Live Register Data

Questions (59)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

59. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Taoiseach the number of persons on the live register at the close of business on 8 June 2018, by county and individual local office; and the number of persons on the register that are classified as seasonal and casual workers entitled to receive jobseeker's allowance and benefit. [25801/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The exact information requested by the Deputy is not available.

The Live Register series gives a monthly breakdown of the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Benefit, Jobseeker's Allowance and other registrants as registered with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP).

The most recent Live Register figures available are for May 2018.

Table 1 shows the number of persons on Live Register by County and local DEASP office of registration for May 2018. This information is also available online on the CSO Statbank (Series code LRM07). See the following link to CSO website.

http://www.cso.ie/shorturl.aspx/39

Table 2 shows the number of casual and part-time workers on the Live Register classified by social welfare scheme for May 2018.

It should be noted that the Live Register is not a definitive measure of unemployment as it includes part-time workers, and seasonal and casual workers entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit or Allowance.

Table 1 Number of persons on Live Register by County and local DEASP 1 office of registration, May 2018

-

May 2018

Carlow County

3,670

Muine Bheag (Bagenalstown)

735

Carlow

2,244

Tullow

691

Cavan County

3,655

Ballyconnell

681

Cavan

2,974

Clare County

5,093

Ennis

2,721

Ennistymon

813

Kilrush

806

Tulla

753

Cork County

19,704

Bandon

663

Bantry

565

Bantry (SWLO)

192

Carrigaline

893

Clonakilty

724

Cobh

569

Cork City (Abbeycourt)

4,220

Cork City (Hanover)

4,223

Fermoy

1,112

Kinsale

562

Macroom

780

Mallow

1,251

Midleton

1,535

Newmarket

728

Skibbereen

754

Youghal

933

Donegal County

11,597

Ballybofey

1,646

Ballyshannon

1,013

Buncrana

2,060

Donegal

725

Dunfanaghy

784

Dungloe

1,160

Killybegs

674

Letterkenny

3,535

Dublin County

55,132

Balbriggan

2,534

Ballyfermot

2,007

Ballymun

2,377

Bishop Square

4,687

Blanchardstown

4,547

Clondalkin

4,117

Coolock

2,668

Cork Street

4,416

Dun Laoghaire

3,801

Finglas

3,876

Kilbarrack

2,682

Kings Inn Street

2,757

Navan Road

2,963

Nutgrove (Rathfarnham)

2,576

Swords

2,624

Tallaght

6,500

Galway County

11,652

Ballinasloe

1,271

Clifden

701

Galway City

5,826

Gort

840

Loughrea

1,270

Tuam

1,744

Kerry County

7,670

Caherciveen

314

Dingle

391

Kenmare

231

Killarney

1,007

Killorglin

558

Listowel

1,444

Tralee

3,725

Kildare County

9,427

Athy

1,640

Maynooth

3,102

Newbridge

4,685

Kilkenny County

3,558

Kilkenny

2,933

Thomastown

625

Laoighis County

4,591

Portarlington

1,627

Portlaoise

2,338

Rathdowney

626

Leitrim County

1,865

Carrick-On-Shannon

1,412

Manorhamilton

453

Limerick County

8,971

Kilmallock

1,023

Limerick City

6,732

Newcastle West

1,216

Longford County

2,845

Longford

2,845

Louth County

8,904

Ardee

961

Drogheda

3,738

Dundalk

4,205

Mayo County

7,481

Achill

261

Ballina

2,122

Ballinrobe

535

Belmullet

517

Castlebar

1,431

Claremorris

766

Swinford

931

Westport

918

Meath County

5,276

Kells

968

Navan

2,648

Trim

1,660

Monaghan County

2,985

Carrickmacross

734

Castleblayney

914

Monaghan

1,337

North Tipperary

4,302

Nenagh

1,666

Roscrea

822

Thurles

1,814

Offaly County

4,522

Birr

1,489

Edenderry

1,212

Tullamore

1,821

Roscommon County

2,377

Boyle

569

Castlerea

1,040

Roscommon

768

Sligo County

3,277

Sligo

2,770

Tubbercurry

507

South Tipperary

4,735

Cahir

643

Carrick-On-Suir

949

Cashel

629

Clonmel

1,536

Tipperary

978

Waterford County

7,760

Dungarvan

1,126

Waterford City

6,634

Westmeath County

5,701

Athlone

2,275

Castlepollard

645

Mullingar

2,781

Wexford County

10,210

Enniscorthy

2,655

Gorey

2,271

New Ross

1,796

Wexford

3,488

Wicklow County

6,371

Arklow

1,652

Baltinglass

746

Bray

2,698

Wicklow

1,275

State 2

223,502

Source: CSO Live Register.

