Written Answers

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

State Agencies

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

11 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of State agencies and other new bodies that have been announced; the number abolished since 31 March 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28308/12]

Sandra McLellan

Question:

14 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on his review of State agencies; and if the review will be completed and published in June 2012. [28257/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 11 and 14 together.

As the Deputy will be aware the Public Service Reform Plan, published in November last year, demonstrated the Government's commitment to reform and the pursuit of efficiencies by deciding (i) to proceed with the rationalisation of 48 bodies by the end of 2012 and (ii) the critical review of a further 46 bodies by the end of June 2012. Details of the bodies involved are set out in Appendices IIa and IIb of the Plan.

With regard to the progress made on the rationalisation of the 48 bodies by end 2012, my Department is monitoring progress on the implementation of these measures, on a quarterly basis. Details of the completed actions as well as progress on the other measures, as of end Quarter 1 of this year, are set out in the table below.

The critical reviews of 46 bodies are underway and due for completion at the end of this month. Following consideration of the reviews by my Department, I intend to bring a Memorandum to Government setting out the results of the review process. The Government will then make the necessary decisions on the various recommendations / next steps in the reform programme.

Questions regarding the creation of new bodies are a matter for individual Departments and should be directed to the relevant Ministers. In terms of my own Department, no new bodies or agencies have been created since March 31 2011. However, I have re-organised resources within my Department to set up a Reform and Delivery Office, the role of which is to lead and drive the implementation of the Public Service Reform Plan and to coordinate the various reform initiatives across the public service.

I have also established, as part of the broader public service development role of my Department, the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES), the role of which is to support Departments in evaluating policy and expenditure options; value for money exercises; cost benefit and regulatory impact analyses; and regulatory and competition issues. Recruitment of new economists into the IGEES has now commenced and these recruits will supplement existing economic and analytical resources across the public service.

(i) Appendix 1 — Completed Actions end Q1 2012

Body

Action

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology andIrish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science

Merge Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology and Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science into consolidated single council under HEA

Local Government Management Service Board and Local Government Computer Services Board

Merge Local Government Management Service Board and Local Government Computer Services Board into Local Government Management Agency*

Limerick Northside Regeneration Agency and Limerick Southside Regeneration Agency

Merge Limerick Northside and Limerick Southside Regeneration Agency into Limerick Local Authorities*

Comhar (Sustainable Development Council)

Integrated into the National Economic and Social Council (NESC)

Interim Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency

This agency* incorporates the functions of the Affordable Homes Partnership, National Building Agency and Centre for Housing Research

Commission on Public Service Appointments

Merge Commission on Public Service Appointments with Ombudsman Office*

National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery

Merge the National Council for Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery† into An Bord Altanais

Dublin Regional Tourism Authority

Merger of functions into Fáilte Ireland

The National Centre for Technology in Education (NCTE)

Abolished†

The National Social Workers Qualifications Board

Abolished†

The Children Acts Advisory Board

Abolished†

Public Sector Reform

John Browne

Question:

12 Deputy John Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the review of allowances for public sector workers will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28292/12]

I announced the review of allowances and premia payments, to be carried out by my Department, in my address on the 2012 Expenditure Estimates on 5 December 2012. This announcement was made on foot of a Government decision which requires the public service to take additional measures to deliver further efficiencies in 2012 so as to ensure that paybill targets are met and with a view to delivering additional pay savings in 2013 and subsequent years. The measures include a reduction of 10% (approx €40 million) in overtime payments in 2012 which is being achieved by a reduction in allocations for overtime by the necessary amount for 2012.

To date, my Department has reviewed well over 800 business cases for allowances and premia payments. Due to resource constraints coupled with the volume of submissions received, and the complexity and variety of allowances across the sectors, it was not possible to complete the review in a short time frame. Indeed, business cases continue to be put forward for review by Offices and Departments. I expect to be in a position to bring proposals to Government shortly in relation to the findings of the review. In the interim, urgent business case requests are being processed in so far as is possible in order to ensure that the work of the public service is not unduly disrupted by the review.

The outcomes of the Review of particular allowances will be communicated to Government Departments and will be made public. I have also indicated my expectation that further discussions will take place with staff representative bodies.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Michael McGrath

Question:

13 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has drawn up a list of capital investment projects which could be undertaken as part of a stimulus and growth plan following the fiscal treaty referendum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28311/12]

Since coming into office, the current Government has been working on a range of measures to boost employment and help stimulate economic growth beginning with the Jobs Initiative which was launched in May 2011 and which comprised a range of taxation and expenditure measures of €1.8bn designed to help get people back to work. Further work to stimulate economic growth and create employment is ongoing and, in this context, my Department has been actively engaged, in conjunction with the Department of Finance and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA), in identifying potential new sources of funding for projects where it makes sense and offers value for money for the State.

My Department undertook a review of the public capital programme last year, the results of which were published in the "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework". The Framework sets out €17 billion worth of Exchequer investment intended to address critical infrastructure investment gaps in order to aid economic recovery, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. The sectors prioritised for investment in the Framework include education, health, jobs and enterprise. While this represents a significant level of spend that will generate activity throughout the country, I am conscious that there is more that we could do if we had additional funding available.

The Government is now considering carefully what potential further projects could be supported should a source of additional funding become available. It is likely that such investment would be focused on areas that meet the Government's key investment priorities, boost employment and help stimulate economic growth. My Department has established a high level interdepartmental steering committee which is considering potential projects for investment that meet these criteria. Proposals from departments have been received and are being considered by officials of my Department and by the steering committee. I am confident that a pipeline of necessary and worthwhile projects will emerge over the course of the coming weeks. As I have already mentioned, my Department is working closely with the Department of Finance and the NDFA to ensure that additional funding sources are available in order to deliver any proposed pipeline of projects.

Question No. 14 answered with Question No. 11.

Appointments to State Boards

Seán Crowe

Question:

15 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28238/12]

In answer to the Deputy's question I can provide details in respect of the bodies under the aegis of my Department. It would be a matter for individual departments to supply the information in respect of the bodies under their aegis. The following is the list of Board Appointees to the Public Appointments Service (PAS) and their remuneration received in respect of Board membership.

Name of Appointee

Date Appointed/Re-appointed

Remuneration received in respect of Board Membership

Mr. Eddie Sullivan, Chairman

1st September 2011

€11,970 per annum

Mr. Des Dowling, Assistant Secretary — Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government

Nil

Dr. Deirdre O’Keeffe, Assistant Secretary — Department of Justice and Equality

Nil

Ms Patricia Coleman, Director — Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Nil

Ms Judith Eve — former Chairperson the Civil Service Commissioners, Northern Ireland

€7,695 per annum

Dr. Eddie Molloy — Management Consultant

€7,695 per annum

Mr. Dan Murphy, former General Secretary of the PSEU

€7,695 per annum

Ms Fiona Tierney as CEO of the PAS holding office on an ex officio basis

Nil

The Board is meant to be representative of our client base. The majority of the board is therefore civil or public servants, nominated by the relevant Minister. There is also a union representative nominated by ICTU. I reappointed the outgoing Chairman and the two external members were appointed by me because of their expertise in strategic change and public service recruitment respectively.

Ministerial Salaries

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

16 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if, following the newly elected French President’s decision to significantly reduce his own pay and the pay of those in his Cabinet; if he intends to review the salaries of the Taoiseach, Ministers and Ministers of State. [28254/12]

The French President's decision to reduce his own pay and that of his Cabinet mirrors the precedent set by this Government on entry into office in March 2011.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government decided on taking office in March 2011 to reduce the salaries of An Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers and Ministers of State with immediate effect. The reductions were implemented on a voluntary basis by all relevant Officeholders pending passage of the necessary legislation giving statutory effect to the reductions. Section 6(c) of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act 2011 gave a legislative basis to the pay reductions for Office holders from 1 January 2012.

The gross annual salaries now applicable to An Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers and Ministers of State amount to €200,000, €184,405, €169,275, and €130,042, respectively. The gross salaries indicated are inclusive of the pay element for a Deputy amounting to €92,672. Since 2008 the effect of reductions in pay and taxation changes is that the net salaries of the Taoiseach and Ministers have been reduced by over 40%.

I have no plans at present to review the current arrangements.

Sale of State Assets

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

17 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide the latest report on plans to use the proceeds from the sale of State assets for shovel ready projects; if he will identify the projects that are being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28363/12]

John Halligan

Question:

21 Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide the latest report on plans to use the proceeds from the sale of State assets for shovel ready projects; if he will identify the projects that are being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28364/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 17 and 21 together.

I announced last February that, following intense engagement, I had secured an agreement with the Troika that a third of the proceeds of our asset disposals programme could be used for re-investment in our economy. This was a substantial change to the Troika's previous position and will help promote recovery in the economy. I have since then secured a further agreement that 50 per cent of the total proceeds from the sale of State assets can be used for job creation and as a stimulus to our economy, the balance will be set aside in a fund that could leverage further money for investing in the economy. As the Government has agreed with the Troika the sale of state assets up to a value of €3 billion, this will mean that up to €1.5bn can be used for direct investment in the economy and a further €1.5bn will be retained in a fund which will attract other private investment into the State. The Government is now considering carefully how it can use this money to maximise the return to the economy.

My Department has been examining what potential infrastructure projects could be supported should any additional funding source, including the proceeds of our asset disposals programme, become available. It is likely that such investment will be focused on areas that meet the Government's key investment priorities, as set out in "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework", boost employment and help stimulate economic growth. My Department has established a high level interdepartmental steering committee which is considering potential projects for investment which meet these criteria.

Sale of State Assets

Robert Troy

Question:

18 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will commit to ensuring that the full proceeds from the sale of State assets will be available for investment in the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28322/12]

The House will be aware that in dealing with the EU/ECB/IMF Troika on this matter, it has been this Government's consistent position that funds released from asset disposals would be used to support job creating initiatives in the economy. I am happy to report that, after long-term negotiations, I recently reached agreement with Troika representatives that all such proceeds would be used, in one shape or another, for this purpose. Half of the proceeds will be available to fund employment enhancing projects of a commercial nature. The other half, while destined eventually to pay-down debt, will, in the first instance, be constituted as a fund to guarantee additional lending into Ireland, for example by the EIB, in support of further investment in job-creating initiatives.

Public Procurement Contracts

Brendan Smith

Question:

19 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the arrangements that have been put in place by the Office of Public Works in respect of procurement for the forthcoming presidency of the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28321/12]

The Office Of Public Works is currently engaged in the preparation of tender documents for a range of goods and services required by its National Historic Properties Section, both for its normal services and to meet specific requirements of the EU Presidency in 2013. The goods and services concerned are:

Catering Services,

Cleaning Services,

Lighting Advisor,

Electrical Services,

Health and Safety Advisor,

Signage, Backdrops and Staging,

Marquees and other temporary accommodation,

Portable Cabins,

Technical/Audio Visual Support,

Audio Equipment,

Video Equipment,

Public Address Equipment,

Simultaneous Translation Equipment,

Site Works,

Video Wall.

Requests for tenders will be published onwww.etenders.gov.ie commencing within the next two weeks.

Some of the contracts arising from this procurement process will be used by other public sector bodies in connection with the EU Presidency.

Ministerial Staff

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

20 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide in tabular form the name, position, annual salary, annual allowance cap, and Government Minister to whom they have been appointed of all special advisors appointed since February 2011. [28255/12]

The current Guidelines on Special Advisors provide, except in the Offices of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste where separate arrangements apply, that they are to be placed on the minimum point of the Principal Officer (standard) scale, which currently runs from €80,051 at the minimum to €92,672 at the maximum.

The following table sets out details of Special Advisers:

List of Special Advisers — June 2012

Department

Minister/Minister of State

Name of Adviser

Sanctioned Pay Rate

Relevent Payscale

Agriculture Fisheries and Food

Minister Coveney

Aine Kilroy

€80,051

PO Min

Ross MacMathuna

€110,000

Approved Rate

Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs

Minister Deenihan

Damian Garvey

€80,051

PO Min

James Kenny

€80,051

PO Min

Attorney General

Máire Whelan

Peter O’Sullivan

€80,051

PO Min

Children and Youth Affairs

Minister Fitzgerald

Jennifer Carrol McNeill*

€40,025

PO Min

Marrion Mannion

€80,051

PO Min

William Lavelle*

€40,025

PO Min

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Minister Rabbitte

Simon Nugent

€97,200

Approved Rate

Finbar O’Malley

€83,337

PO

Defence/Taoiseach/ Chief Whip

Paul Kehoe

Mark O’Doherty

€80,051

PO Min

Education and Skills

Minister Ruairí Quinn

John Walsh

€92,672

PO Max

Deirdre Grant

€86,604

PO

Environment, Community and Local Government

Minister Hogan

Claire Langton

€80,051

PO Min

Sean McKeown

€92,672

PO Max

MoS O’Sullivan

Aidan Culhane

€80,051

PO Min

Paul Daly

€80,051

PO Min

Finance

Minister Noonan

Mary Kenny

€83,337

PO

Eoin Dorgan

€83,337

PO

Health

Minister Reilly

Mark Costigan

€92,672

PO Max

Sean Faughnan**

€26,684

PO Min

Maureen Windle**

€61,781

PO Max

MoS Shortall

Maeve Ann Wren

€40,025

Approved Rate

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Minister Bruton

Conor Quinn

€80,051

PO Min

Ciaran Conlon

€127,000

Approved Rate

Justice and Equality

Minister Shatter

Jane Lehane

€80,051

PO Min

Tom Cooney

€80,051

PO Min

Public Expenditure and Reform

Minister Howlin

Anne Byrne

€83,337

PO

Rónán O’Brien

€114,000

Approved Rate

Social Protection

Minister Burton

Ed Brophy

€127,796

Ass Sec

Kathleen Barrington

€86,604

PO 4th pt

Taoiseach

MoS Licinda Creighton

Stephen O’Shea

€61,966

AP Min

Transport, Tourism and Sport

Minister Varadkar

Brian Murphy

€105,837

PO I

Nick Miller

€80,051

PO Min

*Ms Carroll McNeill and Mr. Lavelle operate on a half/half work sharing basis.

**From 1st June 2012 Mr. Faughnan and Ms Windle operate on a one third/two thirds work sharing basis.

Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 17.

Public Service Remuneration

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

22 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to review the pay and allowances of non-commercial State agency chief executive officers; and if he intends to collate current salary and allowance data year-on-year paid out to such CEO’s. [28253/12]

In June 2011, the Government introduced a general pay ceiling of €200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service (including CEOs of Non-Commercial State Agencies). This pay ceiling has applied since June 2011 and continues to apply to newly appointed CEOs in the Non-Commercial State Agencies.

While the policy applies to all new appointments to the position of CEO in Non-Commercial State Agencies, it could not , for contractual reasons, be applied to the current incumbents of these posts. However, the very small number of incumbents of senior posts in the Non-Commercial State Agencies with a salary in excess of €200,000 per annum were requested to make a voluntary waiver of salary of 15%, or to waive a lesser amount if the application of the full 15% reduction would bring their salary below the €200,000 salary ceiling.

As the Deputy may also be aware, the reductions outlined in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act (No. 2) 2009 applied to the remuneration of public servants generally including CEOs in the Non Commercial State sector, as did the Pension Related Deduction or "Pension levy".

Access to a Performance Related Award Scheme is no longer approved for inclusion in the employment contracts of CEOs of Non Commercial State Agencies. In terms of incumbent CEOs there are only a couple of bodies which continue, as they are legally entitled to do, to operate a Performance Related Award Scheme for an existing CEO for the remainder of their fixed term tenure.

In a very limited number of cases a car allowance may be payable to a CEO. The issue of whether an allowance of this nature is appropriate is considered on a case by case basis as CEO vacancies fall to be filled, having regard to whether the provision of such represents value for money for the body and is more efficient than otherwise recouping travel expenses incurred by the CEO in the performance of their duties.

The collation of remuneration data in respect of the CEOs of Non Commercial State Agencies is a matter that falls, in the first instance, to the relevant parent Department in the context of the particular organisation's annual report.

Conclusion

These matters are kept under review when approving the terms and conditions for each CEO appointment. However, the reductions which have already been achieved, whether under legislation, voluntary waiver or by the application of reduced salaries for new appointees, are significant. Any future policy developments on the determination of remuneration at the level of CEO will have to be considered in the context of the changes that have already been introduced.

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Derek Keating

Question:

23 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he will take to ensure that local trades persons, general operatives and builders get an opportunity to seek employment in the area in which construction is taking place in view of the the capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27304/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme 2012-2016 is primarily focused on the areas of jobs, education and health. Within the programme there is considerable emphasis on more labour intensive projects which provide greater opportunities for job creation. This is typically demonstrated by the broad range of projects that the Department of Education and Skills are tasked with delivering which includes 40 new schools and the expansion of 180 existing schools.

In undertaking a construction project, contracting authorities will normally procure the services of a competent building contractor who has the financial and technical capacity to safely deliver the project in question. The rules governing the awarding of public contracts have provisions which allow the specification of social criteria, such as the requirement that a certain portion of the workforce be recruited from the long-term unemployed, as a condition of the performance of the contract. Any such provision must be compatible with EU law, i.e. they must be made known to all interested parties and must not restrict participation by contractors from other Member States. Subject to this, contracting authorities have the discretion to apply such conditions, where appropriate.

National Lottery Funding

Michael Colreavy

Question:

24 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the provision of a fixed percentage of 30.5% of the annual lottery turnover for good causes by the new license operators will be written into the new National Lottery contract between him and the operator on behalf of the State. [28244/12]

As the Deputy is aware, I announced on 4th April 2012 that the Government has decided to hold a competition for the next National Lottery licence and that the licence will be for a 20 year period.

The ongoing provision of a fixed percentage of annual lottery turnover for good causes will be a condition of the licence. The Government has decided that this percentage is to be retained at 30.5% which was the level that was achieved in 2011.

The new licence will also involve an upfront payment to the State, with some of the payment being used to help fund the building of the proposed new National Children's Hospital.

Appointments to State Boards

Martin Ferris

Question:

25 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to legislate for reform of the appointment process of persons to the boards of statutory agencies. [28241/12]

There are no plans to introduce a Public Appointments Transparency Bill.

In respect of appointments to State Boards, the Deputy will be aware that the Government put new arrangements in place for the making of such appointments. Under these arrangements Departments invite expressions of interest in vacancies on the boards of bodies under their aegis on their websites.

Sale of State Assets

John Halligan

Question:

26 Deputy John Halligan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on plans to sell State assets as part of the Troika programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28402/12]

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

34 Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on plans to sell State assets as part of the Troika programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28362/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 34 together.

I am happy to report that significant progress has been made on advancing the asset disposal programme that I announced last February. The House will already be aware that a number of inter-departmental working groups have been established to examine each of the assets mentioned in that announcement with a view to disposals. The NewERA unit of the National Treasury Management Agency, which is acting as the Government's financial advisor in respect of this disposal programme, has prepared comprehensive financial reports on Bord Gáis Energy and Coillte, including detailed analysis of the market appetite for the companies or their assets, and these have been submitted and considered by the relevant Steering Groups. Work is also proceeding on identifying the electricity generation assets of ESB that are to be included in the programme.

After long-term negotiations, I recently reached agreement with Troika representatives that all proceeds from disposals will be used, in one shape or another, to support job creating initiatives in the economy. Half of the proceeds will be available to fund employment enhancing projects of a commercial nature. The other half, while destined eventually to pay-down debt, will, in the first instance, be constituted as a fund to guarantee additional lending into Ireland, for example by the EIB, in support of further investment in job-creating initiatives.

Under the EU/ECB/IMF Funding Programme, the Government is committed to outlining in detail for the Troika, by the end of the second quarter (end June 2012), the specific regulatory, legislative, corporate governance and financial reforms which need to be taken in 2012, ensuring consistency with relevant EU legislation, where necessary, to allow for the State asset disposal programme to proceed in 2013, and a calendar with indicative timelines for sales will then be set out.

Departmental Expenditure

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

27 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if, in the context of the identification of areas for the curtailment of expenditure in preparation for Budget 2013, he expects to be in a position to have due regard for the need to apply expenditure cuts, the need for which he inherited from his predecessors, in such a way as to minimise any negative impact on the economy, employment creation and retention and the need to adhere to the concepts of a balanced and structured society; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28412/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

39 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if in the context of the ongoing review and reform of the public service, he has identified those area that have so far achieved best practice and performance; if in the course of further reviews he expects to be in a position to identify the necessary means to achieve the targets and public expenditure cuts set by his predecessors without unnecessarily damaging the future economic prospects of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28413/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

86 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he expects to be in a position to make further savings under various headings throughout the public sector without damage to the ability of the sector to deliver services in line with their mission statement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28632/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

87 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the areas within the public sector that have so far achieved most in terms of savings while retaining the maximum level of services; the extent if any to which this can be replicated through the sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28633/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

89 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that all Government departments and/or bodies under their aegis are fully compliant with cost cutting measures identified and incorporated in the Memorandum of Understanding entered into by his predecessors; if any particular areas require greater efforts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28635/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

90 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform having regard to the obligations arising from the Memorandum of Understanding entered into by his predecessors and any subsequent events including discussions with the Troika, if he is satisfied that the targets set in respect of the savings to date are in accordance with the expectations and targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28636/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

91 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent if any to which he and his Department have found it most difficult to achieve the targets and expectations arising from the Memorandum of Understanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28637/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

92 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total savings he is required to make in the current year throughout the public service and arising from the Memorandum of Understanding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28691/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 27, 39, 86, 87, 89 and 90 to 92, inclusive, together.

The Government is making good progress on achieving all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme. We are bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.

In determining fiscal policy, the Government has to take account of a wide range of often competing considerations and policy priorities. The Government decides on the balance between these priorities in setting the broad budgetary parameters — the overall budgetary balance, taxation priorities and the aggregate levels for expenditure. In this context, the aggregate levels of expenditure are split by reference to Ministerial vote group and the detailed disbursement of the resources within their allocation is a matter for each Minister in accordance with overall agreed Government policy. The precise composition of the 2013 budgetary consolidation is a matter for Government, the details of which will be announced at Budget time.

This Government's approach has been clearly set out in theComprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 published on 5 December last, the Capital Infrastructure Plan published on 10 November 2011, the Implementation Body publication of the Public Service Agreement Progress Report on the 17 November 2011, and the Public Service Reform Plan also published on 17 November 2011. Indeed, an updated Progress Report is due to be published shortly, and I anticipate further significant and tangible progress to be identified in this context.

Implementation of the Government'sPublic Service Reform Plan is being led and coordinated by the Reform and Delivery Office which I established within my Department. The Office is working closely with organisations across the Public Service and good progress continues to be made in the implementation of the Reform Plan. For example, we are:

continuing to reduce Public Service numbers which were around 28,000 lower at end Q1 2012 than they were at end 2008 — the Government is on target to meet its ceiling for 2012 of 294,400;

expanding the use of eGovernment through the recently published eGovernment Strategy, the establishment of a CIO Council and rolling out the Public Services Card;

reforming how we are organised by having a strong focus on business process improvement, considering innovative new business models for the delivery of non-core services, increasing the use of aggregated procurement and developing new shared services (for example, I have recently announced plans for the establishment of a Human Resources Shared Service Centre for the Civil Service);

reforming how people are managed through the introduction of new working arrangements, including new rosters, redeployment and workforce planning, a greater emphasis on performance management and development of the Senior Public Service; and

reforming the management of expenditure through the introduction of Performance Budgeting, the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the new Value for Money Code.

Ireland is living up to its commitments by delivering on all the conditions and targets in the EU/IMF Programme by the required deadlines. The Government has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to meeting the targets agreed with our European and IMF partners.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

28 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26304/12]

In answer to the Deputy's question I can provide details in respect of the Office of Public Works which is under the auspices of my Department. It would be a matter for individual departments to supply the information in respect of the associations, organisations and regulatory bodies under their aegis.

The Office of Public Works has responsibility for the maintenance of the seven civil service crèches established under the Civil Service Childcare Initiative. In addition to the capital and current expenditure incurred by the OPW the crèches are provided with rent-free accommodation.

My Department retains the responsibility for any policy issues relating to the crèches and chairs the Board of the Initiative. The Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit of my Department is currently carrying out a Focussed Policy Assessment of the Civil Service Childcare Initiative. The question of further savings that can be made in this overall area, including as regards efficiencies in how State funding is allocated and monitored, will be kept under scrutiny.

Public Sector Staff

Catherine Murphy

Question:

29 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the new Civil Service human resources shared service centre, that is projected to cost the State €26 million, will have a direct impact on the practice of rehiring retired civil servants; if it will simplify the competition process for recruitment to the Civil Service; the Exchequer savings that are expected to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26483/12]

Michael Colreavy

Question:

37 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the human resources shared services centre will be housed within his Department; the person who will be responsible and in turn accountable for his Department; his plans to publish quarterly target reports on the progress of the project and costs; if he will provide more detail of the €26 million once off costs in setting up this service; his plans for similar HR shared services for the public service as a whole as is the case for example with the Public Appointments Service. [28245/12]

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

46 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on the recent establishment of a human resources shared service centre for the Civil Service; the way that this will operate and be staffed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28146/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 29, 37 and 46 together.

The Government recently decided to proceed with the implementation of a HR Shared Service Centre (HRSSC) for the Civil Service which will be operated and managed by the Civil Service.

The HRSSC will carry out the transactional (administrative) elements of HR, freeing up staff in Departments, Offices and Agencies to focus on more strategic HR activities.

The HRSSC will consist of a centralised function within the Civil Service that will manage the transactional elements of HR processes for the Civil Service. Responsibility for other aspects of HR functions and for all aspects of HR decision making will remain with Secretaries General and Heads of Office and their HR units. The overall governance framework for the HRSSC will be developed further in the next phase of the project (detailed design) having regard to the legislative structures contained in the Civil Service Regulations Acts 1956 to 2005 and the Public Service Management Act 1997.

The HRSSC will manage a large number of key HR process areas that are very suitable to a HRSSC environment: Organisation Structure Management, Employee Administration, Pensions Administration, Training Administration and Performance Management Administration. These processes are high volume, repetitive and transactional in nature thus making them very suitable for management within a shared service centre.

The Public Appointments Service will continue to manage the process of recruitment to the Civil Service and therefore recruitment is not within the scope of this project at this stage. The HRSSC will have no direct impact on the practice of rehiring retired civil servants.

It currently costs the Civil Service €85.6m annually to deliver HR services to 40 bodies. It is estimated that, once fully operational, the implementation of the HRSSC will result in annual savings of €12.5m. The investment costs associated with this four year project have been estimated at €26 million. These costs consist of technology, project team resources (both internal to the Civil Service and the cost of our implementation partners), data cleansing and scanning and facilities costs.

This project is overseen by a Project Management Board that is accountable for project delivery, project budget and the financial appraisal of the project. The project team reports regularly to board and meetings of the board are held every 3 weeks

A significant determining factor for including an organisation in the HRSSC is whether or not that organisation is currently using the single, centrally managed Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the administration of HR services. The existence of a common IT platform is a significant advantage in establishing any shared service centre. The HRSSC will include 40 organisations in total including all Government Departments and a number of other Offices and Agencies, a small number of which are public service bodies.

Sectoral leads have been appointed to lead delivery of Shared Services within the main sectors and the National Shared Services Office is working closely with the Sectors to guide and support them with the development of their plans (to be completed by end Q2).

Sale of State Assets

Gerry Adams

Question:

30 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the protocol on meetings with market participants-advisers, in the context of the announcement on the disposal of State assets includes a protective measure that ensures that the Government’s advisers on the disposal in any capacity cannot and will not act as advisers to prospective bidders. [28259/12]

As the Deputy's question notes, in the interests of transparency and as possible transactions get closer, I have issued a protocol governing meetings between Government Departments and market participants-advisers in the context of the assets disposal programme that I announced in February. All such meetings are now being coordinated by the NewERA unit of the National Treasury Management Agency, which is acting as the Government's financial advisor in respect of the disposal programme.

