National Volunteering Strategy

Questions (363)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

363. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the development of the national volunteering strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50745/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

Supporting the role of volunteers in our society is an important element of my Department's work in developing vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities. Consequently, the development of a National Volunteering Strategy is a key priority for my Department.

The first step in the development of the strategy was a Call for Input paper launched last December. The responses received were presented to the National Advisory Group on Volunteering which is representative of all stakeholders and chaired by myself. This group has met on three occasions to date and has provided a comprehensive input into the development of the strategy. In addition, my officials attended a youth consultation event organised by Foroige last month to seek the input and engagement of young people into the development of the strategy.

It is anticipated that the draft strategy will be finalized later this month, following which there will be a further opportunity for public consultation before the strategy is submitted for Government approval. Details of the public consultation will be available at www.gov.ie.

Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

Questions (364)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

364. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of an application made by Donegal County Council (details supplied) under the outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme; when an announcement will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50790/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreation infrastructure or the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreation infrastructure in Ireland.

Earlier this year, I launched the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme for 2019 under three separate Measures:

- Measure 1: Small maintenance/promotion of existing infrastructure (maximum grant €20,000)

- Measure 2: Medium scale repair/upgrade and development of new small/medium infrastructure (maximum grant €200,000), and

- Measure 3: Repair/upgrade and development of larger more strategic projects (maximum grant €500,000).

A total of 284 applications were received across the three Measures, seeking total funding of over €23 million.

I announced details of successful applications under Measure 1 last week, with a grant value of just over €1.8 million. Details of successful applications can be found on my Departments website at www.gov.ie/drcd.

My officials are currently assessing the Measure 2 and Measure 3 project applications, including the application referred to by the Deputy, and I hope to be in a position to make further announcements with details of the successful applications under both of these Measures in the New Year.

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (365)

Seán Fleming

Question:

365. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of persons employed on an agency basis in his Department and in each agency under his aegis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50810/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The Department of Rural and Community Development does not have any persons employed on an agency basis. The Department has four agencies under its remit. The number of staff employed in each agency as of 3rd December 2019 is given below.

Agency

Number of Persons Employed

Agency

Number of Persons Employed

Charities Regulator

38

Irish Water Safety

9

Pobal

517 (3 of whom are employed on an agency basis)

Western Development Commission

25

Social Isolation

Questions (366)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

366. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the degree to which he expects to be a position to address issues of isolation in either urban or rural settings in respect of persons who may be affected by age or socioeconomic issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I am satisfied that my Department delivers an effective package of supports which strengthen rural and urban communities across the country, including dealing with the issue of isolation, and that this will continue moving forward. Funding priorities are reviewed and monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure our supports remain targeted at those most in need socially and economically.

Initiatives such as the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme, the Community Services Programme, LEADER Programme, the Community Enhancement Programme, Seniors Alert Scheme, and other funding for community groups and social enterprises provide supports that are addressing the requirements of communities and areas facing disadvantage and issues of isolation.

In addition, the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund will provide €1 billion over the next 10 years for rural towns and villages, while the Town Centre Living Initiative, a pilot programme aimed at testing approaches to the revitalisation of towns and villages, was launched in six towns in October 2018.

My Department also continues to develop policy that can assist with the effective targeting of future funding. The Action Plan for Rural Development and the Strategy to Support the Community & Voluntary Sector in Ireland include a range of measures which contribute significantly to addressing isolation and social inclusion in both rural and urban areas.

The new Strategy to Support the Community & Voluntary Sector in Ireland, ‘Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities', is an ambitious strategy which builds on the Framework Policy for Local and Community Development. It comprises high level objectives and associated actions to support communities, their representative organisations, and the community and voluntary sector.

My Department is currently finalising the next phase of rural policy for Ireland, to follow on from the Action Plan for Rural Development which reaches the end of its three-year lifecycle at the end of 2019.

An extensive range of consultations has taken place to inform the new policy including a series of regional events and an online public consultation survey on the challenges and opportunities rural areas over the coming five years. The new policy will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland. It will seek to strengthen and build resilience in our rural economies and communities and will identify policy measures which need to be put in place in order to achieve these objectives.

