Road Improvement Schemes

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (820)

Brendan Smith

Question:

820. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if specific funding will be provided to Cavan County Council in 2020 towards the necessary upgrade of a national secondary route and essential safety measures on the road (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31237/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Once funding arrangements have been put in place by my Department with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for TII, in conjunction with the local authorities concerned. TII also manage and distribute the capital national roads programme budget.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Traffic Management

Questions (821, 822)

John Lahart

Question:

821. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if consideration has been given to introducing congestion pricing for private vehicles in part or all of the city centre of Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31250/19]

View answer

John Lahart

Question:

822. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the engagement he has had with stakeholders on introducing congestion pricing in part or all of the city centre of Dublin. [31251/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 821 and 822 together.

The recently published Climate Action Plan sets out a whole-of-Government approach to climate action and maps a potential pathway to meet Ireland’s 2030 emission reduction commitments. The Plan clearly recognises that Ireland must significantly step up its commitments to tackle climate disruption. As the transport sector accounts for a little over one quarter of Ireland’s non-ETS emissions there is no question that it must feature strongly in the national decarbonisation effort.

Cutting congestion is an action which would contribute positively to the decarbonisation effort. Congestion also imposes significant costs on residents, commuters and businesses in urban areas. My Department is already seeking to address congestion and its negative impacts by encouraging modal shift away from private passenger cars towards public and active travel. To this end, a significant investment of €8.6 billion is being made to increase the capacity and attractiveness of sustainable mobility under the National Development Plan 2018-27 as part of Project Ireland 2040 .

The potential roles of congestion pricing, low-emission zones and demand management were considered during the development of the Climate Action Plan and consequently, Action 81 calls for the development of a regulatory framework on low emission zones and parking pricing policies, the granting of local authorities with the power to restrict access to certain parts of a city or a town to zero-emission vehicles only, and the examination of the role of demand management measures in Irish cities, including low emission zones and parking pricing policies. My Department has lead responsibility for the implementation of this action. Later this year, and in collaboration with the local authorities and the NTA, we will commission a study to:

- Consider key management drivers in an Irish context (e.g. congestion, air quality, climate considerations);

- Review international best practices on measures such as urban congestion charging, low emission zones and parking pricing policies; and

- Recommend the most appropriate responses for Dublin/Cork/Galway/Limerick taking into account overall transport strategies in each case.

Stakeholder consultation will need to be undertaken as part of this Demand Management study. Implementation of required and most appropriate measures in each case will have regard to existing powers of local authorities, including those reserved to elected members. I will work closely with Minister Murphy and his Department if additional legislation or local authority functions are identified as providing pathways for addressing these problems.

Traffic Management

Questions (823)

John Lahart

Question:

823. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if the introduction of a ban on HGV vehicles from all or part of the city centre of Dublin during peak hours has been considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31252/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 182 of 1997) give local authorities the power to apply restrictions to heavy goods vehicles from entering particular roads or areas. As it is a matter for each local authority to determine if, and where, such restrictions should apply within its own functional area, I as Minister currently have no direct role in restricting vehicular access to individual roads.

As the Deputy may be aware, however, action 81 of the Climate Action Plan calls for the relevant bodies to "develop a regulatory framework on low emission zones and parking policies, and provide local authorities with the power to restrict access to certain parts of a city or town to zero emission vehicles only". In light of this, my Department will commission a demand management study later this year in order to consider the potential role of demand management measures in Irish cities which can be deployed to address economic congestion, air quality concerns and to reduce climate harmful emissions.

Implementation of the most appropriate measure, or measures, in each case will have regard to existing powers of local authorities, including those reserved to elected members, and my Department will work with Minister Murphy’s Department if additional legislation or functions are necessary.

Departmental Communications

Questions (824)

Shane Cassells

Question:

824. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the oversight of his Department of directives, circulars, advice or requirements issued since 2016; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with these communications to date; the surveys carried out; the results of the surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken by his Department following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31332/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department is committed to continual reform, innovation and improvement and supports and implements a culture of accountability, efficiency and value for money.

