Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Cúrsaí Gaeilge

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

57. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Turasóireachta, Cultúir, Ealaíon, Gaeltachta, Spóirt agus Meán uasdátú a thabhairt faoin ról atá aici nó ag an Aire Stáit chun a chinntiú go gcomhlíonfar na spriocanna maidir le stádas agus cur chun cinn na Gaeilge sna Sé Chontae, mar a aontaíodh sa chomhaontú, Deich mBliana Nua, Cur Chuige Nua, agus faoin obair atá déanta acu beirt le déanaí chun na spriocanna sin a chur i gcrích. [33235/21]

Tá ceist agam don Aire agus don Aire Stáit. Tá an bheirt acu anseo. An dtabharfaidh siad uasdátú dúinn ar an ról nó ar na cumhachtaí atá acu chun spriocanna maidir le stádas na Gaeilge sna Sé Chontae a bhaint amach agus ar an gcur chun cinn is gá teacht ar an scéal? Nílim ag caint faoin reachtaíocht amháin ach faoin gcomhaontú New Decade, New Approach a chomhlíonadh ina iomláine.

Tá an Rialtas seo tiomanta do chur i bhfeidhm na ngeallltanas a rinneamar maidir le New Decade, New Approach, tionscadail a rachaidh chun leasa an phobail ar fud an oileáin. Gan dabht, tá an phaindéim tar éis mórán dár gcuid ama a thógáil le 15 mhí anuas. I mí Eanáir, áfach, reáchtáladh an chéad chruinniú maidir le hathbhreithniú ar chur i bhfeidhm an chomhaontaithe. Cruinniú fíorúil a bhí ann agus bhí an tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, an státrúnaí, an Chéad Aire agus an leas-Chéad Aire, agus ceannairí páirtithe Fheidhmeannas Thuaisceart Éireann i láthair ag an gcruinniú. Gheall na páirtithe go léir ag an gcruinniú a dtiomantas leanúnach maidir le cur i bhfeidhm an chomhaontaithe.

Maidir le teanga agus cultúr, tá soláthar sa chomhaontú maidir le reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge, ag tabhairt aitheantais don ilghnéitheacht cultúir agus féiniúlachta i dTuaisceart na hÉireann. Mar chuid den tiomantas ar chur i bhfeidhm iomlán an chomhaontaithe, tá an Rialtas ag súil go mbeifear in ann an reachtaíocht seo a thabhairt isteach chomh luath in Éirinn agus is féidir. Tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag comhoibriú go leanúnach le páirtithe leasmhara mar a bhaineann sé le spriocanna an Rialtais ó thaobh na teanga de sa Tuaisceart a bhaint amach, go háirithe ag leibhéal an phobail.

Maidir le forbairt na Gaeilge i measc an phobail sa Tuaisceart, beidh infheistíocht de €400,000 sa bhliain ó 2021 go 2023 á déanamh ag mo Roinn. Beidh €250,000 á chur ar fáil don chiste infheistíocht Gaeilge sa Tuaisceart le margaíocht a dhéanamh ar ionaid de chuid an chiste agus leis na hionaid a neartú agus a bhuanú mar ionaid phobail. Beidh €50,000 le hinfheistiú i bhfeachtas feasachta teanga, leis an nGaeilge a bheith níos feiceálaí i measc an phobail agus €100,000 le líonraí Gaeilge nó Gaeltachta a fhorbairt, comhionann leis na líonraí Gaeilge sa Deisceart.

I réimse na craoltóireachta, ar feadh na trí bliana atá romhainn, beidh soláthar de €1.2 milliún sa bhliain á chur ar fáil le tacú le craoltóireacht na Gaeilge i dTuaisceart na hÉireann. Chuige sin, tá comhaontú dár luach €1 milliún aontaithe le Northern Ireland Screen le hábhar trí mheán na Gaeilge a sholáthar. Cuirfear soláthar 17 uair a chloig breise d’ábhar trí mheán na Gaeilge ar fáil faoin socrú seo.

Chomh maith leis sin, beidh €100,000 sa bhliain á chur ar fáil do TG4 agus RTÉ leis an nGaeilge a fhorbairt i réimse na craoltóireachta i dTuaisceart na hÉireann. Beifear ag súil an t-airgead seo a dháileadh sa tríú cheathrú den bhliain.

