GLAS Administration

Questions (159)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

159. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the GLAS scheme will be reopened for new participants. [25921/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The target set out in the Rural Development Programme 2014 - 2020 to approve 50,000 GLAS participants before the end of 2018 has already been achieved. The fact that the RDP target has been achieved almost two years ahead of schedule is a significant achievement on the part of both farmers and my Department and is evidence of the commitment of Irish farmers to the sustainable growth of the Irish agri-food sector into the future.

The GLAS scheme is one of a suite of many RDP schemes and the re-opening of any scheme can only be considered within the overall RDP budget which is currently fully committed. There are no plans to re-open the scheme. My focus now is on managing the participation of those approved into the Scheme.

Horticulture Sector

Questions (160)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

160. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the number of applications to the 2018 scheme of investment aid for the development of the commercial horticulture sector by county to date, in tabular form; and the number of eligible applicants that have been paid. [25923/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The Scheme of Investment Aid for the Development of the Commercial Horticulture Sector continues to be the main support for the wider horticulture industry. This State funded scheme of investment aid provides for the development of the commercial horticulture sector by providing grant aid at a rate of 40% (50% in the case of young applicants under 35 years of age) on approved costs associated with capital investment in a broad range of specialised horticultural equipment and buildings that contribute to at least one of the scheme’s four objectives, namely to: improve the quality of output, facilitate environmentally friendly practices, improve working conditions and promote diversification of production.

The scheme is an effective vehicle for investment in all sectors of the horticulture industry, including field vegetables, mushrooms, protected crops, nursery crops, soft fruit/apples, cut foliage, Christmas trees, bulbs and bee-keeping.

In relation to the 2018 scheme, approvals were issued to 170 applicants, which will facilitate grower investment of approximately €13m. The following is a county by county summary of applications received under the scheme for 2018.

The closing date for receipt of claims for payment is 28th September 2018, therefore most applicants have not yet submitted these and payments are normally made later in the year. However, three applicants have been already paid under the 2018 scheme to date.

County

Number of Applications Received

Carlow

1

Cavan

2

Clare

3

Cork

17

Donegal

1

Dublin

37

Galway

3

Kerry

6

Kildare

10

Kilkenny

4

Laois

1

Limerick

3

Longford

1

Louth

5

Meath

8

Monaghan

8

Offaly

5

Roscommon

2

Tipperary

12

Waterford

6

Westmeath

5

Wexford

25

Wicklow

5

Total

170

Food Exports

Questions (161)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

161. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the progress by Irish and European cheese manufacturers in accessing the Canadian market with respect to the 16,000 tonne general cheese quota and the 1,700 tonne industrial cheese quota CETA agreement in view of reports that artificial barriers such as non-tariff measures have been put in place to make it harder for small EU cheese producers to sell their products into this market and avail of the increased quota. [25924/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The latest CSO statistics covering the period January to March 2018 indicate an increase of cheese exports from Ireland to Canada, with 57 tonnes being exported at a value of €400,000.

This represents a 50% increase over the same period in 2017.

While this increase is modest it indicates that Irish producers are beginning to access the market.

Canada operates a strict quota system to regulate dairy sector imports and I am aware that the EU’s dairy sector has raised concerns over the implementation of cheese tariff-rate-quotas (TRQs) under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

I am monitoring the situation closely and will be engaging with the European Commission and other member states on the matter.

National Broadband Plan Implementation

Questions (162)

Brian Stanley

Question:

162. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeframe for the commencement of the national broadband plan (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25759/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

The NBP aims to ensure high speed broadband access (minimum 30 megabits per second) to all premises in Ireland, regardless of location.  The NBP has been a catalyst in encouraging investment by the telecoms sector. Today, 7 out of 10 of the 2.3 million premises in Ireland have access to high speed broadband. By 2020, 9 out of 10 premises will have access to a high speed broadband connection. This is being achieved via a combination of commercial investment and a State led intervention.

My Department is in the final stages of the formal procurement process to select a company who will roll-out a new high speed broadband network in the State intervention area.  

