Departmental Offices

Questions (405)

John Lahart

Question:

405. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the availability of bike parking spaces and lockers in all buildings used by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28703/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

There is a total of 97 bike parking spaces and 143 lockers in all buildings for which the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is the lead tenant.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (406)

John Lahart

Question:

406. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the model of the car or cars used by him in the performance of his official duties; and if it is a diesel, petrol or electric engine. [28719/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am currently using a Nissan Leaf Electric Vehicle (EV) 40 in the performance of my official duties. In recent weeks, I have been trialling a number of different alternatively-fuelled vehicles.

Air Services Provision

Questions (407)

Michael McGrath

Question:

407. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his views on the granting of fifth freedom traffic rights to an airline (details supplied) for the Dublin to Madrid route; his views on whether the decision potentially creates a competitive distortion in view of the different obligations on an airline with such rights; his policy in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28779/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Ireland - Ethiopia Bilateral Air Services Agreement, signed in 2014, allows for the granting of fifth freedom air traffic rights for airlines of both countries, on a reciprocal basis and subject to the approval of the relevant aeronautical authorities.

Ethiopian Airlines applied to both the Spanish and Irish aeronautical authorities in 2018 for approval of their Addis Ababa - Madrid - Dublin (return) route. Following confirmation of approval by the Spanish Aeronautical Authorities and having consulted with Irish air carriers, the Department authorised the route as it conformed with the rights provided under the Air Services Agreement.

Ireland traditionally has a liberal aviation policy and remains positively disposed towards the development of competitive air services. In that context, my Department will continue to consider applications for fifth freedom air traffic rights under bilateral air services agreements, on a case-by-case basis.

State Bodies Property

Questions (408)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

408. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the property CIÉ owns; the return it makes on same annually; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28787/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The issue raised is an matter for Córas Iompair Éireann (CIÉ) and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to CIÉ for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Childcare Services Provision

Questions (409)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

409. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she is taking to increase capacity in terms of places for young children in need of crèche places in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28651/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Each year Pobal conducts research on behalf of my Department to examine a number of factors related to childcare services in Ireland, including the monitoring of capacity. The Early Years Sector Profile report, which was published in November 2018 and relates to the 2017/2018 programme year, indicates that existing childcare provision nationally meets current needs nationwide in terms of capacity whilst recognising that small pockets of under supply may exist within this.

This report outlines a 4% vacancy rate as a percentage of children enrolled in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. Pobal reports that nationally the trend for waiting lists suggests a reduction in waiting lists for older children and an increase for under twos. Pobal cautions that its data on waiting lists cannot by itself be used to inform capacity decisions as parents often place their children on more than one waiting list.

My Department funds 30 City and County Childcare Committees across the country. Part of their role is to advise my Department on capacity issues. I would encourage anyone having difficulty in securing a place to make contact with their local CCC. Contact details for all of the CCCs, in addition to other information about the services they provide, may be found on www.myccc.ie

During my time as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs I have secured an unprecedented increase of 117% in investment for early learning and care and school age childcare. While this additional investment has supported a doubling of capacity in the sector it is clear that further capacity is required and that is why I am continuing my intensive efforts in this area.

In 2019, I provided €4m in capital funding to support additional places for under threes and €1m to support additional places for school age care. Successful applicants have been notified and I anticipate that this funding will support the creation of approximately 3,600 new and extra spaces for children up to the age of 15.

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS), due to be launched later this year will also be a significant intervention to address this challenge. The NCS recognises the different costs associated with providing childcare for children of different ages. The Scheme will provide for a progressive system of subsidies starting with the highest subsidy rates for children under 1(up to €5.10 per hour) and the next highest subsidy for children from 1 to under 3 (up to €4.35 per hour).

