Departmental Expenditure

Questions (224)

Seán Fleming

Question:

224. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the gross and net additional expenditure savings that his Department is seeking to achieve in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49236/12]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

As the Deputy will appreciate, consideration of the financial allocations for my Department for 2013 has not yet concluded and the consequential gross and net expenditure savings will be decided within the context of the forthcoming Budget. However, it may be noted that in order to conform to the 2013 indicative expenditure ceilings of €218m current and €38m capital as set out in the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, a reduction of €21m (approximately 8%) would need to be applied across my Department's programme areas (including the National Gallery Vote).

Departmental Bodies

Questions (225)

Niall Collins

Question:

225. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit; if he will provide a list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit that have been abolished since March 2011 or are scheduled to be abolished and the date on which they are due to be abolished; the date on which the body was created; the name of the body; the 2012 budget for the body; the number of employees of the body in 2012; the names of any outside consultants hired by the organisation since March 2011 and what future plans he has for the body. [49306/12]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The following table sets out the bodies and agencies funded from my Department's Vote Group, the year in they were established, and the number of employees in each body as of end-September 2012. I can advise the Deputy that no organisations or agencies of this nature have been abolished since March 2011 and none are scheduled to be abolished at this time. However, as the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced a series of rationalisation measures in the Public Service Reform Plan, which was published on 17th November 2011. A number of those measures related to certain of the bodies funded from my Department's Vote Group and these are currently being progressed.

Details of the expenditure allocations made available to the bodies in question are published each year in the annual Revised Estimates Volume (REV) and the Appropriation Account. The REV also includes Agency Statements, which provide details in relation to expenditure on administration and pay in the previous year. These publications are available on the website of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at www.per.gov.ie and on the website of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General at www.audgen.gov.ie. For ease of reference, Departmental allocations at subhead level are available at the following link http://per.gov.ie/estpubexp2012.

The Deputy will appreciate that the engagement of consultants is part of the day-to-day operational responsibilities of the bodies in question. I am arranging, therefore, for the terms of the Deputy's Question to be transmitted to the heads of relevant bodies with a request that they provide this information, to the extent feasible, directly to the Deputy.

Body/Agency

Year established

Employees

Waterways Ireland*

1999

326

An Foras Teanga, comprising Foras na Gaeilge and the Ulster-Scots Agency*

1999

Foras na Gaeilge 63

Ulster-Scots Agency 15

Údarás na Gaeltachta

1980

84

An Coimisinéir Teanga

2004

5

Heritage Council

1995

15

Crawford Art Gallery

2006

13

Chester Beatty Library

1969

30

National Library of Ireland

1877

87

National Gallery of Ireland

1854

104

National Concert Hall

1981

58

National Museum of Ireland

2005

154

Irish Museum of Modern Art

1991

84

Arts Council

1951

45

Irish Film Board**

1980

13

* North-South Implementation Bodies established under the Good Friday Agreement.

**Established originally in 1980 but closed in 1987. Reconstituted in 1993.

Public Sector Pensions Expenditure

Questions (226)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

226. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide in tabular form the number of public servants in receipt of annual gross public sector pensions of between 0 to 10,000 euro, 10,001 to 20,000 euro, 20,001 to 30,000 euro, 30,001 to 40,000 euro, 40,001 to 50,000 euro, 50,001 to 60,000 euro, 60,001 to 70,000 euro, 70,001 to 80,000 euro, 80,000 to 90,000, 90,000 to 100,000 euro, 100,001 to 110,000 euro, 110,001 to 120,000 euro, 120,001 to 130,000 euro, 130,001 to 140,000 euro, 140,001 to 150,000 euro, 150,001 to 160,000 euro, 160,001 and above; and if these figures include local authorities, vocational educational committees, commercial semi-State companies, non-commercial State agencies and bodies public sector retirees. [49820/12]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the bodies funded from my Department's Vote Group is set out in the table below. As I have previously advised the House, there are no commercial semi-State companies coming within the ambit of my Department.

Pension band (€)

Number of pensioners

0 – 10,000

102

10,001 - 20,000

84

20,001 - 30,000

36

30,001 - 40,000

23

40,001 - 50,000

24

50,001 - 60,000

14

60,001 - 70,000

6

70,001 - 80,000

4

80,000 and above

0

Total

293

Warmer Homes Scheme Applications

Questions (227)

Jack Wall

Question:

227. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason an application for a warmer homes grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare agreed in June 2012 has now been withdrawn; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49107/12]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

Better Energy: Warmer Homes delivers a range of energy efficiency measures to households that are vulnerable to energy poverty. The scheme is managed by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and delivered through a combination of SEAI appointed Community Based Organisations (CBOs), augmented by a panel of private contractors in order to ensure national coverage.