Tá gach duine sásta go bhfuilimid ag bogadh ar aghaidh ó thaobh an Fheidhmeannais ó Thuaidh agus nach bhfuil an bhagairt chéanna ann a bhí ann an tseachtain seo caite agus mé ag scríobh na ceiste seo. Glacaim an deis tréaslú leo siúd a bhí ag lorg cearta teanga sna Sé Chontae thar na blianta. Gealladh dóibh breis is 15 bliana ó shin go mbeadh Acht le rith agus tá sé ann anois de thairbhe gur sheasaimid an fód le cinntiú go gcomhlíonfar an gealltanas a tugadh sa chomhaontú New Decade, New Approach agus go mbeadh amchlár againn. Is é an príomhrud anois ná go mbeidh reachtaíocht ann a bhfuil téagar taobh thiar de, agus go mbeidh cearta gafa léi agus nach bréagchráifeacht a bheadh i gceist le reachtaíocht nach dtugadh cearta do Ghaeilgeoirí sna Sé Chontae. Tá ceist agam ar an Aire Stáit faoi na céimeanna eile atá le glacadh anois. An bhfuil sé i gceist aige labhairt le ceannaire nua an DUP go luath nuair a bheidh sé roghnaithe, measaim Jeffrey Donaldson, le cinntiú nach mbeidh sé nó na hAirí eile ag fanacht siar ó na cruinnithe tras-Teorann?

Tá an cheist seo pléite go rímhinic leis an údarás cuí. Tá an Roinn seo ag iarraidh go ndéanfar dul chun cinn leis an reachtaíocht seo, mar a dúirt mé. Leanfar leis an gceist seo a ardú leis an údarás ó Thuaidh go dtí go mbeidh toradh sásúil ar an scéal. Feictear domsa go bhfuil cothrom na Féinne tuillte ag pobal labhartha na Gaeilge ó Thuaidh. Ba cheart an reachtaíocht seo a bheith tugtha chun cinn agus, faoi mar ata ráite agam cheana, táim sásta an méid agus is féidir liom a dhéanamh ar mhaithe le tacú agus comhlíonadh an ghealltanais a rinneadh ina leith. Tá an Rialtas ag súil go mbeifear in ann an reachtaíocht don Ghaeilge a thabhairt isteach chomh luath in Éirinn agus is féidir. Déanfar an cheist a thomhas go dtí go mbeidh toradh ar an scéal atá sásúil agus a thagann leis an ngealltanas a bhí déanta ina leith. Tá tagairt déanta ag an Teachta do cheannaireacht an DUP. Níl sé i gceist agam aon ráiteas a dhéanamh maidir leis an méid a thit amach le cúpla lá anuas. Is ceist í sin do cheannaireacht an pháirtí. Níl le rá agam ag an am seo ach go mbeidh mé ag comhoibriú leis na páirtithe go léir san Fheidhmeannas lenár spriocanna roinnte a bhaint amach.

Níor lorg mé aon fhreagra mar gheall ar an gceannaire nua ach d'fhiafraigh mé an bhfuil sé i gceist ag an Aire Stáit cruinniú a lorg leis an gceannaire nua nó leis an gCéad Aire nua, nuair a bheidh a leithéid roghnaithe, chun a dhéanamh cinnte de nach mbeidh an DUP ag déanamh baghcat ar chruinnithe Thuaidh-Theas uile-Éireann idir Airí, mar a bhí siad á dhéanamh go dtí seo, agus nach mbeidh siad ag cur bac, srian nó moill ar chinntí maidir leis an teanga, le Foras na Gaeilge agus a leithéid, agus ag cur moille dá réir ar na cearta atá ag dul do Ghaeilgeoirí ar an oileán seo.

Tá cearta an-tábhachtach ar an oileán seo. Táim an-sásta an comhar agus an comhoibriú an-tábhachtach idir an Rialtas seo agus an Rialtas ó Thuaidh a leanúint freisin. Tá an Rialtas seo ag teagmháil leis na páirtithe ó Thuaidh an t-am ar fad. Beidh go leor cruinnithe eatarthu agus an reachtaíocht seo á chur i bhfeidhm.

