Teacher Career Breaks

Questions (177)

Joan Burton

Question:

177. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans in respect of job sharing and career break entitlements for primary teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4951/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The provisions of the Career Break and Job Sharing Schemes are set out in Chapters Eight and Nine of  "Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools, which is published on my Department’s website.

In response to reported difficulties by schools with regard to recruiting substitute teachers, my Department issued notification on 26th January that it was suspending the restrictions regarding substitution limits for those on a career break for the current school year. Prior to this decision the limits were 90 days in Primary Schools and 300 hours in Post Primary Schools.  The notification also reminded employers that “in considering applications for Career Breaks, the welfare and educational needs of the pupils shall take precedence over all other considerations and accordingly, must take account of the availability of appropriate qualified replacement teachers.  This requirement has always been part of the Career Break Scheme, which is a discretionary scheme.  I understand from representations received that suspending the restrictions as outlined will provide immediate assistance to some schools finding it difficult to recruit qualified substitute teachers.

Teacher Recruitment

Question No. 179 answered with Question No. 176.

Questions (178)

Joan Burton

Question:

178. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the current and potential teacher shortages in STEM subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4952/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the current and potential teacher shortages in STEM subjects; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Over 5,000 additional teachers have been successfully recruited in the last two years. We are recruiting more new teachers than at any other point in the history of the state. The numbers of graduates from initial teacher education programmes have remained broadly constant. In 2018 it is estimated that approximately 1,870 primary and 1,523 post primary teachers will graduate.

In November 2017 I launched a STEM Policy Statement and Implementation Plan, which aims to make Ireland the best in Europe in STEM by 2026. This Policy Statement focusses on the many strengths in STEM education in Ireland while providing a roadmap to address the areas for development.

Some schools have reported shortages in recruiting teachers in specific subjects at post primary level, including in STEM, and as part of the implementation of the Policy I am determined to deliver increased teacher supply in key priority areas. At post primary level, we are considering the introduction of subject quotas in ITE programmes. We are also considering the introduction of “top up” or conversion courses to upskill teachers. I have announced my intention to double the number of places on undergraduate initial teacher education.

I will shortly be announcing the establishment of a Teacher Supply Steering Group to develop a strategy for teacher supply.  As part of its remit, the Group will consult with key stakeholders. 

I will also ask the Teaching Council to review subject criteria and processes for assessing out of state qualifications and to engage more with graduate fairs, and final year students.

Question No. 179 answered with Question No. 176.

School Supervision and Substitution Scheme

Questions (180)

Joan Burton

Question:

180. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans in respect of a properly structured national panel of substitute teachers to tackle the crisis in teacher substitution at primary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4954/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The teacher supply scheme, also referred to as the ‘teacher supply panel’, was discontinued at the start of the 2010/11 school year. The scheme operated on the basis of an additional full-time teacher being allocated to a school to cover certified sick leave absences in that school and a cluster of neighbouring schools. If the teacher was not required on a given day to cover sick leave absences they generally assisted with other work in their school such as administrative duties.

A value for money review of the scheme was published in July 2006. The review found that approximately 60% of these teachers' time was used to cover sick leave absences with the balance on various other school duties. This reflected the unpredictable nature of sick leave absences.  Teachers assigned to ‘base schools’ or as part of a ‘cluster’ were often not available to schools within the cluster, due to the needs or decisions of the base school which retained control over the teaching resource. In addition, teachers who were confined to a cluster were not available to schools outside of the cluster. The scheme proved to be an inefficient use of resources and further restricted the number of teachers available for substitute work across the wider school system.

According to the value for money review, the more efficient and cost effective use of teaching resources is to use the normal substitution arrangements that apply to all other schools to cover sick leave absences instead of having a cohort of full-time teachers "on call" in these schools to cover sick leave absences that may or may not arise.

As the Deputy is probably aware, I will shortly be announcing the establishment of a Teacher Supply Steering Group to develop a strategy for teacher supply. As part of its remit, the Group will consult with key stakeholders. It is intended that the Group will have a comprehensive terms of reference and consider the many issues that relate to teacher supply, including the use of supply panels.

Peace Commissioners Data

Questions (181)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

181. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the names and districts of peace commissioners in County Meath, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4691/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I wish to advise the Deputy that Peace Commissioner records are appointment based and they do not always reflect the actual situation on the ground because the Department is reliant on the Peace Commissioners themselves and other interested parties, to advise of changes which may occur subsequent to appointment e.g. death, retirement, inactivity or relocation.

While every effort is made to maintain an accurate record of active Peace Commissioners, individuals requesting their services are advised to contact local Gardaí, to ensure that a particular listed individual is active and available.  