The procurement of advisers to advise the Government on any transaction under the asset disposal process is a totally separate process which will be carried out, in each instance, in accordance with relevant national and EU procurement guidelines, with the design of each process taking into consideration the specific circumstances of the transaction involved. The asset disposals will be transacted via open, transparent, and competitive processes in order to ensure that the State achieves value for any assets being sold. I can assure the Deputy that the processes for the procurement of Government advisers will be designed in such a way as to ensure that any individual or company that is eventually engaged to advise the Government on a particular transaction under the asset disposal programme will be doing so on the basis that they cannot advise any of the prospective bidders in relation to that transaction.

State Agencies

Seán Crowe

Question:

31 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the action he has taken to ensure that non-commercial State agencies comply with their requirement to present draft un-audited annual accounts to their parent Department and the Department of Finance no later than two months after the end of their financial year. [28239/12]

Public accountability requires that accounts be produced and audited within a reasonable timeframe. The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies requires that draft unaudited annual accounts for each State body should be furnished to its relevant Department and to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform not later than two months after the end of the relevant financial year.

In response to issues raised by the Committee of Public Accounts and the Comptroller and Auditor General regarding delays in account production and submission, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform issued a circular to all Departments (4/2011) which highlighted the need for timely production of accounts of State bodies and funds under the aegis of Government Departments and Offices and their subsequent submission to their parent Department, along with the laying of such reports before the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Circular 4/11 specifies a time limit of (i) one month for bodies to submit their accounts to the parent Department after the Comptroller and Auditor General has issued his audit certificate and (ii) two months for Departments to lay the accounts of bodies before the Houses after the accounts are received by Departments. As outlined in the Circular, Departments are responsible for the compliance of all bodies under their aegis with the relevant requirements. In this context, Departments were requested to ensure that all relevant bodies under their aegis were notified of and fulfil these requirements.

State Bodies

Brian Stanley

Question:

32 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to ensure that State bodies are subject to the same reporting requirements as their parent Departments. [28242/12]

In the context of reporting requirements for central government and State bodies, public accountability requires that relevant accounts are produced and audited within a reasonable timeframe. The format of these accounts and reporting requirements reflect the objectives, funding mechanisms and statutory basis of the relevant organisations. While reporting requirements may vary, the underlying objective of public accountability remains the same.

In this regard, State bodies are generally required to prepare accounts in a manner prescribed in their establishing instruments, with accrual accounting as the basis for the majority of public sector accounts. In addition, the Code of Governance for State Bodies provides guidelines across a range of reporting requirements for State bodies.

The reporting requirements for government departments and offices are related to the Estimates process and each Department or Office is required to prepare statutory accounts, the Appropriation Accounts, for any Vote for which they are responsible. These accounts are on a cash basis, with accompanying accruals information. With effect from the 2011 Appropriation Accounts, Department and Offices are producing balance sheets and the Appropriation Accounts 2012 will see further development in this area. The wider issue of the move from cash based to accruals based accounts for central government is currently being examined, with particular reference to future shared services developments in the financial management area.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

33 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has concluded his consultation with Civil Service trade unions in relation to notice requirements for retirements and resignations; if the notice period for senior civil servants and key personnel will be extended; and when he will issue a revised instruction regarding the same. [28247/12]

A three month notice period was introduced as a temporary measure to assist management across the public service in dealing with the large number of retirements of staff in the run up to the end of the "grace period" i.e. the period during which the calculation of pension was unaffected by the pay reductions applied under theFinancial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act 2009. In order to protect public services it was critical that management in each of the sectors had knowledge of the numbers of staff retiring and the business areas that might be affected by potentially large scale departures. While the specific circumstances of the “grace period” resulted in a higher number of retirements than would normally occur, it remains critical that management know when key staff will be leaving their organisation.

In addition, we are required under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding with the EU/ECB/IMF to make quarterly returns on the progress being made in relation to reductions in numbers in the public service. Accurate and early information on forthcoming retirements is an important input and it provides us with information on whether the reduction in the public service pay bill arising from impending retirements is sufficient to meet Ireland's commitments under the Memorandum of Understanding.

I have already indicated that it is my intention to issue a revised instruction in relation to notice requirements for retirements and resignations in the Civil Service. Discussions are taking place with the civil service unions and will be concluded as soon as possible. The question of senior civil servants and key personnel giving longer notice is also being examined.

Question No. 34 answered with Question No. 26.
Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 7.

Drainage Schemes

Denis Naughten

Question:

36 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to address flood risks within the Shannon basin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28411/12]

As advised in my reply to the Deputy's previous questions in this matter, the assessment and management of flood risk on the River Shannon and all the national river catchments is being addressed through the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, which is scheduled to continue until the end of 2015. Details of this programme are available onwww.cfram.ie and specific updates on the River Shannon CFRAM are available on www.shannoncframstudy.ie. The consultants appointed in 2011 to undertake the Shannon CFRAM Study, held public open days in Athlone on 27th and 28th April 2012 as part of a consultative process designed to seek local views on what should be considered when examining solutions for managing flood risk in the future.

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 29.

Public Sector Reform

Sandra McLellan

Question:

38 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the measures he has taken or will take, within the context of his public sector reform agenda, to extend the definition of improbity within senior levels of the public sector beyond that of financial transactions. [28258/12]

A detailed framework is already in place relating to the standards of professional conduct and behaviour applying to public officials in addition to those in place to ensure the probity of financial transactions. This framework is established under ethics legislation and covers under various statutory Codes of Conduct key aspects of the performance of the official duties of, for example, Civil Service and local government employees in relation to standards of performance, behaviour at work and standards of integrity in order to ensure that the highest standards of probity are maintained. In key sectors of the wider public service such as the Health Service Executive and An Garda Síochána Codes of Conduct have been put in place under sectoral legislation.

As far as other non-commercial State bodies are concerned, under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies which State bodies are required to adopt, Codes of Business Conduct must be put in place for employees relating to such objectives as:

establishment of an agreed set of ethical principles;

promotion and maintenance of confidence and trust; and

prevention of development or acceptance of unethical practices

The final Report of the Tribunal into Certain Planning Matters and Payments while recognising that there is a broad framework of ethics legislation in place in Ireland made a number of significant recommendations to reinforce and strengthen ethical requirements for public officials in particular those governing the management of actual and perceived conflicts of interest. As part of a broad programme of political reform, my Department is currently examining options for the implementation of these requirements including the case for a root and branch reworking of the ethics framework to best to give effect to the findings of the Mahon Tribunal.

Question No. 39 answered with Question No. 27.

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

40 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to include third level institutions in the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 (Amendment) Bill enabling academics to take up posts within the civil and public sector; and when he intends to publish this Bill. [28248/12]

I can confirm that third level institutions are covered by the proposed amendment to the Public Service Management (Recruitment and Appointments) Act 2004 which will facilitate movement between public service bodies in the context of redeployment arrangements. Work on finalising the draft Heads of the Bill to amend that Act is substantially advanced and it is expected that the Bill will be published during the summer.

Government Economic and Evaluation Service

Pearse Doherty

Question:

41 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on the setting up and work to date of the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service as announced by him earlier this year. [28250/12]

The Government decided in March this year to set up the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES). The work of the Service will support Departments in evaluating policy and expenditure options; value for money exercises; cost benefit and regulatory impact analyses; and regulatory and competition issues. Candidates with postgraduate economic qualifications were targeted through an Administrative Officer (Economist) competition run by the Public Appointments Service earlier this year. Some 27 staff recruited initially under the competition are due to take up placements in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Finance over the coming weeks, as well as in a number of other Departments. These recruits will supplement the existing economic and evaluation expertise already within the public service, including the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit within my Department. After a period of training and development, some of these recruits will be seconded to other Departments with identified economic analysis needs.

Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

42 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason the Public Service Pension (Single Scheme) Bill has not reached Committee Stage despite Second Stage of the legislation having concluded in October 2011. [28251/12]

The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill is a major, wide-ranging and complex piece of legislation which, as the Deputy is aware, will give effect to a very significant initiative impacting on the pension terms of future new entrants in all areas of the public service including the Civil Service, education sector, health sector, local authorities, Garda, Defence Forces, regulatory sector, non-commercial semi-State bodies, Oireachtas and Judiciary.

The Deputy will know that certain aspects of the Bill, as published, including changes in the remuneration paid to judges, etc., were legislated for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act 2011. In any event, since publication of the Bill, my officials have been working on a number of amendments in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. These amendments are, for the most part, technical in nature and the work involved has now been completed and the Bill's Committee Stage (before the Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform) is scheduled for Thursday, 21 June.

In the period since publication, my officials and I have met on a number of occasions with various union interests representing staff employed throughout the public service. This time has afforded me the opportunity to reflect on certain issues raised at these meetings and some of the amendments I intend to bring forward take into account practical issues raised in discussions.

Public Service Contracts

Denis Naughten

Question:

43 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to assist small business in obtaining public contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26129/12]

I am very aware that public procurement can be an important source of business for local enterprises. Current guidelines (Circular 10/10) issued by my Department require public bodies to promote participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the award of public contracts. These guidelines set out positive measures that contracting authorities are to take to promote SME involvement in a manner that is consistent with the principles and rules of the existing public procurement regulatory regime. The guidance also highlights practices that are to be avoided because they can unjustifiably hinder small businesses in competing for public contracts. The key provisions of the guidance include:

supplies and general services contracts with an estimated value of €25,000 or more to be advertised on thewww.etenders.gov.ie website;

less use of "restrictive" tendering procedures and greater use of "open" tendering;

ensuring that the levels set by contracting authorities for suitability criteria are justified and proportionate to the needs of the contract;

sub-dividing larger requirements into lots where this is practical and can be done without compromising efficiency and value for money.

Circular 10/10 has been in place for almost two years. It is clear that there is a need to ensure greater consistency in relation to the implementation of this circular. In this regard, the National Procurement Service (NPS) recently established a Working Group on Small and Medium Enterprises to respond to public procurement issues arising for SMEs. The Working Group consists of representatives from the NPS, the Health Service Executive, the Irish Business and Employers Federation, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, Chambers Ireland, and the Small Firms Association. The Working Group will develop measures to highlight the scope that contracting authorities have under circular 10/10 to encourage SME participation in public procurement processes.

Economic Competitiveness

Brendan Griffin

Question:

44 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on the way his Department can stimulate domestic economic activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25415/12]

Since coming into office, the current Government has been working on a range of measures to boost employment and help stimulate economic growth beginning with the Jobs Initiative, launched in May 2011, which comprised a range of taxation and expenditure measures of €1.8bn designed to help get people back to work.

Last year, my Department undertook a review of the public capital programme, the results of which were published in the "Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework". The Framework sets out €17 billion worth of Exchequer investment intended to address critical infrastructure investment gaps in order to aid economic recovery, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. While the significant level of investment allocated under the Framework is in line with European norms, will generate activity throughout the country and will provide adequate resources for the next five years it is not the true summit of our ambitions. I am very conscious that there is much more that we could do if we had additional funding available.

In this context, my Department has been working closely with the Department of Finance and the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) to identify potential new sources of funding for infrastructure projects where it makes sense and offers value for money for the State. It should be noted however, that while infrastructure investment will play an important role in any stimulus package put forward by the Government, it is not the only way in which economic activity will be stimulated. My cabinet colleagues are also exploiting opportunities to create jobs and encourage economic growth. The Action Plan for Jobs 2012 sets out in detail many of the measures which are being discussed by Government.

Sale of State Assets

Clare Daly

Question:

45 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he or any other Government Department has undertaken an impact assessment study of the likely job losses that will arise from the sale of State assets; and the way such job losses compare to the number of jobs that he expects to be created by the proceeds of the sale of these assets. [26315/12]

The House will be aware from my previous statements that a number of inter-departmental steering groups have been established to examine each of the assets referred to in the programme of State asset disposals that I announced in February. These groups are charged,inter alia, with identifying any implications for employment that will arise from the sales in question. Notwithstanding this, I do not necessarily accept the suggestion in the Deputy’s question that job losses are a likely outcome of this process. Apart from the receipts from the sale of assets that the Government will retain for reinvestment, the sale of certain business units of State companies may actually offer the prospect of access to significant new capital to grow these businesses, which might not have otherwise have been available, given the current position in capital markets. The Bord Gáis Energy sale and the proposed divestment of some of ESB’s non-strategic power generation assets also presents an opportunity to achieve wider economic benefits by introducing new players into the Irish market thereby leading to increased competition, which should, hopefully, increase efficiency, drive down costs and lead to reduced prices to consumers and businesses.

With regard to the investment of receipts from any sales, I have, after long-term negotiations, reached agreement with Troika representatives that all of the proceeds will be used, in one shape or another, to support job creating initiatives in the economy. Half of the proceeds will be available to fund employment enhancing projects of a commercial nature. The other half, while destined eventually to pay-down debt, will, in the first instance, be constituted as a fund to guarantee additional lending into Ireland, for example by the EIB, in support of further investment in job-creating initiatives.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 29.

Public Sector Staff

Mattie McGrath

Question:

47 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when he will bring forward legislation to prevent the rehiring of retired public servants who have taken a gratuity and who have pensions, which was promised in the Programme for Government; the reason for the delay in bringing forward such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26234/12]

There is no commitment in the Programme for Government to bring forward legislation to prevent the rehiring of retired public servants who have taken a gratuity and who have pensions.

The general policy is that staff should not be retained beyond retirement age and any re-engagement should be kept as limited as possible and should be for a very restricted period. Usually, the rehiring of retirees is related to completion of a specific task where their particular skill or experience is required in the short-term. Situations can arise where a particular issue requires a short-term specialist input in order to complete a task. In many instances the most appropriate and cost-effective way of solving a short-term problem is to bring in someone who has worked in the area and understands the background. In the vast majority of cases these re-hires are very short-term and project specific and it would not justify the expense of any more formal selection process. There are no plans to introduce such legislation as we need to retain a degree of flexibility in order to deal with situations as they arise. There are already protections in place vis-à-vis the requirement to have an excluding order and also the fact that abatement of salary applies in such cases.

State Agencies

Martin Ferris

Question:

48 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the board. [28240/12]

In relation to the agencies under the remit of my Department there has been no instance in which an appointment to a State body has not been made where a vacancy has arisen.

Local Authority Services

Catherine Murphy

Question:

49 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost of delivery of the following services: post, water, waste water, waste collection, grid infrastructure, road maintenance, ambulance services, fire services, gardaí services in urban areas and rural areas per person or household; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28144/12]

Currently information is not collected in a format that would enable this Department to provide an answer to the Deputy's query. It would be a matter for the Deputy to contact the relevant Ministers with a request for this information.

Departmental Expenditure

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

50 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the total underspend in his Department to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28439/12]

The most recent Exchequer Statement to end May 2012 indicates that the Foreign Affairs Group (Votes 27 and 28 combined) has spent €241m so far in 2012 which is €86 million less than the Department's expenditure profile as published in the Revised Estimates Volume.

The shortfall from profile almost entirely arises under Vote 27 where variances are due to timing issues in relation to disbursements to implementing partners under the Irish Aid programme. I expect a full spend as normal on the aid programme in 2012.

Departmental Offices

John O'Mahony

Question:

51 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade further to Parliamentary Question No. 47 of 6 June 2012, if he will confirm the nationalities of each of the 30 candidates on the panel who have been deemed to be the most highly qualified and suitable for appointment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28441/12]

As indicated in the reply to Parliamentary Question No. 47 of 6 June 2012, a local recruitment process was undertaken for the engagement of temporary interns for the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU as part of its Presidency staffing plan. The nationalities of the 30 candidates placed on the panel are:

Nationality

Number

Irish

25

Bulgarian

1

Danish

1

Finnish

1

Hungarian

1

Italian

1

Consular Services

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

52 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the additional resources allocated to the Irish Embassy in Warsaw and Honorary Consul Offices in Kyiv and Poznan during the European Football Championship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28498/12]

Three additional staff, two Third Secretaries and a Clerical Officer, have been temporarily redeployed to Poland to assist the Embassy in Warsaw in providing consular services to Irish citizens during the European Football Championships.

Foreign Conflicts

Ann Phelan

Question:

53 Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the up to date situation in Syria and the action he will take to stop the slaughter that has been escalating in recent months — so much so, that it is believed that the country is on the brink of civil war. [28609/12]

I have made clear on a number of occasions the absolute horror and revulsion which all right-thinking people feel at the recent course of events in Syria and the escalating conflict which is now estimated by the UN to have claimed well over 10,000 lives in the past 15 months. On behalf of the Government and people of Ireland, I have condemned the appalling massacre at Houla on 25-26 May which resulted in the brutal murder of more than 100 people, including 49 children, and equally condemn the mass killing of a reported 78 people in the village of Al-Qubeir on 6 June allegedly committed by Assad-affiliated militias. These atrocities provide further unwelcome testimony of the Syrian regime's utter disdain for human life and the welfare of its own people. High Representative Ashton, on behalf of the EU, has forcefully condemned the recent violence in Syria in a statement on 3 June and has called for those responsible for the Houla massacre to be held accountable. A number of our EU partners also took the step following the Houla massacre of expelling their resident Syrian Ambassadors or Charge d'Affaires. However, as I explained in my statement of 30 May, such a step did not arise for Ireland as Syria does not have a resident Mission in Ireland but rather accredits from London where there has been no Ambassador since last March. Ireland, along with our EU partners, was also active in securing adoption by the UN Human Rights Council on the 1 June of a strong resolution, co-sponsored by all EU countries, which extends the mandate of the UN Commission of Inquiry in Syria established last August to investigate the events at Houla and report to the UN Security Council on any responsibility that may warrant future criminal prosecutions. Those responsible for committing such atrocities as those witnessed in Houla and Al-Qubair must know that they will be held to account and will not evade prosecution.

It is difficult to remain optimistic in face of the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground and undoubtedly the conflict in Syria is now at a critical juncture as to whether an all-out descent into a bitter, sectarian civil war can be avoided. Ultimately, as Joint UN/Arab League Special Envoy, Kofi Annan, has emphasised when addressing the UN Security Council last week, it is for all those who have undertaken to implement his six-point peace plan to honour their commitments as well as their obligations under international law. In particular, the Assad regime must ensure the complete withdrawal of heavy weaponry and troops from population centres, the release of all political detainees, and ensure free access and movement throughout the country to all, including media, humanitarian organisations and the UN. Any obstruction or attempt to prevent observers of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS, and to which Ireland is contributing six officers) from fulfilling their mandate, as happened with the shootings directed at some observers as they approached the village of Al Qubeir on 7 June, is completely unacceptable.

Despite the obstacles it faces, the Annan Plan remains the only agreed plan at present for ending the violence and promoting a peaceful transition in Syria. If the Syrian regime or any other party continues to fail to meet their obligations under the Plan, then they will leave the Security Council with little option but to re-visit the issue and actively consider the imposition of sanctions against those impeding the implementation of a peace plan endorsed by the international community. Closer engagement with Russia also remains extremely important, given that they remain the one country best placed to exert influence on the Syrian authorities at the current time. I am not in any way persuaded by those who call for military interventions or arming the opposition and believe such steps would only hasten a descent into all-out civil war. Pressure also needs to continue to be exerted on all Syrian opposition groups, both internal and external, to work more closely together and to agree a common platform since without such opposition unity and cooperation, progress in initiating any kind of internal political dialogue on Syria's future will remain very difficult.

The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to remain critical, with an estimated 80,000 Syrians having been forced to flee to neighbouring countries and upwards of one million civilians inside Syria urgently in need of sanitation, food and medical aid. Ireland is continuing to work closely with the UN and other international partners to address this situation. The recent agreement between the Syrian authorities and the UN on the opening of four UN humanitarian field offices is at least one positive development of note. Irish Aid has already made available emergency funding of €500,000 to the ICRC, UNHCR and WFP for use both within Syria and to assist those fleeing the violence.

Ultimately, the complete cessation of violence and implementation of the Annan Plan in full offer the best opportunity for ending the conflict and setting in train a process of urgently needed political reform and transition in Syria. Ireland and its EU partners will continue to work in support of this aim.

Trade Agreements

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

54 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the Irish Government will support the proposal of the European Commission to upgrade the trade relationship between the European Union and Israel through the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products at a time when the European Union has again expressed concerns regarding the ongoing illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. [28627/12]

The Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) is a normal technical measure under the existing EU-Israel Association Agreement and Action Plan, and does not represent any upgrading or major change in EU-Israel trade relations. It is one of eight such agreements concluded so far with the EU's Mediterranean partners, including also Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. These agreements are intended to eliminate technical barriers to trade, and so facilitate trade in both directions. They provide for mutual recognition of standards based on the adoption of the EU system and legislative norms by the countries concerned. This in turn further enhances the acceptance and reach of EU standards. The agreements concern various areas of manufactured goods. It has been expected that the agreement with Israel might relate especially to pharmaceuticals, and perhaps increase the availability in the EU of generic medicines, at lower cost to patients and health services.

The ACAA with Israel was signed in 2010 and is currently awaiting approval by the European Parliament.

As the Deputy is aware, the Government has been especially active in bringing attention to bear at EU level on the issues surrounding Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. But no Irish Government has supported blocking normal trade relations with Israel on that basis, nor would there be any possibility of success if we were to attempt to do so. This policy, and the reasons for it, have been stated many times in the Oireachtas.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

55 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28905/12]

There were no bonuses paid by my Department to senior county council officials, senior bank officials or senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

56 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28917/12]

My Department is responsible for two Votes — Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs) and Vote 27 (International Cooperation).

The Department necessarily works with a wide range of partners in pursuit of its strategic goals. In some cases, this involves the provision of funding to associations, organisations or other bodies.

The following table sets out the number of such bodies that have received funding through Vote 28 over the past three years.

Year

Number of Organisations in receipt of payment via HQ

2009

305

2010

265

2011

242

In addition to these organisations, further funding, generally in relatively small amounts, is made available through our Mission network for local programmes and projects. In the time available it has not been possible to collate a list of these beneficiaries.

In all cases the number of organisations and the amount of support is kept under review and opportunities for savings are actively explored. It should be noted that in the case of many of the larger payments made by my Department the sum involved is an assessed mandatory contribution representing Ireland's share of the running costs of organisations such the UN and its agencies and other international bodies.

Under Vote 27 — International Cooperation — my Department manages the Government's official programme of development assistance, Irish Aid. This involves the provision of funding and support for a wide of range of organisations engaged in development cooperation.

Organisations funded include UN Agencies, Programme Country Governments, large Irish and International development Non-Governmental Organisations, Missionary Organisations, other International and Multilateral Organisations, and smaller civil society based organisations, all of which are focused on the fight against global poverty and hunger.

Funding is provided to partner organisations following a rigorous appraisal process by Irish Aid. All funding applications must meet strict and transparent criteria, have clearly identified specific objectives and have demonstrable results that will have a sustainable and positive impact on improving the lives of some of the world's poorest communities.

Based on the trend over the past three years, on average, Irish Aid funds in excess of four hundred organisations annually. Approximately one third of Irish Aid funding is channelled through Non Governmental and Missionary Organisations, a third through UN Agencies and other Multilateral Organisations, while the remainder is channelled through other International Development Organisations and Programme Country Government systems. A detailed analysis of spending under the aid programme is provided each year in the Irish Aid Annual Report.

In addition to the individual reviews that form a normal part of my Department's approach to funding, an overall review of funding was carried out last year as part of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, which resulted in some savings being achieved.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

57 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28929/12]

Details of the staff who are currently employed by my Department on fixed-term contracts are set out in the following table:

Number

Grade/level

Area of work

Duration of contract

1

Deputy Secretary

OSCE Chairmanship

12 months

1

Assistant Secretary

OSCE Chairmanship

24 months

1

Assistant Secretary

National Archives

10 weeks

1

Assistant Secretary

Passport Appeals Officer

3 years

1

Counsellor (part-time)

Protocol

14 months

1

First Secretary

Irish Aid Press + Information Officer

3 years and 4 months

125

Temporary Clerical Officer

Passport Service

28 weeks

10

Intern

Various Divisions

11 months

19

Junior Professional Intern

Irish Aid

18 months

Fixed-term contracts are generally utilised only where this is the most cost effective means of servicing seasonal or other limited duration tasks and where the necessary resources are not available within the Department's core permanent staff complement. My Department does not employ agency staff with the exception of a small number of clerical staff engaged through agencies by Irish missions abroad. A small number of mission staff are also engaged on temporary fixed-term contracts, including in connection with Ireland's forthcoming EU Presidency.

Tax Collection

John Lyons

Question:

58 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide a full breakdown of the tax liability in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; and if tax will be deducted in this particular case and on what basis. [28430/12]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a Notice of Assessment to income tax issued to the person in question for 2011 following the receipt of his Return of Income together with a health expenses claim for that year. An underpayment of tax arose as the person and his wife are both in receipt of taxable payments from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and according to Revenue records only one DSP payment was taken into account in the tax credit certificate that issued to the person for the year 2011. The health expenses claim absorbed some of the undercharge, leaving a net amount outstanding of €713.96. The person should contact the Office of the Collector General to make arrangements to pay the amount due.

The Revenue Commissioners have also arranged for the issue of an amended tax credit certificate — Week 1 basis — for the year 2012 taking account of the correct DSP pension figures. The Inspector of Taxes, North City Revenue District has written to the person outlining the position for the years 2011 and 2012.

National Asset Management Agency

Pearse Doherty

Question:

59 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the full terms under which the National Asset Management Agency provides staple financing or vendor financing to buyers; and if he will lay a copy of the standard terms for the provision of such financing before the Dáil. [28479/12]

I am advised by NAMA that there is no single standard set of terms for stapled debt which NAMA may offer to parties acquiring commercial property from NAMA borrowers or receivers. Terms quoted will vary to reflect the attributes of various commercial property categories and individual properties, the varying strengths of tenants and leases, and the strength of counterparties/property purchasers. NAMA advises that only strong and reputable counterparties will be considered for stapled finance. For instance, NAMA advises that for prime investment properties, that is properties whose investment characteristics include, for instance, good location and strong tenants on leases with long maturity at realistic rents, which would qualify for the most generous loan terms, NAMA may offer up to 70% of the purchase price for a period of 5 years at a typical interest margin of 3% over cost of funds.

National Asset Management Agency

Pearse Doherty

Question:

60 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the National Asset Management Agency provides or has provided financing to purchasers other than staple financing for commercial property and the deferred payment initiative for residential property. [28480/12]

I am advised by NAMA that it does not and has not provided financing other than staple financing for the purchase of commercial property under the control of its debtors and receivers. Similarly, NAMA has advised that in the case of purchases of residential property controlled by its debtors and receivers the Agency does not and has not provided financing.

The Agency has recently introduced its 80:20 Deferred Payment Initiative, which has been launched on a pilot basis in respect of 115 houses in Counties Dublin, Kildare and Meath. Financing under the Deferred Payment Initiative is currently available from one of Bank of Ireland, AIB through its mortgage subsidiary EBS, and Permanent TSB with normal lending terms applying. It should be noted that this is not mortgage financing by NAMA as the source of the financing on that Initiative rests with the banks. NAMA is, in certain circumstances, willing to fund the purchase of commercial property under the control of its debtors and receivers through staple financing. Applied to the right product and right purchaser, staple financing provides, I am advised by NAMA, an opportunity to bring more buyers, including international buyers, into the Irish commercial property market.

I am advised by NAMA that it would not rule out in individual circumstances arrangements that include an element of deferred payment in respect of residential property transactions controlled by its debtors and receivers. NAMA have advised that they will look at other requests for financing on a case by case basis.

