Brexit Issues

Questions (165)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

165. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance if the change made in the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2019, which increased to €175 the threshold required to avail of duty free shopping, will only come into force when the section is commenced; his plans in this regard; the reason the change was made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16696/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The Deputy appears to be referring to the VAT Retail Export Scheme in his question whilst conflating same with Duty Free Sales, post Brexit.

The UK’s status as a third country, post Brexit, has the consequence of Duty Free sales and the VAT Retail Export Scheme applying on passenger traffic between the UK and EU. It was hoped that such matters would form part of future relationship discussions, however in light of the Government decision to intensify its preparations for a ‘no deal’ exit, immediate action was considered necessary on the possible emergence of Duty Free sales and VAT Retail Export Scheme, in the context of a disorderly exit. The policy was driven by the potential impact on Exchequer receipts following the introduction of the schemes, the protection of health and welfare policies and the exposure for significant fraudulent abuse of the VAT Retail Export Scheme, considering the Common Travel Area and associated significant volumes of traffic between the two islands.

As the Deputy is aware, the Government introduced two committee stage amendments to the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019. One related to Duty Free sales and the second amendment related to the application of the VAT Retail Export Scheme both in a post Brexit, ‘no deal’ scenario.

As outlined in my address to the Dáil on the proposed amendments, I indicated that the introduction of the measures will be dependent on the UK’s application of the VAT Retail Export and Duty Free Schemes. That is, if the UK apply Duty Free and VAT Retail Export Schemes to UK- Ireland passenger traffic, then Ireland will similarly apply the schemes without restriction, and in that instance will not commence the sections in the Act.

In the event that the UK restrict the application of the schemes on passenger traffic between the UK and Ireland then Ireland will reciprocate that approach by commencing the sections 58 and 67 in the Act.

The UK have not yet publically announced their intentions for the schemes in a ‘no deal’ Brexit context.

Trade Data

Questions (166)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

166. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the number of goods import transactions and goods export transactions, respectively, in 2018 in Irish-UK trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16744/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

A breakdown of individual goods export and import transactions to and from the UK for 2018 is not available from the CSO.

However the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) statistical releases on external trade show that, in 2018, Ireland exported €16.1 billion worth of goods to the UK, and imported €19.8 billion worth of goods from the UK. This represents 11% of total goods exports and 22% of total goods imports.

The UK is one of Ireland’s most important trading partners. Maintaining the closest possible trading relationship between the EU and the UK is therefore one of the Government’s key Brexit priorities.

The Government will continue to work to improve the business environment – to make it more competitive, to assist exporters to diversify markets, and to provide better infrastructure.

Longer-term, we need to mitigate against the potential of regulatory divergence between the UK and EU standards given its potential impact on trade and investment and the competitiveness of our businesses. We will therefore be working to minimise this impact and to ensure a level playing field.

Trade Data

Questions (167)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

167. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Finance the number of goods import transactions for companies, individuals and firms in 2018 in Irish-UK trade; the number of goods export transactions for companies, individuals and firms for the same year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16745/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

A breakdown of goods export and imports transactions to and from the UK by company, individual and firm level is not available from the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

However, the CSO has produced a detailed insight into Ireland’s trade with the UK in terms of enterprise size, in their publication titled ‘Irish Traders and the UK 2016’ released on the 3rd of October 2018. This is a new publication by the CSO which analyses goods exports and imports with the UK in terms of the activity and size of the enterprises trading. It describes who is trading with the UK rather than what is being traded. The Trade by Enterprise Characteristics data (TEC data) published in the document cover enterprises with annual imports or exports of more than €5,000. Enterprise size is determined by the number of employees. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) include micro (less than 10 employees), small (10 to 49) and medium enterprises (50 to 249). Large enterprises have 250 employees or more.

The most recent publication shows that approximately 60 per cent of the total value of goods exports to the UK in 2016 with a value of €8.3 billion was from SMEs. The remaining 40 per cent was from large enterprises who exported €6.2 billion of goods to the UK.

For goods imports from the UK, SMEs accounted for almost two thirds, with a value of €13.1 billion. Of this amount, €4.9 billion, a quarter of all UK imports, was imported by micro enterprises. Large enterprises imported €6.5 billion, or one-third of all imports from the UK.

