Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (156)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

156. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 95 of 24 October 2019, if stage one has been completed; if stage 2A has commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52108/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the delivery of the project for St. Farnan's Post Primary School has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB).

The Stage 1 (preliminary design) process is ongoing and will need to be completed prior to the project commencing Stage 2A.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (157)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

157. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 175 of 17 September 2019, if approval has issued for the provision of additional mainstream and specialist accommodation for the school; if so, the details of the accommodation approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52109/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has received an application, from the school in question, for capital funding.  I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the project brief has been finalised and the school authority will be informed of the decision shortly.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (158)

Robert Troy

Question:

158. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of his Department including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [52116/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department's costs in relation to communications strategy initiatives in 2019 are set out below.

2019 Costs

Campaign

Cost

Teaching Transforms advertising campaign which aims to help address the shortage of teachers in specific subjects and the increasing need for more qualified graduates.

 

€117,699.96

STEM Awareness Campaign in conjunction with Science Foundation Ireland to raise awareness of STEM.  In this regard “This is STEM” a video based campaign featuring eight role models from industry and academia, capturing how a STEM career is not a typical day job has been developed by SFI.

€73,000

Facebook promotional posts in relation to the post-primary schools patronage process

€70

Total

€190,769.96

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (159)

Robert Troy

Question:

159. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video that highlighted schemes and programmes operated by his Department in tabular form; if such videos have been commissioned for 2020; and if so, the estimated costs of each such video. [52133/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The costs incurred by the Department in relation to video commissioning, development and production in 2019 are set out below. The Department also produced a number of videos in-house during the year which did not incur any additional costs.

Date

Video Subject

Company

Cost

10/04/2019

Action Plan for Education promotion

Custodian Consultancy

€1,119.30

26/07/2019

Small schools symposium video recording

PI Communications

€1,451.40

 

 

 

€2,570.70

Garda Deployment

Questions (160)

Seán Haughey

Question:

160. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of gardaí by rank attached to CPU, Coolock Garda station, Dublin 5 as of 1 January 2019 and 2 December 2019, in tabular form; if the number of gardaí attached to the unit has decreased over the past 18 to 24 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51918/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

It is important to be clear that under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner has responsibility for management of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for personnel matters and the distribution of personnel across the various Garda Divisions.

I have requested a report from the Commissioner in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy and I will write to him directly when it is to hand.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (161)

Seán Haughey

Question:

161. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of extra Garda public order unit vans allocated to the north Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, following the allocation of new public order unit vans early in summer 2019; the number of public order vans attached to DMR north as of 2 December 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51919/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The resources by Government to An Garda Síochána have reached record levels, with an allocation for 2019 of €1.76 billion, increasing to an unprecedented €1.88 billion for 2020. Very significant capital investment is also being made in An Garda Síochána, including a total of €46 million for investment in the Garda fleet between 2016 and 2021.

I understand from the Garda authorities that this year's capital allocation of €10 million for the Garda fleet is being used for purchase and fit-out of over 300 new vehicles for operational use this year. I recently indicated that a further €1 million funding for the fleet will be included in additional funding to be provided to the Garda Vote before the end of the year. A further €9 million capital funding has been allocated for the Garda fleet in Budget 2020.

This continuing investment is intended to ensure that An Garda Síochána has a modern, effective and fit-for-purpose fleet and that Gardaí can be mobile, visible and responsive on the roads and in the community to prevent and tackle crime.

In accordance with the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for management and control of An Garda Síochána and for the allocation and efficient use of Garda resources. This includes responsibility for the allocation of Garda vehicles, in accordance with operational demand. As Minister, I have no role in these matters. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps the 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 no Public Order Vans have been allocated to DMR North Division in 2019 to date. I am further informed that during the same period, 15 Public Order Vans have been purchased and allocated to the Garda fleet.

I am further informed that there are currently 19 Public Order Vans assigned either to the Dublin Metropolitan Region and the National Public Order Unit (Harcourt Square).

