Garda Stations

Questions (255)

Gary Gannon

Question:

255. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the status of Fitzgibbon Street Garda station; if the second phase of works is currently on schedule to be completed in March 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7440/21]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The refurbishment works at Fitzgibbon St Garda Station were on schedule to be completed in March 2021, however, works were suspended on site from 6pm 8th January 2021 in accordance with the current Covid-19 restrictions. A revised completion date will be provided when the current restrictions on construction works are removed.

National Museum

Questions (256)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

256. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the specific funding that has been allocated to the National Museum to allow it to proceed with the development of the north block of Clarke Square in the Collins Barracks site to allow for a permanent exhibition on An Gorta Mór as part of its galleries on the History of Ireland 1600-2000; and her views on whether reduced domestic and international visitor numbers provides the opportune time to commence the work in preparation for the return to normality after the pandemic. [7121/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Officials in my Department are in discussions with the National Museum about the History of Ireland Galleries proposal. To date, no specific funding has been allocated to the Museum by my Department for the proposed development of the north block of Clarke Square at Collins Barracks. However, the ongoing support and development of the National Cultural Institutions remains a priority for my Department.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (257)

Holly Cairns

Question:

257. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the reason the minimum turnover of €50,000 was included in the criteria for the tourism business continuity scheme; the funding that will be made available for businesses that fall outside this criteria; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7457/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The business continuity scheme for strategic businesses tourism sector is administered by Fáilte Ireland. It is focused on addressing the fixed costs of those businesses that are ineligible for the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS).

It is one of a range of supports that have been introduced for the tourism sector since last July both at a sectorial level, for example the Fáilte Ireland Adaptation Grant, the Inbound Tour Operators Scheme and the Coach Tour Operators Scheme, and as part of wider horizontal supports, in particular the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the CRSS and the ReStart Grant Scheme.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further details on the business continuity scheme including the rationale for the eligibility criteria. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (258, 259)

Marc MacSharry

Question:

258. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if her Department or an agency under her remit has considered action to assist individual clubs with their costs; if she will ensure that sports clubs’ large direct payments, for example, insurance premiums, will be eligible for assistance in future Covid-19 funding; if she will examine the issue of sports clubs that were assisted in 2020 but are now ruled out as not eligible in the new Covid restrictions support scheme given that they will be in difficulty in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6330/21]

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Marc MacSharry

Question:

259. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if the situation regarding sports clubs that received funding (details supplied) in 2020 but that are now ruled out as ineligible under the Covid restrictions support scheme will be reviewed; if the difficulties of sports clubs will be examined; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6331/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 259 together.

A Covid-19 funding package of €85 million was provided last year to support the sport sector. This significant investment benefited all levels of the sport sector, including thousands of grassroots clubs across the country, and provided some certainty for sporting organisations in their planning for 2021.

I fully recognise that the financial and operational challenges associated with Covid-19 will continue well into 2021 and that many clubs will find themselves in financial difficulty again this year. Additional funding of €26 million was allocated for Sport Ireland in Budget 2021 which will ensure that we can continue to support our valued sport sector. This includes funding to provide for supports to the sector to meet the ongoing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisions in relation to how funding will be allocated and the criteria to be applied will be made by Sport Ireland in due course.

In that regard, Sport Ireland is in ongoing communication with the National Governing Bodies of sport and is assessing the financial needs of the sector for the year ahead. In addition. I am engaging with the National Governing Bodies both bilaterally and through the Covid-19 Sports Monitoring Group, which met as recently as Thursday 28 January, in regard to any supports which may be required in the period ahead.

National Sports Policy Framework

Questions (260)

Chris Andrews

Question:

260. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the breakdown of the nationwide audit of sport facilities as committed to in the National Sport Policy 2018-2027 by each of the 31 local authorities in tabular form. [6402/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Subsequent to the publication of the National Sports Policy 2018-2027, and following consultation with relevant stakeholders, the Government decided that the scope of the envisaged database should be widened beyond sports facilities to include important information on, for example, recreational facilities in public spaces and also walking trails. As set out in the National Sports Policy, the overarching aim is to compile an accessible, comprehensive and up-to-date national database of facilities, which will inform Government policy and investment to increase participation in sport and physical activity. This more comprehensive approach reflects and responds to projected increased information requirements of society generally where there is growing popularity of informal sporting and recreational activity.

Sport Ireland, supported by Healthy Ireland funding, has completed a detailed feasibility study. Implementation of this enhanced database project is proceeding on a phased basis, and I would like to acknowledge the excellent engagement by a wide range of stakeholders. It is aimed to substantially complete the project, involving the accumulation of information from existing datasets from local authorities, other State agencies as well as National Governing Bodies of sport, by the end of 2023.