1 Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

2 From January 2018, registrations which have yet not being assigned to a DEASP local office of registration are included in the Live Register totals and therefore the sum of the counties and DEASP local offices of registration may not add to the Live Register totals in this series.

Table 2 Number of casual and part-time workers on the Live Register classified by social welfare scheme, May 2018

May 2018

Total number of casual and part-time workers on the Live Register

46,917

of which:

Jobseekers Allowance

35,998

Jobseekers Benefit

10,919

Source: CSO Live Register.

Departmental Strategies

Questions (60)

Micheál Martin

Question:

60. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will provide an updated status on his Department's statement of strategy. [25655/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Taoiseach)

The Department's new Statement of Strategy published earlier this year reflects the role of the Department to support the Taoiseach and the Government to develop a sustainable economy and a successful society, to pursue Ireland’s interests abroad, to implement the Government’s Programme, and to build a better future for Ireland and all her citizens. The Department will provide progress reports under the six strategic priorities set out in the Strategy thorough the normal annual reporting cycle. The Annual Report for 2017 will be finalised over the coming weeks. It will include an update on the broad range of work undertaken by my Department in relation to Brexit negotiations, Northern Ireland, Project Ireland 2040, the Citizens Assembly, reform of the Justice and Health sectors, Seanad and Dáil reform, climate change, pensions reform and housing.

Commemorative Medals

Questions (61)

Jack Chambers

Question:

61. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the status of the awarding of a medal (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25791/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Defence)

I can confirm that my Department has previously examined this case and decided to posthumously award an appropriate medal.

Given the significance of the posthumous award of a medal, the question arises as to whom the medal should be given. The normal procedure is that the medal is given to the next of kin of the deceased person.

My Department has been in correspondence regarding the matter of the next of kin for some time and has outlined the position and what is required. In the past week, some material, which requires consideration, has been submitted to the Department. Once this has been examined, my Department will make further direct contact with the person seeking the posthumously awarded medal.

Human Rights Cases

Questions (62)

Seán Crowe

Question:

62. Deputy Seán Crowe asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Bahraini Court of Appeal has upheld the five year sentence against a person (details supplied); his views on whether the person was simply peacefully expressing their opinions online and this should not be a crime; if he will speak out against their ongoing detention and the Bahraini authorities’ determination to squash the right to freedom of expression and silence peaceful criticism; and if he will discuss the case with his Bahraini counterpart and request the person's immediate release and for all charges against them to be dropped. [25750/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I am aware of the case referred to by the Deputy, and that the individual in question has had his sentence upheld in a recent ruling by the Bahraini Court of Appeal. Ireland attaches a high priority to safeguarding human rights defenders, such as the person referred to by the Deputy.

I remain very concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Bahrain, which I have spoken on in this House several times of late. Statements from the Bahraini Government on its commitment to safeguarding human rights enshrined in the Bahraini Constitution are undermined by ongoing examples of violations of fundamental freedoms, including violations of freedom of opinion and expression. A number of worrying developments suggest an increasingly restrictive approach, targeting those who express disagreement with or criticism of the Government.

Ireland’s concerns about human rights issues in Bahrain are regularly conveyed to the Bahraini authorities, including through the Bahraini Embassy in London and through Ireland’s (non-resident) Ambassador to Bahrain. In February of this year, officials from my Department met with the Ambassador of Bahrain in Dublin, and raised Ireland’s concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain, including the case referred to by the Deputy.

Officials from my Department also raised ongoing human rights concerns with Bahrain in the context of its Universal Periodic Review, which took place in Geneva in May 2017. At the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March of this year, Ireland supported an EU statement under Item 4 (Human Rights situations that require the Council’s attention) which reiterated calls on Bahrain “to maintain its commitments as to the respect of freedom of speech and human rights defenders.” We also made reference to Bahrain in our national Item 4 statement highlighting our grave concerns over the ending of the defacto moratorium on use of the death penalty.

My Department will continue to monitor the human rights situation in Bahrain, and will utilise every appropriate opportunity to raise Ireland’s concerns with the Bahraini authorities.

