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Tuesday, 8 Oct 2013

Written Answers Nos. 121-139

Question No. 121 answered with Question No. 105.

Bullying in Schools

Questions (122)

Terence Flanagan


122. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the work of his Department on tackling bullying; the timetable for the delivery of the action plan from the working group on bullying; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42144/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Minister Fitzgerald and I published an Action Plan on Bullying on 29th January which sets out twelve actions to help prevent and tackle bullying in primary and second level schools. I have ring-fenced €500,000 to support implementation of the Action Plan this year. Work on the implementation of the actions is progressing well. Some weeks ago, I launched new National Procedures on Anti Bullying which will be adopted and implemented by all 4,000 primary and post primary schools.

I have also made available funding for anti-bullying training for parents which is being run jointly by the National Parents Council (primary and post primary). Earlier this year, an awareness raising initiative on cyber bullying targeted at young people took place and will continue in 2014. My Department supported the Stand Up! Awareness Week Against Homophobic & Transphobic Bullying in second level schools which took place in March. Two pieces of research suggested in the Plan around children with special needs and social media are also being progressed. Implementation of these and the other actions identified in the Plan is continuing.

Post-Leaving Certificate Courses

Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 99.

Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 91.

Questions (123)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


123. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-leaving certificate, PLC, places funded by his Department in each education training board area; and the number of PLC students in each ETB area. [42191/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

There are currently 32,688 approved Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) places available nationwide. Over 90% of PLC provision is delivered by ETBs with the remainder delivered by voluntary secondary and community and comprehensive schools.

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table. The enrolment data provided is for the 2012/2013 academic year as the enrolment data for the current academic year is not yet available. ETBs have been allocated the same number of PLC places as the corresponding VECs were allocated last year.

Education and Training Board

2013/14 Approved Places

2012/2013 Enrolment

Cavan and Monaghan ETB



City of Dublin ETB



Cork ETB



Donegal ETB



Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB



Galway and Roscommon ETB



Kerry ETB



Kildare and Wicklow ETB



Kilkenny and Carlow ETB



Laois and Offaly ETB



Limerick and Clare ETB



Longford and Westmeath ETB



Louth and Meath ETB



Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB



Tipperary ETB



Waterford and Wexford ETB





Question No. 124 answered with Question No. 99.
Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 91.

Bullying in Schools

Questions (126)

Michael Colreavy


126. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that will benefit from the 70 anti-bullying training sessions to which he has allocated €40,000; and his plans to expand this scheme. [42198/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the deputy that the amount allocated to support the delivery of the Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme has been increased to €60,000 due to the high level of interest expressed from schools and parents throughout the country. This will provide for up to 115 anti-bullying training sessions for parents and it is being run jointly by the National Parents Councils (primary and post primary). It is not possible at this stage to estimate the number of schools which will benefit from these sessions as they are being run on a cluster basis. This data should be available by the end of the year when attendance details have been analysed and made available.

Overseas Visitors Data

Questions (127)

Michael Healy-Rae


127. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Taoiseach if he will indicate whether the recording for data purposes of American soldiers landing at Shannon Airport for refuelling purposes is of visitors arriving here on holiday or otherwise (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42112/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The category to which the Deputy refers to are classified as 'transit' passengers. A transit passenger is a passenger who arrives in and departs from an airport on the same flight number and aircraft. Transit passengers are not included within the definition of 'tourists' and are not included in the tourism and travel data published by the Central Statistics Office. Therefore, they have no impact on the numbers of tourists visiting Ireland.

Sale of State Assets

Questions (128)

Billy Timmins


128. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Taoiseach the consultants he has contracted since 1 Juanuary 2013 to advise on the possible sale of any assets; the current situation; the advice that was given; the terms and cost of the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41785/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

My Department has engaged no consultants to advise on the possible sale of assets to date in 2013.

Diplomatic Representation Issues

Questions (129)

Andrew Doyle


129. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Taoiseach if he will outline his recent engagements with the Governor of the US State of California, Jerry Brown, on his recent visit to Ireland in July 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39056/13]

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Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

I hosted a brief courtesy call from Governor Brown on 18 July in Government Buildings. Governor Brown was on a private visit to Ireland, and was accompanied by his wife, Anne Gust, and his sister, Kathleen Brown. Our discussions were informal and covered a range of issues including the economic challenges for Ireland and California, as well as the challenges for other EU economies and the Eurozone. I briefed the Governor on Ireland’s successful EU Presidency, which yielded a mandate to open negotiations on an EU-US Trade Agreement. The Governor highlighted his work in addressing climate change, which is an important issue for the State of California.

The Governor and I also discussed the economic relationship between Ireland and California. Several Californian multinational companies operate in Ireland, creating valuable employment which is extremely beneficial to our economy. Likewise, California is an important centre for Irish business. There are more than 50 Irish companies with offices there and, each year, a further eight to ten Irish companies - mostly in the technology sector - establish new operations in California.

