Departmental Staff Redeployment

Questions (81)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

81. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedure to be followed to facilitate an interdepartmental transfer for civil servants of middle rank wishing to transfer to alternative Departments for whatever reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28668/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

There are a number of procedures in place for civil servants to transfer between Departments.1) Redeployment If the Department determines that in accordance with its Employment Control Framework target, it has surplus staff, it can place officers on the Resource Panel for redeployment to another Department or Agency in accordance with the Redeployment toolkit.In addition, an officer can submit an application for any redeployment or secondment opportunities which are advertised by this Departments HR Unit from time to time.2) TransferAn officer can apply for a transfer to another Department either by - The Central Applications Facility (CAF) for decentralised locations (www.publicjobs.ie) - A letter sent through this Departments HR Unit for non-decentralised locations3) Head-to-Head TransferAn officer can seek a head-to-head transfer via their Staff Representative Associations magazine.

National Council for Special Education

Questions (82)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

82. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the actions his Department has taken to address the delay in the publication of the findings of the research project referred to as Project IRIS which was commissioned by the National Council for Special Education in 2008 and which is still not available six years later; and if he will have major concerns about such a long unexplained delay, especially in view of his request for input from the NCSE to drafting his policy on educating children with autism and where he has previously indicated that the NCSE has advised his Department that the policy advice would be delivered in spring 2015. [28677/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The research project to which the Deputy refers is the Inclusive Research in Irish Schools Project (Project IRIS). This National Council for Special Education (NCSE) commissioned research is a longitudinal study initially over 3 years examining the provision of special education within schools. The aim of the project is to look at the educational experiences and outcomes of students with a variety of special educational needs in various school settings. It was expected that the report would be published late last year but was delayed at review stage. NCSE has advised that they expect to have it published before the end of this year and I have no major concerns in this regard.

Separately as the Deputy is aware I have asked the NCSE to provide policy advice specifically on the educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders. The NCSE has advised that the policy advice will be delivered in the spring of 2015 and will draw upon findings gathered from an extensive consultation process which has already commenced.

Autism Support Services

Questions (83, 84)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

83. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 273 of 13 May 2014, if he will ensure the pamphlet, to which he made reference, when published, will include a list of all interventions currently approved by his Department for use in educating children with autism; and if not, the reason such a list is not currently available to parents of children with autism. [28678/14]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

84. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 274 of 13 May 2014, wherein he advised that the information pamphlet regarding the education of children with autism was at an advanced stage and would be published shortly by the National Council for Special Education in consultation with his officials; the reason this pamphlet has not been published; and the date upon which it is now expected to be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28679/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 83 and 84 together.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the National Council Special Education (NCSE) has advised that final preparations are underway for the printing and publication of the information pamphlet for parents/guardians of children with autism. The pamphlet could not be published until this preparation was completed.

As previously outlined the aim of this pamphlet is to inform parents and guardians of supports and services available for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. It will provide a general overview of available supports and services rather than the detail mentioned in his question.

My Department's position is that, as each child with autism is unique, they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs. As children differ significantly from one another and as children's needs vary and change over time, it is not possible to impose a method or approach that will work for all children with autism. There is not an exhaustive list of approaches or interventions which can be accessed to support the education of children with autism as new approaches continue to emerge.

As the Deputy is aware the NCSE is currently preparing policy advice on the education of children with autism. Their report which is due in 2015 will identify the nature and extent of educational intervention/s, teaching practices and other supports which should be provided to enable children with autism to achieve educational outcomes appropriate to their needs and abilities and will inform future policy development.

School Transport Provision

Questions (85)

John O'Mahony

Question:

85. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a pupil (details supplied) in County Sligo with special needs is being denied school transport to the school they are attending when there is no place available for them at a school nearer to their residence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28682/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The general approach to the provision of school transport is that application is made on behalf of a child at the commencement of their primary and post primary education cycle. At that point, a decision is made in relation to eligibility. Again, the general approach is that transport is provided to the child's nearest school subject to compliance with the distance criteria.

In the case of children with special educational needs eligibility for school transport is to the nearest school that is, or is capable of being resourced, to meet the educational needs of that child. It is important to stress that once eligibility is correctly determined, that eligibility remains for the duration of the child's education in that school. In practice this means that there is not an annual application process but that the initial decision to grant eligibility remains in place.