Public Sector Staff

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

61 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance the number of persons who have retired from the Revenue Commissioners in the years 2009/2010/2011 and to date in 2012 by grade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28494/12]

The Revenue Commissioners have provided me with the information in the following table in response to the Deputy's question.

Table: Retirements 2009 to 12 June 2012 (Headcount)

Grade

2009

2010

2011

To 12/6/12

Totals

Secretary General level

1

1

Assistant Secretary

3

2

5

Principal Officer

27

15

10

11

63

Assistant Principal

74

36

13

47

170

Higher Executive Officer

152

33

22

62

269

Executive Officer

112

22

35

76

245

Staff Officer

8

1

5

7

21

Clerical Officer

58

32

24

52

166

Other

10

12

6

7

35

Totals

441

154

115

265

975

The Revenue Commissioners are subject to the Employment Control Framework staffing reductions, in line with Government policy to reduce public service numbers. However, I recognise the need to replace the loss of key skills and experience in Revenue while meeting the existing Employment Control Framework allocations. I have asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to consider reducing Revenue's target staff numbers over a longer period of time, whilst at the same time allowing Revenue some scope to replace critical skills and experience. This request is under consideration. In the meantime, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has sanctioned the replacement of some critical posts in Revenue and the Deputy may have seen some recruitment advertising by Revenue in the media recently.

Official Travel

Patrick Nulty

Question:

62 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Finance if he will report on his attendance at the annual conference of the Bilderberg Group: if he attended the conference on official business; and if he will provide details of any Irish officials attending the conference; the issues he raised at the conference and those who attended the conference from other countries: the details of the full cost of this trip; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28587/12]

I attended the Bilderberg meeting in Westfield Marriot, Chantilly, Virginia, USA, from 1 to 3 June 2012. I, like a number of my European colleagues (both Ministers and EU Commissioners), was invited to attend given my position as Minister for Finance. I travelled alone and the total cost associated with my travel and accommodation came to €4,358.33. For further information, I would point Deputies to the Bilderberg Meetings website (www.bilderbergmeetings.org), which includes information on the organisation’s governance, steering committee, meetings and associated press releases.

At this meeting and its workshops I took the opportunity to set out to my fellow attendees the opportunities that exist in Ireland for investors and multinational companies. I also outlined the significant progress Ireland is making in restoring stability and growth to the economy. The Government is focused on encouraging as much investment as possible into Ireland and over recent months we have seen the strong level of inward investment in our economy and have seen the announcement of over 1,000 jobs per month from Foreign Direct Investment so far this year. I would point out to Deputies that a number of the business attendees represent companies which have very significant investments in Ireland that support thousands of Irish jobs.

Financial Services Regulation

John Lyons

Question:

63 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Finance if he will give consideration to correspondence (details supplied) regarding fitness and probity standards as issued by the Central Bank of Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28599/12]

Part 3 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 created for the first time in Irish law a harmonised statutory system for the regulation by the Central Bank of Ireland of persons performing controlled functions or pre-approval controlled functions in regulated financial service providers. Section 21 of the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 provides that a regulated financial service provider shall not permit a person to perform a controlled function unless the regulated financial service provider is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the person complies with and abides by the fitness and probity standards.

The fitness and probity regime is currently being introduced on a phased basis by the Central Bank, following two extensive consultation processes with the industry. Under the 2010 Act, the fitness and probity regime, including the issue raised by the Deputy, is given effect via regulations and a statutory code made by the Central Bank. The scope of the fitness and probity regime is set out in the Central Bank Reform Act 2010 Regulations 2011, while the standards to be applied are set out in a Code issued by the Central Bank under section 50 of the Central Bank Act 2010.

National Asset Management Agency

Pearse Doherty

Question:

64 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance further to Parliamentary Question No. 67 of 6 June 2012, if the National Asset Management Agency will disclose in its 2011 annual report both the carrying value and fair value of its loans, as required under the Central Bank of Ireland’s Impairment Provisioning and Disclosure Guidelines; the reason NAMA did not provide this disclosure in its management accounts for the quarter ended 31 December 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28654/12]

I am informed by NAMA that its 2011 annual report and financial statements, which is due for publication in July, will disclose the carrying value and fair value of its loans. NAMA advises that it is not required to follow the Central Bank guidelines. However, in preparing its annual accounts, NAMA uses international financial reporting standards (IFRS) which are consistent with the Central Bank guidelines and require NAMA to disclose the carrying value and fair value of its loans. In accordance with these reporting standards, NAMA disclosed the carrying value and fair value of its loans in its 2010 annual report and financial statements, see Note 20(a) to the financial statements, page 100, and will make a similar disclosure in its 2011 annual report and financial statements.

NAMA does not include these disclosures together with other additional disclosures required by IFRS in its quarterly unaudited management accounts, due to the time and expense which would be involved in preparing and presenting this additional information on a quarterly basis.

Financial Services Regulation

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

65 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if he will explain the meaning of the following on the website of the Central Bank website regarding themed inspections, which states that feedback from themed inspections is provided to the relevant sector of the industry formally and the findings from these themes are brought into the public domain through publication on our website in view of comments (details supplied) regarding confidentiality made in the course of replies to parliamentary questions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28681/12]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

66 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if he will explain the publication of the following in a press release of the Central Bank of Ireland dated 20 May 2011, namely, that the Central Bank of Ireland on 20 May 2011, published the results of a themed inspection of products sold by banks with promotional interest rates, the inspection identified and number of concerns including interest rate errors in homeloan products and misleading advertising, in view of comments (details supplied) made in response to parliamentary questions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28682/12]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

67 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if he will explain the way the following came to be published in the Irish Times of Friday 23 March 2012, the Central Bank inspected Merrion in May 2011 and found that six trades may have been incorrectly reported as sales instead of purchases in view of comments (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28683/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 65 to 67, inclusive, together.

I have been informed by the Central Bank of Ireland that it is bound by strict confidentiality requirements under Section 33AK(1)(b)(i) of the Central Bank Act 1942, as amended regarding disclosure of supervisory information relating to firms.

The Central Bank has developed a framework for reviewing, assessing and mitigating risks which have emerged in various industry sectors and across individual firms. The overall themes or findings which emerge are published on the Central Bank's website, however, specific issues relating to individual firms are not published.

Dormant Account inspections, responsibility for which has been delegated to the Central Bank by the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs under Section 22 of the Dormant Accounts Act, 2001, do not fall under the category of themed reviews and inspections.

Where the Bank conducts themed inspections on matters relating to conduct of business rules, the overall/general findings are published, however, again specific issues relating to individual firms are not published.

I have been informed that the Central Bank entered into a settlement agreement with Merrion Stockbrokers Limited on 21 March 2012. The settlement related to breaches of Regulations 112 and 33(1)(a) of the European Communities (Markets in Financial Instruments) Regulations 2007 ("the MiFID Regulations"). Following the settlement, the Central Bank published a press release on 22 March 2012, which was agreed with Merrion Stockbrokers Limited as part of the settlement discussions. The Irish Times article of 23 March, to which the Deputy refers, would appear to be based on the information from the Central Bank press release.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

68 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Finance the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28904/12]

In response to the Deputy's question the members of the NTMA senior management team — ten people including the Chief Executives of the NTMA, NDFA and NAMA — waived any consideration for performance-related pay in respect of 2011 (as they did previously in respect of 2010). The NTMA made performance-related payments to five key staff in respect of 2011. These payments in aggregate totalled €62,610. This compares with payments totaling €1,981,760 to 258 staff members in respect of 2010. In addition, all NTMA employees whose salaries exceed €200,000 have agreed to my request that they waive 15% of salary or such amount of salary as exceeds €200,000 if application of the full 15% reduction would bring their salary to below €200,000.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

69 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Finance the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28916/12]

In response to the Deputy's question: The Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal falls within the categories mentioned as an organization which receives funding from the State (through subhead A3, Vote 7).

Part of this Subhead inter alia meets the cost of the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal. The Board hears appeals from people who have been refused a Primary Medical Certificate which would allow them access to the Disabled Drivers and Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme. The Medical Board of Appeal is hosted by the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) on behalf of the Department of Finance and the cost of the Board has been recouped to the NRH since 2005 from the Department of Finance Vote.

Provision for 2012 is €330,000. Expenditure in 2009 was €371,467, expenditure in 2010 was €311,548, and expenditure in 2011 was €325,543. The Department is satisfied that the expenditure of the Board, which is demand-led, should continue to be covered, and that the level of expenditure is constantly monitored to ensure cost-efficiency. Details of the responses given to the written PQ's answered by my Department can be found using the following link: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/dail/2012/.

Special Educational Needs

Martin Ferris

Question:

70 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the special resource available to a person (details supplied) has ceased. [28478/12]

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 established criteria for the allocation of such supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

There is no automatic system of transfer of resources from one school to another. In considering applications for teaching and SNA supports for individual pupils, the SENOs take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

Where schools seek to have their resource allocation reviewed or make a new application, they should contact the NCSE in this regard.

Schools have been advised to make applications to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012. Schools will subsequently be advised by the NCSE of their allocation for the 2012/13 school year, based on the number of valid applications received and in the case of SNA support, the extent of the care needs of qualifying children.

It is open to schools to contact their local SENO in this regard, using the contact details available onwww.ncse.ie.

Schools Recognition

Willie Penrose

Question:

71 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will indicate definitively that a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath has been classified by his Department as a permanent recognised school; if so, if he will indicate the importance of that status being vested upon the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28489/12]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that permanent recognition has been awarded to the school to which he refers. A letter confirming this has issued to the Patron and school authority.

Schools granted permanent recognition status are eligible to apply to my Department for capital funding. It should be understood, however, that the provision of interim accommodation remains the responsibility of the Patron until my Department is in a position to provide permanent accommodation.

In view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of major school projects to meet future demographic demands nationally will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. The five year programme announced on 12 March last is focused on meeting those demographic needs.

In the context, therefore, of the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of essential school accommodation to meet this demographic demand, it is not possible to indicate at this point when permanent accommodation can be provided for the school in question.

Schools Building Projects

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

72 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 296 and 301 of 22 May 2012, if a fresh look is being taken at the planned school extension at a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if he will bring same forward to tender and construction stage. [28595/12]

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of architectural planning. The Design Team are currently working on the Stage 2a Submission (Developed Sketch Design) and, when complete, the school will forward this submission to my Department for review.

To ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of projects to meet the increasing demographic demands will be the main focus for capital investment over the next five years, particularly in those areas where it has been identified that most future demographic growth will be concentrated.

The project for the school referred to by the Deputy will continue to progress through the design stages of architectural planning within the context of available funding. However, due to competing demands on my Department's capital budget, it is not possible at this time to progress the project to tender and construction stage.

Teaching Contracts

Brendan Griffin

Question:

73 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will secure panel rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28622/12]

The arrangements for panel access for fixed term (temporary), substitute and part-time teachers are set out in Department Circular 0012/2012 which is available on my Department's website. The panels set up in accordance with the arrangements set out in this circular will be used for appointments to full-time permanent teaching posts but only where those posts are not otherwise required to facilitate the redeployment of surplus permanent and CID holding teachers.My Department intends to notify applicant teachers including the teacher referred to by the Deputy of the outcome for panel access in the coming weeks.

Special Educational Needs

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

74 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will support a school (details supplied) in terms of approving the proposed MDVI this year; if his attention has been drawn to the demand for specialist resources, including teaching and equipment and that six parents with children who are MDVI have applied for a place in the school but will be told the school cannot provide for the needs of their children without the MDVI unit; his views on whether the need for specialised resources for children who are MDVI will increase for schools across the country in the future and that this need must be met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28646/12]

Firstly, I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department provides for a range of placement options and supports for schools which have enrolled pupils with special educational needs in order to ensure that, wherever a child is enrolled, s/he will have access to an appropriate education.

My Department provides for the education of children with special educational needs, including pupils with Multiple Disabilities and pupils with Visual Impairment, through a number of support mechanisms depending on the child's assessed disability. In general, educational provision for children with special needs is made; in special schools; in special classes attached to ordinary schools; or in integrated settings in mainstream classes.

The nature and level of the educational response is based on the professionally-assessed needs of each individual child. My Department's policy is to ensure the maximum possible integration of children with special needs into ordinary mainstream schools. Many students with special educational needs will therefore not require or seek a special class placement, but will be educated along with their peers in mainstream provision, with additional supports.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports. This includes the allocation of resource teaching hours to schools as well as the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas, as required, and the discontinuation of such classes where the need no longer exists.

I have therefore arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

75 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28914/12]

The information sought is being compiled at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy shortly.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

76 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28927/12]

The information sought is being compiled at present and will be forwarded to the Deputy shortly.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

77 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28942/12]

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the boards of non-commercial State agencies under the aegis of my Department is contained in the following table.

Appointments to the boards of these agencies are made on the basis of appointees having the necessary skills, competencies and experience to contribute effectively to the work of the particular board.

Details relating to non-commercial State agency boards under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills

Agency Name(and Website Address)

Board Members(as of June 2012)

Remuneration/Fees Applicable in 2012

Chairperson

Ordinary Member

An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochtawww.cogg.ie

John Carr (Chair)Mairéad Ní ChualáinAnna Ní ChartúirBernadette Ní DhuibhirCathnia Ó MuircheartaighFíona Uí UiginnClodagh Ní MhaoilchiaráinBríd Uí LubhaingYvonne Ní MhurchúMáire Nic NiallaisMícheál Ó BroinSéan Ó TuairisgBláthnaid Ní GhréacháinMáire Ní ChuinneagáinDeirbhile Nic CraithRobert CroninJudith Ní MhurchúMichael DohertyMáire Uí ChonghaileSeosamh Ó CoinnePádraig Mac Criostail

€0

€0

Commission into Child Abusewww.childabusecommission.ie

Mr. Justice Seán RyanMs Marion ShanleyMs Anne Mc LoughlinMr. Fred LoweMs Mary Fennessy

See Note 1

Education Finance Boardwww.educationfinanceboard.com

Mr. Sean Benton (Chair)Mr. Stephen McCarthyMs Norah GibbonsMs Inez BaileyMs Marian DunningtonMs Bernadette FahyMr. James QuinnMr. Peter OrmondMs Dolores Rooney

€0

€0

Foras Áiseanna Saothairwww.fas.ie

Michael Dempsey (Chair)Tony DempseyMichael MoriartyEmer GilvarryMartin HoganAnnette HughesPaddy McDonaghBrendan MurphySean O’LongáinMargaret SweeneyPaul O’Toole (DG FÁS)

€20,520

€11,790

Further Education and Training Awards Councilwww.fetac.ie

Mr. Donal O’Rourke (Chair)Dr. Padraig WalshMs Margaret O’ConnellMr. Rory O’SullivanMr. Joseph O’LearyMs Deirdre KeyesMs Bridie DalyMs Margaret MernaghMr. John MulcahyMr. Tony PetitMs Shira Mehiman6 Vacancies

€0

€0

Grangegorman Development Agencywww.ggda.ie

John Fitzgerald (Chair)Mr. Michael Hand, CEOProfessor Brian NortonDr. Dominmic DillaneCllr. Emer CostelloMr. Dick GleesonMs Denise O’DowdMs Jacinta StewartMr. John MonahanMr. Bob CogginsMs Maria GroganCllr. Mary FitzpatrickMr. Brian GilroyMs Anne O’ConnorMr. David Geary

€8,978

€0

Higher Education and Training Awards Councilwww.hetac.ie

Prof. Seamus Smyth (Chair)Dr. Padraig WalshMs Mary McGlynnDr. Finola Doyle-O’NeillDr. Maria HinfelaarDr. Diarmuid O’CallaghanAengus O’MaolainDr. Marion PalmerDr. Ide Ní FhaoláinDr. Barbara BirminghamMr. Norman Sharp3 Vacancies

€0

€0

Higher Education Authoritywww.hea.ie

Mr. John Hennessy (Chair)Dr. Maeve ConrickDr. Maria MeehanProf Ellen HazelkornCllr Brendan ByrneMr. John DolanMr. Eamonn GrennanProf Eileen Harkin JonesProf. Marijk van der WendeProfessor Anthony StainesMs Siobhan HarkinMs Kathleen LoughMr. Gordon RyanDr. Jim MountjoyMr. Paddy CosgraveDr. Brian ThornesDr. Mary CanningMr. Bahram BekhradniaMr. Gary Redmond

€11,970

€7,695

Irish Research Councilwww.ircset.ie

Dr. David Lloyd (Chair)Professor John BrewerMr. Ivan CoulterProfessor Anita R. MaguireProfessor Orla FeelyProfessor Alan F. SmeatonDr. Thomas M. CooneyProfessor Caroline FennellProfessor Rowena PeccheninoProfessor Sheila GreeneProfessor Sean RyderDr. Eucharia Meehan

€0

€0

Léargas — The Exchange Bureauwww.leargas.ie

Des O’Loughlin (acting Chair)Geraldine SkellyDomenica CreanMarian O’Callaghan5 Vacancies

€0

€0

National Centre for Guidance in Educationwww.ncge.ie

Mr. Barra Ó Briain (Chair)Mr. Paul KingMr. Peter BrownMr. Paul HillMs Patricia McDonaghMs Eilis CoakleyMr. Colum LaytonMs Margaret KellyMs Marian O’CallaghanMr. Jim MullinMr. John Wynn

€0

€0

National Council for Curriculum and Assessmentwww.ncca.ie

Brigid McManus (Chair)Declan KellehenMichael RedmondClive ByrneDeirbhile Nic CraithMarie GriffinNóirín HayesChristina HenehanPhilip IrwinBernie JudgeDr. Daire KeoghMarie Therese KilmartinMary LillisPádraig MacFhlannchadhaDr. Rose MaloneHilary McBainPatricia McCrossanDr. Kara McGannJim MooreMichael O’BrienSeán Ó CoinnBryan O’ReillySr. Betty O’RiordanBríd Uí RiordánEileen Salmon

€0

€0

National Council for Special Educationwww.ncse.ie

Sydney Blan (Chair)Dr. Seamus HegartySr Maighread Ní GhallchobhairTom O’SullivanMaureen CostelloDon MahonDr. Anne LodgeJoan RussellPat KinsellaJulie O’LearySiobhan BarronMichael CoughlanMr. James O’Grady

€0

€0

National Qualifications Authority of Irelandwww.nqai.ie

Mr. Paul Haran (Chair)Dr. Padraig WalshMs Audrey DeaneProf Seamus SmithMr. Donal O’RourkeProf. Anne ScottMr. Gary RedmondMs Maire BourkeMr. Tony DonohueMr. Eamon DevoyProf. Anne MoranMr. Mogens Berg2 Vacancies

€0

€0

Residential Institutions Redress Board (RIRB)www.rirb.ie

The Honourable Judge Esmond Smyth (Chairman)Dr. Helen CummiskeyDr. Ruth PilkingtonMs Ann O’Brien B.LDr. Mary Concannon BluettMs Dariona Conlon, SolicitorDr. Fionnuala O’LoughlinMr. John Campbell, SolicitorDr. Harry BuglerMs Samantha Cruess Callaghan, BLDr. William Delaney

See Note 2

Residential Institutions Review Committee (RIRC) See RIRB website

Mr. Justice Frank Murphy (Chairman)Judge John BuckleyMr. Colm GaynorMs Ita ManganMr. Brendan GogartyMr. John Dalton

See Note 2

Skillnets Ltdwww.skillnets.ie

Domhnall Mac Domhnaill (Chair)Eamon DevoyMairead DivillyNiall SaulBrendan McGintyIan TalbotGeorge HennessyPeter RigneyNuala KeherHenry MurdochTerry HobdellPaul O’BrienKarl McDonagh

€8,978

€5,985

State Examinations Commissionwww.examinations.ie

Mr. Richard Langford (Chair)Mr. Joe HarrisonMr. Martin CarneyDr. Brian FlemingDr. Caroline Hussey

€0

€0

The Teaching Councilwww.teachingcouncil.ie

Michael Ó Gríofa (Chair)Dympna MulkerrinsEimear Marie ColeBrid Ní RaghallaighJohn ConlonCatherine O’ConnorMilo WalshDerbhile De PaorDiarmuid Ó MurchúMs Anne McElduffMr. Declan KelleherLily CroninChristopher MaginnNoel BuckleyBernadine O’SullivanFergal McCarthyMarie HumphriesKieran ChristieMr. Michael BarryMs Elaine DevlinMs Bernie RuaneMr. Michael GillespieProf Michael HayesMs Marie McLoughlinDr. Andrew McGradyDr. Joe O’HaraMs Eileen FlynnDr. Ken FennellyMs Joan RussellMr. Patrick McVicarMs Áine LynchEleanor PetrieMarie ClarkeFrank TurpinDr. Séan RowlandDeirdre MatthewsBrendan McCabe

€0

€0

Note 1: The Chairperson of the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse (CICA) is a member of the Judiciary and is not paid by the CICA. The ordinary members of the Commission, who were all salaried are not currently on the payroll.

Note 2: The Chairman of the RIRB is paid an annual salary equivalent to a serving President of the Circuit Court subject to abatement to take account of his pension.

In relation to the RIRC, the Chairman's salary is linked to his former Supreme Court judicial salary subject to pension abatement. Since October 2011, the Chairman has taken a 50% voluntary reduction in his salary. The other board members of both the RIRB and the RIRC are paid aper diem rate and pension abatement applies in the case of members receiving a pension from the State. The per diem rate from 1st January 2011 is €668.

Departmental Properties

Michael McGrath

Question:

78 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if any property reverted to the State in accordance with the State Property Act, 1954 following the dissolution of a certain company in 2010 (details supplied); and, if so, to provide details of the location of the property and who is currently responsible for it. [28465/12]

The company in question was dissolved in 2012 and all property registered to it has consequently become vested in the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform under the State Property Act, 1954. Companies Office records indicate that the dissolved company owned properties in Passage West, County Cork. The Office of Public Works is currently in correspondence with the Chief State Solicitor's Office who are dealing with legal issues regarding the dissolution and the property.

Shane Ross

Question:

79 Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the costs involved in the upkeep and maintenance of Farmleigh House, Dublin; the construction work that has been carried out on the building within the past 12 months; the costs of this construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28598/12]

Farmleigh Estate comprises 78 acres and includes Farmleigh House, Estate offices, various workshops, Farmleigh Gallery, the Cowshed Theatre, the Stewards House and various other Lodges. Upkeep and maintenance costs for Farmleigh House alone are not recorded separately.

The upkeep and maintenance costs for Farmleigh Estate from 1st July 2011 until the end of May 2012 amount to €195,966.45. This figure includes costs for cleaning, conservation of the Collection, equipment maintenance, painting and maintenance contracts. No construction projects have been carried out to Farmleigh House within the past 12 months.

Public Sector Pay

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

80 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total value of increments for a given 12 month period being awarded in 2010, 2011 and 2012; if he will provide a breakdown according to the following salary brackets, or comparable: less than €25,000, between €25,000 and €50,000, and more than €50,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28687/12]

My Department has access to detailed data on increments only in the Civil Service sector, for which I have direct responsibility. I will arrange for the relevant data in relation to the Civil Service to be collated and forwarded to the Deputy, as soon as it comes to hand.

The position in relation to detailed data on increments is that it is not currently available or readily accessible within the sectors. Detailed pay roll data for other public servants, including that for increments is held and managed by individual public service employers. The availability of specific data on increments varies across those bodies. For example, detailed data on the cost of increments in the Local Authority sector is not currently available to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government as it covers 34 individual local authorities.

No specific financial provision is made to public service bodies in respect of increments as they are required to meet the cost within their overall pay allocations. Accordingly, as it is a matter for each public service body to manage the cost of increments on an individual basis within their individual pay allocations, details are not sought for expenditure planning purposes and the information does not form part of the estimates process. However, the public service reform plan provides for a move to shared services across the public service and this will ensure greater accuracy of data and provide access to improved management information in real time. This is one of the many strategic benefits of shared services.

On increments generally, based on more detailed information recently requested by my Department on the total cost of increments in a full year in the various sectors, the estimated full year cost of increments in the public service (excluding the Local Authority sector) is now estimated at no more than €180 million per annum and less than half that sum in 2012. Significantly reduced recruitment, the ongoing substantial fall in numbers of public servants and higher numbers reaching the maxima of scales has reduced the cost of increments. This cost will continue to fall over the coming years.

Sale of State Assets

Stephen S. Donnelly

Question:

81 Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on plans to sell assets belonging to Coillte; if he intends selling logging rights to the forests, and if so, which forests, and the percentage of Coillte’s forests by land size that this constitutes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28688/12]

Deputies will recall that when I announced the content of the State asset disposal programme in February, I indicated that consideration will also be given to the sale of some of Coillte's assets but that a sale of Coillte's land holdings is ruled out by Government. Since then, detailed consideration has been given to the various options to realise value from Coillte and its assets and I would expect to announce details of the Government's intentions in this regard in the near future.

State Bodies

Sean Fleming

Question:

82 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he was consulted by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence in relation to the decision to move the Equality Authority staff that are currently based in Roscrea, County Tipperary, out of the town and were the Office of Public Works involved in this decision; if he will give details of the proposals that he has to deal with the office accommodation that will no longer be required by The Equality Authority in view of the fact that there is a 20 year lease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28505/12]

The Commissioners of Public Works have not been party to any review of the Equality Authority's presence in Roscrea. Decisions relating to staff based in Roscrea are a matter for the Minister for Justice and Equality, and any downstream consequences for property in Roscrea will be considered by the Commissioners in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality in due course.

Departmental Properties

Sean Fleming

Question:

83 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has received the proposal from the Office of Public Works regarding the consolidation of the Department of Agriculture’s accommodation in Portlaoise, County Laois, setting out the various options for consolidation and when he expects to be in a position to give his views; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28506/12]

In February 2012, the Commissioners of Public Works wrote to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform outlining the options for the consolidation of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine's accommodation in Portlaoise. All options are still under consideration by the Commissioners and the aforementioned Departments.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

84 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011; and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28625/12]

In answer to the Deputy's question my Department has no role to play in the matter of bonuses paid to senior county council officials or senior bank officials. These would be matters for the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Department of Finance respectively.

In relation to bonuses paid to senior official in semi-State companies while the National Lottery, which is a commercial State body, is under the aegis of my Department my Department has no role in relation to issues such as bonuses paid by the Company to its staff.

Public Sector Reform

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

85 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are specific areas within the public service in respect of which greater than average reform has taken place with consequential benefit to the Exchequer; the extent if any to which such experience can be replicated throughout the sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28631/12]

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

88 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the areas of reform throughout the public sector that have so far been deemed most likely to damage the prospects of effective delivery of service; if such impact can be ameliorated in any way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28634/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 85 and 88 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, this Government is committed to far reaching reform of the Public Service and providing better value for money, flexibility and service delivery in the Public Service. The Government's Public Service Reform Plan, which was published last November, outlines the priority actions and timelines for reform. These reforms reflect five major commitments to change, namely:

placing customer service at the core of everything we do;

maximising new and innovative service delivery channels;

radically reducing costs to drive better value for money;

leading, organising and working in new ways; and

a strong focus on implementation and delivery.

Good progress continues to be made in the implementation of the Reform Plan across the Public Service. For example, we are expanding e-government thought the recently published eGovernment Strategy. We are rolling out the Public Service Card and increasing efficiency in public procurement. Detailed proposals in other areas such as property management and external service delivery are at an advanced stage. Progress also continues to be made in the area of shared services, which was identified as a major element of the reform programme, and I have recently announced plans for the establishment of a Human Resources Shared Service Centre (HRSSC) for the Civil Service in this regard.

