Industrial Development

Questions (1402)

Robert Troy

Question:

1402. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if assistance will be provided to an organisation (details supplied) in implementing a national strategy to support the industry and ensure sustainable development. [18562/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The implementation of a national strategy to support the industry referred to in the Deputy's question - the Hairdressing industry - is not within the remit of my Department.

I understand that a national hairdressing apprenticeship scheme is currently being developed. This is the responsibility of SOLAS and my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills.

Furthermore, the deputy may wish to be aware that representatives of the hairdressing industry recently met with my colleague the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation to discuss the above-mentioned scheme and supports for the industry in general.

Carer's Benefit Eligibility

Questions (1403)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

1403. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a review of the decision not to grant them carer's benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18588/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carers Benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

It is a condition for receipt of CARB that the applicant must have been working at least 16 hours per week, or 32 weeks per fortnight in 8 weeks out of the 26 weeks before the claim is due to commence.

As the person concerned was only working 15 hours per week, she does not satisfy this condition and her application was disallowed.

The person concerned was notified on 13 February 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of their right of review and appeal.

According to the records of the Department, she has not exercised either right.

However on foot of this parliamentary question the file has been sent for review.  If the person concerned has further evidence to support her request for a review, it should be submitted now.

Once the review is completed, the person will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1404)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

1404. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a review of the rate of carer's allowance for 2018 by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18601/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

The person concerned has been in receipt of a reduced rate of CA since 27 February 2014 due to her spouse’s earnings.

On 4 March 2019 the person concerned requested a re-assessment of her CA entitlement due to a reduction in her spouse’s earnings for 2018.

The outcome of the re-assessment is that the person concerned has been awarded a higher rate of CA with effect from 3 January 2019 and her first payment at the higher rate will issue from 25 April 2019. Arrears for the period 3 January 2019 to 24 April 2019 have issued.

The person concerned was notified on 18 April 2019 of this outcome and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Schemes Expenditure

Questions (1405)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

1405. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 533 of 15 May 2018, the estimated cost of a €1 increase in schemes (details supplied) in tabular form. [18647/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information that the Deputy is looking for is detailed in the following series of tables. The costs shown below are on a full year basis, and it should be noted that they are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2020. Totals may differ slightly to sum of individual amounts due to rounding.

Table 1: Indicative Cost of Each €1 Increase in Personal and IQA Rates

Payment

Personal

€m

Qualified Adult

€m

Total

€m

Social Insurance Schemes

State Pension (Contributory)

20.06

2.66

22.72

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con)

Pension – Under 66 years

1.55

n/a

1.55

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension – Over 66 years

4.98

n/a

4.98

Deserted Wife's Benefit – Under 66 years

0.15

n/a

0.15

Deserted Wife's Benefit – Over 66 years

0.34

n/a

0.34

Invalidity Pension – Under 66 years

3.00

0.22

3.22

Invalidity Pension – Over 66 years

n/a

0.02

0.02

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

0.06

n/a

0.06

Death Benefit Pension

0.04

n/a

0.04

Disablement Pension

0.26

n/a

0.26

Illness Benefit

2.63

0.13

2.76

Injury Benefit

0.08

n/a

0.08

Incapacity Supplement

0.04

0.01

0.05

Jobseeker's Benefit

1.61

0.09

1.70

Carer's Benefit

0.14

n/a

0.14

Health and Safety Benefit

0.00

0.00

0.00

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit

1.03

n/a

1.03

Paternity Benefit

0.04

n/a

0.04

Social Assistance Schemes

State Pension (Non Con)

4.93

0.11

5.03

Blind Person's Pension

0.06

0.01

0.07

Widow/ers or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension

0.07

n/a

0.07

Deserted Wife's Allowance

0.00

0.00

0.00

One-Parent Family Payment

2.04

n/a

2.04

Carer's Allowance – Under 66 Years

2.22

n/a

2.22

Carer's Allowance – Over 66 Years

0.10

n/a

0.10

Half Rate Carer's Allowance – Under 66 years

0.59

n/a

0.59

Half Rate Carer's Allowance – Over 66 years

0.34

n/a

0.34

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

0.03

n/a

0.03

Jobseeker's Allowance

6.71

1.12

7.83

JA under 25 on €112.70 rate

0.59

0.00

0.59

JA under 26 on €157.80 rate

0.09

0.00

0.09

Pre-Retirement Allowance

n/a

n/a

n/a

Disability Allowance

7.39

0.56

7.94

Farm Assist

0.34

0.10

0.44

Employment Support Schemes (BTWA and BTEA)

0.58

0.09

0.68

Employment/Internship Schemes (CE, Tús, RSS etc.)

