Public Procurement Contracts Data

Questions (81)

Barry Cowen

Question:

81. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of SMEs that have availed of public contracts in each year since 2009; the aggregate value of these contracts in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40470/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Procurement is key priority for Government and has undergone significant reform aimed at ensuring the sustainable delivery of much needed public services while also encouraging and supporting SME participation in these business opportunities. This approach is beneficial for the State because it nurtures competition which ensures value for money is maintained and provides SME with a platform to take advantage of similar opportunities in Ireland and across the European Union.  

Specifically, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) have developed a suite of measures (circular 10/14) aimed at assisting SMEs to access public procurement opportunities. These include:

- Proportionate financial capacity criterion (turnover requirements limited to twice contract value);

- Contracting Authorities are encouraged to divide larger public contracts into lots;

- Provision for “consortia bidding” to assist SMEs to participate in procurement procedures where they would not have the relevant capability or scale; and

- Public bodies are required to advertise contracts for goods and services valued above €25,000 on the national eTenders portal.

In addition, Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan, who has responsibility for public procurement, chairs quarterly meetings of the SME Advisory Group, ensuring that the voice of Irish SMEs (including ISME, IBEC, SFA, Chambers Ireland, and CIF) is heard by Government. 

The OGP proactively engages with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Inter-Trade Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to promote SME access to public procurement. The OGP participates at "Go-2-Tender" workshops and "Meet the Buyer" events which are also designed to help SMEs.

A series of information videos explaining specific public procurement topics, along with case studies of SMEs who have won government contracts, was launched by Minister of State O’Donovan earlier this year.  A series of focused and targeted breakfast briefings has also been scheduled around the country in conjunction with Inter-Trade Ireland and the SME Advisory Group partners.

Currently, data on the award of public contracts does not generally capture the size of businesses that are successful. However, analysis carried and published by the OGP in the "Public Service Spend and Tendering Analysis for 2016" indicates that 94% of the analysed expenditure is with firms within the State and that the majority of the spend analysed is with SMEs. This was based on an analysis of €4.723 billion expenditure across 77 public service bodies. 

The OGP will continue to proactively engage with business and strive to enhance the significant measures already in place to support SME access to public procurement opportunities.

School Admissions

Questions (82)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

82. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available to persons (details supplied) who wish to send their child to their local primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40235/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that in relation to school admissions, parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available, the pupil should be admitted.  However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available, a selection process may be necessary.  This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.  However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice. 

The Deputy will note however that the selection process procedures and enrolment policy are the responsibility of the individual school authorities.

I also wish to advise the Deputy that my Department's capital investment programme provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms for existing schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified. All school capital projects that have been approved, by my Department, under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme (ASA), may be viewed on my Department’s website, www.education.ie, which is updated regularly.

In this regard, I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has not received an application, for such funding, from the school in question.

 My Department has no record of receiving a current application, for capital funding, for the provision of additional accommodation at the school in question.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (83)

John Brassil

Question:

83. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a summer works scheme grant for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40262/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that an application for External Environment Projects (Category 10) has been received from the school authority, in question, under my Department's multi-annual Summer Works Scheme (SWS) 2020 onwards.

I wish to advise that commensurate with the level of funding available for SWS in 2020, applications will be assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the governing Circular Letter for the Scheme.  This Circular Letter (0027/2019) is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.

It is my intention to publish a list of successful applicants in Q4, 2019 for works to be carried out in summer 2020.

School Completion Programme

Questions (84)

Peter Burke

Question:

84. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the completion of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40268/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the project to which he refers has been devolved to Westmeath County Council (WCC) for delivery. 

The Deputy will know that I am very familiar with the issues that have arisen with this project. I can now inform him that senior officials from my Department and Westmeath County Council (WCC) met with the relevant contractor last week. The meeting took place under the dispute resolution mechanisms set out in the Public Works Contract. Significant progress was made at that meeting and I, along with WCC, look forward to seeing significant progress on site in the coming weeks in that respect. As the conciliation process is ongoing, I am not in a position to say anything further at this time.

