Commencement Matters

Natura 2000

I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, who has been sent into the Seanad to do the work of other people but I appreciate her being here.

This matter concerns the lack of management, protection and development of the Gearagh conservation site in County Cork and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's lack of leadership and action about this. The Gearagh national nature reserve on the River Lee in County Cork is a globally unique site of international importance, both for its primeval river forest and its wintering wildfowl. As a priority Natura 2000 site under the EU Habitats Directive, it has several different forms of legislation theoretically protecting it. It is a special area of conservation, SAC, a special protected area, SPA, a world Ramsar site, a biogenetic reserve and part of the Lee Valley natural heritage area.

Despite this raft of legislation and protections, the fact that it is the property of the State, under the control of the semi-State body, the ESB, means it is without any effective management plan. As a consequence, this State-led neglect has prevented the local community from developing the area as a significant recreational, educational and eco-tourism destination.

The Gearagh is a designated SAC to primarily protect its alluvial woodland. However, the lack of good water management in the river catchment upstream from the forest, as required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, is causing the site’s islands to disintegrate. This is flying in the face of the intended EU protection enshrined under Article 6(2). The SPA status was originally designated on the site due to the thousands of wintering wildfowl that used the area. Today, however, the numbers of wintering birds are much reduced. Each winter the ESB allows access to the protected area by a local gun club. The hunting had been so substantial that it was claimed that the carcasses of the birds were ferried out in wheelbarrows. These are the very birds which are meant to be protected.

Although the site featured as a centre page spread in Cork County Council’s biodiversity action plan, not a single sign has been erected directing the public to the nature reserve, nor has any money been used to promote the Gearagh as a tourist site. One could pass the entrance to the site without noticing it. Nobody would see that it is such a special area and understand it is on a par with the Burren.

Having won the Young Scientist Competition in 1983 and the Ford European Conservation Awards in 1987 for a sustainable management plan to protect and develop the Gearagh, both as Western Europe’s last primeval river forest and as an international wetland wildfowl reserve, attempts by the local community to engage with the ESB and the Department in order to implement such a plan have been met with short-sighted dismissal. It is disappointing the Minister did not attend to take this matter today. That does not bode well for this issue being taking seriously. The apparent disregard of both the Department and the ESB is extremely disappointing. It would lead one to wonder whether the Government is true to its commitments to its environmental protection obligations at local and national level, as well as at European level where its obligations are enshrined under EU law.

What is the Minister’s opinion on the reports of violations by the ESB of Ireland’s environmental protection commitments in the Gearagh site under the EU Habitats Directive and other legally-binding principles? Why does the Department not appear to be active in empowering the local community to develop this spectacular site, as a major ecotourism boost for the region, creating jobs, protecting the environment and boosting the poor environmental image of the ESB and the Department? Why is the EU Habitats Directive not being actively enforced in the site by prohibiting the gun clubs and the sufficient and level-handed restoration of the Gearagh’s forest? Will the Minister establish an all-inclusive management plan, a plan that protects the Gearagh and allows the local community develop the site in a sustainable way?

During a recent Seanad debate on our oceans, we heard good and successful examples of community-led management plans about marine protected areas in Scotland by Dr. Ruth Brennan of Trinity College Dublin, which could act as a template for the Gearagh.

I am taking this matter on behalf of the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Josepha Madigan.

Ireland, like all EU member states, is bound by the requirements of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. They are the cornerstone of the EU’s nature conservation policy and establish the EU wide Natura 2000 ecological network of protected areas. These directives aim to ensure the protection of habitats and species which have been selected for conservation within special areas of conservation and special protection areas.

These directives have been transposed into national law by the European Communities (Birds and Natural habitats) Regulations 2011, the Wildlife Acts and the Planning Acts. In Ireland, 439 sites have been selected for conservation as special areas of conservation while 154 sites have been selected for conservation as special protection areas.

