Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Questions (130)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

130. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will include bank holidays in payment of jobseeker's allowance for casual workers who do not receive bank holiday pay from their employer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21787/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

If a part-time employee is claiming a jobseeker’s payment for a period which includes a public holiday, sometimes referred to as a bank holiday, for which they are not entitled to a payment from their employer, then they will be entitled to jobseeker’s benefit or allowance for that day. The determination of whether a person is entitled to payment from their employer in respect of a public holiday is governed by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. Under this Act, for each of the nine public holidays in a year, an employee is entitled to either a paid day off on the holiday, a paid day off within a month of the holiday, an extra day’s annual leave, or an extra day’s pay. Part time employees qualify for public holidays entitlement provided they have worked at least 40 hours during the five weeks ending on the day before a public holiday.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Questions (131)

Finian McGrath

Question:

131. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding entitlements in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [21809/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned applied for Jobseekers Allowance on 3 January 2013 and a decision on their application was made on 4 January 2013 to the effect that they did not qualify for payment of Jobseekers Allowance on the basis that his weekly means from his parents’ income exceeded the weekly rate of Jobseekers Allowance payable. With regard to the employment record of the person concerned, when completing their Jobseeker’s Allowance application form they indicated that they were never employed. There is no trace of any PRSI contributions made on their behalf either from self-employment or from insurable employment. On the basis of information supplied in the context of this Parliamentary Question, namely engagement as builder, an inspector from my Department will re-examine the matter and if necessary seek additional information and clarification from the person concerned. When this is complete the person concerned will be updated in respect of any changes.

Proposed Legislation

Questions (132)

Seán Kyne

Question:

132. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an indicative timeframe for the introduction of the legislation which will permit transgender persons to obtain a birth certificate recognising their gender, particularly in consideration of the amount of time that has elapsed since the European court finding against Ireland on this matter. [21862/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In March 2008 the High Court declared that certain sections of the Civil Registration Act 2004 are incompatible with the obligations of the State under the European Convention on Human Rights to respect the private life of individuals as the legislation does not provide for a process to recognise the acquired gender of transgender persons. The Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) was established in 2010 to advise the Government on the legislation required to give legal recognition to the acquired gender of transgender persons. The Group engaged in a public consultation exercise which provided organisations and individuals with the opportunity to contribute their comments and proposals. The Report of the Group, which recommended a scheme for the legal recognition of transgender persons, was approved by the Government on 12 July 2011, and was subsequently published on 14 July 2011. Since the publication of the Report, the Department has been working on developing draft Heads of a Gender Recognition Bill. In this context, it has engaged in discussions with the relevant medical health professionals and with representatives from interested NGOs.

Given the legal complexities involved in relation to some of the GRAG recommendations relating to the marital and civil partnership status of individuals, in March 2012 the Department sought advice from the Office of the Attorney General, which in turn sought the legal opinion of external counsel on these issues. The formal opinion of the Attorney General was received in December 2012 and is currently under consideration by officials in this Department with a view to progressing the draft Heads of the Bill. There are a range of complex and sensitive issues involved in this proposed legislation to give legal recognition to the acquired gender of transgender persons. I have requested the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection to consider the provisional draft Heads of Bill once they are completed. I feel that the Committee can make a very positive contribution to the preparation of the legislation and I hope that the appearance before the Committee can be scheduled before the summer. I believe this approach should greatly assist the drafting of the legislation and its progress through the Oireachtas. When the Oireachtas Committee has discussed the provisional draft Heads of Bill, I will be in a better position to give a timeframe for the introduction of the legislation.

Departmental Funding

Questions (133)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

133. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide a breakdown in the funding, by year, for various projects his Department has funded in an area (details supplied) from 2007 to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21626/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department, which was established in June 2011, administers and delivers a wide range of programmes and measures, descriptions of which are available on its website at http://www.ahg.gov.ie/. While expenditure under these programme areas takes place countrywide, it is not possible to give a county-by-county breakdown of that expenditure. For example, a number of my Department’s programmes are delivered through agencies and other intermediary bodies that operate across county boundaries and in respect of which there is no detailed breakdown on a county basis held by my Department. In addition, groups and organisations that receive grants directly from my Department are not necessarily constituted on a single-county basis.

In view of the wide range of my Department’s schemes and programmes, and the large volumes of payments and grants thereunder on an ongoing basis, it is not clear that it would be feasible to compile and collate the breakdown of expenditure sought by the Deputy. However, if the Deputy has specific queries relating to a particular programme or grant, I would be glad to seek to provide him with relevant information in that regard. Similarly, if the Deputy would like specific information in relation to a particular scheme, I would be glad to arrange to have any such request from him examined.

Air Strips

Questions (134)

Seán Kyne

Question:

134. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide an update on the usage of the air strips at Cleggan and Inishboffin, County Galway, which will improve access to the island. [21811/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

The airstrips at Cleggan and Inishbofin to which the Deputy refers are not as yet licensed for use. Therefore, landing on these airstrips is strictly prohibited and they are marked accordingly.

Air Services Provision

Questions (135)

Seán Kyne

Question:

135. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if he will provide an update on the efforts to secure the air services to the Aran Islands beyond the current public service obligation time period. [21879/13]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

My Department is currently seeking tenders for the provision of air services for the Aran Islands for the period 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014, with an option of a further year’s extension up until 30 September 2015. The closing date for receipt of tenders is 27 May 2013.

Inland Fisheries Issues

Questions (136)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

136. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason for the change in the by-laws which have been introduced recently to prohibit the use of worms, prawns and shrimp when fishing for salmon and sea trout on the River Suir; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21620/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

I can advise the Deputy that in advance of the 2013 angling season, the River Suir Angling Federation, representing the majority of angling clubs and fishery owners on the river, made representations to instigate a ban on the use of prawn and shrimp as angling bait on the River for the 2013 season. The use of worms as bait has already been banned for a number of years. On foot of these representations, I requested Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) to conduct a public consultation processes to canvass as wide a view as possible from stakeholders. The outcome was that the significant majority of anglers and fishery owners on the River Suir were in favour of banning these baits. Local Public representatives were advised of the consultation process and its outcomes. The banning of prawn/shrimp as bait simply supports the proposal put forward by a local angling federation which was widely supported by the majority of anglers on the Suir. Alternative fishing methods, such as the use of spinners are not affected by the bye law and remain available where waters are not suitable for fly fishing. I have asked IFI to review the impact of the bye law and advise further in advance of the 2014 season.