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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 14 Oct 2008

Vol. 663 No. 3

Written Answers.

The following are questions tabled by Members for written response and the ministerial replies as received on the day from the Departments [unrevised].

Employment Levels.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

1 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Taoiseach the growth in employment between 2000 and 2006 in Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. [34672/08]

The exact information as requested by the deputy is not available. Statistics on employment are measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). The survey provides estimates for eight NUTS-3 level regions which is provided in the following table.

Border

Midland

West

Dublin

Mid-East

Mid-West

South-East

South-West

2000

Employment growth

6.4

5.4

8.0

22.4

7.7

8.7

10.2

13.5

Annual % growth

4.1%

6.5%

5.5%

4.4%

4.5%

6.4%

6.4%

5.9%

2001

Employment growth

8.9

2.3

5.2

14.3

10

-1.1

5.7

5.3

Annual % growth

6.4%

2.6%

3.4%

2.7%

5.6%

-0.8%

3.3%

2.2%

2002

Employment growth

*

5.7

7.0

1.7

6.1

6.7

8.2

3.0

Annual % growth

0.1%

6.3%

7.1%

0.3%

3.2%

4.6%

4.7%

1.2%

2003

Employment growth

4.1

4.0

3.9

1.2

8.5

1.8

2.8

3.2

Annual % growth

2.4%

4.1%

2.3%

0.2%

4.3%

1.2%

1.5%

1.3%

2004

Employment growth

13.1

2.3

5.2

2.4

3.9

3.8

3.5

10.4

Annual % growth

7.4%

2.3%

3.0%

0.4%

1.9%

2.5%

1.9%

4.1%

2005

Employment growth

8.5

7

11

24.9

14.8

7.7

8.4

14.6

Annual % growth

4.5%

6.8%

6.2%

4.5%

7.2%

4.9%

4.4%

5.5%

2006

Employment growth

8.7

5.5

5.7

21.5

11.2

9.4

13.6

13.8

Annual % growth

4.4%

5.0%

3.0%

3.8%

5.1%

5.7%

6.8%

5.0%

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS).

Note: *Cell sizes too small to be considered reliable

The regional classifications in this release are based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. The NUTS3 regions correspond to the eight Regional Authorities established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, which came into operation on 1 January 1994. The composition of the regions is set out below.

Border:

Cavan

Dublin:

Dublin city

Donegal

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Leitrim

Fingal

Louth

South Dublin

Monaghan

Sligo

Mid-East:

Kildare

Meath

Midland:

Laoighis

Wicklow

Longford

Offaly

Mid-West:

Clare

Westmeath

Limerick City

Limerick County

West:

Galway City

North Tipperary

Galway County

Mayo

South-East:

Carlow

Roscommon

Kilkenny

South Tipperary

South-West:

Cork City

Waterford City

Cork County

Waterford County

Kerry

Wexford

Labour Force.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

2 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Taoiseach the total work force for 2006 in Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. [34673/08]

The exact information as requested by the deputy is not available. Statistics on work force are measured by the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS). The survey provides estimates for eight NUTS-3 level regions which is provided in the following table.

Numbers in Labour Force by region (in thousands)

Border

Midland

West

Dublin

Mid-East

Mid-West

South-East

South-West

Total

2006

218.7

120.3

201.2

624.7

240.6

181.0

223.9

303.4

2113.8

Source: Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS).

The regional classifications in this release are based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. The NUTS3 regions correspond to the eight Regional Authorities established under the Local Government Act, 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Establishment) Order, 1993, which came into operation on 1 January 1994. The composition of the regions is set out below.

Border:

Cavan

Dublin:

Dublin city

Donegal

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

Leitrim

Fingal

Louth

South Dublin

Monaghan

Sligo

Mid-East:

Kildare

Meath

Midland:

Laoighis

Wicklow

Longford

Offaly

Mid-West:

Clare

Westmeath

Limerick City

Limerick County

West:

Galway City

North Tipperary

Galway County

Mayo

South-East:

Carlow

Roscommon

Kilkenny

South Tipperary

South-West:

Cork City

Waterford City

Cork County

Waterford County

Kerry

Wexford

Income Levels.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

3 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Taoiseach the gross value added in 2006 for Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. [34674/08]

The CSO does not produce estimates of Gross Value Added (GVA) at county level. I am advised that there are a number of difficulties associated with providing results at such a level of detail.

These include the fact that:

the workforce producing the GVA in a county may live in neighbouring counties;

GVA includes company profits which in many cases may be remitted abroad; and,

much data is either not sufficiently robust or is unavailable at county level.

GVA is produced at the NUTS 3 Regional level. There are 8 such regions in Ireland. 2006 data is not yet available. The following table gives the 2005 results.

GVA at Basic Prices for each region for 2005

Region

GVA (€M)

Border, Midland and Western

26,773

Border

11,166

Midland

5,543

West

10,065

Southern and Eastern

115,712

Dublin

56,384

Mid East

12,254

Dublin plus Mid East

68,638

Mid West

10,743

South East

11,452

South West

24,877

State

142,486

The CSO does, however, publish figures on household incomes at county level. These figures allocate income to the counties in which persons reside. They include items such as social welfare benefits, but do not include company profits. The per capita household incomes for the relevant counties for the years 2000 to 2005 are provided below.

Estimates of Total Income Per Person for specified counties, 2000 to 2005 €

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Donegal

13,387

14,852

16,059

17,274

18,217

19,432

Leitrim

14,341

15,479

17,270

18,985

20,153

21,753

Sligo

15,281

16,977

18,686

20,526

22,067

23,356

Galway

16,506

18,279

19,637

20,980

22,508

23,532

Mayo

14,912

16,440

17,441

19,045

20,199

21,364

Roscommon

14,715

16,372

17,807

19,116

20,145

21,713

Clare

16,914

18,298

19,322

20,442

21,486

22,986

Cork

17,077

19,049

20,460

21,805

22,873

24,592

Kerry

14,339

16,190

17,350

18,413

19,300

20,750

Unemployment Levels.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

4 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Taoiseach the unemployment rate for Gaeltacht areas. [34991/08]

The most recent labour market information in respect of Gaeltacht areas is from the 2006 census. The following table provides the unemployment rate for Gaeltacht areas analysed by county in April 2006.

Geographic Area

Unemployment rate

%

Total Gaeltacht Areas

10.4

Cork County

4.0

Donegal County

16.5

Galway County and City

8.7

Galway City

7.6

Galway County

9.3

Kerry County

6.5

Mayo County

12.5

Meath County

5.5

Waterford County

8.5

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

5 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Taoiseach the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34430/08]

The following agencies were created since 1997. Details of staff numbers and the funding provided from my Department's Vote for each in each year from their date of establishment to date, are provided in the tables below.

1. National Partnership Centre (NCP)

Year

Funding

Staff

1997

148,559

5

1998

432,981

5

1999

622,172

5

2000

298,388

5

The National Centre for Partnership and Performance replaced the National Partnership Centre:

National Centre for Partnership & Performance (NCPP)

Year

Funding

Staff

2001

625,981

9

2002

932,000

9

2003

860,000

9

2004

1,086,000

8

2005

1,041,000

7

2006

960,000

8

2007

Funding provided in

7

2008

NESDO allocation

7.5

2. Media Lab Europe

Year

Funding

Staff

2000

37,105,556

1.5

Transferred to the Department of Public Enterprise in 2001.

3. Sports Campus Ireland

Year

Funding

Staff

2000

3,170,536

4

Transferred to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism in 2001.

4. Office for National Economic & Social Development

Year

Funding

Staff

2001

45,711

3

The National Economic and Social Development Office replaced the Office for National Economic and Social Development.

5. National Economic & Social Development Office (NESDO)

Year

Funding

Staff

2002

627,000

1

2003

483,000

1

2004

1,021,000

1

2005

1,168,000

3

2006

1,447,000

2.8

2007

5,812,000

3.4

2008

6,500,000 (estimate provision)

4.8

Programmes for Government.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

6 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach the aspects of the Programme for Government that will be retained in view of the new budgetary climate; the parts that will be removed or postponed; if the Government will be issuing a new programme reflecting the new economic reality or reprioritising the programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34482/08]

The Programme for Government 2007-2012 is as its title suggests a programme of priorities to be delivered over a five year period. Progress in delivering the Programme is kept under review.

The Department of the Taoiseach website published on 24 September 2008, statements regarding the progress made by Government departments in implementing each of the commitments in the Programme for Government.

Public Service Reform.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

7 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach the implementation of the OECD report on Reform of the Public Sector; the recommendations that are being adopted and those which are not; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34484/08]

In May 2008, I appointed a Task Force to develop an Action Plan for the Public Service which takes into account the analysis and conclusions of the OECD Report — ‘ Towards an Integrated Public Service’.

The terms of reference of the Task Force included the preparation of a comprehensive framework for renewal of the Public Service, and to recommend, in particular, how best to secure;

an overarching policy for an Integrated Public Service, that enables increased flexibility, mobility and staff development; and supports the competencies and practices necessary for new networked ways of working within and across the broader Public Service; and

the basis for determining the contribution which a Senior Public Service could make to an integrated and cohesive Public Service.

In addition, the Task Force was asked to develop an implementation plan, specifying the tasks and responsibilities necessary for the successful implementation of the renewal agenda, including the ways in which the principle of partnership with public servants and their representatives will be applied.

The Task Force has met on several occasions to date and I look forward to receiving its report shortly. Its work has been extensive, and has included engaging with a number of key stakeholders concerned with the shape of the successful implementation of the renewal agenda.

Official Engagements.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

8 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach if he will report on his recent visit to the United Nations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34485/08]

I travelled to New York to attend the UN High Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on 25 September to re-affirm commitments to reaching the MDGs by 2015.

The United Nations High-Level meeting marked the half way point of the pledge given in 2000 to halving world poverty by 2015. At the invitation of the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, world leaders took stock of achievements already made, acknowledged what remains to be done and re-energised their commitments to meeting the MDGs. During the meeting I made an intervention, focused on the topic of poverty and hunger and re-affirmed Ireland's commitment to the MDGs.

I participated in a lunchtime round table discussion co-chaired by Prime Minister Rasmussen of Denmark and President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, and including the U.N. Secretary General, on the theme of MDG 3 — Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment.

While in New York, I also launched the Government's Hunger Task Force Report in the presence of the U.N. Secretary General and members of the Task Force including former Minister for Agriculture Joe Walsh, Jeffrey Sachs and Bono. The Hunger Task Force was established last year to look at ways in which Ireland could best deliver genuine progress and a sustainable impact in the fight against hunger. I also met with Bob Geldof on the margins of this launch.

During my visit I also had meetings with European Commission President Barroso and former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Decentralisation Programme.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

9 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Taoiseach the cost of properties purchased, and the cost of staff being moved under the decentralisation programme with a breakdown of the future planned costs for both staff and properties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34486/08]

There are no proposals to decentralise my Department or any of the agencies or bodies under its aegis. The Department of Finance has responsibility in Government for the overall Decentralisation Programme.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

10 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Taoiseach if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34598/08]

Regulations coming within the remit of my Department and Bodies under its aegis have been examined in the context of the Government programme to measure and reduce administrative burdens which is being co-ordinated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The CSO has identified 17 Regulations which impose burdens on business and is in the process of listing the individual information obligations concerned. It is expected that this list will be compiled shortly and that the most burdensome obligations will be identified for measurement before the end of the year.

This is in line with the overall effort to measure and reduce administrative burdens across Government. When the measurement has been completed, a simplification plan will be prepared detailing how a reduction in the burden on business can be achieved, thereby contributing to the Government's overall target of reducing administrative burdens on business by 25% by 2012.

In June of this year, the CSO published a report detailing the burden placed on businesses by many of its surveys, the Report on Response Burden placed on Irish Businesses by CSO Inquiries, which is available on the CSO website. It is planned to extend the scope of this report and publish it on an annual basis.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

11 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Taoiseach the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34640/08]

The Department of the Taoiseach has not had any EU Directives which require transposition into primary or secondary legislation in the past 12 months.

My Department does however have a role in monitoring the transposition of EU Directives. Minister of State Dick Roche chairs an Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on European Union Affairs. The Committee keeps under review, and works to ensure coherence on, the full range of issues on the EU's agenda. The Committee has a particular focus on the correct and timely transposition of EU legislation.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

12 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Taoiseach the EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into primary or secondary legislation here; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34655/08]

The Department of the Taoiseach has no EU Directives awaiting transposition.

My Department does however have a role in monitoring the transposition of EU Directives. Minister of State Dick Roche chairs an Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on European Union Affairs. The Committee keeps under review, and works to ensure coherence on, the full range of issues on the EU's agenda. The Committee has a particular focus on the correct and timely transposition of EU legislation.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

13 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34423/08]

It has not been possible in the time available to compile the information requested by the Deputy for the eleven year period in question. However, my officials are working on preparing the material and I will communicate with the Deputy as soon as the exercise is complete.

Employment Support Services.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

14 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the engagement FÁS had with people referred by the Department of Social and Family Affairs in 2007 and to date in 2008; the number referred; the number interviewed only; the number referred to training courses; the number who found employment or were placed in employment as a direct result of being referred to FÁS; the number who engaged FÁS and remain on social welfare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34457/08]

FÁS provides a fully integrated nationwide range of services and supports for Jobseekers and Job Changers, details of which are set out below.

Jobseekers can register at one of the 71 local FÁS offices or 26 Local Employment Services Office nationwide for on-site information, guidance, referral and placement services.

FÁS Jobs Ireland (employment service free phone call centre) — provides expert guidance and resources, with access to job vacancies, online CV profiling for employers from all over Europe and a CV-to-job matching service. Training courses for jobseekers are also listed on the FÁS Jobs Ireland website.

The Jobseeker Directory provides aids such as A-Z of Careers, Creating a CV Online and Interview Tips along with information on Work Permits and Employment Rights.

The EURES job mobility database provides access to job vacancies in 29 countries, as well as, practical information such as necessary documentation. In addition FÁS provides a range of social inclusion programmes targeted at specific groups.

FÁS Employment Service is currently integrating the network of Job Clubs which are located around the country into its service. The aim of this integration is to support "job ready" clients through the provision of a ‘drop in' service and formal inputs, to identify job opportunities, complete application forms, letters of application and prepare for interviews.

Unemployed people and job changers can and do engage with FÁS Employment Services without any formal appointment to seek information, advice and to source job vacancies, training programmes and other available FÁS supports.

Formal intervention with people who are unemployed for 3 months takes place through the Employment Action Plan (EAP). The Department of Social and Family Affairs makes arrangements for unemployed people to be referred to FÁS Employment Services which acts as the "Gateway" to all FÁS programmes, services and supports.

An independent evaluation of the EAP process in 2005 by Indecon Consultants, concluded that the process was an overall success in promoting earlier exit from unemployment than would otherwise have occurred. The consultants estimated that this was resulting in annual Exchequer savings of €34m (at 2004 prices) when all of the costs and benefits of the process were taken into account.

The following tables contain an analysis of the EAP referrals for 2007 and for the period January-July 2008. The results achieved highlight the effectiveness of both the EAP process and the role of FÁS in same.

2007 Referrals

Number

51,452

Referred by DSFA to FÁS

32,359

Number who left the Live Register

32,124

Interviewed by FÁS Employment Services

2,763

Referred to FÁS employment and training programmes

866

Continued to further education or training

19,093

Persons remained on the Live Register at the end of January 2008

Note: figures for period January — December 2007 as collated in January 2008.

2008 referrals (January-July 2008)

Number

35,078

Referred by DSFA to FÁS

16,268

Left the Live Register

22,688

Interviewed by FÁS Employment Services

1,344

Referred to FÁS employment and training programmes

275

Continued to further education or training

18,810

Persons remained on the Live Register at the end of August 2008

All Employment Action Plans for the years 1999 to date are available on the Department website: ww.entemp.ie/lfd/month/htm.

Work Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

15 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a work permit will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34509/08]

The Employment Permits Section of my Department informs me that there is no current valid application made on behalf of the above named person. However, if the above named wishes to submit an application it will be considered on its merits.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

16 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she has completed her list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34591/08]

Lists of information obligations have been compiled in the three main areas of regulation that fall within the remit of my Department: Company Law, Employment Law, and Health & Safety Law. I have arranged to send the lists directly to the Deputy.

Prioritisation of the information obligations in these three areas is currently underway, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The prioritised information obligations will then be measured. When measurement has been completed, simplification plans will be prepared detailing how a reduction in the burden on business can be achieved.

As the Deputy is aware my Department is also coordinating the overall process to measure and reduce burdens across Government. I envisage that the identification, prioritisation and measurement process should be completed by all Departments by the end of 2009. On completion of the measurement exercise simplification plans will be prepared detailing how the 25% target will be met by the end of 2012.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

17 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by her Department in the past 12 months; if she will list each measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34633/08]

My Department has transposed 11 Directives in the past twelve months. In all cases, these Directives were transposed by secondary legislation, namely Statutory Instruments. A complete list is given below.

Full details of all current and recent EU Directives are maintained on the front page of the Department's website, www.entemp.ie.

Description of Directive

Date Transposed & transposition Instrument

1. Directive 2007/51/EC relating to restrictions on the marketing of certain measuring devices containing mercury

Transposed on 16/9/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 371 of 2008.

2. Directive 2007/13/EC amending Annex II to Council Directive 71/316/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to common provisions for both measuring instruments and methods of metrological control

Transposed on 29/07/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 309 of 2008

3. Directive 2006/121/EC amending Council Directive 67/548/EEC on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances

Transposed on 15/07/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 272 of 2008

4. Directive 2005/56/EC on cross-border mergers of limited liability companies.

Transposed on 27/05/08 by Statutory Instrument No. 157 of 2008

5. Directive 2007/3/EC amending Annex 1 and II of Directive 96/74/EC on textile names

Transposed on 30/04/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 127 of 2008.

6. Directive 2007/4/EC amending Annex II to Directive 96/73/EC on certain methods for quantitative analysis of binary textile fibre mixtures

Transposed on 30/04/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 128 of 2008.

7. Directive 2006/68/EC amending Directive 77/91/EC regarding the formation of public limited liability companies and the maintenance & alteration of their capital

Transposed on 03/04/2008 by Statutory Instrument No. 89 of 2008

8. Directive 2007/16/EC on undertakings for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS)

Transposed on 19/12/2007 by Statutory Instrument No. 832 of 2007

9. Directive 2006/122/EC relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations

Transposed on 13/11/2007 by Statutory Instrument No. 746 of 2007

10. Directive 2006/139/EC amending Council Directive as regards restrictions on the marketing and use of arsenic compounds for the of adapting its Annex I to technical progress

Transposed on 09/11/2007 by Statutory Instrument No. 746 of 2007

11. Directive 2006/114/EC concerning misleading and comparative advertising (codified version)

Transposed on 20/11/2007 by Statutory Instrument No. 774 of 2007

Joe Costello

Ceist:

18 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if there are EU measures in her Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so, if she will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when she will transpose them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34648/08]

There are currently a total of nine Directives due to be transposed by my Department up to 2012. Four of these Directives are currently overdue. The first of these, Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery health and safety requirements, is expected to be transposed by 17 October 2008. It is intended to transpose the second and third overdue Directives, Directive 2006/46/EC on company reporting and Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual and consolidated accounts, by 28 November and 31 December 2008, respectively. It is intended to transpose Directive 2007/45/EC by 14 November 2008.

With the exception of the four Directives listed above, all of the Directives are expected to be transposed on time. The following table outlines the timeframes in respect of the nine Directives due for transposition.

Full details of all current and recent EU Directives are maintained on the front page of the Department's website, www.entemp.ie.

Directive

Date Agreed

Transposition Deadline

1. Directive 2006/42/EC on Machinery

17/05/2006

29/06/2008

2. Directive 2006/43/EC on statutory audits of annual and consolidated accounts

17/05/2006

29/06/2008

3. Directive 2006/46/EC on Company Reporting

16/06/2006

05/09/2008

4. Directive 2007/45/EC laying down rules on nominal quantities for pre-packed products.

5/09/2007

11/10/2008

5. Directive 2007/63/EC as regards the requirement of an independent expert’s report on the occasion of merger or division of public limited liability companies.

13/11/2007

31/12/2008

6. Directive 2007/36/EC on the exercise of certain rights of shareholders in listed companies.

11/07/2007

3/08/2009

7. Directive 2006/123/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on services in the internal market.

12/12/2006

28/12/2009

8. Directive 2006/25/EC on the minimum Health and Safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to risks arising from physical agents (artificial optical radiation)

05/04/2006

27/04/2010

9. Directive 2007/30/EC on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields)

20/06/2007

30/04/2012

Compensation Tribunal.

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

19 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will establish a statutory compensation tribunal for ex-coal miners who have suffered injury and ill health due to the failure of various regulatory regimes to police the health and safety provisions as contained in the Mines and Quarries Act, 1965 (details supplied). [34663/08]

This matter has already been raised with a number of Departments, including my own, by the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. On the basis of the information available via the Committee, it would appear that this is a matter between the former miners and their former employers and insofar as the State may be concerned, a matter for further consideration under the social welfare code governing the State's disability and occupational illness benefit schemes.

The allegations regarding the policy of the provisions of the Mines and Quarries Act, 1965 are, to the best of my knowledge, unproven. In any event, the legal advice available to me, is that the mere existence of statutory regulation in a specific sector does not, of itself, impose any duty of care on the State in relation to the employees in that sector. The matter of compensation to former miners is, consequently, not a matter for my Department.

Community Employment Schemes.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

20 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding persons over the age of 55 years seeking positions on community employment schemes who have previously been participants in schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34928/08]

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis. The programme helps unemployed people to progress to the open labour market by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine and assists them in enhancing/developing both their technical and personal skills.

To cater for older workers in particular, in November 2004 the 3 year CE capping was revised to allow those of 55 years of age and over to avail of a 6-year period on CE (based on participation since 3rd April, 2000). This was introduced in recognition of the fact that older participants may find it more difficult to progress into the open labour market.

The aim of CE still remains as an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment. The programme is managed within this context, with consideration given to the availability of resources and the needs of participants and the community. However, it should be remembered that, in so far as participants remain or return to CE, they are precluding someone else from benefiting from the programme. FÁS makes every effort to ensure that differing levels of demand between neighbouring schemes are equalised. FÁS also operates the programme flexibly as far as possible to ensure the continuation of community projects.

For a person to be considered for re-entry to Community Employment 12 months need to have elapsed since any previous participation and he/she must have been on the Live Register for that 12 month period. This is entirely subject to the availability of places, local demand and equity of opportunity to eligible long term unemployed people.

In conclusion then, I would say that this Government will continue to support the positive role of CE in meeting the needs of long-term unemployed persons while at the same time providing essential services to communities. In this regard, we are keeping the operation of the Scheme under constant review.

Public Sector Pay.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

21 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the measures included in the latest agreement in the pay talks to safeguard taxpayers’ money and to guarantee the delivery of efficiencies in the public sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34480/08]

The Government continues to be committed to safeguarding the taxpayer's money by ensuring that delivery of public services in the most efficient and effective manner. The recent Review and Transitional Agreement under Towards 2016, which has yet to be ratified, recognises that the Public Service must review continuously its systems, processes and procedures, to ensure that it is responsive and efficient and that it provides high quality, value for money services. Existing commitments under Towards 2016 will continue to be progressed in this agreement along with additional commitments in the Review and Transitional Agreement. The arrangements whereby the payment of increases is dependent on the verification of satisfactory achievement of modernisation commitments, including improvements in performance and productivity, will also continue in the new agreement.

National Development Plan.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

22 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the aspects of the national development plan that will be retained in view of the new budgetary climate; the parts that will be removed or postponed; if the Government will be formulating a new national development plan reflecting the new economic reality; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34483/08]

Funding under the NDP (2007-2013) in 2009 and subsequent years is an issue that will be addressed in the 2009 Budget being presented to the Dáil today.

Decentralisation Programme.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

23 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the cost of reversing the attempts that have been made to date in the decentralisation programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34487/08]

The Government decided on 8th July last that no further expenditure on the acquisition of accommodation for decentralisation should be sanctioned pending detailed consideration by the Government of two reports: one from the Decentralisation Implementation Group on the feasibility of phased moves by the State Agencies; and one from the Decentralisation Sub Group of the SMI Implementation Group of Secretaries General on the governmental and cross-Departmental issues arising from the need to provide facilities for Ministers, Ministers of State and officials while in Dublin on business. The Government has considered these two reports and I expect to make a further announcement in relation to the decentralisation programme shortly.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

24 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34425/08]

The following table outlines the information requested by the Deputy, in respect of the Special EU Programmes Body which was the only new body funded from my Department's vote in the period since 1997. The Special EU Programmes Body is a joint North/South body.

