Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Questions (557)

Jack Chambers


557. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the role her Department is playing in the winter ready campaign; the expenditure her Department will incur in this campaign; and the details of expenditure on external consultancy and advertising or communication. [46628/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Winter Ready campaign was jointly launched on 6 November by the Minister with responsibility for Defence and Chairman of the Government Taskforce, Paul Kehoe TD, Minister for Business Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and Minister with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English TD.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is represented at meetings held by the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning on winter-preparedness issues and has an important supporting role to play in the winter ready campaign 2019 – 2020.

The Department has measures in place which ensure that, should a weather related emergency arise during the winter months, it will provide the necessary assistance through its Community Welfare Service by way of its Exceptional Needs and Urgent Needs Payments.

In addition, the Department can activate the Humanitarian Assistance Scheme in the immediate aftermath of flooding and severe weather events to support householders whose homes have been damaged by flooding and who are not in a position to meet costs for essential needs, household items and in some instances structural repair. The scheme is income tested and assistance is not provided for losses which are covered by insurance or for commercial and business losses.

The Department publishes all Winter Ready messages and updates on its website. When necessary, it uses social media (Twitter and Instagram) to publish urgent messages in the event of an emergency. It has not been necessary to engage external consultancy or advertising for the current season to date. The Department will monitor the need and make decisions in this regard as necessary.