1.64

0.26

1.91

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

0.79

0.09

0.88

OVERALL TOTAL

64.62

5.48

70.17

Table 2: Cost of €1 increase as per Programme Area

Programme Area

Cost (€m)

Pensioners – Aged 66 and over

State Pension (Contributory), Invalidity Pension (Aged 65), Widow/er's or

Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pension, Deserted Wife's Benefit, State

Pension (Non-Con), Carer's Allowance, Half Rate Carer's Allowance

33.59

People with Disabilities

Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Incapacity

Supplement, Disablement Pension

11.55

Carers

Carer's Allowance, Half Rate Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit

2.96

Employment Supports

Back To Work Allowance, Back To Education Allowance, Community

Employment Programme, TÚS, Rural Social Scheme, Jobs Initiative

2.59

All Other Rates

Widow/er's Pension or Surviving Civil Partner's (Contributory), Deserted

Wife's Benefit, Death Benefit Pension, Jobseeker's Benefit, Illness Benefit,

Health & Safety Benefit, Injury Benefit, Guardian's Payment (Contributory),

Jobseeker's Allowance, Pre-Retirement Allowance, Widow/er's or Surviving

Civil Partner's Pension (Non-Con), Deserted Wife's Allowance, Farm Assist,

One Parent Family Payment, SWA, Guardian's Payment (Non-Con), Part Time

Job Incentive, Maternity/Adoptive/Paternity Benefit

19.23

Overall Total - including Pensioners

70.17

Scheme

Cost (€m)

€1 increase in the monthly rate of Child Benefit

14.66

€1 increase in the rate of Fuel Allowance

10.47

Increase the duration of the Fuel Allowance by one week

8.41

€1 increase in the rate of the Increase for a Qualified Child

16.46

€1 change in the rate of Living Alone Allowance

- for everyone)

- Pensioners only

- Other schemes (Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance, Blind Pension and

Widow's/Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-Contributory Pension

10.90

8.78

2.12

Carer's Benefit Data

Questions (1406)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1406. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of extending the number of weeks carer's benefit is paid from 104 weeks to 156 weeks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18651/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's Benefit is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for someone in need of full-time care and attention. A person may be eligible for Carer's Benefit if they have enough PRSI contributions. This and other care-related supports, such as the Carer’s Allowance payment and the Carer’s Support Grant, provide recognition and support for the valuable role of carers.

Carer’s Benefit is payable for a maximum period of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. It can be taken in one block or in separate periods as long as the combined total does not exceed 104 weeks. The current weekly rate is €220.00. Where a person is caring for two or more care recipients, the rate of payment is increased by 50%.

At the end of March 2019, there were 2,815 carers in receipt of Carer’s Benefit. An Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) was being made in respect of 817 children, 367 of whom are aged 12 years or more. Expenditure on Carer’s Benefit in 2018 was €35.93m.

It is not possible to estimate the cost of extending the number of weeks Carer’s Benefit is paid from 104 to 156 weeks due to the unpredictability of the variables underlying this payment. This is primarily due to not being able to forecast the extent of the possible duration of payment for existing recipients and also because of the potential for an increase in the number of claims if the payment is available for an extended period. Some recipients have recently started receiving payment, others are reaching the end of the max payment period and others are only in receipt of the payment for a short period of time e.g. in the case of a terminal illness.

It should be noted that not all those claiming Carer’s Benefit opt to remain in payment for the full 104 weeks. My Department examined this matter in 2017 and found that the average duration on Carer’s Benefit was 74.2 weeks between 2010 and 2016. Therefore, the current 104 week payment duration represents a reasonable length of time to support a carer’s temporary absence from work. Where care is provided beyond the period of entitlement to Carer’s Benefit, the means tested Carer’s Allowance is available for those who are in need of income support. These arrangements ensure an efficient use of public funds while assisting those who are in most need of an income support.

