Thursday, 26 February 2004

Questions (149)

Michael D. Higgins

Question:

148 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport the structures being put in place to administer the taxi hardship panel; the number of staff employed; the administrative costs involved; the number of persons compensated to date; the total sum expended; and the amount expected to be expended over the next year. [6428/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport)

The taxi hardship payments scheme is implementing the recommendations of the taxi hardship panel report. Area Development Management Limited has been engaged to administer and manage the scheme. It recruited a team of ten persons on a contract basis.

Last August it was estimated that it would cost €536,000 and take nine months to administer the scheme. ADM operates as a non-profit-making organisation. It must recoup all of the costs incurred when administering schemes or projects on behalf of the State. The costs will be met over and above any hardship payments made under the taxi hardship payments scheme.

Under the scheme 203 persons have received a total of €2,458,000 up to 4 February. The payments do not represent compensation but rather compassionate payments in respect of extreme personal financial hardship.

The hardship panel estimated, based on consideration of the submissions made to it, that the total claims under any future scheme should not exceed €15 million. At present it is not possible to say how much the scheme will cost as it will depend on the number of applications received and whether the persons applying qualify for payments.