Written Questions Nos. 191-204

Tax Reliefs Application

Brendan Griffin

Question:

191. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Finance his views on correspondence (details supplied) regarding shareholders' return of value; if he will assist in any way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44325/14]

I introduced a measure of relief in this year's Finance Bill to cater for small shareholders who in February last unintentionally made the incorrect choice in responding to the Vodafone return of value document as a result of which they could have an income tax liability as opposed to having no capital gains tax liability. The measure being introduced treats individual shareholders who received €1,000 or less from Vodafone as being subject to capital gains tax rules even if they unintentionally made the incorrect choice. 

The relief is primarily aimed at small shareholders whose Vodafone shares have their origin in the acquisition of Eircom shares back in 1999.  Many of these people were not professional investors, who invested small sums and who, even after the return of value, have made a loss on their original investment.  They will not pay any capital gains tax on the €1,000 (or less) received. It should be noted that a return of value of €1,000 in the case of an original Eircom shareholder implies an original investment of about €7,400.  I believe this is an appropriate cut-off point for the proposed relief.

The circumstances described in the correspondence do not come within the terms of the proposed legislative amendment. I do not consider it appropriate or feasible to address by way of legislation situations where people missed the required deadline for returning their choices to Computershare under the Vodafone return of value scheme, whether because they didn't post their instructions in a timely manner or their instructions were not handled in a timely manner on receipt by Computershare.

Office of Public Works Properties

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

192. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works will conduct a public consultation process with regard to the possible use by the Newbridge community of facilities available at the Newbridge credit union building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43860/14]

The Commissioners of Public Works are in the process of acquiring the former Newbridge Credit Union property from the Court appointed Liquidator. As the building is still occupied by Permanent TSB, the fit out works to allow for its conversion for use as an Intreo office for the Department of Social Protection must be completed in two phases. The second phase of work cannot commence until Permanent TSB have moved to alternative accommodation and this is not expected to be completed until early 2015.

On completion of the works outlined above, the request made by the Deputy can be reviewed.

Flood Prevention Measures

Seán Fleming

Question:

193. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be approved for an application for works (detail supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44051/14]

The position in relation to this matter remains as outlined in my reply to the Deputy's Question of 17 September, 2014.

Subject to compliance with the eligibility criteria it is open to Laois County Council to submit an application for funding under the Office of Public Works (OPW) Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for works at this location.

No application has been submitted to date.

Public Sector Pensions Levy

John Paul Phelan

Question:

194. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his proposals to remove the pension levy on public sector pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44379/14]

The public service Pension-related Deduction (PRD), referred to as "the pension levy" in the Deputy's question, was introduced in March 2009 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009.  PRD is a progressively structured multi-band reduction imposed on the pay of pensionable public servants. Based on the current PRD rates structure across all sectors of the public service, it is estimated that the deduction has raised €5.5 billion since it was introduced in 2009 and it continues to be a critical component of the public service pay and pension measures adopted as part of our national fiscal consolidation. Nevertheless, a start has been made in relation to the amelioration of the impact of PRD on public servants. As legislated for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, and as provided for in the Haddington Road Agreement, the rate of PRD on the €15,000 to €20,000 band of pay received in a year fell from 5% to 2.5% on 1 January 2014. This rate cut is worth €125 annually in gross terms to most public servants, with those taxed at the standard rate enjoying the greater gain in terms of take-home pay boost.

The powers granted by the Oireachtas under the Financial Emergency Measures legislation are temporary in nature and predicated on the presence of a financial emergency in the State. The PRD is reviewable as part of my overall annual review of the wider set of emergency measures introduced under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Acts 2009-2013.  In the last review conducted in June 2014, I concluded that it was necessary to continue to apply PRD.  My next annual report on PRD and the other emergency measures will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas by end-June 2015.

Office of Public Works Staff

Áine Collins

Question:

195. Deputy Áine Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works is currently recruiting staff; and if it recruited persons in 2013. [43756/14]

The Office of Public Works, through the Public Appointments Service, is currently recruiting for the post of Head of Technology Solutions. The total number of permanent staff recruited in 2013 was 11, 7 on the Established staff and 4 State Industrial Employees. In addition, 396 seasonal staff, were recruited to augment the existing guide service at Heritage sites for the tourist season and to supplement staffing in the arterial drainage maintenance area.