Specific examples of other measures being delivered by my Department which are helping those who feel isolated or vulnerable in communities include:

- Significant investment in the Seniors Alert Scheme, which facilitates valuable community-based support for vulnerable older people living alone. During 2018, spend on the Scheme amounted to almost €7 million, with over 19,200 applications for personal alarms approved. There have been a further 10,000 approved applications in 2019. This is an important programme which enables older persons of limited means to continue to live in their own homes at the heart of their communities with confidence, independence and peace of mind.

- Since the start of 2018 to mid-2019, the supports provided through the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme led to the following achievements:- Over 43,000 people were supported, of which 40% were from a jobless household and 31% were long term unemployed.- 16,502 people completed a lifelong learning course, 4,024 set up their own business, and 2,168 people got jobs- 334 social enterprises were supported- 3,066 community groups were helped

- Support for approximately 400 Men’s Sheds across Ireland, which provide a safe space where men can gather and participate in their communities, develop social networks and potentially gain new skills and access information. Ireland continues to enjoy the highest per capita concentration of Men’s Sheds in the world. I provided funding of €500,000 to support the work of Men’s Sheds in 2018 and this year I have built on that with a further €500,000 in recognition of the contribution these groups are making to life in Ireland. A number of Women’s Sheds have emerged in communities in recent times and in order to support this positive development I have decided to make this funding also available to these groups.

- Volunteering plays a critical part in empowering individuals to become more involved in their communities and is proven to assist with the development of mental health well-being. My Department is currently in the process of developing a draft National Volunteering Strategy which will be completed shortly.

Library Services Funding

Questions (367)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

367. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent of library support provisions he expects to be in a position to make nationwide in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50822/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department's budget for library related expenditure for 2020 is c. €8.15m. This will fund public library infrastructure and services with a focus on fit-for-purpose buildings, ICT capacity and supports for marginalised, socially excluded and disadvantaged communities, in line with the actions under the Public Library Strategy Our Public Libraries 2022 - Inspiring, Connecting, and Empowering Communities.

In that context my Department funds a Libraries Capital Programme that will invest around €29m in 19 projects, as well as the My Open Library service, between 2016 and 2022.

The public libraries strategy aims to introduce the My Open Library service to 100 library branches around the country by 2022. The service is currently available in 15 public libraries and I have recently announced funding of almost €1.5 million for the provision of innovative technologies and the roll out of the My Open Library service in a further 17 branches in 2020.

My Department has also provided funding of €200k to support the Healthy Ireland at Your Library programme which will take place during 2020. The programme is now in its third phase and has been expanded to include interactive digital exhibitions. During Phase 2 a total of 921 events were held with a total of 23,028 attendees.

My Department will also provide c.€770k in 2020 towards the cost of leasing 16 public library buildings, and c.€250k to the Public Lending Remuneration Scheme which provides a small contribution to authors whose books are available in public libraries.

Funding of €650k has been approved from the Dormant Accounts Fund for the provision of Library Supports for Marginalised, Socially Excluded and Disadvantaged Communities. The objective of the Dormant Accounts Fund is to support people who experience economic, social or educational disadvantage, or to assist persons with a disability. This funding will help the public library service meet the needs of a diverse range of individuals and communities, which will facilitate inclusion and participation by all. It will build on existing library services and develop new relationships with local agencies and groups to facilitate greater engagement with those communities. The public libraries play a very important role in assisting in the delivery of additional educational services to comply with our Sustainable Development Goals and this funding will increase their capacity to continue that work.

LEADER Programmes Administration

Questions (368)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

368. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which his Department will interact with the LEADER programme when identifying suitable projects for attention and support in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50823/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department provides funding for a range of rural schemes such as the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF), the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, CLÁR, the Walks Scheme and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.

Each scheme has specific aims and objectives and collectively they fund a wide range of projects from small scale local improvement projects to high value infrastructural projects, all of which have the potential to transform rural economies and communities.

The relevant criteria applicable under each funding stream differs. My Department ensures, through its rigorous assessment process, that there is no duplication of funding under these programmes.

Decisions regarding funding approved under the LEADER Programme are a matter for the Local Action Groups (LAGs) that administer the Programme. LEADER may co-fund community based projects with other funding streams operated by my Department in order to complete high value projects. However, each element of funding sanctioned must be distinct in nature, and full details of all financial components of a project must be made known to the LAG before the project is fully approved.