Details in respect of the Special EU Programmes Body since 1999

Name of Agency

Date Established

Budget in each of the past 10 years

Staff Numbers

Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB)

Dec 1999

2000: €1.365m

2000: 19*

2001: €3.194m

2001: 21

2002: €2.884m

2002: 33

2003: €2.660m

2003: 32

2004: €2.800m

2004: 40

2005: €2.979m

2005: 41

2006: €2.813m

2006: 41

2007: €3.392m

2007: 43

2008: €4.064m

2008: 55

The Department of Finance fund 50% of the SEUPB bugget. The Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland fund the other 50%.

This refers to average number of staff in the post in any given year.

Tax Yield.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

25 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the revenue from applying capital gains tax of 20% to the proceeds in excess of €1 million, €1.5million and €2 million respectively of sales of principal private residences. [34432/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that as information on the value of capital gains arising from the disposal of principal private residences are not required in capital gains tax returns there is no dedicated basis for separately identifying the yield that would arise from applying capital gains tax to sales of principal private residences. Accordingly, the specific information requested by the Deputy is not available.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

26 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the cost of cutting the rate of corporation profits tax to 11% and 10% respectively. [34433/08]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the full year cost to the Exchequer, estimated in terms of projected yield in 2009, of corporation tax forgone through reducing the standard rate of corporation tax from 12.5 per cent to 11 per cent and from 12.5 per cent to 10 per cent is tentatively estimated to be of the order of €445 million and €740 million, respectively.

Garda Stations.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

27 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance his plans for a Garda station (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34448/08]

It is proposed to construct new premises on the Old Garda Station site to accommodate the Department of Social & Family Affairs' Local Office and Social Welfare Inspectorate. The project is at the initial stages of planning. Proceeding with the project to construction will depend on the availability of funding.

Income Levels.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

28 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of taxpayers with gross income in the range €0 to €275,000, in the range €275,001 to €500,000, in the range €500,001 to €1,000,000, and above €1,000,000 in respect of the tax year 2008, as projected by the Revenue Commissioners using relevant models; and the total income of each group. [34450/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the information requested, estimated by reference to the income tax year 2008, is as follows:

All Income Earners 2008

Range of Gross Income

Gross Income within the Range

Numbers

€ million

0 – 275,000

91,710

2,349,700

275,001 – 500,000

3,825

10,700

500,001 – 1,000,000

2,645

3,950

Over 1,000,000

3,460

1,450

Totals

101,640

2,365,800

The figures are estimates from the Revenue tax-forecasting model using actual data for the year 2005 adjusted as necessary for income and employment growth for the years in question. They are therefore provisional and likely to be revised.

It should be noted that a married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Budget Submissions.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

29 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number, dates, times and venues of formal meetings he has had with a person (details supplied) during the past six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34459/08]

In the period in question I have had only one formal meeting with the individual named in the Deputy's question. The meeting was held in the Department of Finance on the 29th September 2008 as part of the normal Pre Budget consultation process.

Construction Projects.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

30 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the construction projects to which he has committed or sanctioned during the past six months on a costs plus basis; the projects under consideration by his or other Departments; if he has set a date for the cessation of the practice of sanctioning construction projects on the costs plus basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34460/08]

I have no responsibility as Minister for Finance for directly committing or sanctioning particular construction projects. This is a matter for the Departments concerned.

In relation to the cost plus form of contract, new Public Works fixed price lump sum contracts came into effect on 19 February 2007. As part of that arrangement a transitional period was included to deal with a number of projects in the pipeline that had advanced designs based on the use of the old contracts. These were allowed proceed on the old basis because to change over to the new contracts at that stage could have caused undue delay with project delivery. This transition period came to an end on 13 February, 2008 with the issue of the Department of Finance Circular 04/08 which states that contracts for all projects (other than those with a value of €500,000 or less tendered before 3 March, 2008) must from the date of that Circular (13 February, 2008) be awarded using the New Public Works Contracts or the Conditions of Engagement for Consultants. Therefore, use of the old forms of contract in delivering major new public service construction projects ceased from that date.

However, in order to deal with a specific further transitional problem, I extended the 13 February deadline date by a short period to 6 May, 2008 for tenders received before that date. This allowed a number of critical water services projects and a small number of school projects to proceed on the basis of the old contracts so that an undue delay in project delivery would not arise and the need to re-tender at possible extra cost would be avoided.

This was a once-off extension of the derogation and it will not affect the implementation of the new forms of construction contracts going forward.

Tax Code.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

31 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the revenue that would be raised from applying income tax to child benefit and the early childhood supplement. [34466/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the yield from applying income tax to child benefit and the early childcare supplement would be in the order of €600 million in a full year. The yield quoted is provisional and subject to revision.

Decentralisation Programme.

John Deasy

Ceist:

32 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the status of the commitment to decentralise Ordnance Survey Ireland to Dungarvan, County Waterford; when the transfer of these positions to Dungarvan will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34471/08]

The Decentralisation Programme is being reviewed in the context of the forthcoming Budget. I will be in a better position to advise in relation to the Dungarvan project following announcement of the Budget details.

Tax Code.

John Deasy

Ceist:

33 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance if he will extend for a further five years the 100% stamp duty relief for young trained farmers which is due to expire on 31 December 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34472/08]

John Deasy

Ceist:

34 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance if he will extend for a further five years the 100% stock relief for young trained farmers and 25% stock relief for all farmers which is due to expire on 31 December 2008; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34473/08]

John Deasy

Ceist:

35 Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a young farmer land restructuring relief to allow young trained farmers restructure their holdings without being liable for transfer taxes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34474/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 to 35, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, it is not customary for the Minister of Finance to comment on possible tax changes in advance of the Budget.

International Finance Corporation.

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

36 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Finance if, in the context of the international financial crisis, it has been considered to use an instrument mooted at the time of the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Financial Corporation, in order to seek an international system of some control and regulation. [34195/08]

I assume the Deputy is referring to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a longstanding component of the World Bank group and was established in 1956, some 12 years after the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. I am informed that the role of the IFC is to foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilising capital in the international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments.

The question as to whether or not the IFC has a role to play in relation to the international financial markets situation is a matter for that body and the World Bank to consider in the first instance.

As the Deputy will be aware the annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions took place last weekend. Communiqués from those meetings are available on the websites www.imf.org and www.worldbank.org.

Tax Code.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

37 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his view of the fairness of the stamp duty exemption scheme for first time buyers whereby individuals purchasing jointly lose their reliefs when they purchased a house in contrast to the way a single person is treated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34584/08]

The stamp duty relief for first time buyers is provided for in section 92B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 and the term "first time purchaser" is defined in the section. In the definition, a first time purchaser is referred to as a person who has not previously purchased a house or a part of a house or previously built a house on his or her own behalf. In addition, a first time purchaser is a person who has received a gift of a house after 22 June 2000 or received a gift of part of a house after 27 June 2000.

To qualify for relief, the purchaser or purchasers must declare that they have not purchased property previously and that they will occupy the property for at least two years. Where a property is purchased jointly, each purchaser must satisfy the conditions in order to qualify for first-time buyers exemption. This position has existed since the first-time buyers exemption was introduced.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

38 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34593/08]

As the Deputy may be aware, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is coordinating the overall process to measure and reduce burdens on business. My Department is participating in this process and is currently compiling a list of information obligations in relation to the legislation for which it has responsibility. The timeframe for the completion of the identification, prioritisation and measurement of information obligations is end 2009. The position in relation to Revenue is similar.

Quite apart from this process, Revenue has already introduced many simplification measures designed to ease the compliance burden for business and this has been acknowledged by business representatives.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

39 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Finance the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34635/08]

During the past year, three EU Directives and one EU Regulation have been transposed into Irish law by my Department.

Directive/Regulation Reference Number

Title of Directive/Regulation

Transposition deadline

Method of transposition

2003/96/EC

Council Directive 2003/96/EC of 27 October 2003 restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity (Text with EEA relevance)

31/12/2006 — Expiration of special derogations allowing specific excise duty reliefs

Finance Act 2008

2007/18/EC

Commission Directive 2007/18/EC of 27 March 2007 amending Directive 2006/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the exclusion or inclusion of certain institutions from its scope of application and the treatment of exposures to multilateral development banks

30 September 2007

SI No. 797 of 2007

2005/68/EC

Directive 2005/68/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 November 2005 on reinsurance and amending Council Directives 73/239/EEC, 92/49/EEC as well as Directives 98/78/EC and 2002/83/EC

10 December 2007

SI No. 351 of 2007 SI No. 352 of 2007 SI No. 353 of 2007 SI No. 354 of 2007 SI No. 366 of 2007 SI No. 380 of 2006

2006/1781

Regulation (EC) No 1781/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 November 2006 on information on the payer accompanying transfers of funds (Text with EEA relevance)

15 December 2007

SI No. 799 of 2007

Joe Costello

Ceist:

40 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Finance if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34650/08]

There are seven EU Directives and one Regulation awaiting transposition into Irish law by my Department at the current time.

Directive 2007/74/EC, which was signed on 20th December 2007, replaces earlier provisions (Directive 69/169/EEC), adapting it to the enlarged EU whilst restructuring it and simplifying certain provisions. Current tax exemptions for VAT and excise duties applied to goods being brought into the EU by persons travelling from third countries will be amended. In addition there will be new limits on the quantities of tobacco products and alcohol that can be imported. This Directive will be transposed by way of Statutory Instrument, and I expect it to be transposed by the due transposition date of 1st December 2008.

Directive 2007/44/EC establishes a harmonised legal framework setting out the entire procedure to be applied by competent authorities when assessing acquisitions on prudential grounds in the EU/European Economic Area (EEA). This Directive will apply to the acquisitions of credit institutions, insurance undertakings, assurance undertakings, reinsurance undertakings, investment firms, and Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) management companies. It was formally adopted on 5 September 2007 and is due for transposition on 20th March 2009. This Directive will be transposed by Statutory Instrument, and I expect that it will be transposed by the due date.

Directive 2007/64 (Payment Services Directive) establishes a harmonised legal framework for payments services in the EU/EEA. This Directive was formally adopted on 13th November 2007, and is due for transposition on 1st November 2009. This Directive will be transposed by Statutory Instrument, and I expect that it will be transposed by mid-2009.

Directive 2008/55/EC codifies Council Directive 76/308/EEC on mutual assistance for the recovery of claims relating to certain levies, duties, taxes and other measures. This Directive was formally adopted on 26th May 2008, and was due for transposition on 30th June 2008. It will be transposed by Statutory Instrument and is currently at legal drafting stage. I anticipate that this Directive will be transposed in early 2009.

Directive 2007/66/EC aims to improve the effectiveness of review procedures concerning the award of public contracts and reflects interpretation of the existing Remedies Directives by the European Court of Justice. It strengthens the rights of bidders in challenging award decisions and introduces measures to combat contracts awarded in breach of the public procurement rules. This Directive was formally adopted on 11th December 2007, and is due for transposition on 20th December 2009. It will be transposed by Statutory Instrument, and I expect its transposition to be completed by mid-2009.

Directive 2008/8/EC, which was signed on 12th February 2008, provides a package of new VAT arrangements for cross-border business-to-business (B2B) services from 1 January 2010, and, subject to a feasibility study, from 1 January 2015 for business-to-consumer (B2C) services in respect of telecoms, broadcasting and electronic services. The new B2B and B2C arrangements are based on shifting the place of taxation for services to the Member State of the consumer. Transposition of this Directive will be made by amending primary legislation — VAT Act 1972 — through Ministerial Regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972. These Regulations will be made in the early part of 2009.

Directive 2008/9/EC, which was formally adopted on 12th February 2008, provides detailed rules for the refund of value added tax, provided for in the EU VAT Directive 2006/112/EC, to taxable persons not established in the Member State of refund but established in another Member State. The Directive shall apply to refund applications submitted after 31 December 2009. This Directive will be transposed by amending both primary and secondary legislation, the VAT Act and Revenue Commissioner's Regulations, through Ministerial Regulations made under the European Communities Act 1972. These Regulations will be made by the due transposition date of 1st January 2010.

Regulation 1082/2006 came into force on 1 August 2007 and allows for the establishment of European Groupings of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC) which, in effect, allows bodies who are set up for the specific purposes of engaging in cross border cooperation to have a legal personality and be regarded as a Small and Medium Enterprise. It will be transposed by Statutory Instrument and is currently at legal drafting stage. I anticipate that this Regulation will be transposed before the end of this year.

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is managing the transposition of Directive 2007/60/EC, which was signed on 23rd October 2007, and is due for transposition on 25th November 2009. This Directive provides a framework for the assessment and management of flood risks, aiming at the reduction of adverse consequences for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity associated with floods in the Community. It provides for the preparation and regular review of flood hazard maps, flood risk maps and flood risk management plans. OPW officials are in discussion with officials of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, regarding the transposition of the Directive and it has yet to be determined whether the Directive will be transposed by secondary legislation or whether primary legislation will be required.

I wish to assure the Deputy that every effort is being made in my Department, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, to ensure that Directives are transposed on time.

Tax Collection.

James Bannon

Ceist:

41 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has been placed on a seizure call list, despite having increased payment per week in settlement of outstanding debt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34702/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a tax debt due by the person concerned has been the subject of referral by the Commissioners to the relevant sheriff in order to enforce recovery of that debt after the person failed to pay Revenue. Weekly payments are being made to the sheriff and following a recent review of the level of payment the sheriff is satisfied, for the time being, with the current level of weekly payments. Revenue has been advised by the sheriff that the person concerned has not been placed on a seizure call list.

Tax Code.

Michael Creed

Ceist:

42 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the delay in issuing a P21 to a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [34711/08]

I have been informed by the Revenue Commissioners that a P21 for the year ended 31 December 2007 issued on 18 August 2008.

Where a married couple are jointly assessed for Income Tax all balancing statements (P21s) issue to the assessable spouse. The person in question is not the assessable spouse in this case and therefore the P21 did not issue in her name but in the name of her spouse.

A duplicate P21 was issued by the Revenue Commissioners, but this is also in the spouse's name. If the person named requires a P21 in her own name, she should contact Mr Jim Fanning, Revenue House, Blackpool, Cork, telephone 021-6027257.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

43 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will support a matter in relation to persons (details supplied). [34737/08]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are reviewing their original decision to refuse tax relief in view of the additional information supplied. They will contact the taxpayer shortly to advise him of their decision.

Budget Submissions.

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

44 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Finance if he will take steps to ensure that elderly people are protected in Budget 2009, and that the submission on behalf of an organisation (details supplied) is taking cognisance of in his deliberations, and the various proposals contained therein, and implement them in the budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34936/08]

I have received a pre-budget submission from Nursing Homes Ireland.

As the Deputy is aware it would not be appropriate for me to comment in advance of the Budget on possible Budget decisions.

Tax Code.

Tom Sheahan

Ceist:

45 Deputy Tom Sheahan asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) is judged as self-employed by the Revenue Commissioners; if he will rectify this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34955/08]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they are not treating the person in question as being self-employed. The person in question is in receipt of a UK pension that cannot be taxed under PAYE, and is dealt with under the Income Tax system in the same way as all non-PAYE income.

If the person wishes to discuss their tax affairs they may contact Mr Con Murphy, Kerry Tax District, Tralee, Co Kerry, telephone 066-7161130.

Consumer Price Index.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

46 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance his views on removing the price of cigarettes from the consumer price index; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34993/08]

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in line with best international standards. The CSO has sole responsibility for deciding the statistical methodology to be used and is independent in its decisions. Any proposed changes are therefore a matter for the CSO.

I would however draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that a consumer price index excluding tobacco products is currently published by the CSO on a monthly basis.

Tax Code.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

47 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance his views on removing nicotine patches and so on from the high rate of VAT and having it set at the 0% rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34994/08]

I should explain that Nicorette sublingual tablets, Nicorette Inhalers and Nicorette chewing gum are chargeable to VAT at the zero rate. The basis for the zero rating of these products is that they come within paragraph (xiii) of the Second Schedule to the VAT Act 1972 as "medicine of a kind used for human oral consumption". Nicorette chewing gum was zero-rated as the product requires authorisation from the Department of Health and Children, being classed as a medicinal product subject to the same controls which apply to medicines generally.

Nicotine patches are, however, subject to the standard VAT rate of 21% and can not be zero-rated as they are not a medication used for human oral consumption.

Garda Stations.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

48 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if his Department has signed a lease to rent a building to house the new Garda premises at Laytown, County Meath; if not, the reason for the delay in doing so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35036/08]

The provision of permanent accommodation for a District HQ at Laytown, Co. Meath is currently under consideration and is subject to the identification of a suitable property solution and the availability of capital funds. In the interim, OPW may provide temporary additional accommodation at the existing station facility.

Tax Code.

David Stanton

Ceist:

49 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Finance his views on allowing graduates of the bachelor of agricultural science offered by University College Dublin to be eligible for the stamp duty relief on transfers of land to young trained farmers scheme operated by the Revenue Commissioners; the reason this degree course is not considered an eligible qualification in view of the fact that other agricultural science qualifications of the same level and below are eligible under the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35043/08]

The Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999, as amended, provides for a Stamp Duty Exemption on the purchase of farm land by Young Trained Farmers. To qualify for the relief, an individual must, on the date of execution of the instrument of transfer, be under 35 years of age and hold a relevant qualification.

The relevant qualifications are set out in Schedules to the Act. A degree in Agri-Environmental Science awarded by University College Dublin is not a specified qualification for the purposes of the relief.

However, the legislation provides that the Revenue Commissioners will treat another qualification as a relevant qualification where Teagasc certifies that — a. the other qualification corresponds to a relevant qualification, and b. the other qualification is deemed by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland to be at least at a level equivalent to the specified relevant qualifications.

Teagasc has examined the Agri-Environmental Sciences Degree and has taken the view that it does not have sufficient production agriculture and farm business management content in the core modules to meet the stamp duty relief and installation aid requirement as "young trained farmers". However, it is recognised that some students may have chosen production agriculture and farm business management as their options/electives in the degree programme. Teagasc and UCD have agreed on a list of options/electives, when achieved as components of, or additions to the Agri-Environmental Sciences Degree that will enable Teagasc to issue letters of equivalence for stamp duty relief and installation aid.

I would suggest that any individual with concerns about this Degree contacts UCD to determine, firstly, if the options/electives he has completed meet the above requirements and, secondly, what additional option/electives he must undertake in order to meet the qualification requirements for stamp duty relief and installation aid. Otherwise the general position is that an Agri-Environmental Sciences degree holder is treated as holding a non-agricultural award and may be required to complete the new FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate in Agriculture course programme with Teagasc in order to meet the qualification requirements.

Misuse of Drugs Act.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

50 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a shop (details supplied) in Dublin 7 is selling party pills and advertising mind altering substances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34659/08]

I am aware that a range of substances often referred to by the generic term ‘legal highs', which mimic or cause effects similar to illicit substances, are available and are not currently scheduled under Misuse of Drugs legislation. As ‘legal highs' are not controlled substances, there is no basis at present to prevent their advertisement and sale.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and regulations made thereunder regulate and control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland's obligations under international conventions or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland, which could merit the criminalisation of their sale and use.

The list of scheduled substances is kept under review on an ongoing basis. In particular, my Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health. For example, in 2006 psychotropic (magic) mushrooms were brought under control and their possession and sale are now an offence. Furthermore, following the European Council of Ministers' decision in March 2008 to bring Benzylpiperazine (BZP) under control, which was deemed to pose an excessive risk as a party pill, my Department will be introducing regulations to restrict the availability of BZP.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

51 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34427/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is presently being compiled by my Department and will be forwarded to him as soon as it is finalised.

Health Service Payments.

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

52 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children when outstanding payments, owed to nursing home operators since January 2008, of €6.5 million in enhanced payments of €5.5 million for contract beds will be awarded; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34442/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, the Department is advised by the HSE that it is currently working to distribute the funding referred to by the Deputy.

The HSE further advise that all private nursing home providers have been written to and advised of the revised arrangements and individual files are being reviewed at Local Health Office level. The calculations are quite substantial in respect of these individual cases and work will continue between now and the end of the year to make the necessary payments with appropriate arrears being paid where appropriate. Nursing Homes Ireland have also been advised of the position.

Nursing Home Standards.

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

53 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide resources to support the implementation of the draft national quality standards for residential care settings in respect of older people; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34443/08]

James Reilly

Ceist:

80 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Health Information and Quality Authority Draft Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People will be approved; the status of the regulatory impact assessment; when this procedure will be completed; when the standards will apply; if they will apply compulsorily; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34572/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53 and 80 together.

The present standards for nursing homes are set out in the 1993 Care and Welfare Regulations and the HSE inspects private nursing homes on the basis of these standards.

Under the Health Act, 2007, statutory responsibility is given to the Chief Inspector of Social Services for inspecting and registering all residential centres for older people, including private nursing homes. Once this part of the 2007 Act is commenced, he or she will inspect centres against the regulations governing these centres and standards set by HIQA.

In January 2007, draft National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People were published. The standards were developed by a working group chaired by Department of Health and Children and included the Health Service Executive, Social Service Inspectorate and the Irish Health Services Accreditation Board. Once introduced, these standards will apply to all nursing homes — public, private and voluntary.

As the Health Act, 2007 provides that the enhanced inspection function will be taken over by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the draft standards were formally referred to HIQA for consultation and finalisation. The Authority established a wide-ranging Working Group to finalise the draft standards. Earlier this year the Board of the Authority approved their draft National Quality Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People and submitted them for the approval of the Minister for Health and Children, as required under section 10(2) of the Health Act, 2007.

The draft Standards and the Regulations required to underpin them are subject to a Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) before finalisation. The RIA process has commenced and it is intended to have the RIA finalised and both the approved Standards and Regulations in place in 2009.

The overall resources that will be made available to HIQA in 2009 is dependent on the outcome of the budget and estimates process for next year, which is not yet finalised. It is not appropriate for me or my Department to comment on the resources that will be allocated in 2009, prior to the announcement of the Budget 2009 package.

Care of the Elderly.

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

54 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to ensure that access to health services such as physiotherapy, chiropody, dental care and so on for older people in nursing home care is provided similar to those who have medical cards in the community; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34444/08]

The Health Act, 1970 (as amended) provides for two categories of eligibility for all persons ordinarily resident in the country, i.e. full eligibility (medical card) and limited eligibility (all others). Entitlement to a medical card is determined mainly by reference to means, with provision for discretion to grant a card in cases of ‘undue hardship' where the income guidelines are exceeded.

Medical card holders are entitled to a full range of services including general practitioner services, prescribed drugs and medicines, all in-patient public hospital services in public wards including consultants services, all out-patient public hospital services including consultants services, dental, ophthalmic and aural services and appliances and a maternity and infant care service. Determination of eligibility for medical cards is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. Individuals with medical cards residing in nursing homes have the same eligibility to services as those in the community.

Proposed Legislation.

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

55 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Health and Children when she will introduce the fair deal legislation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34445/08]

The Minister published the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008 on the 9th October. It is her intention to bring the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009.

Hospital Services.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

56 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be allocated an appointment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34446/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Pre-School Services.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

57 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made on the commitment in the Programme for Government to provide access to a pre-school place for every child by 2012; if this commitment includes the removal of financial barriers for parents wishing to send their child to pre-school; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34452/08]

As the Deputy will be aware I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP) which is the successor programme to the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) which concluded at the end of 2007.

The NCIP has been allocated €575 million over 5 years, and is designed to deliver 50,000 additional childcare places 10,000 of which will be for the 3 to 4 year old age group and 5,000 for school age children. The Programme which is Exchequer funded aims to provide a proactive response to the development of quality childcare supports and services which are grounded in an understanding of local needs.

Preliminary figures collated by Pobal indicate that, approximately 10,500 new pre-school places will be created under the NCIP capital funding committed to date, thus exceeding the programme's target. These places will be in addition to almost 40,000 new childcare places, of which a large number would be in the pre-school age cohort, that were delivered under the EOCP.