In relation to childminding, I was delighted to secure €500,000 in Budget 2019 to recruit a National Childminding Coordinator and a team of six Development Officers around the country, to support the registration of more childminders with Tusla and thus enable them access subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme. My Department will publish a Childminding Action Plan in the coming months to follow through on the commitments in First 5 and the Programme for Government to further develop the childminding sector.

In the more medium term, under the National Planning Framework and the National Development Plan published in 2018, I ensured that Childcare was identified as one of our nation's strategic priorities. I am delighted that €250 million in additional funding has been committed to for the expansion of high quality, early learning and care and school age childcare over the duration of the Plan.

Child and Family Agency Funding

Questions (410)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

410. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount of funding that will be provided by Tusla to a centre (details supplied); and if there is scope for increased funding or staffing allocations to the centre in view of recent antisocial behaviour incidents. [28677/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is responsible for the administration of the Family Resource Centre (FRC) Programme. As the allocation of funds within the FRC Programme is an operational matter for Tusla, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly.

I recognise and value the very positive impact of the work of the Family Resource Centres in supporting families and local communities, particularly in areas of disadvantage.

Child Abuse

Questions (411)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

411. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of child abuse classified as founded and unfounded by Tusla in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28684/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (412)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

412. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of retrospective child sexual violence classified as founded and unfounded by Tusla in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28685/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (413)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

413. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of retrospective abuse allocated and waiting allocation that have been deemed as founded or unfounded in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28686/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Departmental Offices

Questions (414)

John Lahart

Question:

414. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the availability of bike parking spaces and lockers in all buildings used by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28690/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department is located at Miesian Plaza, Lower Baggot Street , Dublin 2 which is leased by the OPW. There are four civil service Departments using this office space and there are 146 indoor and 34 outdoor bike parking spaces available to us. In addition, there are 176 staff lockers available for use of staff.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (415)

John Lahart

Question:

415. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the model of the car or cars used by her in the performance of her official duties; and if it is a diesel, petrol or electric engine. [28706/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The model of car I use to perform my official duties is a diesel run Hyundai Tucson.

Child and Family Agency Data

Questions (416)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

416. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of child abuse allocated to a social worker by county in each of the years the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28742/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Child Abuse

Questions (417)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

417. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of cases of child abuse allocated to a principal deciding officer by county for the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28743/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The question relates to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla, and asked that a direct reply be provided to the Deputy.

Departmental Offices

Questions (418)

John Lahart

Question:

418. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the availability of bike parking spaces and lockers in all buildings used by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department occupies offices in two locations, in Trinity Point, Dublin 2 and Government Buildings, Ballina, Co. Mayo.

There are currently 56 shared bicycle spaces available in Trinity Point, which is occupied by three Government Departments and one private company. In Ballina, the building is shared between five Government Departments and a total of 10 shared bicycle rack spaces are available to staff in the building.

In terms of lockers, there are 10 lockers available for staff in the Ballina building and none in Trinity Point. However, in both locations, every staff member has an individual workstation, all of which include under-table lockable storage units where belongings can be stored.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (419)

John Lahart

Question:

419. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the model of the car or cars used by him in the performance of his official duties; and if it is a diesel, petrol or electric engine. [28718/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The car used by me in the performance of my official duties is my own private car.

Departmental Schemes

Questions (420)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

420. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when approvals will be given for the 2019 CLÁR and village renewal schemes, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28835/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on the 28th of February last, and invited applications under three separate measures:

Measure 1 provides support for "School and Community Safety Measures",

Measure 2 provides support for "Play Areas and Multi-Use Games Areas", and

Measure 3 provides funding for "Community Wellbeing Support" .

Community Wellbeing Support covers the provision of equipment and vehicles for voluntary first-response organisations, as well as the provision of specialist vehicles to bring people to cancer-care centres and other community-care services. The measure will also provide funding for sensory gardens.

The closing date for the 2019 CLÁR programme was 30th April, and almost 500 applications were received by my Department. My officials are currently finalising the assessment of these applications and I hope to be in a position to announce successful projects shortly.

