Public Sector Pay

Questions (12)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

10 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in a tabular form, the number of public servants in receipt of annual salaries in the following pay parameters; €0-€20,000; €20,001-€30,000; €30,001-€40,000; €40,001-€50,000; €50,001-€60,000; €60,001-€70,000; €70,001-€80,000; €80,001-€90,000; €90,001-€100,000; €100,001-€125,000; €125,001-€150,000; €150,001-€175,000; €175,001-€200,000; and more than €200,000. [32376/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The estimated breakdown of employee numbers on a whole time equivalent basis (based on a whole time equivalent figure of 300,000) by salary range within the public service (excluding Commercial State Companies) in 2011 is set out in the Table.

Pay Parameters

Numbers

€0-€20,000

19,442

€20,001-€30,000

26,749

€30,001-€40,000

66,504

€40,001-€50,000

68,935

€50,001-€60,000

44,019

€60,001-€70,000

30,315

€70,001-€80,000

22,285

€80,001-€90,000

10,814

€90,001-€100,000

4,146

€100,001-€125,000

3,043

€125,001-€150,000

1,212

Over €150,000

2,536

Total

300,000

The above salary figures include the reduction imposed on the remuneration rates of public servants under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No 2) Act 2009 effective from 1 January 2010. However, the salary ranges exclude the impact on gross salaries of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 which imposed a pension related deduction on the salary of public servants of an average of some 7% effective from March 2009.

National Lottery

Questions (13)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

11 Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress that has been made to date in the awarding process for the national lottery licence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32484/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

As the Deputy is aware, I announced on 4th April 2012 that the Government has decided to hold a competition for the next National Lottery licence and that the licence will be for a 20 year period. The ongoing provision of a fixed percentage of annual lottery turnover for good causes will be a condition of the licence. As I announced on 4th April, this percentage is to be retained at 30.5% which was the level that was achieved in 2011. The new licence will also involve an upfront payment to the State, with some of the payment being used to help fund the building of the proposed new National Children's Hospital.

Since April, my Department has carried out a considerable amount of preparatory work for the competition. It will be necessary to revise the National Lottery Act which was enacted in 1986. My Department is currently carrying out the necessary preparatory work on the legislation in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General. I expect to be in a position to submit draft Heads of a Bill for Government approval in the near future.

Given the complexity of the process regarding the competition for the next licence, it will be necessary for my Department to engage external advisers to assist it with the process. My Department expects to publish a Request for Tenders for a consultancy contract shortly. The external advisers will be required, among other things, to provide advice to my Department in relation to the structure of the competition, preparation of the necessary documentation and assistance in the process of evaluating applications/bids for the new licence.

During the past number of months, my officials have engaged with a number of key stakeholders in this process, including potential bidders for the licence and retailer organisations. During a debate on this matter held in the Seanad on 23rd May 2012, I gave an undertaking that it is intended to safeguard retailers' margins under the terms of the next licence.

I look forward to engaging with Deputies and Senators in due course on the various issues involved when we come to debate the proposed legislation to revise the National Lottery Act.

Public Service Contracts

Questions (14)

Brendan Smith

Question:

12 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is considering streamlining the tendering process for public contracts, in a manner that is consistent with EU rules, so that local Irish firms achieve a greater success rate in winning tenders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32488/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

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

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

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

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

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

The reason why the threshold for advertising on www.etenders.ie (the national public procurement web portal) was reduced from €50,000 to €25,000 was to make such contracts more accessible to SMEs whilst also ensuring that each public body secures works, goods and services that are value for money. This initiative is consistent with national public procurement policy which is aimed at ensuring that all public sector purchasing is carried out in a manner that is transparent, and secures optimal value for money for the taxpayer.

The National Procurement Service (NPS) are responsible for producing annual statistical information in relation to above-EU threshold procurement activity by the Irish public sector and for providing these statistics to the European Commission. On average 5000 tenders for the procurement of goods, services and works are advertised on eTenders every year.

I am informed by the NPS that data in respect of 2011 will not be available until later this year. The latest information is for above-EU threshold contracts only is for 2010 and is as follows:

Of the €3.3billion spent by the State on above threshold contracts only 8.7% went to non-domestic companies.

In terms of overall procurement budget (approximately €14 billion in 2010), the NPS estimates that less than 5% of the overall spend went to non-domestic suppliers.

The Deputy rightly points out that the development of policy in relation to public procurement has to be seen in the context of a set of rules agreed by European Member States which have the aim of creating a transparent and competitive single market for public procurement contracts. It is a basic principle of EU law that between citizens and businesses within the Union there should not be discrimination on grounds of nationality. This principle of non-discrimination is one of the cornerstones of EU procurement rules. The purpose of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. It would be a breach of the rules for a public body to favour or discriminate against particular candidates on grounds of nationality and there are legal remedies which may be used against any public body infringing these rules.

The importance of procurement policy becomes apparent when one sees that each year public authorities across the European Union spend 18% of GDP or approximately €2 trillion on goods, services and works. In this context, it is important to realise that the open market regime offers critical opportunities for Irish companies to win business abroad. In this regard, Enterprise Ireland and Intertrade Ireland offer training and support to businesses in order to raise awareness of public procurement opportunities and to improve the capacity of indigenous firms to compete effectively for these opportunities.

Public Sector Allowances

Questions (15)

Seamus Kirk

Question:

13 Deputy Seamus Kirk asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the discussions he has had with the union representatives in respect of reducing the cost of public sector allowances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32491/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I have had no discussions with union representatives in respect of reducing the cost of public sector allowances. As the Deputy is aware from my previous replies in relation to the review of allowances and premia payments, most recently, PQ number 28292/12 on the 15th June 2012, I expect to be in a position to bring proposals to Government shortly in relation to the findings of the review. Following consideration by Government, the outcome of the review of particular allowances will be communicated to Government Departments and will be made public. I have indicated my expectation that discussions will take place between officials and the staff representative bodies in accordance with standard industrial relations processes.

Question No. 14 answered with Question No. 7.

Freedom of Information

Questions (16)

Barry Cowen

Question:

15 Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reforms that he is considering to the scope of freedom of information legislation; the range of institutions to be included and the timescale involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32478/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Deputy will be aware of the significant commitments given in the Programme for Government to restore the Freedom of Information Act, to extend its remit to other public bodies including the administrative side of the Garda Síochána, subject to security exceptions and to extend the Act to ensure that all statutory bodies, and all bodies significantly funded from the public purse, are covered.

It is planned to bring proposals to Government shortly to secure approval to draft amending Freedom of Information legislation.

Budget Timetable

Questions (17)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

16 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the ways in which the budgetary and Estimates timetable here is influenced to an increasing extent by requirements at a European level. [32382/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

It is the case that the budgetary processes of all EU member states, including Ireland, are being influenced to an increasing extent by requirements at a European level. The introduction of a European semester in 2011 for example has led to the publication of the annual Stability Programme Update in April of each year. The purpose of these new arrangements is to allow for a more intensive period of peer review of member states' budgetary plans, thereby facilitating a greater degree of budgetary coordination across the EU.

The European Council is currently finalising an overall package of economic governance reforms, including the so-called "six-pack" and "two-pack", which will have further implications for the budget and Estimates processes.

The "two-pack" regulations being discussed in Europe propose a common budgetary timeline that includes the presentation of a draft budget by 15 October each year. However, trilogue negotiations between the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council only commenced recently and it appears that it is extremely unlikely that the regulations will be adopted in time for this year's budgetary cycle.

As to the wider budgetary process, I will consult closely with my colleague, the Minister for Finance, on arrangements for all budgetary and fiscal announcements for the remainder of the year.

Question No. 17 answered with Question No. 7.

Protected Disclosures in the Public Interest

Questions (18, 19)

Mick Wallace

Question:

18 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to enhance protections in the proposed protected disclosures in the public interest Bill in order to ensure that the identity of persons who come forward with information about possible wrongdoing remains confidential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32447/12]

View answer

Mick Wallace

Question:

21 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to strengthen safeguards in the proposed whistleblowing legislation in order to better protect individuals coming forward with information about possible wrongdoing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32446/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 18 and 21 together.

As the Deputy may be aware my proposals for the protection of whistleblowers contained in the General Scheme of the Protected Disclosures in the Public Interest Bill were referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform for its views. Following a number of meetings with key interest groups and experts, I understand that the Committee is currently finalising its report and will submit it to me shortly. My Department has also received some submissions on how the protections provided for in the legislation might be strengthened. I will consider these proposals and the recommendations of the Committee's report in the context of ongoing work on the drafting of a Bill.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (20)

Clare Daly

Question:

19 Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will guarantee that increments and allowances which are enshrined in the contracts of low and middle income public servants will continue be paid. [32440/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Government has reaffirmed the key commitments under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 in relation to pay and job security for serving public servants. These commitments are contingent on delivery of the necessary flexibilities and reforms to public service delivery that are required under the Agreement. The Budget process has outlined the Exchequer expenditure programme for 2012 and the necessary allocations have been made to Departments. Any further Budgetary measures, should they arise, are a matter for consideration by Government. The vast majority of persons who are on incremental pay scales are the lower paid and people who have been recruited to the public service more recently. I reiterate my view that there are fairer ways to control the cost of public pay, given that only a proportion of public servants, in particular lower paid and front line staff, would be affected by a suspension of increments.

Oireachtas Allowances

Questions (21)

Brian Stanley

Question:

20 Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in a tabular form, the annual saving to the public sector pay bill if all committee chair remuneration, commission member remuneration, Government Whip allowance remuneration, assistant Government Whip allowance remuneration, Whip to the Opposition parties remuneration, assistant Whip to the Opposition parties remuneration, Leader of the House, Seanad, allowance remuneration, deputy Leader of the House Seanad allowance remuneration, Opposition leader of the House Seanad remuneration, Government Whip Seanad remuneration, assistant Government Whip Seanad remuneration; and Leader of the Independent group Seanad remuneration were all withdrawn. [32375/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

There are a number of legislative provisions governing the payment of the allowances listed by the Deputy. Details of allowances payable in the categories specified by the Deputy, are set out in the table below. The cost if all such remuneration is claimed is estimated at €375,000. However, this figure does not take account of any individual arrangements whereby the allowance or portion thereof may be waived. In addition, section 6(2) of Oireachtas (Allowances to Members), Ministerial, Parliamentary, Judicial and Court Offices Act, 1998, states if a Member is eligible during any period to receive more than one of the allowances provided for in Section 3, 4 and 5 of the Act, only the higher or highest of those allowances shall be paid or payable to the member during that period. In relation to allowances payable to Chairpersons of Committees, the Oireachtas (Allowances to Members), Ministerial, Parliamentary, Judicial and Court Offices Act, 1998, in circumstances where a Chairperson is Chairperson of more than one Committee, they are only eligible to be paid one allowance.

Title of Allowance

Allowance €

Fianna Fáil Party Whip

19,000

People before Profit Whip

6,000

Sinn Féin Party Whip

6,000

Socialist Party Whip

6,000

Assistant Government Whip

15,000

Fianna Fáil Party Assistant Whip

9,500

Fine Gael Party Assistant Whip

7,500

Labour Party Assistant Whip

6,000

Sinn Féin Party Assistant Whip

3,000

Deputy Leader of the House in Seanad Éireann

9,500

Government Whip in Seanad Éireann

6,000

Assistant Government Whip in Seanad Éireann

4,000

Fianna Fáil Leader in Seanad Éireann

9,500

Independent Group of Nominee Senators’ Leader in Seanad Éireann

6,000

Independent Group of University Senators’ Leader in Seanad Éireann

6,000

Fianna Fáil Whip in Seanad Éireann

6,000

Independent Group of Nominee Senators’ Whip in Seanad Éireann

4,000

Independent Group of University Senators’ Whip in Seanad Éireann

4,000

Members of the Oireachtas Commission

9,500

Chairpersons of Committees

9,500

Chairperson of Committee

3,100

Question No. 21 answered with Question No. 18.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (22, 23)

Denis Naughten

Question:

22 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps he is taking to address the summer flooding in the Shannon Callows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32387/12]

View answer

Denis Naughten

Question:

43 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the steps being taken to address flood risks within the Shannon basin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32388/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 43 together.

I am very aware of the serious situation in relation to flooding this summer on the Shannon and in the Shannon Callows in particular, and having visited the area myself last year, I am very conscious of the severe impact on both farming and the environment in the area due to flooding. Flooding in the Callows can occur as a result of large flows from either the River Suck, the Upper Shannon from Lough Ree or a combination of both. The inflow from the River Brosna also contributes to flooding in this area. This has been the wettest June on record at most of the stations in the Shannon catchment, and as a general indication, rainfall in this area has been between 2 and 3 times the long-term average for June. Due to the very heavy rain, the water in the Shannon, and particularly in the Callows area, has risen to high levels for this time of year.

I have been monitoring the situation very closely and, as the Deputy knows, I have organised meetings with local elected representatives and senior representatives of both Waterways Ireland and the ESB to discuss the situation. The control of water flows and levels on the Shannon falls under the operational and statutory remit of both those bodies. The Office of Public Works has no responsibility or direct role in this regard. I am anxious to ensure, however, that the protocol operated by those bodies for controlling water levels on the river is such that, when heavy rain is forecast, appropriate and timely steps are taken by them to help reduce the impact of flooding.

On a wider level, the problem of flooding in the Shannon catchment is being examined under the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study (CFRAMS) for the River Shannon. This involves a comprehensive examination of all the main factors affecting flood risk in the Shannon area and incorporates a full consultation with all of the main stakeholders who have a role in the management of the Shannon, including the ESB, Waterways Ireland and relevant Local Authorities. The summer flooding of the Shannon Callows will be specifically examined in the CFRAM study.

Sale of State Assets

Questions (24)

Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Question:

23 Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the specific regulatory, legislative, corporate governance and financial reforms that must be taken in 2012 to allow for the State asset disposal programme to proceed in 2013. [32383/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The House will be aware that inter-departmental steering groups were established to identify and examine the issues referred to in the Deputy's question in respect of each of the State companies listed in the assets disposal programme that I announced in February. The relevant groups, having identified regulatory, legislative, corporate governance and financial issues arising in respect of each of these assets, have mapped out the course of action to be followed over the remainder of 2012 in order to ensure that necessary reforms are in place to enable the disposal programme to proceed in 2013.

We have agreed to discuss our proposed approach with the EU/ECB/IMF Troika during their current mission, which began yesterday. Clearly, various issues identified have the potential to impact on the achievable investor value of the assets. Any potential release of information about them at this stage could be unhelpful and might have significant repercussions for the ability of the State to secure maximum value for the assets. I do not, therefore, propose to publish more specific details at this point.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (25)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

24 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way the public service pension reduction is treated if a former officeholder or public servant is in receipt of more than one pension payment from the Exchequer. [32368/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR), which was introduced with effect from 1 January 2011, currently applies separately to each individual public service pension which was in payment or awarded up to and including 29 February 2012. The PSPR is a progressive scaled reduction; the pension income bands and rates of reduction are as follows:

First €12,000:0%

Between €12,000 and €24,000:6%

Between €24,000 and €60,000:9%

Between €60,000 and €100,000:12%

Above €100,000:20%

I consider that where a person is in receipt of two or more such public service pensions, whether in the case of former office holders, other former public servants or other recipients of public service pensions, then those pensions should be aggregated for the purposes of applying the PSPR.

Last week at the Dáil Committee Stage debate on the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Bill 2011, I tabled amendments to that Bill which will have the effect of introducing such aggregation of pensions for PSPR purposes. These amendments were accepted on Committee Stage.

If and when that Bill becomes law and aggregation of pensions for PSPR purposes is thereby legislated for, my Department will ensure that an administrative system to facilitate aggregation is put in place. In this connection I envisage that public service pension scheme administrators will be requested to forward relevant details, including Personal Public Service Numbers and correlated pension payment amounts, of all active pension cases up to the end of February 2012.

Public servants who retire on pension after February 2012 are not affected by the PSPR; instead their pension is effectively reduced by reference to the public service pay cut of1 January 2010.

Budget Consultation Process

Questions (26)

Niall Collins

Question:

25 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his recent comments in respect of the forthcoming budget when he indicated that he was not ruling out certain options in respect of welfare and taxation are consistent with the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32474/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Medium-Term Fiscal Statement, published in November last year, set out the Government’s economic and budgetary assessment for the four year period 2012-2015 including the estimated level of fiscal consolidation that is required to bring the General Government deficit below 3% of GDP by 2015, as the Government is committed to doing. The Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014, published in December 2011, set out the Government’s position as to how the aggregate expenditure would be split across individual Departments for each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Officials from all Departments are currently working to identify the appropriate policy measures to give effect to the medium-term budgetary adjustment while minimising the impact on public services. In this regard, I would remind the Deputy that as part of the ‘whole of year' budgetary approach in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014, I wrote to all Oireachtas Select Committees in January of this year inviting them to actively engage with the relevant Departments during this year’s Estimates process. Committees now have an opportunity to engage with the relevant Ministers in relation to the 2013 allocations. I am happy to report that a number of Committees have informally indicated that they intend to do so. I would encourage all Select Committees to give serious consideration to this approach as it will ensure a much wider engagement by all members of the Dáil in the annual Estimates, in advance of the allocations being agreed at Government level, and not afterwards as has traditionally been the case.

As to the wider budgetary process, I will be consulting closely with my colleague the Minister for Finance on arrangements for all budgetary and fiscal announcements for the remainder of the year.

Public Procurement

Questions (27)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

26 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider revising the 2004 national procurement guidelines. [32380/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The development of policy in relation to public procurement has to be seen in the context of a set of rules agreed by European Member States which have the aim of creating a single market of publically procured works, goods and services. The Irish guidance document "Public Procurement Guidelines — Competitive Process" was published in 2004 following the adoption of the current rules that govern public procurement across the European Union. The guidelines were drafted in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee and other participants in the public procurement market.

Public procurement is the acquisition, whether under formal contract or not, of works, supplies and services by public bodies. Public procurement policy is aimed at ensuring that all public sector purchasing is carried out in a manner that is legal, transparent, and secures optimal value for money for the taxpayer. The Guidelines set out the steps to be followed in conducting an appropriate competitive process under EU and national rules.

Further guidance is available in relation to issues including; facilitating SME participation in public procurement; the disclosure of information following a competitive process; environmental considerations in procurement and other aspects of the EU procurement Directives, such as framework contracts and eProcurement.

In relation to current plans to revise the guidelines, I would point out that late last year, the European Commission published proposals to revise the current public procurement rules. These proposals are currently being examined at working group level. After these rules are adopted, which seems likely next year, my Department will revise the public procurement guidelines accordingly. EU Directive 2004/18/EC covers the procurement procedures of public sector bodies. Directive 2004/17/EC covers the procurement procedures of entities operating in the utilities sector.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (28)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

27 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in a tabular form, the public sector posts, including in commercial State companies and Government advisers for whom he has approved a breach of pay cap. [32378/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

Last June, I introduced a general pay cap of €250,000 per annum for Chief Executive Officers of Commercial State Companies. At the time I acknowledged that the CEO of the ESB would be paid a higher amount given the importance of the role and I sanctioned €318,083 per annum for this post. Since then a candidate has been appointed who has accepted a salary of €295,000 per annum. This represents a reduction of 43% in the maximum of the scale that applied to the previous incumbent of the post.

The table sets out the position where advisers are being paid above the Principal Officer scale.

List of Special Advisers — June 2012 — Sanction above PO

Department

Minister/ Minister of State

Name of Adviser

Sanctioned Pay Rate

Relevent Payscale

Agriculture Fisheries and Food

Minister Coveney

Ross MacMathuna

€110,000

Approved Rate

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Minister Rabbitte

Simon Nugent

€97,200

Approved Rate

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Minister Bruton

Ciaran Conlon

€127,000

Approved Rate

Public Expenditure and Reform

Rónán O'Brien

€114,000

Approved Rate

Social Protection

Minister Burton

Ed Brophy

€127,796

Ass Sec

Transport, Tourism and Sport

Minister Varadkar

Brian Murphy

€105,837

PO I

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Programme

Questions (29)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

28 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has prepared an inventory of infrastructure projects and other key strategic capital investment projects which he will prioritise in the event that new dedicated funds are provided through bodies of the European Union arising from commitments made at European level to establishing a dedicated growth and investment facility for member states; if so, if he will provide a detailed breakdown of this inventory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32424/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

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

The Government is now considering carefully what potential further projects could be supported should a source of additional funding become available. It is likely that such investment would be focused on areas that meet the Government's key investment priorities, boost employment and help stimulate economic growth. My Department has established a high level interdepartmental steering committee which is considering potential projects for investment that meet these criteria. Proposals for additional projects are being considered by Government and a pipeline of necessary and worthwhile projects will emerge shortly.

My Department is also working closely with the Department of Finance and the NDFA to ensure that additional funding sources are available in order to deliver any proposed pipeline of projects.

Departmental Properties

Questions (30)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

29 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a full and detailed list itemising all properties which have reverted to State ownership, in the past five full calendar years and to date in 2012, as a result of the owners of such properties being adjudicated as bankrupt; the total value of each such property at the time of assumption of ownership by the State; the total cost to the State, in each case, arising from continued ownership of said properties to date; the total revenue generated to the State by the sale of any such properties in the same time periods; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32389/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Department of Justice and Equality has advised that an adjudication in bankruptcy is a judicial decision of the High Court. Once a person is adjudicated bankrupt, the law provides that their property is vested in a Court appointed assignee; no Minister has a role in this process. Consequently, questions relating to possible collation and publication of statistics on the lines referred to in the Deputy's question are not ones that I can answer.

Croke Park Agreement

Questions (31)

Dara Calleary

Question:

30 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he intends the Croke Park agreement to run its full term; his plans to accelerate its implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32470/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Public Service Agreement between the Government and the Public Service Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and other associations representing public service staff is a four-year agreement covering the period 2010 to 2014.

The sustainable savings and progress being achieved under the framework of the Agreement are assessed annually by the Implementation Body, whose role is to oversee and drive delivery of the Agreement and its sectoral components. The Body published its Second Annual Report last month which found that sustainable pay bill savings in the order of €521m were achieved in the second year of the Agreement. This means that the Agreement has facilitated approximately €810m in sustainable pay savings over its first two years. Furthermore, some €678m in non-pay efficiency savings, have also been reported.

As well as delivering savings, industrial peace and facilitating a sustained reduction in staff numbers, the Body also found key reforms are being implemented across the public service with the co-operation of staff under the framework of the Agreement, for example, in relation to redeployment, revised rostering arrangements and other changes to work practices; the restructuring and reconfiguration of public services; and the introduction of shared services and online services.

The Government has said that it will honour its commitments under the Agreement as long as it continues to deliver substantial savings and meaningful reforms. I think it is clear from the recent Report of the Implementation Body that the Agreement is working and is continuing to deliver on its objectives.

However, the economic environment remains very challenging. The Implementation Body has correctly concluded, in my view, that the sustainability of the Agreement will be measured against its ability to accelerate the pace of change across the public service and its potential for extracting further pay bill savings and non-pay efficiency savings. We will have to look at more radical and innovative ways to deliver further savings, productivity increases and more reform over the remaining lifetime of the Agreement with even greater urgency. It will be essential that the provisions of the Agreement are used to their fullest potential.

Departmental Staff

Questions (32)

Martin Ferris

Question:

31 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the annual salary of a Secretary General; the number of pay points for a Secretary General; the number of years it will take for a Secretary General to reach his or her maximum pay point; the annual salary of a clerical officer; the number of pay points for a clerical officer; and the number of years it will take for a clerical officer to reach his or her maximum pay point. [32372/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

Under my proposals approved by Government in June 2011 for the imposition of an annual salary cap in the public service of €200,000, the existing annual salary rates (PPC) for Secretary General were reduced to €200,000 (Level I and Level II) and €189,474 for Secretary General Level III. These are single pay points for Secretary General and no additional remuneration is payable. All Secretaries General with approved salary levels above the salary cap have voluntarily waived the additional pay.

The annual salary rate for a clerical officer (PPC) standard scale ranges from €23,177 to €37,341 through fourteen points over seventeen years. The current Secretary General Level I rate with the application of the pension related deduction represents a reduction of some 40% compared with the rate applying in December 2009 while the reduction on a similar basis at the maximum of the clerical officer rate is some 11%.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (33)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

32 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the saving to the public sector pay bill if all public service pay was capped at €100,000. [32369/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I refer to my reply to Question No. 23619/12 of 10 May 2012.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (34, 35)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

33 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if any particular Government Departments or bodies-groups or agencies under their control have shown any particular reluctance or inability to meet the criteria required in respect of savings and reform; if he expects to be in a position to address such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32438/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

37 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that he can achieve the necessary savings and reform to meet the criteria laid down in the memorandum of understanding and the implications for all Government Departments; if he is confident that he will meet these requirements without major interference with the standard and quality of services here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32437/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 37 together.

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

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

This Government's approach has been clearly set out in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 published on 5 December last, the Capital Infrastructure Plan published on 10 November 2011 and the Public Service Reform Plan published on 17 November 2011. The Implementation Body’s Public Service Agreement Progress Report published on 13th June this year found that sustainable pay and non-pay savings have been successfully delivered.

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

continuing to reduce Public Service numbers which were around 28,000 lower at end Q1 2012 than they were at end 2008;

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

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

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

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

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

Pension Provisions

Questions (36)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

34 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has completed his examination of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s new pension terms proposals for city and county managers. [32385/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I have completed my review of these proposals and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government submitted draft legislation on the 12th June which is being finalised by my officials in conjunction with their counterparts in the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. It is intended that this statutory instrument will be signed by me and my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government shortly.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (37)

Seán Crowe

Question:

35 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of civil servants in receipt of pensions between €10,000 to €20,000; €20,001 to €30,000; €30,001 to €40,000; €40,001 to €50,000; €50,001 to €60,000; €60,001 to €70,000; to €70,001 to €80,000; €80,001 to €90,000; €90,001 to €100,000; and in excess of €100,000. [32370/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The number of civil service pensioners in the requested pension bands is as follows:

Table Distribution of main scheme civil service pensions

Bands

Total

less than €10,000

5,155

€10,000-€20,000

2,550

€20,001-€30,000

4,017

€30,001-€40,000

1,443

€40,001-€50,000

1,232

€50,001-€60,000

769

€60,001-€70,000

57

€70,001-€80,000

171

€80,001-€90,000

23

Over €90,000

85

Total

15,502

Public Procurement Contracts

Questions (38)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

36 Deputy Jonathan O’Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied that all Government Departments are adhering to the most economically advantageous tender process as required for larger projects of €50,000 and above. [32381/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I would like to state at the outset that there is not a general requirement for projects of a value of €50,000 or above to be procured on the basis of the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT). Contracting Authorities may choose to award a contract either on a MEAT basis to the highest scoring tender measured against MEAT criteria or lowest price only where lowest price is the only criteria. Public works contracts below €500,000 are generally awarded on a lowest price only basis (using the Short Public Works Contract) whilst in most construction-related consultancy contracts the quality of the technical services features highly and therefore the MEAT criteria will normally be used.

