Sports Funding

Questions (226)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

226. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the status of the release of a grant to a sports club (details supplied) in County Kildare; if same will be communicated to the club; and if there are outstanding issues for the club to address and or resolve in respect of documentation. [27935/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

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.

Legal formalities in relation to this grant have not yet been finalised as the Chief State Solicitor's Office is still awaiting the required documentation from the grantee's solicitor. It will not be possible to provide formal approval for the grant 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 (227)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

227. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if her officials have finalised the administrative arrangements for the music entertainment business assistance scheme. [27940/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

I have made an allocation of €14 million to a Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme to contribute towards the ongoing overheads of businesses, specifically musicians and related crew, that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 and that do not qualify for other business supports. Under the scheme, businesses including musicians, singers, lighting and sound crew and audio equipment suppliers - whether sole traders, partnerships or incorporated entities - operating exclusively within the commercial live entertainment sector will be eligible to apply. This scheme has been developed following consultation with the sector and will be managed directly by my Department. The administrative arrangements for the scheme are being finalised and I hope to open the scheme for applications shortly.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (228)

Chris Andrews

Question:

228. Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a roadmap with confirmed dates will be provided for the resumption of live indoor music events; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27941/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

On the 29th of April the Government agreed that my Department will work with the Department of Health and Department of the Taoiseach to prepare proposals on the holding of a limited number of pilot live events for sport and live entertainment, both indoor and outdoor. This is to inform the safe reopening of these activities and events when the public health situation allows.

I would hope to begin hosting these events in June, depending on the epidemiological situation at the time and subject to the rollout of the vaccination programme. All options for the safe roll out of these events are being considered. I am cautiously optimistic that once test events can be undertaken and lessons drawn from those that we can grow spectator attendances later in the Summer.

In the meantime my Department will work with sporting and cultural bodies and make practical preparations for these test events. Guidelines and plans for the pilot music and sport events are in development. Further details will be announced in due course.

Departmental Data

Questions (229)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

229. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if there is a policy of data backup in the operations of her Department and all agencies under her remit. [28127/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

For reasons of operational and national security it would not be appropriate to disclose details, including costs, of my Department’s cyber security arrangements, or those of the State Agencies under my remit.

Any information in relation to cyber security tools and services could assist criminals in identifying potential vulnerabilities in cybersecurity arrangements. Therefore it is not considered appropriate to disclose any such information or make comment which could in any way compromise my Department’s cyber security.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (230)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

230. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if wet pubs are eligible to receive funding under the outdoor seating and accessories for tourism and hospitality services schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28175/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Fáilte Ireland’s Outdoor Dining Enhancement Scheme is being delivered in partnership with local authorities and has the specific aim of developing outdoor dining capacity nationwide. Under one strand of this scheme, grants for outdoor seating and accessories are available to a range of businesses selling food for consumption on their premises. Work is underway to examine how pubs that do not serve food can be similarly supported.

The Government remains committed to supporting tourism through this difficult period and to working towards reopening and recovery. In this regard, the Government will soon be publishing a National Economic Recovery Plan outlining how we will help people return to work and support sectors which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Government will consider more targeted measures to help reboot those sectors, such as tourism, which face particular challenges during the recovery phase when the economy reopens.

Departmental Legal Services

Questions (231)

Mairéad Farrell

Question:

231. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the amount spent by her Department on external professional legal services in 2014, 2019 and 2020, in tabular form. [28310/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Details of any legal costs for my Department are published in the Annual Appropriation Account and subject to audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General. The Annual Appropriation Accounts for 2014 & 2019 have been published on the Comptroller & Auditor General Website and are available using the following link:

www.audit.gov.ie/en/find-report/publications/appropriation%20accounts/

Details of any 2020 legal costs for my Department will be published in the 2020 Annual Appropriation Account upon completion of the audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (232)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

232. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media when new operating guidelines for the sectors of the hospitality industry scheduled to reopen from 7 June 2021 will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28347/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

A suite of sectoral guidance for tourism businesses is available on the Fáilte Ireland website, developed in line with the Government’s COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead plan and the Work Safely Protocol, and updated regularly in line with the evolving public health situation and related restrictions. The guidance in relation to all sectors of hospitality has been reviewed for alignment with new updates to the Work Safely Protocol and will be made available shortly. Further updates will be provided, as required, in line with the latest public health guidance and related Regulations.