Community Development Initiatives

Questions (369, 371)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

369. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans for various voluntary and community groups and projects nationwide and in County Kildare in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50824/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

371. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his plans for the development of the various community support schemes operated by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50828/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 369 and 371 together.

I am satisfied that through the various funding supports and policies being developed and implemented that my Department is delivering positive outcomes for communities throughout Ireland and County Kildare.

In addition, my Department is committed to keeping under review the administration of all funding programmes to ensure they remain fit for purpose, accessible to the full range of community and voluntary groups, and targeted at those who need the supports most. I welcome feedback on our programmes and schemes from communities so we can continue to do this.

Policies recently published or in development include;

- Ireland’s first National Policy on Social Enterprise, published earlier this year.

- ‘Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities’, a five-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector in Ireland. €1.2 million is being provided to support the implementation of measures in this strategy, which will include enhanced supports for the structures which drive local engagement in decision making – the Public Participation Networks and the Local Community Development Committees.

- A National Volunteering Strategy is in development, in consultation with all stakeholders. Supporting our agencies (Western Development Commission, Water Safety Ireland, Charities Regulator and POBAL) also helps communities.

- My Department is currently finalising a new rural policy which will build on the Action Plan for Rural Development and will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to rural Ireland. My objective is to publish the policy at the start of 2020. It will be forward-looking, and will seek to strengthen and build resilience in rural economies and communities.

In addition to the above policies developed by my Department, Project Ireland 2040 recognises the economic and social importance of rural Ireland through the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund which is administered by my Department with the objective of strengthening rural economies and communities.

Other funding supports provided by the Department are also available to voluntary and community groups across the country, including town and village supports, community and voluntary supports and other initiatives. Details of these programmes are available on the gov.ie website.

My Department also continues to work with colleagues across Government to drive positive rural and community development and to deliver policies and initiatives that consider the economic and social needs of all communities, regardless of location.

I am confident that the work of my Department is benefiting all communities and delivering on our mission statement. I am determined that this will continue to be the case and that available funding and supports continues to deliver positive visible impacts for all of our communities, including County Kildare, on a fully inclusive basis.

Heritage Promotion

Question No. 371 answered with Question No. 369.

Questions (370)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

370. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which he can assist in the promotion of local historic sites or buildings heretofore undeveloped for education or tourism purposes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50825/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

There are a number of programmes within my Department's remit that may be able to provide assistance for the type of activity referred to by the Deputy.

Under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, the Government has committed €1 billion over 10 years to support capital projects which seek to deliver key outcomes, amongst which are sustainable community and economic development in rural Ireland; the revitalisation and regeneration of towns and villages; the encouragement of entrepreneurship and innovation; the development of key economic growth sectors such as tourism; improved community development and quality of life; the protection of the environment and our heritage assets; and the development of cultural life in rural areas.

In the first call and second call I have allocated significant funding to projects which aim to regenerate historic sites and buildings for education and tourism purposes. Some of these successful projects include:

- The major upgrade of the Emo Court Estate in County Laois is to create a “must-see” tourist attraction for the region which will benefit the nearby rural community which was allocated €1.2 million in the first call.

- The redevelopment of the Athy Heritage Centre (former Town Hall) to become the Ernest Shackleton Centre, leveraging tourism potential and benefiting the community which was allocated €2.7 million in the first call.

- This regeneration of existing library in Trim and the adjacent chapel to provide a multifunctional space that will include an extended library and a theatre. This project was allocated €3.7 million in the second call.

- The regeneration and restoration of two listed buildings and a derelict site in the centre of Ballinamore to provide a digital hub and co-working space, an artistic space for promotion of local arts and crafts and a youth facility. This project was allocated €1.7 million in the second call.

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model, including the provision of a heritage or tourism facility. Funding is provided as a fixed annual contribution towards the cost of an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions including a manager where appropriate. The CSP contribution must be co-funded by the organisation concerned from other sources, for example, from income received from the public use of their services and facilities. Some €46m is available to support community organisations under the programme in 2019.