Sports Events

Joe Costello

Question:

196. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a list of the running events that have taken place in the Phoenix Park in 2013 and 2014; the dates on which same were held; the cycling events that have taken place in the Phoenix Park in 2013 and 2014; the dates on which same were held; if he will provide a list of any other sporting events that have taken place on the roads of the Phoenix Park in 2013 and 2014; the dates on which same were held; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43863/14]

The Phoenix Park, being the largest urban park in Dublin, is recognised as a green lung for the city and research has highlighted the major benefits to public health and well being arising from the wealth of opportunities that a facility like the Park has to offer.

Organised sporting events are an important feature of the Park. These include national and international running, duathlons, triathlons, cycling events and community sports days. A considerable number of pitch sporting events, including Gaelic, hurling, camogie, soccer, cricket and polo take place annually in the Park.

Many community groups avail of the Park and hold various sports and community days.

Following is a list of events in the Phoenix Park - running, cycling and other sporting events - in respect of which the Commissioners of Public Works granted permission in 2013 and 2014.

Dates

Running Events in 2013

Tues, 1 Jan

Tom Brennan Memorial 5K Road Race / Liffey Valley Athletic Club

Sun, 20 Jan

National Maternity Hospital Charity Run

Wed, 23 Jan

Garda Duathlon

Thurs, 24 Jan

Schools race / Leinster Schools A.U.

Wed, 6 Feb

Garda Internal Running Race

Sun, 10 Feb

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Tues, 12 Feb

Running Race – Rathmines College Leinster Schools A.U.

Sat, 16 Feb

Garda BHAA Running Race

Sat, 23 Feb

Operation Transformation 5K Run

Thurs, 28 Feb

Schools Running Race Leinster Schools A.U.

Sun, 3 Mar

St Brigids NS – Family Fun Run

Sun, 24 Mar

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Fri, 29 Mar

Run for Ray D'Arcy – 5Km Race

Tues, 2 Apr

Running Race – Liffey Valley AV

Sun, 14 Apr

Great Ireland Run

Sat, 20 April

Aware & CAI Run

Sun, 21 Apr

Schools Fun Run / D7 Educate Together

Wed, 1 May

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Mon, 6 May

ARC 10 K Men's Marathon

Sun, 12 May

Dublin Fit Series 10km Race

Wed, 22 May

4 Mile Off-Road Race / Meet & Train Group

Thurs, 23 May

Dublin Staff Relay/ Fortitude Sports

Sat, 25 May

Calcutta Run / A&LG

Wed, 5 June

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Wed, 12 June

Leg it for your Liver Run / Community Response

Fri, 21 June

Dublin Pride Run / Dublin Frontrunners

Tues, 25 June

Prison Service 5K Trail

Sat, 29 June

Irish Runner 5 Mile Challenge

Sun, 30 June

Autism Awareness 5K Run / Triathlon Ireland

Wed, 3 July

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Tues, 9 July

Garda Athletic Race

Sat, 20 July

Barnardos - 'Wedding Run'

Sat, 27 July

5K Fun Run / Irish Cancer Society

Mon, 5 Aug

AAI Run Through Park / AAI

Mon, 5 Aug

Rock and Roll Half Marathon / Frank Greally

Wed, 7 Aug

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sat, 10 Aug

Alchemy Events Run

Sat, 17 Aug

Amazon Fun Run

Sat, 24 Aug

Frank Duffy 10 Mile Road Race / Jim Aughney

Sun, 25 Aug

Dublin City Triathlon / John Wallnutt

Sat, 31 Aug

Breast Cancer Awareness Run

Sat, 14 Sept

Console Walk / Run

Sat, 21 Sept

Half Marathon / Jim Aughney

Sun, 22 Sept.