I welcome the recently published European Court of Auditors report on broadband in EU Member States and acknowledge the comments on Ireland's progress under the National Broadband Plan (NBP). I also note that the referenced report acknowledges Ireland's overall improved performance in broadband coverage.  I further welcome the overall positive comments from the ECA regarding Ireland's progress towards achieving the ambition of the EU Digital Agenda for 2020 - "Connectivity for a Gigabit Society".  A key element of the NBP is to build a future proofed network which will ultimately support future European connectivity goals, including the EU ambition that, by 2025:

- all schools, transport hubs and main providers of public services as well as digitally intensive enterprises should have access to internet connections with download/upload speeds of 1 Gigabit of data per second;

- all European households, rural or urban, should have access to networks offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to 1 Gigabit; and

- all urban areas as well as major roads and railways should have uninterrupted 5G wireless broadband coverage.

Recycling Policy

Questions (163)

Jack Chambers

Question:

163. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the measures being introduced to reduce the level of plastic and single use plastics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25800/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

Ireland is currently one of the top performing countries in the EU in terms of recycling and recovery.  The EPA Progress Report Towards EU Targets 2017 showed that Ireland recycled  34% by weight of plastics in 2015, counting exclusively material that is recycled back into plastics. The EU target is 22.5% and Ireland is clearly well ahead of this target.

In January 2018, the European Commission published the European Strategy for Plastics in the Circular Economy. The strategy focuses on plastic production and use. It sets a goal of ensuring all plastic packaging will be recyclable by 2030.

Since then, I have written to the European Commissioner with responsibility for the environment to welcome the plastics strategy. I assured him Ireland fully embraced the ambitions of the new strategy. I asked the Commission to focus, in particular, on the most difficult non-recyclable plastics such as soft wrapping, film and single use items such as plastic straws. I am determined to make sure these products, if they come onto the market here or elsewhere in Europe will be recyclable or compostable and that they will not go into landfill sites.

I have also welcomed very recent proposals by the European Commission to tackle the problems posed by plastic single use items.  I believe that working proactively with our European colleagues will achieve a greater environmental benefit. 

Nevertheless, in line with the potential for European bans and restrictions, I am considering what financial incentives or penalties I can introduce , to tackle the problems caused by single-use plastic items in a way that is compatible with EU legislation.

I am looking to bring forward practical solutions along with my government colleagues responsible for marine environment and fisheries that will work in an Irish context.

Smoking Ban

Questions (164, 165)

Brendan Smith

Question:

164. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the deadline for the introduction of the ban on the sale of smoky coal nationwide; the means by which he will be introducing the ban; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25869/18]

View answer

Brendan Smith

Question:

165. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the steps he will take to prevent the importation by distributors and or consumers of smoky coal from Northern Ireland following the introduction of the nationwide ban on smoky coal. [25870/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

The ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of bituminous coal, or ‘the smoky coal ban’ as it is commonly known, was first introduced in Dublin in 1990, and subsequently extended to our major cities. Following a public consultation process, it was further extended in 2012, and now applies in 26 urban areas nationwide. The ban has proved very effective in reducing particulate matter and sulphur dioxide levels and has had the effect of significantly improving public health. Research indicates, for example, that the ban has resulted in over 350 fewer annual deaths in Dublin alone.

In light of its significant health benefits, I decided to extend the ban to the entire territory of the State.  This process necessarily involves discussion and consultation with a wide number of stakeholders, including with the European Commission, relevant Government Departments and Agencies and the residential fuel industry. Discussions with stakeholders on issues that may arise in connection with the proposed nationwide ban are underway with a view to introducing a national ban on a phased basis over twelve months commencing in Autumn 2018. 

Local Authorities, including those bordering Northern Ireland, are primarily responsible for the enforcement of legislation on solid fuel including the ‘smoky coal’ regulations within their functional areas at present, and this will continue after the extension of the ban. The powers that Local Authorities have in this area are extensive and will apply nationally. For example:

- Local Authority staff may undertake inspections of premises and vehicles being used for the sale and distribution of solid fuel as well as collect samples

- A Local Authority may bring a prosecution under the Air Pollution Act for breaches of the Regulations

- The maximum fine amounts for breaches of the Regulations is €5,000 on summary conviction

- Fixed payment notices (or ‘on the spot fines’) applied by the Local Authority are in operation for alleged offences relating to the marketing, sale and distribution of prohibited fuels in Low Smoke Zones (LSZs)

In addition to the measures available to Local Authorities outlined above, my officials are currently examining other enforcement options to ensure the success of the ban, including the establishment of multiagency teams. This is in line with other areas of environmental enforcement such as waste, where such an approach has proved successful.

