Question No. 182 answered with Question No. 176.

Public Sector Pay

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 174.

Questions (183)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

183. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he remains satisfied regarding the degree to which controls exercised by his Department continue to contribute in a meaningful way to national guidelines in respect of pay and conditions throughout the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2869/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Exchequer public service pay bill for 2021 is estimated at €21.8billion with an estimate 367,000 public servants. The role of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is to manage this expenditure at a sustainable level, which allows for the recruitment and retention of appropriately skilled staff.

Important measures are in place to ensure that our expenditure and budgetary targets are being achieved on an ongoing basis. Managing the delivery of public services within budgetary allocations is a key responsibility of each Government Minister and Department. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is in regular contact with all other Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being managed within the overall fiscal parameters.

There is regular reporting to Government on expenditure levels and expenditure profiles are published for each month. The drawdown of funds from the Exchequer is monitored throughout the year and reported on against profile on a monthly basis in the Exchequer Statement.

All departments, when managing pay issues, must fully adhere to Government pay policy, which is managed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Circulars issued by this Department in relation to pay policy inform Departments of any changes in respect of pay and conditions and must be implemented in full.

Pay and conditions of public servants are set by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and union representatives. The current agreement, "Building Momentum": A New Public Service Agreement, 2021 - 2022, sets out the terms and conditions for public service pay over the next two years. This is an extension of the framework of public service agreements, including the Public Service Stability Agreement, 2018 - 2020, which expired on 31 December 2020.

The range of approaches set out above are key elements in ensuring that public service pay expenditure is managed in a sustainable way.

Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 174.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (185)

Holly Cairns

Question:

185. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if employees of her Department have received Covid-19 vaccines due to their role in the Department; if so, the rationale for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2410/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I am informed that no employees of my Department have received Covid-19 vaccines due to their role in the Department.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (186)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

186. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding the Covid restrictions support scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2563/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Covid Restrictions Support Scheme is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance. Information on other supports schemes for businesses is a matter for the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

With regard to COVID-19 supports provided by my Department for sport bodies and clubs, I can inform the Deputy that on 2 November and 21 December 2020, Minister Catherine Martin and I announced the allocation of an €85 million funding support package for the Irish sport sector.

The funding, which was allocated by Sport Ireland, will address the existential threat to National Governing Bodies and their club networks, allowing sports organisations to offset significant losses incurred in recent months and add a semblance of certainty to planning for 2021.

The funding package includes COVID-19 funding of €70 million, to provide support for the three main field sports organisations (the FAI, GAA and IRFU), a Resilience Fund to support the National Governing Bodies of Sport, a Sports Club Resilience Fund to support clubs, and a Sports Restart and Renewal Fund.

In total, €2.83 million was allocated to Golf Ireland (formerly the Confederation of Golf in Ireland), including €2.7 million under the NGB Resilience Fund, €30,000 under the Sports Restart and Renewal Fund and €100,000 under the Sports Club Resilience Fund.

Funding for clubs under the Sports Club Resilience Fund is being delivered directly by the National Governing Bodies, through programmes established by each of the National Governing Bodies in receipt of funding. The club mentioned by the Deputy should contact Golf Ireland in relation to any supports that may be available through its funding programme.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (187)

Chris Andrews

Question:

187. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the number of applicants for the previous two rounds of the sports capital programme that were granted funding but did not draw down the grants fully. [2614/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Due to the nature of the Sports Capital and Equipment Programme it can take grantees a number of years to fully draw down their grants. Amongst the reasons for this are the need to have all of the legal requirements of the Programme satisfied, the need to obtain quotations for the work in question and the need for the organisation or club in question to raise the necessary own-funding element of the project to complete the work. Some projects were also delayed last year as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The two most recent rounds of the Sports Capital Programme were advertised in 2017 and 2018 with allocations made in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The information sought by the Deputy in relation to the status of these grants is set out in the table below:

Scheme

Fully outstanding

Partially drawn down

Fully drawn down

Total number of grants allocated

2017 Sports Capital Programme

492

339

1,006

1,837

2018 - Sports Capital Programme

1,110

214

330

1,654

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (188)

Joe Carey

Question:

188. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the specific supports that have been made available to the self-catering sector by her Department, including all agencies under the direction of her Department, in response to the severe fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic; the number of self-catering developments that have benefited from these supports by county in tabular form, including the total amounts drawn down for each county; the plans being developed to further support this important sector of the tourism offering; when these new supports will be rolled out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2707/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and fiscal measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors. These measures are in addition to the July Stimulus measures, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, tax warehousing, low cost loans and commercial rates waivers.

Through the PUP and EWSS, the Government is supporting incomes for workers and the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) offers support to businesses forced to close their premises or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID of up to €5,000 per week. The cut in the 13.5% VAT rate down to 9% will benefit the self-catering sector once those businesses are allowed to open again.

Fáilte Ireland has created an extensive range of business supports to guide self-catering businesses to operate during COVID-19. These have been developed in consultation with industry experts and are available on Fáilte Ireland’s website.