The main supports the Government makes available to parents to assist them with their childcare costs are Child Benefit and the Early Childcare Supplement. The latter payment is the responsibility of my Office, and it alone is expected to amount to expenditure of over €500m in 2008. These payments are universal and benefit all parents, regardless of their income, labour market status or the type of childcare they choose. In addition to these universal supports, Government childcare policy has also recognised the need to target additional supports towards disadvantaged families.

The NCIP, the successor programme to the EOCP supports community childcare services to provide affordable childcare to disadvantaged parents. Under this programme the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) was introduced with effect from 1st January 2008. The CCSS has been allocated €154.2 million over the next 3 years, representing a substantial increase in funding over the EOCP staffing scheme (which cost €37 million in 2007), and will continue to support community childcare services to provide reduced childcare fees for disadvantaged parents, complementing the universal supports in place for all parents. Under the new scheme, it will be possible to ensure that the level of grant aid which individual services qualify for will reflect the actual level of service they provide and the profile of the parents benefiting from their service. As part of their application for funding under the new scheme, services are required to ask parents using their services to complete a simple declaration form which is to be included in a return to my Office and on which basis the level of subvention for each service will be determined. The subvention received by services will, in turn, be reflected in the reduced fees for parents who qualify as disadvantaged under the scheme.

Hospital Accommodation.

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

58 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of acute beds closed or unavailable to patients in a hospital (details supplied) in County Laois; the reason the beds are closed or unavailable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34475/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

59 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of acute beds closed or unavailable to patients in a hospital (details supplied) in County Offaly; the reason the beds are closed or unavailable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34476/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

60 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the renewal of a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [34478/08]

As the Health Service Executive has the operational and funding responsibility for the medical card benefit, it is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

61 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is responsible for setting the annual budget for services to children with special needs; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34513/08]

Services for children with special needs are provided by a number of different Government Departments and agencies. The overall budget for each Department/Agency is determined by Government following discussions between the relevant Minister and the Minister for Finance as part of the estimates process. The budget for children with special needs would form part of these discussions in each case.

Section 5 of the Disability Act, 2005 deals with the provision of resources for services provided for people with a disability. Subsection 2 provides that where a Minister proposes or arranges for the provision of such services, the Minister shall allocate out of the moneys available to him or her for the year such amount as he or she considers appropriate for the provision of those services. Subsection 4 provides that, in determining the appropriate allocation, the Minister shall ensure that the amount remaining after the allocation is not less than the amount that is appropriate, having regard, inter alia, to the extent of the Minister's other obligations in that year.

The Office for Disability & Mental Health supports the Minister of State for Equality, Disability & Mental Health in the exercise of his functions across four Government Departments — Health & Children; Education & Science; Justice, Equality & Law Reform and Enterprise, Trade & Employment. Substantial progress has been made in recent years in the areas of disability and mental health, but much remains to be done. In particular, there is a need to improve co-ordination and communication across different Government Departments and agencies in their delivery of services. This will be the main focus for the Office in the coming months.

Child Welfare and Protection.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

62 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children the specific actions she has taken on the basis of the statement by the Children’s Ombudsman on 1 July 2008 that the State is falling short of its duty to protect vulnerable children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34515/08]

In the first instance I should like to reiterate that the development of robust, responsive and appropriate child welfare and protection services is a priority for both myself, as Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, and the Government. Recent statements, such as that made by the Ombudsman for Children, along with significant media coverage of this area has facilitated a valuable public debate around these important issues during which voice has been given to a number of legitimate concerns, particularly in the area of service provision. I would, however also highlight the many instances of positive outcomes in relation to child welfare and protection issues.

Following my appointment as Minister for Children I initiated and chair regular meetings with senior officials from the HSE so as to drive reform and modernisation of services for children and families. The HSE has assured me that in all cases where there is a serious and immediate risk to the health or welfare of a child, the HSE responds immediately and takes appropriate action. All child abuse reports to social work departments are subject to a phased process of initial screening and assessment, aimed at providing appropriate interventions. In addition, there are legislative mechanisms in place which also allow for responses from Gardai (for example to take a child to safety in emergency situations relating to welfare and protection).

In relation to the provision of out of hours care to vulnerable children and families I have now got agreement from the HSE to put in place an out of hours service to include existing GP, acute hospital and mental health out of hours services. The HSE is currently finalising plans for this development. It is anticipated that significant progress will be made in this regard over the coming weeks. The aim is to ensure that persons seeking personal social services outside normal working hours can be provided with appropriate advice, information, support and, in emergency situations, access to specialist staff, such as staff working in the areas of mental health and suicide prevention. I have come to the conclusion that given the nature of the cases likely to present as emergencies after hours that such an integrated approach is essential. The planned development will also include the provision of a service whereby Gardaí can access appropriate care options as places of safety for children taken into care out of hours under Section 12 of the Child Care Act. In so doing, the HSE hopes to provide a standardised response across the country. This approach promises a more integrated model of service provision which acknowledges the linkages between HSE services while endeavouring to utilise the overall resources already in place to appropriately address incidents occurring outside usual working hours.

Recent years have seen a period of major investment in child care and family support services to enable an appropriate response to child welfare concerns with over €240 million of Government funds added to the annual investment in child care services since 1997. The core principle underpinning all of these reforms and additional funding is to provide children and young people with the appropriate care and to provide services to protect them, as far as possible, from all forms of harm. The HSE have informed me that, at the end of 2007, 90% of children in care do have an allocated social worker and that social work services are available to all children in HSE care. Increases in resources for child care and family support services have continued in recent years.

The focus for development in the coming years is on preventive, community-based services which provide early intervention within a Community/Primary Care context. The development of alternative community care services will, over time, impact on the numbers of children in residential and foster care. International and Irish research indicates that in many situations cases can best be dealt with by way of welfare and care services rather than protection services.

The Agenda for Children's Services is the new overarching policy document of the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs for these areas and was launched in December 2007. The Agenda, with its clear renewed emphasis on family support coupled with reflective questions to enable service provider self evaluation, represents the fundamental change now underway on how Government policy in relation to children is formulated and delivered. It has been developed drawing on research and best practice at home and internationally. It requires an outcomes focus and integrated service delivery in line with the recommendations of the OECD review of the Irish public service. To help implement the policy and principles in the Agenda, at the instigation of my office, the HSE is well advanced in the process of specifying a child and family support services operational policy. This is vital to effective reform and rebalancing of children's services. The OMCYA is involved in the development of this policy working in partnership with the HSE.

International experience of social work reform has shown how important communication and timely flows of commonly understood shared information are to success. Within the HSE the Child Care Information Project is initially implementing standard assessment and referral methods leading on to standardisation of national child protection procedures. This project, in tandem with other major initiatives such as the review of the Children First child protection guidelines and the publication by HSE of their Child Protection Framework, will work in synergy with the Knowledge Management Strategy under development for child welfare and protection. This Strategy aims to ensure availability of better information, improved communication and application of research findings to service provision, management evaluation and policy analysis. As the above initiatives illustrate, the HSE is working towards defined information and evidence-based practice.

All of these initiatives are aimed at producing better integrated interagency service provision. They also seek to provide for earlier intervention through more comprehensive interlocking service provision for children, based on clear planning and agreed outcomes in line with the move to family support initiatives as well as child protection services.

I am confident that my Office and the HSE will bring about significantly improved and integrated child welfare and protection services for all children who need such services. The programme I have described illustrates how much is being done to realise this objective.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

63 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on whether there is a lack of demographic and related information on special need prevalence, particularly in view of the broad definition of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34516/08]

In January 2008 the Government announced the establishment of the Office for Disability and Mental Health to support the Minister for Disability & Mental Health in exercising responsibilities across four Government Departments: Health & Children, Education & Science, Enterprise, Trade & Employment and Justice, Equality & Law Reform.

While substantial progress has been made in recent years in the areas of disability and mental health, much remains to be done. Developing and improving an evidence base is clearly important and in the coming months the Office for Disability and Mental Health will be looking at how we can increase the range and level of information that is available across all relevant areas and how existing information can best be analysed, communicated to those who need it, and effectively applied to inform policies and decisions.

Pre-School Services.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

64 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will implement the pre-school provision recommendation 5.2 from the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, to support early intervention for all children with special educational needs; the timeline for this implementation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34517/08]

The Education for People with Special Educational Needs (EPSEN) Act 2004 provides a statutory framework for the delivery of educational services to people with special educational needs. Responsibility for implementation of this legislation lies primarily with the Department of Education and Science.

The EPSEN Act has not yet been commenced. However, I am not aware of any recommendation in the Act of the kind referred to by the Deputy. If the Deputy can furnish my office with more detail on what she has in mind, I will endeavour to establish the background.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

65 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will introduce a pilot scheme of pre-school classes for children with Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, and ADHD similar to the pilot project for children with autistic spectrum disorders; the timeline for this implementation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34518/08]

The guiding principle of mainstreaming public services for people with disabilities was adopted by the government in 2000. The National Disability Strategy and the components contained therein, most notably the Disability Act 2005 and the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004, provide a legal basis for this principle.

It is a commonly held view that early educational interventions should, where possible, take place within the existing Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) infrastructure. Within these settings, the staff have a critical role in mediating the learning environment and ensuring that there is an appropriate and effective environment for children with differing learning profiles. Consequently, I have no plans to introduce such a separate pilot scheme of the kind suggested.

Departmental Expenditure.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

66 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive returned unspent funds to the Exchequer at the end of 2007; if so, the amount involved; the reason it was not spent in the health services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34520/08]

The final out-turn on Vote expenditure for the Health Service Executive in 2007, shows there was an overall surrender of approximately €39m, after a total out-turn of €11,435,462m. The non capital programme shows a saving of €50m and a further saving of €18m for Appropriations-in-Aid. This was used to offset an overspend of €29m in capital spending.

The actual levels of service provided in most areas were in excess of the planned targets for 2007 as set out in the approved National Service Plan. This was particularly the case in the acute hospital sector and the community drugs schemes. At the same time the rate of progress was less than planned in the development of the primary care teams and some developments in mental health services and there was a considerable underspend on the scheme for the repayment of charges for long stay accommodation under Section 13 of the Health (Repayment Scheme) 2006.

This resulted in the need for a Supplementary Estimate which in effect did not involve any additional charge on the Exchequer as the increased costs from the higher levels of activity were met from savings in other areas and on the repayments scheme.

Patient Statistics.

James Reilly

Ceist:

67 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department, the Health Service Executive or the Health Information Quality Authority has plans to monitor, collate and report on a regular basis on the death rates of patients undergoing major surgery at hospitals here to identify variations if they exist, to address such variations with corrective action and to improve standards in hospitals by publishing such data; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34521/08]

The objective of performance evaluation is to examine the evidence of quality, safety, efficiency and effectiveness in the health system. There is a wide range of hospital data on patient outcomes which enables this measurement. In addition to outcome measures such as mortality, indicators of process of care are also important. For example, in relation to cancer procedures, it is known that the volume of cases is positively correlated with better patient outcomes.

It must be understood that publishing data, in the form described in the Deputy's question, can be both misleading and open to misinterpretation. A considerable amount of international work has been carried out on the advisability of reporting on this data. Expert opinion is divided on its benefit and as a result practices vary widely between countries. A valid and robust system of statistical adjustment must be in place in order to quantify the prior risk and severity of cases presenting for major surgery so as to allow for meaningful comparisons to be made. At present, hospital discharge data as reported through the Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE) system, do not adequately adjust for risk. This could lead to specialist centres which usually cater for more complex cases erroneously appearing to have higher mortality rates. Furthermore, in the HIPE system, patients who die outside hospital or who are emergency transfers to another hospital and subsequently die may not be adequately counted. This would limit the reliability of reported mortality rates even where standardisation procedures are applied.

The performance indicators in use in support of the National Service Plan include many measures relating to patient outcomes, access, effectiveness and efficiency of health services. They, and other potential systems of monitoring, are subject to on-going development and refinement by my Department in collaboration with both the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA). Such developments may include, if deemed appropriate, measures of post-operative mortality rates. This work is also aligned with the work of international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to ensure that we are able to benchmark ourselves against best international standards.

Other than through these mechanisms, my Department has no plans to publish data on hospital mortality rates for major surgical procedures. The Deputy will be aware that there are a range of strategic initiatives in place to improve the quality of clinical services. They address the need to improve standards of care and will minimise variations in the outcomes patients may experience. These include: Cancer Control: A National Strategy; a Vision for Change; the Strategy for Antimicrobial Resistance in Ireland; Tackling Chronic Disease: A Policy Framework for the Management of Chronic Diseases; etc.

Hospital Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

68 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to provide for the continuation of surgical services at Bantry General Hospital (details supplied); if the Health Service Executive has commenced recruitment of a new consultant surgeon or other such arrangements to maintain surgery at Bantry General Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34522/08]

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

109 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of Bantry General Hospital in County Cork; the level of health services available at the hospital; if there are plans to downgrade the services available at the hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34943/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 109 together.

Operational responsibility for services provided at Bantry General Hospital is a matter for the Health Service Executive. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy in relation to this matter.

In regard to hospital services generally in the HSE South region, the HSE is undertaking a strategic review of these services. The review focuses on identifying the best configuration of acute hospital services in the South including arrangements for A&E, critical care, acute medicine and surgery, together with diagnostic services so that the highest quality of care can be delivered to the population.

This review will act as one of the inputs to decisions on how best to reconfigure acute services in the Southern region. The Government and the Executive are committed to ensuring that the approach to re-organisation of services is carried out in consultation with the key stakeholders and that each element is progressed incrementally. I believe that it is important to work with health professionals and other interested parties to secure an increasing set of improvements over time. This approach will, I am confident, produce the best outcome for patients. The final draft of the report is currently under consideration by the HSE.

Mental Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

69 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to properly resource the child and adolescent mental health services in order that timely interventions are provided for children identified by their schools as at risk and in need of such intervention, in particular in north County Dublin (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34523/08]

The HSE Service Plan for 2008 provides for the recruitment of eight additional child and adolescent multi-disciplinary teams to further support the provision of child and adolescent psychiatric services. In relation to in-patient facilities the HSE expect to commission 18 additional child and adolescent beds in the current year; the provision of these beds will increase the bed complement to 30. Four of the additional beds have already been commissioned in St Anne's, Galway, and a further 6 at St Vincent's Fairview and 8 at St Stephen's in Cork are due to open in the last quarter of the year. The construction of two 20 bed child and adolescent units — one in Galway and one in Cork will begin later this year.

In regard to the details supplied by the Deputy operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the case investigated and to reply directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

70 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children when a consultant specialist in diabetes will be able to see a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34524/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

James Reilly

Ceist:

71 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the specific plans she has to deal with the need for approximately 2,000 citizens who are amputees and who must pay for their own prostheses costing between €5,000 and €10,000, in view of the fact that they are neither covered by medical card or private health insurance, and that such prosthesis are provided free of charge in Northern Ireland and in the other European States; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34525/08]

The position remains the same as I outlined in my reply to your parliamentary question 223 on 1st July 2008.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

72 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will expedite an outpatient clinic appointment for a person (details supplied) in County Cork who is on the orthopaedic hip waiting list; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34529/08]

The management of out-patient waiting lists is a matter for the Health Service Executive and the individual hospitals concerned. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

73 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support persons (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [34531/08]

I understand that the Health Service Executive wrote to the Deputy on 25 September last outlining its position on this case and that this matter is the responsibility of the relevant local authority.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

74 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the length of the waiting list for admission to the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital. [34539/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issue raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

75 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the criteria being used in the assessment of hours required for home support workers; if there has been a change in this overall criteria to date; if this assessment resulted in an increase in hours or a decrease in hours; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34556/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Service Allowances.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

76 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if, in view of the upper age limit being removed from the motorised transport grant, she will remove the upper age limit for the mobility allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34557/08]

The Mobility Allowance is payable by the Health Service Executive (HSE), subject to a means test, to persons with a severe disability. The allowance provides financial support to eligible people who are unable to walk or use public transport and is intended to enable them to benefit from a change in surroundings, for example by financing the occasional taxi journey. Applicants must be 16 years or older or under 66 years.

At present the Mobility Allowance can be retained by those over 66 who were granted the allowance before exceeding the upper age threshold, providing they continue to meet all other eligibility criteria.

An overall review of the Mobility Allowance, including the issue of eligibility, will take place within the wider context of the transfer of income support and maintenance schemes together with associated resources to the Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA). This work is being progressed, on foot of a Government decision in February 2006, by an Inter Departmental Implementation Group, under the Chairmanship of the Department of Health and Children, with representation from the DSFA and the HSE. Detailed arrangements are already in place for example to transfer the Domiciliary Care Allowance and Blind Welfare Allowance to the DSFA in 2009.

It is expected that a review of the Mobility Allowance will take place following the successful transfer of the above mentioned allowances.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

James Reilly

Ceist:

77 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of applications received under the nursing home repayment scheme; the number of applicants issued offers to date; the number which have appeals made by the scheme; the number of appeals decided; the number of appeals which have received an increased offer; the number of appeals officers employed by the scheme; the number of payments made to date; the cost of same; the number of applications to be decided upon; the average waiting time to process an application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34569/08]

James Reilly

Ceist:

78 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost of administering the nursing home repayments scheme; when the nursing home repayment scheme will complete its work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34570/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 78 together.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has responsibility for administering the health repayment scheme in conjunction with the appointed scheme administrator K.P.M.G. and McCann Fitzgerald.

The HSE has informed my Department that since the commencement of the scheme approximately 39,000 claims have been received and it is estimated that following adjustments for rejections and duplicate claims, the number of valid claims will be approximately 19,300. To date 18,300 claimants have received offers of repayment totalling over €342m and in excess of 13,700 payments have been made totalling over €285m. The HSE anticipates that the remaining claims will be processed by the end of November. However, it should be noted that any offers made in November cannot be paid until the statutory 28 day period allowed for appeals has elapsed and a completed acceptance form has been returned to the Scheme Administrator. Any claim that is appealed will be finalised following a determination by the Appeals Office.

The overall cost of the scheme is expected to be in the region of €390m. The total cost of administering the scheme to date is €19.5m which includes payments to the Scheme Administrator, HSE administrative costs, legal fees and probate costs and the administrative costs of the Appeals Office.

The Health Repayment Scheme Appeals Office is an independent office established to provide an appeals service to those who wish to appeal the decision of the Scheme Administrator under the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006. Two Appeals Officers have been appointed to consider appeals. Up to 10 October 2008 the Health Repayment Scheme Appeals Office had received 4,241 completed appeal forms. The Appeals Officers have issued decisions in 2,266 of these cases. 407 of these decisions will result in an amended offer to the claimant.

Infectious Diseases.

James Reilly

Ceist:

79 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of claims lodged with the State Claims Agency for compensation as a result of patients acquiring hospital infections; the number of cases settled to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34571/08]

Health care associated infections (HCAIs) are not new. For centuries they have been a side effect of medical treatment, especially in hospitals. There are a number of types of HCAIs, MRSA and C. difficile are the most widely publicised. The more medical care a person requires, the more likely they are to develop a health care associated infection. These infections are more common among people with serious illnesses or at high risk such as patients with a weakened immune system, patients who have been treated for leukaemia or cancer, or who have had an organ transplant.

Tackling HCAIs continues to be a challenge for all healthcare systems. Ireland is not unique in this regard and tackling HCAIs here continues to be a priority for the Government and the Health Service Executive.

I have been informed by the State Claims Agency that there are 98 alleged health care associated infection claims and to date one case has been settled.

Question No. 80 answered with Question No. 53.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

James Reilly

Ceist:

81 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the role the National Treatment Purchase Fund will have in identifying and recommending nursing homes under the nursing home support scheme; when it will begin this role; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34573/08]

The Minister published the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008 on the 9th October. It is her intention to bring the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009.

Under the new scheme, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) will negotiate prices for long-term care with private nursing home owners on behalf of the State. Where nursing homes agree prices for the purposes of the scheme with the NTPF, the NTPF will recommend the homes to the Health Service Executive for inclusion on the list of nursing homes ‘approved' for the scheme. A person availing of the scheme can then choose any approved private nursing home or public nursing home on the list subject to availability and the suitability of the home to meet their care needs.

The NTPF's negotiating role under the scheme will be an ongoing one. The price agreed with private nursing homes for the purposes of the scheme will naturally be subject to periodic re-negotiation to take account of inflation and other developments. The NTPF will commence its role under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme as soon as the legislation has been passed and the relevant section of the Act commenced.

James Reilly

Ceist:

82 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the way the National Treatment Purchase Fund will negotiate the cost of private beds on behalf of the Health Service Executive in the absence of the Health Information and Quality Authority Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34574/08]

The present standards for nursing homes are set out in the Care and Welfare Regulations and the Health Service Executive (HSE) inspects private nursing homes on the basis of these standards. Earlier this year, the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) submitted "Draft Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People" for approval, and these are currently under consideration in the Department. Once introduced, these standards will apply to all nursing homes — public, private and voluntary.

Under the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme, the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) will negotiate prices for long-term care with private nursing home owners on behalf of the State. Pending the approval of the Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People and the enactment of Regulations to underpin them, these negotiations will be based on existing arrangements including the existing regulatory framework. Where nursing homes agree prices for the purposes of the scheme with the NTPF, the NTPF will recommend the homes to the Health Service Executive for inclusion on the list of nursing homes ‘approved' for the scheme. A person availing of the scheme can then choose any approved private nursing home or public nursing home on the list subject to availability and the suitability of the home to meet their care needs.

The NTPF's negotiating role under the scheme will be an ongoing one. The price agreed with private nursing homes for the purposes of the scheme will naturally be subject to periodic re-negotiation to take account of inflation and other developments.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

83 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has completed her list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34595/08]

My Department has identified the main legislative provisions within its remit that give rise to an administrative burden on businesses in the Health Sector. We will now proceed to identify and quantify the specific information and other obligations arising in this context.

The Deputy will be aware the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is coordinating the overall process and I would expect that my Department will meet the timeframes centrally proposed. Accordingly, I expect that the identification, prioritisation and measurement process will be completed by the end of 2009.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

84 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if enhanced subvention support will be awarded in respect of the nursing home charges of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [34603/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services, including the payment of subvention to residents in private nursing homes, is a matter for the Health Service Executive. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issues raised by the Deputy. The Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Child Care Services.

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

85 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children if grant aid is available from her Department for outdoor play areas for an established child care facility (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34618/08]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 (NCIP), which will invest €575 million over 5 years, with €358 million of this in capital aid for childcare services.

The NCIP came into effect from January 2006, and aims to provide a proactive response to the development of quality childcare supports and services, which are grounded in an understanding of local needs. It is building on the success of the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000 — 2006 (EOCP) and incorporates among its key objectives: increasing the supply and improving the quality of early childhood care and education services. Services eligible for support include those providing care for babies, full-day care, part-time, sessional playschool, Montessori and other pre-school places, school age childcare including "wrap around" childcare places, and childminding. Special consideration is given to supporting services which provide a range of these services.

Applicants for capital funding under the NCIP first apply through their local City or County Childcare Committee (CCC), whose role it is to identify gaps in childcare provision in their respective areas and to assist applicants to develop proposals to fill identified local needs. The initial assessment of grant applications is undertaken by the local CCC and is then referred to Pobal, which manages the day to day operation of the programme on behalf of my Office. Following Pobal's assessment of the applications they are forwarded to the Childcare Directorate of my Office for recommendation on funding.

With regard to the childcare facility referred to by the Deputy, my Office has enquired from Wexford CCC and Pobal and there is no record of any application pending for a capital grant on their behalf.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

86 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by her Department in the past 12 months; if she will list each measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34637/08]

I have asked officials in my Department to compile the information requested by the Deputy and to forward it to him as soon as possible.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

87 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children if there are EU measures in her Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so, if she will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the European Commission; when she will transpose them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34652/08]

I have asked officials in my Department to compile the information requested by the Deputy and to forward it to him as soon as possible.

Homeless Persons.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

88 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children who are alone and homeless in each Health Service Executive region; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34665/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

89 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 265 of 4 July 2006 regarding the status of the development project for a community hospital, day care unit and primary care centre, if she will provide a breakdown of these costings to include the funding estimated for each of the facilities; the timetable for construction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34666/08]

Following a previous question on this matter from the Deputy on 15th May 2008, my Department requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive (HSE) to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy. My Department has made inquiries of the HSE regarding the status of its reply and I understand that the Executive has now issued a reply to the Deputy on this matter.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

90 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3. [34683/08]

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

91 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a matter (details supplied). [34684/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 90 and 91 together.

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004 and funding for all health services has been provided as part of its overall vote. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Hospital Staff.