The Gearagh, which is located approximately 2 km south-west of Macroom, County Cork, comprises a stretch of the River Lee that was dammed in the 1950s as part of a hydroelectric scheme. According to the site synopsis, the principal habitat is a shallow lake or reservoir which is fringed by wet woodland, scrub and grassland that is prone to flooding. Alluvial forest occurs on islands within the site. The Gearagh was selected for conservation as a special area of conservation in March 1997. It was also designated as a special protected area in 1996. The site is a statutory nature reserve in the ownership of the ESB. The qualifying interests of the special area of conservation site are floating river vegetation, old oak woodlands, alluvial forests and the otter. Despite about half the original area having been destroyed, the Gearagh still represents the only extensive alluvial woodland in Ireland, Great Britain or west of the River Rhine in Europe.

In response to a complaint lodged with the European Commission and the subsequent pilot infringement case relating to concerns over apparent erosion on the River Lee downstream of Toons Bridge at the western extent of the Gearagh special area of conservation where there is an extensive area of alluvial woodland, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government convened a working group of key stakeholders for the Gearagh site in 2016, comprising representatives from that Department, the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Cork County Council and the ESB. The group agreed that a scoping exercise was required to identify damage that appeared to be occurring within the alluvial woodland of the Gearagh. The ESB carried out this exercise and the report of the scoping exercise was published in 2017. It proposed a number of recommendations, including monitoring surveying and studies on the site to establish baseline data and for the development of a management plan. Work commenced on the implementation of these recommendations in November 2017. To date, terrestrial laser scanning of the main channel flowing through the Gearagh site has been completed. Locations for a hydrometric gauge and depth loggers have been identified with installation due for completion by the end of this summer.

The carrying out of these studies is to establish a baseline of robust data for the area. It is expected that the period of monitoring will be for a minimum of two years. The aim is to define the presence or absence of any erosive or other abnormal changes within the alluvial woodland of the Gearagh. If no such impacts are evident, it can be concluded that the objective of the conservation of the alluvial woodland within the area is being achieved and no further measures will be necessary. If evidence of erosive impacts is found, it is intended that a management plan will be developed with targeted physical restoration measures aimed at reducing the risk to the integrity and functioning of the alluvial woodland within the special area of conservation.

Based on ongoing consultation between the ESB and the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, further scientific studies are planned for the eastern section of the Gearagh site. These will encompass monthly bird surveys, botanical studies around the periphery of the reservoir and drone photography of the reservoir substrate revealed during low water. These studies are at the scoping and procurement stage.

As the Minister of State dealing with this matter is not the line Minister, she probably will not have the answers Senator Kelleher would like to extract.

The Minister of State did her best in coming here today but the Minister who is responsible needs to be here. Her failure to attend marks the disappointing and rather hopeless response to the Commencement matter. The Gearagh national nature reserve on the River Lee is a unique site of international importance both for its primaeval river forest and its wintering wildfowl. The Department can carry out all the bird surveys it likes but letting a gun club loose on the site is hardly the way to protect birds.

The ESB, the current owner of the Gearagh site, is flying in the face of EU laws providing for the protection and conservation of the Gearagh site as part of the Natura 2000 network. The Minister of State spoke about stakeholders but failed to mention the local community. I know every inch of the Gearagh. I know where Toons Bridge is, where the entrance is and where the islands are - these beautiful and amazing islands that are unique to Ireland - yet we are getting this very poor response, not from the Minister of State, but from the line Minister. While I am extremely disappointed, I am encouraged to pursue this matter further. I do not understand the hesitation to enforce the ESB's respect for the site and its obligations under the EU habitats directive. If the Minister and Government are to be true to their responsibilities at national and EU level, surely they will establish an effective management plan for the area. I would like the Minister to act with urgency and I hope she will look into this matter more seriously. I intend to follow through on this and make sure she gives it the attention it deserves and requires.

Obviously, Senator Kelleher is very passionate about this. Could the Minister of State arrange a meeting between Senator Kelleher and the line Minister?

I, again, thank Senator Kelleher and acknowledge some of the difficulties she has raised that have not been addressed in the response. I apologise to the Senator for the Minister not being here. In saying that, I will convey to the Minister some the issues she raised, specifically the use of the site by a local gun club, the absence of signage and the lack of proper consultation with the local community. As the Senator stated, there is considerable interest in this issue and people are concerned about it.