Inland Fisheries Ireland

Questions (166)

James Browne

Question:

166. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the timeframe for Inland Fisheries Ireland to ensure salmon a safe passage at a privately owned tailrace and a weir on the River Slaney at a location (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25912/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Communications)

I am advised by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) that statutory powers in relation to an installation, such as that referred to by the Deputy, under Section 123 of the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 1959, relate to the requirements for gratings in watercourses diverted from rivers.

Notwithstanding the fact that the gratings in question meet the legal requirements of Section 123 of the 1959 Act, IFI is aware that issues for the free passage of fish remain.  IFI is particularly anxious to improve fish passage but many of the issues at this location are beyond the powers and remit of IFI.

IFI has worked and will continue to work with all stakeholders and in this regard I met with IFI and Fishery Owners Group who undertook to discuss matters with the owner of the installation to ascertain what if any accommodation could be agreed.

I understand that discussions are on-going and my Department will continue to engage with relevant parties to ensure a solution can be found.

Driver Licences

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Questions (167)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

167. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a matter in relation to a valid drivers licence for a person (details supplied) will be investigated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25762/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The operation of the National Driver Licensing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred this Question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

State Airports

Questions (168)

Clare Daly

Question:

168. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if a meeting with the DAA and a group (details supplied) will be convened. [25789/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, the daa has statutory responsibility to manage, operate and develop Dublin Airport, including the North Runway project. The Deputy will also be aware that I have met previously with residents’ groups in relation to the second runway at Dublin Airport and ensured that their concerns were brought to the attention of daa. I have always made myself available to meet with such groups.

As I have previously stated, legal proceedings are still ongoing on this matter and it would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment further on issues to which these proceedings relate. I have also given an undertaking to arrange for the provision of any information that is appropriate to release when the litigation is concluded. However, I will, of course, be prepared to consider meeting with the group concerned if they have other issues which they wish to discuss with me.

Rail Network Expansion

Questions (169)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

169. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the review of an extension to the western rail corridor has commenced; if so, the person or body carrying out the review; when the conclusions of the review will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25790/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware, both the "Programme for a Partnership Government" and the recently-published "National Development Plan" commit to independent review of the costings for a proposal to extend the existing Western Rail Corridor.

My Department is currently at an advanced stage in developing an approach for progressing such a review in line with these commitments, and I expect to be in a position shortly to decide on the approach to be taken. I am also cognisant of the need for stakeholder consultation as part of the process, and can assure the Deputy that this will be an integral part of the review's arrangements. Once the process is complete, the findings of this review will be submitted to Government for consideration in the usual way.

Driver Test Centres

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Questions (170)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

170. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the cost of running each driving test centre by location; the year each centre was established; the number of staff that operate out of each centre; if the staff are headquartered at the centre or at a different base; if so, the additional cost involved per annum; the bases from which staff have to travel to and from; the person or body that owns each such centre; the cost of purchasing same; the rent or lease cost of same; the length of time each lease or rent agreement has to run; the number of tests carried out at each centre in each of the past three years; the number of tests cancelled; the pass rate for each centre; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25841/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

These are matters for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Road Safety Authority Data

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Questions (171)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

171. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the location of each property owned, leased or rented by the Road Safety Authority; the purpose for which each such property is used; the number of staff working at each location; the annual cost of running, leasing or renting each property; if leased or rented, the length of time each such lease or rental agreement might run; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25846/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

These are matters for the Road Safety Authority. I have referred the question to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response is not received within 10 days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A.