As the Deputy is award a key element of the reform agenda is the reduction of the size of the Public Service, and by 2015 we expect to achieve a planned reduction of 37,500 staff, or 12%, since 2008. While the reduction in public service numbers will reduce costs significantly, it will also necessitate major reform in all sectors. In this context, the effective implementation of the redeployment arrangements under the Croke Park agreement will be crucial to the success of the reform initiative. This will allow increasingly limited staff resources to be directed to the areas of most strategic importance. At the same time, the envisaged re-engineering of structures, systems and services will mean that the Public Service will be able to continue to deliver key services with reduced numbers. Transition Teams drawn from existing Workforce Planning Groups were put in place in the Health, Education, Local Government, Justice and Defence, and Civil Service sectors to address the specific short-term challenges arising from retirements in the Public Service and to manage the process in their respective sectors. The Strategic Workforce Planning Groups in each sector will continue to ensure that sectoral employers develop plans to deal on an ongoing basis with the operational and strategic consequences arising from the outflow of staff in 2012 and future years. Guidelines for a Workforce Planning Framework for Departments and their agencies have been circulated by my Department and Workforce Plans are due to be finalised by Departments by end June.

Implementation of the Reform Plan is being overseen by the Reform and Delivery Office established within my Department. The Office is working closely with organisations across the Public Service to enable them to deliver meaningful reform at a local level, as well as leading on certain cross-cutting initiatives from the Reform Plan.

In addition, Government Departments and major offices have produced integrated reform delivery plans, which place centrally driven initiatives in the context of organisational and sectoral reforms. Progress made on these plans is also being overseen by the Reform and Delivery Office, which is also driving an increased capacity and capability for change, both centrally and across the various sectors of the Public Service, to ensure that the focus is firmly on implementation and delivery.

Questions Nos. 86 and 87 answered with Question No. 27.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 85.

Questions Nos. 89 to 92, inclusive, answered with Question No. 27.

Employment Rights

Clare Daly

Question:

93 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation following the signing into law of the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Workers) Bill, the steps being taken by him to make employers aware of their obligations; and the steps that being taken to make agency workers aware of their rights arising from the bill. [28596/12]

On 1 December 2011, the Minister wrote to employers' representative bodies to confirm that legislation to transpose the EU Directive on Temporary Agency Work was in the process of being finalised and to alert representative groups that Hirers and Agencies should make the appropriate arrangements to ensure that the principles of equal treatment were put in place from 5th December 2011 for all temporary agency workers, including those who are assigned on or after 5th December, 2011. In addition, a "Notice on Temporary Agency Work Directive" was published in the newspapers.

Following the signing into law of the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012, information on the passing of the Act has been published on the website of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Workplace Relations website the website of the National Employment Rights Authority and additionally the Department intends shortly to provide a general guidance document on the website to advise of the main provisions of the Act.

Finally, Information Officers of the Workplace Relations Customer Service phone service on 1890 80 80 90 provide impartial information on a wide variety of employment rights legislation (including the Protection of Employees (Temporary Agency Work) Act 2012 Act) to both employees and employers by telephone, in writing and by email.

Job Protection

Brendan Smith

Question:

94 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will ensure that his Department and the State’s industrial agencies provide all possible assistance to protect and support an industry and save jobs at a manufacturing facility (details supplied) at which difficulties have arisen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28653/12]

I understand that the High Court appointed a provisional liquidator to the company concerned on 6 June last. The assets, goodwill and undertaking of the business were advertised for sale on 8 June.

One of the powers given by the Court to the liquidator was to grant a license to continue to trade in the short term. A license agreement was concluded between the liquidator and a new company on 7 June. Sales operations commenced on 8 June with the employment of key people and further recruitment of people for factory operations is anticipated.

The company concerned is a client of Enterprise Ireland and the agency is continuing to liaise with the business and will offer any assistance that it can.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

95 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28907/12]

Senior county council officials and senior bank officials do not come under the aegis of my Department. With regard to senior officials in semi-State companies, there have been no bonuses paid to senior officers in State agencies in 2011.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

96 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28919/12]

Details of specific payments of the nature referred to by the Deputy for the three years from 2009 to 2011 are set out in the following tables:

2011

Name of Organisation

Purpose of Payment

Amount Paid

Tyndall National Institute

Core Grant

€3,000,000

National Irish Safety Organisation (NISO)

Development and delivery of FETAC (Level 4) accredited course on Basic Health and Safety

€15,000

Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)

Education, Training and Advisory Service (ETAS)

€874,000

2010

Name of Organisation

Purpose of Payment

Amount Paid

Tyndall National Institute

Core Grant

€3,000,000

ICTU

Education, Training and Advisory Service (ETAS)

€804,750

Independent Workers Union

Trade Union Amalgamations

€14,780

Consumers’ Association of Ireland

To support the rebranding of the Association to enhance its profile and capability

€28,954

2009

Name of Organisation

Purpose of Payment

Amount Paid

Tyndall National Institute

Core Grant

€3,415,000

ICTU

Education, Training and Advisory Service (ETAS)

€1,200,000

Consumers’ Association of Ireland

To assist in the development of a Consumer Choice and Audit Consumer Trust Kitemark Scheme and a strategic review of the Association.

€68,000

Payments to the Tyndall National Institute were reviewed in 2011, in the context of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. The level of future payments to the Institute will be subject to further examination in the context of the annual estimates process. Funding in relation to Consumers' Association of Ireland is currently being reviewed.

As regards the payment to the Independent Workers Union, this is paid in accordance with the objectives of the Trade Union Act 1975, which is designed to facilitate amalgamations and transfers of undertakings among trade unions by simplifying merger procedures. In this context, grants are available from the Exchequer to meet the costs incurred by unions in this process.

In relation to the payments to Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU), an annual grant is paid to assist ICTU in meeting the cost of providing its Education, Training and Advisory Service (ETAS). The grant-in-aid assists Congress in the area of policy development, the provision of education and training supports to union officials and members, and advice to affiliated unions on particular issues. Between 2008 and 2011, there had been a phased reduction in the level of the grant provided to ICTU for ETAS.

The Department has decided to switch the focus of the allocation to ICTU towards a performance-based recurrent funding system for ETAS, whereby ICTU's educational and advisory services would receive continued funding if they meet specified agreed reporting requirements.

The National Irish Safety Organisation is a voluntary not-for-profit body dedicated to the promotion of, and training in, occupational health and safety in Irish workplaces. The development of the course was supported by the Health and Safety Authority. This was a once off payment and therefore there is no need for a review of this funding.

Details of the financial allocations provided to the Offices and Agencies of my Department are provided in the list of Voted expenditure for the Department as set out in the Revised Estimates Volume.

The Offices of my Department are as follows:

Companies Registration Office,

Office of the Registrar of Friendly Societies,

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement,

Patents Office,

Employment Appeals Tribunal,

Labour Relations Commission, and

Labour Court.

The Agencies of my Department are as follows:

Forfás,

Enterprise Ireland,

IDA Ireland,

Shannon Development,

City and County Enterprise Boards (35),

Science Foundation Ireland,

InterTrade Ireland,

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority,

the Competition Authority,

National Consumer Agency,

Personal Injuries Assessment Board,

National Employment Rights Authority,

National Standards Authority of Ireland, and

Health and Safety Authority.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

97 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28931/12]

There are no agency or contract staff currently employed in my Department except for the following staff appointed by me and the Ministers of State at my Department, i.e.

2 Special Advisers.

1 Personal Assistant in each Minister's Office.

1 Personal Secretary in each Minister's Office.

2 Civilian Drivers for each Minister.

Staff who occupy the posts listed above are paid an annual salary which is outlined in their respective contracts and agreed with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

As this is a day to day matter for the Agencies, I have asked the Agencies under the aegis of my Department to respond directly to Deputy Fleming.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

98 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28945/12]

I have listed the board members for each of the boards under the aegis of my Department. The annual fees payable to board members by category of Board are as follows:

Table

Category 1

Chairperson

€29,888

Directors

€14,963

Category 2

Chairperson

€20,520

Directors

€11,970

Category 3

Chairperson

€11,970

Directors

€7,695

Category 4

Chairperson

€8,978

Directors

€5,985

A number of Board members have opted to waive fees and serving civil servants do not receive a fee for sitting on a board.

Shannon Development — Category 2

John Brassil

Tom Barrett

Roger Downer

John Ferriter

John Fitzgerald

Noreen Foran

Joan Reynolds

Dick Sadlier

Stephen Curran

Willie Loughnane

Labour Relations Commission — Category 2

Breege O'Donoghue

Fergus Whelan

Gerard Barry

Iarla Duffy

John Hennessy

Peter McCloone

Science Foundation Ireland — Category 2

Professor Pat Fottrell

Professor Mark Ferguson

Martin Shanagher

Tom Boland

John Travers

Peter MacDonagh

Dr. Rita Colwell

Dr. Martina Newell — McLoughlin

Sean Aherne

Bernie Cullinan

Pat Duane

Jim Mountjoy

Personal Injuries Assessment Board — Category 2

Dorothea Dowling

Patricia Byron

Joe O'Toole

Tom Noonan

Ann Fitzgerald

Jerry Fitzpatrick

Breda Power

Martin Naughton

Bernard Sheridan

National Consumer Agency — Category 2

Stephen Costello

Ann Fitzgerald

Georgina Conroy

Marie Dalton

Pat Desmond

Eugene Gallagher

Fergus J. Gallagher

Isolde Goggin

Robin O'Sullivan

David Pierce

Colleen Savage

Edward Shinnick

IDA Ireland — Category 2

Liam O'Mahony

Lionel Alexander

Loretta Brennan Glucksman

Paul Duffy

Henry McGarvey

Heather Ann McSharry

Barry O'Leary

Gerard O'Mahoney

Martin Shanagher

Alan W. Gray

Mary Campbell

Peter Cassells

Enterprise Ireland — Category 2

Hugh Cooney

Frank Ryan

Gearóid Doyle

Maire Ní Thuathail

Michael McLoone

Jim O'Hara

Catherine Caulfield

Rita Shah

Bob Savage

Forfás — Category 2

Martin Shanahan

Barry O'Leary

Frank Ryan

Professor Mark Ferguson

Bob Brannock

Miriam Magner Flynn

William O'Brien

Timothy Dullea

Don Thornhill

Eoin O'Driscoll

John Murphy

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority — Category 3

Karen Irwin

Deirdre Behan

Marie Daly

Mairead Devine

Ian Drennan

Sean Hawkshaw

Tony Kelly

David Martin

Sylvia McNeece

Kevin O'Donovan

Conor O'Mahony

Joe O'Toole

Gerard Scully

Michael Quinlan

National Standards Authority of Ireland — Category 3

Ann Riordan

Maurice Buckley

Kieran Ryan

Edmond Stack

Damian Wallace

James Collins

Terry Landers

Barbara O'Leary

Ann Clarke

Kieran Cox

Health and Safety Authority — Category 3

Michael Horgan

Marion Byron

George Brett

Dermot Carey

Eamon Devoy

Dessie Robinson

Esther Lynch

Des Mahon

Mary Bohan

Dan O'Connell

John Byrne

John Newham

InterTradeIreland

Martin Cronin

Patricia McKeown

Kevin Norton

Mairead Sorensen

John Corbett

ITI's Board is made up of 6 representatives each from Ireland and Northern Ireland nominated by the relevant Minister and appointed by the North South Ministerial Council. Annual fees are paid to Board members. The fees are at levels set by the North South Ministerial Council. Board member fees are disclosed in the InterTradeIreland Annual Reports. The most recent Annual Report (2010) shows the annual fee payable to each Southern Board member was €8,100.

Competition Authority

Isolde Goggin

Gerald Fitzgerald

Stephen Caulkins

Patrick Kenny

The Authority does not have a typical board. Pursuant to the Competition Act, 2002, an executive board of Members of the Competition Authority are employed as salaried Members and are required by statute to have sufficient expertise in, or experience of, one or more of the following areas, namely law, economics, public administration, consumer affairs or business generally.

Competencies

In relation to competencies, boards require a range of people with a variety of skills and competencies. In general board members are required to have excellent interpersonal skills; to be able to think strategically and creatively; be impartial and consider issues objectively, be financially literate; and be committed to the highest standards of integrity and governance.

In addition boards require a mix of people with expertise in particular areas e.g audit and financial issues, legal and regulatory matters. The Boards of particular agencies will have further requirements specific to that agency, e.g. in the case of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, it is desirable that the board includes a member experienced in personal injury law.

The Deputy will be aware that Government policy is to introduce greater transparency in the appointment process. In line with this policy and in an effort to broaden the pool of suitable candidates for consideration for appointment to boards, my Department advertises vacancies on the boards of the agencies under its remit. In making board appointments my overriding focus is to find the best people for particular board appointments. I have regard to the expertise and experience of individuals, the balance of skills and attributes in terms of the overall composition of the board, the gender balance of the board and the availability and commitment of people to serve on the board.

Social Welfare Appeals

Sandra McLellan

Question:

99 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28447/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13th March 2012. 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. When received, the appeal in question will be referred to an appeals officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an 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

Frank Feighan

Question:

100 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Social Protection if a decision will issue without further delay to an appeal for respite care grant in respect of a person (details supplied). [28435/12]

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 on 25th June 2012. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the 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.

Invalidity Pension

Pat Breen

Question:

101 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an application for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28443/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the invalidity pension claim of the person concerned was disallowed following an assessment by a Medical Assessor who expressed the opinion that she was medically unsuitable for the allowance. An appeal was registered on 28th March 2012 and in accordance with the statutory procedures the relevant department papers and the comments of the Deciding Officer on the matter raised in the appeal have been sought. In that context, an assessment by another Medical Assessor will be carried out.

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

Social Welfare Appeals

Sandra McLellan

Question:

102 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28446/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13 March 2012. 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. When received, the appeal in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an 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.

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Brendan Smith

Question:

103 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that the views of parents and support groups are taken into account in the review of the domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28449/12]

I recently announced that a review of the operation of the domiciliary care allowance scheme will be carried out over the coming months. This review will look at, amongst other things, the current application and assessment process and will identify any potential improvements to the delivery of service that can be implemented while retaining an efficient and effective operational model. The terms of reference for the review are being finalised at present and it is expected that it will commence shortly.

In terms of consultation, officials from the Department have met parents and representatives of advocacy groups on a number of occasions in recent months and it is envisaged that further consultations will be held in the context of the review.

Carer’s Allowance

John O'Mahony

Question:

104 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their carer’s allowance appeal; if this person will be granted an oral hearing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28455/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 15th February 2012. 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 and the case will be referred to an appeals officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an 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.

Invalidity Pension

Brendan Griffin

Question:

105 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on an appeal of an invalidity pension application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28456/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 14th March 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the deciding officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the case in question will be referred to an appeals officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an 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.

National Internship Scheme

Terence Flanagan

Question:

106 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding JobBridge programme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin. [28457/12]

According to our records, Mr. Hennessy's eligibility to participate on the scheme was confirmed by my Department on Friday, 1 June 2012 and subsequently his actual start date was entered as Monday 4th June 2012 by his host organisation.

By signing the JobBridge Standard Agreement the intern and the host organisation agree that the intern cannot start a JobBridge placement until the host organisation receive a confirmation e-mail from JobBridge advising the intern has been verified and can start the placement. It is a matter for both host organisation and the intern to ensure that they abide by the terms and conditions of the scheme. In regards to Mr. Hennessy's payments he will receive an internship allowance that is equal to his current social welfare allowance (at time of commencement on the scheme)plus an additional €50 per week top-up. This top-up will be paid for the duration of the internship but in arrears and it is expected that participants will receive this top-up allowance approximately 2-3 weeks after commencing on the programme.

All payments of the internship allowance will be made by the Department of Social Protection via Electronic Fund Transfer into the intern's bank account.

Social Welfare Benefits

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

107 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the total amount spent on the back to school clothing and footwear allowance last September; and if he will provide a breakdown of the number of payments at each of the two rates. [28460/12]

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance scheme provides a one-off payment to eligible families to assist with the extra costs when their children start school each autumn.

In 2011, over 196,000 individuals received a back to school clothing and footwear allowance payment in respect of some 384,000 children at a cost of almost €91m. In 2011 the rates of payments were as follows; €200 in respect of children aged two to 11 and €305 in respect of children aged 12 to 22. Approximately 60% of payments were made in respect of children under 12 years of age and 40% in respect of children over 12 years of age.

Domiciliary Care Allowance

John O'Mahony

Question:

108 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on an application for domiciliary care allowance will be made in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28467/12]

The continued entitlement of the person concerned to domiciliary care allowance was reviewed in April 2012. The case was referred to one of the Department's medical assessors who found that the child was no longer medically eligible for the allowance.

The person concerned was notified of the decision on 3rd April 2012 and she has appealed the decision. As part of the appeal process, the case has been forwarded to another of the Department's medical assessors for further consideration, including a review of any new information supplied. Upon receipt of the medical assessor's opinion, the case will be further examined and forwarded for consideration by the Appeals Office, if necessary.

Birth Certificates

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

109 Deputy Patrick O’Donovan asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 475 of 18 April 2012, if she will review this matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28472/12]

Provision for the voluntary registration of stillbirths is contained in section 28 of the Civil Registration Act 2004. The definition of a "stillborn child" is contained in section 2(1) of that Act and provides that a stillborn child means a child who, at birth, weighs not less than 500 grammes or has a gestational age of not less than 24 weeks and shows no sign of life.

Registration of stillbirths was first provided for in the Stillbirths Registration Act 1994. The definition of a stillbirth contained in that Act was carried forward to the 2004 Act. When the 1994 Act was passed by the Oireachtas, detailed consideration was given as to what the most appropriate definition of a stillbirth should be. The position varies from country to country. Some countries use gestational age only, while others use weight, or a combination of both. The preferred criterion of the World Health Organisation is weight, as it is more objectively determined than gestational age. At the time, it was considered that the definition of a stillbirth should be as wide as possible, consistent with accepted medical norms, and it is on this basis that the criteria described above were decided upon.

As the definition of a stillbirth contained in the 2004 Act is consistent with accepted medical norms, I do not consider that an amendment to the criteria is warranted.

Appeals Process

Sandra McLellan

Question:

110 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection the length of time it takes for an appeal for disability allowance, invalidity pension and domiciliary care allowance to be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28473/12]

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the current average times taken to process disability allowance appeals decided by summary decision is 30.8 weeks and 40.8 weeks for those requiring an oral hearing. For invalidity pension appeals the relevant times are 35.3 weeks and 57.7 weeks while the relevant times for domiciliary care allowance are 28.5 weeks and 41.8 weeks.

These processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation. They 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. A considerable period of time is added to the process when an oral hearing is required because of the logistics involved in this process. By its nature and because it is a quasi-judicial nature, the processing of appeals takes time even at the best of times and reflects the fact that, by definition, the appeal process cannot be a quick one.

Social Welfare Appeals

Sandra McLellan

Question:

111 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection the percentage of appeals that have a favourable outcome for claimants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28474/12]

A total of 11,211 appeals have been determined by the Social Welfare Appeals Office in the period 1 January to 31 May 2012. Of the total number processed, 5,373 (47.9%) had a successful outcome for the appellant. Of these, 2,069 (38.5%) were revised decisions made by deciding officers of the Department who, on receipt of the appeal, reviewed the claim in the light of the grounds submitted in support of the appeal. These revised decisions arose as a result, in many cases, of new facts or fresh evidence produced by the claimant after the original decision on the person's claim. In such cases an Appeals Officer decision is not necessary.

Redundancy Payments

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

112 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection when an application for redundancy payment will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28491/12]

A redundancy lump sum claim in respect of the person concerned was awarded and payment issued at the end of May 2012.

Carer’s Allowance

Barry Cowen

Question:

113 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and when a decision will be made. [28552/12]

I confirm that the Department is in receipt of an application for carer's allowance from the person in question. On completion of the necessary investigations relating to all aspects of her case a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Disability Allowance

Michael Creed

Question:

114 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive a decision on their appeal in respect of an application for disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28553/12]

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 21 March 2012. 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. When received, the appeal in question will be referred in to an appeals officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an 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.

Brendan Griffin

Question:

115 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied ) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28555/12]

Arthur Spring

Question:

117 Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28563/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 115 and 117 together.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the disability allowance claim of the person concerned was disallowed following an assessment by a medical assessor who expressed the opinion that he was medically unsuitable for the allowance. An appeal was registered on 22 May 2012 and in accordance with the statutory procedures the relevant department papers and the comments of the deciding officer on the matter raised in the appeal have been sought. In that context, an assessment by another medical assessor will be carried out. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social and Family Affairs and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Carer’s Allowance

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

116 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason the application processing systems of the carer’s allowance and respite grant section are not linked up to allow for the sharing of information and to reduce the burden on already stressed and vulnerable people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28562/12]

The annual respite care grant of €1,700 is paid to carers providing full-time care and attention to an older person or a person with a disability, regardless of their means or social insurance contributions. Approximately 77,000 carers benefitted from the grant in 2011. The grant helps carers to get some respite for themselves or for the person for whom they are caring. The grant is paid automatically to carers in receipt of care-related schemes administered by the Department, such as carer's allowance, carer's benefit and domiciliary care allowance. Other full time carers who are not in receipt of one of these schemes may apply to respite care grant section separately for the grant which is not means tested. Respite care grant section administered nearly 6,000 of the above grants in 2011.

A major service delivery modernisation project is underway to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer's allowance scheme. This involves the deployment of information technology solutions and associated business process re-organisation. It is anticipated that the new system will introduce significant processing efficiencies and a quicker and more responsive service to the customer. However, it will only be fully deployed for carers until mid-June. Once fully deploy automation of respite care grant for carers customers will be possible.

Question No. 117 answered with Question No. 115.

Community Employment Drug Rehabilitation Projects

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

118 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to ensure the survival of community employment drug rehab projects whose numbers are in serous decline as a result of the changes in concurrent payments for CE participants in the Social Welfare Bill 2012; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that Citywide carried out several recent surveys showing that the vast majority of clients on these projects 78% were in receipt of concurrent payments that is either disability 51% or one parent family allowance 27% payments and that the changes in the Social Welfare Bill 2012 are acting as a disincentive to take up these programmes for person’s who want to tackle their drug problems; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that Citywide report a drop in numbers of participants of 13% since the start of 2012 and there is a dramatic fall in person’s on waiting lists during the same period 64%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28610/12]

Department of Social Protection officials have received the results of the Citywide survey and note the issues raised therein. The CE Drug Rehabilitation Projects are working with DSP staff to ensure the viability and continuation of the valuable work undertaken by such schemes. In the six month period January-June of this year, DSP records show that there has been a reduction of 2% in participation on drug rehabilitation places nationally. Our records also indicate that there has been a small reduction in the participation of people with a disability and no decrease in participation by lone parents. Further research will be required by the Department of Social Protection to confirm the reasons for this.

In terms of activation and progression it is highly desirable that people with disabilities and lone parents participate fully in labour market programmes particularly rehabilitative programmes. Improvement to the promotion of these CE places to the target groups is very important. I am advised that DSP has asked for these vacancies to be advertised on the National Call Centre, to facilitate their circulation across local Employment Offices and with the Local Employment Services. DSP staff are in close contact with Drug Rehabilitation Schemes and will continue to monitor the situation

Social Welfare Appeals

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

119 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 347 of 6 June, 2012 when the person may expect a decision to be made on their appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28621/12]

Further to my response to Parliamentary Question No. 347 of 6 June 2012, I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that there is no update to the information given previously.

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.

National Internship Scheme

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

120 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Social Protection when top-up payment will be received by a person (details supplied) in County Dublin who is a participant on the JobBridge scheme and the reasons for the delay in processing same.; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28623/12]

According to our records, Mr. Hennessy's eligibility to participate on the scheme was confirmed by my Department on Friday, 1 June 2012 and subsequently his actual start date was entered as Monday, 4 June 2012 by his host organisation.

By signing the JobBridge standard agreement the intern and the host organisation agree that the intern cannot start a JobBridge placement until the host organisation receive a confirmation e-mail from JobBridge advising the intern has been verified and can start the placement. It is a matter for both host organisation and the intern to ensure that they abide by the terms and conditions of the scheme. In regards to Mr. Hennessy's payments he will receive an internship allowance that is equal to his current social welfare allowance (at time of commencement on the scheme) plus an additional €50 per week top-up. This top-up will be paid for the duration of the internship but in arrears and it is expected that participants will receive this top-up allowance approximately two to three weeks after commencing on the programme.

All payments of the internship allowance will be made by the Department of Social Protection via electronic fund transfer into the intern's bank account.

Community Employment Schemes

Dara Calleary

Question:

121 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding funding for a community employment scheme (details supplied) in County Mayo; when she expects to be in a position to report on the outcome of the review of this community employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28640/12]

The financial review of community employment schemes is very near to completion. This review of CE schemes has proved to be a valuable exercise for both the schemes themselves and for my Department.

Given the volume and breadth of the data being returned, the financial review of CE schemes has taken longer than originally envisaged to complete. This has allowed more time for schemes to engage with local officials in the finalisation of their respective budgets and for my Department to bring forward improvements to the overall operation of community employment which will improve the budgetary situation for schemes.

The outcomes of this review will be communicated to CE sponsoring organisations directly by staff in my Department in the coming weeks. My Department is committed to supporting the community employment programme and the valuable contribution the programme makes to the provision of services to individuals and communities.

Dara Calleary

Question:

122 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding funding for a community employment scheme (details supplied) in County Mayo; when she expects to be in position to report on the outcome of the review of this community employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28648/12]

Dara Calleary

Question:

123 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding funding for a community employment scheme (details supplied) in County Mayo; when she expects to be in a position to report on the outcome of the review of this community employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28649/12]

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

As the Deputy is aware, a financial review of community employment schemes has been under way for the past few months. It has involved staff engaging with individual schemes in relation to their specific financial standing and on-going requirements, collation of schemes submissions and also detailed analysis of the returns on a national basis. Due to the volume and diversity of submissions, the review has taken longer than expected to complete.

The review is now nearing completion and once the outcomes are finalised and the overall provision agreed by Government, details will be communicated directly to CE sponsoring organisations, including the two referred to be the Department, by staff in the Department. This should be possible to do this month.

Due to the current economic circumstances, the Government has had to find significant savings in the budget for 2012. However, it is important to note that there has been no reduction in the number of participants or supervisors on CE.

This Government is committed to supporting CE participants and sponsoring organisations in continuing the valuable contribution the programme makes to individuals and communities across the country.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

124 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if she is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if she will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28920/12]

Details of grants paid by the Department of Social Protection to regulatory bodies and other organisations providing services on its behalf in the past three years are set out in the following table.

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

The grant payments relate mainly to the CIB and the Pensions Board. In 2009, the Department made grant payments to the Family Support Agency as well as individual Money Advice and Budgeting Service companies which were subsumed into the CIB in 2010. The Combat Poverty Agency was incorporated into the Office of Social Inclusion in the Department in July 2009 and transferred to the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in March 2010. The Family Support Agency is now under the aegis of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Responsibility for the Office of Social Inclusion transferred back to this Department in May 2011.

I am satisfied that the State should continue to finance the organisations that currently receive funding from the Department. I am also satisfied that appropriate steps have been taken to secure savings in the areas of responsibility of the organisations in question.

