Tax Code

Questions (148)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

148. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost to the Exchequer if the entry point to the higher rate of income tax was increased to €50,000 for single earners and €100,000 for couples who are both working and equivalent change for taxpayer units with one partner in work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26771/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

Having regard to the Deputy's reference to an "equivalent change for taxpayer units with one partner in work", I have assumed for the purposes of this response that the estimated cost requested is for an increase to the standard rate cut off point for all income tax bands of €14,700, which would bring it to €50,000 for a single person, €59,000 for a married one income couple and €100,000 for a married two income couple in a single year.

I am advised by Revenue that the estimated full year cost of increasing the standard rate cut off points in this manner would be approximately €2.3 billion.

This estimated figure is based on projected 2019 incomes, calculated from actual data for the year 2016, and may be revised.

Tax Code

Question No. 150 answered with Question No. 127.

Questions (149)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

149. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Finance the work carried out to date on the issue of merging USC and PRSI; his plans to progress the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26772/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

An inter-departmental working group was established in February 2018 to examine and report on options for the amalgamation of USC and PRSI over the medium-term. The working group completed their work, in line with their terms of reference and their report was submitted to me in late 2018.

The Report addresses a range of options for how amalgamation could be achieved, but also has identified a number of serious challenges that will need to be further considered.

The amalgamation relates to State funds with an estimated combined value of over €7 billion per annum, collected from over 2.5 million income earners. The issue is therefore a complex one that will take time to consider.

Follow-on decisions will be taken in due course and I will make these public at the appropriate time.

More generally, the Government is committed to measures that positively benefit workers while also keeping the tax base broad.

Our income tax system has been transformed since 2008, following a necessary reform to broaden the income tax base in the interest of ensuring a stable revenue stream to fund essential public services.

I am determined to balance the priorities of ensuring that our personal taxation system remains progressive, competitive but also resilient in the future.

Question No. 150 answered with Question No. 127.

Central Bank of Ireland Reports

Questions (151)

Michael McGrath

Question:

151. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if the Central Bank will follow up on its financial stability note, entitled "Who invests in the Irish commercial real estate market?", in order to analyse investment in the residential real estate market here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26794/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I would draw to the Deputy's attention that the analysis published in the Central Bank's Financial Stability Note “Who invests in the Irish commercial real estate market?: An overview of non-bank institutional ownership of Irish CRE” includes available data on Irish-resident institutional investor holdings of residential real estate, as well as commercial real estate. The definition of commercial real estate (CRE) used in the Central Bank's Financial Stability Note aligns as closely as possible to cover “income-producing” real estate holdings. In this way, traditional CRE sectors such as office, retail and industrial/logistics are covered, but so too is the institutionally owned private rental sector.

A forthcoming Financial Stability Note by the Central Bank will also analyse the investment in credit assets collateralised by Irish real estate.

This work constitutes part of the ongoing monitoring by the Central Bank of developments in the real estate market of relevance to financial stability, which the Central Bank comments on regularly in publications, including in its bi-annual financial stability review.

Revenue Documents Issuance

Questions (152)

Michael McGrath

Question:

152. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if a document will be issued by the Revenue Commissioners to a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [26802/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that the person concerned is registered for Income Tax as a Self-Assessed taxpayer.

Revenue also confirmed that a ‘Notice of Assessment’ for 2018 issued to the person on 14 June 2019. The ‘Notice of Assessment’ is the appropriate statement of income and tax liabilities for Self-Assessed taxpayers while the ‘P21 Balancing Statement’ is appropriate to individuals taxed under the PAYE system.

Revenue made direct contact with the person following receipt of the Deputy’s Question and clarified the matter with them.

Tax Code

Questions (153)

Robert Troy

Question:

153. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Finance the details of recent changes to the tax system for employers, which see payments to staff recorded on a real-time basis; and the supports that will be put in place to assist small business owners in ensuring their payroll systems are conducive to these changes. [26805/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Finance)

The new administrative arrangements for PAYE (PAYE Modernisation) commenced on 1 January 2019 and Revenue has advised me that 167,000 employers, including many smaller employers, are successfully reporting pay and deductions details in respect of 2.7m employees via the new format.

PAYE Modernisation represents the most significant change to the PAYE system since its introduction more than fifty years ago. At the heart of the programme is the new real-time reporting requirement (to Revenue) for employers in respect of employee income and statutory deductions, including income tax, PRSI, USC and Local Property Tax, which must be completed with each payroll run. It is important to note that there is no change to the actual payment dates and as such no cashflow implications for employers.

