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 5, inclusive, answered orally.
Questions Nos. 6 to 31, inclusive, resubmitted.
Questions Nos. 32 to 39, inclusive, answered orally.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service

Catherine Byrne

Ceist:

40 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of clients dealt with by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service for each of the past five years; the number of new clients to date in 2010; the average waiting time to access MABS services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21630/10]

Shane McEntee

Ceist:

44 Deputy Shane McEntee asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide an update on the waiting times to access Money Advice and Budgeting Service money advisers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21673/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 and 44 together.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) assists people who are over-indebted and need help and advice in coping with debt problems. The role of money advisors is to help clients to assess their financial situation, make a budget plan and deal with creditors. MABS is now dealing with increasingly complex debt situations in respect of clients who are presenting with multiple creditors/debts.

In 2005, MABS dealt with approximately 10,900 new clients. In 2006 the number was similar with 11,000 new clients seen by the service. This figure increased to 12,000 and 16,000 in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The number increased further to 19,000 in 2009. In the period January to April 2010 a total of 7,300 new clients have been seen by MABS which would indicate that the number of clients is broadly in line with the figures for 2009. In addition the MABS helpline has dealt some 47,500 calls since its launch in October 2007. Some 10,000 calls have been dealt with to date this year, compared with 24,000 callers in 2009.

From first point of contact to first appointment with a money advisor the average waiting time is currently just over 4 weeks. This is the average nationally and there are fluctuations between offices. During the waiting period, clients are assessed and those in need of immediate assistance are given a priority appointment, others are provided with assisted self-help to ensure that they have taken steps to assess their situation and if appropriate they are supported to take holding action with their creditors. I am satisfied that the additional resources provided to MABS will assist them to meet the demand for their services.

Social Insurance

Joe Carey

Ceist:

41 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Social Protection the balance of the social insurance fund for each of the past ten years; the projected balance for the next three years; the expected deficit for 2010; the details on the way this deficit will be met; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21634/10]

The Social Insurance Fund comprises a current account and an investment account. To the extent that annual income is not required for benefit payments, this finance, together with the accumulated surplus from previous years is transferred to the investment account. Annual surpluses were a feature of the fund between 1996 and 2007. The highest annual surplus was realised in 2006. The accumulated surplus was €420m in 1999, it peaked in 2007 when the balance in the fund reached €3,632 million and subsequently fell to €934m by the end of 2009.

In 2010 the Fund will exhaust the cash balance held in the investment account. The operating deficit of the Fund at the end of 2010 is estimated to be €1.55 billion. This deficit will be borne by the Exchequer by means of a subvention from the Oireachtas — Vote 38. The authorisation of the House was given on 29th April to permit funding to be drawn down for use in the Social Insurance Fund. It is forecast that the Social Insurance Fund expenditure will exceed its income in each of the years 2011 to 2013, with the deficit continuing to be borne by means of a subvention from the Exchequer.

The Social Insurance Fund will continue to hold a capital asset over this period represented in the form of Department's headquarters property in Store Street, Dublin. A table outlining the income, expenditure, annual surplus or deficit and balances over the ten year period will be made available to the Deputies.

Balance in Social Insurance Fund 1999-2009

Year

Receipts

Payments

Annual Surplus

Accumulated Surplus

€ m

€ m

€ m

€ m

1999

3,159

2,818

341

420

2000

3,726

3,291

435

855

2001

4,307

3,676

631

1,486

2002

4,798

4,376

422

1,273

2003

5,089

4,833

256

1,529

2004

5,560

5,273

377

1,906

2005

6,159

5,665

494

2,400

2006

6,975

6,326

649

3,049

2007

7,834

7,251

583

3,632

2008

8,144

8,399

(255)

3,377

2009*

7,304

9,747

(2,443)

934

*The accounts for financial year 2009 are currently being prepared so the above figures are provisional.

Projected Balance in Social Insurance Fund 2011-2013

Year

Accumulated surplus

2011

NIL

2012

NIL

2013

NIL

Social Welfare Benefits

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

42 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of one-parent family payments suspended due to an error in the system whereby the annual review and declaration form was not issued to claimants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21618/10]

All recipients of the one-parent family payment are asked to complete, an annual review form (OFP 40) to certify that they continue to fulfil the conditions for payment. The form is generated automatically and the customer is allowed two weeks to return it to the Department. If the form is not returned or not returned in time, the payment is automatically suspended by the computer system. On 13 May local offices of the Department began to receive enquiries from some OFP customers who stated that their payment was not in the post office when they called to collect it.

Following an investigation in the computer operations area of the Department it transpired that due to an oversight, a batch of approximately 400 OFP 40 forms had not been processed and the usual controls for monitoring this work had failed on this occasion. When the Regional Director's Office of the Department was alerted to the problem, they instructed local offices to reinstate payment to any customer who enquired about the non payment.

At this stage payment has been restored to the majority of customers affected. However, in approximately 30 cases where payment was stopped, we have received no contact from the customer about their payment. I have arranged for the Department to contact these customers to establish whether they continue to fulfil the conditions for entitlement to the one parent family payment and in such cases to make appropriate arrangements to restore payment without further delay. I very much regret the inconvenience caused to customers by the failure to issue the forms and I can assure the Deputy that the Department is reviewing its procedures for issuing such forms.

Social Welfare Appeals

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

43 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Social Protection the action he is taking to reduce the waiting period for social welfare appeals. [21591/10]

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

69 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Social Protection the average time it took to process social welfare appeals in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21667/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 69 together.

I am informed by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that there were 26,000 appeals received in 2009 and it is estimated the number in 2010 could reach 30,000 compared to the average number received over the previous 4 years of 15,000. This represents a near 50% increase in the number of appeals received. At the end of 2009 there were 16,000 appeals on hands and that figure has now risen to 19,000 whereas in previous years that number would have been in the region of 5,000 to 6,000. I understand that during 2009 the average time taken to process all appeals (i.e. those decided summarily and by way of oral hearing) was 24 weeks. However, if allowance was made for the 25% most protracted cases, the average time fell to 15.8 weeks. This represents an increase of 2 weeks in the time taken to process appeals when compared to 2008.

While the growing number of appeals is clearly impacting on processing times it must also be remembered that the processing time for appeals covers all phases of the appeal process including the submission by the Department of its comments on the grounds for the appeal, further examination by the Department's Medical Assessors in certain illness related cases, further investigation by Social Welfare Inspectors where required and circumstances may also arise where further information is sought from the appellant. Delays can also occur where the appellant submits new information or evidence, often at an advanced stage in the proceedings. In some cases adjournments may be sought by the appellants or their representatives.

A number of initiatives are currently underway designed to enhance the capacity of the office to deal with the current caseload and inflows. In that regard,

2 additional Appeals Officers were assigned to the Office in 2009,

A number of additional staff are being assigned to administration area of the Office,

The organisation of the Appeals Officer's work has been changed so as to increase productivity,

A project to improve the business processes in the office is underway and a number of improvements have already been implemented,

Significant enhancements are being made to the Office's IT and phone systems.

Notwithstanding these measures, it is clear that further additional staff will be required in the short term to address the backlog that has developed. Any such staff must be very experienced and be in a position to operate without significant training. Therefore it has been decided to use experienced retired staff strictly on a short term basis to supplement the current resources to clear the backlog of appeals.

Question No. 44 answered with Question No. 40.

Departmental Staff

Michael Creed

Ceist:

45 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of job facilitators; the average waiting times to access a job facilitator; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21642/10]

Facilitators work closely with FÁS and other agencies, at national and local level, to identify appropriate training and developmental programmes for social welfare recipients of working age to enhance the skills those individuals have and, ultimately, improve their employment chances as well as helping them to develop personally. The facilitator service is available to social welfare recipients at all local offices where facilitators hold open clinics and meet with people who have been referred either by the social welfare local office or by other agencies. Arrangements to see the facilitator can be made by contacting the social welfare local office or the facilitator directly. In addition, cases are selected and referred to facilitators by Employment Support section.

There are currently 62.5 facilitators in place (a full time equivalent of 61 posts). It is proposed to increase this to 70 posts. However further appointments are subject to the current moratorium on recruitment and promotions and will be filled by redeployment of staff within the Department and from across the Civil Service. In the current economic climate the demand for the facilitator service is elevated. Facilitators generally have scheduled days when they are available in different locations across our network of offices and people wishing to meet with a Facilitator would be advised to call on one of those days — a centralised appointment system is not maintained. Accordingly waiting times for individual facilitators are not maintained. Facilitators make every effort to contact all interested customers as quickly as possible.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 38.

Public Service Cards

Olwyn Enright

Ceist:

47 Deputy Olwyn Enright asked the Minister for Social Protection the details of the public service card with photo ID to be rolled out from 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21653/10]

The Department has developed, in conjunction with a number of other Government Departments, the specifications for a Public Service Card (PSC) under the Standard Authentication Framework Environment, or SAFE, programme. The specification provides for identification features, including a photograph. The aim is to develop a card that acts as a key for access to public services in general, identifying and authenticating individuals as appropriate and where required. Legislative provisions in relation to the introduction of the Public Service Card have been included in Section 263 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended by Section 32 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2007).

These specify that the Minister may issue a Public Service Card in the format that he or she deems fit with the person's name, personal public service number, photograph, signature, card issue number and card expiry date to be inscribed on the card. Provision is also included for the person's name, personal public service number, date of birth, sex, all former surnames (if any) of the person's mother, photograph, signature and card expiry date to be electronically encoded on the card. In addition, provision is made for any other information that may be prescribed to be either inscribed or electronically encoded on the card.

Over the past few years significant progress has been made on the implementation of the project including the selection of a preferred bidder to provide a managed service for card production and related bureau services. Technical specifications were finalised and the necessary organisational change was designed. However, in view of the prevailing economic climate the project was suspended until formal sanction to proceed was received from the Department of Finance at the end of last year. A contract was agreed with the managed service provider from early January.

The remaining elements of the production project are expected to take several months to complete. Significant preparatory work has to be undertaken including decisions regarding the final design of the card and to develop a secure site for the personalisation of the cards. It will also be necessary to develop a technical infrastructure within the Department to support the management and administration of the cards. Procurement for this development has commenced. The overall time for completion of initial deployment of a Public Services Card is dependent on the rate at which it will be possible to register all of those to whom it will be issued.

Features such as photographs and signatures and electronic card authentication are expected to minimise the rate of fraud and error arising from incorrectly identified and authenticated individuals. The Public Service Card will replace cards currently in use, such as the Social Services Card and the Free Travel card with highly secure cards. Other Departments and agencies will also be in a position to use the card. A further benefit of the Public Service Card will be the efficiencies that can be achieved by all agencies using the card. The time spent on establishing identity and authentication will be reduced leading to significant potential savings across the whole public sector.

Social Welfare Benefits

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

48 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of mortgage interest supplement; the cost of same; if he will arrange for the collection of figures on the number of persons who apply for the mortgage interest supplement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21638/10]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

60 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of households in receipt of rent supplement and mortgage interest relief in 2009 and 2010 broken down by quarter. [15937/10]

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

67 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons claiming rent supplement for more than 18 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21669/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48, 60 and 67 together.

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short-term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the State.

Similarly the purpose of the mortgage interest supplement scheme is to provide short term support to people who have difficulty meeting their mortgage repayments due to changes in their employment circumstances and whose means are now inadequate to meet their basic day to day needs. The aim of the scheme, working within the overall social welfare framework, is to ensure that people do not suffer unnecessary hardship due to loss of employment and that in the short term they can maintain their sole place of residence whilst being unemployed. Mortgage interest supplement only covers the mortgage interest payments in respect of an eligible person's sole place of residence. It is a means tested payment and other qualifying criteria apply.

Information in relation to the number of recipients of rent supplement and mortgage interest supplement is shown in the attached tabular statement. Over 37,800 rent supplement recipients have been in payment for 18 months or more. There are currently over 16,500 people in receipt of mortgage interest supplement with expenditure on this scheme expected to be in the region of €64 million in 2010.

Mortgage interest supplement claim details should be electronically recorded where entitlement to mortgage interest supplement is refused. However, as the practice can vary from community welfare area to area, statistics for the number of people who applied for and were refused mortgage interest supplement without an appeal, are not available. This failure to maintain accurate records should be viewed in the context of the increased demands being placed on community welfare officers in the current economic environment.

Number of Recipients of Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement by Quarter 2009 and 2010

Quarter

Rent Supplement Recipients

Mortgage Interest Supplement Recipients

Q1 2009

82,986

10,872

Q2 2009

89,710

13,036

Q3 2009

90,825

14,136

End 2009

93,030

15,101

Q1 2010

95,037

16,129

Question No. 49 answered with Question No. 38.

National Carers Strategy

P. J. Sheehan

Ceist:

50 Deputy P. J. Sheehan asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans for carers following the decision not to publish the national carers strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21695/10]

During 2008, an interdepartmental group, chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach, with secretariat support provided by my Department, undertook work, including a public consultation process, to develop a National Carers' Strategy. However, because of the prevailing economic situation, it was not possible to set targets or time limits which could be achieved. In that context, rather than publishing a document which did not include any significant plans for the future, the Government decided not to publish a strategy. This position remains unchanged.

The Government is acutely aware and appreciative of the contribution made by carers. It was for that reason, that when resources were available, we invested heavily in improving social welfare rates and services for carers. Over the past decade, carer payment rates have greatly increased, qualifying conditions for carer's allowance have significantly eased, coverage of the scheme has been extended and new schemes such as carer's benefit, half-rate carer's allowance and the respite care grant have been introduced and extended. People caring for more than one person receive a higher rate of payment, equating to an additional 50% of the maximum personal rate. Recipients with children also receive a qualified child increase in respect of each child.

Following this year's Budget, the carer's allowance rate for carers over 66 years of age has not changed and remains at €239. The rate of carer's allowance for someone under 66 is €212. Since the introduction of the carer's allowance in 1990 payments to carers have been increased and expanded. Carer's allowance was increased in 2007, 2008 and 2009 by 12.1%, 6.5% and 3.3%, respectively. As a result, even with the reduction announced in the last Budget for carers under 66, the weekly rate of payment for the carer's allowance is still almost 20% higher this year than in 2006 and more than 147% higher than in 1997.

The means test for carer's allowance has been significantly eased over the years, and is now one of the most generous means tests in the social welfare system, most notably with regard to spouse's earnings. Since April 2008, the income disregard has been €332.50 per week for a single person and €665 per week for a couple. This means that a couple with two children can earn in the region of €37,200 and qualify for the maximum rate of carer's allowance as well as the associated free travel and household benefits. A couple with an income in the region of €60,400 can still qualify for a minimum payment, as well as the associated free travel, household benefits package. These levels surpass the ‘Towards 2016' commitment to ensure those on average industrial earnings continue to qualify for a full carer's allowance.

From June 2005, the annual respite care grant was extended to all carers who are providing full time care to a person who needs such care, regardless of their income. The rate of the respite care grant has also been increased to €1,700 per year in respect of each care recipient since June 2008. The Government will continue to support carers within the resources available.

Pension Provisions

Arthur Morgan

Ceist:

51 Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will give a commitment not to cut the State pension. [21613/10]

Social welfare expenditure for 2011, including expenditure on State pensions, will be considered in the context of next year's Budget preparations, having regard both to needs and to the resources available to meet those needs. As stated, in identifying possible savings I will seek to protect the vulnerable irrespective of age.

Employment Support Services

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

52 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Social Protection the additional support that has been given to job facilitators to deal with the increased demand for access to support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21646/10]

The Department's facilitators work with social welfare recipients of working age, including people in receipt of jobseekers payments, people parenting alone, people in receipt of disability welfare payments and people providing care, to promote participation and social inclusion. Facilitators help people to identify appropriate training or development programmes which will enhance the skills that the individual has and ultimately improve their employment chances, as well as help them to continue to develop personally. Facilitators develop individual progression plans with the customer. They are located throughout the country and are assigned to cover defined geographical areas. They work closely with FÁS and other agencies at a local level to identify and target appropriate education, training and development opportunities.

In the current economic climate the demand for the facilitator service is elevated. Facilitators make every effort to contact customers as quickly as possible. The facilitator service was enhanced under the National Development Plan (NDP) Social and Economic Participation Programme. Twenty four additional facilitators have been appointed since September, 2008. There are 62.5 currently serving (full time equivalent 61 posts). It is intended to increase the number to 70 posts. Clerical support for facilitators is provided centrally by Employment Support Services section. The number of facilitators in place, their workload, and the effectiveness of the service will continue to be monitored.

Social Welfare Fraud

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

53 Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection the datasets of other public sector bodies available to his Department for the purpose of anti-fraud data-matching exercises; and the datasets he is currently seeking access to but has not yet secured. [21604/10]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

72 Deputy Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection if he is satisfied with the method of recording and calculating fraud control savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21657/10]

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

77 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Social Protection the fraud savings target for 2010; if he will provide an update on fraud control measures put in place by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21663/10]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

80 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection if he is on target to achieve fraud savings as outlined at budget time; the steps he is taking to reduce the cost of rent allowance payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21745/10]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

81 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection if he is on target to achieve fraud savings as outlined at budget 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21698/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 53, 72, 77, 80 and 81 together.

The prevention of fraud and abuse of the social welfare system is an integral part of the day-to-day work of the Department. A key objective of the Department's control strategy is to ensure that the right person is paid the right amount of money at the right time. A four-pronged control strategy has been adopted by the Department, namely prevention of fraud and error at the initial claim stage, early detection through effective review of claims in payment, measures to deter fraud, and the pursuit and recovery of overpayments.

In relation to accessing information for fraud and error detection, the Department is involved in a number of data matching initiatives which are effective in identifying high risk claims for review and ensuring that review activity is targeted in the most effective manner. Data exchange is provided for by legislation and is an example of good cross-departmental co-operation. Every month commencement of employment data from the Revenue Commissioners are matched against the Department's schemes and investigations are conducted where warranted. All matches identified are examined to determine whether there has been wilful concealment of information by the customer. Where there has been concurrent working and claiming for 12 weeks or more or where the overpayment exceeds €2,000 such cases will be considered for prosecution.

In addition the following organisations provide information to the Department for the purpose of the data matching:

The Irish Prison Service provides lists of prison inmates on a quarterly basis.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal provides data on compensation payments made.

The Courts Service has provided on-line access for information on the probate index of issued grants.

Third level institutions supply details of students registered for full-time daytime education.

Access to the General Register's Office regarding births, deaths and marriages is proving very effective for control purposes.

The Private Security Authority provided information on security licence holders.

Data have also been received from the Department of Agriculture & Food on total grant payments issued to farmers.

The Commission for Taxi Regulation has supplied data on active taxi/ hackney licence holders.

The Private Rental Tenancies Board provides information on registered landlords.

The Department continues to explore the value of possible new data matches. However reporting on these at this stage could prejudice the value of these sources.

Control savings are calculated by applying validated multipliers to the difference in the rate of payment before and after the control activity. Multipliers used in assessing control savings estimate the potential future savings to the Department of a revocation or reduction resulting from a control action. The multiplier used is based on an estimated duration that a person would have remained on benefit in the absence of the control activity, and this varies by scheme. The Department's Control Division carries out validation exercises to ensure control savings are recorded correctly in accordance with the guidelines. The methodology is kept under review. I understand that a review to be carried out in consultation with C&AG will commence shortly.

I am satisfied that control savings provide valid, useful and comparable measures of progress towards achieving results. The rapidly changing economic environment with large increases in the levels of unemployed poses challenges for the prevention and effective management of fraud and control. The Department's response to these challenges has been to introduce new measures, which are evidence based, to target control activity at high risk categories of claimants. A target of €533.3 million was set for control savings in 2010. The current work to rule measures in the Department have impacted on the reporting of the value of control activities so it is not possible to say if control savings are on target. However, I am hopeful that the target will be met.

Regarding rent supplements a review of maximum rent supplement levels is expected to be completed shortly. This review, in conjunction with the decline in rental market rates generally, will ensure that the new rent limits reflect realistic market conditions throughout the country, and that they will continue to enable the different categories of eligible tenant households to secure and retain suitable rented accommodation to meet their respective needs.

Social Welfare Code

Mary Upton

Ceist:

54 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to assist households that are experiencing higher fuel costs as a result of the introduction of the carbon levy. [21609/10]

Damien English

Ceist:

76 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Social Protection the action he will take to alleviate the impact of the carbon tax on lower income households that are more likely to rely on higher carbon fuels and to live in badly insulated homes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21651/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 54 and 76 together.