Covid-19 Tests

Questions (261)

Chris Andrews

Question:

261. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will consider supplying antigen testing kits to League of Ireland clubs in view of the major financial impact Covid-19 testing will have on League of Ireland clubs once the league resumes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6413/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I recognise that the operational challenges associated with Covid-19, including the requirement for testing, has a financial impact for the sport sector, including League of Ireland clubs. On Thursday 4 February I met with the Chairman and the CEO of the Football Association of Ireland. During our meeting we had a good discussion on the resumption of the League of Ireland.

The safe resumption of the league is important for everyone involved and while Covid-19 testing of players is a matter for the FAI and the League of Ireland, I made clear the Government’s support for the resumption of the league and that we will engage with the Association in regard any additional supports which may be required in the period ahead.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (262, 273)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

262. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if sports capital grant funding has been awarded to a club (details supplied) in County Kildare since 2015; if so, the amount that has been paid and the amount outstanding; if there is an impediment for paying outstanding grants; if so, if she will provide details of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6631/21]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

273. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the date on which a sports capital grant will issue to a club (details supplied); and if further information is required in order to release the funding. [7215/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 262 and 273 together.

The club referred to by the Deputy was provisionally allocated a grant of €81,500 under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme (SCP) for the development of an artificial playing surface and a further €83,343 under the 2018 SCP towards the provision of floodlights and non-personal sports equipment.

In accordance with the terms and conditions of the SCP and due to the level of grants received by the club in the past, it is necessary to execute a Deed of Covenant and Charge in order to protect the public investment in the facility. In this regard I understand that the Chief State Solicitors Office (CSSO) has been in contact with the club’s solicitors in relation to some outstanding documentation. It will not be possible to provide formal approval for the funding until the CSSO confirms that all legal formalities have been completed. Once the CSSO confirmation is received there will be no undue delay in paying the grants subject to the other necessary documentation being submitted by the club.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (263)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

263. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media when applicants seeking funding through the tourism business continuity scheme will be informed if they have been successful; and the expected time between first application and receipt of funds. [6709/21]

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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. A key measure in the Budget was the provision of business continuity funding to support strategic tourism businesses to be administered by Fáilte Ireland. The details of the first phase of the scheme was announced on 1st February and it will contribute to the fixed costs of identified strategic tourism businesses that are not eligible for CRSS to support their survival.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further details on the scheme. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Sports Capital Programme

Questions (264)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

264. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her plans to increase funding available to local authorities for improving or creating sea swimming amenities given the increase in the use of such areas, for example, new points of access and building of changing shelters. [6710/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The Sports Capital and Equipment Programme (SCEP) is the primary vehicle for Government support for the development of sports and recreation facilities and the purchase of non-personal sports equipment throughout the country.

It is open to any organisation with a suitable sporting project, including a local authority, to apply for funding. Further details about the programme can be found on www.sportscapitalprogramme.ie. The Programme has funded safety equipment for sea swimming clubs in the past and the type of facilities referred to by the Deputy could be applied for. The 2020 round of the Programme is currently open for applications with a deadline of 5pm on Monday 1st March 2021.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (265)

Dara Calleary

Question:

265. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media her views on the role played by local newspapers in the battle against Covid-19 and the challenge faced by their business model as a consequence of the Covid-19 restrictions; and if she will introduce a support scheme similar to the scheme for independent broadcasters. [7012/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

A strong and independent media sector is central to our parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and to the provision of quality and impartial information, particularly in the context of COVID-19. I recognise the essential role that the print media plays in this regard and the particular value of local and regional newspapers in bringing communities together and sharing reliable and relevant local news. The production and publication of newspapers, journals and periodicals and the distribution of those publications has been listed as an essential service.

The sector faces a fall in revenue arising from the pandemic, but also longer term challenges as a result of changing patterns of media consumption, technology and shifts in advertising revenue.

In recognition of these longer term challenges, the Programme for Government provided for the establishment of the Future of Media Commission to consider the future of print, broadcast, and online media in a platform agnostic fashion. The Commission, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, recently concluded a public consultation to which a number of stakeholders in the print sector have made submissions. The Commission is currently in the process of engaging with key stakeholders in a series of thematic dialogues. I look forward to receiving the Commission's Report on the completion of its work which will inform media policy, including print media, over the next 10 years.

The scheme referred to by the Deputy is a statutory scheme provided for under Part 10 of the Broadcasting Act 2009 and largely funded by the television licence. It is limited by statute to audiovisual and sound media and is administered by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. There is no equivalent statutory scheme for the print sector and the BAI has no function in funding the print sector. As the Deputy will appreciate it is of particular importance in relation to media organisations to avoid any perception of Government interference or influence and the funding of newspapers is therefore a complex issue. I am however cognisant of the importance of this sector, and the financial issues which it currently faces.