PAYE Modernisation has streamlined the reporting process for employers by eliminating the need to complete the various forms and returns that were required under the old system (e.g. P30, P45, P46, P35, P60) and making it a by-product that is seamlessly generated with each payroll run. Crucially, it provides Revenue with the most up to date pay and deductions details for employees in real-time, which greatly helps in ensuring that taxpayers benefit fully from their various credits and entitlements. Also, for the first time, employees can view the information reported to Revenue on their behalf by employers.

I am aware that during the two-year design stage of PAYE Modernisation, Revenue worked extensively with all relevant stakeholders in a co-design approach to ensure the new arrangements provide optimum benefit for all to the greatest extent possible. This included employers, representative bodies such as the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), the Small Firms’ Association (SFA) and the Irish SME Association (ISME) as well as the payroll industry. Revenue has confirmed to me that working relationships built up during that time are still operating very effectively and are used to solve any issues that arise as the new arrangements settle down.

Arising from the co-design approach, Revenue now provides two main options through which employers can submit payroll details. The first involves a direct connection from a business’ payroll system to Revenue while the second allows employers input payroll details directly via Revenue’s Online Service (ROS). The second option is particularly aimed at smaller employers who may not use electronic payroll solutions. A paper option is also available where an employer is not e-enabled. Revenue also provides very extensive information for employers on its website at www.revenue.ie/en/employing-people/paye-modernisation/index.aspx and provides a dedicated Employers Helpline at 01-7383638.

Overall, I am very satisfied with the extensive efforts Revenue has made to communicate with and assist employers during both the design and implementation phases of PAYE Modernisation and I congratulate it for delivering such a significant project within a relatively short period of time. Finally, if the Deputy is aware of any specific employers that require assistance with the new reporting requirements, he should advise them to contact Revenue at telephone number 01-6474094 for assistance.

Defence Forces Remuneration

Questions (154)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

154. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if his attention has been drawn to the Public Service Pay Commission report on the Defence Forces; when it will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26446/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Public Service Pay Commission was established to advise Government on public service remuneration policy. In the current phase, the second phase of the Commission's work, it was tasked by its Terms of Reference to undertake an examination of whether, and to what extent, there are difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff in key areas of the public service identified in its first report. The Public Service Pay Commission has adopted a modular approach to its work programme for its present exercise.

As the Deputy will be aware, the first module was published by the Commission in August 2018 and deals with issues relating to Nursing and Midwifery, Non-Consultant Hospital Doctors and Hospital Consultants.

The Commission engaged on work in relation to the Defence Forces in accordance with its terms of reference. I understand that written submissions have been received from both the Employer and relevant staff associations and more recently, in March, oral presentations were also made to the Commission by both parties.

The Commission has now completed its examination of recruitment and retention matters in the Defence Forces and has submitted its Report to me for consideration.

This Report will be submitted to Government and published in due course and will then fall to be considered by the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement, 2018 - 2020 (as per section 3 of that Agreement).

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (155)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

155. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the impact of the Climate Action Plan 2019 on the mutli-annual capital investment allocations for each Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26463/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The level of ambition set out in the Climate Action Plan will require significant investment across the entire economy. However, much of this investment was already anticipated and provided for through the commitments included in the NDP, which include over €30bn for climate action and sustainable mobility. The Government has agreed that the cumulative Exchequer costs of the commitments included in the Plan will need to be delivered within existing multi-annual ceilings and the funding commitments made in the NDP.

Brexit Preparations

Questions (156)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

156. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of infrastructure that will be required at ports, airports and all points of entry and exit that will be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit; if all necessary infrastructure has been completed at all appropriate locations; if it is ready to be operationalised in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26792/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

All of the required infrastructure in Dublin Port is in place and is ready to be operationalised in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Temporary infrastructure is in place in Rosslare Harbour and ready to be operationalised. Enhanced inspection facilities are being developed and will be in place by October 2019. Works are ongoing to provide permanent infrastructure in Dublin Airport and this will be ready to be operationalised in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (157)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

157. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the planned spending for all €23 billion of climate-related spending outlined in the national development plan, NDP, by year; the projected budgetary impact; and the estimated impact on the general Government balance, that is, GNI* in tabular form. [26092/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Government has committed to increasing public capital investment to about 4% of GNI* and then maintaining public investment at this level over the remaining period of the National Development Plan (NDP).