In the case in question, the child was eligible for school transport to the nearest school resourced to meet the educational needs of the child. The parents, as was their prerogative, opted to send the child to a more distant school. At the time of this decision there was a place available for the child at the nearest school and the parents chose not to avail of it. The consequence of this was that school transport eligibility was not available under the scheme to the more distant school.

The fact that the enrolment position of the nearer school has subsequently changed is not relevant, as eligibility under the scheme is determined at the point the child commences school. Indeed to adopt a different approach would logically require an annual review of all cases where parents opt to send the child to a school other than their nearest with a view to granting school transport in circumstances where the nearer school has subsequently become full.

Third Level Courses Availability

Questions (86)

Finian McGrath

Question:

86. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills following the winding down of All Hallows College Dublin, if he will ensure that all current BA degree students are facilitated to complete their full degree and that this important adult learning degree, which responds to the complex requirements of adult learners providing them with a second chance degree level education, continues into the future. [28712/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The position is that All Hallows College is a private college and is not an approved institution under the Higher Education Authority (HEA). It does not receive core funding, however, my Department provides grant in lieu of tuition fee funding to the College in respect of three approved undergraduate courses. This funding amounted to over €430,000 for the 2013/14 academic year.

My Department does not have a role in the placement of students in any third level institution and decisions regarding courses to be run are matters for individual institutions as autonomous bodies. I welcome the fact that the college has stated that it intends to wind down on a phased basis in order to facilitate as much as possible the completion of current students' studies.

School Staffing

Questions (87)

Martin Heydon

Question:

87. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the case for retention of a third teacher at a school (details supplied) in County Kildare which will have the required number of pupils in September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28736/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2014/2015 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0007/2014) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the 30 September 2013. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the staffing schedule, Circular 0007/2014.

The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for consideration by the Appeals Board for the June meeting. The Appeals Board determined that the appeal did not satisfy all of the published criteria as set out in Circular 0007/2014. The Appeal Board operates independently of the Minister and the Department and its decision is final.

Teaching Qualifications

Questions (88)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

88. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason teachers who graduated with the Department of Education commercial teachers diploma are not treated equitably in the PCW agreement and its implementation in circular letter, CL18/97; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28741/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Following detailed discussions under PCW, agreement was reached and set out in my Department's Circular 18/97 which provided for the payment of allowances in respect of qualifications which hitherto did not qualify for such payment.

The Circular was agreed under the auspices of the Teachers' Conciliation Council, a body established in accordance with the terms of the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for Teachers.The Council is comprised of Representatives of Teachers, School Management, Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Public Enterprise and Reform and chaired by an official of the Labour Relations Commission.Agreements reached at this Council are of general application to all teachers.

The agreement provided for the payment of a pass degree allowance to a range of non graduate teachers, including non graduate holders of the Commercial Teacher's Certificate.

Departmental Staff Redeployment

Questions (89)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

89. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the procedure to be followed to facilitate an interdepartmental transfer for civil servants of middle rank wishing to transfer to alternative Departments for whatever reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28743/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

There are no formal arrangements in place within the Civil Service to facilitate requests for transfers to other locations/employments, except in the case of grades represented by the Civil & Public Services Union. Transfers for these grades (mostly Clerical and Staff Officers) are arranged in accordance with formal procedures agreed with the Staff Side at General Council under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for the Civil Service.

Interdepartmental transfers between other grades in the Civil Service can be arranged on an informal, head-to-head, basis. Such transfers are arranged between the officers seeking to move and the relevant Personnel Units and require the agreement of both Personnel Officers.

Trade Agreements

Questions (90)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

90. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the current position regarding the EU-US trade negotiations; if the progress to date indicates a positive result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28729/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Since the EU Council’s Decision in June 2013, to start negotiations with the US on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), five negotiating rounds have taken place, the most recent taking place from 19-23 May in the US. This round covered extensive technical discussion on a broad range of issues including regulatory issues, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, government procurement, intellectual property rights, electronic commerce and telecommunications, environment, labour, small and medium-sized enterprises, and energy and raw materials. Some discussion has already started on the text of an agreement in relation to helping SMEs, technical barriers to trade and on competition.