The Town and Village Renewal Scheme has provided funding for projects in and around historic sites. Projects may cover a range of activities, from tourism initiatives, improving the public realm to make towns and villages more attractive to job-creation initiatives. On 31 October last I announced the 2019 scheme with an allocation of €15 million. Full particulars regarding the application process and scheme criteria have been provided to the Local Authorities who administer the scheme on behalf of my Department. The criteria for the award of funding for the 2020 scheme has not yet been decided.

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme provides funding for the development of new outdoor recreational infrastructure, and for the necessary maintenance, enhancement or promotion of existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas. I recently announced funding for 109 Measure 1 projects to the value of €1.8 million under ORIS 2019. I will shortly be making further announcements in relation to mid-sized and larger projects which have applied for funding under separate strands of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

This type of project may also potentially be funded under the LEADER Rural Tourism sub-theme. The project promoter must submit an Expression of Interest to the Local Action Group in their area which details the proposed project activity in its entirety. If the activity is deemed eligible, the promoters will be invited to submit a full application to the relevant Local Action Group. Contact details for all Local Action Groups are available at gov.ie.

Question No. 371 answered with Question No. 369.

Broadband Service Provision

Questions (372)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

372. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the extent to which he will address issues such as local connectivity in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50829/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

I am interpreting the Deputy's question as relating to telecommunications connectivity.

My role as Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development means that I work across both the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment has overall policy responsibility for the National Broadband Plan. However, the Department of Rural and Community Development works closely with that Department and with Local Authorities to help prepare rural communities for the roll out of high-speed broadband.

The Mobile Phone and Broadband Taskforce, which I chair and which is co-ordinated by officials of the two Departments, has successfully addressed a number of complex issues over the last three years that will not only help facilitate the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan but has also improved access to high-quality mobile phone services. Quarterly Progress Reports on the work of the Taskforce are published on the websites of both Departments, and on the Gov.ie portal.

The Department of Rural and Community Development also supports the roll out of the National Broadband Plan through the network of Broadband Officers located in each Local Authority. The Broadband Officers are co-funded by the Department and provide a vital point of contact for industry and the public regarding telecoms issues.

The Broadband Officers are also leading on the development of Digital Strategies for each Local Authority. These Digital Strategies will enable communities to make full use of digital technology in their daily lives, and will be particularly beneficial when the Broadband Plan is rolled out.

In addition, the Department of Rural and Community Development works closely with all local authorities to improve the availability of free WiFi connectivity through the country. My officials have been supporting the Local Authorities in registering and applying to the European Commission initiative WIFI4EU and so far, Ireland secured a total of 100 vouchers, amounting to €1,500,000. The Department of Rural and Community Development is committed to match-fund each voucher secured up to €15,000. This will significantly increase access to public WiFi throughout the country.

Finally, the Department also plays a key role in relation to the establishment of the nationwide network of Broadband Connection Points (BCPs). The BCP initiative will see high-speed broadband services brought to approximately 300 sites, typically schools, community centres and sports clubs, in remote and rural areas across the country, ahead of the arrival of the National Broadband Plan network.

Central Statistics Office Reports

Questions (373)

Dara Calleary

Question:

373. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development his views on the latest CSO data in measuring distance to everyday services in Ireland (details supplied) and the way in which the average distance to most everyday services was at least three times longer for rural dwellings compared with urban dwellings. [50978/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

The CSO recently published a statistical report on "Measuring Distance to Everyday Services in Ireland" which provides useful insights into how close people live to everyday facilities such as schools, hospitals, fire stations, and public transport stops.

The report shows that the average distance to most everyday services was at least three times longer for rural dwellings compared to urban dwellings. People in counties Galway, Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim and Roscommon had higher average distances to most everyday services compared to other counties.

However, living in rural Ireland has its advantages, including a better quality of life, great community involvement, and lack of congestion.

It is not feasible to have a full range of high-end services in every single town, but we are putting initiatives in place to help people in rural areas to access services better. These include improvements to rural transport through the Local Link service, and the roll out of high-speed broadband through the National Broadband Plan.

We are also investing in towns, villages and communities through programmes such as CLÁR, LEADER, the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, and the Community Services Programme, helping these communities to be more self-sustainable. The new national Social Enterprise Policy will also support local services in sectors such as healthcare, childcare and supports for older people.