It is committed to the highest standards of professionalism, leadership and rigour and is obliged to comply with every directive made in any Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform circular published on https://circulars.gov.ie/.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (825)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

825. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the recurring weekly meetings attended by either him or the Secretary General of his Department in 2019 at which climate change and or preparations within his Department to enact a climate plan has been an agenda item; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31348/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Regular meetings and interactions take place between my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment (DCCAE) in relation to climate change.  Naturally, these engagements were frequent during the recent preparation of the Climate Action Plan, and build on the regular scheduled meetings that are held on an on-going basis. For instance, my Department meets monthly with the transport energy area of DCCAE to discuss cross-cutting policies and work streams regarding climate change particularly related to electric vehicles, alternative fuels and the biofuel obligation scheme.

Additionally, at official level the Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) Taskforce was established in 2016 to consider the range of measures and options available to Government to accelerate the take-up rate of alternatively fuelled vehicles in Ireland and so contribute to the national decarbonisation effort. This Taskforce is co-chaired by my Department and DCCAE. To date there have been a total of 22 meetings of the LEV Taskforce Steering and Working Groups and a number of Stakeholder Consultation days.

The issue of climate change is regularly discussed at Senior Officials’ Group meetings chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach and involving representation from all relevant Departments including my own. The Secretary General will also shortly take up a position on the cross-sectoral Climate Change Delivery Board which is being established to oversee the delivery of actions outlined in the Climate Action Plan.

Finally, the Deputy will be aware that the impact of climate change is frequently discussed at Cabinet Committee and Government meetings. Minister Bruton and I have had a number of engagements on the development of the Climate Action Plan.  I keep abreast of sectorial and national developments and annually report to both Houses of the Oireachtas on how transport is contributing to the national decarbonisation effort as well as building resilience to climate change.

Road Projects Status

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Questions (826)

Robert Troy

Question:

826. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of works on the N4. [31357/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015, the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

Noting the above position, I have referred the question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Brexit Issues

Questions (827)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

827. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the meetings he has had with shipping companies in the context of Brexit and preparing for all possible outcomes; his views on the potential need for increased capacity for direct shipping access to and from mainland Europe; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31362/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Brexit has been identified as my Department’s highest strategic risk and my Department along with other Government Departments and key Agencies, has been preparing for Brexit for three years. My Department has been consulting extensively with the Maritime sector, including shipping, port and other key maritime stakeholders, regarding Brexit issues on an ongoing basis. These consultations have included a Transport and Logistics All Island Sectorial meeting in Dundalk in January 2017, three Brexit Maritime Transport Workshops / Seminars (in April 2017, March 2018, and January 2019) with a further Maritime Transport Workshop / Seminar planned for September 2019.

Eight meetings have been held specifically with shipping companies and shipping interests in January and February 2019 alone, and these discussions with shipping companies have been continued by my Department since then as well by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) who report to my Department.

The 2018 IMDO report on the Implications Of Brexit On The Use Of The Landbridge acknowledges that “for Ireland, maritime links represent a key means of ensuring its direct connectivity with mainland Europe, particularly in view of the uncertain evolution of trade flows passing over the United Kingdom 'land bridge'. The viability of the ongoing use of the landbridge route to access the single market in a no deal Brexit scenario is a serious concern for Irish importers and exporters and the impact of any disruption to the landbridge cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty, particularly in a no-deal scenario.

The assessment of my Department and the IMDO, based on extensive and ongoing consultations with the shipping sector, is that sufficient capacity should be available on direct routes to continental ports following a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and should demand for further capacity arise, the shipping sector can respond quickly to meet such demands.

In the context of Brexit, there has already been a significant market response evidencing the capacity of market participants to respond to shifts in trade patterns resulting from Brexit. In 2018, CLdN launched MV Celine, the World’s largest RoRo vessel, and in 2019 launched the MV Laureline RoRo vessel, significantly increasing capacity on the Dublin–Rotterdam and Zeebrugge routes.

