Human Trafficking

Questions (547)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

547. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the role of his Department in preventing trafficking in human beings, prosecuting human traffickers and protecting victims of human trafficking; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51720/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Primary responsibility for the prevention of human trafficking, the prosecution of those involved in same and the protection of victims rests with An Garda Síochána.

As such, this is a matter for the Department of Justice and Equality.

Employment Rights

Questions (548)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

548. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the way in which, in the absence of effective rules on maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest on sea-fishing vessels the Marine Survey Office plans to protect workers on such vessels against exploitation and overwork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51723/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

At present, the maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest on sea-fishing vessels are governed by S.I. No. 709/2003 - European Communities (Workers on Board Sea-Going Fishing Vessels) (Organisation of Working Time) Regulations 2003. These Regulations prescribe maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest for workers on board sea-going fishing vessels, require records to be kept of their hours of work or rest and provide for enforcement measures. The Marine Survey Office’s surveyors are authorized officers for the enforcement of these Regulations. The MSO supports the objective of protecting workers on board fishing vessels, and in this context, currently carries out inspections in relation to hours of work and hours of rest under the existing Regulations in the course of the survey and flag State inspection regime.

My Department is currently transposing Council Directive (EU) 2017/159 which implements the Agreement concerning the implementation of the Work in Fishing Convention, 2007. My Department is supportive of the Directive’s objective to enhance the working and living conditions for fishers working in the fishing sector on vessels registered in an EU Member State.

Article 11 of the Annex to the Directive set specific limits on fishers’ hours of work and rest. New regulations to reflect the provisions of the Council Directive are currently under legal review by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It is intended that these Regulations will prescribe maximum hours of work and minimum hours of rest for workers on board sea-going fishing vessels, require records to be kept of their hours of work or rest and provide for enforcement measures. It is expected that these new regulations will come into force in the coming weeks.

Bus Éireann

Questions (549)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

549. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the amount Bus Éireann lost, that is, the net deficit in 2013 for commercial services including expressway. [51737/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

The question raised is a matter for Bus Éireann and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Córas Iompair Éireann

Questions (550)

Noel Rock

Question:

550. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason correspondence (details supplied) was not forwarded to the sub-committee of a scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51744/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

Issues in relation to pension schemes are primarily a matter for the Trustees of the pension scheme, the company and their employees.

In light of the above, I have referred the question to CIÉ for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Dublin Bus Fleet

Questions (551)

Noel Rock

Question:

551. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the fleet size of Dublin Bus in each of the years 1990 to 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51745/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

The issue raised is a matter for Dublin Bus and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to the company for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

Road Projects Status

Questions (552)

Martin Heydon

Question:

552. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the progress of the next phase of the southern distributor route for Athy, County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51749/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

The improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is the statutory responsibility of the relevant local authority in accordance with the provisions of Section 13 of the Roads Act 1993. Works on those roads are funded from the Council's own resources supplemented by State road grants.

Under Project Ireland 2040 my Department is committed at present to providing grant funding towards the cost of 12 significant capital regional/local road improvement schemes, including the Athy Southern Distributor Road. The Project Ireland 2040 road improvement projects are managed on a programme basis with allocations determined on an annual basis depending on progress with individual schemes and taking into account the available capital budget.

Each local authority is the contracting authority for the purpose of implementation of regional and local road improvement projects and my Department has been liaising on an ongoing basis with Kildare County Council regarding progress on the scheme. Currently the Athy distributor road is at the stage where advance works are being carried out and tender documentation for the main contract is being prepared. The 2020 grant allocation for the scheme will be decided as part of the annual grant decision making process.

