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Tuesday, 16 Jan 2018

Written Answers Nos. 238-270

Approved Housing Bodies

Questions (238)

Michael McGrath

Question:

238. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the estimated impact on the public finances, including fiscal space, of the approved housing bodies sector being included on balance sheet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1689/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The decision to reclassify a number of tier 3 approved housing bodies (AHBs) was made by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) at the end of December 2017. This decision has been sent to Eurostat.

At this stage the impact on the government debt and expenditure are unknown. The CSO are currently engaged in collecting the required data to compile the end-March 2018 Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) notification tables (also known as the Maastricht returns) covering general government deficit and debt. At the same time the Department of Finance is also preparing the Stability Programme Update 2018. This will take full account of the figures published by the CSO as part of the government finance statistics release.

The impact on public finances and fiscal space will depend on the outcome of deliberations between Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government regarding delivery of social housing units by AHBs following the reclassification decision by the CSO.

State Aid Investigations

Questions (239)

Michael McGrath

Question:

239. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the progress that has been made in setting up the escrow account and the collection of relevant moneys from a company (details supplied) in respect of the state aid ruling from the European Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1690/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

While the Government has never accepted the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State aid decision, we have always been clear that we are fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the alleged State aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring that this is achieved as quickly as possible.  

Significant progress has been made on this complex issue and the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law requirements, is close to completion. This will allow for the collection of the alleged State aid from Apple. Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible.

Excise Duties Yield

Questions (240)

Noel Rock

Question:

240. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Finance the excise returns by category to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1727/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the first provisional Excise returns for 2018 will be the receipts for the month of January 2018 and this will be available in early February 2018. I am further advised that Revenue will publish Excise category breakdowns for 2017 over the coming months as data for last year are finalised.

Departmental Staff

Questions (241)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

241. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the proportion of employees in his Department or in organisations under its remit who are registered disabled. [1857/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Department is fully aware of its obligations as set out in the Disability Act of 2005 and is fully compliant in submitting its returns to the National Disability Authority (NDA) on an annual basis. The Department has an appointed Disability Liaison and Access Officers, who work in tandem to support staff and members of the public with disabilities who require assistance.

The Department does not possess information regarding employees who are registered disabled. Staff can volunteer to self-declare a disability and, on that basis, I can confirm that for 2016, as reported to the NDA in March 2017, 3% of our staff had a self-declared disability as set out under the Disability Act 2005.

Similarly, the seventeen bodies under the aegis of my Department do not possess information of employees who are registered disabled. The employees can volunteer to self-declare a disability. The following is the proportion of employees who have volunteered to self-declare a disability in four of the bodies under the aegis of my Department:

Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General - 4.82%

Office of the Revenue Commissioners - 4.16%

Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman - 1.7%

National Treasury Management Agency - 3.16%*

*This figure includes staff of the National Asset Management Agency and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland. Staff are seconded to these two bodies under an administrative agreement with the National Treasury Management Agency.

Three bodies do not directly employ staff, namely the Credit Review Office, the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal and the Irish Financial Services Appeals Tribunal.

A further six bodies have indicated that none of their employees have declared a disability, as follows:

- Credit Union Advisory Committee

- Irish Fiscal Advisory Council

- Credit Union Restructuring Board

- Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.

- Social Finance Foundation

- Tax Appeals Commission

The Central Bank has indicated that it does not maintain a record of staff with disabilities. Staff of the Investor Compensation Company Limited are seconded from the Central Bank.

Credit Union Regulation

Questions (242)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

242. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the steps being taken to ensure the voluntary ethos of the credit union movement at all levels is protected and fostered; his views on whether sufficient guidance is provided to directors that sit on boards in a voluntary capacity to allow them carry out their regulatory duties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1902/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Credit unions have a key role to play in providing access to credit and other important services in local communities throughout the country. The Government recognises this and has put in place a number of measures to ensure that credit unions can continue to provide these vital services to their members and to safeguard the stability of the sector into the future. These measures include: 

- establishment of the Commission on Credit Unions;

- publication of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012;

- establishment of the Credit Union Restructuring Board – ReBo;

- establishment of a stabilisation levy to support credit unions that are undercapitalised but are otherwise viable;

- availability of €250 million for voluntary restructuring of credit unions facilitated by ReBo;

The Commission on Credit Unions was given a mandate to review the future of the credit union sector and make recommendations in relation to the most effective regulatory structure for credit unions, taking account of their not-for-profit mandate, their volunteer ethos and community focus, while paying due regard to the need to fully protect members’ savings and financial stability.

The Final Commission Report, March 2012 informed the publication of the Credit Union and Co-operation with Overseas Regulators Act 2012, which contains over 60 of those recommendations, and also made a number of recommendations regarding strengthening of the regulatory framework of credit unions, including more effective governance and regulatory requirements.

The 2012 Act provides the statutory basis for the restructuring of credit unions and placed the Credit Union Restructuring Board (ReBo) on a statutory footing. The Government provided €250m to the Credit Union Fund for restructuring on a voluntary, incentivised and time-bound basis. The Government also provided a further €250 million for resolution purposes to ensure the safety of members’ savings. In line with the Commission Report, Part 4 of the 2012 Act also provides for a stabilisation process that addresses short-term problems at credit unions that are viable but undercapitalised.

