Teacher Data

Questions (240)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

240. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 191, 220, 247 and 248, if he will clarify that schools are not obliged to make returns to his Department at the end of September each year detailing the teaching hours of every teacher, including specific details on whether a school employs a guidance counsellor with a qualification recognised by his Department; the number of hours each guidance counsellor spends providing guidance counselling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5380/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department will be notifying schools in due course of the data requirements that they must submit in respect of the 2014/15 school year. I should clarify for the Deputy that to the extent that the Department has sought teacher timetable data from second level schools in recent years, it has been for the sole purpose of providing information to assist the Department's Inspectorate conduct its schedule of inspections. Changes were made to the teacher allocation process in 2006/7 that eliminated any need for that data in determining individual school teacher allocations. More recently schools are provided with an overall allocation within which they have discretion to determine the resources that they allocate to individual subjects and to guidance.

School Staffing

Questions (241)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

241. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the management structure at a school (details supplied) in County Waterford. [5398/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

When the moratorium on the filling of posts of responsibility was introduced the Government exempted Principal and Deputy Principal posts in all primary and post-primary schools and these posts continue to be replaced in the normal manner. Limited alleviation was introduced for schools that are acutely affected by the impact of the moratorium at Assistant Principal level. The alleviation arrangements at primary level are focused on schools with an enrolment of at least 400 pupils and which have a reduction of at least 3 posts of responsibility at Assistant Principal level. Circular 0004/2014 which has recently been placed on the Department website sets out the limited alleviation arrangements in place.

National Internship Scheme Data

Questions (242)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

242. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of JobBridge interns currently working for an organisation (details supplied); and the number who have previously completed internships in same and their roles. [5402/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Caranua is the service name used by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund, which is an independent statutory body under the aegis of my Department. From enquiries made by my officials to Caranua I understand that it has not provided any internships under the JobBridge initiative.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (243)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

243. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way new early intervention preschools set up by his Department to support children with additional needs are functioning; if there has been engagement with the primary school teachers working there as to how they feel regarding their capacity, ability, skills and training to work with children with special needs and children with challenging behaviour; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5428/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy has clarified that she is referring to private pre-schools which are attended by children using their home tuition grant. The Home Tuition Scheme provides a grant to parents to facilitate the provision of education at home for children who, for specified reasons, are unable to attend school or for whom a school placement is not available. It is generally the case that home tuition is provided at the child's home. However, some parents of young children with autism who are eligible for home tuition requested that my Department accommodate the tuition being provided in a group setting offered by a private provider. My Department has facilitated arrangements with a small number of private preschool providers, subject to specific terms and conditions. As home tuition takes place outside the usual school structure it is important that tutors are qualified to provide an educational programme. Accordingly it is a condition of the scheme that tutors are fully qualified teachers registered with the Teaching Council. My Department's inspectorate previously reviewed the education being provided by one of the private preschool providers in question which involved engagement with the primary teachers they employed. Further inspections are currently being arranged for the private pre-schools with whom arrangements have been recently agreed.

The Deputy will be aware that my Department's preferred approach is that, where possible, children are educated in school settings where they may have access to individualised education programmes, fully-qualified professional teachers, special needs assistants, the appropriate school curriculum with the option, where possible and appropriate, of full or partial integration and interaction with other pupils. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports and establishing special classes, including early intervention classes for children with autism, as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

Third Level Fees

Questions (244)

Seán Fleming

Question:

244. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a joined-up approach between the Central Applications Office for third level education courses and the SUSI grants system because in some cases students apply for a course under the CAO only to find at a later date that it is not covered by a grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5439/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The SUSI application system facilitates students in applying for a grant before they have accepted a place in college or know the institution and course they will actually be attending. Therefore, it is not possible to give a specific indication at application stage as to course approval. A similar position pertains in relation to applying for a place on a course via the CAO system. As part of its communications strategy SUSI draws attention to the requirement that a student needs to be entering an approved full-time course in an approved institution. In addition, the SUSI website provides details in relation to approved colleges. I understand that for 2014, SUSI, in consultation with stakeholders, including the CAO, will continue to enhance communication and promote awareness among grants applicants regarding approved institutions and courses. For the 2013/14 academic year, SUSI, introduced a number of initiatives to improve the application and processing system. These included direct information sharing with Government bodies and other agencies including the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the CAO. A Service Level Agreement between SUSI and the CAO currently provides for the direct transfer of data from the CAO to SUSI in relation to final course acceptance details for applicants who opt to have their data transferred. SUSI is continuing to engage with relevant Government Departments and agencies to explore further options for co-operation as part of the on-going focus on work to continually improve the student grant system.

