore, Government Departments and Agencies have to source funding for dormant accounts programmes from their Exchequer allocation in the annual estimates process. The difference with dormant accounts expenditure compared with other funding programmes, however, is that once expenditure takes place, either on administration of the measure, or by the project itself, it is reimbursed to the Exchequer from the Dormant Accounts Fund in accordance with the Dormant Accounts Acts, in the form of Appropriations-in-Aid payable through the relevant Department's Vote. In this way, the costs associated with dormant accounts measures are Exchequer neutral.

As a result of cumulative disbursements to date, the net assets of the fund are less than the dormant funds transferred and not yet reclaimed. This difference represents a contingent exchequer liability that would have to be met by the Exchequer in the event that all moneys transferred to the Dormant Accounts Fund were reclaimed. Under section 17(7) of the Dormant Accounts Act 2001, whenever the moneys in the Investment and Disbursement Account are insufficient to meet the deficiency in the Reserve Account, a payment can be made out of the Central Fund into the Reserve Account of an amount not exceeding the deficiency — such a payment would cause an increase in the national debt.

The Dormant Accounts (Amendment) Act (2005) allows for the disbursal of Dormant Accounts funding to the following themes:

To improve the quality of life and reduce isolation for people who are economically or socially disadvantaged (Category A — Economic and Social Disadvantage)

To improve opportunities for individuals who are economically or socially disadvantaged to overcome the impediments arising from such disadvantage through deriving appropriate benefit from education (Category B — Educational Disadvantage);

To enhance the potential for persons with a disability to play a more active role in society and increase their level of independence (Category C — Supports for people with Disabilities).

Legislation is currently in preparation to dissolve the Dormant Accounts Board and introduce a revised disbursement process for Dormant Accounts Funding. The Bill has been listed for publication in the current Dáil session.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

232 Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on the withdrawal of funding for a youth project (details supplied) in Dublin 3; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12327/11]

The Dormant Accounts Fund Acts provide for an annual transfer by credit institutions and insurance undertakings of monies in accounts determined to be dormant into the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF). Since its establishment in May 2003 to end-March 2011, the net transfers to the DAF have totalled some €345m.

The project in question was awarded Dormant Accounts funding of €57,500 under Round 2 of the Dormant Accounts RAPID Additionality Measure. The grant has been used to develop a pilot project working with 8-10 year olds who are at risk from a range of social and economic disadvantages and to establish if earlier intervention adds value to the work of the youth project in addressing the issues of these young people at risk.

The Dormant Accounts Fund is not a source of mainstream funding and cannot of its nature be regarded as a source of indefinite funding for specific projects. In this regard the long-term sustainability of this particular project will have to be pursued with the relevant statutory agencies.

Noise Pollution

Joe Costello

Question:

233 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the outcome of the public consultation on the noise regulations has been published; his plans to introduce legislation on this matter; when the legislation will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12330/11]

A Noise Issues Consultation Paper was published in August 2008 to inform the development of a Noise Nuisance Bill proposed by the previous Government. My Department intended to publish the outcome of that consultation process to coincide with the introduction of the Noise Nuisance Bill in the Oireachtas. However, the Bill was not finalised for publication before the dissolution of the 30th Dáil.

The current Programme for Government includes a commitment to address noise pollution through the introduction of fixed payment notices (also known as on the spot fines) and provision for mediation between neighbours. Submissions received as part of the previous public consultation process on noise will be taken into consideration by my Department as the approach to new noise legislation is re-considered. As this process will influence the content and timing of new legislative proposals in this area, it was indicated in the Government Legislation Programme published on 5 April 2011 that it is not possible at this time to indicate when the legislation will be published.

Waste Management

Joe Costello

Question:

234 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will clarify the legislation in relation to waste management responsibilities for rented properties including whole houses, subdivided houses and multi-unit dwellings; his plans for further legislation regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12331/11]

Under section 32(1A)(a) of the Waste Management Act 1996 it is the responsibility of the original waste producer or other waste holder to have waste collected, or to make appropriate arrangements for treatment, in accordance with the waste hierarchy.

Section 35 of the 1996 Act provides that a local authority may make bye-laws requiring a holder of household waste to present such waste, specifying sorting measures, quantities, location, times and other relevant matters. As such, it is a role of the relevant local authority to regulate the presentation of waste for collection, in alignment with the national, regional and local policy framework, for all categories of dwelling.