I suggest the Minister of State ask the line Minister to meet Senator Kelleher for a few minutes before the recess?

I will contact the Minister.

Senator Kelleher is passionate about the issue and knows the area inside out in the same way I know the Sheep's Head peninsula.

I would appreciate if the Minister of State made a commitment to arrange a meeting with the Minister.

I will commit to telephoning the Minister when I return to my office.

I would appreciate that.

I hope a meeting will be arranged. If not, I will deal with the matter after the recess. The next topic is in the name of Senator Kieran O'Donnell.

I am taking all of the Commencement matters.

I noticed that. The Minister of State has been given a poisoned chalice.

Schools Building Projects Status

This matter concerns the need for the Minister for Education and Skills to provide an update on the next step for the construction of a new state-of-the-art school building for Mungret community college, Mungret, County Limerick. Mungret community college was established in August 2017 as a new school for the Mungret, Raheen and Dooradoyle areas. It is under the principalship of Liam O'Mahoney, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board is its patron and, the CEO is George O'Callaghan and the chair of the school board is Councillor Daniel Butler. It has proven to be an extremely successful school. In its first year, it had an intake of 96 students. In its second year, it will take in 120 students, which demonstrates substantial demand for the school in the area. The Mungret, Raheen and Dooradoyle areas are projected to have a combined population of approximately 22,000 by 2022, which is less than five years away. A large plan is under way for Mungret Park, which is a development by Limerick City and County Council.

A commitment has been given to build a new school, initially to accommodate 600 pupils. I have had discussions with the Department and the Minister about increasing the size to accommodate a larger number of students, hopefully 800, and devolving the project to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board to ensure the school is built as quickly as possible.

I want to raise the current state of play in terms of the project being devolved to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board to allow the building of the school to get under way. It is being increased to an 800-pupil school on the basis of 120 students being taken in per year. The school recently secured planning permission for an additional six modular buildings to create eight additional classrooms. The site for Mungret community college school is a greenfield site of 10 acres on the Mungret Park grounds. Everyone involved - the parents, principal, board of management and education and training board - wants this school to be built. Everyone is ready to get the process under way. The key element is for the Department to put the service level agreement in place to allow the project to be devolved in order that Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board can get the process of appointing design team under way. The parents of students at the community college and pupils coming out of primary schools in the area, for example, St. Nessan's and St. Paul's national schools, Gaelscoil an Ráithín and Mungret Educate Together, are keen to see work on this state-of-the-art school building commence. They deserve no less.

I am taking this Commencement matter on behalf of the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Richard Bruton. I thank the Senator for raising the matter as it provides me with an opportunity to update the House on the current position and the next steps in relation to the construction of Mungret community college.

As the Senator will be aware, the provision of a new school for Limerick city west, Mungret community college, is included in the Department’s six-year capital programme. The school will provide capacity for approximately 800 students and will also include a two-classroom special needs unit. The delivery of this new post-primary school has been devolved to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, ETB, which is the patron body of the school. A service level agreement, SLA, was issued to the ETB on 5 July 2018. When this is signed by the ETB and returned to the Department, it will be then signed and sealed by the Department. The ETB will then commence the process of appointing a design team to design and plan the new school and obtain the necessary statutory approvals, including planning permission, fire certificate and disability access certificate. Following that, the ETB will put the project out to tender for a building contractor to construct the school.

The Minister is not in a position to give a timeframe for these steps as it will be a matter to be determined between the ETB and the design team when appointed. The Department will continue to work closely with the ETB in the context of delivery of the school building project for Mungret. I thank the Senator again for giving me the opportunity to update the House on the new school building project for Mungret.

I suspect the Senator will wish to probe the matter further but we are not dealing with the line Minister. In fairness, the Minister, Deputy Bruton, regularly attends the House for Commencement Matters.