The Department of Social Protection already assists low income households with heating costs through their basic payments, through the fuel allowance scheme and through the household benefits package of electricity and gas allowances. These schemes have been improved significantly in recent years. The fuel allowance is paid for 32 weeks each year from end September to end April. In the 2009/2010 heating season over 340,000 recipients benefited from the allowance at a cost of over €231million.

Some 376,000 pensioners are receiving the household benefits which provides 2,400 electricity units per annum (or the gas equivalent) over the year and it is estimated that some 140,000 of these households are receiving both fuel allowance and the electricity units /gas allowance under the household benefits to assist with the heating and other energy requirements. The household benefit package cost €184million in 2009.

Proper household insulation is absolutely vital in tacking fuel poverty. Initiatives such as the Warmer Homes Scheme, operated by Sustainable Energy Ireland, under the aegis of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources have a very valuable role to play in that regard, as does funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to improve the quality of existing local authority housing and the Housing Adaptation Grants for older people and people with disabilities. Considerable progress has been made in this area in recent years. In his Carbon Budget Statement, the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government, outlined details of €130 million in funding for insulation, €76 million of which will be used to assist low income families.

The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources has overarching responsibility for the energy portfolio and has convened an Inter-Departmental/Agency Group on Affordable Energy to coordinate and drive Government policy in this area. The Inter Departmental/Agency Group has been asked to draw up an Energy Affordability Strategy. This strategy will set out existing and future approaches to addressing energy affordability and will have regard both to the impact of the carbon tax on low income households and the range of supports outlined above in making its recommendations. As part of its work, the Group will make recommendations as to the precise package of measures, including in the area of income support, that should be put in place to assist those at risk of fuel poverty.

Ulick Burke

Ceist:

55 Deputy Ulick Burke asked the Minister for Social Protection if he has conducted a review of the one-parent family payment; the details of the recommendations of this review; if he will publish this review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21626/10]

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

58 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to reform the one-parent family payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21648/10]

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

73 Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans in relation to the cohabitation rule for lone parents; and his further plans to introduce a parental allowance. [21605/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 55, 58 and 73 together.

The Government discussion paper, "Proposals for Supporting Lone Parents", was published in 2006 and can be viewed at:

http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Policy/PolicyPublications/Families/Documents/prop_lp.pdf. It put forward proposals for the expanded availability and range of education and training opportunities for lone parents, the extension of the National Employment Action Plan to focus on lone parents, the focused provision of childcare, improved information services for lone parents and the introduction of a new social assistance payment for low-income families with young children.

The One-Parent Family Payment, by its nature, is not payable where the lone parent is co-habiting with the other parent of the child or with someone else as husband and wife. The discussion paper proposed that the category of lone parenthood would be abolished. Instead, a parental allowance would be made to all parents (living alone or with a partner) with young children on a low income, thus ending the co-habitation rule. It will not be possible for my Department to progress this aspect of the proposal due, in part, to current economic climate. These proposals have, however, informed deliberations regarding the One-Parent Family Payment scheme.

The current duration of the One-Parent Family Payment, which is payable until the youngest child reaches the age of 18 — or 22 if in full-time education — is not in the best interests of the recipient, their children or society. Social welfare supports for lone parents should be designed to:

prevent long-term dependence on welfare and facilitate financial independence;

recognise parental choice with regard to care of young children but with the expectation that parents will not remain outside of the labour force indefinitely, and

include an expectation of participation in education, training and employment, with supports provided in this regard.

To meet these social policy objectives, my Department will be introducing changes to the One-Parent Family Payment in the forthcoming Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2010. For new customers, from April 2011, it is proposed that the One-Parent Family Payment will be paid until the youngest child in the family reaches the age of 13 years. For existing recipients of the payment, there will be a phasing-out period to enable them to access education and training and to prepare them for their return to the labour market.

These changes will bring Ireland's support for lone parents more in line with international provisions, where there is a general movement away from long-term and passive income support. The EU countries that are achieving the best outcomes in terms of tackling child poverty are those that are combining strategies aimed at facilitating access to employment and enabling services (e.g. child care) with income support.

Social Insurance

Eamon Gilmore

Ceist:

56 Deputy Eamon Gilmore asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason for the delay in finalising the details of the PRSI incentive scheme that was announced in budget 2010. [21581/10]

The Employer Job (PRSI) Incentive Scheme will be commenced in June and will be administered by the Department of Social Protection. Regulation pertaining to the scheme is in the final stages of preparation, as are details of scheme administration. The scheme will run for the calendar year 2010 only. However, any qualifying employment created in 2010 will be eligible for the scheme, which will be structured so that employment created prior to the launch can participate for 12 months forward from the time of launch and employment created later in the year will participate for 12 months to the corresponding date in 2011.

Question No. 57 withdrawn.
Question No. 58 answered with Question No. 55.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service

Dinny McGinley

Ceist:

59 Deputy Dinny McGinley asked the Minister for Social Protection if he is satisfied with the capacity of the Money Advice and Budgeting Service to negotiate on people’s behalf with financial institutions and sub-prime lenders regarding mortgage arrears; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21675/10]

The money advisers throughout the country focus on providing assistance, advice and intense support to people who have financial difficulties. The money adviser works out a budget and negotiates on behalf of the client with all creditors, including financial institutions and sub-prime lenders, to secure better terms for the client in managing the repayment of their debts. Where required by the client, the money adviser can assist with setting up a special account with a local Credit Union into which an agreed amount of money is lodged regularly and from which each month the money adviser makes the repayments to the creditors on behalf of the client. In 2009 some 2,618 special accounts were set up with the local Credit Unions.

Focused training programmes designed to equip money advice staff and local management boards to meet the demands on the services are provided by MABS NDL, the national support company. In addition, MABS NDL has introduced a number of community education and other initiatives to assist the services in managing their increased caseloads. These include a money management education programme for people facing redundancy to inform them about managing on a reduced income and how to avoid getting into debt.

Under the statutory code of conduct on mortgage arrears published by the Financial Regulator, all financial institutions including the banks and sub-prime mortgage lenders must, where circumstances warrant it, refer a borrower in difficulty for guidance to a local MABS office or to an appropriate alternative. An operational protocol ‘ Working Together to Manage Debt’ is in place and is the result of almost 2 years work by MABS NDL and the Irish Banking Federation (IBF), the main representative body for the banking and financial services sector. The protocol applies to all client debts, including mortgage debt, owed to the major lending institutions in Ireland and includes a commitment that no legal action will be taken as long as there is compliance by the client with an agreed repayment plan.

Last year an additional 19 money advisers were appointed to MABS companies throughout the country. They have been fully trained in the application of money advice work and the relevant codes and legislation relating to mortgage debt. I am satisfied that MABS provides a high quality personal service to assist people in overcoming their indebtedness and managing their finances. I am confident that the money advisors are trained and equipped to deliver this important service to the members of the public who require it.

Question No. 60 answered with Question No. 48.

Civil Registration Act

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

61 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Protection when he expects that the review of the Civil Registration Act 2004 will take place with particular reference to making provision for the registration here of all deaths of persons domiciled in Ireland who died abroad; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21554/10]

I appreciate that registration here of the deaths abroad of Irish citizens would be very significant to the relatives of the deceased and it is in this context that I have undertaken to review the existing provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, in relation to this issue. There is a range of issues to be considered in relation to the scope and implementation of any proposed amendment on this matter. Some of these issues have cross-departmental implications and these need to be considered also.

The general review of the provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004 is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The review will include the provisions relating to the registration of deaths. As the Deputy is aware, there is a number of steps to be taken before any legislation might come before the Oireachtas and it is not possible to be definite as to timescales at this juncture.

Social Welfare Code

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

62 Deputy Michael D. Higgins asked the Minister for Social Protection when he plans to amend the qualifying criteria for mortgage interest supplement. [21583/10]

Noel Coonan

Ceist:

64 Deputy Noel J. Coonan asked the Minister for Social Protection the details of his review of the mortgage interest supplement scheme; the changes that are envisaged under this review; if he will publish the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21636/10]

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

68 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to amend the mortgage interest supplement scheme; if he will make revised guidelines publicly available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21678/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 62, 64 and 68 together.

There are currently just over 16,500 people in receipt of mortgage interest supplement, compared to 8,091 recipients in 2008. Expenditure for the year ending December 2009 was €60.7m; the estimate for 2010 is €63.9m. The mortgage interest supplement scheme is currently under review. The main purpose of this review is to examine how the scheme can best meet its objective of catering for those who require assistance on a short-term basis. The review group includes representatives from my Department, the Community Welfare Service, the Departments of Finance and Environment, Heritage and Local Government, together with a representative from the Office of the Financial Regulator.

As part of the initial review, guidelines on specific and immediate operational issues were drawn up and circulated to the community welfare officers. These guidelines are available on the Department's website at www.welfare.ie The group is examining trends in programme and administrative costs, the impact of the Financial Regulator's statutory Code of Practice on Mortgage Arrears and legislative and operational issues arising, including the cap on hours of employment. The review is also considering whether alternative approaches to achieving the scheme's objectives are warranted in the light of recent changes in the economic climate and the mortgage market.

More recently, the Government has established a broader and more comprehensive review of mortgage arrears and personal debt. The Mortgage Arrears and Personal Debt Review Group under the independent chairmanship of Mr. Hugh Cooney, comprises representatives from my own Department, the Departments of Finance, Taoiseach, Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. In addition the Group has representatives from the Office of the Financial Regulator, the ESRI, the Irish Banking Federation, the Free Legal Advice Centre and the Law Reform Commission.

The terms of reference for the Group are based on the Renewed Programme for Government, with an emphasis on protecting the family home. They include a review of the statutory Code of Conduct on Mortgage Arrears and the recently agreed protocol between the Irish Bankers Federation and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service on debt default, with a view to expanding the options available for dealing with debt situations to avoid foreclosure. In addition, the Group is examining measures adopted in other jurisdictions and considering ways of expanding existing mortgage-support measures. I understand that the Group will make its report to the Minister for Finance by the end of June. The conclusions and recommendations from the review of the mortgage interest supplement scheme, which is currently being finalised, will inform the work of this group.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

63 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will give a commitment that he will not curtail eligibility for the lone parent payment in any way before a significant increase in the availability of education and training placements, child care provision and ultimately real job opportunities are brought into being and verified to exist in sufficient quantity. [21614/10]

The Government is conscious that many lone parents will need access to education, training and enabling services such as childcare provision in order to acquire the skills they will need to gain employment. As outlined in my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 400 of 18 May, 2010, there are a wide range of education and training opportunities available through my Department, the Department of Education and Science and FÁS for lone parents to strengthen their qualifications and skills base and thus maximise their chances of meeting the requirements of the modern labour market and gaining employment.

Good progress has been made in relation to the provision of childcare. Government invested some €1 billion throughout the last decade, Early Childhood Care and Education year for pre-school children was recently introduced and the revised Community Childcare Subvention Scheme will be introduced in September, 2010, with a supplementary focus on labour activation. Accordingly, I will be progressing with the proposed changes to the One-Parent Family Payment in the forthcoming Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2010.

Question No. 64 answered with Question No. 62.

Pension Provisions

Richard Bruton

Ceist:

65 Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Social Protection the details of the implementation of the national pensions framework; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21625/10]

The recently published National Pensions Framework is the Government's plan for pension reform. It encompasses all aspects of pensions, including social welfare pensions, private occupational pensions and public sector pension reform. Development of the framework was informed by the range of views raised during the comprehensive consultation process which followed publication of the Green Paper on Pensions. The aim of the framework is to deliver security, equity, choice and clarity for the individual, the employer and the State. It also aims to increase pension coverage, particularly among low to middle income groups and to ensure that State support for pensions is equitable and sustainable.

A technical implementation group has been established to develop the legislative, regulatory and administrative infrastructure required to put the reforms into operation. In line with the Government decision, the group which is chaired by the Department of Social Protection, held its first meeting in early May. The implementation phase is expected to take three to five years. The implementation group is cognisant of the current and emerging economic condition and will conduct extensive consultation on the many aspects of the framework before presenting final options to Government for decision. The group will develop a communications strategy to ensure that all stakeholders and interested parties are kept informed of the progress being made in implementing the framework.

James Bannon

Ceist:

66 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection his views on whether persons face the prospect of spending up to three years in retirement without the State pension in view of the national pensions framework announced by him; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21620/10]

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

295 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Social Protection the proposals he has to abolish the State transitional pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21405/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 66 and 295 together.

The challenges facing the Irish pension system are significant. In particular, the task of financing increasing pension spending will fall to a diminishing share of the population. There are currently six workers for every pensioner and this ratio is expected to decrease to less than two to one by 2050. Increasing State pension age is one of the ways in which we can sustain the pensions system and also maintain the value of the State pension at 35% of average earnings. People are living longer and healthier lives with average life expectancy set to rise even further in the future, up to 89 years for women and 83 for men. People will still, therefore, be spending at least the same amount of time in retirement as they are today, even with a later State pension age.

Therefore, as announced as part of the National Pensions Framework, the State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This will begin in 2014 with the removal of the State pension (transition), thereby standardising State pension age at 66. This means that the last group of people to receive the State pension (transition) will be those who reach 65 years of age in 2013. State pension age will be increased to 67 years in 2021 and to 68 in 2028. The details and timeframes for these changes are set out in the National Pensions Framework, which was published on 3 March 2010. An implementation group chaired by my Department has been established to develop the legislative, regulatory and administrative infrastructure required to put the necessary reforms into operation.

In addition to the changes being made to State pensions, both employees and employers must be encouraged to change their attitudes to working longer. At the workplace level, employers must seek to retain older employees and create working conditions which will make working longer both attractive and feasible for the older worker. Where this is not possible and people leave paid employment before State pension age, they will be entitled to apply for another social welfare payment until they become eligible for a State pension, as is the current situation.

Question No. 67 answered with Question No. 48.
Question No. 68 answered with Question No. 62.
Question No. 69 answered with Question No. 43.

Social Welfare Benefits

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

70 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection the average waiting time for the processing of applications across each social welfare payment; the way this compares with 2010 targets; and the action he is taking to reduce waiting times. [21607/10]

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

85 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the length of time required to process an application for jobseeker’s allowance, back to education allowance, disability allowance, disability benefit, child benefit, contributory old age pension, non-contributory old age pension, invalidity, disablement, household package, rent or mortgage support or other social welfare payments; the number of such applications on appeal; the length of time taken to process appeals; the reason for the delays; if his attention has been drawn to the hardship caused by such delays in the current economic climate; if he has taken or intends to take any action to address these issues and reduce to a specific time within which all applications must be processed in line with current needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21706/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 70 and 85 together.

I have made available to the House two tables showing details of performance targets and average processing times for all schemes. Table 1 sets out the target performance standard and the performance achieved for each scheme in the month of April 2010 and the average number of weeks taken to process each claim type. Details of cases currently on appeal and average appeals processing times are detailed in Table 2. Table 2 sets out the number of appeal cases pending in each of the schemes at end April 2010 and the average number of weeks taken to process appeals in each scheme in 2009. In relation to the cases under appeal it should be noted that the back to education scheme and the household benefits schemes are non statutory and therefore are not appealable.

The Department is committed to delivering the best possible service to its customers. To this end, operational processes and procedures and the organisation of work are reviewed in all areas of the Department. These reviews are supported by modern technology, the potential of which is continuously harnessed. Claims are processed in the most efficient and expeditious way possible, having regard to the eligibility conditions that apply to each scheme. Processing times vary across schemes because of both the volume of applications and the differing qualification criteria. For example, means assessments are required for all of the social assistance schemes; medical examinations are required for some of the illness related schemes and customers must also satisfy the habitual residence conditions. In the case of the insurance-based schemes, it may be necessary to ascertain details of foreign insurance records. It should also be noted that many factors outside the Department's control can impact upon claim processing times e.g. the supply of relevant information by the customer, employers, other EU countries or other third parties.

While every effort is made to decide on entitlement for any individual person as close to their eligibility date as possible, there are cases where delays will necessarily be experienced. In situations where customers find themselves suffering financial hardship while awaiting such a decision, the facility to receive supplementary welfare allowance funded by the Department and administered by the Health Service Executive is available. In April 2010 more than 96% of basic SWA applications were decided on and paid within a week.

Table 1: DSFA New Claims Processing Targets 2010 and Performance April 2010

Activity

Performance Standard

Performance Achieved in April 2010

Average Processing times in Weeks

State Pension (Contributory) — Domestic and EU

90% by Date of Entitlement

89%

6

State Pension (Transitional) — Domestic and EU

90% in 6 Wks

78%

4

Widow(er)’s Contributory Pension

90% in 6 Wks

77%

3

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

90% in 10 Wks

66%

9

Widow(er)’s (Non-Contributory) Pension & One Parent Family Payment (Widow)

90% in 10 Wks

74%

10

One-Parent Family — (Local Office based)

90% in 10 Wks

43%

16

Household Benefits

90% in 4 Wks

70%

3

Bereavement Grant (Social Welfare Services Office Sligo)

90% in 4 Wks

91%

1

Bereavement Grant (Social Welfare Services Office Longford)

90% in 4 Wks

10%

6

Invalidity Pension Domestic and EU

90% in 6 Wks

13%

12

Family Income Supplement — New Claims

90% in 6 Wks

20%

10

Disability Allowance

90% in 12 Wks

60%

12

Carer’s Allowance

90% in 12 Wks

84%

8

Jobseeker’s Benefit

90% in 3 Wks

79%

2

Jobseeker’s Allowance

90% in 6 Wks

68%

7

Illness Benefit

90% in 1 Wks

47%

1

Occupational Injury Benefit — Interim Illness Benefit

90% in 1 Wk

70%

1

Maternity Benefit

90% by Due Date

97%

N/A

Carers Benefit

80% in 2 Wks

Not available

9

Child Benefit Domestic

90% in 2 Wks

Not available

2

EU

N/A

26

Domiciliary Care

90% in 7 Wks

87%

7

Back to Education

Applicants for back to education are already in receipt of another social welfare payment before a decision is made on their entitlement to back to education consequently delays, if any, should not cause hardship. Statistics are not maintained centrally as to the processing times of claims.

Treatment Benefit

Treatment Benefit operates differently than other schemes. As payment is made to contractors after treatment has been given, there is no delay for the customer. The scheme is on target.

Disablement Benefit

As this scheme is not a primary income support scheme there is no performance standard. Many of the claimants are already in receipt of a payment.

Table 2: Appeals Pending Decision by Scheme Type at 30/4/2010

& Average Time Taken To Process Appeals in 2009

Appeals Pending At 30/4/2010

Average Time Taken to Process appeals (2009) (Weeks)

Adoptive Benefit

1

66.3

Blind Pension

10

27.9

Carers Allowance

1,490

26.6

Carers Benefit

94

19.9

Child Benefit

1,507

36.1

Domiciliary Care Allowance

935

15.6

Disability Allowance

3,499

26.2

Illness Benefit

3,086

27.3

Deserted Wives Benefit

3

32.1

Farm Assist

141

24.7

Bereavement Grant

26

14.8

Family Income Supplement

85

20.0

Invalidity Pension

690

30.2

Liable Relatives

13

25.6

One Parent Family Payment

647

24.4

Maternity Benefit

14

10.5

State Pension (Contributory)

78

32.3

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

216

27.6

State Pension (Transition)

8

36.7

Occupational Injury Benefit

21

33.1

Occupational Injury Benefit (Medical)

46

35.3

Disablement Pension

207

34.8

Death Benefit Pension

1

45.3

Incapacity Supplement

9

37.0

Guardian’s Payment (Contributory)

17

23.3

Guardian’s Payment (Non-Contributory)

10

16.5

Pre-Retirement Allowance

0

19.1

Jobseeker’s Allowance (Means)

2,450

22.7

Jobseeker’s Allowance

3,072

18.8

Jobseeker’s Benefit

692

18.2

JA/JB Fraud Control

4

53.1

Respite Care Grant

148

24.7

Insurability of Employment

98

37.8

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

251

9.5

Treatment Benefits

8

12.9

Survivor’s Pension (Contributory)

14

26.4

Survivor’s Pension (Non-Contributory)

11

21.6

Widowed Parent Grant

1

20.0

Social Welfare Code

Jack Wall

Ceist:

71 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide details of the changes he plans to make to the maximum rate of rent supplement. [21612/10]

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The schemes primary purpose is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently almost 95,500 tenants benefiting from a rent supplement payment — an increase of over 58 per cent since the end of 2005. The total cost of the rent supplement scheme for 2009 was €511m.