Under article 12 of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, a dwelling let for rent must generally have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities. Where there is more than one dwelling in a building, these facilities may be provided individually for each dwelling or a communal facility can be provided for the building provided it is suitable and adequate to collect and store the refuse in an appropriate manner between collections. The presentation of refuse for collection, the manner in which it is presented and any charges for collection are the responsibility of the tenant.

As regards multi-unit developments, section 18 of the Multi-Units Development Act 2011 states that owners' management companies are required to operate a scheme of annual service charges from which the management company may discharge ongoing expenditure on expenses including waste management services.

I have no plans at this time to introduce further legislation in relation to this matter.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Michael McCarthy

Question:

235 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of bonds that have been called in by all local authorities relating to unfinished estates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12379/11]

Sections 34(4)(g) and 180(2)(b) of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, enable planning authorities to attach conditions to grants of planning permission for development requiring the provision of financial securities sufficient to safeguard the satisfactory completion of essential infrastructure and amenities in those developments, and, if a development is not subsequently completed satisfactorily, to apply a security given under section 34 for the satisfactory completion of that development. It is a matter for the planning authority to determine both the level of the security and the type of security that will be required for each residential development. The amount of the security, its duration and the terms on which it is required to be given, should enable the planning authority, without cost to itself, to complete the necessary services to a satisfactory standard in the event of default by the developer. My Department does not keep statistics on the number of bonds called in by local authorities in this regard.

Closed Circuit Television Systems

Nicky McFadden

Question:

236 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if further funding will be made available to RAPID organisations under the community closed circuit television scheme. [12397/11]

The lead agency in relation to the Community Based CCTV Scheme is the Department of Justice and Equality and it is that Department which deals directly with applications and allocations under this scheme. Calls for bids are solely at the discretion of the Minister for Justice and Equality.

The overall purpose of the scheme is to support local communities who wish to install and maintain CCTV security systems in their area, with the aim of increasing public safety and reducing the risk of anti-social and criminal activity. The scheme was devised in response to a demonstrated demand from communities across Ireland for the provision of CCTV systems

It is designed to provide financial assistance to qualifying local organisations, towards meeting the capital costs associated with the establishment of local community CCTV systems. The maximum grant awardable by the Department of Justice and Equality is €100,000. My Department has provided matching funding to that allocated by the Department of Justice and Equality to successful applicants from RAPID areas, subject to the total grant aid from both Departments not exceeding €200,000 or 100% of the capital costs of the project, whichever is the lesser.

There have been two funding rounds, to date. The CCTV scheme is not open for bids at present.

Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 231.

Special Housing Needs

Jack Wall

Question:

238 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 130 of 18 May 2011 his plans to investigate housing initiatives that are not functioning to their full potential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12452/11]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 130 of 18 May, 2011. It is a matter for the local authority concerned to ensure that housing bodies manage and maintain capital funded projects in accordance with the terms of the capital funding schemes. My Department will ask Kildare County Council to review the matters raised and report on compliance, by the housing body in question, with the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Local Authority Housing

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

239 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a council (details supplied) has written to tenants advising them that the tenant purchase sales scheme introduced in 1995 will cease on 13 June 2012; if his attention has further been drawn to the adverse effect that this will have on tenants who assumed they would be able to avail of the scheme in the future, that tenants, some of whom are tenants for more than ten years and may have invested in the property by improvements and so on, should not be disadvantaged in this way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12465/11]

A new tenant purchase scheme under the provisions of section 90 of the Housing Act, 1966, the 2011 Tenant Purchase Scheme, was introduced recently to allow local authority tenants to avail of a discount of 3% per year of reckonable tenancy, up to a maximum discount of 45%, on the market price of a house they are eligible to purchase under the scheme. This scheme applies only to tenants of 10 years standing or longer and will be open for applications only until the end of this year, 2011. Tenants of over 10 years who are interested in purchasing their local authority rented house should, therefore, take advantage of this scheme and, if eligible, apply to purchase their house before the scheme expires.

The new scheme does not replace the existing 1995 Tenant Purchase Scheme, which remains in place for tenants with up to 10 years tenancy and provides for a maximum discount of 30%. However, as announced in June 2010, it remains the intention that the tenant purchase arrangements will be wound down in 2012 to be replaced by a new scheme based on the incremental purchase model. My Department therefore recently reminded housing authorities to inform all existing tenants of houses of the decision to end the tenant purchase scheme in 2012 so that they have sufficient time to apply to purchase their home under the existing scheme if they so wish.