Climate Change Policy

Questions (553)

Catherine Martin

Question:

553. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the analysis he or bodies under his aegis with responsibility for transport such as the National Transport Authority have carried out of the potential contribution to decarbonisation of transport which could be made by small and lightweight electric vehicles including electric bicycles, tricycles, cargo bikes and small cars; and the consideration he has given to encouraging such small and light electric vehicles which appear to be excluded from his policies to electrify transport systems. [51770/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing Ireland today. Transport has a critical role to play in the national effort to reduce carbon emissions, as it accounts for about 20% of Ireland’s overall carbon emissions. Moreover, it is a sector where fossil fuel use is firmly embedded, and where travel demand is growing due to our economic recovery and growing population. As over half of all land transport emissions come from private car use it is clear that the maximum impact in emissions savings can be achieved by promoting modal shift away from cars where possible or the transition towards lower emitting vehicles.

Accordingly, analysis conducted during the development of the Climate Action Plan indicated that electric vehicles (EVs) are a key mitigation technology for Ireland. The Plan set ambitious targets of 180,000 EVs on our roads by 2025, and 936,000 EVs by 2030. These figures include all forms of EVs - be they big or small, or a car, van, truck or bus. While these targets are very challenging, they are indicative of the scale of transformation that is needed across all sectors if Ireland is to reduce national emissions and reach its legally binding emission ceiling in future years.

To help achieve a significant step-up in electrified transport the National Development Plan (NDP) sets out an indicative resource allocation of €200 million. Programmes are being funded by my Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, through the SEAI, to support and accelerate the necessary transition from conventionally-fuelled to EVs. Such supports include an EV Purchase Grant Scheme, a Domestic Charger Grant and the roll out of an extensive recharging network. Tax supports introduced by the Department of Finance have also been fundamental in establishing the current positive policy environment; EV drivers can currently avail of Vehicle Registration Tax relief, low Motor Tax and may be eligible for a 0% Benefit in Kind rate and an Accelerated Capital Allowance Scheme. Two further initiatives, funded by my department, that support EV uptake are the EV Toll Incentive (EVTI) Scheme and the Electric Small Public Service Vehicle (eSPSV) Grant Scheme.

Beyond electric cars, the potential contribution of other forms of electric transport to reduce transport emissions is considered. Indicative calculations by my Department estimate that replacing 10,000 daily car journeys with cycling, including on e-bikes, abates approximately 37.25 ktCO2 between 2020 and 2030 (assuming the replaced car journey length was equivalent to the average bike journey length in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA)). To contextualize this, the transport sector in Ireland emitted just over 12,000 ktCO2 in 2017.

In order to support the increasing numbers of people who choose cycling as their preferred mode of transport, including the increasing number of e-bikes users, €110 million will be specifically dedicated to cycling and walking infrastructure in our major urban areas under Project Ireland 2040. Key actions under the Climate Action Plan also underpin my commitment to increasing cycling as a mode of travel, including the establishment of a Cycling Project Office within the National Transport Authority and increased cycling infrastructure for Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

The Cycle to Work Scheme also continues to encourage citizens to cycle to and from work. Under the scheme an eligible employer can buy a bicycle for their employees and the employee pays the amount, less the tax relief, over a period of up to 12 months through a salary sacrifice arrangement. Up to €1,000 can be provided for towards the purchase of a new bicycle or e-bike; this represents a generous contribution towards any commuter bicycle, but especially towards e-bikes, which are generally more expensive.

In considering the possible contribution of other small and lightweight EVs to the overall reduction of carbon emissions in the transport sector, it should be noted that any use of mechanically propelled vehicles in a public place requires insurance, road tax and a driving licence (Note: a bicycle that is equipped with an auxiliary electric motor with maximum continuous rated power of 0.25 kW and which is progressively reduced and finally cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h or if the cyclist stops pedalling, is not classified as mechanically propelled vehicle and does not require a licence). Although e-scooters and other powered personal transporters fall under the category of mechanically propelled vehicles, it is not currently possible to tax or insure them as they do not fit into any existing licence category; therefore, their use on public roads or in a public place is strictly prohibited and the vehicle may be seized by Gardaí if they are used in this way. My Department recently held a two-month public consultation on whether to legislate for the use of these vehicles and I expect a report from that consultation in due course.