The Central Bank is committed to providing supports to the credit union sector to assist volunteers in fulfilling their regulatory duties. The Credit Union Handbook sets out the main legislative and regulatory requirements for specific areas and contains additional guidance which credit unions and their volunteers may find useful in furthering their understanding of the various requirements for that area. The Handbook is updated regularly, specifically when new regulations are introduced or new guidance on a specific area is necessitated. On introduction of the Credit Union Act 1997 (Regulatory Requirements) Regulations 2016 (the 2016 Regulations) an FAQ document was published to assist credit unions.

The Central Bank holds an annual series of information seminars throughout the country to which credit union staff and volunteers are invited. These seminars provide updates on regulatory developments impacting the sector and provide attendees with an opportunity to meet with staff from the Registry of Credit Unions to discuss issues and pose questions they may have. The Registrar, Deputy Registrar(s) and staff from the Registry of Credit Unions frequently present on regulatory developments and various other topics at events held by the credit union bodies and other advocacy bodies who provide training and supports to the sector. The Central Bank website contains a dedicated section for credit unions which contains a repository of information in relation to credit union regulation and contains recent publications and reports which are useful aids to credit unions, their staff and volunteers.

The Central Bank remains committed to meaningful engagement with credit union directors and other volunteers who provide a significant contribution to the credit union sector.

Finally, credit unions in Ireland have their own credit union specific legislation which acknowledges the credit union ethos. This undoubtedly also demonstrates awareness of the distinction between credit unions and other financial service providers. I consider, from the number of credit union specific changes that have been implemented that it is evident that the Government clearly recognises and has done much to preserve the ethos of the credit union sector.

Departmental Communications

Questions (243)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

243. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Finance if his Department uses anti-profanity software on its email systems and online contact forms; if so, the level of human oversight that is applied to the monitoring of these softwares and their effectiveness; his views on whether persons' legitimate right to petition Government may be blocked unintentionally by errors in the use of such softwares in determining that which qualifies as profanity being communicated in email or online contact forms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2086/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I would like to advise the Deputy that ICT services and IT Infrastructure services for the Department of Finance are provided by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) under the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. On behalf of my Department, the OGCIO implements a multi-layered approach to managing and protecting departmental ICT systems, applications, infrastructures and services.

The OGCIO has put in place an industry-leading email security solution for my Department, which filters emails based on industry standard security terminology which includes profanities. All incoming emails are automatically scanned by the email security solution for terminology, including profanities, and if positive the email is quarantined and the recipient is notified that their email has been quarantined. If the recipient believes the email to be business related or quarantined in error they will contact the Service Desk stating this and the email will be released to the recipient.

The email filtering is reviewed and updated based on updated dictionaries and email statistics to keep the solution current. The Department's online contact forms are routed through its email security solution and are supported by the same functionality in relation to profanity. As emails are not blocked, but rather quarantined, a person's legitimate right to petition government will not be blocked unintentionally by the email security solution.

Government Information Service

Questions (244)

Niall Collins

Question:

244. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Finance the Government's initiatives in his Department in 2017 that promoted State services or welfare payments, public awareness on regulatory changes and public consultations that involved advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online, in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [2262/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I can inform the Deputy that there were a number of Government initiatives in my Department in 2017 for the promotion of State services, welfare payments, public awareness on regulatory changes and public consultations that involved advertising or promotion on television, radio, newspapers or online. Details of expenditure to publicise these initiatives are outlined below:

Gordon MRM: Announcement relating to AIB IPO Retail Offering Information. My Department procured the services of this company, but the costs are fully recoupable from AIB. The costs concerned totalled €91,202.04, but there is no net cost to my Department.

Language Communications: Public awareness campaign to promote customer switching. My Department procured the services of this company, but the costs are fully recoupable from AIB and PTSB in the context of their restructuring plans. The costs concerned in 2017 totalled €717,746, but there is no net cost to my Department.

My Department has also advertised directly on a number of occasions, and I have also included a breakdown of those costs below:

Independent Newspapers Marketing Ltd; Irish Examiner; The Irish Times Ltd: Information notice re: Beneficial Ownership. Cost: €2,407.73.

Tuairisc Bheo Teoranta: Information notice re: consultation on Irish language scheme on www.tuairisc.ie. Cost: €982.77.

Independent Newspapers Marketing Ltd: Information notice re: consultation on Irish language scheme in Seachtain Irish language supplement. Costs: €1,239.84.

Flood Risk Management

Questions (245)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

245. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of meetings held by the Shannon River Basin Management Co-ordination Group in 2017; the details of those; and the agencies that have attended. [54488/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I understand that the Deputy’s question relates to the Shannon Flood Risk State Agency Co-ordination Working Group.

The Group was established in early 2016 by the Government across all of the State Agencies involved with the River Shannon. The Group is building on the existing work and commitment of all the State Agencies involved in flood risk and continues to enhance the ongoing co-ordination and co-operation between members.

The Group met on 21 March 2017 and 23 October 2017. In 2017, a number of sub-committees were established in accordance with the Group's Terms of Reference to progress the delivery of initiatives agreed by the Group.

The Group comes under the chair of the Office of Public Works and members of the Group are at CEO level or equivalent with the following State Agencies:

- Office of Public Works;

- Local Authorities, represented by the City and County Management Association;

- Waterways Ireland;

- Electricity Supply Board;

- Inland Fisheries Ireland;

- Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (National Parks and Wildlife Service);

- Department of the Housing, Planning and Local Government;

- Bord na Móna;

- Environmental Protection Agency;

- Irish Water.