Irish Ferries' investment of €150 million in its newest passenger and freight vessel, MV W.B. Yeats, provides year-round freight capacity between Ireland and France of 165 HGVs per sailing or 60,600 HGVs per annum. This additional capacity alone will be sufficient to cater for a substantial switch of UK landbridge traffic to direct links to EU ports, should such a demand arise. Also, in May 2018, Brittany Ferries' launched a direct route from Cork to Santander in northern Spain, and a vessel of similar size to the W.B. Yeats is due to be delivered on the Irish Sea routes in 2020.

Furthermore, as announced this week, BG Freight Line is commencing a direct Waterford-Rotterdam weekly LoLo freight service, which will act as a deep-sea feeder through Rotterdam port and onwards to worldwide destinations for Irish importers and exporters.

If disruption is to arise, it would likely be most acute in the immediate period following a no-deal Brexit as a result of a short time lag between an increase in demand for direct connectivity to the Continent and a market response, as shipping companies assess the actual difficulties and implement a response. The clear view of my Department and the IMDO is that the optimal solution in response to increased demand for extra capacity to continental Europe in a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit scenario is for industry to respond to market changes in a timely manner.

Overall, this has been happening to date as I have set out above. A number of actions are being implemented by my Department and the IMDO to encourage this responsiveness. These will include a focussed awareness campaign by early September aimed at shipping companies, importers and exporters to create a dialogue between them to identify any new market demands as early as possible.

Brexit Issues

Questions (828)

Lisa Chambers

Question:

828. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the meetings he has had with haulage companies in the context of Brexit and the potential for delays at Dover and Calais; his plans to assist the sector and avoid delays at ports particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31363/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department has maintained close contact with road haulage stakeholders including the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA), the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI), IBEC, the Irish Exporters Association and the British-Irish Chambers of Commerce in the context of Brexit and continues to work with the industry representative bodies in order to keep hauliers and business informed of developments, in keeping with our long-established practice.

Most recently, two meetings, instigated by my Department, were held in late May with representatives of the FTAI and the IRHA respectively, to discuss Brexit and the whole-of-Government and importantly industry preparations as we approach 31 October. The readiness of the haulage sector, the introduction of additional customs controls and SPS checks East/West, and the temporary EU contingency Regulation aimed at ensuring basic road freight connectivity between the EU and UK were discussed.

My Department hosted a Brexit Freight Forum with key road transport and maritime stakeholders including haulage industry representative bodies on 21 January 2019. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine were also in attendance and addressed the Forum. My Department also previously held a similar Brexit Freight Forum in March 2018.

In February and also in March, my Department was represented at the Irish Retail Grocery and Distribution Sector Roundtable hosted by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and engagement with this sector, including haulage industry representatives, is continuing.

In March, my Department issued a comprehensive Brexit Communications Notice to all licensed international road haulage operators outlining the position on a range of transport issues which would arise in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This notice is published on my Department’s website and the information available online will continue to be updated to keep industry stakeholders informed of Brexit developments.

A very important development to note is that the EU has adopted Regulation (EU) 2019/501 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 March 2019, which will ensure the maintenance of basic road connectivity for road freight transport in the event of a no deal Brexit. This temporary measure, effective until 31 December 2019, allows UK hauliers to continue to access the EU on the basis that the UK gives reciprocal access to EU companies and operators. This Regulation is currently due to expire on 31 December and over the coming months, Ireland and other EU Member States will engage further with the Commission on this measure.

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) study into the implications of Brexit on the use of the landbridge, published in November 2018, estimated that approximately 150,000 Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) travel between Ireland and the continent via the landbridge each year. This would equate to a weekly average of approximately 2,880 HGVs moving between Ireland and the continent via the landbridge, although there can be peak times within each week, and also on a seasonal basis. A cross-departmental Landbridge Project Group, chaired by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was established in October 2017 and has been working on measures aimed at ensuring the ongoing effective and efficient use of the landbridge post-Brexit, including the key Dover-Calais route. My Department is represented on this Group and engagement with our EU partners to find solutions to minimise the potential disruption to Irish hauliers’ access to and through the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit continues.