Brexit Issues

Questions (63)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

63. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will report on the contingency plans prepared by his Department in the event of a hard Brexit.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25763/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Co-ordination of the whole-of-Government response to Brexit is being taken forward through the cross-Departmental coordination structures chaired by my Department. Contingency planning for a no-deal or worst-case outcome, bringing together the detailed work being undertaken by individual Ministers and their Departments on issues within their policy remit, is now well advanced. Its focus is on the immediate regulatory and operational challenges which would result from such an outcome. It assumes a trading relationship based on the default WTO rules, but also examines the possible effects on many other areas of concern. This work is therefore providing baseline scenarios for the impact of Brexit across all sectors, which can then be adapted as appropriate in light of developments in the EU-UK negotiations, including in regard to transition arrangements and the future relationship. It also takes account of the planning being undertaken at EU level by the new Commission Preparedness Unit, which is issuing information notes aimed at different business sectors.

The Government is already acting in order to get Ireland Brexit ready. Dedicated measures were announced in Budget 2018, including a new €300m Brexit Loan Scheme for Business and a €25m Brexit Response Loan Scheme for the agri-food sector as well as additional supports for capital investment in the food industry and Bord Bia marketing and promotion activities, amounting to over €50m in total. Additional capital expenditure allocation of €4.3bn over four years will also allow the State and its agencies to properly plan major infrastructure projects while ensuring that communities and businesses can plan ahead. There was also increased funding provided to my Department for the opening of six new diplomatic missions as part of Global Footprint 2025, which will contribute to helping our exporters find new markets.

Our Government’s enterprise agencies continue to work with companies, helping them to deal with Brexit – making them more competitive, diversifying market exposure, and up-skilling teams. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation published last November ‘Building Stronger Business: Responding to Brexit by competing, innovating and training’. In total 34 reports analyzing the effects of Brexit across a broad range of sectors and in some cases setting out responses have been published to date by Government Departments. All these reports are available on a dedicated Brexit webpage on my Department’s website: https://www.dfa.ie/brexit/ .

Longer-term economic strategies will also be critically important in addressing the challenges of Brexit, notably Ireland 2040 –the National Development Plan. The Enterprise Strategy 2025 Renewed was recently launched and we are in active discussions with the European Investment Bank on a potential increase in investment in the country.

Before the summer the Government will finalise a paper, building on that published in May 2017, on our approach to the negotiations and our latest assessment of the economic and sectoral challenges posed by Brexit and our responses to them.

Departmental Data

Questions (64)

Noel Rock

Question:

64. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of Irish citizens that travel to cities not directly served by airports here; and the number of Irish citizens travelling to the ten most popular cities not served directly by Irish airports. [25787/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Department of Foreign Affairs provides travel advice for around 200 countries on its website at www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice and also through our free-to-download SmartPhone App TravelWise and via our social media presence. The information provided is continuously reviewed and updated to ensure that it is as accurate and relevant as possible. The travel advice is developed based on assessments and reports from our Embassy and Consulate network, and material available from host countries and local authorities and agencies. My Department also liaises with other countries including EU Member States and other relevant third country sources, with the objective of ensuring that Irish citizens are able to make informed decisions regarding their travel plans. My Department does not collect data on the destinations visited by Irish citizens travelling abroad from airports in Ireland.

I encourage all citizens, when planning to travel abroad, to pay close attention to updates to my Department’s travel advice on our website and the TravelWise app, check their passports are in date and arrange comprehensive travel insurance before they depart.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (65)

Brendan Smith

Question:

65. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he has had contact with the British Foreign Secretary following the comments by him in relation to the importance of cross-Border trade and the interdependence of business and commerce North and South; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25875/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

North South cooperation and cross-border trade has grown significantly in the years since the Good Friday Agreement, strengthening a growing prosperity which both supports and is supported by the peace process. Underpinned by the current shared EU regulatory framework, cross-border trade at present represents the first export market for 73% of Northern Ireland’s small and medium-sized companies. More than 7,000 businesses trade from Northern Ireland across the island of Ireland, supporting over 165,000 jobs.Recent research has also shown a high degree of integration of the economies North and South, including in supply chains and trade in intermediary products. Northern Ireland accounts for between ten and twelve percent of total exports from Ireland to the UK and seven to eight percent of imports. Given that the population of Northern Ireland is less than three percent of the UK total, this shows the closeness of the economic ties between both parts of the island.

This underlines the importance of securing an outcome in the Brexit negotiations that maintains an invisible border on the island of Ireland. This objective goes beyond trade and is to protect the Good Friday agreement in all its parts and the gains of the peace process. Peace and prosperity are mutually reinforcing and cross-border trade is an important element in supporting jobs and building prosperity.