Departmental Bodies Data

Questions (172)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

172. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the bodies under the aegis of his Department which have yet to publish their annual report for 2017; when same will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25849/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As the Deputy is aware the preparation and publication of the Annual Reports is a matter for the Board of the relevant State Body and is subject to the establishing legislation of the State body in question and other applicable legislative and policy frameworks, including the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

A number of my Department’s commercial State bodies have already published their Annual Reports and these are available to view on their websites. These bodies are –

- daa

- IAA

- Shannon Group

- CIÉ

- Bus Átha Cliath

- Bus Éireann

- Iarnród Éireann

In relation to our commercial ports, publication will occur following completionof all Annual General Meetings and presentation of the Annual Reports to Government.

Publication of the Annual Reports of the other, non-commercial, Bodies should take place within the timelines prescribed by their legislation and the Code of Practice. As part of standard corporate governance oversight arrangements, my Department monitors compliance with these requirements.

Sports Organisations

Questions (173)

Mick Barry

Question:

173. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which his Department responded to representations made regarding complaints of bullying at a club (details supplied) and failures of process at club and GAA county board level in responding to these complaints; if this matter was brought to the attention of Sports Ireland by his Department. [25909/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I received a representation on 28 February 2018 relating to the club mentioned by the Deputy.

On 12 April I replied to the person who made the representation and informed them that the matter raised is a matter for the GAA as the National Governing Body for Gaelic Games. National Governing Bodies are independent, autonomous bodies and are responsible for their own governance procedures and competition rules for their sport. I have no role in the day to day operations of the GAA or any of the sporting bodies and it would be inappropriate for me to intervene.

I also advised the person that if they had any concerns about the welfare of a child, they should report those concerns to the Child and Family Agency TUSLA.

My officials forwarded a copy of the correspondence to Sport Ireland on 13 April.

I received further emails from the person on 26 April and 9 May seeking a contact person in Sport Ireland to correspond with. A reply issued on 11 June advising the person that any correspondence could be addressed to the CEO of Sport Ireland.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (174)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

174. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number and locations of specialist domestic violence refuges; the location and number of specialist sexual violence services; her views on whether there is a deficit of services in these areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25744/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

Services provided include emergency refuge and support services for individuals and families fleeing domestic violence, community-based domestic violence support services, and rape crisis centres around the country.

I was pleased to secure an additional €1.7 million for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services this year. This is the second year in succession that Tusla has received a significant increase in its funding in this area. Total funding available for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services this year is €23.8m. I strongly support the work of Tusla, and I am committed to supporting the Agency in meeting the needs of individuals who experience domestic, sexual and gender-based violence. I recognise that there are challenges to be addressed in this area. Additional resources provided this year enable Tusla to address a number of these challenges which will ensure better outcomes for individuals and their families who need services and support. It is important that the needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services.

Regarding the information requested about specific services and their respective locations, I have asked Tusla to forward the details to the Deputy directly.

Child and Family Agency Funding

Questions (175)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

175. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding provided to centres (details supplied) in each of the past four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25745/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.Services provided include emergency refuge and support services for individuals and families fleeing domestic violence, community-based domestic violence support services, as well as 16 rape crisis centres around the country.

Table 1 provides information on the annual allocation of funds to rape crisis centres from 2015 to 2018.

Allocation of funds to rape crisis centres for years 2015 - 2018.

Organisation

2015

2016

2017

2018

Donegal Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre

€142,051

€142,000

€168,500

€177,000

Rape Crisis Midwest

€346,400

€346,400

€361,400

€376,400

Mayo Rape Crisis Centre

€168,400

€168,400

€188,400

€188,400

Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre

€208,000

€208,000

€214,000

€220,000

Wexford Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Crisis Service

€210,800

€210,800

€216,900

€214,300

Galway Rape Crisis Centre

€333,000

€363,000

€400,805

€373,000

Rape Crisis and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre - Sligo, Leitrim and West Cavan