Information and Communications Technology

Questions (245)

John Deasy

Question:

245. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the apps his Department or attached agencies have been involved in developing for smartphones and other multimedia devices in the past three years; the cost and the software developer employed in each case. [5457/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department of Education and Skills has not developed any Apps for smart phones or other multimedia devices in the past three years. With regard to bodies under the aegis of my Department the information sought is a matter for each agency and is not collated centrally. For the Deputy's information details of agencies under the remit of my Department can be downloaded from the Department's website at http://www.education.ie/en/The-Department/Agencies/.

School Accommodation

Questions (246)

Paudie Coffey

Question:

246. Deputy Paudie Coffey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide in tabular form the total number of prefabs that were rented in County Waterford in the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, that are no longer rented; the number of prefabs that have been replaced with permanent classrooms for the years 2010 to 2013, inclusive, in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5475/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A table detailing the number of rented prefabs in Waterford for the years 2010 - 2013 is attached for the Deputy's attention. Please note that one prefab unit may consist of one or more classrooms and/or ancillary accommodation. Under my Department's Prefab Replacement Initiatives 2012 and 2013, approval was given to 216 schools nationally to replace 573 prefab units with permanent accommodation. Of these, 39 mainstream and resource units are currently being replaced with permanent classrooms in Waterford. Replacing prefabs is part of the Government's €475 million education infrastructure plan for 2014. The Plan will provide modern, high quality accommodation for pupils and teachers and construction related jobs for workers around the country.

Prefab units in Waterford city and county 2010 - 2013

Year

County

No of Prefab Units

2010

Waterford

16

2011

Waterford

43

2012

Waterford

30

2013

Waterford

23

School Management

Questions (247)

Derek Nolan

Question:

247. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his proposals to remedy a boundary issue affecting a school (details supplied) in County Galway; if his officials will meet with school management on-site to discuss a solution; if such proposals will maintain the integrity and aesthetic of site design including altering footpaths, parking lines and so on; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5502/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

An official of my Department met with representatives of the school's Board of Management on Friday last to discuss the boundary issue. My Department will revert to the school directly with any further discussions which may be necessary regarding the site design, footpaths and parking lines, etc which arise from the required boundary realignment.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (248)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

248. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide a primary school and secondary school in Dublin 13 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5530/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In June 2011, I announced that some 40 new schools are to be established in the coming years across a number of locations to meet significantly increasing demographics in those areas. This announcement did not include a proposal to establish a new school in the area referred to by the Deputy. The Forward Planning Section of my Department will continue to analyse demographic trends to determine the level of additional school provision which will be required into the future. School requirements in the area referred to by the Deputy will be fully considered in this context.

Weight of Schoolbags

Questions (249)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

249. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the concerns of parents that their childrens' school bags are too heavy with the weight of all the school books needed for class; the steps that can be taken to address this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5534/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department issued circulars to all primary and post-primary schools in 2005 to highlight the potential health hazard of overweight schoolbags and to outline a range of local measures that could be put in place to help alleviate the problem. The circulars referred to the recommendations of the previously published report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags. This report acknowledged that many of the solutions to this issue belong at local school level and made various recommendations in this regard, such as optimum use of storage facilities, developing pupil organisation skills and timetabling. It is a matter for each individual school to determine which particular measures are most suited to its individual circumstances and to how the school concerned organises teaching and learning. The circulars (PC 13/05 and M35/05) and the report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags are available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (250)

Clare Daly

Question:

250. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills since the abolition of maintenance grants for postgraduate students, the provisions that are being made for students from lower socio-economic groups to help them with the financial means to complete their studies. [5599/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In the context of the necessary but difficult expenditure reduction measures announced in Budget 2012, new students entering postgraduate courses from the 2012/13 academic year onwards are not entitled to maintenance payments under the Student Grant Scheme. Those who meet the qualifying conditions for the special rate of grant under the Student Grant Scheme are eligible to have their post-graduate tuition fees paid up to the maximum fee limit of €6,270.