The sixth round is due to take place during the week beginning 14 July, 2014. The EU Commission has indicated that the topics expected to be discussed during the next round include trade in goods and services, regulatory issues, government procurement, environmental protection and labour rights, energy and raw materials, and opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises. The latter topic is important for Ireland because it will enable our SMEs to win more export business in the U.S., where Enterprise Ireland has invested considerable resources to support its clients in that market. The EU Commission has indicated that, as in previous rounds, EU and US negotiators will spend a day with representatives of industry, non-governmental organisations, consumer groups, trade unions, professional bodies, and other civil society groups.

Negotiations on TTIP can be summarised as covering three broad areas:

The first is market access, for goods, services, and public procurement. The first tariff offers, that is, the immediate or phased elimination of import tariffs on an extensive list of goods, were exchanged earlier this year, and I expect that, over the next few weeks there will be further work and negotiations to extend the range of tariff free trade that can take place once TTIP comes into effect. On services, I understand that the US tabled its first offer last week, and Member States will meet shortly to discuss what has been proposed by the U.S. The Commission expects that the EU’s first offer on services will be ready soon. Naturally there is an important level of confidentiality about the detail of both sides’ negotiating position, but I am hopeful that the greatest level of market access can be achieved for our goods and services exporters and for those looking to extend access to the very large U.S. public procurement market.

The second area covered by the talks is “rules" , on trade facilitation (EU and US customs systems), state-owned enterprises (these should operate on commercial lines), on raw materials and energy (EU is looking for access to US oil/gas exports that are currently restricted), and on labour and the environment issues (no weakening of the high standards/protection applied by both parties). Coming to agreement on these will also serve to set the standards for other Free Trade Agreements with trading partners, reduce the complexity for small companies to comply with many different standards and market regulations, and to regulate markets in an open and transparent manner.

The third most difficult and complex, but most important aspect of the negotiations, is reducing regulatory burdens, which will involve a multiplicity of sectoral regulations. In areas of regulation covering important sectors such as financial services, environment, and health and public safety, there are legitimate but in many cases unfounded concerns about a possible lowering of regulatory standards. In fact, both the EU and the US are equally committed to retaining existing high standards that protect consumers. The objective of TTIP is to address differences in standards between our two economies, that can give rise to heavy compliance costs, while at all times maintaining the high levels of health, safety, environmental and other protection that is reflected in EU legislation.

Studies show that addressing regulatory burdens will yield the most net gains from the agreement. The Commission’s impact assessment suggests that between two thirds and four fifths of the gains from TTIP would come from cutting red tape and having more coordination between regulators. Consequently, progress in respect of regulation, through harmonisation, mutual recognition or convergence, is the most important means of capturing the largest benefits from TTIP.

It is important to see this as a two part issue: the process of how regulation is enacted, and the sector specific solutions being negotiated. How regulations are made needs to be more transparent, efficient and objective, with regulators deepening relationships in order to address emerging issues together, for example in setting standards for new technologies. Regulators are also discussing how to reduce the cost of meeting existing standards without affecting the levels of protection afforded by them.

Real progress on issues like car safety standards, ending double inspections at pharmaceutical and medical device plants, should, over time, reduce costs for business, regulators and consumers. It is important to note that while regulatory aspects are one of the main elements of the TTIP negotiations, there is nothing in the negotiations that should prevent or undermine the rights of both sides to regulate, and the level of regulatory protection on both sides, be it environment, food, consumer safety, will not be lessened.

As regards investment protection, the public consultation launched by the European Commission last March on the investment protection provisions of a future Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, is still underway and will run until 6 July. All stakeholders have the opportunity to respond to this consultation, so that specific interests and concerns on investor protection and settlement of related disputes are well understood by the European Commission, and can be used to better define the EU’s approach to investor protection in the TTIP negotiations. The public consultation can be accessed at http://trade.ec.europa.eu/consultations .

Further information on the negotiations, including background documents, are available on the European Commission’s TTIP website. [http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip ]

My Department recently engaged international expertise to examine the economic and other impacts TTIP and related potential opportunities. The focus of this study will be to identify key areas and sectors of the economy that will be impacted by TTIP. This work will help to inform our input to the European Union’s negotiating position and to identify appropriate policy responses to be deployed, to maximise the potential of this historic agreement and provide an assessment of the longer term implications for enterprise policy.