As part of the July stimulus measures, a €26million COVID-19 Adaptation Fund was made available to help tourism and hospitality businesses, including the self catering sector, to offset some of the costs incurred in adapting their premises or operations for re-opening. The administration of the Adaptation fund is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to the agency for any further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Tourism Project Funding

Questions (189)

Imelda Munster

Question:

189. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the funding streams available for the provision of a tourist office for a popular tourist area of Clogherhead, County Louth. [2767/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The provision of funding for tourist information offices is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's question to them for further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (190)

Jennifer Whitmore

Question:

190. Deputy Jennifer Whitmore asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the supports that will be made available to the hospitality sector in circumstances where utility bills continue to increase despite the lockdown of the sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2905/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Government is acutely aware of the significant effects on business of the Level 5 restrictions. This decision has been taken in order to reduce transmission of this disease quickly now so we can return to a lower level of the Living with COVID-19 framework.

Budget 2021 provided a significant package of tax and fiscal measures to build the resilience of the economy and to help vulnerable but viable businesses across all sectors including tourism. These measures are in addition to the July Stimulus measures, including the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, the Restart Grant Plus, cash for businesses, low cost loans and commercial rates waivers.

In particular, the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS), offers support to businesses forced to close or trade at significantly reduced levels due to COVID of up to €5,000 per week to address fixed costs such as those mentioned by the Deputy.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (191)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

191. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will consult with her ministerial colleagues, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and consider the introduction of legislation to amend electricity standing charges to support businesses, particularly those in the hospitality sector that are currently closed or operating at a very low level; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2951/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I am informed by the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications that responsibility for the regulation of the electricity and gas markets, including the matters raised by the Deputy, is solely a matter for the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU), which was assigned responsibility for the regulation of the Irish electricity and gas markets following the enactment of the Electricity Regulation Act (ERA), 1999.

The CRU is an independent statutory regulator and is accountable for the performance of its functions to the Oireachtas.

As the Deputy may be aware, my colleague, the Minister for Finance introduced the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) to help address fixed costs such as those faced by businesses closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, Fáilte Ireland is introducing a number of support schemes for strategic tourism businesses, particularly focusing on those businesses that do not qualify for CRSS.

State Bodies

Questions (192)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

192. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of the plans to merge the Valuation Office, Ordnance Survey Ireland and the Property Registration Authority into a single entity to be known as Tailte Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2191/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

On 1 January 2018, Ministerial Orders (SI 573 of 2017, SI 574 of 2017 and SI 575 of 2017) transferred responsibility for the Valuation Office, the Property Registration Authority and Ordnance Survey Ireland to my Department. These three organisations have been preparing for a merger that will provide the opportunity and scope to lead, develop and maintain national spatial information infrastructures, support better national land management and contribute to ongoing national economic and social development.

In December 2020, Government approved the publication of the General Scheme for the establishment of Tailte Éireann and the drafting of the Tailte Éireann Bill 2020. In accordance with Dáil Standing Order 146A, I have arranged for the referral of the General Scheme to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage for pre-legislative consideration.

Repair and Leasing Scheme

Questions (193)

Richard Bruton

Question:

193. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of social homes introduced through the repair and leasing scheme; and the amount of funding allocated across each local authority in each of the years 2017 to 2020, in tabular form. [2208/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Repair and Leasing Scheme (RLS) was developed to assist private property owners and local authorities or approved housing bodies to harness the accommodation potential that exists in vacant dwellings. Data to end Q3 2020 in relation to dwellings delivered by each local authority under RLS is available on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.gov.ie/en/collection/6060e-overall-social-housing-provision/#repair-and-leasing-scheme-rls

Total capital funding drawn down own by each local authority under RLS for the period 2017-2020 is set out on the table following:

Table

Social and Affordable Housing

Questions (194)

Mark Ward

Question:

194. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the status of the provision of a social housing passport to enable persons to move between local authorities without losing their time on the housing list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2216/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Programme for Government provides for a package of social housing reforms, including the introduction of a social housing passport to allow households move from one local authority list to another.

It should be noted that the four Dublin local authorities already co-operate in arrangements that enable social housing applicants to apply for housing in one or two of the other Dublin authorities simultaneously. Similar arrangements apply in the two Cork and two Galway local authorities. It is also already possible for households to move and relocate between housing authority areas under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme where the household income is within the appropriate income limits.

The issue of providing for wider tenancy movements is being examined and I will look at proposals in relation to such wider movement along with the other reform package measures.

Heritage Sites

Questions (195)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

195. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will make a decision in regard to a case (details supplied). [2263/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

I am advised that a decision will issue in this case imminently.

Homeless Persons Data

Questions (196, 197)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

196. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of homeless persons that have died in Dublin during 2020; and the breakdown of deaths per month. [2290/21]

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Peadar Tóibín

Question:

197. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the number of homeless persons that have died in the Dublin region to date in 2021. [2291/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 196 and 197 together.

There have been a number of deaths, in recent months, of people who had been sleeping rough or accessing homeless services. Each of these deaths is a tragedy and I extend my sympathies to the families concerned.

While my Department does not collate the data requested, the Department of Health has commissioned the Health Research Board to undertake a one-year feasibility study to collect data on deaths among people who were homeless. The research will apply the methodology used to compile the National Drug Related Deaths Index, which is a census of drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users and those who are alcohol dependent in Ireland. The data collection for 2019 deaths, including deaths among people who were homeless, is reviewing approximately 17,000 files from all Coroner districts.

Separate to this, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and the HSE have jointly commissioned a detailed review of recent deaths in homeless services. It is important that we establish the facts concerning the circumstances involved, and that we base our response as policy makers and elected representatives on the best knowledge and evidence available.