Rent supplements are subject to a limit on the amount of rent that an applicant for rent supplement may incur. Rent limits are set at levels that enable different types of eligible households to secure and retain basic suitable rented accommodation, having regard to different rental market conditions that prevail in various parts of the State. The objective is to ensure that rent supplement is not paid in respect of overly expensive accommodation having regard to the size of the household and market conditions. Furthermore, it is essential that State support for tenants does not give rise to inflated rental prices and overcharging by landlords.

Setting or retaining maximum rent limits at a higher level than are justified by the open market can have a distorting effect on the rental market, leading to a more general rise in rent levels. This in turn may worsen the affordability of rental accommodation unnecessarily, with particular negative impact for those tenants on lower incomes who are trying to support themselves without State aid. A review of maximum rent supplement levels is in progress and is expected to be completed shortly. This process will ensure that the new rent limits reflect current market conditions throughout the country, and that they will continue to enable the different categories of eligible tenant households to secure and retain suitable rented accommodation to meet their respective needs.

Question No. 72 answered with Question No. 53.
Question No. 73 answered with Question No. 55.

Pension Provisions

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

74 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will take steps to amend section 7 of the Protection of Employees (Employer Insolvency) Act 1984 to ensure that in situations of insolvency involving pension deficits employees will receive at least 50% of their pension entitlements to rectify the current situations in which employees can be left with less than that. [21615/10]

The Protection of Employees (Employer Insolvency) Act 1984 comes under the auspices of the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. I understand that Section 7 of this Act provides for the payment, by that Minister, out of the Redundancy and Employers' Insolvency Fund, of the amount of unpaid pension contributions which should have been paid by the relevant employer in respect of a period of not more than 12 months preceding the date of insolvency. Although any questions on this legislation should be tabled to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, I can confirm that the Government has no plans to amend this section of the Act.

As the Deputy knows, some 90% of defined benefit schemes were underfunded at the end of 2008. The vast majority of these continue to work with the Pensions Board to prepare funding proposals aimed at recovering their financial position. Figures for 2009 which indicated an average positive return of 20% for pension schemes suggest that these funding proposals can succeed. Indeed, according to a survey of DB schemes undertaken by the Pensions Board at the end of 2009, the number of schemes failing the funding standard has decreased to 75%. Clearly a lot more needs to be done. However the approach taken by the Board to work with schemes is already showing positive results.

Where schemes are forced to wind-up on the insolvency of their employer, the Government has introduced the Pensions Insolvency Payments scheme (PIPS) which is being administered by the Department of Finance. PIPS provides that qualifying schemes may purchase pension payments from the State at a lower rate than would be available on the open market. In this way, it ensures that more resources from the scheme are available to offset the pension liabilities of active and deferred scheme members.

Question No. 75 answered with Question No. 38.
Question No. 76 answered with Question No. 54.
Question No. 77 answered with Question No. 53.

Social Welfare Benefits

Mary Upton

Ceist:

78 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Social Protection the savings that would result from changing social welfare legislation to provide for the reimbursement to his Department by insurance companies of social welfare payments deducted from awards of special damages in respect of loss of earnings. [21610/10]

Social welfare legislation does not currently provide for the reimbursement to the Department by insurance companies of social welfare payments deducted from awards of special damages in respect of loss of earnings. As data on the numbers of clients who hold private insurance or whose loss of income was covered through an insurance claim is not routinely collected by the Department, it is not possible to produce robust estimates of how much money might be reimbursed, and what savings would consequently arise, if the legislation in this area were to be amended.

Departmental Agencies

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

79 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Social Protection the support, financial or otherwise, his Department provides to the Citizen Information Services; his plans to increase this support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21702/10]

Lucinda Creighton

Ceist:

82 Deputy Lucinda Creighton asked the Minister for Social Protection the support, financial or otherwise, his Department provides to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service; his plans to increase this support; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21701/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 79 and 82 together.

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice, and advocacy on a wide range of public and social services on behalf of the Department. Funding of some €45.8m has been allocated to the CIB in 2010. The Citizens Information Board administers funding to the network of 42 Citizen Information Services (CIS) which operate from 262 locations nationwide comprising 110 centres and 152 outreach services. The board of the CIB has approved funding of €13.3m to the Citizen Information Services in 2010, which is an increase of €400,000 on funding available in 2009. In addition, the CIB provides development and support services, including a range of training supports; ICT infrastructure; supports to CIS Boards in relation to governance, financial and HR matters, as well as developing and publishing a wide range of resource materials relating to social services and entitlements.

Responsibility for the Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) transferred to the CIB in July 2009. There are 51 MABS companies providing money advice to clients operating from 65 locations around the country, as well as the National Traveller MABS which operates on a national basis. The CIB Board has allocated some €18m to MABS in 2010. In addition, MABS National Development Limited (NDL) is funded by the CIB to provide a national support and development service to local MABS companies. Its functions include:

The provision of casework technical support for staff

The management of the MABSIS statistics system

MABS training unit which provides training support for all staff and local boards of management

Communications with the media on budgeting & money management

The organisation and management of the MABS National Telephone Helpline.

I am satisfied that the Citizen Information Services and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service are providing a high quality service to assist people locally and that the CIB is adequately resourced to support these services.

Questions Nos. 80 and 81 answered with Question No. 53.
Question No. 82 answered with Question No. 79.

Social Welfare Code

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

83 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will make changes to the habitual residency requirement for receipt of many social welfare payments which is acting as a barrier to many returned Irish persons from accessing the protections they need. [21616/10]

The determination of a person's habitual residence is made in accordance with Section 246 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended. Subsection (4) specifically directs the deciding officer to "take into consideration all the circumstances of the case, including, in particular, the following:

(a) the length and continuity of residence in the State or in any other particular country;

(b) the length and purpose of any absence from the State;

(c) the nature and pattern of the person's employment;

(d) the person's main centre of interest, and

(e) the future intentions of the person concerned as they appear from all the circumstances."

These five specified factors have been derived from European Court of Justice case law which examined the concept of habitual residence in the context of social welfare benefits. The Department's guidelines go on to point out that "No single factor is conclusive. The evidential weight to be attributed to each factor will depend on the circumstances of each case. It is necessary to weigh up all the information and balance the evidence for and against an applicant satisfying the habitual residence condition".

The current guidelines address the issue of returning emigrants very specifically under the heading:

Resuming previous residence.

"A person who had previously been habitually resident in the State or within the Common Travel Area and who moved to live and work in another country and then resumes his/her permanent residence in the State may be regarded as being habitually resident immediately on his/her return to the State. In determining habitual residence in such cases the deciding officer should take account of:

purpose of return e.g. expiry of foreign residence permit;

the applicant's stated intentions

verified arrangements which have been made in regard to returning on a long-term basis e.g. transfer of financial accounts and any other assets;

length and continuity of the previous residence in the State;

the record of employment or self employment in another State; and

whether s/he has maintained links with the previous residence and can be regarded as resuming his/her previous residence rather than starting a new period of residence."

I am satisfied that Irish nationals returning to live in Ireland on a permanent basis should experience no difficulty in demonstrating that they satisfy the requirements of the Habitual Residence Condition.

Question No. 84 answered with Question No. 37.
Question No. 85 answered with Question No. 70.

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

86 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Protection if any changes have been made in the assessment of means related allowances to take into account situations arising from the collapse in the property market leading to a situation whereby, in many instances, properties cannot be sold at all and applicants without any means of support are being denied such allowances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21399/10]

Social welfare legislation provides that the yearly value of "property owned but not personally used or enjoyed" is assessable for means testing purposes. Such property includes houses and premises owned by a claimant which may or may not be put to commercial use. However, it does not include property such as the home or, for example, a premises used by the claimant in carrying out a business. No changes to the current arrangements have been introduced in recent years. However, comprehensive guidelines in relation to the assessment of property were issued to relevant staff in my Department in November last year.

For assessment purposes, the current market value of the property is established as well as the amount of any outstanding mortgages on that property. The balance (market value less outstanding mortgage) is assessed by reference to a formula. Where the current market value is less than the outstanding mortgage, no assessment is made. The current market value of a property is the best estimate of what would be achievable if the property was offered for sale. Such an estimate will have regard to reductions in prices over recent years.

In establishing the current market value of a property, my Department may make enquiry of the State Valuation Office. Alternatively, the market value may be established through receipt of a reasonable current valuation from a registered auctioneer, with reference to the purchase price and date of purchase of the property or, alternatively, the inspector may agree a valuation with a customer having regard to the type and location of the individual property and prevailing market values in that area. Where a claimant considers that a decision on his or her claim is based on a market value of a property which is too high, he or she may appeal that decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Social Welfare Benefits

Jack Wall

Ceist:

87 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the action he is taking to ensure that the PPS number of every landlord is collected and recorded by his Department in respect of every rent supplement tenancy and made available to the Revenue Commissioners. [21611/10]

Section 888 of the Taxes Acts places an obligation on the Department to provide the Revenue Commissioners with payment details relating to rent supplement on an annual basis. Section 123 of the Finance Act 2007 Act places an additional obligation on the Department and the Health Service Executive (HSE) to request a PPS No. or Tax Reference Number from a landlord before payment of the supplement is made and it obliges the landlord to comply with the request in time for the HSE to have the information before payment is made. Neither the Department nor the HSE have any responsibility in monitoring or enforcing landlord compliance. This is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and the Department provides all possible cooperation to assist them in this task.

The Department and the Revenue Commissioners have arranged for the collection of landlord PPS/Tax Reference Numbers to apply to new rent supplement claims registered from 28th October 2008 and to be returned as part of the annual return. Arrangements were put in place by the Department, with effect from 28th October 2008 to automate the process for the HSE to request the landlord's relevant PPS/Tax Reference Number. On receipt of the relevant tax details from the landlord the Executive were also provided with the facility to record the relevant number on the Department's IT system to facilitate an electronic transfer of information to the Revenue Commissioners. The HSE has advised the Department that it has now amended the rent supplement application form to include a section requesting the landlord PPS & Tax Reference Number. This now removes the requirement for a separate letter to issue separately to the landlord for the majority of cases.

Revenue are notified where a landlord fails to provide a PPS number or Tax Reference, so that they can pursue the matter. The Department has recently contacted the HSE to ensure that all landlord PPS/Tax Reference Numbers that have been received by the HSE are updated on the Department's computer records in accordance with its statutory obligations.

Tourism Industry

David Stanton

Ceist:

88 Deputy David Stanton asked the Taoiseach the number of anglers that visit Ireland each year; the breakdown vis-à-vis the different disciplines of angling such as sea angling, coarse angling, and game angling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21318/10]

The CSO's monthly Overseas Travel release contains data on the number of visitors to Ireland classified by their country of residence. These results are obtained from the CSO's Country of Residence Survey which is carried out continuously at the airports and ports in the Republic of Ireland. The CSO's quarterly Tourism and Travel release collects data on the number of visitors to Ireland classified by purpose of journey and residency. Data on activities, such as angling, are not available from either the Overseas Travel or the Tourism and Travel releases.

Fáilte Ireland's Survey of Travellers also collects information from visitors to Ireland, including participation in activities. This is a survey of departing passengers only who have spent at least one night in the Republic of Ireland. This data is then used with the results of the CSO's Country of residence survey to obtain estimates for total participation in different activities. The Fáilte Ireland Survey of Travellers estimated that a total of 132,000 visitors participated in Angling in 2009, this represents a decline of 7% on 2008 figures. Estimates of average annual participation in different types of angling activity for the years 2006 to 2008 are detailed in the following table.

Type of Angling — Overseas Visitors

Average Estimated Visitors Per Year*

Coarse

47,000

Game

49,000

Sea

41,000

*Estimates are based on the average number participating in angling from 2006 to 2008. Tourists may have participated in more than one angling activity. Estimates are based on data collected from the CSO's Country of Residence Survey (CRS) and Fáilte Ireland's Survey of Overseas Travellers.

Further detail on Angling activity is available from the Fáilte Ireland website.

Interdepartmental Committees

Liz McManus

Ceist:

89 Deputy Liz McManus asked the Taoiseach the number of time the Cabinet committee on climate change met in 2009; the number of times it has met to date in 2010; when the next scheduled meeting will take place [21379/10]

The Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security met twice in 2009, on 29 April and 7 October. The Committee's first meeting of 2010 is scheduled to take place in early June. Issues relating to Climate Change negotiations at EU level are also considered when appropriate by the Cabinet Committee on European Affairs, while relevant issues are discussed regularly at meetings of the full Government when that is appropriate.

It would be incorrect to correlate the number of meetings of the Cabinet Committee with the Government's commitment to addressing Climate Change and Energy Security issues. The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government retains lead responsibility for climate change policy, with cross-departmental issues co-ordinated through the Senior Officials Group on Climate Change and Energy Security chaired by the Department of the Taoiseach. I am satisfied that significant progress is being achieved and that the issues are receiving the appropriate level of attention.

Departmental Agencies

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

90 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Taoiseach the agencies or bodies to which his Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which his Department is responsible in respect of his policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21758/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the table beneath.

Name of Body/Agency

2007 Outturn

2008 Outturn

2009 Provisional Outturn

2010 Revised Estimate

€000

€000

€000

€000

National Economic and Social Development Office

5,812

5,371

3,401

3,332

National Forum On Europe

2,076

3,058

506

0

Newfoundland and Labrador Business Partnership

373

334

291

0

Task Force on Active Citizenship

112

6

17

0

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

91 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Taoiseach the amount of unspent money returned by his Department to the Department of Finance each year since 2007; the departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21787/10]

The table below details the surplus that was surrendered to the Department of Finance for each year from 2007 to 2009 and the estimate provision for my Department for each year.

Year

Surplus to Surrender

Estimate Provision

2007

8,568,825

43,736,000

2008

9,308,252

45,394,000

2009

8,450,714

32,686,000

2010

N/A

28,756,000

I have provided a breakdown showing the estimate provision and outturn for each year under administration and programme subheads below. The largest single element in each year was in respect of provision of the costs of the Moriarty Tribunal, which included a contingency element in the event of costs arising from the conclusion of its work.

DEPARTMENT OF THE TAOISEACH — Appropriation Account 2007

Account of the sum expended, in the year ended 31 December 2007, compared with the sum granted and of the sum which may be applied as appropriations-in-aid in addition thereto, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of the Taoiseach, including certain services administered by the Department and for payment of grants and grants-in-aid.

Service

Estimate Provision

Outturn

€000

€000

ADMINISTRATION

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

14,633

13,952

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

770

612

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

1,998

1,506

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

680

572

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

AND RELATED SERVICES

2,060

1,675

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

800

506

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

275

256

A.8.

INFORMATION SOCIETY — eCABINET AND OTHER INITIATIVES

296

172

A.9.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

26

OTHER SERVICES

B.

NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICE

(GRANT-IN-AID)

6,053

5,812

C.

FORUM FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

5

D.

COMMEMORATION INITIATIVES

200

155

E.

ALL-PARTY COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION

398

215

F.

TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY (DUNNES PAYMENTS)

1

G.

TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY (PAYMENTS TO MESSRS.

C.J. HAUGHEY AND M. LOWRY)

10,008

4,155

H.

INDEPENDENT COMMISSION OF INQUIRY

1

I.

NATIONAL FORUM ON EUROPE

1,621

2,076

J.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS

361

373

K.

INFORMATION SOCIETY AND eINCLUSION

3,000

2,768

L.

COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION

450

414

M.

TASK FORCE ON ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP

200

112

Gross Total

43,836

35,331

Deduct:—

N.

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

100

164

Net Total

43,736

35,167

SURPLUS TO BE SURRENDERED

8,568,825

DEPARTMENT OF THE TAOISEACH — Appropriation Account 2008

Account of the sum expended, in the year ended 31 December 2008, compared with the sum granted and of the sum which may be applied as appropriations-in-aid in addition thereto, for the salaries and expenses of the Department of the Taoiseach, including certain services administered by the Department and for payment of grants and grants-in-aid.

Service

Estimate Provision

Outturn

€000

€000

ADMINISTRATION

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

14,091

14,364

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

795

723

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

1,620

1,620

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

697

619

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES AND RELATED SERVICES

2,048

1,440

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

850

513

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

275

107

A.8.

INFORMATION SOCIETY — eCABINET AND OTHER INITIATIVES

1

A.9.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

27

25

A.10.

ORGANISATIONAL REVIEW PROGRAMME

750

745

OTHER SERVICES

B.

NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICE

(GRANT-IN-AID)

6,500

5,371

C.

FORUM FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

5

D.

COMMEMORATION INITIATIVES

200

121

E.

TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY (DUNNES PAYMENTS)

1

F.

TRIBUNAL OF INQUIRY (PAYMENTS TO MESSRS.

C.J. HAUGHEY AND M. LOWRY)

10,016

4,009

G.

NATIONAL FORUM ON EUROPE

3,809

3,058

H.

NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS

354

334

I.

INFORMATION SOCIETY AND eINCLUSION

66

66

J.

COMMISSION OF INVESTIGATION

1

K.

ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP OFFICE

200

6

Gross Total

42,306

33,121

Deduct:—

L.

APPRO IN-AID

100

224

Net Total

42,206

32,897

SURPLUS TO BE SURRENDERED

9,308,252

Vote 2 Department of the Taoiseach

Appropriation Account 2009 —Provisional

Service

2009 Estimate provision

2009 Outturn

€000

€000

Administration

A.1.

Salaries, wages and allowances

13,974

13,501

A.2.

Travel and subsistence

731

479

A.3.

Incidental expenses

1,587

618

A.4.

Postal and telecommunications services

545

407

A.5.

Office machinery and other office supplies

And related services

1,961

1,007

A.6.

Office premises expenses

741

493

A.7.

Consultancy services

118

3

A.8.

Value for money and policy reviews

1

0

A.9.

Organisational review programme

676

497

Other Services

B.

National Economic and Social Development Office (grant-in-aid)

5,059

3,401

C.

Forum for Peace and Reconciliation

5

0

D.

Commemoration initiatives

170

133

E.

Tribunal of inquiry (Dunnes payments)

1

0

F.

Tribunal of inquiry (payments to messrs.

C.J. Haughey and M. Lowry)

7,500

3,796

G.

National Forum on Europe

360

506

H.

Newfoundland and Labrador Business Partnerships

300

291

Information society and eINCLUSION

0

I.

Commission of investigation

1

0

J.

Active Citizenship Office

56

17

Gross Expenditure

33,786

25,149

Deduct:—

K.

Appropriations-in-aid

1,100

914

Net Expenditure

32,686

24,235

Surplus to be surrendered

8,450,714

Loan Guarantee Schemes

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

92 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation his plans to introduce a loan guarantee scheme to assist small businesses in obtaining credit from banks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21823/10]

As previously advised to this House, work is underway in my Department on the examination of a possible scheme of Loan Guarantees for the SME sector which could augment lending by banks by addressing particular market failures. This is in line with one of the recommendations contained in the Mazars Review on Bank Lending to SMEs. Enterprise Ireland and Forfas carried out examinations of loan guarantee schemes in the UK and in some other countries. Following more detailed examination, Forfas has recently submitted a report to my Department which is being considered. On completion of this work I will bring the results before the Government. As with any initiative, we will need to ensure that any scheme developed directly assists businesses, facilitates genuine additional lending in the market and, at the same time, safeguards the interests of the taxpayer.

Research and Development

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

93 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if his attention has been drawn to the requirement for all EU member states to adopt a national action plan setting out specific objectives and actions to develop an attractive researcher career and increased researcher mobility, in accordance with the communication issued in 2008 by the European Commission, Better Careers and More Mobility: A European Partnership for Researchers; the progress that has been made in adopting such a national action plan; the result of the consultation process undertaken by his Department in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21320/10]

Following the European Commission's 2007 Green Paper,“The European Research Area: New Perspectives,”the Commission launched a number of initiatives aimed at achieving the ERA, including a Communication, published in May 2008, on “Better careers and more mobility: A European Partnership for researchers,” which targeted four key areas for improving researcher careers and mobility, namely:

open recruitment and portability of grants

meeting the social security and pension needs of mobile researchers,

attractive employment and working conditions and

enhanced training, skills and experience for researchers.

The Commission emphasised the "partnership" approach to its initiative, recognising the distinct competences of the Member States and the Commission in relevant areas. This approach was endorsed by the Competitiveness Council in September 2008 when the Council adopted Conclusions on “Better careers and more mobility: A European Partnership for researchers” and invited Member States to draw up National Action Plans comprising definition of national objectives and actions, on the basis of the priority lines of action proposed by the Commission, or any other appropriate actions, and to report regularly on actions undertaken or envisaged.

