Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (98)

Charles Flanagan

Question:

98. Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school building project (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18406/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A suitable site has been identified and is being acquired for the school referred to by the Deputy. In that context, for school development purposes, my Department is currently engaged in negotiations to extend the site concerned.

Once the site is secured, my Department will be in further contact with the school authority in relation to the progression of the school project in question.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (99)

Brendan Smith

Question:

99. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed building project for a school (details supplied) in County Cavan; the current stage of this project; when the project is likely to proceed to the next stage; the timescale for construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18449/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Major School Building Project referred to by the Deputy is currently at Stage 2a Developed Sketch Design of Architectural Planning.

The Stage 2a Submission for the project is currently under review in my Department. Following the review of the submission, subject to no issues arising, the project will proceed to Stage 2b Detailed Design which includes planning and other statutory permission and the preparation of tender documents.

On completion of Stage 2b Detailed Design, officials from my Department will contact the Board of Management with regard to the potential, at that time, for further progression of the project.

Due to competing demands on the Department's capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements it was not possible to include this project in the 5 year construction programme announced in March 2012.

School building projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, which were previously initiated but not included in the current five year construction programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in the future.

School Accommodation

Questions (100)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

100. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the provision for a new school building (details supplied) in Dublin 16; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18491/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has approved significant funding to the school in question in recent years to provide improved accommodation. This includes: €100,000 in April 2012 to build a mainstream classroom; €55,000 under the 2012 Pre-Fab Replacement Initiative to replace a rented prefab with a permanent structure; €30,000 in May 2011 to build a Resource Room; €199,530 under the 2010 Summer Works Scheme for Roof Works; and €250,576 in December 2008 to replace two prefabs reported to be in poor condition as well as the provision of an additional prefab. I also wish to advise the Deputy that my Department will however shortly make contact with the school authorities in relation to its accommodation needs.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme Expenditure

Questions (101)

Niall Collins

Question:

101. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the concern of the Tallaght community that the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education Board is to close the St. Dominic's VTOS project based at St. Dominic's national school in Tallaght and, while relocating 20 places to another centre in Tallaght, transferring 20 places to Balbriggan; if he will appreciate that this will cause much upset in Tallaght where there is already a serious youth unemployment problem; and if he will urgently intervene. [18515/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

There are currently 5,000 approved VTOS places available nationwide. VTOS places are allocated to Education and Training Boards (ETBs) on an annual basis and it is a matter for ETBs to allocate those places to their colleges and institutions.

Dublin Dun Laoghaire ETB has 510 approved VTOS places. Following the amalgamation of the former Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Vocational Educational Committees (VECs), the establishment of the Dublin Dun Laoghaire ETB and the merger of the former FÁS services the ETB has carried out a review of the provision of its Adult Education services.

During this review it became apparent that while the Tallaght area has 120 approved VTOS places Balbriggan, a rapidly growing area with high unemployment, only had 20. The ETB then made the decision to increase the available places in Balbriggan by 20 places and to make 100 places available for the Tallaght area.

Pensions Levy

Questions (102, 103)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

102. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform in view of the fact that the public service pension deduction was intended to be a temporary measure, his plans to reduce or abolish the levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18344/14]

View answer

Pat Deering

Question:

103. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the new pensions levies for public servants that have been introduced in the past ten years; and if any of these levies are due to expire in the near future. [18518/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 102 and 103 together.

Implemented in March 2009 under the terms of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009, the public service Pension-related Deduction (PRD) is the only pension-based levy on the pay of serving pensionable public servants which has been introduced over the past 10 years.

The PRD forms part of a wider set of emergency financial measures, introduced by way of legislation over the period 2009 to 2013, which have had a significant downward impact on the pay and pensions of current and retired public servants. These measures, including the PRD, have been vital in securing the financial survival of the country, and they continue to provide critical support to the national budgetary position and to the attainment of our fiscal targets. The PRD is particularly important in this regard, raising in the region of €900 million annually for the public finances at current rates.

Under section 12 of the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, I must review the PRD and other financial emergency measures annually and cause a written report of my findings to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. As part of that review I am required to consider whether the measures continue to be necessary having regard to the purposes of the legislation, the revenues of the State and State commitments in respect of public service pay and pensions. My next such report will be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas by 30 June 2014.