For more information please see the table below from the CSO’s publication.

Table 1. Exports by size of enterprise 2016

Enterprise size

€million

% of value

Number of enterprises exporting to the UK

% of total number of enterprises

Micro

2,595

17

3,913

58

Small

1,853

12

1,807

27

Medium

3,831

26

590

9

SMEs

8,280

56

6,310

93

Large

6,219

42

176

3

Unknown

352

2

294

4

Total

14,851

100

6,780

100

Micro (0-9 employees), Small (10-49 employees), Medium (50-249 employees), Large (over 250 employees).

Source: CSO (2018) ‘Irish Traders and the UK 2016’; Table 5.

Table 2. Imports by size of enterprise 2016

Enterprise size

€million

% of value

Number of enterprises importing from UK

% of total number of enterprises

Micro

4,902

24

17,683

67

Small

3,808

19

5,463

21

Medium

4,342

21

1,344

5

SMEs

13,053

64

24,490

93

Large

6,502

32

426

2

Unknown

961

5

1,401

5

Total

20,515

100

26,317

100

*Micro (0-9 employees), Small (10-49 employees), Medium (50-249 employees), Large (over 250 employees).

Source: CSO (2018) ‘Irish Traders and the UK 2016’; Table 6.

I have been informed that the CSO intends to publish an update of this study, which will include 2017 data, in the coming months.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (168)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

168. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when he plans to implement the Labour Court recommendation in respect of the pension entitlements of community employment supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16067/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

This issue relates to a claim by community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.

The matter was the subject of discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum which was reconvened to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector and in particular to ensure that the matter was fully examined having regard to costs and precedent.

A detailed scoping exercise was carried out by my Department in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications of the issues under consideration.

The scoping exercise clearly illustrated that this matter presents very significant issues for the Exchequer, with a potential cost to the State of between €188 million per annum and €347m depending on the size of the sector which is difficult to ascertain, in respect of funding to enable an employer pension contribution among all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations. This excludes any provision for immediate ex-gratia lump sum payment of pension as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, entail a further Exchequer cost of up to €318 million.

It continues to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not for the State to provide funding for such pension scheme provision. The employees in question are, or were, employees of private companies notwithstanding the fact that the companies concerned are, or were, in receipt of State funding.

Shared Services

Questions (169)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

169. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of the financial shared services project being delivered under the National Shared Services Office; if the project is being fully resourced in both financial and human terms; and if the project will be delivered on time. [16588/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I am informed by the National Shared Services Office that a design review of the new financial management technology platform was completed recently. This has highlighted a number of process and technical opportunities for improvement of the single finance platform for Government to ensure a quality shared services solution. The programme team are now assessing these opportunities to see what changes may be needed, which is not unusual in a programme of this scale and complexity that will replace 31 existing different systems with one new finance system for Government.

The service was originally due to commence in September 2018. I am informed by the National Shared Services Office that a revised roll-out date will be determined once the programme team’s assessment is complete, most likely by July of this year. A revised timeline for implementation across all clients will then be worked through in consultation with each Public Service Body.

I am informed by the NSSO that the programme has the necessary financial and human resources required for this year.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (170)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

170. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of economic operators that have been disqualified from public tenders on the basis of the abnormally low tender provisions as per under Article 69 of 2014/24/EU; and the number of economic operators that have made a claim against the State after being disqualified from public tenders on the basis of the abnormally low tender provisions under the article. [16084/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

I wish to advise the Deputy that from 2014 to date, no public tender competitions ran by my Department have disqualified economic operators on the grounds outlined in the question. As such, no claims against the State have been brought on these grounds as a result of any public tender competitions ran by my Department.

The information above sets out the position in respect of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. If the Deputy wishes to obtain this information in respect of other Government Departments, separate questions should be submitted to the relevant Ministers.