I launched the 2019 Town and Village Renewal scheme in April, with a closing date of 28th June for applications. Over 300 applications have been received under this scheme.

Successful applicants under the Town and Village Renewal scheme will be announced when the assessment of these applications is fully completed.

LEADER Programmes Data

Questions (421)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

421. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the allocation for projects to each LAG under the Leader programme 2014-2020; the amount allocated for projects by each LAG to date; the amount expended by each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28836/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

LEADER is a multi-annual programme with a total budget of €250 million over the period 2014-2020. €220 million of this funding has been allocated to the Local Action Groups (LAGs) throughout the country who deliver the LEADER programme. This allocation includes both core project funding and administration and animation costs for the LAGs.

The remaining €30 million in the programme is available for thematic schemes to be delivered at a national level and is allocated as projects are approved.

Table 1 provides a breakdown of the amount allocated to projects by each LAG under the LEADER programme 2014-2020, the value of projects approved to date, and the amount paid by LAGs to date on projects. The figures do not include expenditure or approvals under national-level thematic schemes which operate on a competitive bid basis.

Total project expenditure on the current LEADER programme since it commenced, effectively in 2016, amounts to almost €24 million. The level of project activity under the programme has increased significantly since the start of 2018 and 2,130 projects have now been approved for funding of over €75.5 million. A further 370 project applications, requesting in excess of €27.2 million, are at various stages in the approval process. Project expenditure will increase significantly as these projects are implemented and payments are drawn down.

Table 1: Total LEADER Project Allocations, Approvals and Payments by LAG as of 30 th June 2019

Local Action Group

Core Project Allocation

Value of Approved Projects

Project Payments to date

Carlow

€4,797,602

€2,069,280

€1,146,666

Cavan

€6,391,715

€3,171,877

€1,047,813

Clare

€6,645,000

€3,442,986

€816,240

Cork North

€3,810,543

€2,252,728

€712,143

Cork South

42,803,477

€893,004

€305,996

Cork West

€3,691,755

€1,438,185

€207,971

Donegal

€9,631,407

€5,078,323

€2,900,157

Dublin Rural

€4,777,829

€1,448,846

€471,303

Galway East

€5,741,888

€1,775,360

€160,677

Galway West

€3,425,425

€736,354

€227,665

Kerry

€7,650,904

€5,094,011

€1,677,653

Kildare

€3,946,200

€1,067,144

€211,422

Kilkenny

€5,798,949

€1,719,003

€791,705

Laois

€5,325,000

€1,425,898

€767,771

Leitrim

€4,490,000

€2,032,537

€461,622

Limerick

€6,946,151

€4,464,476

€1,408,285

Longford

€5,698,500

€1,679,331

€448,966

Louth

€4,576,397

€1,984,554

€570,498

Mayo

€8,260,822

€5,207,692

€1,108,103

Meath

€5,137,345

€2,182,725

€288,898

Monaghan

€5,694,500

€2,420,542

€728,217

Offaly

€6,000,000

€2,995,345

€1,377,419

Roscommon

€6,581,283

€3,429,428

€546,829

Sligo

€5,720,737

€2,997,693

€967,757

Tipperary

€7,562,584

€4,428,006

€955,709

Waterford

€5,525,346

€3,409,009

€1,735,656

Westmeath

€5,563,495

€1,799,025

€402,401

Wexford

€7,580,104

€3,500,858

€1,100,344

Wicklow

€4,728,231

€1,389,046

€439,607

Total

€164,503,189

€75,533,270

€23,985,494

Local Improvement Scheme Funding

Questions (422)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

422. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if further funding will be allocated to the LIS scheme in 2019 in view of low expenditure by his Department to date on capital projects; if so, when county councils will be informed of the further allocation to them; the amount of the allocation made for LIS schemes to local authorities for 2018 and 2019 not expended to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28840/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

On 7th February last I launched the 2019 Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) and allocated a sum of €10 million to Local Authorities under the scheme. The number and location of roads to benefit from improvement works in 2019 is a matter for the relevant Local Authority. Funding allocations, on a county by county basis, can be found on the Gov.ie website at the following link: https://www.gov.ie/en/policy-information/d309ea-local-improvement-scheme/.