A postgraduate student may qualify to have a €2,000 contribution made towards the costs of their fees. The income threshold for this payment is €31,500 for the 2013/14 academic year, increasing relative to the number of family dependents. Tax relief is also available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners. In addition to this, the Student Assistance Fund will continue to be made available through the access offices of third-level institutions to assist students in exceptional financial need. I have no plans at present to change the current arrangements.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Questions (251)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

251. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the dialogue between an organisation (details supplied) regarding the purchasing of a small parcel of land adjacent to a school in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5697/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department is currently engaging with the organisation referred to by the Deputy in the context of a request for improved accommodation at a school. During this engagement, the organisation raised the matter of acquiring a parcel of land adjacent to the school. My Department advised that the main focus of its capital budget for the coming years is the delivery of the projects outlined in the 5 Year Construction Plan which prioritises new school buildings and extensions in areas where a significant demographic need has been established. The school in question is not included in the Plan. My officials have indicated to the organisation concerned that it is open to it to write to my Department regarding the matter.

Public Procurement Contracts

Questions (252)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

252. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in regards to the practice in relation to awarding 12% of Government tenders to foreign companies, if he will state the monetary value of these tenders and the impact on the Exchequer and job creation for our small and medium enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5377/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

It is important to note at the outset that  no such practice exists whereby a percentage of public contracts are awarded to foreign companies. Contracts are awarded following a competitive process conducted in compliance with the established procurement rules and procedures.

Under EU Directives on public procurement public works, supplies and service contracts above certain thresholds must be advertised on the Official Journal of the EU and awarded on the basis of objective and non-restrictive criteria. For works contracts the threshold is €5.186 million; for supplies and service contracts awarded by Government Departments the threshold is €134,000 and for the remainder of public bodies the threshold is €207,000. The threshold for supplies and service contracts of entities operating in utility sectors (water, energy, transport and postal) is €414,000. For contracts below these thresholds, the general requirement is that they be advertised on the national public procurement website www.etenders.gov.ie or, depending on value, awarded on the basis of a competitive process of direct invitation to an adequate number of suitable suppliers.

The aim of these European rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. It would be a breach of the rules for a public body to favour or discriminate against particular candidates on grounds of nationality and there are legal remedies which may be used against any public body infringing these rules.

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is responsible for producing annual statistical information in relation to above-EU threshold procurement activity by the Irish public sector and for providing these statistics to the European Commission. The aforementioned information is based on data available on EU threshold awards.

- In 2011, 10.55% (valued at €240M) of the total known awarded contracts above threshold by the State went to non-domestic companies. This represents less than 5% of the overall annual public procurement spend (approximately €13.1 billion). I am advised by the OGP that more up to date data on above EU threshold contracts for 2012 and 2013 will be available later this year. 

I should point out that the Public Service Reform Plan published by my Department includes a recommendation to improve performance measurement and procurement expenditure analysis. In this regard, a key focus of the Office of Government Procurement will be a move towards centralisation of data collection in the area of procurement activity. The centralisation of data collection will not only enable the Office to procure in a more cost efficient manner but will also capture more informative data on SME participation.

It is important to remember that open tendering is a two way street and that it provides Irish companies with opportunities to compete abroad. The public procurement market in the EU is estimated to be valued in excess of €2.4 trillion. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that the open market regime also offers opportunities for Irish companies to win business abroad and reliable EU studies indicate that many Irish businesses are successful in this regard.