David Stanton

Ceist:

92 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Health and Children the staff establishment at the DCD unit in St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork; the actual number and position in place; the vacancies and the plans to fill such vacancies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34705/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

93 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is grant assistance or funding available towards the cost of an assessment and sessional occupational therapy for a child (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34706/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

94 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason an agreed repayment under the health repayment scheme has not been awarded to date to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; the reason for the delay in payment in view of the fact that a settlement was reached in July 2008; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34713/08]

The Health Service Executive has responsibility for administering the Repayment Scheme and the information sought by the Deputy relates to matters within the area of responsibility of the Executive. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

95 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 has been told, in October 2008, that their child’s residential placement promised for more than a year has been withdrawn due to cutbacks in the disability services budget of the Health Service Executive; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34717/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

96 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Health Service Executive corporate finance will make available to a service (details supplied) funds which are approved by her and by the Health Service Executive senior management; the reason for the delay in transferring these funds; the person who is responsible for these delays; the action that will be taken in relation to the person responsible for these delays; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34718/08]

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

97 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will make a statement on the recent submission she received from an organisation (details supplied). [34719/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 and 97 together.

The Deputy's question relates to the funding, management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

98 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children if an increase in home help hours will be organised for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34738/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services was assigned to the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Prohibited Substances.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

99 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she is taking to deal with intoxicating or hallucinogenic substances being sold legally in health or alternative medicine shops here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34749/08]

I take it that the Deputy is referring to the sale of substances often referred to by the generic term ‘legal highs', which mimic or cause effects similar to illicit substances, which are currently not scheduled under Misuse of Drugs legislation.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 and regulations made thereunder regulate and control the import, export, production, supply and possession of a range of named narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances listed in the Schedules to the Act. Substances are scheduled under the Act in accordance with Ireland's obligations under international conventions or where there is evidence that the substances are causing significant harm to public health in Ireland, which could merit the criminalisation of their sale and use.

The list of scheduled substances is kept under review on an ongoing basis. In particular, my Department reviews any evidence that substances are being abused and are causing significant harm to public health. For example, in 2006 psychotropic (magic) mushrooms were brought under control and their possession and sale is now an offence. Furthermore, following the European Council of Ministers' decision in March 2008 to bring Benzylpiperazine (BZP) under control, which was deemed to pose an excessive risk as a party pill, my Department will be introducing regulations to restrict the availability of BZP.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

100 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children her view on whether in cases of Down’s syndrome, early intervention is crucial to ensure permanent problems are avoided and to ensure the best start possible for the children involved and further to ensure a good grounding is given for a difficult life ahead; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34753/08]

The Disability Act 2005 remains one of the central components of the National Disability Strategy. While the legislation was sponsored by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Health and Children, together with the Health Service Executive, are charged with specific statutory duties, most notably concerning the implementation of Part 2 of the Act.

As the Deputy is aware, intervention early in life can have a significant impact on the disabling effects of a condition or impairment. In recognition of this, Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 was commenced for children aged under 5 years with effect from 1 June 2007. This entitles parents of young children with disabilities to an independent assessment of their children's health and education needs and a statement of the services which it is proposed to provide for them. To date over 2,800 applications for an assessment of need have been received and are being processed by the HSE.

It is proposed that Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005 will be further commenced for children aged 5 to 18 in tandem with the implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act 2004. In preparation for its implementation, health related support services for children aged 5 to 18 continue to be enhanced and strengthened to enable the Health Service Executive to meet needs identified for this group.

Proposals for implementation are continually under scrutiny and take place in the context of the Annual Estimates process.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

101 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not had speech and language therapy, physiotherapy or regular hearing tests to date; and when these services will be provided for them. [34754/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

102 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the waiting list for speech and language therapy, physiotherapy and hearing tests for children in the Knocknacarra area of Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34755/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health and personal services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Suicide Prevention.

John Perry

Ceist:

103 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Health and Children the plans in place to provide training at the workplace level to prevent suicide; her plans to work in conjunction with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to ensure that suicide prevention training takes place at work place level under the auspices of the Health and Safety Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34900/08]

Reach Out — the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention, which was launched in September 2005 provides a policy framework for suicide prevention activities in Ireland. The strategy calls for a multi-sectoral approach to the prevention of suicidal behaviour in order to foster co-operation between health, education, community, voluntary and private sector agencies.

The Strategy identifies the importance of promoting positive mental health, employee supports and crisis readiness in all places of work. It recognises the statutory role of the Health and Safety Authority in supporting workplace mental health promotion and suicide prevention initiatives.

The HSE, through the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), oversees the implementation of ‘Reach Out'. The Executive, therefore, is the appropriate body to consider the particular matter raised by the Deputy. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services.

John Perry

Ceist:

104 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Health and Children if a review of the area of informed consent to treatment within the mental health system here will be undertaken; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34901/08]

Part 4 of the Mental Health Act 2001 outlines the requirements for consent to treatment by detained patients and the circumstances where second opinions, or review by a Mental Health Tribunal are required i.e. electro-convulsive therapy, the administration of medicine and psycho-surgery. The Act did not however address the issue of informed consent to treatment generally.

For the purposes of Mental Health Act 2001, consent means consent, obtained freely without threats or inducements, where

the consultant psychiatrist responsible for the care and treatment of the patient certifies that the patient is capable of understanding the nature, purpose and likely effects of the proposed treatment, and

the psychiatrist has given the patient adequate information, in a form and a language that the patient can understand on the nature, purpose and likely effects of the proposed treatment.

Under the Act the consent of a patient to treatment is required except where the consultant psychiatrist considers that the treatment is necessary to safeguard the life of the patient, to restore his or her health, to alleviate his or her condition, or to relieve his or her suffering, and the patient is incapable of giving such consent because of his/her mental disorder. It is accepted that the provisions relating to consent to treatment will require further consideration in the context of the new capacity legislation currently being prepared by the Dept of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

Nursing Homes Repayment Scheme.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

105 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason an application made for a refund under the health repayment scheme by a person (details supplied) in County Cork has been rejected; and if she will ensure that this decision is reversed. [34911/08]

The Health Service Executive has responsibility for administering the Repayment Scheme and the information sought by the Deputy relates to matters within the area of responsibility of the Executive. My Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued to the Deputy.

Patient Statistics.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

106 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who have presented themselves to accident and emergency departments who have attempted suicide in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007; the number that attended each hospital in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34931/08]

A National Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm has been operating in general hospitals since 2001 and data is compiled and published on an annual basis by the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF). The Registry had near complete coverage of hospitals for the period 2002 — 2005. In 2006 and 2007, data was collected from all general and paediatric hospitals.

The numbers of individuals treated for deliberate self-harm in hospital emergency departments since 2004 are set out in the following table:

Hospital

2004

2005

2006

2007

Adelaide & Meath & National Children’s Hospital Tallaght

507

465

444

508

Bantry General Hospital

62

45

37

42

Beaumont Hospital

538

511

534

493

Cavan General Hospital

159

132

157

166

Children’s University Hospital Temple Street

28

37

34

28

Cork University Hospital

360

318

271

264

James Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown

429

446

399

359

Kerry General Hospital

227

221

225

268

Letterkenny General Hospital

303

238

245

250

Louth County Hospital

145

153

108

107

Mallow General Hospital

82

71

68

71

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital

143

465

486

Mayo General Hospital

171

172

178

203

Mercy University Hospital Cork

390

425

357

320

Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar

200

191

152

169

Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

112

92

90

99

Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore

143

124

100

123

Mid-Western Regional Hospital Ennis

190

138

116

149

Mid-Western Regional Hospital Limerick

537

478

454

496

Mid-Western Regional Hospital Nenagh

164

114

140

131

Monaghan General Hospital

45

58

59

57

Naas General Hospital

258

281

284

332

Our Lady Hospital, Cashel

34

24

25

5

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

222

225

200

217

Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin

27

32

Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan

170

174

151

165

Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe

147

119

106

116

Roscommon County Hospital

87

99

89

78

Sligo General Hospital

148

134

146

135

South Tipperary General Hospital

173

165

163

173

Southern Infirmary Cork

98

49

35

36

St. Colmcille’s Hospital Loughlinstown

371

375

342

305

St. James’s Hospital

634

637

602

668

St. John’s Hospital Limerick

32

25

22

28

St. Luke’s General Hospital Kilkenny

273

264

223

209

St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

47

37

48

23

University College Hospital Galway

420

407

363

481

Waterford Regional Hospital

225

254

196

222

Wexford General Hospital

248

304

276

283

Note: These figures do not include repeat presentations.

Suicide Incidence.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

107 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons who died by suicide in the first, second and third quarters of each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34932/08]

Data on mortality is compiled by the Central Statistics Office and published in the Annual and Quarterly Reports on Vital Statistics. The breakdown in numbers of persons who died by suicide in the first three quarters of 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 are as follows:

Year

Quarter 1

Quarter 2

Quarter 3

2004

118

129

123

2005

122

132

133

2006*

98

101

115

2007**

118

129

112

*2006 and 2007 figures are based on year of registration data and are preliminary.

**In 2007, the CSO made a number of changes in the methods by which mortality figures are compiled and some of these changes may have had an impact on the suicide figures.

Nursing Home Subventions.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

108 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children the subvention that was paid by the Health Service Executive western area in the past year, detailing the amounts paid to each nursing home in County Mayo, both public and private, and the names and addresses of the nursing homes; the number of subvention applications that are still pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34933/08]

Operational responsibility for the management and delivery of health and personal social services is a matter for the Health Service Executive. Therefore, the Executive is the appropriate body to consider the particular issues raised by the Deputy. The Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have the matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Question No. 109 answered with Question No. 68.

Medicinal Products.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

110 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive will introduce a programme to recover unused medicines, appliances and so on from people where these have been supplied either by prescription or otherwise and are not used and ultimately go to waste; if the HSE has an estimate of the cost of medicines that are ultimately used by patients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34950/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the management and delivery of health services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Health Service Executive to consider the information requested by the Deputy and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy on the matter.

Energy Efficiency Strategy.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

111 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department or the Health Service Executive has a specific energy efficiency strategy to ensure the sustainable and cost-effective use of energy in health care facilities under their aegis including hospitals, nursing homes, health centres and so on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34952/08]

In co-operation with the Office of Public Works, my Department is taking part in the Optimising Power @ Work Campaign. Under this campaign there is a commitment to reducing energy use and carbon emissions by 15% per annum.

In conjunction with the campaign and with the assistance of relevant Consultants an energy audit was carried out in my Department's headquarters in Hawkins House. The audit recommended various ways of achieving energy efficiencies and these were presented to all staff at a number of awareness sessions. The recommendations are now being implemented throughout my Department and an Energy Officer has been appointed to monitor progress on a monthly basis.

In 2007 all the old lighting in Hawkins House was replaced with a new energy efficient lighting system. This included the installation of lights in all kitchenettes which switch off automatically when not in use. In 2007 also an environmental sub-committee of the Department's Partnership Group was established. The role of this committee is to examine all avenues of energy saving, as well as other environmental issues, and to bring these to the attention of all staff. This committee will assist in driving efficiency measures across the Department.

Measures being taken by agencies under the aegis of my Department are a matter for the agencies themselves. My Department is asking the agencies concerned to reply directly to the Deputy in this regard.

Patient Safety.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

112 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children the action she is taking to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Patient Safety; if the drafting of all the legislative changes necessary to implement the recommendations has begun; if an implementation steering group, with a clear reporting relationship to her, has been established; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34953/08]

In January 2007, as part of the Government's commitment to ensuring patient safety and quality in our health services, I established a Commission on Patient Safety and Quality Assurance to develop clear and practical recommendations to ensure that quality and safety of care for patients is paramount within the healthcare system. The Commission's Report — ‘Building a Culture of Patient Safety' was published in August 2008. This is the first report of its kind and it makes far reaching recommendations which when implemented will impact very positively on patients and their families.

The most significant recommendation of the report is the introduction of a licensing system for all health services whether they are delivered publicly or privately and such a system would of course require legislation which will be extremely complex and take some time to develop. Other recommendations in the report which would require legislation include a mandatory system of adverse event reporting and legal protection for information collected through such a system. Similar protection is also suggested for information provided in the context of a process of open disclosure or clinical or other patient safety audit.

The implementation plan endorsed by the Commission recommends the immediate establishment of an Implementation Steering Group (ISG) with clear and regular reporting obligations to the Minister for Health and Children regarding progress on the implementation of the recommendations of the Report. This also requires the establishment of expert sub-groups composed of representatives of relevant stakeholders, each of which will be required to report to the ISG on the practical and detailed implementation of the recommendations within their remit. The advantages of this model are that it immediately builds on the structures already in place and can deliver results quickly.

I am currently considering the Commission's recommendations in detail. It is my intention to bring the report, together with an implementation strategy, which will include proposals relating to both of the issues raised by the Deputy, to Government for approval as soon as possible.

Hospital Procedures.

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

113 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the Health Service Executive position on cord blood collection at the time of infant birth; and if there are plans to investigate stem cell treatment and the medical benefits of such treatment. [34963/08]

The collection of cord blood for the purpose of potential later human application comes within the scope of the European Communities (Quality and Safety of Human Tissues and Cells) Regulations 2006 (No. 58 of 2006). The Irish Medicines Board (IMB) has been designated as the competent authority under the Regulations. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure the quality and safety of tissues and cells, to protect donors and recipients, whether the donor and recipient are the same person or not, and to prevent the transmission of diseases.

Under the Regulations, any entity which collects material such as umbilical cord stem cells as well as any entity which is involved in testing, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of human tissues or cells intended for human use is required to apply to the IMB for an authorisation to perform such activities. The IMB is obliged to ensure that tissue and cell procurement is carried out by persons with appropriate training and experience and that it takes place in conditions which meet quality and safety standards and are authorised for that purpose.

Under the Regulations, it is permissible for a maternity hospital, or other institution, to apply for an authorisation to procure umbilical cord blood on its premises. It is also permissible for an organisation, company or person to apply for an authorisation to procure umbilical cord blood at premises other than their own. In this latter instance, the applicant is required to have a written contract or service level agreement in place with any hospital, clinic or person carrying out the actual act of procurement.

The Clinical Indemnity Scheme (CIS), which has responsibility for the indemnification and management of all clinical negligence claims in the Health Service Executive, public hospitals and certain scheduled agencies issued a notice on 29th September 2008 on collection of umbilical cord blood. The notice clarifies that collection of cord blood for personal banking by a commercial organisation does not come within the definition of "professional medical services" as defined in the National Treasury Management Agency (Delegation of Functions) Order 2003 (No. 63 of 2003). A doctor, midwife or nurse who procures blood on behalf of a third party is not covered by the CIS for such procurement.

The HSE has made provision for directed donation of umbilical cord stem cells for high risk cases. In such cases, collection on foot of a request by a consultant haematologist in respect of the treatment of a named individual is organised by the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, which is authorised by the IMB for this purpose and is covered by the CIS.

In relation to research, I am aware that a range of research projects are underway which are examining the potential benefits of stem cell treatment. My Department will keep this issue under review.

Hospitals Building Programme.

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

114 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children if it remains Government policy to proceed with the construction of a new National Children’s Hospital at the Mater Hospital site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34966/08]

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

115 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of public moneys that have been expended to date on preparation for the construction of the National Children’s Hospital at the Mater Hospital site; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34967/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 115 together.

The development of the National Paediatric Hospital is a priority project for the Government. The Capital Plan includes provision for the development of the new hospital and the associated Ambulatory and Urgent Care Centre at Tallaght.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board was established in May, 2007. Its primary function is to plan, design, furnish and equip the new national paediatric hospital. The Health Service Executive is working closely with the Board in progressing the project.

The project is currently at initiation stage. A contract has been awarded for business advisory services. A detailed Development Brief for the new hospital is being prepared and is due for completion by the end of the 1st Quarter 2009. The Development Brief will be converted into a detailed design, outlining the exact dimensions and specifications for the new hospital, to allow the project proceed to tender for construction. A more accurate estimate of costs will be available at that point.

My Department has asked the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to revert directly to the Deputy on the other issues raised by him.

Medical Cards.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

116 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children the situation regarding an application for a medical card by a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34968/08]

As the Health Service Executive has the operational and funding responsibility for the medical card benefit, it is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Drugs Payment Scheme.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

117 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on making nicotine patches and so on available on the drugs refund scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34995/08]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

118 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on making nicotine patches free of charge as part of an anti-smoking campaign to reduce the number of deaths and serious illnesses related to cigarette smoking; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34996/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 117 and 118 together.

In order for a product to be reimbursable under the General Medical Services and Drug Payment schemes it must satisfy a number of criteria, including that it is ordinarily supplied to the public only by medical prescription and that it is not advertised or promoted to the public. Nicotine replacement therapies would not normally satisfy these criteria, in that they are generally available over-the-counter, and may be advertised directly to the public. Notwithstanding this, nicotine replacement therapies are available to medical card holders since April 2001 on foot of recommendations made by the Cardiovascular Health Strategy Group and the Advisory Forum established to support the Task Force in the implementation of the strategy. Evidence shows that lower socio-economic groups have a higher incidence of smoking and spend a higher proportion of disposable income on tobacco. It was considered that this group is in greatest need of assistance in helping them to quit the habit. Accordingly, it was decided, as an exceptional measure, to make nicotine replacement therapies available on prescription to medical card holders. There are no plans to extend this to the Drug Payment Scheme.

Health Services.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

119 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason for the delay in dealing with a complaint issued under the provisions of section 9 of the Health Act 2004 (details supplied). [35001/08]

I believe the Deputy's question relates to Part 9 of the Health Act 2004. The management and delivery of health and personal services are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under that Act. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

120 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on correspondence she received from a group (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35012/08]

The Deputy's question relates to the funding, management and delivery of health and personal social services, which are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive under the Health Act 2004. Accordingly, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to have this matter investigated and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Medical Cards.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

121 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35015/08]

As the Health Service Executive has the operational and funding responsibility for the medical card benefit, it is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Cancer Screening Programme.

Michael Creed

Ceist:

122 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the company to which the Health Service Executive has awarded a contract to carry out smear tests has incurred a €180 million fine in the United States for violation of both criminal and civil laws; her views at a policy level on whether it is appropriate for the HSE to contract with this company; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35033/08]

I presume the Deputy is referring to a recent newspaper report that Quest Diagnostics has made provision in its accounts for the anticipated costs of settling a number of allegations in the United States. These issues were widely reported in 2007. In June 2008 the National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) awarded the contract for cytology laboratory testing for the national cervical screening programme to Quest Diagnostics. Quest Diagnostics successfully met all the required criteria set out under the procurement process which was open to local and international laboratories. Quest Diagnostics was previously contracted by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to clear significant backlogs of smear tests in the Irish system.

The NCSS has informed my Department that Quest Diagnostics has not been convicted of fraud or an offence. Quest Diagnostics was involved in Federal Settlements in the United States and had previously made a full disclosure of these issues to the HSE and more recently to the NCSS during the course of its procurement process. The US Federal Authorities have not barred Quest from ongoing participation in Federal or State level reimbursement schemes.

The national cervical screening programme, CervicalCheck, commenced on 1 September. This service is free to all women in Ireland aged between 25 and 60 years of age. Screening will be provided every three years for women aged between 25 and 44 and every five years for women aged between 45 and 60 years of age in line with best international practice. Results will be provided to women within four weeks of having their smear test taken. The NCSS is confident that Quest Diagnostics will provide a service which offers consistency on quality, turnaround of results and on capacity.

Vaccination Programme.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

123 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason persons are charged for the administering of the flu vaccine; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35034/08]

There is no charge for either the vaccine or the administration of the vaccine for those for whom vaccination is recommended who have a medical card or GP visit card. Where the patient does not have a medical card or GP visit card, there is no charge for the actual vaccine as the vaccine is supplied free of charge to GPs by the HSE. The fee for administering the vaccine is a matter between the GP and the patient.

Proposed Legislation.

Niall Collins

Ceist:

124 Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Health and Children the status of the fair deal legislation and scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35037/08]

The Minister published the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Bill 2008 on the 9th October. It is her intention to bring the legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas as soon as possible with a view to implementing the scheme in 2009.

Medical Cards.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

125 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the additional cost to the Exchequer if all medical card limits were raised to the lowest social welfare rates for adults and children; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35040/08]

Under the current medical card assessment guidelines, all persons whose weekly incomes are derived solely from Department of Social and Family Affairs payments or Health Service Executive payments, even if these exceed the stated threshold, qualify for a medical card. My Department is unable to assess with accuracy the cost of raising all medical card limits to the lowest social welfare rates for adults and children as the effect of this action on medical card numbers is unknown.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

126 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Health and Children the cost to the Exchequer of administering the medical card scheme per medical card application. [35041/08]

The Health Service Executive has the operational and funding responsibility for the medical card benefit. Therefore, my Department has requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

127 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department has received an application for funding from organisations (details supplied) setting out the position whereby further funding reductions in 2009 will adversely affect persons with intellectual disabilities and their families and which would mean that those currently needing services are facing reduced or withdrawn service; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that 2009 is the final year of the Government’s multi-annual investment programme under the national disability strategy; her plans to ensure that the commitment to make €50 million available in 2009 is honoured; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35053/08]

As the Deputy is aware, it is custom and practice for a number of organisations, including those in the disability sector, to forward pre-budget submissions to the relevant Ministers and their Departments in the run up to the Budget. Such submissions are considered as part of the discussions on the Estimates and Budget each year. While it is not appropriate to comment further on the organisations (details supplied) pre-budget submissions, I would like to point out that this year's Budget is being framed against the background of challenging economic circumstances.

In relation to health services for people with a disability, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the significant resources which have been expended on disability services in 2008. The Multi Annual Investment Programme for Disability Services makes provision for the development of additional residential, respite places and day care places for people with Intellectual Disability and Autism and additional residential care and home support services for people with physical and sensory disabilities.

In the 2008 Budget, €50m was provided to the Health Service Executive (HSE) to fund a range of additional services under the Multi Annual Investment Programme for Disability. Although the commencement of the planned developments in disability services this year had been delayed due to a financial review, I am pleased to inform you that the Executive has informed the Department of Health and Children that it is now in the process of rolling out the planned developments. The HSE has indicated that due to the delayed start to some of these developments it expects to spend €33m of the €50m by the end of 2008. The resulting €17m time related savings were included in this Department's budgetary consolidation measures announced to the House in July 2008.

It is not appropriate for me or my Department to comment on the resources that will be allocated in 2009, prior to the announcement of the Budget 2009 package.

Child Care Services.

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

128 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the position held by her Department whereby all applications for child care subvention have to be submitted electronically and that this requires that at the time of submission the provider be on-line; her views on the fact that community groups that do not have an Internet connection have had to make alternative arrangements to proceed with their submission; the way community groups can plan ahead when they are not informed of the amount of funding that they will receive; if she will take steps to address these concerns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35058/08]

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

129 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the difficulties that have arisen in respect of the administration of the new child care subvention scheme and that where subvention was granted in 2008 to cover the period June to December 2008, there is no possibility to request more funding which is presenting difficulties for both parents and provider; if her attention has further been drawn to the fact that with the change in economic climate, parents, who previously were not eligible for subvention, have had a change in circumstances since 2007 and now qualify for the subvention; if in view of the fact that the current system does not allow for this change she will take steps to have same amended to facilitate the new situation. [35059/08]

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

130 Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the deceleration forms for 2009 child care subvention had to be submitted electronically by 26 September 2008, that same does not allow for new enrolments, and in the circumstances providers are requested to submit information based on current child attendance; her plans to ensure that where providers are aware of additional children starting between September 2008 and January 2009 that these can be included in this submission; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35061/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 128 to 130, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme 2006 — 2010 (NCIP) under which the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme (CCSS) was introduced in January of this year.

The CCSS is open to community-based childcare services to enable them to provide reduced childcare fees to parents who qualify under the scheme as disadvantaged or on low income. Participating services are required to apply for funding in September in respect of the following calendar year. As part of its application, the service is required to forward declaration forms completed by parents of children attending the service, who hope to qualify for reduced childcare fees. The service is also required to provide a summary of service-related details. To facilitate services in making applications for grant funding, an electronic system for returns was introduced in September of this year. While this has been generally welcomed by childcare services in the CCSS, if a service demonstrates that it has a particular difficulty in using the electronic system a hard copy application will be accepted by my Office.