The names and Sub-Districts of all appointed Peace Commissioners held on file in County Meath are as follows:

Sub-District

Name

Ashbourne

Cleary, Billy

Ashbourne

Conway, Carmel

Ashbourne

Duff, Ronald P

Ashbourne

Keenan, Thomas A.

Ashbourne

Killian, Nick

Ashbourne

McCarthy-Smith, Carmel

Ashbourne

O'Brien, Terence

Ashbourne

O'Connell, Dan

Ashbourne

O'Grady, Sean

Ashbourne

Tobin, Alan

Athboy

Gallagher, Oliver

Athboy

Kelly, Cornelius

Athboy

MacDonncha, Padraig

Athboy

Murphy, Martin J.

Athboy

Sweeney, Niall

Ballivor

Cloak, Noel

Ballivor

Cunningham, Patrick John

Ballivor

Darby, Thomas Edward

Ballivor

Dargan, James

Ballivor

De Lacy, Philomena

Ballivor

Feeney, Andrew Oliver

Ballivor

Feeney, Patrick

Crossakiel

Cahill, James

Crossakiel

Carney, Patrick

Crossakiel

Coyne, Sean

Crossakiel

Fox, John O.

Crossakiel

Travers, John J.

Duleek

Corry, Stephen

Duleek

Heeney, Noel

Duleek

Keogan, Sharon

Duleek

Lynch, Richard J.

Duleek

Sullivan, Thomas

Dunboyne

Carey, Kevin

Dunboyne

Clarke, James W.

Dunboyne

Conniffe, Michael

Dunboyne

Fitzgerald, John

Dunboyne

Fox, Joseph S.

Dunboyne

Gunning, Hugh

Dunboyne

Henry, Seán

Dunboyne

Hughes, Daniel

Dunboyne

Leonard, Noel

Dunboyne

Mahon, Thomas

Dunboyne

Muldoon, Eoin

Dunboyne

Murphy, Maria

Dunboyne

O'Reilly, Damien

Dunboyne

Purcell, Eamon J.

Dunboyne

Quinn, Paul

Dunboyne

Rodgers, Richard Mark

Dunboyne

Sheridan, Patrick J.

Dunboyne

Ward, Robert A.

Dunshaughlin

Downes, Joseph B.

Dunshaughlin

Faughnan, Stephen

Dunshaughlin

Flynn, Seamus

Dunshaughlin

Harrahill, Mary

Dunshaughlin

Molloy, Nicholas

Dunshaughlin

O'Connor, Gerry

Dunshaughlin

Ralph, Andrew

Enfeld

Hackett, John

Enfield

Carey, William

Enfield

Costello, Martin

Enfield

Holton, Marguerita

Enfield

Holton, Patrick Joseph

Enfield

Prendergast, Patrick J.

Kells

Bradley, John

Kells

Brady, John

Kells

Carolan, Lawrence J.

Kells

Clarke, Bartholomew

Kells

Eiffe, Daniel

Kells

Gibney, Eamon

Kells

Gormally, Patrick Joseph

Kells

Greene, James

Kells

McCabe, Patrick

Kells

O'Neill, Marie

Kells

O'Reilly, Ciarán

Kells

Reilly, Bryan M.

Kells

Sherlock, Patrick J.

Kells

Sullivan, John J.

Kilmessan

Swan, Rosemary

Laytown

Campbell, Colin

Laytown

Cassidy, Aidan

Laytown

Curran, Greg

Laytown

Darcy, Peter

Laytown

Downey, Peggy

Laytown

Kelly, Thomas

Laytown

Tolan, Sharon

Longwood

Cummins, Patrick G.

Longwood

McGuinness, Patrick

Longwood

Murray, Seamus

Navan

Collier, Eamonn

Navan

Corcoran, Laurence

Navan

Crahan, Sean

Navan

Daly, Michael J.

Navan

Donegan, Kevin J.

Navan

Duffy, John

Navan

Ennis, Andrew Anthony

Navan

Fitzpatrick, Daniel J.

Navan

Healy, Richard

Navan

Henry, James Joseph

Navan

Marry, Oliver

Navan

Marry, Paschal

Navan

McCormack, Laurence

Navan

Murphy, Paul

Navan

O'Connor, Thomas

Navan

O'Donoghue, John Patrick

Navan

O'Neill, Patrick

Navan

Quinn, Larry

Nobber

Shankey, John

Nobber

Ward, Oliver

Oldcastle

Curran, Thomas

Oldcastle

Farrelly, Gerard

Oldcastle

Gibney, John

Oldcastle

Gibney, Thomas

Oldcastle

Hamilton, Thomas

Oldcastle

Haughney, James

Oldcastle

Kellett, Thomas P.