Charities Regulation

Questions (253)

Billy Timmins

Question:

253. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount of funding that Rehab received through sales of its lottery scratch card for the years 1997 to 2011, inclusive; the profit made on this aspect of Rehab business for those years; the amount of grant aid it received for these years based on these sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5590/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Rehab was allocated the following levels of funding under the Charitable Lotteries Scheme by the Department of Finance during the years 1997 to 2010:

Year

1997

€3,924,261

1998

€4,744,557

1999

€4,614,271

2000

€5,673,874

2001

€5,839,918

2002

€5,861,275

2003

€5,845,469

2004

€5,951,569

2005

€5,314,136

2006

€5,748,664

2007

€5,504,073

2008

€5,185,164

2009

€5,644,929

2010

€5,625,888

The level of funding under the Charitable Lotteries Scheme was related to the level of sales.  The income from sales of lottery products, including scratch cards but also other lottery products, and the returns for the charitable purpose recorded by Rehab during the years 1997 to 2010 were as follows:

Year

Income from lottery sales

Returns for charitable purpose

1997

€6,194,674

*

1998

€7,720,338

*

1999

€7,488,744

*

2000

€7,140,250

*

2001

€8,066,326

*

2002

€8,900,868

*

2003

€8,800,684

*

2004

€8,523,122

€400,260

2005

€7,521,774

€223,027

2006

€6,786,106

€197,443

2007

€9,101,914

€427,673

2008

€7,944,525

€327,153

2009

€9,487,065

€685,528

2010

€7,159,174

€557,875

* The Department was advised by Rehab that in the years 1987 to 2002 the average annual percentage of sales retained for the charitable purpose was 12%. Responsibility for the Charitable Lotteries Scheme passed to the Department of Justice and Equality in 2011.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (254)

Michael Colreavy

Question:

254. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a breakdown of money spent on flood defences in tabular form, by county in the years 2002-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5634/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Expenditure by the Office of Public Works in the period 2002 - 2013 on flood Capital Works schemes, which amounts to approximately €290 million, is shown by county on the attached table. This expenditure covers major Flood Relief Schemes and also the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme which commenced in 2009 and under which Local Authorities are funded by the OPW to carry out small scale flood relief works in their administrative areas. In addition, the OPW has spent approximately €50 million on other programmes, related to flood risk management, principally the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Programme of studies, that is not attributable to a specific county. Local Authorities may have undertaken flood defence works from their own resources that the OPW would not have been made aware of.

Expenditure on Major Flood Relief Schemes and Minor Works 2002 – 2013

County

Scheme

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

TOTALS

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

€,000

Carlow Co Co.

Major Schemes

21

81

99

38

12

2,144

9

57

0

0

2,732

716

€5,909

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

32

611

439

114

€1,196

Cavan Co. Co.

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

72

0

111

0

€183

Clare Co. Co.

Major Schemes

0

0

0

337

320

255

2,873

4,793

1,995

2,390

287

9,668

€22,918

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

45

617

426

271

€1,359

Cork Co Co.

