Flood Relief Schemes Status

Questions (214)

James Browne

Question:

214. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Enniscorthy flood defence scheme will be addressed over the coming months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9795/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The River Slaney (Enniscorthy) Flood Relief Scheme is being progressed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) in conjunction with Wexford County Council. Consultants Mott Mc Donald are leading on the design of the flood defences element with Roughan O’Donovan commissioned to design the proposed new road bridge. Initial site investigations have been completed, along with archaeological and ecological assessments and reports. An advance programme to control and eradicate invasive species of vegetation is currently underway. Further advance construction elements which involve relocation of services and utilities along the Promenade is expected to commence in 2018.

It is proposed that a month-long public information event will take place in Enniscorthy in early Summer at which the scheme design and Environmental Impact Assessment Report and other relevant reports will be made available to the public. This event will be advertised and all stakeholders will be notified in advance. Following this event, comments received will be assessed, and designs may be amended as a result. Subsequently, formal Confirmation or approval for the scheme will be sought from the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, with construction expected to start in mid to late 2019.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (215)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

215. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost to his Department of attending the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2018; the costs incurred by travel, accommodation, attendance fees and other items; the names of those who attended paid for by his Department; the individual costs attached to each and all other sundry costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9805/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Details of costs incurred to date for attendance at the World Economic Forum in Davos were charged to the Department of Finance. I have provided this information in response to Dáil Question No.179 (9804/18).

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (216, 217, 218, 219)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

216. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the flood protection works that the Office of Public Works will undertake to protect homes and businesses flooded in August 2017 at Tromatty and Quigley's Point, County Donegal. [10028/18]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

217. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the flood protection works that the Office of Public Works will undertake to protect homes and sporting amenities flooded in August 2017 at Clonmany, County Donegal. [10029/18]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

218. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the flood protection works that the Office of Public Works will undertake to protect homes and businesses flooded in August 2017 at Carndonagh, County Donegal. [10030/18]

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Pearse Doherty

Question:

219. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the flood protection works that the Office of Public Works will undertake to protect the homes flooded in August 2017 at a location (details supplied). [10031/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 216 to 219, inclusive, together.

On Tuesday 22 August 2017 an extreme pluvial rainfall event occurred in Donegal. Having visited the area the following day I saw at first hand the extensive damage and disruption caused by this flood event, particularly to the community in the Inishowen Peninsula area.

A national study to assess and propose measures to manage Ireland’s flood risk is being undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) through its Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme. The CFRAM Programme is focussing on 300 Areas for Further Assessment (AFAs) including 90 coastal areas, mainly in urban locations nationwide, designated in 2012 as being at potentially significant risk of flooding. The flood risk for each of these areas has been assessed, through detailed engineering techniques to assess their risk and impact from flooding. This risk and the proposed feasible measures, both structural and non-structural, identified to manage that risk are outlined in the Flood Risk Management Plans.

Carndonagh, Clonmany and Buncrana-Luddan are three communities that have been studied as part of the North Western – Neagh Bann CFRAM Programme.

In relation to Carndonagh, the Plans propose measures consisting of using storage areas along with a series of embankments and walls along the Donagh River. Improved channel conveyance would protect properties impacted by flooding from the Carndonagh watercourse and hard defences would protect properties impacted by flooding from the Glennagannon River. Proposed plans for Buncrana – Luddan consists of a series of sea walls, flood embankments and floodwalls to protect against coastal and fluvial flood events.

While the houses in question in Elm Park are in the Buncrana and Luddan AFA, the current proposed measures does not protect these houses. However, when a scheme for Buncrana and Luddan is progressed to detailed design, the August 2017 flood events will inform the extent of the measures to be implemented to mitigate flood risk in the area.

Flood Relief Schemes will be subject to project-level development and assessment. Future development and the detailed design for the schemes will take account of recent flood events.

As the flood risk in Clonmany was assessed as relatively low no structural flood relief schemes are proposed, at this time. The Plans set out those non-structural measures in place or proposed that can benefit all at risk communities and properties, including emergency response, national flood forecasting, individual property protection and community resilience.

Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. Donegal County Council may carry out flood mitigation works using its own resources. The Council may also apply to the Office of Public Works for funding of flood mitigation works under this Office's Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme. The purpose of this scheme, introduced in 2009, is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The OPW has approved 32 Minor Works schemes in Donegal at a cost of €1.2m. Details of these schemes are on the OPW website, www.opw.ie.