Air Pollution

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

240 Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the efforts being made by him or his agencies in dealing with foul smelling odours emanating from a meat rendering facility (details supplied) in Dublin 8. [12476/11]

Section 24(1) of the Air Pollution Act, 1987 imposes an obligation on the occupier of a non-domestic premises to use the best practicable means to limit and, if possible, prevent emissions to air. Section 24(2) stipulates that an occupier of any premises must not cause or permit an emission in such a quantity, or in such a manner, as to be a nuisance. Statutory responsibility for the enforcement of the Air Pollution Act is vested in the relevant local authority. The local authorities are empowered to require measures to be taken to prevent or limit air pollution and may direct the person on whom notice is served to take such measures as may be specified to prevent or limit air pollution.

Following complaints received by Dublin City Council, I understand that Environmental Health Officers have visited these premises and, to date, there has been no requirement to take enforcement action against the occupier. The Office of Environmental Enforcement (OEE) within the Environmental Protection Agency supervises the environmental protection activities of local authorities, through auditing their performance, providing advice and guidance, and, in appropriate cases, giving binding directions. In this regard, the OEE is a resource for members of the public who have exhausted all other avenues of complaint. The OEE can be contacted at 1890 33 55 99.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Tom Fleming

Question:

241 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide assistance to a group (details supplied) under the dormant account scheme or any other scheme that may be available. [12501/11]

The process in place with regard to support from the Dormant Accounts Fund provides for consideration of applications received on foot of advertised measures. I am advised that the group in question has not applied to my Department for Dormant Accounts Funding. The last such measure under my Department was advertised in 2009 and there are currently no dormant accounts measures, or other relevant funding programmes, open for application for this group within my Department.

Voluntary and Co-operative Housing

Clare Daly

Question:

242 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will ensure that capital funds given to a voluntary housing organisation (details supplied) are used to carry out refurbishment works on their housing stock, in the first instance, particularly regarding the necessity to install central heating. [12532/11]

Under my Department's funding schemes for voluntary and co-operative housing projects, funding of up to 100% of the approved cost of accommodation is made available to approved housing bodies for the provision of social rented accommodation for people with special housing needs and for low-income families. My Department's involvement with voluntary and co-operative housing schemes relates primarily to the provision of funds for the construction or acquisition of dwellings. The detailed administration of the schemes, and the certification that projects comply with the terms and conditions of the funding schemes, are the responsibility of the local authority.

Approved housing bodies are responsible for the proper management and maintenance of dwellings provided under the terms of the schemes. Such costs are met from the resources of the housing body, including from rental income from tenants. In the case of standard accommodation for low-income families provided under the Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme, an annual management and maintenance allowance is paid to the approved housing bodies in respect of each dwelling funded under the scheme. Apart from this annual subsidy, no capital funding is provided by my Department in respect of refurbishment works to voluntary and co-operative housing stock.

Local Authority Housing

Brendan Griffin

Question:

243 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if eligibility will be given to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry to qualify for emergency housing in view of the exceptional circumstances of their case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12550/11]

Under Section 9 of the Housing Act 1988, the statutory responsibility for determination of eligibility and assessment of housing need is entirely a matter for the relevant housing authority, in this case Kerry County Council. It is not open to me to intervene in any particular case with which the housing authority is concerned.

Services for People with Disabilities

Seán Kenny

Question:

244 Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government regarding the national disability strategy, the Disability Act 2005 and sectoral plans, if funding is being provided in 2011 for local authorities to carry out accessibility audits and specific improvements in this area as applied in recent years. [12551/11]

In accordance with my Department's Sectoral Plan, under the Disability Act 2005, all local authorities were required to carry out an accessibility audit in respect of all public spaces, public buildings and services owned and operated by them. Local authorities were then required to draw up implementation plans setting out a programme of works to address any issues identified through the audit process. My Department provided over €77 million, between 2005 and 2010, to assist local authorities in improving access to public spaces, buildings and services for people with disabilities. Funding was allocated annually, for purposes of Disability Services, to local authorities, on the basis of priority areas identified by them in implementation plans. There is no provision for Disability Services in my Department's estimates in 2011.