State Pensions

Questions (246, 264, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 283, 285)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

246. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason a person (details supplied) will not receive their pension until they reach 68 years of age. [54536/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

264. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the person or body that was consulted with during the drafting of the interim arrangements put in place until such time as legislation is passed to increase the mandatory retirement age for public service employees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55097/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

265. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the interim arrangements in place until such time as legislation is passed to increase the mandatory retirement age for public service employees will apply to those aged 66 who were facilitated by their employer at 65 years of age to remain at work and now wish to remain at work beyond pension age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55098/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

266. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason part of the interim arrangements put in place until such time as legislation is passed to increase the mandatory retirement age for public service employees involves a pay reduction for the employee when that employee will remain in the same role; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55099/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

267. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the reason part of the interim arrangements put in place until such time as legislation is passed to increase the mandatory retirement age for public service employees involves the employee being able to accrue pension contributions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55100/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

268. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if particular conditions will be attached to the legislation which will increase the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 years for public service employees; if these conditions will be similar to the interim arrangements put in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55101/17]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

269. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to introduce legislation to increase the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 70 years for public service employees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55102/17]

View answer

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

270. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to introduce the new measures to allow civil servants who wish to work past 65 years of age; if it will be applied retrospectively to persons forced to retire in 2017 when introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55157/17]

View answer

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

283. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if under the new mandatory retirement measures for civil servants a person would drop a scale in their pension if he or she worked an additional year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1535/18]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

285. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if persons (details supplied) will remain on their existing salary during the extended period of employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1574/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 246, 264 to 270, inclusive, 283 and 285 together.

The Government agreed on 5 December 2017 that the compulsory retirement age of public servants recruited before 1 April 2004 should be increased to age 70. This group of public servants currently have a compulsory retirement age of 65. Primary legislation will be required for the changes to be implemented. In approving the proposals, the Government also approved the General Scheme of a Bill to give effect to the changes. The Attorney General’s Office has been asked to give priority to the drafting of this legislation so that the new compulsory retirement age for pre-2004 public servants will become effective as soon as possible. The new compulsory retirement age will only apply to pre-2004 public servants who reach the age of 65 following the commencement of the new legislation.

In the meantime, the Government has approved some limited interim arrangements to apply in the period between the Government decision and the commencement of the necessary legislation. The interim arrangements (which have to respect the current statutory position of the compulsory retirement age of 65) through retirement and re-hire, will allow pre-2004 public servants who reach the age of 65 in that period to remain in employment only until they reach the age of eligibility for the State Pension (Contributory), which is currently 66. The interim arrangements will not apply in the case of public servants who, at age 65, were facilitated by their employer to remain at work until age 66, as they will have already reached the age of eligibility for the State Pension (Contributory), which is currently 66 and will remain at that age until 2021.

The policy across the public service is that, where a retired employee is re-hired, they are paid at the minimum point of the relevant scale, rather than at the pay point they had reached when they retired. This practice is continuing in the context of the interim arrangements. Pension abatement rules will, however, apply in the case of a public servant availing of the interim arrangements. Pension abatement means that the pension that has been awarded will be reduced so that the person concerned will not receive more in combined pension and salary payments than they would have received if they had remained working. Given that the person's "new" salary will be at the minimum point, there will be room through the payment of pension and the "new" salary rate so that the sum of the "new" salary rate and the pension in payment can address the difference between the minimum point of the scale and the pay point they had reached when they retired.

Under the interim arrangements, the additional service will not accrue public service pension benefits, as the primary legislation is necessary to enable this. The employee’s pension or lump sum payment will not be affected by this move to a lower pay point, as the persons will already have retired and be in receipt of their pension entitlements.

It is not intended that the practice of payment at the minimum point would apply to public servants who choose to remain beyond the age of 65 once the legislation is commenced. Those public servants will not be in the position of having retired and been re-hired. It is intended that when the legislation is enacted, it will allow for the retention of public servants who reach the age of 65 following the commencement of the legislation, on current terms and conditions. Additional service will count towards pension accrual subject to the statutory maximum of 40 years and pension entitlements will then become payable at the date of retirement.

The increase in the compulsory retirement age followed a review of the current statutory and operational considerations giving rise to barriers to extended participation in the public service workforce carried out by my Department, in consultation with public service employers. The engagement with public service employers included discussion in relation to the interim arrangements to apply in the period between the Government Decision and the commencement of the necessary legislation. Under the terms of the Public Service Stability Agreement (Para. 6.4.2) staff representatives were also consulted.

Oireachtas Members' Remuneration

Questions (247)

David Cullinane

Question:

247. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the basic pay for TDs, Ministers of State, Ministers and the Taoiseach in each of the years from 2007 to 2017; the basic pay that will apply to TDs, Ministers of State, Ministers and the Taoiseach in each of the years from 2018 to 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54643/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the tables below. I would point out that Members of the Government and Ministers of State are forgoing any pay restoration during the period of this Government by way of personal waivers; and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 specifically precludes them from benefitting from the further unwinding of pay cuts provided under the Act for other Public Servants in 2021-2022.

Teachta Dála (TD) Salary

1 Dec.2006€

1 Jun.2007€

1 Mar.2008€

1 Sept.2008€

1 Jan.2010€

1 Jul.2013€

Basic

93,493

95,363

97,747

100,191

92,672

87,258

* LSI 1

96,477

98,407

100,867

103,389

95,550

-

* LSI 2

99,457

101,446

103,982

106,582

98,424

-

1 Apr.2017€

1 Jan.2018€

1 Oct.2018€

1 Sept.2019€

1 Oct.2020€

89,965

93,599

94,535

96,189

98,113

* LSI = Long Service Increment – abolished with effect from the 31st Dáil, March 2011.

