Social Insurance

Questions (209)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

209. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if flexibility will be shown to self-employed persons who were only able to make contributions since 1988 and part-time workers in 1991 in view of her proposals whereby all workers retiring from 2020 will only get a full State pension if they made PRSI contributions for 40 years. [25927/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Government intends to introduce a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims from 2020 onwards. This is distinct from the interim TCA model being made available as an option for those affected by the 2012 rate band changes.

I understand that the Deputy’s question may be based on an inaccurate report in a national newspaper last month. There is no basis to state that all workers retiring from 2020 will only get a full State pension if they made PRSI contributions for 40 years. The criteria required for a full pension under that new approach have not yet been determined, and are currently subject to a public consultation which I launched on 28th May. Issues such as the number of years required for a full pension, transitional arrangements and treatment of the self-employed are addressed in the consultation questions, and in the accompanying documentation.

Additionally, I outlined at the launch that these final details will not be decided upon until I have considered the submissions received in this process, a point which was re-emphasised by two of my officials, in their presentations to stakeholders and press who were present. It was explicitly stressed in those presentations that, whatever the final model, it would have to accommodate those who were self-employed before 1988.

It might be noted that if such matters had already been decided upon, there would be little point in conducting a public consultation on the design of the final system.

This public consultation is available on my Department’s website and I would encourage all interested stakeholders to contribute to the survey there. The materials included as part of the consultation examine issues such as the extension of compulsory PRSI for self-employed in 1988, and seeks the views of stakeholders on how best to ensure they are not disadvantaged as a result of this reform.

The position regarding part-time workers is complicated. As in most countries, there are thresholds below which employees and self-employed persons are not compulsorily covered for pensions under the PRSI system. Generally, the people below these thresholds receive lower pay than can be received while on Jobseekers benefit, and so they will often be either in receipt of a jobseekers payment (and credited contributions) in respect of the days they do not work, or they will be people who would not qualify for a jobseekers payment.

In April 1990, the threshold for employees changed from being based on time worked (i.e. less than 18 hours in a week) to a monetary amount. Some were affected by this change at that time but many others were not. However, over time this monetary amount has been very significantly eroded by inflation, and is now only €38 in a given week.

It is not the case that this reform disadvantages part-time workers. Most of those who fell below the PRSI threshold in the past (and who do not have credited contributions for those periods), whether in the 1990s or today, generally have significant gaps which result in reduced entitlements under the current Yearly Average system. In most cases, such workers facing a reduced pension under the current system are expected to fare significantly better under the TCA approach.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Local Authority Finances

Questions (210)

Niall Collins

Question:

210. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the level of debt at 31 December 2017 owed by each local authority by lender in each of the years 2010 to 2017; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25816/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

It is a matter for each local authority to manage its own finances in a prudent and sustainable manner. In accordance with the Local Government Act 2001, a decision to borrow money is a reserved function of the elected members of a local authority. Section 106 of the Act provides that local authorities must obtain the consent of the appropriate Minister to undertake borrowing.  

My Department does not hold the information in the format requested however the total loans payable from 2010 to 2016, as reported in the audited Annual Financial Statements of local authorities, are set out in the following tables. Table 1 contains total loan payable figures for 88 county, city and town councils from 2010 to 2013 and table 2 contains the figures for 2014 to 2016 (the most recent year for which audited accounts are available) for the 31 local authorities. The decrease in total loans payable from €4.7bn in 2013 to €4.1bn in 2014 is mainly attributable to the establishment of Irish Water.

Table 1

 

 

 

 

County Councils

2010

2011

2012

2013

Carlow

40,962,899

47,838,598

47,068,117

46,657,346

Cavan

23,829,336

23,508,016

23,398,461

25,796,330

Clare

119,035,823

111,590,074

122,268,632

113,149,495

Cork

514,459,652

488,372,123

499,514,320

481,978,303

Donegal

123,324,378

150,270,441

163,069,485

156,050,791

Fingal

443,820,638

461,583,862

447,409,384

436,324,398

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown

167,651,292

171,683,471

163,457,311

147,477,389

Galway

110,126,595

107,680,950

113,998,829

115,743,038

Kerry

97,283,878

96,045,098

94,033,598

89,308,476

Kildare

163,566,100

148,411,290

143,133,885

138,486,021

Kilkenny

55,073,315

52,896,425

50,185,534

48,658,902

Laois

129,866,968

125,010,439

125,995,507

120,227,156

Leitrim

16,449,042

14,954,806

13,956,169

13,007,139

Limerick

65,652,024

59,853,252

59,432,285

56,161,861

Longford

48,865,576

48,297,274

48,359,580

50,595,362

Louth

31,438,555

30,966,209

30,404,236

40,549,768

Mayo

109,749,911

112,396,604

129,674,681

126,611,707

Meath

92,862,599

88,061,530

86,564,972

84,706,118

Monaghan

34,845,191

32,694,721

30,581,711

29,145,993

North Tipperary

53,477,681

50,901,703

49,640,649

47,898,142

Offaly

66,958,610

64,320,895

62,517,377

59,805,560

Roscommon

14,573,427

14,997,227

26,010,553

23,577,842

Sligo

73,744,717

69,756,187

76,759,641

79,951,950

South Dublin

261,526,564

247,270,126

240,862,951

233,717,692

South Tipperary

68,981,434

69,105,132

68,027,034

64,256,776

Waterford

48,286,468

48,121,978

55,990,723

53,136,325

Westmeath

107,922,722

104,964,878

103,256,860

103,407,557

Wexford

166,274,245

158,862,867

152,895,439

145,887,335

Wicklow

94,584,015

102,237,071

113,866,434

113,255,807

City Councils

 