Water and Sewerage Schemes

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

245 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the direction he has given Cork County Council with regard to the Lee Road water treatment works upgrade or replacement project; if he will confirm that the plant will continue in public ownership on completion and that the treatment works will be incorporated into the national water utility envisioned in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12660/11]

An upgrade of the Lee Road Water Treatment Plant is included in my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 as a contract to advance to construction during the period of the Programme. The planning of this project including the appropriate form of procurement has been underway for some time. The procurement option chosen for any scheme under the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 is based on an assessment of the best value for money from a whole life perspective. Each proposal is examined on a case by case basis and local authorities are obliged by the Department to examine all potential options before an appropriate procurement option is decided upon.

My Department has considered the appraisal in this regard conducted by Cork City Council in respect of the proposed upgrade of Lee Road Water Treatment Plant. The results of this consideration were communicated to Cork City Council in relation to the procurement route to be adopted for the investment in April 2011. Having regard to the need to secure optimum value for money and timely delivery, and ensure compliance with the drinking water standards, the Council was advised that the Department considered that the project should be advanced using the Public Private Partnership (PPP) — Design/Build/Operate approach.

A fundamental principle of water services PPPs is that, while the infrastructure is operated under contract to the local authority, it remains at all times in the authority's ownership. The Water Services Act 2007 underlines that position by expressly prohibiting the transfer of any water services assets or infrastructure, or any part of such assets or infrastructure, to any person.

The Programme for National Recovery 2011-2016 states that the Government will create Irish Water, a new State company that will take over key water/waste water functions from the 34 existing local authorities. The Programme of Financial Support for Ireland agreed between the Government and the EU/IMF refers to the conduct of “an independent assessment of the transfer of responsibility for water services provision from the local authorities to a water utility”. The independent study required under the EU/IMF agreement is being progressed and will guide the implementation of the strategy set out in the Programme for Government, identifying the optimum role and functions of the proposed company. Among the issues to be considered in the study will be the management of the water services investment programme, the management of existing contracts for capital projects and the operation of existing plants.

Social and Affordable Housing

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

246 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the eligibility for social housing of non-EEA citizens holding a stamp 4; if the current guidance for housing authorities document is correct in stating that the person must have had a stamp 4 for at least five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12681/11]

To be eligible for social housing support, a person must have a long-term right to reside in the State. My Department has given general guidance to authorities on how to assess whether an applicant for housing support has such a long-term right to reside in the State. The latest guidance to local authorities in respect of access to social housing supports for non-Irish nationals, including non-EEA nationals, is set out in my Department's Circular letter SHIP 2010/19 of 24 September 2010. Generally speaking, a non-EEA national with a Stamp 4 endorsement for at least 5 years is eligible on residence grounds to be considered for social housing support. As part of its ongoing liaison with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, my Department will review the guidance to local authorities to ensure that it reflects and interprets correctly the position of non-EEA nationals granted immigration Stamp 4.

Proposed Legislation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

247 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to enact new legislation to ensure the sustainable future development of cemeteries; and if he will ensure that the development of new burial grounds is not left in the hands of speculators in view of the fact that many graveyards in Dublin have reached or are nearing full capacity and there is a necessity to provide additional burial grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12738/11]

Under the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Acts, 1878 to 2001, local authorities are deemed to be burial boards for their respective functional areas. Acting in their capacity as burial boards, local authorities are responsible for the management, regulation and control of burial grounds in their functional area. With the coming into effect of the Local Government Act 1994 Ministerial consent, for the use of land as a burial ground, is no longer required. Therefore, ensuring the adequate provision of burial facilities, in their functional areas, is entirely a matter for the relevant local authority. There are currently no plans to introduce new legislation in relation to burial grounds.

Local Authority Staff

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

248 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding funding for litter wardens (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12748/11]

There is no specific European Union funding to provide for the employment of litter wardens in local authorities. Offaly County Council, like all local authorities, is required to comply with all relevant employment legislation, and more broadly with Government policy on public sector numbers, in the context of employment by the authority.

Social and Affordable Housing

Derek Nolan

Question:

249 Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that new housing assessment regulations which amalgamate some local authorities for the purposes of housing applications are proving to be administratively impractical due to local authorities having no common information systems; if this amalgamation will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12755/11]

The Social Housing Assessment Regulations, 2011, establishing a new system for assessing applicants for social housing support, came into effect on 1 April 2011. In the interests of facilitating access to social housing support and using local authority resources to best effect, the Regulations provide for a single application by households that goes beyond the boundaries of the functional areas of individual housing authorities. The Regulations do not amalgamate local authorities.