When I was in California earlier this year, I visited Orange County, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles, where I met a range of companies that provide employment in Ireland. I attended jobs announcements at Yahoo! and McAfee, which resulted in a total of 260 new jobs for Ireland. Our discussions also reflected the strong cultural and community connections between the US and Ireland. This led to a conversation about the Governor’s Irish Heritage, and our ongoing initiatives to engage with the Irish Diaspora, including the Global Irish Economic Forum, which was held in Dublin Castle last week.

Election Monitoring Missions

Questions (130)

Eoghan Murphy


130. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding the participation of Irish citizens in overseas election monitoring observation missions in which the State is participating. [41899/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I believe that international election monitoring missions play an important role in the promotion of democracy and human rights. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains a roster of observers for election monitoring missions. We aim to ensure that, when requested, Ireland is represented at an appropriate level in international observation missions for both elections and constitutional referendums.

The Department carried out a review of the election observation roster earlier this year. Following a call for applications, and an appraisal process against published criteria, 200 individuals with a strong mix of skills and experience were selected to serve on a new roster, which came into effect on 15 May 2013.

Irish observers participate primarily in missions organised by the European Union and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). They have also been involved in missions organised by the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the Carter Centre. So far in 2013, 47 Irish citizens from the election observers roster have participated in twelve missions organised by the EU, the OSCE and the Carter Centre.

Passport Applications

Questions (131)

Bernard Durkan


131. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the procedure to be followed by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 who wishes to make an application for an Irish passport but who never held a passport from their homeland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42033/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Passports Act, 2008 requires that before issuing a passport to a person, the Minister for Foreign Affairs shall be satisfied as to the identity of each applicant and that the person is an Irish citizen. Documentary proof in respect of identity and entitlement to citizenship are required for all passport applications. These requirements are outlined in the passport application form notes that accompany each application form. Details are also available on the Department's website .For first-time adult applicants, there are standard requirements to prevent identity theft of our citizens and to safeguard against passport fraud. These are:

(i) the long form version of their civil birth certificate;

(ii) photographic ID such a copy of a person’s driving license, passport from another country;

(iii) documentary evidence to show the use of an applicant’s name i.e. payslips, bank statements etc.; and

(iv) evidence of residency at an applicant’s address i.e. utility bills, official State correspondence etc.

In terms of citizenship, the evidence of a naturalisation certificate will establish that the person is an Irish citizen. Accordingly, this document is required for any passport application, which is submitted by the person in question. At this stage, it would be important for this person to submit a complete and witnessed application to the nearest Passport Office. The details of her application can then be assessed in terms of its compliance of the Passport Act, 2008. In the event of any difficulties or shortcomings with her application, the Passport Service will provide direct assistance to her to help her finalise her application to passport issue.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the identity and anti-fraud measures, which are currently in place, are geared towards preserving the good reputation of the Irish passport abroad. This, in turn, greatly helps to ensure the safe passage and wellbeing of Irish citizens as they travel worldwide. Accordingly, the Passport Service reserves the right to verify the authenticity any aspect of a submitted application and its supporting documentation with the relevant authorities either in Ireland or abroad.

Development Education

Questions (132)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


132. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views that an educated citizenship is essential for accountability, and therefore it is essential for the success of the policy for international development that investment in development education is increased; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42045/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government’s development cooperation programme, which is managed by Irish Aid in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reflects the values and experience of the Irish people and depends on their support. Development education, and public information and engagement, have been, and remain, key elements of the aid programme, as set out in the Government’s new Policy for International Development, One World, One Future . The policy states that Irish Aid will work for a deep public understanding and engagement with the aid programme and our development policy. It recognises that an engaged and active public is vital to ensure long lasting and sustained commitment to addressing global poverty and inequalities. Ireland’s development education funding supports activities which build a stronger understanding of global development issues, strengthen public awareness of the reality of the issues involved in our commitment to development cooperation, and promote a stronger sense of global solidarity.

The Policy reaffirms the priority given to development education. In particular, we recognise the importance of a more strategic approach to development education and have been working to target funding effectively at key areas and to strengthen the focus on results from this investment. The core priorities for development education include initial teacher education; online access to development education resources; capacity building for the development education sector; and a programme with third level students in Irish universities.

We also prioritise development education initiatives at post-primary level. Last week, I launched the new WorldWise Global Schools Programme (2013-2016), which strengthens our support for second-level schools. It focuses on promoting the knowledge, values and critical analysis skills that are central to development education throughout our post-primary school network.

For each of the last two years, 2011 and 2012, the Government has provided €3.2 million through Irish Aid for development education. This year, we are providing €3.5 million. In addition, Irish Aid has asked NGOs which receive long term development programme grants under the aid programme to incorporate development education and public engagement initiatives in their work programmes. Last year, €1.5 million was provided for such initiatives.

