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].
Questions Nos. 1 to 11, inclusive, answered orally.

Public Transport.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

12 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Transport the action he will take on the further cuts proposed to Bus Éireann. [28342/09]

Service changes are a day-to-day operational matter for Bus Éireann and not one in which I have any function. I have been briefed by Bus Éireann management on the deterioration in its financial position and on the measures necessary, including the scale and extent of service changes, to maintain its financial viability. I have also been briefed by the unions on the issues involved. Decisions in relation to service changes are a matter for the company itself. I understand that Bus Éireann is currently engaged, under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission, in detailed discussions with its staff and their representatives on the measures proposed in this regard. I look forward to a successful outcome to these discussions.

Road Safety.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

13 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has not implemented a number of key actions in the road safety strategy 2007 to 2012, including an administrative disqualification system for drink drivers, a risk register for heavy vehicle goods drivers, a full time health and safety officer for every local authority, a new system for preventing car write-offs getting back onto roads here, and a review of the response system for emergency staff to road collisions; the actions under the road safety strategy 2007 to 2012 which have failed to be implemented by the designated deadline; the reason all of these deadlines have been missed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28379/09]

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

62 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Transport the number of recommendations of the road safety strategy 2007 to 2012 which have been implemented to date; and the status of the remaining recommendations. [28345/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 13 and 62 together.

The Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 was prepared by the Road Safety Authority, approved by the Government and launched in October 2007.

Its overall objective, through a combination of education, enforcement and engineering actions, is to save lives and prevent serious injuries, thereby bringing Ireland in line with best practice countries in road safety terms.

The Strategy is being successfully implemented across a range of agencies. We have seen a sustained reduction in the number of people killed on our roads.

2008 saw the lowest number of road deaths on record at 279, despite the fact over the past decade there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of drivers and a 70 per cent increase in the number of vehicles on our roads. Fatalities in the year to date (9th July) are 128, down 18 from the same date last year.

According to the European Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme, which is run by the European Transport Safety Council, (ETSC), Ireland moved up to 6th out of the 27 EU Member States in road fatalities per million of population (compared to 8th in 2001).

Of course it is important to maintain the momentum in Road Safety measures, as each fatality and serious injury is a tragedy for families, friends and communities.

Action 83 of the Strategy requires the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to report to me by the end of the second quarter of each year on the implementation of the 126 actions in the Strategy, all of which identify the lead agency responsible for implementation and a target implementation date.

The report for the year 2008 is being finalised by the Road Safety Authority and will be presented to me shortly. However it is clear from communication with the RSA that substantial progress has been made on the annual Actions and those specifically for 2008. More than half have been completed and substantial progress has been made on the majority of the rest.

It may be the case, over the course of an ambitious and challenging Road Safety Strategy, that some of the target dates are missed, even where work on the Actions themselves is underway, but we must not lose sign of the underlying achievement: road fatalities are falling and substantial progress is being made on all the key issues in relation to the safety of road users.

Airport Preclearance Facility.

Olivia Mitchell

Ceist:

14 Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport when legislation giving effect to the preclearance facility at Shannon Airport will be published; when the facility will be up and running; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22870/09]

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

43 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the roll-out of the preclearance facilities at Shannon and Dublin Airports; when preclearance facilities will be fully operational at Shannon and Dublin Airports; if Aer Lingus will be utilising the preclearance facilities at Shannon; the expected number of additional routes and services to be created at Shannon in the first year of full pre-clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28401/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 14 and 43 together.

As Deputies will be aware the Aviation (Preclearance) Bill 2009 was passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas last week as is due to be signed into law by the President this week.

My officials are working closely with the U.S. authorities on the final aspects of the operating procedures between the two administrations to ensure that preclearance will work to the benefit of both countries. My objective is that these collaborative efforts with the U.S. will allow preclearance to be inaugurated in Shannon before the end of July. It is scheduled to become operational at Dublin Airport in November 2010 with the completion of Terminal 2.

I understand from Aer Lingus that the airline would face severe logistical difficulties in a situation where their ex Shannon flights would be precleared and their ex Dublin flights would not. Accordingly I understand that they have taken a decision to postpone using preclearance for their flights until the service is available both in Dublin and Shannon.

Two daily British Airways services from London to the U.S. are due to use Preclearance at Shannon from the autumn and I hope that more airlines will follow this example.

Renewable Energy.

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

15 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Transport the action he has taken to compel CIE to implement the 2007 direction to use 5% biodiesel in its fleets and 30% for newly acquired vehicles; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28534/09]

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

18 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Transport the steps he has taken to encourage greater use of renewable energy in public transport fleets; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25187/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 18 together.

A number of initiatives have taken place in relation to Iarnród Éireann, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann to ensure more sustainable fleets in these organisations.

Iarnród Éireann, for example, have in the past two years re-instated regenerative braking on all DART electrical fleets giving energy savings of 26%. Iarnród Éireann have also fitted fuel shut-down modifications to much of the diesel fleet saving 3.5 million litres of diesel per annum. The significant renewal of engines and carriages funded under Transport 21 has resulted in more fuel-efficient trains, which also generate less greenhouse gas emissions. There will be further significant improvements with the electrification of the Kildare and Maynooth commuter lines.

Both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann have also benefited from Transport 21 support and the new fleet of buses provided since 2006 have Euro 4 engines with selective catalytic reduction for lower emissions. Both companies have been using biodiesel in their tour fleets since 2006. In addition, I have provided funding for Ireland's first hybrid electric bus, which is being trialed by Dublin Bus at the moment.

The diesel used in all the public transport fleets meets the EN 590 European standard for fuel, which has to contain up to 5% biofuel. The commitment in the Programme for Government relating to biofuels has, however, been superseded by the more ambitious targets for transport as set out in the Government's Smarter Travel policy which I launched February, 2009.

Specifically, in relation to public transport fleets Smarter Travel proposes that all public transport providers will prepare a plan for fleet replacement based on the most sustainable vehicle and fuel type.

The actions in Smarter Travel are to be implemented over a twelve-year period. In relation to new technology the immediate focus of Government policy is to prepare a plan to deliver the 10% target for electric vehicles by 2020. On biofuels, Smarter Travel refers to the proposed biofuels obligation, which will apply to all transport fleets and which is being addressed by my colleague the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Integrated Ticketing.

Simon Coveney

Ceist:

16 Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Transport the reason Bus Éireann is behind other CIÉ companies in rolling out an integrated ticketing system; his views on whether ten years for the rollout of this project could be considered a success; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28515/09]

The integrated ticketing system in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) is being introduced on a phased basis, based on smartcard technology. A progressive approach is being adopted to allow customers to familiarise themselves with using the new system and to permit transport operators to undertake the necessary testing with the integration of the technologies involved. The project is now firmly in the implementation phase.

A smartcard has been available on all Luas services for some time. Smartcards have also been introduced by Dublin Bus in respect of a number of ticket products such as annual and monthly tickets, 5-day rambler tickets, and annual and monthly integrated bus and rail, and bus and Luas tickets. The disposable smartcard is now being used by some 30% of Dublin Bus customers.

Irish Rail will launch its interim smartcard for its DART and Dublin commuter services from late Summer. The progressive roll-out of smartcards is in line with good practice internationally.

Subject to successful in-house testing, the single smartcard system will be rolled out initially to a small number of customers for live testing of the Dublin Bus / Luas integrated annual ticket. The full roll-out will take place throughout 2010 on Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail. This means that by end 2010, the ITS smartcard will be available to the vast majority of public transport passengers in the GDA. It is also envisaged that private bus operators will join the scheme.

Bus Éireann's project plan builds on the work currently being carried out for Dublin Bus as the ticketing equipment is similar. However Bus Éireann has advised that the software development work is more complex, taking account of the more complex ticketing issues that will arise with the introduction of longer distance commuter services to the scheme.

Bus Eireann will commence testing in Q4 2010, with rollout of smartcards on its pilot routes planned for early Q1 2011.

State Airports.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

17 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Transport the status of the six hangars of a company (details supplied) at Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28406/09]

The status of the six hangars of SR Technics at Dublin Airport is an operational matter for the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) and as such I have no function in the matter.

I understand that the DAA and SR Technics signed an agreement earlier in the year, whereby DAA bought back property leased by SR Technics at Dublin Airport, comprising six hangars and related ancillary facilities. I am informed that consequential contractual details are being completed at present.

Question No. 18 answered with Question No. 15.

Bus Licensing.

Dinny McGinley

Ceist:

19 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Transport when he expects the Dublin Transport Authority to be fully operational in view of the fact that legislation establishing the body was signed in 2008; the effect this delay will have on restricting competition in the bus market here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28578/09]

My Department is proceeding with preparations for the establishment of the Dublin Transport Authority (DTA) during 2009. A key part of those preparations is the recruitment of a Chief Executive Officer and the necessary recruitment process has now been concluded. I expect to be in a position to announce the outcome in the near future.

In January 2009, the Government approved the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill which contains proposals for a new bus licensing regime which will replace the Road Transport Act 1932, which applies to the licensing of private bus operators, and the provisions of the Transport Act 1958 that relate to the provision of bus services by the State bus companies. In accordance with the Programme for Government commitment, the proposed licensing regime will provide a level playing field for all bus market participants.

The new licensing structure will apply in respect of all commercial bus passenger services, including those provided by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. It will establish a clear structure against which applications for bus route licences will be considered as well as a modern system of penalties and associated powers for revocation of licences.

The General Scheme of the Bill also contains proposals for extending nationally the provisions of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 in relation to the provision of public service obligations that are consistent with EU Regulation No. 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road. The Regulation creates a framework regulating how exclusive rights are to be awarded and compensation paid for services deemed to be ‘public service obligations' on a transparent basis. The Regulation will put into effect for the first time in Irish transport law a contracting regime to govern public service obligations. Future growth in the market for subvented transport services will also be pursued by way of open tendering processes in accordance with the EU Regulation.

The Bill will assign responsibility to the Dublin Transport Authority for bus route licensing and public transport services contracts nationwide and provide for the amalgamation of the Commission for Taxi Regulation into the DTA, as well as the renaming of the DTA as the National Transport Authority given its proposed national focus in relation to commercial bus licensing, bus and rail subvention and the regulation of small public service vehicles.

Following Government approval of the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill in January, a Bill has been drafted and has been circulated to Government Departments for observations. On their receipt, it is my intention to seek Government approval to the publication of the Bill as soon as possible.

Transport Projects.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

20 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether all aspects of the Transport 21 plan will be completed by the 2015 deadline; his further views on whether capital transport investment projects are a means to restore lost economic competitiveness and provide short term employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28487/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

36 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport the extent to which the capital spending programme for his Department is expected to alter in each of the next three years with particular reference to the targets he identified when he launched Transport 21 in respect of road and rail projects; if it is intended to increase capital spending to offset certain aspects of the economic downturn; if he expects any of the projects to be brought forward or accelerated; if he has identified the most likely areas for opportunities to improve the economic situation throughout his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28428/09]

Mary Upton

Ceist:

56 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if he has made submissions to the Department of Finance and the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes regarding capital funding for critical Transport 21 projects in budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on his priorities for capital transport spending up to the end of 2010. [28411/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 20, 36 and 56 together.

Transport 21 continues to provide the strategic framework guiding Government investment in transport up to 2015.

To date, over 60% of the major inter urban roads programme, linking Dublin with Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and the Border with Northern Ireland, has been completed and the remainder is under construction and on target for completion in 2010. The upgrade of the M50 motorway is also on target for completion in 2010. On public transport, new railway stations have opened on the Kildare line and Irish Rail has completely modernised its intercity rolling stock under Transport 21. A number of projects such as the Midleton rail line, Phase 1 of the Western Rail Corridor and the Luas line to Docklands are scheduled to be completed this year, while construction continues on other projects such as the Luas lines to Cherrywood and Citywest, the first phase of the Navan rail line between Clonsilla and Pace and the Kildare rail project.

However, in the light of the changed economic circumstances, it has been necessary to review investment priorities across all Government Departments. As a result of this review, my Department's priorities for the coming years have been identified as follows: national roads, completion of the five major inter-urban motorways by end 2010, progressing the Atlantic Road Corridor, increasing public transport capacity through construction of Metro North, construction of DART Underground and implementation of the associated electrification, signalling and rolling stock investments, investment in buses and bus priority, subject to the Deloitte/TAS cost and efficiency review of the CIE bus companies and the availability of subvention, continued planning of other Transport 21 projects to ensure that a shelf of work is ready to go to construction when the economic climate improves.

Transport 21 projects will be released for construction as soon as they are through statutory procedures and the available financial resources permit and consistent with the priorities I have outlined.

The continuation of the Transport 21 programme as planned will provide significant job opportunities within the civil engineering construction sector. Transport investment has significant employment benefits, sustaining about 10 direct jobs per €1 million of expenditure. However, the primary purpose of investment in transport infrastructure is to add to Ireland's capital stock and help support the development of a competitive productive economy in the long term.

In January this year my Department supplied briefing on all aspects of its Vote to the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes. However the primary focus of the Group is on current expenditure.

My Department is in constant dialogue with the Department of Finance and discussions in respect of Budget 2010 will begin shortly as part of the normal annual Estimates process. My Department is also working with the Department of Finance and the NDFA to maximise private investment in transport infrastructure.

Public Transport.

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

21 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport if he will undertake a review of public bus services for commuters in view of the recent significant changes to Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus routes and services through programmes of cutbacks; if he is monitoring the effect of withdrawn or reduced public bus services on workers and commuters particularly in lower income areas and for vulnerable citizens including senior citizens; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28380/09]

George Lee

Ceist:

22 Deputy George Lee asked the Minister for Transport his views on whether CIE is capable in providing adequate bus services at a reasonable cost to the Exchequer in view of the recent cutbacks in services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28570/09]

I propose to take Question Nos. 21 and 22 together.

In January last I published a cost and efficiency review of Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann services. The review concluded that, while both companies are generally as efficient as comparable organisations, there is considerable scope for Dublin Bus to improve its services to customers through improved network design and increased efficiencies. The recommendations of the review are being implemented by both companies in the context of their cost recovery plans to ensure the financial viability of the companies while maintaining services at the highest possible level.

Decisions in relation to services and the deployment of buses and drivers are matters for the companies having regard, inter alia, to the changing patterns and levels of demand and the revenue available from fares and Exchequer compensation for PSO services.

Road Network.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

23 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Transport if he will reallocate the reduced funding for local and regional road maintenance to local authorities to address long-standing dangerous roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28495/09]

There was no reduction in the April Supplementary Budget in the State road grant provision for maintenance works on regional and local roads in 2009 and grants totalling €125.977 million were allocated in April last to local authorities for such work in the current year. A total of €85 million of the overall provision was allocated under the Restoration Maintenance Programme to fund the surface dressing of approximately 4,600 kilometres of regional and local road in 2009. The roads to be surface dressed under the programme are selected by local authorities with priority given to roads most in need of treatment.

A submission from the City and County Managers Association was received in my Department on 29th June seeking discretion to use some of the funds allocated for the surface dressing programme on other maintenance work. The request is being examined in my Department and a response will issue shortly to the Association.

Question No. 24 answered with Question No. 7.

Public Service Review.

Damien English

Ceist:

25 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Transport the recommendations the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes has made in relation to transport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28540/09]

As I have not as yet received the final report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes, I cannot comment on its recommendations.

Road Network.

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

26 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Transport the amount of money allocated to road maintenance and improvement projects here in 2007, 2008 and 2009; if funding for capital spending on road building and maintenance projects including up to 80 projects that are currently being planned has been halted; the road building or maintenance projects which have been halted as a result of these new directions and if he will make a statement on the matter [28392/09]

As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and funding in relation to the national roads programme element of Transport 21. The construction, improvement and maintenance of individual national roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority under the Roads Act 1993 in conjunction with the local authorities concerned.

The Exchequer funding provided for to capital and current expenditure on the national road network is as follows:

Capital

Current

Total

2007

1,712,706,000

55,097,000

1,767,803,000

2008

1,599,577,000

58,210,000

1,657,787,000

2009 Allocation

1,438,900,000

44,255,000

1,483,155,000

Funding for capital spending on national roads building and maintenance projects has not been halted. Notwithstanding the current difficult economic climate, the allocation of almost €1.5 billion for 2009 is evidence of this Government's continued commitment to investment in the national road infrastructure.

The priority up to the end of 2010 will be the completion of the five major interurban routes (MIUs). Significant progress continues to be made in their delivery. The M1 from Dublin to the Border was completed in 2007, while work on the other routes is underway and on schedule for completion in 2010. In addition to the MIUs, work is underway on the upgrade of the M50 which is also due for completion in 2010.

The NRA's current construction programme is proceeding on time and within budget. I expect this to continue to be the case right up to the completion of the MIUs. As all of this work is contractually committed, the current economic situation will not impact upon delivery targets.

The priority for the roads investment programme after the completion of the major interurban network will be the Atlantic Road Corridor, where construction is already underway, as well as the improvement of other key national primary routes and the targeted improvement of certain national secondary routes. Decisions to proceed with individual projects will be taken by the NRA from time to time in the light of the available public finance.

In relation to regional and local roads, the provision, improvement and maintenance of such roads, in its area, is a statutory function of each individual local authority under section 13 of the Roads Act, 1993, to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants paid by my Department.

The Exchequer for capital and current expenditure on regional and local roads is as follows:

Capital

Current

Total

2007

478,606,096

128,918,904

607,525,000

2008

469,822,922

134,391,008

604,214,000

2009 Allocation

321,500,000

125,977,000

447,477,000

The capital budget for improvement works this year is €321.5 million. This will fund 241 separate improvement projects at various stages of planning design and construction. In addition, the Restoration Improvement Programme will result in a further 1,700 kilometres of road being reconstructed or improved.

There was no reduction in the April Supplementary Budget in the provision for maintenance works and grants of almost €126 million were allocated to local authorities. The bulk of this — €85 million — is being invested in the Restoration Maintenance Programme and I fully expect to see an increase in surface dressing output achieved by local authorities under this programme this year, over the 2008 output.

Road Safety.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

27 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has not published the national pedestrian strategy; the proposed key objectives and headings of the strategy; if home zone residential estates will be included; if the strategy will result in new legislation; the full cost of the new pedestrian strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28398/09]

Under the National Road Safety Strategy, the RSA is committed to publishing a pedestrian safety strategy and they are at consultation phase with this project.

The question may refer to the commitment in Smarter Travel, he Government's sustainable transport policy, to publish a national walking policy to meet the Government's aim of creating a culture of walking in Ireland.

There are 49 actions in the policy to be implemented over a 12 year period. In relation to the commitment on a walking policy, I have written to Ministerial colleagues to establish a working group to progress the policy, given that it has implications for a number of other policy areas.

The working group will have to research the issues fully before preparing a position paper for consideration so it is too early to say what the details will be, including the estimated cost.

Acht um Thrácht ar Bhóithre.

Paul Connaughton

Ceist:

28 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Paul Connaughton den Aire Iompair cén fáth nach bhfuil sé i gceist aige an tAcht um Thrácht ar Bhóithre 1961, Alt 95, a leasú chun cead a thabhairt athrú a chur ar chruth dátheangach na gcomharthaí tráchta chun idirdhealú follasach éifeachtach a dhéanamh ar logainmneacha Gaeilge agus Béarla de réir córais shimplí, shoiléir a bheadh éasca le tuiscint, agus a laghdódh ar amanna freagartha agus léimh na dtiománaithe, agus a dhéanfadh na bóithre níos fusa le húsáid ag tiománaithe, agus níos sábháilte do chách, mar atá molta i dtuarascáil (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [28510/09]

Tá na socruithe maidir le téacs a thaispeáint ar chomharthaí bóthair leagtha amach ins an Acht um Thrácht ar Bhóithre 1961 (Alt 95). Tá na prionsabail maidir le téacs a thaispeáint ar chomharthaí bóthair leagtha amach i Lámhleabhar na gComharthaí Tráchta. Is é an cuspóir bunúsach atá taobh thiar díobh ná go bhfuil soiléireacht curtha ar fáil don lucht taistil sa chaoi is nach gcuirtear isteach ar shábháilteacht ar na bóithre.

Cuireadh úsáid téacs, cló-aghaidh, cló-éadain agus téacs a chomhdhlúthú san áireamh nuair a bhí ábhar an lámhleabhair chomharthaíochta tráchta á dhreachtadh agus á n-ullmhú. Cuireadh san áireamh chomh maith an chomharthaíocht dhátheangach atá in úsáid sa Bhreatain Bheag agus in Alba.

Táim sásta go bfhuil cuspóirí an pholasaí réamh luaite bainte amach ag an gcruth atá ar ár gcomhtharthaíocht bhóthair dhátheangach. Níl sé ar intinn agam an polasaí seo nó cruth dátheangach na gcomharthaí tráchta a leasú.

Light Rail Project.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

29 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the tendering process for metro north; if he will confirm the two bidders who have been chosen to go forward to the next round of metro north; when the winning tenderer will be selected; the timeframe for the commencement and conclusion of metro north; if he will confirm further that metro north will proceed in its current format; the estimate of the amount of public and private funding which will be spent on metro north in 2009 and in each year to 2015 and from 2015 to 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28399/09]

On 30 June, the Railway Procurement Agency announced that it had short-listed two bidding groups, Celtic Metro Group and Metro Express, to proceed to the final stage of the Metro North PPP procurement process. The formal commencement of this final stage of the procurement process is subject to a decision by An Bord Pleanála on the railway order application for the project.

The oral hearing before An Bord Pleanála on the railway order application commenced on 1st April last and was adjourned on 29th April to allow the Inspector and interested parties the opportunity to review and assimilate further information provided at the hearing by the RPA. On 26th June An Bord Pleanála wrote to the RPA requesting that further detailed information on various aspects of the project be submitted to it by 1st October 2009.

The scope of the Metro North project remains as set out in the railway order application to An Bord Pleanála and its implementation is subject both to the outcome of the statutory planning process and a final decision by the Government following the completion of the statutory planning and procurement processes.

The Exchequer capital amount currently allocated from my Department's Estimate for 2009 in respect of Metro North is €35m. It is not anticipated that any private funding will be spent on the project this year and the Exchequer allocation for Metro North for future years will be decided in the context of the Estimates for each year. Private sector funding for the project is a matter to be determined by the PPP procurement process, which is currently underway.

Given the commercial sensitivity surrounding the ongoing PPP procurement process, I am not in a position to give any information in relation to the cost of Metro North.

Sustainable Transport.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

30 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Transport the amount of funding allocated specifically to meet objectives and targets in the sustainable travel and cycling documents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28558/09]

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

51 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Transport if he will confirm that the cost of implementing the national cycle policy framework will be €2.3 billion; the timeframe for the allocation of the €2.3 billion; the number of years it will take to fully implement the NCPF; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28397/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 51 and 30 together.

Smarter Travel, A Sustainable Transport for Ireland, sets out a range of actions across all areas of Government to deliver a sustainable transport system by the year 2020. The Policy has ambitious targets, including a reduction in car commuting from 65% share in 2006 to 45% in 2020. It also sets out specific ambition in other areas. For example, it affirms the Government's commitment to have 10% market penetration for electric vehicles by 2020.

The estimated cost of implementing the policy is approx €4.5 billion. The allocation of such funding will obviously depend on the prevailing economic climate and, in the present circumstances, the focus will be on making progress from existing resources.

The National Cycle Policy Framework has emerged from the new Smarter Travel policy and the estimated cost of €2.3 billion is covered in the overall estimate referred to above. The key ambition under NCPF is an increase in the modal share enjoyed by cycling from its current level of around 2% to 10%. I believe that this is an ambitious, yet achievable, target within the action period of 12 years.

I am pleased to say that, given the constrained economic circumstances, good progress is being made in implementing both policies.

I have made a total of €14 million available to my Department for the promotion and implementation of sustainable travel and transport initiatives in 2009. This is a significant increase on a budget allocation of €3 million in 2008.

The following are key initiatives progressed under the new agenda. These are in addition to other investments under Transport 21, such as integrated ticketing and improvements to public transport, which will also contribute to sustainable travel.

Support for demand measures such as the Green Schools Travel initiative and workplace travel planning. By September this year, 140,000 schoolchildren will have been reached, resulting in a 18% drop in car use. The workplace travel planning initiative has reached 46 companies so far and is meeting with similar success. I aim to launch a national initiative on workplace travel planning in the near future

Support for demonstration sustainable travel projects. My Department has advertised for submissions for schemes and the closing date for proposals is 7th September.

Support for exemplary cycling projects. When I launched the National Cycle Policy Framework recently, I specifically referred to the availability of €3 million in 2009 for the provision of cycling infrastructure in the Dublin region. The projects that I envisage will be progressed this year by Dublin City Council include development of premium cycle routes (from Portobello to the Liffey via the Grand Canal and from the North Quays towards Fairview Park (to include part of the Sutton to Sandycove route); refurbishment of existing cycle lanes; and the provision of both additional permanent cycle parking in the city and mobile cycle parking facilities to service public events. I am also extending support for exemplary projects in other parts of the country and I recently announced schemes in Galway City.

Support for awareness initiatives. I have already put two new websites in place to provide information on the new policies. I have also launched Ireland's first National Bike Week 2009, which ran successfully from 14th to the 21st June, and I am committed to running this as an annual event.

In all, progress is being made on most of the actions in the new Smarter Travel policy and I hope to deliver further initiatives this year. I would re-iterate that both policies offer a long-term vision that stretches from 2009 to 2020.

The wide-ranging nature of the individual interventions, their interlinked nature, and the undeniable challenges that face us in terms of availability of resources, means that it would not, however, be productive, at this stage, to assign precise deadlines to each action.

Delivery of the vision involves not only the provision of excellent infrastructure, but also requires a change in the national mindset. I am satisfied that sufficient funding is available this year to commence the process of changing the public perception and also to enable progress on key initiatives.

Proposed Legislation.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

31 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport if he will amend the Harbours Act 1996 through the mechanism of the Merchant Shipping Bill to increase the mandatory retirement age for maritime pilots from 60 to 65; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28408/09]

As I have indicated in both the Committee and Report Stage debates on the Harbours (Amendment) Bill 2008, my officials are examining the issue of section 69 of the Harbours Act 1996 in consultation with the Office of the Attorney General.

It is my intention to introduce such an amendment during the passage of the Merchant Shipping Bill 2009 through the Oireachtas.

Driving Tests.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

32 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport when he will publish his plans for green driving tests and enhanced eco-driving education; if he will report on the key headings and objectives of the proposed green driving tests and eco-driving plans; if legislation will be necessary for the new eco-driving measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28389/09]

Smarter Travel, the Government policy on Sustainable Transport, proposes a number of initiatives relating to eco-driving and driver behaviour.

I have established a joint working group between the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the National Sustainable Travel Office (NSTO) of my Department to develop a structured overall plan to ensure that eco driving becomes part of the driving culture. Progress to date is as follows:

Eco driving has featured in both the Change and Power of 1 campaigns.

The RSA has ensured that compulsory annual training of drivers of certain categories of vehicles includes an eco driving element.

The registration of driving instructors is almost completed and the RSA propose including a module in compulsory basic training (initially these will only affect motorcyclists) related to eco driving.

The RSA are also looking at changes to the Rules of the Road and driving test.

Any changes to the national driving test to include eco driving measures will require to legislation by way of secondary legislation.

Light Rail Project.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

33 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding all preparation works for the big dig and the upcoming major infrastructural works in Dublin for metro north, the Luas link-up and the Dublin rail interconnector; when the public information campaign on the big dig will begin; what it will comprise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28400/09]

I have previously advised the House that traffic management in Dublin City centre, including public information campaigns relating to traffic management, is a matter for Dublin City Council.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Dublin City Manager chairs the Dublin Transport 21 Implementation Group, which coordinates and oversees the Transport 21 investment programme in Dublin, pending the establishment of the Dublin Transport Authority.

Two sub-groups have been established:

The Contingency Planning Group, which is chaired by an official from Dublin City Council, deals with the traffic management strategy for the Transport 21 construction phase, focussed particularly on the city centre. I understand that the Contingency Planning Sub-Group meet monthly. Contingency planning will be an ongoing process during project construction. The Contingency Planning Group has developed an initial plan which includes traffic measures such as the provision of Park and Ride sites, enhanced public transport services, Real Time Passenger Information installations for bus stops, dedicated breakdown towing services, a bus gate at College Green and improved traffic light control at specific junctions. This will be kept under regular review by the Transport 21 Implementation Group.

The Communications Group, which has prepared a co-ordinated communications strategy for the construction period of major Transport 21 projects, such as Metro North and the Interconnector.

I last met the Stakeholders Group regarding the major Transport 21 infrastructural works in Dublin on 11 May 2009 at which the co-ordinated communications plan for the construction period of the major Transport 21 projects such as Metro North and the DART Underground was presented. A key theme of communications during construction works is "Dublin is open for business".

The communications campaign will be rolled out in advance of works on Metro North. The commencement of works is subject to the grant of an enforceable railway order by An Bord Pleanála.

Haulage Licences.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

34 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Transport his response to the Garda Ombudsman who claimed that the gardaí had provided sufficient information to his Department to make an appropriate judgment on whether to issue a haulier licence to a person (details supplied); his views on whether he made the correct decision; if there was procedural failings by his Department; his plans for policy or procedure changes in his Department related to haulage licence character checks; if the licence issued to the person will be revoked; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28544/09]

I have not yet received the Report in question. It would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment on this matter until the Report has been received and examined.

Question No. 35 answered with Question No. 7.
Question No. 36 answered with Question No. 20.

Employment Rights.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

37 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention and the way it will benefit maritime workers; his views on increasing the number of marine surveyors and inspectors operating in ports here in view of the recent reports from senior officials (details supplied) on the bad conditions in which many mariners are forced to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28409/09]

Ireland has been an active supporter of negotiations on the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention in its efforts to promote global labour standards for seafarers. The Convention will enter into force twelve months after 30 Member States representing 33% of the world's tonnage have ratified the convention. The latest information is that five Member States representing 44% of the world's tonnage have ratified the convention.

The recently published Merchant Shipping Bill 2009 contains provisions to enable Ireland to ratify the Convention. The Convention will benefit seafarers as it contains provisions relating to the living and working conditions on board ships in terms of food, accommodation and hours of work but does not include rates of pay. It also introduces a certification scheme to ensure compliance by all flag States.

The number of Surveyors in my Department has recently been increased to thirty one by the recruitment of seven new Surveyors who will be involved in inspections on the enforcement of the Convention.

Transport Sector.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

38 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Transport his views on the recent OECD report that competitiveness would be restored through stronger competition; his plans to increase business competition in the transport sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28562/09]

The Agreed Programme for Government includes commitments to reform bus licensing to facilitate the optimum provision of services by providing a level playing field for all market participants, and to examine the need for a National Transport Regulator in the context of the overall review of the economic regulatory environment.

The legislative framework to support the authorisation and provision of improved public bus services in the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) has already been updated through the passage of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008, which establishes a new contractual structure relating to the provision of subvented bus and rail services in the GDA. This is in compliance with EU Regulation No. 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road which comes into force on 3 December 2009 and provides for a new contractual framework regulating how Member States award exclusive rights and pay compensation for services deemed to be ‘Public Service Obligations.' The Act also provides that existing PSO bus and rail services can be procured by the DTA through direct award contracts but that future growth in subvented services must be procured by way of open tendering.