Finally, I am committed to seeking and assessing additional measures to reduce emissions within the transport sector on an ongoing basis; the mitigation of potential of small and light EVs will continue to form part of that assessment.

Park and Ride Facilities

Questions (554)

Catherine Martin

Question:

554. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the number of car parking spaces at the Luas park and ride facility in Carrickmines, Dublin 18; the equivalent number of spaces at the Red Cow; the number of parking fines levied by or on behalf of Luas at each car park during 2018; the number of parking fine refunds granted at each in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51772/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

As Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, I have responsibility for policy and overall funding in relation to public transport in Ireland.

The issues raised are matters for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) in conjunction with the Luas operator Transdev and I have forwarded the Deputy's question to TII for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a response within ten working days.

School Completion Programme

Questions (555)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

555. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated full-year cost of increasing the funding of the school completion programme by 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50%, in tabular form. [51328/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Tusla Education Support Service has provided the information requested in tabular form.

Current SCP Budget

Plus 10%

Plus 20%

Plus 30%

Plus 40%

Plus 50%

€24.7 million

€27.17 million

€29.64 million

€32.11 million

€34.58 million

€37.05 million

Childcare Services Regulation

Questions (556)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

556. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of childcare providers found in breach of regulation by Tusla as a result of the new regulations on standardised quality of care for school-age children and as a result have had to reduce their places; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51093/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

As the matters to which the Deputy refers are an operational matter for Tusla, I have requested Tusla to respond to the Deputy directly within 10 working days.

Childcare Services Data

Questions (557)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

557. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the participation of private childcare providers in the national childcare scheme; the breakdown of places available under the scheme for pre-ECCE, ECCE and school-age children across the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51094/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The National Childcare Scheme opened on November 20th for online applications. To date, 3,646 service providers nationwide have contracted to participate in the NCS, a sign-up rate I am very happy with at this juncture. This includes all private providers, including for-profit and not-for-profit services.

I am delighted that there has been a very high volume of applications from parents so far. As of 9th December over 12,000 applications, relating to over 17,000 children, had already been submitted and thousands of awards have issued to parents. The NCS is a landmark and highly innovative initiative. It is our future pathway to quality, accessible, affordable childcare in Ireland, and our platform to support long-term investment in universal and targeted supports.

With specific regard to the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area, as of 6th December, 49 private service providers had contracted to participate in the NCS, had undergone onboarding for the Scheme and had been awarded budget approval for the NCS 2019.

The breakdown of childcare places available in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area in May / June of this year, which is the period for which data is available, is displayed in the following table. It should be noted that children at all stages between 24 weeks and 15 years are eligible to partake in the National Childcare Scheme.

Vacant places

Number of children enrolled

Capacity*

Up to 1 year (0-12 months)

13

250

263

1 year+ to 2 years (13-24 months)

14

660

674

2 years+ to 3 years (25-36 months)

16

1015

1,031

3 years+ to 4 years (37-48 months)

45

1908

1,953

4 years+ to 5 years (49-60 months)

36

1767

1,803

5 years+ to 6 years (61-72 months)

24

570

594

6 years+ to 8 years (73-96 months)

13

502

515

8 years+

12

351

363

Total

173

7,023

7,196

*Sum of children enrolled and vacant places.

The following should be noted about these figures:

- The response rate to the survey for services in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown was 79.8%

- Number of children enrolled includes all children in services, not just those funded under DCYA Programmes.

- The Early Years Service Profile (EYSP) survey went live on 10th May and closed on June 7th and as such, the age ranges for the figures above would be have been captured during that time.

- Age ranges for the children do not specifically relate to pre-ECCE, ECCE or school-age children. However, the majority of children up to 3 years would be considered pre-ECCE, those from 3 years to 6 years would be considered ECCE and those 6 years + and over are considered school-age.