Departmental Staff Promotions

Questions (85)

Peter Burke

Question:

85. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if executive officer grade positions are available in his Department in Mullingar, County Westmeath. [40291/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has a small regional office in Mullingar and therefore it is unlikely that too many vacancies will arise at Executive Officer level  in the immediate future.  However, two of our three main offices are located nearby in Tullamore and Athlone.  Vacancies for administrative grades in my department are filled through the Public Appointments Service (PAS) recruitment process, so should a vacancy arise in Tullamore or Athlone we will fill these vacancies from PAS panels, where available.  Existing civil servants at executive officer grade who wish to seek positions in other locations at their present grade should apply under the Civil Service Mobility Scheme which comes under the remit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and is administered through HR Shared Services.

Education and Training Provision

Questions (86)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

86. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the objectives of the EXPLORE programme; the budget for the programme in 2019; the current number of participants supported by the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40313/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The key objective of the EXPLORE initiative is to create a potential new solution to help address the issue of Ireland’s low level of participation in lifelong learning among the Irish workforce, particularly targeting persons over 35 years of age with low skills including digitial skills in manufacturing employment. It seeks to:  

- address the lack of digital skills in this cohort;

- provide a novel approach to overcome barriers to participation in lifelong learning;

- address the key issue of skills obsolescence which is a significant concern for employers; 

- showcase the benefits of collaboration between local Education & Training providers and industry.  

Funding of €720,000 has been allocated to the programme in 2019.  As of 31st August 235 people have participated in the EXPLORE programme nationwide with further iterations being rolled out at present.

An independent evaluation of the EXPLORE programme delivered in 2018 is currently underway. The aim of the evaluation is to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the programme. It also aims to illustrate the impact on participants and gather feedback from employers on their experience, and impacts both for their company and also on employees. The report is expected  by end October 2019.

Education and Training Boards

Questions (87)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

87. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the objectives of the skills to advance programme; the budget for the programme in 2019; the current number of participants supported by the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40314/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Skills to Advance initiative was launched in 2018. It targets vulnerable employees who need upskilling and reskilling at Level 5 and Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). The roll out of this new initiative by the Education and Training Boards (ETBs) in 2019 complements the Skills for Work programme which offers courses to low skilled workers leading to Level 3 and Level 4 NFQ awards.

Skills to Advance targets employees in lower skilled jobs who need to adapt to a changing work environment. It provides employees with flexible and accessible opportunities to advance in their working lives and careers, sustain employment and avoid displacement, or avail of emerging job opportunities. The initiative also supports small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who need some assistance to develop their workforce.

The Skills to Advance budget for 2019 is €11 million, and it is planned that 5,000 participants will take part in Skills to Advance programmes by the end of 2019. The number of participants who have been trained in Skills to Advance programmes to date in 2019 is 3,095.

Education and Training Provision

Questions (88)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

88. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the objectives of the skills for work programme; the budget for the programme in 2019; the current number of participants supported by the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40315/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Skills for Work is a national programme aimed at providing training opportunities to help employees deal with the basic skills demands of the workplace. The programme delivers training courses leading to level 3 and level 4 awards on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) for full time or part time employees. The programme is particularly targeted at low skilled workers who without the opportunity to participate in this training may not have the confidence to embrace change in the workplace.

€2.74m is being made available in 2019 for the Skills for Work programme, with planned provision for just over 4,000 beneficiaries to take part by the end of 2019. To date in 2019, 2,657 people have taken part in the programme.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (89)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

89. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the introduction of a national access to apprenticeship programme as proposed by an organisation (details supplied) in its 2020 pre-budget submission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40316/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As set out in the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland, SOLAS has completed a review on pathways to participation in apprenticeship.  The purpose of the review is to ensure that our national apprenticeship system is more reflective of the range and diversity of our population, more inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities and that apprenticeship opportunities are more readily accessible to all. One of the areas identified for action was to create new pathways via pre-apprenticeship courses around the country.  The actions include targets for additional places on pre-apprenticeship courses and promoting apprenticeship opportunities for target groups.