Officeholder Remuneration (TD salary + Officeholder salary)

1 Dec.2006€

1 Jun.2007€

1 Mar.2008€

1 Sept.2008€

1 Jan.2010€

Taoiseach

TD

Total

172,999

93,493

266,492

176,459

95,363

271,822

180,870

97,747

278,617

185,392

100,191

285,583

135,794

92,672

228,466

Tánaiste

TD

Total

135,431

93,493

228,924

138,140

95,363

233,503

141,594

97,747

239,341

145,134

100,191

245,325

115,854

92,672

208,526

Minister

TD

Total

116,648

93,493

210,141

118,981

95,363

214,344

121,956

97,747

219,703

125,005

100,191

225,196

98,745

92,672

191,417

Minister of State

TD

Total

50,903

93,493

144,396

51,921

95,363

147,284

53,219

97,747

150,966

54,549

100,191

154,740

46,594

92,672

139,266

1 Jan.2011€

9 Mar.2011€

1 Jul.2013€

1 Apr.2017€

1 Jan.2018€

Taoiseach

TD

Total

121,515

92,672

214,187

107,328

92,672

200,000

98,092

87,258

185,350

100,268

89,965

190,233

98,634

93,599

192,233

Tánaiste

TD

Total

104,814

92,672

197,486

91,733

92,672

184,405

84,051

87,258

171,309

85,709

89,965

175,674

83,919

93,599

177,518

Minister

TD

Total

88,611

92,672

181,283

76,603

92,672

169,275

70,282

87,258

157,540

71,486

89,965

161,451

69,545

93,599

163,144

Minister of State

TD

Total

46,594

92,672

139,266

37,370

92,672

130,042

34,381

87,258

121,639

34,474

89,965

124,439

32,140

93,599

125,739

1 Apr.2018€

1 Oct.2018€

1 Apr.2019€

1 Sept.2019€

1 Oct.2020€

Taoiseach

TD

Total

103,517

93,599

197,116

104,601

94,535

199,136

109,485

94,535

204,020

111,401

96,189

207,590

113,629

98,113

211,742

Tánaiste

TD

Total

88,284

93,599

181,883

89,211

94,535

183,746

93,576

94,535

188,111

95,214

96,189

191,403

97,118

98,113

195,231

Minister

TD

Total

73,456

93,599

167,055

74,230

94,535

168,765

78,142

94,535

172,677

79,510

96,189

175,699

81,100

98,113

179,213

Minister of State

TD

Total

34,941

93,599

128,540

35,319

94,535

129,854

38,120

94,535

132,655

38,787

96,189

134,976

39,563

98,113

137,676

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme Applications

Questions (248)

Colm Brophy

Question:

248. Deputy Colm Brophy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of proposed costal protection works at Spanish Point, County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54954/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am advised that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has completed a review of the Coastal Erosion and Flood Risk Management Study of Mal Bay which includes the area of Spanish Point as submitted by Clare County Council. The OPW has recently written to the Council with its detailed comments on the study and requesting some further information.

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme Applications

Questions (249)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

249. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the proposed flood defence works at Quilty, County Clare (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1209/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am advised that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has completed a review of the Coastal Erosion and Flood Risk Management Study of Mal Bay which includes the area of Quilty as submitted by Clare County Council. The OPW has recently written to the Council with its comments on the study and requesting some further information.

Garda Stations

Questions (250, 286)

Brendan Smith

Question:

250. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when a project (details supplied) will proceed to tender stage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1756/18]

View answer

Niamh Smyth

Question:

286. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the new site for a Garda station (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1593/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 250 and 286 together.

The Office of Public Works and the Chief State Solicitor’s Office continue to progress the acquisition of the preferred site for this project as a high priority and expect the process to reach a conclusion shortly. ‘Contracts for Sale’ have been executed by both parties and final completion of the legal formalities will take a short while longer. I have requested the Office of Public Works to inform both Deputies once the acquisition process is completed and to provide details of the property at that time. Until the property is entirely in the ownership of the State we cannot give exact details as to when the Project will proceed to tender stage.

Departmental Administrative Arrangements

Questions (251)

Catherine Martin

Question:

251. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the dates on which his Department has issued P60s to its employees in recent years; if P60s were issued later than 15 February or six weeks from the end of the tax year, which is the required deadline for the issuing of P60s; the reason therefor; his plans to change departmental practice to comply with this requirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1798/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I am informed that the Department of Education and Skills payroll migrated to Government Payroll Shared Services during the tax year 2015. Payroll Shared Services records indicate that P60s for the Department of Education and Skills payees were made available on 11 February 2016, in respect of tax year 2015, and were made available between 6 February and 10 February 2017, in respect of tax year 2016. Payroll Shared Services intends to make the P60s in respect of tax year 2017 available by 15 February 2018.