Meningitis Research Foundation Run

Sat, 5 Oct

Guinness Triathlon / Diageo

Sun, 6 Oct

Marie Keating Foundation Run

Sat, 12 Oct

Dublin Simon Fun Run

Mon, 28 Oct

Dublin City Marathon / Jim Aughney

Sun, 3 Nov

Brain Tumour Ireland Run

Sat, 9 Nov

Marathon Cool Down

Sun, 10 Nov

Remembrance Run

Sat, 16 Nov

Movember Run

Sat 7 Dec

Jingle Bells Event / Donore Harriers

Sat 14 Dec

Aware Fun Run

Thurs, 26 Dec

Waterhouse Byrne Baird Shield Race / Donore Harriers

Dates

Cycling Events in 2013

Wed, 23 Jan

Garda Duathlon

Wed, 1 May

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sat, 4 May

Cycle4Haiti

Sun, 26 May

Cycling Safari / UCD

Wed, 5 June

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 16 June

Cargobike Challenge / DCC

Sun, 23 June

National Bike Week Event

Sun, 30 June

Cycle Riding – Dyspraxia Association

Wed, 3 July

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Wed, 7 Aug

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 25 Aug

Dublin City Triathlon / John Wallnutt

Sun, 29 Sept

Belvedere Cycle / Belvedere College

Sat, 5 Oct

Guinness Triathlon / Diageo

Dates

Other Sporting Events in 2013

Thurs, 21 Mar

Ordnance Survey Ireland Fun Walk

Sat, 20 April

Dublin Business School Walk

Sat, 27 April

Deaf Sports Ireland – Walk

Fri, 3 May

Coláiste Mhuire – Schools Walk

Sat, 4 May

Wheelie Big Day Family 2.5k/5k Walk SBHI

Wed, 8 May

School Walk – Lutrellstown College

Sun, 12 May

Charity Walk – LYCS

Thurs, 13 June

Charity Walk – Ulster Bank

Tues, 25 June

Prison Service 5K Trail

Thurs, 15 Aug

Sponsored Walk – Concern

Sun, 1 Sept

Barnados Buggy Push

Sat, 7 Sept

Bluecross – Dog Walk

Sat, 28 Sept

Dog Walk – DSPCA

Dates

Running Events in 2014

Wed, 1 Jan

Tom Brennan Memorial 5K Race

Thurs, 23 Jan

Schools race / Leinster Schools A.U.

Sun, 9 Feb

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Wed, 12 Feb

Garda A.C. Championships

Sat, 15 Feb

Garda BHAA Race

Sat, 22 Feb

Operation Transformation 5K Run

Thurs, 6 Mar

Schools race / Leinster Schools A.U.