Ireland welcomed this initiative and is supportive of the concept of the European Partnership for Researchers between the Commission and the Council and the Member States. My Department has responsibility for preparing the National Action Plan and is currently drawing up a draft Action Plan. The plan will take into account consultations with key stakeholders, which have yet to be completed. The Action Plan, when completed, will record the state of progress in relation to relevant issues, recognising the competences of the relevant bodies in relation to further progress.

Ireland's National Action Plan is our plan of actions to improve researcher careers and mobility in line with overall EU partnership, taking into account our specific circumstances. It will address each of the four areas targeted by the European Commission and, in doing so, will also highlight areas where progress has already been made, for example:

The implementation of the European Scientific Visa (Hosting Agreement Scheme) under Council Directive 2005/71/EC on Third Country Researchers;

The establishment of the Irish Researchers Mobility Office, a one-stop shop for researchers linked to the European Researchers Mobility Portal, (now "Euraxess") which is operated by the Irish Universities Association and supported by my Department; and

The adoption of the European Charter and Code for researchers in all seven of the Irish Universities.

Industrial Development

Damien English

Ceist:

94 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of visits to the Industrial Development Authority business and technology park in Navan, County Meath that have taken place in 2010 by companies looking to set up here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21340/10]

Damien English

Ceist:

95 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of new jobs created in the Industrial Development Authority business and technology park in Navan, County Meath for each of the years from 2008 and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21341/10]

Damien English

Ceist:

96 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of jobs lost in the Industrial Development Authority business and technology park in Navan for each of the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21342/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 to 96, inclusive, together.

I am informed by IDA Ireland that there are 5 IDA supported projects located in the IDA Business Park in Navan, County Meath. I am delighted to say that, earlier this year, one of these companies, Generali PanEurope (GPE) and Generali International (GI) announced that they have commissioned a new building, to be located on the Park. The new building will act as Generali PanEurope's Headquarters and Generali International's Irish base. Generali has had a presence in Navan since 1999. Since then its operations have grown significantly and employment has increased fivefold. Combined, Generali International and Generali PanEurope employ over 100 people in Navan. It is envisaged that the numbers employed will continue to increase over the coming years, solidifying Generali's long term commitment to Navan and reflecting both companies' growth plans.

The remaining IDA supported companies located on the park are BT Ireland, Europ Assistance Holdings, PNC International and Welch Allyn Ltd. As employment figures in individual IDA companies are provided in confidence for statistical purposes only, it is not possible to provide details of the number of jobs gained and lost in IDA supported companies on the Park. Details of the number of jobs gained and lost in IDA companies in County Meath in 2008 and 2009 are shown on the attached tabular statement. Figures for 2010 will not be available until early 2011. I have been informed by IDA that, to date in 2010, there have not been any site visits to County Meath.

Table showing the number of new jobs created and the number of jobs lost in IDA supported companies in County Meath 2008 and 2009

Year

2008

2009

New Jobs Created

83

24

Jobs Lost

83

159

Redundancy Payments

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

97 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the length of time it is taking for employers to obtain their rebate of payment of statutory redundancy; the maximum waiting time for payment; the number of staff allocated to that task; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21364/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation.

The Redundancy Payments Section of my Department is currently processing rebate applications from employers submitted by post from October 2009 and those filed on-line from November 2009, so that the waiting time is approximately 6 to 7 months depending on the manner of filing the application. In respect of lump sum payments paid directly to employees in instances where employers are unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from September/October 2009. In some instances where the necessary supporting documentation for claims is not provided to my Department, or where queries arise, processing of claims can be further delayed until the required documentation is provided and/or outstanding queries are resolved.

Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more 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 in the Department in 2009 to alleviate the pressures on the Payments area include:

Almostdoubling the number of staff working solely on redundancy payment claims through reassignment to a current level of 52 full time equivalents;

Prioritisation of the Department'sovertime budget towards staff in the Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

Establishment of aspecial call handling facility in NERA to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses concerned about their payments;

Better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate theoffset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against existing outstanding tax liabilities which those employers owe to the Revenue Commissioners.

The backlog and waiting times remain at unacceptable levels. However, improvements are evident. I should point out that my Department has, in 2009, processed 50,664 claims, up 70% on 2008, and made corresponding payments totalling €336m, which results in average weekly payments to the value of €6.5m being issued. In the period 2007-2009, the level of new claims lodged with my Department has increased cumulatively by 200%. This contrasts with the previous two-year period 2005-2007 in which period the increase in new claims lodged was just 10%. During the period 1 January 2010 to 30 April, 2010, 23,593 claims were received and 27,592 were processed to the value of €159m which is a weekly average of €9.4m.

Responsibility for the payment functions arising under the Redundancy and Insolvency payment schemes is due to be transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1 January 2011. In transferring the functions between Departments, it is the intention that this will operate seamlessly and without any adverse impact on the service levels being experienced by individuals or the business community awaiting payment of redundancy claims.

Industrial Development

Pat Breen

Ceist:

98 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, further to Parliamentary Question No. 103 of 12 May 2010, the number of site visits made by agencies under the aegis of his Department with a view to creating employment in Cork, Galway and Dublin in the years 2007 to date in 2010; the location of these visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21408/10]

I have been informed by IDA that in the period from January 2007 to date in 2010, there have been a total of 469 site visits by potential investors to Dublin (City and County), Cork (City and County) and Galway (City and County). Details of the locations of these visits are set out in the attached tabular statement. Because potential investors regularly visit locations in both the city and the county on the one visit, it is not possible in the time available to give details of each of the itineraries undertaken. When the information becomes available, I will forward it to the Deputy.

Table showing the number of site visits to Dublin (city and county), Cork (city and county) and Galway (city and county) in the period from January 2007 to date in 2010

Location

2007

2008

2009

2010 to date

Dublin City & County

86

92

68

55

Cork City and County

17

41

29

14

Galway City and County

17

14

22

14

Redundancy Payments

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

99 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the reason for the ongoing delay in processing an application to the insolvent fund within his Department from persons (details supplied) who were made redundant from a company in County Roscommon; when the outstanding moneys will be awarded; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21477/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to both the Redundancy and Insolvency Payments Schemes on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. I can confirm that my Department processed and paid claims under the Insolvency Payments Scheme in respect of Arrears of Wages, Holiday Pay and Minimum Notice for the person concerned and other former employees of this company in April 2010. I can also confirm that my Department received a Redundancy lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 4 January 2010. This claim awaits processing. In respect of redundancy lump sum payments paid directly to employees, such as in this instance, the Section is, in general, processing claims dating from September/October 2009.

On the Redundancy side the scale of the challenge is evident from the statistics that show incoming redundancy claims in 2009 amounted to 77,001 which represents a threefold increase over the level of claims lodged in 2007 and earlier years. In 2007, claims received were of the order of 25,000. Efforts continue to be made by my Department to deliver more 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 in the Department in 2009 to alleviate the pressures on the Payments area include:

almostdoubling the number of staff through reassignment to a current level of 52 full time equivalents;

prioritisation of the Department'sovertime budget towards staff in the Section to tackle the backlog outside normal hours;

establishment of aspecial call handling facility in NERA to deal with the huge volume of telephone calls from people and businesses concerned about their payments.

Better quality information relating to current processing times on the Department's website;

Engagement with the Revenue Commissioners to facilitate theoffset of redundancy rebate payments by employers against existing outstanding tax liabilities which those employers owe to the Revenue Commissioners.

The backlog and waiting times remain at unacceptable levels. However, improvements are evident. I should point out that my Department has, in 2009, processed 50,664 claims, up 70% on 2008. During the period 1 January 2010 to 30 April, 2010, 23,593 claims were received and 27,592 were processed. In the year to date, inroads have been made on the backlog of claims on hand, which reduced from 41,168 at the end of January to 36,333 at the end of April 2010.

Responsibility for the payment functions arising under the Redundancy and Insolvency payment schemes is due to be transferred to the Department of Social Protection with effect from 1 January 2011. In transferring the functions between Departments, it is the intention that this will operate seamlessly and without any adverse impact on the service levels being experienced by individuals or the business community awaiting payment of redundancy claims.

Sean Fleming

Ceist:

100 Deputy Seán Fleming asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when redundancy payment will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21518/10]

My Department administers the Social Insurance Fund (SIF) in relation to redundancy matters on behalf of the Department of Social and Family Affairs. There are two types of payment made from the SIF — rebates to those employers who have paid statutory redundancy to eligible employees, and statutory lump sums to employees whose employers are insolvent and/or in receivership/liquidation. I can confirm that my Department received a lump sum claim for the individual concerned on 23 June 2009.

In instances such as this, where the employer does not formally wind the company up but goes into informal insolvency and is unable to pay the statutory redundancy entitlements, the Department seeks from the employer evidence of inability to pay the entitlements to the employees. This involves requesting a statement from the company's Accountant or Solicitor attesting to the inadequacy of assets to make the redundancy payments and the latest set of financial accounts for the company. The employer is also asked to admit liability for the 40% liability attaching to the company arising from the redundancy payments.

If this information is provided to the Department, the employees are paid their redundancy entitlement from the Social Insurance Fund. Upon payment, the Department pursues the company for the 40% share that the company would ordinarily have been expected to pay to the employees. In the present instance, my Department has been in contact with the employer seeking to obtain all of the necessary documentation and the employer has, at this point, provided some but not all of the documentation. Upon receipt of the outstanding documentation and if this is in order, it should be possible to process the claim for payment shortly thereafter.

If the necessary supporting documentation required from the employer is not provided to my Department, the employee will be advised by my Department to take a case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) against the employer to seek a determination establishing the employee's right and entitlement to redundancy. Once such a determination is available, the Department is then in a position to make the payment to the employee concerned. Should the outstanding documentation be provided by the employer during the period while the case is pending a hearing before the EAT, this would allow the claim to be processed by my Department in the usual way.

Industrial Development

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

101 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the number of site visits made by the Industrial Development Authority to sites for the purpose of creating new businesses and employment in County Kilkenny for each year from 2007 to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21530/10]

I have been informed by IDA Ireland that in the period from January 2007 to date in 2010, there have been 5 site visits by potential investors to County Kilkenny, 2 in 2007, 1 in 2008 and 2 in 2009.

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

102 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, further to Parliamentary Question No. 87 of 12 May 2010, the location of the 71 Industrial Development Authority supplied companies; the number that each company employs; if he is satisfied that the communities named in the question have received their fair share; if not, if he will ensure that genuine efforts are made to realise the need of these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21550/10]

Details of the locations of the companies, mentioned in my reply to the Deputy on 12 May 2010, are set out on the attached tabular statement as are the numbers employed in IDA supported companies in each of the counties in question. It is not possible to give employee figures in respect of individual companies, as information regarding numbers employed in individual companies is supplied in confidence, for statistical purposes only.

IDA is fully committed to securing balanced regional development, including winning investment for the Border region. Indeed, one of the high level goals set out in the IDA strategy document, entitled“Horizon 2020”, is that, in the period 2010 to 2014, 50% of FDI projects will be located outside of Dublin and Cork. As part of its strategy to attract inward investment, IDA Ireland introduces a prospective client company to 3 or 4 selected locations, which can meet the company’s requirements for skills, labour, site and/or building(s), and infrastructure. However, the promoting company takes the final decision on location in all cases.

Table showing the number of IDA supported companies per county and the total number of employees in IDA supported companies in those counties

County

No. of Companies

Employment by County

Donegal

13

1,683

Sligo

20

2,190

Leitrim

5

988

Cavan

5

1,033

Monaghan

6

356

Louth

22

1,637

Total

71

7,887

Work Permits

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

103 Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when a full response will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21742/10]

I am in receipt of the Deputy's representations in this regard and will respond in full shortly. I am advised that the person concerned holds a current Work Permit valid until 19 September 2010 with a particular employer as stated on the Permit. In the event that a person changes employer, it is a requirement of the Employment Permits legislation to apply for a new Work Permit with the new employer. Indeed, it is considered an offence under the Employment Permit Act 2006, to work for an employer other than the employer stated on the Work Permit issued.

Details in relation to the documentation required, fees and application forms can be found on my Department's website at www.deti.ie. The individual should submit details of his employment history and current circumstances with the application form and these will be considered by the Employment Permits Section of my Department. As a Permit holder for a reasonably long period of time in the State, I would recommend also that the individual maintain his immigration and Permit permissions up to date as this may lead to difficulties should he wish to apply for residency at a future date with the Department of Justice and Law Reform.

Departmental Agencies

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

104 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the agencies or bodies to which his Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which his Department is responsible in respect of his policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21751/10]

The table appended lists the Offices, agencies, and other bodies and groups currently under the aegis of my Department. The funding allocated to each of these entities by my Department between 2007 and 2010 inclusive is also provided. The allocations include Exchequer funding and, where appropriate, National Training Fund monies.

In addition to the core funding provisions set out on the table, my Department also makes payments from time to time in respect of certain once-off payments, such as legal costs, which arise for some of the Offices under my Department's remit. My Department has also made payments to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in respect of legal costs. While the Board primarily funds its operational costs through fees charged in the course of its activities, my Department has been advised by the Attorney General's Office that the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act, 2003, does not allow such fees to be used to cover non-operational legal costs. My Department therefore bears such costs.

In addition to allocations from my Department, some of the agencies listed on the table below receive funding from other sources, such as fees, property rental, grant refunds, and from other Departments or bodies. Funding from these sources is not included in the table. Responsibility for FÁS and Skillnets and for the National Training Fund (NTF) transferred to the Minister for Education and Skills on 1 May 2010. However, the full 2010 allocation for both of these bodies, and for bodies under my remit that are funded from the NTF, is provided for the Deputy's information.

Appendix — Allocations 2007-2010 from Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation

2007 REV Allocation

2008 REV Allocation

2009 REV Allocation

2010 REV Allocation

€000

€000

€000

€000

Offices

Labour Court

3,085

3,193

3,115

2,208

Labour Relations Commission

6,194

6,600

6,286

5,641

Companies Registration Office and Registry of Friendly Societies

10,097

10,091

8,912

7,995

Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement

4,823

4,957

5,535

6,086

National Employment Rights Authority1

8,553

10,817

8,731

7,824

Patents Office2

Employment Appeals Tribunal2

Agencies

County & City Enterprise Boards (35 in existence)

31,856

31,985

27,812

28,310

Competition Authority

6,104

6,776

5,568

4,734

Enterprise Ireland3

278,066

297,444

333,660

416,678

FÁS4

1,046,312

1,096,192

1,063,936

1,017,753

Forfás

35,035

38,475

37,164

43,555

Health & Safety Authority

22,513

24,440

22,638

21,959

IDA Ireland

143,243

146,250

117,971

128,240

Inter TradeIreland5

11,892

10,682

8,499

7,848

Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA)6

1,528

1,547

1,532

1,345

ODCA/National Consumer Agency7

8,397

10,000

8,588

7,232

National Standards Authority of Ireland

7,719

8,787

8,241

7,432

Personal Injuries Assessment Board8

60

Science Foundation Ireland

165,772

183,643

170,524

159,833

Shannon Development

3,350

3,357

957

7,532

Other Bodies 9

Skillnets4

24,500

27,179

16,595

16,595

Joint Labour Committees

135

135

135

121

Company Law Review Group

133

133

113

101

Sales Review Group

20

18

Better Regulation Group

60

60

60

54

Notes

1 The National Employment Rights Authority was established on an interim basis by the Government in February 2007.

2 The Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Patents Office are funded from the Department’s central Administrative Budget and do not have separate budgetary allocations.

3 The Employment Subsidy Scheme (Temporary) was introduced during 2009 and is managed by Enterprise Ireland. The 2010 REV allocation for the agency includes an allocation of €114.5m for the scheme.

4 Responsibility for FÁS and Skillnets transferred to the Department of Education and Skills on 1 May 2010. The total REV allocation for the year is provided for information.

5 InterTradeIreland is co-financed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland. The figures provided on the table refer to the contribution of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

6 Irish Auditing & Accounting Supervisory Authority (IAASA) is co-financed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and industry associations. The figures provided on the table refer to the contribution of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation.

7 The functions of the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs (ODCA) were transferred to the National Consumer Agency when the Agency was established on a statutory basis in 2007.

8 Start-up funding was provided to the Personal Injuries Assessment Board in 2004 and 2005. The Board’s statutory activities have primarily been self-financing since 2006. The allocation of €60,000 for 2010 relates to pension costs.

9 In addition to the entities shown on the above table, the following bodies/groups which come under the aegis the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation are funded through the Department’s agencies:

i. Crafts Council of Ireland

ii. National Competitiveness Council

iii. Expert Group on Future Skills Needs

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs reports jointly to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and the Minister for Education and Skills.

Industrial Development

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

105 Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if he has held discussions in the last 18 months with management of a company (details supplied) regarding the future of its two factories in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick and Mallow, County Cork; if not if he has plans to do so in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21770/10]

I can assure the Deputy that IDA Ireland is in constant contact with Kostal both in Ireland and in Germany. A number of meetings have been held with local Irish management and parent company management recently and further meeting are planned. I am aware of the difficult automotive environment over the past 18 months, from which Kostal is now emerging. The company is well positioned to benefit as the market improves given its reputation/market leadership positions and its ongoing investment in new technology and people.

IDA is fully engaged with Kostal to secure the long term future of its operations in Abbeyfeale and Mallow. The Agency also engages closely with the German parent, Kostal Gmbh to identify and explore opportunities to transform Kostal Ireland as a Centre of Excellence for electronics in the Group and maintain its leadership position within this sector through investment in new technology, training and research and development. IDA continues to explore opportunities in the wider Group with local and parent company management in positioning Ireland as a key location for future investment. It is my intention to meet with many important companies for Ireland, such as Kostal, over the coming period.

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

106 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the amount of unspent money returned by his Department to the Department of Finance each year since 2007; the departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21780/10]

Under Public Financial Procedures, at the end of each financial year unspent Voted monies must normally be surrendered to the Department of Finance. However, under the Multi-Annual Capital Envelope Framework, up to 10% of unspent Capital allocations in any year may be carried over to the following year. Table 1 below sets out the Exchequer provision for my Department for each of the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, along with the unspent surplus, the amount of un-used Capital allocations carried over to the subsequent year, and the net amount surrendered to the Department of Finance. Table 2 sets out the main areas where savings were realised in each of the years in question.

Table 1: Details of Departmental budget and surpluses, 2007-2009

2007

2008

2009

€,000

€,000

€,000

(a)

Departmental Budget1

1,407,633

1,516,345

1,495,714

(b)

Surplus for year

67,396

59,037

18,909

(c)

of which, unspent Capital allocations carried over to the subsequent year

23,428

18,326

6,440

(d)

Surplus surrendered to the Dept. of Finance (b-c)

43,968

40,711

12,469

1In addition, the Department had an allocation from the National Training Fund (NTF) of €395,666 million for 2007, €409,907 million for 2008 and €381,483 million for 2009. Any surplus in NTF expenditure at the end of each year is retained by the Fund and is not returned to the Department of Finance. From 1 May 2010, responsibility for the NTF transferred to the Minister for Education and Skills.

Table 2: Areas where main savings were realised

Year

Explanation for main savings

2007

Appropriations-in-Aid were almost €20 million higher than forecast, reducing the requirement to draw-down Exchequer funds.

IDA’s Own Resource Income from grant refunds was higher than expected, resulting in a lower requirement for Exchequer funding.

The Department and its agencies carried a high number of vacancies throughout the year, with a consequent impact on the start-up of a number of new activities.

Planning and related issues led to delays in Enterprise Ireland infrastructural projects.

Reduction in applications under some demand-led grant schemes also contributed to the underspend.

2008

As a result of a Government decision in July 2008 to reduce public expenditure, savings were realised in a number of areas, including:

FAS

Science & Technology Programmes

Science & Technology Programmes

National Consumer Agency

Administrative Budget expenditure

Forfas

Workplace Innovation Fund

Enterprise Ireland

DA Ireland

The savings were due to a combination of administrative efficiencies and a lower-take up of grants in some demand-led schemes.

2009

There was a lower take-up than expected on some FAS programmes which were introduced in 2009.

FAS also achieved administrative efficiencies.

Savings were made by the National Consumer Agency due to staff vacancies and related non-pay savings.

Smaller savings were made on other programmes.

Redundancy Payments

John O'Donoghue

Ceist:

107 Deputy John O’Donoghue asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive the result of their redundancy application. [21894/10]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department has recently processed this redundancy lump sum claim on behalf of the individual concerned and that payment of the amount due issued on 21 May, 2010.

