Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (425)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

425. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of temporary clerical officers that have been employed by his Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public/civil servants; his views on whether his Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31576/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

My Department has not employed any temporary clerical officers in the past three years.

Company Registration

Questions (426, 428, 429)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

426. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of new companies, of various types, that have been registered with the Companies Registration Office in tabular form on a yearly basis between 2008-2012, and to date in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31797/13]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

428. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will outline the number of companies who have been struck off in each year since 1986 due to the failure to file annual returns to the Companies Registration Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31978/13]

View answer

Catherine Murphy

Question:

429. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he intends to review the provision in the Companies Acts which permits the Companies Registration Office to strike off a company which has failed to provide annual returns in order to introduce a wider scale of penalties which are proportionate to the offence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31979/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 426, 428 and 429 together.

The number and type of new companies registered since 2008 are set out in the following table:

Company Type

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013 (as at 27 June)

Private limited

13468

12396

13054

13621

13104

7195

Public limited

117

133

164

170

115

68

Unlimited

133

136

220

293

235

69

Guarantee

1005

656

575

531

555

246

EEIG – European Economic Interest Grouping

0

0

0

0

0

1

Total of all companies

14723

13321

14013

14615

14009

7579

The number of companies that have been struck off in each year since 1986 due to the failure to file annual returns to the Companies Registration Office is as follows:

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Total per decade

Average per decade

1986

1987

1988

1989

2551

3693

830

14338

21412

5353

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

8975

0

5607

13087

4840

13176

10280

3132

10003

28731

97831

9783

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

32937

1430

3125

14836

1401

9514

5255

4085

5804

5729

84116

8412

2010

2011

2012

2013 (as at 27 June)

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

6272

7938

7333

4208

-

-

-

-

-

-

25751

7357

The Companies Acts 1963-2012 set out the requirements in relation to the filing of annual returns by companies.

Section 125 of the Companies Act, 1963, as amended, requires that an annual return be delivered by a company, whether trading or not, to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) once at least in every calendar year. If a company fails to comply with the Section, the company and every officer of the company who is in default shall be guilty of an offence.

A company may be struck off the register for failure to file an annual return. If a company is struck off, the assets of the company become vested in the Minister for Finance, and if the business continues to trade, the members will no longer enjoy the benefit of limited liability and so are personally responsible for any debts incurred as long as the company remains struck off.

Any person, who was a director of a company at the date of sending to that company of a strike off notice due to the non-filing of annual returns, may be disqualified from acting as a director by the High Court, where the company is struck off leaving outstanding liabilities. Such order may be made by the Court on the application of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

The Registrar of Companies may prosecute companies and/or directors in the District Court for failure to file annual returns and accounts on behalf of their companies. In addition, she may also apply to the High Court for an order directing the filing of outstanding annual returns and accounts within the period specified in the order and she may seek to have all the costs of and incidental to that application, borne by the defaulting company or its officers.

There are also other sanctions in relation to the failure to file or the late filing of annual returns. A late filing penalty of €100 becomes due in respect of an annual return on the day after the expiry of the filing deadline, i.e. 28 days after the effective date of the return. A daily penalty amount of €3 accrues thereafter up to a maximum penalty of €1,240 per return. This penalty is in addition to the standard fee for filing the return.

A company with a record of persistent late filing may also be subject to an on-the-spot fine and/or summary prosecution of the company and/or any officer in default. Fines of up to €1,904.61 can be imposed on conviction for breach of the annual return filing requirements. In addition, a company cannot avail of the exemption from the requirement for a statutory audit if its annual return for the current year or the previous year was not filed on time.

In 2011 the Company Law Review Group, the statutory body which advises me on Company Law matters, published its examination of certain aspects of the late filing penalty regime. The Group noted that prior to 2001, only 13% of companies filed their annual returns on time, whereas in 2010 only 12% of companies were late filing their returns. It recommended that no changes should be made to the current system.