My Department is currently developing the next phase of rural policy to succeed the Action Plan for Rural Development which reaches the end of its lifecycle this year. The new policy will reflect a whole-of-Government commitment to a range of matters impacting on rural Ireland.

My officials will reflect on the data in the recent CSO report in finalising the policy.

Departmental Funding

Questions (374)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

374. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development when the next tranche of grant aid will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51078/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Rural)

My Department delivers a variety of programmes that provide grant aid to community groups and organisations.

The application periods for these programmes vary and full details of all relevant dates and deadlines can be found on the Government of Ireland website, gov.ie. Funding announcements are made following the processing and evaluation of applications in accordance with the criteria set out in respect of each programme.

Recent announcements of approved funding include:

- Last month I announced €62 million in funding for 26 projects under the second call to Category 1 of the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, bringing the total approved from the Fund to date to €148 million. I will be announcing a second call for Category 2 applications to the Fund before the end of 2019, and the third call for Category 1 application will be announced early in 2020.

- €15 million to 156 projects under the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme.

- €1.8 million to 109 projects under Measure 1 of the 2019 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. I expect to be able to make announcements in respect of Measures 2 and 3 of the scheme in the coming weeks.

- I also expect to announce the projects funded under the €1m Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises, and the €800,000 Training and Mentoring for Social Enterprises Pilot very shortly.

In addition, the following grant schemes are currently accepting applications:

- Decisions to approve projects, or otherwise, under the LEADER Programme are a matter for the Local Action Groups (LAGs) which administer the programme in each LEADER area. Interested applicants should, in the first instance, contact the relevant LAG through its Implementing Partner(s) to discuss the funding that may be available. Contact details for all LAGs are available on the gov.ie website.

- The Community Services Programme supports around 400 community organisations, with funding provided as a fixed annual contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent (FTE) positions. Expressions of Interest are accepted on an ongoing basis throughout the year, with funding for new organisations considered, in light of available budgets, during the year and subject to their suitability with the programme criteria.

Details of the application processes for the 2020 editions of programmes run by my Department, including the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, Community Enhancement Programme, CLÁR Programme and Local Improvement Scheme, will be announced when the schemes are launched by me in the new year.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (375)

Bríd Smith

Question:

375. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the recommendations by the Labour Relations Commission on pensions for community employment supervisors (details supplied); her further views on whether she is the funder referred to; her further views on whether the recommendations are being rejected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51071/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor.

The sponsor organisations of these schemes receive state funding to cover the cost of participant, supervisor, assistant supervisor remuneration, training and material costs from the Department. The supervisors and assistant supervisors are employees of the sponsoring organisations and are not public servants or employees of the Department.

CE Supervisors are not employed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. CE Supervisors have always been employees of Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies which operate in the community and voluntary sector.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following that 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and that all parties agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process had completed. I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.

Farm Assist Scheme Data

Questions (376)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

376. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated first year and full year cost of adapting the farm assist scheme (details supplied) based on latest annual data regarding participation levels in the scheme and associated afforestation programmes. [50672/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides that, for means-tested social assistance schemes, all income and assets belonging to the claimant, and his or her spouse/partner where applicable, is assessable for means testing purposes. The purpose of the means test is to ensure that resources are directed to those with the greatest need for income supports by the State.

I am advised that without knowledge of potential take-up, it is not possible to accurately calculate the cost of introducing the proposed disregard on Forest Premium Payments for recipients of Farm Assist payments.

As an indication, however, the full year cost per 1,000 Farm Assist recipients availing of a disregard similar to that applied to REPS, and based on an average annual premium payment of €4,900, would be €3.7 million.

Any change to the means testing of schemes would need to be considered in an overall policy and budgetary context.

Disablement Benefit

Questions (377)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

377. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive an appointment date for a medical examination for their disablement benefit claim; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50683/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Disablement Benefit is a payment under Occupational Injury Scheme to client who sustained injury(s) or occupational Illness as result of work. .

According to the record of the Occupational Injuries Scheme, the person(details supplied) Disablement Benefit payment is not due for review until February 2020.