On 21 January 2009 the Government approved the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill. The primary purpose of the Bill is to establish a modern system for the licensing of commercial public bus passenger services by the DTA with the objective of promoting regulated competition in the provision of licensed public bus passenger services on a national basis in the public interest, as well as the promotion of integrated, well-functioning and cost efficient public passenger transport services. In addition to the reform of the Road Transport Act 1932, as amended, which applies to the licensing of private bus operators, and relevant provisions of the Transport Act 1958 that relate to the provision of bus services by the State bus companies, the Bill will also provide for the introduction of new contractual arrangements for the procurement of bus and rail services on a national basis that is modelled on the approach established in the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 in respect of the GDA. Future growth in the market for subvented bus services will be addressed by public service contracts entered into following open tendering processes.

The Bill will also see the role of the Commission for Taxi Regulation being assumed by the Dublin Transport Authority and the re-naming of that body as the National Transport Authority so as to reflect its expanded national role in relation to commercial bus licensing, bus and rail subvention and the regulation of small public service vehicles.

In the light of the Government approval to the General Scheme, the draft Bill has been prepared and has been circulated to Government Departments for observations. On their receipt, it is my intention to seek Government approval to the publication of the Bill as soon as possible.

Public Transport.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

39 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport when technical improvements which were recommended in the Deloitte report, including the early introduction of integrated ticketing, real time information, and AVL systems will be introduced for public bus services; the status of the Deloitte report recommendations; if he will ensure they are implemented in full; if so, the time frame and mechanism for implementation; the way he will invigilate these processes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28381/09]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Priority Question No. 3 of today.

Ministerial Appointments.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

40 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Transport the reason he has not appointed a new chairman for the Dublin Port Company; when the appointment will be made for this job in view of the challenges facing Dublin and all of the national ports at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28407/09]

Section 30 of the Harbours Act 1996 provides for consultation with a number of bodies before appointments to port company boards are made.

Various bodies including the Chambers of Commerce of Ireland, IBEC and ICTU were invited to submit nominations for the current vacancy on the board of Dublin Port Company.

I have received a number of nominations and will take these into account when making my decision. In the meantime the board selects an acting chairperson for its meetings, as provided for in its Articles of Association.

Road Safety.

Kathleen Lynch

Ceist:

41 Deputy Kathleen Lynch asked the Minister for Transport his views on the recent European Transport Safety Council statement which indicates that Ireland will be one of the states which will not hit the target of reducing road deaths by 50% between 2001 and 2010 as the percentage change in road deaths in Ireland between 2001 and 2008 was just 32%; the steps he will take to address this target; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28388/09]

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

48 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Transport his views on the number of road deaths and collisions over the past few months including the loss of 32 lives on roads here in May 2009 compared with 19 deaths on the roads in May 2008; the measures, including legislative and enforcement, he is taking to address this trend; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28384/09]

I propose to take Questions 48 and 41 together.

Road safety is a key priority for Government, and this commitment is underpinned by the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012. We are still on target to meet the overall Road Safety Strategy target of reducing road deaths to no greater than 60 fatalities per million population by the end of 2012. This would equate to an average of 21 road deaths per month or 252 per year; the total for 2008 was 279 and the figure to date (7th July) is 128, down 15 on the same date last year.

The European Transport Safety Council report sees Ireland improve its standing from 9th position in 2007 to 6th position in 2008 out of the 27 EU Member States in terms of road fatalities per million of population.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

42 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport the amount of funding which has been allocated to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety specifically to target drug driving for these years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28393/09]

The number of specimens tested for the presence of a drug or drugs by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety for the years 2005 to 2008 is as follows:

2005

2006

2007

2008 (provisional figure)

747

879

1,555

1,900

Figures for 2009 are not available at this time.

While my Department provides annual funding to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, the allocation of resources to the various programmes is a matter for the Bureau itself.

Question No. 43 answered with Question No. 14.

Driving Tests.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

44 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the new EU road safety regulations including the requirement for a driver certificate of professional competence which will come into force on 10 September 2009; if the Road Safety Authority will be charged with implementing these new regulations; if additional funding will be allocated for the implementation of the new regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28394/09]

Under the Road Safety Authority Act 2006 (Conferral of Functions) Order 2006 (S.I. No. 477 of 2006) the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has responsibility for these matters.

In 2008 I introduced legislation entitled the European Communities (Vehicle Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence) Regulations, which gave effect to Directive 2003/59/EC. From 10th September 2009, all truck drivers who drive for a living will be required to have a driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). Drivers of vehicles for non-commercial purposes are exempt from the CPC test. Any drivers holding a valid full license in the truck license category on or before 9th September 2009 are automatically entitled to the new driver CPC. A driver applying for a truck license on or after 10th September 2009 will now be required to pass a further theory and practical driving test in addition to the ordinary truck driving test if they wish to become a professional truck driver.

The resourcing by the RSA of the implementation of the new regulations was considered as part of the overall budget for the RSA for 2009.

Tax Code.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

45 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport if he has received, from the Department of Finance, a copy of the cost benefit analysis of the new €10 air travel tax; if he has undertaken an investigation of the impact of the air travel tax on air passenger numbers and traffic; if so, if he will publish this research; his views on the statement of a person (details supplied) that thousands of aviation jobs may be lost in 2009 and 2010 as a result of the air travel tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28403/09]

The airline industry, along with other industries within the transport sector and beyond, continues to go through a difficult trading period. However, the Government does not accept that the decline in passenger numbers experienced by the airports in the State is due to the introduction of the air travel tax.

The difficult trading period in the airline industry arises primarily from weak world economic activity. The present decline in air travel is an international phenomenon and as a result aviation services are contracting on a global basis. As the Deputy may be aware the Airports Council International Europe, for example, has reported that Europe's airports have posted an average fall of 12.4% in passenger traffic in Q1 2009 compared to the same period last year. The International Air Transport Association reports also reflect such declines.

In the case of Ireland the decline in passenger numbers through our airports is broadly in line with our international counterparts including those airports where there is no travel tax in place. This downward trend has been evident for periods prior to the introduction of the air travel tax. Furthermore, passenger numbers for other modes of transport have also experienced broadly similar declines.

Ireland is not unique in regard to applying a tax on air travel. Other countries within the EU apply similar taxes such as the UK and France, as do Australia and New Zealand. The UK has a relatively high travel tax but traffic there declined by 10% in the first Quarter of 2009, as compared with first quarter of 2008, which is in line with trends internationally arising from the economic downturn. The rates for the Irish air travel tax are not unreasonable both for shorter and longer journeys, when compared to rates in other countries.

The scale of the air travel tax of €10 or €2 arises in the context of a much larger purchasing decision involving travel, hotel expenditures etc, and this serves to limit the impact on tourist numbers. It should also be recognised that tourists are only subject to the tax on their return journey.

Ireland currently faces significant financial challenges and the air travel tax is just one element of the Government's response to those challenges. As regards the taxation of airlines it is worth noting that fuel used by commercial airlines is by international agreement completely exempt from tax, so it's a sector that already has considerable preferential treatment.

Airport Development Projects.

David Stanton

Ceist:

46 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport his plans for the future status and development of Cork Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28580/09]

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

49 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport the status of the State Airports Act 2004; if he will repeal the legislation; if so, the timeframe for the repeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28402/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49 and 46 together.

In December last, following the recommendations of the boards of the three State Airport Authorities, I announced the deferral until 2011 of a decision on the separation of the Airports under the State Airports Act, 2004 given the current very difficult circumstances for the aviation sector.

When I considered the business plans of the three airports and the views of the boards, I accepted their overall conclusion that it would be best to defer the separation of the three airports. I took the view that it would be best to provide a reasonable period of time to enable the boards and management of these airports to address the very significant challenges facing the aviation market and decided to defer a decision on separation to 2011.

New governance arrangements, which have now been agreed with the Dublin Airport Authority, will provide an opportunity for Cork Airport to realise the potential provided by the very substantial investment in the airport in recent years.

In the circumstances the repeal of the State Airports Act, 2004 does not arise.

Transport Costs.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

47 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if he has made comparisons between transport costs here and those applicable in other jurisdictions; the degree to which the main features of extra costs here have been identified; the action he will take of a policy nature which might address these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28427/09]

Comparative data on transport costs are not readily available from respected international statistical sources such as Eurostat and the International Transport Forum.

Cost competitiveness is a key consideration for Ireland as an open export–oriented economy and transport costs are one of the many factors influencing that competitiveness. Ireland's peripheral location impacts on transport costs for a range of reasons including:

Distance from our principal export markets;

Diseconomies of scale associated with operating in a small domestic market;

Higher administrative costs relating to distance;

The need to maintain higher stock levels to meet tight supply turnaround times.

The large transport investment being undertaken by this Government will help reduce the cost of transport. For example the huge investment in our major urban motorways and dual carriageways is bringing about substantial reductions in travel times and in the variance in journey times. Investment in public transport is helping to reduce urban congestion and improve the efficiency of the urban economy. Commercial investment by our ports and airports in increasing capacity and improving efficiency thereby contributing to reduced costs for business.

Question No. 48 answered with Question No. 41.
Question No. 49 answered with Question No. 46.

Rural Transport Services.

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

50 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his policy in relation to the development of public transport links in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28102/09]

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

52 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Transport his views on the need to have a comprehensive public transport system in rural areas here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28101/09]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

447 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport if he will review rural transport policy with the obligation of existing services to new areas or regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29493/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 52, 50 and 447 together.

The provision of public transport services in rural areas is being progressed in the context of my Department's Rural Transport Programme and the Government's sustainable travel and transport plan Smarter Travel — A Sustainable Transport Future.

Thirty seven rural community transport groups are being funded under my Department's Rural Transport Programme (RTP) which is now operational in every county. These groups are working towards maximising coverage in their operational areas having regard to local public transport service needs and the availability of resources.

Arrangements for the provision of services funded under the Programme are matters for individual rural community transport groups. Local communities know best where the transport needs are in their rural areas and how best to address those needs.

In addition, Bus Éireann and a number of private transport operators provide public transport services in rural areas.

Building on these achievements Smarter Travel, which I published in February 2009, provides the strategic framework for the further development of public transport services throughout the country.

The provision of public transport generally outside of the Greater Dublin Area will also be supported by a new legislative framework that will be promoted through the proposed Public Transport Regulation Bill. The Bill, the General Scheme of which was approved by Government in January 2009, will contain proposals for a new regime for the licensing of all commercial bus services, and for contracts for public transport services.

My Department is also supporting the Louth County Council Age Friendly Initiative by funding a study to map all transport services in the county, to assess age-related needs and to look at delivery models for a pilot scheme to provide a more comprehensive local transport service to complement nationally organised transport.

Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 30.
Question No. 52 answered with Question No. 50.

Public Transport.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

53 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Transport if he has considered the recommendations of the rural transport report recently published by an organisation (details supplied); if he will implement any of the proposals outlined in this report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23112/09]

I presume that the Deputy is referring to the research study Towards A Sustainable Rural Transport Policy relating to the challenges of developing more sustainable travel patterns for persons living in rural areas, which Comhar, the Sustainable Development Council, commissioned Irish Rural Link to undertake.

The research findings in the Comhar/Irish Rural Link report are broadly consistent with the aims and objectives of the Government's sustainable transport policy as set out in Smartertravel — A New Transport Policy for Ireland 2009 to 2020, which was published earlier this year. Both documents recognise the need for more sustainable alternatives to the private car as the primary means of transport, the importance of reducing overall travel demand through mobility management measures, the importance of maximising the efficiency of the public transport network through greater alignment between land use and transport planning policies, the need to reduce transport emissions, and the importance of improving accessibility to sustainable means of transport.

The Comhar/Irish Rural Link report is currently being examined by my officials and the proposals contained therein will be borne in mind in the context of progressing the various actions relating to rural transport that are contained in Smartertravel.

Air Services.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

54 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport his views on a new aviation white paper on Ireland’s national strategic air connectivity; his further views on recent proposals by Aer Lingus to end flights between Shannon and New York and Chicago during the winter season; if he has been briefed on this matter by the Government appointed directors to Aer Lingus; if he will publish the Government’s cost benefit analysis on the €10 air travel tax; his views on new initiatives to enhance the connectivity of Shannon, Dublin and Cork Airports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28378/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

57 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the initiatives he is considering to address all of the major issues in the aviation sector including the loss of aviation jobs at airline operators and in the aviation maintenance and engineering industries, the declining volume of passengers in the travel and transport industry and the impact of the new €10 airport departure tax on travel and tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28377/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 57 together.

The aviation sector and particularly the airline sector is extremely cyclical in nature. The airline sector is being badly affected by the current global economic downturn which has led to a significant reduction in consumer demand for air travel, particularly on long-haul routes. The International Air Transport Association, which represents 230 airlines, comprising 93% of international air traffic, has projected industry wide losses of $9 billion this year. Revenues are expected to fall by 15%, which is more than double the rate of decline experienced following the September 11 terrorist attacks. With regard to passenger numbers, Airports Council International Europe has reported that Europe's airports posted an average fall of 12.4% in passenger traffic in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year. The International Air Transport Association reports also reflect such declines.

My Department's main objective is to assist airports and airlines to respond to the downturn in the sector, while maintaining the highest possible levels of connectivity between Ireland and key markets. Across the world, airlines have been cutting capacity and routes and recent decisions by Aer Lingus, Delta and Ryanair reflect this trend. In a global market, which is fully liberalised within the EU, the scope for measures to provide direct support to airports and carriers is very limited. The focus must therefore be on managing through a severe downturn and being well positioned for an upturn when economic circumstances improve.

The suspension of some key transatlantic services for the winter season recently announced by Aer Lingus and Delta is extremely disappointing. I am particularly concerned at the impact of these developments on connectivity of the Mid-West region to the wider US market from both a business and tourism perspective. I made these concerns known on behalf of the Government to the Aer Lingus Chairman when he informed me of the proposals. I immediately wrote to the State's three directors to remind them of their mandate and requested that they take account of Government policy on connectivity, regional development and industrial development in the board's consideration of the matter. It is acknowledged that the duties of the State nominated directors on the board of Aer Lingus derive from the Companies Acts and that they are obliged to pursue the best interests of the company.

The Government does not accept that the decline in passenger numbers experienced by the airports in the State is due to the introduction of the air travel tax. The present decline in air travel is an international phenomenon. In the case of Ireland the decline in passenger numbers through our airports is broadly in line with our international counterparts including those airports where there is no travel tax in place. This downward trend has been evident for periods prior to the introduction of the air travel tax. Furthermore, passenger numbers for other modes of transport have also experienced broadly similar declines.

Looking to the future, the challenge will be to ensure that Irish aviation is well positioned to take advantage of the economic recovery when it comes. To this end my Department will:

continue to liaise with carriers to protect and promote connectivity between Ireland and key markets;

take measures to enhance our bilateral aviation relations with emerging markets such as China and India;

finalise arrangements for the implementation of US Preclearance for flights from Shannon from end July 2009 and from Dublin when the new terminal opens in late 2010;

oversee the tender competition for an operator for Terminal 2 and ensure that the Dublin Airport Authority maximises cost efficiencies;

ensure that the Dublin Airport Authority strikes the right balance between managing short-term financial pressures and ensuring longer-term financial sustainability at all 3 State airports;

liaise with Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, IDA, Enterprise Ireland and DAA to facilitate development of aviation maintenance projects in particular to replace jobs lost at SR Technics.

Flood Relief.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

55 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Transport the level of funding which will be made available in order to alleviate the damage caused by flooding in County Donegal in June 2009. [28343/09]

In September 2004 the Government confirmed the Office of Public Works (OPW) as the State's lead agency in flooding, to be tasked with delivering an integrated, multifaceted programme aimed at mitigating future flood risk and impact.

As regards flooding of roads, the improvement and maintenance of regional and local roads is a matter for the relevant local authority, to be funded from its own resources supplemented by State road grants paid by my Department. The initial selection of works to be funded from these grants is also a matter for the local authority. Funding of national roads is a matter for the National Roads Authority.

When road grants for regional and local roads are allocated each year, my Department does not hold back a reserve allocation at central level to deal with weather contingencies. Such an arrangement would mean a reduction across all local authorities in the road grant allocations to them at the beginning of each year. Instead, the allocation made to local authorities is inclusive of the weather risk factor. Local authorities are expressly advised that they should set aside contingency sums from their overall regional and local roads resources to finance necessary weather related works.

In 2009, grants totalling €28.664 million were allocated to Donegal County Council for works on regional and local roads. This included a discretionary maintenance grant of €2 million and a discretionary improvement grant of €846,000. These grants are available at the discretion of Donegal County Council to fund contingency works arising from weather conditions.

My Department would also be prepared to consider sympathetically any request from Donegal County Council to adjust its multi-annual Restoration Programmes in order to prioritise work necessitated by severe weather conditions. In 2009, Donegal County Council was allocated a restoration improvement grant of €9.384 million and a restoration maintenance grant of €5.750 million.

In very exceptional circumstances, my Department will consider applications for additional funding of remedial works to roads and bridges following flooding. Consideration of any applications for financial assistance would, of course, have to take account of the current budgetary situation and the resources already allocated to the county.

Question No. 56 answered with Question No. 20.
Question No. 57 answered with Question No. 54.

Transport Policy.

Mary Upton

Ceist:

58 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Transport if he has had contacts with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on the planned national electric car roll-out programme; the number of businesses which have taken up the option of a 100% write-off on the cost of purchase of electric vehicles against tax under the accelerated capital allowance scheme to date; the commencement date for the public information campaign on electric vehicles; the number of electric vehicles in the national car fleet; the percentage of the national car fleet they comprise; when the ministerial car and public vehicle fleets will be electrified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28410/09]

I have been in contact with the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on the plans for electric cars. In February I launched Smarter Travel, Ireland's new sustainable transport policy. It contains a commitment that electric cars will form 10% of the market by 2020. The most recent figures available to my Department (May 2009) indicate that 0.2% of vehicles (3,758) are a declared fuel-type of hybrid electric cars. This gives some idea of the scale of our ambition to increase this figure significantly.

Since the launch of Smarter Travel my officials have been in regular contact with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to assist in the preparation of a national plan to meet this target. The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has the lead responsibility in relation to the matter. The Deputy's specific questions relating to tax write-off and Ministerial vehicles are a matter for the Ministers for Finance and Justice, Equality and Law Reform respectively.

Departmental Staff.

David Stanton

Ceist:

59 Deputy David Stanton asked the Minister for Transport the number of staff working in his Department at various grade levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28579/09]

The following table provides the information requested by the Deputy.

Grade

Number

Secretary General

1.00

Assistant Secretary

5.00

Principal Officer

21.00

Assistant Principal

45.63

Higher Executive Officer

80.53

Administrative Officer

8.00

Executive Officer

89.33

Staff Officer

17.70

Clerical Officer

144.26

Ministerial staff

5.00

Services Officer

16.10

Telephonist

2.03

Irish Coast Guard — Professional & Technical

63.00

Marine Survey Office — Professional & Technical

31.00

All other Technical & Professional

17.00

Total

546.58

Road Safety.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

60 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Transport if he will report on the graduated driving licence scheme; when he will publish the legislation necessary to implement the full GDLS; the reason there has been a delay in rolling out this road safety measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28390/09]

The Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 outlines a range of measures to be considered in relation to a Graduated Driver Licensing System (GDLS). The driver licensing regulations, which were made in October 2007, providing for the introduction of a learner permit to replace the provisional licence and some other measures, were the first step in the introduction of a GDLS. A progressive roll-out of appropriate measures is envisaged as the most practical approach for implementing a GDLS.

On 13 January 2009 the Road Safety Authority (RSA) launched a consultation process on a GDLS and published a consultation paper. This contains a number of possible measures and the RSA also welcomes other suggestions from the public. This consultation process has now been completed and the RSA is considering responses. Proposals will be submitted in due course for my consideration. It is too soon to say what the timeframe for that will be or whether new legislation will be required.

Air Services.

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

61 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Transport his views on the recent €1 increase in airport charges from €7.39 per person to €8.35 beginning in January 2010 that was sanctioned by the Commission on Aviation Regulation; if he expects airport charges to rise further when terminal two is opened at Dublin Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28405/09]

I have no role in determining the per passenger charges at Dublin airport. The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the independent regulatory body responsible for setting maximum passenger charges at Dublin Airport.

Question No. 62 answered with Question No. 13.

Proposed Legislation.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

63 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Transport the reason bus licensing legislation to replace the Road Transport Act 1932 has not been introduced; the reason for the ongoing delay in publishing this legislation; the proposed publication date for the bill; the proposed key headings and objectives of the bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28382/09]

In January 2009, the Government approved the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill which contains proposals for a new bus licensing regime which will replace 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. In accordance with the Programme for Government commitment, the proposed licensing regime will provide a level playing field for all bus market participants.

The new licensing structure will apply in respect of all commercial bus passenger services, including those provided by Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann. It will establish a clear framework for assessing applications for bus route licences as well as a modern system of penalties and associated powers for revocation of licences.

The general scheme of the Bill also contains proposals for extending nationally contractual arrangements for the procurement of bus and rail services modelled on the approach established in the provisions of the Dublin Transport Authority Act 2008 in respect of the Greater Dublin Area. Future growth in the market for subvented bus services will be addressed by public service contracts entered into following open tendering processes. The provisions are consistent with the requirements in relation to the provision of public service obligations in EU Regulation No. 1370/2007 on public passenger transport services by rail and by road.

The Bill will assign responsibility to the Dublin Transport Authority for bus route licensing and the award of public service contracts nationwide. It will also provide for the amalgamation of the Commission for Taxi Regulation into the DTA, as well as the renaming of the DTA as the National Transport Authority given its proposed national responsibility in relation to commercial bus licensing, bus and rail subvention and the regulation of small public service vehicles.

There has been no delay in introducing the legislation. Following Government approval of the General Scheme of the Public Transport Regulation Bill in January, a Bill has been drafted and has been circulated to Government Departments for observations. On their receipt, it is my intention to seek Government approval to the publication of the Bill as soon as possible.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 7.

Penalty Points System.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

65 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Transport the action he will take on the submission by an organisation (details supplied) on shadow licences to address the abuse of the penalty points system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28103/09]

I have not received a submission from the organisation on the matter referred to. However a number of amendments to the fixed charge system are included in the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill.

Employment Support Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

66 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will provide details of the €250 million job protection programme; when she expects this scheme to commence; the financial mechanisms being used to fund the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29525/09]

The Government is proposing to introduce a Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme. The purpose of this scheme will be to help the economy to retain its productive capacity and help employers to retain the labour, knowledge and skills of the workforce, thereby supporting a faster return to sustainable growth; help employees to retain their jobs, and ensure that economic and fiscal stability is promoted by avoiding the costs of unemployment including statutory redundancy payments and the longer-term cost of social welfare.

It is proposed that the Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme will apply to companies in the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors that are currently engaged in exporting. In addition in order to qualify for support it is intended that a company must not have been in difficulty on 1 July 2008, and a financial assessment must establish that it is now facing such difficulties as a result of the global and financial economic crisis that redundancies are likely to have to be considered within 12 months. It is also intended that a company must also be judged to be viable and capable of growth in the medium term in order to receive support under the scheme. Enterprise Ireland will be administering the scheme and they will determine whether a company meets the eligibility criteria of the scheme.

It is intended that a national steering committee will be established to oversee the implementation of the scheme comprising representatives of the relevant Government Departments and the Social Partners.

The Government is in discussions with the Social Partners with a view to implementing the Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme over the coming period. It is intended to have the scheme in operation with the first tranche of payments being made to companies after the summer. The resourcing of this scheme will be determined by Government shortly.

Departmental Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

67 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding proposal 24 listed in annex D of budget 2009; the date the proposal will be fully completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29577/09]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

85 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 119 of the 28 of April 2009, the progress made in this area; the expected date by which she expects to have completed the amalgamation of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29583/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 67 and 85 together.

As the Deputy is aware, during the course of the budget speech last October, my colleague the Minister for Finance announced the merger of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority as part of the rationalisation of State Agencies. It is my intention to bring forward legislation during the course of 2009 to implement this merger.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

68 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment further to Parliamentary Question No. 1 of 10 June 2009 with regard to the FÁS training and community programmes listed, the courses offered in each category; the duration of each course; the location where each course is available; the annual capacity of each course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29920/09]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

108 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the courses offered with regard to the FÁS training and community programmes; the duration of each course; the location where each course is available; the annual capacity of each course; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29895/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 68 and 108 together.

The types of training programmes provided by FÁS across the Training Services, Community Services and Services to Business categories include Short courses, Traineeships, Bridging /Foundation courses, Return to Work Training Courses, Community Employment Schemes as well as more recent initiatives such as the Redundant Apprenticeship Rotation Scheme. Information on the range of training programmes offered by FÁS Training Services Division and Community Services Division by programme type, duration and potential beneficiaries are provided in tabular format.

FÁS training courses are delivered on a national basis. In terms of their specific location each of the eight FÁS regions, in consultation with the relevant regional stakeholders, develop appropriate plans regarding the location, delivery, range, mix and type of training courses appropriate to the needs of their region. Information on the precise location of individual courses can be accessed through the local FÁS employment services office. Information in regard to the full list of courses available under each category provided for by FÁS are available on the FÁS website.

FÁS Training Services Division and Services to Business Division

Programme

Programme Type

Typical Duration

Potential Beneficiaries (approx.)

Delivery Location

Bridging Foundation Training

Aimed at disadvantaged clients

8 to 20 weeks duration

4,643

Nationally

Return to Work Programme

Bridging Programme specifically for persons wishing to return to employment

10 weeks

855

Nationally

Specific Skills Training

Wide range of skills training with an appropriate vocational qualification

Vary in length the typical duration is 20 –26 weeks but it can be up to a maximum of 48 weeks

10,237

Nationally

Short Course Programme

Short Courses targeted at redundant persons with high employability

8 weeks

15,710

Nationally

Traineeship

Occupational specific and industry endorsed training

20 to 40 weeks

3,014

Nationally

Redundant Apprenticeship Training

Skills and knowledge training and assessment for apprentices

20 weeks

3,800

Nationally

Sponsored Training

Fee paying training provided by FÁS to companies for people in employment

Determined by the requirements of each skill set

2,512

Nationally

Evening Courses

Provided for unemployed persons and fee paying employed clients to upskill and obtain accreditation

10 weeks

30,448

Nationally

On-line learning

Training in a wide range of skills and knowledge for persons with access to PC

10 weeks

6,000

Nationally

Blended Learning

On-line learning with tutor support and workshops

10 weeks

6,949

Nationally

Work Placement Programme

A work placement programme for the unemployed including graduates. Participants on the scheme will retain their social welfare entitlements.

6 months

2000

Nationally

Short Time Working Training Programme

Will provide training to people on systematic short-time for the days they are not working

52 weeks

277

Nationally

FÁS Community Services Division

Programme

Programme Type

Typical Duration

Potential Beneficiaries (approx)

Delivery Location

Community Employment

Employment programme

3 years max under 55.6 years max for 55+1 extra year for persons with a disability

22,780

Nationally

Job Initiative (closed to new recruitment November 2004)

Employment programme

n/a

1,435

Nationally

Community Training Centres

Training programme

Varies depending on individual learning needs

2,300

Nationally

Local Training Initiatives

Training programme

1 year

2,100

Nationally

Specialist Training Providers

Training/Employment programme for persons with disabilities

18 months average

2,000

Nationally

Employability Services(formerly Supported Employment)

Training/Employment programme for persons with disabilities

18 months average

3,000

Nationally

Job Clubs

Training programme

Drop-in service, typically for 3 weeks average

7,800

Nationally

Special Initiative for Travellers

Training programme

18 months average

140

Nationally

Work Placement Programme.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

69 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the uptake of the work placement programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29921/09]

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

70 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the uptake of the short time working programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29922/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 70 together.

My Department, along with the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Department of Education and Science, have been working closely together to ensure a significant response to the unemployment situation. The Work Placement Programme and the Short Time Working Training Programme, which were announced in the supplementary budget, are but two initiatives that have been created to contribute to the challenge of activating and training the unemployed. It should be noted that these programmes form only an element of the Government's response to the unemployment challenge, which also includes a substantial increase in job search, training and education supports.

The Work Placement Programme has been created to provide 2,000 six-month work experience places for graduates and other individuals. The aim of this scheme is to provide invaluable work experience to individuals who are unemployed, who have recently graduated from college or have very limited experience of the workplace.

To date the number of individuals who have expressed an interest with FÁS in the Programme and who meet the eligible criteria stands at 192. In terms of places, FÁS has received 180 inquiries to date from potential providers, which has resulted in 155 actual places being offered by providers. Considering that FÁS is in the process of finalising its targeted publicity campaign of the Programme, it is encouraging that it is experiencing a considerable level of interest from individuals and providers in the Programme.

The Short Time Training Programme will provide training and income support to 277 workers currently on systematic short time working. Under this programme workers who are on a three-day week and receiving social welfare payments for the days they are not working will receive two days training a week for a period of 52 weeks.

FÁS is in the process of allocating the places on this programme across a number of regions using either its Employment Services offices or its Local Services to Business Unit. To date 124 places have been allocated across two FÁS Regions. FÁS is continuing to explore a number of other possible inquiries from other FÁS regions in relation to the allocation of the remaining places. It is intended that these places will be allocated in the coming weeks.

Redundancy Payments.

Dan Neville

Ceist:

71 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will make a statement on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [28805/09]

The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department received an application on 1 April, 2009 for a statutory redundancy lump sum payment in respect of the individual referred to. In instances where an employer is unable or refuses to pay the statutory lump sum as required in the first instance, my Department pays the statutory amount from the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) but, before doing so, the Department requires documentary evidence in support of the claim of inability to pay.

In all such cases, the employer is asked to provide to the Department a letter from his accountant or solicitor confirming inability to pay as well as other documentary evidence (i.e. audited accounts or statement of affairs) within 30 days of the Department's request. In this particular case, the necessary support documentation has now been supplied and the documents are currently being examined. Assuming the documentation is in order, it should be possible to issue payment in this case shortly.

Community Employment Schemes.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

72 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if a person, who was made unemployed 12 months ago but in the intervening time signed off for a few days and suspended their jobseeker’s payment for that short period, will qualify for community employment under current rules; and the way short periods of employment are treated in relation to eligibility for community employment. [28810/09]

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. CE helps unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to a work routine and to assist them to enhance-develop both their technical and personal skills.

The criteria for participating on the community employment programme are based on age and length of time in receipt of various social welfare payments. CE is not designed to cater for short-term unemployed persons as they are not as far removed from the open labour market as the main client group for the programme. To facilitate some short-term employment opportunities, breaks off the live register of up to 30 days are permissible with the 12-month eligibility period, while still maintaining eligibility for CE.

CE remains as an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment. The programme is managed within this context, with consideration to the availability of resources and the needs of participants and the community.

FÁS provides a range programmes aimed specifically at the short-term unemployed, details of which are available from any FÁS Employment Services office, Local Employment Service offices or from the FÁS website www.fas.ie.

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

73 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of staff employed by her Department in County Louth by location; if such staff are permanent, temporary, part-time or on fixed contracts and so on; the accommodation used by such staff and if same is owned, leased or otherwise rented by her Department; the cost of same per annum; if leased, when such lease expires; her proposals to close, amalgamate or expand her Department’s presence in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28849/09]

My Department does not have staff employed in County Louth.