Work Permits

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

108 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if his attention has been drawn to the campaign being run by the Migrant Rights Centre to reform the employment permit system to enable migrant workers to change jobs more easily; if he will alter the employment permits to give full effect to section 8(3) of the Employment Permits Act 2006, which allows workers to change employment within a particular sector; if he intends to support this campaign and act on these proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21916/10]

The Employment Permits Act 2006 sets out in legislation the rules governing employment permits. One of the main objectives of this Act was to increase the rights and protections afforded to migrant workers and the means to ensure redress in the event of exploitative practices. The Act's provisions give immigrants greater freedom, autonomy and control over their own employment choices by enabling workers for the first time to apply and re-apply for their own permit and allowing workers to change their employer after a period of a year and move to another employment in order to take advantage of better conditions or career options. Last year, my Department issued almost 1,500 employment permits in respect of employees changing to new employers.

A properly controlled employment permit system requires that permits be issued to a specific employee for a specific job with a specific employer. To do otherwise would not only risk abuse of the employment permit system but would make it much more difficult to ensure that employers observed the employment rights of employees. The Employment Permits Act 2006 allows for regular review of Ireland's economic migration policies and my Department keeps these policies under review, in line with the emerging needs of the labour market, on an on-going basis.

Industrial Development

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

109 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if State supports were provided to a multinational company to help with the construction of a plant (details supplied) in County Cork; the impact recent announcements will have on this support; where State bodies who provided such supports now stand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21917/10]

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

110 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if State supports were provided to a multinational company to help with the construction of a plant (details supplied) in County Cork; the impact recent announcements will have on this support; where State bodies who provided such supports now stand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21918/10]

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

111 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation if, in view of the recent announcement by a company (details supplied) of its intention to phase out its operation at Pottery Road, Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin between 2011 and 2014, he will immediately contact the Industrial Development Authority and Enterprise Ireland to ensure that every effort is made to find an alternative pharmaceutical company to save the 210 jobs at risk; if he will provide a regular six monthly report to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment on his efforts to find a replacement enterprise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21923/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 109 to 111, inclusive, together.

Pfizer's plan to cut its worldwide workforce by 6,000 in 14 sites over the next four years is aimed at integrating the Pfizer and Wyeth manufacturing and supply organizations, which have significant overcapacity following the Pfizer takeover of Wyeth late last year. After the completion of the reorganisation Pfizer will still be one of the largest and most strategic employers in Ireland, employing in excess of 4,000 people. It will continue to have manufacturing operations at 7 separate locations. I have asked the IDA to immediately start to explore the possibility of other major players in life science sector taking over the facilities.

While any impact on jobs at the facilities in Loughbeg and Shanbally in Cork, and in Dún Laoghaire in Dublin, are not due to occur until 2012 to 2014, IDA is confident that a buyer will be found for at least some of its facilities and will work closely with Pfizer in this regard. In the recent past IDA/Pfizer has been successful with the sale of its Animal Health (Fort Dodge) plant in Sligo and its Loughbeg API plant, preserving jobs at both locations. Pfizer was approved and paid grant assistance in respect of the Loughbeg facility. However, since this was some time ago, there is now no repayment liability attaching to the assistance paid. In respect of the facility in Shanbally, Cork, Pfizer was not paid grant assistance.

The Government will work to support Pfizer's growth plans in Ireland. They will secure further investment from Pfizer in Ireland, particularly in the Biopharma and services areas. I will keep the House informed of any significant developments.

Legal Costs

Damien English

Ceist:

112 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation the amount spent by his Department on legal advice in relation to the export credit insurance scheme from 2000 to date in 2010; if he will provide for an annual breakdown in tabular form. [21941/10]

The table below sets out the amount spent on legal advice in relation to export credit insurance from 2000 to 2010. This predominantly relates to issues arising from the scheme operated by this Department for several decades but which ceased operation in 1998. Part of the 2010 payment (€2,276.61) relates to work on the assessment of a possible reintroduction of State-supported Export Credit Insurance. The fees incurred in the years 2000-2003 related primarily to a major legal action involving the Department at that time. The expenses incurred since then relate primarily to legal work involved in the recovery of debt on old policies, which had previously been considered irrecoverable. However as a result of the Department's work in pursuing these cases in recent years, a total of €6.6m has been recovered for the State to date.

Year

2000

159,713.50

2001

64,295.71

2002

404,899.06

2003

590,335.77

2004

81,505.50

2005

32,000.53

2006

54,495.93

2007

0

2008

16,262.52

2009

32,336.20

2010

5,374.86

Tax Code

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

113 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Finance the reason there are two different rates of VAT regarding the breeding of horses; his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21882/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the rate of VAT on the supply of insemination services is 13.5%, regardless of the form of the service. The various rates mentioned to by the Deputy appear to refer to the different systems of VAT operating for farmers depending on whether they are registered for VAT or not. A farmer who is registered for VAT must charge VAT on the supply of all farm services, including insemination services, at the VAT rate appropriate to that service; which in this case is 13.5%.

Where a farmer is not registered for VAT he or she does not charge VAT on any farming services being supplied. However, where an unregistered farmer supplies any agricultural produce or service, including insemination, to a VAT-registered person, the farmer may add a flat-rate addition of 5.2% to the amount invoiced to the VAT-registered person. This flat-rate addition is designed to compensate the unregistered farmer for VAT suffered on his or her purchases.

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

114 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance his plans to suspend the carbon tax on petrol and diesel in view of the high oil prices and the increasing costs to motorists to purchase fuel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22120/10]

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

116 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance his plans to suspend the carbon tax on petrol and diesel in view of the high oil prices and the increasing costs to motorists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21352/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 116 together.

I announced in the Budget that a carbon tax at a rate of €15 per tonne is being introduced on fossil fuels. The tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from midnight, 9 December 2009; and applied from 1 May 2010 to kerosene, marked gas oil (also known as ‘green diesel' or ‘agricultural diesel'), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), fuel oil and natural gas. The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat is subject to a Commencement Order. These Budget announcements are contained in Finance Act 2010 which has now been enacted. I have no plans to suspend the carbon tax.

Tax Collection

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

115 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding a claim for medical expenses in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21351/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person in question made a valid claim in respect of medical expenses incurred, however, as this person had paid no income tax during the year in question i.e. 2009, no refund of tax was due.

Question No. 116 answered with Question No. 114.

Tax Code

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

117 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Finance if carbon tax will be applied to peat production; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21363/10]

I announced in the Budget that a carbon tax at a rate of €15 per tonne is being introduced on fossil fuels. The tax was applied to petrol and auto-diesel with effect from midnight, 9 December 2009; and applied from 1 May 2010 to kerosene, marked gas oil (also known as ‘green diesel' or ‘agricultural diesel'), liquid petroleum gas (LPG), fuel oil and natural gas. The application of the tax to coal and commercial peat is subject to a Commencement Order.

A full relief from the carbon tax applies to EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) installations in the powergen sector, but ETS installations in other sectors will be required to comply with EU minimum excise rates applying to the fuel in question. However, there is no EU minimum excise rate in the case of peat. Solid fuels, including commercial peat, as indicated above are subject to a commencement order; this is to allow time for issues such as fuel poverty and the sourcing of coal of a lower environmental standard from Northern Ireland to be addressed.

A number of Government Departments, including the Department of Finance are exploring options for how best to offset the impact of the carbon tax on low-income households. With regard to the sourcing of coal from Northern Ireland, work has already commenced on this matter within the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government. In addition, the Department of Environment, my Department and the Revenue Commissioners have met with the Solid Fuel Trade Group in this regard.

State Properties

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

118 Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Finance the position regarding his interest in the property of a dissolved company which has a burden registered on a property (details supplied); if he will execute a discharge of the said burden; and if he has instructed the Chief State Solicitor in this matter. [21392/10]

The Commissioners of Public Works on behalf of the Minister for Finance are responsible for the management of property under Sections 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the State Property Act; as a result of companies being dissolved either voluntarily or as a result of being struck off the Companies Register, the assets of the company become vested in the Minister for Finance. Following advice from the Commissioners of Public Works in the matter, the Minister for Finance can, if appropriate, waive his interest, in property under Section 28 of the Act. The application to the Minister to waive his interest on this particular case was submitted directly to the Chief State Solicitor's Office. The Chief State Solicitor's Office are currently investigating the matter, and the Commissioners of Public Works await legal advice in this regard.

Tax Yield

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

119 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the amount of VAT received from petrol sales for each of the first four months of 2010 and each of the first four months of 2009 in tabular form; the amount of same in respect of diesel sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21417/10]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

120 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the amount of excise received from petrol sales for each of the first four months of 2010 and each of the first four months of 2009 in tabular form; the amount of same in respect of diesel sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21418/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 120 together.

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the data available on the amounts of Excise, exclusive of carbon tax, and VAT generated by clearances in the first 4 months of 2009 and 2010 on Petrol and Auto Diesel is as follows.

Mineral Oil Tax Receipts — exclusive of carbon tax

Petrol

2009

2010

€m

€m

Jan

129.4

107.2

Feb

81.7

77.9

Mar

91.6

89.8

Apr

90.8

85.7

Total

393.5

360.6

Auto Diesel

2009

2010

€m

€m

Jan

104.9

103.4

Feb

75.3

83.8

Mar

86.8

93.8

Apr

91.7

91.1

Total

358.6

372.2

Estimated VAT

Petrol

2009

2010

€m

€m

Jan

43.9

45.8

Feb

29.1

33.2

Mar

33.0

38.9

Apr

33.8

39.1

Total

139.8

157.0

Auto Diesel

2009

2010

€m

€m

Jan

5.0

5.1

Feb

3.6

4.1

Mar

4.0

4.7

Apr

4.0

4.7

Total

16.5

18.6

VAT returns do not require the yield from a particular sector or sub-sector of trade to be identified. The figures provided in this reply for monthly VAT receipts are estimates of the amount of VAT yield that would be generated by the volume of clearances of Petrol and Auto Diesel up to the end of each month. VAT returns can be made monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annually depending on the nature of the registration status of a trader, and this will dictate the point in time when VAT on sales will actually be paid. It should also be noted that the VAT content of purchases of Auto Diesel is a deductible credit for business in the Irish VAT system.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

121 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the amount of carbon tax received from petrol sales for each of the first four months of 2010 and each of the first four months of 2009 in tabular form; the amount of same in respect of diesel sales; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21419/10]

The carbon tax was introduced from midnight, 9 December 2009 in respect of petrol and auto-diesel. I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that since its introduction, the total receipts from the carbon tax for the period January to April 2010, in respect of petrol and auto-diesel only, is €53.1 million, i.e. €48.4 million from the carbon charge and an estimated €4.7 million in respect of VAT. It should be noted that the carbon charge in respect of petrol and auto-diesel is payable in the month after it is released for consumption so each of the monthly figures below relate to sales in the previous month.

2010

€m

January

2.5

February

17.3

March

13.4

April

15.2

Total

48.4

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

122 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the additional VAT taken in as a result of the increase in the price of petrol and diesel over and above budget day predictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21420/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that VAT returns do not require the yield from a particular sector or sub-sector of trade to be identified. The figures provided in this reply for VAT receipts are estimates of the amount of VAT yield that would be generated by the volume of clearances of Auto Diesel and Petrol from January to April 2010. The estimated VAT gain is as follows:

Petrol

2010

€m

Jan

0.7

Feb

0.4

Mar

1.5

Apr

2.6

Total

5.2

Auto Diesel

2010

€m

Jan

0.0

Feb

0.0

Mar

0.1

Apr

0.3

Total

0.5

VAT returns can be made monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, half yearly or annually depending on the nature of the registration status of a trader, and this will dictate the point in time when VAT on sales will actually be paid. It should also be noted that the VAT content of purchases of Auto Diesel is a deductible credit for business in the Irish VAT system.

While the VAT from Petrol and Auto-Diesel increases as the price of the fuels increase, it should however be borne in mind that to the extent that spending in the economy is re-allocated to petrol and other oil products, and away from other VAT liable spending, and to the extent that the overall level of economic activity is reduced by higher oil prices, there may be little or no net gain to the Exchequer.

Banking Sector Regulation

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

123 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if he will require that the credit review group to issue monthly reports on the scale of bank lending to small and medium enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21421/10]

You will be aware that on foot of recapitalisations arising out of NAMA, I am imposing specific lending targets on the main business banks, AIB and Bank of Ireland. They will make available for targeted lending not less than €3 billion each for new or increased credit facilities to SMEs in both 2010 and 2011. The two banks were required to submit SME lending plans both by geography and sector for 2010 and 2011 in light of the €3 billion target. These plans were recently submitted to my Department and they are being reviewed by my officials and Mr. John Trethowan, the Credit Reviewer. Following these reviews and the finalisation of the lending plans, I will decide on the appropriate reporting arrangements.

Semi-State Sector

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

124 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance his plans to appoint a bord snip to assess costs and propose savings within the semi-State sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21422/10]

I am as anxious as anyone else to ensure a competitive, efficient semi-state sector. I am not certain that a "Bord Snip" type process would be the most effective way to proceed as the commercial Semi-State Sector for example operates outside the Exchequer and the issue of cost savings is a matter for the management and boards. I have no problem however with Dáil Éireann and its committees probing such matters with State Bodies as I will continue to do with my colleagues.

Tax Code

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

125 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance when he intends to apply VAT to services provided by local authorities such as refuse charges; the amount he anticipates he will raise from this in a full year; if he will consider using the money to reduce local authority rates charges to business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21423/10]

Services supplied by State bodies, including local authorities, will become subject to VAT from 1 July 2010. This is as a consequence of the European Court of Justice case C-544/07 against Ireland on 16 July 2009, which ruled that Ireland should amend its VAT legislation to provide that State and public bodies are in general subject to VAT. This case goes back to 2004 when infringement proceedings were taken by the European Commission against Ireland. Given the time that has passed since the Court's Judgement, and since the commencement of the case, it is imperative that the VAT implementation takes place as soon as possible. 1 July 2010 was chosen as the date of implementation of VAT in this regard in order to allow time to process the relevant legislation and for State and public bodies, including local authorities, to prepare for the change to their administrative systems.

With regard to the Exchequer revenue implications of the application of VAT to the activities of public bodies, including local authorities, this will be difficult to estimate, even after the tax has been applied for some time. It is considered that there should be some positive revenue yield for the Exchequer, but, it will be far lower than might be initially envisioned. While yield will accrue from the VAT being applied to services that were up to now exempt, any VAT charged to business customers will be reclaimed by them in the normal manner resulting in a Revenue neutral position in so far as those customers are concerned. Public bodies will now be in a position to claim VAT input credit in respect of VAT paid on the inputs they use in providing their services, which they can not do at present. Consequently, any Exchequer gain from VAT being charged by public bodies will be reduced by VAT on input claims by public bodies and also by the business recipients of public body services.

With regard to the suggestion that VAT revenues generated from local authorities be ring-fenced in order to reduce local authority rates that apply to business, it is the general practice not to ring-fence revenues for specific purposes but rather take an overall view on priorities in the context of expenditure and budgetary decisions which, of course, are dependent on Exchequer revenues.

Tax Collection

Michael Creed

Ceist:

126 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Finance if he will issue a refund of overpaid taxes in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21427/10]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that a refund of income tax for 2009 issued to the taxpayer on 14 May 2010.

Banking Sector Regulation

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

127 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if a sole trader or small-medium enterprise who has a performing loan may seek a review from the credit review office where a bank uses a standard annual review clause to either increase the margin applicable to the loan over EURIBOR or apply an excessive renewal or annual charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21440/10]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

128 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if a sole trader or small-medium enterprise who has an overdraft operating within the approved parameters and reverting regularly to credit may seek a review from the credit review office where a bank uses a standard annual review clause to either increase the margin applicable to the overdraft over EURIBOR or apply an excessive renewal or annual charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21441/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 128 together.

A sole trader or SME is entitled to seek a review from the Credit Review Office where they consider that the terms or conditions attached to a credit facility or its price are so onerous as to amount to a constructive refusal on the same basis as when an application for credit is actually refused. This applies regardless of whether they have an existing performing loan or overdraft operating within approved parameters.

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

129 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance if a sole trader or small-medium enterprise may seek a review from the credit review office where a bank seeks to remove or reduce overdraft facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21442/10]

A sole trader or SME is entitled to seek a review from the Credit Review Office when there is a reduction or removal of an overdraft facility on the same basis as when an application for credit is refused. I would strongly urge businesses to avail of the opportunity for an independent review of decisions to enhance their chances of obtaining credit or retaining existing credit.

Consultancy Contracts

Joan Burton

Ceist:

130 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the accountancy firms that have been awarded contracts with the National Asset Management Agency since its inception; the value of each of these contracts to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21459/10]

All major contracts awarded by the National Asset Management Agency since its inception, including those for accountancy services, have been fully compliant with standard public procurement procedures and have been awarded through www.etenders.gov.ie, the website for Irish public tenders. These procedures require that the most economically advantageous bid be accepted. The names of the successful service providers are published on the NAMA website at www.nama.ie.

The contractual details of all contracts between NAMA and individual service providers are negotiated on a case by case basis, are commercially sensitive and are confidential. I am advised by NAMA that while NAMA is building up its operational resources, and pending recruitment of the necessary skilled staff by the NTMA, arrangements have also been made to second staff, on a short-term basis, from a number of firms.

Proposed Legislation

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

131 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will support a submission (details supplied) on the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010. [21479/10]

The submission forwarded by the Deputy refers to amendments to Section 35 of the Credit Union Act 1997 contained in the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010. The submission seeks the deferral of the insertion of the new Sections 35A and 35B, stating that the conditions attached require consultation and much further discussion. I do not agree with this proposition for the following reasons.

Section 35 of the Credit Union Act 1997 imposes limits on credit unions in relation to longer-term lending. The restrictions contained in Section 35 are an important asset and liability instrument which has protected the financial stability of the credit union movement over many years. The matter was considered by my Department following extensive consultation with the two credit union representative bodies — the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) and the Credit Union Development Association (CUDA) — and with the Registrar of Credit Unions. I have decided that, in addition to extending from 20% to 30% the proportion of a credit union loan book that may apply to loans over five years, it is necessary now to give the Registrar of Credit Unions powers to require credit unions to have appropriate liquidity, provisioning and accounting requirements in place.

The Registrar of Credit Unions will take a balanced and proportionate approach to the implementation of the new Section 35 requirements and has set out for the credit union representative groups transitional arrangements and clarifications on the implementation approach. These include transitional arrangements for a 15% provisioning requirement up to 30 September 2011, trial periods, exceptions with regard to top-up loans and relaxation of the 100% provisioning requirement in respect of rescheduled loans which have missed two or more payments. The transitional arrangements as proposed by the Registrar will help to ease the position for credit unions in the current financial year and the next financial year ending in September 2011. They will also allow time for credit unions to adjust to the new regime. The effect of the new provisions on credit unions will be closely monitored.

The submission also refers to requirements imposed by the Registrar of Credit Unions in relation to the holding of Regulatory Reserves by credit unions. Reserves enable credit unions to deal with future uncertainties and to act flexibly in adverse economic conditions. This is a separate requirement to the obligation on boards of credit unions to ensure that adequate provisions are made for bad and doubtful loans. I am advised that the Total Regulatory Reserve is comprised of the Statutory Reserve and, where relevant, an amount held in a non-distributable additional regulatory reserve account. A minimum of 8 per cent of total assets must be held in the Statutory Reserve and the remaining 2 per cent may be held in the Statutory Reserve or additional regulatory reserve account. Financial institutions, including credit unions, are required to hold minimum levels of regulatory reserves as well as making adequate provisions for bad and doubtful debts. The economic environment in which we now operate places increased emphasis on the maintenance of adequate reserves and credit unions are expected to operate with a level of reserves above the minimum regulatory requirement and to comply with the requirements issued by the Registrar of Credit Unions.

As I indicated during the second stage debate on the Central Bank Reform Bill 2010, there is a balance to be struck between meeting members' needs to reschedule loans and ensuring the stability of the credit union sector overall. It is in the interests of every credit union in the country that the stability of the sector is safeguarded. The proposals being brought forward in connection with the Bill will achieve this fundamental aim.

Tax Collection

Pat Breen

Ceist:

132 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 183 of 3 February 2010, the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21488/10]

I understand from the Chief State Solicitor that he has not yet applied to the High Court for a grant of Letters of Administration in this case but expects to do so shortly. As noted in my previous reply, the applicant's case for a waiver of the State's interest in the estate under Section 73 of the Succession Act, 1965 will then be considered by the Chief State Solicitor and by the Attorney General who will make a recommendation to me in the matter.