I hosted a Conference in Dublin Castle on 20 June to look at the opportunities for Ireland from TTIP. This conference aimed at bringing together at political and senior executive level, Oireachtas members, representatives of various economic interests (including farmers and trade unions), Government Departments, Agencies and Regulators, in order to tease out the issues that lie ahead for Ireland.

At this stage it is too early to draw definitive conclusions about the impact of TTIP on our economy. However, initial assessments suggest that Ireland will benefit to a greater extent than the EU. Preliminary estimates point to a possible increase of 1.1% in GDP compared with a .5% GDP increase for the EU as a whole. This could give rise to an increase of 8,000 jobs over the implementation period of the Partnership.

As the negotiations advance, I will continue to look for an agreement that is comprehensive and balanced and one that delivers real trade and economic potential for our economy. In this context I recognise the need to minimise the impact of trade liberalisation and market opening on sensitive areas of the economy and will continue to express our position that any agreement would respect our broad trade interests and especially our interests in the agriculture sector.

Departmental Agencies Staff Recruitment

Questions (91)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

91. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his plans to request or allocate funding for additional full-time forensic accountants for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement. [28676/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

I am aware that the Office of the Director, in common with the other Divisions and Offices of my Department, participated in a Departmental Workforce Planning exercise in 2012 and again in 2013. Notwithstanding the merits of the various submissions received, the moratorium on recruitment and the need to observe Employment Control Framework targets severely limit the capacity of my Department to respond, as requested. Staff assignments are made by reference to the priority needs of the Department and its offices as a whole.

The ODCE's revised workforce plan has specifically highlighted the centrality of accountancy skills as being fundamental to that Office's ability to deal with the more complex issues and investigations which it has been facing since the economic downturn. Despite the severe limitations referred to above, I am strongly supportive of the case made by the ODCE to rebalance its staff complement to increase the accountancy expertise available to the Office. I have recently written to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform requesting his assistance in expediting the necessary sanction from his Department to fill these important posts.

County and City Enterprise Boards Funding

Questions (92)

Dara Calleary

Question:

92. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation if he will provide a report in tabular form outlining the funding for each county and city enterprise board in 2011, 2012 and 2013 relative to the population of that area; the detail of each stream of funding utilised by each CEB; and the number of enterprises in each CEB area who received financial assistance in each area. [28706/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Jobs)

Details of the population in the functional area of each City and County Enterprise Board (CEB), the funding allocated to each Board and the number of enterprises funded by each one for the period from 2011 to 2013 are set out in Tables 1 to 3 below. The capital allocations made available to the CEBs each year during this period, and in 2014, were maintained at €18m despite serious budget pressures.

The CEBs were dissolved with effect 2014 and replaced by 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) from 15 April. LEOs are the “first stop shop” for providing information and guidance for start-ups and small business, and provide direct grant assistance and so called “soft supports” to micro enterprises employing less than 10 people.

The allocation of funding to each of the CEBs was decided by the Board of Enterprise Ireland in line with criteria agreed with my Department. The Committee took account of a number of factors, including the population statistics available from the CSO at the time, which are detailed in the Tables.

The Deputy may wish to note that, following the establishment of the LEOs, it has been agreed that initially the Budget Allocation methodology will remain unchanged as regards Capital allocations. Over time this allocation and the allocation methodology will be reviewed by my Department and Enterprise Ireland (EI) to ensure that opportunities for business development are maximised and that value for money is being secured across the LEOs. Such reviews will in the future be primarily informed by achievement of targets and performance metrics rather than a purely population based assessment. It is envisaged that a competitive element to budgetary allocation will be developed and introduced over time.

In addition to grant aid, LEOs can provide valuable advice, mentoring, training and management development supports to help grow and develop micro enterprises including those not eligible for direct grant assistance.