The NDP has pledged that €21.8 billion will be invested in the low carbon transition. This includes €7.6 billion in Exchequer funding and €14.2 billion of non-Exchequer funding - mainly investment by the commercial State sector. In addition, €8.6 billion of Exchequer funding is allocated for investment in Sustainable Mobility, with €8.8 billion investment planned in Sustainable Management of Water and other Environmental Resources and a further €14.5 billion allocated to Compact Growth.

This investment will fund numerous flagship investment programmes, from supports for energy efficiency, to the delivery of major new public transport projects such as MetroLink. Details of the projects that will be supported by this investment are available from the relevant Departments.

The breakdown of the resource allocations for the delivery of the National Strategic Objectives most relevant to Climate Action over the period of the NDP (2018-2027) is provided in Table 1 attached. In terms of annual allocations, Departmental Exchequer capital allocations are available for the period 2019-2022 (see attached Table 2 which sets out the Exchequer capital allocations for the Departments most relevant to the climate action NSOs). The intention is to extend these further in Budget 2020.

Table 1. Indicative resource allocations for the delivery of NSOs, and for named Strategic Investment Priorities under each NSO, over the period 2018-2027

€ billion

Exchequer

Non-Exchequer

Allocation

Sustainable Mobility (Lead Department: DTTAS)

8.6

of which: Dart Expansion

2.0

Metro Link

3.0

BusConnects Programme

2.4

Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Society (Lead

Departments: DCCAE, DTTAS, DAFM, OPW, commercial SOEs)

21.8

of which: Energy Efficiency - housing retrofit

3.0

Energy efficiency in public buildings

0.8

Boiler replacement

0.7

Support Scheme for Renewal Heat

0.3

Climate Action Fund

0.5

Electric vehicles

0.2

Flood Defences

1.0

Energy Investment (renewables, interconnection, etc)

13.7

Table 2. Departmental Capital Allocations

Departmental Capital Allocations 2018-2022

2019

2020

2021

2022

Ministerial Vote Group

(€ million)

Communications, Climate Action & Environment

277

297

317

400

PER Group (incl. OPW)

201

214

223

232

Transport, Tourism & Sport

1,613

2,058

2,526

2,405

Agriculture, Food & the Marine

255

258

265

275

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (158)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

158. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if an internationally recognised benchmark is being used for determining qualification as the €23 billion green capital spending outlined in the NDP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26093/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

While there is no standard taxonomy in place internationally to determine exactly what might qualify as green spending, it is clear that the items contained within Strategic Outcome 8 in the National Development Plan on Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Society (€21.8 billion) would meet any reasonable definition of green expenditure.

For example, Ireland's Sovereign Green Bond was issued under a framework designed to align with the Green Bond Principles published by the International Capital Market Association. These principles are the most common principles in use internationally. Among other categories, the green bond principles consider investment in environmentally sustainable management of living natural resources and land use, sustainable water and wastewater management and clean transportation as eligible to be considered to be green.

As you will note, the National Development Plan took a narrower definition. The €8.6 billion investment in sustainable mobility was contained within a standalone National Strategic Outcome, as was the €8.8 billion investment in Sustainable Management of Water and other Environmental Resources and the €14.5 billion allocated to Compact Growth.

It is clear that were any standard benchmark of what constitutes green expenditure applied to the National Development Plan, the proportion of the NDP's expenditure that could be considered to be green would be vastly higher than the sums provided for National Strategic Outcome 8 on Transition to a Low-Carbon and Climate-Resilient Society.

Public Sector Pay

Questions (159)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

159. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the planned unwinding of FEMPI measures in line with the Public Service Stability Agreement for each of the years 2019 to 2023 disaggregated by wage bracket. [26226/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

Please see the below Tables.

Table 1 provides a full breakdown of costs in relation to the PSSA , on a yearly basis and also by pay band.

Table 2 provides a breakdown of costs in relation to the reversal of outstanding FEMPI measures. As the dates by which these payments must be made are not fixed, but dependent on the timeframes outlined in the act and detailed below, it is not possible to apportion these costs by year.

Chapter 5 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 outlines that for public servants who have not achieved full restoration by October 2020 (i.e. the date of the last PSSA increase), restoration of outstanding FEMPI amounts must be completed by way of Ministerial order. This Order must be made on the following dates:

For those with a post-PSSA salary of under €150,000:

- Covered public servants: a date after 1 October 2020 but before 1 July 2021.