€168,300

€168,300

€184,300

€200,300

Dublin Rape Crisis Centre

€1,043,257

€1,087,892

€1,141,627

€1,157,362

Rape Crisis North East

€138,110

€159,110

€169,110

€179,110

Carlow and South Leinster Rape Crisis Centre

€164,299

€163,500

€165,500

€163,500

Waterford Rape Crisis Centre

€240,200

€240,200

€240,200

€240,200

Tipperary Rape Crisis and Counselling Centre

€166,100

€166,100

€170,100

€166,100

Athlone Midland Rape Crisis Centre

€107,081

€106,300

€113,100

€110,500

Tullamore Rape Crisis Centre

€81,954

€84,300

€116,900

€114,300

Sexual Violence Centre Cork

€290,500

€290,500

€290,500

€290,500

Kilkenny Rape Crisis Centre

€175,397

€174,900

€179,500

€174,900

The following points should be noted when examining the data provided:

- The funding total for 2018 refers to the allocation of funds for the organisation in question in Tusla's budget for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services. It is possible that the total monies provided to a service in 2018 may vary from the initial allocation, depending on service demands.

- The figures for the years 2015 to 2017 include some once-off payments made to services for service-related reasons.

At present, I am not in a position to advise on the level of funding that will be available for services next year. This issue will be clarified in the context of the 2019 Estimates process, and having regard to the overall level of funding available to Tusla next year. However, I can assure the Deputy that domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services are a priority for me.

It is important that the needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services.

Child and Family Agency Funding

Questions (176)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

176. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding provided to a centre (details supplied) in each of the past four years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25746/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has statutory responsibility for the provision of care and protection to victims of domestic, sexual and gender-based violence.

Services provided include emergency refuge and support services for individuals and families fleeing domestic violence, community-based domestic violence support services, and rape crisis centres around the country.

The organisation in question has received financial support from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, since the foundation of the Agency in 2014.

Table 1 provides information on the annual allocation of funds to the organisation to which the Deputy refers from 2015 to 2018.

Table 1: Allocation of funds to the organisation in question for years 2015 - 2018.

2015

2016

2017

2018

€525,800

€536,200

€551,183

€536,200

Several points should be noted when examining the data provided:

- The funding total for 2018 refers to the allocation of funds for the organisation in question in Tusla's budget for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services. It is possible that the total monies provided to a service in 2018 may vary from the initial allocation, depending on service demands.

- In 2017, the organisation was provided with an additional €15,000 on a once-off basis in order to support the sustainability of the organisation.

At present, I am not in a position to advise on the level of funding that will be available for services next year. This issue will be clarified in the context of the 2019 Estimates process, and having regard to the overall level of funding available to Tusla next year. However, I can assure the Deputy that domestic, sexual and gender-based violence services are a priority for me.

It is important that the needs of victims and survivors of domestic violence are met in the best way possible, with due attention to the quality, accessibility, and outcome of services.

Foster Care Agencies

Questions (177)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

177. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the foster care agencies engaged by Tusla in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018. [25765/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I have written to Tusla for this information in the format requested by the Deputy. I can inform you that the following companies were engaged by Tusla for the provision of private foster care in the relevant timeframe

- Five Rivers Fostering Ltd.

- Fostering First Ireland Ltd.

- Orchard Children’s Services Ltd.

- Care Visions Fostering

- Oaklodge Fostering Services

- Sorcha Homes Ltd./Horizon House

- St Christopher’s Fellowship

- Fresh Start

Fresh Start are no longer providing fostering services.

It should be noted that children being cared for by a private foster care company remain in the care of Tusla at all times and have a Tusla allocated social worker. The Tusla Foster Care Committee approves all applications by the private company for families to be eligible to foster.

Registration of Births

Questions (178)

Peter Burke

Question:

178. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if her attention has been drawn to a case regarding an illegal birth registration (details supplied); if clarity will be given to persons affected by same; the way in which passports, inheritance rights, pensions and other legally binding documents secured by age and birth certificates will be affected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25797/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

While there have been suspicions about the practice of incorrect registrations for many years, it has been extremely difficult to uncover clear evidence of the practice because of the deliberate failure by those involved to keep records.  

On the 29th May 2018 I announced that Tusla, the Child and Family Agency had identified 126 cases where births were incorrectly registered between 1946 and 1969. The cases were identified during an analysis of adoption records that were transferred to Tusla by the former adoption society St Patrick’s Guild.

This is a very serious and sensitive issue. People have the right to know of their true origins and, where we have clear evidence, I believe we have an obligation to tell the people affected.  Some may know already, but for others it will be entirely new and very difficult information indeed.