I have no plans to expand the range of penalties attaching to the late filing of annual returns.

Public Procurement Regulations

Questions Nos. 428 and 429 answered with Question No. 426.

Questions (427)

Derek Keating

Question:

427. Deputy Derek Keating asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his views on a prerequisite for companies tendering for Government contracts to have a member of a defined pension scheme under the rules; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31952/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

All construction related projects involving public expenditure must conform to Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Procurement Procedures. These procedures have included an obligation that the contractor ensures that the rates of pay and the conditions of employment, including pension contributions, comply with all applicable employment law, including Registered Employment Agreements (REAs) when engaged on public works contracts.

In the judgement delivered on 9 May last in McGowan and others v The Labour Court, Ireland and the Attorney General, the Supreme Court held that Part III of the Industrial Relations Act 1946 was invalid having regard to Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution.

That Article provides, in effect, that the exclusive power to make laws is vested in the Oireachtas. The Supreme Court took the view that REAs are instruments having the status of laws made by private individuals. While the Constitution allows for the limited delegation of law making functions, the provisions of the 1946 Act went beyond what is permissible under the Constitution.

The effect of this decision is to invalidate the registration of employment agreements previously registered under Part III of the 1946 Act.

This is an important issue for many employers and their employees, particularly in relation to rates of pay and tendering for contracts.

I intend as soon as possible to put in place legislation that will be fully informed by the Supreme Court judgment, but will introduce a revised framework to deal with these matters.

Questions Nos. 428 and 429 answered with Question No. 426.

Job Creation Issues

Questions (430)

Tom Fleming

Question:

430. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the cooperation his Department is providing to Killarney Town Council to develop and attract jobs to the Pretty Polly industrial complex which formerly, in its peak, employed up to 1,000 workers; the possibilities there are to subdivide this vast area of plant space and locate suitable work units for investors; when he envisages that this will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32161/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I am informed by IDA Ireland that the former Pretty Polly building in Ballyspillane was purchased by Killarney County Council from the Pretty Polly Trustees. The building, which is c. 25,000 sq² in size, was let for a short while to an indigenous company Beocare who left the premises in 2009. The building has been vacant since.

IDA has indicated that the premises was formally a manufacturing facility and the options for the building in its present format are limited. The Agency understands that Killarney Town Council is assessing what options may be available for the building and, to this end, has commissioned Exodea Consulting to undertake a report on the development of the site and the potential uses for the building. This report has not yet been published

IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland have confirmed that, as soon as the consultant’s report is published, they would be available to provide any assistance and/or direction to Killarney Town Council regarding the potential uses for the building in the light of the report.

After-School Support Services

Questions (431)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

431. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason Ballymun, Dublin, was not chosen as an area in respect of the new after-school child care scheme; and if it will be included in future plans. [31542/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The after-school child care subsidised scheme commenced its first pilot phase on 29 April, 2013, with up to 500 places made available in seven designated Social Welfare local offices located in King’s Inn Street in Dublin city centre, Finglas, Cork city, Dominic Street in Limerick city, Dundalk, Mullingar, and Tralee.

This initial launch phase of the pilot scheme will allow my Department to review the effectiveness of the scheme criteria. This review will inform the scheme’s subsequent roll-out at the end of July, 2013, and its nationwide roll-out in September, 2013.

The local offices that will participate in the second pilot phase at the end of July are currently being decided and will be announced in due course.

Social Welfare Offices

Questions (432)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

432. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the reasons for a delay in delivering new Intreo offices for the Department of Social Protection; if she will list those completed to date; those on which work has started and the expected completion date; the expected start date and completion date for those not yet started; the work specifications involved and cost per office; if the office is State owned or rented and the cost of that rent or lease; and the person who is the landlord-owner. [32081/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The objective of the Intreo Service is to improve service efficiency and effectiveness and to maximise the potential for people to return to work or develop skills to help them back into the work force through the provision of a new integrated employment and income support service. A main element to the process is the delivery of a “one stop shop” service from an integrated office location in line with best international practice. The delivery of over 60 Intreo Offices is a major logistical property project for the Department and the Office of Public Works who are responsible for the provision of the Department’s property requirements, including refurbishment and fit out works.