Garda Station Closures

Questions (252)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

252. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of Garda stations closed in the last 20 years in County Cavan and County Monaghan which are still in State ownership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1943/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I have been advised by the Commissioners of Public Works that the following Garda Stations closed in the past twenty years in counties Cavan and Monaghan and are still in State ownership:

County Cavan

- Bawnboy - Former Garda Station – Closed 2013 – 1 of the 6 Garda stations announced to be reopened

- Redmills – Former Garda Station – Closed 2013 - Awaiting outcome of Policing Authority review

- Stradone – Former Garda Station – Closed 2002 – Currently being prepared for disposal

County Monaghan

- Clontibret - Former Garda Station – Closed 2012 – Awaiting outcome of Policing Authority review

- Corrinshigagh – Former Garda Station – Closed 2013 - Awaiting outcome of Policing Authority review

- Newbliss – Former Garda Station – Closed 2013 – Awaiting outcome of Policing Authority review

- Smithborough Former Garda Station – Closed 2012 - Awaiting outcome of Policing Authority review

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (253)

Gerry Adams

Question:

253. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if additional flood defences will be put in place at residential housing developments along Red Barns Road, Dundalk, County Louth which are at risk of both fluvial and coastal flooding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54312/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The core strategy for addressing areas at potentially significant risk from flooding is the Office of Public Works (OPW) Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The Programme, which is being undertaken by engineering consultants on behalf of the OPW working in partnership with the local authorities, involves the production of predictive flood mapping for each location, the development of preliminary flood risk management options and the production of Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMP).

Dundalk and Blackrock South is an Area of Further Assessment under the CFRAM Programme and includes the area of Red Barns Road. The proposed Plan, which addresses the fluvial and coastal risk along Red Barns Road, consists of a series of hard defences, including; flood embankments and walls, rock armour coastal protection, demountable barriers, road raising and sluice gates. The proposed plan includes improvement of channel conveyance on the Blackrock River, together with flood attenuation on the Castletown River.

The FRMPs are currently subject to an independent review of the strategic level environmental assessments by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Once this independent review of all Plans is completed and observations addressed, I would hope in the coming weeks to seek the approval from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for the Flood Risk Management Plans.

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

Questions (254)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

254. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated cost of introducing the living wage for all employees in the public sector. [54567/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The detailed costings sought in this request would require detailed data on the position of staff on each salary scale across the public service and details of the standard working hours per week for each individual grade. This data is not available to the Department. 

Pay band data available to the Department indicates that some 94% of all public service staff are on salary points in excess of €25,000 per annum. The suggested wage at €11.70 per hour based on the Civil Service 37 hour standard net working week equates to an annual salary of €22,589. 

Any of those currently on an annual salary of less than €22,589 could be receiving remuneration in excess of the suggested living wage through additional premium payments in respect of shift or atypical working hours or are on salary scales that progress to the suggested living wage through incremental progression.

Data based on Civil Service staff only indicates that only some 1% of staff (FTE) in the Civil Service are on salary points less than €22,589.  The estimated cost within the civil service, which is some 12% of the overall public service, would be some €3.8m (Headcount). Detailed costings in other sectors of the public service would require collation and estimation on an individual sector level. 

Under the new Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020, from January 2018 pay in the public service has been further adjusted.  The pay increases provided for under the Agreement are again progressively weighted towards the lower paid with benefits ranging from 7.4% to 6.2% over the term to end 2020. 

Regulation of Lobbying

Questions (255)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

255. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which persons (details supplied) were exempted from the stipulations in section 22 of the Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 for senior public officials when they left office to join private public relations firms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54650/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015 provides that the Standards in Public Office Commission (Standards Commission) will be the Registrar of Lobbying and is responsible for establishing an online Register of Lobbying. The Standards Commission oversees the implementation of the register, monitors compliance with the Act, provides guidance and assistance and where necessary investigates and pursues breaches of legal requirements.

My Department would not have any knowledge of or details relating to cases involving applications made by individuals to the Standards Commission under section 22 of the Act as this would be an operational matter for the Standards Commission.

Section 22 of the Act provides that certain Designated Public Officials are restricted from being engaged in lobbying in certain circumstances for a year after they leave their employment or office. In effect, they are subject to a “cooling-off” period in respect of involvement in particular lobbying activities.

The Designated Public Officials concerned are Ministers and Ministers of State, special advisers to Ministers and Ministers of State and prescribed public servants (Section 22(2)). Others who are Designated Public Officials for the purposes of the lobbying registration requirements are not covered by this provision, that is, TDs, Senators, MEPs and local authority members.

The public officials who are covered by this provision may not

- carry on lobbying activities or

- be employed by, or provide services to, a person carrying on lobbying activities in certain circumstances.

These circumstances are where the lobbying activity

- Involves any public service body with which the public official was connected, that is, employed or held an office or other position in the year prior to his/her leaving, or

- Is to a person who was also a Designated Public Official connected with that public service body in the year prior to the first public official’s leaving.

Designated public officials subject to this provision may apply to the Standards Commission for consent to engage in such lobbying. The Standards Commission may decide to give consent unconditionally or give consent with conditions attached or refuse the application for all or part of the period (Section 22(5)).  A public official who is unhappy with the decision may appeal the decision of the Standards Commission to an independent Appeal Officer.

Section 25 of the Act provides that the Standards Commission shall prepare an annual report relating to the operation of the Act which shall be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.  Section 25(2)(c) of the Act provides that the annual report shall include, in a form which does not enable identification of the persons involved, information relating to any applications for consent under section 22 of the Act, and all decisions on such applications, made in the year to which the report refers.

The Standards Commission's annual report for 2016 is available on www.lobbying.ie and contains general details of applications for consent made under section 22 of the Act during 2016.