- Pobal only contacts registered services to participate in this survey and hence, for example, unregistered childminders are not included. The Childminding Action Plan should result in more childminders becoming eligible over time to register and offer NCS to families.

- The 2019 and 2020 capital schemes should result in more capacity being developed.

- Capacity in Ireland has doubled over the last 5 years as a result on investment, but further capacity is required in certain high demand areas.

Draft Childminding Action Plan

Questions (558)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

558. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding childminding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51166/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The Draft Childminding Action Plan sets out a phased approach to achieving Government commitments in First 5, the Whole-of-Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and Families. The Draft Childminding Action Plan is firmly based on the 2018 report of the Working Group on Reforms and Supports for the Childminding Sector ('Pathway to a Quality Support and Assurance System for Childminding'), which was chaired by Childminding Ireland and included a number of representatives form the childcare sector.

Childminding is of huge importance to children, to parents, to our economy, and to our society. Until now however, it has not received the support it deserves in terms of public funding or our system of quality assurance or regulation. The Draft Action Plan aims to recognise the valuable work that childminders do and to ensure they can access the supports they need. The Draft Action Plan sets out positive reform proposals to bring childminding into the mainstream of regulation, funding and support.

I am very aware of the unique nature of a childminding service; that is why I established the expert group and called for the development of a bespoke plan for childminders. The Draft Childminding Action Plan makes clear that the intention is to develop regulations that are specific and appropriate to childminding, and to develop customised training and resources to support the quality of childminding provision, including through the development of staffed local networks to provide professional development and peer support. The new regulation and inspection process for childminders is yet to be developed, but the Draft Childminding Action Plan stresses the importance of regulation and inspection being proportionate and appropriate to the home and family setting in which childminders work.

The public consultation process on the Draft Action Plan was widely publicised on social media, through National Voluntary Organisations (including Childminding Ireland) and City/County Childcare Committees. The consultation process was carefully designed to ensure strong participation by childminders. In particular, a series of 31 focus groups were organised around the country by the local City and County Childcare Committees. The focus groups were designed specifically to enable childminders to take an active part in the consultation. The focus groups were at county level – run through the City and County Childcare Committees and organised with the help of the new team of regional Childminding Development Officers that I have put in place this year. The focus groups were organised in evenings to make it easier for childminders to take part.

In addition to the 31 focus groups in the evenings, an Open Policy Debate took place in the daytime to facilitate participation by other stakeholders. There was also an online survey and a call for submissions. The online survey had 471 respondents, of whom nearly 60% were childminders.

The Draft Childminding Action Plan proposes that a Steering Committee be appointed to drive and oversee the implementation of the Action Plan, and that the Steering Committee should include representation of childminders, parents and other key stakeholders within the early learning and care and school-age childcare sectors. The role of the Steering Committee will include monitoring and review of the implementation of the plan. During Phase 1 it is proposed that four Advisory Groups will be established and will meet, under the auspices of the Steering Committee, and will work with officials in relation to the following: Regulation and Inspection, Qualifications and Training, Funding and Financial Supports and Consultation and Communications.

With the completion of the consultation process, my officials will soon commence a process of consideration of all the feedback received from the various fora and methodologies. A final plan will then be brought for approval which will reflect the results of the extensive consultation exercise.

Youth Services

Questions (559)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

559. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which she continues to engage with local and voluntary youth services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51202/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

My Department maintains close contact with the 30 national youth organisations we fund and I, and officials from my Department, meet formally with these organisations twice a year to share knowledge and information on developments in the youth sector.

Most recently I met with the National Youth Organisations on 2nd December 2019. An additional meeting was held on that day with the National Organisations in receipt of targeted youth funding to keep them updated on the ongoing reform of youth funding.

Youth Officers of the Education and Training Boards provide an important support role to my Department in the co-ordination and administration of youth services at a local level across the country.