Finally and while the question raised by the Deputy referred specifically to public order vans, the Deputy may also wish to be aware that 42 additional vehicles with a capacity for 4-5 Garda members and two individual cells for the transportation of prisoners were added to the Garda fleet in 2018 and a further 4 such vehicles were added to the fleet in 2019. I am further advised by the Garda authorities that an additional eight such vehicles are due for allocation before year end.

Garda Transport Data

Questions (162)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

162. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times an on-duty Garda vehicle has been involved in an accident o date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51962/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of times an on-duty Garda vehicle has been involved in an accident while on duty in 2019 up to and including 30 November is 496.

The following table provided to me by the Garda authorities provides a breakdown of the different incidents involving on-duty Garda vehicles in 2019. The table includes information on ramming incidents and malicious damage, as well as accidents and serves to illustrate the dangers facing members of An Garda Síochána while using vehicles while carrying out their duties in the protection of the safety of citizens.

-

Accidents

Ramming

Malicious Damage

Total

2019 (as at 30 November)

424

59

13

496

Gambling Legislation

Questions (163)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

163. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the gambling control Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51965/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Government has indicated on a number of occasions that it recognises the need to proceed with comprehensive reform of our outdated gambling licensing and regulation.

On 10 January, 2018, the Government approved the updating of the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill. The proposed updating follows on from the review work undertaken in my Department and from the consultations held with interested stakeholders. The Government also approved the concept of the establishment of a new gambling regulatory authority as an independent statutory body operating under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality.

The proposals in the General Scheme were reviewed by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. The Group's Report was approved and published by the Government on 20 March 2019. The Report contained a number of significant recommendations concerning all aspects of gambling activity. In particular, it recommended that future responsibility for licensing and regulation of all forms of gambling, including online gambling, rest with a proposed new gambling regulatory authority.

I hosted a major seminar on the future licensing and regulation of gambling at Farmleigh House on 15 May 2019, bringing together a large number of interested and concerned stakeholders to discuss the Report of the Working Group and further developments.

Work on revising the revised General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill is underway in my Department. This is a complex area and we must be certain that any reforms will be achievable and effective. At the time of publication of the Working Group Report, An Taoiseach indicated that work on revising legislation, taking account of the Working Group’s recommendations, would likely take a period of about 18 months to bring to completion.

Separately, I have brought forward the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, an interim reform measure to amend the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act. Report and Final Stages of the Bill will be taken in the Seanad today. This is the final Oireachtas Stage. I hope to complete the enactment of the Bill swiftly thereafter.

Naturalisation Applications

Questions (164)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

164. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of an application by a person (details supplied) in view of the fact all documents have now been submitted as requested; if an update on the matter will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52013/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

An application for a certificate of naturalisation was received in my Department from the person referred to by the Deputy on 28 March 2019. Applications are processed, in the chronological order in which they are received, with a view to establishing whether the applicants meet the statutory conditions for the granting of naturalisation. The application will be submitted to me for decision as expeditiously as possible once processing is completed.

As the Deputy will appreciate, the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is a privilege and an honour which confers certain rights and entitlements not only within the State but also at European Union level and it is important that appropriate procedures are in place to preserve the integrity of the process.

Queries in relation to the status of individual immigration cases may be made directly to my Department by e-mail using the Oireachtas Mail facility which has been specifically established for this purpose. This service enables up to date information on such cases to be obtained without the need to seek information by way of the Parliamentary Questions process. The Deputy may consider using the e-mail service except in cases where the response is, in the Deputy’s view, inadequate or too long awaited.

Garda College

Questions (165)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

165. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the planned dates for attestation of probationary gardaí at Templemore in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52105/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 as amended, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for management and control of An Garda Síochána, including responsibility for personnel matters and by arranging for the recruitment, training and appointment of its members.

