Family Income Supplement Applications

Questions (148)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

148. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress made to date in the determination of an application for family income supplement in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15616/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In order to qualify for Family Income Supplement (FIS) an applicant must be engaged in full-time remunerative employment as an employee for at least 38 hours per fortnight (19 hours per week).

From evidence supplied in support of his application for FIS by the person concerned, a deciding officer decided that he did not satisfy this condition and the application was refused.

On foot of an appeal by the person concerned, the matter was referred to a Social Welfare investigative officer for further investigation. The investigative officer has been in contact with the employer of the person in question but the evidence provided by the employer to date has been insufficient to show that the condition was satisfied. The investigative officer will be making further contact with the employer shortly.

Once the investigative officer's report is returned the application will be re-examined by a deciding officer to review whether an entitlement exists. If it does, the application will be processed immediately. If not, the matter will be referred to the Social Welfare Appeals Office for independent determination.

Death Certificates

Questions (149)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

149. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Social Protection the circumstances in which a death certificate can be issued before an inquest has taken place (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15633/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The procedures for the registration of a death following an inquest or post-mortem examination are set out in section 41 of the Civil Registration Act, 2004.

Where a death has been referred to a coroner, it is not possible for another qualified informant to register the death until the coroner's enquiries have been finalised. When the coroner's enquiries have concluded, a coroner's certificate will be given to the relevant registrar who will register the death. There are no circumstances where a death certificate may be issued before registration has taken place

Social Insurance

Questions (150)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

150. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to provide better social protection cover for self-employed persons and their families when their businesses fail; if she will provide a timeline for her plans; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15681/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Self-employed persons are liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% which entitles them to access long-term benefits such as State pension (contributory) and widow's, widower's or surviving civil partner's pension (contributory). Ordinary employees who have access to the full range of social insurance benefits pay Class A PRSI at the rate of 4%. In addition, their employers make a PRSI contribution of 10.75% in respect of their employees, resulting in the payment of a combined 14.75% rate per employee under full-rate PRSI Class A. (For employees earning less than €356 per week, the rate of employer's PRSI is 8.50%).

Self-employed workers may also access social welfare supports by establishing eligibility to assistance-based payments such as jobseeker's allowance and disability allowance. In the case of jobseeker's allowance they can apply for the means-tested jobseeker's allowance if their business ceases or if they are on low income as a result of a downturn in demand for their services. In assessing means from self-employment, income from the previous twelve months is used as an indicator of likely future earnings. Given the variety of self-employment situations, the means assessment procedures are applied in a flexible manner to ensure that any circumstances that would be likely to lead to a significant variation, either upward or downward, in the level of a person's income from one year to the next are taken into consideration. It is recognised that the present downturn in the economy is having a significant impact on many self-employed persons and the consequent reduction in their income and activity levels would therefore be reflected in any assessment of their means from self-employment for jobseeker's allowance purposes. As in the case of a non-self-employed claimant for jobseeker's allowance or disability allowance, the means of husband/wife, civil partner or co-habitant will be taken into account in deciding on entitlement to a payment.

In September 2013, I published the report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on Extending Social Insurance Coverage for the self-employed. The Group was asked to examine and report on issues involved in extending social insurance coverage for self-employed people in order to establish whether or not such cover is technically feasible and financially sustainable, with the requirement that any proposals for change must be cost neutral.

The Group found that the current system of means tested jobseeker's allowance payments adequately provides cover to self-employed people for the risks associated with unemployment. In this context, the Group noted that almost 9 out of every 10 self-employed people who claimed the means tested jobseeker's allowance during the three-year period from 2009 to 2011 received payment. Consequently, the Group was not convinced that there was a need for the extension of social insurance for the self-employed to provide cover for jobseeker's benefit.

The Group also found that extending social insurance for the self-employed was warranted in cases related to long term sickness or injuries. To this end, the Group recommended that Class S benefits should be extended to provide cover for people who are permanently incapable of work, because of a long-term illness or incapacity, through the invalidity pension and the partial capacity benefit schemes. The Group further recommended that the extension of social insurance in this regard should be on a compulsory basis and that the rate of contribution for Class S should be increased by at least 1.5 percentage points.

This recommendation will require further consideration in conjunction with the findings of the most recent Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund which indicated that the self-employed achieve better value for money compared to the employed when the comparison includes both employer and employee contributions in respect of the employed person.

My colleagues in Government and I will reflect on the findings of the Advisory Group on this issue and will further consider the recommendations contained in the report taking into account future developments in terms of the budgetary and fiscal situation.

State Visits

Questions (151)

Pat Deering

Question:

151. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of Irish entertainers that offered their services to perform at the upcoming State visit of President Higgins to England; the criteria used for the selection of the artists; the number that were selected; if those not selected will be notified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15484/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

Ceiliúradh, a special evening of music, spoken word and dance, featuring artists from Ireland and the United Kingdom, will take place in the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday 10th April, 2014 to mark the historic occasion of the first State Visit by the President of Ireland to the United Kingdom. I am delighted that it will be promoted under the general aegis of the Culture Ireland Division of my Department which has ongoing responsibility for the promotion of Irish artists worldwide. The Royal Albert Hall has engaged South Wind Blows to produce the concert and it is responsible for curation of the event and selection of the artists. The show is intended to reflect the close cultural connections between our two countries and includes artists and performers living in Ireland and Britain.

National Monuments

Questions (152, 153, 154)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

152. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the process and criteria that must be met to have a monument or building designated a national monument and added to the list of these protected structures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15449/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

153. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if the 1917 synagogue in period houses on Walworth Road, Dublin 8 is eligible for inclusion as a national monument; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15450/14]

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Kevin Humphreys

Question:

154. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the statutory powers he has to ensure the protection of a national monument; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15451/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 152 to 154, inclusive, together.

Under section 2 of the National Monuments Act 1930 a “national monument” is defined as a monument, the preservation of which is a matter of national importance by reason of its historical, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest. A national monument becomes subject to the protections of section 14 of the 1930 Act, whereby the Minister's consent is required to any proposed works or interference with the monument, if any of the following provisions pertain: it is owned by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or a local authority; it is under the guardianship of the Minister or a local authority under sections 5, 6 or 9 of the 1930 Act; or it is subject to a Preservation Order under section 8 of the 1930 Act or a temporary Preservation Order under section 4 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1954.

None of the foregoing provisions apply in the case referred to by the Deputy and my Department has not received any request to consider whether the building comes within the definition of a national monument as set out above.

Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme Payments

Questions (155)

Pat Breen

Question:

155. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht when payment of bog compensation will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15507/14]

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Written answers (Question to Arts)

An application for compensation under the cessation of turf cutting compensation scheme has been received by my Department from the individual referred to in the Deputy's Question. A payment of €1,500 in respect of Year 1 of 15 (2011) and a payment of €1,500 in respect of Year 2 of 15 (2012) had been made to this applicant. Following the receipt by my Department of outstanding documents in relation to the application, I am advised that a payment of €1,518 in respect of Year 3 of 15 (2013) has recently been made to the applicant.