 

 

 

Cork

179,267,920

176,107,001

171,161,952

164,325,413

Dublin

921,257,895

900,384,710

876,746,153

806,301,787

Galway

117,516,778

106,515,331

105,446,566

92,471,249

Limerick

25,612,289

23,379,665

21,372,734

19,267,345

Waterford

84,536,828

83,889,307

82,103,663

82,475,797

Town/Borough Councils

 

 

 

 

Clonmel

5,021,932

83,889,307

4,559,354

4,237,813

Drogheda

71,587,301

66,518,084

67,282,133

67,881,888

Kilkenny

728,220

1,040,189

1,908,666

2,748,139

Sligo

42,617,756

42,393,450

41,476,210

40,141,695

Wexford

4,649,717

4,464,728

6,975,047

6,628,928

Arklow

65,750

57,303

47,998

37,527

Athlone

3,955,029

3,798,471

7,917,686

7,513,609

Athy

4,473,650

4,438,228

4,403,759

4,368,445

Ballina

81,996

66,299

48,773

4,927,435

Ballinasloe

0

0

0

0

Birr

299,929

283,252

268,454

253,036

Bray

7,453,996

7,473,146

7,460,426

7,443,806

Buncrana

0

0

0

0

Bundoran

3,282,833

3,062,802

2,820,152

2,576,455

Carlow

2,750,000

2,750,000

2,750,000

2,750,000

Carrick on Suir

420,247

412,460

409,454

391,496

Carrickmacross

0

0

0

0

Cashel

0

0

0

0

Castlebar

11,965,457

11,832,229

8,694,331

8,548,930

Castleblayney

61,343

54,473

47,434

40,145

Cavan

0

0

0

0

Clonakility

852,895

0

0

0

Clones

171,631

165,476

158,658

151,447

Cobh

0

0

0

0

Dundalk

50,381,551

51,420,498

52,811,467

51,569,730

Dungarvan

39,369

34,257

1,069,683

1,047,078

Ennis

8,546,959

9,097,061

8,419,420

8,092,762

Enniscorthy

4,528

0

0

0

Fermoy

574,537

549,319

511,007

456,051

Kells

58,200

50,225

43,843

38,094

Killarney

3,228,865

2,909,326

2,572,946

2,149,086

Kilrush

535,888

414,499

350,137

287,520

Kinsale

195,456

155,033

136,705

115,548

Letterkenny

9,834,861

9,307,869

15,060,497

14,479,938

Listowel

815,875

831,278

846,989

860,761

Longford

3,915,903

3,620,704

3,347,946

3,080,969

Macroom

0

0

0

0

Mallow

3,814,130

0

0

0

Midleton

0

0

0

0

Monaghan

1,066,114

897,562

697,235

503,050

Naas

18,048,496

7,787,767

6,880,014

6,577,614

Navan

5,376,141

8,591,992

8,173,994

7,737,001

Nenagh

1,834,779

2,821,718

2,810,291

3,298,568

New Ross

1,072,500

986,548

3,097,715

3,068,708

Skibbereen

2,368,259

2,231,013

2,179,420

2,108,989

Templemore

0

0

0

0

Thurles

0

0

0

0

Tipperary

0

0

0

0

Tralee

15,117,089

14,270,363

14,605,261

14,847,883

Trim

3,048,883

3,206,457

3,011,456

2,811,424

Tullamore

8,357,585

8,271,130

8,196,978

7,944,337

Westport

5,152,959

4,484,523

4,299,177

4,106,865

Wicklow

5,991,184

6,010,383

2,910,088

2,815,038

Youghal

1,693,765

1,565,628

1,428,883

1,281,008

TOTAL

4,984,898,923

4,965,144,315

4,899,855,109

4,710,290,983

Table 2

Table 2

 

 

 