Tabular Statement

Year

Organisations

Total Payments

Number in Receipt

Title

2009

23

Citizens Information BoardMABSCombat Poverty AgencyFamily Support AgencyIrish National Organisation for the UnemployedThe Pensions BoardNorthside Community Law CentreNorth West Roscommon CDP LtdPaul Partnership LimerickCorduff CDPWaterford Women’s Community NetworkBere IslandCounty Leitrim PartnershipMayo Intercultural Action LtdFinglas South Community Development programmeWest Offaly PartnershipLifford/Clonleigh Resource CentreEqual Access CDPWolfe Tone CDPBlakestown CDPIorrais Le Cheile CDPFatima Regeneration BoardGort Family Resource CentreNational Adult Literacy Agency

€82,114,985

2010

8

Citizens Information BoardFamily Support AgencyIrish National Organisation for the UnemployedThe Pensions BoardNorthside Community Law CentreHealthy Food For AllCROSSCARECommunity Action Network

€62,672,863

2011

4

Citizens Information BoardIrish National Organisation for the UnemployedThe Pensions BoardNorthside Community Law Centre

€46,081,622

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

125 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28932/12]

There are currently 260 temporary clerical officers employed in the Department of Social Protection. Temporary clerical staff are recruited by the Department to cover absences of permanent staff on maternity leave, long-term sick leave, other statutory leave and also to provide cover for some staff availing of the shorter working year scheme. They are also recruited to alleviate work pressure in certain areas.

Temporary contracts are offered for a fixed purpose and the term can vary according to the purpose of the contract. The contracts are kept under review by the HR Division and are terminated when the purpose for the contract has ceased.

Some of the costs involved in the recruitment of temporary staff can be offset, for example, where permanent staff on certain statutory leave and those availing of the shorter working year scheme are on unpaid leave or where staff on long-term sick leave are on a reduced salary.

In addition, the Department's chief medical adviser has been retained on a temporary contract beyond retirement. His salary is abated to take account of his pension rate of payment.

The decision to re-employ the chief medical adviser was taken due to his specific skills and experience, the difficulty and long lead-in time for replacing such skills, and the critical importance of ensuring continuity and a high level of service to customers of the Department.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

126 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the Board. [28937/12]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman (which does not have a board) comes under the remit of the Department.

Social Welfare Tribunal

There are no vacancies on the board of the Social Welfare Tribunal.

Citizens Information Board

There are currently two vacancies on the board. These board positions are not being held vacant for any reason. These vacancies arose recently and will be filled in due course in accordance with normal procedure.

Pensions Board

There are currently two vacancies on the Pensions Board. The Pensions Board is subject to a critical review in accordance with the Public Service Reform Plan to examine the amalgamation of the regulatory function of the Pensions Board with the Financial Regulator. A decision in relation to the filling of these vacancies will be considered in the context of the outcome of the critical review.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

127 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28946/12]

The three statutory bodies operating under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection are the Social Welfare Tribunal, the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman (which does not have a board) comes under the remit of the Department.

Social Welfare Tribunal

No remuneration is paid to the members of the Tribunal. Members can claim expenses for attending both hearings and meetings, as set out as follows. They are also entitled to the standard travel and subsistence allowances if the hearings/meetings involve travel. Details of fees paid to members of the Tribunal are set out as follows:

Name of Member

Hearing (Fee Per sitting day)

Meeting (Fee Per Day)

Mr. Colin Walker, Chairperson

488.11

73.44

Mr. Michael Carr (IBEC nominee)

136.71

68.36

Mr. Patrick Pierce (IBEC nominee)

136.71

68.36

Mr. Fergus Whelan (ICTU nominee)

136.71

68.36

Ms. Chris Rowland (ICTU nominee)

136.71

68.36

Name of Member

Annual Fee (paid pro rata to term of office)

*Sylda Langford (Chairperson)

Nil

Eugene McErlean

€5,985

Sean Sweeney

€5,985

Sandra Ronayne

€5,985

John Sheehy

€5,985

Michael McGuane

€5,985

Pat Fitzpatrick

€5,985

*Noeline Blackwell

Nil

Josephine Henry

€5,985

Michael Butler

€5,985

Martin Naughton

€5,985

**Margaret Zheng

Nil

**Fiona Ward

Nil

Citizens Information Board

Details of members and fees payable to the Citizens Information Board are set out as follows:

Notes:

*Ms Sylda Langford and Ms Noeline Blackwell have waived fees.

**Ms Fiona Ward is the Department's representative on the Board and Ms Margaret Zheng is the Citizens Information Board staff representative and do not receive any fees associated with their positions.

Pensions Board

Details of the members and fees payable to the Pensions Board are set out as follows:

Name of Member

Annual Fee€

Jane Williams (Chairperson)

11,970

Don O’Higgins

7,695

Emer O’ Flanagan

7,695

Noreen Deegan

7,695

Brendan Johnston

7,695

Rosalind Briggs

7,695

Terrance Noone

7,695

Mary Walsh

7,695

Niall Walsh

7,695

Robin Webster

7,695

Phelim O’Reilly

7,695

**David Owens

**Patricia Murphy

*Kevin Finucane

*Rachael Ryan

Notes

*Mr. Kevin Finucane and Ms Rachael Ryan have waived their fees.

* Ms Patricia Murphy and Mr. David Owens are representatives of the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Finance respectively and do not receive any fees associated with their positions.

I am satisfied that the members of these boards have the competencies required to undertake their duties as board members.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

128 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28900/12]

I assume that the Deputy is referring in his question to commercial semi-State companies. No such companies come under the aegis of my Department. In addition, I can confirm that no bonuses were payable to senior county council officials or senior bank officials by my Department.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

129 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28910/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department oversees and has policy responsibility for the conservation, preservation, protection, development and presentation of Ireland's heritage and culture. My Department also seeks to promote the Irish language, to support the Gaeltacht and to assist the sustainable development of island communities. Information in relation to the functions of my Department, as well as the programmes and schemes operated by it, can be found on my Department's website atwww.ahg.gov.ie.

A number of State bodies and agencies with responsibilities relating to various aspects of my Department's remit are funded from within my Department's Vote Group, together with a wide range of other bodies and organisations. It would not be feasible to provide the broad sweep of information requested by the Deputy in the context of a parliamentary question. However, if the Deputy has a particular question in relation to a specific body or issue, I would be glad to seek to provide the relevant information.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

130 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28923/12]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Secretary General of my Department and the heads of bodies under its aegis are appointed on the basis of fixed-term contracts. In addition, ministerial office staff appointed by me, as Minister, and by the Minister of State at my Department hold contracts that are co-terminus with our terms of office.

The Deputy will also be aware that both my Department and the bodies under its aegis are subject to the moratorium on public sector recruitment and have been directed to achieve a progressive reduction in payroll costs staffing numbers through the implementation of an Employment Control Framework (ECF) over the period 2010-2015. Progress in this regard is subject to regular review in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to agency and contract staffing of my Department and the bodies under its aegis are set out in the following table:

Number of agency staff at 13 June 2012

Number of contract staff at 13 June 2012

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

0

61

Bodies under aegis of Department

26

78

The figures in the table are in respect of the numbers of agency staff and of staff engaged under fixed-term and temporary contracts. The Deputy may wish to note that some staff are engaged on a seasonal and/or part-time basis to meet specific business demands and that the numbers employed on this basis may vary from time to time.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

131 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the board. [28934/12]

As the Deputy will appreciate, vacancies arise on boards on a continuous basis. The current state of play regarding vacancies in bodies funded from my Department's Vote which are under review at this time is provided in the following table:

Name of Agency

Number of Current vacancies

National Library of Ireland

1

Crawford Art Gallery

8

Irish Museum of Modern Art

6

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

132 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28939/12]

The current membership of the boards of statutory agencies and national cultural institutions funded from my Department's Vote and the annual fees payable to board members is set out in the following table. There are no commercial semi-State companies under the aegis of my Department. It may be noted that fees are not payable to board members that are also public servants and, in addition, that in certain other cases members have chosen to waive their fees.

It should also be noted that not all members have been appointed by way of ministerial appointment: some, for example, have been appointed by way of co-option arrangements, or have been elected, as in the case of the majority of Údarás na Gaeltachta members. Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency are North-South Implementation Bodies and board members in these instances are appointed by the North-South Ministerial Council.

Competencies of board appointees vary according to the body/institution involved and would reflect the particular requirements arising. If the Deputy requires more detailed information in this regard, she might wish to raise the matter with the individual body/institution in question.

Name of Body/Agency

List of Board Members at 31st December 2011

Number of Board members

Annual remuneration payable to Chairs and board members

Foras na Gaeilge

Liam Ó Maolmhichíl (Chair)Eoghan Mac Cormaic (Vice-Chair)Pól CallaghanColm CavanaghÁine Ní ChiaráinBríd Ní ChonghoileLiam KennedySeosamh Mac DonnchadhaTomás Mac EochagáinMarcus Mac RuairíSeán Mícheal Ó DómhnaillDónal Ó hAiniféinTherese RuaneTomás SharkeyCáitríona Ní ShúilleabháinÉamonn Ó Gríbín

16

Chair:€11,970/Stg£8,140;Vice-Chair:€9,830/Stg£6,690;Member:€7,695/Stg£5,235

Ulster-Scots Agency

Tom Scott (Chair)Tony Crooks (Vice-Chair)Ida FisherWilliam LeathamVal O’KellyHilary SingletonSharon Treacey-DunneTrevor Wilson

8

Chair:€11,970/Stg£8,140;Vice-Chair:€9,830/Stg£6,690;Member:€7,695/Stg£5,235

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Appointed Board Members:Liam Ó Cuinneagáin (Chairman)Cathy Ní GhoillTreasa Uí LorcáinElected Board members:Brian Ó DomhnaillConnie Ní FhathartaFiachra Ó CéilleachairIan Mac AindriúSeán Ó TuairisgMicheál Ó ScanaillPádraig Ó DochartaighDaithí AlcornGráinne Mhic GéidighSeán Ó CréabháinSéamas BreathnachVal HanleyCathal SeoigheSéamus Cosaí Mac GearailtBreandán Mac GearailtSeosamh Ó CuaigTadhg Ó Cuinn

20

Chair:€20,520Member:€11,970

Crawford Art Gallery

John R. Bowen (Chair)Sheila MaguireNoel O’KeefeÚna FeelyJim CorrTim BrosnanTim LuceyKevin Lonergan

8

Fees not applicable

National Library of Ireland

David Harvey (Chair)Marian FitzgibbonBrian HalpinPatrick McMahonCarol MaddockDes MarnaneSusan PhillipsPat QuinnPaul RellisH. Paul ShovlinRobert Spoo

11

Chair:€9,450Member:€6,300

Heritage Council

Conor Newman (Chair)Caro-lynne FerrisBrendan DunfordMary KeenanGabriel CooneyKealin IrelandHenry LyonsGráinne ShaffreyIan LumleyHelen O’CarrollCiara BreathnachTed CreedonCatherine HeaneyFidelma MullaneMichael ParsonsKieran O’Conor

16

Chair:€8,978Member:€5,985

National Concert Hall

Kieran Tobin (Chair)Dearbhla CollinsJohn McGraneLaurie CearrGina MenziesBruce ArnoldMargaret RyanRay BatesAlma HynesArtemis KentDeborah KelleherPeter McEvoyPat HeneghanRachel HolsteadPatricia Slavin

15

Chair:€8,978No fees payable to board members

National Museum of Ireland

John O’Mahony (Chair)Gerard CollinsFergus McKenna O’HaganEamonn McEneaneyEamon StackEileen JacksonOlivier KazmierczakMary SleemanFrances RocksPaul KellyDervilla M.X. DonnellyPeter WoodmanChris NicholasGearóid Ó TuathaighMaírín de BrúnMary Crotty

16

Chair:€8,978Member:€5,985

Irish Museum of Modern Art

Eoin McGonigal (Chairman)Eamon DelaneyBrian McMahonJulie O’NeillBrian RanalowBrendan FlynnRowan GillespieMary McCarthyÉimear O’Connor

9

Chair:€8,978No fees payable to board members

National Gallery of Ireland

Olive Braiden(Chairperson)Tom McCarthy (Vice-Chair)John MulcahyAbdul BulbuliaPaul O’BrienJackie GallagherDermod DwyerKathleen WatkinsMichael CushFred KrehbielJames HanleyMartin GaleClare McGrathLuke O’Connor DruryDes McMahonMatthew DempseyMartin Alphonsus (Fonsie) Mealy

17

Chair:€8,978Member:€5,985

Arts Council

Pat Moylan (Chair)Aibhlín McGrannLouise DonlonCaroline SeniorFiona KearneyColm TóibínPaul JohnsonJudith WoodworthJohn O’DonnellÉimear O’ConnorCiarán WalshMark O’ReganJohn Fanning

13

Chair:€8,978Member:€5,985

Irish Film Board

James Morris (Chair)Lesley McKimmTristan Orpen LynchKevin MoriartyKirsten SheridanBarry GraceJohnny Gogan

7

Chair:€8,978Member:€5,985

Chester Beatty Library

Thomas P. Hardiman (Chair)Patricia DonlonMadeline O’SullivanMarc CochraneDermot DesmondJoan DuffSean FreyneKathleen James-ChakrabortyFiona A RossRoger StalleyDeclan Downey

11

Fees not applicable

Question No. 133 withdrawn.

Statutory Instruments

Peter Mathews

Question:

134 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on (details supplied) regarding the Commission for Communication Regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28445/12]

I wish to advise the Deputy that I have no function in relation to Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 68 of 2003 which was brought into force by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Regulation 6 of that SI provides for consultation with the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Section 15 of the Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services and Electronic Communications Infrastructure) Act 2010 empowers the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) to prepare and publish a code of practice to be followed by premium rate service providers. The Deputy may be aware that the code of practice referred to is currently the subject of Judicial Review proceedings.

Offshore Exploration

Catherine Murphy

Question:

135 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his position with regard to assessment of prospective loss, damage or injury arising from earthquake or tsunami on the Corrib gas pipeline, however unlikely such occurrences may be;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28568/12]

I am advised by independent expert consultants engaged by my Department to monitor compliance with the conditions of the Corrib consents under the Gas and Petroleum Acts, that pipelines are normally designed taking account of the largest loads they are likely to experience during their life including, transport, loading, installation and operation. Operational loads include those due to the pressure and flow of the fluid they contain and the externally imposed loads from the environment, both normal and accidental (such as earthquake loading). Normal practice is to design the pipeline to withstand the largest of these loads taking account of the likelihood of extreme events.

I am further advised that in the case of the Corrib pipeline the original design pressure (345 bar) and the forces imposed during laying of the offshore section will have determined the strength and therefore material and wall thickness of the pipe. In the North Sea and North Atlantic regions these loads dominate over the environmental or accidental loadings and provide a margin of safety for any loadings due to earthquakes experienced in the region. The risk of earthquakes of magnitude 5 or more is assessed by British Geological Survey as less than very low, the lowest risk assigned to any area. Earthquakes of magnitude less than 5 in these low risk areas will not give rise to forces on the pipeline greater than their design allows for.

Shell E and P Ireland Ltd (SEPIL) has informed my Department that the Corrib wells and manifold were inspected by a subsea support vessel last week after the earthquake and it has confirmed that there has been no impact on the facilities. A report will follow to confirm this, which will be reviewed by my Department in liaison with its independent consultants. SEPIL has also advised that the observations of the pipeline system during the week confirm that there is no issue with the integrity of the pipeline. The Corrib pipeline is due to be inspected this summer, and survey reports will follow. These reports will also be considered by my Department and reviewed by the consultants.

It should additionally be noted that the Corrib Gas Pipeline is currently at construction phase and that prior to the commissioning and coming into operation of the development, it will be the subject of a safety assessment in accordance with the Commission for Energy Regulation's recently published Petroleum Safety Framework. The development cannot, therefore, be operated without a safety permit issued in accordance with the requirements of this new risk based regime which obliges undertakings to ensure

(i) that any petroleum activity is carried on in such a manner as to reduce any risk to safety to a level that is as low as is reasonable practicable (ALARP) and

(ii) that any petroleum infrastructure is designed, constructed, installed, maintained, modified operated and decommissioned in such a manner as to reduce the risk to safety to a level that is ALARP.

Telecommunications Services

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

136 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will clarify a matter regarding SAORVIEW (details supplied). [28592/12]

The SAORSAT satellite service has been developed by RTÉ on its own initiative and is not a requirement under the Broadcasting Act 2009. As such, I, as Minister, have no function in this matter.

That said, I have made inquiries and can now provide the following information. SAORSAT has been developed by RTÉ to cater for persons who cannot access SAORVIEW. As a result, Irish free-to-air channels will be available in 100% of the country for the first time.

The carriage of TG4 or any other broadcaster on the SAORSAT service is a commercial decision for each of the broadcasters in question and the terms and conditions relating to such carriage would be a matter for commercial negotiation between RTÉ and the relevant broadcaster.

I have been informed that TG4 is available on SAORSAT since the middle of May.

National Gas Grid

Brendan Griffin

Question:

137 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he expects the Shannon LNG project to wait indefinitely until the Commission for Energy Regulation is ready to decide what it is doing in relation to interconnector tariff policy; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a €600 million investment in North Kerry and hundreds of jobs are now at stake; if is attention has been drawn to the reputational damage being done to Ireland as a location for foreign direct investment as a result of this delay; if he will intervene in this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28619/12]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 123 raised by him on 24 May 2012.

The House will also be aware from my replies to previous parliamentary questions that the decision on the regulatory treatment of the gas interconnectors is statutorily a matter for the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and I have no function in the matter. Most recently, the CER decision has been delayed by the requirement for the regulator to provide material to my Department in response to the further submission by Shannon LNG to DG Competition. Detailed responses in relation to the issues raised about State aid compliance have recently been provided by my Department to DG Competition. The CER has assured my Department that it remains committed to publishing a final decision at the soonest practicable date and is hopeful, subject to no further blockages emerging, that a decision will be made this month.

Post Office Network

Brendan Griffin

Question:

138 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if his attention has been drawn to the contents of the Grant Thornton’s report entitled The Future of the Post Office Network in Ireland — A Review of Potential Service Contracts on behalf of the Irish Postmasters Union; his views on the report’s conclusions and if he envisages the implementation of these recommendations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28620/12]

I received a copy of the Grant Thornton report when I met with the Irish Postmasters' Union (IPU) recently.

I welcome the IPU's ambition to identify opportunities for more business to be delivered through the Post Office network.

An Post has many strengths and has the largest retail presence in the country. I have impressed on the company the need to further exploit its unique position in this regard and have been supportive of its attempts to diversify its income streams and to win a wider range of commercial contracts offering higher margins. The acknowledgment by the IPU that it is supportive of delivering new services is clearly positive in this regard.

In the context of public sector transformation, I have stressed to my Government colleagues that the increased use of the post office network should be considered by public sector bodies where this is appropriate.

As a commercial State body An Post may bid for business from both public and private organisations in a competitive market. The nature and volume of business that An Post conducts with Government Departments and Public Sector Agencies is, however, in the first instance, a matter for the company and the respective Government Departments and Agencies.

More generally, I would stress that I am committed to a strong and viable An Post and support the maintenance of the maximum number of economically viable post offices.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

139 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28901/12]

I wish to advise the Deputy that no bonuses have been paid in respect of 2011 to CEOs in semi-State companies under the aegis of my Department. All directions issued by the Government in relation to remuneration of CEOs in semi-State companies are brought to the attention of the relevant State companies. The payment of performance bonuses to senior management below the level of Chief Executive is an operational matter for the companies.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

140 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28912/12]

Details of funding for the past three years from my Department to agencies and regulatory bodies under its aegis are set out in the table that follows this reply. In addition, subscriptions are also paid to a number of organisations operating in the sectoral areas for which my Department has responsibility. The annual total of these subscriptions is also set out in the table. A list of the organisations is provided. I am satisfied that the State should be financing these agencies, regulatory bodies and organisations. As part of the 2011 Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, my Department identified appropriate savings to be made in these areas over the coming years.

2009(€000s)

2010(€000s)

2011(€000s)

Grant to Radio Telefís Éireann for Broadcasting Licence Fees (Grant-in-Aid) — (Exchequer neutral)

204,255

195,000

182,444

Grant to TG4 (Grant-in-Aid)

36,133

34,050

36,260

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (Grant-in-Aid)

8,350

7,941

7,763

Digital Hub Development Agency

1,731

2,264

4,074

An Post1

12,444

11,943

12,405

Ordnance Survey Ireland (Grant-in-Aid)

5,087

4,985

7,451

Inland Fisheries Ireland

29,074

26,549

25,346

Loughs Agency of the Foyle Carlingford Irish Lights Commission

2,381

2,187

2,219

Subscriptions to Organisations

296

373

299

1Vote neutral payment for collection of the television licence fee.

List of Organisations towhich the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources Subscribes

Association of CEOs of State Agencies (ACESA)

British Geological Survey

Commission de la Carte Geologique Du Monde

Energy Charter Secretariat

EuroGeoSurveys

European Science Foundation

Geological Curators Group

Geothermal Association of Ireland

Geothermal Society

Institut National Des Sciences De l?Univers

Institute Of Public Administration

Integrated Ocean Drilling

International Energy Forum

International Lead and Zinc Study Group

International Union of Geological Sciences

IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency)

Irish Geological Association

Irish Quaternary Association

Irish Mining and Quarrying Society

IRLOGI

Oracle User Group

Progeo — the European Association for the Conservation of the Geological Heritage

UK Groundwater Forum

Question No. 141 withdrawn.

Local Authority Charges

Dan Neville

Question:

142 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there is quite a substantial amount of revenue to be raised by collecting the non principal private residence from the many persons who are living outside the country but who are liable to pay these charges in view of the fact that they own property here in which they do not reside. [28429/12]

I refer to the reply to Question No. 455 of 12 June 2012 which outlines the position in this matter.

Legislative Programme

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

143 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if drafting has begun on the Heads of Climate Bill promised in the roadmap for climate policy and legislation; and when this Bill will be published. [28550/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

144 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will ensure that the promised climate law is a strong, effective tool in the transition to a more sustainable economy. [28551/12]

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

156 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if drafting has begun on the heads of the Climate Bill promised in the Roadmap for Climate Policy and Legislation; when same will be published; and the way he will ensure that the law is a strong effective tool in the transition to a more sustainable economy. [28597/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 143, 144 and 156 together.

The programme for climate policy and legislation which I published on 23 January 2012 set out my approach to the development of national policy and legislation over an 18 month period. The principal milestones include:

a public consultation (which ran from 29 February to 1 April 2012);

in the second half of this year, the publication of an initial report by the NESC Secretariat on potential climate polices and measures, and the development of heads of a Climate Bill for consideration by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht following Government approval; and

consideration of the final report by the NESC Secretariat and the heads of the Bill by the Committee in the first half of 2013.

As I indicated in the programme for climate policy and legislation, I will publish the heads of a Climate Bill in the fourth quarter of 2012.

In my presentation to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on 15 December 2011, I set out my approach to ensuring that we develop the necessary policy mix to support an ambitious but realistic national direction towards a low-carbon future. I advised the Committee that robust institutional arrangements will be essential to support the decisions we make on the way forward, but a clear understanding of how we propose to meet our commitments and pursue our objectives is essential to identify an appropriate support structure.

Dormant Accounts Fund

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

145 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if, further to a Parliamentary Question (details supplied) regarding the Dormant Accounts Fund, he will seek to find a way whereby the Central Bank can be facilitated in publishing some results, anonymised as may be, from the only two inspection reports particular to transfer from participating institutions to the Dormant Accounts Fund to have been completed over the ten years of the existence, under statute, of the Dormant Accounts Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28684/12]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

146 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to a Parliamentary Question (details supplied) regarding the Dormant Accounts Fund, his views on whether it is reasonable that the Central Bank puts readily, and as a matter of course, into the public domain, information from certain of its completed inspection reports and withholds information from the only two inspection reports particular to transfers from participating institutions to the Dormant Accounts Fund to have been completed over the ten years of the existence, under statute, of the Dormant Accounts Fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28685/12]

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

As previously indicated, the Central Bank, acting on behalf of the Minister for Finance, engaged PwC to carry out inspections of dormant accounts over a two year period. I did not authorise the PwC inspections under the Dormant Accounts legislation and the Central Bank was, in the circumstances, acting on its own authority. I therefore have no role in relation to these reports and the advice provided to my Department by the Central Bank is that it is not permitted to disclose confidential information concerning the banks that it supervises. I must respect the independence of the bank in such matters.

Social and Affordable Housing

Sandra McLellan

Question:

147 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will instruct local authorities to permit persons in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance to be included on social housing lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28475/12]

Decisions on the eligibility of specific persons for social housing support and the allocation of that support are a matter solely for the housing authority concerned. Sections of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 dealing with social housing support, and related Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, were commenced on 1 April 2011. The Regulations contain national eligibility criteria. These mandatory criteria must be applied by all housing authorities in assessing a household's eligibility for social housing support. There is nothing in these Regulations that would preclude a person on supplementary welfare allowance from being included on a social housing waiting list.

Household Charge

Niall Collins

Question:

148 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the reasons a cheque was returned in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28492/12]

The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the household charge. Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date of 1 January 2012 is liable to pay the household charge, unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver.

The household charge is on a self-assessment basis and it is a matter for an owner of a residential property on the liability date to determine if he/she has a liability and, if so, to declare that liability and pay the household charge.

Section 7 of the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 imposes late payment fees and late payment interest where the owner of a residential property fails to pay the household charge in accordance with the Act.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) is administering the household charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. The LGMA has informed me that the household charge payment system does not accept household charge payments made after the 31 March deadline unless accompanied by the appropriate late payment fee and late payment interest. I have asked the LGMA to make modifications to the payment system to allow for the retention of the €100 household charge payment in such circumstances, with appropriate follow up in respect of the collection of late payment penalties where due.

Motor Taxation

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

149 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the amount generated in each county through motor tax in the years 2011 and to date in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28499/12]

The information requested is set out in the table below:

Gross Motor Tax Receipts by Licensing Authority 2011-31 May 2012

Licensing Authority

2011 Gross Motor Tax Receipts

1 January-31 May 2012 Gross Motor Tax Receipts

Carlow

9,584,134

4,144,012

Cavan

10,170,516

4,292,266

Clare

16,948,293

7,136,053

Cork

61,434,453

27,047,471

Donegal

25,373,331

10,836,225

Galway

32,489,805

13,695,857

Kerry

18,160,310

7,958,369

Kildare

20,555,909

8,733,170

Kilkenny

13,289,838

6,029,954

Laois

10,877,515

4,747,527

Leitrim

4,859,321

2,064,227

Limerick County

19,573,382

8,793,428

Longford

6,286,391

2,674,309

Louth

14,776,746

6,395,524

Mayo

19,385,573

8,358,399

Meath

19,952,795

8,343,886

Monaghan

11,070,078

4,758,724

Offaly

10,279,514

4,596,665

Roscommon

10,177,855

4,485,561

Sligo

9,957,281

4,259,859

N. Tipperary

10,315,150

4,261,403

S. Tipperary

14,622,522

6,236,071

Waterford County

8,970,359

3,738,624

Westmeath

13,182,014

5,788,670

Wexford

21,671,290

9,281,424

Wicklow

16,559,758

6,582,513

Dublin City

101,627,430

42,475,502

Limerick City

6,561,285

2,711,102

Waterford City

5,537,332

2,529,561

On-line

466,168,984

240,853,601

Totals

1,010,419,164

473,809,957

Environmental Regulations

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

150 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is concerned that Ireland may face similar estimates as the UK resulting from upgrading sewage plants and drainage networks to prevent ethinyl estradiol EE2 effluent from contaminating Irish sewage and water system and Irish fisheries [28500/12]

The Water Framework Directive requires the European Commission to review, every four years, the list of substances in the aquatic environment that require monitoring and control as potential pollutants. The Commission published a proposal in January to include an additional 15 chemicals including 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) and 2 other pharmaceutical substances to the list of 33 existing priority substances.

The proposal is limited to the identification of priority substances and to establishing environmental quality standards for them. No concrete measures to be taken across the EU are prescribed in the proposal and the choice of measures to be taken at river-basin and water-body level would be left to Member States which can choose the most effective way of achieving the objectives taking into account local conditions.