The Department’s Intreo initiative is being progressively rolled out to its national network of local offices. The new service comprises a number of elements, the main components being: activation measures such as client profiling, early group engagement and one-to-one meetings which focus on customised employment supports and monitoring of each client’s progress; an integrated decision-making process leading to swifter throughput of decisions; and an integrated reception providing a one-stop-shop incorporating all strands of the Department’s employment and income support services are part of the new service.

It is important to note that elements of the service, described above, are proceeding across the Department’s network of offices - before individual offices are fully developed to Intreo specifications. Therefore it is intended to implement the integrated decisions and systematic activation process in all offices during 2013.

In addition, the Intreo roll-out is being supported by a training and development plan for all offices to equip staff and management to deliver this new service.

The most important criteria with the project to deliver Intreo offices nationwide is to ensure that the Department is providing accommodation that is of a quality standard for both customers and for staff, while ensuring that the Department is achieving value for money. While 14 offices were originally scheduled for completion in 2012, 10 offices were completed and works had commenced on a further 2 offices, which since have been completed. Delays to the project included issues concerning: significant IR issues around the removal of glass from the Integrated Reception areas which went to arbitration and required an independent assessment by Health and Safety Consultants; upgrading the broadband connectivity to each office to cater for the delivery of the Intreo service; additional space requirements to improve the service and integrate staff from three separate areas into one location; twelve offices are now providing the full Intreo service; and a list of these offices with a breakdown of costs is shown in the attached table. At present works are underway at Loughrea, Achill and Clifden and these are due for completion by the end of July. Works are due to be completed in the Tullamore and Kilkenny offices by the end of August. The Intreo roll-out operates on a rolling programme and is heavily weighted towards a significant number of offices completed by the end 2013. Preparations are underway in other offices and it is expected that a total of 43 offices will be delivering the Intreo service by the end of 2013.

Some of the Department’s existing buildings require minor structural works, while other buildings, because of their condition, health and safety issues or limited space availability will either need major structural works or replacement offices to be sought. It is not possible to list the work specifications for all offices as each office is different and depending on the individual assessment and briefs, they will have different specifications. However, in relation to work specifications, the works at an Intreo Office typically include: provision of an integrated reception; a Group Engagement Room; public Services Card stations; adequate number of interview rooms; and new external and internal signage.

In addition, provision has to be made for electrical and mechanical works, furniture, fittings, installation of CCTV and queuing systems, as required. Expenditure on the rollout of Intreo offices to date in 2013 is estimated at almost €2m. The costs for the remainder of 2013 are not yet known and will be contingent on the contract prices finalised with the contractors on each project. These costs are kept under close scrutiny as the Department is committed to securing value for money in implementing the introduction of the various elements of the service.

The Office of Public Works has responsibility for the acquisition of office accommodation for the Department. Matters of leasing and individual rents are managed by that Office.

County

Location

Total *

Donegal

Buncrana

103,484

Dublin

Ballymun

55,904

-

Blanchardstown

336,609

-

Coolock

162,441

-

Finglas

9,175

-

Parnell Street

96,545

-

Tallaght

313,757

Kerry

Killarney

84,160

Limerick

Newcastlewest

381,735

Louth

Dundalk

214,073

Sligo

Sligo

116,077

Wicklow

Arklow

115,940

*Total costs include building works, mechanical and electrical installations, furniture, fittings, decorating/painting, electronic queuing systems and security, which includes installation/upgrade of CCTV and alert systems.