Public Service Review.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

74 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if her Department made submissions to the McCarthy group on potential savings in her Department; the contents of the submissions made; if the McCarthy group made proposals to her Department; the contents of the proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28895/09]

At the commencement of its work, the special group on public service numbers and expenditure programmes, which is chaired by Mr. Colm McCarthy, invited my Department to submit an evaluation paper to the group, setting out the main areas of spending in my Department. This paper was submitted to the special group in January 2009 and included a number of options for potential savings within my Department's Vote. The group has recently submitted a report on its considerations of all Departmental Votes to the Minister for Finance, and the Minister will bring the report to Government in the near future. Decisions on the release of the report and associated documents will be made by Government in due course.

Employment Levels.

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

75 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the breakdown of employment in each county on a full-time and part-time basis for 2009; the breakdown of employment in each county on a full-time and part-time basis for each of the past ten years; the breakdown of employment for each county by sector and in relation to the type of employment for 2009; the breakdown of employment for each county by sector and in relation to the type of employment for each of the past ten years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29235/09]

Data in respect of employment in agency assisted companies are collated by Forfás on an annual basis and accordingly data for 2009 will not be available until 2010.

The following tabular statements provide data for the period 1998 -2008 at regional and county level in respect of Permanent Full-Time employment and Temporary Part-Time Employment in enterprise agency assisted firms. In addition, tabular data is provided showing sectoral data at county and regional level. For reasons of confidentiality, it is not possible in some cases to provide the same level of detail at sectoral level for every county.

The data shows that at end 2008 the numbers employed in permanent full time employment, in enterprise agency assisted companies, stood at 297,098 which represents an increase of almost 4,000 in the ten year period. While we have seen a decrease of approximately 20,000 in the numbers employed in manufacturing, this has been more than offset by increases in the International and Financial Services sectors.

In addition to the Enterprise Agencies, the County Enterprise Boards play a pivotal role in stimulating local economic development and entrepreneurship and in developing, sustaining and growing the micro-enterprise sector (i.e. companies employing ten or less people). The boards can assist businesses in both the start-up and the expansion phases within this sector but they must, however, give priority to manufacturing and internationally traded services. The total net full-time jobs created in CEB assisted companies for the period 1993 (when the CEBs were established) to end 2008 is 33,811.

Overall employment levels in agency assisted companies have been relatively stable during the past decade, increasing 7.5% from 1998 to 2008. Using output per employee as an indicator, productivity increased two and a half times during the same period (2007 is the latest data available) demonstrating a significant shift toward higher value activities. In principle, higher productivity generates a higher return on investment. This positions Ireland well to attract business investment in the future, which in turn generates new employment opportunities and economic activity. This is borne out by the successes of IDA and EI client companies in 2008.

Strong, balanced regional development and a thriving culture of entrepreneurship in all parts of Ireland are key strategic objectives for my Department and the development agencies under its remit. I am satisfied that the policies and initiatives being pursued by the Industrial Development agencies and the CEBs will continue to bring about industrial development and employment opportunities for the regions.

Permanent Full-Time Employment in Enterprise Agency Assisted Companies by Region and County

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

All Regions

293,117

315,480

312,335

302,795

295,431

294,010

297,490

304,012

306,036

297,098

South East

28,884

28,914

29,325

29,645

29,775

29,300

28,784

29,653

30,710

29,445

Carlow

3,728

3,697

3,778

3,629

3,606

3,395

3,255

3,284

2,933

2,784

Kilkenny

3,676

3,768

3,879

4,224

3,846

3,768

3,927

3,958

4,067

3,797

Tipperary South Riding

4,257

4,669

5,000

5,158

4,899

4,965

5,012

5,043

5,870

6,135

Waterford

10,865

10,519

10,878

11,121

11,619

11,277

10,645

11,363

11,814

10,796

Wexford

6,358

6,261

5,790

5,513

5,805

5,895

5,945

6,005

6,026

5,933

Border

34,174

34,078

32,931

32,082

31,135

31,262

32,314

32,257

32,694

31,456

Cavan

5,165

5,242

5,335

5,829

6,080

6,401

6,974

6,983

7,511

7,888

Donegal

9,389

9,184

9,011

8,420

7,670

7,544

7,595

7,277

7,513

7,341

Leitrim

1,328

1,271

1,604

1,583

2,095

2,182

1,996

1,875

1,794

1,747

Louth

8,873

8,798

7,813

7,081

6,407

6,470

6,749

6,923

6,942

6,389

Monaghan

5,042

5,157

4,906

4,929

4,813

4,589

4,855

5,014

4,972

4,230

Sligo

4,377

4,426

4,262

4,240

4,070

4,076

4,145

4,185

3,962

3,861

Mid West

31,483

33,243

32,055

29,535

28,720

28,540

28,466

29,388

29,271

28,290

Clare

10,444

10,927

10,703

9,997

9,945

10,011

9,842

9,865

9,827

9,960

Limerick

16,813

17,807

17,044

15,581

14,935

14,813

14,969

15,867

15,704

14,817

Tipperary North Riding

4,226

4,509

4,308

3,957

3,840

3,716

3,655

3,656

3,740

3,513

South West

40,044

45,129

45,567

45,028

44,373

45,270

45,629

45,473

44,763

45,088

Cork

33,321

37,621

37,884

37,923

37,529

38,712

39,154

39,185

38,484

39,041

Kerry

6,723

7,508

7,683

7,105

6,844

6,558

6,475

6,288

6,279

6,047

Dublin

92,957

103,370

101,778

97,248

92,110

90,222

90,877

94,905

97,287

95,351

Dublin

92,957

103,370

101,778

97,248

92,110

90,222

90,877

94,905

97,287

95,351

West

26,594

29,073

29,149

27,290

27,362

27,618

28,785

28,932

28,877

28,025

Galway

16,694

18,784

18,474

17,222

17,347

17,983

18,983

19,071

19,022

18,702

Mayo

6,795

7,242

7,566

7,190

7,145

6,828

6,953

7,155

7,124

6,900

Roscommon

3,105

3,047

3,109

2,878

2,870

2,807

2,849

2,706

2,731

2,423

Mid East

26,506

29,138

28,967

29,215

29,435

29,391

29,199

29,615

28,585

26,381

Kildare

13,535

15,496

15,014

15,148

15,223

15,534

16,111

16,309

15,599

14,478

Meath

5,730

6,101

6,245

5,886

5,523

5,608

5,847

6,211

5,943

5,577

Wicklow

7,241

7,541

7,708

8,181

8,689

8,249

7,241

7,095

7,043

6,326

Midlands

12,475

12,535

12,563

12,752

12,521

12,407

13,436

13,789

13,849

13,062

Laois

1,745

1,611

1,733

1,664

1,634

1,436

1,534

1,649

1,621

1,495

Longford

2,228

2,210

2,323

2,130

2,403

2,508

2,785

2,758

2,789

2,708

Offaly

4,350

4,070

3,631

3,912

3,884

3,912

4,095

4,382

4,302

4,147

Westmeath

4,152

4,644

4,876

5,046

4,600

4,551

5,022

5,000

5,137

4,712

Temporary Part-Time Employment in Enterprise Agency Assisted Companies by Region and County

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

All Regions

34,390

36,084

32,791

33,151

34,337

36,512

36,500

36,350

35,230

30,871

South East

3,641

3,851

3,732

3,887

3,564

3,748

4,019

2,912

3,297

3,174

Carlow

420

524

475

369

299

303

227

238

246

181

Kilkenny

426

404

447

478

442

535

526

604

559

515

Tipperary South Riding

483

538

539

516

549

484

648

515

751

744

Waterford

1,748

1,895

1,851

2,058

1,791

1,868

2,052

1,114

1,287

1,232

Wexford

564

490

420

466

483

558

566

441

454

502

Border

4,186

4,358

4,533

4,215

4,250

4,270

4,197

3,990

3,595

3,070

Cavan

479

581

691

639

513

477

336

318

451

463

Donegal

1,862

2,085

2,143

1,951

2,033

2,136

2,106

1,704

1,570

988

Leitrim

121

90

114

181

121

154

223

231

88

181

Louth

1,097

925

680

731

969

901

945

1,063

814

806

Monaghan

289

257

425

382

275

202

320

359

326

290

Sligo

338

420

480

331

339

400

267

315

346

342

Mid West

1,033

2,139

1,917

1,416

2,357

2,870

3,021

3,110

3,529

2,159

Clare

72

964

602

446

721

702

805

598

878

728

Limerick

873

934

1,163

875

1,347

2,038

2,056

2,292

2,433

1,162

Tipperary North Riding

88

241

152

95

289

130

160

220

218

269

South West

5,685

6,411

5,565

6,492

6,298

6,294

6,116

6,762

6,428

5,869

Cork

4,721

5,281

4,497

5,546

5,355

5,291

5,088

5,546

5,372

4,963

Kerry

964

1,130

1,068

946

943

1,003

1,028

1,216

1,056

906

Dublin

10,634

9,619

8,267

9,109

9,162

9,721

10,734

10,259

9,334

9,443

Dublin

10,634

9,619

8,267

9,109

9,162

9,721

10,734

10,259

9,334

9,443

West

5,288

5,401

4,813

4,821

5,516

6,204

5,171

5,701

5,842

3,986

Galway

3,738

3,520

3,321

3,393

4,021

4,761

3,925

4,269

4,476

2,906

Mayo

1,346

1,691

1,345

1,323

1,425

1,324

1,159

1,277

1,249

978

Roscommon

204

190

147

105

70

119

87

155

117

102

Mid East

2,764

2,759

2,534

2,265

2,309

2,418

2,387

2,664

2,312

2,228

Kildare

1,181

1,185

853

695

753

921

1,242

1,324

1,109

941

Meath

722

729

838

855

660

723

556

688

502

544

Wicklow

861

845

843

715

896

774

589

652

701

743

Midlands

1,159

1,546

1,430

946

881

987

855

952

893

942

Laois

116

139

104

146

136

101

112

112

80

68

Longford

227

179

112

109

126

150

171

139

121

114

Offaly

400

492

664

315

303

294

271

308

261

348

Westmeath

416

736

550

376

316

442

301

393

431

412

Permanent Full-Time Employment By Region County and Sector

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

All Regions

293,117

315,480

312,335

302,795

295,431

294,010

297,490

304,012

306,036

297,098

Manufacturing & Industry

227,621

236,955

229,632

219,897

213,747

210,260

210,856

211,409

208,698

197,165

International Services

51,139

62,423

65,683

64,104

62,078

62,710

63,967

67,327

69,164

70,418

Financial & Other Services

11,676

13,390

14,281

16,000

16,912

18,494

20,017

22,588

25,415

26,832

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

2,681

2,712

2,739

2,794

2,694

2,546

2,650

2,688

2,759

2,683

South East

All Sectors

28,884

28,914

29,325

29,645

29,775

29,300

28,784

29,653

30,710

29,445

Manufacturing & Industry

27,082

27,020

27,125

26,845

26,386

25,717

25,161

25,570

25,739

24,481

International Services

1,030

1,163

1,410

1,807

1,993

2,059

2,045

2,334

2,906

2,797

Financial & Other Services

167

170

239

370

764

862

945

1,095

1,355

1,404

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

605

561

551

623

632

662

633

654

710

763

Carlow

All Sectors

3,728

3,697

3,778

3,629

3,606

3,395

3,255

3,284

2,933

2,784

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

3,607

3,545

3,589

3,461

3,433

3,225

3,091

3,091

2,781

2,626

International Financial & Other Services

121

152

189

168

173

170

164

193

152

158

Kilkenny

All Sectors

3,676

3,768

3,879

4,224

3,846

3,768

3,927

3,958

4,067

3,797

Manufacturing & Industry

3,169

3,309

3,361

3,533

3,109

2,911

2,982

2,977

2,957

2,697

International Services

283

244

237

379

417

482

477

497

528

514

Financial & Other Services

15

17

90

137

143

207

288

305

398

401

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

209

198

191

175

177

168

180

179

184

185

Tipperary South Riding

All Sectors

4,257

4,669

5,000

5,158

4,899

4,965

5,012

5,043

5,870

6,135

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

4,073

4,442

4,777

4,876

4,615

4,709

4,825

4,892

5,719

6,007

International Services

144

189

186

241

243

215

142

105

105

83

Financial & Other Services

40

38

37

41

41

41

45

46

46

45

Waterford

All Sectors

10,865

10,519

10,878

11,121

11,619

11,277

10,645

11,363

11,814

10,796

Manufacturing & Industry

10,474

10,033

10,196

10,225

10,588

10,191

9,457

9,832

9,652

8,668

International Services

277

380

580

779

939

981

1,072

1,363

1,912

1,847

Financial & Other Services

67

69

69

54

35

53

75

116

191

216

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

47

37

33

63

57

52

41

52

59

65

Wexford

All Sectors

6,358

6,261

5,790

5,513

5,805

5,895

5,945

6,005

6,026

5,933

Manufacturing & Industry

5,933

5,870

5,395

5,007

4,891

4,934

5,074

5,063

4,933

4,869

International Services

220

213

232

254

235

211

190

216

257

245

Financial & Other Services

30

31

29

124

531

561

537

588

672

692

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

175

147

134

128

148

189

144

138

164

127

Border

All Sectors

34,174

34,078

32,931

32,082

31,135

31,262

32,314

32,257

32,694

31,456

Manufacturing & Industry

32,049

31,680

29,979

28,560

26,751

26,494

27,022

26,288

25,832

23,761

International Services

1,033

1,284

1,859

1,995

2,745

3,029

3,180

3,376

3,576

3,763

Financial & Other Services

421

474

450

958

1,129

1,301

1,582

2,051

2,657

3,324

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

671

640

643

569

510

438

530

542

629

608

Cavan

All Sectors

5,165

5,242

5,335

5,829

6,080

6,401

6,974

6,983

7,511

7,888

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

5,084

5,155

5,264

5,310

5,414

5,590

5,984

5,749

5,883

5,752

International Services

54

60

46

48

48

42

36

35

33

23

Financial & Other Services

27

27

25

471

618

769

954

1,199

1,595

2,113

Donegal

All Sectors

9,389

9,184

9,011

8,420

7,670

7,544

7,595

7,277

7,513

7,341

Manufacturing & Industry

8,502

8,050

7,559

6,865

5,911

5,660

5,339

4,916

4,977

4,639

International Services

337

545

861

937

1,125

1,229

1,523

1,558

1,704

1,795

Financial & Other Services

300

326

315

364

379

395

454

510

562

664

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

250

263

276

254

255

260

279

293

270

243

Leitrim

All Sectors

1,328

1,271

1,604

1,583

2,095

2,182

1,996

1,875

1,794

1,747

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

1,299

1,240

1,237

1,097

1,103

1,032

1,023

987

917

828

International Financial & Other Services

29

31

367

486

992

1,150

973

888

877

919

Louth

All Sectors

8,873

8,798

7,813

7,081

6,407

6,470

6,749

6,923

6,942

6,389

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

8,495

8,397

7,492

6,788

6,063

6,089

6,297

6,234

6,048

5,400

International Financial & Other Services

378

401

321

293

344

381

452

689

894

989

Monaghan

All Sectors

5,042

5,157

4,906

4,929

4,813

4,589

4,855

5,014

4,972

4,230

Manufacturing & Industry

4,543

4,658

4,416

4,514

4,410

4,254

4,474

4,673

4,557

3,777

International Services

98

89

91

90

99

96

85

91

106

99

Financial & Other Services

72

100

97

91

97

96

98

80

86

98

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

329

310

302

234

207

143

198

170

223

256

Sligo

All Sectors

4,377

4,426

4,262

4,240

4,070

4,076

4,145

4,185

3,962

3,861

Manufacturing & Industry

4,218

4,247

4,076

4,067

3,898

3,904

3,958

3,808

3,586

3,474

International Financial & Other Services

159

179

186

173

172

172

187

377

376

387

Mid West

All Sectors

31,483

33,243

32,055

29,535

28,720

28,540

28,466

29,388

29,271

28,290

Manufacturing & Industry

27,353

28,652

27,009

24,434

23,879

23,723

23,603

24,198

23,806

22,945

International Services

2,450

2,723

3,017

2,997

2,666

2,708

2,728

3,020

3,267

3,082

Financial & Other Services

1,609

1,803

1,971

2,032

2,098

2,034

2,078

2,115

2,137

2,204

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

71

65

58

72

77

75

57

55

61

59

Clare

All Sectors

10,444

10,927

10,703

9,997

9,945

10,011

9,842

9,865

9,827

9,960

Manufacturing & Industry

8,001

8,116

7,758

6,906

6,893

6,903

6,827

6,680

6,654

6,712

International Services

1,002

1,191

1,173

1,249

1,152

1,210

1,112

1,255

1,336

1,367

Financial & Other Services

1,373

1,572

1,733

1,786

1,844

1,846

1,864

1,892

1,811

1,855

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

68

48

39

56

56

52

39

38

26

26

Limerick

All Sectors

16,813

17,807

17,044

15,581

14,935

14,813

14,969

15,867

15,704

14,817

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

15,309

16,220

15,152

13,786

13,368

13,242

13,249

13,986

13,557

12,853

International Services

1,411

1,499

1,797

1,702

1,466

1,451

1,572

1,732

1,897

1,688

Financial & Other Services

93

88

95

93

101

120

148

149

250

276

Tipperary North Riding

All Sectors

4,226

4,509

4,308

3,957

3,840

3,716

3,655

3,656

3,740

3,513

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

4,046

4,333

4,118

3,758

3,639

3,601

3,545

3,549

3,630

3,413

International Financial & Other Services

180

176

190

199

201

115

110

107

110

100

South West

All Sectors

40,044

45,129

45,567

45,028

44,373

45,270

45,629

45,473

44,763

45,088

Manufacturing & Industry

34,517

37,997

37,817

36,867

36,142

36,297

36,340

35,672

34,983

34,373

International Services

4,024

5,416

6,007

6,345

6,388

7,121

7,427

7,788

7,943

8,582

Financial & Other Services

1,266

1,459

1,490

1,565

1,588

1,615

1,643

1,805

1,686

2,028

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

237

257

253

251

255

237

219

208

151

105

Cork

All Sectors

33,321

37,621

37,884

37,923

37,529

38,712

39,154

39,185

38,484

39,041

Manufacturing & Industry

29,274

32,268

31,940

31,591

31,133

31,563

31,709

31,238

30,415

30,093

International Services

3,474

4,709

5,275

5,620

5,653

6,390

6,683

7,074

7,189

7,798

Financial & Other Services

479

551

566

599

628

645

649

774

817

1,099

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

94

93

103

113

115

114

113

99

63

51

Kerry

All Sectors

6,723

7,508

7,683

7,105

6,844

6,558

6,475

6,288

6,279

6,047

Manufacturing & Industry

5,243

5,729

5,877

5,276

5,009

4,734

4,631

4,434

4,568

4,280

International Services

550

707

732

725

735

731

744

714

754

784

Financial & Other Services

787

908

924

966

960

970

994

1,031

869

929

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

143

164

150

138

140

123

106

109

88

54

Dublin

All Sectors

92,957

103,370

101,778

97,248

92,110

90,222

90,877

94,905

97,287

95,351

Manufacturing & Industry

49,600

51,130

47,057

43,672

41,519

39,202

37,681

37,777

37,960

35,044

International Services

36,289

43,903

45,868

43,855

40,698

40,112

41,303

43,700

43,922

44,778

Financial & Other Services

7,005

8,248

8,759

9,618

9,787

10,796

11,763

13,329

15,299

15,403

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

63

89

94

103

106

112

130

99

106

126

West

All Sectors

26,594

29,073

29,149

27,290

27,362

27,618

28,785

28,932

28,877

28,025

Manufacturing & Industry

22,689

24,479

24,384

22,665

22,567

22,664

23,610

23,572

23,127

22,084

International Services

2,578

3,200

3,225

3,127

3,231

3,308

3,428

3,505

3,812

3,865

Financial & Other Services

750

764

848

830

906

1,048

1,085

1,135

1,225

1,395

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

577

630

692

668

658

598

662

720

713

681

Galway

All Sectors

16,694

18,784

18,474

17,222

17,347

17,983

18,983

19,071

19,022

18,702

Manufacturing & Industry

13,679

15,324

14,931

13,853

13,885

14,388

15,149

15,163

14,914

14,370

International Services

2,139

2,556

2,550

2,423

2,512

2,532

2,729

2,782

2,942

3,060

Financial & Other Services

551

572

649

643

695

826

850

869

905

1,038

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

325

332

344

303

255

237

255

257

261

234

Mayo

All Sectors

6,795

7,242

7,566

7,190

7,145

6,828

6,953

7,155

7,124

6,900

Manufacturing & Industry

5,988

6,264

6,491

6,068

5,979

5,670

5,824

5,903

5,726

5,539

International Services

385

565

606

640

648

694

612

649

750

688

Financial & Other Services

173

160

167

170

170

157

164

192

246

279

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

249

253

302

312

348

307

353

411

402

394

Roscommon

All Sectors

3,105

3,047

3,109

2,878

2,870

2,807

2,849

2,706

2,731

2,423

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

3,025

2,936

3,008

2,797

2,758

2,660

2,691

2,558

2,537

2,228

International, Financial & Other Services

80

111

101

81

112

147

158

148

194

195

Mid East

All Sectors

26,506

29,138

28,967

29,215

29,435

29,391

29,199

29,615

28,585

26,381

Manufacturing & Industry

22,922

24,769

25,047

25,462

25,422

25,289

25,614

26,009

25,073

22,988

International Services

2,983

3,722

3,308

3,048

3,337

3,213

2,636

2,540

2,482

2,315

Financial & Other Services

406

429

408

428

434

631

702

812

794

889

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

195

218

204

277

242

258

247

254

236

189

Kildare

All Sectors

13,535

15,496

15,014

15,148

15,223

15,534

16,111

16,309

15,599

14,478

Manufacturing & Industry

12,056

13,693

13,383

13,770

13,843

14,030

14,495

14,565

13,876

12,801

International Services

1,272

1,584

1,427

1,096

1,122

1,115

1,170

1,266

1,231

1,141

Financial & Other Services

126

140

136

140

146

273

337

368

385

438

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

81

79

68

142

112

116

109

110

107

98

Meath

All Sectors

5,730

6,101

6,245

5,886

5,523

5,608

5,847

6,211

5,943

5,577

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

5,284

5,514

5,692

5,343

5,017

4,995

5,136

5,451

5,236

4,830

International Services

274

423

412

383

329

398

500

470

442

460

Financial & Other Services

172

164

141

160

177

215

211

290

265

287

Wicklow

All Sectors

7,241

7,541

7,708

8,181

8,689

8,249

7,241

7,095

7,043

6,326

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

5,696

5,701

6,108

6,484

6,692

6,406

6,121

6,137

6,090

5,448

International Services

1,437

1,715

1,469

1,569

1,886

1,700

966

804

809

714

Financial & Other Services

108

125

131

128

111

143

154

154

144

164

International, Financial & Other Services

57

119

46

6

8

26

46

46

73

114

Westmeath

All Sectors

4,152

4,644

4,876

5,046

4,600

4,551

5,022

5,000

5,137

4,712

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

3,589

3,898

4,063

4,124

3,590

3,408

3,816

3,983

3,925

3,606

International Services

529

716

782

789

860

996

1,060

836

1,012

957

Financial & Other Services

34

28

28

130

148

144

143

178

197

147

Midlands

All Sectors

12,475

12,535

12,563

12,752

12,521

12,407

13,436

13,789

13,849

13,062

Manufacturing & Industry

11,409

11,228

11,214

11,392

11,081

10,874

11,825

12,323

12,178

11,489

International Services

752

1,012

989

930

1,020

1,160

1,220

1,064

1,256

1,236

Financial & Other Services

52

43

116

199

206

207

219

246

262

185

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

262

252

244

231

214

166

172

156

153

152

Laois

All Sectors

1,745

1,611

1,733

1,664

1,634

1,436

1,534

1,649

1,621

1,495

Manufacturing & Industry

1,554

1,409

1,472

1,409

1,409

1,213

1,299

1,386

1,355

1,229

International, Financial & Other Services

58

68

131

120

98

101

107

138

139

136

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

133

134

130

135

127

122

128

125

127

130

Longford

All Sectors

2,228

2,210

2,323

2,130

2,403

2,508

2,785

2,758

2,789

2,708

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

2,102

2,086

2,205

2,046

2,291

2,408

2,702

2,646

2,692

2,641

International, Financial & Other Services

126

124

118

84

112

100

83

112

97

67

Offaly

All Sectors

4,350

4,070

3,631

3,912

3,884

3,912

4,095

4,382

4,302

4,147

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

4,293

3,951

3,585

3,906

3,876

3,886

4,049

4,336

4,229

4,033

International, Financial & Other Services

57

119

46

6

8

26

46

46

73

114

Westmeath

All Sectors

4,152

4,644

4,876

5,046

4,600

4,551

5,022

5,000

5,137

4,712

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

3,589

3,898

4,063

4,124

3,590

3,408

3,816

3,983

3,925

3,606

International Services

529

716

782

789

860

996

1,060

836

1,012

957

Financial & Other Services

34

28

28

130

148

144

143

178

197

147

Temporary Part-Time Employment in Agency Assisted Companies by Region County and Sector