Since I assumed formal responsibility for the media sector in September 2020, I have engaged in meeting key stakeholders including Newsbrands, Local Ireland and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). Work is continuing to explore the issues arising, with a follow up meeting between my officials and the NUJ taking place on 3rd February and a further meeting with Local Ireland has been scheduled for Wednesday 17th February. In addition, the Government has put in place a range of supports for all businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are available to local newspapers.

Arts Funding

Questions (266)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

266. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if matters raised in correspondence (details supplied) will be examined. [7046/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

An allocation of €50 million was made in Budget 2021 for the live performance sector. It is intended that the rollout of the funding would include measures that will build on grant schemes launched under the July stimulus, such as the pilot "Live Performance Support Scheme" and the "Music Industry Support Package".

Over €5 million in funding was provided through the pilot "Live Performance Support Scheme" to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters to plan live performances across the country, with a total of 59 organisations benefitting from the scheme. The main objective of this pilot scheme was to provide employment opportunities in this uncertain time and allow commercial organisers of live performances to prepare productions for either a live audience or to share content through streaming. My Department continues to receive very positive feedback in relation to this pilot scheme. Officials are now compiling data in relation to the scheme and these findings will be published shortly. Officials have gained valuable insights from these schemes and will apply these learnings when allocating funding this year.

Other measures are also under consideration including those which have emerged from engagement with the sector and with stakeholders. This engagement is ongoing and it is hoped that further details and decisions will be announced shortly.

Under the current Level 5 restrictions supports such as the PUP and the CRSS will continue to be made available to those impacted. Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) is also available to help maintain people in jobs. Further details of the range of government supports available to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis can be viewed at the following link, https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/Government-supports-to-COVID-19-impacted-businesses.html.

In addition to these measures, I am working with officials and Government colleagues to progress the recommendations set out in the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce.

Tourism Funding

Questions (267)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

267. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will address the matters raised in correspondence by a person (details supplied) on their business difficulties; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7072/21]

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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. A key measure in the Budget was the provision of funding for a €55 million business continuity scheme to support strategic tourism businesses to be administered by Fáilte Ireland. The scheme will contribute to the fixed costs of identified strategic tourism businesses that are not eligible for CRSS to support their survival. The first phase will be open for applications on 11 February and Fáilte Ireland will consider the need for further phases of funding as the scheme evolves.

I have referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for further details on the scheme. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (268)

Matt Carthy

Question:

268. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she plans to provide additional funding to the Fáilte Ireland coach continuity scheme in recognition of the increased financial burden of coach tour operators as a result of the new prolonged restrictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7078/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The July Stimulus and 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. As part of this a dedicated fund of €10million was introduced for a Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme in the last quarter of 2020. Fáilte Ireland are processing applications for this scheme.

In regard to the future, as with other sectors, the Government will continue to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and to ensure that appropriate supports are in place to mitigate the economic impacts of the pandemic.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (269, 270)

Matt Carthy

Question:

269. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will publish the list of companies that availed of the Fáilte Ireland coach continuity scheme; the amount of funding received by each company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7079/21]

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Matt Carthy

Question:

270. Deputy Matt Carthy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the number of companies that received funding from the Fáilte Ireland coach continuity scheme; the average amount allocated to each company; if the entire allocation of funding has been expended; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7080/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 269 and 270 together.

The administration of the Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy's questions to them for further information and direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.

Pension Provisions

Questions (271)

Cormac Devlin

Question:

271. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media when a decision will be made on the recommendation for a 2% increase in pensions payments in a scheme (details supplied) given the scheme appears to be in a position to fund the increase; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7111/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

As Minister for Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, I have responsibility for the governance of RTÉ to ensure the company is fully compliant with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State bodies and the governance functions included in the legislative and regulatory framework for broadcasting.

The RTÉ Superannuation Scheme is a funded, contributory defined benefit scheme, established under legislation and sponsored by RTÉ. The scheme is managed by a board of trustees who have responsibility for overseeing the schemes’ operations, including the investment of the schemes’ assets.

In December 2020, the proposal for a 2% pension increase was submitted to my Department seeking my approval, as required under the governing legislation. In addition, Section 85 of the RTÉ Superannuation Scheme provides for authorisation of increases, from time to time, and this is for determination by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

The matter is currently under review, in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and a decision will be made on the matter when those consultations have concluded.

Tourism Ireland

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 262.

Questions (272)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

272. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media when the funding which was provided to Tourism Ireland in 2020 will be allocated to the coach industry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7180/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The administration of the Coach Tourism Business Continuity Scheme 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.

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 262.