I regularly meet the Foreign Secretary, including at meetings of Foreign Ministers in an EU context, and internationally, as well as other UK Ministers who are heavily engaged in the Brexit negotiation process. Ireland’s views on the importance of a workable resolution to the issues relating to the border on the island of Ireland are known to the UK Government and are discussed on a regular basis when Irish and UK Ministers meet. Ireland and the United Kingdom share many areas of mutual interest and concern and we will continue to work on areas of commonality with the aim of reaching an outcomes that reflects Ireland’s well-stated objective of achieving as close as possible a relationship between the EU and the UK after Brexit.

Brexit Negotiations

Questions (66)

Brendan Smith

Question:

66. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the recent proposals put forward by Britain to the European Commission in relation to the proposed backstop following Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25877/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The fact of the UK’s presentation last week of a paper on a temporary customs arrangement, which it sees as relevant to aspects of the island of Ireland backstop, was a welcome, though incomplete, step forward. After its publication last week, Michel Barnier while also welcoming this step, raised questions and concerns about the proposal. The absence of anything on regulatory alignment is clearly a major gap – though the UK has acknowledged that this aspect needs to be negotiated – as is the suggestion that the arrangement should be time-limited, though it is welcome that the date of end-2021 is aspirational. The Commission, in its further analysis of the paper, has identified numerous issues related to the proposal’s legal and technical viability, and to its compatibility with the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union. It is the Commission which is the Union’s negotiator with the British Government on these issues.

The Government’s focus remains on the outcome we need to see, of which a key element is ensuring the protection of the Good Friday Agreement and the gains of the peace process, including avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. It is welcome that the UK’s commitment to this is reaffirmed in its proposal , and that the commitments and guarantees provided by the UK in the joint progress report of December 2017 and repeated by Prime Minister May in her letter to President Tusk in March have been reiterated.

While our preference is still for an overall EU-UK relationship which would resolve all issues, it remains essential that a backstop is agreed which provides certainty that in any circumstances, and no matter what the outcome of the negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship, a hard border will be avoided. We must have certainty in all scenarios on the commitments made on Ireland and Northern Ireland. This certainty requires agreement on the Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement.

I therefore very much hope that there will now be intense engagement between the British Government and the Commission over the next two weeks before the European Council on 28/29 June. As we have repeatedly stated, substantial progress is required by then.

Tax Code

Questions (67)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

67. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance his plans to extend the sugar tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25775/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have no plans to extend the sugar swetened drinks tax at this time.

The recently introduced tax on sugar-sweetened drinks commenced on 1 May 2018 and applies to water and juice based drinks with a sugar content of 5 grams per 100 mililitres or above.

The European Commission found that the introduction of the tax constituted no aid and further to that decision, a legislative amendment will be brought forward in this year's Finance Bill to impose a calcium threshold on certain exempted categories to ensure the comparability of exempted products to dairy.

Tax Code

Questions (68, 69)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

68. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue which would have been raised had an exit tax at a rate of 1%, 2%, 3%, 4% and 5% existed as outlined by Article 5 in the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive in each year since 2010 based on the market value of assets transferred from Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25776/18]

View answer

Pearse Doherty

Question:

69. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the value of intellectual property and non-intellectual property onshored here which would be subject to an exit tax as outlined by Article 5 in the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive if these assets were transferred offshore in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25777/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 69 together.

Following the publication of the OECD BEPS reports in October 2015, a decision was taken at EU level to introduce the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) as part of a package of measures aimed at ensuring a common and co-ordinated approach to the introduction of the BEPS anti-avoidance measures across the EU Member States.

The first ATAD, presented in January 2016 and agreed by all Member States in July 2016, provided for five separate anti-avoidance measures, one of which is an exit tax, to be transposed on an agreed schedule between 2018 and 2023. Member States must introduce the ATAD exit tax, or bring existing exit taxes into alignment with the ATAD exit tax where relevant, no later than 1 January 2020.

The objective of the ATAD exit tax is to impose a charge to tax when a company migrates out of a State while holding assets, or makes certain transfers of assets out of a State, in circumstances where those assets have increased in value and therefore hold an unrealised capital gain.

The potential yields of an exit tax from 2010 to date at the Deputy’s proposed rates ranging from 1% to 5% cannot be determined with certainty as such a calculation would require information on the unrealised gains, if any, latent within the value of assets transferred. Similarly, any potential future exit tax yield from assets on-shored in recent years would depend on the increase in value of these assets, if any, before any future transfer offshore.