As I do not see Deputy Duncan Smith here to take Question No. 58, I will take Question No. 59, in the name of Deputy Ó Snodaigh, and return to Deputy Smith when he arrives.

Covid-19 Tests

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

59. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason for the last-minute decision not to use antigen testing as had previously been announced for the pilot test event at the Iveagh Gardens; if any of the pilot live test events will be used to test concert or gig conditions that can be replicated if successful at smaller venues across the State; if she will publish the minutes and research of the Return to Live Events Working Group; and if lessons were taken from the pilot live test events in December 2020 to ensure the summer 2021 schedule will not be a wasted opportunity to prepare for the wider reopening of the sector. [33236/21]

I ask the Minister to explain the reasons for the last-minute decision not to use antigen testing, as had previously been announced, for the pilot test event in the Iveagh Gardens recently. Will any of the pilot live test events be used to test concert or gig conditions that can be replicated, if successful, at smaller venues across the State? The idea was to follow the lead of other countries in Europe which have had pilot test events.

Pilot events are necessary as proof of concept for the safe management of events while Covid-19 is still circulating in our communities and to evaluate and build confidence in the Covid-19 guidance and event management protocols developed by the culture and sports sectors. The pilot events will use a range of measures to militate against Covid-19, including reduced attendances, social distancing, mask wearing, hand sanitising, contact tracing, the careful management of ingress and egress of audiences and spectators, and appropriate ventilation for indoor events. I sought these pilot events as I am determined to see a safe reopening of our live music sector as soon as possible.

Neither my Department nor I had indicated an intention to use antigen testing at the Iveagh Gardens event, although I am aware that the National Concert Hall has employed antigen testing for staff and performers in the past. The Department has been monitoring pilot events internationally and is aware of the role that testing can play in supporting activities. As the Deputy will be aware, I announced today that antigen testing will be deployed for the forthcoming concert event at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on 3 July. Some 3,500 fans will be in attendance, 500 of whom will be health care workers. Some of Ireland's best talent will be performing on stage, talent we have all so greatly missed seeing live in this past year.

It should be noted that in addition to the pilot events, from 7 June numbers permitted at organised outdoor events have increased to a maximum of 100 for the majority of venues, with a maximum of 200 for outdoor stadia and venues where there is a minimum capacity of 5,000.

The measures being employed will be reviewed for their appropriateness as pilot events proceed and will be adjusted as necessary and if necessary. They will allow sports, arts, culture and entertainment organisations to test necessary control measures and other measures in venues across a range of settings and have been designed to inform the safe reopening of these sectors. They will be subject to ongoing review including with respect to the prevailing public health situation.

I have never been unwilling to publish the minutes of the meetings of the live entertainment working group and am happy to supply those to the Deputy, should he so wish.

Like the Minister, I was looking forward to live events being rolled out. I have been critical of the slow pace of the roll-out of pilot events, in particular, in comparison to other countries. We could have been further along the road with those pilot events. It is welcome that the Minister has announced the use of the antigen testing on 3 July. If it had been used in the other events, we may be further down the road of rolling out and opening up live events, which would have been a very significant encouragement to musicians and others working in the entertainment industry who have been basically locked out of work for so long. The events, obviously, have to be assessed afterwards. There has to be a period of time to check whether there has been any spread of the virus, especially given that we are in dangerous times in respect of the Delta Indian variant, as people think. Can the Minister outline how many more test events there will be before the industry can go fully live again? What would set it back? Is it all hands on deck as soon as the industry gets the all-clear after 3 July?

There are still a number of test events to take place, as outlined last month when we announced that events would take place in various indoor and outdoor venues. Today's announcement of antigen testing and reduced social distancing shows that progress is being made. The reason this was not the case with the Iveagh Gardens event was because it was the first pilot event. As the Deputy will know from his knowledge of this sector, it is not a question of switching it on overnight. These are venues that have not been in operation for over 15 months and are now working in the context of Covid-19.

The first event was really about the logistics of simple things like staggered entrance and egress and social distancing. We learned from that and we are moving to 1 m social distancing. Progress is being made. We will complete the pilot events as set out a few weeks ago in the Government announcement. I am sure the Deputy will appreciate that in my engagement with the sector, I am determined for it to reopen. I will, of course, have to be guided by the public health guidance at that time.