Public procurement guidance developed by my Department sets out that all tender processes must be objective, transparent, and based solely on the award criteria stated in the tender documents. It is a matter for each contracting authority when awarding a contract that the criteria used is relevant to the specific contract and appropriate to the nature, type and complexity of the project. Contracting authorities should also follow equitable, fair and transparent procedures when assessing quality and price in a tender.

Question No. 37 answered with Question No. 33.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (39)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

38 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in a tabular form, the number of instances that each Department has submitted to him a request and/or business case for an increased pay level for a public servant, adviser or commercial State company CEO. [32379/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

In the context of the overall pay ceilings introduced by this Government in June 2011, I have approved no pay increases for serving public servants, advisors and CEOs of Commercial State Companies, other than in the publically notified case of the CEO of the ESB, that have breached such limits.

The table sets out the position where advisers are being paid above the Principal Officer scale.

List of Special Advisers — June 2012 — Sanction above PO

Department

Minister/ Minister of State

Name of Adviser

Sanctioned Pay Rate

Relevent Payscale

Agriculture Fisheries and Food

Minister Coveney

Ross MacMathuna

€110,000

Approved Rate

Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

Minister Rabbitte

Simon Nugent

€97,200

Approved Rate

Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Minister Bruton

Ciaran Conlon

€127,000

Approved Rate

Public Expenditure and Reform

Rónán O’Brien

€114,000

Approved Rate

Social Protection

Minister Burton

Ed Brophy

€127,796

Ass Sec

Transport, Tourism and Sport

Minister Varadkar

Brian Murphy

€105,837

PO I

Public Sector Pay

Questions (40)

Seán Crowe

Question:

39 Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide in tabular form, the number of civil servants in receipt of an annual salary between €10,000 to €20,000; €20,001 to €30,000; €30,001 to €40,000; €40,001 to €50,000; €50,001 to €60,000; €60,001 to €70,000; to €70,001 to €80,000; €80,001 to €90,000; €90,001 to €100,000; and in excess of €100,000. [32371/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The following table shows the estimated full time equivalent staffing numbers by salary band in the civil service only.

Salary Range €

Full Time Equivalent

0 – 20,000

1,181

20,001 – 30,000

5,385

30,001 – 40,000

8,481

40,001 – 50,000

6,564

50,001 – 60,000

4,486

60,001 – 70,000

1,170

70,001 – 80,000

1,767

80,001 – 90,000

1,094

90,001 – 100,000

713

100,001+

621

Total*

31,462

*This excludes Industrial Civil Servants and Prison staff.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (41)

Micheál Martin

Question:

40 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is satisfied himself that full transparency is being achieved in respect of appointments to State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32494/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

In response to the Deputy's question I am satisfied that the new arrangements introduced by the Government have significantly improved transparency in the making of appointments to State Boards compared with the making of appointments in previous years.

Public Sector Pensions

Questions (42)

Martin Ferris

Question:

41 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the annual saving to the public sector pension bill if all public sector pension payments were capped at €60,000. [32373/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

It is estimated that the imposition of a cap of €60,000 on pensions in the civil service, based on May 2012 data, would have resulted in an estimated annual saving of €8m. This takes no account of the tax and other statutory deductions foregone. Comparable data are not available for the public service as a whole.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (43)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

42 Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide, in a tabular form, the number of current incumbents in the public service who have approved salary rates in excess of €200,000; the number of current incumbents in the in the commercial State companies that have annual salary rates in excess of €200,000. [32377/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Government adopted my proposal in June 2011 for the introduction of:—

a general pay ceiling of €200,000 for future appointments to higher positions across the public service; and

a general pay ceiling of €250,000 forfuture appointments to CEO posts within Commercial State Companies.

Following the outcome to the referendum on remuneration for the Judiciary the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Amendment) Act, 2011 was enacted. This Act provided for the application of the pay reduction and the pension levy to serving members of the judiciary and provided for reduced remuneration rates for newly appointed members of the judiciary with effect from 1 January 2012. The Act also made provision to bring certain Office holders (Comptroller and Auditor General and Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála) within the public service pay ceiling and for the reduction of remuneration for future appointees as President and the Office of Ombudsman. This legislation also formally provided for the reduction in the salary rates for members of the Government. Ongoing arrangements are being made on an administrative basis to implement the pay ceiling for future appointments where that is appropriate, for example within the Civil Service and the Heads of four Universities.

Based on the information available within my Department, there are 21 post holders in the public service and 93 Academic Consultants on approved salary levels in excess of €200,000. There are also 10 Chief Executive Officers in the commercial state sector (my responsibility under legislation extends only to the remuneration of the CEOs of Commercial State Companies). Details of those on approved salaries in excess of €200,000 p.a. are set out in the following tables.

Post Holders with a salary above €200,000 ceiling for Public Service

Sector

Organisation/Function

Numbers

Oireachtas

President

1

Judiciary

Chief Justice

2

Health Services Executive

Chief Executive Officer

1

Civil Service

Secretary General Level II

6

Statutory Office Holders

Ombudsman

1

Non Commercial State Sponsored Agencies

Chief Executive Officer — National Roads Authority

1

Education

University Heads

4

*University Framework Positions

5

Academic Medical Consultants

93

*The remuneration of appointments made under Section 25(5) of the Universities Act 1997 are not subject to Ministerial sanction.

CEO's of Commercial State Companies with salary above €200,000

Name of Organisation

An Post

ESB

Coillte Teoranta

Bord Gais Éireann

Iarnrod Éireann

Irish Aviation Authority

RTÉ

Bord na Mona

Eirgrid

VHI

Dublin Airport Authority CEO post is vacant at present.

These figures are not reflective of any voluntary arrangement that the individuals concerned may have entered into, following the Government decision in June 2011 to seek voluntary waivers of salary of 15%, or by a lesser amount if the application of the full 15% reduction would bring the salary levels of such individuals to below the pay ceiling of €200,000 p.a. across the public service and of €250,000 within Commercial State Companies. For example all Secretaries General with approved salary levels above the ceiling have voluntarily waived the additional pay.

The Minister for Health is addressing the issue of the pay cap for newly appointed academic consultants in the context of his discussions with the representative associations for consultants on matters related to the consultant contract.

The Government did not decide to apply the pay ceilings to the Central Bank or to the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). However, following correspondence from me concerning the pay arrangements in those bodies my colleague, the Minister for Finance, who has responsibility for public service financial bodies has been informed that all fifteen NTMA employees whose salaries exceed €200,000 have agreed to a request that they waive 15% of salary or such amount of salary as exceeds €200,000 if application of the full 15% reduction would bring their salary to below €200,000.

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 22.

Family Planning Summit

Questions (44)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

44 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if Ireland has been invited to the family planning summit due to be held next month in London, hosted by the British Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with the support of UNFPA and other partners; if Ireland has not been invited, if he will confirm if he or his officials have sought an invitation; if Ireland has not been invited and has not sought an invitation the reason he does not want Ireland to take part in the summit; and his views on whether it is incumbent upon him, as a signatory to the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action and future board member of the UNFPA, to actively seek an invite to, and participate in the London Family Planning Summit. [32666/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The British Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have invited representatives of a number of Governments, international organisations, civil society and the private sector to a conference on family planning in London on 11 July. They have stated that they hope to launch an initiative to make affordable contraceptives, information, services and supplies available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world's poorest countries by 2020. It is expected that participants will pledge significant resources in support of family planning initiatives. While Ireland has not been invited to participate in this pledging conference, we will continue our strong support, through the Government's aid programme, for family planning activities in developing countries and especially MDG 5 which aims to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health, including ante-natal care and family planning services. Ireland has a strong track record of support for family planning services, including support for global initiatives and at national level through Government health sectors. We also support the work of NGOs, which is complementary to this Government-level work, in order to increase access to family planning services.

Since 2006, Ireland has provided almost €30 million in support of the reproductive, maternal and family planning programmes of the UNFPA. Through a range of channels we have assisted access to family planning services in a number of countries where such services are considered inadequate, including in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe and Somalia. Ireland will continue to prioritise this work, and to work closely with the UNFPA and our partners in the developed and the developing world in order to ensure improved access to family planning services for women and girls in some of the world's poorest countries.

State Agencies

Questions (45)

Simon Harris

Question:

45 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32561/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

There are no State agencies, offices or bodies under the aegis of my Department.

Prompt Payments

Questions (46)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

46 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32601/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

Every effort, consistent with proper financial procedures, is made to ensure that all suppliers are paid within the 15 day non-statutory limit prescribed by the Government in 2009. In line with established Government policy, my Department publishes details of its compliance with prompt payment requirements on the Department's websites on a quarterly basis. The following are the prompt payment figures for my Department for the period January-March 2012. The Deputy will note that 91.5% of invoices for the combined total were paid within 15 days.

There are no agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Department of Foreign Affairs and TradePayments made in Quarter 1, 2012.

Details

Number

Percentage (%) of total payments made

Value (€)

Number of payments made within 15 days

1,496

91.50%

4,503,983

Number of payments made within 16 days to 30 days

125

7.65%

516,179

Number of payments made in excess of 30 days

14

0.86%

37,414

Total payments made in Quarter

1,635

100.00%

5,057,577

Disputed Invoices

(-6)

(-22,463)

Departmental Staff

Questions (47)

Sean Fleming

Question:

47 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000 between €40,001-€50,000; between €50,001-€60,000; between €60,001-€70,000; between €70,001 to €80,000; between €80,001 to €90,000; between €90,001 to €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32793/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

Details of the estimated cost of increments in 2012 for HQ-based staff in each salary-band are included in the table below. It takes account of increments already granted and assumes that all increments due for later in the year are granted. The overall allocation for pay in respect of the staff in question in 2012 is just over €55m and the cost of increments represents 0.31% of that amount.

Category (€)

Total Numberof Employees

Increments

0 — 40,000

693

52,607.76

40,001 — 50,000

156

17,929.11

50,001 — 60,000

134

20,859.61

60,001 — 70,000

38

5,611.27

70,001 — 80,000

165

32,151.99

80,001 — 90,000

55

16,663.75

90,001 — 100,000

64

15,308.28

100,001+

61

10,684.75

Total

1366

171,816.54

Public Sector Pay

Questions (48)

Tom Fleming

Question:

48 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions that have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33080/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

One official who retired from my Department on 29 February 2012 has been temporarily re-engaged in order to assist with the Department's activities in the lead-up to and during Ireland's Presidency of the EU from January to June 2013. The contract of employment in this case provides for attendance on a part-time basis from 1 May until 31 July 2012 and on a fulltime basis from 1 September 2012 until 30 June 2013 when it will be terminated. This officer was re-engaged on a pension abatement basis which means in effect that he continues to receive his pension and is paid a correspondingly reduced salary by the Department. The policy of my Department regarding the re-hiring of retired officials is to do so to the minimum extent possible. However, for certain once-off or short-duration projects it is more productive and cost-effective to re-hire retired staff who already have the relevant expertise and experience than to go through a time-consuming and relatively expensive recruitment, induction and training process. This temporary recruitment arrangement is in line with a Government Decision of 16 December 2011 relating to Presidency matters, including staffing arrangements.

National Pensions Reserve Fund

Questions (49)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

49 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the remaining amount of discretionary funding in the National Pensions Reserve Fund. [32550/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I am informed by the National Treasury Management Agency, as Manager of the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF), that the total value of the Fund at 31 March 2012 was €15.1 billion and that the value of the Discretionary Portfolio was €5.8 billion.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (50)

Simon Harris

Question:

50 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Finance the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32560/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

REVENUE COMMISSIONERS

Sick Leave is managed in the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in accordance with the provisions of Department of Finance Circular 09/2010. Details are as follows:

2011

In respect of 6,488 serving staff (Head Count), a total of 68,975 sick days were taken. All sick days taken are included and counted in line with the Department of Finance Circular.

The cost of this was €10.3m. This cost does not take into account Illness Benefit reimbursed to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in respect of staff paying Class A PRSI.

91% of all sick leave taken was medically certified.

2012

The latest date for which data is available is 31 March 2012.

In respect of 6,159 serving staff (Head Count), a total of 16,419 sick days were taken. All sick days taken were included and counted in line with the Department of Finance Circular.

The cost was €2.7m. This does not take into account Illness Benefit reimbursed to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners in respect of staff paying Class A PRSI.

91% of all sick leave taken was medically certified.

Calculation of total number of sick days and cost, is in accordance with the "Standard Framework for Reporting on Sickness Absence" provided for by Department of Finance Circular 09/2010.

Data in respect of 2011 sick leave was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

NTMA

Total sick days taken by NTMA staff across all its business areas including NAMA were 790 in 2011 and 290 during the first quarter of 2012. This is equivalent to salary costs of €260,000 in 2011 and €95,000 for the first quarter of 2012 (based on total number of working days in the year/quarter and not adjusting for salary costs reclaimed through the PRSI system).

DISABLED DRIVERS MEDICAL BOARD OF APPEAL

There is an active sick leave policy in place for staff in the National Rehabilitation Hospital with Occupational Health support. These procedures are in line with other Public Sector bodies. Our sick leave policy and procedures assist the NRH to keep the level and frequency of absences to a minimum by adopting good management practices. The hospital also promotes the use of other staff support mechanisms through our Employee Assistance Programme. The Hospital requires staff, who are on sick leave, to report into the designated Line Management and HR Department in order to facilitate the monitoring and management of sick leave absence. Access to the Hospital Sick Pay scheme, which is at the discretion of the Hospital, is conditional on staff complying with the provisions of the sick leave policy and co-operating with any reasonable measures to facilitate their return to work.

There are two Whole Time Equivalent Staff assigned to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal. The combined number of sick leave days for this Department for 2011 and for 2012 to date totals 38.90 hours. The combined costing associated with the sick leave totals €1,448.00.

IRISH FISCAL ADVISORY COUNCIL

The staff of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council are all seconded from other organisations because it is operating on a non-statutory basis and cannot be an employer in its own right yet. Accordingly, applicable sick leave procedures are those in place in their employers. Once the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is established on a statutory basis, it will have direct procedures in place to manage sick leave, in line with public sector circulars. The combined number of sick days taken by staff in 2011 and to date in 2012 is 0.5 days. The financial cost of this is €111.

National Asset Management Agency

Questions (51)

Micheál Martin

Question:

51 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he or his officials have met the National Asset Management Agency recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26510/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

As the deputy may be aware, there is regular contact between officials in my department and NAMA. This contact occurs on a daily basis to ensure the fulfilment of Ministerial responsibilities under the NAMA legislation.

I have had several meetings with the Chairman of NAMA, Frank Daly this year and these meetings have taken place at monthly intervals.

European Stability Bonds

Questions (52, 53, 54)

Micheál Martin

Question:

52 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he or his officials discussed President Hollande’s proposal of jointly guaranteed Eurobonds with French officials; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26440/12]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

56 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he discussed Eurobond projects with Chancellor Merkel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28965/12]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

78 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance his position on Eurobonds as outlined at the recent informal summit of EU leaders in Brussels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26282/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 56 and 78 together.

The European Commission published a discussion document in November 2011 on options for Eurobonds (which it called Stability Bonds). It put forward three options:

(i) the full substitution of Stability Bond issuance for national issuance, with joint and several guarantees;

(ii) the partial substitution of Stability Bond issuance for national issuance, with joint and several guarantees, and

(iii) the partial substitution of Stability Bond issuance for national issuance, with several but not joint guarantees.

Eurobonds are one of a number of funding possibilities that have been suggested in the light of the need to help revitalize European economies, at all levels from the funding of Member States to easing access to credit for SMEs. However, it should be noted that there is no formal proposal on Eurobonds under discussion at EU level.

It should also be noted that the introduction of Eurobonds, in whatever form, would not reduce the need to get the Government finances under control and to reduce the debt to a manageable level and, in fact, the introduction of any form of pooled debt issuance by Member States is likely to be conditional on an enhanced level of fiscal and economic integration in order to protect the interests of Member States generally.

Project Bonds Initiative

Questions (55)

Micheál Martin

Question:

53 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he or his officials were involved in discussions at EU level regarding the pilot scheme on project bonds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26439/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The Europe 2020 Project Bonds Initiative has been proposed by the EU Commission to help promoters of infrastructure projects attract additional private sources of finance from institutional investors. Under the initiative, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide credit enhancement to project companies issuing bonds to finance infrastructure projects. This will improve the rating of the senior debt of the project companies and allow them to raise funds more easily. The intention is to increase the availability of debt financing for large-scale infrastructure projects in the areas of transport, energy and broadband.

I understand that it is intended to launch a pilot phase for the Europe 2020 Project Bond Initiative once the European Parliament and the Council have approved the legislative proposal amending the Trans-European Networks (TEN) Regulation and the Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) Decision and redeployed existing budget allocations of these programmes and subject to the agreement of the EIB's governing bodies.

Eurozone Meetings

Questions (56, 57)

Micheál Martin

Question:

54 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if his attention or that of his officials was drawn to a conference call between Eurozone finance ministry officials during which each was asked to detail contingency plans in the event of a Greek exit from the Eurozone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27693/12]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

61 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if there have been discussions in the event that Greece leaves the euro; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30398/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 61 together.

The Eurogroup Working Group (EWG) on Monday 21 May considered in a conference call the state of play in financial markets and in Greece, as it usually does. The teleconference was organized following the G8 Summit where the situation in Greece was discussed. There was also the fact that Greece would be going to the polls for the second time on Sunday 17 June. The French and German leaders said at G8 that Greece should remain in the eurozone, but would need to be helped by the EU to return to growth.

Following this conference call, and due to rumours circulating about the purpose of the call, the EWG clarified that there had been no agreement to develop national contingency plans nor any discussion of an exit of Greece from the euro area. The June 17th elections in Greece were positive from a European perspective, with parties broadly committed to implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) forming a government.

I am also heartened by the statement following the Heads of State and Government meeting last week which announced a significant decision about the possibility of the ESM being used to recapitalize banks directly and that the Eurogroup would examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to improving the sustainability of our adjustment programme. The response of the financial markets to this development has been extremely positive with the cost of borrowing for the Irish sovereign falling significantly in the secondary market.

European Central Bank

Questions (58, 59)

Micheál Martin

Question:

55 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his plans to meet Mr Mario Draghi; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27700/12]

View answer

Gerry Adams

Question:

77 Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Finance the recent contacts he has had with ECB Chief Mario Draghi. [28970/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55 and 77 together.

Following his appointment as President of the European Central Bank Executive Board on 1st November, 2011, I arranged to meet Mr. Draghi in Frankfurt on 24 January last. This was an initial meeting to congratulate him on his recent appointment and also to brief him on Irish economic, fiscal and banking developments.

Since then I have attended the monthly meetings of the Eurogroup and also the ECOFIN Council, which are also attended by the President of the ECB. I regularly use these opportunities to engage in bilateral discussions with Mr. Draghi on Ireland's sovereign debt issues and to brief him on Ireland, including the situation in our banks. I also use such opportunities to press the case for the ECB to take a long-term view of the impact of the sovereign debt burden on the Irish economy. Mr. Draghi has always been accommodating in facilitating such bilateral meetings and I expect to continue to arrange regular one-on-one meetings with him around the monthly Eurogroup and ECOFIN Council meetings.

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 52.

European Stability Programmes

Questions (60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65)

Micheál Martin

Question:

57 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether Europe needs to move urgently to put in place a Eurozone wide bank resolution mechanism that does not require all residual costs to be borne by national governments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29364/12]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

58 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether there needs to be a common deposit insurance scheme, common supervisory authority and bail in of senior bondholders across the eurozone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29365/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 57 and 58 together.

The European Union, through various Directives and Regulations, currently provides for common rules to be applied by national supervisors. There is no single European supervisor although supervision is co-ordinated at a European level by the European Banking Authority. Supervision, deposit insurance and resolution are all national competencies.

The proposal for a banking union was first mooted by Commission President Barroso on 23 May. It has developed over the last number of weeks culminating in the paper on Economic and Monetary Union that was discussed at last week's European Council meeting.

One of the main proposals in the paper on Economic and Monetary Union relates to an integrated financial framework. It proposes that, building on the single rulebook, an integrated financial framework should have two central elements: [a] single European banking supervision and [b] a common deposit insurance and resolution framework.

The European Commission will present proposals for a single supervisory mechanism shortly and these will be examined fully. A European deposit insurance scheme could introduce a European dimension to national deposit guarantee schemes for banks overseen by the European supervision. This would strengthen the credibility of the existing arrangements and serve as an important assurance that eligible deposits of all credit institutions are sufficiently insured. A European resolution scheme — with appropriate resolution tools, could provide assistance in the application of resolution measures to banks overseen by the European supervision with the aim of orderly winding-down non-viable institutions and thereby protect tax payer funds.

Of importance to Ireland is that these proposals are coherent and make a substantive contribution to strengthening the Eurozone's financial system. Ireland could support progress towards these objectives if the impacts were to ease the burden of support the sovereign has provided to the banking sector and shared responsibility for banking risks. It is also important that any proposal be applied retrospectively to the Irish bank recapitalisations. In this context I welcome the Euro area Summit Statement of 29 June which affirms the importance to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns and commits to further examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to improving sustainability.

Micheál Martin

Question:

59 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he has discussed the possibility of severing the link between sovereign debt and banking systems with Chancellor Merkel and any other EU leader; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28966/12]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

63 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance the contact he has had with Chancellor Merkel regarding her response to requests for a banking union in Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30395/12]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

64 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views regarding Chancellor Merkel’s position that there cannot be banking union unless there is political union across the EU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30396/12]

View answer

I propose to take Questions Nos. 59, 63 and 64 together.

I am in continuous contact with other European finance ministers and will attend Eurogroup and ECOFIN on the 9th and 10th of July to debate the proposals on Economic and Monetary Union agreed at last week's Council meeting. Officials in my Department have been in regular contact with their counterparts across the European Union for some time in the build up to last week's European Council and in the days since.

While I myself have not had discussions directly with Chancellor Merkel specific to the banking union proposals, I have had regular bilateral discussions on these and other related issues with my German counterpart at Eurogroup and ECOFIN, in addition to my visit to Berlin earlier this year. This matter would have also have been raised by the Taoiseach in his bilateral discussions with all European leaders around that important Council meeting.

The proposal for a banking union was first mooted by Commission President Barroso on 23 May. It has developed over the last number of weeks culminating in the paper on Economic and Monetary Union that was discussed at last week's European Council meeting.

One of the main proposals in the paper on Economic and Monetary Union relates to an integrated financial framework. It proposes that, building on the single rulebook, an integrated financial framework should have two central elements: [a] single European banking supervision and [b] a common deposit insurance and resolution framework.

The European Commission will present proposals for a single supervisory mechanism shortly and these will be examined fully. A European deposit insurance scheme would introduce a European dimension to national deposit guarantee schemes for banks overseen by the European supervision. This could strengthen the credibility of the existing arrangements and serve as an important assurance that eligible deposits of all credit institutions are sufficiently insured. A European resolution scheme — with appropriate resolution tools, could provide assistance in the application of resolution measures to banks overseen by the European supervision with the aim of orderly winding-down non-viable institutions and thereby protect tax payer funds. However much depends on the actual detail of the proposals. Once proposals are brought forward they will be examined carefully and we will engage constructively in their consideration at European Council.

I welcome the Euro area Summit Statement of 29 June which affirms the importance to break the vicious circle between banks and sovereigns and commits to further examine the situation of the Irish financial sector with a view to improving sustainability. This represents a significant shift in European policy and one which will be further developed following the examination by the Eurogroup to further improve the sustainability of our adjustment programme.

Micheál Martin

Question:

60 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether there is a belief amongst EU leaders that Spain may need an equity injection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30399/12]

View answer

As the Deputy will be aware, agreement has been reached to provide loans of up to €100 billion for the recapitalisation of Spanish banks. Loans have not been requested to finance the Spanish sovereign. The financial assistance is to be provided by the EFSF until the ESM becomes available, at which stage it will be transferred to the ESM.

The Deputy will also be aware that Heads of State or Government of the euro area have decided that once an effective supervisory mechanism is established, the ESM could have the possibility to recapitalise euro area banks directly. This is a very positive development from an Irish perspective.

A ‘top-down' exercise by external evaluators has estimated the capital needs for the Spanish banking sector as a whole to be in the region €51-62 billion. However, the exact amount will be determined based on a thorough bottom-up assessment of individual financial institutions which has already been launched. More detailed work between the Spanish authorities and the Troika is continuing and it is anticipated that further progress will be made during this month.

Question No. 61 answered with Question No. 54.

Tax Code

Questions (66)

Micheál Martin

Question:

62 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he expects any requests to change Ireland’s rate of corporation tax in the context of discussions on a fiscal union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30550/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The Government's position on Ireland's corporation tax rate is very clear and well known to our EU colleagues.

In the context of the discussions on fiscal union, I would like to inform the Deputy that the current proposals on tax simply reflect existing arrangements and do not bring anything new, including corporation tax, to the table.

Questions Nos. 63 and 64 answered with Question No. 59.

European Fiscal Union

Questions (67)

Micheál Martin

Question:

65 Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance his views whether the proposals of a fiscal union is practical; if he will be supporting same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30536/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

On June 25th, and in advance of the European Council on 28th/29th June, the President of the European Council published a report entitled Towards a Genuine Economic and Monetary Union. The report sets out a vision for the future of EMU and proposes to move, over the next decade, towards a stronger EMU architecture based on integrated frameworks for the financial sector, for budgetary matters and for economic policy.

In relation to budgetary matters, the report suggests that a qualitative move towards a fiscal union is needed to ensure the smooth functioning of the monetary union.

I have said on a number of occasions that improvements to the architecture of the euro area are needed to promote the smooth functioning of EMU.

That said, we must await the details of any specific proposals in order to formulate a definitive view. In this context, President Van Rompuy and his colleagues will present a more specific and time-bound map for the achievement of a genuine monetary union to the European Council in December, with an interim report being presented in October. In the interim I and my officials will engage in this process as appropriate.

Tax Code

Questions (68)

Alex White

Question:

66 Deputy Alex White asked the Minister for Finance in view of the recent controversy regarding tax compliance by persons in receipt of two pensions, if he will consider reviewing section 17(4)(b) of the Finance Act 2003 with a view to enabling Revenue to extend the period of review from its current four years to a longer period, allowing greater reconciliation of liabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32576/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

Section 17 Finance Act 2003 inserted a new Section 865 into the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 and subsection (4)(b) of that Section introduced a 4 year time limit as regards claims for repayment of tax made on or after 1 January 2005. At the same time that the 4 year time limit for claiming repayment of tax was introduced, the right of the Revenue Commissioners to raise assessments was also reduced to a four-year period except in the case of fraud or negligence.