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, along with other Government Departments, has emphasised the importance of stakeholders taking all necessary steps within their control to prepare for Brexit, including undertaking contingency planning to minimise the impact of Brexit on their operations. I would encourage road haulage operators to refer to the European Commission’s published Notices to Stakeholders in the field of road transport, the EU’s basic road connectivity contingency Regulation, the Brexit section on my Department’s website and gov.ie/Brexit.

Motor Insurance Data

Questions (829)

Michael McGrath

Question:

829. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the database to identify uninsured drivers will be up and running; the reason for delay in setting up the database; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31433/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The key reasons why Phase 2 of the Motor Third Party Liability insurance database, as outlined in the Cost of Insurance Working Group Report in January 2017, will not now be fully delivered until the end of 2020 are the following:

- Delivery has now been significantly expanded to cover details on all Private, Commercial and Fleet motor vehicle information within this timeframe.

- Delivery of the capability to capture and validate driver number details will require both an initial industry-wide start date for the collection of data for new policies and an extended period to allow for driver number details to be collected on normal renewals.

- Before insurance companies can start requiring customers to supply both their driver number details and those of their named drivers on the policy, amendments to the Road Traffic Acts will need to be in place.

- Mechanisms will have to be developed and agreed between all insurers and DTTAS Shannon for them to gain access to the NVDF to validate driver numbers.

Insurance Ireland and all the insurance companies operating in Ireland, working together with DTTAS, An Garda Síochána, and the MIBI, through the MTPL Insurance Database Project Board, have now structured the delivery of Phase 2 of the MTPL project into four sub-phases, namely:

- Delivery of all information currently covered by section 78(a) of the Road Traffic Act (2016) for both private and commercial vehicles, by end 2018.

- Delivery of driver number capture and validation capability, by end of 2019.

- Delivery of motor fleet information, by 2020.

- Delivery of all driver numbers for all drivers (following the completion of the required renewal cycles), by 2021.

Driver Licence Data

Questions (830)

Michael McGrath

Question:

830. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when recommendation 29 of the cost of insurance working group will be implemented; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31434/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Recommendation 29 of the Cost of Insurance Working Group is to develop a protocol to provide that industry use the driver licence number to check driver details on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF).

Delivery of the capability to capture and validate driver number details will require both an initial industry-wide start date for the collection of data for new policies and an extended period to allow for driver number details to be collected on renewals. Before insurance companies can start requiring customers to supply both their driver number details and those of their named drivers on the policy, amendments to the Road Traffic Acts will need to be in place. Mechanisms will have to be developed and agreed between the DTTAS and all insurers in order for them to gain access to the NVDF to validate driver numbers.

Driver Licence Data

Questions (831)

Michael McGrath

Question:

831. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport when the master licence record will be set up and running; the reason for the delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31435/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The Master Licence Record (MLR) is an internal Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) system which associates driver and vehicle records on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF).

The first phase of the project went live in October 2017. This phase established the MLR and populated the system by matching details of vehicle owners against details of driving licence holders stored in the NVDF. Approximately 18% of active private vehicle owner records were successfully matched in this phase. An updated version of the MLR is provided to An Garda Síochána on a weekly basis.

The next phase of the MLR project will go live later this summer. With this latest release, the MLR now includes over 30% of active private vehicle owner records.

Future phases of the MLR are planned but will require changes to primary and secondary legislation.

Wild Atlantic Way Project

Questions (832)

John McGuinness

Question:

832. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport further to Parliamentary Question No. 941 of 15 January 2019, the invoices received by Fáilte Ireland for the overall cost of the cycle sportif project over and above the cost of €622,000 as reported on 19 February 2019; the amount paid to a company (details supplied) for the project; if invoices dating back to October 2018 remain unpaid; his views on correspondence dated 16 October 2018 issued by Fáilte Ireland which terminates the supply agreement pursuant to clause 14.2; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31459/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of national tourism policy.  It is not directly involved in the development, management or promotion of particular tourism initiatives, which are matters for the tourism agencies.