Oldcastle

Masterson, James

Oldcastle

O'Reilly, Edward

Slane

Gough, Hugh

Slane

Macken, Kevin John

Slane

Mitchell, Anthony L.

Slane

O'Brien, Frank

Slane

Rooney, Andrew

Summerhill

Fagan, Shena Rose Anne

Summerhill

Gannon, Patrick John

Summerhill

McKeogh, Michael

Summerhill

Moore, James

Summerhill

O'Neill, Jim

Summerhill

O'Rourke, Dennis

Summerhill

Shannon, Patrick J.

Trim

Anderson, Paul

Trim

Cantwell, Martin Philip

Trim

Cheevers, Mark

Trim

Cheevers, Tara

Trim

Clancy, Liam

Trim

Cleary, Chris

Trim

Gorry, Bríd

Trim

Griffith, Robert Kiernan

Trim

Lenihan, Thomas Michael Patrick Joseph

Trim

McGonagle, Eugene

Trim

McHugh, Thomas Vincent

Trim

Reilly, Terence

Trim

Rispin, Christopher

Courts Service

Questions (182)

Barry Cowen

Question:

182. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of his Department's review of the probate system; the timeframe for the review; the recommendations in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4713/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Probate Office is an office of the High Court and management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions under the Courts Service Act 1998. Probate functions are also carried out by County Registrars at District Probate Registries in 14 provincial court offices. 

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that the Probate Services Review Group was established by the Chief Executive Officer of the Courts Service in June 2016. The Courts Service has advised that, at an early stage in its deliberations, the Review Group engaged in a comprehensive survey of internal and external stakeholders, extending to practitioners and personal applicants with recent experience of applying for grants and additional consultations with certain external stakeholders. This necessitated the extension of the deadline for provision of the final report.

The report with recommendations for the modernisation of the process is now being finalised and will be presented to the Senior Management Team of the Courts Service and to the Courts Service Board early this year.  A key focus of the report will be the potential for transfer of applications for grants of administration on-line.  The Courts Service and Revenue Commissioners have, during the course of the Review Group's deliberations, been exploring options for a collaborative approach to delivering of an eProbate solution. 

Citizenship Applications

Questions (183)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

183. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015 will, when enacted, grant citizenship rights to a person (details supplied). [4720/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As outlined to the Deputy in my response to Parliamentary Questions No. 29 of 23 January, this is a highly complex area.  Entitlement to Irish citizenship is governed by the provisions of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as amended.  Parts 2 and 3 of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015, which provide for parentage through donor-assisted reproduction, are to be commenced in due course by my colleague the Minister for Health.  

Each application for citizenship is determined on the full facts of the case taking into account the relevant legislation in force at that particular time. It would not be appropriate for me to predict the outcome of any individual case in advance of any legislative change and until such time as my officials have had the opportunity to examine the facts of each case including the legislation prevailing at that time.

Courts Service

Questions (184)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

184. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on whether a register of interests should exist for judges, similar to that in place for politicians and that judges should be legally compelled to declare conflicts of interest, which may potentially arise in cases they are dealing with; if safeguards or guidelines exist in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4763/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the position is that the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and the conduct of any court case is a matter entirely for the presiding judge.

It is established practice for judges not to act as a judge in a case where they have an interest, or where there are grounds on which a reasonable person might apprehend that in respect of the issues involved he or she would not get an independent hearing. Any party to proceedings may apply to a judge to recuse himself/herself where there is an apprehension of objective or subjective bias in the case.

The Deputy will also be aware that the Judicial Council Bill was published in June 2017 and is currently awaiting Committee Stage in Seanad Éireann. During the Second Stage debate on that Bill, I referred briefly to the fact that a Register of Interests for judges might have a function in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the judicial process and that I would explore options in that regard.  I acknowledged the possible need for greater openness concerning pecuniary matters while also acknowledging the independence with which judges are vested by virtue of their constitutional office.  The exploration to which I referred is continuing and I envisage that there will be further discussion around this matter as the Bill progresses through both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Courts Service Data

Questions (185)

Mick Wallace

Question:

185. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the detail of each special exemption order granted by Court District No. 17 from 1 December 2014 to 31 December 2015 in chronological order; and the specific date and licensed premises to which each special exemption order relates. [4791/18]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which include the provision of information on the courts system.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that court statistics and information are not compiled in such a way as to provide the detail sought by the Deputy. Licensing applications are not computerised and, therefore, to provide the information sought would involve a trawl of documentation for each court in District No. 17 (in excess of 200 courts) and the collation of data sought in respect of in excess of 2,200 special exemptions granted from 1 December 2014 to 31 December 2015. It would require a disproportionate amount of staff time and resources to collate the data required. 

However, the Courts Service has advised that it is currently in the process of implementing an eLicensing system throughout the country, which will include the provision of management information.