The amount of funding a service qualifies for is assessed on the basis of the information provided by it each September. The service is expected to use the grant funding to implement a tiered fee system with all qualifying parents benefiting from the appropriate subvention rates. A service would not normally be expected to have any difficulty in this regard, however, if a significant change in the parent profile arises during the course of the year, it can apply for a review of its funding level.

I wish to advise the Deputy that, in advance of the introduction of the new electronic return system, three regional briefing sessions were organised by the Childcare Directorate of my Office for the staff of the 33 City and County Childcare Committees (CCC), to enable them to assist and advise CCSS applicants with any queries regarding accessing or using the electronic return facility. I understand that the CCCs are also facilitating applicants who do not have access to computer or broadband facilities by allowing them to use facilities within their offices.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that to date almost 80% of services applying for funding under the CCSS for 2009 have made their electronic return and my Office is continuing to receive returns.

Air Services.

James Bannon

Ceist:

131 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Transport if an airline (details supplied) is an official Government agency; if not, the reason it is permissible for the airline to require passengers checking in on-line to provide details of passport number and expiry date of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34468/08]

The airline in question is a privately owned company.

For aviation security purposes, my Department requires that all airlines operating air services domestically and within the Common Travel Area (CTA) conduct a check to reconcile a passenger's boarding card with an appropriate form of identification before boarding. In consultation with the Departments of Justice, Equality & Law Reform and Foreign Affairs and An Garda Síochána, my Department drew up a list of forms of identification acceptable for this purpose and this list has been communicated to all airlines operating domestically or within the CTA. This list includes passports.

Individual airlines may decide which forms of identification, from this approved list, they will accept for travel on services operated by them. Their requirements as regards acceptable forms of identification are set down in the terms and conditions provided to passengers when booking and purchasing tickets.

Rural Transport Services.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

132 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport the number of programmes which include wider target groups, such as commuters and unemployed, as recommended in the 2006 discussion paper, Progressing Rural Public Transport in Ireland, in counties (details supplied). [34606/08]

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

139 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport the natural catchment areas of the rural transport programmes operating in counties (details supplied). [34607/08]

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

140 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport the number of rural transport programmes operating on county boundaries in counties (details supplied). [34608/08]

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

141 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport the number of car schemes operating under the rural transport programme in counties (details supplied). [34609/08]

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

146 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Transport if an inter-Departmental group on rural transport has been established. [34677/08]

Andrew Doyle

Ceist:

149 Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Transport his role and responsibilities in developing and implementing policy for public transport for rural communities. [34756/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132, 139 to 141, inclusive, 146 and 149 together.

The Rural Transport Programme arises from the work of an inter-Departmental group which developed the Rural Initiative as a pilot initiative. Since 2007 the scheme has been mainstreamed as the Rural Transport Programme and thirty seven community transport groups around the country are being funded under the RTP to address social exclusion in their rural areas arising from unmet public transport needs. While the provision of transport services for older people and people with disabilities is a core feature of the RTP, services operated under the Programme are open to the general public.

The bottom-up approach developed during the pilot Rural Transport Initiative (2002-2006) demonstrated that local people know best what transport services they need. My role, therefore, continues to be one of helping local communities to address their transport needs through financial and administrative support, while communities themselves take the lead in clarifying their needs and developing co-ordinated transport services to fulfil those needs.

With regard to the natural boundaries for RTP services, over the years, a variety of service models and operational areas have developed from parish-based approaches to operations across two or more counties. Pobal, which administers the RTP on behalf of my Department, has commenced a process to extend the Programme on a phased basis with a goal of achieving nation-wide coverage in due course in line with Government policy. As part of that process, Pobal has indicated that it is having due regard to current Government policy regarding local development structures and cohesion which aims to integrate local delivery structures at County Level.

I understand that RTP funded car schemes are operational in Counties Sligo and Leitrim and that such schemes are being contemplated elsewhere.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

133 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34431/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following tables.

Name

Establishment Date

1997-2007

No. of Staff

Budget

(€m)

Railway Safety Commission

01/01/2006

2008

8

2.068

2007

8

2.090

2006

7

1.786

Railway Safety Advisory Council

11/05/2007

2008

N/A

Budget comes out of RSC

2007

Budget

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) is headed by the Commissioner for Aviation Regulation who is appointed by the Minister.

Staff numbers are set out in the following tables:

Name

Establishment Date

Year

Number of staff

Budget *

The Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR)

February 2001

2001

16

CAR is a self financing body

2002

16

2003

17

2004

17

2005

18

2006

20

2007

21

Name

Establishment Date

1997-2007

No. of Staff

Budget

(€m)

*Railway Procurement Agency

28th December 2001

2002

121

141,311,481

2003

131

145,405,647

2004

120

163,476,521

2005

120

91,892,082

2006

139

39,953,252

2007

198

133,268,715

Road Safety Authority

13 September 2006

2006

310

29,562,920

2007

319

39,111,000

Commission for Taxi Regulation

1 September 2004

2004

1

748,799

2005

10

2,485,878

2006

11

10,322,845

2007

21

21,939,589

2008

22

N/A

Advisory Council to the Commission for Taxi Regulation

4 November 2003

2003

18

Nil

2004

18

Nil

2005

18

Nil

2006 (1 January to 3 November)

18

Nil

2006 (4 November to 23 November)

Nil

Nil

2006 (24 November to 31 December)

1

Nil

2007 (1 January 2007 to 29 March 2007)

1

Nil

2007 (30 March to 23 July)

16

Nil

2007 (24 July to date)

17

Nil

**The Marine Casualty Investigation Board

5th June 2002

2002

2

90,000

2003

2

139,619

2004

2

213,580

2005

2

210,959

2006

2

286,916

2007

2

144,658

2008

3

N/A

*In addition to the above, the RPA has to date received 77m in EU grant aid towards the cost of building the Luas line A.

**In 2002 staff salaries were paid by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources. Staff salaries for each year 2003 to 2006 were paid by the Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and recouped from the Board at year end. Overall staff salaries for 2008 are not available.

Authority

Date of Establishment

Staff and Budget

Dublin Airport Authority (DAA)

In keeping with the State Airports Act 2004 the DAA was established on the 1st October 2004.

Commercial State Body.

Shannon Airport Authority (SAA)*

In keeping with the State Airports Act 2004 the SAA was incorporated on the 16th September 2004.

Commercial State Body.

Cork Airport Authority (CAA)*

In keeping with the State Airports Act 2004 the CAA was incorporated on the 16th September 2004.

Commercial State Body.

*The Shannon and Cork Airport Authorities were incorporated on the 16th September 2004 and in line with the framework provided by the State Airports Act 2004, these two authorities will, in due course, operate their respective airports.

The vast majority of the State's commercial seaport capacity is located within the jurisdiction of the ten State owned port companies established pursuant to the provisions of the Harbours Acts 1996 and 2000 (Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Dun Laoghaire, New Ross, Shannon Foynes, Dundalk, Drogheda, Galway and Wicklow). The Minister for Transport is the main shareholder in the ten companies. Each board has up to twelve members in accordance with the Act. Staff and budgets are an operational matter for the companies.

Rosslare Europort falls outside the scope of the Harbours Acts but is owned and operated by the CIE Group. Greenore Port in Co. Louth is a privately owned port in which Dublin Port Company has a 50% shareholding.

There are currently 9 harbour authorities under the provisions of the Harbours Act 1946:

Arklow Harbour Commissioners

Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners

Bantry Bay Harbour Commissioners were established under the Harbours Act 1976.

Baltimore and Skibbereen Harbour Commissioners

Kilrush Urban District Council

Kinsale Harbour Commissioners

Tralee and Fenit Harbour Commissioners

Westport Harbour Commissioners

Wexford Harbour Commissioners

Youghal Urban District Council.

Membership of the harbour authorities varies in accordance with the provisions of the legislation. Staff and budgets of the harbour authorities are operational matters for the authorities themselves.

Two harbour authorities transferred to local authority control in 2006 (Sligo and Annagassan). Dingle was designated a Fishery Harbour Centre in 2007 by the Minister of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, with the consent of the Minister for Transport. Accordingly, these three bodies ceased to function as harbour authorities under the Harbours Acts.

Rail Services.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

134 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Transport the most recent talks he has had with his northern counterpart on developing the direct train service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34463/08]

The upgrading and extension of the mainline railway system is a matter for consideration by Irish Rail in the first instance. I understand from Irish Rail that it has no plans to develop a direct rail line from Dublin to Derry and such a proposal does not form part of Transport 21.

Currently rail services to Derry are available via Belfast. The upgrading of Belfast-Derry rail services is a matter for the Authorities in Northern Ireland. However I understand that this service is being considered by the Northern Ireland authorities in the context of overall plans for the development of Northern Ireland's railways.

Public Service Obligations.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

135 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Transport the level of review to which companies that are in receipt of public service obligations are subject to ensure value for money and satisfactory performance level for the customers using the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34464/08]

With regard to the Public Service Obligation (PSO) contracts for the operation of air services on six regional air routes, the contracts contain the following key performance standards.

The number of flights cancelled for reasons directly attributable to the air carrier must not exceed 2% of the minimum number of flights specified in respect of each route.

The number of flights delayed by more than 30 minutes for reasons directly attributable to the carrier must not exceed 20% of the minimum number of flights specified in respect of each route.

A minimum of 80% of the daily passenger seat capacity must be made available by the carrier at a fare not exceeding €100 each way.

In addition to the above standards, carriers are also required to report on passenger numbers and load factors on each route, on a monthly basis.

An Expenditure Review on CIE subvention was published and presented to the Houses of the Oireachtas in November 2007. The purpose of the review was to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the subvention paid to CIE over the period 2001-2005.

A cost and efficiency review of both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann is currently being undertaken and the report will be available shortly.

Road Safety.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

136 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport if he will support a matter (details supplied). [34537/08]

The matter of inappropriate driving behaviour by certain young drivers is a complex issue and is being addressed in a multifaceted manner through educational, regulatory and enforcement measures. Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No 477 of 2006), vehicle standards and driver education are matters for the Road Safety Authority. Enforcement of road traffic law is a matter for the Garda Síochána.

Taxi Regulations.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

137 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport, in view of his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 138 of 9 April 2008, the reason no permits have been issued to any applicant to operate a small public service vehicle permit at Shannon Airport (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34558/08]

The issuing of Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV) permits at Shannon Airport falls within the responsibilities of the Dublin and Shannon Airport Authorities and I have no function in the matter.

However, I understand from the DAA, that following a call for applications a number of new permits were recently issued. It is understood that these will shortly commence service.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

138 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Transport if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34599/08]

The process of compiling a list of information obligations is currently underway in my Department. When this is complete, prioritisation of the information obligations will follow. This process is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2009. The burden of the prioritised information obligations on business will then be measured. This process should be completed by the end of 2009.

When measurement has been completed, simplification plans will be prepared detailing how a reduction in the burden on business can be achieved and how the 25% target will be met by the end of 2012.

Questions Nos. 139 to 141, inclusive, answered with Question No. 132.

Public Transport.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

142 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport if he has received requests for funding of Nitelink services operated by Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus when the services being run are not commercial; his views on funding such services on the basis of road safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34620/08]

A total of €80.628m in Exchequer funding has been allocated to Dublin Bus and €36.846m to Bus Éireann in 2008 towards the cost of loss making economically necessary services which they provide as part of a network of bus services. The deployment of this funding across the network of routes and non-commercial services is a matter for the bus companies concerned. The bus companies have not sought specific or additional funding for Nitelink services.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

143 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34641/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is in the following table.

EU Measure

Transposed by Statutory Instrument

EU Directive 2004/36/ECOf the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on the Safety of third-country aircraft using Community Airports

European Communities (Safety of third- country aircraft using Community airports) Regulations 2007 was Transposed into Irish Law through S.I. 754 of 2007

EU Directive 2006/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5th April 2006 on a Community air traffic control licence

European Communities (Air Traffic Controller Licence) Regulations, 2008. S.I. No. 305 of 2008

EU Directive 2005/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 amending Council Directive 72/166/EEC, 84/5/EEC, 88/357/EEC and 90/232/EEC and Directive 2000/26/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles

European Communities (Motor Insurance) Regulations 2008. S.I. 248 of 2008

Regulation 336/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 February 2006

European Communities (Maritime) (International Safety Management Code) Regulations) 2008 S.I. No. 60 of 2008

Directive 89/686/EEC of 21 December 1989 (as amended by Council Directive 93/68/EEC of 22 July 1993 and Directive 96/58/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 3 September 1996), Council Directive 96/98/EC of 20 December 1996.

Fishing Vessel (Personal Flotation Devices) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Directive 2001/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 April 2001, as last amended by Directive 2005/45/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005

S.I. No. 703 of 2007 Merchant Shipping (Training and Certification) Regulations 2007

EU Directive 2007/32/EC of the European Commission of 1 June 2007 amending Annex VI to Council Directive 96/48/EC on the interoperability of the trans-European high-speed rail system and Annex VI to Directive 2001/16/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the interoperability of the trans-European conventional rail system

European Communities (Interoperability of the Trans European Conventional and High Speed Rail Systems) Regulations 2007 S.I. 772 of 2007

EU Directive 2004/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on Safety On the Communities Railways and amending Council Directive 95/18/EC on the licensing of railway undertakings and Directive 2001/14/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure and safety certification.

European Communities (Railway Safety) Regulations 2007 S.I. No. 61 of 2008

Directive 2006/40, Directive 2007/37/EC and Commission Decision 706/2007 relating to air-conditioning systems for motor vehicles (ii) Council Directive 2006/96/EC relating to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania (iii) Commission Directive 2006/119 relating to heating systems for motor vehicles and (iv) Commission Directive 2006/120/EC relating to the type approval of two and three wheel vehicles.

S.I. No. 802 of 2007 (10 December 2007) European Communities (Motor Vehicles Type Approval) (Amendment) Regulations 2007

Directive 2005/64/EC relating to the reusability, recyclability and recoverability of vehicles and (ii) Directive 2006/40/EC relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles.

S.I. No 803 of 2007 (10 December 2007) European Communities (Passenger Car Entry into Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2007

Directive 2005/64/EC Directive 2006/40/EC relating to the entry into service of motor vehicles

S.I. 195 of 2008 (17 June 2008) European Communities (Mechanically Propelled Vehicle Entry into Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Directive 2006/81/EC relating to emission gaseous and particulate pollutants from diesel or gas engines for use in vehicles (ii) Directive 2007/15/EC relating to external projections on motor vehicles (iii) Directive 2007/34/EC relating to the permissible sound level and the exhaust system of motor vehicles (iv) Directive 2007/35/EC relating to the installation of lighting and light-signalling devices on motor vehicles and their trailers

S.I. 196 of 2008 (17 June 2008) European Communities (Motor Vehicles Type Approval) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Directive 2007/35/EC relating to the entry into service of motor vehicles.

S.I. 197 of 2008 (17 June 2008) European Communities (Passenger Car Entry into Service) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Directive 2007/38/EC relating to the Retrofitting of Mirrors to Heavy Goods Vehicles.

S.I. 311 of 2008 (1 August 2008) European Communities (Vehicle Testing) (Amendment) Regulations 2008

Joe Costello

Ceist:

144 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Transport if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34656/08]

There are a number of outstanding Directives within my Department that are due for Transposition. They are noted in the table below for your attention.

Enactment Date

Title

Target Date for Transposition

20 November 2006

Council Directive 2006/103/EC of 20 November 2006 adapting certain Directives in the field of Transport Policy, by reason of accession of Bulgaria and Romania.

End October 2008

17 May 2006

Directive 2006/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 amending Directive 1999/62/EC on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures.

December 2008

27 June 2008

Commission Directive 2008/65/EC on driver testing and licensing

October 2008

05 September 2007

Directive 2007/46/EC establishing a framework for the approval of vehicles and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles.

April 2009

23 October 2007

Directive 2007/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 amending Council Directive 91/440/EEC on the development of the Community’s railways and Directive 2001/14/EC on the allocation of railway infrastructure capacity and the levying of charges for the use of railway infrastructure.

May 2009

23 October 2007

Directive 2007/59/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2007 on the certification of train drivers operating locomotives and trains on the railway system in the Community.

Not yet Determined

20 December 2006

Directive 2006/126 on driving licences

Not yet Determined in Light of Commission’s Revised Proposals

30 June 2008

Commission Directive 2008/67/EC of June 2008 amending Council Directive 96/98/EC on marine equipment

March 2009

17 June 2008

Directive 2008/57/EC on the interoperability of the rail system within the Community (recast)

Not yet Determined

Coast Guard Service.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

145 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport his plans for the marine rescue co-ordination centres in the west of Ireland; if all such services will now be based at one centre at Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34662/08]

Brendan Kenneally

Ceist:

147 Deputy Brendan Kenneally asked the Minister for Transport the current and future plans to expand the Coast Guard service at Malin Head; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34726/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 145 and 147 together.

It is my intention to strengthen the Irish Coast Guard and Maritime Administration to meet the needs of this country well into the 21st century.

In that context, a decision on the location of co-ordination centres on the west coast will be taken shortly and the extensive range of views and representations made to date will be considered. The options being considered are Malin, Shannon and Valentia.

Question No. 146 answered with Question No. 132.
Question No. 147 answered with Question No. 145.

Public Transport.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

148 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport the steps he is taking to provide support similar to the fuel duty rebate scheme for passenger bus transport services which is being withdrawn; if his attention has been drawn to the impact this will have on the development of public transport, particularly in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34728/08]

As already stated in my answer to Question Nos. 28 and 33 on 1st October last, the Finance Act 2008 provides for the removal of excise duty reliefs in the bus sector with effect from 1 November 2008. Since this is in line with our EU obligations, there is no power to restore this scheme.

Question No. 149 answered with Question No. 132.

State Airports.

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

150 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport the status of the business plan submitted by the Cork Airport Authority to the Dublin Airport Authority; if he has received a response from the DAA to the business plan; when he will make his views known on the plan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34905/08]

Under the State Airports Act, 2004 the boards of Cork and Shannon airport are required to prepare business plans for eventual separation.

All three airport business plans have to be coordinated by the Dublin Airport Authority for eventual approval by the Minister for Finance and myself. Among the requirements to be satisfied in advance of separation is the need to ensure the financial sustainability of all three State airports.

I have already received the Cork and Shannon business plans and I expect shortly to receive a finalised commentary on those plans by the DAA when they submit their own plan under the Act. I would expect DAA's commentary to address recent trends in the aviation market, the challenges facing the State airports and the financial and operational aspects of restructuring.

Road Network.

P. J. Sheehan

Ceist:

151 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Transport his views regarding the provision of service areas (details supplied) as part of the motorway network here and alongside roads in areas of tourist interest and his plans to introduce and provide funding for such tourist amenities on a pilot basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34915/08]

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme element of Transport 21. The implementation of individual national road projects, including service areas, is a matter for the National Roads Authority (NRA) under the Roads Act, 1993 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

In addition, Section 54 of the Roads Act 1993 specifically provides for the NRA or a local authority to provide or operate service areas.

Public Transport.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

152 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Transport when an ombudsman will be appointed to deal with problems and complaints with the transport system both in Dublin and throughout the country. [34979/08]

There are no such plans under consideration.

Departmental Funding.

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

153 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Transport the amounts granted to local authorities (details supplied) under all relevant transport headings in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and to date in 2008. [34988/08]

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the table below.

Regional and Local Road Grant Payments 2004-2007 and 2008 allocation

Year

Mayo County Council

Ballina Town Council

Castlebar Town Council

Westport Town Council

2004

25,455,372

253,000

503,000

253,000

2005

23,957,433

260,000

460,000

260,000

2006

31,603,785

279,000

379,000

279,000

2007

32,641,708

287,000

287,000

287,000

2008 Allocation

30,435,187

287,000

287,000

287,000

Public Transport.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

154 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport his plans in relation to the reform of bus licensing to permit the establishment of feeder routes as link points to further reduce traffic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35038/08]

The provision and management of car parking facilities at railway stations, including the imposition of charges for the operation of such facilities, is an operational matter for Irish Rail and one in which I have no function.

It is a matter for local bus operators to apply to my Department to operate bus services to/from railway stations. The introduction of tax concession for parking at stations is not under consideration in the current budgetary environment. The position in relation to reform of bus licensing is that it is my intention that proposals for a new bus licensing regime will be contained in a Public Transport Regulation Bill which will deal with the replacement of the Road Transport Act 1932 and the provisions of the Transport Act 1958 that relate to the provision of bus services by the State bus companies. At this stage it is too early to be precise on the detail of the proposals except to confirm that the new licensing structure will apply in respect of all commercial bus services, including those provided by Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, and will encompass provisions relating to the subvented bus market outside the Greater Dublin Area in a manner consistent with EU Regulation 1370/2007 on public service obligations.

Sexual Offences.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

155 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress that has been made on introducing, in view of the A case, a strict liability regime for the offence of sexual intercourse with a minor; if his preference is for a legislative or a Constitutional avenue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34481/08]

The Joint Committee on the Constitutional Amendment on Children has been examining the Twenty-Eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2007, published in February 2007 by the Minister for Health and Children. That Bill provided wording for inclusion in the Constitution on the rights of children which would be put to the people in a referendum. The wording included a provision that would allow the Oireachtas to pass laws providing for offences of absolute or strict liability committed against children under 18 years of age. The Committee is due to report to the Oireachtas by the end of November.

I am awaiting the Report of that Committee. However, consultations have taken place with the Attorney General on the options for legislation that may be available. Whatever recommendations may emerge from the Joint Committee's Report, I am determined to ensure, be it through a constitutional amendment, further legislation or a combination of both, that greater protection against sexual abuse and exploitation will be provided for children and other vulnerable people in our society.

Coroners Service.

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

156 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will investigate the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34576/08]

I can inform the Deputy that the position as outlined in my written Reply to Parliamentary Question No. 166 of Thursday 25 September, 2008 remains the same. The Coroner inquiry process is a matter for the relevant Coroner, who is independent in the exercise of that quasi-judicial role.

In certain cases a post-mortem will be required so that the Coroner can carry out his/her statutory functions and a range of factors can influence the time it takes for the post-mortem report to be forwarded by the pathologist concerned. I am advised by the Cork Coroner's Office that in their experience, it generally takes between three and six months for a post-mortem report to be received, but that in cases where further specialist tests, e.g. toxicology, histology and microbiology, are required, it may take longer.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

157 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34428/08]

I have set out information relevant to the Deputy's Question, in particular insofar as the current year is concerned. In light of the limited time available for reply and the wide range of organisations in question, it would not be feasible to compile the equivalent figures over a 10 year period without the application of a disproportionate amount of staff time. More detailed information is generally available in the Book of Estimates and in annual and other reports from the organisations in question.

It is important to stress that not all the staff positions referred to herein are new. A substantial number were transferred to agencies upon their formation.

Name of Board/Body/Authority or Agency under Remit of Department

Date of Establishment

Number of Members or Staff (2008)

Budget for 2008

€m

National Disability Authority

12 June, 2000

41 Staff

6.5

Equality Tribunal

1999

35 Staff

2.2

Equality Authority

1999

16 Board Members 56 Staff

5.4

Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner

November 2000

227 Sanctioned Staff

2.5 (non-pay)

Refugee Appeals Tribunal

November 2000

35 Members Serving 1 Chairperson 129 Sanctioned Staff

2.2 (non-pay)

Courts Service

9 November, 1999

17 Members 1,066 Staff

136.2

Property Registration Authority

4 November, 2006

11 Members 700 Staff

46.8

Private Security Authority

October 2004

6 Board Members 37 Staff (Permanent) 1 Contract

2.4

Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission

10 February, 2006

3 Members 98 Staff

11.6

Garda Síochána Inspectorate

28 July, 2006

10 Staff including 3 inspectors

2.1

Citizenship Applications.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

158 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the names and addresses of persons granted citizenship are available on-line (details supplied); the implications of same in terms of privacy and data protection, in particular for those persons who arrived here as refugees and who may have legitimate fears regarding the easy accessibility of this information; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34451/08]

Section 18(2) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 states that "A certificate of naturalisation shall be in the prescribed form and be issued on payment of the prescribed fee, and notice of issue shall be published in the prescribed manner in Iris Oifigiúil". The prescribed manner is as set out in S.I No. 216/1956. It must include the name of the person naturalised, their address, the date of the certificate and whether the person was of full age or a minor. The on-line availability of Iris Oifigiúil is not a matter which falls within the remit of my Department.

Refugee Status.