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

All Regions

All Sectors

34,390

36,084

32,791

33,151

34,337

36,512

36,500

36,350

35,230

30,871

Manufacturing & Industry

23,085

24,391

21,423

21,180

21,130

22,160

22,577

22,053

21,275

17,762

International Services

7,695

7,558

7,196

7,680

8,761

9,608

8,928

9,287

8,628

9,269

Financial & Other Services

1,973

2,324

2,398

2,554

2,706

3,090

3,338

3,411

4,037

3,156

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

1,637

1,811

1,774

1,737

1,740

1,654

1,657

1,599

1,290

684

South East

All Sectors

3,641

3,851

3,732

3,887

3,564

3,748

4,019

2,912

3,297

3,174

Manufacturing & Industry

3,410

3,478

3,292

3,203

2,852

3,074

3,312

2,389

2,683

2,297

International Services

153

296

329

540

555

481

512

304

453

713

Financial & Other Services

16

18

40

57

73

110

87

103

79

65

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

62

59

71

87

84

83

108

116

82

99

Carlow

All Sectors

420

524

475

369

299

303

227

238

246

181

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

349

433

388

290

244

286

211

224

236

170

International Financial & Other Services

71

91

87

79

55

17

16

14

10

11

Kilkenny

All Sectors

426

404

447

478

442

535

526

604

559

515

Manufacturing & Industry

396

365

369

329

314

352

361

375

353

337

International Services

18

29

19

62

15

82

79

110

110

91

Financial & Other Services

2

32

45

66

58

31

43

50

38

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

10

10

27

42

47

43

55

76

46

49

Tipperary South Riding

All Sectors

483

538

539

516

549

484

648

515

751

744

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

454

499

497

477

513

442

620

493

718

704

International Services

28

37

37

34

31

39

25

21

32

39

Financial & Other Services

1

2

5

5

5

3

3

1

1

1

Waterford

All Sectors

1,748

1,895

1,851

2,058

1,791

1,868

2,052

1,114

1,287

1,232

Manufacturing & Industry

1,679

1,709

1,645

1,675

1,355

1,519

1,671

928

979

652

International Services

19

129

168

340

401

267

291

98

259

526

Financial & Other Services

13

14

2

4

1

48

52

58

24

23

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

37

43

36

39

34

34

38

30

25

31

Wexford

All Sectors

564

490

420

466

483

558

566

441

454

502

Manufacturing & Industry

541

478

400

437

428

480

460

378

407

450

International Services

17

10

18

25

53

76

101

61

45

49

Financial & Other Services

2

1

3

1

1

1

1

1

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

6

1

1

1

1

4

1

1

3

Border

All Sectors

4,186

4,358

4,533

4,215

4,250

4,270

4,197

3,990

3,595

3,070

Manufacturing & Industry

3,321

3,430

3,539

3,307

3,224

2,993

2,839

2,528

2,149

1,856

International Services

226

168

248

234

325

522

570

669

505

607

Financial & Other Services

355

462

446

389

413

475

513

587

793

492

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

284

298

300

285

288

280

275

206

148

115

Cavan

All Sectors

479

581

691

639

513

477

336

318

451

463

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

428

537

645

624

498

457

313

295

271

193

International Services

30

22

23

1

Financial & Other Services

21

22

23

15

15

20

23

23

180

269

Donegal

All Sectors

1,862

2,085

2,143

1,951

2,033

2,136

2,106

1,704

1,570

988

Manufacturing & Industry

1,232

1,335

1,362

1,276

1,317

1,284

1,202

806

716

571

International Services

30

47

85

70

71

154

198

211

176

162

Financial & Other Services

322

426

413

344

367

424

440

493

548

171

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

278

277

283

261

278

274

266

194

130

84

Leitrim

All Sectors

121

90

114

181

121

154

223

231

88

181

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

119

87

77

163

82

121

147

138

74

76

International Financial & Other Services

2

3

37

18

39

33

76

93

14

105

Louth

All Sectors

1,097

925

680

731

969

901

945

1,063

814

806

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

945

848

608

600

762

587

635

690

515

498

International Financial & Other Services

152

77

72

131

207

314

310

373

299

308

Monaghan

All Sectors

289

257

425

382

275

202

320

359

326

290

Manufacturing & Industry

274

230

401

354

258

189

309

339

310

266

International Services

1

2

5

8

5

4

5

7

10

4

Financial & Other Services

9

8

6

5

2

3

3

7

2

6

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

5

17

13

15

10

6

3

6

4

14

Sligo

All Sectors

338

420

480

331

339

400

267

315

346

342

Manufacturing & Industry

324

397

450

299

307

355

239

266

277

269

International Financial & Other Services

14

23

30

32

32

45

28

49

69

73

Mid West

All Sectors

1,033

2,139

1,917

1,416

2,357

2,870

3,021

3,110

3,529

2,159

Manufacturing & Industry

918

1,672

1,294

761

1,568

2,108

2,245

2,588

2,899

1,656

International Services

115

215

438

440

524

488

513

406

410

353

Financial & Other Services

235

173

211

260

272

250

104

209

138

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

17

12

4

5

2

13

12

11

12

Clare

All Sectors

72

964

602

446

721

702

805

598

878

728

Manufacturing & Industry

72

666

395

179

316

423

484

485

603

583

International Services

85

68

78

154

28

95

42

98

61

Financial & Other Services

208

128

185

246

249

223

70

175

82

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

5

11

4

5

2

3

1

2

2

Limerick

All Sectors

873

934

1,163

875

1,347

2,038

2,056

2,292

2,433

1,162

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

758

779

749

513

963

1,555

1,613

1,899

2,096

823

International Services

115

129

369

361

370

460

418

364

310

291

Financial & Other Services

26

45

1

14

23

25

29

27

48

Tipperary North Riding

All Sectors

88

241

152

95

289

130

160

220

218

269

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

88

239

151

69

289

130

158

215

209

260

International Financial & Other Services

2

1

26

2

5

9

9

South West

All Sectors

5,685

6,411

5,565

6,492

6,298

6,294

6,116

6,762

6,428

5,869

Manufacturing & Industry

4,347

4,993

4,016

5,122

4,649

4,605

4,491

4,788

4,376

3,827

International Services

893

876

930

758

985

1,033

918

1,216

1,343

1,375

Financial & Other Services

328

411

483

489

511

524

576

632

641

620

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

117

131

136

123

153

132

131

126

68

47

Cork

All Sectors

4,721

5,281

4,497

5,546

5,355

5,291

5,088

5,546

5,372

4,963

Manufacturing & Industry

3,677

4,294

3,425

4,646

4,228

4,081

3,958

4,209

3,905

3,441

International Services

857

809

821

683

859

942

849

1,047

1,201

1,299

Financial & Other Services

148

140

206

189

220

212

225

238

253

217

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

39

38

45

28

48

56

56

52

13

6

Kerry

All Sectors

964

1,130

1,068

946

943

1,003

1,028

1,216

1,056

906

Manufacturing & Industry

670

699

591

476

421

524

533

579

471

386

International Services

36

67

109

75

126

91

69

169

142

76

Financial & Other Services

180

271

277

300

291

312

351

394

388

403

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

78

93

91

95

105

76

75

74

55

41

Dublin

All Sectors

10,634

9,619

8,267

9,109

9,162

9,721

10,734

10,259

9,334

9,443

Manufacturing & Industry

4,534

4,266

3,634

3,858

3,466

3,287

4,405

3,754

3,289

3,062

International Services

5,403

4,809

4,087

4,619

5,024

5,561

5,353

5,471

4,786

5,080

Financial & Other Services

690

538

540

621

657

860

964

1,021

1,250

1,293

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

7

6

6

11

15

13

12

13

9

8

West

All Sectors

5,288

5,401

4,813

4,821

5,516

6,204

5,171

5,701

5,842

3,986

Manufacturing & Industry

3,301

3,107

2,445

2,376

2,947

3,374

2,803

3,274

3,414

2,592

International Services

461

509

590

647

778

1,015

524

552

559

586

Financial & Other Services

467

532

579

638

654

721

762

783

921

429

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

1,059

1,253

1,199

1,160

1,137

1,094

1,082

1,092

948

379

Galway

All Sectors

3,738

3,520

3,321

3,393

4,021

4,761

3,925

4,269

4,476

2,906

Manufacturing & Industry

2,199

1,769

1,543

1,667

2,268

2,664

2,193

2,511

2,579

1,772

International Services

424

460

527

512

504

788

370

358

452

486

Financial & Other Services

311

367

395

418

449

545

600

633

663

348

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

804

924

856

796

800

764

762

767

782

300

Mayo

All Sectors

1,346

1,691

1,345

1,323

1,425

1,324

1,159

1,277

1,249

978

Manufacturing & Industry

910

1,165

779

618

623

607

539

621

732

735

International Services

30

43

56

123

260

211

138

184

95

87

Financial & Other Services

151

155

169

220

205

176

162

149

256

79

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

255

328

341

362

337

330

320

323

166

77

Roscommon

All Sectors

204

190

147

105

70

119

87

155

117

102

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

192

174

125

93

56

103

71

144

103

87

International, Financial & Other Services

12

16

22

12

14

16

16

11

14

15

Mid East

All Sectors

2,764

2,759

2,534

2,265

2,309

2,418

2,387

2,664

2,312

2,228

Manufacturing & Industry

2,203

1,983

1,939

1,736

1,681

1,868

1,790

1,976

1,802

1,748

International Services

374

619

435

364

482

418

438

541

402

365

Financial & Other Services

114

123

133

126

116

102

132

115

86

95

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

73

34

27

39

30

30

27

32

22

20

Kildare

All Sectors

1,181

1,185

853

695

753

921

1,242

1,324

1,109

941

Manufacturing & Industry

1,037

868

768

583

555

745

973

1,015

926

756

International Services

91

266

50

55

146

121

207

261

149

150

Financial & Other Services

10

21

15

23

25

28

38

23

18

18

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

43

30

20

34

27

27

24

25

16

17

Meath

All Sectors

722

729

838

855

660

723

556

688

502

544

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

542

564

633

655

555

573

413

542

331

422

International Services

149

137

168

170

84

126

108

112

128

103

Financial & Other Services

31

28

37

30

21

24

35

34

43

19

Wicklow

All Sectors

861

845

843

715

896

774

589

652

701

743

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

654

555

545

503

574

553

407

426

551

573

International Services

134

216

217

139

252

171

123

168

125

112

Financial & Other Services

73

74

81

73

70

50

59

58

25

58

Midlands

All Sectors

1,159

1,546

1,430

946

881

987

855

952

893

942

Manufacturing & Industry

1,051

1,462

1,264

817

743

851

692

756

663

724

International Services

70

66

139

78

88

90

100

128

170

190

Financial & Other Services

3

5

4

23

22

26

54

66

58

24

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

35

13

23

28

28

20

9

2

2

4

Laois

All Sectors

116

139

104

146

136

101

112

112

80

68

Manufacturing & Industry

87

133

88

118

105

72

84

88

35

36

International, Financial & Other Services

4

4

6

14

17

22

22

24

45

31

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Mining

25

2

10

14

14

7

6

1

Longford

All Sectors

227

179

112

109

126

150

171

139

121

114

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

216

167

102

92

119

140

156

125

110

108

International, Financial & Other Services

11

12

10

17

7

10

15

14

11

6

Offaly

All Sectors

400

492

664

315

303

294

271

308

261

348

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

390

487

658

293

281

271

220

260

208

308

International, Financial & Other Services

10

5

6

22

22

23

51

48

53

40

Westmeath

All Sectors

416

736

550

376

316

442

301

393

431

412

Manufacturing & Industry & Agri

368

685

428

327

252

380

234

284

311

275

International Services

48

48

119

46

63

58

62

96

109

133

Financial & Other Services

2

2

2

1

3

4

12

10

4

Employment Rights.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

76 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of fully trained and deployed labour inspectors with the National Employment Rights Authority; the number of inspectors currently in training; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29250/09]

The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) currently has in place a team of 77 Inspectors. One of these is currently on maternity leave and is not, therefore, available for inspections and associated duties.

All new inspectors are required to complete the NERA Inspection Services Introductory Training Programme and to undertake further training, including on-the-job training with experienced inspectors. This involves working with experienced inspectors in carrying out inspections and other associated enquiries at places of work with a view to determining compliance with certain employment rights legislation. All inspectors have completed the Introductory Training Programme and are fully operational.

Public Service Staff.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

77 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of staff in her Department, including all authorities, agencies or other institutions under the aegis of her Department, who have applied for the incentivised early retirement scheme and the incentivised career break scheme; the number who have been made redundant in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29309/09]

There have been 32 applications for the incentivised career break scheme within my Department. There have been 21 applications so far for the incentivised scheme for early retirement (ISER) within my Department; however, the closing date for applications for this scheme is 1 September 2009. No staff of the Department have been made redundant in the past 12 months.

The following information is in respect of applications received to date within the agencies under the aegis of my Department.

Agency/Body

Career Break Scheme

ISER

FÁS

23

20

Enterprise Ireland

0

1

Forfás

1

1

IDA Ireland

4

4

National Standards Authority of Ireland

3

0

Science Foundation Ireland

0

0

Shannon Free Airport Development Co. Ltd.

0

2

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

0

0

County Enterprise Boards

1

2

The Health and Safety Authority

6

0

The Competition Authority

4

0

The National Consumer Agency

2

0

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

0

1

*Intertrade Ireland

0

0

*No information was received from Intertrade Ireland on the uptake of either scheme.

Redundancy

FÁS

42 fixed-term contract staff had their contracts terminated early in January 2009, 11 of the 42 received redundancy payments.

Community Employment Schemes.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

78 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will provide a breakdown for 2005 to date in 2009, on a county basis, of the number of recipients of one parent family allowance from the Department of Social and Family Affairs on employment schemes and the type of scheme; if she will further provide, in respect of community employment schemes, an analysis of the time spent on schemes by participants registered in each year between 2005 to 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29324/09]

FÁS as an agency of my Department operates the Community Employment (CE) and Job Initiative (JI) schemes. Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons (including those with a disability) with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a fixed term basis.

The Job Initiative Programme (JI) was launched in July 1996 and provides full time employment for people who are 35 years of age or over, unemployed for five years or more, and in receipt of social welfare payments over that period.

The main purpose of the programme is to assist long-term unemployed people to prepare for work opportunities by providing participants with work experience, training and development opportunities. The programme is sponsored by voluntary organisations and public bodies involved in not-for-profit activities.

The number of recipients of One Parent Family Payment (OPFP) on both Community Employment (CE) and Job Initiative (JI) are provided in the following tables:

Number of OPFP Participants on Community Employment, by Location

Location

07/07/2009

Y/E 2008

Y/E 2007

Y/E 2006

Y/E 2005

Dublin

1,819

1,949

2,100

2,171

2,413

Carlow

75

82

73

67

73

Cavan

38

39

31

32

32

Clare

103

107

123

108

116

Cork

413

451

426

471

514

Donegal

185

195

193

175

172

Galway

197

183

161

148

176

Kerry

183

197

186

159

177

Kildare

136

133

135

134

146

Kilkenny

78

78

75

81

70

Laois

59

55

51

57

62

Leitrim

13

14

24

24

21

Limerick

246

236

245

270

303

Longford

64

70

69

66

65

Louth

209

209

208

200

232

Mayo

113

121

112

128

115

Meath

90

80

88

93

96

Monaghan

57

65

78

58

59

Offaly

56

63

67

73

63

Roscommon

33

37

40

37

36

Sligo

72

70

82

92

95

Tipperary

177

180

182

178

179

Waterford

112

112

141

141

157

Westmeath

86

94

103

99

122

Wexford

181

175

158

159

173

Wicklow

157

155

143

133

159

Total

4,952

5,150

5,294

5,354

5,826

Number of OPFP Participants on Job Initiative, by Location

Location

07/07/2009

Y/E 2008

Y/E 2007

Y/E 2006

Y/E 2005

Dublin

193

196

208

222

245

Carlow

2

2

2

2

2

Cavan

5

5

6

6

7

Clare

10

12

13

13

13

Cork

15

17

17

17

21

Donegal

13

13

13

15

17

Galway

9

9

9

1

9

Kildare

7

7

7

7

7

Limerick

41

43

44

45

45

Louth

16

16

18

23

26

Mayo

1

1

1

1

2

Monaghan

7

7

7

9

10

Offaly

2

2

2

2

2

Sligo

2

2

2

2

3

Tipperary

1

1

1

1

1

Waterford

3

4

4

4

4

Westmeath

10

10

10

10

10

Wexford

4

3

3

0

3

Wicklow

2

2

2

2

2

Total

343

352

369

382

429

An analysis of the time spent on schemes by participants registered in each year between 2005 and 2009 is provided in the following CE Completed Years Duration table.

This table has been compiled based on those participants present on the system as at year-end (except where otherwise stated). Persons who have not exhausted their maximum duration on CE and who continue for a further year (or years) will show in the next calendar year's figures i.e. a person listed as having completed less than one year in 2006 and who continues on CE to date will be shown in the 1+ years' row of the 2007 column and the 2+ years' row of the 2008 column.

Figures for 2005 are unavailable at such short notice and will be provided to the Deputy at a later date.

CE Completed Years Durations

Completed Years

Y/E 2006

Y/E 2007

Y/E 2008

30/06/2009

<1

8,078

7,927

6,524

6,772

1+

5,745

5,283

5,078

5,352

2+

4,642

3,903

4,108

3,745

3+

1,271

2,385

2,411

2,288

4+

654

709

1,469

1,296

5+

385

428

857

849

6+

79

209

638

473

7+

17

57

381

327

Grand Total

20,871

20,901

21,466

21,102

CE Figures excluding Supervisors.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

79 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the additional FÁS courses and post leaving certificate courses that have been organised in south Tipperary in order to handle the huge increase of people who are unemployed in the area. [29370/09]

Unemployment is increasing across the country due to the downturn in the economy and this has impacted on South Tipperary area also. This situation is unwelcome and I share the Deputy's concern in the matter.

This year the Government has almost doubled the number of FÁS activation training and work experience places for the unemployed to over 129,000. This is a substantial increase on the 66,000 places, which were available at the end of last year. The majority of these additional places are on short courses and will be delivered through three core-training initiatives, short courses, night courses and online courses. These courses are designed to develop new skills and competencies for the unemployed to assist them in securing employment.

Other new programmes which have been rolled out for the unemployed are the Work Placement Programme and the Short time Training Programme. The Work Placement Programme is a six-month work experience programme for 2,000 individuals who are currently unemployed. Under this programme individuals will retain their social welfare entitlements. The Short Time Working Training Programmewill provide two days training a week for 277 workers over a 52-week period who are on systematic short time. Participants on this programme will also continue to receive their existing social welfare entitlements.

FÁS is currently providing a number of up-skilling and employment programmes in South Tipperary which is resulting in over 920 people receiving training. Between now and the end of the year FÁS anticipates that a further 12 training courses will commence in South Tipperary, varying in duration from 5 to 27 weeks. This represents a substantial training commitment in the region.

The Department of Education and Science has responsibility for governing post leaving certificate courses. The Department recently announced that it would be providing an additional 1,500 post leaving certificate (PLC) places, which will be available from September, 2009. Of these, ten additional PLC places were allocated to South Tipperary VEC. That brings the total allocation of PLC places for South Tipperary VEC to 280 and demonstrates the Government's continuing priority to support those who have lost their jobs through retraining and education.

EU Regulations.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

80 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reviews that her Department has undertaken of the application of the EU Regulation 2064/97 in respect of EU funding grants; and if her Department has made reference to the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29379/09]

My Department has not undertaken any reviews of the application of EU Regulation 2064/97.

Redundancy Payments.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

81 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the length of time employers have to wait to receive their rebate of payment of statutory redundancy; the maximum waiting time for payment; the number of staff that are allocated to this task; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29381/09]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

88 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her target for the payment of redundancy rebates to employers following the receipt of a correctly completed return in writing and electronically; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29595/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81 and 88 together.

Currently, the average time it takes to process rebate applications from employers filed online is six months while claims submitted by post are taking seven months. The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing applications filed online from December 2009 and, those submitted by post from November 2009. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees in instances where employers are unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements, the current processing time, assuming all of the necessary supporting documentation is filed, is between six to eight weeks.

Given the unprecedented increase in redundancy payment claims lodged with my Department in late 2008 and to date in 2009, it has proved impossible to maintain the customer service targets that previously obtained. The scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics for the first half of 2009 showing the number of new claims lodged with my Department at 42,724 which exceeds the claims lodged for the full year 2008 (40,607) and 2008 was, of itself, an exceptional year as compared with earlier years when claims received were of the order of 25,000 or less.

Efforts have and continue to be made by the Tánaiste and I to deliver acceptable turnaround processing times for redundancy payments given the difficulties that this gives rise to for both individual employees and the business community. Measures already taken include:

the reassignment of 19.7 additional staff (full time equivalents) from other areas of the Department to the Redundancy Payments area since early 2009 with ongoing review of trends and demands; the current number of staff serving in the Redundancy Payments Section in terms of full time equivalents is 40.2;

the prioritisation of the Department's overtime budget towards staff in Redundancy Payments Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

the establishment of a special call handling facility to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses who are naturally concerned about their payments, using the facilities and co-operation of the National Employment Rights Authority (NERA);

the provision of better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate the offset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against outstanding tax liabilities with the Revenue Commissioners.

The Tánaiste and I are arranging for the urgent reallocation within the Department of further additional resources to the area as well as the possibility of securing additional resources from other Government Departments.

Employment Support Services.

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

82 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will report on her meeting with Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities Commissioner Spidla to discuss accessing funds from the European Globalisation Fund to help retrain workers from two companies (details supplied) who have lost their jobs; the total level of funding available per worker; the way it will be allocated to workers; and when these workers will be able to access this funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29386/09]

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

105 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the amount of funding that has been secured from the European Globalisation Fund to help retrain workers from a company (details supplied) at Dublin Airport; the amount of funding that will be allocated in total and per worker; the mechanism that will be used to allocate funding to employees; when the funding will be disbursed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29827/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 105 together.

At our meeting last week Commissioner Spidla reiterated that the Commission would give applications submitted from Ireland for support from the European Globalisation Fund every consideration.

In line with the revised eligibility conditions that now govern funding provided from the European Globalisation Fund, the possibilities of making an application in respect of workers from SR Technics and Waterford Crystal is also being assessed.

Independently of considerations to do with support from the European Globalisation Fund, both IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland continue to work with management and interested parties to encourage companies to establish viable operations and so to maximise the number of jobs at Dublin Airport to replace those lost as a result of the closure of SR Technics.

Departmental Agencies.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

83 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of taskforces that have been created by her Department in the past five years; the recommendations of the taskforce created in the aftermath of the announcement of a company (details supplied) to close; and if she will make a statement on her Department’s attempts to organise EU funding for the Limerick and south Tipperary area. [29390/09]

The Mid-West Task Force is the first such task force in the last five years. For some years a range of co-ordinated structures have been in place at regional level, through arrangements such as those for the National Spatial Strategy, County Development Boards and enterprise agency co-ordination, and recent regional industrial development issues have more often been addressed through these structures than through Task Forces.

The Mid-West Task Force, which I established under the Chairmanship of Mr. Denis Brosnan, has now completed an interim report. The report was presented to me by Mr. Brosnan on 2 July and is currently being considered by Government.

At the time Dell announced on 8 January last its intention to reduce its workforce by 1,900 at its plant in Limerick, I also established a group of the relevant State agencies to prepare for a major job loss situation. Since then, FÁS has had in place a Mid West team to specifically deal with the needs of workers made redundant in Dell and other companies in the Region.

At the same time, IDA, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development have been working diligently to secure new investments for the region. During the past year companies like Vistakon, Zimmer, Intel, Cook, DTS and Microsemi have had announcements in the Mid West. Further agency-supported investments are currently under consideration and the agencies will continue to do everything possible to speed up such development in the region.

I submitted an application to the European Commission on 19 June 2009 under the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) seeking co-financing assistance for jobsearch, training and education supports for workers being made redundant at the DELL plant in Limerick, and in other local companies that have experienced consequential redundancies.

The EGF application must be assessed by Commission experts and thereafter approved by the full European Commission whereupon it will be forwarded for sanction for payment of the approved level of co-financing to the European Council and the European Parliament. This process will take some months to complete in full.

The amount of funding to be allocated from the Fund will be decided by the European Commission, while the final amount accruing to the Exchequer will be determined by the numbers availing of training under the scheme.

Departmental Funding.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

84 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the funding allocated to the National Training Fund for 2008 and 2009; if she expects all funding will be spent in 2009; if the reminder will be carried over; the amount allocated to training schemes to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29526/09]

The total income of the National Training Fund in 2008 was €419.2 million. For 2009 the income is estimated to be €405 million.

A total of €381.5 million has been allocated to training schemes for 2009 and it is expected that all of this will be spent during the year. Under the terms of the National Training Act 2000, any surplus remains in the accounts of the National Training Fund for investment in eligible training activity. The surplus projected for end 2009 in the Revised Estimates Volume was approximately €204.7 million.

Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 67.

IDA Properties.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

86 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the breakdown by area of Industrial Development Authority properties; if, in each instance, the property is IDA owned or leased; if each property is currently occupied or vacant; if leased, the initial length of the lease and the remaining period of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29584/09]

The management of IDA Ireland's industrial property portfolio is a day-to-day operational matter for the agency, as part of the statutory responsibility assigned to it by the Oireachtas.

I have been informed that the IDA building portfolio currently consists of 139 units, of which 65 are owned by IDA and 74 are leased from private landlords (known as Private Finance).

Because of the necessity for IDA to have available a range of buildings for promotion to FDI's and E.I clients throughout the country, IDA entered into leases with private investors in the 1980's as part of the Private Finance Scheme. 83 units were provided in this scheme nationally. During the past number of years IDA has commenced a programme to exit such facilities.

In the time available it has not been possible to provide a detailed breakdown of the information requested by the Deputy, but I hope to be in a position to forward it to him by the end of next week.

Departmental Funding.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

87 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number and amount of grants approved for dispersal under the CORD enterprise platform programme scheme for 2009; the amount dispersed to date; the reason for delays in the dispersal of such grants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29585/09]

CORD (Commercialisation Of Research and Development) The aim of the Campus Enterprise Programme is to support the development of third level campus-based companies and support towards assessing the commercial viability of innovative technologies. The programme also provides specifically designed business development and mentor facilities under the Enterprise Platform Programme. Those eligible to apply for this initiative include:

knowledge-based campus companies;

academic entrepreneurs;

researchers associated with PATs and Technology Centres Programmes;

non academics interested in establishing campus companies.

Nationally it is anticipated that 12-15 Enterprise Platform Programmes would take place in 2009 with up to 150 participants. To date four programmes have started, a further two just commencing, with an additional six due to start in the latter part of the year. Three programmes are still at the planning stage, however, Enterprise Ireland is confident these will commence in late 2009.

In regard to the number of participants which have been approved to date:

Typically (based on past experience) Enterprise Ireland approves 40% of CORD projects in the first half of the year, with 60% being approved in the latter half.

Earlier this year, seven participants were approved a total of €248,000 of which €71,500 has been paid out to date.

In recent weeks, a large number of applicant interviews have been completed and the total number of participants approved by EI has increased to 31, which have been approved a total of €930,000 as of today's date. As stated, EI expects the total number of participants to increase significantly in the coming months.

Question No. 88 answered with Question No. 81.

Work-Life Balance.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

89 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the members of the National Framework Committee for Work Life Balance; the way in which they have been selected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29596/09]

The National Framework Committee for Family Friendly Policies was established by the Social Partners in 2000 under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. The committee was continued and renamed in 2003, under Sustaining Progress, as the National Framework Committee for Work Life Balance Policies. The remit of the Framework Committee has been continued under the current national partnership agreement, Towards 2016.

Representatives from the following eight organisations participate on the committee, IBEC, ICTU, the Equality Authority, the Departments Social and Family Affairs, an Taoiseach, Finance, Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Enterprise, Trade and Employment. My Department provides the chairperson and the secretariat for the Committee.

None of the committee members are personally appointed by me. It is a matter for each of the bodies participating on the committee as to who should represent them and, in practice, different people may attend from time to time depending on the issues being discussed.

Ministerial Appointments.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

90 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the appointments made by her to public bodies, committees, agencies, boards, and so on since her appointment; the appointee in each case and their qualifications for the appointment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29597/09]

Below is a list of appointments as requested by the Deputy.

Registrar of Friendly Societies (RFS)

Paul Farrell was reappointed as Registrar of Friendly Societies for a period of two years from 1 May 2008. A senior civil servant, he has been Registrar of Companies for some years and was originally appointed Registrar of Friendly Societies in 2003 on an interim basis pending decision on the future of the Registry of Friendly Societies.

Sales Law Review Group

The group was set up by the Tánaiste in November 2008 to review the legislation governing the sale of goods and supply of services.

Membership:

Robert Clark, Chair, is an associate professor in the School of Law, University College Dublin. He is a barrister and a consultant to Arthur Cox, Solicitors, where he specialises in commercial law, technology and life sciences issues.

Tony Burke, nominee of the Irish Exporters' Association, Head of commercial Department Mason, Hayes and Curran Solicitors.

Caterina Gardiner, LL.B (Dub.), LL.M (NUI), lecturer in law NUI Galway.

Michael Kilcoyne, nominee and Vice-Chairman of the Consumers' Association of Ireland.

Roderick Maguire,LL.B., LL.M. (Lond.), M.A., B.L., nominee and Honorary Secretary of the Bar Council of Ireland.

Sean Murphy, legal adviser to, and nominee of, the National Consumer Agency.

Richard Nesbitt S.C., Chairman of Arnotts Limited, nominee of IBEC.

Kevin O'Higgins, solicitor, nominee of the Incorporated Law Society.

Nathan Reilly, LL.B (Dub.), LL.M. (Cantab.), barrister.

Fidelma White, B.C.L., LL.B., LL.M (NUI), LL.M (Lond.), Senior Lecturer in Law University College Cork.

FÁS

Mr. Dermot Nolan, a Principal Officer in the Department of Finance.

Ms Anne Forde, Principal Officer in the Department of Education and Science.

Ms Deirdre Shanley, Principal Officer in the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

In each case these appointments followed a reorganisation of responsibilities within each Department. Each appointee and the Department represented is provided for under section 7 (1) of the Schedule, Part 1 covering Membership and Procedure of An Foras, of the Labour Services Act 1987.

Skillnets

There has been one person appointed to the Board of Skillnets since my appointment. Mr. John McDermott was appointed as the representative of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Mr. McDermott is an Assistant Principal Officer in the Department and membership of the Board of Skillnets and tasks related to that membership form part of his job specification

Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN)

Una Halligan — Chairperson.

Ms Halligan is the Government and Public Affairs Director for Hewlett Packard, Ireland, with responsibility for Government Affairs, Community Relations and PR for the Manufacturing Site. She is on the Discover Science and Engineering Taskforce and was appointed to the National Centre for Technology Development by the Minister for Education and Science. She works in an advisory capacity with a number of Government Departments and Agencies.

Ms Halligan has also served on the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce and Junior Achievement. She was appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs to the Chair of the Fulbright Commission and was appointed by the Taoiseach to the Board of FIT (Fast-track to IT), she also participates in a number of focus groups in ICT Ireland and IBEC.

Margaret Cox Director I.C.E. Group and Pitman Training.

Dip. H.R (UOL). Dip. Accounting & Finance. (ACCA) Dip. Systems Analysis, (NUIG). MSc. Strategic Sales Management (year 1 — UCD Smurfit Business). JEB Diploma in Education, Registered on FAS National Trainers Register.

Ms Cox was appointed a Director of I.C.E. Group in 1995. She is responsible for the strategic sales management and direction of the company. I.C.E. Group is a business solutions provider, working in the areas of Recruitment, Training and Development and out sourced IT services. Ms Cox also owns and manages Pitman Training in Galway, Sligo and Limerick. Ms Cox has over 28 years business experience and in addition to her role in I.C.E. Group she served for ten years as member of Seanad Eireann.

Ms Cox is a FÁS registered Trainer, she has professional educational qualifications in Finance, HR, Strategic Sales Management, and IT. She has participated as a mentor, business consultant and HR consultant with many organisations over the past 20 years. Additionally she has participated as a Board Member of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Galway City Enterprise Board, NESF, WHB, and Galway City Partnership.

Inez Bailey, Director, National Adult Literacy Agency

Inez Bailey has been the Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) since 1997. NALA is an independent membership organisation, concerned with developing policy, advocacy, research and offering advisory services in adult literacy work in Ireland. Its mission is to ensure all people with literacy and numeracy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to learning opportunities that meet their needs.

Inez joined NALA in 1995 as Programme Manager of a research and development project, funded under the EU EMPLOYMENT initiative. She co-authored the resulting research publication Access and Participation in Adult Literacy Schemes in 1998. As Director of NALA, Inez has been responsible for initiating the development of a quality framework, including an assessment framework for the adult literacy service, devising a major basic education distance learning project on TV and radio and mainstreaming workplace literacy programmes.

IDA Ireland

There have been two appointments to the IDA Board since my appointment. Mr. Brian Whitney, Assistant Secretary, Enterprise and Agencies Division, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Mr. Henry Garvey, Managing Director, Pramerica Systems Ireland Limited.

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

The qualifications for the appointment of members to the board are as set out in the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003. Appointments made to the PIAB Board are as follows:

Dorothea Dowling, Chairperson.

Senator Joe O'Toole, Vice-Chairperson, Nominee of Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Patricia Byron, Chief Executive Officer.

John Fay, Nominee of Irish Congress of Trade Unions.

Tom Noonan, Nominee of Irish Business and Employers Confederation.

Jerry Fitzpatrick, Nominee of Irish Insurance Federation.

Mary O'Dea, Consumer Director, Financial Regulator.

Tanya Holly, Legal Adviser, Department of Enterprise and Employment.

Frank Cunneen, Former Chairperson, Health and Safety Authority.

Professor Denis A Cusack, Department of Forensic Medicine, UCD.

Rights Commissioner Service

John Tierney: Mr Tierney has significant experience in industrial relations/human resources. He has the required skills and competencies, and was nominated by ICTU in accordance with legislation.

Peter O'Brien: Mr O'Brien has significant experience in industrial relations/human resources. He has the required skills and competencies, and was nominated by IBEC in accordance with legislation.

Science Foundation Ireland

The following three appointments were made to the Board of Science Foundation Ireland:

Professor Pat Fottrell — re-appointed as Chairperson of the SFI Board.

Dr. Jim Mountjoy — re-appointed as Deputy Chairperson and member.

Mr. Peter MacDonagh — re-appointed as a member of the Board. The three appointments were made on the basis of the individuals' background in and experience of scientific research, corporate governance, industrial experience, higher education and public policy.

Tyndall National Institute

Mr. Ian Quinn was appointed to the Board of Tyndall National Institute in Cork on 30 January 2009 as my nominee from the Information and Communications Technology industry. Mr. Quinn is Chairman of Craiganna and is very much involved with enterprise and entrepreneurship in the medical devices market, and has a solid track record in business in the Life Sciences Interface area and he has an excellent knowledge of the Irish system.

Enterprise Feedback Group

On 3 December, 2008 I announced the establishment of an Enterprise Feedback Group (EFG) on the implementation of the Government's Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (SSTI) 2006-2013. I established the EFG to enable a group of stakeholder representatives with a wide spread of business expertise have a sustained dialogue with the Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) on STI; the intention being to incorporate feedback from the EFG into the continuing development of policy and programmes for achievement of the targets in SSTI. The members of the EFG are as follows:

Lionel Alexander, (Chair) Vice President and General Manager, Hewlett Packard Ireland.

Sean Baker, IT Consultant.

William Carty, Finance Director, Abbott Ireland.

Dr. Gabriel Dennison, Director, Golder Associates.

Aidan Fitzsimons, Commercial Director, Dairygold Cooperative Society.

Michael Gallagher, Managing Director, Swan Net-Gundry Ltd.

Eleanor Garvey, General Manager, Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals.

Tony Golden, Managing Director, Citi Ireland.

Cathy Kearney, Managing Director, Apple Computer International.

Henry McGarvey, Managing Director, Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd.

Sean McGrath, Chief Technical Officer, Propylon Ltd.

Martin McVicker, Managing Director, Combilift Ltd.

Julie O'Neill, General Manager, Gilead Sciences Ltd.

John O'Dea, Managing Director, Crospon.

Enterprise Ireland

The following persons were appointed to the Board of Enterprise Ireland since my appointment as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Mr. Hugh Cooney (Chairman), Partner, BDO Simpson Xavier.

Ms. Máire Ní Thuathail, founder and Managing Director of EO Teilifís.

Mr. Michael McLoone, County Manager of Donegal County Council.

Forfás

Mr. Paul O'Toole, Director General of FÁS was appointed to the Board of Forfás.

Shannon Development

The following persons were appointed to the Board of Shannon Development since my appointment as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Mr. Bob Keane, Principal Officer, DETE.

Mr. John Brassil, Brassils Pharmacy.

High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise

The High Level Action Group on Green Enterprise was launched by myself and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources launched in May 2009 following on from a commitment in the Government's Framework for Sustainable Economic Renewal, Building Ireland's Smart Economy. The group is chaired by Joe Harford and is made up of representatives of industry as well as relevant senior Government Departments and Agencies:

Joe Harford as Chair;

Dr. Rosheen McGuckian;

Martin Eves;

Richard Kennedy;

Eddie O'Connor;

Declan Murphy;

Claire O'Grady-Walsh;

Colin Gordon;

Brendan Touhy;

John Fitzgerald;

Clare Dunne — Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment;

Mary Doyle — Department of the Taoiseach;

David Moloney — Department of Finance;

Sara White (Deputy Secretary General) — Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources;

Colm Lavery (PO as the relevant Assistant Secretary was recently promoted) — Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government;

Declan Hughes — Forfás;

Denis Molumby — IDA Ireland;

Mike Feeney — Enterprise Ireland;

Prof J Owen Lewis — Sustainable Energy Ireland.