It is clear at this stage that several Member States do not support the inclusion of the pharmaceuticals on the list and discussions on the proposal are expected to continue for some time.

There is little information on the presence and level of EE2 in the aquatic environment in Ireland. It is a difficult substance to monitor and, to date, there has been no requirement to monitor it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a research call for proposals aimed at improving our knowledge of emerging priority substances, including EE2. When the results of this research are available, we will have a clearer picture as to the environmental and public health impacts of these substances and the strategies that might be deployed to address them.

Local Government Reform

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

151 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will be in a position to introduce legislation inaugurating an elected Mayor for the four Dublin counties; if he will be doing any further consultation on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28501/12]

The Government's broad policy approach in this area was set out in the Programme for Government. In line with this, I intend to bring proposals to Government in the near future for an extensive programme of local government reform, with particular focus on strengthening structures generally at regional, county and sub-county levels and expanding the role of local government. The reform programme will also reflect other work under way in relation to various aspects of local government, including local authority mergers, efficiency implementation, financing and alignment of local and community development with local government. Further aspects of the local government system on which proposals will be considered, including governance issues, will also be outlined.

Work on the development of policy proposals for Government consideration in this area is informed, inter alia, by the extensive analysis, consultation, deliberation and debate that has already taken place in relation to local government reform. I have received submissions from, and held discussions with, the local government representative associations, with individual local authorities and with other interested groups and individuals. I also recently invited each individual councillor in the country to submit views to me on a number of issues relating to local government reform, including the concept of directly elected mayors/cathaoirligh.

I envisage that, following decision by Government, a policy statement on local government will be published, which will provide a further opportunity for public comment and input ahead of the development of legislation to provide for reform measures. The content of local government reform legislation will be a matter for Government decision in the first instance and will, of course, be the subject of Oireachtas scrutiny and debate in the normal way.

Fire Service

Sean Fleming

Question:

152 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the current position in relation to the approval of tendered documents allowing a project to go to tender (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28503/12]

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of a premises and the making of such other provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981.

My Department supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance, and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and emergency equipment as well as construction and upgrading of fire stations. Continued investment in the fire appliance fleet has been identified as a key national priority for the available capital funds.

Correspondence has been received in my Department from Laois County Council in relation to proposals for works at Rathdowney fire station, and these are currently under consideration. Further investment in the fire service in Laois will be considered within the current constraints on the fire service capital programme and having regard to the fire authority's priorities, the spread of existing facilities and the totality of demands from fire authorities nationwide.

Security of the Elderly

Niall Collins

Question:

153 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline, in tabular form, the budget for the senior alert scheme from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date 2012; his plans for the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28548/12]

Niall Collins

Question:

154 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will outline, in tabular form, the number of persons who have directly benefitted from the senior alert scheme from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and to date 2012. [28549/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 153 and 154 together.

My Department manages the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages and assists the community's support for older people by means of a community-based grant scheme to improve the security of people over 65 years of age. The Scheme is administered by local community and voluntary groups with the support of my Department.

The following table outlines the budget and the beneficiaries from 2007 to 2012 (to date):

Year

Budget

Beneficiaries

2007

€3.0m

10,764

2008

€3.059

11,762

2009

€3.5m

6,523

2010

€3.10m

6,306

2011

€2.35m

7,910

2012

€2.35m

4,989 (to date)

Due to a sharp increase in demand for grant assistance under the Seniors Alert Scheme in 2011, the budget allocation of €2.35m was expended by the end of November 2011; accordingly, grant applications received in December 2011 were held pending finalisation of the budget allocation for 2012. A significant portion of the 2012 budget allocation (€2.35m) was expended early in 2012 as a result. The registration of additional Community and Voluntary groups who wish to administer the Scheme is also increasing applications for funding in 2012.

My Department has examined the operation of the scheme with the aim of ensuring its sustainability and an equitable distribution of funding country-wide. The following temporary changes were notified to groups on 26 March 2012, and took effect from 30 March 2012:

Funding will only be available for the purchase and installation of socially monitored alarms at a maximum of €250 per alarm (Maximum funding of €50 is also available for additional pendants and reinstallations).

Grants to Community and Voluntary groups will be capped at €30,000 per annum.

The aim of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to support independent living for those over 65 who live alone or who live with a person who is also over 65 years of age and of limited financial means. A key element of the Scheme is the provision of funding for a socially monitored alarm which supports this independence. Having regard to available funding in the current economic climate, the changes above will ensure that my Department can continue to maintain the Scheme in a viable way and provide the maximum number of socially monitored alarms to as many older persons as possible in 2012.

Waste Management

Sean Fleming

Question:

155 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the current rate of the landfill levy; and his proposals to change this rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28556/12]

The current landfill levy rate is €50 per tonne for each tonne of waste disposed of at landfill facilities, with the exception of certain exempted categories of waste. This rate will increase to €65 per tonne from 1 July 2012.

The landfill levy is designed to encourage a shift away from landfill to waste management practices which are higher in the internationally accepted waste hierarchy, and this increase is intended to send a strong price signal to the producers, collectors and managers of waste that the current reliance on landfill is unsustainable. In April 2011, I announced this increase, and a further planned increase to the landfill levy to €75 per tonne in July 2013, during the passage through the Dáil of the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. This provided the waste sector with certainty regarding landfill levy rates and also with an opportunity to prepare for the changes that these increases would require.

This Bill, which was subsequently enacted as the Environment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, also provided that the levy could be increased once in any given financial year, subject to a maximum increase of €50 per tonne, and also provided for an absolute limit on the levy of €120 per tonne.

Question No. 156 answered with Question No. 143.

Water Services

Ciara Conway

Question:

157 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide an update on Irish Water; where it will be located; if it will have a regional presence or be centrally located; when will a board of management be appointed and in the interim if there is a designated person or persons within Bord Gais responsible for overseeing the set up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28604/12]

Ciara Conway

Question:

158 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in respect of Irish Water if he will outline the nature of the 2000 jobs that it is estimated will be created by the set up of this body; if this figure directly refers to the physical installation of water meters or does this figure refer to a mixture of personnel involved in the installation and future management/technical personnel; when will these positions be advertised; when will recruitment commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28605/12]

Ciara Conway

Question:

159 Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he has given consideration to referring to Irish Water as Gaelige, namely Uisce Éireann; his views on the rationale behind using the English language version of the name; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28606/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 to 159, inclusive, together.

The Government decided in December 2011, based on the recommendations of an independent assessment, to establish a public water utility company, Irish Water, to take over the operational and capital delivery functions of local authorities in the water services area. Following further consideration as to whether Irish Water should be established as a new entity or whether existing bodies in the Semi State sector could undertake the function, the Government decided that Irish Water should be established as an independent state owned company within the Bord Gáis Group.

The proposed public utility model represents a major change with significant implications for local government, the water industry in Ireland and its many stakeholders. Bord Gáis Éireann (BGE) has key capabilities that can be brought to bear in the establishment of Irish Water, and these skills within the Bord Gáis Group will be paired with the experience and commitment to service in local authorities and the specific water and wastewater capabilities and expertise that exist in local government to build the new organisation. A phased transition is proposed to ensure continuity of service and the building of a fit for purpose organisation within a reasonable timescale.

A high level plan for the phased transition of functions from local authorities to Irish Water was set out in the independent assessment, involving:

the appointment of a Programme Management Office in 2012 to manage the transition process;

the establishment of Irish Water on an interim basis in 2012 and under its own statute in mid 2013 at which stage Irish Water would acquire statutory responsibility for water services;

Local authorities acting as agents of Irish Water for a period with Irish Water taking over their operations on a phased basis from January 2015; and

the full transfer of operations being completed by end 2017 at the earliest.

Work is now focused on the finalisation of an implementation strategy which will address transformation planning in more detail, and will recommend appropriate transitional arrangements. The implementation strategy is being developed in collaboration with other relevant Government Departments, local authorities, BGE and NewERA. The development and rollout of the strategy will also involve co-operation with local authorities and staff to ensure that the change is managed well. The strategy will focus on maintaining the delivery of a critical public service during and following a restructuring process, and will give further clarity on the next steps that will be taken in this reform process.

No final decision has been made regarding the name of the new public water utility. The name "Irish Water" is currently the working title. A decision on the question of an Irish version of the name will be made in the near future. It is proposed that Irish Water, although a national company, will have a regional and local focus. Decisions on the location of the head office and regional offices will be a matter for Irish Water.

It is estimated that the overall water reforms the Government has planned will create 2,000 construction related jobs in the economy on an ongoing basis. This will be achieved through the planned roll-out of the programme of water metering which will lead to the creation of up to 2,000 jobs for the duration of the metering installation programme. A steady level of capital investment of potentially €600 million per annum in water services, facilitated through the new public utility would see this level of construction employment sustained on an ongoing basis through capital investment in new infrastructure.

Fire Stations

Seán Crowe

Question:

160 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a health and safety assessment has been carried out at Tallaght Fire Station on the Belgard Road, Dublin, to determine the working conditions of fire fighters stationed at the site during work that is currently taking place to upgrade the station; and if he has received complaints from fire crews regarding the onsite accommodation. [28607/12]

The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of a premises and the making of such other provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Act 1981 and 2003.

The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government supports fire authorities through the setting of general policy and guidance, and the provision of capital funding, including the recoupment (within the overall funding available) of costs incurred by fire authorities in relation to the approved purchase of fire appliances and equipment, and necessary fire station works.

In August 2011, Dublin City Council requested urgent funding from my Department to address health and safety concerns in respect of Tallaght Fire Station. On foot of this, the Department has approved in principle grant-aid of €300,000 in respect of necessary works. The Department has requested detailed cost estimates and design drawings from Dublin City Council. I have not received any complaints regarding the execution of works, which is a matter for Dublin City Council.

Local Authority Housing

John Lyons

Question:

161 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a direction has been issued by him to local authorities to include the public service pension reduction as part of assessable income for local authority tenants (details supplied); if he is currently developing proposals for the national rent scheme which may include alternative treatment of the public service pension reduction. [28614/12]

Housing authority rents are set in accordance with a rent scheme adopted by each local council. The making and amending of rent schemes is the responsibility of housing authorities as an integral part of their housing management functions.

It is a matter for housing authorities, when assessing individual households, to consider whether rents payable are in accordance with the authority's rent scheme. Therefore, decisions on whether or not to disregard either a proportion of income or particular sources of income for the purposes of calculating rents are matters for each individual housing authority to consider in accordance with their own rent scheme.

Section 31 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, when commenced, will replace existing enactments in relation to differential rent schemes. Regulations and guidelines for housing authorities to give effect to section 31 are currently in preparation in my Department. When these are made section 31 will be commenced and authorities will have one year in which to put in place a differential rent scheme under the new provisions. While it is not the intention to introduce a national standardised differential rent scheme, the regulations to be made will more clearly set out the matters that may be included in a local rents scheme, including the level, type and sources of household income that may be assessed for rent purposes.

Building Regulations

Peter Mathews

Question:

162 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to parliamentary question number 126 of 24 May, 2012, if he will outline the relevant degree under the Building Control Regulation Act, 2012, that are acceptable to the Society of Chartered Surveyors under Section 43(2)(a)(ii); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28618/12]

Section 43(2) of the Building Control Act 2007 specifies that a graduate of Dundalk Institute of Technology who has received from it in any year prior to 2005 a degree of Bachelor of Science in Building Surveying or in 2005 or any subsequent year an Honours degree of Bachelor of Science in Building Surveying shall be eligible, subject to having at least 2 years appropriate experience of performing duties commensurate with those of a building surveyor, for registration in the register of Building Surveyors established for the purposes of the Act. Section 43 further stipulates that the Minister may prescribe other educational bodies or other degree, diploma or qualifications for the purposes of eligibility for inclusion on the register.

In relation to the prescription of educational bodies and qualifications, Section 43(4) requires that the Minister must be satisfied that a particular third-level course will provide the requisite level of instruction in the various elements of the discipline of building surveying before the relevant educational body and the qualification concerned may be prescribed for the purposes of Section 43(2) of the Act. The Minister is further required in accordance with Section 43(5) to consult with National Qualifications Authority of Ireland or the Higher Education and Training Awards Council as appropriate in this regard.

No additional education bodies or qualifications have to date been prescribed for the purposes of Section 43(2) of the Building Control Act 2007 and no proposals of this nature are currently being considered by my Department.

Unfinished Housing Developments

Brendan Griffin

Question:

163 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the position regarding an estate (details supplied) in County Kerry in need of emergency works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28680/12]

The development referred to was identified as an unfinished development in accordance with the criteria set out by my Department. It was categorised as being a Category 3 estate by Kerry County Council, which means it is an estate where the developer is in place but there is no on-site activity and the developer is responsible for managing the site from a public safety perspective.

Accordingly this development is ineligible for funding from my Department under the public safety initiative.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

164 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28903/12]

The scheme for Performance Related Awards for the Local Government Sector was suspended in 2009. No performance awards have been made since 2007. No other bonuses are paid to Local Authority employees.

The chief executive officers/equivalents in agencies/bodies under the aegis of my Department do not receive bonus payments.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

165 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28915/12]

My Department is responsible for a wide range of programmes, including in the areas of housing, water services, environmental protection, local government services, and community and rural development. These programmes are subject to ongoing and periodic review to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness in the achievement of policy objectives. In the management of these programmes, procedures are in place to ensure that guidelines on public procurement are complied with and that all payments are made in accordance with public financial procedures. The detailed information sought in relation to payments under the programmes is not readily available and its compilation would involve a disproportionate amount of time and work.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

166 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28928/12]

In addition to the Ministerial staff employed on temporary contracts, there is one person employed on a contract basis in my Department (0.6 on a whole time equivalent basis — WTE).

My Department collects quarterly data on the numbers employed in local authorities and State bodies under the aegis of my Department. The number of persons employed on a contract basis in the State bodies under the aegis of my Department at the end of March 2012 was 33.5 (WTE). The number of persons employed on a contract basis in the local and regional authorities at the end of March 2012 was 969.14 (WTE).

The provision of services by agency staff to local authorities or State bodies is a procurement issue and is a matter for each local authority and State body as part of day to day management and operations.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

167 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the Board. [28935/12]

All appointments to State Agencies are made in accordance with the appropriate legislation governing appointments to each body and vacancies are filled as the need arises.

The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2012, which was recently passed by the Oireachtas, will facilitate my Department's agency rationalisation programme, under which 21 agencies will be reduced to 11.

The Local Government Management Services Board and the Local Government Computer Services Board are already merged, in an operational sense, with a common board, pending the establishment of the merged body — the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) — on a statutory basis. The LGMA will also take on the residual functions from An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, which will be dissolved.

The Affordable Homes Partnership will be dissolved and its functions, as well as those of the Centre for Housing Research and the National Building Agency, have been merged into the interim Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency (HSCA). The Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency is currently operating on an administrative basis and will be established on a statutory basis. The Fire Services Council's term of office expired on 30 June, 2009 and no new appointments were made to the Council after that date. The Minister announced that the work of the Council would be absorbed into the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management under the aegis of the Local Government Division of the Department.

The Limerick Regeneration Agencies will be dissolved and their functions will be taken over by the new Office for Regeneration which has been established in Limerick City. The Regeneration Office has initially been set up with administrative support from Limerick City Council but will report directly to the Manager Designate of the new Limerick Unitary Authority once appointed.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

168 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28943/12]

The information requested is outlined in the table below:

Name of Board

Board Members

Remuneration

An Bord Pleanála

Dr. Mary Kelly — Chairperson

PPC Rate €189,474(non PPC Rate €180,000)

Mr. Conall Boland — Deputy Chairperson

PPC Rate €138,387(non PPC Rate €126,718)

Ordinary Members

Ms Mary MacMahonMs Fionna O’ReganMr. Michael LearyMr. Nicholas MulcahyMr. Gabriel DennisonMr. Paddy Keogh

PPC Rate €116,935 to €127,588(non PPC Rate €111,214 to €121,208)

Building Regulations Advisory Body

Mr. Jay Stuart — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Mr. Gary TreanorMr. Gerard GroganMr. Jim KeoghMr. Johnny McGettiganMr. Michael BrowneMs Denise GermaineMs Krystyna RawiczMs Maria MeliaMr. Brian McKeonMr. Jimmy KeoganMr. Mark McAuleyMr. Noel Carroll (Departmental representative)Ms Jacqui DonnellyMs Sarah Neary (Departmental representative)Ms Terry PrendergastMr. Sean BalfeMr. Kevin O’RourkeMs Edel CollinsMr. Aidan O’Connor (Departmental representative)Mr. Paul KellyMr. Conor Taaffe

An Chomhairle Leabharlanna

Mr. Mark Dearey — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Councillor Cora LongCouncillor Michael AbbeyMr. Robin AdamsMs Colette O’FlahertyCouncillor Pat McMahonCouncillor Jim DarcyMr. Jim ForanMr. Paul SheehanMs Geraldine MoloneyCouncillor Billy CameronMr. Pat McMahonMs Fionnuala Hanrahan

Dormant Accounts Board

Mr. Michael Morley — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€5,985.00

Ms Marian HackettMs Mary MaguireMr. Colin WilsonMs Eimer O’RourkeMr. Des Gunning

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Mr. John Tierney — Chairperson

€Nil

Ordinary Members

€11,970.00

Mr. Gerry GrimesMr. Phillip MatthewsMs Lucy McCaffreyMr.Charlie MurphyMs Imelda ReynoldsMr. Michael StubbsMr. Frank Walsh

Environmental Protection Agency

Ms Laura Burke — Chairperson

PPC Rate €164,464(non-PPC Rate €156,240)

Ordinary Members

Mr. Matthew CroweMr. Mícheál Ó CinnéideMr. Dara Lynott

Salary ScalePPC Rate €127,588 - €145,952(non PPC Rate €121,208 -€138,655)

Housing Finance Agency

Dr. Michelle Norris — Chairperson

€11,970.00

Ordinary Members

€7,695.00

Mr. John Hogan (Department of Finance nominee)

Mr. Philip Nugent (Departmental representative)

Mr. Colm Brophy

Mr. Michael Murray

Mr. Padraic Cafferty

Dr. Mary Lee Rhodes

Ms Jackie Maguire (CCMA Rep)

Mr. Jim Miley

Ms Michelle Murphy Lawless

Mr. Gerry Leahy

Irish Water Safety

Ms Breda Collins — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Mr. Brendan McGrathMr. Michael CuddihyMr. Martin O’SullivanMr. Paul MurphyMr. Tom DoyleMr. Seamus O NeillMs Lola O’SullivanMr. John ConsidineMr. Tim O’Sullivan (Departmental representative)Ms Anne RyanMr. Christy McDonagh

National Building Agency/Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency

Mr. Richard Howlin — Chairperson

€11,970.00

Ordinary Members

€7,695.00

Mr. Eddie Lewis (Departmental representative)Mr. John O’ConnorMs Ann McGuinnessMr. Peter CareyMs. Marie McLaughlin (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform)

Limerick (Northside) Regeneration Agency

Mr. John Fitzgerald — Chairperson

€8,550.00

Ordinary Members

€5,985.00

Mr. Brendan KennyMs Kathleen StackMr. Ruairí GoganMr. Tom MackeyMr. Ned GleesonMs Anne CreminMr. Paddy FlanneryMr. Michael TiernanMr. Pat FitzgeraldMr. Pat McSitricMs Nuala KernanMs. Mary DonnellyMr. Tom CoughlanMr. Frank McGlynnMr. David SheahanMr. Michael Layde (Departmental representative)

Limerick (Southside) Regeneration Agency

Mr. John Fitzgerald — Chairperson

€8,550.00

Ordinary Members

€5,985.00

Mr. Brendan KennyMs. Kathleen StackMr. Ruairí GoganMr. Tom MackeyMr. Ned GleesonFr. Pat HoganMs Ann KavanaghMr. Liam McElligottMr. Pat FitzgeraldMr. Pat McSitricMs Anne BourkeMs Mary DonnellyMr. Tom CoughlanMr. Frank McGlynnMr. David SheahanMr. Michael Layde (Departmental representative)

Local Government Computer Services Board

Mr. Eddie Breen — Chairperson

€Nil

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Mr. Eddie SheehyMr. Peter CareyMr. Ned Gleeson (Retired 2012)Mr. Tom Mackey (Retired 2012)Mr. John TierneyMr. Hubert KearnsMr. Michael MaloneMr. Paul McDonald (Departmental Representative)Mr. Barry Quinlan (Departmental Representative)Mr. Enda Holland (Department of Finance)

Local Government Management Services Board

Mr. Eddie Breen — Chairperson

€Nil

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Mr. Eddie SheehyMr. Peter CareyMr. Ned Gleeson (Retired 2012)Mr. Tom Mackey (Retired 2012)Mr. John TierneyMr. Hubert KearnsMr.Michael MaloneMr. Paul McDonald (Departmental Representative)Mr. Barry Quinlan (Departmental Representative)Mr. Donal Enright (Departmental Representative)

National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee

Professor Seamus Ó Cinnéide — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Ms Mary McDonnellMr. John Paul CollinsCouncillor Liam BlaneyMr. Jim Ganley (Departmental Representative)Mr. Tom CoughlanMs Mary ConnorsMr. Conn MurrayMs Bridget CaseyMr. Seamus O’ConnorCouncillor Patricia McCarthyMs Catherine Linehan

Private Residential Tenancies Board

Ms Orla Coyne — Chairperson

*

Ordinary Members

*

Ms Paula O’Reilly (Departmental representative)Mr. Gene FeigheryMs Tricia Sheehy SkeffingtonMr. John TiernanMr. Vincent P. MartinDr. Eoin O’SullivanMr. Finian MatthewsMr. Thomas J. ReillyMr. Conn MurrayMr. Joseph MeehanMr. Tim Ryan

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

Professor William Reville

€11,970.00

Ordinary Members

€7,695.00

Ms Adi RocheMs Darina MuckianDr. Paraic JamesMr. James FitzmauriceMs Fionnuala BarkerMr. Patrick GilliganDr. Kevin KelleherDr. Maurice FitzgeraldDr. Patricia CunninghamDr. Stephanie RyanMr. John O’Dea

Western Development Commission

Ms. Helen Rochford Brennan — Chairperson

€8,978.00

Ordinary Members

€5,985.00

Mr. Jim DevenneyMs Mary Devine O’CallaghanCouncillor Mary HoadeMr. Neville BagnallMs Jackie MaguireMs Martina MinogueMr. Seosamh O CeallaighDr. Katie SweeneyMr. Gerry O’ConnorMr. Pádraig Ó hAoláinMr. Vincent Roche

Pobal

Mr. Seamus Boland — Chairperson

€Nil

Ordinary Members

€Nil

Ms Marie HurleyMr. Brendan O’MalleyMr. Clifford KellyMr. Dan Joe O’DonovanMr. Frank CunneenMr. Joe CallananMr. Liam KeaneUas. Sean Ó BaoillMr. Tommy McGuireMs Jennifer McHughMs Marian VickersMs Mary CunninghamMs Patricia KingMs Ruth CullenMs Siobhan McLaughlin

*Those members of the PRTB Board who are entitled to fees are paid such fees on an attendance basis only. Details regarding the scale of fees and the amounts paid are published in the annual reports of the PRTB.

Reference to remuneration to chairs and members of Boards is to the level of fee to which they are entitled. Where public servants are appointed to Boards, no fees are payable.

Appointments to boards are made taking into consideration expressions of interest, qualifications and legislative requirements, where applicable.

Court Procedures

Dara Calleary

Question:

169 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the legislative requirements for a District Court Judge’s name to be stamped on original District Court orders rather than them being signed by the same Judge. [28450/12]

I am informed that the practice of use of a stamped signature, in place of a manuscript signature, by District Court judges is long standing and was most recently held to be valid in the case of DPP -v- McCormack [1984 1 I.R. 77]. The Deputy will be aware that Section 14 of the Courts Act 1971 (as amended by section 23 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008) also makes provision, subject to certain exceptions, for district court clerks to sign such orders and warrants.

Legislative Programme

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

170 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will provide an update on his plans to draft a new gambling Bill; when he hopes to bring forward such legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28459/12]

The Deputy will recall that in September 2011, I announced that the Government had agreed to my proposals for the preparation of new legislation on the regulation of gambling. As a result we now have an opportunity to address several areas that are not within the scope of the present laws and to bring our regulatory and enforcement systems into line with best international practice.

I am pleased to report that work on the preparation of the Heads of a Bill is at an advanced stage. I hope to be in a position to bring the Heads to Government later this year for its approval and agreement to proceed to have a Bill drafted. I can tell the Deputy that, subject to the agreement of the Government, I am prepared to make the Heads available on my Department's website when they have been approved by the Government and while drafting is underway.

Garda Transport

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

171 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm that the number of vehicles allocated to the Garda traffic corps has reduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28497/12]

The provision and allocation of Garda vehicles is a matter for the Garda Commissioner in the context of his identified policing requirements.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that on 31 December 2011 there were 375 vehicles allocated to the Garda Traffic Corps and there were 316 vehicles allocated to the Traffic Corps as at 1 June 2012.

I am further advised that the deployment of Garda vehicles is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that optimum use is made of available resources. In that context, I am informed that whilst certain Garda vehicles may be designated as Traffic Corps vehicles by reason of their livery, all Garda vehicles are tasked with performing the full range of policing duties, including traffic policing, as part of their routine duties.

Legislative Programme

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

172 Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to review our current legislation in respect of prostitution; when the associated public consultation in this matter will commence; when he will be in a position to present to Cabinet proposals regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28594/12]

Our prostitution legislation is currently under review. As part of that review, I have announced a public consultation process to inform the future direction of legislation in this area. A detailed discussion document to facilitate and get the public consultation underway will be published shortly.

My immediate priority following completion of the consultation process will be to publish a report of its outcome. I hope that this report can be published before the end of December. I have to caution however, that the December target date is subject to resources having regard to the volume of submissions received and other legislative demands. When the review is concluded, I will bring any legislative proposals to Government in the usual way. Any such proposals will be brought forward at the earliest possible opportunity. However, the Deputy will appreciate, that in view of numerous competing priorities in my Department, it is not possible, at this stage, to indicate when this matter may be brought to Cabinet.

State Bodies

Sean Fleming

Question:

173 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the fact that the Equality Authority has announced its decision to move all of its staff from Roscrea, County Tipperary, the proposals that he has to deal with the office accommodation that is currently covered by a twenty year lease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28600/12]

The Working Group I appointed to advise me on practical issues in relation to the merger of the Equality Authority and the Human Rights Commission to form a new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission considered the question of the location of the new body. As already announced, the Government has approved the Working Group's recommendation that the new Commission should operate from a single office in Dublin and that the Equality Authority's Roscrea office be closed. This will happen in an orderly fashion over a period of time, with appropriate transition arrangements being put in place in the interests of staff. As the lease on the property in question is held by the Office of Public Works, its continued use once the office is closed will be a matter for OPW.

Citizenship Applications

Patrick Nulty

Question:

174 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the criteria that applies in relation to applications for Irish citizenship; the length of time to process applications; the reason there are discrepancies in application process times; if he will introduce a right to an explanation and reason for refusal to ensure transparency in the system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28638/12]

Section 15 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The conditions are that the applicant must:

be of full age,

be of good character,

have had a period of one year's continuous residency in the State immediately before the date of application and, during the eight years immediately preceding that period, have had a total residence in the State amounting to four years,

have, before a judge of the District Court in open court, in a citizenship ceremony or in such manner as the Minister, for special reasons, allows:

(i) made a declaration, in the prescribed manner, of fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State, and

(ii) undertaken to faithfully observe the laws of the State and to respect its democratic values.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. However, the nature of the naturalisation process is such that for a broad range of reasons some cases will take longer than others to process. As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is a major step for the State 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. It is a statutory requirement that, inter alia, applicants for naturalisation be of good character. In some instances that can be established relatively quickly and in other cases completing the necessary checks can take a considerable period of time.