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

159 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will be made on an application made on 31 July 2008 by a person (details supplied) in County Cork who applied to have their spouse, who is currently living in Bangladesh, join them here by way of the family reunification scheme. [34458/08]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person in question made an application for Family Reunification on the 31st July 2008. The application has been forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. When the investigation has been completed, the Commissioner will prepare and forward a report to my Department. Upon receipt of the report the application will be considered and a decision will issue in due course.

Visa Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

160 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if travel documentation will be arranged for persons (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34501/08]

As the person in question is a Tanzanian National she can apply for travel documentation on behalf of her children by post to the Tanzania High Commission, 3 Stratford Place W1C1AS, London, United Kingdom.

Residency Permits.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

161 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34502/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 15 October 2004. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 19 September 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of her. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were submitted on behalf of the person concerned at that time. In addition, the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 10 August 2007, of her entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and, following consideration of this application, it was determined that the person concerned was not eligible for Subsidiary Protection in the State. The person concerned was notified of this decision by letter dated 30 September 2008.

The case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will now be considered under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Refugee Status.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

162 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the expected position in the matter of family reunification in the name of (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34503/08]

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy made an application for Family Reunification in April 2006. The application was forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. The investigation has been completed and the Commissioner has forwarded a report to my Department.

However, following a request from the legal representatives of the person in question, my Department suspended the processing of the application until such time as submissions have been made by them on behalf of their client. My Department will consider the application further following the receipt of the submissions.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

163 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review, on humanitarian grounds, the application for asylum in the case of (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34504/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 16 May 2005, on behalf of herself and her minor child. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 31 May 2006, that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of her and her child. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of Deportation Orders or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she and her child should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and will be fully considered before the file is passed to me for decision.

Deportation Orders.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

164 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will rescind the decision to deport in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34505/08]

The persons concerned, a husband and wife, arrived in the State on 9 January 2002 and 5 March 2002 respectively. He claimed asylum on 9 January 2002 and she claimed asylum on 6 March 2002. Their applications were refused following consideration of their case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, by the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

The persons concerned were informed by separate letters dated 10 June 2003, that the Minister proposed to make deportation orders in respect of them and afforded them three options under Section 3(3)(b)(ii) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended); namely to leave the State voluntarily, to consent to deportation or to submit written representations, within 15 working days, setting out reasons why they should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State i.e. why they should not be deported.

Their case was examined under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the Prohibition of Refoulement. Consideration was given to representations received on their behalf for permission to remain in the State. On 26 August 2004 and 3 August 2004 respectively, the then Minister refused permission to remain temporarily in the State and instead signed Deportation Orders in respect of them.

Notice of the husband's order was served by registered post requiring him to present himself at the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB), 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 on Thursday 13 January 2005 in order to make travel arrangements for his removal from the State. Notice of the wife's order was served by registered post requiring her to present herself at the GNIB on Thursday 20 January 2005 in order to make travel arrangements for her removal from the State. They both presented as required and were given further presentation dates by GNIB.

On 28 February 2005, legal proceedings were instituted in the High Court on behalf of the persons concerned challenging the decision of the then Minister to deport them. Said application was refused on 29 November 2006. Subsequently, the persons concerned were advised by registered letter dated 9 January 2007 that their legal proceedings had been determined and that the then Minister intended to proceed with their removal from the State. They were required to present themselves at GNIB on Monday 15 January 2007 in order to make travel arrangements for their removal from the State. They presented as required and were given further presentation dates which they kept. The husband is due to present himself again at Anglesea Street Garda Station, County Cork on Monday 20 October 2008 while the wife is due to present herself again at GNIB on the same date.

The effect of the Deportation Orders is that the persons concerned must leave the State and remain thereafter out of the State. I am satisfied that the applications made by the persons concerned for asylum and for temporary leave to remain in the State, together with all refoulement issues, were fairly and comprehensively examined. The enforcement of the Deportation Orders remains an operational matter for the Garda National Immigration Bureau.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

165 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if it is possible to arrange for the transfer of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34507/08]

The Reception and Integration Agency is responsible for the accommodation of asylum seekers in accordance with the Government policy of direct provision. The first person referred to in the details supplied applied for asylum on 19 April 2006. She was initially accommodated at Watergate House and was subsequently accommodated at the Ursuline accommodation centre, Waterford. This person gave birth to a child on 11 October 2006.

The second person referred to in the details supplied applied for asylum on 6 June 2006. He was initially accommodated at Kilmacud House reception centre and has been accommodated at Kinsale Road accommodation centre since 19 June 2006. The RIA understands that the persons referred to were married in December, 2007. The first contact from either party requesting that they be accommodated together was received on 3 January 2008. Both parties refused to be accommodated anywhere other than at Kinsale Road accommodation centre. Kinsale Road accommodation centre has high occupancy levels and no accommodation suitable for this family has become available at the centre in this time.

The RIA has offered alternative accommodation in its portfolio to this family on a number of occasions but these offers have been refused every time. If the family still wish to be accommodated together, they should apply again to the RIA but should understand that the situation in respect of their demand to be accommodated at Kinsale Road remains unchanged.

Citizenship Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

166 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason the application for citizenship in the name of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was refused on the basis of coming to the attention of the Gardaí when their case was subsequently dismissed on appeal; if the fine imposed initially is refundable and their status restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34508/08]

I refer the Deputy to reply to Parliamentary Questions 159 of 27 September 2007, 210 of 6 February 2007 and 136 of 23 November 2006. The position remains as stated.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

167 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34511/08]

An application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in January 2008. Officials in that section are currently processing applications received in June 2006. Applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The current processing time for applications for certificates of naturalisation is approximately 28 months.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

168 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason citizenship applications are taking more than 30 months to process; his plans to reduce this waiting period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34512/08]

The existing processing time for certificates of naturalisation is currently twenty eight months and this is primarily due to the significant increase in the volume of applications received in recent years. The Citizenship Section of my Department has recently decentralised to Tipperary Town and additional staff resources have also been allocated there. This is already helping to reduce the backlog of applications on hand and reduce waiting times. The procedures employed to assess an applicant for naturalisation are summarised below.

Upon receipt, an initial examination of each application is carried out to determine if the statutory application is completed fully. Incomplete application forms are returned to the applicant for amendment. Valid applications are then examined to determine if the applicant meets the statutory residency criteria set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act. Passports and other documentation are examined in detail and enquiries with the Garda National Immigration Bureau may also be necessary.

Further processing takes place at a later stage and involves assessing an applicant's financial status in respect of their ability to support themselves in the State. Inquiries with the Revenue Commissioners and the Department of Social and Family Affairs may be necessary in this regard. At the same time inquiries are also made with the Garda Síochana to clarify if the applicant can be deemed to be of good character. Depending on the complexity of any given case, these processes can take a lengthy time to complete. Once all inquiries are completed, the file is referred to me for a decision.

The Deputy will appreciate that the granting of Irish citizenship through naturalisation is an honour and applications must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is given only to persons who satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria. These procedures have been developed and refined over a number of years and I am satisfied that they are necessary to maintain the integrity of the naturalisation process.

Juvenile Offenders.

Simon Coveney

Ceist:

169 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the planned roll out of the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme will take place in Carrigaline, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34549/08]

Simon Coveney

Ceist:

170 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if a Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme is planned for Cork City; when it will roll out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34550/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 170 together. I wish to refer the Deputy to my Reply to Parliamentary Question NO. 373 dated 30th September 2008. If the Garda Commissioner receives an application for a project in Cork city, it will be assessed and a decision will be made in the light of available resources.

Residency Permits.

Mary O'Rourke

Ceist:

171 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has applied for leave to remain here on humanitarian grounds. [34566/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 384 of Wednesday, 4 June 2008 and 476 of Tuesday, 11 March 2008, and the written Replies to those Questions.

The person concerned applied for asylum in the State on 16 November 2004. Her two children were included in her application. Her application was refused following consideration of her case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. The person concerned then lodged Judicial Review Proceedings in the High Court challenging the determination of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner that she not be declared to be a refugee. These Proceedings were successful. The person concerned was afforded a fresh consideration of her asylum claim by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner. This further consideration took place but again the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner concluded that the person concerned did not meet the criteria for recognition as a refugee. The person concerned appealed this recommendation to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal who affirmed the earlier recommendation.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 13 February 2008, that the Minister proposed to make Deportation Orders in respect of her and her children. She was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of Deportation Orders or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why she and her children should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. In addition, she was notified of her entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006).

The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this latter consideration has been completed the case file of the person concerned is be passed to me for decision.

Crime Levels.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

172 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of thefts from Garda stations from January 2005 to date in 2008 with a breakdown by station detailing the items stolen; and the estimated value of items stolen. [34579/08]

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

173 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34596/08]

I can advise the Deputy that my Department is participating in the inter-Departmental process, co-ordinated by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, with a view to reducing by 25% the administrative burden placed on businesses by Government.

I envisage that the identification, prioritisation and measurement process should be completed by all Departments by the end of 2009. While it is too early in the process to provide the Deputy with the detailed information requested it is not expected that my Department will be identified as one of those Departments that imposes the greatest administrative burden on businesses. On completion of the measurement exercise, simplification plans will be prepared detailing how the 25% target will be met by the end of 2012.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

174 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34638/08]

Joe Costello

Ceist:

175 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34653/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 and 175 together.

I presume that the Deputy is referring to measures which are subject to potential infringement proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Communities. The first table below sets out details of EU Directives which have been transposed by my Department in the last 12 months. The second table below sets out the position regarding EU Directives coming within my area of responsibility which require transposition:

Directive Number

Directive Title

Transposition Deadline

Method of Transposition

Implementing Legislation

1

32005L0071

Council Directive 2005/71/EC of 12 October 2005 on a specific procedure for admitting third-country nationals for the purposes of scientific research

12/10/2007

Administrative Measures

Scheme for Accreditation of Research Organisations (Council Directive 2005/71/EC regarding admission of third-country nationals for the purposes of scientific research)

2

32004L0113

Council Directive 2004/113/EC of 13 December 2004 implementing the principle of equal treatment between men and women in the access to and supply of goods and services

21/12/2007

Primary legislation

The Directive was transposed into domestic law by means of amendments to the Equal Status Act, made by the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008. The relevant sections were commenced on 20 July 2008.

3

32006L0054

Directive 2006/54/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the implementation of the principle of equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women in matters of employment and occupation (recast)

17/8/2008

Existing legislation

National law is already in compliance with this Directive.

Directive Number

Directive Title

Transposition Deadline Date

Current Position

1

32006L0024

Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC

15/9/2007

Part of the Directive is covered by Part 7 of the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005 and the remainder will be transposed by means of a statutory instrument, a draft of which has been published. It is anticipated that drafting will be completed later this month.

2

32005L0085

Council Directive 2005/85/EC of 1 December 2005 on minimum standards on procedures in Member States for granting and withdrawing refugee status

1/12/2007

Irish law and practice in this area is already substantially in compliance with the terms of this Directive. The Immigration, Residence and Protection Bill includes provisions to restate the law on refugee and other protection procedures with some amendments. These restatements are in compliance with Ireland’s obligations under the Directive.

3

32005L0060

Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing (Text with EEA relevance)

15/12/2007

The Money Laundering Bill is currently being drafted and the matter is being given priority. It is intended that it will be published during the current parliamentary session.

Directive Number

Directive Title

Transposition Deadline Date

Current Position

4

32006L0070

Commission Directive 2006/70/EC of 1 August 2006 laying down implementing measures for Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the definition of politically exposed person and the technical criteria for simplified customer due diligence procedures and for exemption on grounds of a financial activity conducted on an occasional or very limited basis

15/12/2007

The Money Laundering Bill is currently being drafted and is being given priority. It is intended that it will be published during the current parliamentarysession.

5

32008L0043

Commission Directive 2008/43/EC of 4 April 2008 setting up, pursuant to Council Directive 93/15/EEC, a system for the identification and traceability of explosives for civil uses (Text with EEA relevance)

5/4/2009

It is intended that the proposed Explosives Bill, which is to be published in the next few months, will empower the Minister to make regulations which will transpose this Directive.

6

2007L0023

Directive 2007/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 on the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles (Text with EEA relevance)

4/1/2010

It is intended that the proposed Explosives Bill, which is to be published in the next few months, will empower the Minister to make regulations which will transpose this Directive.

7

32008L0051

Directive 2008/51/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 amending Council Directive 91/477/EEC on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons

28/7/2010

It is expected that the Directive will be transposed by the deadline in 2010.

8

32008L0052

Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters

21/5/2011

It is expected that the Directive will be transposed by the deadline in 2011.

Garda Complaints Procedures.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

176 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he is satisfied that he has been briefed fully on the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34660/08]

I have received an interim report from the Garda Commissioner about this case and I expect to receive a full report on it from him, as soon as possible, after certain enquiries have been completed. When I have received the full report I will consider the question of any further action which may be necessary on my part. I should mention also that I understand that there have been contacts between An Garda Síochána and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission about the case and I have agreed to a request from the Commissioner that the interim report furnished to my Department should be made available to the Commission.

Criminal Investigations.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

177 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether persons may have been convicted on information supplied by people who are not registered informants; if he will conduct a review of such potential cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34661/08]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that information received by An Garda Síochána from any source is subjected to evaluation which will determine the nature and extent of action required.

As the Deputy will appreciate I have no role in the investigation or prosecution of cases. This is a long standing principle of our system of justice. The role of the Gardaí is to investigate alleged offences, to gather whatever evidence may be available and to submit a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions. The question of whether or not a particular person should be prosecuted and for what criminal offence is the responsibility of the DPP. The Director, who is independent in the performance of his functions, makes his decision on the basis of the Garda findings viewed against the background of common and/or statute law.

People are convicted in court on the basis of the evidence presented in court. Decisions on the admissibility of evidence are made by the court, and the jury or the court, as the case may be, decides on the guilt or innocence of the person charged.

Legislative Programme.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

178 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he will publish the Civil Partnership Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34667/08]

The Government Legislation Programme published on 23 September 2008 indicates that publication of the Civil Partnership Bill is expected in early 2009. The General Scheme of the Bill was published on 24 June 2008 and is available on my Department's website.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

179 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the publishing of legislation to establish the National Property Services Regulatory Authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34707/08]

The Government Legislation Programme published on 23 September 2008 provides for publication of the Property Services (Regulation) Bill during the current Dail session.

Human Rights Issues.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

180 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 202 of 3 July 2008, the progress to date in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34729/08]

Further to Parliamentary Question No. 202 of 3 July, 2008 I can confirm that the legislative, administrative and operational/enforcement/monitoring measures outlined to deal with trafficking in human beings in response to that question are being progressed and/or implemented. An Awareness Raising Campaign will commence in Ireland later this month.

The position in relation to funding remains the same as outlined on 3 July, 2008 — funding for combating human trafficking activities is part of the general expenditure from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Garda Votes and does not require specific earmarked expenditure.

Probation and Welfare Service.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

181 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the planned closure of a centre (details supplied) in County Roscommon; if he will overturn this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34734/08]

I can advise the Deputy that my Department, in association with the Probation Service commissioned a ‘Review of Adult Probation Residential Facilities' in 2007 in order to examine and make recommendations on, inter alia, the management structure and overall governance and operation of the four residential facilities and the role of the Probation Service. In addition, the review included an examination of the efficiency, effectiveness and value for money achieved from the funding provided. The report was completed at the end of July 2008.

The Report on the residential facilities provides the Probation Service and my Department with a very valuable ‘blueprint' of how the four facilities are currently operating. I have to frankly state that the findings in respect of the facility cited by the Deputy gave cause for concern. The overall conclusion of the Report was that the centre is in crisis. There are serious indications (e.g. HR, financial and quality of service) that the organisation has become dysfunctional — the results of this review indicate that the organisation as it currently stands is no longer viable. There were concerns expressed over the quality of care and rehabilitation.

While the Probation Service provides funds for the centre, the centre itself is a limited company controlled by its own Board of Management.

The Board, having responded by letter, copy of which was forwarded separately to the Deputy, indicated that they have been frustrated in attempting to resolve a growing range of serious difficulties relating to the operation and management of the centre, including limited programme participation levels. They shared the concerns raised in the Report and they took the unanimous view that the preferred course of action was to close down the facility, take time to reflect on the learning and develop a vision and plan for a new way forward.

The Board of Management therefore decided to close the centre and wind up the limited company. I share the concerns contained in the Report and expressed by the Board. In any event, I have no power to overturn the decision of the Board of Management. The Probation Service will now work with the project to effect the orderly closure of the project in its present form.

I am committed to finding the best option available to us to meet the addiction needs of the client group of the Probation Service. The current report, combined with other reports on this facility, give us a good basis upon which to make informed decisions that will ultimately lead to a better, more focused and tailored service to this particular client group. My Department and the Probation Service are committed to working to achieve a viable alternative that will bring added value to the work of the Service and most importantly, better meet the range of needs of individual clients with addiction and other issues.

The Probation Service will now set about developing a detailed new vision for the centre in question, including identifying the needs for addiction treatment places in this catchments area, seeking to develop sustainable partnership to deliver the identified services. I want to reiterate that this is not simply a money exercise. It is a strategic review of services to a specific client group with particular needs so that we can provide the most appropriate service to that grouping.

We must at all times, be mindful of the type and range of services we provide to key groupings, such as those with addiction issues; we must be willing to look critically at how we are providing those services and be prepared to examine, evaluate and if necessary start afresh in the knowledge that the service will be better able to meet the many and varied demands which are part and parcel of our population.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

182 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34739/08]

The applicant concerned applied for asylum on 8 February 2007. His application was refused and a Deportation Order was made on 14 August 2008. The applicant instituted Judicial Review Proceedings in the matter on 9 September 2008 and as the matter is now sub judice, I do not propose to comment further.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

183 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the current or expected residency status in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34740/08]

I refer the Deputy to the reply I gave to his Parliamentary Question No. 905 of Wednesday 24 September 2008. The status of the person concerned remains as set out in that reply.

Refugee Status.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

184 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if temporary or extended residency status will be considered in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34741/08]

I refer the Deputy to my previous replies to his Parliamentary Questions. I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person in question was the subject of a Family Reunification/Permission to Remain application made by his brother in 2003. The Family Reunification/Permission to Remain application was refused in August 2004 and the brother of the person in question was notified of the decision.

Garda Strength.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

185 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the size of the drug squad unit covering the Bray district; and the number of other gardaí allocated to drugs searches and anti-drug operations in the district in the past month. [34748/08]

I have been informed by the Garda Commissioner that the personnel strength of Bray District Drug Unit on 30 September 2008 was 5. For security reasons, it is not Garda policy to release details of specific operations. However all members of An Garda Síochána are tasked with enforcing the criminal law, including the provisions of the Misuse of Drugs Acts, 1977/84 and the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996. In this regard operational assistance from the Divisional Drug unit and national units such as GNDU, CAB, NBCI and GBFI will be provided to the District drug unit as and when appropriate.

Illegal Substances.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

186 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps An Garda Síochána have taken to ensure that alternative medicine or health shops are fully compliant with the law in the products they are selling particularly those advertised as legal highs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34752/08]

I have been informed by An Garda Síochána that offences under the Misuse of Drugs Acts 1977/84 refer to the possession, or possession for the purpose of sale or supply, of substances which are contained in the First Schedule of the Act. Any breaches of the criminal law reported or uncovered by members of An Garda Síochána are fully investigated and, where sufficient evidence is adduced, charges are preferred, as directed by the Law Officers.

An Garda Síochána is aware of the location of such outlets referred to as ‘Headshops', which purport to retail substances, advertised as giving a ‘legal high'. A number of investigations in respect of products sold at these outlets have been completed and files submitted to the Law Officers for direction. An Garda Síochána will continue to monitor the activities of such outlets and investigate any breaches of the criminal law.

Garda Stations.

John Perry

Ceist:

187 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the refurbishment of a garda station (details supplied) in County Sligo; the stage at which the application is at; the budgeted costs of the work; the timeline for completion of the work; when work is expected to start; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34892/08]

The programme of replacement and refurbishment of Garda accommodation around the country is based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána in consultation with the Garda representative associations. The programme is progressed by the Garda authorities working in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. Funding for capital works is a matter for the Office of Public Works and priorities, including Easkey, will be considered in the light of available resources and in the context of the Garda Accommodation Strategy which is currently being developed. In the interim, alternative accommodation arrangements have been made for the station party.

Legislative Programme.

John Perry

Ceist:

188 Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will ensure that the Mental Capacity Bill will be published soon and enacted as a matter of priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34902/08]

The Government Legislation Programme published on 23 September 2008 indicates that publication of the Mental Capacity Bill is expected in mid-2009. The General Scheme of the Bill was published on 15 September 2008 and is available on my Department's website.

Integration Strategy.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

189 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 365 of 30 September 2008, if he will clarify statistics used to base his evaluation of the Roma population; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there were 14,525 Romanian nationals issued with PPS numbers in 2007; his views, in view of the fact that the resolution is directed at all member states, on whether it is important for Ireland to play its part in an EU wide response, particularly in view of the inevitable removal of labour restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals by 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34910/08]

The question seems to imply that all Romanian nationals are Roma. In fact, Roma are a minority ethnic group in Romania and elsewhere. Many, but not all, of the Roma in Ireland came from Romania.

There are no official statistics on the number of Roma here. Different figures have been mentioned, for example 3,000, which would be about 0.07% of the population. This is the figure cited by the Roma Support Group.

I agree on the importance of integrating Roma and all legally resident immigrants and I have set out my approach to this in my statement, Migration Nation.

Crime Levels.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

190 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of anti-social behaviour complaints brought to the attention of the Garda in each Garda division; the action taken following the complaints; if prosecution or penalty followed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34934/08]

The Criminal Justice Act 2006 enacted provisions to combat anti-social behaviour by adults and children. Part 11 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which provides for civil proceedings in relation to anti-social behaviour by adults, was commenced on 1 January, 2007, and Part 13 of the Act, relating to anti-social behaviour by children, was commenced on 1 March, 2007. These provisions set out an incremental procedure for addressing anti-social behaviour by adults and children. With regard to children these range from a warning from a member of An Garda Síochána, to a good behaviour contract involving the child and his or her parents or guardian, to referral to the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme and to the making of a behaviour order by the Children's Court.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that from 1 January, 2007 to 31 August, 2008, 820 behaviour warnings were issued to adults and from 1 March, 2007 to 31 August, 2008, 477 behaviour warnings were issued to children. There have been ten formal good behaviour contracts agreed with children in the period 1 March, 2007 — 31 August, 2008.

In addition to the criminal law, a wide range of initiatives is in place to get at the root causes of this type of behaviour. The Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme has proven to be highly successful in diverting young persons away from crime by offering guidance and support to juveniles and their families. Under the provisions of the Children Act, 2001 the Programme has a statutory basis.

Garda Youth Diversion Projects are community-based, multi-agency crime prevention initiatives which seek to divert young people from becoming involved, or further involved, in anti-social or criminal behaviour. There are currently 100 projects operating throughout the country.

More broadly, a number of reforms have taken place in recent years to bring about a more effective youth justice system, and these have been enshrined in legislation in the Children Act 2001, as amended. The Act is based on the principles of diversion from crime and anti-social behaviour, restorative justice, the expanded use of community-based sanctions and measures by the courts.

The Adult Cautioning Scheme is an initiative of the Garda authorities developed in conjunction with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The Scheme makes provision for the administering of a caution by a senior Garda officer for certain minor offences, as an alternative to prosecution in the District Court, where prosecution is not required by the public interest and it is determined that a caution would be an effective response. The schedule of offences to which the scheme applies covers certain offences under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1984, the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 and the Criminal Damage Act 1991.

Joint Policing Committees are provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. On 24 September, I launched, with my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, roll-out of the Committees to all 114 local authorities. As a result, a Committee will be established in each local authority in the country where a Committee had not already been established under an initial pilot phase. I believe that, over time, the Committees will make an enormous contribution to keeping our communities safe. They represent a partnership between the people, through their representatives, and An Garda Síochána in preventing and tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

Strong provisions are in place to combat anti-social behaviour. The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 modernised the law in this regard. Furthermore, the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 contains provisions to deal with alcohol abuse and its effect on public order. In addition, the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 provides the Garda with powers to deal with late night street violence and anti-social conduct attributable to excessive drinking. The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 gives further powers to the Gardaí to tackle misuse of alcohol which is often at the root of crime and anti-social behaviour.