The Commissioner has indicated that there will be four attestations in 2020, most likely on the following dates: 21 February 2020; 3 July 2020; 4 September 2020; and 27 November 2020.

However, it should be noted that given this very early stage, these dates are provisional and are subject to change.

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Questions (166, 167)

Robert Troy

Question:

166. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the implementation of ongoing communications strategy initiatives that highlight schemes and programmes operated under the auspices of his Department including advertising and promotion on television, radio, newspapers and online in tabular form; and the level of expenditure for each such initiative. [52122/19]

View answer

Robert Troy

Question:

167. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the expenses incurred by his Department to date in 2019 for the commissioning, development, production, promotion and online sharing of a video that highlighted schemes and programmes operated by his Department in tabular form; if such videos have been commissioned for 2020; and if so, the estimated costs of each such video. [52139/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 166 and 167 together.

My Department engages in public information campaigns, where appropriate, in order to draw attention to important issues in the Justice and Equality sector.

The main awareness campaign the Department runs aims to target domestic, sexual and gender based violence. The 'No Excuses' campaign is a high impact media campaign designed to reach a national audience featuring TV, cinema, radio, outdoor, social and digital advertising. The ‘No Excuses’ campaign was preceded by the domestic violence awareness campaign ‘What Would You Do?’ which ran for three years from 2016 to 2018.

The current total cost of the ‘No Excuses’ campaign in 2019 is €1,120,459, which includes €170,915 from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Funding of €950,000 has been secured to run the campaign in 2020. In addition, funding of €300,000 has been awarded under the Dormant Accounts Fund to localise the campaign message. It is intended, subject to the necessary funding being made available, that the campaign will continue up to 2021.

Two newspaper adverts also ran 7 – 8 December 2019 to highlight the application process for funding for the provision of services supporting victims in the criminal justice system. The cost of this was €2,280.

The use of digital marketing allows the Department to reach audiences that might not be as likely to see or hear traditional forms of marketing such as newspapers, television and radio, and draws greater attention to matters such as domestic violence and human trafficking.

My Department runs an annual Fireworks Awareness Campaign in the run up to Hallowe'en. The total cost of this campaign is €12,491. As traditional print media advertising can fail to reach important target audiences, in particular those under 21, spend was evenly split between print and social media.

In respect of video content, the Press and Communications Office of my Department has been developing its capacity to develop and disseminate such video and digital media content internally since 2016. External videography services are only used exceptionally as in the case of larger campaigns such as ‘No Excuses’ and are procured in line with public procurement guidelines set out by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). There are currently no plans to outsource further video productions for 2020.

Work Permits Data

Questions (168)

James Browne

Question:

168. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation if the quota of 500 horticultural work permits has been filled; if she will increase the amount of work permits within the horticultural sector owing to labour shortages; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51900/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

In May 2018, a pilot quota-based scheme was introduced to remove the occupations of horticulture worker, meat processing operative and dairy farm assistant from the ineligible occupations list. The scheme allows workers from non-EEA countries to access employment opportunities. The application of a quota-based system is to ensure that in the longer-term, strategies are put in place to source labour supply from both the domestic and European labour markets and to invest in innovative technologies for the sector. To date this pilot scheme has proved very successful and a total of 500 permits has been made available to the Horticulture sector; 150 to Dairy Farm Assistants and 1,500 permits for Meat Processing Operatives. In addition, from July 2019, a further quota of 300 permits for Meat Deboners were made available.

The quota for horticulture workers is almost exhausted and before consideration can be given to extending the quota, the sector needs to submit a business case clearly demonstrating that the recruitment difficulties are shortages across the EEA not to other factors such as salary and/or employment conditions. The sector also needs to detail the strategies in place for training/upskilling/career development within the industry and show that it is engaging systematically with the employment services of the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

The views of the lead policy Government Department for the sector, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, are an important part of the decision-making process. I understand that sector representatives are currently preparing a business case for submission to the Department.