Public Sector Staff Retirements

Questions (171)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

171. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the provisions contained in the Public Service Retirement Age – Report to Oireachtas 2019 in respect of public servants forced to retire between 6 December 2017 and the commencement of the Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018; the reason for not making changes to the arrangements of those working under the interim arrangements who will be forced to retire when they reach 66 years of age; his views on whether those affected are not being treated on an equal basis to their colleagues that can stay working until 70 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16134/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

On 5 December 2017, the Government made the decision to increase the compulsory retirement age to 70, for public servants recruited prior to 1 April 2004. Primary legislation was necessary in order to bring that change into effect. It was made clear at the time that until such legislation was enacted, the compulsory retirement age of 65, which applied to the vast majority of this cohort, remained in effect and pre-2004 public servants reaching that age would be required to retire.

Interim arrangements were provided for the cohort of public servants who reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 after the Government Decision because, while they would be aware of the Government’s decision, they would be unable to avail of it. Those arrangements, clearly conveyed to all concerned, permitted these individuals to be rehired post-retirement for a period of 1 year until they reached the age of eligibility for the State Pension (Contributory). Without that specific arrangement, they would have been required to cease working on reaching the age of 65.

The Public Service Superannuation (Age of Retirement) Act 2018 was enacted on 26 December 2018. Under the Act, any relevant public servant who had not already reached their compulsory retirement age of 65 before that date has a new compulsory retirement age of 70. Enactment of the legislation had no effect on those public servants who retired at 65 prior to the 26 December 2018 and who availed of a one year contract under the interim arrangements. The terms of their contracts continue to apply and they will cease working when they reach the age of 66.

Section 3 of the 2018 Act also provides that I, as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, within three months of the passing of the Act, would prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the public servants who were forced to retire between 6 December 2017 and the commencement of the Act, due to reaching the age of 65 years, and on potential remedies to assist this cohort of worker. This Report was laid before the Oireachtas on 26 March 2019 and is publicly available on the Oireachtas and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform websites.

Having considered all of the issues in the Report, I am satisfied that the interim arrangements were an appropriate temporary policy response at the time of the Government Decision pending enactment of the legislation. The terms of those arrangements were clear, unambiguous and made known to those who availed of them. Accordingly, for all the reasons set out in the report, I do not propose to make any changes to those terms.

Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (172)

Micheál Martin

Question:

172. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of progress being made for flood prevention in Cork city; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16155/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is currently progressing two flood relief schemes in Cork City as follows:

- The Blackpool (River Bride) Flood Relief Scheme

- The Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme.

Following consultation with the public and various stakeholders in the Blackpool area and the subsequent finalisation of the detailed design, the Confirmation Drawings & Public Exhibition Report, together with all environmental documentation for the Blackpool (River Bride) Flood Relief Scheme has been submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Acts 1945 and 1995.

The Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme is currently at detailed design stage. The design team, in conjunction with Cork City and County Councils, is finalising the design of the scheme taking into account, as appropriate, observations received from the public and various stakeholders during Exhibition Stage. Once the detailed design is finalised, the scheme will be submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure & Reform for Ministerial Confirmation under the Arterial Drainage Acts.

Cork City Council is progressing a Public Realm Project for Morrison’s Island which incorporates flood relief elements which will be funded by the OPW. The Council has submitted the project to An Bord Pleanála for approval.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Questions (173)

Micheál Martin

Question:

173. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of Glashaboy flood relief scheme; when the formal confirmation as required under the Arterial Drainage Act 1945 to enable public procurement will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16205/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works through the Arterial Drainage Acts has submitted the proposal for the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for formal Confirmation. The Minister will, over the coming months, undertake an environmental assessment of the proposed scheme. This assessment will be in line with required legislative requirements and will involve a public consultation. The OPW will progress the appointment of a Contractor for this scheme following formal Ministerial Confirmation.

The scheme is being funded from within the allocated €1 billion for flood risk management over the period 2018 – 2027. Provision for the cost of the Scheme is included in the Office of Public Works' multi annual capital allocation.

Home Loan Scheme

Questions (174)

Catherine Martin

Question:

174. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the additional funding required for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme will be decided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16230/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan launched on 1 February 2018. Prior to its launch, an initial tranche of €200 million of long-term fixed-rate finance was borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency to provide funds for the scheme to local authorities.

When the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan was initially being developed it was estimated that the drawdown of loans under the scheme would be approximately €200 million over three years. From the data collated on the scheme to date, it is clear that there has been a greater demand for the RIHL than initially anticipated, as a result of which, the scheme would require a further tranche of funds to be borrowed by the HFA if it is to continue. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government has requested sanction for additional funding of €200m annually for 2019 to 2021 (bringing the scheme to €800m in total).