An experienced Information and Tracing social worker has been assigned to each of the 126 cases. They will be leading the process of making contact with those affected that can be identified. This includes the person who was incorrectly registered (the child), the birth mother and the people who participated in the incorrect registrations and subsequently raised these children as their own. 

I would emphasise that the process will be measured, sensitive, and at the pace of the individual concerned.  People should also be aware that it is a detailed, methodical process, and will take some time.

The assigned social worker will support individuals through the process and link them in to formal and informal supports and services, as required.

The Deputy will understand that as Minister I do not get, and nor should I, personal details of the individuals concerned.  If the individual to whom the Deputy is referring to is one of the 126, Tusla will be touch with her, but this process may take a little time, as tracing is being done on the basis of records that are in the main over 50 years old.  She can also, through the Tusla Helpline, apply for an information and tracing service, even if she is not one of the 126.

In relation to other issues of concern listed by the Deputy, I am aware that an incorrect birth registration can impact on a number of areas of a person's life.  I will keep these issues under review, as they emerge, and will address in conjunction with my ministerial colleagues, as appropriate.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (179, 186)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

179. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of instances detailed to her Department in which it was alleged that children were neglected or abused over a period of time without adequate intervention from State agencies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25859/18]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

186. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of reports notified to her Department relating to children at risk in each of the past two years; the degree to which it has been possible to arrange adequate and early follow-up in all cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25866/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 179 and 186 together.

My Department is not routinely informed of the neglect or abuse of children, and where such reports are made this information is passed immediately to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. Tusla is the statutory body responsible for supporting and promoting the development, welfare and protection of children, and for providing or arranging for the provision of appropriate interventions, where these are needed. There is a requirement in the Child and Family Agency Act that Tusla is independent in the performance of its function, and reports of children at risk of neglect of abuse should be appropriately directed to Tusla.

Tusla publishes performance and activity data annually. The most recent date for which validated data is available is Q3 2017. Data is subject to verification before publication.

An open case is one which is assessed as needing a dedicated (allocated) social work service; cases awaiting allocation include new referrals, cases already in progress and children in care.

Referrals received, open cases and unallocated cases per quarter

Quarter

Referrals received in quarter

Open Cases at the end of quarter

Unallocated cases at end of quarter

Q3 2017

12,498

25,919

5,284

Q2 2017

14,263

25,866

5,893

Q1 2017

13,629

25,384

6,158

Q4 2016

12,097

25,034

5,413

Q3 2016

11,732

26,362

4,361

Q2 2016

12,264

26,214

5,610

Q1 2016

11,306

26,140

5,579

Q4 2015

10,993

26,655

6,718

Q3 2015

10,711

26,129

7,013

Youth Services Data

Questions (180, 181, 184)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

180. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans and programmes to address issues of youth deprivation affecting young persons in socially and economically challenged urban areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25860/18]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

181. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of programmes available or likely to become available through her Department to assist teenagers in all areas but particularly densely populated areas that are deemed to be in need of support or guidance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25861/18]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

184. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the degree to which her Department has identified issues affecting children or teenagers with a view to ensuring that adequate support and advice exists and is available to young persons that may feel isolated for various reasons; the extent to which she expects ongoing progress in this area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25864/18]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 180, 181 and 184 together.

I am pleased to confirm that an extra €1.5m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services in 2018. This will bring the total current youth funding available to my Department to €58.9m. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people.

My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. The funding schemes support national and local youth work involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in youth services and communities throughout the country.

These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme, under which funding is made available on an annual basis to thirty national and major regional youth organisations. The continued funding of voluntary youth organisations through the scheme is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.

Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund, Rounds 1 and 2, Local Drugs Task Force Projects and certain other programmes including the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme and Youth Information Centres.

The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme supports youth work activities at a local level. These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through the local Education and Training Boards. Each year, in the region of 1700 local youth clubs are eligible to apply under the scheme.

As the Deputy may be aware my Department is managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken. This will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.