Work is already underway in many of the areas identified for action and SOLAS in partnership with the Higher Education Authority has engaged with Technological University Dublin to explore potential expansion and supports for the existing Access to Apprenticeship programme. This is due to the evidenced success for learners on the programme and the fact that many participants have now progressed onwards to commencing an apprenticeship.

In addition, in May the Apprenticeship Council held a consultation with 47 employer representatives and other key stakeholders on ‘Generation Apprenticeship – What’s Next?’ The objective of this event was to gather feedback and ideas on the next steps in expansion of apprenticeship nationally. One of the areas identified was the need to expand pre-apprenticeship opportunities. The Apprenticeship Council is now considering this feedback and will incorporate it into its 2020 work with apprenticeship consortia and other key stakeholders.

Education and Training Boards Administration

Questions (90)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

90. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the implementation of the Code of Practice of the Governance of the Education and Training Boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40317/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department, following extensive consultation with ETBI, published a Code of Practice for the Governance of Education and Training Boards in January of this year. 

The Code reflects the current regulations and the latest edition of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.  The Code provides for Oversight Agreements and Performance Delivery Agreements to be drawn up between my Department and each ETB and my Department is currently engaged with the Sector in relation to the development of template documents with a view to facilitating these agreements.  

Following the local elections which took place in May of this year, training on the Code of Practice will be rolled out to ETB Chairpersons, Board members, Chief Executives, Audit and Risk Committee members, Finance Committee members and to ETB Directors over the coming months.  ETBI has established a Governance Steering Group which includes representation from ETB boards, ETB executive, ETBI and the Department of Education and Skills and has commenced a contract with an external company for the roll out of this training.

Education and Training Boards

Questions (91)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

91. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the names of the five persons and their nominating bodies elected to the boards of each education and training board under section 30(11) of the Education and Training Board Act 2013 in tabular form. [40318/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

After every Local Authority elections, the ETB boards are replenished with 21 members appointed.

Section 30 (1) (d) of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 specifies that 5 members of nominated bodies shall be appointed to ETB boards. There are 3 categories of bodies representing the following groups:

- Business, industry and employers;

- Learners;

- Management of or Leadership in recognised schools.

In July 2019, pursuant to Section 30(11)(a) of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013, I specified a number of bodies as having the right to nominate persons for appointment to Education and Training Boards. A list of these bodies is in the following link for the Deputy's information.

Details of the five persons and their nominating bodies elected to the boards under section 30(11) of the Education and Training Board Act 2013 are in the following link.

The five persons have not yet been elected to the Board of Limerick and Clare ETB but my Department has been informed this will take place on the 3rd October 2019 and a vacancy exists on the Board of Laos and Offaly ETB which will be filled on the 9th October 2019. My officals can provide the Deputy with that additional information once it becomes available.

Specified Nominating Bodies - July 2019

Details of Nominating Body Members to ETB Boards

Pyrite Issues

Questions (92)

Jack Chambers

Question:

92. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 170 of 24 September 2019, the timeline for the removal of pyrite completely from a school (details supplied); his plans for suitable accommodation for the students while the work is in progress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40333/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

These issues are being dealt with under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme. In that context, approval was given recently for works to take place under the scheme.

At the same time, the school is progressing with its application for works under Additional Accomodation Scheme. Officals in my Department have been in contact with it recently in that respect.  

Once the presence of pyrite in the school referred to by the Deputy was established,  my Department's Planning and Building Unit sought legal advice as to how to  proceed.   The matter has been referred to the Chief State Solicitor’s Office.

The Deputy will appreciate that as this matter is still being dealt with by the Chief State Solicitors Office it is not possible for me to comment further at present.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (93)

Peter Burke

Question:

93. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a SUSI application by a person (details supplied). [40336/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As part of a comprehensive customer service and communications strategy provided by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), to ensure that all necessary avenues are open to applicants to receive the information they need, a dedicated email and phone line service is provided by SUSI for Oireachtas members. This was established to meet an identified need for applicants who choose to engage the assistance of their public representatives in making inquiries about their grant applications.