Departmental Programmes

Ruairí Quinn

Ceist:

133 Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Minister for Finance the number of employers who have availed of the bike to work scheme on a county basis; the number of employees who have benefitted from the scheme; the cost of the scheme to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21492/10]

The cycle to work scheme came into operation on 1 January 2009. With a view to keeping the scheme simple and reducing administration on the part of employers, there is no notification procedure for employers involved. Accordingly, the Revenue Commissioners do not have statistics on the uptake of the scheme by employers or employees. The scheme operates on a self-administration basis, and relief is automatically available provided the employer is satisfied that the conditions of their particular scheme meet the requirements of the legislation.

The purchase of bicycles and associated safety equipment by employers for employees or directors is subject to the normal Revenue audit procedure with the normal obligations on employers to maintain records (e.g. delivery dockets, invoices, payments details, etc.). The employer is also obliged to keep all salary sacrifice agreements entered into between the employer and employees/ directors, together with all signed statements from employees/directors regarding use of the bicycles and safety equipment. It was estimated at the time of the introduction of the scheme that approximately 7,000 employees would avail of it over the first five year period of its operation (the exemption may apply only once in any five year period in respect of any employee).

Tax Collection

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

134 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Finance his views on the mortgage interest relief situation of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21519/10]

Section 5 of the Finance Act 2009 was amended whereby the level of tax relief investors can claim on the interest for mortgages and loans on residential rental properties was reduced to 75% of the interest accrued from 7th April 2009. This measure was introduced at a time when mortgage interest rates were at historical lows and the repayment burden on investors had been reduced significantly. The fact that rents are falling, after a number of years of strong growth was taken into consideration in framing the supplementary Budget 2009 and on this basis it was decided to reduce rather than abolish this relief. It should be borne in mind that ordinary workers on relatively modest incomes are being asked to make additional contributions to help with the recovery in public finances and it is felt that it is fair and equitable that residential investors contribute a proportionate share of the burden of adjustment needed in this economy.

Under the provisions of the Tax Acts, a person in receipt of rental income is assessed to income tax on the net amount of the rents received (i.e. the gross rents less allowable expenses incurred in earning those rents). In computing the net amount of the rents received, only those deductions that are specified in section 97(2) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 are allowable. The main deductible expenses are: Any rent payable by the landlord in the case of a sub-lease; The cost to the landlord of any goods provided or services rendered to a tenant; The cost of maintenance, repairs, insurance and management of the property; Interest on borrowed money used to purchase, improve or repair the property; and Payment of local authority rates in the case of rateable properties used for commercial purposes.

As payment of the new local authority charge for residential properties is not included on the list of allowable deductions, it is not an allowable expense in computing taxable rental income. As is normal practice the tax treatment of interest payments on loans for rented residential property together with all other taxation issues will be given due consideration in the context of ongoing budgetary and taxation policy.

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

135 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Question No. 51 of 28 January 2010, the reason the mortgage holder’s full entitlement was reinstated; the basis on which the figures were arrived at; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21522/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that initially the person concerned took out a new mortgage in 2003. A further new mortgage was taken out in 2007. Immediately prior to the 2010 Finance Act, mortgage interest relief was only available for a maximum of seven tax years. On that basis, the person concerned ceased to be granted mortgage interest tax relief at the end of 2009, covering the seven tax years 2003-2009 inclusive. When the precise status of the 2007 mortgage was clarified by Revenue in January 2010, following contact with the person concerned, Revenue determined that relief was due on that mortgage. It was on that basis therefore, that the entitlement was reinstated by Revenue.

Tax Code

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

136 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to the fact that significant supplies of plastic film used for the wrapping of baled silage are being sold from Northern Ireland with no VAT being charged on this product; if his further attention has been drawn to the fact that legitimate farm suppliers have to charge a levy towards the recycling of the used plastic yet those who buy from the unauthorised sales persons have their used plastic collected without a problem; the amount of tax and levies that have been lost in this process over the past two years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21551/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the VAT rules for the sale of goods (including silage wrap) from one Member State to another are as follows. Sales between a VAT registered business in Northern Ireland and another VAT registered business (including a farmer) in this State are zero rated in Northern Ireland and the purchaser must self-account to Revenue in this State for VAT on the transaction at 21%. Sales between a VAT registered business in Northern Ireland and a consumer in the State are subject to VAT (at the UK standard VAT rate of 17.5%) in Northern Ireland if the consumer in this State is not registered for VAT. It is therefore legitimate for farmers to purchase their goods under either of these circumstances in Northern Ireland, subject to the VAT registration thresholds and subject to compliance by them with the self-accounting rules if they are VAT registered.

The Deputy has not provided sufficient information to enable Revenue to establish if a breach of VAT legislation has occurred. From enquiries to date, Revenue is not aware of VAT problems concerning silage wrap being sold from Northern Ireland. If the Deputy has more specific information he might provide that information to Revenue so that the matter can be investigated.

With regard to the levy on plastic, I am informed by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government that under the Waste Management (Farm Plastics) Regulations 2001, a wide range of obligations are imposed on both producers (i.e. manufacturers and importers) and suppliers of farm plastics (i.e. silage bale wrap and sheeting) requiring them to collect and recover such plastics at end-of-life. As an alternative to operators self-complying in this regard, both producers and suppliers of farm plastics may contribute to, and participate in, compliance schemes established for the recovery of farm plastics waste.

The Irish Farm Films Producers Group (IFFPG) — which comprises membership of film manufacturers, importers and suppliers — is a not-for-profit organisation and is at present the sole approved body in Ireland for the purposes of operating a compliance scheme for the recovery of farm plastics. Under the terms of its approval, the IFFPG is required to meet specified targets equating to the recovery of 60% of all farm plastics placed on the market in 2009 and in each year thereafter. Almost 12,500 tonnes of farm plastics were collected by the IFFPG in 2008 for the purpose of recycling, representing a national recovery rate of over 74% of farm plastics placed on the Irish market in that year.

The scheme funds its activities by means of the imposition on producer members of an Environmental Protection Contribution (EPC) levy of €127 per tonne of farm plastics placed on the Irish market. These levies are included in the sale price of the product and are passed through each step in the trading chain, down ultimately to the individual farmer. The EPC levies collected are transferred by producers to the IFFPG for the purpose of funding authorised collection agents on a nationwide basis to collect waste silage / bale wrap, before transporting it to recycling facilities both at home and abroad for reprocessing. This is an essential function which ensures that this product is, as far as possible, disposed of in a manner which is not harmful to the environment.

In addition, the levy income is supplemented by a differential weight-based collection fee applied on the collection of farm plastics from both individual farmyards and designated collection points of which there were approximately 140 operating nationally in 2009. A farmer who cannot demonstrate that he has sourced farm plastic from a legitimate source must pay a higher collection fee. Neither the levy nor the collection fees are prescribed in the regulations, they are set by the Board of the IFFPG at a level that ensures their operating costs are met having regard to the producer responsibility obligations on their members.

Departmental Agencies

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

137 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the agencies or bodies to which his Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which his Department is responsible in respect of his policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21753/10]

The following Offices and Bodies are under the aegis of the Department of Finance but are funded from their own Votes and I am not administratively responsible for them.

Vote

Presidents Establishment

1

Comptroller and Auditor General

5

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

7

Appeal Commissioners

8

Revenue Commissioners

9

Office of Public Works

10

State Laboratory

11

Secret Service

12

Valuation Office

15

Public Appointments Service

16

Commission for Public Service Appointments

17

Ombudsman

18

The following table sets out the Bodies or Agencies that are funded or co-funded from Vote 6 — Office of the Minister for Finance together with the amount of funding provided in the years 2007-2010.

2007

2008

2009

2010

€’000

€’000

€’000

€’000

Special EU Programmes Body

1,320

1,103

1,200

1,195 (est)

Credit Union Advisory Committee

38

37

30

46

Civil Service Adjudicator*

44

57

68

70

Civil Service Arbitration Board*

Civil Service Disciplinary Code of Appeals Board*

Independent Mediation Officer under the Civil Service Grievance Procedure*

Committee for Performance Awards

37

60

46

1

Public Service Benchmarking Body

2,013

42

33

1

Review Body on Higher Remuneration in the Public Sector

285

189

268

60

Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal

286

320

371

350

Commission on Taxation

0

313

520

0

Interim Civil Service Childcare Agency

1,612

25

13

25

*All funded from the Civil Service Arbitration and Appeals Procedure Subhead in the Finance Vote. The total figure covers funding to all of these bodies.

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

138 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Finance the amount of unspent money by his Department each year since 2007; the departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21782/10]

The attached table sets out details of the Budget Estimates, by Subhead, for the years 2007-2010. The Subheads reflect the particular projects (programmes) that fall within the ambit of my Vote in each year. The table also sets out the amounts unspent and surrendered in each of the years in question. The Deputy should note that the total unspent in 2007 was €4.687m but, in accordance with Capital Carryover rules, €0.800m of this was carried forward to 2008 and only €3.887m was surrendered to the Exchequer.

Vote 6 Estimate for the years:

2007

2008

2009

2010

€’000

€’000

€’000

€’000

Description

Provision

Provision

Provision

Provision

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

38,600

40,500

40,230

36,211

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

1,250

1,000

650

450

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

2,100

2,000

1,550

1,100

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

1,400

1,500

1,325

1,017

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

3,000

3,200

2,235

1,800

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

1,360

2,150

1,100

850

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

90

20

20

5

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

1,050

1,400

890

750

Admin

48,850

51,770

48,000

42,183

EXPENSES ARISING FROM THE SALE OF ACC BANK

3,606

5

ESRI

3,300

5,500

3,300

3,075

IPA

3,500

3,900

3,700

3,400

OSI

6,000

GAELEAGRAS NA SEIRBHÍSE POIBLÍ

440

460

450

300

CIVIL SERVICE ARBITRATION AND APPEALS

70

70

70

70

REVIEW BODY ON HIGHER REMUNERATION IN THE PS

300

175

55

60

PUBLIC SERVICE BENCHMARKING BODY

1,800

100

5

1

COMMITTEE FOR PERFORMANCE AWARDS

60

60

60

1

CMOD

2,550

10,730

3,232

2,035

STRUCTURAL FUNDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

2,000

2,100

1,515

1,195

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COSTS OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

1,450

1,500

1,400

930

COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS

380

850

1,190

405

COMMITTEES AND SPECIAL INQUIRIES

2,000

PAYMENTS TO THE PROMOTERS OF CERTAIN CHARITABLE LOTTERIES

8,618

8,618

8,618

8,618

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUND

1,970

1,500

1,000

1,500

PEACE PROGRAMME/NORTHERN IRELAND ITERREG

13,310

12,000

2,530

4,395

SPECIAL EU PROGRAMMES BODY

1,500

1,835

1,565

1,195

IRELAND/WALES AND TRANSNATIONAL INTERREG

350

300

550

500

CIVIL SERVICE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE

2,200

2,237

25

25

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM

1,300

1,500

800

350

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

530

500

2,300

4,742

Programmes

55,234

53,940

32,365

34,797

Gross Total

104,084

105,710

80,365

76,980

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

6,583

8,550

12,010

6,822

Net Total

97,501

97,160

68,355

70,158

SAVINGS SURRENDERED

3,887

10,012

3,181

N/a

Provisional

Subhead

Description

Provision

Outturn

Variance

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

38,600

38,896

296

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

1,250

960

-290

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

2,100

1,927

-173

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

1,400

1,413

13

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

3,000

2,849

-151

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

1,360

1,178

-182

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

90

65

-25

A.8.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

1,050

804

-246

Admin

48,850

48,092

-758

B

EXPENSES ARISING FROM THE SALE OF ACC BANK

3,606

3,639

33

C

ESRI

3,300

3,300

D

IPA

3,500

3,500

E

OSI

6,000

5,250

-750

F

GAELEAGRAS NA SEIRBHÍSE POIBLÍ

440

432

-8

G

CIVIL SERVICE ARBITRATION AND APPEALS

70

46

-24

H1

REVIEW BODY ON HIGHER REMUNERATION IN THE PS

300

281

-19

H2

PUBLIC SERVICE BENCHMARKING BODY

1,800

2,013

213

H3

COMMITTEE FOR PERFORMANCE AWARDS

60

37

-23

I

CMOD

2,550

2,403

-147

J1

STRUCTURAL FUNDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

2,000

1,574

-426

J2

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COSTS OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

1,450

1,390

-60

K

COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS

380

323

-57

L

PAYMENTS TO THE PROMOTERS OF CERTAIN CHARITABLE LOTTERIES

8,618

8,618

M

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUND

1,970

1,408

-562

N1

PEACE PROGRAMME/NORTHERN IRELAND ITERREG

13,310

12,800

-510

N2

SPECIAL EU PROGRAMMES BODY

1,500

1,320

-180

O

IRELAND/WALES AND TRANSNATIONAL INTERREG

350

349

-1

P

CIVIL SERVICE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE

2,200

1,886

-314

Q

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM

1,300

886

-414

R

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

530

259

-271

Programmes

55,234

51,714

-3,520

Gross Total

104,084

99,806

-4,278

S

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

6,583

6,992

409

Net Total

97,501

92,814

-4,687

Subhead

Description

Provision

Outturn

Variance

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

40,500

40,433

-67

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

1,000

693

-307

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

2,000

1,578

-422

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

1,500

1,411

-89

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

3,200

2,379

-821

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

2,150

1,972

-178

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

20

52

32

A.8.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

1,400

960

-440

Admin

51,770

49,478

-2,292

B

EXPENSES ARISING FROM THE SALE OF ACC BANK

5

-5

C

ESRI

5,500

5,500

D

IPA

3,900

3,900

E

GAELEAGRAS NA SEIRBHÍSE POIBLÍ

460

413

-47

F

CIVIL SERVICE ARBITRATION AND APPEALS

70

58

-12

G1

REVIEW BODY ON HIGHER REMUNERATION IN THE PS

175

191

16

G2

PUBLIC SERVICE BENCHMARKING BODY

100

44

-56

G3

COMMITTEE FOR PERFORMANCE AWARDS

60

61

1

H

CMOD

10,730

6,122

-4,608

I1

STRUCTURAL FUNDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

2,100

1,409

-691

I2

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COSTS OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

1,500

1,356

-144

J

COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS

850

670

-180

K

PAYMENTS TO THE PROMOTERS OF CERTAIN CHARITABLE LOTTERIES

8,618

8,618

L

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUND

1,500

1,072

-428

M

PEACE PROGRAMME/NORTHERN IRELAND INTERREG

12,000

10,641

-1,359

N1

SPECIAL EU PROGRAMMES BODY

1,835

1,102

-733

N2

IRELAND/WALES AND TRANSNATIONAL INTERREG

300

344

44

O

CIVIL SERVICE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE

2,237

1,560

-677

P

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM

1,500

872

-628

Q

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

500

1,945

1,445

Programmes

53,940

45,878

-8,062

Gross Total

105,710

95,356

-10,354

R

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

8,550

8,208

-342

Net Total

97,160

87,148

-10,012

Subhead

Description

Provision

Prov. Outturn

Variance

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

40,230

39,700

-530

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

650

355

-295

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

1,550

1,007

-543

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

1,325

966

-359

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

2,235

1,659

-576

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

1,100

810

-290

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

20

-20

A.8.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

890

817

-73

Admin

48,000

45,314

-2,686

B

ESRI

3,300

3,300

C

IPA

3,700

3,700

D

GAELEAGRAS NA SEIRBHÍSE POIBLÍ

450

410

-40

E

CIVIL SERVICE ARBITRATION AND APPEALS

70

68

-2

F1

REVIEW BODY ON HIGHER REMUNERATION IN THE PS

55

268

213

F2

PUBLIC SERVICE BENCHMARKING BODY

5

33

28

F3

COMMITTEE FOR PERFORMANCE AWARDS

60

46

-14

G

CMOD

3,232

1,655

-1,577

H1

STRUCTURAL FUNDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

1,515

969

-546

H2

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COSTS OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

1,400

1,023

-377

I

COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS

1,190

974

-216

J

PAYMENTS TO THE PROMOTERS OF CERTAIN CHARITABLE LOTTERIES

8,618

8,618

K

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUND

1,000

402

7,618

L1

PEACE PROGRAMME/NORTHERN IRELAND ITERREG

2,530

1,452

-2,128

L2

SPECIAL EU PROGRAMMES BODY

1,565

1,200

-113

M

IRELAND/WALES AND TRANSNATIONAL INTERREG

550

507

650

N

CIVIL SERVICE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE

25

13

482

O

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM

800

208

-787

P

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

2,300

6,094

-2,092

Programmes

32,365

30,940

-1,425

Gross Total

80,365

76,254

-4,111

R

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

12,010

11,059

-951

Net Total

68,355

65,195

-3,160

Subhead

Description

Provision

A.1.

SALARIES, WAGES AND ALLOWANCES

36,211

A.2.

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE

450

A.3.

INCIDENTAL EXPENSES

1,100

A.4.

POSTAL AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES

1,017

A.5.

OFFICE MACHINERY AND OTHER OFFICE SUPPLIES

1,800

A.6.

OFFICE PREMISES EXPENSES

850

A.7.

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

5

A.8.

VALUE FOR MONEY AND POLICY REVIEWS

750

Admin

42,183

B

ESRI

3,075

C

IPA

3,400

D

GAELEAGRAS NA SEIRBHÍSE POIBLÍ

300

E

CIVIL SERVICE ARBITRATION AND APPEALS

70

F1

REVIEW BODY ON HIGHER REMUNERATION IN THE PS

60

F2

PUBLIC SERVICE BENCHMARKING BODY

1

F3

COMMITTEE FOR PERFORMANCE AWARDS

1

G

CMOD

2,035

H1

STRUCTURAL FUNDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

1,195

H2

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE COSTS OF REGIONAL ASSEMBLIES

930

II

COMMITTEES AND COMMISSIONS

405

I2

CMOMMISSIONS AND SPECIAL INQUIRIES

2,000

J

PAYMENTS TO THE PROMOTERS OF CERTAIN CHARITABLE LOTTERIES

8,618

K

CHANGE MANAGEMENT FUND

1,500

L

PEACE PROGRAMME/NORTHERN IRELAND INTERREG

4,395

M

SPECIAL EU PROGRAMMES BODY

1,195

N1

IRELAND/WALES AND TRANSNATIONAL INTERREG

500

N2

CIVIL SERVICE CHILDCARE INITIATIVE

25

O

PROCUREMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM

350

P

CONSULTANCY SERVICES

4,742

Programmes

34,797

Gross Total

76,980

Q

APPROPRIATIONS-IN-AID

6,822

Net Total

70,158

Public Sector Recruitment

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

139 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Finance the number of exemptions requested by Departments and or State agencies to the current moratorium on recruitment and promotion; if he will provide the full details in each such case including the requesting body; the reasons for the request; the number of staff requested and to provide in detail, his response to each such request. [21792/10]

The moratorium on recruitment and promotion was introduced by the Government at the end of March 2009. The moratorium allows for certain general exemptions in the Education and Health Sectors for the filling of certain key posts as well as for the Local Authorities in relation to fire, health and safety, Interreg and beach warden posts. Information in relation to the posts covered by these general exemptions can be sought from the relevant Ministers.

Departments have been implementing the moratorium in respect of themselves and the bodies under their aegis. Where a Department feels that a post should be filled, it requires the sanction of the Minister for Finance for an exception to the moratorium. Requests for exceptions are not made in respect of every vacancy. Unless otherwise stated in tables 2 and 3 below, the information covers the period up to the end of April 2010.

Civil Service

In the case of the civil service approximately 2,300 staff have left since the introduction of the moratorium. Approval has been given to fill some 300 posts by recruitment and some 470 posts by way of redeployment or promotion. This has resulted in a net reduction of 2,000 posts.

Separate from the above, in an effort to meet the priority needs of the Department of Social Protection arising from increases in the Live Register, a temporary levy has been applied to Government Departments in order to source some 550 posts for that Department — this is being achieved on a numbers and cost neutral basis. In addition sanction has also been given for some 276 temporary posts for Census 2011 and for various temporary ‘summer relief' type posts.

It should be noted that in accordance with the terms of the moratorium, exemptions can only be sought by Government Departments and Offices after they had exhausted all internal possibilities of redeploying staff, reorganising work and so on. In the majority of cases sanctions have been given for the filling of posts by redeployment or promotion which would not lead to an overall increase in numbers serving (since consequential vacancies are not generally filled unless specifically sanctioned.) As the attached table shows some 770 posts were sanctioned to be filled of which some 300 are likely to be filled by external recruitment, leading to a net reduction of some 2,000 in the civil service.