I recently signed Regulations enabling further public order provisions of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 to come into operation. The Act places a restriction on the availability and visibility of alcohol and provides for more effective enforcement to deal with the consequences of alcohol abuse. These provisions also allow for the issue of fixed charge notices for the offences of intoxication in a public place and disorderly conduct in a public place, which are offences under sections 4 and 5 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 makes provision for the compilation and publication of crime statistics by the Central Statistics Office, as the national statistical agency, and the CSO has established a dedicated unit for this purpose. I have requested the CSO to provide the statistics sought by the Deputy directly to him.

Citizenship Applications.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

191 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if it is appropriate that the name and addresses of those who have been granted naturalisation by the State should be available to the general public and beyond, via the Internet (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34997/08]

Section 18(2) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 states that "A certificate of naturalisation shall be in the prescribed form and be issued on payment of the prescribed fee, and notice of issue shall be published in the prescribed manner in Iris Oifigiúil".

The prescribed manner is as set out in S.I. No. 216/1956. It must include the name of the person naturalised, their address, the date of the certificate and whether the person was of full age or a minor. The on-line availability of Iris Oifigiúil is not a matter which falls within the remit of my Department.

Michael Creed

Ceist:

192 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will expedite an application for the naturalisation of persons (details supplied) whose parents are recently naturalised Irish citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35009/08]

Applications for a certificate of naturalisation on behalf of the persons referred to in the Deputy's Question were received in the Citizenship Section of my Department in September 2008.

Applications on behalf of minors are dealt with by a separate unit in the Citizenship Section. Because they generally require less processing than standard adult applications, it is usually possible to finalise them more quickly. Based on current processing trends, it is expected that the applications on behalf of the persons concerned will be processed in February 2009.

Michael Creed

Ceist:

193 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will put in place a scheme whereby persons who are recently naturalised Irish citizens can have the same status conferred on their dependent children within a reasonable timeframe in view of the difficulties which their separate legal status poses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35010/08]

The Deputy will appreciate that the granting of Irish Citizenship through naturalisation is an honour and applications must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and that it is given only to persons who satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Applications on behalf of minors are dealt with by a separate unit in the Citizenship Section of my Department. Because they generally require less processing than standard adult applications, it is usually possible to finalise them more quickly.

All applications for certificates of naturalisation on behalf of minors are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants.

I am satisfied that the current arrangements for assessing applications on behalf of minors are appropriate and that decisions are being provided within a reasonable timeframe.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

194 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a Garda National Immigration Bureau card will issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35016/08]

I refer the Deputy to Parliamentary Question No. 847 of Thursday 10 July 2008, and the written reply to that Question.

The person concerned applied for asylum on 20 May 2003. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 16 May 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations have been submitted on behalf of the person concerned and will be fully considered before the file is passed to me for decision.

The Deputy might wish to note that as the person concerned has not established a right of legal residency in the State, he is not entitled to be issued with a Garda National Immigration Bureau card.

Visa Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

195 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in relation to an application for family reunification in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35017/08]

I refer the Deputy to my previous reply to his previous Parliamentary Question.

I am informed by the Immigration Division of my Department that the person referred to by the Deputy made a family reunification application on 26 September 2005 on behalf of her husband. The person referred to withdrew her application on 3 March 2006 and made a new application in respect of her mother and brother.

The new application was forwarded to the Refugee Applications Commissioner for investigation as required under Section 18 of the Refugee Act 1996. This investigation was completed and the Commissioner forwarded a report to my Department on 20 June 2006.

Following the receipt of the report my Department issued a decision on 27 July 2006 refusing the application because the subjects of the application did not qualify as dependents under Section 18(4)(b) of the Refugee Act 1996.

Since the decision was issued further correspondence was received from the person in question and my Department replied to that correspondence on 5 August 2008.

Asylum Applications.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

196 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in respect of appeal in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal who has been refused refugee status; if his attention has been drawn to the political situation in the homeland of the appellant and of the likely threat to their well-being in the event of deportation; if full regard has been had for the appellant’s entitlements under international law in such situations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35018/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 15 March 2005. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 17 October 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were submitted on behalf of the person concerned at that time.

By letter dated 20 February 2008, the person concerned was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the Subsidiary Protection application is refused, the case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, will then be considered under Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. This refoulement consideration will include a detailed assessment of the prevailing political and human rights situations in the homeland of the person concerned. When this consideration has been completed, the case file of the person concerned is passed to me for decision.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

197 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for residency in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35019/08]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 12 November 2004. His application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Subsequently, in accordance with Section 3 of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was informed, by letter dated 21 September 2005, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why he should be allowed to remain temporarily in the State. Representations were submitted on behalf of the person concerned at that time.

By letter dated 7 February 2008, the person concerned was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned did not submit an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State within the prescribed time period.

The case file of the person concerned, including all representations submitted, now falls to be considered under Section 3 (6) of the Immigration Act, 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act, 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. When this consideration has been completed, the file is passed to me for decision.

Residency Permits.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

198 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of residency permit applications which have been mislaid in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35035/08]

I am not aware of any mislaid residency permit in the past five years. If the Deputy has details of any person who feels their application may have been mislaid he should relay that information to me. I will then arrange for INIS (Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service) to make direct contact with him in the matter.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

199 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34426/08]

There have been no new agencies established under the aegis of my Department since 1997.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

200 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34594/08]

My colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, TD, has the lead role in this matter and has tasked her Department with coordinating the overall process to measure and reduce regulatory burdens across Government.

My own Department has engaged with the identification, prioritisation and measurement process, an exercise in which all Departments are currently engaged.

At this stage, my Department has not identified any areas of regulation within our remit which place an administrative burden on business. We will continue to keep this under review and maintain close contact with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the matter.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

201 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34636/08]

My Department has not had any EU measures which required transposition into primary or secondary legislation in the past 12 months.

While my Department has an overall coordinating role in EU matters, the core responsibility for transposing EU measures into Irish law rests with those Departments which oversee and maintain our national legislative and regulatory framework in the policy areas covered by individual EU measures.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

202 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34651/08]

While my Department has an overall coordinating role in EU matters, the core responsibility for transposing EU measures into Irish law rests with those Departments which oversee and maintain our national legislative and regulatory framework in the policy areas covered by individual EU measures. There are currently no Directives awaiting transposition in my Department.

My colleague, Mr. Dick Roche T.D., Minister of State for European Affairs, chairs an Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee on European Affairs, which keeps the transposition of EU measures under constant review.

In this regard, the EU Internal Market Scoreboard shows the record of each Member State in transposing Single Market measures into national law. In July of this year, Ireland achieved its best ever performance on the Scoreboard, reaching a target set by the European Heads of State and Government to further reduce the transposition deficit to 1% by 2009.

Official Engagements.

Alan Shatter

Ceist:

203 Deputy Alan Shatter asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, when meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, on the sidelines of the 63rd annual session of the United Nations General Assembly, he proposed an expansion of ties between Ireland and Iran in the areas of trade, technology, investment and the carrying out of joint projects; if his attention has been drawn to the published reports that he in addition made reference to the Palestinian people as victims of Zionist atrocities; if these reports are correct; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34724/08]

I met with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Mottaki, in New York on 29 September, during my attendance at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The main topics discussed were regional issues, such as recent events in the Caucasus, the Middle East Peace Process and the issue of Iran's nuclear programme, where I restated Ireland and the EU's full support for the approach of the ‘EU3 + 3' group to reach a negotiated solution.

Both Minister Mottaki and I looked forward to a developing of relations between our countries. The low level of bilateral trade indicated obvious potential for growth, and in this context I mentioned the importance we attached to unblocking Irish beef exports to Iran. In this regard, Ireland fully supports the approach of the EU3+3 which holds out the promise of expanded trade and other relations with Iran if the nuclear matter is resolved.

I did not, and I clearly never would, use the language or share the sentiments attributed to me in the reports to which the Deputy refers. On the contrary, I strongly urged Iran to use its influence in the region to support efforts to reach a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, and I specifically expressed deep concern at the wholly unacceptable threats made by the Iranian President regarding Israel. I also conveyed our serious concerns on human rights issues in Iran, including the position of the Baha'i community.

Overseas Development Aid.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

204 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the cost of air transport in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively to transport overseas aid to Third World countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35047/08]

My Department, through Irish Aid, is not involved in the direct contracting of air transport for the shipment of relief supplies to international crises.

A number of Irish Aid's partners in the UN and Red Cross families, as well as some of our NGO partners, arrange for the transport by ship, by road and by air of essential supplies as part of their ongoing operations in emergencies. On occasion, Irish Aid provides financial support for such operations, including the element of transport costs. However, in respect of such operations, the procurement of air or other transport means by our partners is carried out in accordance with their own respective procurement rules.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), for example, which is the UN leader for logistics, contracts transport means in accordance with strict UN procurement rules, involving a competitive bid process. Under the Government's Rapid Response Initiative, Ireland has pre-positioned essential humanitarian supplies, non food items like blankets, tents, water tanks, kitchen sets and mosquito nets with the WFP. Under a 2006 Letter of Understanding between Irish Aid and the WFP, that organisation is tasked with the set up, procurement, management and transportation to the field — all under UN rules — of those supplies.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

205 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34418/08]

Since the establishment of the Department in June 2002, four new agencies have been established, as set out in tabular form below.

Year of Establishment

Agency

2003

National Tourism Development Authority (Fáilte Ireland) which was an amalgamation of CERT and Bord Fáilte

2005

Culture Ireland (non-statutory) which is part of the Department

2006

Irish Institute of Sport (non-statutory) which is part of the Irish Sports Council

2007

National Sports Campus Development Authority which replaced Campus and Stadium Ireland Development Ltd.

In addition to these bodies, the National Museum of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland were established in 2005 as autonomous, non-commercial semi-State agencies, but both were formerly part of the Department and have been in existence since 1877.

Details of the annual budget of Fáilte Ireland, Culture Ireland and the National Sports Campus Development Authority are set out in the Annual Estimates Volumes. The staffing numbers for these bodies are as follows:

Fáilte Ireland

Year

Number of Staff

2003

223

2004

223

2005

223

2006*

405

2007

392

2008

392

*The increase in numbers in 2006 was due to the abolition of five Regional Tourism Authorities in that year and the transfer of their staff to Fáilte Ireland.

Culture Ireland

Year

Number of Staff

2005

4*

2006

4*

2007

5*

2008

6*

*These staff are included in the Department's core numbers.

National Sports Campus Development Authority

Year

Number of Staff

2007

4.5

2008

5.5

In respect of the Irish Institute of Sport, the budgetary and staffing details are as set out in tabular form below.

Irish Institute of Sport

Year

Annual Budget

Number of Staff

€ million

2007

0.961

4*

2008

3.309

8*

*The staff of the Irish Institute of Sport comprises persons on short term contracts and specialist consultancy assignments.

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

206 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the financial commitments which have been made for accommodation in Mallow, County Cork in respect of Fáilte Ireland; if money has been paid for the acquisition of property, or for the renting of property; the period for which such contracts have been entered into; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34500/08]

To date, no financial commitments have been made in respect of accommodation in Mallow for Fáilte Ireland nor has there been any money spent on the acquisition of, or the renting of property.

The Government decided on 8th July last that no further expenditure on the acquisition of accommodation for decentralisation should be sanctioned pending detailed consideration by the Government of two reports: one from the Decentralisation Implementation Group on the feasibility of phased moves by the State Agencies; and one from the Implementation Group of Secretaries General on the governmental and cross-Departmental issues arising from the need to provide facilities for Ministers, Ministers of State and officials while in Dublin on business.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

207 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34586/08]

In March 2008, the Government set a target of 25 per cent for the reduction of the administrative burden of domestic regulation on business by the year 2012. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE) is leading the cross-Government process to achieve this target.

DETE has developed a methodology to identify, prioritise and measure administrative burdens, as a necessary prelude to burden reduction. This methodology involves identifying all information obligations (IOs) arising from legislation that impose an administrative burden on business and prioritising these IOs for measurement by the end of 2008. To date, this Department has identified the legislation falling within its remit that imposes an administrative burden, and work is currently advancing on preparing a list of, and prioritising, all relevant IOs. This work is progressing well, and the process of prioritising the most burdensome of the identified IOs for measurement remains on target for completion by the end of 2008.

I understand that, according to the established methodology, burden measurement is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009. On completion of the measurement exercise, simplification plans will be prepared detailing how the 25% target will be met by the end of 2012.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

208 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34628/08]

Joe Costello

Ceist:

209 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34643/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 208 and 209 together.

The Department does not normally have any EU measures to transpose into primary or secondary legislation. Accordingly none were transposed in the past 12 months nor are any waiting to be transposed.

Sports Capital Programme.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

210 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the conditions which apply to the provision of grants towards public leisure centres; the number and locations of applications being processed; the average length of time it takes to process an application; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34926/08]

Under the sports capital programme, which is administered by my Department, funding is allocated to sporting and community organisations at local, regional and national level throughout the country. The Programme has been run on an annual basis over the past number of years. It is open to any organisation with a suitable project, which satisfies the terms and conditions of the programme, to apply for funding. Applications for the construction of swimming pools are not eligible under the programme, as the Department administers a separate local authority swimming pools programme.

While the terms and conditions that apply to each round of the programme may vary from year to year a copy of the most recent guidelines, terms and conditions and application form are available on my Department's website.

Applications for funding under the 2008 programme were invited through advertisements in the Press on 13th and 14th of January and the deadline for receipt of applications was 29th February for paper-based applications and 7th March for online applications. Allocations to 685 projects were announced at the end of July 2008. There are no applications currently on hand. The date of the next round of the Programme has not yet been decided.

Under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme, which is administered by my Department and which has been closed to new applicants since July 2000, grant aid to a maximum of €3.8 million is provided to Local Authorities towards the capital costs of new swimming pools or the refurbishment of existing pools, subject in both cases to the total grant not exceeding 80% of the eligible cost of the project or, in the case of projects located in disadvantaged areas, 90% of the eligible cost.

There are four principal stages in a swimming pool project following the submission of a feasibility study. These, in order of progress, are: Preliminary Report; Contract Documents; Tender and Construction. Grant-aid is allocated only when tenders have been approved for the project and is capped at the time of allocation. The Department and its technical advisors, the Office of Public Works, evaluate each stage and local authorities cannot proceed to the next stage of a project unless prior approval issues from the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism.

Where a project is being undertaken by an organisation other than a local authority, the proposal must be considered, supported and submitted by the relevant local authority. Before supporting a project, the local authority would have to be satisfied that the proposal was viable, that the balance of funding required to complete the project was available and that the project, when completed, would have a satisfactory level of public access. The Local Authority is responsible for making satisfactory arrangements for the management and maintenance of the facility.

Under the current round of the programme, the question of the location of public swimming pools is essentially a matter for local authorities. Projects are considered on a case-by-case basis and consideration is given to such issues as to whether the area is classified as disadvantaged, the number and geographical spread of projects within and between counties, the viability of the project, particularly in relation to operational and maintenance issues, overall funding package for the project, technical details and the Department's annual estimates provision for the Programme.

Since 2000, the total spent under the programme (to end September 2008) is €123.9m. A total of €20m has been provided in 2008.

Since 2000, some 57 applications have or are being dealt with. 45 projects have been approved grant-aid — of which 37 of these have been completed and 8 are under construction or due to start construction shortly. In addition, 12 other applications are at various stages in the process: 2 are preparing tender documents; 7 are preparing contract documents and 3 are preparing preliminary reports. Our priority now is to work with the relevant local authorities in bringing into public use the remaining 20 pools, which are included in the current programme. A status report on the current status of the 57 projects in the current round is being circulated in the official report.

Status of individual swimming pool projects under the current round (closed 31 July, 2000) of the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme:

PROJECTS COMPLETED (37)

Arklow (Refurbish) — official opening January 2000

Courtown/Gorey (New) — opened October 2001

Dundalk (New) — official opening March 2002

Ennis (New) — official opening September 2003

Enniscorthy (New) — official opening January 2000

Monaghan (Refurbish) — re-entered programme for replacement

Navan (New) — official opening August 2000

Wicklow (New) — (Sept 99) official opening June 2001

Roscommon (Refurbish) — official opening April 2002

AquaDome, Tralee (Refurbish) — opened 2003

Ballinasloe (Replace) — official opening October 2003

Finglas, Dublin (Replace) — opened April 04

Grove Island, Limerick (New) — opened June 04

Sports and Leisure Centre, Tralee (Refurbish) — opened July 04

Clonmel (Refurbish) — opened December 04

Churchfield, Cork City (Refurbish) — official opening June 05

Ballymun, Dublin City (Replace) — opened June 05

Tuam, Co. Galway (Replace) — opened Sept 05

Drogheda, Co. Louth (Replace) — opened May 2006

Monaghan town (Replace) — opened 19 August 2006

Cobh, Co. Cork (Replace) — opened 30 August 2006

Youghal, Co. Cork (New) — opened 18 September 2006

Jobstown, South County Dublin (New) — opened 13 November 2006

Ballybunion, Co. Kerry (New) — June 2007

Birr, Co. Offaly (Refurbish) — opened 7 July 2007

Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (Replace) — opened 9 July 2007

Askeaton, Co. Limerick (Replace outdoor pool) — opened 4 August 2007

Longford, Co. Longford (Replace) — opened 7 September 2007

St. Joseph's School for Deaf Boys (Refurbish) — opened November 2007

Portarlington, Co. Laois (Refurbish) — opened 1 December 2007

Portlaoise, Co. Laois (Replace) — opened 18 December 2007

Clondalkin, South County Dublin (Replace) — opened 7 January 2008

Thurles, Co. Tipperary (Replace) — opened 7 April 2008

St Michael's House, Dublin (New) –opened 21 April 08

Killarney, Co. Kerry (New) — opened 16 July 2008

Bray, Co. Wicklow (Replace) — opened 6 Sept 2008

Ballyfermot Dublin City (Replace) — opened 6 October 2008

UNDER CONSTRUCTION OR ABOUT TO START CONSTRUCTION (8)

1. Athy, Co. Kildare (Replace)

2. Naas, Co. Kildare (Replace)

3. Kilkenny City (Replace)

4. Tullamore, Co. Offaly (Replace outdoor pool) — to open 20 October 2008

5. Greystones, Co. Wicklow (New) — to open 12 October 2008

6. Dundrum, Co. Dublin (Replace)

7. Claremorris, Co. Mayo (Replacement)

8. Roscrea, Tipperary, NR (New)

OUT TO TENDER (2)

Ferrybank, Co. Wexford (Refurbish)

Loughrea, Co. Galway (New)

PREPARING CONTRACT DOCUMENTS (7)

Skerries, Fingal (New)

New Ross, Co. Wexford (Replace)

Buncrana, Co. Donegal (Refurbish)

Glenalbyn, Co. Dublin (Refurbish)

Castlebar, Co. Mayo (Replace)

Dunmanway, Co. Cork (Replacement)

Ballybofey, Co. Donegal (New)

PRELIMINARY REPORT STAGE (3)

Edenderry, Co. Offaly (Replace)

Clara, Co. Offaly (Refurbish)

Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon (New)

Swimming Pool Projects.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

211 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism the position regarding an application for funding (details supplied) to assist with refurbishment works; when this application was received by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34946/08]

Under the Local Authority Swimming Pool Programme there are four principal stages in a swimming pool project following the submission of a feasibility study. These, in order of progress, are: Preliminary Report; Contract Documents; Tender and Construction. Two proposals have been submitted to my Department by Cork County Council on behalf of Dunmanway. The first proposal was for a refurbishment of the existing pool together with an extension to accommodate additional facilities including a gym. A Preliminary Report on this proposal was approved in March 2001. The second proposal was for demolition of the existing facility and a rebuild to incorporate the pool, gym and ancillary facilities and this was received in December 2001.

The OPW advised that the second proposal made a convincing case for a replacement pool. However, as Cork County Council envisaged a private company operating and managing the pool the OPW instructed that the operators of the facility should be sourced and included prior to contract preparation so that their requirements might be incorporated in the design. Cork County Council tendered for operators on two occasions but received only one submission.

On re-examining the matter this year Cork County Council are considering reverting to the original proposal of a refurbishment/extension with the intention of operating the pool using their own employees and possibly operating or outsourcing the management of the gym.

Cork County Council have therefore instructed JODA Engineering Consultants (who are the consultants appointed for this project) to update the costs of both proposals with the intention of making a final decision within the next month or so on which proposal to pursue. The Council will notify the Department once a final decision has been made.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

212 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34420/08]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs was established on the 6th June 2002. As outlined in my response to Question No. 136 on the 7th October 2008, one new agency, Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla was established since the establishment of the Department and my appointment as Minister. For completeness, I should add that during this time Pobal was reconstituted from the former Area Development Management Limited and, that the Dormant Accounts Disbursement Board was replaced by the Dormant Accounts Board.

The Deputy will also be aware that Waterways Ireland and An Foras Teanga, which comprises Foras na Gaeilge and The Ulster Scots Agency, are North/South Implementation Bodies which come within the ambit of my Department. These bodies were established under the Implementation Bodies Agreement of 8 March 1999 made between the British and Irish Governments (and incorporated into domestic law in this jurisdiction by the British Irish Agreement Act 1999).

For completeness, details of the budgets and staffing for each of these agencies in each of the years, financial outturns 2002-2007 and estimate 2008, are given in the following table.

Name of Agency

Date Established

Staff and Budget — 2002

Staff and Budget — 2003

Staff and Budget — 2004

Staff and Budget 2005

Staff and Budget 2006

Staff and Budget 2007

Staff and Budget 2008

Oifig Choimisinéir na dTeangacha Oifigiúla

2004

n/a

n/a

6 – €0.389m

6 – €0.649m

6 – €0.647m

6 plus 3 additional posts sanctioned, €0.695m

9 – €1.040m

* Dormant Accounts Board

4th January 2006

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Outturn of €157,905 was spent on fees and expenses, met from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Outturn of €226,000 was spent on fees and expenses, met from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Estimates Provision is €200,000.

** Pobal

ADM reconstituted as Pobal July 2005

108 – €115.901m

121 – €134.147m

132 – €158.524m

161 – €173.815m

196 – €226.590m

227 – €377.563m

271 – €432.531m

*** Foras na Gaeilge

2 Nollaig 1999

39 – €13.456m

40 – €13.453m

42 – €11.102m

46 – €12.902m

51 – €14.367m

42 – €15.134m

43 – €17.720m

Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch

2 Nollaig 1999

4 – €0.427m

4 – €0.160m

6 – €0.223m

8 – €0.664m

9 – €0.768m

12 – €1.033m

15 – €1.237m

**** Waterways Ireland

December 1999

256 – €25.68m

323 – €22.29m

335 – €28.74m

379 – €30.05m

358 – €34.13m

355 – €36.22m

368 – €37.72m

*Dormant Accounts Board does not employ staff

**Figures reflect total Pobal budget from all Departments

***Total of 65 posts sanctioned in principle to Foras na Gaeilge — returns are based on permanent staff and persons on 3 year contract

****Waterways Ireland staff numbers are at full time equivalents. Student placements not included.

Waterways Ireland and the Foras Teanga are North South Implementation Bodies co-funded with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland. The funding figure in this table refers to funding provided by my Department only.

Water and Sewerage Schemes.

James Bannon

Ceist:

213 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs when he will intervene to ensure that top-up funding for group water and sewerage schemes under CLÁR is provided for in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34467/08]

James Bannon

Ceist:

217 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will lift the suspension of CLÁR funding to enable a water scheme (details supplied) to proceed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34700/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 217 together.

Under the CLÁR programme since 2002 a total of approximately €637,000 CLÁR funding has been approved for water/sewerage schemes in Co. Longford. All approvals for water/sewerage schemes made to Longford County Council since 2002 for CLÁR funding will be honoured in full.

I would like to advise the Deputy that there is no record of any new applications for CLÁR funding in respect of water/sewerage schemes having been received in my Department from Longford County Council during 2008. No application has been received from the scheme detailed by the Deputy.

In relation to accepting applications for new schemes, consideration will be given to re-opening the measure for group schemes in 2009. Please note that the funding approved under the measure in Longford in the years 2002-2008 was as follows.

Group Water Schemes

Public Water/Sewerage

Group Sewerage Schemes

2002-03

34,006.41

Nil

Nil

2003-04

23,334.00

Nil

Nil

2004-05

Nil

Nil

Nil

2005-06

31,147.62

Nil

Nil

2006-07

170,808.36

312,979.34

Nil

2007-08

64,269.71

Nil

Nil

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

214 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has completed his list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; if so, the obligations involved; if not, when such a list will be finalised; if the most burdensome obligations, the regulations that they impose and the costs on businesses have been identified; if these costs, as they apply to businesses, have been measured; or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34588/08]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government has set a 25% target for the reduction of the administrative burden of domestic legislation on business by 2012. The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is co-ordinating the overall process to measure and reduce burdens across Government.