Tourism Industry

Questions (233)

Carol Nolan

Question:

233. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will address concerns in relation to the lack of facilities catering for camper van and mobile home related tourism (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28358/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

My Department's role in relation to tourism lies primarily in the area of developing national tourism policy. The implementation of that policy is a matter for the tourism agencies, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland, as well as other bodies. Under the Tourist Traffic Acts 1939-2016, Fáilte Ireland has specific power and functions in relation to the mandatory registration and grading of certain types of tourist accommodation, including caravan and camping parks, for which the relevant regulations relate mainly to the quality of the product and the level of service. In this regard, I am happy to report that there are many excellent caravan and camping parks throughout the country, which are quality-approved by Fáilte Ireland, provide a range of services for touring customers (including those in motorhomes, campervans or caravans) and are located close to a range of other amenities of potential interest.

Neither my Department nor Fáilte Ireland has any responsibility for any other types of facilities dedicated to the needs of touring motorhomes or campervans and providing the types of services mentioned by the Deputy. I believe any development of such facilities – for example aires or dedicated overnight parking spaces – would be a matter for the various local authorities.

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Questions (234)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

234. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if a decision has been made on an application for the Fáilte Ireland adaptation grant by a business (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28369/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Administration of the Covid-19 Adaptation Fund is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have accordingly referred the Deputy's question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply to the Deputy. Please contact my private office if you have not received a reply within ten working days.

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (235)

Imelda Munster

Question:

235. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if she will appoint a restaurant representative and pub representative to the tourism recovery oversight group; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28377/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

In line with the recommendation in the Tourism Recovery Plan, a Recovery Oversight Group was appointed in December 2020. The purpose of the Group is to oversee the implementation of the Recovery Plan produced by the Tourism Recovery Taskforce and monitor the sector’s recovery from the COVID crisis.

The Recovery Oversight Group is made up of an independent chairperson and 8 other members with a broad spectrum of backgrounds who were selected on the basis of each person's capacity to bring his/her personal knowledge, skills, experience, competence, capability, strategic leadership and ideas to the work of the group. I appointed individuals who, together, will work for the good of Irish tourism as a whole. No specific sector was deliberately included and likewise, no specific sector was deliberately excluded. A recovery in the tourism sector will be beneficial for all businesses which depend on the sector, including pubs and restaurants.

In October 2020, I, together with the Tánaiste, Minister Varadkar, established a Hospitality and Tourism Forum to provide a platform for structured engagement between the Hospitality and Tourism sector, the tourism agencies and relevant Government Departments in light of the COVID crisis. Its purpose is to allow key issues of relevance to the sectors to be discussed, with a view to identifying practical actions which could be taken by government (national or local), or by industry itself, to support the sectors. The Forum enables the Tánaiste and I to engage with a wide spectrum of industry stakeholders in order to assess the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to help improve understanding and responses to the crisis and to discuss ideas for recovery measures, thus assisting the Government in formulating its on-going response to the crisis. The forum has met three times to date i.e. in October 2020, December 2020 and March 2021 and is hugely beneficial in helping me to understand the particular concerns of each sector within tourism and hospitality. The next meeting of this forum is scheduled for 2nd June.

Representatives from the Hospitality and Tourism sectors on the Forum include:

- Irish Hotels Federation

- Restaurants Association of Ireland

- Vintners Federation of Ireland

- Licensed Vintners Association

- Drinks Ireland

- Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers

- B&B Ireland

- Event Industry Ireland

- Irish Self Catering Federation

- Irish Tourism Industry Confederation

- Incoming Tour Operators Association

- Coach Tourism & Transport Council of Ireland

- Association for the Visitor Experience and Attractions

- Irish Congress of Trade Union

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (236)

Imelda Munster

Question:

236. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the names of persons or sectors who were appointed by Fáilte Ireland to the tourism recovery task forces (details supplied). [28378/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

The matter raised is an operational matter for Fáilte Ireland. I have referred this question to them for direct response to the Deputy. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days

Covid-19 Pandemic

Questions (237)

Gary Gannon

Question:

237. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media if outdoor cinemas are permitted to operate along with other outdoor amenities from 29 May 2021; if not, the rationale for this sector to continue to be closed while other outdoor amenities remain open; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28389/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

Subject to the prevailing public health situation, the Government has been delivering a phased easing of public health restrictions over the period since April this year.