Sun, 9 Mar

Fit City Series 10 K

Sun, 23 Mar

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Tues, 1 Apr

Running Race – Lifter Valley AC

Sat, 5 Apr

SVP Schools 5K Run

Sun, 6 Apr

Great Ireland Run

Wed, 9 Apr

Running Race RCSI Club

Sat, 12 Apr

CALS 10 K Run for Aware

Fri, 18 Apr

Half Million Half Marathon

Wed, 23 Apr

Duathlon Championships

Mon, 5 May

ARC Run

Wed, 7 May

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Wed, 7 May

Respect Walk/Fun Run

Wed, 14 May

Leg it for your Liver Run / Community Response

Sat, 17 May

Calcutta Run / A&LG

Sun, 18 May

D7K Run

Wed, 21 May

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Thurs, 22 May

Dublin Staff Relay

Wed, 4 June

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 8 June

Castleknock Family Fun Run

Fri, 20 June

Dublin Pride Run / Dublin Frontrunners

Tues, 24 June

Prison Service 5K Trail

Fri, 27 June

Defence Forces Run

Sat, 28 June

Irish Runner 5 Mile Challenge

Tues, 1 July

Club trials / Civil Service Athletic Club

Wed, 2 July

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Tues, 8 July

Club trials / Civil Service Athletic Club

Wed, 9 July

4 Mile Road Race / RSP

Sun, 13 July

Castleknock College 5K Run

Tues, 15 July

Club trials / Civil Service Athletic Club

Tues, 22 July

Club trials / Civil Service Athletic Club

Sat, 26 July

Irish Cancer Society Colour Dash 5K

Mon, 4 Aug

Rock and Roll Half Marathon / Frank Greally

Wed, 6 Aug

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sat, 23 Aug

Frank Duffy 10 Mile Road Race / Jim Aughney

Sun, 24 Aug

Dublin City Triathlon / John Wallnutt

Sat, 30 Aug

Great Pink Run

Mon, 8 Sept

DOD Run

Thurs, 11 Sept

Charity Relay Event

Fri, 12 Sept

Charity Relay Event

Sat, 13 Sept

Running Race – Liffey Valley AC

Fri, 19 Sept

Run with Ray / Athletics Ireland

Sat, 20 Sept

Half Marathon / Jim Aughney

Sat, 4 Oct

Dublin Simon Fun Run

Sun, 5 Oct

Dublin Novice Championships / Dublin County Board

Wed, 8 Oct

An Cosantóir 10 K Road Race

Sat, 11 Oct

Guinness Triathlon / Diageo

Sun, 19 Oct

Gerry Farnan Event / Dan Kavanagh

Sat, 25 Oct

Witches & Wizards 5K Fun Run

Mon, 27 Oct

Dublin City Marathon / Jim Aughney

Sat, 8 Nov

Marathon Cool Down

Sun, 9 Nov

Remembrance Run 5K

Sat, 15 Nov

Mo Run 5 K & 10 K

Sat, 6 Dec

Jingle Bells 5 K Race / Donore Harriers

Sun, 7 Dec

5K Santa Run / DSI

Sat, 13 Dec

Aware Fun Run

Wed, 17 Dec

5K Turkey Trot / Garda Athletic Blub

Fri, 26 Dec

Waterhouse Byrne Bard Shield / Donore Harriers

Dates

Cycling Events in 2014

Sun, 13 April

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sun, 20 April

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Wed, 23 April

Duathlon Championships

Sun, 27 April

Scout Group Cycle

Sun, 27 April

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sat, 3 May

Cycle4Haiti Event

Sun, 4 May

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Wed, 7 May

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 11 May

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sun, 18 May

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sat, 24 May

Cycle Tour / DCBT

Wed, 4 June

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 15 June

Cargo Bike Championships / DCC

Sun, 15 June

National Bike Week

Sun, 15 June

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sun, 29 June

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Wed, 2 July

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 6 July

Sprocket Rocket Cycling Course

Sat, 12 July

Cycle Meet / Cycling Safaris

Wed, 6 Aug

Duathlon / Triathlon Ireland

Sun, 24 Aug

Dublin City Triathlon / John Wallnutt

Wed, 10 Sept

4 City Cycle Challenge

Sat, 11 Oct

Guinness Triathlon / Diageo

Dates

Other Sporting Events in 2014

Sat, 8 Mar

Sponsored Walk / SOC

Sun, 16 Mar

5K Walk/Run / ANB

Fri, 25 April

Remembrance Walk / Frank Greally

Fri, 2 May

12K Walk / Athboy Community School

Wed, 7 May

Respect Walk/Fun Run

Fri, 9 May

Sponsored Walk / Coláiste Mhuire

Sat, 10 May

Pieta House – Darkness into Light

Sun, 11 May

Sponsored Walk / Scoil Thomáis

Sun, 25 May

Charity Walk / ANCOP

Sat, 14 June

Walk for IGDB

Sun, 27 July

Charity Walk / KR

Sat, 9 Aug

Boots Night Walk 3

Sun, 31 Aug

Bark in the Park / Irish Blue Cross

Wed, 3 Sept

Walk on Phoenix Park Murders of 1882

Wed, 10 Sept

Walk on Arbour Hill Cemetery

Wed, 17 Sept

Walk on Gate Lodges of the Park from Ashtown Castle to Castleknock

Sun, 21 Sept

Sponsored Walk / MRK

Wed, 24 Sept

Walk to Knockmaree Cist/Cromlech

Sat, 27 Sept

Great Irish Dog Walk / DSPCA

Wed, 1 Oct

Walk on Sports in the Park

Sun, 5 Oct

Walk for Life / MKF

Wed, 8 Oct

Walk on Arbour Hill Cemetery

Mon, 13 Oct

Walking Tour / MOB

Wed, 5 Nov

Walk on Gate Lodges of the Park from Ashtown Castle to Castleknock

Wed, 3 Dec

Walk on History of the Monuments of the Phoenix Park

Public Sector Staff

Paul Murphy

Question:

197. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will make agency staff in the public sector permanent staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43891/14]

In my role as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, I have overarching responsibility for recruitment to the Civil Service. All such recruitment is governed by the Public Service (Management and Recruitment) Act 2004. Under the Act, the only method of appointment to a Civil Service post - either permanent or fixed-term - is as result of being successful in a competition run by the Public Appointments Service (PAS) or by another licence holder such as the head of a Department or Office. Selection processes are open to all eligible applicants who meet minimum entry criteria. 

Agency staff are used for the provision of certain services in the public service such as, for example, facilities management or to meet demands in particular areas such as the health sector. The use of agency staff is decided upon by individual organisations in the context of business needs in order to deliver the public services for which they are responsible.  In particular circumstances, labour market conditions in some sectors may be such that it is not possible to meet workforce needs other than through the use of agency personnel.  

There are no plans to make such agency staff permanent staff which, in any event, could not be undertaken other than in accordance with the legal framework for recruitment into the public service as I have set out above.