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme

Questions (256)

James Browne

Question:

256. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the way in which his Department plans to prevent erosion along the County Wexford coastline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54651/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Coastal erosion is a natural and ongoing process which takes place around the national coastline. Coastal erosion may threaten human life, infrastructure such as roads, and may undermine and cause damage to properties. However, it should also be recognised that coastal erosion also has beneficial effects to the local environment, such as providing natural nourishment and supply of sediment to adjacent beaches.

The primary objective of Government policy on coastal protection is to ensure that in areas identified as being at greatest risk of damage or loss of economic assets through coastal erosion or flooding, appropriate and sustainable measures are identified by Local Authorities to protect those assets and, where such measures are economically justified on cost benefit grounds and compatible with all required environmental and other statutory requirements, they are implemented subject to the availability of resources.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) has undertaken a national assessment of coastal erosion (including erosion rates) under the Irish Coastal Protection Strategy Study (ICPSS) and the results of this study have been published on the OPW website. The relevant reports and associated predictive erosion hazard mapping (to 2050) may be viewed at

www.opw.ie/en/flood-risk-management/floodanderosionmapping/icpss/.

This Study has surveyed and assessed the coastal erosion risk along the entire national coastline and this information is available to all Local Authorities to enable them to develop appropriate plans and strategies for the sustainable management of the coastline in their counties including the identification, prioritisation and, subject to the availability of resources, the implementation of coastal protection works both of a structural and non-structural nature.

The Local Authorities may carry out coastal protection works using their own resources. If necessary, they may also put forward proposals to the relevant central Government Departments for funding of appropriate measures depending on the infrastructure or assets under threat.

Because intervention within a coastal area may cause problems further along the coast, any proposed intervention measures are best developed in conjunction with a formal coastal erosion risk management study which has carefully investigated the problem and explored the full range of management options.

The OPW operates the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, under which applications for funding from local authorities are considered for measures costing up to €750,000 in each instance. Funding for coastal erosion risk management studies may also be applied for under this scheme. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for projects which meet the eligibility criteria including a requirement that the proposed measures are cost beneficial.

The OPW has published guidelines for coastal erosion risk management measures and funding applications under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme, available on the OPW website at www.opw.ie/en/media/Final%20Guidelines%20&%20Schedules%20A%20&%20B%2030-03-12.pdf.

Seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge

Questions (257)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

257. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Peadar Tóibín den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe cén fáth nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge luaite leis an bplean Ár Seirbhís Phoiblí 2020; an ndéanfaidh sé cur síos ar na hiarrachtaí atá déanta ag an Roinn an Ghaeilge a chur chun cinn sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí le cúig bliana anuas; cé mhéad airgid atá caite acu gach bliain le cúig bliana anuas ar sholáthar seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [54703/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Mar is eol don teachta, tá dualgas uileghabhálach orm i leith an chláir athchóirithe sa Státseirbhís agus sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí trí chéile.

Tá tagairt shonrach don Ghaeilge sa chlár ‘Ár Seirbhís Phoiblí 2020’ sa rannóg 3 ‘Dea-Thorthaí a Sholáthar dár bPobal – Gníomh 3 Féach chuige go bhfuil seirbhísí ar fáil go héasca ag gach duine’ agus díríonn sé ar chinntiú go mbeadh gach duine den phobal in ann na seirbhísí poiblí go léir a rochtain go héasca, lena n-áirítear iad siúd a bhfuil riachtanais éagsúla acu agus imircigh agus daoine i gcásanna leochaileacha. Tá fo-ghníomhanna san áireamh sa ghníomh seo ar úsáid a bhaint as teanga simplí as Gaeilge agus seirbhísí poiblí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge. Is iad seo na fo-ghníomhanna:

- úsáid a bhaint as teanga shimplí mar atá leagtha amach sa Treoirlíne Stíle um Béarla Simplí don tSeirbhís Phoiblí (Plain English Style Guide for the Public Service) a d’ullmhaigh an Oifig Athchóirithe agus Seachadta sa Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe chun  eispéireas na gcustaiméirí a fheabhsú agus an gá a bhíonn ag daoine teagmháil a dhéanamh arís agus arís eile a laghdú. Tá leideanna le fáil i bhfoilseachán Bhreacadh, Cuir Tú Féin in Iúl/Get Your Message Across, maidir le teanga shoiléir a úsáid nuair a bhíonn Gaeilge á scríobh;

- a chinntiú go bhfuil seirbhísí poiblí ar fáil as Gaeilge, ar aon dul lena moltar sa Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, 2010-2030;

Sonraítear sa chlár ‘Ár Seirbhís Phoiblí 2020’ gur ghá táscairí oiriúnacha a fhorbairt leis an leibhéal feidhmíochta a thomhas. Féadfar aiseolas ón bpobal ó shuirbhéanna faoi shástacht na gcustaiméirí a úsáid chun aiseolas díreach a fháil ó chustaiméirí ar an úsáid atá bainte as teanga shimplí sa Ghaeilge agus sa Bhéarla.

Ag teacht le hAlt 10 Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003, foilsíodh leagan Gaeilge den chreat, Ár Seirbhís Phoiblí 2020, ar an lá céanna leis an leagan Béarla. Tá an leagan seo ar fáil ar líne ag www.ops2020.gov.ie leis an leabhrán ar an gcreat ‘Achoimre’.

Ar an dul céanna, foilsíodh Plean um Athchóiriú na Seirbhíse Poiblí 2014-2016 as Gaeilge agus tá an plean ar fáil ag www.reformplan.per.gov.ie.