Table 1: 2013

CEB

Population of CEB Functional Area

Current Funding Utilised (€) (Pay + Non-Pay)

Capital Funding Utilised (€) (Grants + Other Supports)

No of Clients Paid

Carlow

54,612

221,290

428,851

29

Cavan

73,183

389,925

446,626

20

Clare

117,196

230,373

505,281

33

Cork City

119,230

275,159

411,245

24

Cork County (North)

89,132

164,742

382,383

12

Cork County (South)

240,905

413,465

1,049,476

41

Cork County (West)

69,179

374,696

428,046

12

Donegal

161,137

404,717

627,964

29

Dublin City

527,612

438,504

1,045,182

68

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

206,261

307,418

652,997

47

Fingal

273,991

447,516

656,612

27

South Dublin

265,205

357,829

700,631

37

Galway

250,653

292,078

708,816

26

Kerry

145,502

345,588

466,575

40

Kildare

210,312

244,860

499,481

31

Kilkenny

95,419

247,204

388,419

19

Laois

80,559

278,237

373,977

9

Leitrim

31,798

333,653

299,080

26

Limerick City

57,106

353,889

426,028

20

Limerick County

134,703

267,848

601,379

29

Longford

39,000

344,652

390,769

40

Louth

122,897

410,279

415,021

29

Mayo

130,638

207,641

572,526

19

Meath

184,135

389,692

554,359

30

Monaghan

60,483

302,639

354,629

14

Offaly

76,687

350,579

370,438

25

Roscommon

64,065

215,507

357,928

14

Sligo

65,393

342,939

500,258

27

North Tipperary

70,322

353,539

414,054

22

South Tipperary

88,432

264,840

401,706

20

Waterford City

46,732

225,080

387,806

20

Waterford County

67,063

187,696

500,895

32

Westmeath

86,164

324,085

639,310

35

Wexford

145,320

302,020

566,793

42

Wicklow

136,640

397,284

618,241

36

Table 2: 2012

CEB

Population of CEB Functional Area

Current Funding Utilised (€) (Pay + Non-Pay)

Capital Funding Utilised (€) (Grants + Other Supports)

No of Clients Paid

Carlow

54,612

228,527

481,965

33

Cavan

73,183

397,871

434,645

18

Clare

117,196

242,594

547,068

41

Cork City

119,230

315,807

444,022

21

Cork County (North)

89,132

161,857

234,079

6

Cork County (South)

240,905

422,815

1,183,614

46

Cork County (West)

69,179

380,232

466,083

18

Donegal

161,137

414,488

789,522

25

Dublin City

527,612

433,895

1,214,463

70

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

206,261

302,601

693,008

54

Fingal

273,991

451,662

643,928

35

South Dublin

265,205

367,379

802,601

51

Galway

250,653

298,520

655,903

34

Kerry

145,502

354,471

599,215

39

Kildare

210,312

238,798

556,781

20

Kilkenny

95,419

338,573

461,320

28

Laois

80,559

290,429

371,955

10

Leitrim

31,798

337,066

331,398

26

Limerick City

57,106

361,768

422,131

31

Limerick County

134,703

337,109

444,074

17

Longford

39,000

279,110

386,964

33

Louth

122,897

421,733

457,778

25

Mayo

130,638

200,633

525,242

12

Meath

184,135

411,701

471,795

28

Monaghan

60,483

301,789

372,713

16

Offaly

76,687

353,843

368,435

27

Roscommon

64,065

207,330

387,493

13

Sligo

65,393

342,560

402,315

28

North Tipperary

70,322

362,852

467,086

17

South Tipperary

88,432

243,950

439,643

22

Waterford City

46,732

253,888

489,461

30

Waterford County

67,063

190,609

408,944

32

Westmeath

86,164

368,683

601,260

51

Wexford

145,320

307,262

646,432

34

Wicklow

136,640

405,836

595,926

30

Table 3: 2011

CEB

Population of CEB Functional Area

Current Funding Utilised (€) (Pay + Non-Pay)

Capital Funding Utilised (€) (Grants + Other Supports)

No of Clients Paid

Carlow

50,349

348,881

404,532

38

Cavan

64,003

398,290

418,658

21

Clare

110,950

295,577

527,230

48

Cork City

119,418

382,732

435,991

25

Cork County (North)

80,795

176,998

449,989

13

Cork County (South)

218,373

444,889

828,371

17

Cork County (West)