This scheme of 4 year time limits was designed to achieve the necessary balance between establishing a fair and uniform system for taxpayers, including parity of treatment between PAYE and self-employed taxpayers, while, at the same time, providing the necessary protection for the Exchequer from exposure to claimsgoing back many years. I do not have any plans to alter either such 4 year time limit.

Where a person has difficulties in paying his or her tax liabilities, including tax liabilities arising from the assessing of previously unreported income, depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, it may be possible for that person to pay outstanding tax liabilities over an agreed period of time.

Cycle to Work Scheme

Questions (69)

Michael McNamara

Question:

67 Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Finance if he received reports of abuse to the cycle to work scheme; with the alleged abuse relates to people purchasing items, other than bicycles, from bicycle shops and recording these items as bicycles in their application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32588/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I am aware of recent reports of possible abuse of the cycle to work scheme. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the process of administration of tax reliefs and schemes, which is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners.

I am however, advised by the Revenue Commissioners that from time to time random checking is carried out on particular reliefs and schemes to ensure compliance with the conditions of the scheme or relief. Audits take place in cases where Revenue's risk profiling indicates a need for a specific intervention. Revenue's main focus is to select cases for intervention based on various risk indicators and other information available and these can include intelligence from a range of sources and from third party information.

The types of offences that are most likely to be prosecuted include use of forged or falsified documents and facilitating fraudulent evasion of tax. Investigations with a view to prosecution may be undertaken where a supplier knowingly or wilfully issues or produces any incorrect invoice, receipt, instrument or other document in connection with any tax. Where any employee knowingly or wilfully furnishes any incorrect information in connection with any tax they will be investigated with a view to prosecution.

Participating employers do not have to notify the Revenue Commissioners of their involvement in this scheme — but must have a signed salary sacrifice agreement from employees, stating that the bicycle is for their own use and will be used for travelling to and from work. The onus is on employers to maintain appropriate records (delivery dockets, invoices, payments details, etc.).

Prompt Payments

Questions (70)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

68 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32600/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

In response to the Deputy's question the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in my Department is 10.48 days. This information is taken from data compiled for Prompt Payments Returns to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, dealing with payments that issue to the private sector, as opposed to transfers to other parts of the civil/public service.

In relation to bodies under the aegis of my Department I have been provided with the following details in relation to the time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment to suppliers.

Revenue Commissioners

The Office of the Revenue Commissioners has advised me that the average time lapse between receipt of invoices, in Revenue, for goods and services and issue of payment is 6 calendar days based on the first 6 months of 2012.

Fiscal Advisory Council

The Fiscal Advisory Council has advised me that all practices in place in their body are in line with the Prompt Payment of Accounts Act and that the average time between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in not more than 10 days.

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and related agencies

The NTMA and related agencies endeavour to process all supplier payments in a timely manner. Where payments to a supplier exceed €10,000 in any 12-month period, in accordance with Revenue Circular 43/2006, the NTMA will seek a valid Tax Clearance Certificate from the supplier. Payment will be withheld until a valid Tax Clearance Certificate is available.

Based on an assessment of information over the first six months of 2012, the average period from receipt of invoice to payment is 25 days for the NTMA and related agencies. Delays in payment while awaiting a valid Tax Clearance Certificate or due to any other query are reflected in this timescale.

Tax Code

Questions (71, 72, 73, 74)

Joe Higgins

Question:

69 Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the number of financial vehicle corporations domiciled in Ireland; the number that are Irish owned; the number of persons employed by these companies; and the amount of revenue they provide through corporation tax. [32615/12]

View answer

Joe Higgins

Question:

70 Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the number of credit institutions domiciled here; the number that are Irish owned; the number of persons employed by these companies; and the amount of revenue they provide through corporation tax. [32616/12]

View answer

Joe Higgins

Question:

71 Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the number of money market funds domiciled here; the number of them that are Irish owned; the number of persons employed by these companies; and the amount of revenue they provide through corporation tax. [32617/12]

View answer

Joe Higgins

Question:

72 Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Finance the number of investment funds domiciled here; the number that are Irish owned; the number of persons employed by these companies; the amount of revenue they provide through corporation tax. [32618/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 to 72, inclusive, together.

I am informed by the Central Bank that there are 5,199 Investment Funds domiciled in Ireland; 6% of their equity holdings are held by Irish investors. Of the total number of investment funds 86 are Money Market Funds; 9% of their equity holdings are domestically held.

I understand that some 12,500 jobs are directly sustained by the funds industry in Ireland. However, I do not have specific information as to the proportion of those jobs which are sustained by Money Market Funds.

I am also informed by the Central Bank that there are 40 credit institutions licensed by it to carry out banking business in the state. However, detailed information concerning the nationalities of the share-holders of these institutions and employee numbers is not held by the Central Bank.

Finally, the Central Bank informs me that there are 687 Financial Vehicle Corporations domiciled in Ireland. 25 of these vehicles are linked to domestic Irish banks. These vehicles don't have any direct employees in Ireland. The IFSC employs 33,000 people throughout Ireland and contributes over €1 billion to the Exchequerin corporation and payroll taxes.

In relation to the amount of corporation tax provided by each of the sectors, I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the sector identifier used on the tax records is based on the 4 digit "NACE code" which is an internationally recognised economic activity code system. As the economic activities referred to by the deputy are not clearly identifiable within the NACE code system the tax-based information requested by the Deputy either could not be identified or could not be identified without conducting an extensive investigation of the Revenue Commissioners' records.

National Aquatic Centre

Questions (75)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

73 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Finance the actions he or his Department officials have taken in response to recommendations 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 of the report on VAT Costs on the National Aquatic Centre by the Committee of Public Accounts published in May 2012. [32659/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The process for reporting back to the Public Accounts Committee is the established accounting process of a Minute of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. This process is in train in relation to the PAC Report on VAT Costs on the National Aquatic Centre, but has not been finalised. The Minute will provide a full response to the PAC report, including details of implementation of recommendations to the Department of Finance and the Revenue Commissioners.

Tax Yield

Questions (76, 77)

Billy Timmins

Question:

74 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the estimated increase in tax revenue if the higher rate of tax was increased by 1%. [32763/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2012 incomes, of increasing the higher rate of income tax by 1 percentage point would be approximately €205 million. This figure is estimated from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2009 adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. It is, therefore, provisional and likely to be revised.

Billy Timmins

Question:

75 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Finance the estimated increase in tax revenue if earnings of €100,000 or greater were taxed at a rate of 50% on the portion of their income over €100,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32764/12]

View answer

It is assumed that the threshold for the proposed new tax rate mentioned by the Deputy would not alter the existing standard rate band structure applying to single and widowed persons, to lone parents and married couples. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated full year yield to the Exchequer, estimated by reference to 2012 incomes, of the introduction of a new 50% rate would be of the order of €490 million.

However, given the current band structures, major issues would need to be resolved as to how in practice such a new rate could be integrated into the current system and how this would affect the relative position of different types of income earners.

This figure is an estimate from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using latest actual data for the year 2009, adjusted as necessary for income and employment trends in the interim. It is, therefore, provisional and subject to revision.

Departmental Staff

Questions (78)

Sean Fleming

Question:

76 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Finance in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001-€50,000; between €50,001-€60,000; between €60,001-€70,000; between €70,001-€80,000; between €80,001-€90,000; between €90,001-€100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32792/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The awarding of an increment in my Department is subject to staff being assessed, on a number of grounds set out in both Department of Finance Circular 09/1987, Increments and in Civil Service Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme, General Council Report 1452, Integration of PMDS with HR Policies and Processes. Subject to all of these conditions being achieved satisfactorily an increment may be awarded. If all of the staff of my Department conformed with all the criteria for the awarding of an increment, then the following is an estimate, compiled in grading groups, of the likely costs of increments to my Department in 2012. Services Officers, Clerical Officers and Staff Officers €66,795; Executive Officers, Higher Executive Officers and Administrative Officers €63,975; Assistant Principals, Principals and Assistant Secretaries €67,779.

Question No. 77 answered with Question No. 55.
Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 52.

Compact for Growth and Jobs

Questions (79)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

79 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Finance if he will provide an update on efforts to deliver an EU stimulus package; his current estimates on the size and sources of the funding for the package; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28145/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

As I have said before, my view is that measures to boost economic growth can play an important role in addressing the current crisis in the EU. In this context, Heads of State or Government in the EU decided on a compact for growth and jobs at the European Council on 28th June. This involves action by Member States and at EU level in order to boost growth, investment and employment.

Measures to be implemented at national level include the full implementation of the country-specific recommendations from the European Semester as well as pursuing differentiated growth-friendly fiscal consolidation.

A number of measures are to be implemented at EU level in order to boost growth. These include a deepening of the Single Market and reducing the regulatory burden. In addition €120 billion — about 1 per cent of EU gross national income — is being mobilised to boost European growth. For instance, the paid-in capital of the European Investment Bank is to be increased in order to increase its lending capacity. In addition, it is recognised that structural funds can be reallocated towards more employment-intensive activity within national envelopes in co-operation with the Commission.

So a lot is clearly being done and I believe these measures can have a positive impact in supporting economic activity at this difficult juncture.

Sale of State Assets

Questions (80)

Mick Wallace

Question:

80 Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Finance if he has examined other potential means of funding a stimulus plan aside from through the sale of State assets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26534/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

The Government has now agreed the shape and scale of the asset disposal programme to be pursued as a commitment under the EU/IMF Programme, and as provided for in the Programme for Government. The Government has agreed with the Troika sale of state assets up to a value of €3 billion based on the guiding principles that there will be no fire sales, integral transmission and distribution systems will be retained in State ownership and full value will be derived for the State. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform recently announced that he had reached agreement with Troika representatives that all of the proceeds of the asset disposal programme will be available, in one shape or another, to support job-creating initiatives in the economy. Half of the proceeds will be available to fund employment-enhancing projects of a commercial nature. The other half, while destined eventually to pay down debt, will, in the first instance, be constituted as a fund to guarantee additional lending into Ireland, for example by the EIB, in support of further investment in job-creating initiatives.

The Government has in addition taken a number of initiatives in order to boost capital spending and investment outside the confines of the Exchequer, with a view to maximising additional sources of funding for investment spending so as to help restore the economy to a sustainable growth path and enhance employment.

In announcing the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) initiative in September 2011, the Government indicated a refocusing of the investments of the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) from global towards Ireland. The purpose of the SIF is to channel commercial investment from the NPRF and the private sector towards productive investment in target investment in areas of strategic significance to the future of the Irish economy.

A key principle of the Strategic Investment Fund is that the NPRF investment, which is to be solely on a commercial basis, will seek matching investment from third-party investors. In this way the Fund's assets can be used as a catalyst to attract additional capital for investment in the Irish economy. In addition, the Fund has been working closely with NewERA in respect of investment opportunities relating to the commercial semi-state sector.

Involvement of the NPRF in the SIF is expected to require the amendment of the investment policy of the NPRF, which is set out in the National Pensions Reserve Fund Act 2000. Officials of my Department are liaising with the National Treasury Management Agency, which is the Manager of the NPRF, in identifying and drafting the necessary amendments to the legislation and I expect to bring forward proposals for amending legislation as soon as possible once that work is completed.

The NPRF announced in November 2011 a commitment of €250 million to a new Irish infrastructure investment fund which is seeking up to €1 billion from institutional investors in Ireland and overseas and which will invest in infrastructure assets in Ireland, including assets designated for disposal by the Government and commercial State enterprises and also new infrastructure projects.

The NPRF has also committed, subject to certain pre-conditions, €450 million to finance the national roll-out of domestic water meters.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and I will be meeting Dr Werner Hoyer, the President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), next Friday to discuss access to EIB funding, with a view to optimising access to funding for Irish projects.

Public Sector Staff

Questions (81)

Tom Fleming

Question:

81 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Finance the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33079/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Finance)

In my Department, no staff member who retired in the last six months has been rehired.

Bullying in Schools

Questions (82)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

82 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to implement an all-Ireland anti-bullying strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32675/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

As the Deputy is aware, the Anti-Bullying Forum, which was held on Thursday 17th May, brought together a range of experts, support groups and representatives of the schools sector including parents and students.

I was very pleased to open this important Forum and to provide an opportunity to explore with all the relevant stakeholders how best to tackle bullying in schools and to consider what changes or updating of existing practices and procedures are required to achieve this having regard to what is feasible to implement in the current financial climate.

The range of speakers on the day of the Forum included contributions from my Department, Professor Mona O'Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College, representatives of the National Anti-Bullying Coalition (NABC), and contributors from the school sector from the various perspectives of school principal, parent and pupil. The Forum also gave other stakeholders an opportunity to give their views.

The proceedings of the Forum were broadcast live over the internet and recordings of the day's events can be now viewed by accessing the Anti-Bullying Forum webpage of my Department's website www.education.ie. The presentations of the various speakers can also be viewed and downloaded from this page.

As a follow on to holding the Forum itself, I invited the stakeholders and any other interested parties, including those unable to attend the event on the day, to submit their views on this important topic to my Department by 29th June 2012.

I have also established a working group on tackling bullying in schools, including homophobic bullying, cyber bullying and racist bullying. The outcomes from the Forum together with the submissions from the stakeholders and other interested parties will assist the working group in its deliberations. This working group includes representatives of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and will draw upon the expertise of a range of organisations throughout their work.

Higher Education Grants

Questions (83)

Tom Fleming

Question:

83 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a student grant application will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32523/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter for the relevant grant awarding authority.

The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application form and supporting documentation, it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student should qualify for a maintenance grant.

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that an application was received from this student on 21 June 2012 and it is awaiting assessment. The student will be notified directly of the outcome when the assessment is complete.

Summer Works Scheme

Questions (84)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

84 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amounts allocated to the summer works programme in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011; the way the decision was made to switch scarce resources away from the programme in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32538/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The amount allocated to the Summer Works Scheme for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 is as follows:

Year

Amount

2008

€17,671,776

2009

€103,442,641

2010

€131,599,673

2011

€84,331,234

The emphasis in 2008 was on providing sufficient school places in developing areas, while also delivering improvements in the quality of existing primary and post-primary school accommodation throughout the country. Accordingly, funding was not made available for a Summer Works Scheme in 2008. There was, however, expenditure of €17.67m in 2008 on the basis of commitments arising from Summer Works Schemes in previous years.

As outlined in the Five Year Plan last March and in view of the need to ensure that every child has access to a physical school place, the delivery of major school projects to meet significant demographic demands nationally will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years. The Five Year school building programme is focused on meeting those demographic needs.

In the context, therefore, of the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of essential school accommodation, it is not possible for me to advance with a summer works programme this year.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (85)

Simon Harris

Question:

85 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32558/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The day to day administration of agencies is a matter for each agency. Every agency has responsibility for its own HR function which includes the management of sick leave. My Department does not collate information on sick leave in agencies. The Department of Finance circular 25/78 governs the conditions that apply to sick leave for officials within the Civil Service. Under these conditions an official can at most take 7 uncertified sick days with pay within a 12 month period. These conditions apply to those agencies under the aegis of my Department which are staffed by civil servants.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (86, 87, 88)

Dara Calleary

Question:

86 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he envisages that the building unit of his Department will have made a decision in relation to a building project appeal for a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32568/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

My Department recently offered grant aid to the school in question to facilitate the construction of Learning support/resource accommodation under the Prefab Replacement Initiative.

The school subsequently requested the replacement of further accommodation under the Initiative. However, based on the need to prioritise the available funding to replace rented mainstream classrooms and SET rooms, it was not possible to accede to the school's request. The school has been advised accordingly.

Michael Creed

Question:

87 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the way the devolved grant for school building projects operates; if there is an upper limit on the costs of schemes approved under this approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32587/12]

View answer

Applications for devolved funding for additional accommodation can be submitted as needs arise and are considered on a case by case basis. In the context of the number of applications received and the funding available, priority is given to the provision of mainstream classrooms and accommodation for special education.

Other factors taken into account include the demographic growth in the area, the enrolment trends at the school making the application, the capacity of neighbouring schools and so forth.

Given the fact that school authorities are fully responsible for managing the delivery of their devolved building projects, large scale projects cannot be considered for devolved funding.

All works to be allocated funding under my Department's Devolved Schemes must be offered to the market in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.

School management authorities must comply with all the requirements of Technical Guidance Documents TGD 007 and TGD 008 (Design Team Procedures for Small Works and Engaging Professional Consultants for Small Works respectively) which are available on my Department's website. These guidelines provide opportunities for all contractors to tender. Failure to comply with these guidelines may expose the school management authorities to challenge and subsequent financial penalties from a consultant or contractor who feels he/she was not afforded an opportunity to tender. Any such challenge could also result in the project being substantially delayed.

These guidelines provide a balanced approach by allowing access for smaller firms while also ensuring that appropriate consultants are engaged for small works. The full terms and conditions attaching to a devolved grant are issued to the school in the approval letter.

Michael Creed

Question:

88 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm receipt of detailed costings for a proposed school extension (details supplied) in County Cork; if a devolved grant will be considered in this case and in view of the increasing enrolment, access issues for a pupil with a disability and minor works at the school already approved; if he will expedite a decision on this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32589/12]

View answer

I can confirm that my Department has received an application with costings for a proposed extension at the school to which the Deputy refers. The application is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as this process has been completed.

Prompt Payments

Questions (89)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

89 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32598/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services in the period January to March 2012 in respect of my Department was 13 days. Equivalent information in respect of bodies and agencies under my remit is not collated centrally by my Department. However, quarterly returns details provided both by my Department and by bodies and agencies under the aegis of my Department, in relation to the Government decision of May 2009 regarding reductions in the period taken to pay invoices, are included in the tables provided to the Deputy. These quarterly returns data are also published on my Department's website and include historical data. The next quarterly returns for the period April to June 2012 will be due for publication in the middle of this month.

Prompt Payments by Central Government Departments

Reporting Template pursuant to Government Decision No. S29296 of 19 May 2009

Government Department: Department of Education and Skills

Quarterly Period Covered: 01 January - 31 Mar 2012

Details

Number

Value (€)

Percentage (%) of total number of payments made

Number of payments made within 15 days

2,341

88,560,427.94

75.03%

Number of payments made within 16 days to 30 days

689

2,727,665.53

22.08%

Number of payments made in excess of 30 days

87

122,983.89

2.79%

Total payments made in Quarter

3,120

91,411,077.36

100%

1 Disputed Invoices (see footnote)

4

26,195.74

N/A

1Invoices received during the quarter and still under dispute at the end of the quarter.

Signed: Finance Unit.

Date: 11th April 2012.

Copy of table posted on website of Department of Education and Skills showing invoice payment details in respect of bodies and agencies under aegis of the Department (website address http://www.education.ie/home/home.jsp?pcategory=17216&ecategory=60390&language=EN).

Agency

No. of Payments within 15 Days

Value of Payments within 15 Days

% No. of Payments within 15 Days

No. of Payments between 16-30 Days

Value of Payments between 16-30 Days

% No. of Payments between 16-30 Days

No. of Payments greater than 30 Days

Value of Payments greater than 30 Days

% No. of Payments greater than 30 Days

No. of Disputed Invoices

Value of Disputed Invoices

Total Invoices Paid

Total Value of Payments

Overall %

An Chomhairle um Oideachais Gaeltachta agus Gaelscol-aíochta (COGG)

140

€141,116.21

95.89%

5

€18,771.51

3.42%

1

€6,050.00

0.68%

-

€0.00

146

€165,937.72

100.00%

FÁS

7,713

€19,303,148.00

75.35%

1,948

€2,393,091.00

19.03%

575

€1,251,614.00

5.62%

-

€0.00

10,236

€22,947,853.00

100.00%

Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

85

€271,155.97

34.14%

141

€496,237.57

56.63%

23

€24,369.62

9.24%

-

€0.00

249

€791,763.16

100.00%

Grangegorman Development Agency

63

€1,143,124.00

36.00%

61

€1,822,720.00

34.86%

51

€1,338,854.00

29.14%

15

€251,931.00

175

€4,304,698.00

100.00%

Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

125

€162,127.67

88.03%

17

€17,363.79

11.97%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

142

€179,491.46

100.00%

Higher Education Authority (HEA)

255

€960,268.92

96.96%

8

€2,931.45

3.04%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

263

€963,200.37

100.00%

Léargas - The Exchange Bureau

336

€393,584.00

94.38%

20

€45,096.00

5.62%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

356

€438,680.00

100.00%

National Centre for Guidance in Education (NCGE)

90

€132,408.04

80.36%

15

€9,030.85

13.39%

7

€8,133.40

6.25%

-

€0.00

112

€149,572.29

100.00%

National Council for Curriculum and Assessment ( NCCA)

217

€172,826.42

67.18%

66

€43,566.68

20.43%

40

€145,151.42

12.38%

-

€0.00

323

€361,544.52

100.00%

National Council for Special Education (NCSE)

125

€262,434.00

82.78%

22

€19,780.00

14.57%

4

€12,630.00

2.65%

-

€0.00

151

€294,844.00

100.00%

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland ( NQAI)

97

€97,374.15

86.61%

15

€31,961.81

13.39%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

112

€129,335.96

100.00%

State Examinations Commission (SEC)

136

€147,860.45

37.99%

197

€475,445.06

55.03%

25

€46,884.35

6.98%

8

€31,707.32

358

€670,189.86

100.00%

The Teaching Council

156

€492,472.00

100.00%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

156

€492,472.00

100.00%

Vocational Education Committees

CARLOW VEC

567

€450,339.41

35.53%

832

€432,865.54

52.13%

197

€72,311.52

12.34%

-

€0.00

1,596

€955,516.47

100.00%

CAVAN VEC

703

€711,927.00

42.25%

664

€504,862.00

39.90%

297

€126,702.00

17.85%

1

€537.00

1,664

€1,343,491.00

100.00%

CLARE VEC

279

€465,802.26

17.25%

838

€605,200.80

51.82%

500

€165,913.57

30.92%

-

€0.00

1,617

€1,236,916.63

100.00%

CORK CITY VEC

1,321

€3,522,116.20

44.79%

1,145

€892,623.76

38.83%

483

€211,291.30

16.38%

-

€0.00

2,949

€4,626,031.26

100.00%

CORK COUNTY VEC

3,632

€2,094,900.00

81.33%

749

€384,882.00

16.77%

85

€25,741.00

1.90%

-

€0.00

4,466

€2,505,523.00

100.00%

DONEGAL VEC

2,475

€4,098,582.00

79.10%

454

€371,043.00

14.51%

200

€109,431.00

6.39%

-

€0.00

3,129

€4,579,056.00

100.00%

DUBLIN CITY VEC

3,063

€2,482,204.59

39.51%

3,661

€2,059,532.67

47.23%

1,028

€759,171.88

13.26%

33

€23,938.80

7,752

€5,300,909.14

100.00%

DUBLIN COUNTY VEC

2,096

€11,660,032.22

34.85%

2,600

€1,845,903.33

43.23%

1,319

€1,704,867.08

21.93%

-

€0.00

6,015

€15,210,802.63

100.00%

DUNLAOGHAIRE VEC

666

€1,326,942.30

68.73%

241

€196,460.56

24.87%

62

€34,493.67

6.40%

-

€0.00

969

€1,557,896.53

100.00%

GALWAY CITY VEC

1,063

€714,183.25

62.27%

615

€404,756.78

36.03%

29

€13,366.81

1.70%

-

€0.00

1,707

€1,132,306.84

100.00%

GALWAY COUNTY VEC

1,958

€1,612,489.00

77.24%

438

€120,995.00

17.28%

139

€26,465.00

5.48%

-

€0.00

2,535

€1,759,949.00

100.00%

KERRY VEC

1,121

€1,609,713.58

45.51%

1,029

€402,876.32

41.78%

313

€80,256.02

12.71%

-

€0.00

2,463

€2,092,845.92

100.00%

KILDARE VEC

1,889

€3,772,069.70

85.55%

264

€105,520.43

11.96%

55

€16,031.91

2.49%

-

€0.00

2,208

€3,893,622.04

100.00%

KILKENNY VEC

1,138

€515,447.25

59.67%

522

€178,954.47

27.37%

247

€40,447.17

12.95%

-

€0.00

1,907

€734,848.89

100.00%

LAOIS VEC

806

€485,899.14

74.35%

179

€92,783.84

16.51%

99

€38,577.89

9.13%

3

€1,879.27

1,084

€617,260.87

100.00%

LEITRIM VEC

523

€343,728.25

93.56%

32

€24,040.19

5.72%

4

€1,515.87

0.72%

-

€0.00

559

€369,284.31

100.00%

LIMERICK CITY VEC

994

€890,562.06

73.47%

225

€411,935.75

16.63%

134

€200,857.60

9.90%

-

€0.00

1,353

€1,503,355.41

100.00%

LIMERICK COUNTY VEC

436

€679,792.15

19.11%

414

€276,176.08

18.14%

1,432

€449,864.41

62.75%

-

€0.00

2,282

€1,405,832.64

100.00%

LONGFORD VEC

834

€512,497.08

66.51%

373

€145,957.41

29.74%

47

€25,761.55

3.75%

-

€0.00

1,254

€684,216.04

100.00%

LOUTH VEC

1,470

€1,125,295.09

68.25%

666

€326,040.33

30.92%

18

€3,718.53

0.84%

10

€10,584.01

2,154

€1,455,053.95

100.00%

MAYO VEC

902

€516,974.23

41.61%

1,134

€399,125.35

52.31%

132

€26,329.86

6.09%

15

€8,264.03

2,168

€942,429.44

100.00%

MEATH VEC

478

€1,569,764.98

17.11%

1,483

€1,085,199.28

53.10%

832

€456,196.14

29.79%

10

€4,912.02

2,793

€3,111,160.40

100.00%

MONAGHAN VEC

1,331

€5,017,629.98

83.24%

234

€147,184.45

14.63%

34

€20,173.64

2.13%

-

€0.00

1,599

€5,184,988.07

100.00%

OFFALY VEC

960

€685,251.22

80.88%

186

€185,948.87

15.67%

41

€13,331.98

3.45%

-

€0.00

1,187

€884,532.07

100.00%

ROSCOMMON VEC

816

€390,442.52

98.55%

10

€44,264.69

1.21%

2

€650.85

0.24%

-

€0.00

828

€435,358.06

100.00%

SLIGO VEC

194

€98,099.26

16.01%

1,018

€753,055.72

83.99%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

1,212

€851,154.98

100.00%

TIPPERARY NR VEC

811

€795,915.00

48.19%

689

€969,105.00

40.94%

183

€82,137.00

10.87%

-

€0.00

1,683

€1,847,157.00

100.00%

TIPPERARY SR VEC

390

€651,248.91

28.70%

532

€220,983.52

39.15%

437

€128,471.30

32.16%

-

€0.00

1,359

€1,000,703.73

100.00%

WATERFORD CITY VEC

577

€752,979.00

58.05%

379

€231,672.00

38.13%

38

€16,109.00

3.82%

-

€0.00

994

€1,000,760.00

100.00%

WATERFORD COUNTY VEC

171

€158,566.11

16.86%

617

€343,469.20

60.85%

226

€73,902.48

22.29%

-

€0.00

1,014

€575,937.79

100.00%

WESTMEATH VEC

1,024

€693,604.62

90.30%

98

€133,653.22

8.64%

12

€11,842.27

1.06%

1

€3,894.99

1,134

€839,100.11

100.00%

WEXFORD VEC

1,195

€949,861.67

53.59%

870

€355,388.15

39.01%

165

€33,853.49

7.40%

-

€0.00

2,230

€1,339,103.31

100.00%

WICKLOW VEC

2,859

€2,453,172.49

72.58%

894

€569,050.67

22.70%

186

€45,961.99

4.72%

-

€0.00

3,939

€3,068,185.15

100.00%

Third level Institutes

Church of Ireland College of Education (CICE)