However I would note that in many cases, intangible assets such as licence rights and patents in the pharmaceutical and high-tech sectors have a finite life-span and depreciate over their useful lives – for example over the period for which a drug is protected by a patent or the period until an IT sector IP asset is superseded by technological advancements. Depreciating assets of this nature are unlikely to give rise to an exit tax on migration.

Tax Reliefs Application

Questions (70)

John McGuinness

Question:

70. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance his plans regarding the continuation of the income tax relief on the back to work enterprise allowance; the number that have benefited from the scheme in the past three years; the number that are on the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25780/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I should advise Deputy that my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Welfare has policy responsibility for the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance including the numbers benefitting from the overall scheme. I assume that the particular tax relief that the Deputy is referring to is the Start Your Own Business Relief (SYOB), which provides a 2-year exemption from income tax (up to a maximum of €40,000 per year) for people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months before starting their own business.

In accordance with my Department's tax expenditure guidelines measures such as SYOB are generally reviewed every three years. S. 472AA of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 (SYOB) contains a sunset clause which comes into effect at the end of this year and my Department is currently reviewing the scheme in accordance with criteria set out in the guidelines:

- 1. Is the tax expenditure still relevant?

- 2. How much did the tax expenditure cost?

- 3. What was the impact of the tax expenditure?

- 4. Was it efficient?

I am informed by Revenue that in 2013 (the first year of operation of the scheme) 228, in 2014 2,291 and in 2015 (the latest year for which data are available) 3,910 persons availed of SYOB.

Further information can be located on the cost of tax expenditure (credits, allowances and reliefs), link https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/statistics/tax-expenditures/costs-tax-expenditures.pdf .

Government Bonds

Questions (71)

John McGuinness

Question:

71. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the value to date of Government bonds bought by the ECB. [25793/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I have been advised by colleagues in the Central Bank of Ireland that as at 31 May 2018, the cumulative monthly net purchases of Irish Government bonds by the Eurosystem (ECB and Central Bank of Ireland) as part of the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) stood at €27,614 million.

This book value is referenced on the ECB website, where there is a table with a breakdown of debt securities under the PSPP under the section on Monetary Policy, subsection Asset purchase programmes. This page is accessible by use of the following link:

http://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omt/html/index.en.html#pspp

Insurance Industry

Questions (72)

John McGuinness

Question:

72. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Finance the process in place to ensure that all of a company's (details supplied) claims are settled in full; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25827/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Setanta Insurance was placed into liquidation by the Malta Financial Services Authority on 30 April 2014. As it was a Maltese incorporated company, the liquidation is being carried out under Maltese law.

The Deputy will be aware that under the Insurance Act 1964, as amended, monies may be paid out of the Insurance Compensation Fund (ICF), with the approval of the High Court, in relation to an insolvent insurer, to meet claims up to a limit of 65% or €825,000 of the claim, whichever is the lesser.

The Deputy will also be aware of my decision in principle that the State will ensure that Setanta third party claimants are compensated in full, which was announced on 30 January. My Department has subsequently received confirmation from the Office of the Attorney General that there are no state-aid or other legal issues with this decision, and therefore an additional provision to give effect to it has been included in the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, which has now been finalised in liaison with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel.

I obtained Government approval last week to proceed with publication of this Bill and my officials are working with the Bills Office to ensure the Bill is published without delay. I am hoping that, with the cooperation of Members of the House, the Bill will pass all Stages in an efficient manner.

Once enacted, it will allow for the payment of 100% of the compensation due to Setanta third party personal injury motor insurance claimants including the additional 35% to those who have settled their claims and have already received compensation of 65% of their claim. The same principle of full payment will apply to third party property motor insurance claimants subject to a limit of €1.22m (in line with Motor Insurance Bureau of Ireland limits).

It is however important to note that only claims which have been settled can be included in applications to the High Court for payment from the ICF. The process of settling claims is still ongoing and is subject in some cases to complex negotiations between all relevant parties. It is hoped that by the State taking steps to ensure that third party claimants are compensated in full, this will continue to encourage the settlement of all outstanding claims as quickly as possible.

Schools Facilities

Questions (73)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

73. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if matters raised in correspondence in relation to disconnecting energy supplies whilst schools are closed in the summer months will be responded to; if he will liaise with SSE and the OGP in order to re-establish this cost saving initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25754/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Procurement is a key element of the Government's Reform agenda. The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) was established to drive the reform agenda, adopt a strategic approach to public procurement, leverage the State's spending power and deliver savings for the State.