The Government continues to keep the situation over review with a view to continuing to reopen sectors, services and activities as the public health situation allows. The public health advice prepared by the National Public Health Emergency Team is considered as part of the Government’s decision-making process. Once the Government has taken its decision, the Minister for Health prepares regulations under the Section 31A of the Health Act 1947 . Drive-in cinemas are not allowed to operate under the current regulations which set out the public health restrictions in place at present.

The Government is cognisant of the significant impact the COVID-19 crisis has and continues to have. The intention is to make steady progress with the reopening of society and the economy while avoiding a further wave of disease and re-imposition of restrictions.

As has been the case at each stage of the easing of restrictions, the set of measures introduced is intended to incrementally re-open the country while minimising the risks of transmission in, alignment with risk levels. The Government is cognizant of the impact of any and all restrictions across every sector and fully aware of the challenges individuals and businesses continue to face.

As we progress with the Recovery and Resilience: The Path Ahead plan, work is continuing on a number of other issues in preparation for the coming months. Further re-openings will be considered, in the context of the public health situation, and decided on by Government shortly.

Cybersecurity Policy

Questions (238)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

238. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media the investment made by her Department and State agencies under its remit in each year in cybersecurity for the past ten years. [28852/21]

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Written answers (Question to Tourism)

For reasons of operational and national security it would not be appropriate to disclose details, including costs, of my Department’s cyber security arrangements, or those of State Agencies under my remit.

Any information in relation to cyber security tools and services could assist criminals in identifying potential vulnerabilities in cybersecurity arrangements. Therefore it is not considered appropriate to disclose any such information or make comment which could in any way compromise my Department’s cyber security.

Housing Policy

Questions (239, 244)

Marian Harkin

Question:

239. Deputy Marian Harkin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if there is a specific plan to tackle family homelessness in the forthcoming Housing for All strategy; if the key issues and suggestions made in a strategy by an organisation (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28410/21]

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Richard Bruton

Question:

244. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he has assessed the request by an organisation (details supplied) for a family homelessness strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27532/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 239 and 244 together.

The policy proposals from Focus Ireland seek a specific Government strategy to tackle family homelessness and I have received a copy. I want to assure the Deputies that I will be continuing to accord priority to working with my colleagues in Government to ensure the delivery of the appropriate responses for families experiencing homelessness.

Supporting individuals and families facing homelessness is a key Government priority. The Programme for Government, Our Shared Future , commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and provides detail on how the Government is approaching this work as a priority. Homelessness is complex and causal factors and family circumstances vary considerably as do the responses needed. Homelessness is also inter-related with the other areas of the housing system and with broader social and healthcare policy and service delivery. Therefore, a whole of Government approach is required in dealing with this challenge.

Important progress is being made, there was an almost 40% reduction of families in emergency accommodation in March based on the position one year previously representing the lowest number of families in emergency accommodation since March 2016. There were 2,166 dependants associated with these families, a decrease of 1,189, or 35%, on the position in March 2020.

Increasing the supply of housing, particularly new build social and affordable homes, is a key priority of this Government. The Programme for Government commits to increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000, with an emphasis on new builds. In Budget 2021, we backed this objective with funding of €3.3 billion for the delivery of housing. Subject to the impact of the Covid related restrictions on the construction sector, the available funding is planned to deliver 12,750 new social homes through build, acquisition and leasing. A major focus of this investment is the delivery of new build, with an overall target of 9,500 new homes.

Work is actively underway at the moment on the preparation of a new strategic housing plan, Housing for All. Measures to further address family homelessness are forming part of this work. The Government will continue to prioritise responses for families experiencing homelessness and this is being reflected in both strategic policy and in specific actions.