225

€464,334.00

88.93%

24

€22,365.00

9.49%

4

62,866.00

1.58%

6

€6,342.00

253

€549,565.00

100.00%

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS)

203

€262,874.00

76.89%

48

€23,644.00

18.18%

13

6,292.00

4.92%

-

€0.00

264

€292,810.00

100.00%

Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM)

122

€198,967.00

60.10%

66

€113,738.00

32.51%

15

5,123.00

7.39%

-

€0.00

203

€317,828.00

100.00%

Royal Irish Academy (RIA)

170

€206,010.23

59.86%

102

€80,359.59

35.92%

12

30,360.62

4.23%

6

€31,126.80

284

€316,730.44

100.00%

Universities/Colleges

University College Cork (UCC)

3,980

€5,820,964.00

29.08%

6,586

€7,089,491.00

48.12%

3,122

€4,060,719.00

22.81%

1

€1,447.00

13,688

€16,971,174.00

100.00%

University College Dublin (UCD)

4,664

€19,849,598.00

31.11%

5,503

€8,852,605.00

36.70%

4,826

€13,891,367.00

32.19%

400

€100,000.00

14,993

€42,593,570.00

100.00%

University College Galway (UCG)

7,561

11,911,882.00

50.82%

4,238

€3,123,674.00

28.49%

3,078

€2,442,101.00

20.69%

-

€0.00

14,877

€17,477,657.00

100.00%

National University of Ireland (NUI)

215

€315,214.00

99.08%

2

€15,990.00

0.92%

-

€0.00

0.00%

2

€4,560.00

217

€331,204.00

100.00%

The University of Dublin (TCD)

2,586

11,125,417

18.67%

8,115

8,049,534

58.59%

3,149

€3,559,425.00

22.74%

-

€0.00

13,850

€22,734,376.00

100.00%

The University of Limerick (UL)

2,220

€7,010,372.00

39.55%

1,901

€1,769,441.00

33.87%

1,492

€1,374,810.00

26.58%

-

€0.00

5,613

€10,154,623.00

100.00%

Dublin City University (DCU)

2,752

€9,245,553.00

30.12%

2,726

€4,723,338.00

29.83%

3,659

€9,816,366.00

40.05%

262

€423,311.00

9,137

€23,785,257.00

100.00%

National University of Maynooth (NUIM)

3,246

€9,953,653.68

46.14%

2,645

€2,349,532.64

37.60%

1,144

€1,216,983.84

16.26%

13

€189,614.89

7,035

€13,520,170.16

100.00%

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick

548

€1,227,152.97

49.10%

519

€810,013.04

46.51%

49

€21,513.53

4.39%

-

€0.00

1,116

€2,058,679.54

100.00%

St Patrick's College, Drumcondra

1,123

€2,580,002.00

90.56%

100

€436,666.00

8.06%

17

€39,749.00

1.37%

1

€74.00

1,240

€3,056,417.00

100.00%

Mater Dei Institute of Education

367

€984,181.16

59.67%

246

€532,223.17

40.00%

2

€4,258.00

0.33%

-

€0.00

615

€1,520,662.33

100.00%

St Angela's College of Education, Sligo

-

€0.00

0.00%

219

€535,417.00

100.00%

-

€0.00

0.00%

-

€0.00

219

€535,417.00

100.00%

National College of Art and Design (NCAD)

232

€382,654.00

89.58%

27

€44,374.00

10.42%

-

€0.00

0.00%

10

€10,000.00

259

€427,028.00

100.00%

Institutes of Technology

Athlone Institute of Technology

815

€974,829.40

54.55%

542

€606,260.10

36.28%

137

€135,560.60

9.17%

17

€19,031.17

1,494

€1,716,650.10

100.00%

Cork Institute of Technology

1,525

€3,419,839.63

27.36%

1,960

€2,418,979.64

35.17%

2,088

€3,600,526.73

37.47%

390

€2,605,921.77

5,573

€9,439,346.00

100.00%

Dublin Institute of Technology

3,925

€9,677,760.59

68.55%

771

€787,209.37

13.46%

1,030

€1,076,855.53

17.99%

-

€0.00

5,726

€11,541,825.49

100.00%

Dundalk Institute of Technology

1,612

€2,644,042.37

93.72%

50

€76,997.10

2.91%

58

€66,591.44

3.37%

20

€21,116.35

1,720

€2,787,630.91

100.00%

Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology

352

€401,097.21

37.69%

239

€396,725.84

25.59%

343

€599,452.24

36.72%

-

€0.00

934

€1,397,275.29

100.00%

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

2,010

€2,093,829.00

72.77%

480

€403,206.00

17.38%

272

€339,527.00

9.85%

-

€0.00

2,762

€2,836,562.00

100.00%

Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown

519

€933,664.68

51.80%

278

€425,922.76

27.74%

205

€526,055.17

20.46%

-

€0.00

1,002

€1,885,642.61

100.00%

Institute of Technology, Carlow

1,511

€4,055,438.76

78.29%

299

€776,282.50

15.49%

120

€184,613.01

6.22%

22

€33,866.80

1,930

€5,016,334.27

100.00%

Institute of Technology, Sligo

1,083

€2,301,776.12

52.37%

541

€1,554,016.32

26.16%

444

€878,077.61

21.47%

-

€0.00

2,068

€4,733,870.05

100.00%

Institute of Technology, Tallaght

480

€1,794,985.06

32.02%

549

€913,251.91

36.62%

470

€619,585.14

31.35%

-

€0.00

1,499

€3,327,822.11

100.00%

Institute of Technology, Tralee

1,065

€2,112,858.27

68.75%

378

€1,512,162.80

24.40%

106

€357,623.77

6.84%

-

€0.00

1,549

€3,982,644.84

100.00%

Letterkenny Institute of Technology

935

€1,434,886.00

47.39%

694

€629,665.00

35.17%

344

€453,779.00

17.44%

-

€0.00

1,973

€2,518,330.00

100.00%

Limerick Institute of Technology

668

€1,852,362.74

31.36%

1,057

€4,198,889.62

49.62%

405

€925,030.41

19.01%

-

€0.00

2,130

€6,976,282.77

100.00%

Waterford Institute of Technology

1,553

€2,104,695.62

67.26%

388

€541,283.70

16.80%

368

€828,802.25

15.94%

6

€23,012.32

2,309

€3,474,781.57

100.00%

Third Level Admissions

Questions (90, 91, 92, 93, 94)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

90 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of students who have sat the HPAT exam each year since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32639/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

91 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children with 600 points who failed the HPAT exam; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32640/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

92 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of students that have repeated the HPAT exam each relevant year since its inception; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32641/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

93 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide, in tabular form, the number of students who repeated the HPAT exam and improved their initial result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32642/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

94 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide the lowest leaving certificate point score that received admittance through the HPAT system to medical school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32643/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 to 94, inclusive, together.

The information sought by the Deputy is not available in my Department as it has no role to play in determining the admissions criteria or process of selection of students for entry to higher education institutions. The introduction of HPAT in 2009 had regard to the findings of the Working Group on Undergraduate Medical Education and Training: Medical Education in Ireland: A New Direction (the Fottrell report). It recommended that Leaving Certificate results should no longer be the sole selection method for entry to medical education at undergraduate level, but that a two-stage mechanism should be applied consisting of the results obtained in Leaving Certificate and a standardised admissions test which would assess non-academic skills and attributes regarded as important for the practice of medicine. The medical schools, which determine the selection criteria for admission to their programmes, committed to having a review of the new entry mechanism within three years of its introduction. The outcome of this review is awaited. I understand that on its completion, the medical schools intend to publish the findings of the review.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (95)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

95 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools in counties Cavan and Monaghan that are above the recommended pupil-teacher ratio at both primary and second level; if he will provide the details of schools above the recommended pupil-teacher ratio for each of the past five years in counties Cavan and Monaghan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32650/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The Statistics section of my Department's website contains information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) at primary and second level. Pupil Teacher Ratio in respect of all schools is only available at national level and not disaggregated by county or any other variable. The website also contains extensive information relating to class size in primary schools. The source of this data is the National School Annual Census. Statistical information in respect of the current school year is currently being compiled in my Department and is due for publication in September 2012.

School Accommodation

Questions (96)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

96 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of prefabs in use in both primary and secondary schools in counties Cavan and Monaghan; if he will provide the details of the number of prefabs in use in both primary and secondary schools in counties Cavan and Monaghan in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32651/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

Historical data on the rental of prefab units is readily available from 2009 onwards.

The number of ‘rented' prefabs in use at both Primary and Post Primary level in counties Cavan and Monaghan for years 2009 to 2012, is outlined in the table.

Please note that one prefab unit may consist of one or more classrooms and/or ancillary accommodation.

RENTED PREFABS IN COUNTIES CAVAN AND MONAGHAN

County

Primary and Post Primary prefab units

2009

Cavan

31

Monaghan

18

2010

Cavan

29

Monaghan

17

2011

Cavan

32

Monaghan

15

2012 (to end June)

Cavan

32

Monaghan

15

Special Educational Needs

Questions (97)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

97 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) in County Meath has had 16 hours special needs assistant time reduced for next year; if the National Council for Special Education has taken into consideration the impact these reductions will have on the schools ability to continue with its dual placement programme with a school in Navan; the reason this school also had a 5% reduction in its resource teaching hours; when his Department will be in contact with the school regarding the appointment of a temporary part-time teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32680/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for allocating resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of such supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

All schools had been advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2012/13 school year by 16th March, 2012 and schools are currently being notified by SENOs of their resource teaching and SNA allocation for 2012/13, based on the number of valid applications received and, in the case of SNA support, the extent of the care needs of qualifying children.

My Department does not facilitate the dual enrolment of children. As such, SENOs can only allocate resources to schools in respect of those pupils enrolled in a school. However, dual placement arrangements are a regular feature of transitional plans for children who are transferring from one placement to another and should be managed locally by the relevant Boards of Management.

It is important to note that a school's allocation of SNA support may alter from year to year as pupils enrol or leave a school or where a child's care needs have diminished over time. If a school is notified of a change in SNA support this is either because the number of qualifying children has changed or the assessed needs of the qualifying children have changed. The NCSE may only allocate SNAs to schools where valid applications meet the qualifying criteria.

In relation to Resource Teaching support, there are 5,500 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) Resource Teaching posts available for allocation for the coming school year, which is the same as last year. This does not include the 4,450 resource and learning support teachers being provided to all schools to support children with less complex, or high incidence, learning needs.

With rising enrolments in schools, the number of valid applications received by the NCSE for the 2012/2013 school year to date is higher than last year. It is necessary therefore to manage these resources so that every child who needs support can access support and are treated the same.

In order to ensure there are sufficient remaining posts to make allocations for late or emergency applications, while staying within the Employment Control Framework (ECF), the NCSE will initially allocate 85% of approved resource teaching hours to each school.

Schools are being asked to make up any time lost through grouping of students and more effective management of teaching time, to ensure that every child who needs support can access support and is treated the same.

It is a matter for schools to monitor and utilise their allocation of resource teaching support to best support the needs of qualifying pupils, in accordance with my Departments guidance. Similarly, SNAs should be deployed by schools in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.

Finally, Circular 0007/2012 sets out the criteria for the allocation of Resource posts for the 2012/2013 school year. The relevant application form for part-time Resource teaching posts for the 2012/13 school year can be accessed on my Departments website.

School Transport

Questions (98, 99)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

98 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if extra bus services will be provided to facilitate persons who wish to attend a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32681/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

Under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kms from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined my the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann, which operates the School Transport Scheme on behalf of my Department, determine eligibility by measuring the shortest traversable route from a child's home to the relevant education centre. Bus Éireann are currently processing applications for school transport for the 2012/13 school year. The number and size of vehicles required will be determined by the number of eligible pupils whose applications are finalised by the deadline date at the end of July.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport to a particular school on a concessionary basis. However, in accordance with the terms of the scheme, additional or larger vehicles will not be provided to cater for children travelling on a concessionary basis.

Brendan Smith

Question:

99 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if consideration will be given to resolve serious difficulties that have now arisen for many families with new charges for post-primary school transport, changes to school catchment area — nearest school requirement where there has been a pattern of attendance at different post-primary centres from a town and its immediate area where there is no second level school (details supplied) in County Cavan, and where those post-primary centres are roughly the same distance from this town; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that most pupils have already been enrolled at second level and in most instances enrolled in the same school as older siblings; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that these new charges will impose an additional burden on many families on low income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32721/12]

View answer

Under the terms of my Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kms from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann, which operates the School Transport Scheme on behalf of my Department, determine eligibility by measuring the shortest traversable route from a child's home to the relevant education centre.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport to a particular school on a concessionary basis in accordance with the terms of the scheme.

The school transport charge for eligible and concessionary post primary children remains at €350 per annum subject to a family maximum of €650. This charge can be paid in two instalments in July and December. Eligible children who hold valid medical cards (GMS Scheme) are exempt from these charges.

School Management

Questions (100)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

100 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide training to boards of management in respect of their new responsibilities as principal contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32739/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

On the approval of construction contracts involving school authorities as the client, my Department advises school authorities in detail of the new requirements that are required to be adhered to and which have been introduced by the Revenue Commissioners relating to the operation of Relevant Contracts Tax (RCT).

In the first instance an explanation of the background to the new requirements is provided. In this regard, RCT is a tax regime applicable to construction contracts in which tax is deducted by a principal contractor from payments due to a contractor for construction operations. RCT applies to main contractors in their dealings with sub-contractors. The Revenue Commissioners have now decided that with effect from the 1st January 2012 school Boards of Management are regarded as "Principal Contractor". This means that the Board of Management undertaking works funded by the Department will be responsible for complying with RCT requirements and VAT returns when making payments to their contractor. The Revenue Commissioners have introduced a mandatory electronic RCT system for all principal contractors in the RCT system, so that all filings and notifications must be done online through the Revenue Online System (ROS). Full details of these new requirements are available on www.revenue.ie or from the local Revenue Office.

School authorities are further advised of the guidelines that should be followed to ensure compliance with Section 20 of the Finance Act 2011 as follows.

1. Register online for the Revenue Online Service (ROS).

2. Register with Revenue as a Principal Contractor and for Value Added Tax (VAT).

3. Obtain the Contractor's tax reference number and proof of identity.

4. Prior to commencement of construction, notify Revenue of the Contract (Contract Notification).

5. Prior to discharging any payment to the Contractor, notify Revenue of the payment (Payment Notification).

6. Obtain a Deduction Authorisation from Revenue specifying the tax to be deducted from the Contractor.

7. Provide the Contractor a copy of the deduction Authorisation.

8. Deduct the applicable amount of tax from payments due to the Contractor.

9. File RCT returns and pay the deducted amount to Revenue.

10. File monthly VAT returns and pay the VAT to Revenue.

11. Obtain and keep a Deduction Summary — Periodic Return at the end of each return period.

As the compliance outlined above involves school authorities with construction contracts interacting with the Revenue Commissioners on a regular basis, my Department considers that any issues or queries arising from the new procedures are directed by school authorities to the Revenue Commissioners.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (101)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

101 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will advise if any progress has been made by his Department in response to proposals for the realignment of primary school at a location (details supplied) in County Kildare; if any capital commitment will be required in respect of realignment; if a timescale for the general process has been agreed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32740/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The building project for the first named school referred to by the Deputy has been included in the 5 year construction programme and is scheduled to commence construction in 2015/16. In this regard, the process of appointing a Design Team is currently underway.

With regard to the second named school, a building project comprising of 26 classrooms, Special Needs Unit and ancillary accommodation has been completed and was handed over to the school in August 2011.

Special Educational Needs

Questions (102, 103)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

102 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address the genuine concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied); if he will respond to the issues raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32741/12]

View answer

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

103 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will ensure that the Health Service Executive provides services required by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32769/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.

Firstly, I wish to advise the Deputy that he may wish to contact my colleague, the Minister for Health or the Health Service Executive (HSE) directly regarding services provided by the HSE.

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for determining the appropriate staffing levels in relation to the support of pupils with special educational needs in mainstream and special schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's policy in allocating this support.

My Department's Circular 0042/2011 notified school management authorities of the staffing arrangements which would apply in special schools in the 2011/12 school year and from 2012/13 onwards. The Circular indicates that staffing arrangements based on pupil population, as opposed to being based principally on school designation, will apply with effect from the 2012/13 school year. School staffing schedules will be reviewed and updated each year by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). In this regard, the NCSE has collected up to date and precise details of pupils attending the school in question and has allocated staffing on the basis of the school's pupil profile.

The special school referred to by the Deputy will have an enrolment of 76 pupils with a staffing allocation of 14 teachers for the 2012/13 school year, which is the same teaching allocation as the school had in the 2011/12 school year, as well as 34.5 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs). Notwithstanding the fact that the pupils attending this school have significant levels of need, this is a very high staffing level, with a total of 48.5 staff providing for 76 pupils at the school which is an overall adult to pupil ratio of 1 adult per 1.6 pupils in the school. These enhanced pupil teacher and SNA ratios are provided to special schools to support them in dealing with pupil behaviour and individual educational and care needs. In addition, it is open to schools to seek guidance and advice from the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in relation to the establishment of whole-school procedures in this area.

Finally, I wish to confirm that phase 1 of a proposed building project for the school is currently underway. A four-classroom unit and ancillary accommodation is currently under construction. Phase 2 of the project which will provide the bulk of the remaining accommodation was included in the 5 year construction programme announced in March of this year. Under that programme, the phase 2 project has a scheduled timeframe to commence construction in 2014/15.

Departmental Staff

Questions (104, 105, 106)

Sean Fleming

Question:

104 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges and the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32790/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

The number of persons whose salary is within the pay ranges requested by the Deputy is provided in the table below.

It is not possible to provide this information in relation to personnel employed in Vocational Education Committees (VECs) as my Department does not hold information on payments other than the basic salary scales applicable to VEC employees. Each VEC is a separate employer operating its own payroll system and, accordingly, the information sought would require an inordinate amount of administrative time to compile. However, an estimate in relation to teachers employed by VECs has been included in the table.

It is not possible to provide the information requested in relation to the cost of increments of the persons in each of these salary ranges.

Pay Range

Primary Teachers

Voluntary Secondary, Community and Compre-hensive Teachers

Estimated number of VEC Teachers

Non-Teaching Staff in Primary, Voluntary Secondary, Community and Compre-hensive Schools

Department of Education and Skills Staff

State Exams Commission

Residential Institutes Redress Board

National Council for Curriculum Assessment (NCCA)

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

Council for Irish Language Education

Range <= 40,000

3,558

432

242

10,805

520

154

15

4

1

Range between 40,000.01 and 50,000

10,082

4,310

2,414

100

217

33

5

1

2

1

Range between 50,000.01 and 60,000

7,115

5,133

2,874

167

15

3

1

1

Range between 60,000.01 and 70,000

7,122

4,453

2,494

60

2

2

Range between 70,000.01 and 80,000

3,176

1,979

1,108

94

5

1

1

Range between 80,000.01 and 90,000

784

355

199

173

12

1

2

1

Range between 90,000.01 and 10,000

134

217

122

67

5

2

1

Range > 100,000

260

146

32

3

2

2

Notes: The figures in relation to Teachers and Non-Teaching Staff in Primary and Post-Primary Schools above do not include casual employees.

The figures for Post-Primary Teachers (excl VEC) are low as they do not include teachers that retired during the period January-June 2012. They were replaced by casual part-time teachers during those months.

The figures provided in respect of teachers in VECs is an estimate as the actual figures are not readily available.

Tom Fleming

Question:

105 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these person’s are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33077/12]

View answer

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

Simon Harris

Question:

106 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32565/12]

View answer

Negotiations are ongoing at the moment with regard to revising sick leave arrangements across the public sector and it is expected that these discussions will be finalised in the coming weeks. Management of sick leave in all agencies, offices and other bodies reporting to my Department is a matter for the individual agencies, offices and bodies concerned. I am assured however that all the agencies, bodies and offices have in place attendance management procedures and that these are in accordance with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Department of Finance circulars.

The following is a summary of the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to my Department in 2011 and to date in 2012:

2011 — 11,919.36 sick days taken.

These figures include sick days taken in the Office of Public Works (OPW) up to the end of March 2012. The OPW have advised me that they will provide details in relation to the period 1st April 2012 to the end of June 2012 directly to the Deputy together with details of sick leave in respect of the State Industrial Employees.

In light of the returns from the various agencies and the ongoing negotiations with regard to revising sick leave arrangements I am satisfied that overall figure for the full year in 2012 will be reduced.

Prompt Payments System

Questions (107)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

107 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32605/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

In response to the Deputy's question the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in my Department is 11 days. This information is taken from data compiled for Prompt Payments Returns to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, dealing with payments that issue to the private sector, as opposed to transfers to other parts of the civil/public service.

In respect of the agencies and organisation under the remit of my Department the following information has been provided:

Name of Office/Agency or Body

Average time lapse

Office of Public Works

14.97 days

Public Appointments Service

16 days

State Laboratory

15 days

Office of the Ombudsman

8.14 days

Commission for Public Service Appointments

15.33 days

With regard to the Valuation Office I have been advised that invoices are paid as soon as possible after they are received.

National Aquatic Centre

Questions (108)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

108 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the actions he or his Department officials have taken in response to recommendations 3, 4, 5 and 9 of the report on VAT Costs on the National Aquatic Centre by the Committee of Public Accounts published in May 2012. [32658/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The established process for responding to the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee is via a Minute of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The PAC's recent report, VAT Costs on the National Aquatic Centre, is being carefully examined and the response is being developed. When finalised in the coming weeks, the formal Minute of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will provide a full response to the recommendations in this recent PAC report.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (109)

Billy Timmins

Question:

109 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the savings made to date under the Croke Park agreement; where these savings were made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32765/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Implementation Body for the Public Service Agreement published its Second Annual Progress Report in respect of Year 2 of the Agreement (12 months ending March 2012) on 13th June last which found, inter alia, that:

Pay bill savings of €650m were achieved during the year under review (Apr 2011 to Mar 2012) driven largely by the reduction in staff numbers, or €521m net of an estimate for the maximum possible post-February recruitment over 2012. An estimated €810m in sustainable pay bill savings has therefore been achieved during the first two years of the Agreement.

Administrative efficiency (or ‘non-pay') savings totalling €370m were reported for the review period. Adding non-pay savings presented in last year's Report totalling €308m, gives a total of €678m in non-pay savings in the first two years of the Agreement.

Further details on the savings are contained in the Body's report which was laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas and is available on www.implementationbody.gov.ie.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (110, 111)

Billy Timmins

Question:

110 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost of increments in the public sector for 2012; the cost of same in 2011 and the projected cost in 2013; the number of public sector employees, if any, who receive no increments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32767/12]

View answer

Sean Fleming

Question:

111 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32797/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 110 and 111 together.

I refer to my reply to Question Nos. 274, 288 and 289 of 11 January 2012.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

112 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress achieved by each Government Department or its respective subordinate bodies towards achieving the target identified in the memorandum of understanding in the context of curtailment of public expenditure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32800/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

113 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he has identified cost-cutting reforms in various Government Departments or bodies under their control which might indicate possible savings without job losses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32801/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

114 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he has identified the Government Departments or relevant public bodies which have achieved the most in terms of savings or cost cutting in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32802/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

115 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has identified any particular or specific areas of public expenditure in which the target set over the past three years to date has not been met; the action he proposes to address such issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32803/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

116 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree, if any, to which he has identified Government Departments or public bodies under their control that have achieved the least in terms of cost cutting or savings in each of the past three years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32804/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

117 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Government Departments or relevant public bodies that have achieved the most in terms of reform, cost cutting or savings in the past 12 months; if such bodies will receive any particular recognition for their efforts to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32805/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

118 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he expects to be in a position to meet the targets set by him in terms of savings and reform in the course of the next four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32806/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

119 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he has identified areas of public expenditure or reform in respect of which a greater effort is needed to achieve targets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32807/12]

View answer

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

120 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total in terms of savings and cost cutting achieved by each Government Department in the course of the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32808/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 112 to 120, inclusive, together.

The Government is making good progress in realising all of our targets and priorities, as articulated in the Government Programme. We are also achieving all of our objectives by delivering on all the conditions and targets set out in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with our external partners in the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF. We are bringing public expenditure back to a sustainable level and driving forward the public service reform agenda to ensure that efficiencies and reformed work practices play a full part in contributing to the overall budgetary consolidation effort.

This Government's approach has been clearly set out in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014 published on 5 December last, the Capital Infrastructure Plan published on 10 November 2011 and the Public Service Reform Plan published on 17 November 2011. The Implementation Body’s Public Service Agreement Progress Report published on 13th June this year found that sustainable pay and non-pay savings have been successfully delivered.

The Medium-Term Fiscal Statement, published in November last year, set out the Government’s economic and budgetary assessment for the four year period 2012-2015 including the estimated level of fiscal consolidation that is required to bring the General Government deficit below 3% of GDP by 2015, as the Government is committed to doing. The aforementioned Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014, set out the Government’s position as to how the aggregate expenditure would be split across individual Departments for each of the years 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Officials from all Departments are currently working to identify the appropriate policy measures to give effect to the medium-term budgetary adjustment while minimising the impact on public services. In this regard, I would remind the Deputy that as part of the ‘whole of year' budgetary approach in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014, I wrote to all Oireachtas Select Committees in January of this year inviting them to actively engage with the relevant Departments during this year’s Estimates process. Committees now have an opportunity to engage with the relevant Ministers in relation to the 2013 allocations. I am happy to report that a number of Committees have informally indicated that they intend to do so. I would encourage all Select Committees to give serious consideration to this approach as it will ensure a much wider engagement by all members of the Dáil in the annual Estimates, in advance of the allocations being agreed at Government level, and not afterwards as has traditionally been the case.