A number of other Departments and agencies will be invited to take part in joint meetings to enable them to contribute to the development of the Action Plan and contributions may be sought from other organisations.

Training and Advisory Services.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

91 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way the allocation to ICTU for education, training and advisory services has been used for each of the past five years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29598/09]

An annual grant is paid to assist the Irish Congress of Trade Unions in meeting the cost of providing its "Education, Training and Advisory Service" (ETAS), which provides training for union officials and activists in affiliated unions. The ETAS supports a diverse range of courses including Health and Safety, Pensions, Activist development, conflict resolution and degree courses in Business Studies. The ETAS also involves the provision of all-year-round advisory services to affiliated trade unions. The grants paid by the Department to meet costs incurred by the ICTU in the operation of the Education, Training and Advisory Services may cover up to 80% of expenditure on training and advisory services for union officials and activists. The grant drawn down in each of the past five years was:

2004 — €1,080,000;

2005 — €1,773,000;

2006 — €1,801,000;

2007 — €1,876,332;

2008 — €1,510,000.

Trades’ Union Sector.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

92 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the way the Trade Union Amalgamation Fund has been used for each of the past five years; the trade unions which have been amalgamated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29599/09]

The Trade Union Act 1975 is designed to facilitate amalgamations and transfers of undertakings among trade unions by simplifying merger procedures and by making grants available from the Exchequer towards the costs incurred by unions in the process. The payment of grants is governed by section 15 of the Act, as amended by section 22 of the Industrial Relations Act 1990. The grants were paid in only two of the past five years as follows:

Year

Unions involved

Grant paid

2008

Independent Workers Union and Seamen’s Union of Ireland (merger arrangements still in train)

9,737.05

2007

Impact and Federated Union of Government Employees (merger complete)

42,936.68

Departmental Expenditure.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

93 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the breakdown of her €350,000 advertising and information budget for 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29600/09]

The Department's Advertising and Information Resources budget for 2009 is €351,000 which may be broken down into the following elements:

Elements of Department’s Advertising and Information Resources Budget

Approximate Breakdown

Advertising by the Department in newspapers for statutory and non-statutory purposes.

245,700

Subscriptions to magazines, journals etc. for official purposes for Department officials.

77,220

Photography expenses associated with the publication of major Department documents and with visits of senior EU officials and international political figures to the Tánaiste and 3 Ministers of State in the Department..

14,040

Purchase of books and other specialised media products (DVDs etc) for official purposes for Department officials.

14,040

Proposed Legislation.

Liz McManus

Ceist:

94 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding the implementation of the recommendations from the report on media mergers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29607/09]

In 2008, my predecessor, Deputy Micheál Martin, initiated a review of the legislative provisions applying to media mergers. This was aimed at examining the criteria and arrangements for considering and assessing how a proposed merger might affect the diversity of views and the concentration of ownership within and across media businesses.

The Media Merger Advisory Group was established to assist in this review, which was undertaken as part of my Department's wider review of the operation and implementation of the Competition Act 2002. It is my intention to bring forward legislation during the course of 2009, which will reform aspects of competition law, including in relation to media mergers, and which will also implement the merger of the National Consumer Agency and the Competition Authority as announced last October.

County and City Enterprise Boards.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

95 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the funding to each county and city enterprise board in each of the past five years; the funding available in 2009; if similar restrictions apply to the allocation of the funding by boards as is the case of the public sector; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29676/09]

Details of the funding available to each County and City Enterprise Board for the past five years and the allocations made available to the Boards in 2009 are as follows.

The CEBs will use their 2009 funding to assist existing micro-enterprises in the survival and growth of their businesses, to assist new start-ups to the greatest extent possible and to continue to focus on the promotion and stimulation of entrepreneurship at local level. Support to the micro-enterprise sector will be provided through both direct grant aid and through the provision of business advice and mentoring and the delivery of management capability training programmes aimed at improving the skills of owner managers so as to assist the survival rate amongst micro businesses and to facilitate their future growth.

The allocation of individual budgets to the thirty-five County and City Enterprise Boards is carried out by the CEB Central Coordination Unit (CCU), which has been set up within Enterprise Ireland to carry out a number of functions in respect of the CEBs, which have been previously undertaken by this Department. In determining the 2009 allocations for individual CEBs the CCU adopted a systematic approach to ensure the maximum degree of objectivity and equity of treatment. It is a matter for individual CEBs to determine how they will use allocated funds in the most effective manner possible (subject to meeting appropriate eligibility criteria and a number of limits and thresholds that are in place).

It is a basic expectation of boards that they will manage the delivery of their support Programmes on the basis of their allocated amount over the year as a whole. As with all State-funded assistance CEBs are expected to prioritise and manage available funding in a targeted and effective manner.

County and City Enterprise Boards Total Funding 2004 to 2009

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Carlow

679,157.00

912,405.73

966,884.00

972,463.00

906,850.00

875,452

Cavan

691,983.35

919,119.87

979,413.50

1,044,086.39

961,637.00

919,699

Clare

892,506.00

948,769.75

958,638.00

895,582.00

916,340.00

925,869

Cork City

781,113.00

826,059.11

917,044.00

845,800.00

898,245.00

932,445

Cork North

431,000.00

246,789.42

264,000.00

315,700.00

347,572.00

548,480

Cork South

908,889.00

979,000.99

1,205,300.00

1,215,751.82

1,170,836.00

1,158,108

Cork West

746,819.37

1,026,662.05

885,515.42

849,711.56

929,949.00

906,769

Donegal

1,318,941.01

1,311,326.36

1,527,415.51

1,277,243.00

1,243,607.00

1,184,051

Dublin City

1,179,566.00

1,619,367.67

1,760,380.00

1,895,116.00

1,657,406.00

1,460,056

Dublin Fingal

1,231,505.00

1,220,603.88

1,367,692.00

1,203,289.00

1,167,916.00

1,037,511

Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown

1,318,232.00

1,462,915.66

1,432,724.00

1,336,994.00

1,196,658.00

1,145,011

Galway

1,078,687.01

1,111,395.79

1,107,206.59

926,098.00

1,031,292.00

1,054,658

Kerry

740,768.00

990,467.64

1,116,073.00

827,390.00

942,795.00

961,530

Kildare

683,147.00

965,003.53

1,041,886.00

1,016,498.00

941,613.00

967,770

Kilkenny

824,076.00

1,035,826.93

992,593.00

847,387.82

917,422.00

931,614

Laois

665,418.00

637,191.00

942,949.18

843,264.61

764,996.00

885,737

Leitrim

688,914.00

755,384.00

894,275.00

798,125.00

835,671.00

827,050

Limerick City

723,783.00

884,755.87

999,616.00

807,771.00

865,816.00

811,074

Limerick County

797,463.00

971,164.37

981,152.00

854,891.00

851,117.00

865,926

Longford

627,524.00

724,000.00

860,000.00

805,223.00

768,014.00

878,352

Louth

723,487.00

940,885.00

1,011,303.00

1,127,500.00

1,045,516.00

779,711

Mayo

714,514.01

957,256.79

1,195,937.51

906,960.42

972,937.00

942,754

Meath

867,574.00

1,122,236.12

960,240.00

921,194.57

1,037,750.00

939,039

Monaghan

707,681.00

681,293.00

875,442.00

963,599.00

878,291.00

1,022,617

Offaly

635,859.00

955,554.00

1,067,731.00

860,289.00

909,267.00

814,465

Roscommon

635,795.00

863,197.00

953,802.00

845,345.67

819,199.00

853,782

Sligo

798,390.00

891,433.00

1,079,606.00

995,412.00

957,270.00

770,592

South Dublin

1,169,922.00

1,052,242.21

1,283,012.00

1,144,549.00

1,201,771.00

896,499

Tipperary NR

723,070.00

884,682.02

875,389.00

866,833.00

832,404.00

877,304

Tipperary SR

682,506.00

777,779.97

920,971.00

832,181.00

836,008.00

873,241

Waterford City

653,940.00

799,978.60

772,342.00

798,069.21

772,268.00

758,765

Waterford County

709,612.00

786,132.90

794,062.00

759,054.00

740,551.00

768,099

Westmeath

777,834.00

983,771.00

1,195,939.00

1,161,611.00

925,937.00

916,374

Wexford

1,013,653.00

1,184,985.72

1,190,509.00

1,106,987.00

1,014,873.00

983,319

Wicklow

747,085.00

900,074.57

985,590.00

1,032,312.58

1,031,095.00

998,946

Totals

28,570,413.75

33,329,711.52

36,362,632.71

33,900,282.65

33,290,889.00

32,472,670

Departmental Expenditure.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

96 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason payroll costs are estimated to rise by almost €1 million in 2009 in her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29716/09]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

97 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason payroll costs are estimated to rise in 2009 in the Company Registration Office, the Competition Authority, FÁS, Science Foundation Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. [29717/09]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

98 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason that payroll costs are estimated to rise in 2009 even though staff numbers will fall in the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, the Labour Court and the National Employment Rights Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29718/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 96 to 98, inclusive, together.

The 2009 Revised Estimates for Public Services, which were published by the Department of Finance on 23 April 2009, include details of estimated pay costs and staff numbers for 2009 for my Department, its Offices and agencies. The published Estimates also show the provisional outturn figures for 2008.

The allocation for my Department's central pay costs for 2009, under Subhead A1 of my Department's Vote, is €36.040 million. The outturn under this Subhead for 2008 was €35.554 million, a difference of €486,000.

During the early part of 2008, my Department was carrying a significantly higher number of vacancies than usual, largely arising from the turnover of staff as a result of the decentralisation process. The pay outturn for my Department for 2008 was therefore lower than expected. By the end of the year, a significant number of the vacancies had been filled and, consequently, the full year cost of these posts has been factored into the 2009 Estimate. This results in the 2009 Estimate being higher than the 2008 outturn.

The trend in funding in my Department's Vote can be more readily appreciated if the 2009 Revised Estimate provision is compared with the 2008 Revised Estimate provision rather than the 2008 outturn. The 2008 Revised Estimate for Subhead A1 in my Department's Vote was €36.364 million. The 2009 Revised Estimate for the Subhead, at €36.040 million, is €324,000 lower than the comparable 2008 figure.

Notwithstanding the reduction in the Estimate, the lower 2009 pay allocation for my Department must meet the full-year cost of pay increases awarded from 1 March 2008 and 1 September 2008 underTowards 2016. During 2008, my Department had to pay only ten months and four months respectively of these increases.

The same general principles outlined above apply in respect of the Offices and agencies referred to by the Deputy in his questions To assist the Deputy in making comparisons, the following table shows the pay provision as published in the 2008 Revised Estimate Volume for each of the Offices and agencies referred to, and the comparable pay provision as published in the 2009 Revised Estimates Volume.

It will be seen that with the exception of Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, there has been a decrease in the pay funding provided for these bodies in 2009 compared to the 2008 Estimates provision. This is consistent with the Government's decision in July 2008 to reduce the public sector pay bill.

The increased pay allocation for Enterprise Ireland under Subhead D1 of my Department's Vote relates to the full-year cost of additional posts sanctioned in 2008 for the Central Coordination Unit which liaises with the County and City Enterprise Boards, as well as the cost of posts which transferred to Enterprise Ireland from Shannon Development. There were corresponding reductions in the Exchequer's Capital grant to Shannon Development in 2009 in recognition of this transfer.

In the case of Science Foundation Ireland, an additional 10 posts were sanctioned with Department of Finance approval in 2008 and the full-year pay cost of these staff has been factored into the 2009 Estimate provision under Subhead F of my Department's Vote.

Finally, I would point out that the staff numbers published in the 2009 Revised Estimates Volume in relation to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), the Labour Court and the National Employment Rights Authority present a snapshot of staff serving at a point in time and do not reflect the fact that actual numbers serving vary from month to month in line with normal staff turnover. Furthermore, staff numbers in individual Offices of my Department can vary as a result of redeployment of resources to meet work demands. For example, I have recently assigned additional staff to the ODCE because of the increased demands on that Office as a result of the investigation into the affairs of Anglo Irish Bank. However, numbers elsewhere in my Department will reduce as a consequence.

The Deputy will also appreciate that so far during 2009, the Government has introduced a range of measures to reduce public service numbers. These include a moratorium on the filling of vacancies, an Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement, and other flexible working initiatives. These schemes are only now beginning to have effect and we will not see the full impact on the Public Service pay bill until 2010 and later years. In general, however, I fully expect that the initiatives I have referred to will lead to an overall reduction in numbers beyond those indicated in the Revised Estimates Volume.

Pay provision for certain Offices and agencies of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment:

Comparison of 2009 Revised Estimates provision with 2008 Revised Estimates provision

Subhead

Description

2008 Revised Estimates Volume

2009 Revised Estimate Volume

2009 Changeover 2008 Estimate

€’000

€’000

€’000

A1

Departmental Salaries, Wages & Allowances

36,364

36,040

-324

A9

ODCE Pay

2,681

2,655

-26

A10

Labour Court Pay

2,696

2,670

-26

A11

National Employment Rights Authority Pay

6,933

6,437

-496

D1

Enterprise Ireland Pay

65,630

65,998

368

F

Science, Technology and Innovation

10,954

11,113

159

— of which:

Enterprise Ireland

6,107

6,048

-59

Science Foundation Ireland

4,847

5,065

218

K1

FAS Pay and Pensions

114,455

113,523

-932

Q

Competition Authority Pay

4,764

4,378

-386

S1

Companies Registration Office Pay

5,953

5,713

-240

State Agencies.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

99 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the reason FÁS administration costs will rise by more than €0.25 million in 2009 according to the revised estimates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29719/09]

FÁS administration costs and general expenses are comprised of a pay element (staff salaries and pensions) and a non-pay element (administration costs and overheads). An increase of 0.24% in 2009 was granted to FÁS to cover increases in fixed costs in areas such as insurance, rent, rates, telecoms and security, which support the basic infrastructure needed to run the organisation. These items are non-discretionary and the costs are generally outside the control of FÁS.

Banking Sector.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

100 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she has read the county and city enterprise boards’ second half yearly survey; her views on its finding that credit availability has worsened in the past six months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29755/09]

I am aware of the survey carried out by the county and city enterprise boards (CEBs). The results of individual surveys, from State agencies, the enterprise sector and the banking sector can all be useful in highlighting the generality of the credit supply issue but they must all be examined in the context in which they are carried out and the methodologies applied.

The banks' recapitalisation package was about securing the long-term health of the economy and about enabling our banks to get back to the business of lending to viable projects and about saving jobs. The package includes many supports for SMEs.

The recapitalised banks have committed to increasing their lending capacity to SMEs by 10% over 2008. This should ensure that sound businesses will receive support from their banks.

A €100 million environmental and clean energy innovation fund is also being established by each bank as well as a further €15m each to new or existing seed capital funds. Much of this funding will flow to small and medium enterprises.

SMEs are also covered by the Code of Conduct on Business Lending to SMEs. This code which was published by the Financial Regulator came into effect from 13 March 2009. The application of the code will promote fairness and transparency in the treatment of SMEs by the banks and should facilitate access to credit for sustainable and productive business propositions.

Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will also provide funding for SMEs on foot of €300 million facilities provided by the European Investment Bank to assist developing SMEs.

The recapitalised banks agreed to pay for and co-operate with the carrying out of an independent review of bank lending to SMEs. Additional banks have now participated in this review with the result that the five major lending banks are now included. The purpose of the review is to ascertain the position on credit availability to SMEs here and to recommend appropriate action to improve credit availability. The independent review has now been submitted to my colleague, the Minister for Finance, and will be published shortly. I welcome the completion of this review as it should allow all stakeholders have an objective view of the state of lending from the banks to SMEs and provide some clarity on the level of credit being declined.

Arising from the Recapitalisation Package, the Minister for Finance, and the Tánaiste also established a Credit Supply Clearing Group with bank, business (including ISME and SFA) and State representation. This group is responsible for identifying patterns of events where the flow of credit to viable businesses appears to be blocked and for seeking to identify credit supply solutions relating to these patterns. The group is however, not an appeals mechanism for cases where credit has been refused by the banks. Individual business decisions remain the responsibility of the banks. The Credit Supply Clearing Group is being chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and will work to provide a clear picture of any emerging lending patterns while facilitating direct discussion by all the relevant interests in addressing problems.

To assist and complement the work of the Credit Supply Clearing Group, I have held seven regional meetings beginning in Cork on Monday 29 June to discuss with representatives of business, banks and the State sector, their experience of gaining access to bank credit at local and regional level. To date, meetings have been held in Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Bundoran, Shannon, Galway and Athlone. The last meeting will be held in Dundalk on Monday next 13 July. In the course of these meetings, I met with local representatives of the major banks, business representatives from local Chambers of Commerce, ISME, SFA, IFA and the Irish Hotels Federation. Local representatives from the various State Agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, City and County Enterprise Boards and Fáilte Ireland, also attended. The outcome of theses meetings should facilitate a greater understanding of the issue at both regional and national levels.

Outside of the banking sphere, the Department's continuous support for enterprises arises through maintaining a positive business environment and through particular interventions from the State development agencies such as Enterprise Ireland, FÁS and the County and City Enterprise Boards. The significant allocations in the Department's Estimates for 2009 for the development agencies ensures that we can continue to build on this strategy for the future.

The Government has also introduced formal arrangements to reduce the payment period by central Government Departments to their business suppliers from 30 to 15 calendar days. This commitment has effect on all valid invoices received on and from 15 June 2009 and should help ease cash flow difficulties for SMEs.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

101 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she received the last report from FÁS on the extent of waiting time and the number of people waiting for a FÁS training course. [29798/09]

The most recent information from FÁS indicates that the waiting time for FÁS training courses very much depends on the course type and location of the course. For example, there is a very short waiting time for FÁS E-College blended on-line training courses and the average waiting period for night courses would be for two or three weeks. For other courses there would be a longer waiting period, partly depending on when the next course is due to begin.

State Agencies.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

102 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the funding provided to each of the local employment services in 2009; and the way in which this compares with the funding in 2008. [29805/09]

In 2008 the total budget provided by FÁS, to the Local Employment Service was €19,500,000 while the expenditure amounted to €19,279,125. The budget for 2009 is €20,404,000, an increase of €1,124,875 on 2008 expenditure. Details of the funding provided to each of the Local Employment Services in 2008 and 2009 is provided in the following table:

Expenditure

Budget

LES01

LES Ballyfermot

738,793

779,071

LES02

LES Ballymun

1,037,177

1,032,251

LES03

LES Blanchardstown

944,541

1,004,620

LES05

LES Canal Inchicore

638,539

685,151

LES06

LES Clondalkin

882,820

907,269

LES07

LES Cork

947,129

1,031,866

LES08

LES DICP (Dublin Inner City)

1,129,020

1,152.083

LES09***

LES Drogheda

645,523

1,058,455

LES10***

LES Dundalk

387,987

LES11

LES Finglas/Cabra

818,728

856,541

LES12

LES Galway

624,863

620,856

LES14

LES Limerick

1,477,433

1,481,180

LES15

LES Mayo

786,747

850,256

LES16

LES Monaghan

577,297

681,523

LES17

LES Northside

1,025,414

1,129,429

LES18

LES South Kerry

464,516

488,320

LES19

LES Southside (Dublin)

778,863

786,227

LES20

LES Tallaght

952,500

1,121,638

LES21

LES Tralee

647,008

654,507

LES22

LES Waterford City

591,340

665,154

LES23

LES Co. Waterford

333,637

314,936

LES24***

LES Wexford County

601,189

865,280

LES30***

LES Wexford Town

204,448

LES26

K W C D LES (Kimmage, Walkinstown, Crumlin, Drimnagh

609,553

609,437

LES31

Bray Partnership

516,100

600,377

LES40

LES Kildare

901,853

995,567

LES Central Budget

16,108

28,000

19,279,125

20,404,000

***These LES merged as a result of a cohesion process for Partnerships undertaken in 2009. Drogheda and Dundalk have merged to Louth Partnership and Wexford Town and Wexford County have merged to Wexford Integrated Partnership.

FÁS Training Programmes.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

103 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the implications for training and education opportunities for participants of the decision in relation to the provision of 400 additional community employment places which FÁS are required to provide from its existing community employment budget. [29808/09]

I provided €6.6 million to FÁS in 2009 to provide an additional 400 Community Employment places. This therefore does not affect the number of activation training and work experience places for the unemployed which have been increased by 66,000 to 128,000 in 2009. This includes 92,000 training places delivered by FÁS.

Retail Sector.

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

104 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if, in view of the increasing concentration of the Irish supermarket retail sector and the delisting of many Irish food products, she has satisfied herself that a dominant position is not being abused; her plans to limit market share to a maximum of 20% in order to ensure real and sustained competition in the market, while maintaining a range of outlets for food producers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29809/09]

Section 5 of the Competition Act 2002 prohibits abuse of a dominant position. The creation or existence of a dominant position does not breach the Competition Acts, rather it is the abuse of that position that constitutes the breach. Should the Deputy have any evidence of undertakings in the retail sector engaging in the abuse of a dominant position, I would urge them to bring such evidence to the attention of the Competition Authority in order that it may be investigated fully.

I should point out that section 5 does not set out indicative percentages of market share for such investigations. The Competition Authority treats each case on its own merits. Therefore I have no proposals to introduce a limitation threshold.

Issues in relation to the strategies employed by businesses, including in the area of sourcing supplies, are primarily matters for the businesses themselves. The need to reduce costs and streamline operations at all stages of the supply chain is particularly more pressing in these difficult economic times. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the concerns that have been expressed in relation to the possible implications for employment in Ireland particularly if changes in supply chain arrangements reduce the level of purchases by retailers from Irish producers.

In this regard, the Government is anxious to ensure that we continue to have vibrant and successful food and retail sectors, given the important role these sectors play in the national economy. The Government accepts the importance of ensuring that there is a balance in the relationship between the various players in the grocery goods sector, which takes account of the interests of all the various parties, including the interests of consumers. My Department is currently working on the details of a Code of Practice in this area which will have as its key objective the need to achieve a balance in the relationships between grocery goods undertakings, taking into account the need to enhance consumer welfare and the need to ensure that there is no impediment to the passing-on of lower prices to consumers.

It is my intention to seek the views of all stakeholders in relation to the details of the provisions of the code, which I hope to bring forward in the coming weeks. The code in setting out the framework in which the different elements of the retail chain can enter into negotiations and agree contractual arrangements between themselves will help to ensure that those arrangements are balanced and fair and ultimately ensure that interests of all parties, including consumers, are respected.

Question No. 105 answered with Question No. 82.

Public Service Contracts.

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

106 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the companies which have been successful in tendering for contracts for her Department in the past 20 years; the other companies which tendered for the same contracts; the tender prices for these contracts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29832/09]

In the time available, it has not been possible to compile the information requested by the Deputy in relation to my Department and the Offices of my Department. This information is currently being compiled by my Department and I will be in touch with the Deputy shortly about the matter. However, ascertaining the information requested by the Deputy over the last 20 years would be impracticable and in my response to the Deputy I will be providing appropriate material since the formation of the current Government viz, from 2007 to date.

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

107 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she contracted a company (details supplied) to build facilities on behalf of the State; if she is satisfied that sub-contractors were paid for works carried out; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29846/09]

Since my appointment as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment in May 2008, neither my Department nor the Offices of my Department have contracted the company in question to undertake any work on behalf of the Department or the Offices of the Department. The additional information requested by the Deputy is, therefore, not relevant.

Question No. 108 answered with Question No. 68.

Fuel Costs.

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

109 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the steps she will take along with her colleagues in the EU concerning oil price manipulation and its impact on the price of motor fuel. [30074/09]

As Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, my concerns in relation to fuel and oil are based on consumer and competition aspects of their markets.

From a consumer angle, the House will recall that during 2008, I requested the National Consumer Agency to undertake a survey into the underlying reasons as to why pump prices for petrol and diesel were appearing not to fall in line with the drop in the wholesale price of oil. As part of its work, the Agency benchmarked movements in prices in Ireland against those in other EU countries and it examined the frequency and the timeliness in which changes in the wholesale price were being passed on to consumers. The agency's report on this matter was published on 19 December 2008. The report's overall finding was that, at national level, price changes for refined petroleum products are being passed on to consumers in a relatively timely fashion. The report noted in particular, that the prices that Irish retailers charge for oil products relate to the refinery price rather than to the price of crude oil. The refinery price for oil products varies with demand and does not always move in line with crude oil prices. There is a time lag between movements in crude prices and refined prices.

The agency's report also identified the need to improve the manner in which information on petrol and diesel prices in Ireland is collected, analysed and publicised. Currently, the vertically integrated oil companies provide oil price statistics to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources on a monthly basis. These prices are published by the European Commission in its weekly Oil Bulletin.

The timeliness and quality of oil price statistics reported by all member states has been the subject of consultation by the Commission, who concluded that the current regime did not facilitate proper comparisons between member states. I understand that the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is working with the European Commission and the Irish oil industry to improve the transparency and relevance of price statistics both in Ireland and as published in the EU oil price bulletin.

From a competition point-of-view, as the Deputy is aware, the Competition Authority is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of competition law in the State. Section 29(3) of the Competition Act 2002 provides that the Competition Authority is independent in the performance of its functions. Under section 30(1)(b) of that Act, the Competition Authority is responsible for investigating any breach of the Act. As investigations are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Authority I have no direct function in the matter.

If the Deputy has evidence of anti-competitive practices in this or in any other sector I urge him to bring this evidence to the attention of the Competition Authority.

EU Treaties.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

110 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his views on whether the Maastricht criteria for entry into the euro could be relaxed to allow one or more of the Baltic states or Iceland to come into the euro area in the event of a major devaluation or debt default; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29592/09]

The conditions for participation in the euro area are defined in the Treaty and are part of the common legal framework. The criteria defined by the Treaty for adopting the euro are essential to ensure a high degree of sustainable convergence for countries entering the euro area. In the run-up to potential euro adoption, EU member states stand to benefit from a policy strategy focused on macroeconomic stability and nominal convergence. Economic and financial stability of the euro area is a common asset both for current and future members of the euro area.

The question of a non-member state joining the euro area does not arise as there is no provision in the Treaty for such a situation.

Customs Service.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

111 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the number of private planes searched at Ireland West Airport, Knock, since 1 January to date in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29601/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a decision on whether to search private aircraft at Ireland West Airport Knock is taken following profiling, review of intelligence and interview with the crew/passengers.

In line with best practice in customs administration worldwide, Revenue regards the development of information and intelligence as critical to the detection of evasion and smuggling, including drug smuggling. This is very important in the case of Ireland and other EU member states where the operating environment for Customs has been shaped to a significant degree by the introduction of the internal market and the related principles of freedom of movement within the EU. Of specific relevance are the abolition of routine and systematic Customs checks on goods and passengers moving within any part of the EU. The approach has of necessity been to balance the freedom of movement principle in regard to people and goods with the need to control smuggling.

A selection of private aircraft has been targeted in the period in question, involving Customs staff assembling a profile of the aircraft, undertaking covert surveillance and interviewing connected persons. However, it is not the policy of the Revenue Commissioners to publish precise details of such enforcement activities as this could prejudice current or future operations.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

112 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance when full-time customs staff were assigned to Ireland West Airport, Knock; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29602/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that, although there are no full time Customs staff assigned to Ireland West Airport Knock, attendance is risk based and undertaken by mobile Customs enforcement staff from other nearby locations.

Attendance by Customs officers is selective and targeted and is based on analysis and evaluation of national and international seizure trends, traffic frequency, routes and other risk indicators. Attendance can also be as a result of specific intelligence. A drugs detector dog is frequently used. Flights with origins and destinations with a high-risk rating attract particular interest. Attendances by Customs officers cover the full range of flight times and are kept under constant review, in particular to take account of emerging smuggling trends and any traffic increases at the Airport.

Social Insurance.

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

113 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Finance his estimate of the revenue to the State if PRSI at the class A rate and at the class S rate was applied to rental income regardless of the PRSI class status of the person but once they were over the minimum thresholds. [29801/09]

While PRSI primarily relates to income derived from insurable employment or self-employment, significant progress has been made over the years in expanding the scope of the social insurance system. As the Deputy is aware, at present, self employed contributors pay PRSI on rental income. In addition while employed contributors are not generally subject to PRSI on investment income and rental income there is a liability where the individual concerned also has trade, professional or partnership income in which case they are chargeable to PRSI as a self employed contributor on rental income. Therefore, a significant amount of rental income is already subject to PRSI but, in cases where it is not, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the potential yield at this time.

Betting Industry.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

114 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the legislation, ministerial orders and departmental policies which govern betting offices; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29874/09]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

115 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the number of investigation for breaches of the Betting Act 1931, which have taken place during each of the past ten years; the number of theses investigations which resulted in convictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29879/09]

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

Bookmaking and the operation of bookmaking offices are regulated in accordance with the Betting Act 1931, as amended.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that detailed information is not available concerning the number of investigations undertaken for breaches of the Betting Act. The numbers of convictions in respect of offences under the Act in each of the years from 2000 to 2008 are set out in the following table:

Year

Convictions

2000

3

2001

4

2002

1

2003

2

2004

2

2005

1

2006

1

2007

0

2008

1

Totals

15

There has been one conviction to date this year.

Tax Yield.

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

116 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Finance the revenue which would be raised from applying income tax to child benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29901/09]

The position in relation to Child Benefit is as set out in my Supplementary Budget on 7 April 2009. The Government does not believe that it is fair to pay the same level of benefit irrespective of the level of income of the recipient. In times of scarce resources the Government believes support should be targeted at those most in need. My Department, together with the Department of Social and Family Affairs and the Revenue Commissioners are considering how best to achieve this policy objective. The tax treatment of child benefit is also being considered by the Commission on Taxation. I will be informed by its proposals on this matter.

The saving expected from taxing or means testing child benefit would depend on the scheme selected. However, preliminary analysis would indicate that a yield in the region of €400 million in a full year could be achieved.

James Reilly

Ceist:

117 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Finance the number of people who have benefited from health expenses relief per annum since 2002; the cost of same; the estimated number who will benefit from health expenses relief in 2009; the cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30008/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the most recent year for which final information is available on the cost to the Exchequer, and the numbers of taxpayers availing, of tax relief for health expenses is the income tax year 2006. These figures are contained in the following table:

Health Expenses Relief

Year

Estimated cost to the Exchequer

Estimated numbers availing

€m

2002

65

144,000

2003

80

173,000

2004

110

218,000

2005

135

261,000

2006

165

349,000

Projections for income tax receipts are based on assumed movements in macro-economic parameters and not by reference to the costs of individual tax reliefs. Accordingly, I am not in a position to provide the data requested by the Deputy for the years 2007 to 2009 in relation to the above mentioned relief.