Framework agreements are one of a number of ways in which the OGP engages with the market to achieve value for money in the delivery of much-needed public goods and services. Framework agreements are established through competitive procurement processes and are agreements with suppliers or service providers which set out terms and conditions under which specific contracts can be made during the term of the agreement.

There is ongoing engagement between the OGP and our public sector clients so that the necessary contracts and frameworks are put in place to meet their requirements.

The OGP has established a Multi-Supplier Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland. This Framework Agreement was put in place following consultations with representatives from the Education, Central Government, Local Authority, Health and the Security Services Sectors.

The OGP is currently working on the next generation Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland. In this regard, it has sought input from the Sectors. Any proposals, including cost saving initiatives, that are put forward and that are feasible will be taken into consideration.

While the OGP is facilitating the procurement process, it should be noted that the management of schools is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills.

Garda Stations

Questions (74)

Niall Collins

Question:

74. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the provision of a new Garda station in Newcastle West, County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25815/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The refurbishment and upgrade of Newcastle West Garda Station is included in the Capital Investment Plan 2016-2021 for An Garda Síochána. The Office of Public Works has carried out a feasibility study on the redevelopment of the Station based on a brief of requirements received from An Garda Síochána. The Office of Public Works is engaging with An Garda Síochána to progress further all issues associated with the progression of this major refurbishment project.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (75)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

75. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 97 of 31 May 2018, the latest publication or forecast conducted by the skills and labour market and research unit and its apprenticeship services unit for annual targets for both craft and consortia led apprenticeships in each of the years to 2020 and over the next five years. [25926/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am informed by SOLAS that due to a break in the Central Statistics Office (CSO) data series and issues with the ESRI macro-economic model there has been a delay in updating of skills forecasts by the Skills and Labour Market and Research Unit (SLMRU). As soon as these issues are resolved I understand that the SLMRU will commence the occupational skills forecasting project, with subsequent publication.

I have set out in the table the last forecast carried out in October 2016 for craft apprenticeships, the SLMRU has, to date, not conducted forecasts for consortia led apprenticeships.

Trades

Forecast Registrations 2017

Forecast Registrations 2018

Forecast Registrations 2019

Forecast Registrations 2020

BRICKLAYING

60

95

140

180

CARPENTRY & JOINERY

443

700

810

1045

CABINET MAKING

FLOOR & WALL TILING

0

PAINTING & DECORATING

44

65

90

110

PIPEFITTING

25

55

65

75

PLASTERING

34

60

90

120

PLUMBING

532

625

690

750

STONECUTTING

8

14

14

14

Wood Machining

WOOD MANUFACTURING & FINISHING

59

110

125

140

Total

1180

1724

2024

2434

ELECTRICAL

AIRCRAFT MECHANICS

53

40

40

40

ELECTRICAL

1705

1360

1390

1415

ELECTRICAL INSTRUMENTATION

120

110

120

130

ELECTRONIC SECURITY SYSTEMS

72

45

55

65

INSTRUMENTATION 

20

14

14

14

REFRIGERATION & AIR CONDITIONING

106

90

90

90

Total

2076

1659

1709

1754

ENGINEERING

4

M.A.M.F.

183

185

200

225

FARRIERY

6

8

8

8

INDUSTRIAL INSULATION

21

14

14

14

METAL FABRICATION

224

210

225

235

SHEET METALWORKING

53

50

55

60

TOOLMAKING

65

75

75

80

Total

577

542

577

622

MOTOR

AGRICULTURAL MECHANICS

45

50

50

50

CONSTRUCTION PLANT FITTING

86

80

80

80

HEAVY VEHICLE MECHANICS

143

160

160

160

MOTOR MECHANICS

353

420

420

420

VEHICLE BODY REPAIRS

46

50

55

55

Total

673

760

765

765

Print Media

2

12

12

12

OVERALL TOTAL

4,508

4,697

5,087

5,587

Schools Facilities

Questions (76)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

76. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills if matters raised in correspondence in relation to disconnecting energy supplies while schools are closed in the summer months will be responded to; if he will liaise with SSE and the OGP in order to re-establish this cost saving initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25753/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

There is ongoing engagement between the OGP and its public sector clients so that the necessary contracts and frameworks are put in place to meet their requirements. My Department liaises with the OGP in this context.