The Public Service Reform Plan was published in November, 2011. While there are more than 200 actions over 14 areas in the Public Service Reform Plan, the Government's commitments to change are set out under five main headings:

(i) Placing customer service at the core of everything that we do;

(ii) Maximising new and innovative service delivery channels;

(iii) Radically reducing our costs to drive better value for money;

(iv) Leading, organising and working in new ways; and

(v) Strong focus on implementation and delivery.

In order to meet the challenge of delivering ‘better for less', the Public Service Reform Plan has a real focus on supporting citizens and businesses where and when they need it most, making the interaction with the State as simple and seamless as possible and improving the customer's experience in engaging with Government.

To ensure a strong focus on the delivery of reform, we have established a dedicated Reform and Delivery Office in my Department to coordinate the various reform initiatives and plans across the public service and to ensure a strategic and concerted implementation programme. This Office is led by a Programme Director with experience of implementing large scale change in the private sector. We have also put in place strong governance structures and reporting mechanisms in order to ensure progress and to integrate reforms at central, sectoral and organisational levels. The key driver in the reform process is the Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform, which provides political direction and accountability for reform.

The Reform and Delivery Office is working closely with organisations across the Public Service and good progress continues to be made. To provide just a few examples, we are:

continuing to reduce Public Service numbers which were around 28,000 lower at end Q1 2012 than they were at end 2008;

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

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

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

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

As well as the overall Reform Plan, all Government Departments have produced their own Integrated Reform Delivery Plans. These plans incorporate the cross-cutting reforms being led by my Department, with other organisation and sector specific reform initiatives, many of which are derived from the Programme for Government.

Public Sector Staff

Questions (121)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

121 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total number of jobs lost in the public services due to savings imposed in the wake of the memorandum of understanding and through natural wastage in each of the past two years to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32809/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Expenditure)

The Government is committed to reducing public service numbers to 282,500 by the end of 2015 as part of its Reform Agenda. The overriding objective is to have a more customer focused, leaner, more efficient and better integrated public service which delivers maximum value for money. The following table sets out the public sector numbers at end 2010, end 2011 and end Quarter 1 in 2012.

Public Service Numbers

2010

2011

2012

Qtr4

Qtr4

Qtr1

Civil Service *

35,984

36,177

35,763

Defence Sector

10,313

10,131

9,553

Education Sector

93,827

90,946

90,830

Health Sector

107,972

104,392

102,811

Justice Sector

14,722

14,238

13,622

Local Authorities

30,703

29,506

28,576

NCSA

11,992

11,500

10,772

Total

305,512

296,891

291,927

* In 2011 over 1,000 Community Welfare Service staff transferred to the Department of Social Protection.

In Q1 2012 over 700 FÁS staff transferred into the Department of Social Protection.

Significant progress is being made in reducing the numbers employed in the Public Service. The numbers working in the public service have continued to fall, with the provisional outturn for Quarter 1 2012 now standing at 291,927, which means that we are now close to the 2005 staffing levels. Of course, such a reduction in public service numbers will pose challenges. It will require a refocus on business processes and adjustments to the way all public bodies use available resources. It will also require changes to the way individual public servants go about their daily work and greater flexibility in the way services are provided, for example, with greater use of technology and shared services.

The Strategic Workforce Planning Groups in each sector, including my own Department, are currently ensuring that sectoral employers develop plans to deal on an ongoing basis to deal with the operational and strategic consequences arising from the reductions in public service staffing numbers. The moratorium will continue with certain limited exceptions for example in relation to some frontline posts, or statutory positions, etc. where a sufficiently strong business case is made. In the Health and Education sectors in particular special arrangements are in place for exemptions to the moratorium on recruitment for specified grades or positions. However, I wish to make clear that, it is part of the day to day function of the Boards and Management of all public bodies to assess, budget and plan for current and ongoing staffing requirements within existing resources.

Departmental Staff

Questions (122)

Simon Harris

Question:

122 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32563/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

My Department introduced an Attendance Management Policy in March 2011 which applies to all staff of the Department and its associated Offices. The policy is based on Department of Finance Circular 09/2010 on the Management of Sick Leave. It sets out clear procedures for reporting, recording and management of sick leave and is intended to help managers adopt best practice approaches to attendance management. It seeks to encourage excellent attendance while clearly acknowledging the need for staff to take sick leave when unwell.

The granting of sick leave and whether it is with or without pay is a matter for the Department. In accordance with the Sick Leave regulations staff members may be granted up to 7 days uncertified sick leave in a twelve month period. Full pay may be allowed up to a maximum of six months in one year and half pay thereafter subject to a maximum of twelve months sick leave in any period of four years. Where sick leave with pay is exhausted a staff member may be granted sick leave with pension rate of pay subject to the condition that there is a reasonable prospect of resumption of duty with ability to render efficient service.

A total of 9,723 person days sick leave was taken by staff in my Department and associated Offices in 2011 at a cost of €1,398,863. In the first quarter of 2012 staff of my Department and associated Offices took a total of 2,454 person days sick leave at a cost of €394,358. When staff on half pay and pension rate of pay due to long term sick leave are excluded, the number of person days sick leave taken by staff of my Department and its Offices in 2011 was 8,166 and the provisional number of days for the first quarter of 2012 was 2,392.5. With regard to the Agencies, the management of sick leave is a day to day matter for the Agencies and I have asked each Agency to contact the Deputy directly in response.

Prompt Payments

Questions (123)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

123 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32603/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

Under the Government Decision of 2009 on Prompt Payments by Central Government, Departments and Agencies are required to report to my Department on the statistics relating to the number of payments made within 15 days, within 16 to 30 days and number made after 30 from receipt of invoices in the Departments. This information is published quarterly on my Department's website and also on the websites of the Agencies.

The latest statistics available for my Department are for the period April to June 2012 and shows that my Department processed 1,507 payments to suppliers for goods and services. 82% of these payments were made within 15 days of receipt in the Department. A further 15% of payments were made in the period 15-30 days of receipt. The latest statistics available for the Agencies of my Department are for the period January to March 2012 and are as follows:

Agency

% of Payments made within 15 Days

% of Payments made 16 to 30 Days

Enterprise Ireland

100

0

Labour Relations Commission

100

0

Competition Authority

100

0

Forfas

97

3

IDA

97

2

National Consumer Agency

97

2

Science Foundation Ireland

96

4

Shannon Development

96

4

County Enterprise Boards

94

5

Health and Safety Authority

77

12

Personal /Injuries Assessment Board (PIAB)

74

19

National Standards Authorityof Ireland (NSAI)

72

23

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

59

31

Enterprise Support Services

Questions (124)

Finian McGrath

Question:

124 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the advice he will offer to a person (details supplied). [32648/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

The role of the County and City Enterprise Boards (CEBs) is to support manufacturing and internationally traded services in the micro enterprise sector. Whilst my Department provides funding to the CEBs it has no function in their day-to-day decision-making. Decisions on applications for assistance from the CEBs are made independently by the Boards, subject to eligibility criteria, on the advice of their evaluation committees. I note that the promoter has already been in contact with Dublin CEB regarding its services, and he may therefore wish to engage further with the Board as his business proposals develop. Further information is available from the CEBs website www.enterpriseboards.ie.

The Deputy will be aware that the Government, in addition to directing the 2 Pillar banks to provide additional lending to business over a three year period, is also introducing a suite of initiatives to facilitate the flow of credit to business. This includes the introduction of the Temporary Partial Loan Guarantee Scheme and the Micro-enterprise Loan Fund both of which are currently being finalised in the Oireachtas and which are designed to address market failures and facilitate the flow of credit to micro-enterprises and small and medium sized enterprises. It is hoped to have both Bills on these initiatives passed in the current session of the Oireachtas and that they will impact on the flow of credit available to business in the very near future.

The Microenterprise Loan Fund will help people to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential. This Fund will provide small loans up to €25,000 to all start-up, newly established, or existing small business concerns with fewer than ten employees, across all industry sectors. In order to be eligible for the scheme, an application for credit must first have been refused by the banks. The Scheme will provide loans for commercially viable proposals that do not meet theconventional risk criteria applied by the banks for various reasons, including the absence of collateral. It is hoped to have the new Microenterprise Loan Fund open for business by early Autumn.

Credit Availability

Questions (125)

Tom Fleming

Question:

125 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he, in conjunction with the Department of Finance will negotiate with the banks to ensure that small businesses are facilitated with loans and credit in the interim, until such time as the new micro finance scheme is up and running as anticipated in the autumn, in view of the fact that there is no incentive for the banks to give this credit as the micro finance scheme will ensure that the State is guaranteeing all micro finance moneys to which the banks will be providing the capital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32667/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

While my colleague the Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan TD has responsibility for the banks and bank lending, I am working closely with him to address the issue of access to credit for enterprise in Ireland at this critical time. Access to credit is a key element to building a vibrant and sustainable enterprise base. As the Deputy is aware, I am currently bringing two pieces of legislation through the Oireachtas to deal with some market failures in this area namely, the Credit Guarantee Bill 2012 and the Microenterprise Loan Fund Bill 2012. These two targeted initiatives are essential in terms of addressing specific market failures and facilitating a more accessible financing environment for SMEs in Ireland.

The legislation for both these schemes is currently before the Oireachtas and is being progressed as quickly as possible, with a view to introducing the Loan Fund and the Temporary Partial Loan Guarantee as soon as possible. In the interim, normal bank lending arrangements will continue and enterprises that are refused access to credit by the banks should seek to have these decisions reviewed by the Credit Review Office (CRO). The Credit Review Office is overturning 60% of the decisions referred to them, supplying €6.9m of credit, supporting 683 jobs in the SME sector. SMEs that have been refused credit by banks should avail of the services of the Credit Review Office.

The Deputy will also be aware that the Government has imposed SME lending targets on the two domestic pillar banks for the three calendar years, 2011 to 2013. Both banks were required to sanction lending, including lending for working capital purposes, of at least €3 billion in 2011, €3.5 billion this year and €4 billion in 2013 for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs. Both banks achieved their 2011 targets. The progress on their lending plans is closely monitored each month by the Department of Finance. In addition to these positive Government initiatives in the area of finance, my Department is working closely with the Department of Finance and the Credit Review Office to ensure that the amount of credit to the SME sector is maximised to facilitate sustainable job creation and retention.

Departmental Staff

Questions (126)

Sean Fleming

Question:

126 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000 between €40,001-€50,000; between €50,001-€60,000; between €60,001-€70,000; between €70,001 to €80,000; between €80,001 to €90,000; between €90,001 to €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32795/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

The following tables indicate the number of increments paid in each of the salary ranges for 2011 and the estimated number that will be paid in 2012. The payment of increments is conditional on satisfactory performance and compliance with sick leave regulations.

2011 — Increments paid

#<40,000

#40,001-50

#50,001-60

#60,001-70

#70,001-80

#80,001-90

#90,001-100

#<100,001

Total

Total Cost

€303,116.16

€129,367.34

€77,724.21

€16,029.55

€46,726.05

€23,317.26

€33,223.20

€22,552.64

€652,056.41

Total No. Increments

265

90

52

7

21

9

10

5

459

2012 — Estimated maximum number of increments payable(1)

#<40,000

#40,001-50

#50,001-60

#60,001-70

#70,001-80

#80,001-90

#90,001-100

#>100,001

Total

Total Cost

€258,893.14

€111,131.69

€34,217.00

€15,575.35

€24,475.55

€24,384.02

€19,933.92

€ 9,615.16

€498,225.83

Total No. Increments

223

75

25

7

11

8

6

2

357

(1) Subject to satisfactory performance and compliance with sick leave regulations

Departmental Staff

Questions (127)

Tom Fleming

Question:

127 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions that have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is. their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33082/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation)

During the last six months I re-appointed the former Director of Corporate Enforcement to the post of Acting Director of Corporate Enforcement for a period of up to six months. His pension is abated for the period that he has agreed to remain on in his post in an acting capacity. Also, at the request of the Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries, my Department re-engaged, on a part-time basis, estimated to involve 10 working days, 1 Principal Officer who retired in February 2012 and who had represented the Department on the Committee prior to his retirement. An all-inclusive fee of €1,500 was sanctioned by the Department of Public Expenditure to cover the cost of completing this work and was based on the understanding that the work in question will entail no more than 10 working days. Any travel and subsistence costs incurred in fulfilling this role will be reimbursed by my Department. No further retired public servants/civil servants were re-hired in my Department during that period. As this is a day to day matter for the Agencies, I have asked the Agencies under the aegis of my Department to respond directly to the Deputy.

Social Insurance

Questions (128)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

128 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on a matter regarding PRSI (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32608/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

Changes to PRSI rates and scope are a matter for consideration in a budgetary context.

Question No. 129 withdrawn.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (129)

Jack Wall

Question:

130 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a person’s (details supplied) in County Kildare appeal against the decision to refuse their application for domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32547/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal, by the person concerned, was registered in that office on 25th February 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

Departmental Agencies

Questions (130)

Simon Harris

Question:

131 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Social Protection the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to her Department, separate to individuals working directly for her Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to hers Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32566/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The agencies operating under the aegis of the Department are the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board. In addition, the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman comes under the remit of the Department.

The staff of the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman are civil servants and, in this regard, they are required to comply with the policies on the management of sick leave as outlined in Department of Finance Circular 09/2010, details of which were provided in my response to Question No. 133 which I answered for the Deputy on Thursday, 28th June 2012.

While the staff in the Citizens Information Board and the Pensions Board are public servants, both organisations operate their respective sick leave policies along the lines of those applying to civil servants, with only minor differences, e.g. staff may be referred to a designated medical official rather than the civil service Chief Medical Officer.

Details of the number of days sick leave taken by staff in the agencies and the related costs are shown in the following tables.

2011

Organisation

Full-time equivalent staff — 1st January 2011

Days lost

Cost of days lost

Pensions Ombudsman

9.8

13

€1,662.83

Citizens Information Board

85.6

668.5

€137,214.45

Pensions Board

38.8

113.5

€20,562.00

2012 — 1 January to 31 March

Organisation

Full-time equivalent staff — 1st January 2012

Days lost

Cost of days lost

Pensions Ombudsman

9.8

6

€767.46

Citizens Information Board

80.4

134

€27,228.03

Pensions Board

46

65

€13,915.00

National Internship Scheme

Questions (131)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

132 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review a decision to refuse an internship under the JobBridge programme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork who is in receipt of a dependent payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32574/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The National Internship Scheme (JobBridge) was launched in July 2011 and is open to organisations in the public, private and community and voluntary sectors.

The Scheme provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed people of all skills levels. It aims to assist individuals in breaking the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience by providing them with an opportunity to gain valuable experience and acquire relevant knowledge and skills in a working environment.

Since the Scheme was launched, nearly 8,200 internship placements have commenced. There are currently 4,899 interns undertaking placements and there are in excess of 2,100 internship posts currently advertised on the JobBridge website —www.jobbridge.ie.

Eligibility for the Scheme is currently restricted at those in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, Jobseekers Benefit, One Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance or signing for credits for 78 days out of the last 6 months. Time spent on certain Government sponsored training may also be taken into account when calculating eligibility. This is to underline the Department's objective which is to prioritise scarce resources at those in receipt of a live claim or on the Live Register with a view to increasing their chances of accessing employment, training and educational opportunities. The person concerned is currently not eligible for JobBridge. However, she applied for Jobseeker's Allowance on 25th June 2012 and her claim is currently being processed. Should her claim be successful, she will be eligible for an internship placement once she is in receipt of the payment for the requisite number of days.

Disability Allowance

Questions (132)

Jack Wall

Question:

133 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the up to date position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32580/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 07th February 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office and the case was referred to an Appeals Officer on 21st May 2012 who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

Sick Pay Scheme

Questions (133)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

134 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider the very genuine concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32584/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The question of introducing a scheme of statutory sick pay, whereby employers would directly meet the costs of sick absence for an initial period of illness is being considered in the context of the need to reform the social welfare system to bring it into line with practices in other countries in this area; the need to address the deficit in the social insurance fund; the need to limit progression from short-term illness to long-term illness or disability; and in the wider context of enhancing the health of the workforce and addressing levels of absenteeism.

A report of a consultative seminar on the feasibility and implications of introducing a scheme of statutory sick pay held in February 2012 is now available on the Department's website.

Amongst other things, the report reflects the concerns expressed by organisations representing smaller enterprises, such as those raised in the correspondence received by the Deputy, and these very real concerns will be taken into account as the range of complex issues associated with the introduction of such a scheme continue to be considered.

The issues involved will be discussed in the course of the wider process associated with the preparation of Budget 2013 and any decisions which might be taken by Government on the possible introduction of a statutory sick pay scheme will be considered in that context.

Rent Supplement Scheme

Questions (134)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

135 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite an application for rent supplement in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [32591/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The person concerned has made an application for rent supplement and has been requested to provide further information in order to process her claim. The request for further information was sent on the 18th June 2012. A decision will be made on her application when the necessary information has been provided.

Prompt Payments

Questions (135)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

136 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Protection the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in her Department and in each agency and organisation within her remit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32606/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Department of Social Protection, in common with other Departments, submits a report on its payments performance each quarter to the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. These reports detail the value of payments made, and the number and percentage of payments made within 15 days, within 16-30 days and in excess of 30 days. These quarterly reports are published on the website of the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation and are also available on the Department's website. The Department also publishes prompt payment information for the Citizen's Information Board and the Pension's Board on its website.

The latest available returns which are for quarter 1 2012 are set out in the following tables. These tables show that the majority of invoices are paid within 15 days.

Prompt Payments by Department of Social Protection 1st January to 31st March 2012

Details

Number

Value (€)

Percentage (%) of total payments made

Total payments made in Quarter

4,920

100,535,807

(100)

Number of payments made within 15 days

2,997

41,017,119

61

Number of payments made within 16 days to 30 days

1,317

52,718,070

27

Number of payments made in excess of 30 days

606

6,800,618

12

Disputed Invoices

Nil

Nil

Nil

Total

4,920

100,535,807

100

1st Quarter 2012 (1st January-31st March 2012)Prompt Payments by bodies under the aegis of the Department of Social Protection 1st January to 31st March 2012

Agencies of DSP

% of overall Total value paid within 15 days

Value of payments made within 15 days (€)

% No. of payments made within 15 days

No. of payments made within 15 days

The Pensions Board

98.6

496,699

98.6

154

Citizens Information Board

96

14,722,055

96

550

Total

15,218,754

704

Invalidity Pension

Questions (136)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

137 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32610/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal, by the person concerned, was registered in that office on 11th June 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When received, the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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

Rent Supplement Scheme

Questions (137)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

138 Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons who were in receipt of rent allowance in counties Cavan and Monaghan before changes were made to the scheme; the number of persons in receipt of rent allowance in counties Cavan and Monaghan; the number of persons in counties Cavan and Monaghan affected by the change; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32623/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term income support to eligible tenants living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are approximately 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided a sum of €436 million for 2012.

New maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012 and are in place until June 2013. All new rent supplement applications are subject to these limits and as existing claims come up for review, or when an existing lease expires, they will be reassessed using the new limits. The table outlines the total number of recipients of rent supplement in County Cavan and County Monaghan at December 2011 and June 2012.

Rent Supplement Recipients in Co. Cavan and Co. Monaghan:

County

Recipients

End December 2011

End June 2012

Cavan

843

620

Monaghan

488

402

Questions Nos. 139 and 140 withdrawn.

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Questions (138)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

141 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to increase the number of non-governmental organisations on the committee to review the domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32673/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The review of the domiciliary care allowance (DCA) scheme, as recently announced will commence shortly. The group undertaking the review will be comprised of representatives from a number of government Departments, the National Disability Authority and other persons with relevant experience. Three representatives from a working group established by Downs Syndrome Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, Irish Autism Action, Special Needs Parents Association, the Carers Association and Midlands Regional Forum of People with Disabilities have been invited to be part of the review group. It is considered that this broad representation will reflect the issues and views of the vast majority of parents on the matter.

Officials from my Department will meet with representatives from the DCA Warriors to discuss how they can be facilitated in making a positive contribution to the review process.

The terms of reference for the review allows for a consultation process with parents and representative groups to be held. This will allow for all parents and groups not directly represented on the working group to input their concerns and suggestions to the review process.

Rent Supplement Scheme

Questions (139)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

142 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to enact legislation to protect rent supplement recipients that face eviction and displacement as a consequence of the new lower rent thresholds; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32674/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently over 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided €436m in 2012.

New maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012 and are in place until June 2013. These new limits were set after an analysis of the most up to date market data available. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that maximum value for money for tenants and the taxpayer was achieved whilst at the same time ensuring that people on rent supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation.

All new rent supplement applications are subject to these limits and as existing claims come up for review, or when an existing lease expires, they will be reassessed using the new limits. Where a claim is under review and the rent is above the new maximum limit the customer is being asked to contact the landlord to renegotiate the rent. Where a landlord does not agree to reduce the rent to the new rates Departmental officials will discuss the options open to the tenant up to and including seeking alternative accommodation.

Department officials dealing with rent supplement tenants will continue to ensure that their accommodation needs are met and there will no incidence of homelessness due to these measures. Legislation regarding the protection of tenants in private rented accommodation is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government.

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme

Questions (140)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

143 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will ensure that the back to school allowance will be granted promptly to applicants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32732/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) entitlements of some 115,350 families in respect of 205,125 children have now been automatically established with reference to their primary scheme entitlement and with no application form required. Letters have issued to the people identified in this way, informing them of their entitlement and notifying them that payment will issue in week commencing 16 July.

Customers who do not receive an automated payment are required to complete an application form which will be processed from a centralised unit in the Department. A text message acknowledging receipt of application forms will issue to everyone who submits a claim form and provided their mobile phone number.

Some 16,000 claims have been received for manual processing in the central unit by the end of June. At present claims which were received on 22 June are being processed. While it is expected that the period between receiving the claim and providing a decision will increase as the intake of claims is expected to increase during July, I can assure the Deputy that every effort will be made to process applications promptly.

Carer’s Allowance

Questions (141)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

144 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection the steps she is taking to reduce the unacceptable delay in her Department in the processing of carer’s allowance and carer’s benefit applications in view of the fact that the time is now running at 30 weeks and increasing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32736/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. Currently the average time taken to award a carer's allowance application is 28 weeks.

I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer's allowance claims at present is not satisfactory but I am satisfied that the Department is taking action to resolve the situation.

A major service delivery modernisation project is underway to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer's allowance scheme. This involves the deployment of information technology solutions and associated business process re-organisation. It is anticipated that the new system will introduce significant processing efficiencies and a quicker and more responsive service to the customers.

Significant internal resources have been invested in the development and rollout of thenew computer system over the past 18 months or so. Full deployment of the new system forcarer's allowance has just completed. In tandem with the full implementation of the newsystem, a comprehensive business process improvement exercise has recently commenced, the focus of which is to optimise performance and provide improved customer service. Howeverit is expected to be a number of months before the backlog is reduced to an acceptablelevel.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (142)

Sean Fleming

Question:

145 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32798/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

The table shows the number of staff in the Department within each of the salary ranges as at 1 July 2011 and 1 July 2012, the numbers of those who are expected to receive an increment in 2012, almost half of all staff, and an estimate of the gross cost of those additional increments in 2012. The increase in numbers is primarily due to the transfer of almost 1,100 former Community Welfare service staff into the Department on 1 October 2011 and over 700 former FÁS staff into the Department on1 January 2012.

Salary band €

Number of staff in band at 1st July 2011.

Number of staff in band at 1st July 2012.

Estimated number of staff who will receive increments during 2012

Estimated gross cost of increments in 2012 for staff within band €

Under 40,000

3,325

3,685

2,027

1,037,995

40,001 – 50,000

1,138

1,472

576

403,392

50,001 – 60,000

496

1,217

352

252,950

60,001 – 70,000

49

130

51

55,008

70,001 – 80,000

106

174

48

54,768

80,001 – 90,000

35

70

33

46,945

90,001 – 100,000

39

45

19

30,086

100,001 plus

18

26

8

18,918

Total

5,206

6,819

3,114

1,900,062

Departmental Staff

Questions (143)

Tom Fleming

Question:

146 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions that have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33085/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

One member of staff in my Department, the Chief Medical Advisor, has been rehired on a temporary contract. His salary is reduced to take account of the rate of his pension payment.

In addition, the acting Deputy Chief Medial Advisor has been retained, on a temporary basis, beyond his normal retirement age. Payment of his pension will be suspended pending the termination of his temporary retention.

The decision to re-employ the Chief Medical Advisor and to retain the acting Deputy Chief Medical Advisor was taken due to their specific skills and experience, the difficulty and long lead-in time for replacing such skills, and the critical importance of ensuring continuity and a high level of service to customers of the Department.

Údarás na Gaeltachta

Questions (144)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

147 D’fhiafraigh Peadar Tóibín den Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta maidir leis an monarcha i gCill Chiaráin, Contae na Gaillimhe, darb ainm Arramara Teoranta, agus leis na líomhaintí atá ann gur tharla gadaíocht sa chuideachta cúpla bliain ó shin, ar tharla imscrúdú faoi na líomhaintí sin; ar cuireadh na líomhaintí sin in iúl do na Gardaí; murar cuireadh in iúl amhlaidh iad, cén fáth nár tharla sin; cad iad na cáilíochtaí atá ag an mbainisteoir nua ann (sonraí tugtha); an aontóidh sé go bhfuil sé mídhleathach nach bhfuair an fostaí aon choinníollacha poist; agus an fíor go mbeidh ar an bhfostaí sonraí a phoist a athrú anois. [32516/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

Is cuideachta í Arramara Teoranta atá faoi lán-úinéireacht Údarás na Gaeltachta. Ní mór dom a shoiléiriú don Teachta, dá réir, nach bhfuil aon ról agamsa mar Aire Stáit i mbainistiú na cuideachta, ar a n-áirítear ceisteanna maidir le coinníollacha poist agus cáilíochtaí fostaithe. Maidir leis an gceist faoi líomhaintí gadaíochta sa chuideachta cúpla bliain ó shin, tuigim óÚdarás na Gaeltachta go ndearna bainistíocht na cuideachta ag an am imscrúdú cuí faoi na líomhaintí seo, ag cur san áireamh gur i bhfoirm litreach anaithnide a rinneadh na líomhaintí.

Heritage Council

Questions (145)

Robert Troy

Question:

148 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the funding provided to the Heritage Council in each year from 2008 to 2012 inclusive; the amount provided in terms of research grants in each of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32526/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

Allocations to the Heritage Council in the years 2008 to 2011 are set out in the Revised Estimates Vote (REV) for the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government for each of those years. Those allocations to the Council were €13.403m in 2008; €10.142m in 2009; €8.482m in 2010 and €5.992m in 2011. In 2011 the Exchequer allocation was supplemented by €1.5m from the Environment Fund.