The Local Government Computer Services Board is currently developing information technology systems to support all aspects of the new social housing assessment system. At present, the number of applications which relate to more than one housing authority area is small, and authorities should have the capacity to deal with the administrative issues involved in sharing information with other authorities. As the number of applications increases, new information technology systems will be deployed to manage the new arrangements.

Water and Sewerage Schemes

Brendan Ryan

Question:

250 Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the necessary funding for proposed projects (details supplied) will be made available to relieve the existing treatment facilities which are operating at full capacity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12760/11]

The new Wastewater Treatment Plant at Portrane, which is currently under construction, will provide wastewater treatment facilities for Rush and is being funded under my Department's Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012. Some network improvements in the Rush area of the Portrane/Donabate/Rush/Lusk Sewerage Scheme are included in the Programme among the list of schemes in the county to progress through planning in the period 2010 to 2012. Fingal County Council proposes to provide wastewater treatment facilities for Loughshinny at the wastewater treatment plant at Barnageerah, which was provided as part of the Balbriggan/Skerries Sewerage Scheme. Network upgrades for the Balbriggan/Skerries Sewerage Scheme, including connecting Loughshinny into the system, are included in the Water Services Investment Programme 2010-2012 to progress through planning. My Department is awaiting proposals from Fingal County Council regarding the advancement of planning for this work.

Local Authority Housing

Pearse Doherty

Question:

251 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of local authority mortgage holders in arrears in quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4 in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and in quarter 1 of 2011; and if he will provide a breakdown of the length of time each holder is in arrears over 90 days and over 180 days. [12773/11]

The detailed information sought in the question is not available in my Department. The most recent published data in relation to mortgage arrears are the Service Indicators 2009, published earlier this year and available on the Local Government Management Services Board website. These show local authority mortgage arrears levels running at 15.08%, an increase of 3.38% on 2008.

Catherine Byrne

Question:

252 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the budget for housing maintenance in Dublin City Council for 2011; his views of whether many council tenants are in dire need of building work and extensions on their homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12775/11]

Under section 58 of the Housing Act 1966, the management and maintenance of the local authority housing stock, including the compilation and funding of ongoing maintenance programmes, is a matter for individual authorities.

My Department's Social Housing Investment Programme provides capital funding to local authorities each year in respect of a range of measures to improve the standard and overall quality of their social housing stock. The measures range from large-scale regeneration projects to smaller estate-wide remedial works, the carrying out of repairs and refurbishment works to individual properties and the provision of adaptations or extensions to meet the needs of particular tenants.

In addition to the €53 million capital allocation to support the ongoing regeneration of Ballymun, allocations totaling almost €28 million have been notified to Dublin City Council in respect of their social housing improvement programmes for 2011. The allocations cover the following measures:

€7 million for regeneration at St Michael's Estate, O'Devaney Gardens, Dominick Street, St. Teresa's Gardens, Croke villas and Dolphin House;

€6 million for regeneration of Inner City Flat Complexes;

€8.6 million for estate-wide remedial works programmes;

€ 5.5 million for improvement works to dwellings;

€880,000 in respect of extensions and adaptation works to houses and improvement works in lieu of social housing.

Departmental Agencies

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

253 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 537 of 17 May 2011, the reason he is not in a position to issue similar instructions to the agencies under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12791/11]

My Department does not hold this information. Day-to-day operational matters, including membership of professional organisations, of the agencies under the aegis of my Department are matters for the agency or body concerned. My Department is referring the Deputy's question to the agencies concerned for direct reply.

Housing Grants

Paul Connaughton

Question:

254 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if grants will be made available to homeowners in the next two to three years to install water harvesting tanks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12811/11]

There is potential for the use of harvested rainwater as an alternative source of water for various business and commercial operations and for supplying toilet cisterns, washing machines etc. in domestic situations. There are also the environmental and economic benefits that can accrue from reducing the demand for water abstraction at source and the subsequent and expensive treatment of raw water for human consumption. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food recently introduced a scheme of grant aid for the installation of rainwater harvesting equipment on farms. Details of the scheme are available on that Department's website at www.agriculture.gov.ie. The introduction of a grants scheme for any purpose must be managed within current budgetary constraints and, in so far as the funds administered by my Department are concerned, there are currently no plans to introduce a scheme of grant aid for the installation of rainwater harvesting equipment by homeowners.