I thank the Minister of State for that update. I very much welcome that the service level agreement was issued to Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board on 5 July. I have no doubt it will wing its way back to the Department very quickly and allow it to appoint the design team. I commend the school, its principal, Liam O'Mahoney, chairman of the board, Councillor Daniel Butler and the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board under chief executive, George O'Callaghan, for the work they have done in progressing this project. I have enjoyed working with them in bringing it to fruition.

The school is located in a temporary building on the grounds of the old Mungret College, which is an historical building. As the Minister of State will appreciate, many of the buildings are temporary in nature and will have to remain until such a time as the new school is built. Will the Minister of State indicate where matters stand in terms of the location and acquisition of a site from Limerick City and County Council?

Further additional temporary accommodation has recently been approved for the school in question to meet the accommodation needs for 2018-19. The new school, with a long-term projected enrolment of 800 pupils and a two-classroom ASD unit, will be located in Mungret on the greenfield site acquired by the ETB from Limerick City and County Council.

I thank the Minister of State. I will keep an eye on these matters to ensure the building of Mungret Community College and the acquisition of the site on the Mungret Park grounds from Limerick City and County Council proceed as quickly as possible. This is a tremendous addition to the educational fabric of Limerick and the Mungret, Dooradoyle and Raheen area. It is something parents deserve and need.

Schools Building Projects Status

A debacle has been going on for well over ten years in respect of finding a site for a three-school campus. The three schools in question are Crana College secondary school in Buncrana, serving the Inishowen Peninsula, Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha and Gaelcholáiste Chineál Eoghain. In the case of Crana College, the school is having to use up its leisure and amenity space to erect more prefabs. It is a fantastic school that recently got top marks in an evaluation by the Department. However, it is completely overcrowded. The school desperately needs a new site and has raised the matter again and again.

Gaelscoil Bhun Cranncha is another fantastic school but it is in an inappropriate location. It is based in a youth and community development building that is used for multiple purposes, which gives rise to child protection concerns and challenges. The school is grateful to its hosts for accommodating it for nearly 20 years now. In a whole-school evaluation in 2006, the inspector indicated that acquisition of a new building for the school was urgently required. That was 12 years ago and the school has been trying to do so.

Gaelcholáiste Chineál Eoghain is also located in a community facility, Tullyarvan Mill. It, too, is very grateful to be hosted there but it is not appropriate for the school's growing educational needs.

These are three schools where the parents and teachers have been generous enough to come together. One might think that would have made it easier and more cost effective, yet all these years later we still do not have a solution. Two years ago, the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh, announced that he was delighted to be informed that a preferred site had been identified. We thought an announcement was imminent and we would be able to go to planning, design and tendering. Recently, colleagues of the Minister of State have said they have some good news. I am hoping the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, can today officially confirm on behalf of the Government that a site has been secured and we can move urgently to the planning phase and start to get these schools ready in order that we can have a bright future for our children, teachers and parents in the Inishowen area.

I thank the Senator for raising this matter, which I am taking on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton. I am pleased to outline to the Seanad the current position on the site selection process for the new school campus at Buncrana. The project in respect of the education campus in Buncrana is included on the Department of Education and Skills capital programme and this project requires the acquisition of a site to facilitate the new school accommodation. In that context, the Department has been working closely with Donegal County Council under the memorandum of understanding for the acquisition of school sites with a view to securing a location for the campus project. A significant number of site options were identified and thoroughly technically appraised by both Department and council personnel. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of all parties, the site acquisition process to date has been protracted due to technical challenges with identified site options and difficulties in reaching agreement with landowners.

Department and council officials recently undertook an exercise to identify the best next steps in order to advance this site acquisition process. A number of options to progress the site acquisition process were identified and a significant amount of work has been undertaken by both council and Department officials to thoroughly appraise these to ensure value for money for the State. This exercise included the consideration of further information regarding the availability of the preferred site and, in light of this and in the context of the identified options for progression, negotiations recommenced with the landowner in respect of that preferred site option, with a view to reaching agreement on mutually acceptable terms. These negotiations are currently under way and appear to be progressing.