Bhain costas €2310.56 (CBL san áireamh) ar an aistriúchán ar ‘Ár Seirbhís Phoiblí 2020’ agus ar an leabhrán.

Bhain costais leis an obair dheartha ar na foilseacháin Gaeilge agus na foilseacháin bainteach leis an tionscnamh, agus bhí siad san áireamh sa chonradh leis an obair dheartha ar fad a dhéanamh.

Bhain costais €2236.88 (CBL san áireamh) ar an aistriúchán ar an bPlean um Athchóiriú na Seirbhíse Poiblí 2014-2016.

Cé go bhfuil dualgas orm don Ghaeilge sa Státseirbhís, tá dualgais ar Airí eile i leith na teanga sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí níos leithne. Ar deireadh, tá dualgas ar gach Roinn a riachtanas Gaeilge a aithint agus gníomhnú orthu, seirbhísí phoiblí a chur ar fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge i gceantair Ghaeltachta ach go háirithe.

Tá deacracht ag Comhlachtaí Poiblí seirbhísí trí Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil toisc easpa foirne atá inniúil sa Ghaeilge. Mar thoradh ar an deacracht seo, bíonn deacrachtaí ag Comhlachtaí Poiblí na ceanglais reachtúla ina scéimeanna teanga a chomhlíonadh san amscála atá sonraithe sa scéim teanga. Ina theannta sin, cruthaíonn sé deacrachtaí an chéad scéim eile a aontú, faoi mar a shamhlaítear faoin reachtaíocht, toisc nach féidir le Comhlachtaí Poiblí feabhas a chur ar na seirbhísí atá leagtha amach sa scéim.

Ba é comhaontú seirbhíse idir An Roinn Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe agus An Roinn agus An Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta, Gaeltachta agus Oileán (Teideal na Roinne – Feabhra 2013) an chéad chéim leis an gcuspóir le hinniúlacht sa Ghaeilge a neartú sa Státseirbhís a bhaint amach agus socraíodh é i Mí Feabhra 2013. Mar thoradh ar an gcomhaontú seo, tá dualgas ar sholáthar traenalá don Ghaeilge sa Státseirbhís le cinntiú go gcomhlíontar riachtanas eagraíochtúil ar An Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta anois.

Mar thoradh ar an gcomhaontú seo, tá chomhaontú conarthach ag Foras na Gaeilge, eagraíocht trasteorainn faoin Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, le Gaelchultúr/ Coláiste na hÉireann le hoiliúint sa Ghaeilge don tSeirbhís Phoiblí a sholáthar. Íocadh suimeanna de €66,666, €57,777, €41,111, €40,000 agus €40,000 don soláthraí seirbhíse sna blianta 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 agus 2017, faoi seach, i gcomhréir leis an gcomhaontú. 

Ní mór a lua, gan taighde cuimsitheach déanta ar an ábhar, nach féidir an méid atá caite ar sholáthar sheirbhíse trí Ghaeilge a mheas laistigh de thréimhse ghearr ama. Mar gheall ar na réimsí oibre agus na hoifigí atá bainteach leis an soláthar seo, tá an contúirt ann nach bhféadfaí brath ar an taighde sin.

Cheadaigh an Rialtas, mí Dheireadh Fómhair 2013, cur chuige nua le tacú le hinniúlacht sa Ghaeilge sa Státseirbhís. Rinneadh an cinneadh seo le teacht in áit mharcanna bónais a bhronnadh bunaithe ar inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge le linn chomórtais earcaíochta agus comórtais ardaithe céime sa Státseirbhís. Cuireadh deireadh le marcanna bónais a bhronnadh as inniúlacht sa Ghaeilge in earcaíocht agus comórtais ardaithe céime na Státseirbhís.

Faoin gcur chuige sin, iarradh ar Ranna na poist/ réimsí oibre ina mbíonn daoine le hinniúlacht Gaeilge de dhíth orthu a sainaithint agus iad seo a chur san áireamh ina bpleananna don phleanáil fórsa saothair. Mar chuid den chreat um phleanáil fórsa saothair 2015-2017, iarradh ar Ranna/Oifigí na poist seo a sainaithint. Ag féachaint d’Acht na Gaeltachta 2012, iarradh ar Ranna aird ar leith a dhíriú ar na poist atá lonnaithe nó atá ag freastal ar na ceantair Ghaeltachta. Mar chuid den chinneadh seo, is gá na poist seo le riachtanas Gaeilge a sainaithint sa scéimeanna teanga faoi Acht na dTeangacha Oifigiúla 2003.

Rinne, oifigigh ón Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta agus comhghleacaithe ó Ranna Rialtais eile, athbhreithniú sa chéad leath de 2017 ar an reachtaíocht nua atá beartaithe, agus thángthas ar an tuairim nach raibh ag éirí leis an gur chuige nua na cuspóirí seo a bhaint amach. Dá réir sin, d’fhoilsigh an Rialtas na Dréacht Chinn de Bhille na dTeangacha Oifigiúla (Leasú) 2017 leis an bhfadhb seo a shárú. Tá sé mar aidhm ag an mbille, ina bhfuil forail ann go mbeidh 20% d’earcaigh nua sa tseirbhís phoiblí ina gcainteoirí Gaeilge, athruithe a dhéanamh ar an mbealach a dhéantar chainteoirí Gaeilge a earcú sa tSeirbhís Phoiblí agus caighdeáin teanga le haghaidh earnálacha éagsúla den tseirbhís phoiblí a thabhairt isteach in ionad chóras reatha na scéimeanna Teanga. Táthar ag súil go méadófaí acmhainneacht chomhlachtaí poiblí seirbhísí poiblí a sholáthar trí Ghaeilge mar thoradh ar an mbille seo.