I am informed by the SEAI that the house in question was surveyed for suitability for attic insulation, at which time it was identified as a dormer bungalow. The practice of insulating dormer roofs through the Better Energy Warmer Homes scheme was recently reviewed in respect of value for money, the overall effectiveness of the additional insulation which can only be undertaken in part of the roof space, and the significant costs associated with achieving appropriate ventilation in the roof space to avoid condensation problems. All of this is in the context of endeavouring to address the maximum number of vulnerable fuel-poor homes from within available resources. On balance it has been decided that the significant costs are not generally justified by the marginal insulation gains. Therefore insulation of dormer roofs is not currently implemented under the scheme. However, I am advised that SEAI will continue to keep the matter under review with my officials for feasible cost effective alternatives, particularly where the homes are in extreme fuel poverty, at which time affected houses may be revisited.

Queries in relation to individual applications are an operational matter for the SEAI and a dedicated hot line can be reached at 1800 250 204. In addition, the SEAI has established a specific email address for queries from Oireachtas members, which can be sent to oireachtas@seai.ie and will be dealt with promptly.

Broadcasting Service Provision

Questions (228)

Michael Creed

Question:

228. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will clarify the law and regulations surrounding the availability of UK terrestrial channels on satellite systems here; the reason some channels are not available in this fashion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49122/12]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The governance of inter State broadcasts in the European Union is conducted under the terms of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (or AVMSD for short), which is the latest iteration of a long standing series of such Directives, all of which are premised on the country of origin principle. The Directive also sets down a series of restrictions that apply to television broadcasts across the EU, including issues around types of advertising, hate speech and sponsorship of certain types of programmes.

Under the ‘country of origin’ principle, broadcasts are regulated in the country from which they originate, with provision made in Irish law that these network providers must carry Irish terrestrial channels. However, once these provisions are met, commercial television suppliers based in other countries can offer those channels they wish to, depending of course on commercial agreements with the channel owners themselves. I gather that some commercial television providers choose not to make certain terrestrial channels readily available on their Electronic Programme Guide (or EPG); this is of course a matter for them.

Better Energy Homes Scheme Expenditure

Questions (229)

Michael Creed

Question:

229. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the progress being made on the retrofitting of old housing stock with appropriate insulation; if any of the funding available for this initiative was secured from the EU; and if so, if any of this funding has had to be returned to the EU as a consequence of failure to provide matching funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49124/12]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

The Better Energy Homes scheme is administered by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and provides financial assistance for improving energy performance of older homes, built anytime before 2006. The scheme enables homeowners to save money, while improving comfort and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Fixed grants are provided towards the cost of a range of measures including attic insulation, wall insulation, heating systems upgrades, solar thermal panels and accompanying Building Energy Rating (BER). Since the scheme commenced in March 2009 the SEAI has disbursed over €145m in grants and supported the installation of over 337,000 such measures in 133,195 homes built pre-2006. None of the funds for the Better Energy Homes scheme are sourced from the EU.

Broadcasting Service Provision

Questions (230, 231)

Noel Harrington

Question:

230. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the number of households that subscribe to receive TV channels and the percentage this represents of households receiving television; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49166/12]

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Noel Harrington

Question:

231. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the way Ireland compares with other EU countries in the numbers and percentage who subscribe to receive TV channels to those who receive a free service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49168/12]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 231 together.

According to ComReg, “Irish Communications Market: Key Data Report – Q2 2012”, approximately 1.311 million of those Irish homes with television had some form of subscription television service, equating to approximately 82% of the market. In turn, approximately 12.6% of these households rely solely on the Irish terrestrial channels and a further 5.3% rely on a combination of the Irish terrestrial channels and one or more of the UK terrestrial channels. The situation across the EU is quite diverse and so a mean or average penetration of subscription television is of little practical use as a metric. The situation ranges from those countries with over 80% of television users on a subscription model (including Belgium, Denmark, Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Hungary) to those countries with around half of the television households on subscription (Germany on 55%, the UK on 53%, Italy on 41% and France on 49%).