The process of identifying and listing information obligations is currently under way within my own Department. I expect to have completed this process and to have finalised the prioritisation of any information obligations identified through the exercise by the end of 2008.

The prioritised information obligations will then be measured. On completion of the measurement exercise simplification plans will be prepared detailing how the target of a 25% reduction in the administrative burden of domestic regulation on business will be met by the end of 2012. I envisage that my Department will have completed the identification, prioritisation and measurement process by the end of 2009.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

215 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by his Department in the past 12 months; if he will list each measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34630/08]

Joe Costello

Ceist:

216 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if there are EU measures in his Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if he will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when he will transpose them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34645/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 215 and 216 together.

In the past twelve months, my Department has not transposed any EU measures into primary or secondary legislation. In addition, there is no EU measure in my Department that requires to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation.

Question No. 217 answered with Question No. 213.

Community Development.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

218 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if a funding application has been received in his Department from a group (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if so, when a decision will be made in this regard. [34969/08]

No application has been received in my Department for CLÁR funding from this group. I understand however that my Department forwarded an application form for a Community and Voluntary Grant to the group approximately a month ago.

Local Authority Funding.

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

219 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs the amounts granted from his Department to local authorities (details supplied) in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and to date in 2008. [34989/08]

The Deputy will appreciate the constraints attached to a Question put down in "details supplied" format and accordingly I am arranging for the relevant information to be sent directly to him.

Employment Levels.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

220 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he will provide a percentage breakdown of the employment sectors in Gaeltacht areas. [34992/08]

The provision of information in relation to employment sectors in Gaeltacht areas is a matter for the CSO.

I can inform the Deputy, however, that information in regard to industries assisted by Údarás na Gaeltachta in various sectors is available in that organisation's Annual Report and Accounts which are laid annually before each house of the Oireachtas and which are also available on Údarás na Gaeltachta's website at www.udaras.ie.

Departmental Agencies.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

221 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of new agencies created since 1997 to date in 2008; the budget for each in all of those years; and the number of staff employed. [34429/08]

The National Social Services Board (NSSB) transferred to the Department of Social and Family Affairs from the Department of Health and Children in June 2000 under the Comhairle Act, 2000. Comhairle (established in June 2000) replaced the NSSB and the information service provided by the National Rehabilitation Board with a new mainstream information and support service. The Citizens Information Board which was established in February 2007 replaced Comhairle.

The Family Support Agency was established in May 2003 and the Office of the Pensions Ombudsman was established in September 2003. The following table contains the information sought regarding budgets and the number of staff employed.

Name of Board/Authority/Agency

Number of Staff for Each year

Budget for Each year

National Social Service Board (NSSB)

1997: 27

1997: £4,215,530

1998: 31

1998: £4,339,329

1999: 30.5

1999: £5,555,104

2000: 29.1*

2000: £3,578,122*

2000: 91†

2000: £4,763,940†

2001: 91

2001: £11,645,819

Comhairle

2002: 91

2002: €15,317,952

2003: 93

2003: €17,011,000

2004: 92.6

2004: €17,826,000

2005: 91.6

2005: €20,917,000

2006: 91.6

2006: €24,362,000

2007: 91.6

2007: €28,422,000

Citizens Information Board

#2008: 91.6

2008: €30,954,000

Family Support Agency

2003: 32.80

2003: €17,280,000

2004: 35.10

2004: €20,185,000

2005: 34.10

2005: €24,460,000

2006: 38.70

2006: €28,025,000

2007: 42.49

2007: €35,339,000

#2008: 41.66

2008: €36,480,000

Office of the Pensions Ombudsman

2003: 6

2003: €342,000

2004: 8

2004: €510,000

2005: 8

2005: €635,000

2006: 8

2006: €794,000

2007: 10

2007: €838,000

#2008: 10

2008: €1,020,000

*To June 2000. †From June 2000.

#Full time equivalent to end September.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

222 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved disability allowance; if a decision has been made on this application; if she will provide a detailed breakdown of the calculations in this case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34528/08]

The legislative provisions for Disability Allowance are contained in Parts 1 and 2 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and Articles 141 to 158 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 as amended. Means are assessed on the claimants own means and that of their spouse/partner subject to certain exceptions.

The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 19 February 2008. She was assessed with weekly means of €383.28, based on her spouse's earnings, derived as follows:

Gross weekly pay year to date (per payslip): €744.33

Less PRSI, Union & Superannuation: € 45.51

Insurable Employment Disregard €60.00

Total: €638.82

Weekly Means @€0.60 per €1 €383.28

As this exceeded the statutory limit of €377.10 per week for payment of Disability Allowance, her claim was refused.

A letter issued to the person concerned on 19 May 2008 notifying her of this decision, giving her the option of appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within 21 days.

She appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. On 22 July 2008, an Appeals Officer decided that her means exceeded the statutory income limit for Disability Allowance and her appeal was disallowed. She was notified of the Appeals Officer's decision by letter of 6 August 2008.

On foot of further representation dated 21 August 2008 regarding the appellant's spouse's earnings she was reassessed with weekly means of €382.74, based on her spouse's earnings, derived as follows:

Gross weekly pay year to date (per payslip): €737.05

Less PRSI, Union & Superannuation: €39.14

Insurable Employment Disregard €60.00

Total: €637.91

Weekly Means @€0.60 per €1 €382.74

As these means exceeded the statutory limit of €377.10 per week for payment of Disability Allowance, the decision remained unchanged. A letter issued to her on 11 September 2008 notifying her of the position.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

223 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will support persons (details supplied) in Dublin 17. [34533/08]

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive, an exceptional needs payment may be made to help meet an essential, once-off cost which the applicant is unable to meet out of his/her own resources. There is no automatic entitlement to this payment. Each application is determined by the Executive based on the particular circumstances of the case. An exceptional needs payment would not normally be paid in the circumstances outlined in the Deputy's question.

The Dublin/Mid Leinster area of the HSE has advised that it has no record of a claim for an exceptional needs payment from the individuals concerned. If the persons concerned feel that they have an exceptional need, they should discuss the particular circumstances with their local community welfare officer.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

224 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the amount of money that was granted in urgent need and exceptional needs payments by community welfare officers in 2007 with a breakdown of the reason for which these payments were made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34546/08]

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA), which is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive, an exceptional needs payment (ENP) may be made to help meet an essential, once-off cost which the applicant is unable to meet out of his/her own resources.

The principal consideration in making a single payment of SWA to address a particular need is that the need to be met must be "exceptional". Payments should arise only under abnormal conditions and should not become a regular or standard practice. Thus, an exceptional needs payment should be a single payment to meet an unforeseen and/or special need which cannot be met from a client's basic income.

Eligible people would normally be in receipt of a social welfare or HSE payment. There is no automatic entitlement to this payment. Each application is determined by the Executive based on the particular circumstances of the case, taking account of the nature and extent of the need.

Urgent Needs Payments are similar to exceptional needs payments but are made to persons who would not normally be entitled to SWA for example in the case of damage caused by flooding or fire.

The breakdown of expenditure on ENP's of €69m for 2007 is shown in the following tabular statement.

Table 1: SWA — Exceptional Needs Payments 2007

Expenditure on Exceptional Needs Payments 2007

Type of Payment

Expenditure

Total Expenditure

€000

€000

Exceptional Needs Payments and Other Exceptional SWA Payments

Housing

New Accommodation Kit

12,513

Household Appliances

6,647

Rent Deposit

4,549

Furniture

3,049

Floor Covering

1,974

Bedding

1,667

Repair/maintenance

1,451

31,849

Clothing

Adult Clothing

7,603

Child Clothing

4,710

12,313

Funeral

Funeral Expenses

3,747

Burial Expenses

456

4,203

Child Related

Pram/Buggy

1,179

Cot

915

2,094

Bills

Rent/Mortgage Interest Arrears

4,486

Household

2,016

6,502

Illness

Confinement Costs

988

Hospital Requirements

343

1,331

General

Other(1)

5,545

Travel Costs

2,452

Insufficient Means

1,989

Heating

1,050

Lost/Stolen Money

160

Household Budget

82

11,278

Urgent Needs Payments

259

259

Grand Total

69,828

(1) This includes €0.92m in payments in respect of accommodation for homeless people made on behalf of local authorities and subsequently re-imbursed.

Social Welfare Appeals.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

225 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the outcome of an appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [34575/08]

The person concerned was in receipt of jobseeker's allowance at the weekly rate of €207.10. This payment was based on an assessment of weekly means of €194.00, derived from the capital value of a dwelling. He appealed this means assessment and following a review, a Deciding Officer assessed his means at nil from 1 May 2008. This decision is based on an Inspector's report to the effect that he was no longer deriving benefit from the property from that date, and is currently in the process of selling it. This decision entitles him to jobseeker's allowance at the weekly rate of €401.10. Arrears due will be issued to him shortly.

Under Social Welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by Deciding Officers and Appeals Officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

Social Welfare Benefits.

John McGuinness

Ceist:

226 Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she will arrange an increased payment of social welfare or rent allowance to persons (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will expedite a positive outcome to the appeal. [34580/08]

The supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, which is administered by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive (HSE), is designed to provide immediate and flexible assistance for those in need who do not qualify for payment under other State schemes. Under the legislation governing the scheme, the HSE may make a single payment to meet an exceptional need to people on social welfare or health board payments. This is a once-off payment to meet an unforeseen or special need that cannot be met from a person's basic income.

Assistance in the form of an Urgent Needs Payment (UNP) can be also made to persons who would not normally be entitled to SWA, to assist, for example in cases of flood damage with immediate needs, such as food, clothing, fuel, household goods and shelter. Assistance can be provided to people affected in cash or in kind.

The South Eastern area of the Health Service Executive has advised that an exceptional needs payment of €800 has been made to the people concerned to assist them in the immediate aftermath of the flooding. Rent supplement in respect of rented accommodation will be paid with effect from next week. If the people concerned have any further needs, they should discuss this with their local community welfare officer.

Information Obligations.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

227 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if she has completed her list of information obligations which their regulations impose on businesses; the information obligations or if the list has not been completed, the date by which they will be completed; if they have identified the most burdensome of those information obligations which their regulation impose on businesses and measured their actual cost to businesses; the information obligations and their costs, or if this aspect of the project has not been completed, the date by which this will be done; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34597/08]

Lists of information obligations have been compiled in the Department in relation to a variety of obligations imposed on employers by 14 Sections of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. The obligations cover, for example, cooperation with Social Welfare Inspectors in relation to PRSI inspections, notifying the Department of the commencement of employment and furnishing the Department with information relating to employees as part of the claim determination process. I have arranged to send the lists directly to the Deputy.

Prioritisation of these information obligations is currently under way and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The prioritised information obligations will then be measured. When measurement has been completed, simplification plans will be prepared detailing what a reduction in the administrative burden on business could be achieved.

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment is coordinating the overall process to measure and reduce administrative burdens on business across Government. I understand that the Department envisages that the identification, prioritisation and measurement process should be completed by all Departments by the end of 2009.

On completion of the measurement exercise simplification plans will be prepared detailing how the overall 25% relevant target would be met by the end of 2012.

EU Directives.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

228 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of EU measures which have been transposed into primary or secondary legislation by her Department in the past 12 months; if she will list each measure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34639/08]

Joe Costello

Ceist:

229 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if there are EU measures in her Department which require to be transposed into Irish primary or secondary legislation; if so if she will detail those measures; when they were drafted by the EU Commission; when she will transpose them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34654/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 228 and 229 together.

No EU Directives have been transposed into Irish legislation by the Department of Social and Family Affairs within the past 12 months. In addition, there are no outstanding EU directives within the competency of the Department that have not been transposed into law.

Poverty Levels.

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

230 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the percentage of people living in poverty in 2006 in Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. [34675/08]

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

231 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the percentage of people living in consistent poverty in 2006 in Counties Kerry, Cork, Clare, Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal. [34676/08]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 230 and 231 together.

The main data on poverty levels in Ireland are derived from the annual EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC). Results for the fourth year of the survey, 2006, were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in November 2007. The survey results do not break down poverty rates by county, as the survey sample size is too small. In 2006 the achieved sample size was 5,836 households and 14,634 individuals. The survey does, however, provide a Regional breakdown, by Border, Midlands and West region and by Southern and Eastern region, as defined in the NUTS2 (Nomenclature of Territorial Units) classification used by Eurostat. The results, broken down by gender, are provided in the following Table 1.

When EU-SILC results for 2007 are available the CSO will be examining the possibility of providing a further breakdown of the data by each of the eight Regional Authorities established under Local Government legislation. This breakdown would correspond to the Eurostat NUTS 3 classification. A report "Mapping Poverty: National, Regional and County Patterns", published in 2005 by the Combat Poverty Agency, provides some data by local authority area. The report states that sampling factors limit the extent to which the data can be reliably broken down by county and concludes that, while it might be possible to do this, "it would not be sensible to do so because of the wide margin of error associated with the figures". The breakdown of poverty data by local authority area is provided in Table 2. This data is not fully comparable with the data provided under the EU-SILC survey because of survey differences relating to such issues as how income and consistent poverty are measured.

An analysis of the Combat Poverty Agency report shows disparities in the incidence of poverty risk by local authority area, with the highest incidence being recorded in the Border and West regions. Exploring the reasons for such spatial variations, the report found little evidence of a causal relationship between poverty and location per se. It found rather that the main factors determining poverty relate to the socio-economic composition of households, which in turn were influenced by structural factors such as lack of education, low-paid work, unemployment or non-participation in the labour force.

The higher percentage levels of poverty in certain regions are also in part explained by the lower proportions of those who are well off in those regions, compared to other mainly urban regions. This is due mainly to the availability of higher paid jobs in urban regions and currently to a younger working population. The differing levels of house prices between regions are another indicator of these phenomena.

The need to address the differences in the incidence of poverty between regional and local areas is reflected in the actions contained in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (NAPinclusion). The overall aim of the NAPinclusion is to build viable and sustainable communities, improving the lives of people living in disadvantaged areas and building social capital. The Communities chapter of the Plan outlines a series of programmes that support disadvantaged local communities, which are designed to improve the quality of life and promote the social inclusion of all people, particularly those who may be vulnerable and isolated. Furthermore, at local authority level, social inclusion structures are being strengthened through the work of the Local Government Social Inclusion Steering Group, chaired by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The purpose of the Group is to promote and support the embedding of social inclusion in local government in the context of national policies. Moreover, in line with the commitment in Towards 2016, pilot social inclusion units have now been established in half of all county and city councils.

Building on the progress already made in this regard, my priority, in working with Government, is to deliver the NAPinclusion programme over the coming years leading to significant improvements in living standards for those living in disadvantaged areas and addressing the disparities in poverty levels between regional and local areas.

Table 1 — 2006 ‘At risk of poverty'^ and consistent poverty* rates by region (%)

‘At risk of poverty’

Consistent Poverty

BMW Region

S&E Region

BMW Region

S&E Region

Total

26.2

13.7

9.2

5.5

Male

26.1

13.2

9.1

5.4

Female

26.3

14.2

9.3

5.6

Source: CSO EU-SILC 2006

†Based on 60% median income after social transfers.

*Based on the revised definition of consistent poverty.

Table 2 — Poverty data for Local Authority areas — disparities in income poverty risk and modified consistent poverty*

Local Authority Area

‘At risk of poverty’ disparity (%)

Modified Consistent Poverty disparity (%)

Cavan

1.3

1.2

Donegal

1.6

1.9

Leitrim

1.4

1.5

Louth

1.1

1.2

Monaghan

1.0

0.9

Sligo

1.1

1.3

Laois

1.0

1.1

Longford

1.4

1.5

Offaly

1.2

1.1

Westmeath

1.1

1.1

Galway City

0.7

0.7

Galway County

1.2

1.0

Mayo

1.4

1.5

Roscommon

1.1

1.1

Dublin City Council

1.0

1.0

Dublin Fingal

0.5

0.5

Dublin South

0.6

0.6

D’Laoghaire/R’down

0.5

0.4

Kildare

0.7

0.7

Meath

0.8

0.8

Wicklow

1.0

1.0

Clare

1.1

1.2

Limerick City

1.3

1.5

Limerick County

1.1

1.0

Tipp. N. Riding

0.9

1.1

Carlow

1.2

1.3

Kilkenny

0.9

0.8

Tipp. S. Riding

1.2

1.2

Waterford City

1.1

1.3

Waterford County

1.1

1.0

Wexford

1.2

1.0

Cork City

1.3

1.3

Cork County

0.9

0.9

Kerry

1.3

1.3

Source: The data in this table is extracted from Tables 4.3 and 4.4 of the Combat Poverty Agency (CPA) report "Mapping Poverty: National, Regional and County Patterns", whose data source is the Irish National Survey of Housing Quality 2001/2002.

*Because the measures of ‘at risk of poverty' and consistent poverty used in the CPA report are not the same as the equivalent measures used in EU-SILC reporting, and in order to avoid confusion between the two, the figures for each local authority in the table are presented in terms of ratios of the national average figure for these measures.

Social Welfare Benefits.

Mary Upton

Ceist:

232 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Dublin has not been granted rent allowance; if a person in such circumstances is entitled to rent allowance; if it is the case that if a person moves from one rented accommodation to another they are precluded from obtaining further rent allowance; if a person who surrenders rented accommodation in another jurisdiction, in this case Scotland, is precluded from receiving rent allowance here, despite the fact that they are seeking work here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34723/08]

Rent supplement is administered on behalf of the Department by the community welfare division of the Health Service Executive (HSE), as part of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

The Executive has advised that the person concerned is in receipt of a weekly payment of supplementary welfare allowance while awaiting the outcome of a claim to Jobseeker's allowance. It has been decided by the Executive that he is not entitled to rent supplement, having voluntarily surrendered local authority accommodation already available to him in Scotland. Statutory provisions allow for the non payment of rent supplement where a person vacates housing provided by a local authority, without good cause for doing so.

The Executive considers that when the person concerned moved to this state, he vacated accommodation available to him in Scotland, without good cause. The Executive further advises that the person has been afforded a right of appeal to the HSE Appeals Office against the decision to refuse rent supplement.

Services for People with Disabilities.

David Stanton

Ceist:

233 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of people with disabilities who have availed of community and voluntary organisations advocacy services funded by the Citizens Information Board in 2005, 2006, 2007 and to date in 2008; the number of projects operational and the geographical area covered by them; the number of people accessing these services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34727/08]

The Citizens Information Board began a process in 2004 of engaging the community and voluntary sector in the provision of advocacy services to people with disabilities. It also produced advocacy guidelines to inform and guide organisations in the development of advocacy services.

The Community and Voluntary Sector Advocacy programme has to date developed and funded 46 advocacy projects. Each Advocacy project has a Steering Group and reports twice yearly to the Citizens Information Board, with the latest report covering the period up to the end of June 2008.

Up to the end of June 2008, 3,241 members of the public have availed of the services provided by the projects. The breakdown per year is as follows:

2005 — Nil

2006 — 744

2007 — 1,322

June 2008 (6 months) — 1,175

It takes a number of months, from the date of first funding, for projects to set up, recruit and train an advocate and begin seeing clients.

Geographically, the advocacy projects are spread across the country with 16 projects located in the Greater Dublin area (including Wicklow and Kildare), 6 in the Cork-Kerry area, 5 in the Limerick-Clare area, 6 in the West and North West, 4 in the South East, 5 in the Midlands and 4 in the North Eastern area. A list of the projects is contained in the following appendix.

The overall focus of the programme is on representative advocacy for people with a disability. Projects are either cross disability type with a geographic remit, or focused on a particular disability type. Each of the projects poses different challenges, some requiring more intensive work with smaller caseloads while others have larger caseloads with shorter periods of client contact.

Appendix: Community and Voluntary Sector Advocacy programme — list of projects

Projects

Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Association (BRI)

The Acquired Brain Injury Advocacy Association (BRI) is based in the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire. In conjunction with Dun Laoghaire Citizens Information Centre the advocate works with people with acquired brain injury.

Dementia Rights Advocacy Service — (Alzheimer Society)

The Alzheimer Society works on behalf of people with different types of dementia. The service works with people with dementia in the north Dublin area.

Ballyfermot Advocacy Service

The advocacy service is based in Ballyfermot Citizen’s Information Service and provides a service to people with a range of disabilities living in the Ballyfermot area.

Ballyhoura Development Ltd

Ballyhoura Advocacy Service is available to people with disabilities, residing in the East and South Limerick/North East Cork region.

Blanchardstown Area Partnership / Daughters of Charity Navan Rd

The advocacy project is based in Blanchardstown Area Partnership, the independent advocate is employed by Blanchardstown Area Partnership and works with residents of the Daughters of Charity Services in Navan Road.

Bray Partnership Limited

Bray Partnership is a local development company which works with the Bray Disability Cluster group. The advocate is employed by Bray Partnership and works with people with disabilities in the Bray area.

Brothers of Charity, Limerick

This project recruits, trains and supports volunteer Citizen Advocates who work one to one with residents of Limerick Brothers of Charity services.

Cheshire Ireland, Dublin

This project is working in three Cheshire Ireland residences, Cara, Barrett and Richmond, to prepare staff and residents and to recruit, train and support Citizen Advocate volunteers who are matched with individual residents and work with them long term.

Clare Disability Advocacy Project

Clare Citizen Information Service provides an advocacy service to people with intellectual disabilities who access services from the Brothers of Charity and who live in the community in Co. Clare.

Clondalkin Advocacy Service

The Clondalkin Advocacy Service is an independent professional advocacy service in the Clondalkin/Lucan area for people with disabilities, targeting those who are marginalised and vulnerable.

Clondalkin CIS/Peamount Hospital Advocacy Service

Based in Clondalkin Citizens Information Service, this independent advocacy service works with residents with intellectual disabilities in Peamount Hospital, Newcastle, Dublin.

Enable Cheshire Advocacy Service

Cork City Centre & South County Citizens Information Service employs an advocate who provides independent advocacy to people with physical and sensory disabilities within and outside Enable and Cheshire services in the Cork area.

County Monaghan Advocacy Service

County Monaghan Partnership employs an advocate who works with people with a range of disabilities in Co. Monaghan.

DATA, Irish Wheelchair Association, Cork

This project provides a one to one advocacy service for people with disabilities in the North Cork area (Mallow and Fermoy).

Disability Advocacy Service — Dublin 15

Blanchardstown Centre for Independent Living and project partner Blanchardstown/Dublin 15 CIC provides an advocacy service for people with disabilities in the South Fingal area.

Disability Equality Specialist Support Agency(DESSA), Waterford

DESSA’s partners are the Family Support Agency and St. Brigid’s Family Resource Centre Waterford. This project offers representative advocacy to people with disabilities in the Waterford area through the Family Resource Centre model.

Clare Independent Advocacy Service

In partnership with NCBI and the Clare Network of People with Disabilities, Disabled People of Clare employs an advocate who provides representative, independent advocacy to people with disabilities in Clare.

Donegal Physical & Sensory Disability Consortium

The consortium is made up of the HSE and many of the disability organisations in the Donegal area. Lead agency is the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI). The Consortium provides a professional advocacy service for people with disabilities in Donegal.

Dublin Leader Advocacy Service (DLAS)

A partnership between Dublin 7 Centre for Independent Living, CIL Carmichael House, Dublin Leader Forum and the Macro Resource Centre, the project extends the restricted advocacy services available to CIL members to those with disabilities in residential and family settings.

Eastern Vocational Enterprises (EVE) Ltd & TUISCINT

ASPIRE, Tuiscint, KITE and Gheel are partners in this project which provides a one-to-one, case based advocacy service for people with Aspergers Syndrome, sometimes known as high functioning autism, to help them address their needs.

Galway Advocacy Service

Galway Centre for Independent Living in conjunction with Enable Ireland, NAD Galway, Brothers of Charity Galway, Galway Citizen’s Information Centre & NUI Galway. The project provides professional advocacy to people with disabilities living in Co. Galway.

Inclusion Ireland — Moore Abbey Monasterevin & St Joseph’s Disability Service, St Ita’s Portrane

Inclusion Ireland employs and advocate who provides an independent advocacy service