My officials hold scheduled meetings with the Youth Officers and Youth Liaison Officers in order to maintain an open dialogue. My Department has more recently endeavoured to engage with the ETBs on a more individual basis with a view to improve outcomes for young people.

My Department has also set up a working group with five Youth Officers which is focused on strategic planning for future capital funding for the youth sector.

There is ongoing active engagement between my Department and the youth constituency of the Better Outcomes Brighter Futures Advisory Council. A small number of youth organisation representatives are members of this Council.

Officials from my Department also meet with youth organisations on an individual basis when the need arises.

We have a professional, constructive working relationship with youth organisations, which my Department works hard to maintain.

Ombudsman for Children Expenditure

Questions (560)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

560. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the estimated full-year running cost of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children. [51342/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The estimated full-year running cost of the Office of the Ombudsman for Children for 2019 is €2.75 million.

Departmental Advertising Campaigns

Questions (561)

Niall Collins

Question:

561. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the advertising campaigns, promotional events and launches planned by her Department for the first six months of 2020; the budgeted costs of these campaigns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51404/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

There are currently three areas in my Department with planned campaigns in the first six months of 2020. These relate to the Children First Awareness week, Oberstown Children Detention Campus, and the National Childcare Scheme. Some details are being finalised for these campaigns, and costs are based on estimates.

Children First Awareness Week

Tusla, on behalf of the Children First Interdepartmental Implementation Group (CFIDIG), is currently preparing a campaign plan for a Children First Awareness Week in February/ March 2020. While the details of the awareness week have yet to be agreed, a budget of up to €125,000 has been made available for it, sourced mainly from my Department but with contributions from other CFIDIG members also.

Oberstown Children Detention Campus

The Oberstown Children Detention Campus have two planned campaigns in the first six months of 2020. The launch of the Annual Report, for which there is a budget of €4,500, and a recruitment campaign planned for the Oberstown website and social media, which has no associated costs.

National Childcare SchemeThe National Childcare Scheme website went live on the 20th November. This world class IT system allows parents to access tailored childcare supports that meet the needs of each family.

The Information campaign in 2019 has already proven to be hugely successful. In just its first few weeks, over 1 million hits on the new website with over 10,000 applications, supporting over 14,800 children, have already been successfully submitted to the Scheme. In order to maintain awareness of this new Scheme as well as parents' requirement to apply online there is a need to maintain the engagement that we have generated in 2019.

The Department will therefore continue to attend various events such as the Early Childhood Ireland conference to promote the National Childcare Scheme in 2020. On top of this the Department will run a multifaceted targeted communications campaign to continue public awareness and engagement of the Scheme across various advertising channels including Digital, Radio, and print.

The estimated cost of communication activities associated with the National Childcare Scheme communications activities for the first six months of 2020 is €46,000.

Data Sharing Arrangements

Questions (562)

Jack Chambers

Question:

562. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the data sharing agreements her Department has in place with organisations that are not other Departments or State agencies; the purpose of these data sharing agreements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51421/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

I understand your question relates to data sharing agreements with commercial operators or service providers, where personal and/or other organisational data is shared with them for commercial purposes rather than Departmental business they might be assisting with. Such purposes could include selling on that data to other organisations for a consideration or benefit.

I can confirm that there are no such data sharing agreements in place with any commercial operators or service providers by my Department.

In the normal course of business my Department engages business consultancy services for such purposes as audits and data protection assessments. It also engages organisations supplying a range of services, such as travel operators and telecommunications providers. While certain personal and other data is shared with these organisations in order for them to engage with the Department and for business functions to be effectively carried out under contract, such arrangements are not considered to be data sharing agreements of the nature outlined by the Deputy.

Freedom of Information Data

Questions (563)

Jack Chambers

Question:

563. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of freedom of information requests in which her Department made a decision to deny; and the number in which the Information Commissioner overturned the decision of her Department in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [51455/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The information requested by the Deputy is provided below.