With specific regard to certain issues relating to the Wild Atlantic Way cycle sportif group participative event, I am aware that these are now the subject of a legal exchange between Fáilte Ireland and the event organisers.  It would therefore be inappropriate for me to make any comment on the matter.

I have asked Fáilte Ireland to reply directly to the Deputy in regard to the matters raised.  Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

Cyber Security Protocols

Questions (833)

Jack Chambers

Question:

833. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the cybersecurity protocols under the remit of her Department; if it has had a cybersecurity breach in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30581/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Department of Health provides ICT services to my Department under the terms of a Service Level Agreement and enacts the following on our behalf.

It implements a multi-layered approach to cyber security and to protecting our ICT systems, data and infrastructure. This includes preventative controls like firewalls, anti-virus and endpoint protection alongside an advanced network intrusion detection system. Software vulnerabilities are managed by maintaining up-to-date versions. Regular communications are issued to staff, reminding them of their obligations around cyber security and informing them of any emerging threats. In addition my Department continues to engage with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) based in the Department of Communications, Climate Action Environment and receives regular updates from the State's national/governmental Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT-IE). I am advised that there have been no cyber security breaches within the Department in the past 12 months.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (834)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

834. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the funding applied for and allocated to Tipperary County Council under the capital grant scheme for play and recreation for 2017 and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30601/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Capital Grant Funding Scheme in my Department for Play and Recreation was introduced in 2013 to support the development or refurbishment of play and recreation facilities.

€250,000 was provided each year between 2013 and 2018 for new and innovative play and recreation spaces and facilities, with a maximum grant allocation of €20,000 per Local Authority. Each Local Authority was required to match funding of the amount requested from my Department.

In 2017, 21 Local Authorities received funding under the Scheme. Tipperary Local Authority applied for €20,000 and was awarded €8,000 for the refurbishment and replacement of the safety surface at Templemore Park Playground.

In 2018, 26 Local Authorities received funding. Tipperary applied for €12,500 and was awarded €7,500. This funding was for the refurbishment of Fair Green Playground, Carrick-on-Suir and the refurbishment of Duneske Playground, Cahir, Co. Tipperary

In 2019, I increased the amount of capital funding available under this scheme from €250,000 to €450,000.

In consultation with the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network (LAPRN) we agreed to allocate a maximum of €30,000 per Local Authority for the upgrade and refurbishment of existing play and recreation facilities. This includes the provision of new equipment, the development of natural play areas, and the refurbishment of existing play facilities. The Local Authority is required to provide 25% of the funding requested from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the application to be considered.

In 2019 Tipperary Local Authority applied for €28,350 and was awarded €21,262 for the refurbishment/rehabilitation of Three Drives, Carronreddy, Tipperary Town Multi Use Games Area (MUGA). 23 Local Authorities receiving funding.

There is continuous engagement between my Department and the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network to ensure that the Play and Recreation Scheme is highlighted at a local and national level.

Adoption Records Provision

Questions (835)

Michael McGrath

Question:

835. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if an adopted person who already has confirmation of the identity of their birth mother, now deceased, is entitled to information relating to their date of birth and location of birth; the location the person should go to obtain this information; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30621/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Tusla - the Child and Family Agency offers an information and tracing service for adopted and other relevant persons in various locations throughout the country. This service is at no cost to the applicant. More information can be found at www.tusla.ie/services/alternative-care/adoption-services/tracing-service/

Under the GDPR and Data Protection legislation an individual can ask a data controller for any of the personal data held by them. However, I am aware that there can be constraints on the release of data even where a person is deceased. The Deputy may be interested to know that the Adoption (Information & Tracing) Bill, 2016 addresses this issue and explicit provision is made for the release of information to an adopted person, where a birth parent is deceased. The Bill is currently at Committee Stage in Seanad Éireann and I have embarked on further consultations with Members of the Oireachtas and with stakeholder groups, to seek to reach a consensus which will allow the legislation to progress. Pending the outcome of these engagements, I hope to be in a position to bring the Bill back to Seanad Éireann in the autumn.