Local   Authority

2014

2015

2016

Carlow Co Co

45,857,903

45,145,162

38,402,042

Cavan Co Co

18,592,834

21,845,988

20,862,244

Clare Co Co

97,548,382

89,450,510

84,342,399

Cork Co Co

148,194,542

141,018,875

139,390,254

Cork City Council

426,497,964

414,577,969

392,676,369

Donegal Co Co

136,795,154

130,733,747

122,997,563

Dublin City Council

637,703,649

596,969,354

527,989,902

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Co Co

150,679,876

137,541,877

130,182,870

Fingal Co Co

416,064,917

381,164,320

354,784,072

Galway Co Co

81,637,737

71,491,020

68,545,335

Galway City Council

53,108,775

46,435,573

43,989,379

Kerry Co Co

85,054,498

81,833,380

78,148,225

Kildare Co Co

125,499,719

118,521,737

111,371,942

Kilkenny Co Co

39,919,413

39,420,823

52,581,452

Laois Co Co

114,750,225

109,334,323

105,523,473

Leitrim Co Co

7,393,563

6,836,490

6,951,370

Limerick Co Co

79,148,544

66,373,599

81,401,809

Longford Co Co

41,103,418

38,518,037

36,017,985

Louth Co Co

157,187,491

151,259,289

151,892,259

Mayo Co Co

119,928,557

130,620,743

122,965,759

Meath Co Co

88,374,283

83,857,339

78,942,795

Monaghan Co Co

23,561,705

22,189,466

20,577,527

Offaly Co Co

65,815,150

56,203,593

54,373,636

Roscommon Co Co

15,977,008

22,890,563

29,074,951

Sligo Co Co

105,508,672

103,000,765

100,647,098

South Dublin County Council

228,705,121

213,856,678

199,454,190

Tipperary Co Co

111,209,345

105,418,736

99,604,796

Waterford Co Co

130,067,420

126,725,875

125,586,877

Westmeath Co Co

84,093,101

79,614,108

77,068,918

Wexford Co Co

137,619,278

130,683,537

127,608,298

Wicklow Co Co

91,089,894

86,374,220

79,865,547

Total

4,064,688,138

3,849,907,699

3,663,821,335

Housing Adaptation Grant Data

Questions (211)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

211. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the budget for the housing adaptation grant for persons with disabilities; the number of persons who have received the grant; and the average number of grants provided to persons over the past five years including the current spend to date for 2018, in tabular form. [25835/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

My Department provides funding under the suite of Housing Adaptation Grant Schemes for Older People and People with a Disability, in respect of private housing. There are three separate grants available and local authorities receive an overall allocation, with responsibility for the apportionment between the schemes being a matter for each local authority.

The recently announced funding allocation in 2018 for the schemes is €66.25m, comprising €53m Exchequer funding and €13.25m from local authority resources.  Details of the allocations for these grant schemes in 2018 are available at the following link: Housing Schemes.

At the end of May 2018, over 28% of this allocation has been spent.

Information on these grant schemes, including the numbers of grants funded per annum and the funding provided to each local authority, is available on my Department’s website at the following link Housing Scheme Statistics.

My Department also provides funding to local authorities under the Disabled Persons Grants Scheme, for adaptations and extensions to the existing social housing stock to meet the needs of local authority tenants. Funding under this scheme has increased progressively in recent years; from a position of €7m in 2013, funding of over €13m was provided in both 2016 and 2017, supporting improvements in over 1,000 houses in 2016 and over 1,300 houses in 2017. The average grant in 2017 was approximately €10,000.

As local authorities have delegated responsibility in the use of the DPG scheme and the distribution of the funding is a matter for them to administer, data in relation to the number of social homes improved or adapted was not collected prior to 2016.

Local authorities have submitted to my Department details of their work proposals and related funding requirements for this scheme in 2018. These have now been evaluated and funding allocations will be confirmed to the local authorities shortly. In order to ensure that there were no delays for priority and urgent cases, all local authorities were advised that they can undertake works of up to 65% of their 2017 allocation, in advance of the 2018 full year allocation. This has allowed them to plan and progress works under the scheme and will support the full utilisation of the 2018 allocation by end-year.

Wildlife Control

Questions (212)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

212. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht her plans to have a cull in the population of seals (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25876/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Culture)

There are two species of seal in Irish waters - the Harbour or Common Seal and the more numerous Grey Seal. Both are protected under the EU Habitats Directive and Ireland is obliged to monitor their populations and report to the European Commission on their conservation status. A standardised monitoring programme has been in place for both species since 2009. The most recent report on their conservation status was submitted to the European Commission in June 2013 and is available on the website www.npws.ie.  

As part of my Department's established seal monitoring programme, Grey Seal and Harbour Seal numbers have continued to be recorded around the country. The next conservation assessment of the status of both seal species is under preparation and is due for submission to the Commission in early 2019

Seals have a broad diet which varies depending on the species of seal, the geographic region and also the availability of fish and other prey. Studies of the interaction between seals and various commercial fisheries in Ireland are ongoing. This work by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Marine Institute and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara, towards which my Department provides technical and licensing input under relevant conservation legislation, includes the recording of seal depredation (damage to fish or removal of fish by seals during fishery operations) as part of the National At Sea Catch Sampling Programme. It also involves targeted regionally based studies concerning seal bycatch for example and the ongoing development of acoustic deterrence to mitigate seal fisheries interactions.

In relation to seal predation on salmonids, for example, a study published in 2014 by Inland Fisheries Ireland, focusing on two estuaries of significance for native salmon, found considerable differences in the amount of salmonids in the diet of locally occurring seals and concluded that the removal of salmonids by seals and other predators must be placed in the context of the amount removed by fisheries (see link).

All of these studies will continue to inform policy in relation to seal protection and meeting our obligations under the EU Habitats Directive.