My Department is providing a total of €4,811,000 of Exchequer Funding for the Heritage Council in 2012, together with €1,500,000 from my Department's share of the Environment Fund. The management of resources made available to the Council by my Department is a matter for the Council. However, it is my understanding that the Heritage Council has a research theme under its grants programme, which provides grant-aid assistance for data collection and research relating to Ireland's heritage. Details of the Heritage Council's expenditure in this regard are contained in the Council's annual reports, which are available on the Heritage Council website www.heritagecouncil.ie.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (146)

Simon Harris

Question:

149 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32554/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

The management of sick leave and the methods used in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to my Department is a matter for the individual bodies concerned. The information sought is not, therefore, readily to hand in my Department but I have asked that it be promptly compiled and provided directly to the Deputy as soon as possible. I should say that, in line with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, bodies funded from my Department's Vote Group are required to comply with the provisions of Circular 09/2010, which governs the management of sick leave in the Civil Service and to provide an assurance to my Department annually in this regard.

Prompt Payments

Questions (147)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

150 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32594/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

For the Deputy's information, details in respect of the timeframe of payments for both my Department and agencies under its remit are available on my Department's website under the heading "Prompt Payment Reports" via the following link: http://www.ahg.gov.ie/en/Publications/CorporatePublications/CurrentPublications/

My Department continues to strive to make all payments to all suppliers as soon as possible.

Heritage Council

Questions (148, 149, 150)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

151 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to extend community based projects supported under the Heritage Council’s grant scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32668/12]

View answer

Sandra McLellan

Question:

152 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to increase funding to the Heritage Council for National Heritage Week 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32669/12]

View answer

Sandra McLellan

Question:

155 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to restore funding for research grants to the Heritage Council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32672/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 151, 152 and 155 together.

My Department is providing a total of €4,811,000 of Exchequer Funding for the Heritage Council in 2012, together with €1,500,000 from my Department's share of the Environment Fund. The Deputy will appreciate that, as a statutorily independent body, the management of resources made available to the Heritage Council by my Department is a matter for the Council itself.

Tourism Industry

Questions (151)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

153 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in view of the importance of heritage based tourism to the Irish tourist industry; his plans to develop this particular sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32670/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

Tourism policy is primarily the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. However, I can assure the Deputy that I fully recognise that Ireland's rich heritage has a key role to play in national economic recovery particularly through tourism.

My Department is currently promoting the role which Ireland's heritage has to play in making our country an attractive destination for sustainable tourism and inward investment, both in terms of the operation of Ireland's national parks and nature reserves, and in terms of our unique built heritage, which distinguishes us and which makes Ireland an attractive tourist location for both visitors and Irish people themselves. Cultural and heritage tourism is one of the most important elements of Ireland's tourism product, and heritage properties, including those in State care, are an important element of that attraction.

My Department provides some limited funding under a number of headings for investment in the built and natural heritage, and also supports the Heritage Council and the Irish Heritage Trust in their work in the heritage area. However, the scope to provide additional funding for the protection, conservation and development of the State's built heritage is constrained by the current national economic difficulties and the significant reduction in the public finances. My Department is, therefore, focusing on working creatively across Government and with partner bodies, such as the Heritage Council, the Irish Heritage Trust, Fáilte Ireland, the LEADER Programme and other heritage interests, in seeking to ensure that resources are directed towards the heritage sector. My Department will also continue to provide funding for the protection, conservation and development of our built and natural heritage, in so far as resources allow.

My Department is developing various initiatives which contribute to the protection and appropriate re-use of our built heritage and aim to deal with on-going challenges facing our architectural heritage, such as the adaptive re-use for historic properties and a forward plan-led approach to cultural heritage and urban design in our towns and cities. This will also assist in maintaining specialist jobs in the wider heritage sector and, in particular, in the repair and maintenance industry, which ultimately reflect in Ireland's overall tourism product.

My Department is also currently engaged in developing a specific heritage-led Historic Towns Initiative in collaboration with Fáilte Ireland and the Heritage Council. My primary objective with this initiative is to ensure that the participating towns have access to and an understanding of appropriate guidance to assist them in best conserving their heritage assets and, in so doing, underpin the sustainability of their community and local economy. It is my hope that meeting these goals will also, by extension, significantly enhance the visitor experience in these towns, thus helping to maximise the potential positive contribution of tourism to each of these towns and their respective hinterlands. I expect that the initiative, once fully developed by the end of 2012, will be piloted in 2013.

Environmental Policy

Questions (152)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

154 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to roll out local biodiversity action plans across the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32671/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

In November 2011, I launched Actions for Biodiversity 2011-2016, Ireland's Second National Biodiversity Plan. The plan makes clear that locally-led action is crucial in protecting biodiversity and ecosystems services and that biodiversity conservation at local level should be encouraged. I believe that local biodiversity action plans are the main mechanism to achieve this and therefore, one of the actions of the National Plan is for each local authority to publish a Local Biodiversity Action Plan or review existing plans.

A guidance document, to assist local authorities in the preparation of a Local Biodiversity Action Plan, was published under the previous National Biodiversity Plan. Under that Plan, local action was also highlighted as being very important in tackling biodiversity loss and by last year some twenty six Local Biodiversity Action Plans had either been finalised or drafted. I encourage local authorities to continue this process, through either drafting new plans or reviewing existing ones.

Question No. 155 answered with Question No. 151.

National Monuments

Questions (153, 154, 155)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

156 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when he will make public all reports relating to the Moore Street 1916 commemoration site, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32677/12]

View answer

Sandra McLellan

Question:

157 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to set up a task force to ensure that a co-ordinated plan is implemented to convert Moore Street, Dublin and its laneways into a cultural historic quarter by 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32678/12]

View answer

Sandra McLellan

Question:

158 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht his plans to designate the Moore Street area of Dublin as a battlefield site and develop it as a cultural historic quarter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32679/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 156 to 158, inclusive, together.

I refer the Deputy to my statement and that of the Minister of State at my Department in relation to the motion on these matters taken in the House during Private Members' business on 22 and 23 May 2012.

With regard to the issue of making documents public, my understanding is that, in general terms, the release of such documents, if requested, would be the norm, following completion of the relevant deliberative processes.

Departmental Staff

Questions (156)

Sean Fleming

Question:

159 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32786/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to salary ranges of staff in my Department is set out in Table 1.

TABLE 1:Salary ranges of staff in the Department for 2011 and July 2012

Salary Range €

Number of staff in range 2011

Number of staff in range July 2012

Under 40,000

310

293

40,001-50,000

104

100

50,001-60,000

87

84

60,001-70,000

49

45

70,001-80,000

35

33

80,001-90,000

15

18

90,001-100,000

13

9

Above 100,000

9

9

Total

622

591

The figures above exclude temporary seasonal staff employed by my Department, of which there are currently 67 in a salary range of less than €40,000.

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the cost of increments in various salary ranges is set out in Table 2.

TABLE 2:Estimated cost of increments payable across salary ranges of staff in the Department for 2011 (June-Dec) and 2012

Salary Range €

Estimated cost of increments falling due for payment in 2011 (June-Dec) €

Estimated cost of increments falling due for payment in 2012 €

Under 40,000

107,863

163,912

40,001-50,000

38,016

65,822

50,001-60,000

44,845

66,162

60,001-70,000

15,838

28,244

70,001-80,000

28,210

44,804

80,001-90,000

10,516

5,324

90,001-100,000

3,093

13,879

Above 100,000

6,293

6,293

Total

254,673

394,440

The payment of increments in my Department is subject to staff receiving a satisfactory rating through the Performance Management Development System.

Departmental Staff

Questions (157)

Tom Fleming

Question:

160 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions that have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is. their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33073/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht)

One officer who retired in the past 6 months was engaged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on a short-term contract. The officer is a solicitor on a six-month contract expiring on 31 August 2012. The abatement principle has been applied in this case.

Digital Television Service

Questions (158)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

161 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on a matter regarding SAORVIEW (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32520/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

Issues relating to the transmission, coverage and availability of SAORVIEW are an operational matter for RTÉ whose obligations are set out in the Broadcasting Act 2009. As such I have as no role in these matters. I have however been informed by SAORVIEW that the SAORVIEW network offers 98% population coverage so by itself fully meets RTÉ's legislative obligations for a replacement national digital TV network.

For the remaining 2% of the population, RTÉ launched SAORSAT in March 2012. SAORSAT is a free to air satellite system providing access to RTÉ channels and TG4. Since March 2012, therefore, everyone in Ireland can make the switch to digital. The development and provision of SAORSAT satellite platform is a purely commercial decision by RTÉ and not one in which I have a function. Information on SAORSAT, approved SAORSAT equipment, technical specification and information on professional installation is available on the SAORVIEW website, www.saorview.ie and also on the RTÉ Networks Limited (RTÉNL) website, www.rtenl.ie.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (159)

Simon Harris

Question:

162 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32556/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

I wish to advise the Deputy that issues relating to sick leave in State Bodies under the aegis of my Department are an operational matter for the individual Bodies in the first instance and I have no function in this regard. I will however ask the Agencies under the aegis of my Department to reply directly to the Deputy in the matter.

Prompt Payments

Questions (160)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

163 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32596/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

My Department aims, in its dealings with suppliers of goods and services, to pay all invoices as soon as possible after the goods and services have been satisfactorily delivered and the supporting documentation necessary to enable the payment has been received by my Department. The Prompt Payment of Accounts Act 1997 provides for 30 days between receipt of invoice and payment. However, in line with the Government Decision of the 19th May 2009 my Department is committed to making payments to suppliers within 15 days. The vast majority of all payments made by my Department to suppliers for goods and services are made within 15 days. In Quarter 1 of 2012 93% of payments were made within 30 days with 81% being made within 15 days.

Payments of invoices by the agencies and public bodies under the aegis of my Department is a day to day operational matter for the agency/body concerned. However, I would like to advise the Deputy that state agencies and public bodies under my aegis are committed to issuing payments within 15 days. I am informed that in Quarter 1 of 2012 88% of payments made by Agencies were within 30 days (statutory limit) with 58% being made within 15 days.

Advertising Standards

Questions (161)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

164 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the person who is responsible for regulating advertising campaigns that have no commercial element, such as religious or political advertising, which does not fall under the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32731/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

The matter of advertising on billboards does not come within the remit of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and I have no function in the matter. I am aware that the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland exists as a non-statutory self-regulatory body, independent of Government and set up and financed by the advertising industry. I am informed that certain marketing communications that do not have any commercial element do not come within the remit of the Code of Standards for Advertising, Promotional and Direct Marketing drawn up by the ASAI. I am not aware that any Department of State or public body has a role in regulating such ‘non-commercial' advertising campaigns. The general civil and criminal law in relation to publication would of course be applicable.

Departmental Staff

Questions (162)

Sean Fleming

Question:

165 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32788/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources)

It is not possible to provide the information requested in the timeframe allowed but my Department will provide it directly to the Deputy shortly.

Fuel Oil Specifications

Questions (163)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

166 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider introducing a higher sulphur content for agricultural diesel in view of the fact that reduction in sulphur in diesel is causing farm machinery not to perform to its full potential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32647/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The specifications for gas oil for use in agricultural machinery are set out under the Fuel Quality Directive 98/70/EC. The Directive requires that, from 1 January 2011, gas oil marketed for use in non-road mobile machinery, including farm machinery, must contain no more than 10 milligrams of sulphur per kilogram of fuel (commonly referred to as parts per million or ppm). This compares to the previous sulphur content limit of 1,000 ppm. High sulphur gas oil can still be used for certain other purposes, such as home heating or for marine use, though it should be noted that low sulphur gas oil is equally suitable for these applications.

The new 10 ppm fuel standard was developed in order to reduce emissions of nitrous oxides and particulate matter, exposure to which is known to be harmful to human health. All EU Member States were required to introduce and implement this new fuel standard. There is no derogation to allow any Member State to continue to supply high sulphur gas oil for use in agricultural machinery.

Directive 98/70/EC was transposed into national legislation by the European Communities Act, 1972 (Environmental Specifications for Petrol, Diesel Fuels and Gas Oils for use by non-road mobile machinery, including inland waterway vessels, agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 155 of 2011). Under these Regulations, only 10ppm sulphur gas oil may be supplied for use in agricultural machinery. It is an offence to supply high sulphur gas oil for this purpose. A person guilty of an offence under these Regulations is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine of up to €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 months, or both.

Engines in all new farm machinery placed on sale in the EU after 1 January 2011 are fitted with new abatement technology to meet stricter emission standards and have been designed to operate using low sulphur 10ppm gas oil. These newer engines will be damaged if exposed to high levels of sulphur, even if it is only for a brief period. Manufacturers have stated that this damage will not be covered under warranty. As such, regardless of legislative obligations, the continued use of high sulphur gas oil in agricultural machinery is not advisable.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (164, 165)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

167 Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the income guidelines used in assessing eligibility for housing applicants under the social housing scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32834/12]

View answer

Michael McCarthy

Question:

180 Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the various income limits that are set for the social housing qualification process; if these vary from one local authority to another; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32655/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 180 together.

The Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2009, provides for a new process of housing needs assessment for applicants for social housing support. Until these Regulations were made there had been different practices in housing authorities regarding the way in which applicants for social housing support had their income means-tested. The Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, which came into force on 1 April, 2011, standardised both the income limits and the definition of income. The Social Housing Assessment (Amendment) Regulations, made on 29 March 2011, amended the original regulations and provided for a general increase of €5,000 in the income bands. These Regulations specify the income limits for each housing authority, and are available on my Department's website —www.environ.ie or on the Housing Agency’s website at www.housing.ie.

Water and Sewerage Schemes

Questions (166)

Denis Naughten

Question:

168 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 400 of 21 of March 2012, if he will provide an update on Roscommon County Council’s design review report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32541/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I refer to the reply to Question No. 400 of 21 March 2012. The position is unchanged.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (167)

Simon Harris

Question:

169 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32559/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Day to day operational matters, including sick leave in the State agencies under my Department's remit are a matter for the agencies concerned.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, as part of the overall public service reform programme, has undertaken a review of sick leave provisions across the public service and has commenced a process of discussions with the public service unions with a view to implementing changes to the sick leave arrangements. My Department is participating in this process in the context of the local government sector.

Rural Development Programme

Questions (168)

Robert Troy

Question:

170 Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will allocate the additional €10 million previously announced under the basic services measure to various county development boards (details supplied). [32583/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Axes 3 and 4 (LEADER) of the Rural Development Programme (RDP), for which my Department has responsibility, continues to facilitate access to significant financial resources for rural communities.

As part of a suite of measures to address issues relating to the delivery of the RDP my Department has recently submitted a number of proposals to the European Commission which, if agreed, will allow a number of changes to the operation of the programme. Ireland has chosen to proceed with a number of these changes prior to formal approval from the European Commission including an increase of €10 million to the allocation for the Basic Services measure of the RDP. My Department requested submissions from Local Development Companies on 14 June 2012 and is now processing these submissions. I expect that Local Development Companies will be notified shortly in regard to the determination of allocations from the €10 million sum.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (169)

Brendan Smith

Question:

171 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when funding will be allocated to Cavan Town Council, in respect of a project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32592/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Following receipt of submissions in 2008 under the Remedial Works Scheme for a three-year programme of works to upgrade run-down local authority estates, it was decided not to approve the proposed works to the 44 unit estate at Killymooney Drive, largely due to the fact that the estate was constructed in 1988. All of the available funding under the remedial works measure is fully committed and no further projects can be considered for approval at this time.

Prompt Payments

Questions (170)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

172 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit`; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32599/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Information in respect of the timing of payments by my Department, relevant agencies and local authorities is available on the Department's website at http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/ StatisticsandRegularPublications/PromptPayments.

Local Government Charges

Questions (171)

Seán Kyne

Question:

173 Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will confirm that the non principal private residence fee is applicable to persons who own only one private dwelling but who have had to relocate to a different area of the country in order to obtain employment and as a result are living in private rented accommodation; and if the NPPR is applicable, that steps will be taken to end this unfair anomaly brought about by the current employment market situation. [32611/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009, as amended, broadened the revenue base of local authorities by introducing a charge on non-principal private residences. The charge is set at €200 and liability for it falls, in the main, on owners of rental, holiday and vacant properties.

The Act has a starting position of a universal liability for residential property in respect of the charge. It goes on to exempt certain buildings and owners from this liability, the most important exemption being where a property is occupied by the owner as his or her sole or main residence on the liability date. Where a property is not occupied by the owner, it falls liable for the charge, even if it is the only property that person owns.

The Act places collection of the charge under the care and management of local authorities. I have recently issued guidelines to local authorities for use in the context of individual situations where genuine hardship in having to discharge a liability in a single payment can be demonstrated. The guidelines set out the modalities for local authorities in relation to entering into payment arrangements for the discharge of outstanding liabilities in instalments over a specified period. Enquiries in this regard should be directed to the relevant local authority.

Election Management System

Questions (172)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

174 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the criteria in use for the awarding of presiding officer and personation agent positions; if he will consider applying a points based system which would afford unemployed and low income earners to avail of these positions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32628/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The primary role of my Department in electoral matters is to provide an appropriate policy and legislative framework for a modern and efficient electoral system. Within that framework, local returning officers are responsible for all matters in connection with the actual conduct of elections and referendums, including the selection, appointment and training of polling station and count staff in accordance with the relevant provisions of electoral law.

To assist returning officers, my Department issues guidance to them in advance of each election and referendum. The guidance emphasises that the smooth conduct of polls is dependent on maintaining a cadre of sufficiently skilled and experienced people. Having regard to that overall objective, returning officers are advised to employ competent and efficient persons as polling staff and asked to give consideration, where possible, to employing suitable persons who are unemployed.

Responsibility for the appointment of personation agents at an election is a matter for each candidate or his or her election agent. Under the Electoral Act 1992, a candidate or his or her election agent at an election shall, not later than 2 days (disregarding any excluded day) before polling day, give written notice to the returning officer of the name and address of every personation agent appointed by the candidate or his or her agent together with the name of the polling station for which the personation agent is appointed.

Electoral Divisions

Questions (173, 174)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

175 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when he will confirm his position on the Boundary Commission report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32636/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

176 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if a public information leaflet will be sent to every home affected by the boundary changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32637/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 175 and 176 together.

The Constituency Commission Report 2012 was presented to the Ceann Comhairle and laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas on 21 June 2012. The next step in accordance with accepted practice is for the preparation of a Bill in my Department to give statutory effect to the Commission's recommendations. The final determination of the constituencies for Dáil Éireann is a matter for the Oireachtas to prescribe in legislation. I will bring the necessary legislation forward in the coming months.

I have no plans to issue public information leaflets about the Constituency Commission's recommendations.

Local Government Reform

Questions (175)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

177 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the local government Bill will be published; his views on whether the many councillors who will be affected need adequate notice of possible changes to the position of their council and constituency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32638/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I refer to the reply to Questions Nos. 3 and 5 of 28 June 2012, which sets out the position in relation to this matter.

Community Development

Questions (176)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

178 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the groups that may apply for funding to the community led local development fund 2014 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32652/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The Regulatory Frameworks for the next EU programming period (2014-2020) are currently under negotiation at European Level. Parts of the proposals presented by the European Commission in late 2011 facilitate the use of a Community Led Local Development approach (CLLD) for the delivery of a number of European Funds in the next programming round including the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The LEADER methodology has been used to deliver EU Rural development funds since 1991 and is considered to be the prototype CLLD approach. This LEADER approach will continue to be mandatory under the EAFRD regulation for the delivery of rural development funds in the next programming period. However the use of a CLLD approach is not mandatory for other funds and the regulatory proposals leave the decision in that regard at the discretion of the Member States. In this context, as the negotiations are ongoing no decisions have been made with regard to the methodologies to be used to deliver EU funds in Ireland in the post 2013 period.

Local Authority Housing

Questions (177)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

179 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total amount of funding provided for the construction of local authority housing in the State from 2008 to date in 2012; if he will provide a breakdown of the number of houses built in each local authority area during these dates; if an assessment has been carried out regarding future social housing needs; the projected number of local authority houses believed necessary by 2015; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32653/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

My Department collates and publishes a wide range of housing statistics that inform the preparation and evaluation of housing policy. The full range of data compiled can be viewed on my Department's website, www.environ.ie, where data on Local Authority completions, broken down by county, are displayed.

My Department does not hold information on the number of households on local authorities' waiting lists or any projection of the number of households that may, in the future, apply for social housing or the length of time that households will spend on waiting lists. The number of households on waiting lists continuously fluctuates as households are allocated housing and new households apply for housing support. Detailed information on the latest statutory assessment of housing need carried out in March 2011, including a breakdown by housing authority, is available on my Department's website —www.environ.ie or on the Housing Agency’s website at www.housing.ie.

In terms of the delivery of social housing, the Government's housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. Delivery of social housing will be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing, but the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms will include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. There is also obvious potential, across a range of housing programmes, for the Government's objective of sourcing and providing suitable residential units for use as social housing to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA). In spite of the challenging circumstances within which local authorities are forced to operate, a tentative projection of 4,000 to 4,500 housing units is anticipated for 2012. Projected levels of activity in 2013 and beyond will be subject to the financial provision for housing, which will be determined in the context of the estimates process for each year.

Details of the total amount of funding provided to local authorities for new social housing supply for the years 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and the budgetary provision for 2012 are set out in the following table:

Year

€ Amount

2008

€979,728,785

2009

€690,536,343

2010

€377,657,543

2011

€118,125,839

2012

€111,451,300

Question No. 180 answered with Question No. 167.

Rental Accommodation Scheme

Questions (178)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

181 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total amount of funding provided to fund the rental accommodation scheme from 2009 to date in 2012; the amount that will be required to fund this scheme up to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32661/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The budget provided for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) in any given year is intended to support the costs of all existing rent supplement households transferred to the scheme in previous years and to fund the costs of rents of additional new transfers to the scheme (new supply) during a current year. In that context it is not possible at this time to project the amount of funding that will be required for the Scheme in the future. €135m has been provided for the Scheme in 2012.

The expenditure on RAS from 2009 to 2012 is set out in the table.

Year

RAS Expenditure

2009

€83,394,513

2010

€100,076,430

2011

€115,917,365

2012 (to end May)

€62,221,789

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (179, 180)

Niall Collins

Question:

182 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total cost of the Dublin West by-election in October 2011; the total cost of the recount ordered by one of the candidates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32662/12]

View answer

Niall Collins

Question:

183 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the total cost of the EU stability treaty referendum in May 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32663/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 182 and 183 together.

The costs of running or holding an election or referendum are met from the Central Fund administered by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The information requested in the questions is not available in my Department.

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (181)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

184 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 16, 31 and 39 of 28 June 2012, the number of properties in east Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32723/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

In December 2011 NAMA identified over 2,000 properties as being potentially available for social housing, including 312 units in Cork County. From this list of some 2,000 properties a number of projects have been identified as being suitable for social housing, and these are being advanced for inclusion in the leasing scheme. These projects are at different stages of development and I expect that housing units will start to be delivered under this arrangement later this year. NAMA continues to work with a view to identifying additional units suitable for inclusion in the programme.

Housing Statistics

Questions (182)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

185 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide the most recent figures regarding the total number of empty homes in County Dublin and his plans to address the issue of empty homes in County Dublin and nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32730/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The most recent figures on the number of vacant properties in County Dublin can be found in my Department's National Housing Development Survey 2011, which can be found at www.environ.ie. There were a total of 4,679 vacant properties in the Dublin area as at September 2011, a reduction from the 6,816 properties in 2010. The National Housing Development Survey 2012 is currently under way, and I expect the results to be published this autumn. It is likely that the figure of 4,679 will reduce further in 2012 as my Department continues to work with local authorities and other stakeholders to resolve outstanding issues.

In this regard, I am chairing the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments to oversee implementation of the Report of the Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments, together with the Government's response to the recommendations. The Committee includes representatives from the Irish Banking Federation, local authorities, the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency, NAMA and the construction sector and real progress is being made with regard to the public safety works required to improve the living conditions of existing residents on some unfinished estates. The Committee intends to publish a report on overall progress, including the numbers of sites resolved, in the coming days.

Local Authority Staff

Questions (183)

Sean Fleming

Question:

186 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in respect of 2011 the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in local authorities, the following salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 to €50,000, between €50,001 to €60,000, between €60,001 to €70,000, between €70,001 to €80,000, between €80,001 to €90,000, between €90,001 to €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32733/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The numbers of persons employed in local authorities in 2011 (as at 30 June 2011) on a whole time equivalent basis (WTE) is set out in the table.

Salary Range

€ 0-€40,000

€40,001-€50,000

€50,001-€60,000

€60,001-€70,000

€70,001-€80,000

€80,001-€90,000

€90,001-€100,000

€100,001-Upwards

Total

No. of WTE’s

18,246

5,924

3,339

1,755

866

520

50

219

30,919

%

59%

19.2%

10.8%

5.7%

2.8%

1.7%

0.1%

0.7%

100%

The overall staff numbers in local authorities have decreased by a further 2,154 WTE since June 2011 to 28,765 WTE.

Fire Safety

Questions (184)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

187 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the option is available to local authorities to waive fees in respect of applications for fire certificates by schools carrying out essential construction works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32738/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Section 22 of the Building Control Regulations 1997-2009 provides for an exemption of fees in certain circumstances in respect of, among other things, an application for a Fire Safety Certificate made by or on behalf of a voluntary organisation or an approved body for the purposes of the Housing Acts. No fee would therefore be required in respect of an application for a Fire Safety Certificate concerning a school building run by a voluntary organisation. The regulations do not, however, provide for a blanket exemption from fees in respect of schools generally.

Building Regulations

Questions (185)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

188 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans for the Building Control Act and its regulation of the architecture profession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32760/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The Building Control Act 2007, among other things, provides for the registration of persons entitled to use the title of Architect. A variety of routes to registration are provided for, having regard to the academic qualifications, professional attainment and practical experience of prospective candidates for registration. I have no plans to amend the registration arrangements currently provided for under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007. I would encourage practically trained architects to pursue the routes to registration which are open to them with a view to joining the small but growing numbers of practically trained architects already on the register.

I have recently released for public consultation proposed Building Control (Amendment) Regulations which will provide for:

(a) the introduction of mandatory certificates of compliance by builders and designers of buildings confirming that the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations have been met;

(b) the lodgement of drawings at both commencement and completion of construction, demonstrating how the building has been designed and built to comply with all parts of the Building Regulations.

The regulations as proposed require, among other things, that the owner of a proposed building or works must assign a competent professional to inspect and certify the proposed building or works. The assigned person must be an Architect or a Building Surveyor named on a register maintained in line with Part 3 or Part 5 respectively of the Building Control Act 2007 or be a Chartered Engineer named on the register maintained under Section 7 of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969.