Public Service

My Department has received 205 requests for 1,668 exceptions (WTEs) to the moratorium in the Public Service. 147 requests have been sanctioned in full or in part in respect of 885 posts. 25 requests have been refused and a decision is pending in relation to 33 requests. Summary information by Department is set out in table 1.

In the context of the Draft Public Service Agreement 2010-2014, the Government has clarified that the application of the moratorium on recruitment and promotion will be kept under review and will be revisited in each sector as the staffing levels specified (or to be specified) in the Employment Control Framework (ECF) for the sectors are achieved. ECFs for the various Vote Groups are generally in the process of being finalised at present.

Table 1: Public Service

Public Service by Vote

No. of requests

Requests granted

Requests refused

Decision pending

No. of posts sought

No. of posts granted

Enterprise, Trade & Employment

35

26

5

4

131.0

67.0

Social & Family Affairs

10

10

0

0

13.3

13.3

Defence

7

0

0

7

536.0

214.0

Arts, Sports & Tourism

17

11

6

0

18.0

12.0

Health

32

21

0

11

117.6

103.0

Transport

5

3

1

1

37.0

11.0

Agriculture, Food & Fisheries

8

4

4

0

66.0

50.0

Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

30

27

0

3

64.0

61.0

Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

Education

32

28

3

1

341.5

226.5

Justice, Equality & Law Reform

10

8

0

2

292.0

118.0

Environment, Heritage & Local Government

19

9

6

4

51.5

9.0

Foreign Affairs

0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

Finance

0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

Taoiseach’s

0

0

0

0

0.0

0.0

205

147

25

33

1,667.9

884.8

Table 3: Requests for Exceptions in the Public Service

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

DETE — Enterprise Ireland

Retirement

Manager

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

May-09

Retirement

2

DETE — Enterprise Ireland

Graduate

Graduate

16

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

16

May-09

16 graduate posts

3

DETE — Roscommon CEB

Vacancy

CEO

1

No

0

May-09

Vacancy

4

DETE Cork CEB

Replacing maternity leave

Administrative Officer

1

No

0

Jun-09

Replacing maternity leave

5

DETE — FAS DG

Statutory post

DG

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Jun-09

Statutory post

6

DETE -NCA Registrar

No vacancy

AP-HAD

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Jun-09

Registrar

7

DETE — Enterprise Ireland

Rollover of contract posts for overseas (4 sanctioned)

Various

53

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

4

Jun-09

Rollover of contract posts for overseas (4 sanctioned)

8

DETE — PIAB

Renewal of contract posts (5 sanctioned)

CO

6

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

5

Jul-09

Renewal of contract posts (5 sanctioned)

9

DETE — NCA student

Student

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Jun-09

Student

10

DETE — NCA

Retirement — Head of Corporate Services (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

AP — STANDARD

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Aug-09

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

11

DETE — NCA

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

AP — STANDARD

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Aug-09

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

12

DETE — NCA

Retirement — Commercial Practises Division (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

HEO (x5)

5

Yes — on a permanent basis

5

Aug-09

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

13

DETE — NCA

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

EO (X3)

3

Yes — on a permanent basis

3

Aug-09

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

14

DETE — NCA

CO (X2)

2

Yes — on a permanent basis

2

Aug-09

15

DETE — IAASA

Vacancy

Accountant

1

No

0

Aug-09

Vacancy

16

DETE — FAS

Decision of Rights Commissioner

Training Instructor

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Sep-09

Decision of rights Commissioner

17

DETE — Interreg — Tradelinks 2 project

new project

Project Manager

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Sep-09

new project

18

DETE — Interreg — Tradelinks 2 project

new project

Financial Administrator

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Sep-09

new project

19

DETE — Interreg — Tradelinks 2 project

new project

4 Regional Coordinators

4

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

4

Sep-09

new project

20

DETE — Interreg — Tradelinks 2 project

new project

4 Support Co-ordinators

4

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

4

Sep-09

new project

21

DETE — Competition Authority

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

Case Officer

1

No

0

Oct-09

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

22

DETE — FÁS

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

ADG — Finance & IT

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Oct-09

Retirement (other than the Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement)

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

23

DETE — Forfas

New project — Self Financing — Manager of European Space Research Office

Manager

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Dec-09

New project — Self Financing

24

DETE — PIAB

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

Legal Services Manager

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Jan-10

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

25

DETE- Enterprise Ireland

Temporary Overseas Contract posts

Contract Posts (Overseas Jan-Mar 10) — Various Grades

2

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

2

Feb-10

Temporary Overseas Contract posts

26

DETE — Enterprise Ireland

Support for Credit Review

CO

1

Yes — on a permanent basis

1

Mar-10

Support for Credit Review

27

DETE — Competition Authority

Request under consideration

Board Members 2

2

Request under consideration

0

Mar-10

Request under consideration

28

DETE — Competition Authority

Statutory post

Chairperson of Board

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Mar-10

Statutory post

29

DETE — SFI

City of Science Project

Project Manager

1

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

1

Mar-10

City of Science Project

30

DETE — SFI

City of Science Project

CO

1

No

0

May-10

PA for Dublin City of Science

31

DETE — FAS

Request under consideration

4

Request under consideration

0

Mar-10

Request under consideration

32

DETE — NSAI

Ongoing contracts

Various

4

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

4

Apr-10

Ongoing contracts

33

DETE — NCA

3 Student posts

3

Yes — on a temporary/acting basis

3

May-10

34

DETI — Forfas

Request under consideration

PO

1

Request under consideration

0

Request under consideration

35

DETI — Competition Authority

Request under consideration

CO

2

Request under consideration

0

May-10

Request under consideration

Department of Social and Family Affairs

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Family Support Agency

To cover Term-time vacancies in front line mediation service — Portlaoise + Sligo

1

Yes

1

2

Family Support Agency

To cover Term-time vacancies in front line mediation service — Raheny + Wexford

0.8

Yes

0.8

3

Family Support Agency

Temporary appointment due to end June 2009 — Castlebar FMS office

0.5

Yes

0.5

4

Family Support Agency

Temporary appointment due to end June 2009 — Letterkenny office

0.4

Yes

0.4

5

Family Support Agency

Supervision + Management of Mediation Service in Southern and Westerns Regions — temporary appointment due to end June 09

1.6

Yes

1.6

6

Family Support Agency

Supervision + Management of Mediation Service in Southern and Westerns Regions — temporary appointment due to end January 10

1.6

Yes

1.6

7

Family Support Agency

To cover Shorter Working Year Scheme vacancies in front line mediation service — Letterkenny, Portlaoise, Sligo, Raheny, Athlone, Wexford & HQ

4.5

Yes

4.5

8

Family Support Agency

Temporary appointment due to end June 2010 — Castlebar FMS office

0.5

Yes

0.5

9

Family Support Agency

Temporary appointment due to end June 2010 — Letterkenny office

0.4

Yes

0.4

10

Citizens Information Board

Temporary ICT contracts due to end March 2010 — Dublin HQ

2

Yes

2

Department of Defence

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Defence Forces

To retain the capacity of the organisation to operate effectively across all roles while contributing to the necessary public service economies

Cadets and army/naval service recruits. Promotion across a range of ranks. Acting up appointments for overseas deployment.

529

Yes

207

July 2009 and November 2009

Recruitment of 42 cadets and promotions across a range of ranks. 100 acting up appointments.

2

Defence Forces

Retirement of Military Judge which is a statutory post

Colonel

1

Yes

1

April 2010

Statutory post

3

Defence Forces

Retirement of Director of Military Prosecutions which is a statutory post

Colonel

1

Yes

1

June 2009

Statutory post

4

Defence Forces

Civilian employees. Temporary post and extension of contract.

Pharmacist

2

Yes

2

July 2009

5

Defence Forces

Civilian employee contract extension.

Social Worker

1

Yes

1

July 2009

6

Defence Forces

Civilian Employee. Management of provision of electrical services.

Foreman

1

Yes

1

7

Defence Forces

Civilian employee to assist in the re-fit of Naval ships.

Welder

1

Yes

1

April 2010

Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

National Library of Ireland

To fill Director post

Director

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

18/12/09

Statutory position

2

National Library of Ireland

2 vacancies due to retirement and internal promotion

Keeper, Asst Keeper

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

22/9/09

Due to the specialised nature of the work of the Library

3

Irish Sports Council

To fill Director post

CEO

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

14/5/09

Statutory position

4

Arts Council

To fill Director post

Director

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

20/8/09

Statutory position

5

Failte Ireland

temporary posts

Principal Officer (temporary)

1

4. Application was refused

0

6

Failte Ireland

temporary posts

Principal Officer (temporary)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

13/1/10

Payment of acting up allowance paid temporarily due to maternity leave

7

Failte Ireland

E Business manager

Assistant Principal

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

13/1/10

Post filled as a necessity for the development of the Tourism Sector

8

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

IT Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

19/11/09

Key post for the successful running of the National Concert Hall

9

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Financial Accountant

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

19/11/09

Key post for the successful running of the National Concert Hall

10

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Learn & Explore Administrative Assistant

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

19/11/09

Key post for the successful running of the National Concert Hall

11

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Graphic Designer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

19/11/09

Key post for the successful running of the National Concert Hall

Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism —continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

12

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

On line Marketing Executive

1

4. Application was refused

0

13

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Lighting Technician/stage hand

1

4. Application was refused

0

14

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Box Office Cashier Supervisor

1

4. Application was refused

0

15

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Operations Assistant Manager

1

4. Application was refused

0

16

National Concert Hall

Fixed term contract post

Own Promotions Executive

1

4. Application was refused

0

17

Chester Beatty Library

To fill Director post

PO 1

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

29/3/10

Key post

Department of Health and Children

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

HSE

Front line post

Senior Locum

0.6

3. No decision to date

0

Further info awaited

2

Galway University Hospital

Critical management post

General Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

17/06/2009

3

HIQA

Level of expenditure on external advice

Legal Advisor (AP1)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

31/07/2009

4

HIQA

Operational reasons

Regional Operations Manager (PO)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

31/07/2009

5

HIQA

Value for money

Health Technology Assessment — AP1

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

31/07/2009

6

HIQA

Value for Money

HTA — Engineer Grade I

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

31/07/2009

7

HIQA

Value for Money

HTA — Engineer Grade III

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

31/07/2009

8

HSE

New HSE structure

Regional Operation Director (Assist Nat,. Dir)

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

07/07/2009

9

HSE

New HSE structure

Care Group (Assistant National Director)

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

07/07/2009

10

Mental Health Commission

Front line post

Consultant Psychiatrist

5

1. Yes, application was approved

5

31/07/2009

11

Mental Health Commission

Front line post

Assistant Inspector (Occupational Therapist)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

31/07/2009

Department of Health and Children —continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

12

Mental Health Commission

Service reasons

Staff Officer (Temp Contract Renewal)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

31/07/2009

13

National Treatment Purchase Fund

Fair Deal requirements

EO / HEO

6

1. Yes, application was approved

6

31/07/2009

14

Central Mental Hospital

Front line post

Mental Health Nurses

23

1. Yes, application was approved

23

31/08/2009

15

St Loman’s Hospital

Front line post

Mental Health Nurses

36

1. Yes, application was approved

36

31/08/2009

16

Temple Street Hospital

Critical nursing management post

Director of Nursing

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

20/10/2009

17

Galway University Hospital

Key post for flu pandemic

Chief Medical Scientist

1

3. No decision to date

0

Further info awaited

18

HSE

Front line post

General Dental Surgeon

3

1. Yes, application was approved

2

25/11/2009

Sanction was only given for two of the three posts

19

HSE

Front line post

Principal Environmental Health Officers

2

3. No decision to date

0

Further info awaited

20

HSE

Front line post

Fire Prevention Officer

1

3. No decision to date

0

Further info awaited

21

HSE

Front line post

Clinical Perfusionist Post

1

3. No decision to date

0

Further info awaited

22

Children’s Hospital, Crumlin

Front line post

Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurses

5

1. Yes, application was approved

5

8/12/1009

The filling of these posts was to be met through redeployment first, and where this was not possible, suppression

Department of Health and Children —continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

23

Temple Street Hospital

Front line post

Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Nurses

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

8/12/1009

The filling of these posts was to be met through redeployment first, and where this was not possible, suppression

24

HSE

Development post for Primary Care Teams

Senior Dietician (Sligo/Leitrim/Cavan)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

18/01/2010

25

HSE — St. James, Dublin

Critical maintenance post

Maintenance Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

18/01/2010

26

HSE — St. Lukes Kilkenny

Front line post

Clinical Nurse Manager II

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

18/01/2010

27

An Bord Altranais

Front line post

Director of Operations

1

3. No decision to date

0

28

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Front line post

Pharmacist Chief II

1

3. No decision to date

0

29

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Front line post

Senior Pharmacist

3

3. No decision to date

0

30

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Front line post

Grade IV (Inspection & Enforcement Unit)

1

3. No decision to date

0

31

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Front line post

Solicitor — Grade VIII

1

3. No decision to date

0

32

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland

Front line post

Head of Registration — Grade VII

1

3. No decision to date

0

Note: Includes HSE exemptions sought between May 2009 and January 2010. Under the Employment Control Framework 2010-2012, HSE exceptions under the moratorium under the moratorium are at the discretion of the HSE HR National Director.

Department of Transport

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Road Safety Authority (RSA)

New Posts

Assistant Principals

3

not approved

New Posts

Higher Executive Officers

3

not approved

New Posts

Executive Officers

2

not approved

New Posts

Clerical Officers

3

not approved

New Posts

Vehicle Inspector

11

not approved

2

Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR)

Renew Contract

Principal Officer

1

Approved

1

Dec-09

Vacancy filled to meet statuary obligation

Renew Contract

Assistant Principals

2

Approved

2

Dec-09

Vacancy filled to meet statuary obligation

Renew Contract

Executive Officers

3

Approved

3

Dec-09

Vacancy filled to meet statuary obligation

3

National Accident Investigation Office

Filling Post

Principal Officer

1

Approved

1

Nov-09

Important for safety purposes

4

National Transport Authority

New Posts

CEO

1

Approved

1

Jan-10

Newly established Authority

New Posts

Senior Management

4

Approved/ Not approved

3

Jan-10

Newly established Authority

5

Medical Bureau of Road Safety ( MBRS)

Filling Post

Admin Manager

1

No decision to-date

Filling Post

Scientist

1

No decision to-date

Filling Post

Manager

1

No decision to-date

Department of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

Request details to follow.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Central Fisheries Board

To meet legal obligations under the Water Framework Directive

Technician (Hydroacoustics)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year temporary position. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

2

Central Fisheries Board

To meet legal obligations under the Water Framework Directive

Research Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year temporary position. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

3

Central and Regional Fisheries Boards

To meet legal obligations under the Water Framework, Habitats and Eels Directives

Fishery Officers

23

1. Yes, application was approved

23

28/07/2009

4 month seasonal positions.Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

4

Eastern Regional Fisheries Board

For increased surveillance in the Dublin, Dundalk and Wexford districts.

Fishery Officers

3

1. Yes, application was approved

3

28/07/2009

6.5 month temporary positions.Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

5

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

To fill recently vacated post

Fisheries Environmental Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year temporary position.Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

6

Western Regional Fisheries Board

Cover for maternity leave

Administrative Assistant, Grade IV

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year temporary position. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

7

Western Regional Fisheries Board

For housekeeper at Aasleagh Lodge

Summer Student

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

4 month seasonal position.Generates substantial own resources income for the Board.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

8

North Western Regional Fisheries Board

To fill recently vacated post

Assistant Inspector

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

Permanent position. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

9

North Western Regional Fisheries Board

For increased salmon protection effort

Fishery Officers

3

1. Yes, application was approved

3

28/07/2009

3 month seasonal positions.Necessity to protect Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

10

Northern Regional Fisheries Board

To fill recently vacated post

Fisheries Environmental Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

Permanent position. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

11

Northern Regional Fisheries Board

For administrative support for the CEO/Assistant CEO

Administrative Assistant, Grade IV

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

6 month temporary position. recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

12

Northern Regional Fisheries Board

To meet minimun staffing levels required to run angling centres.

General Operatives

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

28/07/2009

5 month seasonal positions.Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

13

Central Fisheries Board

For EU Life+ Programme

Research Officers (including Project Manager)

3

1. Yes, application was approved

3

28/07/2009

4 year contract positions Externally funded: 50% EU, 50% National Parks and Wildlife Service. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

14

Central Fisheries Board

For EU Life+ Programme

Fisheries Assistant

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

4 year contract positon. Externally funded: 50% EU, 50% National Parks and Wildlife Service. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

15

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

Protection and conservation work at Scartleigh Dam

Fishery Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year contract position. Board would be unable to carry out contract with Kerry County Council who are fully funding this post.

16

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

To fulfil contract with ESB to provide fisheries enforcement services on ESB fisheries in the Shannon region

Fishery Officers

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

28/07/2009

1 year contract positions. Board would be unable to carry out contract with ESB who are fully funding this post.

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

17

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

For EU Life+ Programme

Project Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

5 year contract position. Externally funded: 50% EU, 50% National Parks and Wildlife Service and others. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

18

Shannon Regional Fisheries Board

For EU Life+ Programme

Research Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

5 year contract position. Externally funded: 50% EU, 50% National Parks and Wildlife Service and others. Necessity to protect recent investment in the Inland Fisheries resource and in recognition of EU and statutory requirements applying to the Fisheries Boards.

19

Central Fisheries Board

For Marine Sports Fish Programme

Technician (Data Mining)

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

28/07/2009

1 year contract position. Funded by Marine Institute and own resources

20

Geological Survey of Ireland

To facilitate participation by the INFOMAR programme team in two EU sponsored marine geology projects.

Specialist contract staff

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

23/10/2009

Posts funded from EU sources at no cost to Exchequer. Participation in the projects will leverage external funding to the benefit of the economy. Participation in and attraction of such projects is a stated objective of the INFOMAR programme.The posts are for a three-year fixed term under specific purpose contracts linked to EU projects

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

21

Commission for Energy Regulation

To replace retiring Commissioner for Energy Regulation

Commissioner

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

09/11/2009

5 year contract. Current and future role of the CER, both nationally and at a regional and EU level, justifies a full-time multi-member Commission.

22

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources

To extend the contract of the Department’s Research Coordinator by 50 weeks.

Research Coordinator

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

18/11/2010

Work to be undertaken is a critical time-defined component of the Knowledge Society Strategy. No further renewal of contract beyond period specified.

23

Commission for Energy Regulation

To renew contract of employment of legal advisor

Level 4, Band A

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

21/01/2010

Permanent contract. Significant savings can be realised from use of in-house legal advice compared with cost of procuring such advice from external sources.

24

Broadcasting Authority of Ireland

Replace Finance Officer

Finance Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

04/02/2010

Sanctioned on basis of redeployment from within the public service.

25

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Replace Principal HR/Corporate Services

Principal

1

3. No decision to date

26

Ordnance Survey Ireland

Replace Assistant Principal, Corporate Services

Assistant Principal

1

3. No decision to date

27

South Western Regional Fisheries Board

To fill recently vacated post

Inspector

1

3. No decision to date

Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

28

Central Fisheries Board

To formally assign staff member to role of Director of Finance and pay higher duties allowance in absence of post holder who is on sick leave.

Director

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

16/03/2010

Agreed for up to six months.

29

Commission for Energy Regulation

For design and implementation of the Petroleum Safety Framework

Petroleum Safety Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

31/03/2010

Permanent post. Sanctioned on basis that new functions for petroleum safety conferred on the CER require specialist expertise.

30

Commission for Energy Regulation

To assist the Petroleum Safety Manager (see above) in the design and implementation of the Petroleum Safety Framework.

Support Analyst

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

31/03/2010

Permanent posts. Sanctioned on basis that new functions for petroleum safety conferred on the CER require specialist expertise.

Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

0

Nil requests

0

0

Department of Education and Science

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Co Roscommon VEC

To replace retiring CEO; statutory post

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

26/6/09

Temporary 6 month appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. Extended to 28 Feb 2010. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

2

Department of Education & Science

Renewal of secondment of 276 teachers to Education Services

Teacher

276

1. Yes, application was approved

170

6/7/09

Continuation of highest priority teacher training and support. Partial approval granted. 276 posts were sought of which 170 were approved.

3

Church of Ireland College of Education

To replace retiring principal

Principal, College of Education

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

6/7/09

Need for head of organisation.