Furthermore the right to carer's leave from employment complements the Carer's Benefit Scheme. The Carer's Leave Act 2001 allows employees to leave their employment temporarily to provide full-time care for someone in need of full-time care and attention. A person is entitled to take carer’s leave of at least 13 weeks up to a maximum of 104 weeks. Carer's leave from employment is unpaid but the Carer’s Leave Act ensures that people who want to take carer's leave will have their jobs kept open for them while they are on carer's leave.

Water Services Data

Questions (1407)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

1407. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when she signed into law section 11 of the Water Services Act 2014; the data collected prior to the signing of this legislation into law; the reason this data was collected; the length of time personal data was collected by her Department; the reason it took her four years to sign section 11 of the Act into law; if Irish Water still has this information; and if not, if it has been expunged. [18689/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

In July 2013, Irish Water was incorporated as a semi-state company under the Water Services Act 2013. The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014 included a provision which added Irish Water to the list of specified bodies to allow it to use PPS Numbers for the purposes of carrying out transactions with members of the public.

The intention was that the PPS Number would serve as a unique identifier in the case of individual customers and this would assist the company in determining whether that person was eligible for an allowance in respect of their water charge.

However, the subsequent introduction of the water conservation grant, announced in November 2014 and administered by my Department, meant that Irish Water no longer required the PPS Numbers of customers.

Instead, as part of the application for the water conservation grant, applicants provided certain information, including their PPS Number and payment method details, to my Department. This information was collected by my Department from August 2015 to November 2015. It is important to point out that at no stage was any data that was collected by my Department transferred to Irish Water.

The provisions contained in section 11 of the Water Services Act 2014 to remove the company from the list of specified bodies required a Commencement Order to be made by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

In order to comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts, Irish Water was required to delete PPS Number data collected during their customer registration process. A protocol was developed in consultation with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner to address this data deletion exercise.

The section 11 Commencement Order could not be signed until that process was complete and Irish Water had formally confirmed that all PPS Numbers had been erased from their systems.

On 21st December 2017, the order to commence section 11 of the Water Services Act 2014 with effect from 01 January 2018, was signed.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Farm Assist Scheme

Questions (1408)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1408. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in counties Laois and Offaly in receipt of the farm assist payment in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement.

The number of persons in receipt of farm assist in Laois and Offaly in each of the years 2014 to date 2019

Year

Laois

Offaly

2019 to date

65

59

2018

71

60

2017

85

72

2016

94

76

2015

104

89

2014

116

97

Child Benefit Eligibility

Questions (1409)

Shane Cassells

Question:

1409. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason child benefit is not paid for those over 18 years of age that remain in second-level education; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18758/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a disability. Child Benefit is currently paid to almost 623,000 families in respect of nearly 1.2 million children, with an estimated expenditure of more than €2 billion in 2018.

Given the universality of Child Benefit, extending entitlement to parents of full time students in second level education who are over 18 years of age would not be a targeted approach. The adoption of such a proposal would have significant cost implications and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.

Families on low incomes can avail of a number of social welfare schemes that support children in full-time education until the age of 22, including:

- Increase for a Qualified Child (IQCs) with primary social welfare payments;

- the Working Family Payment (formerly Family Income Supplement) for low-paid employees with children;

- the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance for low income families (paid at the full-time second-level education rate).

These schemes provide targeted assistance that is directly linked to household income and thereby support low-income families with older children participating in full-time education.

Guardian's Payment Applications

Questions (1410)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1410. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a guardianship payment for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18806/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The entitlement to guardian's payment contributory for the person concerned has been reviewed. The deciding officer has decided that payments be  reinstated with effect from 1 February 2019. Weekly payment for the person concerned will be lodged to his nominated account in a financial institution, together with due  arrears.  The person concerned has been notified of this decision on 29 April 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Eligibility

Questions (1411)

Michael McGrath

Question:

1411. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons on illness benefit for a number of years prior to the two year limit being introduced go on partial capacity benefit but find they are unable to work and need to return to illness benefit, are put back on illness benefit on the same terms, that is, without the statutory two year limit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18810/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Prior to 5 January 2009, a person who had paid a total of 260 or more social insurance contributions at the appropriate class, since entering employment, was entitled to receive payment of Illness Benefit for as long as that person is incapable of work and provides medical certification to that effect.