Should agreement on the proposed acquisition be reached, the process will advance to the conveyancing stage when draft contracts are prepared and legal due diligence is undertaken in respect of the proposed transaction. Once a site for the school is secured in State ownership the project to deliver the new school accommodation can progress to architectural planning stage.

The Senator will appreciate that commercial sensitivities attach to site acquisitions such as this and given that negotiations are at a critical point I am not currently in a position to disclose further information. On behalf of the Minister, Deputy Bruton, I assure the Senator that the school authorities are being kept apprised of the situation and will be informed of the permanent location for the campus as soon as it is possible to do so.

More than two years ago, the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh, announced that he was delighted they had moved to a preferred site, yet here we are two years later. The Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, will appreciate that the people in the Inishowen area are exasperated with the delays. If we get this deal over the line, and I wish the negotiators every success, I appeal to the Minister of State and the Minister, Deputy Bruton, to ensure that everything is fast tracked from that point on. We have lost years in this process. We urgently need full prioritisation in terms of staff, resources, personnel, planning, legal documentation and so on. I urge that the normal delays do not apply. Once this land deal is agreed, we must urgently address the other matters and move bricks and mortar on to the site in order that children, teachers and parents have schools that befit the standard of education currently being provided there. They are fantastic education institutions and they need fantastic buildings, facilities and amenities for their children.

I will bring the Senator's concerns back to the Minister, Deputy Bruton, and I will speak with the Minister of State, Deputy Joe McHugh, also. I do not have any further information other than what I have given, so I cannot comment further on the negotiations.

If there is no progress, I am sure that Senator Mac Lochlainn will be back again to raise the issue before the days get too short.

Capitation Grants

I echo my colleague's comments. It is very disappointing that the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton, is not here today. Three extremely important Commencement matters this morning are about education issues. The Minister should be here. I thank the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, for being here but the Minister should be here. I put forward another education issue on Commencement matters last week and it was answered by the Minister of State, Deputy English, who is the Minister of State with responsibility for housing. I was very disappointed. I am aware that it is not the fault of the Minister of State, but it is unfair. The Minister should address our Commencement matters. I will make this known to the Minister when I see him.

Ireland has long prided itself on its terrific education system. We rely too heavily, however, on an entire network of support that is not acknowledged. I wish to ask the Minister of State about the cuts to the capitation grant. In a written answer to my Dáil colleague, Deputy Jack Chambers, in March the Minister said: "I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years ... restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education."

There are great schools in Ireland with great school principals, great teachers and great students. Right now we are putting huge pressure on parents to keep the lights on in some schools. It is just not good enough given that parents are already paying taxes for this very reason. It is unacceptable that parents are, effectively, paying extra taxes in this regard.

The capitation grant is supposed to cover the overall cost of running a school but in reality it does not. While it costs the same amount of money to run a large primary school as a second level school, the rate of pay for one is almost three times of the other. The primary schools are losing out unless the parents reach deep into their pockets. Some schools are very lucky to have amazing fundraising committees but some schools have parents stressed out about voluntary contributions that they really cannot afford. While we spin the idea of free education if one was to ask any parent he or she will tell one that education in Ireland is far from free.

Principals in primary schools are calling for the capitation to be restored to its pre-cut level of €200 annually per child. I support this call. There are more than 500,000 children enrolled in 3,000 primary schools in Ireland. Many of these schools are small with over 50% of them having four or fewer teachers. According to the chief inspector's report on schools, Government spending per pupil has fallen by 15% since 2010 and Ireland is now spending less per primary pupil than the EU or OECD average. Of the 28 countries in the EU there are only five countries that spend less than Ireland on primary and pre-primary school age children, with Romania and Bulgaria being two examples.

According to a recent report by Grant Thornton the capitation grant now covers an average of only 52% of the running cost of a school. Last year, parents and local communities paid at least €46 million to support their local schools, which works out at an average of €14,000 per primary school or €82 per primary school pupil. This is for so-called free education. This payment is a stealth tax on parents.