Measures I introduced last year have resulted in a significant increase in the number of cases decided. Already this year I have made a decision in approximately 13,500 applications and in total this year I expect to have made a decision on some 24,000 applications. By contrast approximately 16,000 valid citizenship applications were determined in 2011 and just under 7,800 cases in 2010.

I undertook to get to the stage by the second quarter of this year, that in the generality of cases i.e. around 70%, that persons applying for a certificate of naturalisation will be given a decision on their application within six months. In this regard, a major effort has and continues to be made in reducing the time taken to process applications. It is expected that the six month timeframe for the generality of new applications received from this month onwards will be achieved.

The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended provides that the Minister may decide to grant or refuse an application in his absolute discretion. Where an application is refused, in general, the letter issued to an applicant informing him or her of my decision will provide reasons for that decision insofar as it is appropriate to do so and where the explanation given cannot be interpreted as a fettering of the absolute discretion given to the Minister in the Act. In relation of appeals, there is no provision under the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended for appeal in relation to an application for a certificate of naturalisation. I would make the general comment that these issues have been tested before the Courts and have been found to be in accordance with the law.

Residency Permits

Patrick Nulty

Question:

175 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in relation to residency status, is it obligatory for applicants to obtain private health insurance to qualify; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28639/12]

The condition for foreign nationals to have private health insurance only applies to certain categories of residence permission and is in place to ensure that no additional undue burdens are placed on the public funded health service. These categories include for example, students, investors, entrepreneurs, religious and lay volunteers. It is not a general condition for residency status.

Residency Permits

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

176 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if there any planned changes to the situation in which spouses of stamp 4 holders still have to wait up to five years to get stamp 4; if any consideration has been given to allowing spouses, who have been living here, stamp 4 as well, when their partners receive a stamp 4; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28650/12]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the current Long Term Residence scheme under which spouses of persons who have been granted Long Term Residency on Stamp 4 conditions for 5 years, are entitled to permission to remain in the State on a Stamp 3 (Dependants Stamp) for 5 years, once they also have accrued the required 60 months reckonable residence in the State on Stamp 3 conditions and meet the criterion of good character.

The existing practices and procedures for the granting of Long Term Residence are under currently review and the issue raised by the Deputy will be considered in that context and of course also in the context of the difficult labour market situation. The Deputy might also wish to note that a Stamp 3 may also be issued to spouses of persons who hold a Stamp 4 other than through the Long Term Residence scheme. Spouses of Stamp 4 holders who wish to work in the State may be eligible for a spousal work permit on the basis that their wife/husband has held valid work permits. The issuing of work permits is a matter for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.

Garda Stations

Brendan Smith

Question:

177 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm that there will be no change to the status of Bawnboy Dowra and Killeshandra Garda Stations, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28651/12]

Under the Garda Síochána Acts 2005-2007, the Commissioner is required to submit, before November of each year, a policing plan for the forthcoming year. In preparing the Policing Plan, the Garda Commissioner reviews all aspects of the Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the operation of Garda stations, both in terms of opening hours and possible closures. In addition, all Divisional Officers are asked to assess the level of activity in each Garda Station in their area. It must be stressed that the key objective of any station closure is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than secure modest cash savings. The Policing Plan for 2013 has not yet been prepared and therefore it is not possible to say at this stage what it may contain, although it is expected that it will contain measures to address the ongoing issue of rationalisation of the Garda station network.

Garda Stations

Brendan Smith

Question:

178 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm that there will be no change to the status of the Garda Divisional Headquarters at Ballyconnell, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28652/12]

Under the Garda Síochána Acts 2005-2007, the Commissioner is required to submit, before November of each year, a policing plan for the forthcoming year. In preparing the Policing Plan, the Garda Commissioner reviews all aspects of the Garda Síochána's policing model, including the deployment of personnel, the utilisation of modern technologies and the operation of Garda stations, both in terms of opening hours and possible closures. In addition, all Divisional Officers are asked to assess the level of activity in each Garda Station in their area. It must be stressed that the key objective of any station closure is to promote the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than secure modest cash savings. The Policing Plan for 2013 has not yet been prepared and therefore it is not possible to say at this stage what it may contain, although it is expected that it will contain measures to address the ongoing issue of rationalisation of the Garda station network.

Residency Permits

Brendan Griffin

Question:

179 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will be allowed to remain in the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28677/12]

I am advised by my officials in the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person referred to by the Deputy currently has no application pending. The person referred to by the Deputy was informed on the 16th May, 2012 that they had no entitlement to a stamp 4 permission to remain but that they should apply to renew their permission to remain on student conditions at their local immigration office.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Departmental Bodies

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

180 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding the proposed establishment of a legal services authority and the issues that have been raised in the Joint Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality on behalf of staff currently employed by Law Society under its current regulatory remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28678/12]

The position in relation to this matter remains as indicated in my written Reply to Question number 313 of 8 May 2012. I have also addressed this matter in the course of my speech and open discussion of the modernisation and reform of the legal sector at the Annual Conference of the Law Society on 14th April — the full text of the speech remains available on my Department's web-site,www.justice.ie, for ease of reference.

As I have conveyed on such previous occasions, the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority to be established under the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 will be independent of the legal professions and of the Government in the performance of its functions. This will include new and independent procedures relating to allegations of professional misconduct by either solicitors or barristers. Such complaints will be dealt with under the auspices of the Authority's Complaints Committee and supported, where appropriate, by the work of the new and independent Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal. Under the Bill, members of the public will no longer go to the Law Society or to the Bar Council and their respective disciplinary tribunals to deal with complaints, as happens at the moment, but will instead do so through the Legal Services Regulatory Authority.

The Law Society has, earlier this year, recognised that it would be "in the best interests of the public and the profession" if complaints about solicitors were no longer to be dealt with by the Society but by the new Regulatory Authority to be established under the Bill. I have commended this development because it will underpin public perceptions of impartiality in the regime governing the conduct and discipline of the legal professions to the utmost degree. The independence of the new Regulatory Authority and of its attendant complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal procedures is, therefore, fundamental to their success and to the avoidance of any perception that complaints about lawyers are being dealt with by lawyers themselves or by their representative bodies. Under the Legal Services Regulation Bill 2011 the complaints systems currently operated by the legal professional bodies are to be replaced by new procedures the independence of which will have to be reflected in the relevant recruitment and appointment processes. In closing the Second Stage debate on the Bill and in my address to the Law Society of 14 April, I have confirmed that I am considering possible Committee Stage amendments to create appropriately independent procedures for the appointment of members of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority, its Complaints Committee and of the Legal Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal. Similarly, I expressed the view that staff appointments to the new Authority would be better made by the Authority itself under a public competition carried out by the Public Appointments Service. While the transition to a new and independent complaints procedure under the Bill will have an impact on staff currently involved in that area it will be open to such staff — who would obviously possess the relevant skills and experience — to offer to apply for positions advertised by the new and independent Legal Services Regulatory Authority.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

181 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Defence the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28902/12]

The agencies associated with this Department are the Civil Defence Board, the Army Pensions Board and the Board of Coiste an Asgard. The Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Defence Board is a serving civil servant at Principal Officer grade. The arrangements that apply in respect of salary, pension and expenses are the same as for all Civil Service staff at this grade.

No bonuses have been paid to any employee of these agencies in 2011.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

182 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Defence the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28913/12]

The following organisations are in receipt of grants/funds from the Department of Defence:

2009

2010

2011

Agency Funding

Civil Defence Board

€6.148m

€6.061m

€5.585m

Coiste an Asgard

€830,000

Nil

Nil

Costs Arising from EU Common Security and Defence Policy

ATHENA Committee (ATHENA Special Committee is a working body of the EU Council which administers the financing of EU military operations)

€282,152

€208,349

€228,473

EU Satellite Centre

€89,450

€75,780

€70,317

European Defence Agency

€584,849

€315,775

€284,047

Grants to Veteran Associations

Irish United Nations Veteran Association (IUNVA)

€10,000

€10,000

€10,000

Organisation of National ex-servicemen and women (ONE)

€40,000

€40,000

€40,000

Miscellaneous

Military History Society of Ireland

€9,863

€5,308

€5,578

Irish Red Cross

€951,000

€951,000

€951,000

DF Canteen Board

€485,000

€485,000

€485,000

Permanent Defence Force Other Ranks Representative Association (PDFORRA)

€68,568

€68,568

€68,568

Reserve Defence Force Representative Association (RDFRA)

€52,694

€52,694

€52,694

The Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) and RDFRA are provided with office accommodation without charge. Personnel are seconded to RACO and PDFORRA on a non-recoupment basis. Currently, there are 2 officers seconded to RACO and 3 enlisted personnel to PDFORRA.

The grant-in-aid to the Civil Defence Board and Irish Red Cross was cut in order to comply with a provision in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 which required that the operating costs of all non-commercial State Agencies must be cut by 10% from 2011.

In the context of settling the Estimates for the Department of Defence for 2010, the previous Government decided that the national sail training scheme, operated by Coiste an Asgard, would be discontinued, as recommended in the Report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure.

I am satisfied that the contributions to the above organisations are kept under review having regard to the current economic climate.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

183 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Defence the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28926/12]

There are a total of 5 nursing positions at various military installations that are currently filled by agency staff. A further 8 civilian employees are currently employed under fixed-term contracts. Agency or contract staff are only employed where there are compelling reasons to engage a person on either an urgent or temporary basis.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

184 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Defence if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28941/12]

The State agencies under the aegis of the Department of Defence are the Civil Defence Board and the Army Pensions Board. The Civil Defence Act 2002 provides that the Board shall consist of at least eight but not more than fourteen members who shall be appointed by the Minister for Defence. Legislation is currently being drafted to dissolve the Civil Defence Board and transfer the functions of the Board back into the Department of Defence. I appointed the current Board as an interim measure from 11 July 2011. Membership of the interim Board appointed from 11 July 2011 is set out in the table below:

Name

Nominating Bodies

Civil Defence Board Chairperson

Mr. Brian Spain Director, Department of Defence

Nominated by Minister for Defence

Civil Defence Board Members

Mr. Cathal Duffy Principal Officer, Department of Defence

Nominated by the Minister for Defence

Ms. Clare Tiernan Principal Officer, Department of Defence

Nominated by the Minister for Defence

Mr. Robert Mooney Principal Officer, Department of Defence

Nominated by the Minister for Defence

Mr. Bill Smith Director General, Civil Defence Board

Appointed as Director General, Civil Defence Board

Mr. Ned Gleeson County Manager, Limerick City Council

Nominated by City and County Managers Association

Mr. Keith Leonard Assistant Fire Advisor

Nominated by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government

Dr. Barbara Rafferty

Nominated by Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

Ms Becci Cantrell

Nominated by the Environmental Protection Agency

Ms Veronica Forde Assistant Civil Defence Officer

Nominated by the Civil Defence Officers Association

Lt. Col. Tony Kelly SSO, Defence Forces

Nominated by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces

Chief Superintendent Orla McPartlin An Garda Síochána

Nominated by the Commissioner of An Garda Síochána

Mr. Fergal Conroy

Elected volunteer member of Civil Defence

Ms Eileen Joyce

Elected staff member of the Civil Defence Board

There is no remuneration attached to membership of the Civil Defence Board.

The Army Pensions Board is an independent statutory body established under the Army Pensions Act 1927. The Act specifies that the Board shall consist of a chairman and two ordinary members. The two ordinary members must be qualified medical practitioners of whom one must be an officer of the Army Medical Corps. The chairman and the non military ordinary member are appointed by the Minister for Defence with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The Army Medical Corps ordinary member is appointed by the Minister for Defence on the recommendation of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces. The chairperson and the civilian doctor are entitled to annual fees of €7,618 and €5,079 respectively. The only expenses payable to the members of the above Boards are travel and subsistence expenses in accordance with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform guidelines.

All appointments to Boards under the aegis of my Department are in accordance with the relevant legislation or regulations.

Agri-Environment Options Scheme

Sean Conlan

Question:

185 Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the reason a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan has not received the second payment for the agri environmental options scheme for 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28601/12]

The person named was approved for participation in the Agri-Environment Options Scheme with effect from the 1st September 2010 and full payment totalling €486.14 issued in respect of 2010.

Under the EU Regulations governing the Scheme and other area-based payment schemes, a comprehensive administrative check, including cross-checks with the Land Parcel Identification System, must be completed before any payment can issue.

Payment in respect of the 2011 Scheme year is subject to a similar administrative checking process which includes verification of capital investment through checks on receipts. During these checks queries were identified in relation to the capital expenditure claim of the person named. This issue has been satisfactorily resolved and the application will now be further processed. Payment will issue at the earliest opportunity once all validations have been successfully completed.

Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme

Sean Conlan

Question:

186 Deputy Seán Conlan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if State aid is available to persons wishing to grow energy crops; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28602/12]

In February 2010, the Bioenergy Scheme was launched as part of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS) under the Rural Development Programme. This Scheme is 50% co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The level of grant-aid available under the Bioenergy Scheme since 2010 is 50% of the crop establishment costs up to a maximum of €1,300 per hectare. This reflects the reduction in crop establishment cost since the launch of the pilot Bioenergy Scheme 2007-2009. From 2007 to end December 2011, just over 3,000 hectares of crops have been established under the Bioenergy Schemes. The Bioenergy Scheme for 2012 closed for applications on 27th January 2012. Approvals have issued to establish some 340 further hectares of crops under the 2012 Bioenergy Scheme.

A decision will be made shortly on a scheme for planting in 2013.

Single Payment Scheme

Michael Lowry

Question:

187 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding a late single payment scheme application for 2012 whereby the delay was caused by a failure of a Teagasc planner to submit the application online prior to the closing date; when the planner fails to do so despite an oral agreement with the person (details supplied) the person providing all requisite maps and information, if the person should be held responsible for and face penalties as a result of the delay in submitting said application. [28628/12]

The regulations governing the EU Single Payment Scheme require that all applications under the Single Payment/Disadvantaged Areas Scheme must be received in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, or submitted on-line to the Department, no later than midnight on 15 May. Under the provisions of the relevant EU Regulations, there is, however, a 25 day period after the 15 May for the acceptance of late applications where a 1% reduction in payments per working day must be applied. The application for the 2012 Single Payment for the person named was received on 24 May 2012 thereby incurring a 7% late penalty.

It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure that the application is submitted by the deadline, as is set out in the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme.

Public Sector Pay

Sandra McLellan

Question:

188 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 770 of 6 June 2012, the reason staff at Moorepark, Fermoy, County Cork, are outside of the Croke Park Agreement if they are deemed to be a public service body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28642/12]

As a subsidiary of a non commercial state agency Moorepark Technology Limited (MTL) is subject to public sector pay policy insofar as it is required to obtain Departmental approval for pay rates. MTL is also deemed to be a "public service body" under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 by virtue of the fact that they have a public service pension scheme, and is, therefore, statutorily prohibited from increasing pay rates. In this context, the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (Croke Park) extend to employees of MTL.

Having regard to the foregoing MTL has been advised that no pay increases will be approved in Departments, agencies or their subsidiaries in line with current public service pay policy and having regard to the explicit provisions of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009.

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

189 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28899/12]

No bonuses were paid to Chief Executives of State Bodies under the aegis of my Department in 2011. Queries on bonuses to the senior officials in the State Bodies should be directed to the State Bodies themselves.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

190 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28909/12]

It is not possible to provide this information in the required time. I will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

191 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28922/12]

As of the end of May 2012, my Department had engaged 71 temporary IT contractors. IT expenditure is based on competitive tendering with extensive use of Central Government and Department specific procurement frameworks which continue to drive costs down.

My Department currently employs two Temporary Clerical Officers on fixed term contracts, for 13 weeks and 10 weeks respectively. They are employed in accordance with the guidelines set out under Circular 14/2009 — Shorter Working Year Scheme (SWYS).

One Assistant Secretary General was re-engaged by my Department on a part-time contract basis. Sanction for this contract was received from the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Ten agricultural science students have been engaged on fixed term contracts for work experience purposes as part of their degree course. Three temporary forestry inspectors have been engaged on fixed term contracts for the purpose of undertaking the forest inventory and one assistant harbour master has been engaged on a fixed purpose contract.

Three retired veterinary staff are re-engaged on a contract basis as part-time Temporary Veterinary Inspectors (TVIs) for a limited period primarily to provide cover for essential functions in my Department.

My Department also engages TVIs as contractors in meat plants for meat inspection purposes who are available to be rostered for meat inspection duties, as and when required on a fee paid basis. Fees are only paid to TVIs in respect of completed TVI shifts.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

192 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the Board. [28933/12]

No appointment has been deferred in the circumstances outlined by the Deputy.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

193 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28938/12]

In accordance with the Government's decision in 2011, I invite expressions of interest from persons interested in being appointed to the boards of State Bodies operating under the aegis of my Department. In making any board appointments, I am not necessarily confined to those who make such expressions of interest but will ensure that all of those appointed have the relevant mix of knowledge and expertise to contribute to the board.

In the case of a number of the State Bodies, the board appointments, whilst made by me, are not made at my sole discretion and instead individuals are nominated by various organisations for appointment by me as specified in the relevant statutes. These are the Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board, Teagasc, National Milk Agency, Veterinary Council of Ireland and Horse Racing Ireland.

There have been a number of appointments to State Boards during my tenure and the details of these are outlined in the table below:

Body/Agency

No of Board Members

No of Board appointments since March 2011

Name

Remuneration Rates per Annum

Aquaculture Licensing Appeals Board

7

2

Brendan BriceCamilla Keane

Chair: €8,978Board member: €5,985

An Bord Bia

15

9(including the Chair)

Michael Carey (Chair)Gary BrownMichael CroninRhona HollandJohn KingstonBrody SweeneyJohn ComerMary J ByrneJohn Bryan

Chair: €20,520Board member: €11,970

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

6

1

Kieran Calnan (Chair)

Chair €11,970Member €7,695

Bord na gCon

7

5

Philip Meaney (Chair)Matt MurphyBrendan MooreTim GilbertTony McNamee

Chair: €21,600Board member: €12,600

Coillte

9

2

Oliver McCabeDavid Gunning

Chair: €21,600Board member: €12,600

Horse Racing Ireland

14

3

Noel MeadeNeville O’ByrneMary O’Connor

Chair: €21,600Board member: €12,600

Marine Institute

9

1

Paul Hyde

Chair: €11,970Board Member: €7,695

Teagasc

11

1

Thomas Cooke

Chair: €20,520Board member: €11,970

Veterinary Council

19

5

Michael SheahanPeadar Ó’ScanaillMichael SadlierDeirdre CampionMartin Blake

No remuneration is paid to Board members

Adoption Legislation

Tom Hayes

Question:

194 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was not incorporated into the Adoption Act, 2010; if she has any future plans to give adopted children the same equal rights as all children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28546/12]

Tom Hayes

Question:

197 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on adopted persons accessing their adoption file in view of the fact that these files are crucial to them when filling the gaps and forms and an important part of the adopted person’s heritage; her views on whether that denial and lengthy delays of access to family histories is in breach of Articles 7, 8 and 20 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28570/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 194 and 197 together.

The Adoption Act 2010, consolidated previous adoption legislation and gave force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The purpose of the Adoption Act, 2010, is to improve standards in both domestic and intercountry adoption. The regulatory framework governing adoption has been strengthened in an attempt to ensure that the best interests of children are protected at every step throughout the adoption process.

The area of information and tracing is extremely complex and requires specific legislation in its own right. Considerable progress has been made in drafting the Heads of Bill for the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2012. The proposed legislation has been included in the legislative programme for my Department for 2012 and it is one of a number of Bills which I intend to introduce in the Oireachtas during the course of this year.

While the drafting of the Heads of Bill is still under way in my Department, I can say that it is currently intended that the Heads of Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority to have responsibility for the safeguarding and maintenance of all adoption records in the State. It is also intended that the Heads of Bill will provide that the Authority is to have responsibility for ensuring that access to those records is provided to an adopted person or to a birth parent, in accordance with the Bill.

The draft Heads of Bill will be submitted to Government for approval prior to commencing the drafting of the Bill. It is not possible to give a publication date for the Bill at this stage.

EU Conventions

Tom Hayes

Question:

195 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs when she expects to complete the signing and ratification of the European Convention on the Adoption of Children (Revised) 2008 which has been open for signature since 27 November 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28547/12]

The compatibility of the European Convention on the Adoption of Children with Irish law, as well as with adoption policy and practice in this country, is receiving attention in my Department. Once all the relevant issues arising in that context have been fully examined, I will be in a position to make a recommendation to the Government as to the signing and ratification of the Convention.

Post-Adoption Contact Register

Tom Hayes

Question:

196 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if a copy of the adoption files transferred from the Sacred Heart Adoption Society, Cork, to the Health Service Executive were given to the Adoption Authority of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28569/12]

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

Question No. 197 answered with Question No. 194.

Adoption Services

Tom Hayes

Question:

198 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will confirm if the Office of the National Director, Children and Family Services, Health Service Executive, has introduced a customer charter for the policies and systems that have been introduced for dealing with the adoption files transferred from the Sacred Heart Adoption Society, Cork and if the charter be made available to the public; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28571/12]

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

Tom Hayes

Question:

199 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will confirm that the Office of the National Director, Children and Family Services, Health Service Executive, the policies and systems that have been introduced for dealing with the adoption files transferred from the Sacred Heart Adoption Society, Cork, to the HSE are discriminatory to adopted persons who are trying to access their file on the basis of the age of the adopted person, the age of the natural mother and the health of the adopted person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28590/12]

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

Tom Hayes

Question:

200 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question No. 572 of 1 May 2012, if she will facilitate the transfer of the adoption file from the Regional Adoption Service in County Cork to the Regional Adoption Service in County Waterford in view of the fact that this is the Health Service Executive region in which this person resides; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28591/12]

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

201 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28911/12]

My Department was established on the 2nd June, 2011. The Deputy will be aware that a gross funding allocation of €427 million has been made available to my Department under Vote 40 to support a range of programmes and services in respect of children and youth affairs. Details of the allocation are included in the Revised Estimates of the Public Service 2012 which was published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in February 2012.

The Vote contains resource allocations for the following expenditure programmes:

Programme Expenditure

2012 Estimate

A.

Children and Family Support Programme

€86,359,000

B.

Sectoral Programmes for Children and Young People

€319,927,000

C.

Policy and Legislation Programme

€20,694,000

Programme A includes allocations of: (i) €26.465 million for the Family Support Agency, including funding to support 107 Family Resource Centres and some 600 voluntary and community organisations providing marriage, relationship, child and bereavement counselling services are funded each year; (ii) €9.622 million for the National Education Welfare Board which administers the Education Welfare Service and also oversees the School Completion Programme which has additional funding of €28.256 million to support the retention of children and young people in education; and (iii) €17.195 million in both capital and current funding to support the Children's Detention Centre, Oberstown. Programme B includes allocations of: (i) €175.800 million for the free Pre-School Year in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. Some 4,300 pre-school services (95%) are participating in the scheme; (ii) €80.998 million in both capital and current funding for the Community Childcare Subvention (CCS) and Childcare Education and Training (CETS) Programmes. Almost 1,000 community services participate in the CCS. The CCS and CETS programmes currently support some 30,000 disadvantaged and low income parents with their childcare costs; and (iii) €58.306 million in both capital and current funding to support the delivery of a range of youth programmes and services by the voluntary youth work sector, including programmes and services in disadvantaged communities. These current funding programmes include the following:

the Young People's Facilities and Services Funds,

21 Local Drugs Task Force projects,

the Youth Service Grant Scheme (31 organisations),

the Special Projects for Youth Scheme (182 projects),

the local Youth Club Grant Scheme (some 1,600 clubs supported),

Youth Information Centres (32 centres),

the European Youth in Action Programme (administered by Léargas — The Exchange Bureau),

Gaisce — the President's Award, and

a number of other smaller grants to youth groups.

(iv) €1.6 million towards the Early Intervention Programme which is co-funded by my Department and Atlantic Philanthropies to examine innovative and integrated ways to improve outcomes for children.

Programme C includes allocations of: (i) €6.570 million towards the National Longitudinal Study of Children in Ireland and a range of programmes linked to the National Children's Strategy; (ii) €500,000 to support community groups and organisations under the National Lottery Funding Scheme; and (iii) €5.412 million to support the Adoption Authority of Ireland and the Office of the Ombudsman for Children.

My Department recently carried out a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) and the outcome of this CRE will be used to inform future funding in order to ensure the benefits to children, young people and families are maximised.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

202 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28924/12]

I presume the Deputy is enquiring about the use of agency or contract staff engaged to meet a short-term service need or where some flexibility in staffing a service is required. In that regard, I can confirm that my Department, the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Family Support Agency and the Children's Detention Schools do not presently engage such services.

There are 4 agency staff employed by the National Educational Welfare Board on a short term basis every quarter for school return data entry purposes. In addition, the Board presently employs two persons on short term contracts. The engagement of persons on short term contract or agency basis is subject to strict public procurement procedures and costs are kept under constant review.

The information requested relating to the Office of the Ombudsman for Children is not readily available in my Department. I have requested the Ombudsman to provide the information directly to the Deputy.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

203 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28940/12]

I would like to inform the Deputy that the position in respect of public bodies under the auspices of my Department is that there are four agencies funded by the Exchequer through my Department's Vote. These are the Adoption Authority of Ireland, the Family Support Agency, the National Educational Welfare Board and the Ombudsman for Children. With effect from 1 January 2012, I have taken responsibility for the children detention schools as provided in Part 10 of the Children Act 2001. They are funded through my Department's Vote and I am responsible for the appointment of their board of management. I do not have responsibility for any semi-State company. There is no Board of Management for the Ombudsman for Children.

The appointment of members to each of these bodies is not a competency-based process. The governing legislation in relation to each of these bodies sets out the composition of the Board either in terms of their qualifications and experience, or the Government Minister or body that is responsible for nominating representatives on them or who must be consulted in the nomination process. For example, the Adoption Act 2010 requires that the Adoption Authority of Ireland consists of 7 members — the chairperson must be a Judge, barrister or solicitor and the ordinary members must include a social worker with experience in adoption practice, a social worker with research expertise in child welfare, child protection or both, a barrister or solicitor with experience in the practice of law in relation to families and children, a medical practitioner and a person with appropriate training in psychology. On the other hand, the Education Welfare Act, 2000 provides that the Minister shall make appointments to the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) from among persons who in the opinion of the Minister have a special interest or expertise in matters relating to the functions of the Board. There are also prescribed bodies to be consulted in appointing ordinary members. The Family Support Agency Act 2001 provides that the Minister may appoint individuals to the Board who have a special interest or expertise in matters relating to the functions of the Agency. The Children Act 2001 outlines the different Ministers and organisations that nominate persons to serve on the board of management of the children detention schools.

In making my decisions on appointments to Boards, subject to the governing legislation, I consider the most suitable persons for the positions available with due regard to the body or agency in question and its particular responsibilities and I seek to ensure that the appropriate mix of skills and experience is in place to achieve the best result.