Further to this the Deputy may wish to contact the General Register Office (GRO), under the aegis of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, who may be able to help individuals with finding the type of information listed above.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (836)

John Lahart

Question:

836. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the steps she will take to ensure local authorities and other bodies co-operate with the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes. [30641/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Commission was established by Government in February 2015 to investigate concerns related to the institutional care of unmarried mothers and their babies during the period 1922 to 1998. The Commission is tasked with providing a full account of what happened to vulnerable women and children in these institutions. Following a request from the Commission, Government granted an extension to the time frame for the delivery of its final Report. The Commission is due to report in February 2020.

The Government is satisfied that this independent Commission has sufficient scope to examine the broad range of public concerns, and to make a determination on their relevance to the central issues in question, and where appropriate to make any recommendations to Government which the Commission deems necessary.

In accordance with section 9 of the Commissions of Investigation Act 2004, it is essential to recognise that the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes is independent in the performance of its functions.

The Commissions of Investigation Act 2004 provides an effective mechanism to investigate complex and sensitive matters of significant public concern. The Act gives the Commission robust powers to compel persons to produce information and answer questions, and I do not have any role or information in this regard. The precise approach to examination of evidence are matters for the Commission to decide and progress.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (837)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

837. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of a report by a person (details supplied) report into the DNA options for the site of the historic mother and baby home at Tuam, County Galway; and when she anticipates this report being finalised. [30701/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I have received Dr Shannon's report, and it is under consideration in my Department. A requirement has been identified for detailed legal advice, and this has been sought from the Office of the Attorney General. That advice will determine the options open to Government.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (838)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

838. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated number of persons born in the mother and baby homes currently under investigation by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30702/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs does not have collated information to facilitate an estimate on the numbers of persons born in the Mother and Baby Homes currently under investigation. There is no centralised records system for the fourteen specified institutions but the Deputy may wish to note that certain records from several of these former institutions are now in the possession of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

Tusla has made these records available to the independent statutory Commission of Investigation on Mother and Baby Homes. The Commission has reported that when its cross-referencing of all records is complete it should provide as comprehensive an account as is possible of the pathways of entry into and exit from these institutions of the children concerned. It is reasonable to assume that this analysis will assist to estimate the numbers of children born or resident for a time in these institutions. The Commission is due to report in February 2020.

All birth records are held by the General Register Office (GRO). Information provided by the GRO on births recorded at the addresses of the main mother and baby institutions was published in the Report of the Inter-Departmental Group on Mother and Baby Homes in July 2014. This data, which is available on my Department’s website, identifies a total of over 23,000 births as having taken place at the addresses of 9 of these institutions. The delivery of babies to unmarried mothers on-site was a feature of many, though not all, Mother and Baby Homes so this figure would not represent the full numbers of births to mothers resident in these homes. Practices changed over the period during which these the institutions were in operation with births increasingly taking place in maternity hospitals or maternity units in later years.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (839)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

839. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has considered establishing a redress or compensation scheme for survivors of mother and baby homes. [30703/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

As the Deputy will be aware I have addressed the question of a redress scheme for former residents of these institutions on a number of occasions and I do appreciate that calls to establish such a scheme are genuinely made on behalf of an ageing community.

It is not possible for a Government to consider an appropriate response to matters which are currently within the scope of an independent statutory investigation, including any question of redress, prior to the Commission submitting its final reports.

Given that these specific matters have not been central to any previous inquiry, it is not feasible at this interim stage in the Commission's work to pre-empt its findings and recommendations. To date the Commission has made no findings about abuse or neglect in any of the institutions within its terms of reference. Its final report is due to be completed by February 2020.

I know that many former residents are eagerly awaiting the completion of this work. When the final reports of the Commission are available the Government will be in a position to comprehensively respond to the full account of the Commission’s conclusions on all matters regarding the experiences of former residents.