Building Regulations

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

255 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 205 of 19 April 2011, the status of his reply to the correspondence referred to therein. [12846/11]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 58 of 24 March 2011. I have no plans to amend the Building Control Act 2007 in relation to the arrangements in place for the registration of persons permitted to use the title of Architect. However, the fees charged for registration, which must be approved by me in my capacity as Minister, are currently being considered and I will be in contact with the Deputy shortly to advise him of my decision in relation to same.

Parental Leave

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

256 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) is entitled to parental leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12783/11]

I can inform the Deputy that parental leave is available to a parent if they are the natural parent, the adoptive parent, the adopting parent or acting in loco parentis to the child. It is not my function as Minister to interpret the law in particular cases. I suggest the person concerned could consult with the Equality Authority, the National Employment Rights Authority or their own legal adviser.

Departmental Expenditure

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

257 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total cost of hiring the 02 venue Dublin and other premises for Garda briefings on the visit of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain to this State broken down by premises; the names of each of the venues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12314/11]

The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the information sought by the Deputy is not currently available. I have, however, asked that the details be provided and I will contact the Deputy when this has been done.

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

258 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the total cost of accommodating gardaí in hotels in order to facilitate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to this State; the names of these hotels; the amount paid to each of the hotels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12315/11]

The Garda Commissioner is the Accounting Officer for the Garda Vote in accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005. I am informed by the Garda authorities that the information sought by the Deputy is not currently available. I have, however, asked that the details be provided and I will contact the Deputy when this has been done.

Citizenship Applications

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

259 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a decision will issue on applications for citizenship in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12320/11]

Valid applications for a certificate of naturalisation from the persons referred to in the Deputy's Question were received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in April 2009. The applications are currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicants meet 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 7th 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.

Crime Prevention

Joe Costello

Question:

260 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will clarify if anti-social behaviour orders can be issued to persons on private property causing a disturbance to their neighbours; the powers the Garda has regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12334/11]

Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults, and Part 13 of the Act relates to anti-social behaviour by children. The Act provides that a person behaves in an anti-social manner if the person causes or, in the circumstances, is likely to cause, to one or more persons who are not of the same household as the person harassment, significant or persistent alarm, distress, fear or intimidation or significant or persistent impairment of their use or enjoyment of their property. Anti-social behaviour is not restricted to behaviour in a public place.

The provisions of Parts 11 and 13 of the Act set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour by adults and children. With regard to adults, these include behaviour warnings issued by a member of An Garda Síochána and civil orders made by a court. With regard to children, they range from a good behaviour contract involving the child and his or her parents or guardian, to referral to the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme and to the making of a behaviour order by the Children Court.

With regard to both adults and children, a behaviour warning remains in place for three months from the date of issue. With regard to children specifically, a good behaviour contract lasts for six months, but may be renewed for a further three months. A behaviour warning allows the person who is the subject of the warning, and where appropriate parents and guardians, to address the behavioural problem which resulted in the warning to be issued, so that the issue of a civil order (in the case of an adult) or a behaviour order (in the case of a child) is not necessary.

In setting up the regime in the Act the intention was that the different interventions would address the problem behaviour. If they succeeded, there would be no need to apply to the courts for an order. It is only if they failed to lead to a behaviour adjustment by the person in question, that a court order would be applied for.

Garda Stations

Joe Costello

Question:

261 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the proposed works will be carried out at a location (details supplied); if money for the refurbishment is included in this year’s budget; the timescale for the commencement and completion of the works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12335/11]

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation is based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána. This programme is progressed by the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that work on the refurbishment of Mountjoy Garda station is currently under way. It is anticipated that this work will be completed by mid 2011. At that stage the refurbished premises will be in a position to accommodate the station party from the station referred to by the Deputy while refurbishment works are carried out at that station. Arrangements are currently being progressed to ensure that a Garda service will be maintained at the location referred to during the period the relevant members are stationed at Mountjoy. Garda capital building works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, are financed from the Vote of the Office of Public Works.

Asylum Applications

Dara Calleary

Question:

262 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an asylum application in respect of a person (details supplied). [12347/11]

The asylum application lodged by the person concerned was considered by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, both of whom concluded that the person concerned did not meet the criteria for recognition as a refugee.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 13th April, 2011, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006.

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

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

Garda Vetting of Personnel

Emmet Stagg

Question:

263 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the delay in issuing a Garda vetting certificate to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [12366/11]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that a vetting application in respect of the person to whom the Deputy refers was received by the Garda Central Vetting Unit and is in the course of being processed. A response will issue to the registered organisation involved in due course.