In summer 2017, the OPW finalised all Plans and each Plan was submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (D/PER) for an independent review of the environmental assessments. Having now received the outcomes of the independent review of the environmental assessments for the Flood Risk Management Plans, the Commissioners of Public Works will in the coming weeks submit the Flood Risk Management Plans to the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform for approval.

Garda Station Closures

Questions (220)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

220. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works plans to sell a property (details supplied); if the property will be made available for social or voluntary housing under the new initiatives announced by the Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10039/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The 2012 and 2013 policing plans for An Garda Síochána identified 139 Garda stations for closure including the former Garda station in Leenane, Co. Galway. Many of these properties reverted to the Office of Public Works (OPW) to identify an alternative State use or manage their disposal.

In 2016, An Garda Síochána/Policing Authority undertook a review of the closed Garda Stations. In late 2017, the preliminary review initially identified six stations for re-opening. These were:

- Ballinspittle, Co. Cork

- Bawnboy, Co. Cavan

- Leighlinbridge, Co. Carlow

- Donard, Co. Wicklow

- Stepaside, Co. Dublin

- Rush, Co. Dublin.

The final review has yet to be published and there may be implications in relation to the remaining stations that were previously closed.

Therefore, the disposal or transfer of the former Garda station in Leenane, Co. Galway is on hold pending the recommendations arising from the review.

National Monuments

Questions (221)

Joan Burton

Question:

221. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of visitors who availed of guided tours of a location (details supplied); the number who visited only in each of the years 2014 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10130/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Recorded visitor number to Castletown House and Parklands for guided tours and to the estate generally are as follows:

Year

Visitors

-

2014

20,503

Visited House (confirmed/paid)

285,410

Total Visitors House & parklands (estimated)

2015

15,456

Visited House (confirmed/paid)

297,691

Total Visitors House & parklands (estimated)

2016

15,674

Visited House (confirmed/paid)

547, 324

Total Visitors House & parklands (confirmed - newly installed people counters)

2017

26,460

Visited House (confirmed/paid)

697,433 (TBC)

Total Visitors House & parklands (confirmed - people counters)

National Monuments

Questions (222)

Joan Burton

Question:

222. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the works planned for a location (details supplied) in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10131/18]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Depending on resources available, works will continue on the restoration of the Castletown farmyard buildings and their integration into the visitor offering. In addition, conservation works will continue within the House with particular focus on the restoration of the ‘Red Drawing Room’.

School Management

Questions (223)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

223. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a copy of his Department's rules for national schools prior to the publication of the 1964 rule book will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9263/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Following enquiries made within my Department the Rules and Regulations for National Schools 1932 to 1964 are available from the National Library of Ireland which is located at Kildare St, Dublin 2.

The contact details for the National Library are 01 – 6030200 or by email at info@nli.ie.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Questions (224)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

224. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the systems in place to accommodate children who are born at the beginning of the year and are precluded from availing of the ECCE scheme until the September following their third birthday (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9278/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I would like to advise the Deputy that eligibility for the ECCE scheme is a matter for my colleague in Government, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Freedom of Information Requests

Questions (225)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

225. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of freedom of information requests his Department has received in the past eight years; the number of which were accepted without further escalation and not accepted, respectively; the number of requests which were not accepted that were escalated to the Information Commissioner; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled in favour of the person requesting the freedom of information; the number of which the Information Commissioner ruled against his Department; the number his Department appealed to the High Court; the number where the High Court ruled against his Department in favour of the applicant; the number which were then brought to the Court of Appeal by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9289/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department received a total of 4,476 Freedom of Information requests in the period 2010 to 2017 inclusive. 

The information requested by the Deputy for the eight year period in question is set out in the following tables.

Number of Freedom of Information requests received

4,476

Number of internal reviews of decisions sought

163

Number of review decisions appealed to the Office of the Information Commissioner

48

Outcome of Office of the Information Commissioner appeals

Upheld

12

Withdrawn

12

Settlement reached

9

Varied

7

Annulled

6

Appeals currently under consideration

2

There were no High Court appeals taken by my Department against decisions of the Office of the Information Commissioner for the eight year period in question.

The Office of the Information Commissioner keeps the operation of the Freedom of Information Act under review and publishes relevant statistics in its Annual Reports.

School Staff

Questions (226)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

226. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the retention of a teacher at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9344/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board.

The appeals process allows schools with 4 teachers or less to appeal on the basis of projected enrolment for the coming September.  In the case of the school referred to by the Deputy, a projected enrolment of 81 for September 2018 is required to fulfill the appeal criteria. Details of the appeal process and application form are available in Circular 0010/2018, "Staffing Arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2018/19 School Year", which is published on the Department website.

The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.