Job Initiatives

Questions (433)

Michael Ring

Question:

433. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social Protection when a JobBridge contract will be reinstated to its original finish date in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo in view of the fact that this query has already been submitted to the JobBridge section, the JobBridge team and her office directly; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31458/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department takes the view that internships in the Education Sector are a special case where interns, who under the terms of the scheme are entitled to receive a high quality real workplace experience, are at risk of missing out on that high quality internship experience during academic holidays. I accept that there may be some circumstances where an education sector internship experience would not be affected by the academic holidays.

However, it would not be feasible to review and examine all placements advertised within the education sector on a case by case basis. Therefore, a clear and transparent operational decision was made that all such placements must coincide with the academic year. Deadlines have been introduced, before which and after which education sector internships will not be approved. These deadlines have been clearly advertised on the home page of the JobBridge website since August 2012. All affected Host Organisations have been written to by the Department and have been requested to further remind their interns of the closing date for these internships.

The Department works with stakeholders to make JobBridge as easy to administer as possible but the first concern has to be for interns, to ensure that they are not idle or deprived of the high quality real workplace internship experience that they deserve and that is in the interests of the taxpayer as well as the jobseeker in maximizing their future employment opportunities. The Department will however review the position in respect of the internship referred to by the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Redeployment

Questions (434)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

434. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Social Protection if, in view of the publication of the European Commission’s Winter 2012 Review of Ireland’s Economic Adjustment Programme in April 2013, her views on its recommendation to double the number of case managers from approximately 300 at the end of 2012 to 600 in 2013 and further increase it in 2014 entirely through redeployment of existing staff; if she will outline the progress she has made in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31489/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The implementation of a more intensive and rigorous case management requires that additional resources be devoted to the activation process. However, the implementation of the new Intreo process and the integration of previously separate functions in FÁS, the Community Welfare Service (CWS) and the Department of Social Protection also generates efficiencies and will enable staff to be freed up for redeployment to activation/case management duties. A target to redeploy three hundred staff in the current year has been set and the Department is currently in the process of planning this redeployment. I expect that the redeployment will be completed on target by the year end.

Free Travel Scheme Administration

Questions (435)

John O'Mahony

Question:

435. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Social Protection when she anticipates that the review being undertaken by an interdepartmental working group made up of officials from her Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the National Transport Authority will be completed; if the findings of the interdepartmental working group review on freezing of the free travel scheme and the way it is disadvantaging rural areas will be made public; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31510/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently in excess of 770,000 in receipt of free travel from my Department and when spousal and companion passes are taken into account, there are over 1.1 million customers with some free travel eligibility. Expenditure on this scheme was frozen at 2010 levels by the previous Government. Expenditure for the free travel scheme in 2013 is set at €77 million.

Given the increasing number of recipients and the funding pressures, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I established a working group with representatives from the two Departments, as well as the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the National Transport Authority to review the free travel scheme. The purpose of this review is to examine and report on the current operation and future development of the free travel scheme including how the scheme is funded. The work of this group is expected to conclude before the autumn, and the findings and publication of the report will then be considered.

EU-IMF Programme of Support Issues

Questions (436)

Damien English

Question:

436. Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the recently published European Commission country specific recommendations for Ireland under the Europe 2020 strategy which recommended that faster progress in implementing certain key policies, including in terms of activation redeployment of staff as case managers, outsourcing certain activation functions to private sector providers and reforming employment support schemes, is needed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31513/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently no country specific recommendations (CSRs) for Ireland given that we are a programme country subject to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed with the IMF/ECB/European Commission under the Programme for Financial Support. The recommendations referred to by the Deputy are contained in the European Commission’s Economic Adjustment Programme for Ireland – Winter 2012 Review.

With regards to redeployment of staff, it is true that the implementation of a more intensive and rigorous case management will require additional resources to be devoted to the activation process. However, the implementation of the new Intreo process and the integration of previously separate functions in FÁS, the Community Welfare Service (CWS) and the Department of Social Protection also generates efficiencies and will enable staff to be freed up for redeployment to activation/case management duties. A target to redeploy three hundred staff in the current year has been set and the Department is currently in the process of planning this redeployment. I expect that the redeployment will be completed on target by the year end.