Major Schemes

449

1,124

1,555

1,975

825

730

5,097

9,618

6,162

6,235

9,395

12,167

€55,332

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

32

1,045

402

282

222

€1,983

Donegal

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

13

34

0

0

0

36

€83

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

484

32

79

76

€671

Dublin

Major Schemes

2,496

1,945

1,748

2,514

4,910

6,996

3,117

3,678

3,162

805

4,046

2,710

€38,127

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

320

873

373

€1,566

Galway

Major Schemes

250

10

25

285

1,518

795

234

€3,117

Minor Works

319

35

2,937

1,510

765

248

€5,814

Kerry

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

377

359

44

190

35

€1,005

Kildare

Major Schemes

1,199

255

8

3

0

644

2,019

835

814

1,470

715

130

€8,092

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

180

1,176

209

352

57

€1,974

Kilkenny

Major Schemes

9,261

13,858

9,711

5,127

517

616

787

1,180

62

4

0

0

€41,123

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

68

65

538

58

108

€837

Laois

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

121

0

0

0

0

0

€121

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

14

0

0

€14

Leitrim

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

160

125

101

111

€497

Limerick

Major Schemes

309

779

37

470

0

30

40

422

72

0

60

0

€2,219

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

309

268

92

142

€811

Longford

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

164

116

0

0

0

0

€280

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

202

261

0

0

€463

Louth

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

45

137

67

72

€321

Mayo

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

12

11

€23

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

233

309

31

76

0

€649

Meath

Major Schemes

39

950

1,018

1,755

2,607

599

391

874

1,669

1,130

479

58

€11,569

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

77

0

45

4

163

€289

Monaghan

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

115

0

32

227

28

€402

Offaly

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

177

0

0

22

0

13

799

997

€2,008

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

27

209

0

0

0

€236

Roscommon

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

105

951

0

105

87

€1,248

Sligo

Major Schemes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

€0

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

41

423

0

59

290

€813

Tipperary

Major Schemes

3,047

375

494

719

1,811

1,820

5,743

7,584

5,495

11,280

4,170

786

€43,324

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

14

306

327

133

0

€780

Waterford

Major Schemes

354

30

51

1

57

5,000

30

500

2,700

600

3,315

3,996

€16,634

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

54

0

14

15

€83

Westmeath

Major Schemes

0

150

0

0

0

0

130

233

58

0

0

0

€571

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

90

54

83

0

€227

Wexford

Major Schemes

0

94

5

25

414

0

93

231

124

0

51

88

€1,125

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

90

518

0

90

38

€736

Wicklow

Major Schemes

42

334

0

150

0

59

313

299

1,738

0

7,117

997

€11,049

Minor Works

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

227

248

70

389

8

942

TOTALS

17,467

19,985

14,726

13,139

11,650

18,893

21,259

32,277

34,386

31,051

38,838

35,052

288,723

Public Procurement Regulations

Questions (255)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

255. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will commit that all tenders involving over-the-counter transactions will be decided on the basis of both social and economic policy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5705/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Under EU rules on public procurement public works, supplies and service contracts above certain thresholds must be advertised on the Official Journal of the EU and awarded on the basis of objective and non-restrictive criteria. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money. It would be a breach of these rules for a public body to favour or discriminate against particular candidates on the basis of grounds that could be considered discriminatory and there are legal remedies which may be used against any public body infringing these rules. In this regard, it is worth pointing out that the open market regime also offers opportunities for Irish companies to win business abroad and reliable EU studies indicate that many Irish businesses are successful in this regard.

The consideration of clauses that allow for the inclusion of social and environmental clauses in public contracts is something that I have been examining. Social clauses can be used in public procurement in cases where they are targeted at factoring into the procurement process consideration of social issues such as employment opportunities, equal opportunities and social inclusion.  In order to be compatible with EU law, they must be made known to all interested parties and must not restrict participation by contractors from other Member States.

The European Commission issued guidance on this issue in 2010. This guidance stressed that when incorporating social considerations into the procurement process one of the key challenges is ensuring compliance with the EU Treaty Principles and the Procurement Directives. The EU procurement Directive primarily envisages that social considerations may be included as contract performance conditions, provided they are not discriminatory and are included in the contract notice or in the contract documents and relate to the performance of the contract. For example, the EU Directive states that contract performance conditions may be intended to favour on-site vocational training, the employment of people experiencing particular difficulty in achieving integration, or the protection of the environment.

Challenges arise from the need to ensure that: value for money is not adversely affected; additional costs are not placed on domestic suppliers relative to other potential suppliers; and the targeted benefit is capable of being measured and monitored during execution of the contract.

The Deputy may be aware that a revised set of EU Directives governing public procurement have recently been agreed. The revised directive, when implemented, should provide greater scope and legal clarity in relation to the use of social criteria in the context of an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.

Public Procurement Contracts Expenditure

Questions (256)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

256. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the total value of island-wide public procurement for the most recent consecutive five years for which data is available. [4890/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

At present, there is no central database or standard reporting of procurement spend within the Irish public service. Accordingly, the following table has been compiled based on analysis of estimates published by my Department for the State.

Estimated Total Expenditure on Public procurement

Year

Expenditure (€bn)

2009

16.3

2010

15.1

2011

13.1

2012

12.4

2013

 Not yet available

I should point out that the Public Service Reform Plan published by my Department includes a recommendation to improve performance measurement and procurement expenditure analysis. In this regard, a key focus of the Office of Government Procurement will be a move towards centralisation of data collection in the area of procurement activity. The centralisation of data collection will enable the Office to procure in a more cost efficient manner.