- Non-covered public servants: on 1 July 2021.

For those with a post-PSSA salary in excess of €150,000:

- Covered public servants: a date after 1 October 2020 but before 1 July 2022.

- Non-covered public servants: a date after 1 July 2021 but before 1 July 2022.

Under Section 21 of the Act these restoration measures do not apply to certain officeholders including Cabinet members and the Attorney General.

Cost of Pay Restoration

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (160)

Michael Harty

Question:

160. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will meet with representatives of community employment supervisors to discuss the implementation of an occupational pension scheme as recommended by the Labour Court in 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26460/19]

View answer

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 extensive 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 both costs and precedent. The membership of this Forum includes public service management and union representatives. The implications arising from this claim extend beyond the CE Supervisors and Assistant Supervisors cadre and impact across the entire Community and Voluntary sector.

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 exposure for the State of between €188 million per annum and €347m depending on the size of the sector which is difficult to ascertain, were consequential demands to be made to fund employer pension contributions for all similar State funded Community and Voluntary organisations. This excludes any provision for immediate ex-gratia lump sum payment of pension for those imminently retiring, as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, give rise to a further Exchequer cost exposure of up to €318 million.

The Forum met in the period subsequent to the conduct of the scoping exercise where relevant matters in respect of this issue were discussed in comprehensive detail with the members of the Forum. These discussions provided a clear understanding to each of the parties of their respective positions in relation to this matter and in this context the formal engagement process between the parties was accordingly concluded on this basis.

It continues to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and accordingly it is not for the State to provide funding for occupational pension scheme provision.

National Educational Psychological Service

Questions (161, 165)

Michael McGrath

Question:

161. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will be put forward for a NEPS assessment; if he or she is facing a lengthy waiting period on the public waiting list; if the service provider can recommend an educational psychologist to carry out such an assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26058/19]

View answer

Michael McGrath

Question:

165. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a child (details supplied) in County Cork will have a NEPS assessment carried out; if they are facing a lengthy waiting period on the public waiting list; the circumstances in which his Department will recognise an educational psychological assessment carried out privately, for example, in circumstances in which a provider has been recommended by the service provider of the child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26057/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 165 together.

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to maximise positive outcomes for these pupils. NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment.

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention. I have made enquiries with the Cork NEPS Office and am informed that the child, the subject of the Deputy’s question, has not been raised for assessment with the assigned psychologist.

I would advise therefore that if concerns exist in relation to the educational or social and emotional development of the child in question that her parents should raise them, in the first instance, with the Principal of the school she is attending, with a view to Principal discussing the situation with the assigned NEPS psychologist.

Mental Health Services Provision

Questions (162)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

162. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps that can be taken to improve the mental health of students at a college (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26740/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Student services and associated activities are an integral part of the whole student experience at third level. Student services support each individual student to 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.

In relation to the provision of services within the institutions, the position is that my Department provides recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority for direct disbursement to its designated higher education institutions. The HEA allocates this funding as a block grant to these institutions, and the internal disbursement of this funding, including the funding of student services, is a matter for the individual institution.

The National Youth Mental Health Task Force Report, 2017 made a number of recommendations in this area and highlighted the good practice and innovative initiatives aimed at supporting students experiencing mental health difficulties in many institutions, as outlined in the ADEAD report Mental Health Matters. The Department of Health is developing a National Healthy Campus Framework whose aims include to support and recognise the work of institutions in improving the health and wellbeing of campus communities, and to generate and disseminate knowledge for promoting health and wellbeing on campus. In addition a working group has been convened by the Higher Education Authority to progress actions under the Connecting for Life (CfL) strategy, and the first meeting of the group was in December 2018. The group includes representatives from my Department, higher education institutions, student counsellors, and USI.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (163)

Mary Butler

Question:

163. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the proposal to develop a two-year apprenticeship course for healthcare assistants; when the course will be available for participants; and the colleges that will offer it. [26818/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

An apprenticeship focused on people in healthcare support roles is currently at an advanced stage of development and is due to be rolled out towards the end of the year. Griffith College is the co-ordinating education and training provider for the apprenticeship, supported by an industry-led consortium. In the initial phase of rollout the off-the-job training will be provided by Griffith College in its locations in Dublin, Cork and Limerick but there is scope to extend the training through other education and training providers.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Question No. 165 answered with Question No. 161.