With regards to outsourcing activation functions, the Pathways to Work initiative launched last year signalled the potential of contracting with third party providers to complement the existing capacity of the department to deliver employment services. The potential contribution of such contracting and the design of a contracting approach has since been considered by the Department working with an Interdepartmental group, comprising representatives of this department, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the National Economic and Social Council, the Offices of the Attorney General and the Chief State Solicitor. The Department also availed of expert international advice. Arising from this evaluation, the Cabinet Committee on Pathways to Work approved in principle a proposal to tender for the provision of employment services and agreed to the issue of a Prior Information Notice (PIN) which was published on 28 June. This notice formally notifies the market that the State intends to procure employment services. A PIN is a discretionary and exploratory first step in a procurement process. The publication of a PIN will enable the State to engage with potential vendors and other interested parties to gauge the level of market interest and assist in finalising tender/contract design.

With regards to the reform of employment support schemes, the Department conducted an extensive review of employment support in 2012 which was published by the Minister in January of this year and followed up by a stakeholders’ conference in February which the Minister convened. The stakeholder forum canvassed the views of stakeholders on review recommendations and was a very important step in the review process and all inputs were recorded and published in a separate review available on www.welfare.ie . The Department has now moved to the implementation phase and work will be on going through 2013. The process of re-aligning work schemes into community support and activation focused strands has commenced and will gather momentum later in the year, following a review of existing administrative processes and the roll out of a revised childcare programme. The selection of community employment scheme participants is now the responsibility of DSP case officers and this change will facilitate the implementation of further changes.

Community Employment Schemes Places

Questions (437)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

437. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of the additional places she allocated for community employment that have been taken; and the number of vacancies on CE in the Dublin area due to the change in rules regarding eligibility. [31520/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The number of additional places allocated to date in the Dublin area is currently 191 as at the 20th June 2013. These places are added to the general Community Employment (CE) allocation for each Division of the Department (3 in Dublin) and are not reported on separately, so it isn’t possible to determine the number of these additional places filled at this stage.

Nationally, the total number of CE places approved for 2013 is 23,500 of which 22,624 (incl supervisors) participants are in place as at May 2013. In December 2012 the number of participants was 22,445 (incl supervisors). Additional places are allocated throughout the year and the process will be completed by December, 2013.

There have been no changes in the rules regarding eligibility for CE, other than the recent broadening of the rules to include time spent on Supplementary Welfare Allowance being counted towards the CE-qualifying period, provided the person is currently in receipt of one of the specified eligible payments at the time of application to CE. The current number of CE places in the Dublin area which remain unfilled is 274 places, of these, 251 are awaiting Garda vetting returns. The policy of the DSP has always been that anyone who comes into contact with children or vulnerable adults through their work on Community Employment must be Garda Vetted. This is in-line with international best practice.

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Questions (438)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

438. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection if, in view of the rates of youth unemployment and the increase in the numbers of under 18 year olds presenting with addiction, she will consider lowering the age requirement from 25 years to 18 years on the special status community employment programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31521/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The entry age is already set at 18 years of age for these programmes. The Community Employment (CE) Operating Procedures state that CE Drugs Rehabilitation Places (DRP’s) are available to persons aged 18 years or over who are in recovery and referred for a rehabilitation place on CE. Application for a drugs rehabilitation place is based on evidence of an appropriate referral following an assessment of the applicant attending a recognised addiction support service within the last year within the context of the National Rehabilitation Framework of care and case management. This includes HSE addiction services and treatment centres, GPs and other relevant statutory, community and voluntary support services.