A medical examination will be set up in a local Medical Review Centre in Carlow for the person in question in early/ mid-January 2020. This person will be notified of the appointment date and time about three weeks in advance of the date. '

I hope this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (378, 400)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

378. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position of her Department on the Labour Court recommendation that community employment supervisors receive a pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50690/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

400. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to address the issue of pensions for community employment supervisors which has been promised for some time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50872/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 378 and 400 together.

The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.

The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies. The contract agreement between the Department and the Community Employment Sponsoring Body establishes their role as an independent contractor, responsible for all purposes and all persons recruited by them

CE Supervisors are not employed by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. CE Supervisors have always been employees of Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies which operate in the community and voluntary sector.

My Department is currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation and all parties have agreed that the detail of all discussions undertaken by the group should remain confidential until the process has completed. I have asked Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Applications

Questions (379)

James Lawless

Question:

379. Deputy James Lawless asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for partial capacity benefit by a person (details supplied). [50699/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned is currently in receipt of Illness Benefit at the maximum rate of €203 per week.

An application for Partial Capacity Benefit from the person concerned was received on the 22nd October 2019. A letter issued to her on the 24th October 2019 informing her that her application had been received and that it could take up to 12 weeks to be processed.

A further letter issued on the 30th November 2019 informing her that a decision had been made on her claim and that she had been assessed as having a severe incapacity for work.

Once she has provided the Department with the date she is returning to work then her Illness benefit claim will be closed and her Partial Capacity Benefit claim can be awarded.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Questions (381)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

381. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age who are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, jobseeker’s benefit and signing for credits for 12 months or more by county in tabular form. [50732/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the attached tabular statement.

The number of young persons under 26 years of age that are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, jobseeker’s benefit and signing for credits for 12 months or more by county at the end of November 2019.

County

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Benefit

Credits Only

Carlow

146

0

0

Cavan

135

0

0

Clare

123

0

1

Cork

328

0

2

Donegal

371

2

0

Dublin

1,135

0

3

Galway

262

1

0

Kerry

159

1

4

Kildare

189

1

0

Kilkenny

93

0

0

Laois

143

0

0

Leitrim

50

0

1

Limerick

254

1

0

Longford

109

0

0

Louth

243

0

2

Mayo

175

0

0

Meath

132

0

1

Monaghan

57

0

0

Offaly

168

0

0

Roscommon

60

0

0

Sligo

89

0

0

Tipperary

303

0

1

Waterford

189

2

2

Westmeath

166

0

0

Wexford

347

0

1

Wicklow

128

0

1

Total

5,554

8

19

Youth Unemployment Measures

Questions (382, 383)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

382. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons who participated in the youth employment support scheme to date by county in a tabular form. [50733/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

383. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the budget of the youth employment support scheme in 2018 and 2019; the expenditure of the scheme in each year; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50734/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 382 and 383 together.

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) was introduced on 1st October 2018. YESS is targeted at young jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment.

The scheme aims to provide jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placemen. YESS will provide a supportive structure for participants, including case worker support for both placement hosts and jobseekers.

Since the scheme's inception, a total of 594 people have commenced a placement. There are currently 242 participants on the YESS. A breakdown of the number of persons that have participated in the YESS to date by county is outlined in the table below.

The budget allocation for YESS during 2018 was €1million with an outturn on expenditure of €33,350. The budget allocated for 2019 was initially €5million, but was reduced to €800,000 as part of the revised supplementary estimate. The YESS expenditure for 2019 to end October is €539,954.17. The variance is allocation and expenditure in both years reflects the lower than anticipated take up of opportunities among employers and young people.

Strenuous efforts are being made to grow awareness among employers and young people of the scheme including a dedicated week of action in September 2019, the promotion the scheme among employers across a range of sectors and their representative bodies but especially during the Employer Roadshow over August and September 2019 and numerous other local events convened specifically to encourage participation in the scheme.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

County

Number of YESS participants

Carlow

8

Cavan

37

Clare

12

Cork

35

Donegal

42

Dublin

70

Galway

61

Kerry

52

Kildare

1

Kilkenny

9

Laois

7

Leitrim

1

Limerick

43

Longford

6

Louth

61

Mayo

12

Meath

23

Monaghan

3

Offaly

4

Roscommon

6

Sligo

23

Tipperary

24

Waterford

16

Westmeath

26

Wexford

11

Wicklow

1