We are making progress and will reopen as soon as possible.

I do not expect venues to reopen overnight, given the practical problems the Minister has outlined, but they need some indication in order that they can plan. That is why it is important that as many as possible of these test events are held in the proper manner and given the full range of supports and protections in order that lessons can be learned and processes can be set down as quickly as possible for the next series of events. In doing so, organisers will have a better idea of whether there is a need for increased social distancing, for everybody to wear masks or whatever measures may be required based on the learnings from the pilot live events as soon as they are rolled out. Those in the live industry who organise events need to know in order that they can plan for the end of July, August and September and, I hope, gain something from the summer season for live entertainment. It will allow them to look towards the rest of this year rather than have to sit back and wait until next year.

I think we are all in agreement that we want there to be a return to economically viable live performances as soon as possible, and there are many reasons to be optimistic. Even today, the hospitalisation and ICU numbers are very positive. I fully appreciate the lead-in times in planning and delivering events. However, I cannot give a definite timeframe for when this will happen. What I can give is my assurance that I will continue to work with colleagues in the Government and with the sector to bring certainty as soon as possible. I am fully aware that in the case of venues working at reduced capacity, while it is good to have a return to live music, it is not viable. That is why I secured in the national economic recovery plan a commitment that as long as venues are working with reduced capacity and social distancing due to restrictions, the many supports that have been rolled out will remain in place for the sector.

Swimming Pools

Duncan Smith

Question:

58. Deputy Duncan Smith asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her views on the provision of indoor public swimming pools and public swimming pools in appropriate outdoor settings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33220/21]

I thank the Acting Chairman for his indulgence in respect of the order of the questions and apologise to the Minister of State and my fellow Deputies for being late.

What is the Minister of State's view on the provision of indoor swimming pools and public swimming pools in appropriate outdoor settings? The proliferation and explosion in respect of people's interest in swimming and of their desire to swim, both indoors and outdoors, has been one of the positives of the pandemic, if we can say such a thing. What is the Minister of State's strategy to ensure the activity will be well resourced in the years ahead?

The Department provides capital support for the construction of swimming pools. In this regard, the local authority swimming pool programme provides grant aid towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools. To date, 52 pools have been completed and three swimming pool projects, in Lucan, Buncrana and Edenderry, remain in the programme. The Lucan pool is under construction and is expected to be completed later this year, while both the Buncrana and Edenderry projects are at contract documents stage.

Exchequer support for any new swimming pool projects is now provided under the large scale sport infrastructure fund, LSSIF, which was launched in 2018 to provide Exchequer support for larger sports facilities including both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, with at least €100 million made available over the period to 2027. Fifteen applications were received for swimming pool projects, all of which were for indoor facilities. Provisional grants for eight swimming pools under the LSSIF were awarded in January 2020 and these projects are at various stages of a due diligence process. While it is not proposed to open the LSSIF to new applications at present, the Department is undertaking a review of the LSSIF programme, which is expected to be complete in the coming months. This review will consider progress on all existing grants and whether any additional grants should be awarded, while the timing of any new call for proposals will also be considered. Any new allocations or a new call for proposals will be dependent on receiving additional funding under the current review of the national development plan.

As for future swimming pools, the National Sports Policy 2018-2027, launched on 25 July 2018, commits to the development of a national swimming strategy. This will involve close collaboration with relevant Departments, local authorities, sporting bodies and other stakeholders. As part of this, there will be a review of swimming pool provision to identify where gaps exist and how they can be met. Moreover, a sports action plan, covering the period to the end of 2023, is nearing completion and will be published soon. It is envisaged that the development of a national swimming strategy will be significantly progressed as a priority in the early stages of that action plan.

Furthermore, I recently met representatives of Swim Ireland to discuss a proposal for a pilot programme using mobile or pop-up container pools to deliver swimming lessons on school grounds. These pools can be transported to a school setting and I understand a similar scheme is in operation in the UK.

I will conclude my prepared contribution in my follow-up response.