Questions (164)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

164. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an appeal by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26056/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circulars 0007/2019 for primary schools and 0008/2019 for post primary schools provide details of how the allocations of Special Education Teachers have been updated for schools from September 2019, based on updated profile data.

All schools have now received revised allocations for September 2019.

As the re profiling occurred, some schools gained additional allocations, where the profile indicator data indicates these schools have additional needs. Some schools received slightly reduced allocations, where the data indicates less need, and some schools maintained their existing allocations.

No school has lost a full special education teaching post as a result of the re profiling process.

There has also been be no reduction to the overall number of special education teaching posts within the school system. There are currently over 13,400 special education teachers in schools, an increase of 37% since 2011.

Under the allocation model, schools have been provided with a total allocation for special education needs support based on their school profile.

The school referred to by the Deputy has 15.95 special education teaching hours, for an enrolment of 45 pupils at the time the profile was developed.

This represents a proportionately a high allocation ratio, which takes into account the school profile.

It gives an average allocation of 1 special education teacher to every 71 pupils, as opposed to a national average of 1 special education teacher to every 100 pupils in the primary school sector.

Both my Department and the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) are committed to ensuring that all schools are treated equally and fairly in the manner in which their school profiles have been calculated.

Accordingly, a number of review processes have been put in place to support schools.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) published details of an appeal process for the 2019 allocation process for schools on their website www.ncse.ie.

Schools were advised that the appeal will consider circumstances where schools considered that their school profile was calculated incorrectly, using the data set out in DES Circulars 007 and 008 2019. An appeal could be submitted for a review of the information used and of the calculation of the allocation.

The NCSE wrote to schools on 31st May, 2019 to advise them of the outcome of the appeals.

A second process will be put in place to address circumstances where the school profile significantly changed following the allocation process e.g. a developing school where the net enrolment numbers significantly increased.

The criteria for qualification for mainstream school developing school posts are set out in the Primary and Post Primary School Staffing Schedule for the 2019/20 school year.

Schools who qualify for additional mainstream developing school posts, in accordance with these criteria, will also qualify for additional Special Education Teaching Allocations to take account of this developing status.

Finally, it is acknowledged that there are some circumstances, which may arise in schools, which fall outside the appeals process, or allocations for developing school status.

These relate to exceptional or emergency circumstances which could not have been anticipated e.g. where the school profile changes very significantly, or where other exceptional circumstances have arisen in a school and which may require a review of schools capacity to provide additional teaching support for all pupils who need it in the school, or of their utilisation of their allocations.

A process will also be available where schools can seek a review of their allocations in the coming months, including the utilisation of their allocations, in circumstances where a school considers that very exceptional circumstances have arisen subsequent to the development of the profile.

This process will recommence in September 2019.

I am satisfied that there are in place a number of processes which can review the special education teacher allocation for schools where necessary.

The very significant levels of additional provision we have made in recent years to provide additional Special Education Teachers means that all schools are resourced to provide for the special educational needs of children in their schools.

Question No. 165 answered with Question No. 161.

Teaching Contracts

Questions (166)

James Browne

Question:

166. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties facing secondary school teachers struggling to secure permanent positions; his plans to create additional positions in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26078/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Teacher allocations to all schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment.

After the redeployment processes have transacted, each school is permitted to fill any remaining vacancies through open recruitment. It is open to any suitably qualified teacher to apply for these advertised teaching positions as they arise.

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).

The 2018/19 school year has seen an increase of over 6,000 teaching posts in our schools compared to the 2015/16 school year.

Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded in the 2019/20 school year, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes.

Education and Training Boards Staff

Questions (167)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

167. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) employed in a project wholly funded by an ETB qualifies to be treated as working in a public service body as per section 1 of the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 under paragraphs (g), (h) and (i) as detailed in appendix 2 of circular 40/2007 for the purposes of being eligible for incremental credit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26086/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The person referred to by the Deputy was employed by a body under the Local Training Initiative scheme funded by FÁS originally and then by Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board. This body does not qualify as a public service body under the Public Service Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004 as no public service pension scheme existed or applied to that body.

Therefore there is no eligibility to incremental credit under circular 40/2007 in respect of this employment.

Third Level Qualifications Data

Questions (168, 169)

Micheál Martin

Question:

168. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of PhDs awarded in science and technology subjects in each of the years 1996 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26105/19]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

169. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number and level of sub-degree, degree and postgraduate degrees awarded in each of the years 1994 to 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26106/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 168 and 169 together.