Over €20.8 million was allocated under LIS in 2018 and less than 10% (almost €2.3 million) remains to be drawn down.

To date, no Local Authority has drawn down their 2019 allocated funding. However, payments are made in arrears, on the basis of projects being completed, and I anticipate that the summer period will provide an opportunity for many LIS improvement works to be carried out.

I am confident that the full amount available for the LIS in my Department's Vote this year will be drawn down.

Departmental Funding

Questions (423)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

423. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if the capital funding prepaid by his Department in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to local authorities has not been spent by the respective local authorities; the amount involved by local authority and year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28854/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department provided advance payments to Local Authorities in 2016, 2017 and 2018 under various schemes, including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), REDZ, CLÁR and the Local Improvement Scheme.

In each case, specific conditions were attached to the payments made under each scheme.  For example, the 2017 Town and Village, ORIS and CLÁR schemes allowed Local Authorities to draw down 50% of their allocation under the relevant scheme when a minimum of 20% of the total project cost had been spent.  The balance of the allocation was to be paid on completion of the project, based on expenditure actually incurred. 

Under the 2017 LIS scheme, for instance, advance payments were made to the Local Authorities once they confirmed that they had completed 50% or more of their scheduled works, and that all scheduled works would be substantially completed before the end of December 2017.

This approach of a staged payments process, recognised that Local Authorities were being asked to deliver a number of schemes consecutively, for which they were also required to provide match funding.

With the exception of 2016 when full allocations were paid in advance to Local Authorities, it is not practical to determine the amount of advance payments which have not been spent at a point in time.  This is because Local Authorities incur expenditure on an on-going basis and final expenditure returns are only submitted to my Department when projects are completed.

However, on the basis of overall expenditure returns received by my Department, it appears that the majority of Local Authorities have completed the works funded from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 advance payments.  

With regard to 2016, the most up to date information available to the Department suggests that €2.39 million remains unspent.  The breakdown of this figure is provided on the following table.  These figures are provisional and my officials are in the process of verifying them with a view to recouping the underspends from future payments due to the Local Authorities in question. 

Similarly, my Department is following up with the Local Authorities in respect of expenditure on projects approved in 2017 and 2018. 

County

2016 funding not spent – Provisional position

Carlow

€38,747.79

Cavan

€157,437.26

Clare

 

Cork

€218,655.92

Donegal

€93,670.41

Fingal

€63,292.00

Galway

€138,647.25

Kerry

€62,327.60

Kildare

€157,618.54

Kilkenny

€7,760.00

Laois

€59,738.23

Leitrim

€404,809.11

Limerick

€125,051.10

Longford

€14,343.19

Louth 

€52,331.16

Mayo

€120,659.56

Meath

€19,945.36

Monaghan

€6,290.31

Offaly

€207,570.20

Roscommon

€55,401.10

Sligo

€40,134.40

Tipperary

€104,526.05

Waterford

€24,365.55

Westmeath

€1,528.33

Wexford

€1,204.26

Wicklow

€210,724.33

Totals

€2,386,779.02

Disability Allowance Payments

Questions (424)

Peter Burke

Question:

424. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) is in receipt of a reduced payment. [28618/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Disability allowance (DA) is a statutory means-tested payment and is subject to periodic reviews. This lady's entitlement to DA was reviewed on 20 August 2013 and she was assessed with nil means with effect from 12 September 2012.

The person concerned has been in receipt of full rate DA payment from 12 September 2012 to date, including free fuel allowance (FFA) in fuel season.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.