The numbers availing represent income earners who were in a position to absorb at least some of the tax relief and thereby give rise to an Exchequer cost. They do not include the numbers of potential claimants whose entitlements to other tax reliefs were sufficient to reduce their liability to tax to nil without reference to the specific relief. The numbers availing are rounded to the nearest thousand as appropriate.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

Faoiseamh Cánach.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

118 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Richard Bruton den Aire Airgeadais an leasóidh sé alt 476 den Acht Comhdhlúite Cánacha 1997 ionas go mbeidh faoiseamh cánach ar fáil i leith chaiteachas an fhoghlaimeora ar chúrsaí teagaisc Gaeilge; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [28776/09]

Tá faoiseamh cánach ar fáil faoi alt 476 den Acht Comhdhlúite Cánacha 1997 i gcás táillí a íocann daoine ar chúrsaí oiliúna sa teicneolaíocht faisnéise agus i dteangacha eachtracha. Caithfidh na cúrsaí oiliúna, a fhéadfaidh maireachtáil suas go dtí dhá bhliain, bheith faofa ag FÁS. Tá an faoiseamh cánach, a thugtar ar an ráta caighdeánach cánach, ar fáil do tháillí suas go dtí €1,270, faoi réir íosmhéid de €315. Chun bheith cáilithe faoi choinne an fhaoisimh ní mór do dhuine teastas inniúlachta a fháil ar chríochnú an chúrsa.

In alt 476 ciallaíonn ‘teanga eachtrach' teanga seachas teanga oifigiúil an Stáit. Tá faoiseamh cánach faoin alt srianta do chúrsaí oiliúna i dteangacha eachtracha, mar sholáthraíonn an Stát tacaíocht fhairsing cheana féin i gcás an Bhéarla agus na Gaeilge do mhicléinn bhunleibhéil agus do mhicléinn ar an dara leibhéal. I bhformhór na gcúinsí bíonn na hábhair seo éigeantach do mhicléinn bhunscoile agus do mhicléinn dara leibhéal. Os a choinne sin ní bhíonn teangacha eachtracha agus teicneolaíocht faisnéise éigeantach ag an dara leibhéal.

Tá faoiseamh cánach breise ar fáil faoi alt 473A ar tháillí a íoctar ar chúrsaí faofa oideachais tríú leibhéal i gcoláistí faofa. Níl aon srianta ar na teangacha atá ináirithe faoin alt seo.

Bheadh sé deacair leasú ar alt 476 chun cúrsaí i dteanga na Gaeilge a thabhairt san áireamh a chosaint nuair a chuirtear na tacaíochtaí uile Stáit atá ann don teanga Ghaeilge cheana féin san áireamh.

Stádas na Gaeilge.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

119 D’fhiafraigh Deputy Richard Bruton den Aire Airgeadais an gcuirfidh sé iallach ar na bainc eile a bhain leas as barántas €400 billiún agus athchaipitealú fial an Stáit rogha na Gaeilge a chur ar fáil do na custaiméirí a úsáideann na seirbhísí baincéireachta ar-líne agus na hinnill airgid acu, i bhfianaise an tiomantais don teanga atá léirithe ag banc (sonraí tugtha) cheana féin trí rogha na Gaeilge a chur ar fáil ar gach uathmheaisín bainc dá chuid, agus ós amhlaidh go ndéanann na bainc freastal ar an bpobal de bhun ceadúnais agus le cabhair ón Stát anois; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [28777/09]

Is cinneadh don bhanc féin é an chaoi a gcuireann aon institiúid a seirbhísí ar fail.

Tugaim faoi deara, áfach, go bhfuil rogha Gaeilge curtha ar fáil ar uathmheaisíní ar iarratas ó chustaiméirí ag an institiúid dar thagair an Teachta. Ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfáiltím i gcónaí roimh thionscnaimh ó chomhlachtaí corpartha a chuireann an teanga náisiúnta chun cinn.

Departmental Staff.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

120 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff employed by his Department in County Louth by location; if such staff are permanent, temporary, part-time or on fixed contracts and so on; the accommodation used by such staff and if same is owned, leased or otherwise rented by his Department; the cost of same per annum; if leased, when such lease expires; his proposals to close, amalgamate or expand his Departments presence in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28851/09]

There are no staff employed by my Department in Co. Louth. However, I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the following staff numbers are employed as of 1 July (full time equivalents) and shown in the following table:

Location

Permanent

Temporary

Sub-totals

Dundalk

243.47

2

245.47

Drogheda

5.20

0

5.20

Greenore

1.55

0

1.55

Totals

250.52

2

252.22

The OPW has indicated that it is not in a position to provide all details requested within the timeframe available, but will endeavour to provide the information directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Public Service Review.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

121 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if his Department made submissions to the McCarthy group on potential savings in his Department; the contents of the submissions made; if the McCarthy group made proposals to his Department; the contents of the proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28897/09]

At the commencement of its work, theSpecial Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes requested all Departments to prepare evaluation papers outlining potential areas for savings in staff numbers and expenditure. Such papers were prepared in respect of the Finance Group of Votes. The Special Group met the Secretary General of the Department of Finance, Chairman of the Revenue Commissioners and the Chairman of Commissioners of Public Works in the course of its deliberations.

I have recently received the Report of the Special Group, and I will be bringing the Report to Government in the near future. Decisions on the release of the Report and associated documents will be made by Government in that context.

Flood Relief.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

122 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to a second incident within ten months on which houses (details supplied) in Dublin 5 have been flooded; his assessment of the causes and of he will commit to undertake remedial works. [28909/09]

Clanmoyle Road in Donnycarney is among a number of areas in Dublin, where homes were badly flooded by the recent stormwaters. At present, Dublin City Council is making an assessment, and a report will outline some of the options for dealing with the flood risk in this area. At a scheduled meeting between Dublin City Council and the Office of Public Works, the issue will be discussed further to plan how best to proceed.

Banking Sector.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

123 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Finance if, in view of the public attention surrounding the examinership of a company (details supplied) and the issues relating to depositors and the potential that finances required to fund the scheme of arrangement proposed by the examiner will emanate from Anglo Irish bank, he will ensure that the bank and the company will act in the wider public interest and with due regard to persons who paid deposits for dwellings which will not be built; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29237/09]

As the Deputy is aware Anglo Irish Bank is being run on a commercial basis and at arms length from Government. Decisions of a commercial nature, such as this, are a matter for the bank. Further, as the matter which the Deputy refers is the subject of Court proceedings it would not be appropriate for me to comment.

Tax Yield.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

124 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Finance the amount of revenue which has been raised from the sale of bioethanol fuels; the way the revenues raised compare with the targets set in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29238/09]

It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to the Biofuels Mineral Oil Tax Relief Scheme provided for in the Finance Act 2006. Under that Scheme, biofuel produced under projects approved by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources are exempt from mineral oil tax (excise duty). This serves to reduce the additional costs associated with the production of biofuels and consequently allows them to compete with conventional fossil fuels. This fiscal incentive was designed to help kickstart the domestic biofuels industry. Long-term general excise reliefs are not anticipated. I am advised by the Revenue Commissions that any deliveries of bioethanol have taken place in the context of the above Scheme and have not, therefore, been liable to mineral oil tax.

Under the Biofuels Mineral Oil Tax Relief Scheme, while the take-up has been slower than had been anticipated especially during the early part of the Scheme, over 50 million litres of bioethanol has been delivered to date, resulting in over €23 million in mineral oil tax being relieved.

The Programme for Government does not as such contain specific targets in relation to the sale of bioethanol or indeed biofuels generally. However, the Government did signal its intention to move to a Biofuels Obligation Scheme. In that regard, I understand my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan) will be bringing proposals to Government concerning the legislation required in order that the Biofuels Obligation Scheme can be introduced in 2010. The introduction of the obligation will require all fuel suppliers to ensure that biofuels represent a certain percentage of their annual fuel sales. The obligation is designed to provide a long-term market based framework for the development of a biofuels sector and delivery of biofuels targets to 2020.

EU Directives.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

125 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance when he will enact the payment services directive into law; if it is intended to include provisions covering direct debit charges and penalties for consumers not using such a payment mechanism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29259/09]

I refer to my answer to Question No. 297 of 27 January 2009.

EU Member States are required to transpose the Payment Services Directive into national law before 1 November 2009. Regulations to give effect to the Directive in Irish law will be made under the European Communities Acts 1972 to 2007 and I intend that these regulations will be made in good time to enable prospective payment institutions to become authorised or registered in accordance with the Directive by 1 November 2009.

Prior to the making of the regulations, my Department will consult on the draft text of the transposing regulations. Final decisions on the use of the various national discretions available in the Directive will be taken following the consultation.

Article 52(3) of the Directive prohibits payment service providers from preventing merchants applying a surcharge or offering a reduction for the use of a given payment instrument, in order to ensure that the costs of efficient and inefficient payment instruments are transparent. While Article 52(3) contains an optional provision for member states to forbid or limit the right to request such surcharges for the use of a particular payment instrument, a substantive case, consistent with the objectives of the Directive, has not been made to me that would lead me to consider availing of this option.

Banking Sector Regulation.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

126 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will introduce a code of practice in respect of lending by financial institutions to their senior staff including requirements for the institution to monitor and regulate such lending, particularly where such lending becomes impaired; if his attention has been drawn to the problems in the impairment of such lending at institutions covered by the bank guarantee or other financial institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29300/09]

The Financial Regulator has the statutory authority and responsibility to regulate and supervise credit institutions. The Financial Regulator recently carried out a review of loans to directors in financial institutions and is imposing conditions on banks and building societies following this review.

With regard to staff, the Financial Regulator has informed me that it expects the board and management of financial institutions to ensure that proper controls and procedures are in place in relation to staff lending. In a situation where the Regulator became aware of staff in senior positions who may be, or may be seen to be, compromised because the value of lending or because of the impairment of such lending from that institution, the Regulator would seek to ensure that the position was rectified.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

127 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he has examined the regulation of the Irish Financial Services Centre based companies, particularly those involved in the insurance and re-insurance sectors; if he is satisfied that the potential negative impact on the Exchequer in the event that one or more of these companies failed is not unsustainable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29301/09]

All insurance and reinsurance undertakings, including those undertakings transacting international business, are obliged under EU rules to hold assets to cover their liabilities as well as a solvency margin, which acts as a buffer against adverse developments. In Ireland, insurance and reinsurance undertakings operate at a level above the EU minimum standard as an additional safety measure. The combination of these requirements together with close monitoring of solvency by the Financial Regulator is designed to minimise the risk of failure.

However, in the case of a threat of failure of a non-life insurance company, a life insurance company or a reinsurance company, a company is required to submit a financial recovery plan and ultimately an Administrator could be appointed to manage the business with a view to placing it on a sound commercial and financial footing. Also, provisions in insurance legislation protect the interests of policyholders in the event of insolvency. Consequently, the above measures act to mitigate any potential negative impact on the Exchequer in the event of a failure of an insurance or reinsurance company.

Finally, it should be noted that any new applications for business in Ireland are rigorously assessed from a regulatory viewpoint and are also considered by the Central Bank from a financial stability perspective where this is relevant.

Public Service Staff.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

128 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of civil and public servants as at end 2008 and at present, broken down by Department and, within each Department, by authority, agency or other institution under the aegis of that Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29302/09]

The number of people employed in the public service at the 31 December 2008 and the most recent available information, as reported to my Department, is presented in the following table. The public service is composed of the civil service, the education sector, the justice sector, the health sector, the local authorities and the non-commercial agencies. With regard to the 2009 numbers, the reported numbers for the civil service, defence sector and justice sector are for May 2009, the local authority and education sector numbers are for March 2009 and the health sector numbers are for April 2009. The updated numbers of people employed in the non-commercial agencies are currently being compiled and are not available at this time.

Public Service Numbers for Departments/Offices, Sectors and Agencies — Whole Time Equivalents (figures rounded to nearest whole number)

Dec-08

May-09

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Civil Service

4,289

4,160

NCSSBs

Bord Bia

96

Bord Iascaigh Mhara

143

Marine Institute

196

National Milk Agency

6

Sea Fisheries Protection Authority

101

Teagasc

1,574

DEPARTMENT OF ARTS, SPORTS & TOURISM

Civil Service

174

161

NCSSBs

Arts Council

62

Bord Scannan na hÉireann — Irish Film Board

16

Chester Beatty Library

36

Fáilte Ireland

389

Irish Museum of Modern Art

68

Irish Sports Council

29

National Concert Hall

68

National Library of Ireland

122

National Museum of Ireland

181

National Sports Campus Development Authority

4

SFADCo (Tourism)

31

Tourism Ireland

162

NATIONAL GALLERY

59

57

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS ENERGY & NATURAL RESOURCES

Civil Service

301

292

NCSSBs

Broadcasting Commission of Ireland

38

Central Fisheries Board

85

Commission for Communication Regulation

120

Commission for Energy Regulation

68

Digital Hub Development Authority

15

Eastern Regional Fisheries Board

53

Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission

53

National Oil Reserves Agency

5

Northern Regional Fisheries Board

43

North-Western Regional Fisheries Board

50

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

53

Southern Regional Fisheries Board

40

South-Western Regional Fisheries Board

39

Sustainable Energy Ireland

59

Western Regional Fisheries Board

61

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY, RURAL & GAELTACHT AFFAIRS

Civil Service

273

270

NCSSBs

Boord o Ulster-Scotch (An Foras Teanga)

16

Foras na Gaeilge (An Foras Teanga)

50

Údarás na Gaeltachta

113

Waterways Ireland

343

Western Development Commission

17

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE

Civil Service

408

397

Defence Sector

11,265

11,109

NCSSBs

Coiste an Asgard

0

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION & SCIENCE

Civil Service

1,681

1,681

Education Sector

93,409

93,508

NCSSBs

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

65

Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

53

Grangegorman Development Agency

6

Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

30

Higher Education Authority

59

Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology

6

Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Science

7

National Education Welfare Board

103

National Qualifications Authority of Ireland

24

Royal Irish Academy

67

Royal Irish Academy of Music

70

DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE, TRADE & EMPLOYMENT

Civil Service

1,105

1,089

NCSSBs

City and County Enterprise Boards

122

Competition Authority

48

Enterprise Ireland

903

Foras Áiseanna Saothair

2,242

Forfás

130

Health and Safety Authority

200

IDA Ireland

282

InterTrade Ireland

43

Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority

11

National Consumer Agency

54

National Standards Authority of Ireland

157

Personal Injuries Assessment Board

75

Science Foundation Ireland

48

SFADCo Ltd (Industrial)

132

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Civil Service

1,218

1,183

Local Authorities

35,008

34,179

NCSSBs

Affordable Homes Partnership

11

An Bord Pleanála

167

Dublin Docklands Authority

47

Environmental Protection Agency

358

Heritage Council

16

Housing Finance Agency

12

Irish Water Safety Association

6

Limerick Northside Regeneration Agency

7

Limerick Southside Regeneration Agency

9

Local Government Computer Services Board

94

Local Government Management Services Board

30

National Building Agency

61

Private Residential Tenancies Board

23

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

48

DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

Civil Service

631

619

NCSSBs

Special EU Programmes Body

62

COMMISSION FOR PUBLIC SERVICE APPOINTMENTS

12

12

COMPTROLLER & AUDITOR GENERAL

154

151

OFFICE OF PUBLIC WORKS

722

703

OMBUDSMAN

94

92

PRESIDENTS ESTABLISHMENT

21

21

PUBLIC APPOINTMENTS SERVICE

146

142

REVENUE COMMISSIONERS

6,659

6,535

STATE LABORATORY

91

97

VALUATION OFFICE

158

158

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

1,245

1,301

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & CHILDREN

Civil Service

522

524

Health Sector

111,493

111,642

NCSSBs

An Bord Altranais — The Nursing Board 1985

49

Children’s Act Advisory Board

14

Crisis Pregnancy Agency

15

Dental Council 2001

5

Food Safety Authority of Ireland

90

Food Safety Promotion Board

26

Health & Social Care Professionals Council 2007

1

Health Information and Quality Authority

74

Health Insurance Authority

9

Health Research Board

84

Irish Medicines Board

245

Mental Health Commission

32

National Cancer Registry Board

47

National Cancer Screening Service

259

National Council for the Professional Development of Nursing and Midwifery

12

National Council on Ageing and Older People

8

National Paediatric Hospital Development Board

1

National Social Work Qualifications Board

7

National Treatment Purchase Fund

46

Office of Tobacco Control

9

Opticians Board 1956

19

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland 1875

19

Postgraduate Medical and Dental Board

16

Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council

16

Women’s Health Council

5

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM

Civil Service

9,176

9,023

Justice Sector

15,384

15,300

NCSSBs

Human Rights Commission

20

National Disability Authority

41

COURTS SERVICE

1,098

1,077

DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL & FAMILY AFFAIRS

Civil Service

4,610

4,793

NCSSBs

Citizens Information Board

86

Combat Poverty Agency

24

Family Support Agency

39

Pensions Board

42

DEPARTMENT OF THE TAOISEACH

Civil Service

235

231

NCSSBs

National Economic and Social Development Office

19

ATTORNEY GENERAL

128

127

CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE

847

818

CHIEF STATE SOLICITOR

245

242

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS

197

198

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

Civil Service

581

572

NCSSBs

Commission for Aviation Regulation

19

Commission for Taxi Regulation

37

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

34

National Roads Authority

144

Railway Safety Commission

8

Road Safety Authority

319

OIREACHTAS

497

498

Joan Burton

Ceist:

129 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff in his Department, including all authorities, agencies or other institutions under the aegis of his Department, who have applied for the incentivised early retirement scheme and the incentivised career break scheme; the number who have been made redundant in the past 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29311/09]

The following table sets out the position in relation to staff in my Department and bodies under its aegis who have applied for the Incentivised Early Retirement Scheme, the Incentivised Career Break Scheme and who have been made redundant in 2009 to date.

Department/Office

Incentivised Early Retirement Scheme

Incentivised Career Break Scheme

Redund-ancies

Department of Finance

17

6

0

National Treasury Management Agency

2

0

0

Revenue Commissioners

150

106

1

Office of Public Works

8

33

0

Public Appointments Service

0

3

0

State Laboratory

1

2

0

Valuation Office

0

1

0

Commission on Public Service Appointments

0

1

0

Comptroller & Auditor General

8

2

0

Office of the Appeals Commissioner

0

0

0

Ombudsman’s Office

0

1

0

IPA

0

0

0

ESRI

0

0

1

Tax Yield.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

130 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the total revenue in each month since their introduction to date from the income levy and the pension levy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29318/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated amounts of Income Levy collected in each month to date in 2009 are contained in the following table:

Month

Income Levy

€m

February

53

March

57

April

61

May

56

June

103

The figure for the month of June is provisional and subject to revision.

The latest available detailed receipts for the pension related-deduction on public service remuneration are to end-May and total to just under €200 million. The table below shows the receipts for each month since the introduction of the pension-related deduction on 1 March 2009. These figures do not include receipts from the employees of Local Authorities.

Month

Pensions Related Deduction

€m

March

10.5

April

84.6

May

100.0

The overall yield for 2009 is anticipated to be in line with the latest published estimates, which take account of the changes to arrangements introduced in the April 2009 Supplementary Budget.

Insurance Industry.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

131 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance if he will support the general regulation of insurance companies through an EU regulatory framework which addresses the issue of burden sharing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29319/09]

The 2008 EU Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation between the Financial Supervisory Authorities, Central Banks and Finance Ministries of the European Union on cross-border financial stability commits all signatories to cooperate across borders between relevant authorities, both in normal times, in order to ensure preparedness for the management of a potential cross-border crisis situation; and in crisis situations. It should be noted that the MoU is not legally binding.

The MoU contains a commitment on burden-sharing which recognises that issues related to the sharing of potential burdens must be sufficiently addressed before any crisis.

The voluntary nature of burden sharing arrangements is important, in line with the European Council conclusions of 18/19 June 2009 which note that "Recognizing the potential or contingent liabilities that may be involved for member states, the European Council stresses that decisions taken by the European Supervisory Authorities should not impinge in any way on the fiscal responsibilities of Member States".

Tax Code.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

132 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of claims made for one-parent family credit, under section 462, Taxes Consolidated Act 1997 in each year from 2000 to 2009 inclusive; if he will provide an analysis of claims made by status of the claimant, such as widow-widower, lone parent, separated parent or divorced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29320/09]

Joan Burton

Ceist:

133 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of claims made for one parent family credit, under section 462, Taxes Consolidated Act 1997 in each year from 2000 to 2009 inclusive, broken down by sex of the claimant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29321/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 132 and 133 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the estimated numbers of income earners availing of the one parent family credit, under section 462, Taxes Consolidated Act 1997, broken down by personal status and by gender for the income tax years 2000/01 to 2009 inclusive are set out in the following tables to the extent to which they are available.

Breakdown by personal status

Income Tax Year

Widow/Widower

Other Lone Parent

Total one parent families

2000/01

10,350

90,850

101,200

2001

9,850

87,750

97,600

2002

9,950

92,800

102,750

2003

10,200

99,000

109,200

2004

9,300

92,400

101,700

2005

9,300

115,600

124,900

2006

10,650

112,450

123,100

2007*

9,900

126,800

136,700

2008*

9,700

126,650

136,350

2009*

9,250

123,000

132,250

Breakdown by gender

Income Tax Year

Male

Female

Total one parent families

2000/01

28,950

72,250

101,200

2001

29,000

68,600

97,600

2002

32,400

70,350

102,750

2003

35,650

73,550

109,200

2004

38,300

63,400

101,700

2005

43,200

81,700

124,900

2006

44,600

78,500

123,100

2007*

47,200

89,500

136,700

2008*

47,050

89,300

136,350

2009*

45,650

86,600

132,250

*Provisional and likely to be revised.

Figures in the tables are rounded to the nearest fifty.

The numbers availing of the credit represent income earners who were in a position to absorb at least some of the one parent family tax credit and thereby give rise to an Exchequer cost. They do not include the numbers of potential claimants whose entitlements to other tax credits were sufficient to reduce their liability to tax to nil.

The figures for the years 2000/01 to 2006 inclusive are based on incomes data derived from income tax returns held on Revenue records and have been grossed up to an overall expected level to adjust for incompleteness in the numbers of returns on record at the time the data was extracted for analytical purposes. For the years 2007 to date the figures are estimates from the Revenue tax forecasting model using actual data for the year 2005 adjusted as necessary for income growth for the years in question.

The breakdown requested in relation to separated and divorced parents either could not be obtained or could not be obtained without conducting a protracted examination of the Revenue Commissioners' records.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

134 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the number of the claims made for one-parent family credit, under section 462, Taxes Consolidated Act 1997 in each year from 2000 to 2009 that were audited; the proportion of the claims examined that were rejected in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29322/09]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that credit claims and requests for refunds from PAYE taxpayers are checked on a tiered basis based on value. Larger claims are subject to a higher proportion of examination as they are thought to be higher risk. I am further advised that overall, about 1% of claims for all tax credits, including One Parent Family Credit, are verified in this way. Some claims may subsequently be selected for a verification check. Where it seems from the checks carried out that the claim is not valid, the credit will be withdrawn. Results of claims checked are recorded at case level, not centrally and are not credit specific. Consequently, it is not possible to provide the information requested.

I am also advised by the Revenue Commissioners that in taking this approach to PAYE credit claims, they are applying the principles of presumption of honesty and self-assessment to PAYE workers that have worked successfully for business taxpayers since 1988. Where credits (including one parent family credit) are claimed by self-employed taxpayers, this is done on the standard return of income. These returns are all subject to audit and compliance checks in the normal way.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

135 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the amount of tax forgone by the granting of a deduction for interest against rents assessable under case V, schedule D in the years 2001 to date in 2009. [29325/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that based on personal income tax returns filed by non-PAYE taxpayers for the years 2003 to 2007, the latest year for which this information is available, the estimated amount of tax foregone by allowing a deduction for interest on borrowings to be offset against rental income assessable under Case V, Schedule D is set out in the following table.

Year

Estimated Tax Forgone

€m

2003

222

2004

284

2005

393

2006

594

2007

877

The estimates are based on assuming that tax relief was allowed at the top income tax rate of 42% (up to 2006) and 41% (2007) the figures provided could therefore be regarded as the maximum Exchequer cost in respect of those taxpayers.

Corresponding suitable data is not available for the years 2001 and 2002. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that data for the tax year 2008 is not yet available as the appropriate income tax returns for that year are not due for filing until October and November 2009. It should be noted that any corresponding data returned by PAYE taxpayers in the income tax return form 12 is not captured in the Revenue computer system. However, any PAYE taxpayer with non-PAYE income greater than €3,174 is required to complete an income tax return form 11. This return is the source of the figures provided in this reply. Projections for income tax receipts are based on assumed movements in macro-economic parameters and not by reference to the costs of individual tax reliefs. Accordingly, I am not in a position to provide the data requested by the Deputy for the year 2009 in relation to this relief.

Customs Service.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

136 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Finance the date on which the new cutter vessel to patrol the north-west coast will be delivered in accordance with the contract worked out with the suppliers of same; the County Donegal port in which the vessel will be based; the number of custom coastal patrols carried out at the coastline in Donegal since 1 May 2009; the number of joint patrols carried out with Irish coastguards since 1 January 2009; the number of visits from customs and excise to community groups in Donegal to inform and advise these groups of the increased demand for all types of drugs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29337/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they will be taking delivery of the new cutter at the end of September 2009. Following normal sea-trials the cutter will be brought into service in mid October 2009. This will bring the number of Revenue Customs cutters to two.

Both cutters will have a national remit, to include the Donegal coastline. Either or both vessels can and will be deployed to patrol and carry out operations in Donegal as and when required. Apart from routine patrolling any such deployment will be risk-driven. Neither of the cutters will be based exclusively in Co. Donegal.

The existing cutter was continuously deployed to the North West Region from May 14 to June 12, 2009, and was available for deployment at short notice to Donegal if required during all of that period. As part of that deployment the cutter operated exclusively off the Donegal coastline during the continuous period from June 7 to June 12.

The Revenue Customs Service does not carry out joint patrols with the Irish Coastguard Service. In this context it should be noted that the Irish Coastguard Service is not a law enforcement agency for the purposes of drugs interdiction and has no legal competence in such matters.

Revenue personnel are tasked with drugs detection on the coastline or at the borders. The Garda are tasked with drugs interdiction within the State. On the introduction of the "Drugs Watch" scheme, Revenue Customs personnel gave a number of presentations to community groups in Donegal. More recently the Garda have taken over this function, as it is seen to fall more within their remit and they now regularly speak at schools and to community groups. Revenue personnel involved in drugs interdiction run a stand at the Fish Ireland event in Killybegs and maintain ongoing contact with locals along the Donegal coastline, fishermen, marina owners, coastguard personnel and harbour masters.

Revenue is a participant in the National Drugs Strategy and works closely with the other agencies involved in implementing that Strategy. Last year Revenue launched its own internal Strategic Plan for Drugs Interdiction. It recognises the fact that Revenue Customs officers and other agencies (national and international) and community groupings must work in co-operation with each other in the fight against smuggling of narcotics. It also recognises the increasing importance of interaction with community groups in coastal areas, which is effected through our Drugswatch programme. That Strategic Plan is being operated across the organisation.

National Flag.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

137 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance when a response to Parliamentary Question No. 77 of 28 May 2009 will be forthcoming. [29350/09]

Arrangements are being put in place to exercise the right to fly the national flag at the premises mentioned, which right, while not exercised for some time, has not lapsed.

Financial Services Regulation.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

138 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the agreement between his Department and the Financial Regulator on the high costs to consumers of opting out of fixed-rate mortgages; if a final decision has been made regarding these payments; if the Financial Regulator has finished consulting with the various banking institutions on this matter; the steps he will take on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29366/09]

The Deputy's question refers to the commitment I gave in this House on 26 March 2009 to request the Consumer Director in the Financial Regulator — which has a statutory mandate to safeguard customers' interests — to examine the level of redemption fees charged by banks to customers wishing to exit from fixed rate mortgages. My Department received a copy of the Financial Regulator's report on this matter on 29 June 2009.

The report sets out that the Financial Regulator requested specific information from 26 lenders on how early redemption fees quoted to customers are calculated. Of the 26 lenders, 25 confirmed to the FR that they did not impose any fees in respect of the early redemption of a fixed rate home loan other than those which would arise in the context of a normal redemption of any mortgage. In one case a €95 fee approved under the Consumer Credit Act, 1995 is charged by the lender for breaking a fixed rate mortgage.

The FR's report states that independent actuarial confirmation was also sought from all of the lenders to substantiate the case that the formulae applied by them to calculate redemption fees were restricted to the recovery cost of the funding of particular fixed rate mortgage arrangements in place.

On the basis of the information supplied by the lenders including worked examples and the actuarial confirmations submitted, the FR concluded and has confirmed to my Department that its analysis indicates that:

the early redemption fee calculation in all cases appears to seek to recover the costs; and

lenders do not generally apply additional fees in the case of early redemption.

The Financial Regulator has advised my Department in its report that since its findings are based on a review of material provided by lending institutions that it will carry out on-site inspections to verify the accuracy of the information that it has received at this time. In this regard a programme of on-site inspections has already commenced in relation to the application of early redemption charges. The Financial Regulator plans to conduct inspections in at least 6 institutions. The Financial Regulator has also advised me that while it has identified issues that it will be separately following up with individual institutions, the preliminary findings from those inspections conducted to date support the findings contained in the report.

Lenders do not therefore seem to be applying financial penalties in order to dissuade borrowers from early redemption of fixed rate mortgages. However, if the additional work to be undertaken by the Financial Regulator brings to light any information that does not support the findings and the conclusions contained in its report, the Financial Regulator has confirmed that this information will be made available in the public domain.

Tax Code.

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

139 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Finance the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13 is not receiving mortgage interest relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29385/09]

This is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the mortgage holder in question has been in receipt of mortgage interest relief since 2006 as a first-time buyer and will continue to be entitled to claim mortgage interest relief until the end of 2012.

I am also advised that the mortgage interest relief in this instance is on a joint mortgage where there is a combination of first and non-first-time buyers.

In order to implement the change to the mortgage interest relief rules announced in the recent Budget, the joint interest ceiling used to calculate the entitlement was reduced from €13,000 to €11,000 (this is a combination of the maximum €10,000 interest ceiling in respect of the first-time buyer and €1,000 interest ceiling in respect of the non first time buyer, the latter being the amount eligible for relief as a proportion of the maximum interest ceiling of €3,000 available prior to the Supplementary Budget change). As a result the mortgage holders may have noticed a reduction in the relief now being paid.

At present the Revenue Commissioners are reviewing all entitlements to mortgage interest relief where a combination of first and non-first time buyers are party to a mortgage and an absence of adequate information exists to determine the exact amount of relief due. Any unpaid relief identified from this review will be granted where there continues to be entitlement.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

140 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance when it is expected that the tax issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be resolved; the reason it has taken so long to conclude matters; the further reason it has not been determined as to whether their employer deducted emergency tax in this case; if he will expedite the process in order to calculate the level of refund in this case if the employer has provided the information sought by the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29487/09]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the matter is still ongoing as the issues involved are complex and the person concerned has not to date provided proof that tax was deducted from the payments made to him.

The nature or status of Revenue's enquiries into the tax affairs of other parties is confidential. Therefore it not possible to make any comment on the position concerning the other party referred to above.

Financial Services Regulation.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

141 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the safeguards in place for mortgage holders whose mortgages are sold to a third party. [29560/09]

When a regulated firm has assigned its rights and responsibilities under a contract which is subject to the Consumer Credit Act 1995 (CCA), to a third party, this will not negate the application of the CCA to that agreement. It is important to note that a consumer's statutory right cannot be set aside or contracted out of by the assignee of an agreement.