Workplace Relations Services Data

Questions (169, 170, 171)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

169. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the funding allocated to the Workplace Relations Commission in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the budget allocated for 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52002/19]

View answer

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

170. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of workplace relations inspectors employed in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number that will be employed in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52003/19]

View answer

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

171. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of staff employed by the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number that will be employed in 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52004/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Business)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 to 171, inclusive, together.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent, statutory body which was established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC assumes the roles and functions previously carried out by the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA), Equality Tribunal (ET), Labour Relations Commission (LRC), and the first-instance functions of the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT).

As the WRC was established late in the fiscal year of 2015, the budgets of the individual workplace relations bodies remained unchanged until the following year. The pay/non-pay budget allocations of the individual workplace relations bodies which were amalgamated to form the WRC in 2015, were as follows:

Table 1:

Pay and non-pay budget allocation for Workplace Relations Bodies 2015:

2015

Non- pay €000

Pay €000

Total €000

National Employment Rights Authority (NERA)

862

5,183

6,045

Labour Relations Commission (LRC)

814

4,130

4,944

Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT)

422

2,960

3,382

Equality Tribunal (ET)

239

1,460

1,699

Table 2:

WRC budget allocation for pay and non-pay in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Workplace Relations Commission (WRC)

Non- pay €000

Pay €000

Total €000

2016

2,489

10,081

12,570

2017

2,314

11,065

13,379

2018

2,314

11,700

14,014

2019

2,614

12,340

14,954

2020

2,614

12,340

14,954

The WRC’s Inspection and Enforcement Division carries out inspections of employer records with a view to determining compliance with employment rights legislations. These inspections arise

- In response to complaints received of alleged non-compliance with relevant employment rights legislation;

- As part of compliance campaigns which focus on compliance in specific sectors or specific pieces of legislation, or

- As routine inspections, which act as a control measure.

The aim is to achieve voluntary compliance with employment law through the provision of education and awareness, inspection of employers’ employment records and enforcement where necessary. Table 3 sets out the number of inspectors employed at the WRC in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019.

Table 3:

The number of workplace relations inspectors employed at the end of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 is as follows:

Number of Inspectors in WRC

2015

2016

2017

2018

To date in 2019

HEO/AO Inspection Team Managers

7

7

7

7

6

Executive Officer Inspectors:

48

48

51

49

49

The Labour Court is an independent statutory body under the aegis of my Department. In addition to its role of court of last resort in industrial relations cases, with the enactment of the Workplace Relations Act 2015, the Labour Court is now also the sole appellate body in employment rights cases.

Both the Labour Court and the WRC are staffed by civil servants of my Department. In addition, the WRC’s adjudication services are supplemented by a cohort of 44 independent external adjudicators. The Labour Court also has a cohort of 13 statutory appointees of Chairman, Deputy Chairs and Ordinary Members who constitute the tripartite adjudicating Divisions of the Labour Court.

Details of the staff employed by the WRC and the Labour Court at the end of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 are set out in Tables 4 and 5 respectively.

Table 4:

The number of staff employed by the WRC at the end of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, is as follows:

Number staff in the WRC

2015

2016

2017

2018

To date in 2019

Headcount

168

162

173

182

183

Full time equivalents (FTE)

159.96

154.36

165.09

174.64

175.1

Table 5:

The number of staff employed by the Labour Court at the end of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, is as follows:

Labour Court Staff*

2015

2016

2017

2018

To date in 2019

Headcount

28

29

32

33

34

FTE

25.5

26.5

30.4

30.6

32

*Numbers include statutory appointees of Chairman, Deputy Chairmen and Ordinary Members.

My Department has initiated the process to recruit additional adjudicators and to fill inspector vacancies at the WRC in 2020 and will continue to work closely with the WRC and the Labour Court monitoring the staffing and budgetary requirements of both bodies to ensure that they are supported and adequately resourced to fulfil their roles.