Asylum Applications

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

264 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the residency status of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12380/11]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 3 August 2004. The Refugee Applications Commissioner refused her a declaration of refugee status. This decision was subsequently affirmed by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. Following an examination of the file under section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 and section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 the Minister decided to sign a Deportation Order in respect of the person concerned on 20 April 2005. As the person concerned instituted Judicial Review proceedings on 10 May 2010 challenging the Deportation Order made in respect of her I do not propose to comment further as the matter is now sub judice.

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

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

265 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the residency status of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12381/11]

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 25th May, 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him.

On 18th July, 2006, a formal "take back" request was received from the United Kingdom (UK) in respect of the person concerned in accordance with Article 16(1)(e) of Council Regulation (EC) 343 of 2003. This request was made because the person concerned had made an application for asylum in the UK. This request was accepted by Ireland and arrangements were made for his return from the UK to Ireland on 18th August, 2006. On 23rd June, 2008, a second formal "take back" request was received from the UK in respect of the person concerned in accordance with Article 16(1)(e) of Council Regulation (EC) 343 of 2003, on the basis that he was in the UK without permission. This request was again accepted by Ireland. However, the person concerned arrived back in Ireland before formal arrangements were made for his return from the UK.

The person concerned has submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome. In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

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

Citizenship Applications

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

266 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the citizenship status of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 14; the likelihood of citizenship being granted in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12382/11]

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 January 2009. 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 No. 69 of 7th 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.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

267 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedures followed to date and yet to be followed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12383/11]

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 March 2009. 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 No. 69 of 7th 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.

Explosive Devices

Dara Calleary

Question:

268 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of viable explosive devices found here in 2011; his strategy to deal with this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12459/11]

The total number of viable explosive devices found to date in 2011 is 22. In spite of a substantial increase in recent years in the number of call outs to deal with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), I am satisfied that the Defence Forces have the necessary resources and capabilities to meet the current threat. The level of threat is kept under constant review by both An Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, including their respective intelligence services. Whilst responsibility for apprehending and bringing those involved in the production of such devices rests with An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, pursuant to their role in providing Aid to the Civil Power, assist the Gardaí as required.

Requests made by An Garda Síochána for assistance in dealing with a suspect device or for the removal of old ordnance are responded to by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Team in the relevant Brigade. The challenge of dealing with the increasing level of sophistication in the preparation of IEDs is and will continue to be an integral part of the training that is provided to members of the Defence Forces who provide a unique response capability within the State to deal with such incidents. Apart from the significant levels of training which EOD Teams receive, the Defence Forces are also provided with specialised modern equipment in order to allow personnel to operate safely in dealing with incidents involving suspect devices. These capabilities have been enhanced and developed over many years in operational environments both at home and abroad and through continuing liaison with international agencies. The effectiveness of the Defence Forces in this very important function has undoubtedly saved many lives.

Legal Aid Service

Barry Cowen

Question:

269 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average waiting times for a legal aid appointment in both criminal and civil cases. [12473/11]

The information requested by the Deputy concerning civil and criminal legal aid is set out below.

Civil Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Board is charged by statute with the provision of legal aid and advice in civil matters to persons of modest means. It is obliged to provide such services within the resources available to it. The Board's services are provided to clients through a network of thirty three law centres (including the Refugee Legal Service) located throughout the country. This network is complemented by the use of private solicitors as required. Persons seeking legal services do so by applying to any of its law centres.

Waiting Times

The Deputy should note that it is difficult to give average waiting time information such as that requested. Firstly, the Board prioritises certain types of case where it is considered that an immediate or near immediate service is required e.g. domestic violence cases, child abduction cases, and cases involving State intervention in relation to the welfare of children. About 15% of applications fall within this category. In addition, a significant number of cases involving representation before the District Court for family matters are effectively prioritised by being referred to private solicitors for the purpose of providing a service. Waiting times for matters that are not prioritised or referred to private solicitors vary from law centre to law centre and in each centre from month to month. In light of this, and in order to be of assistance, waiting times information is being provided on a centre by centre basis at certain points in time. The following table gives the waiting times (in months) as of 1 January 2010, 1 January 2011 and 1 May 2011.