Flood Prevention Measures

Brendan Griffin

Question:

198. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will review an application by Kerry County Council for flood defence work at a location (details supplied) in County Kerry as the public infrastructure here is at the mercy of the sea and repairs would end up costing multiples of the protection works required; if he and his officials would consider a visit to the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43905/14]

The Government Decision of 11 February, 2014 specifically addressed the allocation of funding for the repair of existing public infrastructure damaged by storms in the period of 13th December to 6th January 2014. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) wrote to Kerry County Council on 27 February, 2014 indicating that, based on the estimate submitted by the Council to that Department, up to €1,226,920 was being made available to the Council via the Office of Public Works (OPW) to undertake the necessary repair works to damaged coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure identified by Kerry Council in its submission to the DoECLG.

The estimates submitted by Kerry County Council to the DoECLG included for repair works at Fahamore and strengthening works at Kilshannig estimated at €3,000 and €70,000 respectively. However, significant strengthening works fall outside of the scope of the Government Decision and this was made clear to all local authorities. Only the repair works such as those at Fahamore are covered under the allocation. The programme of works the Council submitted to the OPW detailing how it proposes to spend the total allocation of €1,226,920 included €3,000 for works at Fahamore. It did not include for works at Kilshannig. This programme was approved and it is a matter for the Council to prioritise and progress these works and to draw down the funding that was allocated.

While an application for funding for substantial strengthening works at Kilshannig estimated to cost €500,000 was submitted by Kerry County Council to the OPW in the context of the storm damage funding process, this application was superseded by the letter of 27 February 2014 from the DoECLG to the Council informing it of its funding allocation under the Government decision.

The application received from the Council in relation to the proposed significant works at Kilshannig was, in any event, only at a summary level and more detailed planning and feasibility studies and technical analysis would have to be carried out by the Council to ensure all options are fully assessed and considered and to facilitate the allocation of scarce public resources on a priority basis nationally.

Commercial Rates Exemptions

Jim Daly

Question:

199. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an update on pending changes to rateable areas of sporting complexes; when the changes will come into force; if the exemption will be applied retrospectively for clubs in arrears; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44059/14]

The Valuation Act 2001 provides for the exemption from rates of land that is developed for sport such as playing pitches, land on golf courses, tennis courts, etc. In relation to the valuation of buildings occupied by a club affiliated to a sporting organisation, the position is that the 2001 Act also provides for the exemption from rates of "Community Halls". To be classified as a Community Hall, the premises needs to be used for purposes which are not for profit or gain and involve participation by inhabitants of the locality generally and are used for purposes which are of a recreational or otherwise of a social nature. Many sports clubs/organisations achieve exemption from rates of their property under this provision.

However, the Valuation Act, 2001 specifically excludes from this provision, the premises of a club registered under the Registration of Clubs (Ireland) Act, 1904. Therefore, the premises of such a registered club are rateable, which essentially means that clubs that sell alcohol are rateable.  This provision currently has the effect of making the entire premises occupied by the club rateable and not just that part of the premises normally used for the sale of alcohol.  This is because the sale of alcohol is a commercial activity and a registered sports club is competing with other commercial licensed premises, all of which are rateable.

The Government recently announced that we will be proposing an amendment to the Valuation (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 which is currently progressing through the Seanad that will ease the rates burden for many local sports clubs.  The proposed amendment would mean that Community Sports Clubs will only be liable for rates on buildings that are used for the generation of income. Buildings that are used for the sale of alcohol or food, retail outlets etc. will be rated but buildings that are used for community sport will be exempt. 

In proposing this amendment, we are conscious of situations where local sports clubs can be in competition with commercial operators. For that reason it is not just the bar area of a sports club that will be valued for rates but any building that is used in the generation of income.

The Bill is scheduled for report stage in the Seanad on 20th November. If and when the legislation is passed, the Valuation Office will issue revised valuations for sports clubs affected by the new provisions to all rating authorities.

Flood Prevention Measures

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

200. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding available to implement flood risk management plans being developed under CFRAMS; the criteria for prioritisation of the allocation of funding for flood defences which need to be constructed pursuant to the plans; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44104/14]

The Flood Risk Management Plans which will be produced under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme, will include an integrated and prioritised set of measures to address flood risk within the area covered by the Plan. The Plan will also provide preliminary costings for the proposed measures. Until the Plans are finalised, it is not possible therefore to determine the overall level of funding that will be required to implement the Plans and the measures contained therein. I can confirm however, that I and the Government are committed to ensuring that flood risk management remains a priority area for funding within the overall public capital investment programme.