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (232)

Seán Fleming

Question:

232. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the gross and net additional expenditure savings that his Department is seeking to achieve in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49238/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Expenditure allocations for 2013 for all Departments, including my own, are a matter for the 2013 Budget. As the Deputy may be aware, Budget 2012 indicated multi-annual cash ceilings for all Departments of which €415m gross, €330m current and €85m capital, was indicated for 2013 for my Department.

Departmental Bodies

Questions (233)

Niall Collins

Question:

233. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide in a tabular form the total list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit; if he will provide a list of quasi-governmental organisations and agencies under his remit that have been abolished since March 2011 or are scheduled to be abolished and the date on which they are due to be abolished; the date on which the body was created; the name of the body; the 2012 budget for the body; the number of employees of the body in 2012; the names of any outside consultants hired by the organisation since March 2011 and what future plans he has for the body. [49308/12]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I can inform the Deputy that there are eleven Non Commercial Bodies, including Regulators, under the aegis of my Department and details of these, including the establishment date, the numbers employed and the 2012 Exchequer provision for each, are set out in tabular form as follows:

-

The date on which the body was created

Number of employees of the body as at end Q3 2012

2012 Exchequer Provision for the body

€000s

Non Commercial State Bodies

-

-

-

Inland Fisheries Ireland

01/07/2010

325

28,462

Digital Hub Development Agency

21/07/2003

13

3,507

Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission (Loughs Agency)

02/12/1999

53

2,595

National Oil Reserves Agency

Established in 1995 as a private limited company and on 01/08/2007 as a stand alone state body under the NORA Act 2007

5

0

Irish National Petroleum Corporation

1979

0

0

Mining Board

Established under S33.1 of the Minerals Development Act 1940 enacted on 14th November, 1940

0

0

Ordnance Survey Ireland

04/03/2002

242

8,466

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

01/10/2002

59

8,265

Regulators

-

-

-

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

01/10/2009

31

0

Commission for Energy Regulation

14/07/1999

67

0

Commission for Communications

Regulation

01/12/2002

109

0

It should be noted that the National Oil Reserves Agency and the Regulators are funded from their own resources and not from my Department’s Vote. In addition, the Exchequer funded bodies above supplement to varying degrees their Exchequer funding with their own income.

I wish to advise the Deputy that I have not abolished any State Bodies since taking office on 9 March 2011. My Department has reviewed the rationalisation proposals for agencies under its aegis as set out in the Public Service Reform Plan. The outcome of this review, which was recently published by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, is that the Digital Hub Development Agency will be merged (initially on an administrative basis) with Dublin City Council by the end of 2012, pending enactment of legislation. In addition, the Government also announced further proposed mergers which include provision for the Ordnance Survey of Ireland to merge with the Valuation Office and Property Registration Authority by the end of 2013. There is also provision for the back-office administrative functions of the Commission for Communications Regulation to be merged with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland by the end of 2013. With regard to the issue of outside consultants hired by the organisations since March 2011 this is an operational matter for the individual bodies in the first instance.

Public Sector Staff Increment Payments

Questions (234, 235)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

234. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the net saving to the Exchequer if all local authority pay was capped at €100,000. [49131/12]

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Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

235. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the gross saving to the Exchequer if all local authority pay was capped at €100,000. [49132/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 234 and 235 together.

Information regarding potential cost savings which could arise in the circumstances outlined in the questions is not available in my Department. On the issue of savings, some €830 million has been saved since 2008 in local authorities' spending, and local authority staffing numbers are down 23% to approximately 28,600.

Non-Principal Private Residence Charge Collection

Questions (236)

Seán Fleming

Question:

236. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the revenue that would be raised from increasing the non-principal private residence tax to €300 [49285/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 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. Collection of the Non Principal Private Residence Charge is ongoing for 2012 but, as of 7 November, €68,082,800 has been collected, including late payment fees. Extrapolating from this figure, an increase in the Charge from €200 to €300 might be expected to raise total revenue of the order of €100m over an equivalent period.

Environment Fund Annual Report

Questions (237)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

237. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government when the annual report for the Environment Fund will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49100/12]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Copies of the Environment Fund Annual Accounts, up to and including 2010, are available from the Oireachtas library and are also on my Department’s website www.environ.ie. The Comptroller and Auditor General is currently auditing the 2011 Environment Fund Accounts and once concluded, the 2011 Accounts will be published.