This service complements the established channels provided by SUSI which include online application tracking, a dedicated website, a telephone helpdesk, email and social media, including Facebook and Twitter.

Enquiries may be emailed direct to SUSI at oireachtas@susi.ie. Staff in SUSI are responding to email queries within a matter of days.

Summer Works Scheme

Questions (94)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

94. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a plan of works will be put in place in relation to a school (details supplied) in County Cork; and if the existing structure of the school will be protected. [40371/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the project to which he refers is a Summer Works Scheme project and has been devolved for delivery to the school authority in that context. He will also be aware from my previous response that the issues to which he refers, that were precipated by tragic circumstances on site, are being addressed by the school authority and its design team as a matter of urgency.

I can inform the Deputy that the school and its design team will be writing to my Department in the next day or two to seek approval for the appointment of a specialist to complete the method statement to which I referred in my previous response. I can assure the Deputy that my Department will treat this request with the urgency it deserves and will not delay the appointment. Subject to the approval of the method statement by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), work on site can be expected to begin shortly after this appointment is made.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (95)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if additional special needs assistant access will be provided at a school to meet the needs of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40385/19]

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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.  

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.

Community Alert Programme

Questions (96)

James Lawless

Question:

96. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to improve the existing community text alert scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40177/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to support and prioritise community crime prevention, including Text Alert.

Community partnership has been particularly evident in the success of the Garda Text Alert scheme. Since it was launched in September 2013 it has grown quickly with a total of 164,000 subscribers and in the order of 3 million text messages sent annually. Every Garda Division, rural and urban, now offers the text alert service and An Garda Síochána has published guidelines to assist in the establishment and operation of local groups.

For many years, my Department has supported community crime prevention by providing funding for the Community Alert programme, which is operated by Muintir na Tíre in partnership with the Garda authorities. My Department provides funding in relation to the employment and associated costs of the national service, including three of the five regional Development Officers. The long-standing view has been that this is the best use of the resources available to my Department to support effective community crime prevention actions.

At the Ploughing Championships in September 2018, I announced that the Text Alert Rebate Scheme would be available to over 1,000 local groups registered under the Garda Text Alert Scheme. Under that Scheme, my Department made in the region of €150,000 available to local communities who wanted to apply for a rebate towards the costs associated with running their local Text Alert Scheme. Ultimately, payments made as part of the 2018 Scheme amounted to €112,500 which was allocated to 394 groups.

I can advise the Deputy that it is my intention to make a further announcement about the Text Alert Rebate Scheme for 2019 in the near future.

Legal Aid Service Reform

Questions (97)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

97. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the measures he is taking to introduce reforms aimed at reducing the costs associated with the civil and criminal legal aid system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40337/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am sure that the Deputy appreciates that the provision of legal aid is an essential support for people who lack the financial means to receive appropriate representation in legal and court proceedings and is key to ensuring equality of access to justice and that the interests of justice are served.  

I would like to assure the Deputy that I am fully aware of the importance of value for money in delivering legal aid and of the need for any and all steps to be taken to control fraud, identify and address irregularities and to engage with users in the legal profession to ensure the fair and efficient administration of both criminal and civil legal aid schemes.  I am assured that the Irish system of legal aid represents good value for public money compared to other comparable jurisdictions.  

The Criminal Legal Aid Scheme is a vital part of the criminal justice system.  The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted in certain circumstances for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings.  Under the 1962 Act, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid.  An applicant must establish to the satisfaction of the court that their means are insufficient to enable them to pay for legal representation themselves. The provision of criminal legal aid has been established by the Courts as a Constitutional right.  

The nature of the Scheme is that it is demand-led, driven by the incidence of crime, detection rates and prosecutions of cases through the courts systems.  While this can make it difficult to anticipate costs, it is not the case that there is unlimited access to such support and improvements and efficiencies are consistently pursued.

Following a recommendation made by my Department's Internal Audit Committee, a Criminal Legal Aid Oversight Committee was set up in 2016.  The Committee is made up of representatives of my Department , the Courts Service, An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Chief State Solicitor's Office and the Legal Aid Board.  This Committee oversees and advises on the management and control of the criminal legal aid scheme.   