If such a person is approved for Partial Capacity Benefit and subsequently wishes to return to Illness Benefit, the same rules apply, meaning the person can continue to receive Illness Benefit for as long as they are medically incapable of work up to the age of 66.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Questions (1412)

Robert Troy

Question:

1412. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a domiciliary care allowance will be awarded to a person (details supplied). [18822/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from this lady on the 9th April 2019 in respect of her two children. Applications received at the end of February 2019 are currently being finalised.  The applications will be considered by a deciding officer in due course and the decision notified as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the  Deputy.

Social Welfare Payments Administration

Questions (1413)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1413. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a weekly payment will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18831/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

According to Departmental records, the person concerned has not recently submitted an application for a social welfare payment.  It is open to her to submit an application if she feels she meets the qualifying criteria for the relevant payment.  Details of social welfare schemes and social assistance payments are available on the Department's website at www.welfare.ie.  Alternatively, the person concerned may contact her local Intreo Centre where a member of staff will be in a position to assist her in determining her current entitlements. Contact details for the Intreo Centre are as follows:

Address: Moorefield Road, Newbridge, Co Kildare W12 T257

Phone Number: (045) 491500

Opening hours: Mon, Tues & Thurs: 9:15-17:00, Wed: 9:15-15:00, Fri: 9:15-16:30

Payment of a supplementary welfare allowance may be made where the primary social welfare payment/appeal is pending a decision.

It is also open to the person concerned to contact the Lo-call number: 1890 500 000 with any enquiries relating to her outstanding debt.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Poverty Data

Questions (1414)

Carol Nolan

Question:

1414. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an assessment has been conducted on the level of child poverty or children at risk of poverty in counties Laois and Offaly; if statistics are available with respect to same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18868/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The annual Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) is conducted by the Central Statistics Office and is the official source of data on household and equivalised disposable income in Ireland. It provides a number of key national poverty indicators, including the ‘at risk of poverty’ rate, the ‘consistent poverty rate’ and ‘rates of enforced deprivation’. Poverty data within SILC is available under a range of different headings including by age, principal economic status, household composition, urban/rural location and region, amongst others. However poverty data is not provided at county level.

The latest data from the 2017 Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) show the consistent poverty rate for children in 2017 was 8.8%. This is a reduction of over 2% from the 2016 rate of 10.9% and the second highest reduction since the collection of SILC data began in 2004. The 2017 at-risk-of-poverty rate for children was 18.4%, a slight reduction on the 2016 figure of 19.1% while the deprivation rate was 23.0%, down from 25.0% in 2016.

In 2014, as part of the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (Better Outcomes Brighter Futures) the Government set an ambitious and challenging child poverty target: to lift 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020, a reduction of at least two thirds on the 2011 level. The number of children in consistent poverty rose significantly from the 2011 baseline figure of 107,000 to a high of 152,000 in 2014. The 2017 SILC data indicate that there were 105,000 children in consistent poverty in 2017, a decrease of 25,000 children on 2016. This means that a revised figure of 68,000 children have to be lifted out of consistent poverty to meet the target by 2020.

It should be noted that the most recently available poverty data is based on income and living conditions data from 2017. The full benefit of the growing economy and the increases introduced in Budgets 2018 and 2019 have yet to be seen. Budget 2019, in line with budgets over the past 3 years, included measures specifically aimed at supporting families on low incomes through increases in qualified child rates (including the introduction of a higher rate for children over 12 years of age), increases in earnings disregards for One Parent Family and Jobseeker Transition payments, the introduction of a maintenance payment disregard for the Working Family Payment, an increase in the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and the introduction of a hot meals pilot in the School Meals programme.

These increased supports along with increasing employment rates suggest that we can expect further decreases in the poverty rates once the 2018 figures become available.