The OGP has established a Multi-Supplier Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland including schools. This Framework Agreement was put in place following consultations with representatives from the Education, Central Government, Local Authority, Health and the Security Services Sectors.

The OGP is currently working on the next generation Framework Agreement for the supply of Natural Gas to Public Service Bodies in Ireland, again including schools. In this regard, it has sought input from the relevant sectors. Any proposals to the OGP, including cost saving initiatives, that are put forward and that are feasible, such as that in the details supplied by the Deputy, will be taken into consideration.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (77)

Mick Wallace

Question:

77. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there were errors in the publication of the special needs assistant allocations to schools for the 2018-2019 school year; if all 474.97 SNA allocations announced for County Wexford on the NCSE website will be fully funded and each position filled for the 2018/2019 school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25774/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support in the school.

I have been advised by the NCSE that the total number of SNA posts allocated in Co. Wexford for September 2018 is 475.97 posts. The NCSE have confirmed that one post was omitted from the published list due to error.

The NCSE have also confirmed that in the case of the identified error in the published SNA allocation for a Co. Wexford school, the NCSE notified the school and informed the school of the correct allocation as soon as the error came to their attention. A decision statement with the correct allocation for 2018/19 issued to the school in question. The NCSE notified my Department of the correct allocation for the school in question to ensure full funding provision is made. The NCSE website list will be updated to reflect the correct SNA allocation for the school in question.

It is a matter for each individual school to recruit SNAs to fill the posts allocated by the NCSE to support the students in the school.

My Department’s policy is to ensure that every child who is assessed as needing SNA support will receive access to such support. In line with this policy, I announced last month that 800 additional SNAs will be allocated for the beginning of the next school year, with a further 140 expected to be allocated by the end of the year.

By the end of this year, there will be a total of 15,000 Special Needs Assistants working in our schools, a 42% increase on 2011.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (78)

John McGuinness

Question:

78. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeframe for the tender process relative to the completion of school bundle 5; if the subcontractors already involved in the building project and due money for their goods and services will be given automatic inclusion at the original price tendered in a future contract; if subcontractors will be paid the outstanding amount due to them to date; if all new procurement or tendering processes will include clauses to protect the payments due to sub-contractors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25781/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Schools Bundle 5 PPP Project encompasses five school buildings and one further education college across four sites in Bray, Wexford, Carlow and Kells. Following the liquidation of Carillion Construction Ltd, a tender process to identify a replacement contractor for the completion of the buildings is currently at an advanced stage.

The arrangements to put in place a replacement contractor are being managed by the Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF), which represents the PPP company, and the Project Funders, in close consultation with the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) and the Department of Education and Skills. The Project Funders have indicated that the pathway forward to completion of the schools will become clearer within the next week or so.

While I appreciate the very difficult situation faced by sub-contractors in the situation described by the Deputy, the Department was not party to the contractual arrangements into which they had entered and does not have any authority to intervene.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (79)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

79. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the recommendations of the National Council for Special Education in relation to supporting children with autism that remain outstanding; and the budget allocation necessary to implement these recommendations in full. [25785/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to assure the Deputy that ensuring that children with special educational needs are supported and given the opportunity to reach their full potential is a key priority for this government.

In 2018, almost €1.8 billion will be invested in Special Education. This represents an increase of almost 43% since 2011 and amounts to almost 20% of the Department’s overall Budget.

During the worst years of the recession this Government not only protected supports for children with special educational needs but we grew them.

The National Council for Special Education’s Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders was published in July 2016. The report acknowledges that there has been substantial investment in the education of students with autism over the 14 years since the publication of the last major report on autism in 2001. The report sets out 11 recommendations for further improvement and outlines associated actions to give effect to its recommendations.

My Department has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and external representatives to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered and that a timetable for implementation is prepared. The NCSE estimates that implementing the school based recommendations in the report will cost an additional €20m per annum. The work of the Implementation Group is ongoing.

School Staff

Questions (80)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

80. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will meet with and discuss the issues regarding a group (details supplied) that have requested a meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25786/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Recently published Circular - 40/2018 is available on the Department’s website, which outlines the number of days that teaching principals may take as release time in a school year in order to assist them fulfilling their principal duties. Under these arrangements my Department pays for a substitute teacher to be employed by a school to facilitate administrative functions to be undertaken by the teaching principal.

Building on measures in previous budgets to enhance school leadership, Budget 2018 made €0.4 million available to fund almost 4600 additional release days for teaching principals in primary schools. This additional funding will see an increase in the number of release days available to teaching principals in the 2018/19 school year to 17, 23 or 29 days depending on the size of the school.