Coastal Protection

Questions (257)

Tom Fleming

Question:

257. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works will carry out emergency remedial works at Kells Beach, County Kerry, as significant damage was done during the recent storm/high tides; if he will make the necessary funding available to replace the public car park and carry out coastal protection works at this location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4892/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

It is a matter for Kerry County Council in the first instance to investigate and address coastal protection issues generally in the County including remedial works required on foot of damage from the recent storms. The Office of Public Works (OPW) wrote on 10 January, 2014 to City and County Managers in coastal counties indicating it will accept applications under its Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme for funding to assist Local Authorities with the cost of repairs to built flood defences and coastal protection structures which have been damaged by the recent storms. This is a once-off measure to reinstate built coastal defences to their pre-storm condition. The specific application form for this is entitled 'Coastal Storm Flooding Damage Questionnaire 2014' and is available on the OPW website. It is also open to Local Authorities to carry out flood mitigation and coast protection works using their own resources. The provision of funding for remedial works to the public car park at the beach is not a matter for the OPW.

Public Sector Staff

Questions (258)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

258. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the traditional mandatory time period which persons who leave the Civil Service must observe before being permitted to apply for another job in the Civil Service is waived in respect of persons moving to Irish Water or other new State-funded agencies; if he will provide a list of all instances where this requirement has been waived in the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4916/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I wish to advise the Deputy that, in general, there is no mandatory period of time that a civil servant must observe before being permitted to apply for or take-up another appointment in the civil or public service. Section 20 of the Civil Service Code of Standards and Behaviour requires that any civil servant intending to be engaged in or connected with any outside business with which he or she had official dealings, or any outside business that might gain an unfair advantage over its competitors by employing him or her, must inform an appropriate authority of such an intention.  

The Code provides that such civil servants shall not, within twelve months of resigning or retiring from the service, accept an offer of appointment from an employer outside the civil service or accept an engagement in a particular consultancy project, which could lead to a conflict of interest, without first obtaining approval from the appropriate authority.  This requirement also applies to civil servants who hold positions which are designated positions for purposes of the Ethics Acts.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (259, 260)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

259. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will itemise in tabular form the occasions on which his Department has engaged the services of external professional advice such as a company (details supplied) on the appointment of persons to State boards; if he will list the fees paid in respect of such services; the persons who were ultimately appointed on foot of advice received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4992/14]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

260. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will identify any instances where a person appointed to a State board after recruitment advice was received from professional external consultants was subsequently deemed to be unqualified for the duties and responsibilities attached to the role; the costs incurred in obtaining advice in respect of each such instance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5008/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 and 260 together.

In response to the Deputy's question I can confirm that there have been no occasions on which my Department has engaged the services of external professional advice for appointments to State Boards under my remit.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (261)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

261. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position regarding a flood defence wall (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5090/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The investigation and addressing of coastal protection problems are matters for the relevant Local Authority in the first instance. In 2013, Fingal County Council applied for funding from the Office of Public Works (OPW) to engage consultants to progress a flood defence scheme recommended in the report of the Fingal-East Meath Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Study that includes works on Strand Road to address flooding affecting a number of areas including Sutton. The OPW agreed on 24 October, 2013 to fund the engagement of consultants to develop further the scheme proposals, including undertaking a full assessment of their economic viability. It is a matter for the County Council to progress the matter.

If built flood defence infrastructure in the area was damaged by recent storms it would be open to Fingal County Council to submit an application for funding to repair it under the OPW Minor Flood Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. It is also open to the Council to carry out flood mitigation and coastal protection works using its own resources.

Public Sector Staff Recruitment

Questions (262)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

262. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when general recruitment to the public service will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5208/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Restrictions and targets have reduced in overall terms the numbers employed in the Public Service, from a total of 320,000 in 2008 to 288,800 at the end of Q3 2013.  In the course of this downsizing, we have ensured the prioritisation of key posts and services and have allowed recruitment and the filling of priority vacancies across key areas of the public service including, notably, in the Education and Health sectors, and this approach is continuing.  The appropriate  path beyond 2014 will be considered as part of this year's Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, which will examine public spending and resource issues in the context of the fiscal parameters, service demands and the reform and efficiency opportunities arising from the new Public Service Reform Plan.