Pensions Legislation

Questions (1415)

Clare Daly

Question:

1415. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the fact that the European Commission has now launched infringement proceedings against Ireland for failure to transpose the IORP II Directive; and the reason the transposition of same has been delayed to the point that Ireland now faces infringement proceedings. [18877/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The transposition of the IORP II Directive will result in significant improvements to the regulation and governance of funded occupational pension schemes in Ireland. This Department, supported by the Pensions Authority, is managing the transposition process of the IORP II Directive. The drafting of regulations is at an advanced stage and my Department is working towards transposing the Directive as early as possible.

As the Deputy may be aware, an application has been granted for a judicial review for a set of reliefs and a stay in relation to the transposition into Irish law of the IORP II Directive. As such, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on cases before the Courts.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (1416)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1416. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18882/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned is currently being considered by an Appeals Officer, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Questions (1417)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

1417. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for the working family payment by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18884/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children. In order to qualify for WFP an applicant or the applicant and their spouse, partner or cohabitant must be engaged in full-time remunerative employment as an employee for not less than 38 hours per fortnight.

An application for WFP was received from the person concerned on 01 November 2018.

Their application was disallowed on 20 November 2018 as they did not satisfy the above employment condition at the time of application.

The person concerned requested a review of the decision of 20 November 2018. Following a review of their application based on new information provided by the applicant, it has been established  that they now satisfy the above condition and have been awarded WFP with effect from 06 September 2018 to  04 September 2019.

WFP is not payable while an applicant is in receipt of Illness Benefit (IB) and the person concerned has a current IB claim.

The Department wrote to the person concerned on 2 May 2019 advising them to close their IB claim and once this has been completed, the revised decision will be implemented without delay and the person concerned will be notified in writing.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Questions (1418)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1418. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a working family payment will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18903/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work family payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children.

An application for WFP was received from the spouse of the person concerned on 15 April 2019.

Their spouse has been awarded WFP with effect from 11 April 2019 to 08 April 2020.

The first weekly payment issued to their nominated bank account on 29 April 2019 and any arrears owing will issue in due course.

The person concerned spouse was notified of this decision on 25 April 2019 and of their right of review and appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Gender Recognition

Questions (1419)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1419. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which and the location the most recent public consultation conducted as part of the review of the operation of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 was advertised or notified to the general public; the reason the public consultation only lasted little over four weeks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18926/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The review of the Gender Recognition Act 2015 targeted the widest possible level of public consultation within the timeframe set out in the terms of reference for the Review Group, which envisaged completion of the review by end May 2018.

The written consultation process was formally announced on 10 January 2018, with a closing date for receipt of submissions of 5 February 2018. In addition to this, advance notice of the consultation process was made in a press release concerning “Supporting Transgender Inclusion in the Workplace” guidelines, which I launched on 15 December 2017.

Reflecting the terms of reference, contributors were invited to make submissions under the following headings:

a. Arrangements for children aged 16 to 17 years;

b. Arrangements for children aged under 16 years;

c. Arrangements for persons who identify as neither male nor female (e.g. non-binary);

d. Arrangements for intersex people;

e. Any other relevant issues, including issues relating to the operation of the current legislative provisions.

The call for submissions was publicised on the gender recognition web page of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, on social media via the Department’s social media channels, and by advertising in the main national daily newspapers. Members of the group highlighted the call for submissions on the websites and social media accounts of their own organisations, to raise awareness, and to call for submissions from representative groups and individuals in their networks. The consultation process was also brought to the attention of Members of both Houses of the Oireachtas as well as a range of organisations that were invited to make submissions (e.g. medical and legal representative bodies, school patron bodies, teacher representative bodies, Comhairle na nÓg, the Ombudsman for Children, Tusla, FLAC, ICTU, sporting and other youth participation organisations).

In order to ensure that the consultation process was visible to young people, the Review Group contacted, amongst other young peoples’ representative groups, the Irish Second Level Student’s Union (ISSU) – the national umbrella body for second-level student councils. The ISSU assisted the group by contacting student councils via email and inviting submissions to the consultation process. They also included an advertisement for the consultation process in their regular bulletin and published an interview with the Chair on their Facebook page.

A total of 92 written submissions were received and are available on the gender recognition web page at the following link: www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Review-of-the-Gender-Recognition-Act-2015.aspx.