I have set out in tabular format below, a list of current Board memberships, the remuneration received for each individual and their particular background or profession:

National Educational Welfare Board

Board Member

Annual remuneration

Competencies

Clare Ryan

None

NEWB

Anne McDonnell

None

JMB

Don Myers

None

National Parents Council

Brenda Broderick

None

ASTI

Eamonn Flynn

None

NEWB

Marie-Claire McAteer

None

National Youth Council of Ireland

Ruairí Gogan

None

Civil Servant — Dept of Justice and Equality

Bob Dowling

None

Teacher

Pat McSitric

None

Civil Servant — Dept of Education and Skills

Catherine Connery

None

Former teacher. Member of Kilkenny County Council and Kilkenny VEC

Marian Jennings

None

Law Lecturer, DIT

Mary Donnelly

None

Civil Servant — Deptment of Social protection

Children Detention Schools

Board Member

Annual remuneration

Competencies

Joe Horan (Chair)

Fee waived

Retired (ex County Manager)

Gerard McKiernan

Fee waived

Acting Local Health Manager HSE

Ursula Kilkenny

Fee waived

Lecturer UCC

Diego Gallagher

Fee waived

Practicing Solicitor

Sylda Langford

Fee waived

Retired — Ex Civil Servant

Pat Rooney

Fee waived

Farmer (local rep)

Elizabeth Howard

Fee waived

Homemaker

Colin Fetherston

Fee waived

Residential Care Worker

Barry Rooney

Fee waived

Residential Care Worker

Deirdre Keyes

Fee waived

Education Officer County Dublin VEC

Dan Kelleher

Fee waived

Civil Servant — Deptment of Children and Youth Affairs

Family Support Agency

Board Member

Annual remuneration

Competencies

Sharon Foley (Chair)

€8,978

CEO Irish Hospice Foundation

Caroline Murphy

€5,985

Organisational psychologist and broadcaster

Dick Hickey

€5,985

Executive Director, St. Brigid’s Family resource Centre

Dr. John Griffin

€5,985

Consultant Psychiatrist

Marie Fenlon

€5,985

Nominee of the Family Resource Centre National Forum

Liz Chaloner

€5,985

Independent researcher, facilitator, consultant

Nuala Ryan

€5,985

President UCD Women Graduates Assoc

Imelda Martin

€0

Family Support Agency Staff Rep

Dr. Nollaig Byrne

€0

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Adoption Authority of Ireland

Board Member

Annual remuneration

Competencies

Dr. Geoffrey Shannon (Chair)

€63,120

Solicitor

Siobhan Keogh

€7,965

Retired child Care Manager

Anne McWilliams

€7,965

Lecturer

Corina Carrick

€7,965

Solicitor

Helen Collins

€7,965

Solicitor

Dr. Imelda Ryan

€7,965

Doctor/Medical

Health Services

Catherine Murphy

Question:

204 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm to Dáil Éireann the current position of the discussions between the Chief Medical Officer and the private clinics where Irish women were fitted with defective PIP breast implants; if he will advise if said private clinics have all unequivocally agreed to meet their legal obligations to those women; if not, if he will make available the individual response of each such clinic to the Chief Medical Officer regarding the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28444/12]

My Department's priority at all times has been that the three treating clinics involved in the PIP breast implant issue provide professional and appropriate care to their affected clients. The Chief Medical Officer has met with and continues to engage with the clinics to ensure that best practice and patient support is paramount in the service provided to concerned recipients of these implants. It has been impressed on the treating clinics that an appropriate care programme must be in place and that clinical care should be provided to each client as considered appropriate by their treating surgeon. The provision of an improved care package by one of the treating clinics has been the subject of intense discussions between my officials and the provider concerned and the CMO continues to liaise with the provider in this regard.

The Department's website and the website of the Irish Medicines Board (IMB) continue to provide regular updates and information on the ongoing EU and international scientific investigation of PIP implants. The advice of both my Department and the IMB has remained constant and readily available to all interested parties, i.e.:

there is no evidence of increased risk of cancer for women with this brand of implant;

the risk of rupture is within expected norms and routine explantation is not recommended;

anyone with a concern about their breast implants should discuss the matter with their GP or surgeon. In addition, the Chief Medical Officer appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health on 3rd May last to fully brief and answer members' questions.

The resolution of the implants issue has to be between provider and client and an appropriate solution found between the parties; my Department will continue to encourage all parties to reach an acceptable solution for all concerned.

Medical Cards

Niall Collins

Question:

205 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health if a medical card will be issued as a matter of urgency in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28462/12]

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

Home Help Service

Joe Carey

Question:

206 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health the position regarding personal assistance hours in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28463/12]

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

Medical Cards

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

207 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Health the expected time delay in relation to when the legislation will be passed to allow persons who are on the long term illness scheme to access a medical card to be able to apply for a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28464/12]

The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is committed to introducing Universal GP Care within its first term of office.

Primary legislation is required to give effect to this commitment. The Department of Health is currently drafting legislation to provide for the phased introduction of a universal GP service without fees in line with the commitment set out in the Programme for Government. Initially it is intended to extend GP cover without fees to persons with certain long-term illnesses. It is my intention to have the Bill published and enacted before the summer recess.

Hospital Services

Martin Ferris

Question:

208 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) will receive an MRI scan [28476/12]

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will work to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system, and by streamlining waiting lists, including the management of referrals from GPs by hospitals. The SDU is working closely with its partner agencies — mainly the HSE and the NTPF.

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that 95% of hospitals achieved this objective. During 2012 the SDU will support hospitals in the delivery of a 9 month maximum wait time for inpatient or daycase surgery.

The next priority for the SDU is access to diagnostics. This programme of work has commenced in terms of access to GI endoscopy and will later in 2012 examine access to radiology services.

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Billy Kelleher

Question:

209 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the number of patients that were treated from waiting lists in 2009, 2010 and 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28482/12]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Billy Kelleher

Question:

210 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if the attention of the Health Service Executive has been drawn to whether those waiting longest for orthopaedic treatment have medical problems preventing them from surgery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28483/12]

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Billy Kelleher

Question:

211 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he plans to exclude patients deemed medically unsuitable for surgery from waiting lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28484/12]

Hospital waiting lists are the responsibility of the hospitals and their Consultants. It is a matter for the treating Consultant to determine whether individual patients are fit, ready and able for surgery and therefore whether the patient is suitable to be placed on the appropriate waiting list.

Hospital Staff

Billy Kelleher

Question:

212 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the areas of the consultants’ contracts that are not being implemented; the actions he and the Health Service Executive are taking to address the issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28485/12]

Consultant Contract 2008 provides for an extended working day and greater equity in the provision and delivery of care, with consultants working as part of a team delivering the Clinical Directorate Service Plan. This Contract is now the contract held by some 80% of Consultants working in the public health service. All aspects of the contract are in force and implementation at hospital level is the responsibility of the Chief Executive in each institution.

Clinical Directors have been appointed at hospital level and are taking a lead role in the management of change and ensuring compliance with the Consultant Contract.

The organisations representing Consultants are encompassed by the terms of the Public Service Agreement and discussions are currently ongoing on a comprehensive flexibility and reform agenda.

The Health Sector Action Plan 2012 for the implementation of the Public Service Agreement sets out a number of proposals for medical consultants including:

Full cooperation with the implementation of the clinical programmes and the work programme of the Special Delivery Unit.

Greater flexibility by consultants in respect of their attendance patterns, reflecting the need to have some services delivered on a 24/7 basis within a 5/7 working week.

Compliance with the reduction of the historical rest days in order that no liability exists by the end of 2012 for an additional year off when a consultant retires.

Health Insurance

Billy Kelleher

Question:

213 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the actions he is taking to address uncollected income from private patients; if this is an issue that is being addressed in his talks with consultants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28486/12]

The HSE and Voluntary hospitals recoup a considerable amount of income from private insurance companies in return for private and semi-private treatment services provided to patients with private health insurance cover. However, lengthy delays often occur between the discharge of patients and the receipt of payment from the health insurance companies.

The HSE has introduced a number of initiatives to improve the claims collection process and facilitate faster submission of claims which will accelerate income collection within the public hospital system. These initiatives include:

The HSE has tasked hospitals with bringing down the value of claims awaiting Consultant action and hospitals will also target the highest-value claims.

The HSE has recently concluded the tender process for the roll-out of an electronic claims management system in eleven hospitals to replace the current paper based system. This will be commenced on a phased basis this year, and scoping work has already commenced in five sites.

The implementation of measures to support timely and efficient collection of private patient income is one of the issues under discussion at present between health service management and the consultants' representative bodies.

Furthermore, the Health Insurance Consultative Forum which I established this year, also enables dialogue with insurers on the issue of cost and efficiency, including the issue of income collection.

State Legal Services

Billy Kelleher

Question:

214 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health the steps he has taken to address the fact that the Health Service Executive spend approximately €66 million on an annual basis on legal fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28487/12]

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

Medical Cards

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

215 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health when a medical card will issue in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28493/12]

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

Hospitals Building Programme

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

216 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he plans to refurbish the Dermatology Department of Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28495/12]

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

Hospital Facilities

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

217 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the number of theatres currently in Temple Street Hospital, Dublin 1; the number of these theatres that are currently in use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28496/12]

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

Hospital Procedures

Sean Fleming

Question:

218 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the position regarding an MRI scan in respect of a person in County Laois (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28504/12]

I am determined to address the issues which cause unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. In this regard I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which will work to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system, and by streamlining waiting lists, including the management of referrals from GPs by hospitals. The SDU is working closely with its partner agencies — mainly the HSE and the NTPF.

As a priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that the vast majority of hospitals achieved this objective. During 2012 the SDU will support hospitals in the delivery of a 9 month maximum wait time for inpatient or daycase surgery.

The next priority for the SDU is access to diagnostics. This programme of work has commenced in terms of GI endoscopy and will later in 2012 examine access to radiology services.

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. Should the patient's general practitioner consider that the patient's condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant and hospital involved.

Universal Health Insurance

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

219 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health if he has begun to prepare legislation for the extension of free general practitioner care to all claimants of medicines under the long term illness scheme as per his announcement in Budget 2012; when he expects this legislation to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28566/12]

The Programme for Government commits to reforming the current public health system by introducing Universal Health Insurance with equal access to care for all. As part of this, the Government is committed to introducing Universal GP Care within its first term of office.

Primary legislation is required to give effect to this commitment. The Department of Health is currently drafting legislation to provide for the phased introduction of a universal GP service without fees in line with the commitment set out in the Programme for Government. Initially it is intended to extend GP cover without fees to persons with certain long-term illnesses. It is my intention to have the Bill published and enacted before the summer recess.

Health Services

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

220 Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Health the arrangement in place in the West of Ireland to provide pump therapy treatment for children for five years of age with type 1 diabetes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28567/12]

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

Vaccination Programme

Catherine Murphy

Question:

221 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm the veracity of the claim by a company (details supplied) that has received indemnity from the State in 2009 relating to the use of the Pandemrix influenza vaccine; if so confirmed, if he will release a copy of this indemnity to members of the Oireachtas; if he is satisfied that the company disclosed all relevant information on Pandemrix to the State in advance of the indemnity being agreed; if he will confirm if the indemnity is now legally unenforceable in view of the present circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28588/12]

Catherine Murphy

Question:

222 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health his views on the conclusions of the National Narcolepsy Steering Committee report Investigation of an increase in the incidence of narcolepsy in children and adolescents in 2009 and 2010; his views on whether the State and a company (details supplied) are liable in respect of the cases of narcolepsy developed by several young persons following vaccination with Pandemrix in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28593/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 and 222 together.

In response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, the HSE procured two vaccines. The HSE, with the approval of my Department and the Department of Finance, indemnified the suppliers from and against loss and damage in respect of any claim against the supplier arising from or in connection with the use and administration of licensed or unlicensed vaccine supplied. The indemnity clause in relation to the supplier in question is attached.

This was a necessary response in order to ensure that Ireland could access the vaccine as early as possible during the pandemic. All European countries who accessed pandemic vaccines indemnified the companies who supplied them. The report of the National Narcolepsy Steering Committee was published on 19 April and is available on my Department's website. My Department is working closely with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Department of Education and Skills to address the needs of those affected by narcolepsy. The HSE has provided a range of services and supports to those affected including access to rapid diagnosis, clear care pathways, temporary medical cards and reimbursement of expenses incurred.

Multi-disciplinary assessments which will allow for the appropriate individualised health and educational supports to be put in place have commenced. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is currently engaging with the HSE and with the individual schools and parents of children concerned to identify and provide educational supports for the children and adolescents affected. In addition, reasonable accommodations have been put in place for students with narcolepsy starting state exams today. My Department is considering all other possible supports which may need to be put in place for those affected. A Memorandum for Government setting out the full response to this issue is being prepared for submission in the coming weeks. I would like to assure the Deputy that this matter continues to be a priority for my Department.

Agreement

between

Glaxo Group LimitedGlaxo Wellcome HouseBerkley Avenue Greenford UB60NN UK

("GGL")

GlaxoSmithKIine (Ireland) LimitedStonemason’s Way Rathfarnham Dublin 16 Ireland

("GSK Ireland")(and together “GSK”)

and

Health Service ExecutiveHead Office,Oak House,Limetree Avenue,Millenium Park,Naas,Co KildareIreland

("HSE")regardingReservation and Supply of Pandemic Influenza Vaccines

11. PRODUCT LIABILITY AND INDEMNITY

Product Liability Indemnity

HSE shall indemnify and hold harmless each GSK Indemnified Party against any and all liability, damages, penalties, fines, costs, expenses (including reasonable legal expenses and reasonable expenses of other professionals) and other losses suffered or incurred by any GSK Indemnified Party resulting from or arising out of any Claim against any of them by any person directly or indirectly arising from or in connection with the use and administration of the Pandemic Vaccine supplied under this Agreement, including Claims for lack of safety, quality or efficacy and for death or personal injury PROVIDED that there shall be no obligation on the part of HSE to indemnify and hold harmless any GSK Indemnified Party in connection with any Claims for death or serious personal injury where it is demonstrated that such death or serious personal injury is directly caused by defects in the manufacturing of the Pandemic Vaccine that are: (1) the result of either (a) Wilful Misconduct, on the part of GSK and its Affiliates or (b) the Pandemic Vaccine not being manufactured by GSK or Affiliate in compliance with GMP, to the extent that each standard of GMP is applicable and subject to GMP deviations as per Section 10.3, including in circumstances where there is no Regulatory Authorisation and (2) the actual cause of any alleged death and/ or serious personal injury that is the subject of the Claim.

Regulatory Indemnity

HSE shall indemnify and hold harmless each GSK Indemnified Party against any and all liability, damages, penalties, fines, costs, expenses (including reasonable legal expenses and reasonable expenses of other professionals) and other losses suffered or incurred by any GSK Indemnified Party resulting from or arising out of Claims by the Competent Regulatory Authority, other authorities of Ireland and/or other third parties to the extent such liability, damages, penalties, fines, costs, losses and/or expenses relate to GSK and/or any Affiliate supplying the Pandemic Vaccine (or Components) to HSE either (i) without Regulatory Authorisation or without approval of necessary Variations in the circumstances set out in section X.

Medical Cards

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

223 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health if and when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28603/12]

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

Hospital Services

Dara Calleary

Question:

224 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health if he will outline the 2011 discharges and hospital resource figures for 2011 in tabular form; if the comparisons show that there are critical deficits in both manpower and finance at Letterkenny General Hospital, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28611/12]

Dara Calleary

Question:

225 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the allocation of hospital resources is not enabling hospitals to meet targets for the delivery of both scheduled and unscheduled care; and in view of the the circumstances if he will introduce immediate interim solutions pending the delivery of a new funding model when money follows the patient. [28612/12]

Dara Calleary

Question:

226 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health his views on whether there is a critically low level of medical nursing manpower at Letterkenny General Hospital; and steps that are being taken to address this situation. [28613/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 224 to 226, inclusive, together.

I am determined to address the issues leading to unacceptable delays in patients receiving treatment in our hospitals. I have established the Special Delivery Unit (SDU), which is working to unblock access to acute services by improving the flow of patients through the system and by streamlining waiting lists, including the management of GP referrals by hospitals. The SDU is working closely with its partner agencies — mainly the HSE and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). As an initial priority, public hospitals were instructed to ensure that, by the end of 2011, they had no patients waiting more than 12 months for treatment. I can confirm that 95% of hospitals achieved this objective. During 2012, the SDU will support hospitals in achieving a 9 month maximum waiting time for inpatient and daycase surgery.

Very significant progress had been made on the SDU initiatives on unscheduled care in emergency departments (EDs): the number of patients waiting on trolleys was 27% lower than the previous year. This equates to significant numbers of patients whose experience of our EDs was markedly improved. Similarly, new targets for access to diagnostics and outpatient appointments, which the SDU is currently focusing on, will be key to the overall improvement of hospital services in Ireland.

The HSE receives annual funding, from within which it agrees to deliver the targets for scheduled and unscheduled care in the Annual Service Plan. Cost containment plans are in place for hospitals and community services to bring their spending profiles in line with their allocations, as no additional funding is available for this year. There are limited financial resources available to the SDU and the NTPF, to assist individual hospitals with specific measures to achieve these targets. The Programme for Government has a commitment to reforming hospital funding and to introducing a more transparent and efficient ‘money follows the patient' system. Work is continuing on the development of this, as part of the Universal Health Insurance System. In addition, the HSE is using prospective funding arrangements for certain elective orthopaedic procedures at some hospitals. This funding mechanism is procedure-based and similar money follows the patient initiatives will be rolled out to other hospitals and procedures, on a phased basis.

The impact of staff reductions from this year and previous years presents a significant challenge for the health system in delivering services. Employment numbers must be reduced to approximately 102,000 by the end of this year, in line with the Government's commitment to reduce public expenditure. Therefore, replacement will only occur in critical areas. There has, however, been considerable redeployment in the health sector under the Public Service Agreement. This includes staff flexibility in continuing to deliver services during and after retirements. The Health Sector Action Plan for 2012, under the Public Service Agreement, includes provision for further use of redeployment in the health sector.

I have forwarded the queries on Letterkenny General Hospital and on the national discharge and hospital resource figures to the HSE, which will respond directly to the Deputy in relation to those particular queries.

Health Service Staff

Clare Daly

Question:

227 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Health following the signing into law of the Protection Employees (Temporary Agency Workers) Bill on 16 May 2012, the steps being taken by the Health Service Executive to ensure that workers it employs via agencies receive the same basic pay as their directly employed comparators; and if he will have any pay shortfall backdated as appropriate. [28615/12]

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

Water Fluoridation

Peter Mathews

Question:

228 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Health his plans in respect of fluoridation here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28616/12]

Peter Mathews

Question:

229 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Health his plans to carry out an up to date study of the level of fluoride currently in food and drink here. [28617/12]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 and 229 together.

The Forum on Fluoridation advised in 2002 that the fluoridation of public piped water supplies should continue as a public health measure. The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, which was established in 2004, monitors new and emerging issues on fluoride and its effects on health and related matters. The Expert Body advises that the balance of scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, does not cause any ill effects and continues to be safe and effective in protecting the oral health of all age groups. I have no plans to discontinue the policy of fluoridation of public water supplies, which continues to make an effective contribution to oral health in Ireland.

In 2005, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published an opinion on the tolerable upper intake for fluoride from the diet. This concluded that the safe upper limit for fluoride intake from all food sources, including water, for adults is 120ìg per kilogram of body weight per day. A study by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), the Total Diet Study (TDS) published in 2011, shows that the average exposure of Irish consumers to fluoride from food is 9ìg per kilogram of body weight per day. This represents 7.5% of the safe upper limit of 120ìg per kilogram of body weight per day. If exposure to fluoride from drinking water is included it represents 23.9% of this value on average. The FSAI aims to start the second Irish TDS later this year. This will also include an analysis of fluoride in food.

Health Service Staff

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

230 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if funding will be provided for a placement in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare now completing their period in education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28641/12]

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

Health Service Staff

Regina Doherty

Question:

231 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health if the Health Service Executive intends to fill the vacancy for manager of a respite unit (details supplied) in Navan, County Meath, which became vacant upon a retirement four months ago; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28643/12]

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

Medicinal Products

Seán Kyne

Question:

232 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Health the progress of the review process of the Health Service Executive regarding the introduction of Gilenya; and if an estimated time can be given for the introduction of same [28644/12]

The manufacturer of Fingolimod (Gilenya®) has submitted an application to the HSE for the product to be reimbursed through community pharmacies under the High-Tech Drug Scheme. The list of medicinal products provided under the High-Tech Drug Scheme is reviewed on a regular basis. The application in respect of the product in question is currently under consideration. The HSE hopes to finalise the review process as soon as possible.

Professional Qualifications

Mattie McGrath

Question:

233 Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Health when an application for validation of non-national radiographic qualifications will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28645/12]

The Deputy refers to the person whose details are supplied who requires to have her professional qualifications recognised under Directive 2005/36/EC.

Directive 2005/36/EC, on the recognition of professional qualifications, applies to all EEA nationals wishing to practise a regulated profession in an EEA Member State other than that in which they obtained their professional qualifications. Its intention is to make it easier for certain professionals to practise their professions in EEA countries other than their own but due safeguards are provided in the assessment of the qualification for public health and safety and consumer protection.

For the purposes of the Directive, a regulated profession is defined as a professional activity access to which is subject, directly or indirectly, by virtue of legislative, regulatory or administrative provisions to the possession of specific professional qualifications. Where statutory registration does not exist for a profession in Ireland, non-Irish qualifications are assessed for their equivalence to the Irish entry-level qualifications required to work in the Health Service Executive.

Persons should not seek employment in their professional capacity in the publicly-funded health service in Ireland unless and until their qualifications have been recognised.

Under Statutory Instruments Nos. 139 and 166 of 2008, which transpose the Directive into Irish law, the Minister for Health and Children is the Competent Authority for the profession in question; the process is administered by the National Validation Office of the Health Service Executive (NVO) which is advised by the relevant professional body.

For the profession of the person to whom the Deputy refers, the Directive does not provide for automatic recognition of professional qualifications obtained in another Member State; it provides for an assessment, on a case-by-case basis, of the qualifications of an applicant against those required to practise in the host member state. If the activities covered by the profession in the home and the host member state are not comparable, then the qualifications cannot be recognised. If the activities are comparable but deficits in the qualifications are identified, subsequent post-qualification professional experience of the applicant must be considered. If deficits still remain, the host Member State must offer an applicant a compensation measure, a choice of completing an adaptation period or taking an aptitude test.

Applications must be acknowledged within one month and the applicant informed of any missing document. A final decision must be communicated to the applicant within four months of submission of a complete application. These time frames are clearly signalled on the Department's and the NVO's websites.

My Department has been advised by the NVO that an application form and information relating to the recognition process were issued to this person on 8 June last. It would be inappropriate to comment on any individual's application but I can assure the Deputy that when the completed application form is received, along with the relevant supporting documentation, it will be processed within the prescribed time frames.

Medical Cards

John O'Mahony

Question:

234 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the number of medical cards and general practitioner applications received by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service from July 2011 to May 2012; the number approved each month and the current number awaiting approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28672/12]

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

Medical Cards

John O'Mahony

Question:

235 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health the current waiting time for the approval of medical card and general practitioner cards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28673/12]

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

Medical Cards

John O'Mahony

Question:

236 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their application for medical card; the reason for the delay in issuing a decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28676/12]

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

Public Service Remuneration

Robert Dowds

Question:

237 Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Health the extent of bonuses paid to senior county council officials, senior bank officials and senior officials in semi-State companies for the year 2011, and the numbers of persons involved in each category. [28906/12]

The information requested is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

238 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Health the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28918/12]

The bodies, including regulatory bodies funded by my Department in the years 2010-2012 are set out in the following table. My Department also administers a National Lottery Discretionary Fund from which once-off grants are paid to community and voluntary organisations, providing a range of health related service. Details of the groups which have received funding for the past three years are set-out on my Departments website:www.doh.ie.

The Health Service Executive also provides funding to numerous groups and organisations, details of which are set-out in its annual accounts, which are available on the Executives website:www.hse.ie

As part of the Estimates process each year, my Department and the Health Service Executive examine various options which might provide expenditure savings, while to the greatest extent possible meeting the objective of maintaining population health and access to services. The question of further savings that can be made in this overall area, including as regards efficiencies in how State funding is allocated and monitored, will be kept under scrutiny.

Public Sector Staff

Sean Fleming

Question:

239 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the number of agency and contract staff currently employed in the public sector; the mechanism in place for monitoring and managing the associated costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28930/12]

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

In regard to the health agencies under the aegis of the Department, the information sought by the Deputy is currently being retrieved by the agencies concerned, and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

There are 14 (13.5 WTE) staff on contract in my Department. These contracts are subject to prior approval by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and all related expenditure comes from within existing resources of the Department. Staff numbers are managed within the context of the Department of Health Employment Control Framework targets which are set by Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

State Agencies

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

240 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a list of the State agencies in which the Government has not made an appointment to a State body when a vacancy has arisen in view of the fact that it is clearly necessary to consider changes in the function or structure of the Board. [28936/12]

In the context of the question raised by the Deputy, there are two vacancies in Boards under the aegis of this Department. Both vacancies are in An Bord Altranais. The Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011, has provision for the appointment of a new Board. This is currently being progressed by my Department.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

241 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Health if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi-State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28944/12]

The information requested is being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Sports Capital Programme

Dara Calleary

Question:

242 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will give details of any discussions he or any of his Cabinet colleagues have had in relation to a project (details supplied) in County Mayo; the funding currently in place for the progression of this project; the potential sources of funding for the project; if he is in receipt of an application for funding from any of these sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28448/12]

Under previous rounds of the Sports Capital Programme no funding has been allocated toward the project referred to by the Deputy.

My Department has received an application for funding under the 2012 Sports Capital Programme for this project.

Departmental officials have started processing all applications received. This process will take some time, due to the volume of applications and the detailed information contained in each one. As a result, I do not expect to be able to announce the list of successful applicants before the late autumn or early winter 2012.

Under the current round of the Local Authority Swimming Pools Programme, which has been closed to new applicants since July 2000, a maximum grant of €3.8m is available for a swimming pool in Castlebar. There are four principal stages to be undertaken by the local authority in developing a swimming pool project. These are preliminary report, contract documents, tender documents and construction. Local authorities may not proceed to the next stage of a project until prior approval issues from the Department, and grant aid is formally allocated when the tender is approved. The preliminary report for a replacement pool in Castlebar was approved in April 2005. When contacted by the Department earlier this year, Mayo County Council indicated that contract documents would be ready in November 2012.

I have not held any discussions on the matter referred to by the Deputy.

Departmental Funding

Derek Keating

Question:

243 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of associations, organisations and regulatory bodies in receipt of grants, benefit in kind and sums of money from the State in tabular form for the past three years; if he is satisfied that the State should be financing such organisations; if he will undertake to examine the savings that can be made in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28921/12]

The expenditure provisions for my Department are set out in the Revised Estimates for Public Services for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and are a matter of public record. The Revised Estimates list the main funding provided by the Department.

The details of funding provided by the agencies under the aegis of the Department to a multitude of small diverse businesses and organisations is a matter for the agencies themselves and these can be made available from the agencies should the Deputy require. In the case of the sports capital programme, full details of individual grants to sporting organisations are available from my Department's websitehttp://www.transport.ie/sport/projectsandprogrammes.aspx.

Funding provided by my Department to the agencies under its remit towards administrative costs and for the provision of services has been substantially reduced over the past number of years. The Programme for Government and the Department's Statement of Strategy sets out our commitments to achieving further savings, including through means such as enhanced efficiencies, reduction in staffing numbers, merging of organisations, shared delivery of services and/or the outsourcing of activities.

Appointments to State Boards

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

244 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide a list of all current commercial semi State company and non-commercial State agency board appointees; and their annual remuneration and competencies. [28947/12]

Details of all commercial and non-commercial state agencies under the remit of my Department, including board appointments and the levels of board fees payable are available on my Department's website http://www.transport.ie/StateBoardMembership.aspx. Full details of payments actually made are published in the annual reports and accounts of the relevant agencies.

I will shortly be laying a document before the Houses of the Oireachtas which will set out a brief summary of the skills and expertise of Board members appointed by myself over the course of the past year. In respect of appointments before that time, that information is not readily available and would require significant diversion of resources to collate it.