Overseas Development Aid Issues

Questions (133)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


133. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the fact that figures produced by Irish Aid show that approximately one third of Irish development assistance is channelled through multilateral channels such as the UN, World Bank and IMF, yet a recent report by the Debt and Development Coalition suggests that no guidelines exists and no Oireachtas debate takes place on the approximately €50 million spent here via the World Bank and IMF; his views on whether the new development policy also fails to suggest criteria and evaluation measures for this expenditure, in sharp contrast to the stringent quality criteria for aid spent through NGOs and via partner governments. [42046/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Government’s new development policy, “One World, One Future”, sets out the vision, goals and priorities for our overseas aid programme over the coming four years. It was drawn up on the basis of a very extensive public consultation process, and reaffirms Ireland’s strong support for multilateral efforts in the fight against global poverty and hunger. We recognize that, increasingly, global challenges require integrated, global solutions, based on the experience of the lives of people and communities in developing countries. The policy commits the Government to continuing to channel some 30% of our Official Development Assistance (ODA) through multilateral organisations.

Last year, 2012, Ireland provided some €99.6 million in contributions to EU development cooperation programmes, while €59.2 million was channelled through UN development agencies and bodies. Through Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided some €27.8 million in funding to World Bank-managed trust funds for work in developing countries. The Department of Finance provided a further €23.4 million. Full details of all the programmes supported, both by Irish Aid and the Department of Finance, can be found in the Annual Report by the Minister for Finance to the Oireachtas on Ireland’s participation in the IMF and World Bank. Multilateral organisations play a vital role in building international agreement on key development challenges. We take the clear view that all development work, including that of the multilateral organisations we support, should be framed explicitly in the context of sustainable development, inclusive economic growth, poverty reduction, country ownership and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Our new development policy states that we will work with all our partners, Governments, NGOs, multilateral organisations and others, to ensure that they adhere to the standards of accountability and transparency that we have set for our bilateral assistance.

As a member of the multilateral bodies involved, Ireland is represented in their governance arrangements. We welcome, and are participating fully in, the ongoing process of reform within the UN, World Bank and the IMF to ensure they can adequately meet the development challenges of a changing world. We are engaging strongly in systematic assessments of the organizational effectiveness of multilateral organisations through our membership of the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), a network of 17 donor countries. We have also committed in our new development policy to reviewing the range of our funding for multilateral organisations to ensure that it is as effective as possible and that it is fully aligned with our objectives for international development.

Overseas Development Aid Provision

Questions (134)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


134. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide in tabular form, figures for Irish Aid spending on HIV and AIDS, both in euro terms and as a percentage of total overseas development aid. [42047/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

See the following table.

Vote 27 Expenditure on Health and HIV/AIDS 2012



€ million

% Total ODA


Funding Support


Support to governments and civil society in Partner Countries, Irish NGOs, global health and HIV initiatives

Includes Emergency and Recovery



Multilateral Funding support

Includes UNAIDS, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organisation (WHO)





We remain committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS and other communicable diseases. Ireland has made significant investments in addressing the causes and the consequences of the HIV epidemic which have a terrible, and disproportionate, impact on women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. I was very heartened to note the real progress, as outlined by UNAIDS last month, in overcoming the disease, notably a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children since 2001. Our work has contributed to that progress. Much still remains to be done however, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to turn the tide on the pandemic.

Overseas Development Aid Issues

Questions (135)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


135. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that to date many EU countries have persisted in making part of their aid programme conditional on the purchase of goods and services in the donor country, namely tied aid, or in diluting the impact of their aid programme by including costs that, while strictly speaking are allowed under OECD DAC rules, do nothing to combat extreme poverty; the actions he is taking to stop this abuse of aid budgets by other EU countries; the extent to which Ireland itself inflates its ODA spending by including, for example the costs of housing refugees and foreign students in its ODA statistics. [42048/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is most effective when it supports the objectives that people, communities and governments themselves decide are priorities for national development and poverty reduction. Delivering ODA as untied aid to developing countries is the best way to ensure that the recipients themselves are in the driving seat and that all development resources, both external and internal, coherently pursue common objectives. Untying also means that more aid is spent in developing countries themselves. This helps create much needed employment.

The OECD estimates suggest that when overseas aid is tied to the procurement of goods and services from the donor country, its effectiveness and efficiency is significantly diminished. Because of this, they recommend that donor countries untie the bulk of their aid to Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and to Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs). Food aid and Technical Co-operation are not covered by the recommendation, although many countries, including Ireland, do untie these categories of aid. In 2010 donors reported that 24 per cent of bilateral aid (US$ 26 billion) was still tied.