Attached for the Deputy's information is data compiled by the Higher Education Authority on the qualifications, including PhDs, awarded annually in science and technology subjects between 1994 - 2017. The data set applies to universities, colleges of education and institutions such as the NCAD and RCSI. Data relating to Institutes of Technology applies to the period 2007 - 2017 with earlier data pre-2007 for this sector currently being compiled by the Department for transmission to the Deputy.

PhDs Awarded

Residential Institutions Statutory Fund

Questions (170)

Jack Chambers

Question:

170. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of funding regarding Caranua; the funding received by Caranua; the funding to be received; the number of open applications with Caranua awaiting payment for services; when the Caranua fund is due to cease operations; the assurances which can be given to applicants the fund will remain open until they have received the services for which they have applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26149/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As I explained to the Deputy in a reply to his Parliamentary Question on 10 April 2019, Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) is entirely funded by cash contributions offered voluntarily by religious congregations in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the "Ryan Report"). As provided for in the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 (the “2012 Act”) these cash contributions are received by my Department and are placed in an investment account established by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) and are available to Caranua to meet costs incurred in supporting former residents and in meeting the organisation’s operational costs and costs associated with the independent appeals process.

The 2012 Act caps the total cash contributions that may be paid into the NTMA investment account at €110 million (excluding added or accrued interest). To date, a total of €105 million, comprising contributions of some €103.6 million plus added interest of €1.382 million, has been received by my Department. Accordingly, a further €6.4 million in cash contributions is required to achieve the capped amount of €110 million set down in statute. A substantial voluntary cash contribution remains outstanding from the Congregation of Christian Brothers.

Caranua, which is an independent statutory body, publishes regular updates on its website (www.caranua.ie) regarding expenditure, applications, etc. The most recent update shows that to end April 2019, Caranua had expended some €85 million on supports and services for former residents and that it had open applications on hands from 1,882 former residents. Administrative costs have also been incurred.

Having regard to the statutory limit on the funds available to it and the volume of applications on hands and anticipated, Caranua decided to cease to accept applications from 1 August 2018. It is now working to process those remaining applications. Its operations will be wound down during the course of 2019 and the organisation will be dissolved when it has completed the performance of its functions. It is a matter for the organisation to prudentially manage the funds available to it and to ensure that applicants are dealt with in a fair and appropriate manner having regard to the availability of funds.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (171)

Pat Deering

Question:

171. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants sacked or who have faced sanctions under the grievance and disciplinary procedures for special needs assistants in recognised primary and post-primary schools 2011; the breakdown of the figures; and his plans to update the procedures. [26161/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Circular 0072/2011 sets downs the Grievance and Disciplinary procedures to be followed by schools. My Department does not hold information on the number of Special Needs Assistants subject to Grievance and/or Disciplinary procedures, as such staff are the employees of individual schools. My Department retains limited information on Administrative Leave cases, some of which may be related to Grievance and Disciplinary procedures.

My Department has no plan to update these procedures.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (172)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

172. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a child (details supplied) will be provided with a full-time special needs assistant when commencing secondary school in view of the fact the child has had same during primary education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26162/19]

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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 enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27th September 2019.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Child and Family Agency Services

Questions (173)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

173. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has contacted the Minister of Children and Youth Affairs to request that the educational welfare service of Tusla be extended to non-DEIS schools in counties in which the homeless crisis is most acute; the supports being provided to non-DEIS schools with homeless pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26052/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy in the first instance that Tusla's Educational Welfare Service, which operates under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, and is under the remit of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs is available to all schools and not just those which are DEIS schools.

In schools participating in my Department’s DEIS initiative (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools), the Educational Welfare Services of TUSLA have responsibility for operational management of two school-based support services - the Home School Community Liaison Scheme and the School Completion Programme.

In terms of my own Department, the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) supports schools in dealing with children with identified additional educational needs, including needs which may arise for children who are experiencing homelessness.

Identification of Need and Early Intervention Strategies are considered key components to supporting children who experience homelessness. The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) works with schools through the DES Continuum of Support framework. The NEPS Model of Service works through a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to support schools to meet the needs of individual pupils.

NEPS psychologists can provide advice and guidance to Principals and teachers in relation to individual students needs and in the development of whole school approaches to support inclusion, participation and integration.

In addition the Department of Employment and Social Protection runs the School Meals Programme which provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children.