62,709

381,355

357,320

13

Donegal

147,264

424,451

589,801

22

Dublin City

506,211

443,597

1,146,172

101

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown

246,935

335,679

634,922

57

Fingal

194,038

440,489

693,194

41

South Dublin

239,992

366,028

725,739

41

Galway

231,670

271,942

882,129

62

Kerry

139,835

345,829

547,115

46

Kildare

186,335

360,629

560,225

23

Kilkenny

87,558

330,394

438,029

26

Laois

67,059

288,322

361,820

16

Leitrim

28,950

328,211

392,392

27

Limerick City

52,539

365,488

406,798

30

Limerick County

131,516

336,571

552,508

25

Longford

34,391

277,743

358,021

31

Louth

111,267

429,700

532,558

33

Mayo

123,839

198,803

465,565

19

Meath

162,831

406,973

700,907

36

Monaghan

55,997

305,674

350,375

19

Offaly

70,868

354,870

365,761

27

Roscommon

58,768

199,479

373,242

20

Sligo

60,894

364,979

430,442

21

North Tipperary

66,023

353,844

405,748

32

South Tipperary

83,221

348,451

378,541

20

Waterford City

45,748

216,561

339,771

36

Waterford County

62,213

179,272

501,806

37

Westmeath

79,346

381,995

497,032

58

Wexford

131,749

307,485

566,249

37

Wicklow

126,194

413,743

588,211

28

JobsPlus Scheme

Questions (93)

Dara Calleary

Question:

93. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the merit of allowing an extension of the JobsPlus scheme to allow for one parent family payment recipients to partake on the scheme; her further views on allowing successful JobBridge participants the opportunity to avail of the JobsPlus scheme; her further views that such an arrangement would support job creation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28634/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

JobsPlus provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit employees from those who are long term on the live register. JobsPlus is biased in favour of those who are longer term unemployed. It provides employers with two levels of payment: €7,500 over two years where a jobseeker who is 12-24 months on the live register is recruited and €10,000 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months. The subsidy is paid in monthly instalments over a two year period provided the employment is maintained.

In line with Pathways to Work commitments, the long-term unemployed on the Live Register are a particular focus for interventions and the JobsPlus Incentive is, therefore, exclusively targeted at this cohort. Periods spend on an internship under JobBridge are counted towards eligibility and interns can be supported directly from JobBridge once the eligibility criteria are satisfied. A person on a one parent family payment is not considered eligible given the focus of JobsPlus on recruitment from those longer term unemployed and receiving a jobseekers payment. The Department of Social Protection is currently finalising a review of the initial phase of implementing JobsPlus. The review will consider eligibility criteria and if it is appropriate to meet the objectives set for JobsPlus. The Deputy will appreciate that any broadening of eligibility will have cost implications and require consideration in the context of the forthcoming Budget.

Since its launch in July 2013 to the end of May 2014, JobsPlus has concluded arrangements to support 2,385 jobseekers in full-time employment with 1,811 employers nationally. Around 60% of jobseekers being supported had been on the live register for over 24 months at the time of recruitment.

Work Placement Programmes

Questions (94)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

94. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason an increase in a qualified adult payment ceased in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if same will be restored due to the hardship that will be caused by this fall in income. [28563/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

This matter relates to spouses engaged on the rural social scheme and community employment. With effect from 17 September 2012, rates of payment on work placement and training programmes have been standardised. In cases where both spouses are simultaneously engaged on work placement and training programmes, as in the case detailed by the Deputy, the Department considers that neither spouse are dependant and the weekly rate of pay is €208 per week per individual applies, not including any increases for dependent children.

School Meals Programme

Questions (95, 98)

Seán Fleming

Question:

95. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of students involved in the 100 DEIS and special schools that were recently brought in under a project (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28572/14]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

98. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a breakdown of the payments under a school meals project scheme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28603/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 95 and 98 together.

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food services to some 1,600 schools and organisations which benefits some 205,000 children through two schemes. The first is the statutory urban school meals scheme, operated by local authorities and part-financed by the Department. The second is the school meals local projects scheme through which funding is provided directly to participating schools and local and voluntary community groups who run their own school meals projects.