Departmental Funding

Questions (258)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

258. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the name and number of organisations here that are in receipt of funding from his Department that have expended resources seeking the repeal of the eighth amendment; the amount of funding these organisations have received from the State in the last five years; the amount of money that they have spent on this particular campaign during that time; the number of organisations here that are in receipt of funding from his Department that have expended resources seeking the retention of the eighth amendment; the amount of funding these organisations have received from the State in the last five years; and the amount of money that they have spent on this particular campaign during that time. [54771/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

My Department has not provided funding from its Vote to any organisations covered by this question.

Cycling Facilities Provision

Questions (259)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

259. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the proposed redesign and or reconfiguration of the pedestrian and cycle paths on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park, Dublin; if the proposed works will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2018 in advance of the summer months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54789/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works is commissioning an independent report to examine the feasibility and implications of the suggested changeover of the cycle trails and footpaths along Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park. The report will be available in the first quarter of this year.

State Properties

Questions (260)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

260. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 91 of 23 November 2017, the position regarding the application in view of correspondence (details supplied); and when he expects the process to be completed. [54792/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Under Section 28(2) of the State Property Act, 1954, land vested in or held in trust for a body corporate immediately prior to its dissolution, (other than land held by such body in trust for another person) becomes property of the State in the person of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The interest acquired by the Minister is described as a defeasible interest as it may be defeated by restoration of the company up to 20 years after dissolution.

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has the discretion, under Section 31 of the State Property Act 1954, to waive property that has devolved to the State under Section 28, if he believes it is proper to do so having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

I can confirm that an application for waiver of this property has been made by Fingal County Council since my reply to your previous Parliamentary Question on 23rd November 2017. A response to Fingal County Council will issue shortly outlining any additional requirements before a full consideration of the waiver application can be made.

Capital Expenditure Programme Review

Questions (261)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

261. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the review of the capital plan will be published before 2018. [54803/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Review of the Capital Plan was published on the 14 of September 2017, and a copy of the report was made available to each Deputy on that day.

The review of the Capital Plan draws on an evidence base that included submissions by Departments and Offices, an extensive public consultation, and also an Infrastructure Capacity and Demand Analysis completed by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

I also published the Major Capital Projects Tracker, which lists a range of projects and programmes committed to by Departments over the period of the Capital Plan. Copies of the documentation and the Major Capital Projects Tracker can be found at www.per.gov.ie.  

The findings of the review assisted Government in selecting priorities for the allocation of the additional €4.3 billion capital expenditure allocated in Budget 2018 over the period to 2021. 

Building on this, a new 10-year capital plan is currently in the process of being finalised.  The plan, which will be published early in the new year alongside the new National Planning Framework detailed in the Ireland 2040 Plan, will set out the Government's intentions in relation to public capital investment beyond 2021 and will demonstrate how public investment will underpin the delivery of the Strategic Outcomes detailed in the Ireland 2040 Plan.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (262)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

262. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his views on community employment supervisors that have retired with no pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54985/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

An issue which has been under discussion by the Community Sector High Level Forum relates to community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.

At the April meeting of the Forum, my Department outlined its intention to conduct a detailed scoping exercise in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications of the issues under consideration. In considering the particular matter referred to, regard must be had to the costs and precedent of such an arrangement were one to be created.

It continues to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not possible for the State to provide funding for such a scheme. The employees in question are, or were, employees of private companies notwithstanding the fact that the companies concerned are, or were, reliant on State funding.

A meeting of the Forum took place on Thursday, 23 November 2017 where the findings of the scoping exercise were shared with members of the Forum. A follow-up meeting to deal with technical questions arising from the exercise took place on Friday, 15 December 2017.

Road Network

Questions Nos. 264 to 270, inclusive, answered with Question No. 246.

Questions (263)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

263. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his Department is responsible for a road (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [55094/17]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

My Department has no responsibility for funding roads. The road Deputy Healy-Rae refers to appears to be a private or non-public road.

I would therefore refer to the response to PQ 52581/17 given by Minister Michael Ring on 7 December 2017 concerning funding for private and non-public roads. 

My Department wrote to Local Authorities last August to establish the level of demand for a local improvement scheme this year. This is a nation-wide scheme which The Local Authorities were advised that any requests for funds would be subject to their capacity to complete any proposed works in 2017, and funding availability.

On 21st September last, I announced the provision of €10 million for a Local Improvement Scheme to support improvement works on private and non-public roads.

Based on demand for the scheme and the capacity of Local Authorities to complete works before the end of the year, I announced an additional €7.4 million for LIS roads at the end of November which has now been allocated to Local Authorities. There has been significant progress on the scheme, with registered expenditure of €14.1 million to date.

I recognise that there is an underlying demand for further LIS funding, as no dedicated funding stream has been available for these type of works for a number of years. I have therefore secured a further allocation of €10 million for LIS in my Department's Estimate for 2018. Allocations for 2018 are provisional and subject to the publication of the Revised Estimates Volume for Public Services.

Details of the 2018 scheme will be announced early in the New Year.

Questions Nos. 264 to 270, inclusive, answered with Question No. 246.
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