Last year each of the sixteen Education and Training Boards (ETB), was invited to nominate locations within their catchment areas for the establishment of new services and to nominate a project or service to be considered for augmentation. In total twenty-eight applications for new services were received. Subsequently I approved the establishment of ten new targeted youth services across the country and the expansion of a further seven to respond to new demand from increased population and needs of young people. Funding was also allocated for the establishment of 5 new sample projects in 2016. These projects provide youth services in areas of need as identified by the Education and Training Boards with responsibility for those regions.

Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed last year which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping will assist the Department and the relevant ETB in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels. My Department is committed to working with ETBs to identify need and explore ways to address this need where it emerges.

My Department works closely with, and regularly meets, the national and major regional youth organisations, including the National Youth Council of Ireland, which has a representative role for the voluntary youth services.

Youth Services

Questions (182)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

182. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she continues to liaise with the various youth groups throughout the country focusing on their need in their particular environment; the degree to which she expects to be in a position to offer support to such groups in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25862/18]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department maintains close contact with the national youth organisations and I and officials from my Department meet formally with these organisations twice a year to share knowledge and information on developments in the youth sector. A separate meeting is held on that day with national organisations in receipt of targeted youth funding to keep them updated on the ongoing work on the Value for Money and Policy Review reforms.

Youth Officers of the Education and Training Boards provide an important support role to my Department in the co-ordination and administration of youth services at local level across the country. In order to keep my Department informed of their ongoing work, officials hold quarterly meetings attended by all Youth Officers from across the country. These meetings assist my Department in identifying service needs and emerging issues, particularly for vulnerable young people. The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department has set up a working group with five Youth Officers focussed on strategic planning for future capital funding for the youth sector.

My Department holds scheduled meetings with Youth Work Ireland twice a year in relation to the important work of this organisation. There is also ongoing active engagement between my Department and the youth constituency of the of the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures Advisory Council. A small number of national youth organisation representatives are members of this Council.

Officials from the Youth Affairs Unit are engaged with programmes run by the National Youth Council of Ireland, such as the Youth Arts Strategic Review and Plan Advisory Steering Group and the National Health Programme Strategic Planning Working Group, both of which receive funding from my Department.

Officials from my Department also meet with youth organisations on an individual basis when the need arises.

In 2018, €58.9 m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services, an increase of €1.5m on 2017. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people and to assist national youth organisations in their work to support local voluntary youth services. Funding to staff led youth services has generally been targeted at areas of disadvantage and not in proportion to the youth population of a given area.

Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed last year, which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping will assist the Department and the relevant ETB in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels. My Department is committed to working with ETBs to identify need and explore ways to address this need where it emerges.

Youth Services

Questions (183)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

183. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she, her Department and-or bodies under her aegis continue to liaise with the various youth groups throughout County Kildare with a view to addressing issues of their concern; the degree to which she expects to be in a position to offer support to such groups in 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25863/18]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Youth Officers of the Education and Training Boards, including Kildare Wicklow ETB, provide an important support role to my Department in the co-ordination and administration of youth services at local level across the country. In order to keep my Department informed of their ongoing work, officials hold quarterly meetings attended by all Youth Officers from across the country. These meetings assist my Department in identifying service needs and emerging issues, particularly for vulnerable young people. The Youth Affairs Unit of my Department has set up a working group with five Youth Officers focussed on strategic planning for future capital funding for the youth sector.

My Department also maintains close contact with the national youth organisations and I and officials from my Department meet formally with these organisations twice a year to share knowledge and information on developments in the youth sector.

My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities.

In 2018, €58.9 m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services. In 2018, a provisional allocation of €539,283 has been made for the projects and services under Kildare Youth Services, which operates under Youth Work Ireland. My Department provides funding to Kildare Youth Services under the Special Projects for Youth Scheme in respect of six local youth projects in Athy, Naas, Leixlip, Newbridge, the Curragh and Kildare town and a Youth Information Centre in Naas.

In addition, I am pleased to approve the establishment the Capital Funding Scheme in 2018. The primary focus of this scheme will be to provide small to medium capital grants to qualifying youth projects which are in receipt of funding from DCYA. Some €2m has been made available nationally, and eligible youth projects in Kildare can make an application through Kildare Wicklow Education and Training Board.