It is envisaged that the assigned person will inspect and certify the building or works in line with a Code of Practice which is currently being prepared and which will be published, following consultation with industry stakeholders, in advance of the implementation of the proposed regulations. Architects and other construction professionals already, in certain circumstances, offer contracts for service to clients which go beyond design work and involve the oversight, inspection or certification of construction work. In this respect the proposed Regulations need not be considered radical or exceptional.

Under the Building Control Acts 1990-2007, responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations rests first and foremost with the owners of buildings and on builders/developers who carry out construction works to such buildings. The proposed Regulations do not change this fundamental principle. Professionals who are engaged by builders have also a statutory duty to ensure that construction at least meets the legal minimum standards. The proposed Building Control (Amendment) Regulations will now be reviewed by my Department in the light of the submissions received during the public consultation process, which closed on 24 May 2012, with a view to having a final set of Regulations prepared and signed into law in the coming months.

Litter Pollution

Questions (186)

Billy Timmins

Question:

189 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to amend the legislation on litter in order to assist businesses that wish to display further advertising for special events; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32762/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

My Department is currently reviewing existing waste and litter legislation. This review is focused on identifying potential changes to the legislation to drive further reductions in littering and illegal dumping. I have no plans to amend the legislation along the lines suggested in the question at this time.

Local Authority Staff

Questions (187)

Billy Timmins

Question:

190 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown by grade of the annual leave entitlement for members of local authorities under the Croke Park agreement; what said entitlements were previous to the agreement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32766/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

Agreement was reached between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Public Services Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in November 2011 on the standardisation of public service annual and related leave allowances. The agreement provided that the number of days annual leave to apply, in respect of serving personnel and all sectors of the public service, would range from a minimum of twenty-two to a maximum of thirty-two days.

Under the agreement serving staff, while they remain in their existing grades, retain the annual leave allowance appropriate to their grade subject to not exceeding the overall ceiling of thirty-two days. Given that the level of annual leave across local authorities varied before the agreement the following range of annual leave entitlements now applies.

Grade

Annual Leave Days Range

County Manager

32

Director of Service

32

Senior Executive Officer / Senior Engineer and analogous grades

32

Senior Executive Engineer/Administrative Officer and analogous grades

31 — 32

Senior Staff Officer/Executive Engineer and analogous grades

30 — 32

Staff Officer/Graduate Engineer and analogous grades

27 — 32

Assistant Staff Officer and analogous grades

26 — 32

Clerical Officer and analogous grades

23 — 31

Craft Workers, General Operatives and Related Grades

23 — 32

Prior to the November 2011 Agreement the annual leave entitlements for local authority staff were as follows:

Grade

Annual and Privilege Days Range

County Manager

33-44

Director of Service

33-44

Senior Executive Officer / Senior Engineer and analogous grades

33-44

Administrative Officer / Senior Executive Engineer and analogous grades

31-36

Senior Staff Officer / Executive Engineer and analogous grades

30-36

Staff Officer / Graduate Engineer and analogous grades

27-34

Assistant Staff Officer and analogous grades

26-33

Clerical Officer and analogous grades

23-31

Craft Workers, General Operatives and related grades

23-32

All County and City Managers implemented a maximum of thirty-two days annual leave with effect from April, 2011. The revised arrangements were implemented in the local authority sector as provided for in the agreement and have come into place with effect from the leave year commencing January, 2012. The agreement also provides for the introduction of standardised leave bands for new entrants and promotees which will range from a minimum of twenty-two days to a maximum of thirty days.

Departmental Staff

Questions (188)

Sean Fleming

Question:

191 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000 between €40,001 —€50,000; between €50,001 —€60,000; between €60,001 —€70,000; between €70,001 to €80,000; between €80,001 to €90,000; between €90,001 to €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32791/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The information in respect of end 2011 and May 2012 regarding the number of staff in the salary bands indicated is set out in the following table:

Salary Range

Dec-11*

May-12*

Under €40,000

207.08

193.28

€40,001 —€50,000

157.2

151.2

€50,001 —€60,000

183.53

173

€60,001 —€70,000

40.4

33.2

€70,001 —€80,000

105

105

€80,001 —€90,000

53

50

€90,001 —€100,000

46

46

Over €100,001

20

20

Total

812.21

771.68

* Figures provided on basis of whole time equivalent

The number of staff who received increments in 2011 was 367. This number reflects the reconfiguration of the Department following the formation of the Government in March 2011. Once increments are paid on the corepay system, it is not possible to extract historical increment data from the system on a global basis. Historic costs could be calculated manually on an individual basis but this would take a prohibitively long time to calculate. Therefore, more detailed information is not available in respect of 2011.

Salary Range

Total Cost in 2012

Under €40,000

€61,900.53

€40,001 —€50,000

€61,464.38

€50,001 —€60,000

€62,084.56

€60,001 —€70,000

€31,926.36

€70,001 —€80,000

€56,054.52

€80,001 —€90,000

€25,049.29

€90,001 —€100,000

€21,338.74

Over €100,001

€4,903.46

Total

€324,721.84

Increments are paid in line with the approved rates of pay at the time as outlined on the websites of the Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The payment of increments is subject to satisfactory performance under the Performance Management Development System (PMDS). However, staff who have reached the maximum or long service increment point of their salary scales do not receive increments.

Departmental Staff

Questions (189)

Tom Fleming

Question:

192 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33078/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

No former staff of the Department, who retired in the past six months, have been re-employed subsequently.

Building Regulations

Questions (190)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

193 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider amending the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 to give additional powers to management companies to penalise home owners refusing to pay their management charges; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32726/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

The position is that section 18(10) of the Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011 places an obligation on the owner of each unit in a multi-unit development to pay all service charge levied by the owners' management company under the Act. Moreover, section 22 goes on to provide that service charges which remain unpaid may be recovered by the owners' management company as a simple contract debt in a court of competent jurisdiction, normally the District Court.

Human Rights Issues

Questions (191)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

194 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the fact that his Department has failed to meet the UNCAT deadline for follow-up on its report of June 2011 which recommended reparation for the Magdalene survivors; if he or the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations Office at Geneva have responded to Felice D. Gaer’s Rapporteur for Follow-up on Concluding Observations UNCAT letter of 1 June 2012; if it his intention to disengage from the UNCAT process and his views on the impact this will have on Ireland’s reputation in the international arena of human rights. [32759/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

There is no intention to disengage from the UNCAT process. As requested in the Concluding observations of the UN Committee against Torture, comprehensive follow up information is being provided in response to the Committee's recommendations in paragraphs 8, 20, 21 and 25 of those observations.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (192, 193)

Michael McNamara

Question:

195 Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a naturalisation application will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32521/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in May, 2012. The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process. Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to INIS by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response from INIS is, in the Deputy's view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Michael McNamara

Question:

196 Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a naturalisation status will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32539/12]

View answer

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that an application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in May, 2012.

The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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

Road Safety

Questions (194)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

197 Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the rationale for the Garda Commissioner to release the collision prevention programme in relation to persons (details supplied). [32544/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the Collision Prevention Programme referred to has been supplied to the family in question. The function of this programme is to identify collision prone locations based on an ongoing analysis of the history of collisions, local knowledge, and road management and engineering involving An Garda Síochána, local authorities and the National Roads Authority. This is an ongoing process which is subject to review and it is used to establish if there are remedial engineering or structural work and/or enforcement action which can be taken at areas which have been identified as having a history of collisions with the overall objective of preventing or reducing such incidents.

I further understand that the Gardaí have met with the family and provided details concerning the traffic investigation arising from this fatal collision, together with supporting documents and other material concerning the case.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (195)

Simon Harris

Question:

198 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32564/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

The management of sick leave within the agencies, offices and bodies reporting to my Department is implemented by them in accordance with civil service policy as set out in Department of Finance Circular 09/2010 — Management of Sick Leave.

The criteria for the payment of sick is set out in Department of Finance Circular 25/1978. Currently, full pay during properly certified sick absence may be allowed up to a maximum of six months in one year and half pay thereafter subject to a maximum of twelve months sick leave in any period of four years or less. For the purposes of calculating the periods of sick leave on full and half pay, six months and twelve months are, where sick absence is not continuous, reckoned as 183 days and 365 days respectively, including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays falling within a period of sick leave.

Sick leave for single or two day absences, in total not exceeding seven days in any period of twelve months, may be granted without medical certificate.

The number of sick days taken and associated costs, excluding An Garda Síochána, are set out in the table below.

Agency/Body

Years

Total number of sick leave days

Total cost of sick leave*

Legal Aid Board

2011

3,037

€ 436,882

2012

2,172

€386,959

Property Registration Authority

2011

6,476

€814,784

2012

2,759

€372,762

Irish Prison Service (Discipline grades)

2011

41,394

€7.5m

2012

19,542

€3.5m

The Courts Service

2011

9,528

€1.5m

2012

4,384

€732,620

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

2011

594

€124,805

2012

147

€16,600

*All figures are approximate.

The information in relation to An Garda Síochána, the Irish Human Rights Commission and the National Disability Authority will be provided directly to the Deputy by the Organisations concerned.

Domestic Violence

Questions (196)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

199 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if domestic violence legislation will be amended to increase eligibility for domestic violence orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32579/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question Number 46 of 1 December 2011, in which I indicated the following:

The Programme for Government commitment — to introduce consolidated and reformed domestic violence legislation to address all aspects of domestic violence, threatened violence and intimidation, in a way that provides protection to victims — will be progressed as soon as possible having regard to the need for consultations and the need to dispose of urgent legislative matters in my Department under the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for the State.

I am considering making suitable measures available for applicants who are or have been in relationships but who may never have cohabited with the person causing the risk. While there are already measures available under section 10 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997, the criminal threshold of proof applies in those cases. Accordingly, I am considering whether persons in non-cohabiting relationships may be included in the category of people who may apply for a safety order.

In relation to the cohabitation requirements to obtain a barring order, it should be noted that there is a constitutional impediment to removing that requirement entirely where the respondent has any interest in a shared property. This is because the order may have the effect of restricting the property rights of the respondent. However, I will give full consideration to any measures which may enhance protections for an applicant while respecting the respondent's constitutional rights.

In advance of wider reform, I introduced reforms to domestic violence legislation by means of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011. That Act removed the minimum required period of cohabitation before one of a cohabiting couple may apply for a safety order (previously, the applicant was required to have resided with the respondent for at least six of the previous twelve months) and gave equal access to the protections of the Domestic Violence Act to opposite-sex and same-sex couples (the relevant provision previously referred only to couples "living together as husband and wife"). The 2011 Act also widened the scope of section 2 of the 1996 Act, which specifies who may apply for a safety order, to enable a person to obtain a safety order against a person with whom they have a child in common. This is the only exception to the general rule that the protections available under the Domestic Violence Acts are for the benefit of persons who have lived together in the same household.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (197)

Michael McNamara

Question:

200 Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when a naturalisation status will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32582/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 483 of Tuesday, 12 June 2012. The position remains as stated.

I am advised by the Citizenship Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that a valid application for a certificate of naturalisation was received from the person referred to by the Deputy in September 2009. The application is currently being processed with a view to establishing whether the applicant meets the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation, such as good character and lawful residence, and will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible.

It is recognised that all applicants for citizenship would wish to have a decision on their application without delay. Considerable resources are deployed to process applications and these resources together with the necessary administrative arrangements are kept under review.

As well as being a significant event in the life of its recipient, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation as provided for in law is also a major step for the State which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

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

Prompt Payments

Questions (198)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

201 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32604/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

The average time, in working days, from the receipt of invoices until payment for the period 1st January 2012 to 30th June 2012 is set out as follows:

Vote

Days

Justice and Equality Vote

9.9 days

Garda Síochána Vote

14.7 days

Prisons Vote

13.6 days

Courts Vote

14.8 days

Property Registration Vote

8.2 days.

Household Charge

Questions (199)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

202 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 28 June 2012, if a landlord is permitted to pass the household tax or future property tax or local authority charges on to the tenant by making it a condition of the tenancy agreement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32724/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

Under the Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations 2012, an owner of a residential property was required to pay the household charge by 31 March 2012 unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. Section 1 of the Act provides a definition of "owner" for the purposes of the Act.

As regards payment obligations under tenancy agreements, the relationship of landlord and tenant is generally a matter of contract between the parties and it is therefore a matter for the parties to agree the terms of the agreement, including payment of any charges which are levied to fund local services .

Departmental Staff

Questions (200, 201)

Sean Fleming

Question:

203 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in respect of 2011 the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the justice sectors the following salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 to €50,000; between €50,001 to €60,000; between €60,001 to €70,000; between €70,001 to €80,000; between €80,001 to €90,000; between €90,001 to €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32734/12]

View answer

Sean Fleming

Question:

204 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000 between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32796/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 and 204 together.

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the Department and agencies staffed by the Department is set out in the table below.

The salary bands include staff employed both on a full-time and a work-sharing basis.

Income Band

Number of Staff 2011

Number of staff 2012

Up to €40,000

960

960

€40,001-€50,000

370

314

€50,001-€60,000

350

347

€60,001-€70,000

158

164

€70,001-€80,000

157

127

€80,001-€90,000

32

37

€90,001-€100,000

52

45

Greater than €100,000

56

52

The monetary value of increments paid in 2011 was in the region of €840,000 and is estimated to be in the region of €817,000 for 2012. It is not possible to provide these figures according to salary bands.

Departmental Staff

Questions (202)

Tom Fleming

Question:

205 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33083/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice and Equality)

The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009 provided for the superannuation benefits of public servants, who retired within a ‘grace period' which ended on 29 February 2012, to be unaffected by the pay reductions introduced for all public servants with effect from 1 January 2010 under that Act. In the period 1 January 2012 to 29 February 2012, a total of 475 staff retired from my Department and the agencies under my remit, including An Garda Síochána. Of these 475, only one staff member who was a Governor in the Prison Service has been re-employed in the Prison Service on a fixed term contract to meet pressing operational and transformation requirements. The individual's pension has been abated since the commencement of the contract. The total cost of this contract to date is €43,939.27. I am not aware of any other public servant being re-employed by my Department or agencies under its remit. I am however confirming the position and will revert to the Deputy in the event that the position is other than that stated above. It should be noted that on occasion, retired public servants may be engaged mainly on a short term basis because of their particular knowledge and expertise in a particular area, for example, to serve on interview boards, complete investigations etc. Such instances would not be considered re-employment.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (203)

Simon Harris

Question:

206 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Defence the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32557/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

Responsibility for the management and development of Civil Defence at national level was transferred by my Department to the Civil Defence Board by virtue of the Civil Defence Act, 2002. As the Deputy may be aware, following a Government decision in July, 2011 legislation is currently being drafted for the dissolution of the Board and the transfer of its functions and responsibilities back to my Department. When the Civil Defence Board was established in 2003 responsibility for Human Resources and other related matters was retained by my Department and not devolved to the Board. Consequently, procedures and reporting arrangements in relation to sick leave matters for the staff of the Board are the same as those pertaining to my Department and are included in Department reports.

The details requested by the Deputy for my Department, including the Civil Defence Board, are recorded in the response to Question No. 223 of 28 June 2012.

With regard to the Permanent Defence Force the information requested by the Deputy is not compiled by my Department on a routine basis and it is not possible to provide the detailed information sought by the Deputy in the time available. My Department is currently seeking to compile the relevant data and I will provide the information directly to the Deputy once it comes to hand.

Prompt Payments

Questions (204)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

207 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Defence the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32597/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

All payments for supplies of goods and services to my Department, the Defence Forces and agencies under the remit of my Department are paid centrally by the Finance Branch of my Department, based in Renmore in Galway. I am pleased to report that in the year to the end of June 2012, the average time taken for payment to suppliers was 7 days from the receipt of an invoice.

Departmental Staff

Questions (205)

Sean Fleming

Question:

208 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Defence in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001- €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32789/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

It has not been possible in the time available to compile all the necessary information requested by the Deputy. The information will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Staff

Questions (206)

Tom Fleming

Question:

209 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Defence the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33076/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Defence)

My Department has not rehired any public servants who have retired from the public service over the past six months.

Registration of Title

Questions (207)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

210 Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the Land Commission entered into any Q3 purchase agreements for plots in a bog (details supplied); and if so, if he will list the plot numbers for which Q3 agreements exist; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32515/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

There is no record of the former Irish Land Commission entering into Q3 purchase agreements in respect of the plots listed in the details supplied.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (208, 209)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

211 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 462 of 26 June 2012, the persons who pay the wages of Moorepark staff, County Cork; if it is a private company or the Department of Finance; if it is a private company paying the wages, the reason the Department of Finance has control over the way they are paid and can stop wage agreements without negotiations and also acknowledge a Labour Court recommendation received in 2010 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32522/12]

View answer

Sandra McLellan

Question:

218 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if a centre's (details supplied) employees benefited from the national pay awards for private sector workers negotiated in the context of national agreements, the reason the Department of Finance in 2008 stopped the first instalment of T16 — 3.5% — that was due to them in October-November of that year, as the increase at the time had already been approved by the company board of MTL and this increase was outside the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009; the grounds the Department of Finance had in 2008 to interfere with private sector workers pay outside of legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32720/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 211 and 218 together.

Moorepark Technology Ltd (MTL) is a subsidiary of Teagasc, the Agriculture, Food and Development Authority, with 57% of shares owned by Teagasc and the remainder by a number of dairying processing companies. As a subsidiary of a non commercial state agency, MTL is required to obtain Departmental approval for pay rates. It is also the case that under the ‘Articles of Association' for MTL, both the number of employees and their remuneration are subject to the sanction of Teagasc, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Finance now the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

In the past, pay rates in MTL have been approved based on dairy industry norms and the application of private sector pay increases negotiated in the context of National Agreements. Staff salaries are paid from MTL's trading activities and Teagasc provide additional management support from its own resources

The refusal by MTL in 2009 to pay the 3.5% increase under the "Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Arrangement" was based on ‘inability to pay' at that time. The impact on the future cost of the public sector pensions of the claimants (i.e. the cost implications for public pension liabilities of the awarding of private sector pay increases) was also relevant. It is understood that most other private employers in the dairy industry have not paid the ‘Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Arrangement' pay increases on the basis of their ‘inability to pay'.

In addition to inability to pay, cognisance must now be taken of the introduction, in December 2009, of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (No. 2) Act 2009. MTL is deemed under this legislation to be a "public service body" inter alia by virtue of the fact that they have a public service pension scheme. MTL is, therefore, statutorily prohibited from increasing pay rates and the pay reductions specified in the Act must apply to the staff of MTL. The Financial Emergency Act also takes precedence over the Labour Court findings in LCR 19725 on the status of MTL staff, which was made just after the enactment of the legislation.

Turbary Rights

Questions (210)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

212 Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if any rights of turbary existed on a bog (details supplied) prior to the turbary regulations being made under instrument 1546/9/56, 24 September 1956 and instrument 1673/5/56 of 14 May 1956; and if so, if he will list the plot numbers for which these rights exist. [32542/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

As the bog referred to in the Question is not defined on a map, my reply refers to plots 1C, 2B, 3B, 4G and 8B on a Land Commission map of the townland known as Letterfad, on the Estate mentioned. The turbary over these plots, about one fifth of the area of the townland, was the subject of a private trust set up in 1916 between the Estate Landlord and six local trustees, for and on behalf of the Tenants on the Estate. The trustees were given powers to manage the cutting of turf, access, drainage etc., over the relevant bog. In 1958 the former Land Commission, using powers provided in the trust deed, revoked the trust over plots 3B (in part) 4G and 8B (in part).

It appears that the Land Commission did not own turbary rights over the plots listed in the trust deed, but simply managed them.

Legal Services Regulation

Questions (211)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

213 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his proposals to enforce mandatory separate legal representation for voluntary transfers of farms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32552/12]

View answer
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am aware of a proposal made in relation to this matter by the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. I, as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, have no statutory functions in relation to the regulatory affairs or oversight of the Law Society of Ireland.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (212)

Simon Harris

Question:

214 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32553/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

In relation to the twelve State Bodies under the aegis of my Department and the management of sick leave, this is an operational matter for the Bodies.

Prompt Payments

Questions (213)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

215 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32593/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

In the year ended 30th June 2012, the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and the issue of payment by my Department was 12.5 days.

The processing of payments by the State bodies under the remit of my Department is an operational matter for each of the bodies.

Departmental Properties

Questions (214)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

216 Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the position regarding the value for money audit of the rent of the Department of Agriculture office at Dockgate, Galway; the rent per year the Department is paying for that office; his plans to build a new departmental office within the environs of Galway city or if he will relocate the present business being done at Dockgate to Mellow’s College in Athenry, thereby making the office much more accessible to the vast majority of farmers in County Galway and which would also result in having more of the services available to farmers located in the one place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32614/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

The Office of Public Works has primary responsibility for the provision of accommodation to my Department. In a recent review of the cost of accommodation and the options for alternative premises the OPW has availed of a break option in the current lease. It is not sustainable to be paying rent when space is available in other state owned buildings in the area. Accordingly, my Department is working with the OPW to make new arrangements to locate staff of the Galway Regional Office, with both short and long term requirements informing any decisions taken.

There are no plans to build any new facility for my Department in the Galway area. Similarly, there are no plans to relocate the operations carried out at Dockgate to Mellow's College, Athenry.

Departmental Investigations

Questions (215)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

217 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has given any consideration to the findings and recommendations of the Office of the Ombudsman with regard to the operation of his Department in relation to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will work with this person to find a resolution. [32656/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

The Office of the Ombudsman investigated a complaint made by Mr. John Shine in relation to my Department in 2011. The Ombudsman subsequently determined that the complaint made against my Department could not be upheld and made no recommendations in relation to Mr. Shine. The Ombudsman has in addition, advised my Department that she regards the case as closed.

Question No. 218 answered with Question No. 211.

Departmental Staff

Questions (216)

Sean Fleming

Question:

219 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32785/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

The number of staff currently on the payroll in each of the salary ranges requested is set out in the following table, along with the number of increments due in each category during the second half of 2012:

Salary Band €

Number of Staff

Number of Increments due-July to December 2012

Up to 40,000

1,342

240

40,001-50,000

1,002

137

50,001-60,000

619

71

60,001-70,000

111

10

70,001-80,000

150

40

80,001-90,000

167

11

90,001-100,000

180

9

Over 100,000

42

7

Total

3,613

525

Some 566 increments have been already paid in the first half of 2012 across all the various salary ranges.

The cost of these increments in a full year is estimated to be of the order of €1.4m. It is not feasible to provide the actual costs of the increments in 2012 in the time frame available, as the calculations would have to be carried out for each individual, taking account of the date the increment became payable, the amount of the increment and whether or not the staff member worked full time during the year. In addition, the awarding of an increment is dependent on satisfactory performance by the staff member.

Departmental Staff

Questions (217)

Tom Fleming

Question:

220 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33072/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine)

Three officers who have retired from my Department in the last 6 months have been rehired on a contract basis for a limited period; two were hired directly by my Department on a contract for services basis, the contracts will expire in August and September 2012. The third person was hired through the Public Appointments Service, on a fixed term contract of 10 weeks.

Normal pension abatement rules are being applied, i.e. the pension is, where necessary, abated (i.e. reduced) during the period of retention to ensure that the amount of the pension, together with the officer's pay in respect of that period, does not exceed the remuneration which the officer would have received if, during that period, s/he had remained in the post which s/he held on the last day of reckonable service.

Child Care Services

Questions (218)

James Bannon

Question:

221 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will provide counselling-therapy for a child (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32627/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date information.

Family Support Services

Questions (219)

Finian McGrath

Question:

222 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will expedite the custody process in respect of a family (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [32630/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

As this is a service matter, I have asked the Health Service Executive to respond directly to the Deputy with the most up-to-date information.

Child Care Services

Questions (220)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

223 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to extend the early childhood care and education scheme from one to two years per child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32548/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme was introduced in January 2010 and provides a free preschool year to all eligible children in the year before commencing primary school. In line with the Programme for Government, my Department has made a significant commitment to maintaining the universal free preschool year. About 65,000 children, that is approximately 95% of children in the year before school, are availing of the free preschool provision at this time.

In 2011, the ECCE programme cost approximately €166 million. Additional funding has been made available for 2012 when the cost of the programme is expected to rise to €175 million to cater for changing demographics and provide for the increased number of children in the relevant age cohort.

I am aware of the need to further develop the early childhood care and education sector and it is my view that it could be extremely helpful to some children if the free preschool provision were extended to a second year. This could be particularly beneficial for certain children with special needs who currently can avail of the preschool year on a pro-rata basis over two years. The length of the preschool provision is being reviewed, and will form part of the Early Years Strategy. However, any development that involved further provision of preschool would require considerable additional funding and given the financial constraints under which the Government is currently operating it is not possible to provide for any enhancements to the programme at this time.

However future developments relating to early years care and education will be considered during preparation of the new National Early Years Strategy 2012.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (221)

Simon Harris

Question:

224 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to her Department, separate to individuals working directly for her Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to her Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32555/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

The information requested by the Deputy is not routinely gathered by my Department. I have requested my officials to collect and collate the information required and furnish it directly to the Deputy.

Prompt Payments

Questions (222)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

225 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in her Department and in each agency and organisation within her remit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32595/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

In accordance with established practice and the reporting mechanisms in place for the monitoring of prompt payments, Government Departments and public sector bodies are required to publish quarterly composite reports on performance in relation to payments to suppliers on their respective websites. Particulars relating to the payments made by my Department and the statutory agencies under its remit are contained on my Department`s website (www.dcya.gov.ie). Information relating to the period April to June 2012 is being compiled at present and will be uploaded on the website in the very near future.

Departmental Staff

Questions (223)

Sean Fleming

Question:

226 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges; less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000; and more than €100,001; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32787/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

Please find below the best estimate for my Department as requested by the Deputy, which includes a small number of staff currently on incentivised career breaks:

Pay Range €000

Number of employees

Estimated Cost of Increments €000

<40

58

12

>40<50

30

7

>50<60

27

4

>60<70

3

1

>70<80

16

6

>80<90

7

1

>90<100

2

0

>100

11

2

Departmental Staff

Questions (224)

Tom Fleming

Question:

227 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33074/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs)

I can confirm that no retired public servants have been re-hired by my Department since its establishment in June 2011.

Hospital Staff

Questions (225)

Brian Walsh

Question:

228 Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on the recruitment process in respect of specialist diabetic nursing posts at Galway University Hospital, which were approved earlier this year; when he expects that the posts will be filled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32518/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (226)

Brian Walsh

Question:

229 Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Minister for Health the number of patients currently on a waiting list for insulin pump therapy in County Galway; the way he intends to address this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32519/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Universal Health Insurance

Questions (227)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

230 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the countries visited by him, his officials, officials from the Health Service Executive and members of the universal health insurance implementation group since February 2011 to investigate their health system as part of the implementation of UHI; the number of visits to each country; the names of persons on each visit; the total cost of each visit; and the outcome from each visit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32528/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

Since February 2011, two study visits abroad, one to the Netherlands and one to Germany, were undertaken by Irish officials in order to examine those countries' health systems as part of the implementation of universal health insurance.