No new rights are created, and the debt collector must proceed on the same basis as the creditor could lawfully proceed under the Consumer Credit Act 1995.

Furthermore, section 40 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 provides that "Where a creditor's or owner's rights under an agreement are assigned to a third person, the consumer shall be entitled to plead against that third person any defence which was available to him against the original creditor including set-off".

For guidance purposes for credit institutions (Banks, Building Societies and Designated Credit Institutions) the Central Bank has a Code of Practice on the Transfer of Mortgages. This Code of Practice which is available on the Financial Regulator's website provides amongst other things that a loan secured by the mortgage of residential property may not be transferred without the written consent of the borrower.

Public Sector Salaries.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

142 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the amount of money that would saved by imposing a 10% pay cut on all public sector salaries over €100,000, only applying to the proportion of income over that level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29574/09]

It is estimated that a saving of approximately €25m would be achieved through the application of a percentage cut of 10% on that element of public service salaries over €100,000. The figure does not include the local authority area which is outside of the public service pay and pensions bill.

As the Deputy is aware Members of the Government, Ministers of State, Secretaries General of Government Departments and holders of some posts at similar levels have already agreed to make a voluntary surrender of 10% of their pay.

Fiscal Policy.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

143 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his views on the proposal details supplied; if he will request that an independent assessment be carried out on the proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29586/09]

The Taoiseach gave an undertaking in the Dáil last week to provide a considered response on behalf of Government to the proposals in Fine Gael's NewEra document. I understand that the Government's response is currently being prepared and I expect that it will issue to Deputy Kenny shortly.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

144 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his views on Fine Gael’s banking policy alternative; if he will request that an independent assessment be carried out of the proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29588/09]

In formulating policy responses to the impact of the financial crisis on the Irish financial system, I have welcomed all constructive observations, comments or advices that have been offered.

The Government examined a number of ways to deal with the risky assets on the balance sheets of Irish banks, which were preventing banks from lending into the economy and thereby supporting economic recovery. Taking account of Dr. Peter Bacon's report on options for resolving property loan impairments, and the consensus amongst the Government's advisors including the Central Bank, the Financial Regulator and the NTMA, the Government concluded that the establishment of an asset management agency was the best means of ensuring that the banks were freed up to lend to the real economy. As the Deputy will be aware, a Steering Group established by me is overseeing the preparation of the NAMA legislation in parallel with the practical preparations for the establishment of NAMA. The legislation will be published before the end of the month and will be fully debated in the Oireachtas.

Capital Investment.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

145 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will respond to the construction industry council’s proposal to use private pension funds to bolster capital spending; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29589/09]

I would refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 29 from Deputy Richard Bruton on Wednesday 8 July which provides an update in relation to this issue.

Decentralisation Programme.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

146 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his long-term plans for the Ordnance Survey office building in the Phoenix Park if the office is moved to Dungarvan, County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29590/09]

In 2008, the Government announced that the decentralisation of Ordnance Survey Ireland to Dungarvan was to be deferred pending a review in 2011. The future of the Ordnance Survey's existing Headquarters will be considered as part of this review.

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

147 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Finance the status of an application for employment transfer made by a person (details supplied) under the decentralisation programme. [29620/09]

The Deputy will be aware that I identified in the Budget last October the priority elements agreed by Government under the decentralisation programme which could proceed at this time. The Government's preference would have been not to delay any aspect of the Programme but, in light of the deterioration in the public finances, it has been necessary to defer other projects pending an overall review of the programme in 2011.

I understand from enquiries made by my Department that the person concerned has changed his preferences on the Central Applications Facility (CAF) on a number of occasions and that a move to the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in Drogheda is his first preference at present. That Department's investigative functions have transferred to the Department of Transport in the interim but this would not impact adversely on the person's application status. Regrettably the move of the marine investigation functions to Drogheda has been deferred pending the overall review in 2011. The move of the headquarters of the Department of Social and Family Affairs remains within the priority elements of the programme. While property acquisition is at an advanced planning phase in respect of the move by that Department, it is likely that it will be several years before the construction phase is completed and the physical moves take place.

More broadly, the Government's moratorium on recruitment across the public service is likely to result in a substantial slow down of assignments to vacancies arising across the system as a whole, including vacancies arising in Drogheda. In the last few months however, the Department of Social and Family Affairs has filled vacancies arising in a number of posts across the country and is likely to continue to do so, to some extent, for the present. Details of the person concerned have been forwarded to that Department, with a request that they contact him in the event that suitable vacancies arise in the Louth/Meath area. However, it is likely that any such vacancies would be filled in accordance with priority rules agreed in relation to the CAF and an offer would be dependent on the number of higher priority applicants also interested in any post.

Financial Services Regulation.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

148 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Finance his plans to raise new procedures introduced by a bank (details supplied) with the Financial Regulator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29621/09]

The Deputy will appreciate that the issue he raises is one that falls within the remit of the Financial Regulator in its on-going engagement with the various financial institutions. I am advised by the Financial Regulator that, at this time, they are unaware of the proposal mentioned. It needs to be borne in mind that a balance must be struck between the influence the Government brings to bear on banks through the bank guarantee scheme and other financial support incentives while allowing such institutions the scope to run their operations on a strictly commercial basis.

Tax Code.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

149 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if he will ensure that the details requested by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare for a variation in their refund of tax will issue to them. [29628/09]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a further explanation regarding the issue of the 2004 reviews issued to the person concerned on 8th July 2009.

Flood Relief.

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

150 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Finance if the detailed designs for the flood alleviation works in Johnstown village, County Kildare have been completed; and if funding has been provided to carry out the work. [29650/09]

The Commissioners of Public Works have agreed to allocate funding to complete a programme of flood alleviation works in the Johnstown area, provided Kildare County Council is successful in obtaining planning approval in accordance with Part 8 of the planning and development regulations for the scheme. It is also a prerequisite that the Local Authority resolve outstanding matters in relation to the detailed design, land ownership and environmental issues to the satisfaction of OPW.

Public Service Contracts.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

151 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that in tendering for debt recovery work, the Revenue Commissioners disqualify any applicant who does not already have an income of €200,000 per year from debt recovery work; and if he will access if this represents an unfair barrier to entry and result in unduly favouring incumbent providers when a more competitive bidding process should be encouraged. [29687/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that they have entered into contracts with six firms of external solicitors to provide legal services associated with debt collection and the enforcement process. These contracts will cease, for new referrals, on 31 December 2009. Revenue is currently undertaking an open tendering process in order to select the most suitable firms of solicitors to award contracts to carry out this work commencing on 1 January 2010.

I am assured by the Revenue Commissioners that they have taken considerable care to ensure that the open tender process fully adheres to public procurement guidelines. The tender requirements do set out certain requirements on firms. The rationale for these requirements is to ensure that firms that progress to the evaluation stage in the tender process have clearly demonstrated,inter alia, their capability in terms of their track record and experience in this specific area of work and their capacity to handle large volumes of referrals, often involving complexity. It is essential that each firm that is awarded a contract will immediately be in a position to effectively and efficiently carry out both the nature and volume of work that Revenue will refer to the successful tenderers from 1 January 2010. In this context the requirement to have a debt recovery turnover of at least €200,000 per annum, on average, in the preceding three years is both reasonable and necessary.

The table below sets out the total number of referrals to the existing solicitors, the cost of their operations and the yield recovered over the last five years. This provides an indication of both the quantum of work involved and the important role of the solicitor referral process as part of Revenue's overall collection enforcement programme.

Year

Expenditure

Number of referrals

Yield

€m

€m

2004

3.5

6,723

63.9

2005

3.6

6,485

59.6

2006

4.7

7,018

70.9

2007

4.4

6,143

75.2

2008

4.4

6,578

65.1

Tax Code.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

152 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the circumstances in which persons will be able to withdraw money from an under-performing pension fund; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29688/09]

The rationale for giving various tax reliefs to statutory and Revenue-approved pension savings schemes is to encourage and promote savings over the long term in order that individuals will have an adequate replacement income in old age. Any proposal, however well-intentioned, that would allow pre-retirement access by individuals to retirement savings could significantly reduce the quantum of pension savings available to those individuals in old age.

Revenue approval of pension schemes is given on the basis, essentially, that benefits may only be paid at the point of retirement (usually from age 60) or on earlier death. I have no plans to amend these provisions. However, employees may take "early retirement" benefits from a pension scheme anytime from age 50.

It is the case that pension funds have been negatively impacted by the turbulence in global financial markets. The value of a pension fund can increase or decrease depending on the performance of the investments chosen. There are actions which individuals may be able to take with a view to managing and minimising this impact.

Members of pension schemes or individuals with personal pension plans should regularly review the performance of their pension fund with the fund administrator or provider to see what actions can be taken to improve performance. Individuals may also have the option to choose the type of investments into which their pension funds are placed or, more generally, to influence the investment strategy to be followed by the pension fund administrators and providers. It might be expected, for example, that most of a pension fund would be invested in higher-risk funds in the early-to-mid years of a contributor's working life, moving to middle-risk funds in later years and lower-risk funds as an individual nears retirement. Individuals may also be able to transfer between investment funds or to move future contributions into different funds. These are matters on which individuals can obtain further information from their pension fund administrator or provider.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

153 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Finance the most recent estimate of the cost of the tax exemption; the number of beneficiaries; and the details of the classifications of beneficiaries by range of income exempted from tax. [29690/09]

I understand that the Deputy's question relates to the tax exemption of certain earnings of writers, composers and artists.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the relevant available information relates to the overall cost to the Exchequer of the exemption and the total numbers of claimants as included in income tax returns filed for the income tax year 2006, the latest year for which the necessary detailed information is available. In that year an estimated number of 2,890 claimants availed of the artists' exemption scheme at an estimated cost to the Exchequer of €66 million.

An income distribution by reference to bands of exempt income is set out in the attached table. This information is based on income returns on Revenue records at the time the data were compiled for analytical purposes, representing about 93% of all returns expected from claimants for this exemption.

A married couple who has elected or has been deemed to have elected for joint assessment is counted as one tax unit.

A breakdown of these figures by artistic category is not available but the Deputy may wish to know that under Freedom of Information legislation, the Revenue Commissioners publish details on their website of individuals who have been granted a determination allowing them to claim the Artists Exemption in respect of income earned from the sale of their works. The names of those qualifying for the relief with effect from 21 April 1998 are available and the list is set out in alphabetical order in each of the five categories of work covered by the exemption, viz. (a) a book or other writing, (b) a play, (c) a musical composition, (d) a painting or like picture, (e) a sculpture. The list is updated on a quarterly basis. This information can be found on the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie.

INCOME TAX 2006

Artist Exemption — by range of exempt income

Range of Exempt Income

Number of cases

Exempt Income Amount

Tax Forgone

From

To

10,000

1,366

5,123,132

1,050,138

10,000

20,000

490

7,096,360

1,494,554

20,000

30,000

207

5,110,398

1,172,504

30,000

40,000

138

4,771,973

1,251,739

40,000

50,000

91

4,082,507

1,158,554

50,000

100,000

178

12,458,772

4,133,515

100,000

250,000

129

19,660,830

7,518,437

250,000

500,000

27

9,251,623

3,776,753

500,000

1,000,000

21

14,348,972

5,947,594

Over

1,000,000

28

77,931,694

32,605,442

Totals

2,675

159,836,261

60,109,230

Departmental Properties.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

154 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his plans for the Magazine Fort and Thomas Hill in the Phoenix Park, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29696/09]

The Office of Public Works undertakes maintenance and repairs to the Magazine Fort, including security works to preserve the fabric of the Fort on an on-going basis.

The Office of Public Works wishes to develop and restore the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park at a future date. No definitive decision has been made as to the nature of any future restoration, bearing in mind the status of the Phoenix Park as a National Historic Park, and no funding is in place.

The OPW is open to realistic suggestions for the appropriate future use of this heritage site.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

155 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his plans for the disused pavilions to the south of the Fifteen Acres in the Phoenix Park, Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29697/09]

The OPW plans to demolish these pavilions as soon as possible.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

156 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the purpose of the hexagonal building at the Knockmaroon Gate of the Phoenix Park, Dublin; his plans for its future use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29698/09]

The building was originally a nature study centre. It has been occupied for a number of years by an artist in residence. Following essential health and safety works, it is hoped that it will be taken over by a voluntary body for artistic and creative purposes.

National Parks.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

157 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the various sports clubs which have pavilions or grounds in the Phoenix Park, Dublin; if he is satisfied in each case that the buildings and grounds are being used to their full potential; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29699/09]

The following bodies have grounds or pavilions within the Phoenix Park:

The All Ireland Polo Club

The Army Athletic Club

Phoenix Cricket Club

Civil Service Cricket Club

Dublin County Board Camogie Club

Oliver Plunkett's GAA Club

Eoghan Ruadh Hurling Club

GAA County Board

Leinster Football League

Park management is reviewing the current usage of the sports grounds and pavilions within the Park in the context of the draft Phoenix Park Conservation Management Plan (2009).

Departmental Offices.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

158 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the number and percentage of light bulbs in his Department which are energy saving light bulbs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29734/09]

It has been the practice for many years in the public sector, and most notably in the Office of Public Works, to utilise energy saving lighting. It is not possible to give a precise number or percentage for the OPW managed buildings, including the Department of Finance, on the use of energy saving lighting. Fluorescent lighting is used for internal lighting throughout all OPW buildings, except in the most unusual circumstances. Such circumstances are due to technical or aesthetic reasons where there is no low energy lighting appropriate to the application. Practically all external lighting is low energy.

Even in the small number of circumstances where efficient lighting is not in use, and the change-over to such lighting is prohibitively expensive, it is expected that, with new lamps coming to the market, mostly based on LED technologies, there is likely to be an economic replacement for relatively inefficient lighting over the next few years.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

159 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the number and percentage of light bulbs in the Office of Public Works managed buildings which are energy saving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29741/09]

It has been the practice for many years in the public sector, and most notably in the Office of Public Works, to utilise energy saving lighting. It is not possible to give a precise number or percentage for the OPW managed buildings on the use of energy saving lighting. Fluorescent lighting is used for internal lighting throughout all OPW buildings, except in the most unusual circumstances. Such circumstances are due to technical or aesthetic reasons where there is no low energy lighting appropriate to the application. Practically all external lighting is low energy.

Even in the small number of circumstances where efficient lighting is not in use, and the change-over to such lighting is prohibitively expensive, it is expected that, with new lamps coming to the market, mostly based on LED technologies, there is likely to be an economic replacement for relatively inefficient lighting over the next few years.

Public Sector Staff.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

160 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the number of people who have been employed in the public service on 1 June for each of the past five years including 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29742/09]

The number of people employed in the public service at the 31 December for the last five years is presented, as reported to my Department, in the following table. The numbers employed in the public service is constituted by the numbers of whole time equivalents employed in the civil service, the education sector, the justice sector, the health sector, the local authorities and the non-commercial agencies. While a new quarterly system for collecting public sector numbers has been introduced in the last few months, and numbers for the end of the first quarter are currently being compiled, I am reporting end-December numbers because of the systems that were in place and for comparative purposes.

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Public Service Numbers

284,788

292,129

304,512

312,131

316,559

Public Sector Salaries.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

161 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance the average yearly wage of persons employed in the public service for each of the past five years including 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29743/09]

Factors such as differences in staff work patterns present difficulties in compiling meaningful average figures on earnings.

However, the Central Statistics Office publishes statistics on average weekly earnings in the public sector. These are available on the website of the Central Statistics Office www.cso.ie.

These figures produced by the Central Statistics Office relate to the public sector, including commercial state-sponsored bodies, but exclude the health sector. Average earnings on this basis, expressed in annual terms and rounded to the nearest €100, for the past five years are shown as follows. The figure available for 2009 covers the period to March 2009 only.

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009 (to March 2009)

€44,000

€46,000

€48,100

€49,500

€50,800

The latest report by the CSO indicates that the increase in average earnings in the year from March 2008 to March 2009 was 3.4%. This would take account of increases payable with effect from March and September 2008 under the pay agreement associated with the Towards 2016 Social Partnership Agreement. It should be noted that the figures shown relate to gross earnings and do not reflect the impact of the public service pensions-related deduction introduced earlier this year.

Public Service Recruitment.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

162 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if the number of people employed in the public service has increased or decreased since budget 2009; if so, the amount regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29744/09]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

163 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if the number of people employed in the public service has increased or decreased since the 7 April 2009 supplementary budget; if so, the number regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29745/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 162 and 163 together.

The public service is composed of the civil service, the education sector, the justice sector, the health sector, the local authorities and the non-commercial agencies. While numbers for some areas within the public service are collected on a monthly basis, numbers for other areas are collected on a quarterly basis, and these are currently being collated.

However, based on information available to my Department, there was a net decline of 427 in the numbers of staff employed on a whole time equivalent (w.t.e.) basis in the public service between September/October 2008 and March/April 2009, excluding the non-commercial agencies. In particular, the numbers employed in the local authorities fell by 1,686, in the civil service by 484, in the defence sector by 225 and the justice sector by 65. These decreases were offset by increases in the numbers employed in the education sector of 1,219 and the health sector of 814.

In those areas of the public service where information is available for the period March/April 2009 and May 2009, there has been a net decrease in the numbers employed of 75 w.t.e. In particular, the numbers employed in the civil service have decreased by 102 (giving an overall net reduction for the civil service of 586 w.t.e. since September/October 2008), the defence sector decreased by 21 (giving an overall net reduction for the defence sector of 246 w.t.e), while the numbers employed in the justice sector increased by 48 (giving a net reduction for the justice sector of 17 w.t.e.).

Finally, in overall terms, based on the information currently available, between September/October 2008 and May 2009, there has been a net reduction in the numbers of staff employed in the public service of 502 w.t.e., as illustrated in the following table.

Public Service Numbers — Whole Time Equivalents

September/October 2008

March/April 2009

May 2009

Civil Service

37,810

37,326

37,224

Education Sector

92,289

93,508

*93,508

Health Sector

110,828

111,642

*111,642

Defence Sector

11,355

11,130

11,109

Justice Sector

15,317

15,252

15,300

Local Authorities

35,865

34,179

*34,179

Total

303,464

303,037

302,962

Public Service Numbers — Whole Time Equivalents* As reported for March/April 2009.

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

164 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if the average wage of persons employed in the public service has increased or decreased since budget 2009; if so, the figures regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29746/09]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

165 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Finance if the average wage of persons employed in the public service has increased or decreased since the 7 April 2009 supplementary budget; if so, the amount regarding same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29747/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 164 and 165 together.

Neither Budget 2009 nor the Supplementary Budget of 7 April 2009 made any changes in the gross salaries of public servants. However, the introduction of the new pension-related deduction has resulted in an average deduction of close to 7%.

Tax Yield.

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

166 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the amount of income tax received for each of the years 2000 to 2008 from self-employed persons. [29762/09]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the net receipt of income tax from self-employed persons for each of the years 2000 to 2008 are contained in the following table.

Calendar Year

Net Receipt of Income Tax

€ million

2000

1,520

2001

1,710

2002

1,945

2003

1,715

2004

2,320

2005

2,415

2006

2,565

2007

2,745

2008

2,260

These figures include payments of withholding tax on professional fees and also include yields from special Revenue investigations relating to bogus non-resident accounts, offshore accounts and single premium insurance products (where applicable) but do not take account of receipts of deposit interest retention tax and dividend withholding tax for which a breakdown between particular classes of taxpayers cannot be ascertained. Also not reflected in these figures are repayments of tax other than tax paid by the self-employed such as, for example, repayments made to foreign residents of tax deducted at source under various arrangements.

The 2001 income tax year was a short transitional tax "year" running from 6 April to 31 December 2001 which preceded the first full calendar tax year 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2002. It should be noted that as self-employed taxpayers were assessed to tax for the short "year" on 74% of the profits earned in a 12-month accounting period, the tax figure shown for 2001 in the table will not be directly comparable with those of earlier or later years.

Public Service Contracts.

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

167 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Finance the companies which have been successful in tendering for contracts for his Department in the past 20 years; the other companies which tendered for the same contracts; the tender prices for these contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29834/09]

While I am always anxious to respond to Deputies, I regret the information requested by the Deputy for the time period involved is not readily available and cannot be assembled without undue commitment of staff resources and administrative costs.

I hope, in the circumstances, that the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot provide the information sought. However, should the Deputy have a query in relation to a specific contract, I will have my officials provide any information requested.

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

168 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Finance if he contracted a company (details supplied) to build facilities on behalf of the State; if he is satisfied that sub-contractors were paid for works carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29848/09]

My Department has not engaged in contracts with the company mentioned in the Deputy's question.

I have been informed by the Office of Public Works that in the time available they are not in position to collate all the information to supply a full response to the Deputy. They expect to have the process completed and a response forwarded to the Deputy by 16 July 2009.

Budget Submissions.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

169 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Finance the proposals made to him on betting duty by sectors of the betting industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29878/09]

During the Finance Bill, I indicated that discussions would commence as to how best betting duty might be applied in the future, in the context of the 2010 Budget including looking at the UK's gross profit tax model. A number of different proposals in that regard have been received from various sectors of the industry. I also indicated that it is my intention to widen if possible the tax base on which betting duty would be applied. My officials are continuing to explore all options on an ongoing basis.

Children in Care.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

170 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide in tabular format the number of unaccompanied children in Health Service Executive hostels annually since 2002 to date in 2009; the number of these children who have gone missing from each of these hostels annually; the number who remain missing; the number of children who have gone missing this year to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29280/09]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

171 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of unaccompanied children, categorised by age group, who are in foster care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29281/09]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

172 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of Health Service Executive hostels for unaccompanied children; the funding allocated to each of these hostels annually since 2004 to date in 2009; the number run by the HSE directly; and the number of privately run hostels; the private contracts in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29284/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 to 172, inclusive, together.

As these are service matters they have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

173 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will expedite a decision on an application by persons (details supplied) in County Cork for appeal of domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29364/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Youth Services.

Brian Hayes

Ceist:

174 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made in regard to the commitment given in the programme for Government to provide extra resources to progress the implementation of the national youth work development plan and the Youth Work Act 2001 on a phased and prioritised basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29456/09]

Brian Hayes

Ceist:

175 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made in regard to the commitment given in the programme for Government to support a new youth work development plan for the period 2008 to 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29457/09]

The youth sector has received considerable financial support over the past number of years. Funding expanded from €35.5m in 2004 to €52m in 2008. This funding has allowed for expansion in the sector including the roll out of a number of sections of the Youth Work Act, 2001 and priority actions cited in the National Youth Work Development Plan. These include the development of a child protection training and awareness programme for the youth sector, the development and expansion of the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the appointment of an Assessor of Youth Work and the allocation of additional financial support, including the appointment of Youth Officers, to the VEC sector.

The 2009 Youth Affairs budget of over €48m will continue to focus on supporting existing youth programmes and services for young people including those with fewer opportunities. The National Youth Work Advisory Committee has reviewed the National Youth Work Development Plan and consideration is being given as to how matters can be progressed and developed further having regard to available resources.

Child Care Services.

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

176 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children when capital funding will be made available for a company (details supplied) to provide child care facilities; and if she will ensure that they are included on the new community hospital site as agreed with the Health Service Executive. [29568/09]

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) 2000-2006 under which capital grant funding is made available to community and commercial childcare providers for the development of childcare facilities.

With the economic downturn Government expenditure, particularly in the area of new capital commitments, was reviewed earlier this year. As a result, with the exception of a limited number of projects, it was necessary to inform all NCIP capital grant applicants, including the applicant referred to by the Deputy, that no further applications were being approved and that the programme was closed to additional applications. Existing capital commitments will continue to be processed during 2009 and 2010.

I understand that three local childcare services amalgamated into the company referred to by the Deputy and applied for capital funding for a new purpose built childcare facility. As stated above, the decision not to approve funding in this case was made having regard to the constraints currently placed on new capital commitments under the NCIP and is not related to any developments which may be under consideration by the Health Service Executive.

The City and County Childcare Committees will be advised by my Office if and when additional capital funding becomes available to my Office in 2011 and 2012.

Mental Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

177 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money raised from the sale of psychiatric hospital lands and buildings since January 2006; the amount of same which was retained by her Department ; the amount that was reinvested into the development of mental health services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29988/09]

A Vision for Change’ the Report on the Expert Group on Mental Health Policy recommended that a plan to bring about the closure of all psychiatric hospitals should be drawn up and implemented and that the resources released by these closures should be re-invested in the mental health service. The Departments of Finance and Health and Children have agreed in principle to the release of the proceeds of the disposal of properties prior to 2006 for reinvestment in mental health capital development.

The arrangements for property disposal require Department of Finance approval in each case, the lodging of the proceeds as Exchequer Extra Receipts and the re-voting of the funds for approved projects. Disposals to date amount to over €42m. A submission from the HSE, detailing the priority projects to be funded from these disposals, is currently under consideration in my Department with a view to submission to the Department of Finance.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

178 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans for the future of services (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the concerns of the consultants there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28782/09]

I am indeed aware that not everyone is in agreement with the reorganisation of breast cancer services that is taking place under the National Cancer Control Programme. However, it is important to remember the goals of the Programme — improvements in cancer prevention, detection, treatment and survival through a national service based on evidence and best practice. To achieve this, we need to move from the present fragmented system of care to one which is consistent with international best practice in cancer control. As recommended in theStrategy for Cancer Control in Ireland, the HSE has designated 8 cancer centres, each serving a minimum population of 500,000. University Hospital Galway is the designated centre for Sligo.

Breast cancer diagnostic and surgical services are the first services to be transferred to the designated cancer centres. In this regard, it is important to note that the National Quality Assurance Standards for Symptomatic Breast disease provide that each specialist unit should manage a minimum number of 150 new breast cancer cases per annum. Sligo General Hospital carried out 86 procedures on women with a principal diagnosis of breast cancer in 2008 (79 such procedures in 2007). The roll-out of BreastCheck in Sligo, which commenced in March, will further reduce the numbers of breast cancer patients requiring access to symptomatic breast disease services, as women screened by BreastCheck who require follow-up will be referred to the BreastCheck static unit in Galway.

Accordingly, breast cancer diagnostic and surgical services at Sligo will transfer to UHG within the next couple of months. Work is ongoing in relation to this with the full cooperation of hospital management. Medical oncology will continue to be delivered at Sligo General as will outpatient radiation oncology clinics. Current arrangements to provide supportive or palliative care will not change.

The current volume of breast cancer patients at Sligo has been assessed and can be accommodated in UHG, where the symptomatic breast unit has expanded considerably in recent years and offers a multidisciplinary approach providing breast cancer surgery, specialised procedures such as immediate breast reconstruction, radiotherapy and chemotherapy including neoadjuvant therapy in a single team environment. Triple assessment clinics are available every day and each of the 5 consultant surgeons has weekly clinics Monday to Friday.

Service for People with Disabilities.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

179 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the funding made available to date in 2009 for the disability sector; the budget for this sector in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28783/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

180 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children when a site will be finalised for the sexual assault treatment unit in Galway; the progress made in relation to such a unit in Mullingar, County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28787/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

181 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 397 of 17 June 2008, if the staff referred to have been recruited; when the screening programme will commence in the west; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28788/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

182 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the waiting times for occupational therapy in County Roscommon; the steps she will take to address waiting times; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28789/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

183 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of persons waiting to receive a service and therapy under each category of service in the hospital and out-patient section of Donegal Health Service Executive in tabular form; the average length of wait in each category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28793/09]

The management of waiting lists generally is a matter for the HSE and the individual hospitals concerned. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

James Reilly

Ceist:

184 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the savings and the changes made to the 2009 Health Service Executive budget in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE, namelly, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west on an item basis in tabular form outlining the services which have been reduced or varied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28815/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

185 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the savings and the changes made to the 2009 Health Service Executive budget in respect of each hospital and each hospital Department in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE Dublin, namely, north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west on an item basis in tabular form outlining the services which have been reduced or varied; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28816/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 and 185 together.

As the Deputy is aware, the National Service Plan 2009 which I approved in December contained a number of economic and cost avoidance measures for 2009 (in addition to a continuation of value for money measures from 2008). Subsequently a range of potential exposures (some of which were identified in the Service Plan) materialised.

The Government made significant decisions on spending, revenue raising and employment control in the Supplementary Budget. Those decisions, along with measures previously identified by the HSE and a series of measures which I approved obviated the need to amend the Service Plan. The HSE is now implementing these measures in order to deliver the Service Plan within its existing allocation.

The level of service originally planned by the HSE and set out in the 2009 Service Plan is continuing to be delivered. Indeed, in a number of areas planned service levels have been exceeded so far this year. Maintaining this level of performance will demand close attention to value for money and ongoing modernisation of service delivery in line with best practice.

With regard to specific issues relating to the four regional administrative areas, I have referred the matter to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Ceist:

186 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff in the four regional administrative areas of the Health Service Executive, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west on maternity leave whose positions have not been filled in their absence in 2009; the grades and areas these staff are in; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28817/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

James Reilly

Ceist:

187 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the contracts which have not been renewed in the Health Service Executive in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west since 1 January 2009; the further contracts which will not be renewed for the remainder of 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28818/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

James Reilly

Ceist:

188 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff on sick leave in the four regional administrative areas of the Health Service Executive, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west of more than one weeks duration whose positions have not been filled in their absence in 2009; the grades and areas these staff are in; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28819/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Accommodation.

James Reilly

Ceist:

189 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of beds in each hospital and nursing unit of all types (details supplied) in the four regional administrative areas of the Health Service Executive, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west that have been closed or are currently not open in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28822/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

367 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of beds closed nationally; the breakdown of these beds per hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30003/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 189 and 367 together.

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

190 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the service reviews currently being carried out by the Health Service Executive in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west; the purpose of these reviews; when they were initiated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28823/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Service Staff.

James Reilly

Ceist:

191 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of speech and language therapists who were to be employed under the Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west service plan; the number in place; the number whose contracts have not been renewed or who are on leave whose posts have not been filled; the number of unfilled vacancies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28824/09]

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

James Reilly

Ceist:

192 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of hours of speech and language therapy delivered in the four regional administrative areas of the Health Service Executive, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin Mid Leinster, south and west, in the first six months of 2008 and of 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28825/09]

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

193 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people waiting to receive a service or therapy under each category of service in the community care section of the Health Service Executive in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west in tabular form; the average length of wait in each category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28826/09]

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

223 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people waiting to receive a service and therapy under each category of service in the community care section of Donegal Health Service Executive in tabular form; the average length of wait in each category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28927/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 223 together.

As the Deputies' questions relate to service matters they have been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

James Reilly

Ceist:

194 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of people waiting to receive a service or therapy under each category of service in the hospital in-patient and out-patient section of the Health Service Executive in the four regional administrative areas of the HSE, namely, Dublin north east, Dublin mid Leinster, south and west in tabular form; the average length of wait in each category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28827/09]

The management of waiting lists generally is a matter for the HSE and the individual hospitals concerned. I have, therefore, referred the Deputy's question to the Executive for direct reply.

Medical Aids and Appliances.

James Reilly

Ceist:

195 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of money she or Government agencies have spent on hearing aids by way of subsidisation; the manufacture cost of these hearing aids; the mark up on these aids; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28828/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

196 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 will be supported. [28832/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

197 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Health and Children if social workers have acted appropriately and in accordance with the Children First guidelines in the case of allegations against a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28838/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

198 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff employed by her Department in County Louth by location; if such staff are permanent, temporary, part time or on fixed contracts and so on; the accommodation used by such staff and if same is owned, leased or otherwise rented by her Department; the cost of same per annum; if leased, when such lease expires; her proposals to close, amalgamate or expand his Departments presence in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28853/09]

My Department does not have any office located in County Louth.