I was encouraged by the end of the Minister of State's response because we do need to identify gaps. He and I were both elected to an elected local authority in 2014, Fingal County Council, that has no public swimming pool in the area. It is quite incredible that a town the size of Swords or Balbriggan has no public swimming pool, whereas Finglas, when I was growing up, had one, while on the 17A bus route, there were three. It is really important that the Minister of State and the Department, through the review of the funding mechanism, become drivers of the provision of swimming pools. We cannot leave it to local authorities to drive it; it must come from the Minister of State and the Government.

There has been a significant increase in outdoor swimming, not just in the summer months but throughout the year. Wonderful places such as the Captains and the Springers in Skerries and High Rock in Portmarnock have been used for years as swimming spots but there is no provision of facilities such as a place to get changed, somewhere to secure car keys or anything like that. I refer not to wholesale infrastructure but to some supports for amenities, which would be welcome.

To conclude my opening response to the question, Swim Ireland plans to purchase one such pool to allow swimming lessons to be taught onsite at schools, with an overall aim of providing children with the opportunity to gain life-saving swimming skills, particularly in areas not well served by swimming pool access. If successful, the scheme could be extended by the provision of additional container pools, something on which we will engage further with Swim Ireland.

As I said, we have identified a national swimming strategy as a key priority in the national sports policy and the sports action plan we published this summer. As part of that, we want to underpin the people who will deliver these programmes while addressing the deficits in certain parts of the country in regard to capital infrastructure and swimming pools, which the Deputy highlighted. Ongoing capital schemes are open to clubs and organisations.

I know the Deputy lives in Fingal along the sea. There is great interest in sea swimming. Particularly during Covid, there was a significant increase in sea swimming while the use of pools was restricted. It is open to any club to apply under the sports capital programme for equipment, and funding schemes are available through local authorities.

Swimming is a public amenity, a public good and a skill everybody needs, and the State has a role in providing that. Swimming pools have too often been viewed through a for-profit lens. We do not look at libraries, green spaces for field sports, playgrounds or any other public amenities like that, and rightly so, but when it comes to the provision of a local authority pool, the question is whether it will make a profit. We need to move on from that. The question should be whether it will be able to serve the community that needs it. Only 25% of our pools, 100 of approximately 400, are in public ownership and many of them are blocked up by private groups. That is understandable, but this is something we need to move on. We need a wholesale change in how we approach swimming.

It is great to see so much engagement and participation in outdoor swimming, but water quality is the key. In Balbriggan, for example, the EPA reported poor water quality and it has thrown into doubt the entire season despite excellent water quality results. That too is something that needs to be examined by relevant Departments.

I thank the Minister of State for a very encouraging response.

As the Deputy said, water safety is an absolute priority. The national sports policy identifies swimming as one of three sports that have great potential for generating higher levels of active participation over the course of one's life, along with cycling and running. That is why it has been given priority status and is receiving additional funding under dormant accounts to promote greater participation under the Get Swimming campaign.

From my engagement with Swim Ireland in the context of treating swimming as a public good, I am aware it is examining excellent initiatives from the UK that will help broaden the reach of swimming into more communities where there are infrastructural deficits. It is also carrying out an ongoing survey of every piece of sports infrastructure in the country and tagging them in order that the geographical and community deficits can be accounted for.

It could be areas of disadvantage or regional places which do not have the adequate sports infrastructure and being able to respond appropriately. That will give us a national picture of where there is a deficit. On the issue of-----

On that issue, I agree and I acknowledge there are challenges in Fingal with pollution to our seas. There has been a big increase in funding to Irish Water to try to address some of the issues there.

Tourism Industry

Imelda Munster

Question:

60. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her views on reports of a worker shortage in tourism and hospitality; and her further views on the impact that low pay and poor conditions may be having on labour in the sector. [33256/21]

This question is to ask the Minister whether she will comment on reports of a shortage of workers in the tourism and hospitality sectors and whether she will share her views on the impact low pay and poor conditions may be having on labour in those sectors.

The reopening of the country and the economy has been happening gradually over June and I look forward to further reopening in July and beyond. Tourism accommodation and outdoor dining, tourism attractions and activities have reopened and, subject to satisfactory progress with the health situation, more indoor activities will reopen in July.

The Government has supported businesses through the closure in particular with initiatives such as the Covid restrictions support scheme, CRSS, employment wage subsidy scheme, EWSS and the Fáilte Ireland tourism business continuity scheme and is now assisting them in their reopening. While CRSS and the tourism business continuity scheme have addressed fixed costs, the EWSS has been crucial in maintaining employment and the link between employer and employee.

