Question No. 192 withdrawn.

School Meals Programme

Questions (193)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

193. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will continue to provide funding towards school lunches in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6850/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food services to some 1,600 schools and organisations which benefits over 207,000 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 2015, providing a total allocation of €39 million.

The additional €2 million allocated to the school meals programme will be used to increase payments to existing schools which are part of the Department of Education and Skill's initiative for disadvantaged schools 'Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools', (DEIS), with a focus on the provision of breakfast clubs. The Department is currently considering options regarding the allocation of the additional funding.

The school referred to by the Deputy, is a DEIS school, and has received over €239,725 in total funding under the school meals local projects scheme since 2005 and was allocated funding of €18,146 for the current academic year. The Department advised the school of the allocation for the current academic year in August 2014 which has issued payment by way of two instalments, the first issued in August 2014 and the second instalment of €11,089 issued recently in January 2015.

The Department is not aware of the funding situation as advised by the Deputy and will be engaging with the school directly.

Youth Guarantee

Questions (194)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

194. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of jobseekers under 25 years of age in County Louth, who to date have been offered and completed a personal progression plan as part of the youth guarantee; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6853/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

From 1 January 2014 to 12 January 2015, a total of 342 clients in County Louth completed a Personal Progression Plan who were under 25 on the date they completed their plan.

As the completion of a Personal Progression Plan is a unique feature of the INTREO Activation and Case Management process, this figure does not include clients who availed of employment supports outside the INTREO process, e.g. through the Local Employment Services.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Question No. 196 withdrawn.

Questions (195)

Brian Walsh

Question:

195. Deputy Brian Walsh asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on an appeal for a non-contributory State pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6863/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 22nd January 2015. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 5th February 2015 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Question No. 196 withdrawn.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility

Questions (197)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

197. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the reason a child (details supplied) in County Galway, who was awarded a domiciliary care allowance in 2008, is not now regarded as a qualified child, in view of the fact that the child's medical condition has deteriorated over the years; when the child's parent will receive a decision on a domiciliary care allowance for a second child; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6921/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned was in receipt of domiciliary care allowance for one child until January 2014 when the entitlement ended as the family left the State. Having returned to reside in Ireland, they re-applied for the allowance in respect of this child on the 30th October 2014. The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance. A letter issued on the 3rd February 2015 advising of the decision.

An application for domiciliary care allowance was also received on the 30th October 2014 in respect of a second child. The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance. A letter issued on the 3rd February 2015 advising of the decision.

In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the decision to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within twenty one days. A request for a review of the decision or an appeal of the decision has not been received to date.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (198)

Finian McGrath

Question:

198. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal in respect of a carer’s allowance for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6940/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 22nd September 2014. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 11th February 2015 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Departmental Investigations

Questions (199)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

199. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 41 of 14 January 2015, if a decision has been made; if so, when the decision was made; and the nature of the decision. [6946/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

As detailed in my previous reply, a decision on the insurability of employment was sought on 4th December 2014 by a number of workers formerly employed on the site referred to by the Deputy.

As part of the process of making a decision on the insurability of an employment, it is normal practice that a Social Welfare Inspector comprehensively interviews both the worker(s) and an appropriate representative of the employer about the nature of the employment and that statements are taken separately from both parties.

In the case of all the workers concerned, this has been completed. The employer and their representatives were visited on 31st January 2015 and interviewed about the matter. In addition, a comprehensive inspection of all relevant site and other records was undertaken.

The investigators report is finalised and has been referred for a determination on the insurability of employment(s). The Deputy can be assured that the matter will continue to receive immediate attention.

Redundancy Payments

Question No. 201 withdrawn.

Questions (200)

Denis Naughten

Question:

200. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the effect parental leave has on calculations for redundancy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7001/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Redundancy Payments Act 1967, as amended, provides that an absence from work while on parental leave or force majeure leave within the meaning of the Parental Leave Act 1998 is an allowable absence.

The European Union (Parental Leave) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 81/2013) increased the amount of parental leave available to each parent per child from 14 to 18 weeks, under the Parental Leave Acts, from 8 March 2013.

An absence from work while on parental leave would not affect the calculation of the statutory redundancy entitlement due to an employee.

Question No. 201 withdrawn.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions Nos. 203 and 204 withdrawn.

Questions (202)

John McGuinness

Question:

202. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite an appeal for a disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [7064/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence has allowed the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned was notified of the decision.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Questions Nos. 203 and 204 withdrawn.