Ireland’s aid is 100 per cent untied and the OECD has recognised that we are one of only four countries enjoying this distinction. The high quality of our aid programme has been recognised by successive OECD reviews and by other independent assessments on aid quality such as the Commitment to Global Development index and the Real Aid Index.

Ireland’s new policy for international development, One World- One Future, approved by the Government earlier this year, once again reaffirmed our commitment to maintaining a high quality aid programme and to untied aid, in particular. It stipulates that our aid is “not conditional on acquiring goods and services from Ireland”.

Ireland has consistently supported the strengthening of the OECD recommendation on untying aid and the inclusion of untied aid as a key measure of aid quality against which donor progress on aid and development effectiveness should be measured. The commitments that donors made at the 2011 Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness include accelerating progress and improving transparency on aid untying. Ensuring that these commitments become part of the post-2015 development framework was one of the priorities for the Irish Presidency of the EU – and this is successfully reflected in the EU Council Conclusions of June this year on the Post 2015 Framework.

A number of students from Ireland’s Key Partner Countries and from other developing countries study in Ireland, before returning to their own countries, as part of our overall programme of capacity building. Ireland also provides funding to allow students undertake studies in their own countries or the region. A very small proportion of Ireland’s ODA is made up of specific costs associated with international refugees during their first 12 month of stay seeking asylum in Ireland, in line with the OECD Development Assistance Committee’s ODA reporting directives.

Overseas Development Aid Issues

Questions (136)

Dominic Hannigan


136. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the Act Now on 2015 e-mail campaign; his plans for overseas development aid in 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42373/13]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the Act Now on 2015 e-mail campaign regarding Ireland’s commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA) The Government is committed to Ireland’s overseas aid programme. This commitment was expressed and enhanced by the publication earlier this year of our new Policy on International Development, “One World, One Future” which clearly sets out our vision for a sustainable and just world, and our goals and areas of focus for the coming years. It also reaffirms the centrality of the aid programme to our foreign policy.

The new policy states clearly our commitment to achieving the UN target of providing 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) for ODA when economic circumstances permit.

Over the past two years, the Government has broadly stabilised the budget for development assistance – allocating €629 million on ODA in 2012 and €622 million in 2013. These very significant allocations of public funds clearly demonstrate how we consolidated the development assistance budget - a major achievement in light of the very difficult fiscal conditions facing the Government. Equally importantly, our aid programme remains one of the best in the world and our leadership on the hunger and nutrition agendas continues to be acknowledged internationally. The Estimates process for Budget 2014 is now in its final stages and is being framed in the context of the Government’s overall fiscal consolidation strategy. The Departmental budget allocations for 2014 will be a matter for Government decision and will be announced in the Budget Statement next week.

NAMA Portfolio Issues

Questions (137)

Maureen O'Sullivan


137. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance if he will publish a schedule, or have the National Assets Management Agency, NAMA, publish a schedule identifying by address each property owned or under the control of NAMA with a postal address in Dublin 1 and Dublin 7; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41999/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

NAMA advises me, that as the Deputy will be aware, NAMA has acquired loans and does not own or control properties securing these loans. These properties are controlled by NAMA’s debtors or, in the case of enforcement, on their behalf by duly appointed Receivers. NAMA is subject to similar legal requirements as other lenders that preclude it from disclosing details relating to its debtors and their properties. A list of all Receiver-controlled properties is available on NAMA’s website,, and is searchable by county and area, including by Dublin postcode.

Pensions Levy Issues

Questions (138)

Olivia Mitchell


138. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance if additional voluntary contributions, AVCs, are subject to the private pension levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41845/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I take it that the question is referring to the stamp duty levy of 0.6% on pension scheme assets that was introduced in 2011 for the four year period up to and including 2014. The levy applies to the market value, on the valuation date (generally 30 June each year), of assets under management in pension funds and pension plans approved under Irish tax legislation. Payment of the levy must be made by 25 September in each year. The pension arrangements affected include funded retirement benefit schemes (e.g. occupational pension schemes), retirement annuity contracts and personal retirement savings accounts (PRSAs) - other than what are known as “vested” PRSAs. Additional Voluntary Contribution Schemes are retirement benefit schemes approved by the Revenue Commissioners under Irish tax law and as such are subject to the levy.

Pensions Levy Yield

Questions (139)

Olivia Mitchell


139. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance the total income to the State from the private pension levy in each year of operation to date, including the estimated value for the current year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41846/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that receipts to date from the temporary 0.6% stamp duty levy on pension fund assets introduced in the Finance (No. 2) Act 2011 amounted to €463 million in 2011 and €483 million in 2012. The yield in 2013 to end September was €512 million. The deadline date for payment of the levy for 2013 was 25 September 2013. It is not clear at this stage if there will be any further payments received in 2013.