I understand the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government are presently carrying out an internal review of the scheme. Further details on the review can be obtained from my colleague, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. In conjunction with this review, the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform are in ongoing discussions with both the Central Bank of Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government with regard to the impact of the scheme. Upon conclusion of the review and subsequent discussions the Minister for Housing will be in a position to make a statement on the scheme.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Questions (175)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

175. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount the OPW spent on refurbishment to both Coolock and Raheny Garda stations in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16236/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works did not carry out any major refurbishment works to Coolock or Raheny Garda Stations during the years in question. OPW did carry out maintenance, mechanical and electrical works at these Stations as well as some minor elective works funded by An Garda Síochána. The value of these works are included in the table below.

Refurbishment of Garda Stations

Coolock Garda Station

2017

2018

2019 to date

Office Of Public Works Funded Works

€19,848

€32,088

€,5073

Garda Funded Works

Nil

€2,527

Nil

Total

€19,848

€34,614

€5,073

Raheny Garda Station

Office Of Public Works Funded Works

€36,390

€33,053

€23,345

Garda Funded Works

€18,945

Nil

€6,632

Total

€55,335

€33,053

€30,980

Legislative Measures

Questions (176)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

176. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to update the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act 1993; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16247/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Article 33 of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Comptroller and Auditor General to control on behalf of the State all disbursements and to audit all accounts of moneys administered by or under the authority of the Oireachtas.

The constitution also provides that the Comptroller and Auditor General shall be appointed by the President on the nomination of Dáil Éireann and that he shall report to Dáil Éireann at stated periods as determined by law.

The main statutory functions of the Comptroller and Auditor General are as Comptroller General of the Exchequer, to ensure that no money is issued from the Central Fund except for purposes approved by the Oireachtas; and as Auditor General, to audit Government accounts for accuracy and regularity, and to carry out such examinations as he or she considers appropriate in regard to economy and efficiency on the use of resources and the effectiveness of certain management systems

The core duties of the C&AG, in conducting an audit of central Government financial statements is to ensure the financial statements properly present the transactions and balances, and that transactions have been “regular”. The latter essentially means establishing that the State’s money was properly used or handled in accordance with lawful authority.

The Comptroller and Auditor General's role is to provide independent assurance that public funds and resources are used in accordance with the law, managed to good effect and properly accounted for to contribute to improvement in public administration.

I have no plans at present to update the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act, 1993. However, as set out above I will keep this matter under review and should the need arise to amend the existing legislation I will bring forward proposals to do so. As one immediate example, the OECD are currently finalising a report on reforms to financial reporting in Ireland which may have relevance in this area. I expect to receive that report shortly.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (177)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

177. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the amount he expects to spend on making Ireland Brexit ready for each of the next ten years; the estimated financial implications of Brexit for the next ten years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16394/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Since the referendum result in 2016, a number of steps have been taken to build up the resilience of the economy so that we have the capacity to deal with adverse economic shocks. These include building up our fiscal buffers by balancing our books, reducing our debt burden and establishing the Rainy Day Fund. The steady increases in public spending implemented in recent years with a particular focus on public capital investment, up c. €1.4 billion in 2019, play an important role in supporting resilience in the face of Brexit.

The Government has implemented a number of Brexit related supports over the past three Budgets and also laid the foundation for further supports, pending the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Budget 2019 is based on the 'central scenario' that the UK will make an orderly agreed exit from the EU. At that time Budget 2019 also included an estimated impact of a hard exit. The Department of Finance and ESRI recently published an updated model-based assessment of the economic and budgetary impacts. In aggregate terms, after ten years the impact of a disorderly Brexit is to reduce the level of GDP by around 5 percentage points relative to a scenario in which there was no Brexit, with the headline fiscal balance being worse by around one percentage point of GDP.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (178)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

178. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the contract award price for all public contracts awarded to companies (details supplied) over €10 million including road, sanitary, housing or works; the type of procurement contract; the full value of all claims submitted by the companies prior to negotiation or evaluation; the full value of all claims as settled and paid to the companies in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16459/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The details sought by the Deputy are not available centrally. The management of individual contracts is a matter for the relevant contracting authorities and my Department does not have a central coordination role in relation to contracts entered into by all state authorities.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Questions (179)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

179. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans in place for the refurbishment and-or extension of Coolock Garda station; if a request has been made for upgrading, extension or refurbishment of the station; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16541/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Garda Capital Investment Programme 2016-2021 which was announced by the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works on 21 October 2015 does not include the upgrade, extension or refurbishment of the Garda Station at Coolock.