I should also point out that I have already acted to reduce the burden of PRD on individual public servants, albeit in a limited way. As committed to under the Haddington Road Agreement, and as legislated for in the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2013, the rate of PRD on the €15,000 to €20,000 band of a public servant's annual pay was cut from 5% to 2.5% with effect from 1 January 2014. This rate cut is worth €125 annually in gross terms to most public servants, with persons taxed at the standard rate enjoying the greater gain in terms of take-home pay.

Pension Provisions

Questions (104)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

104. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide the clarifications requested in correspondence (details supplied); regarding Deputies' and Senators' pensions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18320/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I refer to the previous PQ No. 248 answered on 8 of April 2014.

I understand the information in relation to the Oireachtas pensions of the individuals concerned, which are paid separately, has been provided to the Deputy by Houses of the Oireachtas Commission.

As a matter of policy, waivers of pay or pension by serving or former public servants, including former officeholders, are not disclosed.

In respect of the pension entitlements of former Officeholders (including Former Ministers), it is the policy of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, in any instance where such a pension is the subject of a Pension Adjustment order (PAO) under the Family Law Acts, not to make public the actual amount of pension in payment to the former Officeholder. Instead, and where required, the amount of pension before application of the PAO is made public. This approach to pension reporting reflects the considered position of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, taking into account, in particular, due sensitivity concerning personal information in the Family Law area. There is no concealment of information by individual former Officeholders in the context of a pension adjustment order. 

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (105)

Seán Fleming

Question:

105. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 15 of 10 April 2014, if he will provide details of the 20 largest capital projects currently under way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18507/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department sets the capital allocations for line Departments and the delegated sanction arrangements under which they make their spending decisions. The actual roll-out of particular capital projects and programmes is, of course, managed by the individual line Departments and their agencies who are responsible for project and programme delivery.

Based on information supplied by Departments, the 20 largest capital projects currently underway are listed as follows. Queries in relation to particular projects should be addressed to the relevant Minister and his/her Department.

Sector

Project

Education

Grangegorman DIT Campus (PPP)

-

Grangegorman - Site Infrastructure and Public Realm

-

UCD Science Centre (Phase 2)

-

Schools Bundle 3 (PPP)

-

Schools Bundle 4 (PPP)

-

Schools Bundle 5 (PPP)

-

St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Campus Development Works

Health

National Children's Hospital

-

National Maternity Hospital

-

Primary Care Centres (PPP Bundle)

-

National Forensic Mental Health Hospital, Portrane

-

St James's Hospital - Mercer Institute for Successful Aging (MISA) Project

Justice

Courts Bundle (PPP)

-

National Children Detention Facilities, Oberstown

-

Cork Prison

Transport

Luas Cross City

-

N17/N18 Gort-Tuam Motorway (PPP)

-

M11 Gorey-Enniscorthy Motorway (PPP)

-

N11/Newlands Cross Interchange Bundle (PPP)

-

N25 New Ross Bypass (PPP)

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (106)

Seán Fleming

Question:

106. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide in tabular form the total expenditure of the Office of Public Works in each year from 2010 to 2013. [18526/14]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The expenditure was as follows:

Office of Public Works Vote 13-Voted Outturn 2010-2013

€000

2010

2011

2012

2013

Gross Total

453,410.00

401,651.00

392,670.00

399,205.00

Appropriations in Aid

27,965.00

26,928.00

26,384.00

26,041.00

Net Total

425,445.00

374,723.00

366,286.00

373,164.00

Health and Safety Regulations

Questions (107)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

107. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he has any concerns regarding the practice of single-manning staff in betting offices and the implications for worker health and safety. [18276/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

As the Minister responsible for workplace health and safety, I am concerned about safe working conditions for all workers. The main responsibility for protection of worker health and safety lies with employers. Each employer has a legal duty to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of their staff. This applies to the betting industry no less than any other sector.

The principles of prevention and of risk-based assessment are fundamental to all legislation dealing with health and safety at work in Ireland. Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 requires an employer to produce a written risk assessment and safety statement that must be communicated, in an understandable form, to relevant employees.

In assessing risk, a lone worker, particularly in a workplace where there is exposure to large amounts of cash, could be considered to be potentially at greater risk with regard to their personal safety. A risk assessment related to such workplaces would be expected to identify any potential hazards in that regard, and recommend appropriate controls to mitigate the risk.

I should also point to the overall regulatory environment covering the betting industry – notably the licensing provisions of the Betting Act 1931, which comes under the responsibility of the Minister for Finance – as well as the comprehensive new licensing and regulatory framework which will henceforth cover gambling, along with land-based betting, that is being addressed by the Minister for Justice and Equality in the preparation of the Gambling Control Bill.