In the interim I am committed to on-going engagement with former residents of these institutions. I have engaged with the community of former residents, their families and advocates on this issue and I established the Collaborative Forum. The recommendations of the Forum have recently been published and Government has committed to advancing a number of measures in response to identified issues of concern.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (840)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

840. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the work of the working group established between her Department and that of the Department of Health with regard to supporting mother and baby home survivors; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30704/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Following the publication of the recommendations from the first report of the Collaborative Forum of former residents of Mother and Baby Homes, my colleague the Minister for Health has convened a working group to develop specific proposals for a package of health and well-being supports. My officials are participating in this work and I understand that there have been three meetings to date.

The working group has been tasked with reporting by September in order to facilitate considerations within the Estimates process for Budget 2020.

Mother and Baby Homes Inquiries

Questions (841, 842, 843)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

841. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has established a scheme to fund memorials at the location of mother and baby institutions. [30705/19]

View answer

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

842. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if financial support is provided to mother and baby home survivors for the purpose of commemoration events. [30706/19]

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Anne Rabbitte

Question:

843. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the working group to develop a national memorial that commemorates, respects and honours mothers and children held in mother and baby homes. [30707/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 841 to 843, inclusive, together.

These proposed memorialisation measures to which the Deputy refers arise from the Government's initial response to the recommendations in the First Report from the Collaborative Forum of former residents of Mother and Baby Homes.

My Department has already commencing the detailed scoping work necessary to implement the proposed memorialisation measures. It is also my intention to further consult with the Forum as we develop the specific schemes.

When Government approved publication of the Forum's recommendations on 16th April, it also agreed to progress a number of initial related measures. Chief amongst these was a necessity for a comprehensive analysis of all of the recommendations in the report, with individual Department's to conduct an assessment of the policy, resource and legislative of recommendations relevant to their respective Departments. I expect to receive feedback from relevant Departments shortly. Once this initial analysis and assessment is complete, my Department will further co-ordinate the response in respect of a number of the recommendations, particularly those relating to Memorialisation.

Childcare Services Funding

Questions (844)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

844. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the amount of current and capital funding provided by her Department to professional associations of child minders, crèches, montessoris or other organisations over each of the past six years by organisation in tabular form. [30708/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

During the 2000s, when major capital investment was underway, there were concerns as to how quality could be incorporated into childcare services. In that manner, it was decided by my Department to fund a small number of National Voluntary Childcare Organisations (NVCOs) whose members consisted of childcare providers who had the ability to provide quality support within the sector. My Department currently provides funding through Pobal to seven NVCOs who provide support to and represent 4,500 early education and childcare service providers.

The supports provided by NVCOs include professional development training, information and mentoring on quality practice, guidance on national childcare funding programmes, and informing policy to improve standards in the early learning and care sector.

Since 2013 my Department has provided the following funding to these organisations:

VCO

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Barnardos

553,000

549,698

551,692

553,000

553,000

553,000

Border Counties Childcare Network*

252,000

290,000

240,000

EECE and Play Early Childhood Ireland

1,229,999

1,978,200

1,246,311

1,190,000

1,229,500

1,190,000

Forbairt Naionra Teo

210,543

168,700

142,032

Irish Steiner Kindergarten Association

49,412

49,489

50,000

49,992

50,800

50,402

National Childhood Network

240,000

240,000

362,500

National Childminding Association of Ireland

335,372

340,000

340,000

340,000

335,305

340,000

National Parents Council of Ireland - Primary

28,572

61,500

St Nicholas Montessori Society

69,000

69,000

65,250

68,921

69,000

69,000

*Border Counties Childcare Network are now the National Childhood Network.

Childcare Services Funding

Questions (845)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

845. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number and average value of child minder development grants provided by in the past ten years by year and county in tabular form. [30709/19]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

Officials in my Department are currently compiling the information as requested by the Deputy. This information will be supplied to the Deputy in no later than 10 working days. I have asked my officials to follow up on this to ensure delivery as a matter of urgency.