A standardised methodology based on Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA), which will enable prioritisation of flood relief measures on a systematic and objective basis is currently being developed as part of the CFRAM Programme. This is proposed to be based primarily on the overall benefits and impacts of the proposed measures, when assessed against a range of objectives including social, environmental, economic and technical relative to the cost of the measures. A public consultation process on the aforementioned objectives is currently underway and details are available on the CFRAM website www.cfram.ie.

The Government has prioritised investment in Flood Risk Management by allocating some €225 million to the Office of Public Works (OPW) over the period 2012 to 2016 as part of its Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, giving an annual average allocation of €45 million. This is a very substantial commitment in current difficult financial conditions and underlines the priority given to this area.

The OPW currently has three major schemes at various stages of construction with another seven schemes due to commence construction next year. In addition, another twenty three schemes are at various stages of planning, many of which will be expected to move to construction in 2016-2017. In addition, under the Minor Flood Mitigation & Coastal Protection Scheme, funding has been provided for over 430 projects around the country, since it was introduced in 2009.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

201. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the funding under the minor flood mitigation works and coastal protection scheme for Mayo County Council in the past year; the amounts that have been allocated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44105/14]

In June of this year the Office of Public Works (OPW) approved two applications submitted by Mayo County Council under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. Approved funding was €30,600 for works at Ballisnahyny/Glasvally, Ballinrobe and €14,850 for a project at Frenchbrook, Kilmaine.

Details of the projects and works involved are available on the OPW website at www.opw.ie under Flood Risk Management/Minor Works.

In addition, funding of up to €4,205,000 is being made available to Mayo County Council under the Government Decision of 11 February 2014 that allocated funding for repair of existing coastal protection and flood defence infrastructure damaged in the period 13 December 2013 to 6 January, 2014. Details of the projects and works involved and progress on same would be available from Mayo County Council.

Departmental Staff Rehiring

Terence Flanagan

Question:

202. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of staff that are drawing down retirement pensions from the public sector or Civil Service and that have been brought back on contract work or temporary contracts to work in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44121/14]

Since the establishment of my Department in 2011, two retired Civil Servants have been awarded temporary contracts following an open competition held by the Public Appointments Service.

National Lottery Funding Applications

Tom Fleming

Question:

203. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on a submission to the national lottery by an organisation (details supplied) in County Kerry for a grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44137/14]

The proceeds of the National Lottery are remitted to the Exchequer which, in turn, provides the funds for good causes.  Appendix 1 of the Revised Estimates for Public Services, which is published each year, gives a breakdown by Department of all the expenditure areas that are supported by the proceeds of the National Lottery. Policy issues in relation to immigration are a matter for  the Minister for Justice and Equality. Programmes  for the community and voluntary sector, including local and community development, are part-funded by the National Lottery and are administered by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and a number of other Government Departments and Agencies.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Jim Daly

Question:

204. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide an updated report on the Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen flood relief schemes in County Cork; if he will confirm the expected commencement date for construction for each scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44165/14]

The current position with regard to the Bandon and Skibbereen Flood Relief Schemes is that they are both at the stage of procurement of civil works contractors. In both cases, contractors will be appointed after a two stage process, with both processes currently at the pre-qualification stage to produce a shortlist of contractors to be invited to tender. The second stage of the process for both schemes is currently expected to commence shortly and it is hoped to be in a position to appoint contractors early in 2015.

In relation to the Clonakilty Scheme it is hoped that the Public Exhibition of the proposals for the Scheme will commence before the end of the year.

All three Schemes are being advanced under the Arterial Drainage Acts, with the Office of Public Works (OPW) as the Contracting Authority for the Bandon Scheme and the Clonakilty Scheme, and Cork County Council being the Contracting Authority for the Skibbereen Scheme.

It is expected that works will commence on both the Bandon and Skibbereen Schemes early in 2015, subject to satisfactory completion of the procurement process and to formal Confirmation i.e. statutory approval of the scheme, by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts. In the case of the Clonakilty Scheme, commencement of works, which is currently expected to be in late 2015 would also depend on satisfactory completion of the Exhibition process. It is expected that both the Bandon and Skibbereen Schemes will take approximately 18-24 months to construct, while the Clonakilty Scheme is expected to be completed within 18-24 months of commencement. The OPW has provided for the cost of the three schemes in its multi-annual budget profiles for the period 2014-2017.