The study visit to the Netherlands in June 2011 involved a meeting between the Irish delegation, comprising officials from my Department and the Health Insurance Authority, and the Dutch Ministry for Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board. As well as considering that country's health insurance system, the meeting focussed predominantly on Risk Equalisation.

The study visit to Germany in March 2012 involved a meeting between officials from my Department and the HSE and the Inek Institute (German Institute for Hospital Remuneration). The discussions centred on hospital financing, notably Germany's experience with its DRG case-based prospective system for funding hospitals.

Both Risk Equalisation and the introduction of a Money follows the Patient funding system for hospitals are key building blocks for implementing universal health insurance in Ireland.

I see it as vital that we consult with colleagues in other countries and international bodies as part of an ongoing process to add value to our knowledge base and learn from the experience of those countries. However, I should make it clear that, ultimately, the Government's reform proposals will be designed to meet the needs of the Irish system and to ensure the best outcomes for Irish patients.

Details sought in relation to the visits are set out in the table below, including the costs arising in respect of involvement by officials from my Department in the two study visits. I have asked the HSE to forward directly to the Deputy the details associated with the attendance of the three officials from the HSE at the meeting in Germany.

Country

Officials

Total Cost

Netherlands — 17th June 2011Meeting with the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board.

Department of Health:Principal Officer x 2Health Insurance Authority:CEO/Registrar, Head of Research, and Head of Regulatory Affairs.

€2,344.42*cost covered by the Health Insurance Authority.

Germany — 22nd March 2012Meeting with the Inek Institute (German Institute for Hospital Remuneration).

Department of Health:Principal Officer x 1HSE:Head of Casemix Unit, General Manager/Programme Manager for Prospective Funding, and Director of Finance, St James’s Hospital (who is also a member of the Implementation Group on Universal Health Insurance).

€244.98**

*It should be noted that the total cost also covers costs associated with a meeting in Brussels on the 16th June 2011 between the two Department of Health officials and the EU Commission in relation to the private health insurance market.

**This is exclusive of a sum of €124 in respect of the return journey by train from Frankfurt Airport to the Inek Institute in Siegburg which was paid for by the HSE.

Home Help Service

Questions (228, 229)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

231 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if he will provide in tabular form the number of home care packages, home help hours by county; the same figures for the same time in 2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32529/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Billy Kelleher

Question:

232 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health if the home help hour has been reduced to less than an hour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32530/12]

View answer

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

Animal Experimentation

Questions (230)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

233 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health his views on the submissions made to the public consultation exercise held by his Department in October-November 2011 regarding transposition of Directive 2010/63/EU relating to animal experimentation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32532/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

My Department undertook two public consultations with regard to the Directive on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. The first consultation took place in July 2009 following the publication of the proposed Directive in November 2008. Responses to that public consultation informed Ireland's position in the subsequent negotiations at EU level. The second public consultation took place in October 2011 following the adoption by the European Parliament and the Council of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes. Responses to this second public consultation are informing my Department's ongoing work on the transposition of the Directive into Irish law. This task must be completed by November of this year.

Directive 2010/63/EU strengthens the protection of animals still needed for research and safety testing. Significant changes in this regard are requirements to perform ethical evaluations prior to authorisation of projects using animals and higher standards of care and accommodation. The Directive also strongly promotes the principles of the three Rs (replacement of the use of animals to the greatest extent possible with alternative testing methods, refinement of scientific procedures to improve animal welfare and reduction in numbers of animals used). Many of the provisions are mandatory.

I appreciate the time and effort devoted by individuals and organisations in their response to both public consultations. The submissions received in response to the first consultation were particularly welcome as the Directive was still under discussion at that stage. The second public consultation, of necessity, had a different focus given that the Directive was already finalised at that stage and most of its provisions are mandatory. The responses to the second public consultation are, consequently, primarily focused on the nuts and bolts of the transposition process itself and are of particular assistance to the Department in this regard.

Medicinal Products

Questions (231)

Dan Neville

Question:

234 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Health if the Vertex created kayldeco drug for people with cystic fibrosis, with the G155D mutation, is available through the health services under the long-term illness scheme. [32540/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

Ivacaftor (Kalydeco) received a positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use at EU level in May 2012. Marketing authorisation issued by the EU Commission is anticipated in due course. Should the manufacturers make an application for inclusion of the product on the GMS and community drugs schemes, that application shall be considered in accordance with the relevant criteria.

Positive Ageing Strategy

Questions (232)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

235 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health if the national positive ageing strategy will be published in 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32543/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The Programme for Government has committed to completing and implementing the National Positive Ageing Strategy so that older people are recognised, supported and enabled to live independent full lives.

The Strategy will set the strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland. It will set out a common framework for the development of operational plans by a number of Government Departments which will clearly set out each Department's objectives relating to older people. Mechanisms designed to monitor the implementation of measures contained in operational plans will also be included in the Strategy. However, I do not envisage that the Strategy will propose new service developments. Rather it will set the strategic direction for future policies, programmes and services for older people in Ireland.

A considerable amount of preparatory work has already been completed. The drafting of the Strategy will proceed within the Department within the constraints of available staff and other priorities. At this stage I envisage the Strategy will be completed and published in the last quarter of this year within these constraints.

Health Service Staff

Questions (233)

Regina Doherty

Question:

236 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Health the reason an individual (details supplied) who retired from a senior position in St. Michael’s House in 2009, has been re-employed as a consultant with St. Michael’s House; the policy for re-employing former employees as contractors; the amount that this individual is being paid; the amount of work this person’s company is being given and awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32545/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Mental Health Services

Questions (234)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

237 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health if he will provide an update on progress being made on the review of the Mental Health Act 2001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32546/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The Interim Report of the Steering Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001 was published on 21 June and is available on the Department's website. The commitment to undertake this review was included in the Programme for Government and is one to which the Government and I attach great importance.

I fully endorse the recommendation of the Steering Group that a rights based approach to mental health law should be adopted. A move away from the paternalistic approach of the 2001 Act was a strong feature of the views expressed in the consultation process. It is important that each person should have a right to determine and participate as much as they possibly can in their own care and treatment.

The Interim Report also emphasises the need for revised mental health legislation to support the objectives of A Vision for Change especially in relation to the promotion of community based mental health services. I also welcome the various changes recommended which aim to improve procedures regarding the detention of individuals and the necessary safeguards proposed to ensure that they receive the maximum appropriate protection.

Having now received the Interim Report, it is my intention to put in place an Expert Group to carry out the second and substantive phase of the review. I would expect that this group can begin its work in the coming weeks and that it would conclude its deliberations in early 2013.

Hospital Accommodation

Questions (235)

Dara Calleary

Question:

238 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Health in relation to the Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar, County Mayo, the number of beds it is proposed to close at the hospital in the current year; if any long-term proposals have been made for the total closure of long stay beds at the hospital; the recommendations that have been made by Health Information and Quality Authority regarding the future bed complement at the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32549/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Dental Services

Questions (236)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

239 Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Health the number of dentists by county employed by the Health Service Executive; if consideration is being given to recruit additional dentists at locations in which there are significant gaps; the limits on the type of treatment set; the routine checks for children in primary and secondary school; if it is possible to have a preventative care service of a similar standard throughout the country; if not, the locations that deviate from that standard; if any changes are proposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32551/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The HSE is collating a breakdown of the number of dentists employed and I will forward this information to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

The HSE has no central policy to recruit additional dentists. However, the current Employment Control Framework for the health sector gives the HSE some flexibility in relation to filling posts in order to protect front line services in so far as possible while still achieving the required staff reduction targets.

The Public Dental Service of the HSE provides services to schoolchildren aged up to 16 years and special care dentistry. The schoolchildren's service is focused on providing an emergency service and targeting children in key classes at key stages in their development. The HSE endeavours to provide the same level of service throughout the country but this may not always be possible. While it is not possible at present to quantify these differences, this issue is being addressed in a re-organisation of dental services which is underway. The new structure will support a unified approach through a reduction in the number of service areas and the maximisation of resources within each area. Additionally, as part of the restructuring, 5 Assistant National Oral Health Leads will be appointed who will focus on the development of standards and consistent practices across all HSE dental services, including preventative care services.

State Agencies

Questions (237)

Simon Harris

Question:

240 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Health the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32562/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The health sector, as with other public service employers, has sick leave schemes for staff when they are absent from work through illness.

The HSE has strengthened its policies and procedures on attendance management in light of the 3.5% target in its 2012 National Service Plan, including action plans for all sites for the management of absence over 3.5%; analysis of certified and uncertified absence on each hospital site and community care area; monitoring adherence to Attendance Management Policies such as return to work interviews, counselling, referral to Occupational Health; use of disciplinary processes where appropriate.

In addition, training and development has been provided to line managers, and HR and Occupational Health support is also available for line managers to assist in managing attendance more effectively.

The overall rate of sick leave in 2011 was 4.9% and is 5.0% to date in 2012. The rate for the month of April, the latest available data, was 4.7%.

The HSE estimates that the opportunity cost of time lost through sick leave absence is in the region of €46m per 1% of absence. In 2011, this equated to approximately €225m in respect of the reported annualised sick absence rate of 4.9%.

In the time available, the information requested in relation to agencies under the aegis of my Department is not available and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The Public Service Reform Programme contains a commitment to review sick leave policies in the Civil and Public Service with a view to improving productivity and reducing absences. The Labour Relations Commission have facilitated discussions between management and the public service unions. A Labour Court hearing on the matter will be held shortly.

Primary Care Services

Questions (238)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

241 Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Health the reason that those who answer the primary care reimbursement service dedicated Deputy line cannot answer important questions and they must send the request on to a processing section and wait for them to return with the required information; the reason requests that have been sent on as a priority at least four times after two or three weeks still have not been responded to (details supplied) by the processing section; the way he intends to deal with this problem as it is unsatisfactory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32577/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Hospital Accommodation

Questions (239)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

242 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health if his Department and the Health Service Executive are committed to continued investment in and development at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Athy, County Kildare, in view of the Health Information and Quality Authority’s recent decision to register this highly regarded and vital respite and long stay care facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32578/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Pharmacy Services

Questions (240)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

243 Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Health the level of engagement that has taken place between his Department, the Health Service Executive, the Irish Medicines Board and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland and other bodies to manage the problem of prescription medicine shortages in pharmacies; the progress that has been made on this issue to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32586/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

Shortages of essential medicines are currently a cause of concern not just in Ireland but throughout Europe and the rest of the world. It is a global problem affecting health systems in all countries and impacting on patients world-wide. Medicines shortages can be the result of one, several or any combination of factors throughout the pharmaceutical supply chain such as manufacturing difficulties, industry consolidation, and commercial decisions by manufacturers to withdraw unprofitable lines. In some cases pharmaceutical manufacturing is concentrated to such an extent that a production problem in one pharmaceutical plant can have a wide-ranging impact on health systems throughout the world.

Irish Medicines Regulations place an obligation on both pharmaceutical manufacturers and wholesalers, within the limits of their respective responsibilities, to ensure the adequate availability and supply of medicines on the Irish market in order to meet patient needs.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) engages in agreements with manufacturers and importers to supply medicines under the community drugs schemes. These agreements require manufacturers and importers to notify the HSE as soon as they are aware of foreseeable or prolonged stock shortages.

My Department has been engaging with the Irish Medicines Board (IMB), the HSE and the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland (PSI) to identify ways in which the Irish system can manage medicines shortages as effectively as possible in order to minimise the impact on patients. The IMB and HSE work closely with each other to operationally manage medicines shortages when they arise. The PSI has recently published guidance to registered pharmacists on managing medicines shortages. International efforts to effectively manage medicines shortages are also being considered.

Manufacturers, wholesalers and pharmacies all have responsibility to work together to identify shortages quickly and implement alternative arrangements to meet the needs of patients.

Medical Cards

Questions (241)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

244 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 705 of 24 April 2012 and 583 of 12 June 2012, the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22 has not yet been notified in writing of the decision regarding their medical application; when this notification will be issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32590/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Prompt Payments

Questions (242)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

245 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Health the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32602/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

My Department is committed to making every effort to pay its suppliers promptly. In line with Government Decision No. S29296 of 19 May 2009, every effort, consistent with proper financial procedures, is being made to ensure that all suppliers are paid within 15 calendar days of receipt of a valid invoice. My Department publishes quarterly reports on prompt payments on our website (www.doh.ie). Information from the period January to March 2012 indicates that 91% of valid invoices for goods and services were paid within 15 days. Reports on prompt payments by public sector bodies within my remit are being prepared and will be published on our website in due course.

Hospice Services

Questions (243)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

246 Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Health his plans to provide staff and all other facilities to make St. Francis Hospice, Blanchardstown, Dublin, operational; his views on whether opening the 24 bed facility is an important unused step down facility that could reduce pressure on local hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32612/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Water Fluoridation

Questions (244)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

247 Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health his views on whether the practice of fluoridation of our water supplies needs to be altered taking into account that quantities of fluoride can be monitored at process stage, but the quantities of water drank by our population cannot be monitored; his further view on whether the fluoridation process can have detrimental effects with prolonged consumption; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32629/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The Forum on Fluoridation Report (2002) found there was no evidence of any negative health effects from the fluoridation of public water supplies. In 2011 the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER), published its ‘Opinion on critical review of any new evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking water'. The main conclusions of the SCHER report are that there are no known health implications from fluoridating water at levels used in the EU.There are no plans to change the policy on fluoridation, which continues to make an effective contribution to oral health in Ireland.

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Questions (245)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

248 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the National Treatment Purchase Fund website is still accessible; his views on whether this will cause confusion to the public; if he will seek to have the website removed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32631/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

In July 2011 I announced changes to the remit of the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) — namely its role would be changed to support the mission of the Special Delivery Unit (SDU). The NTPF is now fully aligned with the SDU and is targeting waiting lists strategically and incentivising hospitals to manage their waiting times proactively. The NTPF capability is a core part of the SDU's performance improvement role in holding public hospitals to account.

So while the role of the NTPF has changed, it is still a separate entity. The content of the website has been altered to reflect the changes to the organisation and will be updated as the function of the NTPF becomes more interlinked with that of the SDU.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Questions (246, 247)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

249 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health the current waiting time for an appointment in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32632/12]

View answer

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

250 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) who has been told by the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, that they will have to wait 26 months for an appointment reflects the average current waiting time in the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32633/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 249 and 250 together.

The issue of Out-Patient waiting lists was essentially an untended problem. The scale of the problem was unmeasured and consequently no special action was taken to deal with it. This Government intends to change that. I have instructed the Special Delivery Unit to give priority to devising methods for dealing with the issue of Out-Patient waiting lists.

Work has already commenced on the systematic and automatic collection of waiting time data, at an individual patient level in a standardised format from all hospitals providing an Out-Patient service. This will be the first time that such detailed data will be available at a national level from all hospitals. The collection and analysis of Out-Patient waiting time data will reveal how many patients are waiting by region, by hospital, by speciality and by Consultant. The Special Delivery Unit and NTPF are aiming to publish out-patient waiting time data in the near future.

The next step will be to then set a maximum waiting time target for a first Out-Patient appointment. Hospitals will be held responsible and accountable for ensuring that patients are seen in Out-Patients within this maximum waiting time. The Special Delivery Unit and the NTPF will assist hospitals in targeting their resources towards those patients who are waiting longest and ensure that they are seen, assessed and appropriately treated. In parallel with reducing the numbers of those waiting longest, the Special Delivery Unit will also commence work with the HSE Clinical Programmes to reform the structure, organisation and delivery of Out-Patient services to ensure that the right patient is seen by the right health professional at the right time.

The goal is to improve access by implementing an Out Patient Service Performance Improvement Programme that will underpin a radical transformation of how Out-Patient services are delivered in Ireland.

I have arranged for the questions to be forwarded to the Health Service Executive, who will respond directly to the Deputy in relation to the information requested on Out-Patient waiting times in the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin and the particular case referred to the Deputy's question.

Health Services

Questions (248)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

251 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health if a person (details supplied) in County Dublin will receive confirmation on when their case will be progressed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32634/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Hospital Services

Questions (249)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

252 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health when the health board will provide funding to the National Rehabilitation Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32635/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Smoking Ban

Questions (250)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

253 Deputy Mary Mitchell O’Connor asked the Minister for Health his plans to penalise drivers who smoke whilst carrying child passengers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32644/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The Government recently gave approval for the drafting of amendments to a Private Member's Bill entitled "Protection of Children's Health from Tobacco Smoke Bill 2012". The purpose of the Bill is to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present. The details of the Bill, including issues relating to penalties, are currently being considered.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (251)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

254 Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Health if he will confirm that funding for special needs assistants in creches for those availing of disability services in Dublin 15 will remain in place for next year and on a permanent basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32645/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Medical Cards

Questions (252)

Brendan Smith

Question:

255 Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Health the position regarding a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied). [32665/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

Hospital Procedures

Questions (253)

Martin Ferris

Question:

256 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Health when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive an appointment for an MRI scan. [32722/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

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

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

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

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

Medical Negligence Claims

Questions (254)

Billy Timmins

Question:

257 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health if the hospital manager at Clonmel Hospital, County Tipperary and the Caredoc manager for Clonmel will contact a person (details supplied). [32761/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

With regard to specific complaints in relation to experiences of individuals in our hospitals, there is a formal complaints policy, details of which are on the HSE website, at www.hse.ie/eng/services/ysys/Complaint. In addition, advice and instructions for making complaints about a service or an individual may be found at www.healthcomplaints.ie.

In accordance with this procedure, a complaint must be made in the first instance, to the hospital in which the incident causing the complaint occurred.

In the case of South Tipperary General Hospital, the complaint can be addressed to:

The Complaint's Officer,

South Tipperary General Hospital,

Western Road,

Clonmel,

Co Tipperary.

Phone: 052 6177000.

If an individual is not satisfied with the response from the hospital, a review can be sought from the HSE Director of Advocacy and the Ombudsman, whose details are set out below:

HSE Director of Advocacy,

Oak House,

Millennium Park,

Naas,

Co. Kildare.

Tel 1890 424 555.

Office of the Ombudsman,

18 Lower Leeson Street,

Dublin 2.

Tel.: 1890 223 030.

Email: ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.ie.

I have asked the HSE to answer the specific queries you have raised and to reply to you directly.

Departmental Staff

Questions (255)

Sean Fleming

Question:

258 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32794/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to the permanent staff of my Department is attached in the following table. It excludes staff who retired at the end of February 2012.

Pay Range

Number of *WTE in Each Range

Estimated Costs of Increments 2012 €000

Less than €40,000

113

26

€40,001-€50,000

62

11

€50,001-€60,000

63

13

€60,001-€70,000

11

6

€70,001-€80,000

51

23

€80,001-€90,000

21

5

€90,001-€100,000

17

8

Greater than €100,000

18

0

Total

356

92

*Whole Time Equivalents.

With regard to the Health Service Executive, they have been asked to collate the data sought as soon as possible and it will be provided directly to the Deputy by them when available.

Departmental Staff

Questions (256)

Tom Fleming

Question:

259 Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Health the number of the over 9,000 persons from the public service who have retired over the past six months with high tax-free lump sum payments in many cases and substantial pensions who have been re-hired on contract; if these persons are now being paid on the double by the State, that is, their pension and the salary they are receiving under the new contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33081/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

No officers who retired from my Department over the past six months have been re-hired on contract. The eighteen Non-Commercial State Agencies under the aegis of my Department have confirmed that they have not re-hired on contract any public servant who retired in the past six months. With regard to the Health Service Executive, they have been asked to collate the data sought as soon as possible and it will be provided directly to the Deputy by them when available.

Road Maintenance

Questions (257)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

260 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the degree to which discussions between him and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform have been progressed in relation to the delivery of an infrastructural project (details supplied); if he is now in a position to indicate a timeline for the delivery of this project; when he will advise Kildare County Council to proceed with compulsory purchase orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32524/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each road authority in accordance with the provisions of section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993. Works on such roads are a matter for the relevant local authority to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants. The initial selection and prioritisation of works to be funded is also a matter for the Council. My Department received an application from Kildare County Council in November 2008 for 100% funding of the Athy Southern Distributor Road. A grant of €150,000 was allocated to the Council in 2011 to allow certain design and planning work on this project to be undertaken. I am advised that the total cost of the project is in excess of €34 million. As the Deputy will appreciate, given the current financial circumstances, I am not in a position to give any commitment regarding the provision of further funding for this project in the future. I am aware of the importance of this road to Athy and to the south Leinster region. If and when the financial position of the state improves I would like to be in a position to support the advancement of this project.

The 2012 regional and local road grant funding has now been fully allocated and there are no further funds available from which an additional allocation could be made. I will announce the 2013 regional and local road grant allocations early in the new year. It is open to Kildare County Council to progress this project through its own resources.

Departmental Agencies

Questions (258)

Simon Harris

Question:

261 Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the procedures in place to manage sick leave in all agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department, separate to individuals working directly for his Department; the combined number of sick days taken by staff in the agencies, offices or other bodies reporting to his Department in 2011 and to date in 2012; the financial cost of this sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32567/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

The provision of the material requested is a matter for direct response by the State agencies under the aegis of my Department. I have forwarded the Deputy's question to them for attention. If the Deputy does not receive a reply within ten working days, please advise my private office.

Prompt Payments

Questions (259)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

262 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the average time lapse between receipt of invoices for goods and services and actual payment in his Department and in each agency and organisation within his remit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32607/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

Information relation to the time lapse between the receipt and payment of invoices in respect of both the Department and its non-commercial agencies.is published every quarter on the Department's website, http://www.dttas.ie/viewitem.asp?id=12153&lang=ENG&loc=1512.

Tourism Promotion

Questions (260)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

263 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if in view of the recent report citing the absence of adequate tourism branding for Dublin, if he will request Fáilte Ireland to set up a dedicated unit to address this deficiency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32609/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

I welcome the recently published ITIC report on "Capitalising on Dublin's Potential" as a tourist destination and was glad to see that it involved wide consultation across the industry, local authorities and the State Agencies. The report makes a number of recommendations which will need further consideration by the Department and the State Agencies. In relation to the specific recommendation regarding branding of Dublin,I agree that attention needs to be given to how best to brand Dublin although I note that the report does suggest that any brand would be wider than tourism and involve local authorities and non-tourism businesses as well.

I understand that since the integration of Dublin Tourism, Fáilte Ireland has established a new dedicated Visit Dublin unit to aggressively promote Dublin as a premier destination. I am informed by Fáilte Ireland that the Visit Dublin Unit has a number of new initiatives planned for 2012 including working with Tourism Ireland to deliver an extensive international marketing campaign which will take a fresh approach to promoting Dublin. A full schedule of multi-media activity focussing on the key markets of Great Britain, France, Germany and the US is planned as part of this campaign. An updated version of the successful Visit Dublin App is also in development. Furthermore, in tandem with investment by Failte Ireland in tourism product in Trinity College, Meeting House Square, Malahide Castle and the Dubline heritage trail, there continues to be significant investment in major festivals for the city. These include established events such as the St. Patrick's festival but also new events such as the New Year's Eve festival.

There are a number of high-profile international tourism and sporting events being held in Dublin this year that are being supported by the tourism agencies. These events include the Tall Ships Race, the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships, World Handball Championships and Bavaria City Racing. Support is also being given to the Notre Dame vs Navy American Football Game, which will be played at the Aviva Stadium in September. It is estimated that this event alone will attract up to 40,000 overseas visitors to the city. Next year we can look forward to hosting the Heineken and Amlin Cups as well as a range of events as part of the Gathering Ireland 2013. These investments continue to increase the attractiveness of the city as a tourist destination.

Heritage Centres

Questions (261)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

264 Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a heritage centre (details supplied) in County Kerry is under new ownership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32620/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

My Department and the State tourism agencies have no role in the operation of the specific centre referred to in the Deputy's question ie The Valentia Heritage Centre. Therefore I am not in a position to advise about matters relating to the ownership of the centre.

National Aquatic Centre

Questions (262)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

265 Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the actions he or his Department officials have taken following the publication of the report on VAT costs on the National Aquatic Centre by the Committee of Public Accounts in May 2012. [32657/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

My Department has received a copy of the report of the Public Accounts Committee and its contents have been noted. The report does not make any specific recommendations in relation to my Department.

Road Network

Questions (263)

Billy Timmins

Question:

266 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the road schemes, their cost, submitted to him by Wicklow County Council for 2012; and which schemes were funded. [32768/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

Applications are sought from local authorities for funding of regional and local roads under two grant categories, the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme and the Low Cost Safety Improvements Scheme. The funding sought by Wicklow County Council under these two grant categories in 2012 and the allocation provided is outlined in the following tables:

Table 1 Funding sought under the Specific Improvement Grants Scheme in 2012

Project

Allocation Requested

Allocation Provided

Lacken Falls Bridge Replacement

135,000

135,000

Ballylow Bridge Repair

52,000

52,000

Rathdrum Retaining Wall R752

175,000

175,000

Ticknock Bridge Parapet Rebuilding Works

99,000

99,000

Fortgranite Bridge Repair Works

35,000

35,000

Coates Bridge Repair Works

48,000

48,000

Aghavannagh Masonry Arch Bridge Repair Works

70,000

70,000

Sheeanamore Lower Bridge Repair Works

65,000

65,000

Macreddin Bridge Repair Works

40,000

40,000

Newrath Lane Junction Improvement Works

117,000

117,000

Total

836,000

836,000

Table 2 Funding sought under the Low Cost Safety Improvement Grants Scheme in 2012

Project

Allocation Requested

Allocation Provided

R117 Enniskerry*

53,000

40,000

R752 Glenealy

10,000

0

L6144 Ballinaclash

7,000

0

R747 Woodfield*

35,000

10,000

R755 Annamoe*

12,000

2,500

R772 Arklow*

15,000

20,000

R412 Tyntepark Cross Roads

50,000

50,000

R761 Newrath Lane

30,000

0

L8361 Lugnagroagh

26,000

26,000

L1096 Cronroe

30,000

30,000

Total

268,000

178,500

*Funding sought by the Council was subsequently amended following discussions between Council Engineers and NRA Engineers.

Departmental Staff

Questions (264)

Sean Fleming

Question:

267 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in respect of 2011, the best estimate for 2012 of the number of persons in the following salary ranges, the total cost of the increments in respect of the persons in each of these salary ranges: less than €40,000; between €40,001 - €50,000; between €50,001 - €60,000; between €60,001 - €70,000; between €70,001 - €80,000; between €80,001 - €90,000; between €90,001 - €100,000 and more than €100,001; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32799/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport)

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded shortly.