The Review Group held follow-up consultation meetings with members of the transgender community, medical practitioners, and legal experts. They heard first hand experiences of transgender young people, parents of transgender young people, and also held discussions with a non-binary adult. Details of the participants in these meetings are as follows:

- Dr. Geoffrey Shannon, Special Rapporteur on Child Protection (2 meetings)

- Three young people (accompanied by a youth support worker) – two of whom are transgender and one of whom is non-binary

- Three parents of children (ranging from ages 9 to 18) who are transgender – not parents of the child contributors

- Dr. Fergus Ryan (senior lecturer in law, Maynooth University)

- An adult who is non-binary

- Representatives of the medical profession:

- Dr. Aileen Murtagh (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services)

- Prof. Donal O’Shea (Consultant Endocrinologist, representing the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland),

- Dr. Susan O’Connell (Paediatric Endocrinologist, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, representing the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland),

- Dr. Andree Rochfort (representing the Irish College of General Practitioners).

The meetings with transgender young people and with parents were held in my Department’s offices in Cork Street, Dublin, in March 2018. The remainder of the consultation meetings were held in my Department’s headquarter building in Store Street, Dublin, on dates between February 2018 and April 2018.

The closing date for written submissions was set at 5 February 2018, as this was considered sufficient time for contributors to make a submission while also allowing time for follow-up consultation and preparation of a report to the Minister, to comply with the end-May 2018 target date for submission of the report.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (1420)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

1420. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal for family income supplement by a person (details supplied) which was lodged in early February 2019; when a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18954/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 21 February 2019. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 14 March 2019 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1421)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1421. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18970/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 4 March 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1422)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

1422. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a review of the decision to refuse their application for carer's allowance. [18973/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

It is also a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such disability that they require full-time care and attention.

This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continual supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

The application for CA was disallowed on the grounds that the person concerned was working outside the home for more than 15 hours per week, that the evidence submitted did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied. The person concerned was also refused CA on the grounds she was not providing full-time care and attention as required.

The person concerned requested a review of this decision on 20 March 2019 and submitted additional evidence in support of her application.

The outcome of the review is that the original decision is confirmed. On 24 April 2019 the person concerned was notified of this outcome and of their right of appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Payments

Questions (1423)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1423. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears of invalidity pension will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18985/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 21 March 2019.  Payment issued to her nominated bank account on 17 April 2019.  Arrears due from 21 March 2019 to 16 April 2019 issued to her nominated bank account on 02 May 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

Questions (1424, 1425)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

1424. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 636 to 641 of 12 March 2019, the criteria used to determine the way in which the 367 non-DEIS schools participating in the school meals programme were selected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19002/19]

View answer

Denise Mitchell

Question:

1425. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 636 to 641 of 12 March 2019, the way in which the pilot scheme from September 2019 providing hot school meals will be undertaken; the criteria used to select the participating schools; the way in which the scheme will be evaluated; when a report will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19003/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1424 and 1425 together.

As part of Budget 2019, it was announced that DEASP would commence a pilot scheme from September 2019, providing Hot School Meals in 36 primary schools for an estimated 7,200 children at a cost of €1m for 2019 and €2.5m in 2020.

Eligible schools will be issued with an invitation to submit an expression of interest to participate in the pilot. Schools will be selected having regard to geographical spread, numbers enrolled, range of suppliers and the overall budget available for the pilot in 2019 and 2020 (€1m and €2.5 respectively).

Schools will identify a supplier who will supply, prepare and deliver the hot meals in line with HACCP and food safety regulations in compliance with the Healthy Ireland nutrition standards for school meals. The practical details of the delivery and service of the meals will be worked out on an individual basis during meetings between each school, their supplier and officials from my Department.

A report will not issue until the pilot is complete and the outcomes evaluated. As outcomes will be largely driven by a differential analysis of educational outcomes in pilot versus non-pilot schools, it is my intention that the Department of Education and Skills and the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service will be involved in establishing an evaluation framework and timeframe. This will be established prior to the pilot commencing so that outcomes can be tracked and measured throughout the duration of the pilot.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (1426)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1426. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19021/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred on 10 April 2019 to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.