There are currently no plans to extend Coolock Garda Station however the Office of Public Works intend to refurbish both the male and female showers rooms at the Garda Station in the coming months.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (180)

John Lahart

Question:

180. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the case of schools (details supplied) that choose to withdraw their services during some of the summer months, resulting in severe disruption for parents and family of the children attending these schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16342/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Each year eligible schools, including the school to which the Deputy has referred, are invited to participate in the July Programme.

Participation in the Scheme by a school is voluntary and subject to the availability of suitably qualified personnel in July. It is therefore a matter for the Board of Management of the school, having regard to the resources available to it and taking into account the health and safety of the children, whether or not it will participate in the programme in any given year.

Where eligible students cannot access a school-based programme, 40 hours (i.e. (10 hours for each of the four weeks) home-based tuition will be provided as an alternative to the school based scheme. Parents may come together as a group and make an application to the Department under this strand of the scheme. Full Details are available on my Departments website at

https://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/July-Provision/Home-Based.html

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (181, 226)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

181. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the lengthy delays that students in Cork are experiencing in accessing mental health services within their campus, which are reported to be three times longer than in other colleges nationally; and when these counselling services will be improved on campus in view of the budgetary commitment (details supplied). [16556/19]

View answer

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

226. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the lengthy delays that students in Cork are experiencing in accessing mental health services within their campus, which are reported to be three times longer than in other colleges nationally; and when these counselling services will be improved on campus in view of the budgetary commitment (details supplied). [16555/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 181 and 226 together.

Student services and associated activities are an integral part of the whole student experience at third level. Student services support each individual student achieve his/her intellectual, cultural and social potential while supporting and complementing the formal academic programme. Student services can fall under a number of headings, particularly ‘Welfare and Guidance’ which includes counselling services, health promotion, careers service, multi-faith, racial and ethnic cultural support.

My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to HEA designated higher education institutions. The HEA allocates this funding as a block grant to the institutions. As autonomous bodies, the internal disbursement of this funding, including the funding of student services, is a matter for the individual institution.

Budget 2019 announced plans for an enhancement of counselling services in higher education institutions. The strategic dialogue process and the performance compacts between the HEA and HEIs will be used to assess existing provision and delivery in this area, and in order to determine the most appropriate means of strengthening counselling services in the course of 2019.

I understand from the HEA, who have made enquiries to Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), that CIT are acutely aware of the growing demand for counselling services. It is a trend that is experienced by all counselling services in Higher Education and is reflected by a growth nationally in people seeking support for mental health services.

The number of students using CIT’s Student Counselling Service has constantly risen over the past ten years, however, the overall spend in counselling services within CIT has also increased. Since 2008/09 spend has increased by 64%, when it stood at over €210,000, to nearly €350,000 for the past academic year, 2017/18.

CIT currently has 7 part-time counsellors providing services such as individual counselling, class presentations, liaising with external services etc. In addition CIT recently advertised for a Head of Student Counselling to further strengthen this provision. One of the first duties of the new Head of Counselling will be to liaise with the various professional services in Cork and nationally who will assist with the growing demand for supports.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (182)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

182. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for a school (details supplied); the timeframe for the delivery of the project; when he plans to sanction approval for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16031/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b (Detailed Design). The Stage 2(b) submission has been reviewed by my Department and comments have issued to the school and its Design Team.

The Design Team is currently working on a submission to my Department outlining the steps required to achieve compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations 2017 (NZEB "Near Zero Energy Building"). This is a new requirement arising from the introduction of Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Energy) of the Building Regulations to ensure compliance with the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).

It is anticipated that this project will shortly be authorised to commence the pre-qualification process to create a shortlist of contractors to which the project will be tendered.