Budget 2017 allowed for the commencement of restoration of middle management posts as part of an agreed distributed leadership model and meant lifting the rigidity of the longstanding moratorium on these posts at primary and post-primary levels. This recognises the key role school leadership has in promoting a school environment which is welcoming, inclusive and accountable.

€2.75m was allocated in Budget 2017 to restore middle management positions i.e. the equivalent of approximately 1,300 middle management posts (Assistant Principal I and Assistant Principal II) at both Primary and Post-Primary. (2,600 in total)

The selection and recruitment process is well under way in most of our primary schools and the majority of these new middle management posts will be filled in the current school year, including schools where the Principal is a "Teaching Principal".

Circular 63/2017 was issued by the Department in September 2017 which deals and sets out a leadership and management framework for posts in recognised primary schools.

While the Principal is ultimately responsible to the Board of Management for the management and leadership of the school, the Deputy Principal occupies a position of vital importance within the senior leadership team in each school. The Deputy Principal co-operates with the Principal in the fulfilment of the Principal's role and acts or deputises as the Principal in the Principal's absence.

In relation to the duties assigned to Assistant Principal posts, the Principal following consultation with staff, agree the schedule of duties as best meet the needs of the school. These duties are designed to reduce the workload of the Principal.

I recently announced an extension to the arrangements for schools with teaching principals to cluster their release days into full-time posts, with one teacher covering the release days of all the schools in the cluster. Up to 50 principal release cluster posts will be put in place for the 2018/19 school year. This measure will assist teaching principals to more effectively plan their release days for the benefit of the school.

Any additional increase in the number of release days will be considered as part of the next annual budgetary process alongside the many other demands from the education sector.

Special Educational Needs Expenditure

Questions (81)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

81. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the allocation for the low incidence proportion of the special needs budget to schools in 2018; the number of posts delivered using this allocation; and the additional services and resources provided from it. [25818/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In 2018, in the region of €1.75 billion will be invested in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the overall Education budget, and up 43% since 2011.

This funding includes provision for up to 13,400 Special Education Teaching posts in mainstream primary and post primary schools.

From September 2017, the model of allocating resources teachers to support pupils with low incidence special education, combined with general allocations, was replaced by a new combined model for allocating special education teachers to schools, based on the profiled needs of schools, as set out in DES Circulars 0013 and 0014 2017.

An additional 900 teaching posts have been provided in the 2017/2018 school year to support the introduction of this new allocation model. The provision of an additional 900 teaching posts is a very significant investment in the provision of additional teaching support for pupils with special educational needs in our schools.

For the 2017/18 school year to date, 13,306 additional special education teaching posts have been allocated, of which 13,281 have been allocated to schools, with 25 posts having been allocated to the NCSE to develop support services for schools.

Allocations continue to be made to schools, where exceptional circumstances arise, in accordance with the review criteria set at www.ncse.ie .

This provision ensures that all mainstream schools are provided with special education teachers to provide additional teaching support to pupils who require such support in their schools.

Scoileanna Gaeltachta

Questions (82)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

82. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Peadar Tóibín den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna cé mhéad bunscoil Ghaeltachta a léirigh spéis i stádas mar Scoil Ghaeltachta go dtí seo. [25819/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Léirigh 106 bunscoileanna sa Ghaeltacht spéis le bheith rannpháirteach sa Scéim Aitheantais mar Scoil Gaeltachta go dtí seo.

Beidh deis eile ag na scoileanna sna limistéir pleanála teanga Ghaeltachta nár roghnaigh a bheith páirteach sa Scéim Aitheantais Scoileanna Gaeltachta go dtí seo spéis a léiriú sa Scéim arís in 2019.

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills how many primary schools in the Gaeltacht have expressed an interest in the status of Gaeltacht School to date.

106 primary schools in the Gaeltacht have expressed an interest in joining the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme to date.

Schools in Gaeltacht language-planning areas that have not opted to join the Gaeltacht School Recognition Scheme to date will be given the opportunity to join the Scheme in 2019.

School Accommodation

Questions (83)

Noel Grealish

Question:

83. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a decision has been made on whether a school (details supplied) is to move to the premises previously occupied by another school; when a decision is likely to be made on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25872/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to confirm that the school to which the Deputy refers is due to move from its temporary location into a Department owned permanent school building from September 2018.

Some minor works are required in respect of the permanent building to facilitate the move and these works will be undertaken during the summer months.