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Questions (439)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

439. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Social Protection when she expects legislation that allows retained firefighters to receive full jobseeker's allowance or benefit payments to be enacted; her policy regarding assessing retained firefighters who apply for those payments now; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31533/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Over 2,000 persons are employed as retained (part-time) fire-fighters, providing services which are vitally important to their communities. Typically, these workers provide services in rural and less densely populated areas but larger urban centres may also have a cohort of part-time workers. Retained fire-fighters who are otherwise unemployed are entitled to a jobseeker’s payment in respect of days that they are engaged in fire-fighting or training. They are, however, required to satisfy the statutory conditions for the receipt of a jobseeker’s payment of being available for and genuinely seeking work. Any person who fails to satisfy these conditions is not entitled to a jobseeker’s payment. Taking account of the unusual circumstances of retained fire personnel the Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 carried amendments to both jobseekers benefit and jobseekers allowance that put the treatment of retained fire fighters on a legislative basis. The legislation and associated regulations will allow retained fire-fighters a reasonable and fair level of access to the schemes in future. The revised provisions will apply only to claims received on or after enactment of the relevant legislation.

Disability Allowance Payments

Questions (440)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

440. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the correct level of disability allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31555/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

An application for disability allowance was received from the person concerned on 25 January 2012. The medical evidence submitted with the application was referred to one of the Department’s medical assessor who was of the opinion that the person did not satisfy the medical conditions for receipt of the allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion and refused the application and the person was notified in writing of this decision on 7 July 2012.

The person submitted further medical evidence which was referred to a second medical assessor who was also of the opinion that the person was not medically suitable for disability allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion and there was no change to the decision to refuse disability allowance and the person was notified of this on 19th June 2013.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (441)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

441. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31557/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the available evidence, has allowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer decision.

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.

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Questions (442)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

442. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection if a decision has been made on an appeal of a decision on entitlement of a qualified adult payment for the duration of a community employment scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31564/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 06th June 2013, 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 Staff Rehiring

Questions (443)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

443. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of temporary clerical officers who have been employed by her Department over each of the past three years; the number of those who have been retired public or civil servants; her views on whether her Department should employ retired staff in these positions in view of the level of youth unemployment here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31579/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

As an exception to the current moratorium on recruitment, my department has limited sanction to recruit temporary clerical officers to cover critical staff absences and to assist with the roll-out of the Public Services Card. Currently two of these temporary staff are retired civil servants. They are on an annual pay scale of €22,016 - €35,515. Abatement of pension applies, if applicable, pending the termination of their temporary contracts.

The recruitment and selection process for temporary clerical officers is carried out by the Public Appointments Service following a competitive process and is open to those aged over 16 years of age. There is no upper age limit. The attached table outlines the number of temporary clerical officers that have been recruited by the Department of Social Protection over each of the past three years.

 -

2011

2012

2013 to date

Temporary COs - Not retired Public Servants

482

614

403

Temporary COs - Retired Public Servants

0

3

2

Total

482

617

405

Citizen Information Services

Questions (444)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

444. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Social Protection if her Department has advocated that the Citizens Information Board provide independent prevention advice on gambling addiction especially in young persons in line with the information it provides in relation to alcohol/drugs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31601/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) under the aegis of my Department is responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money advice and budgeting) and advocacy on a wide range of public and social services. The Citizens Information Board delivers on this remit through direct provision, by supporting a network of delivery partners and by funding targeted projects.

Information is made available directly to the public through three main channels: the national network of 42 Citizens Information Services (CIS) which provides face- to-face service to the public; the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS), which operates Mon-Fri 9am to 9pm, at 0761 07 4000; and the Citizens Information Website (www.citizensinformation.ie)

CIB also publishes advocacy, research and social policy reports highlighting issues of concern to users of social services. My Department does not prescribe content in respect of information provided by Citizens Information on the wider range of public and social services. Currently information and advice is not specifically provided on gambling addiction. However the Citizens Information Board has undertaken to consider publication of material on this issue.