I call on the Minister of State to ask the Minister to make a pledge to restore the capitation grant, by means of a phased structure or otherwise, and to relieve schools of the worry about maintenance and the minor works grant paid every year as a non-discretionary payment by the Government.

I applaud the Minister for Education and Skills for admitting that he would like to see a situation where education is 100% funded by the State, as he said in the media recently when this issue came up. The Minister also said there has always been a little tradition of the locals helping out. That this is not acceptable anymore. We have a massive problem in the second level school system whereby some schools are due to open on the Minister's watch with fixtures, fittings and furniture for which subcontractors have not been paid. I have already spoken to the Minister about this issue.

At some point we need to invest in children and give the taxpayers the investment they all deserve. Our children deserve our full commitment to give them all the best chance, not just the children with wealthy parents and machine-like fundraising committees.

Can the Minister of State, Deputy Byrne, indicate if the Minister for Education and Skills will put an increase in capitation funding high on the priority list in the budget? I expect to see an increase because it is so important. I am disappointed that the Minister for Education and Skills is not in the House to answer these matters this morning.

It is important to note that Senator Murnane O'Connor's points were raised by a number of others also. While not being in any way disparaging to anyone, I suggest that the Senators take it up on the Order of Business so the Leader can raise it.

I am only the referee.

In some instances, it would be more appropriate that the line Minister was present, but we cannot blame the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, for being here today. She is just the messenger.

Do not shoot the messenger.

The Minister of State will not be shot in this Chamber.

The Minister thanks Senator Murnane O'Connor for raising the important issue of schools funding. Unfortunately I am here on behalf of the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton, and I do not have any information as to where he is.

The Department of Education and Skills is very conscious of the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary since 2011. Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the action plan for education and the Government remains committed to achieving this. We must, however, be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures and prioritise where it is not possible to do everything that we would like to do in the education sector in any one year. Schools must also take responsibility for achieving value for money and for managing their finances responsibly.

To assist schools in this regard, the services of the financial service support unit are being rolled out to the primary and the community and comprehensive sectors on a phased basis. This will be an important source of advice and support for schools on financial governance matters. In addition, the Department established the schools procurement unit in 2014 as a central resource to provide guidance to primary and post-primary schools on procurement-related issues. Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish education and training service the best in Europe within a decade.

In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education and Skills increased by €554 million to more than €10 billion. In the last two budgets, provision was made for 6,000 extra teachers, 3,000 extra special needs assistants and more than 3,000 new middle management posts. Extra supports were also provided to 110 schools in disadvantaged areas which will benefit 20,000 students, and to build nearly 20,000 extra school places a year. That is the priority this Government puts on education. These resources were allocated to improve the learning experience right across the sector, with a particular focus on children with special educational needs.

Improvements have been made in the restoration of grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff to enable schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant-funded school secretaries and caretakers and to implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of the financial emergency measures in the public interest, FEMPI, legislation. The cost of restoring the standard capitation grant to all schools at primary and post-primary level is estimated at some €35 million. However, as I indicated, in considering future investment it will not be possible to satisfy all of the demands placed on the education system at one time. It is therefore important to focus on the top priorities. It is the Minister's hope that funding, while limited in nature, will continue to be made available over the next few years to invest in our schools and to add to the significant progress already made on implementing the Action Plan for Education.

I thank the Minister of State for addressing me this morning but I am very disappointed with the Minister's reply. I welcome the fact that we are building up schools with extra services but there will be no increase in the capitation grant and I am very disappointed for primary school principals who have been fighting hard for this. I ask the Minister of State to relay to the Minister for Education and Skills that I will fight this with all school principals throughout Ireland. We need an increase to the capitation grant for primary schoolchildren. It is a priority for me and I will address the Minister on the issue.

I thank the Senator. I understand the difficulty around capitation grants because I regularly deal with the issue in the context of my local schools. I will bring the concerns of the Senator to the Minister and ask him to reply to her. I do not know if an increase in capitation will be in the budget, to be honest.

The Minister of State might also convey to the Minister that Senator Murnane O'Connor does not give up easily.