Law Centre

1 January 2010

1 January 2011

1 May 2011

Blanchardstown

4

6

4

Nth Brunswick St

5

4

3

Clondalkin

6

5

7

Finglas

3

5

5

Gardiner St

6

5

5

Tallaght

3

9

10

Popes Quay Cork

2

3

2

South Mall Cork

5

7

6

Cavan

4

5

6

Clare

3

2

3

Donegal

1

3

1

Galway

4

3

3

Kerry

5

4

3

Kildare

6

7

8

Kilkenny

3

3

4

Laois

3

5

6

Limerick

2

3

2

Longford

4

5

5

Louth

0

0

0

Mayo

3

5

6

Meath

3

4

4

Monaghan

4

4

7

Offaly

3

6

6

Sligo

5

5

4

Tipperary

7

7

11

Waterford

3

3

4

Westmeath

4

6

6

Wexford

9

3

6

Wicklow

8

5

6

Demand for the Board Services

The Deputy should note that in recent years the Board has experienced a substantial increase in demand for its services (other than for asylum matters). In 2007 approximately 10,200 applications for legal services were made. This figure increased to 17,200 in 2010, an increase of approximately 69%. This is at a time when the Board's resources are being constrained and the impact of the public service recruitment embargo is being experienced. The numbers of persons waiting for a first appointment with a solicitor were as follows on the dates referred to above:

Date

1 January 2010

1 January 2011

1 May 2011

Number

2,228

3,153

3,399

Actions

The Board is very aware of the delays that a number of persons seeking its services are experiencing. The geographically dispersed nature of the legal aid service means that the scope for redeployment of staff resources is extremely limited, outside of the Dublin area and, to a lesser extent, in Cork and Galway. As a result, notwithstanding the efforts being made to reconfigure how the Board provides services and to deploy resources wherever possible to meet priority demands, there are a number of locations where there are acute service delivery problems. The Board has taken and is taking steps to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and to minimise the impact of the delays on the persons experiencing them. These steps include: Increasing substantially the use of private solicitors for the purpose of providing services in relation to certain family law matters; Providing a short half hour appointment with a solicitor for applicants who are likely to be waiting longer than four months for a substantive service; Developing and standardising many of its processes; and developing a new case management system for the purpose, inter alia, of enabling work to be done more efficiently.

Criminal Legal Aid

I wish to inform the Deputy that the Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted, in certain circumstances, for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Legal aid is granted in all Courts including the District, Circuit and higher Courts. Under the Act, the grant of legal aid entitles the applicant to the services of a solicitor and, in certain circumstances, up to two counsel, in the preparation and conduct of their defence or appeal. The assignment of lawyers or the granting of aid are matters for the Court and, as such, are handled by the judiciary. The Court must be satisfied that, by reason of the "gravity of the charge" or "exceptional circumstances", it is essential in the interests of justice that the applicant should have legal aid and the applicant for criminal legal aid must establish to the satisfaction of the Court that his/her means are insufficient to enable him/her to pay for legal representation him/herself. If the Court is so satisfied it will award criminal legal aid.

There are no appointments or waiting lists associated with this procedure.

Garda Stations

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

270 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will indicate which budget will provide funding for the refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station, Dublin 1. [12483/11]

Funding for Garda capital building works, including the project referred to by the Deputy, is provided from the Vote of the Office of Public Works.

Crime Levels

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

271 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 290 of 10 May 2011, the number of clients arrested and or convicted for soliciting under the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences Act) 1983; the number of pimps and prostitutes arrested, charged or convicted under the above Act; and if he will indicate the location of the arrests and charges. [12485/11]

Following the submission in 2004 of a report and recommendations by an expert group on crime statistics, it was decided that the compilation and publication of crime statistics should be taken over by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, from An Garda Síochána. The Garda Síochána Act 2005 consequently makes provision for this and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. Following the setting up of the necessary technical systems and auditing of the data from which the statistics are compiled, the CSO is now compiling, publishing and responding to queries regarding recorded crime statistics. I have requested the CSO to provide statistics directly to the Deputy.

Citizenship Applications

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

272 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the efforts he is making to work with his counterparts in the Assembly and in Westminster to ensure that those seeking to obtain Irish citizenship who reside in the northern Six Counties are able to do so, thus ensuring that all those who live within the island of Ireland have equality of access to Irish citizenship. [12496/11]

Any person living on the island of Ireland, one of whose parents or grandparents was an Irish citizen is entitled to Irish citizenship by descent and may make an application for a passport directly to the passport office. Similarly, any person born on the island of Ireland prior to 1st January 2005 has an entitlement to Irish citizenship and may also make an application for a passport directly to the passport office.