Youth Unemployment Data

Questions (205)

Tom Fleming

Question:

205. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will provide, in tabular form, the statistics for youth unemployment in each county as at 31 December 2014; the number of persons that received a youth guarantee offer in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7150/15]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Government's primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is through policies to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth and the availability of productive employment for young people. This strategy has been succeeding, with an increase of over 80,000 in employment over the last two years.

Reflecting the improvement in the labour market, youth unemployment continues to fall. For example the youth unemployment rate in Ireland as estimated by Eurostat was 21.6% in December 2014 as compared to 30.8% in December 2011, and under the 25% threshold which formed the basis for funding of Youth Guarantee measures under the Youth Employment Initiative. However, the Government recognises that as the recovery takes hold, there is a need for additional measures to ensure that as many as possible of the jobs created are taken up by jobseekers and young jobseekers in particular. This is the rationale behind the Government's Pathways to Work strategy and the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan.

The Youth Guarantee sets a medium-term objective of ensuring that young people receive an offer of employment within four months of becoming unemployed. As set out in the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan the Government intends to deliver on this objective by changing its activation process to ensure that young people benefit from earlier and more frequent engagement with case officers, by earmarking places on existing employment and training programmes for young people and by introducing some new programmes such as FirstSteps and JobPlus Youth. FirstSteps aims to offer young people you are particularly distant from the labour market a work experience opportunity with sponsor employers. In line with the Youth Guarantee commitment JobsPlus Youth offers employers who recruit a young person under 25 years of age who was unemployed for four months or more a subsidy of up to €416 per month. The duration unemployed threshold for other age cohorts is 12 months.

The Tánaiste launched FirstSteps and JobsPlus Youth on 4th February and the new process for engaging with young people in Intreo centres is currently being deployed; earmarked places on schemes such as Momentum were implemented in 2014 and the number of young people who accessed these places, including the reserved places is set out in the Table 1.

Table 1 Youth Guarantee Progress to date*

Programme

Expected full-year intake

2014

2015 YTD

Note

Youthreach/CTC

3,300

3553

CTC starters end Dec -- including Youthreach 1800 persons

JobBridge (including developmental internship)

5,000

3138

191

As of end January 2015

Tús

1,000

1410

As of 30th November 2014

JobsPlus

1,500

410

19

As of end Jan 15- U25 estimated as 14.7% of total starters in 2015 (127)

Momentum

2,000

631

132

As of 5th Feb 2015

BTEA (excl Momentum)

3,300

2319

As of 14th October

BTWEA

200

139

Including 5 persons on STEA

VTOS

500

672

Estimated U25 unemployed entrants

FAS/Solas

9,500

8027

Based on SST, Traineeship, Bridging & LTI starters YTD (end December)

CEB youth Entrepreneurship

Not yet commenced

Training and Mentoring supports

700

CEB/MFI micro-loans for young people

150

10

23rd Dec 2014

International Work Experience and Training

250

Not yet commenced

Gateway

450

192

30th November 2014

Community Employment

500

600

45

End January 2015

Total

28,350

21,101

387

*Excluding where figures are not available

The official measure of unemployment is sourced from the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). It provides a measure of unemployment at national and regional levels, but not at the county level.

However, the Live Register, which captures those registering for unemployment benefits (but includes those working part-time and in casual work who draw partial unemployment payments), provides an indication of trends at county level. I have, accordingly, provided in Table 2 the number of young people on the Live Register in each county as at 31st December 2014, with the data for 31st December 2011 included for comparison. The total was 47,928 in 2014 and 75,556 in 2011.

Table 2 Young people on the Live Register as at December 2014 and December 2011

Dec-11

Dec-14

Change Dec-11 Dec-14

State

75556

47928

-27628

Carlow County

1316

893

-423

Cavan County

1321

916

-405

Clare County

1631

1111

-520

Cork County

6849

3707

-3142

Donegal County

4334

2828

-1506

Dublin County

18099

11304

-6795

Galway County

3791

2263

-1528

Kerry County

2570

1487

-1083

Kildare County

2903

2115

-788

Kilkenny County

1220

751

-469

Laoighis County

1578

1151

-427

Leitrim County

555

384

-171

Limerick County

3588

2121

-1467

Longford County

936

591

-345

Louth County

3198

2060

-1138

Mayo County

2306

1433

-873

Meath County

1885

1187

-698

Monaghan County

1015

652

-363

North Tipperary

1331

936

-395

Offaly County

1767

1298

-469

Roscommon County

699

438

-261

Sligo County

929

607

-322

South Tipperary

1722

1130

-592

Waterford County

2525

1516

-1009

Westmeath County

1858

1280

-578

Wexford County

3622

2384

-1238

Wicklow County

2008

1385

-623

Source: CSO