My Department is also preparing a draft General Scheme of a Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Bill, the key purpose of which is to transfer the administration of the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme to the Legal Aid Board and to give effect to Government Programme commitments in respect of criminal legal aid, including introducing a more rigorous and objective means testing system for criminal legal aid, provision for contributions by applicants, and new sanctions.  It is my intention to seek approval of Government for the General Scheme of the Bill and submit it to the Oireachtas for pre-legislative scrutiny as early as possible. 

With respect to civil legal aid, this is administered by the Legal Aid Board and is subject to both means and merit tests.  A review of the Administration of Civil Justice in Ireland is currently taking place which will examine areas of civil justice with a view to improving access to justice and reducing the cost of litigation. An underlying aim of the review is to ensure that administration of civil justice in Ireland is able to respond to changing values and attitudes in our society and to promote equal access to justice.

These initiatives build on the reforms put in place by the Mediation Act 2017 which encourages the use of mediation as an alternative to court based proceedings, with a view to achieving outcomes that respond to the needs of parties thereby reducing the potential cost of litigation.  Legislation is currently in preparation on a family court system which will also support the pursuit of alternative dispute resolution options, thereby helping to reduce costs.

Garda Stations

Questions (98)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

98. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason for the downgrading of Ballyconnell Garda station, County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39520/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €92 million this year.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including the allocation of Garda vehicles and personnel, among the various Garda Divisions. As Minister, I have no direct role in the matter. I am assured however that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, to ensure their optimum use.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that as part of the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme. the Ballyconnell and Cavan Districts were amalgamated in 2013. I am informed by the Garda authorities that there is currently no plan to return Ballyconnell Garda station to full 24 hours opening.

The Garda Commissioner has informed me that a 24-hour mobile Garda response capability continues to be maintained in the area and that the primary focus of local Gardaí has and will be to maintain a visible Garda presence in the general area.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that a new Armed Support Unit was established this week in Cavan, adding to the two other ASUs already in An supported by additional Armed Support Unit personnel in the coming months.

More generally, the Deputy may wish to note the Garda strength of the Cavan/Monaghan Division from 2009 to 30 August 2019 , as provided by the Commissioner, which is available on my Department’s website through the following link. http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_August_2019.xlsx/Files/003_Garda_Numbers_by_Division_2006_to_August_2019.xlsx

As the Deputy will see, the number of Gardaí allocated to the Cavan/Monaghan Division has increased from 318 at the end of 2015, to 372 at the end of August 2019, which represents a 17% increase in Garda numbers in the Division. These Gardaí are supported by 44 Garda Staff, as of the same date.

For more general information on Garda Facts and Figures please see the following link.

http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/An_Garda_Siochana_facts_and_figures

The following table outlines details of the Garda fleet attached to the Cavan/Monaghan Divisional Fleet as at 30 September 2019.

The Deputy may also wish to be aware that a capital allocation of €10 million has been made available for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from the Garda authorities that this allocation will be used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year.

Cars

Vans

Motorbikes

4 x 4

*Others

Total

CAVAN-MONAGHAN TOTAL

42

14

2

1

0

59

BAILIEBORO DISTRICT

9

2

0

0

0

11

CARRICKMACROSS DISTRICT

7

2

0

1

0

10

CAVAN DISTRICT

16

4

1

0

0

21

MONAGHAN DISTRICT

10

6

1

0

0

17

*The category 'other' refers to MPV, SUV, Minibus or Prisoner Conveyance Vehicles

Garda Resources

Questions (99)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

99. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the investment made in the Garda fleet and personnel in the Cavan-Monaghan Garda district in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39642/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources provided by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached unprecedented levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion. Very significant capital investment is also being made in Garda ICT, the Garda fleet and the Garda estate - in total, the Garda capital allocation has increased from €61 million to €92 million in 2019, which represents a 50% increase.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for managing and controlling the administration and business of An Garda Síochána. It is a matter for the Commissioner to efficiently manage the significant resources which have been provided and to determine the allocation of budgets to all regions, including the Northern Region and all Divisions, including Cavan/ Monaghan Division, based upon operational requirements.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the following table outlines the vehicles assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan Division in 2018 and to date in 2019.