Its continuation was one of the key asks of the sector and the Government has committed to its maintenance until the end of 2021 in the economic recovery plan. I know the reopening is very welcome but I also know it brings a number of challenges, especially in reconnecting with employees.

Tourism brings employment to many parts of the country that have limited alternative job opportunities. That said, I am aware of the reports of difficulties in rehiring workers. After such a long period of closure it is not surprising there are difficulties restarting, especially if workers have moved location or taken up other employment. I also understand the caution some employees may feel about their safety, as well as concern about potential future closures.

That is why the Government has taken a cautious and staggered approach to reopening to, as far as possible, avoid backward steps. Thankfully, building on the high uptake in vaccination, we are still on track to deliver our plans for July and I hope this will give people confidence to return to work.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism and hospitality accounted for approximately 260,000 jobs and Fáilte Ireland was very active in the issue of skills development in the sector. The tourism recovery task force made a number of recommendations to enhance sustainable employment in the tourism sector to support both its survival and recovery. This includes the development of a national tourism education gateway as a one-stop shop to education for all tourism employees. My Department is working closely with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to progress these recommendations.

As the Deputy may be aware, labour law and workplace conditions are a matter for my colleague, An Tánaiste, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Some sector representatives have claimed the issue is one of some workers feeling it is not worth their while to work when they can remain on the pandemic unemployment payment, PUP. Some in government, the media and the industry have created the false narrative people are abusing the PUP. It is not backed up by any data. An Irish Congress of Trade Unions, ICTU, representative, who recently appeared before an Oireachtas committee, put forward the facts there and stated there was no basis for it whatsoever.

I have sympathy with the sector. It is not trying to take away from the hardship it has had over the past year and a half but the issue has to be addressed, for the sake of workers and employers.

I do not believe the PUP is a disincentive to returning to work. The Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI, has shown in its recent study, 95% of workers would be better off back at work. The PUP was an effective response to unemployment brought about the pandemic. The best way to secure the future of the industry and workers' incomes is to facilitate a safe and sustainable reopening that secures employment and income in the longer term.

The tourism and hospitality sector, as the Deputy is aware, is a large employer. It is not surprising, after such a long period of closure, there are difficulties restarting, especially if workers have moved or taken up other employment. I understand the caution employees may feel about the future and their concern about potential future closures. The best way to address that is to support workers and businesses to help them get back to normal trading.

We know the Low Pay Commission is looking at the issue but the sector will not do it unless it is forced to so do. It is up to the Government to make sure it steps up and follows through in the commitment to introduce a living wage as a matter of urgency. In 2019, almost 82,000 workers were in accommodation and food services. In 2018, their median pay was €313 per week. If one weighs that against the cost of living, rent, utilities, childcare etc., one can understand why the sector is struggling with staff retention.

It is not a new problem. For years, we have had a shortage of chefs, cooks etc. We should use this as an opportunity to address the long-running issues in the sector when it comes to workers' pay and conditions. Does the Minister have plans for workers in tourism and hospitality, in terms of low pay and poor conditions and improvements in that area?

As the Deputy said, I am aware staff retention is an issue and am delighted Fáilte Ireland is delivering on a number of strategies and is working closely with the industry, education providers and other State agencies to address the recruitment and retention challenges in the tourism sector. A recruitment for reopening webinar event was delivered on 30 April for tourism and hospitality businesses and more than 1,000 businesses registered for this event. Each business received a toolkit to support the recruitment challenges, including sourcing opportunities.

A social media campaign is live for the tourism sector and is targeting jobseekers on both Facebook and Instagram. A schedule of targeted content will run through the summer on Fáilte Ireland's tourism career websites. State agencies, such as SOLAS, through the education and training boards are delivering new sector-specific support, on their skills to advance programmes in conjunction with industry, with a number of higher education institutes continuing to develop new Springboard courses and deliver additional skills. These programmes received funding as part of the human capital initiative to retain and regain qualified staff.

I reiterate that labour law and workplace conditions are a matter for my colleague, An Tánaiste, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. He also is keen to make progress on the living wage.