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

199 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff employed by the Health Service Executive in County Louth by location; if such staff are permanent, temporary, part time or on fixed contracts and so on; the accommodation used by such staff and whether same is owned, leased or otherwise rented by her Department; the cost of same per annum; if leased when such lease expires; her proposals to close or amalgamate or expand her Departments presence at such location in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28858/09]

I presume this question refers to Health Service Executive staff as there are no Department of Health and Children staff employed in County Louth. As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Jack Wall

Ceist:

200 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will receive a date for an operation at Waterford Regional Hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28871/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply. The National Treatment Purchase Fund arranges treatment for patients who have been on a surgical waiting list for more than three months. It is open to the person in question or anyone acting on their behalf to contact the Fund directly in relation to their case.

Health Service Staff.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

201 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff in County Donegal on sick leave of more than one week’s duration whose positions have not been filled in their absence in 2009; the grades and areas these staff are in; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28872/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Mental Health Services.

Charlie O'Connor

Ceist:

202 Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans for the future of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28875/09]

In May 2006 the Government confirmed the decision to develop a new Central Mental Hospital (CMH) at Thornton Hall, County Dublin. Since then, a draft project brief has been prepared and a Cost Benefit Analysis has been completed. None of the work undertaken to date has been site specific but a number of difficulties have now emerged with the Thornton Hall site. The HSE has identified a need for an Intellectual Disability Forensic Mental Health Unit and a Child and Adolescent Forensic Mental Health Unit. Neither of these units would be viable as a stand alone facility and they should be co-located with the CMH, but the twenty acre site at Thornton Hall is not large enough to allow for these additional developments. Moreover, the construction of these additional units at a location separate to the CMH would incur increased capital and revenue costs.

The planning and design process for the CMH redevelopment project will soon need to become site specific and in these circumstances, all of the issues involved are currently being considered.

Medical Cards.

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

203 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a medical card application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [28878/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

204 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [28879/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Service Allowances.

Ned O'Keeffe

Ceist:

205 Deputy Edward O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application for domiciliary care allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [28880/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

206 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will provide details on the financial help for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3; and the details of criteria required and level of payment made. [28881/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Noel Ahern

Ceist:

207 Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Health and Children the service that is available in respect of persons caring for mentally ill relatives; if there is an easily accessible point of contact within the Health Service Executive from whom the carer could seek professional advice by phone in order to deal with problems which may arise from one day to the next with the mentally ill person. [28882/09]

As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Nursing Home Subventions.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

208 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to prioritise applications for fair deal in the circumstances in which eligible applicants exceed the budget made available; or will the scheme be demand led. [28885/09]

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme will be resource capped. This could give rise to waiting lists if resources run out in a given year. However, this potential for waiting lists to arise will be managed by means of the estimates process. The Government will have the opportunity in each financial year to allocate what it deems the appropriate amount required to meet the needs of applicants under the scheme.

All those who qualify for State support under the scheme will have been assessed as needing long-term residential care. In other words, all will have a recognised need. As such, the only equitable basis for managing the waiting list is on a first come, first served basis. First come in this case means the first applicant to avail of a nursing home place. In other words, an applicant who is seeking a particular nursing home cannot delay other applicants who have accepted a place.

Vaccination Programme.

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

209 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the dangers attached to the use of a drug (details supplied). [28887/09]

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

210 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on the dangers attached to the use of a drug (details supplied). [28888/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 209 and 210 together.

The highest priority is attached to ensuring the safety of all vaccines administered as part of the public immunisation programme in Ireland. International evidence as to the safety profile and side-effects of vaccines is considered by the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) in formulating its advice and is kept under constant review.

The Irish Medicines Board (IMB), together with its EU counterparts is responsible for monitoring national and international emerging evidence about the safety of medicines, including vaccine safety. The Irish Medicines Board is also represented on the National Immunisation Advisory Committee.

There are two vaccines licensed in Ireland to prevent Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Cervarix was licensed in September 2006 and Gardasil was licensed in September 2007. The Department has been informed by the IMB of media reports in the US and EU that described some cases with fatalities following vaccination with the HPV vaccine. These cases have been reviewed by the European Medicines Agency and the authorities responsible in the jurisdictions in which they occurred and a relationship between the HPV vaccine and these reported fatalities could not be established.

Public Service Review.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

211 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if her Department made submissions to the McCarthy group on potential savings in her Department; the contents of the submissions made; if the McCarthy group made proposals to her Department; the contents of the proposals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28899/09]

My Department submitted a report to the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes regarding expenditure and staff numbers in the health area. This was prepared in respect of the Health Group of Votes. The Special Group met with the Secretary General and other senior officials from my Department and with the Chief Executive Officer and officials from the Health Service Executive in the course of its deliberations.

The Minister for Finance has recently received the Report of the Special Group, and will be bringing the Report to Government in the near future. Decisions on the release of the Report and associated documents will be made by Government in that context.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

212 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is scope for persons with a disability to change service provider in order to try alternative placements and experiences; her views on budget holding arrangements for clients so they search around for facilities which most suited their needs. [28910/09]

Changing service provider is an operational service matter. Accordingly, I have arranged for this aspect of the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Personal social support services are designed to allow people with a disability to live a life of their choice to the greatest extent possible. As such, the nature, content and extent of such supports should depend upon the degree to which the individual needs them to participate as fully as possible in the social and economic life of their community. Currently, these supports are provided by the Health Service Executive and, more commonly, by voluntary agencies funded by the HSE. They would include, for example, day, respite and residential services.

Persons with a disability who require personal social supports, should have choice and control over the supports provided to them. This is being increasingly addressed through individual funding and individual budgets. Individual funding can ensure that the funding given to an agency for the provision of services to an individual, must be used to provide services for that individual. Individual budgets may involve a dedicated budget which is managed by the individual or by advocates on behalf of that individual.

This year, the Department of Health and Children will be reviewing disability service expenditure within the health sector as part of the Government's programme of Value for Money and Policy Reviews. The review will consider models of funding and budgets for those services which are intended to enable people with a disability to participate in the social and economic life of their community.

In addition, the Minister for Health and Children has established an Expert Group on Resource Allocation in the Health Sector in April 2009. The Group will examine how the existing system of resource allocation within the Irish public health service can be improved to support better the aims of the health reform programme. As part of the terms of reference, the Minister has asked the Expert Group, in the light of its work, to take a view on the most appropriate financing mechanism for the Irish health service. The Group has been asked to report to the Minister for Health and Children and the Minister for Finance by April 2010.

Child Care Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

213 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will indicate the number of childcare providers and the number of places covered who have indicated their willingness to participate in the proposed early childhood subventions scheme; if such providers will be permitted to charge top-up fees both for the core hours covered by the subvention and for additional hours provided outside of the subvented hours; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28911/09]

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

218 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the way the capitation grant for the new childcare and education scheme was drawn up given the cost of rent, rates, staff and so on; and if she took into account the higher cost environment in Dublin; if a national curriculum for the programme is being considered; the number of childcare services and Montessori schools who have volunteered to participate in the programme; the number of schools who have shown an interest in the programme; the number of pupils involved in Dublin and outside Dublin; when the deadline will be; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28916/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 and 218 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have responsibility for the implementation of the new scheme to provide a free Pre-School year of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) with effect from January 2010.

It is a fundamental principle of the scheme that the free Pre-School Year will be available free of charge to parents. All participating services will have to meet the costs of the new pre-school year from the capitation provided under the scheme. However, services participating in the scheme may charge parents for additional services which they provide, including additional hours and additional activities or services provided these are offered on an optional basis to parents and provided appropriate programme based activities are provided to children not participating in an additional activity.

The level of capitation provided under the scheme takes into account a range of factors which contribute to the overall cost of providing the free pre-school year. It is considered that the capitation provided is sufficient to accommodate the majority of services both in Dublin and throughout the rest of the country.

All services will be required to provide an educational programme consistent with the principles of Síolta, the national quality framework for early childhood education in Ireland. Síolta comprises a set of nationally devised and evidenced based principles, standards and components of quality in all dimensions of practice in early childhood education in Ireland. It was developed through extensive consultation with all stakeholders in the early childhood care and education (ECCE) sector in Ireland and is applicable for all settings where children aged birth to six years. A national team of Síolta co-ordinators will assist services in meeting these standards. The City and County Childcare Committees and the National Childcare Voluntary Organisations are also expected to play key roles in implementing the scheme.

As part of the preparations for introducing the new scheme, the Childcare Directorate of my Office recently wrote to almost 5,000 private and voluntary pre-school service providers in the State, inviting them to participate. These included pre-school service providers which are notified to the Health Service Executive (HSE) or registered with the Irish Montessori Education Board (IMEB) and a number of persons who have expressed an interest in establishing a pre-school service and participating in the scheme. A number of schools already operate or facilitate pre-school services and some increase in their number is expected as a result of the new scheme.

At this point, some 2,500 applications to enter the scheme have been received from pre-school services of which more than 450 are from within the Dublin area. These services expect to provide an ECCE place to 42,000 children, although a number have greater capacity should the demand present itself to them. Given the current rate of applications being received, it is expected that the number of places which will be available in the Dublin area will be sufficient to meet demands in January. Services have been asked to forward applications to enter the scheme to their local City and County Childcare Committee by 10 July 2010.

The number of children who will participate in the free Pre-School Year and who are located in both the Dublin area and outside, will not be known until January 2010 when the scheme commences. At that point, participating services will make a return to my Office indicating the number of qualifying children enrolled and attending their services.

Services for People with Disabilities.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

214 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the costings per week allowed to providers of services in respect of people with disabilities for five day care places, for full-time residential care, for respite care. [28912/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Mental Health Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

215 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the mental health proposals developed for a number of catchment areas (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28913/09]

As this is a service matter the question has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

216 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the delayed discharge recorded at 18% at a hospital (details supplied) in April 2009; the steps she will take to reduce this rate; her views on whether there is a lack of convalescent facilities in north Dublin for patients who have completed their acute phase of care; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28914/09]

The HSE is addressing the issue of delayed discharges through a combination of increased investment in alternatives to acute hospital stay and improvements in the discharge planning process at hospital level. There are many reasons for discharges being delayed including the need for long stay capacity, community based supports and, in some instances, a reluctance by families to allow their relative to be discharged until a publicly funded bed becomes available.

Hospitals are working to ensure that care is provided in a timely, appropriate and efficient manner. All patients are to be given an expected date of discharge within 24 hours of admission and patients will be discharged at weekends where appropriate.

The HSE National Service Plan for 2009 commits to a number of key steps which are designed to improve the efficiency of the hospital system including a reduction in the level of inappropriate admissions, reducing average length of stay, increasing elective surgical admissions on the day of surgery and shifting activity from in-patient to day procedures. The delivery of these measures and targets should ensure more efficient use of available capacity.

Following on from the launch of the Code of Practice for Integrated Discharge Planning last year, the HSE has initiated an "early transfer" pilot programme across 4 sites including Beaumont, Tallaght, Drogheda and Cork University Hospitals, which started on July 1st. Under the programme, patients can be transferred from the ED to a ward earlier than would normally be the case. The decision to transfer patients will be based on a prior analysis of the number of planned discharges each day. It is hoped that this will drive efficiencies in the wider hospital system, especially at ward level, and result in earlier access to in-patient beds.

The HSE's funding for long-term residential care services for older people in 2009 is €909 million and it must operate within this resource. This funding currently supports the provision of public and contract beds and the payment of nursing home subventions. I understand that at the end of March 2009 there were a total of 29,000 beds in nursing homes. Of these approximately 25,985 are long stay beds. There are currently in the region of 23,000 people in long stay residential care in Ireland (7,500 public, 15,500 private). A monthly average of 9,161 beds were reported as subvented at the end of April 2009.

It will also be required to support the introduction of the new Nursing Homes Support Scheme, A Fair Deal, later this year. Under the Fair Deal, care will be more affordable for all who need it. Earlier this year, the HSE provided 235 additional contract beds, including 90 for HSE Dublin North East, to alleviate pressure on the acute hospital system by the numbers of patients whose discharges are delayed.

Hospital Accommodation.

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

217 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of bed closures in Dublin hospitals; the reason for their closure in 2006, 2007, 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28915/09]

As this is a service issue, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Question No. 218 answered with Question No. 213.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

219 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of beds in each hospital and nursing unit in Donegal of all types (details supplied) that have been closed or are currently not open in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28923/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Service Staff.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

220 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the service reviews that are being carried out by the Health Service Executive in Donegal; the purpose of these reviews; when they were initiated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28924/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

221 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of speech and language therapists that were to be employed under the Donegal service plan; the number actually put in place; the number whose contracts have not been renewed or who are on leave and whose posts have not been filled; the number of unfilled vacancies; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28925/09]

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

222 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of hours of speech and language therapists delivered in Donegal in the first six months of 2008 and in the first six months of 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28926/09]

Subject to overall parameters set by Government, the Health Service Executive has the responsibility for determining the composition of its staffing complement. In that regard, it is a matter for the Executive to manage and deploy its human resources to best meet the requirements of its Annual Service Plan for the delivery of health and personal social services to the public. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Question No. 223 answered with Question No. 193.

National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

224 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of outpatients who have been referred to the National Treatment Purchase Fund in regard to each hospital in the Health Service Executive south area in 2008 and to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29239/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to the operation of the National Treatment Purchase Fund, my Department has asked the Chief Executive of the Fund to reply directly to the Deputy in relation to the information requested.

Hospital Waiting Lists.

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

225 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 279 of 9 June 2009 and the subsequent response from the Health Service Executive of 23 of June 2009, her views on whether it is acceptable that a 76 year old person should be put on a waiting list of 18 months approximately before being assessed for treatment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29240/09]

The scheduling of patients for hospital treatment is a matter for the consultant concerned in each case and is determined on the basis of clinical need. Should the patient's General Practitioner consider that his condition warrants an earlier appointment, he/she would be in the best position to take the matter up with the consultant involved.

Infectious Diseases.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

226 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps being taken to address the issue of hospital acquired infection; the number of such cases in each hospital in the past 12 months of suspected or confirmed infection; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29247/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

370 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of claims lodged with the State Claims Agency per year for compensation as a result of patients acquiring hospital infections since 2001; the number of cases settled to date in 2009; the settlement in each case; the amount paid in legal fees; the duration between lodging the claim and the judgement or settlement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30006/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

385 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made on the programme for Government commitment to significantly reduce hospital acquired infections in our hospitals and the need to guard against infection in the refurbishment of existing hospitals and the construction of new hospitals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30022/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

386 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made on the programme for Government commitment to establish a specific financial incentive which will reward hospitals that achieve excellence in hygiene standards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30023/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

387 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made on the programme for Government commitment to continue to carry out regular hygiene audits without notice, at minimum annually, and publish the results; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30024/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

388 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the progress made on the programme for Government commitment to introduce measures to help reduce the prescribing of antibiotics; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30025/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 226, 370 and 385 to 388, inclusive, together.

Health Care Associated Infections (HCAIs) continue to be a challenge for healthcare systems worldwide. Ireland is not unique in this regard and tackling HCAIs here continues to be a priority for the government and for the Health Service Executive (HSE). In March 2007, the HSE launched a National Infection Control Action Plan. An Infection Control Steering Group is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the plan. Over the period of the Plan the HSE aims to reduce HCAIs by 20%, MRSA infection by 30% and antibiotic consumption by 20%. The Steering Group is supported by eight Local Implementation Teams which will ensure that all local facilities are focused on achieving the national targets.

A National Surveillance system was established by the HSE to collect data and provide information to monitor HCAIs in our health system. The number of MRSA bloodstream infections for the past three years are: 588 cases in 2006, 536 cases in 2007 and 436 cases in 2008. This shows a significant decrease of over 25% between 2006 and 2008. Below is a table showing the number of MRSA cases by acute public hospital for 2008 which is the most recent information of this detail available. Most of the variation between hospitals can be explained by differences in hospital size, activity and patient population. It should be noted that if a patient is diagnosed with a bloodstream infection at a given hospital it does not indicate that the infection was acquired at that hospital. Many bloodstream infections are acquired in the community, but only diagnosed upon admission to hospital.

In order to introduce measures to aid in the reduction of antibiotic prescribing, education campaigns for healthcare staff and the general public around the prudent use of antibiotics commenced last year. The HSE launched a three week awareness campaign in November 2008 to highlight the importance of using antibiotics properly. This coincided with the first European Antibiotic Awareness Day. The awareness campaign included radio ads and distribution of leaflets on the prudent use of antibiotics.

Earlier this year, new environmental guidelines to inform infection control policy in all new builds and refurbishments were published by the HSE. HIQA, since its establishment in 2007, has also taken significant steps in this area. A core function of the Authority is to set standards on safety and quality of health services and to monitor enforcement of those standards in an open and transparent way. In 2007, HIQA developed National Hygiene Standards and commenced a programme of audit against these Standards. The Authority undertook a comprehensive inspection and review of hygiene in our acute public hospitals in 2007 and again in 2008. This included unannounced visits by inspection teams. The reports, which were published, represent a thorough assessment of how hygiene services are provided and managed in HSE-funded acute care hospitals. HIQA noted that the standard of front line services which was already very high in 2007 had been maintained in 2008 and that corporate governance was significantly improved.

In May 2009, HIQA published its National Standards for the Prevention and Control of Healthcare Associated Infections to provide an overall framework for health and social care providers to prevent or minimise the occurrence of HCAIs. These Standards include all key areas of importance in the control of HCAIs namely governance, hygiene, microbiological services, antimicrobial resistance and surveillance systems as well as relevant aspects of the design of facilities. Six months will now be allowed for the development by the HSE of a self-assessment tool, gap analysis and implementation plan before HIQA commences its initial review against those Standards.

In relation to financial incentives for achieving excellence in hygiene standards, while it is a matter for the HSE to decide on funding priorities, I favour, of course, the allocation by the Executive of resources to best ensure the delivery of high quality services.

The State Claims Agency handles all HCAI claims against individual hospitals in the public sector, the HSE and/or the Minister for Health and Children. The Agency indicates that there were 114 HCAI claims lodged with them since inception of this scheme in 2004 and to date one case has been settled. The duration between lodging the claim and settlement was just over two years. It will be appreciated that each case has its own complexities and there are issues involved beyond HCAI. It is policy not to divulge either the details or amounts concerned in individual cases. I am satisfied that significant steps are being taken to reduce the rates of HCAIs generally and to treat them promptly when they occur.

Data on Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) bloodstream isolates by acute public hospital for 2008

Acute Public Hospital

Total number of isolates of MRSA 2008

Adelaide, Meath and National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin

27

Bantry General Hospital

1

Beaumont Hospital (including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Raheny), Dublin

45

Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dublin

0

Cavan General Hospital

3

Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Dublin

2

Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin

8

Coombe Women’s Hospital, Dublin

1

Cork University Hospital (inc Maternity)

25

Galway University Hospitals (inc UCHG and Merlin Park)

47

Kerry General Hospital, Tralee

13

Letterkenny General Hospital, Donegal

19

Lourdes Orthopaedic Hospital, Kilcreene

0

Louth County Hospital, Dundalk

4

Mallow General Hospital, Co. Cork

6

Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin

34

Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar

8

Mercy University Hospital, Cork

12

Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar

6

Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

1

Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore*

1

Mid-western Regional Hospital, Ennis

2

Mid-western Regional Hospital, Nenagh

1

Mid-western Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, Limerick

19

Mid-western Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick

0

Mid-western Regional Orthopaedic Hospital, Limerick

0

Monaghan General Hospital

1

Naas General Hospital

6

National Maternity Hospital, Holles St., Dublin

0

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda

2

Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin,

6

Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan

1

Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe

7

Roscommon County Hospital

4

Rotunda Hospital, Dublin

0

Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital, Dublin

0

Sligo General Hospital

10

South Infirmary — Victoria University Hospital, Cork

4

South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel

5

St. Colmcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown**

St. James’s Hospital, Dublin

31

St. John’s Hospital, Limerick

0

St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny

4

St. Luke’s Hospital, Dublin

2

St. Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Gurranebraher, Cork

0

St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire

0

St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin

28

Waterford Regional Hospital

19

Wexford General Hospital

5

It should be noted that 2008 data is provisional.

*No data for quarters 3 and 4 of 2008.

**No data for 2008.

Health Service Staff.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

227 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 96 and 97 of 19 June 2008, the cost in 2008 for agency nursing staff; the corresponding figure to date in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29248/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Food Labelling.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

228 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children further to Parliamentary Question No. 112 of 18 December 2008, the number of inspections performed by environmental health officers on restaurants to date in 2009; the number planned for the remainder of 2009; the number of premises in breach of the beef labelling laws; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29260/09]

Responsibility for the enforcement of labelling legislation rests with the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and its official agents, which include the Health Service Executive, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the Local Authorities.

Some 44,000 inspections are planned for 2009. Inspection and food surveillance reports are submitted to the Authority every six months. The data for the first six months of 2009 will be available shortly. I have asked the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the FSAI to identify and to forward, directly to the Deputy, details on the number of inspections performed by environmental health officers on restaurants to date in 2009, the number planned for the remainder of 2009, and the number of premises in breach of the beef labelling laws.

Health Service Staff.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

229 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she is taking to resource the staffing needs of the special care baby unit at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, County Galway; when the new facilities will be fully commissioned and operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29262/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Vaccination Programme.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

230 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of newborn babies who have been vaccinated with the BCG vaccine in each primary, community and continuing care area from October 2008 to date in 2009; the number in each PCCC born since October 2008 still to be vaccinated. [29263/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

231 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children when the Nursing Home Support Scheme Bill 2008 will be enacted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29265/09]

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

298 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the implementation of a fair deal nursing home scheme. [29777/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

332 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the date the nursing home support scheme will become operational; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29967/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 231, 298 and 332 together.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009 was signed into law by the President on the 1st July. Certain sections of the Act were commenced last week to enable the National Treatment Purchase Fund to immediately begin price negotiations with private nursing homes. The Minister intends to implement the scheme as soon as these negotiations are concluded and no later than the final quarter of this year.

Health Services.

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

232 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the Diabetes Expert Advisory Group work plan for 2009; the progress on the development of the national strategy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29267/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Vaccination Programme

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

233 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will publish the report of the Vaccine Damage Steering Group; the reason for the delay in its publication; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29268/09]

I am currently considering the recommendations in the report of the Vaccine Damage Steering Group and it is my intention to publish the report when I have completed my deliberations. I expect to be in a position to do so shortly.

Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

234 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the assistance which will be provided by way of allocation of a home care package to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; when a suitable package will be put in place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29291/09]

As this is a service issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Departmental Properties.

James Reilly

Ceist:

235 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the buildings in her Department’s or the Health Service Executive’s control currently occupied; the space currently unoccupied in buildings under the control or ownership of her Department or the HSE; the rental liability of such unoccupied space in total and individually; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29293/09]

James Reilly

Ceist:

236 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the properties and land, including size vested in the Health Service Executive and her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29294/09]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 235 and 236 together. Hawkin's House, Dublin 2 is currently the only building used by my Department and there is no unoccupied space in the building. The Department of Health and Children has no vested interest in any land or property. The position regarding the Heath Service Executive is a matter for the HSE themselves. My Department is asking the HSE to reply directly to the Deputy in this regard.

Mental Health Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

237 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will list the mental health institutions and lands here in her Departments ownership, Health Service Executive ownership or other ownership which the State has effective ownership of including long leasehold in tabular form; the footprint and size of the buildings; the bed capacity of each building; the occupancy rates and the land they are located on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29295/09]

My Department does not own any lands or mental health care facilities. The lands of the Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum are the property of the Office of Public Works; the hospital has 93 in-patient beds and is currently operating at full capacity. The remainder of the question relates to lands and institutions in the ownership of the HSE and has therefore been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Ambulance Services.

James Reilly

Ceist:

238 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will report on the ambulance service in the Swords, County Dublin; if the Health Service Executive will fund the ambulance at Swords fire station; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29296/09]

Emergency ambulance services in Dublin have been provided by Dublin Fire Brigade for many years on behalf of the Health Service Executive. Ambulance services in the rest of the country are provided by the HSE.

It is important to ensure that all of our pre-hospital emergency services, including the service provided by the Dublin Fire Brigade, function as a high quality, integrated health service. The advice of the Health Information and Quality Authority on pre-hospital care issues will be a significant factor in determining how services should be organised so that they operate efficiently and that clinical governance, patient safety and quality standards are met.

The HSE and Dublin City Council are in discussion regarding a number of practical issues, including the nature and terms on which Dublin Fire Brigade provides emergency ambulance services in Dublin. The most appropriate approach to the service in Swords can be considered in this context.

Legislative Programme.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

239 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children when she expects the Adoption Bill 2009 to be signed into law; if couples who are on a list to adopt a child from Ethiopia when the Bill becomes law but who may not have received a referral or who may not have completed the adoption at that stage, will be able to proceed with the adoption; the other information with regard to progress; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29297/09]

The Adoption Bill, 2009, which will give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, was published on 23 January, 2009. The Bill, which recently passed all the stages in the Seanad, will continue to be prioritised by the Government for its passage through the Oireachtas.

Under the proposed new legislative regime, prospective adoptive parents will be able to adopt from countries that have ratified the Hague Convention as well as from those countries with which Ireland has a bi-lateral agreement based on Hague standards. Any applicant who is seeking to proceed with an adoption from a non-Hague country, or from a country with which Ireland does not have a bi-lateral agreement, should have regard to the likelihood of the adoption being completed in advance of the Adoption Bill being commenced.

As part of the preparations for the likely passage and entry into force of these new legislative arrangements, my Office has been liaising with the Department of Foreign Affairs to identify and negotiate with countries that continue to seek homes abroad for children in need of alternative care that cannot be provided domestically. We are working actively to assess the possibilities of entering into bi-lateral inter-country adoption agreements with a small number of countries, including with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Ireland has no bi-lateral inter-country adoption agreement in place with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In June, 2008, Ethiopian officials stated their intention to ratify the Hague Convention. It is my understanding that a task force of relevant personnel drawn from the Ethiopian Ministries of Women's Affairs, of Justice and of Foreign Affairs was subsequently convened to discuss the ratification of the Hague Convention. However, the Ethiopian authorities acknowledged that these moves were only the beginning of what is likely to be a long process.

With regard to recent developments on the ground, my Office was advised by the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa on 19 May, 2009, that the court in the city that deals with adoptions was not hearing cases involving abandoned children from all orphanages in Addis Ababa. Following a short period of suspension, the court has recently recommenced hearing cases involving abandoned children at State orphanages in Addis Ababa. However, cases involving abandoned children at private orphanages continue to be suspended.

The reason for the suspension of adoptions from private orphanages has, at its core, concerns over the increase in the number of abandoned children being brought for adoption and the possibility of the spread of unethical practices. The Ethiopian authorities are continuing to investigate the situation with a view to safeguarding the interests of the children concerned and, pending the conclusion of this investigation, the court is not accepting abandonment cases from private orphanages in Addis Ababa.

To date, no information has been forthcoming about a likely timeframe for the investigation. However, my Office, through its contacts in the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa, will maintain contact with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to keep abreast of developments, as and when they arise.

Health Services.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

240 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to moves by the Health Service Executive to use private contractors to provide home support services at weekends and holidays; if she will ensure that the kind of continuity and quality of care that the traditional home help service provides is maintained; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29298/09]

As the Deputy's question relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

241 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that cuts of 1,000 hours are being implemented in the home support service in County Donegal; if she will intervene to maintain this service at the current level here in accordance with Government policy of keeping people in their own homes where possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29299/09]

This matter has been brought to my attention. The HSE must live within current budgetary and economic restraints. As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply.

Public Service Staff.

Joan Burton

Ceist:

242 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of staff in her Department, including all authorities, agencies or other institutions under the aegis of her Department, who have applied for the incentivised early retirement scheme and the incentivised career break scheme; the number who have been made redundant in the past 12 months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29313/09]

To date a total of 19 staff in my Department have applied for early retirement under the incentivised scheme for early retirement. A further 1 member of staff has applied under this scheme in the Office of the Ombudsman for Children, whose staffing complement comes from within the overall Department of Health and Children staffing numbers. The scheme remains open for applications until 1st September 2009.

In addition 13 members of staff in my Department have applied under the incentivised career break scheme. This scheme is now closed. In the past twelve months 5 members of staff previously attached to Ministers of State were made redundant with effect from 22nd April, 2009, the date on which the Ministers of State ceased to hold that Office, in accordance with their contracts.

The information in relation to agencies under the aegis of my Department is currently being collated and will be forwarded to the Deputy when available. In relation to the number of applicants under both Schemes in the HSE, this is a matter directly for the HSE and accordingly, your Parliamentary Question has been referred to the Executive for attention and direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

243 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Health and Children the average waiting time in 2007, 2008, and to date in 2009 for ambulances and other emergency health services in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29343/09]

As this is a service matter, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

244 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to cover doctors who are on leave at Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals; if she will respond to the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29367/09]

As this is a service issue, it has been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Child Protection.

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

245 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps she will take to ensure that gardaí, social workers, Health Service Executive staff and education staff are working together in terms of child protection; the person whose responsibility it is to deal with child protection issues; the service that people should go to in order to highlight any specific concerns that they may have; the number of social workers that are assigned to families here; the ratio to the number of children here; and the way this compares to the OECD average. [29369/09]

The development of robust, responsive and appropriate child welfare and protection services is a priority for the Government. National over-arching guidelines for individuals and agencies dealing with children are set out in "Children First".

The guidelines, which were published in 1999 and recently reviewed, offer guidance to health professionals, teachers, members of the Garda Síochána and the many people in sporting, cultural, community and voluntary organisations who come into regular contact with children. The objectives of the guidelines are: to improve the identification, reporting, assessment, treatment and management of child abuse; to facilitate effective child protection work by emphasising the importance of family support services and the need for clarity of responsibility between various professional disciplines; to maximise the capacity of staff and organisations to protect children effectively; to consolidate inter-agency co-operation based on clarity of responsibility, co-ordination of information, and partnership arrangements between disciplines and agencies; to clarify and promote mutual understanding among statutory and voluntary organisations about the contributions of different disciplines and professions to child protection.

The key message in "Children First" is that responsibility for protecting children must be shared by all adults. Anyone who works with, has responsibility for, or comes into contact with children should be aware of the signs of abuse, be alert to the possibility of abuse, and be familiar with the basic procedures to report their concerns. Chapter 4 of the Guidelines sets out in detail the reporting procedures for anyone who has a concern, with the principal point of contact being the HSE.

A good example of co-operation in this area is the recent initiative between the Garda and the HSE that has seen a nationwide system put in place whereby the Garda can access an appropriate place of safety for children at risk out of hours. This service aims to ensure that such children are provided with an appropriate emergency place of safety, thereby reducing or eliminating social admissions of children in an acute hospital setting. The additional operational questions raised by the Deputy have been referred to the HSE for direct reply.

Medical Cards.

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

246 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason that a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 does not qualify for a medical card; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29384/09]

As this is a service matter it has been referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply to the Deputy.

Health Services.

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

247 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding a site (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29387/09]

Property management is a matter for the Health Service Executive. The question has been referred to the Executive for direct reply.