2019

Cars

Vans

4 x 4

Total

CAVAN MONAGHAN DIVISION

1

0

0

1

MONAGHAN DISTRICT

1

0

0

1

2018

Cars

Vans

4 x 4

Total

CAVAN MONAGHAN DIVISION

6

3

1

10

BAILEBORO DISTRICT

1

0

0

1

CARRICKMACROSS DISTRICT

0

1

1

2

CAVAN DISTRICT

3

2

0

5

MONAGHAN DISTRICT

2

0

0

2

I should also point out that a total of €10 million has been made available to An Garda Síochána for the purchase and fit-out of Garda vehicles in 2019. I understand from Garda management that this allocation is being used for the purchase and fit-out of over 300 for operational use in An Garda Síochána. The allocation of these new vehicles across the Garda Divisions is for Garda management and not for me as Minister.

I would also point out that An Garda Síochána is a growing organisation. We currently have over 14,200 Gardaí nationwide, supported by over 2,700 Garda staff. And as part of the Government’s plan to achieve an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021, there is ongoing and increased recruitment both of new Gardaí as well as Garda staff, allowing for redeployment of Gardaí to operational duties at the front-line. Since the reopening of the Garda Training College in 2014, approximately 2,800 new Garda members have attested and been assigned to frontline policing duties in communities throughout the country. Another 200 probationer Gardaí are due to attest by the end of this year. Further, the Garda Commissioner’s decision to recruit a net 600 Garda staff in 2019 will allow for the redeployment of approximately 500 experienced Gardaí to frontline and visible policing duties by the end of this year.

As part of this overall increase, additional Garda resources have been deployed to border areas in recent months and this process is continuing. I am advised by the Garda Commissioner that as of 31 August 2019, there were 372 Gardai assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan Division, which represents a 17% increase since the end of 2015. These Gardai are supported by 44 Garda Staff, as of the same date. Since the reopening of the Garda College in 2014, 100 probationer Gardai have been assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan Division, including 35 in 2018 and 25 to date in 2019.

In the event that a "no deal" Brexit gives rise to additional requirements in border areas, the Commissioner has confirmed that further resources can and will be provided through redeployment.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal

Questions (100)

Seán Fleming

Question:

100. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the date of an assessment of the caseload of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal; when it will be received by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40178/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal administers two schemes:

- the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted and

- the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted on Prison Officers.

The Tribunal is made up qualified barristers and solicitors. Under the terms of the Scheme, the Tribunal is limited to a Chair and 6 ordinary members who provide services on a part-time basis. It is entirely independent in the matter of individual decisions on applications for compensation.

I can confirm that five Departmental staff act as Secretariat to the Tribunal. These staff receive applications and gather the necessary information from applicants and other stakeholders such as An Garda Síochána in relation to each case. When all required information is available, Tribunal staff send the file to the Tribunal for consideration and decision. Where a decision is appealed, Tribunal staff make arrangements for a Tribunal appeal hearing.

In terms of the duration of the process, I should note that it may take several years before an application for compensation is ready for submission to the Tribunal for consideration and decision. For example final Garda reports on the crime are required, as are the outcomes of any court cases initiated. In addition, in some cases the extent of injuries suffered by the victim may not be known for some years. It is also the case that the assessment of loss of earnings for consideration by the Tribunal may be complex to determine and may require employer assessment and social welfare reports. These and other factors can have an impact on the duration of any particular application.

An assessment is currently being carried out by officials of my Department in relation to caseload in the scheme, including the extent and nature of any possible backlog. The assessment is currently being finalised by my officials.

Finally, the Deputy may be interested to know that in its fifth work programme, published in March 2019, the Law Reform Commission included a review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as one of 15 planned projects. I welcome this project as an opportunity for a comprehensive examination of all aspects of this long-established Scheme, to ensure that the State’s arrangements for the compensation of victims of violent crime are in keeping with good international practice and meet society's needs into the future.