Despite pressure on the social protection budget, the Government allocated an additional €2 million for the school meals programme in 2013, providing a total allocation of €37 million. The additional €2 million allocated to the school meals programme budget for 2013 was used to extend the school meals local projects scheme to some 100 additional DEIS and special schools benefiting over 9,700 children.

Statistics on the average payment per pupil under the school meals scheme is not maintained by the Department.

JobsPlus Scheme

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 95.

Questions (96, 97)

Dara Calleary

Question:

96. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection the qualifying criteria for inclusion on the JobsPlus scheme; if she will outline any future Department plans to integrate JobBridge and jobsplus schemes to ensure that trained interns under the JobBridge scheme can be employed under the terms of the JobsPlus scheme; her views that such a plan makes economic sense; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28576/14]

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Dara Calleary

Question:

97. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will extend the terms of the jobsplus scheme to allow for persons on one-parent family payments to be eligible for the inclusion on the scheme; her views that such persons who qualify for and successfully participate in and complete JobBridge schemes should be accommodated on the jobsplus scheme; if she will acknowledge that huge savings in social welfare payments can be made by allowing such participation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28577/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.

JobsPlus provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit employees from those who are long term on the live register. JobsPlus is biased in favour of those who are longer term unemployed. It provides employers with two levels of payment: €7,500 over two years where a jobseeker who is 12-24 months on the live register is recruited and €10,000 for each person recruited who has been unemployed for more than 24 months. The subsidy is paid in monthly instalments over a two year period provided the employment is maintained.

To qualify as an eligible employee for the €7,500 Incentive a jobseeker must be at least 12 months (312 days) on the Live Register in the previous 18 months. To qualify as an eligible employee for the higher Incentive of €10,000 a jobseeker must be at least 24 months (624 days) on the Live Register in the previous 30 months. Periods spend on an internship under JobBridge are counted towards eligibility and interns can be supported directly from JobBridge once the eligibility criteria are satisfied. A person on a one parent family payment is not considered eligible given the focus of JobsPlus on recruitment from those longer term unemployed and receiving a jobseekers payment. The Department of Social Protection is currently finalising a review of the initial phase of implementing JobsPlus. The review will consider eligibility criteria and if it is appropriate to meet the objectives set for JobsPlus. The Deputy will appreciate that any broadening of eligibility will have cost implications and require consideration in the context of the forthcoming Budget.

Since its launch in July 2013 to the end of May 2014, JobsPlus has concluded arrangements to support 2,385 jobseekers in full-time employment with 1,811 employers nationally. Around 60% of jobseekers being supported had been on the live register for over 24 months at the time of recruitment.

Question No. 98 answered with Question No. 95.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Questions (99)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

99. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason rent support has been withdrawn again in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6 whose payment only recommenced last month; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28606/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Following representations made by Deputy Durkan, the claimant’s payment was re-instated on 9 May 2014. The claim has continued in payment on a weekly basis since then and current payments are up to date. Arrears issued to the claimant on 20 June 2014.

Community Work Initiatives

Questions (100)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

100. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection if further experience is gained from a TÚS scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork if the person may reapply to the same company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28636/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Tús, the community work placement initiative which was introduced during 2011, was set up to provide short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a year. This initiative is being delivered through the network of local development companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta. Tús is designed to break the cycle of unemployment and maintain work readiness, thereby improving a person’s opportunities of returning to the labour market.

The duration of the Tús contract was set to reflect a number of inter-related elements. These include (i) the need to ensure that the limited numbers of placements available are opened to those on the Live Register, (ii) that weaknesses identified in other work programmes resulting from longer duration placements are not replicated with Tús, (iii) optimisation of the resources available and (iv) how Tús fits with the objectives set out in the Government’s activation policies in Pathways to Work.

I consider the existing 12-month period on Tús to be adequate to meet the programme’s objectives. It also ensures that as many unemployed people as possible are able to benefit from the initiative. There are no circumstances under which a person’s term on Tús will be extended beyond 12 months. Opportunities are available on community employment (CE) where a person is interested in pursuing a work placement that may have a longer duration in order to complete certified training. Time spent on Tús is considered eligible for accessing CE.

As of the week ending 27th June 2014, 18,243 participants and 418 full-time supervisory/ team leader personnel have been engaged on Tús since its inception in July 2011.