Year

No. of FOI Requests where Decision made was Refuse

Such Decisions Appealed to Office of Information Commissioner

Decision of the Information Commissioner

2016

16

0

N/A

2017

15

0

N/A

2018

12

1

Overturned Part of Decision

2019

12

0

N/A

Departmental Agencies Data

Questions (564)

James Browne

Question:

564. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the agencies or organisations under the remit of her Department; the number that have boards; the number of positions on each board; the number of vacant positions; and the agencies or organisations that have boards whose members have an obligation to appear before committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas. [51489/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

There are five agencies under the remit of my Department as follows:

- the Adoption Authority of Ireland,

- the Board of Management of Oberstown Children Detention Campus,

- the Child and Family Agency (Tusla),

- Gaisce, The Presidents Award,

- the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.

Of the above the Ombudsman for Children’s Office is the only body which does not have a Board.

In accordance with the provisions of the 2016 Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (Section 2.8) the incoming Chairperson is required to appear before the relevant Oireachtas Committee when taking up office. Other board members have appeared before Oireachtas Committees when invited to in the past.

The following table provides the additional information requested by the Deputy:

Name of Board

Number of Board members

Number of current vacancies

Adoption Authority of Ireland

7

0

Board of Management of Oberstown Children Detention Campus

13

0

The Child and Family Agency (Tusla)

9

0

Gaisce, The President’s Award

15

1

Ombudsman for Children's Office

N/A

N/A

Departmental Staff Data

Questions (565)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

565. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the budget and number of staff working in her Department in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51560/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

The table below shows the Salaries, Wages and Allowances - Estimate Provisions for each year from 2014 -2019 and the number of staff employed in my Department during the same period.

Year

Salaries, Wages and Allowances - Estimate Provision

Headcount

2014

€8,800,000

157

2015

€9,510,000

161

2016

€10,669,000

188

2017

€12,440,000

240

2018

€15,396,000

277

2019

€16,232,000

284 (End November 2019)

UN International Conference on Population and Development

Questions (566)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

566. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will report on the recent Nairobi summit (details supplied); the commitments made by Ireland; the way in which the implementation of the commitments will be monitored; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51597/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Children)

Improving maternal and reproductive health is an important focus of Ireland's international development policy with health system strengthening at the heart of Ireland’s approach.

Ireland works through the UNFPA, the World Health Organisation, with organisations such the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and with civil society partners. Ireland does so to ensure access to essential drugs, health services, and best practice, including building more effective health workforces, with an emphasis on better health outcomes for women and children.

Ireland recognises that quality health systems must include access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services if women's health outcomes are to be transformed, including reducing maternal and child mortality. This is consistent with the global ambition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs also reaffirm the Programme for Action agreed 25 years ago by 179 countries, including Ireland, at the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). A High Level Summit - “Nairobi Summit on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise”, 12 to 14 November 2019 – was convened by the Governments of Kenya and Denmark, together with UNFPA, to mark the 25 years since Cairo. The Nairobi Summit has helped to galvanise political and financial commitments needed to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD Programme of Action.

At the Nairobi Summit, Ireland reaffirmed its commitment to the Cairo Programme of Action and the SDGs including elements relating to women’s health and on ending gender based violence A full list of the commitments made by participants in the Nairobi summit, including Ireland, is available on the ICPD25 website: www.nairobisummiticpd.org/commitments.

In all, over 1,200 commitments were made at the Summit by Governments, the private sector, faith-based organisations, academia, and civil society. Ireland plans to use the existing reporting systems for the ICPD Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, i.e., the UN Commission on Population and Development (CPD) and the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), for stock taking on and follow-up to the national commitments announced at the Nairobi Summit as appropriate.

It has also been suggested that the Nairobi commitments be monitored by a Commission set up by UNFPA that will run until 2030, alongside the SDGs and Ireland would support such an approach.