4

Vocational Education Committees

To award a fixed term contract to fill one existing caretaker vacancy on a temporary basis to ensure the smooth running of Certificate examinations during June 2009. To give delegated sanction to award similar contracts in other VECs, in similar circumstances, during June 2009, should the need arise.

Caretaker

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

27/5/09

To ensure uninterrupted running of State examinations. One immediate post sanctioned; delegated sanction to appoint others should the need arise.

Department of Education and Science — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

5

NCTE

To fill 1 National Coordinator post; Renewal of contracts of 2 Project Officers; Renewal of either 1 Senior Administrative Assistant or 1 Secretary Grade III post

National Coordinator; 2 Project Officers; Senior Admin Asst or Secretary Grade III

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

31/7/09

Majority of staff of NCTE employed on fixed term contracts. Need to reappoint a minimum number of these staff (4) to maintain services.

6

Co Dublin VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

15/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

7

Co Offaly VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

9/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. Extended to 28 Feb 2010. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

8

City of Waterford VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

15/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. Extended to 28 Feb 2010. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

7

Co Westmeath VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

15/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

8

Co Donegal VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

15/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

Department of Education and Science — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

9

City of Limerick VEC

Replace CEO

Chief Executive Officer, VEC

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

15/10/09

Temporary 3 month acting appointment pending reorganisation of VECs. 17 February 2010 — further extended to 30 April 2010.

10

Institute of Technology Tralee

To employ two Technicians to ensure the continued provision of certain courses

Laboratory Technicians

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

23/9/09

To ensure the continued provision of certain courses

11

New Body amalgamating HETAC, FETAC & NQAI

CEO of NQAI/Interim CEO of new qualifications and QA Body

Chief Executive Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

22/12/09

CEO of NQAI and Interim appointment of CEO for the new body to be established amalgamating HETAC, FETAC and the NQAI

14

DLIADT

To replace 4 Technicians

Technician

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

13/10/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

15

IoT Carlow

To replace 4 Technicians

Technician

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

16

Galway-Mayo IoT

To replace 2.5 Technicians

Technician

2.5

1. Yes, application was approved

2.5

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

17

IoT Tallaght

To replace 2 Technicians

Technician

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

18

IoT Tralee

To replace 2 Technicians

Technician

2

1. Yes, application was approved

2

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

19

IT Blanchardstown

To replace 5 staff on maternity leave

4 Lecturers and 1 Asst Lecturers

5

1. Yes, application was approved

5

16/10/09

Fixed purpose contracts to cover 5 staff on mat leave

Department of Education and Science — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

20

IoT Sligo

Project Manager Higher Certificate in Custodial Care

Project Manager

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

26/10/09

Fixed term contract to coincide with contract with Prison Service

21

Dublin Institute of Technology

To replace 6 Technicians

Technician

6

1. Yes, application was approved

6

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

22

Athlone IoT

To replace 1 Technician

Technician

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

17/11/09

Health and Safety. Courses would have to be suspended

23

Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse

to retain 6 staff on rolling 3 month contracts to continue work of commission

2 x f/t EO, 1 x p/t EO, 1 x p/t IT Manager, 2 x p/t SO

4

1. Yes, application was approved

4

6/1/2010

To continue essential work of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse. Please note that the 6 posts equate to less than 4 WTE

24

FETAC

Appt of 3 staff on 3 year fixed term contracts to carry out EQARF project. Fully EU funded.

Director, Policy Officer, Project Administrator

3

1. Yes, application was approved

3

12/2/10

Fully funded by EU. FETAC won tender to carry out EQARF project.

25

Vocational Support Services Unit (VSSU)

To replace the deceased Director of the Vocational Support Services Unit

Professional Accountant Grade I

1

4. Application was refused

26

Comhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaiochta (COGG)

Appt of 4 staff on initial one year renewable contracts to carry out the functions of COGG. 3 x Development Officer posts and one CO post. Upgrade one existing EO post to HEO level.

3 x Engineer Grade II, 1 x CO, 1 EO to HEO upgrade

4

4. Application was refused

To perform the functions of COGG. The provision of supports for the teaching of Irish at 1st and 2nd level.

Department of Education and Science — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

27

FETAC

Ext of contracts for 1 year of 3 FETAC Monitors for monitoring and assessment of education providers

3 Monitors

3

4. Application was refused

0

28/4/10

28

HEA

Ext of contracts of 3 EOs for various tasks

3 EOs

3

1. Yes, application was approved

3

28/4/10

Part approval granted — 3 posts for 7 months. 1 year extension sought.

29

DIAS

To appoint one experienced researcher, on a 13-month fellowship contract to assist on an externally-funded research project (Marie Curie Early Stage Research Training Project)

Researcher

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

19/5/2010

To assist in the completion of an externally-funded research project. 1 x 13 month fixed-term contract

30

DIAS

To employ one junior post-doctoral researcher on a fixed-term contract for a six month period.

Junior post-doctoral researcher

1

3. No decision to date

31

NEWB

Replacement of CEO

CEO

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

20 May 2010

To continue the work of the CEO. 1 x 5 year fixed-term contract

32

Mayo VEC

Replacement of Education Officer

Education Officer

1

1. Yes, application was approved

1

11 May 2010

To replace vacancy at EO level. 1 for 6 months

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts sought

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

Garda

Appointment of 3 Chief Superintendents & 10 Superintendents & 1 Assistant Garda Commissioner

1 Assistant Garda Commissioner, 3 Chief Superintendents, 10 Superintendents

14

Yes, application was approved.

14

22/05/2009

To replace key staff who are retiring

2

Garda

Appointment of 1 Assistant Garda Commissioner

1 Assistant Garda Commissioner

1

Yes, application was approved.

1

28/09/2009

To replace key staff who are retiring

3

Garda

Appointment of 1 Assistant Garda Commissioner , 9 Chief Superintendent, 14 Superintendents, 28 Inspectors, 120 Sergeants (172 posts in total)

1 Assistant Garda Commissioner, 9 Chief Superintendents, 14 Superintendents, 28 Inspectors, 120 Sergeants

172

No formal sanction given as an Employment Control Framework is in the process of being agreed with the Department of Justice for the Justice Sector. It will then be a matter for the Garda to manage staff numbers within the agreed Framework and associated pay allocation.

4

Garda

Reappointment of Garda to Garda Technical Bureau

1 Garda

1

Yes, application was approved.

1

09/03/2010

Reappointment of a Guard who had left force who had previously been given technical training and worked in the Bureau. 3 staff due to retire from the Bureau this year and this guard’s training and experience would make him suitable to fill one of these posts.

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts sought

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

5

Garda

Reappointment of Garda to the Garda Force

1 Garda

1

Yes, application was approved.

1

16/04/2010

Sanction was given on foot of legal advice from the Office of the Attorney General which advised that this Garda had a legitimate expectation that she would be re-appointed on the basis of an agreement between the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner in 1980 regarding the extension of the categories to be considered for re-appointment which included members who resign from the Force to take up a post with UN.

6

Garda

Reappointment of 2 Garda to the Garda Force

2 Garda

2

Application under consideration

Justice are seeking approval to the reappointment of 2 garda, 1 of whom who left the Force to take up UN posts and another who left to set up a Driving school.

7

Irish Youth Justice Service

Extension of contracts for 27 staff employed in the Finglas and Oberstown Children Detention Schools.

10 Residential Childcare Workers, 4 Night Supervisors, 6 General Operatives, 1 Chef, 1 Assistant chef, 1 Assistance Maintenance Officer, 2 Clerical Officer, 1 Night Unit manager, 1 Assistant Deputy Director

27

Yes, application was approved.

27

26/06/2009

To facilitate the ordered restructing of staffing in the youth detention centres prior to the closure of one detention centre.

8

Irish Youth Justice Service

Extension of contract for 1 worker at Trinity House

1 General Operative

1

Yes, application was approved.

1

02/09/2009

To maintain catering services at weekends.

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts sought

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

9

Irish Youth Justice Service

Extension of contract for 5 workers at Trinity House

2 Residential Childcare Workers, 2 Night Supervisors, 1 Clerical Officer

5

Yes, application was approved.

5

18/09/2009

To facilitate the ordered restructuring of staffing in the youth detention centres prior to the closure of one detention centre.

10

Irish Youth Justice Service

Extension of contracts for 68 staff employed in the Children Detention Schools to 31 March 2010.

31 Residential Childcare Workers, 12 Night Supervisors, 13 General Operatives, 1 Chef, 1 Assistance Maintenance Officer, 6 Clerical Staff, 3 Night Unit Managers, 1 Assistant Night Unit Manager

68

Yes, application was approved.

68

25/09/2009

To facilitate the ordered restructuring of staffing in the youth detention centres prior to the closure of one detention centre.

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

1

An Bord Pleanála

Delay in filling staff complement due to industrial relations issue

SEO

1

Sanction was refused

0

09.06.09

Request for sanction does not fall within the “very limited circumstances” where Ministerial exceptions can be sought.

2

Private Residential Tenancies Board

PRTB wish to engage 30 COs rather than 22 agency staff for same cost

CO

30

Sanction was refused

0

21.05.09

Request for sanction does not fall within the “very limited circumstances” where Ministerial exceptions can be sought.

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

3

Environmental Protection Agency

Reappointment as term has expired

Director

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1

11.09.09

Post is vital for operation of services

4

Wicklow County Council*

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

Director of Services

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a temporary/acting basis

1

18.12.09

Post is vital for operation of services

5

Irish Regions Office

Contract expired

EU Programmes & Communication Officer

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1

27.01.10

Post is vital for operation of services

6

BMW Regional Assembly

Contract expired

Auditor

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1

24.03.10

Post is vital for operation of services

7

Environmental Protection Agency

New Post to Manage Dumping at Sea Permits

Technical Manager

1

Sanction was refused

0

08.03.10

Request for sanction does not fall within the “very limited circumstances” where Ministerial exceptions can be sought.

8

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Incentivised Scheme of Early Retirement in the Public Service

Secretary

1

No decision to date

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

9

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Contract is due to expire

Director of Finance

1

No decision to date

10

Housing Finance Agency

To fill one full time and one part time EO posts to supply administrative support and loan book management

EO

1.5

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1.5

08.03.10

Post is vital for operation of services

11

Housing Finance Agency

To fill a jobshare CO post due to a member of staff switching to job share

CO

0.5

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

0.5

08.03.10

Post is vital for operation of services

12

Housing Finance Agency

To fill 1 full time & 1 part time CO posts arising as consequential vacancies from the filling of the EO posts above

CO

1.5

Sanction was refused

0

08.03.10

Request for sanction does not fall within the “very limited circumstances” where Ministerial exceptions can be sought.

13

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

To fill the post of Director of Advisory Services following the departure of Dr. Colgan to the IAEA

PSO

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1

08.03.10

Post is vital for operation of services

14

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

Fill the consequential vacancy arising from filling the post of Director of Advisory Services

SSO

1

Sanction was refused

0

08.03.10

Request for sanction does not fall within the “very limited circumstances” where Ministerial exceptions can be sought.

Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government — continued

No.

Requesting Body

Purpose of Sanction

Grade

No. of posts

Decision

No. of posts granted

Date Sanctioned

Comment

15

Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland

Fill the consequential vacancy arising from filling the post of Director of Advisory Services

SO

1

Sanction was refused

0

08.03.10

16

Local Government Management Agency

Director of OLAM

Director

1

No decision to date

17

Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly

To fill a first level controller post to implement the systems of controls for the Ireland Wales Programme

Grade 1V

4

Yes, sanction was given — on a permanent basis

1

19.04.10

Post is vital for operation of services

18

An Bord Pleanála

Contract Expired. Application to extend contract for 1 year

Planning Inspector

1

Yes, sanction was given — on a temporary/acting basis

1

23.04.10

Post is vital for operation of services

19

Dublin Docklands Development Authority

Sanction sought to acting up allowance for the Acting CEO

Acting CEO

1

No decision to date

0

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Courts Service

5 Legal Researchers

Legal Researchers

5

Approved

01-Jun-09

5

Approved but next 6 Tipstaff to be suppressed

1 CO in Limerick from PAS CO panel

CO

1

Approved

18-Nov-09

1

1 CO from PAS

1 CO in Waterford from PAS CO panel

CO

1

Approved

18-Nov-09

1

1 CO from PAS

Dep Gen Solicitor (AP) acting to Gen Solicitor (PO) to be made substantive

Gen Solicitor

1

Approved

06-Nov-09

1

Sanctioned as substantive Gen Solicitor on basis of suppressing Dep Gen Solicitor post

Tip staffs (criers and ushers) for judiciary

Tip Staff (criers and ushers)

5

Approved

11-Mar-10

5

Operational needs.

Permanent Court messenger Galway

Court Messenger

1

Approved

21-Jan-10

1

Statutory requirements

10 Judicial Fellowships to the High Court

Fellowships

10

Under Consideration

Fellows considered to provide key support to the Judiciary

4 Assistant Principal Officer posts in Dublin

Assistant Principal

4

Under Consideration

3 to replace 4 normal retirements and 1 lateral transfer

3 Executive Officers in Dublin

Executive Officer

3

Under Consideration

2 to replace retirements and 1 to replace transfer

1 Clerical Officer Wexford/Waterford

Clerical Officer

1

Under Consideration

To replace staff member transferring to a Garda Station

Service Officer with Allowance for Dublin

Service Officer

1

Under Consideration

Vacancy created on retirement of incumbent

PRA

35 Technical Promotions

Examiner of Maps

35

Part Approved

During 2009

20

20 Mapping Draughtspersons promoted to next level. Old grade defunct while their new grade has big workload. Part Granted (no allowance for 15 staff)

Deputy Registrar, Head of Operations (departmental grade, Director equivalent)

Deputy Registrar

1

Approved

09-Mar-10

1

Business Critical Post

Mapping Advisor, (departmental grade, PO standard equivalent)

Mapping Advisor

1

Approved

09-Mar-10

1

Business Critical Post

Personnel Officer, (PO standard)

PO

1

Approved

09-Mar-10

1

Business Critical Post

2 AP higher and 2 AP std

AP

4

Part Approved

09-Mar-10

1

Promotions

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

JELR

CEO Legal Aid Board

CEO

1

Approved

28-Aug-09

1

Statutory Post, extension for a 5 year fixed term contract

CEO Equality Authority

CEO

1

Approved

23-Apr-09

1

Statutory Post, extension for a 5 year fixed term contract

Employment Assistance Officer (EAO)

Employment Assistance Officer

1

Approved

06-May-09

1

Existing Civil Servant, cost neutral

Garda Inspectorate — 2 members

Garda Inspectorate

2

Approved

07-Aug-09

2

2 new members of Inspectorate sanctioned for a 2 year period

Deputy Chief State Pathologist

Deputy Chief State Pathologist

1

Approved

07-Jul-09

1

Exception made to make temp contract established (see file )

Head of IT

Head of IT

1

Approved

17-Feb-10

1

Acting up allowance for 1 year

2 Legal Researchers -INIS/ORAC

Legal Researcher

2

Approved

02-Feb-10

2

Renewal of Contracts for 1 year

Director General (Dep Sec)

DG

1

Under Consideration

1

Approved at lower level.

International Policy (Asst Sec)

Asst Sec

1

Under Consideration

0

JELR ISER 10 PO posts

PO

8

Part Approved

4

JELR shared services (Payroll Project Team 1 AP, 2 HEOs and 1 EO)

EO to AP

5

Under Consideration

JELR shared services (1 AP, 2 EOs and 2 COs)

CO to AP

5

Under Consideration

12 Junior Solicitors

Solicitors

12

Approved

15-Apr-10

Irish Prison Service

Renewal of Contract for the Director General

Director General

1

Approved

June 09

1

Renewal of 5 year contract

Chief Officer competition

Chief Officer

1

Approved

31-Jul-09

1

Prison operational reasons.

40 Recruit Prison Officers

Prison Officer

40

Approved

31-Jul-09

40

Prison operational reasons.

3 Governor 1’s

Governor

3

Approved

31-Jul-09

3

Prison operational reasons.

2 Governor 2 posts

Governor

2

Approved

20/10/09

2

Prison operational reasons.

1 Governor 2 Post

Governor

1

Approved

20/10/09

1

Prison operational reasons.

Recruit grade prison officers

Prison Officers

40

Part Approved

23-Oct-09

40

Prison operational reasons.

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Mandatory Drug Testing (Allowances)

2

Approved

13-Oct-09

2

Prison operational reasons.

Governor posts

Governor

15

Approved

Recruit grade prison officers

Prison Officer

40

Approved

22-Jan-10

40

38 recruit prison officers and 2 psychologists

Assistant Chief Officer

Asst Chief Officer

15

Approved

11-Feb-10

1

Governor III

Governor

1

Under Consideration

Required for Transformation Implementation Team

Assistant Governor

Asst Gov

1

Under Consideration

Required for Transformation Implementation Team

Assistant Principal

Assistant Principal

1

Under Consideration

Required for Transformation Implementation Team

2 Clerical Officers

Clerical Officer

2

Under Consideration

Required for Transformation Implementation Team

Garda Civilian

Acting up allowances

Under Consideration

GPO head of HR strategy

PO

1

Under Consideration

Head of Garda Infor Services centre

PO

1

Under Consideration

Head of Training unit Templemore

AP

1

Approved

12-Mar-10

1

1 year contract extension

IT staff 9

Various

9

Under Consideration

D/E&S

Programme for Govt 22 Psychologist & 3 SENO staff

Psychologists/SENO

25

Approved

25-May-09

25

Extending a service and reducing spend on panel scheme

Chief Inspector vacancy from retirement

Chief Inspector

1

Approved

Nov 09

1

Business Critical Post

A/Secretary post

Asst Secretary

2

Part Approved

08-Oct-09

1

Business Critical Post

CEO of State Examinations Commission

Asst Secretary

1

Approved

08-Oct-09

1

Business Critical Post

School Inspectorate

10 Retired School Inspectors

10

Approved

03-Feb-10

10

NCCA

8 Education Officers

Under Consideration

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

D/Social Protection

New Management Board Structure

A/Sec and Director

4

Agree in principle to fill two of three A/Sec arising in ’09 and to replace over ’09 and ’10 four departing Directors by two /Secs.

Decision by Minister 8/10/09 to proceed. Sanction issued 19 April ’10 to appoint 2 A/Secs to replace 4 departing Directors.

4

Agreed to restructure responsibilities at Mgt Board level from 5 A/Sec and 5 Directors to 6 A/Sec and 1 Director. This involved replacing 4 departing Directors by 2 A/Secs

To fill vacancy resulting from retirement in Child Family & Supplementary Policy & Services

Asst Secretary

1

Approved

Oct-09

1

Business Critical Post

Regional & Pensions Service Delivery

Asst Secretary

1

Approved

Oct-09

1

Business Critical Post

General Register Office

Asst Secretary

1

Refused

0

GPs required to operate med assessment scheme

Medical Assessors

4

Approved

09-Nov-09

4

Control function in monitoring validity of illness cases

Dep Head for med assessment scheme

Deputy Chief Medical Advisor

1

Approved

13-Jul-09

1

To provide management level to ensure appropriate monitoring of illness cases

Director — This is a statutory post (PO plus €12,000)

Chief Appeals Officer

1

Approved

23-Oct-09

1

Statutory Requirement to have Director in place

Head of Office — renewal of contract

Pension Ombudsman

1

Approved

01-Apr-09

1

Statutory requirement to have Ombudsman in place

3 posts sanctioned for Buncrana Office Donegal

Service Officer

3

Approved

24-Aug-09

3

Not possible to recruit Service Officer staff locally or via CAF

8 Buncrana Office Donegal

Staff Officer

8

Approved

06-Oct-09

8

Supervisory posts

Promotions (Dundalk)

CO to SO

20

Approved

01-Jul-09

20

Reduce Live Register “waiting time” for new claimants

Promotions Dundalk Initiative

CO to SO

25

Approved

23-Dec-09

25

Reduce Live Register “waiting time” for new claimants

Sanction to run competition for PO post in Sligo

Principal Officer

Approved

18-Jan-10

1

No assignment to date

Package of up to 100 posts being requested — 50 promotions in 2010 and 50 in 2011.

SO, EO and HEO, AP,

100

Part Approved

25-Mar-10

20

To deal with increases in the Live Register

Social Welfare Appeals Officers (Retired)

AP

12

Approved

20-May-10

12

Backlog of Appeals office Claims requiring decisions

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Special Adviser to Minister

Special Adviser

1

Approved

06-May-10

1

Ministerial appointments to D/SP

Special Media Adviser to Minister

Media Adviser

1

Approved

06-May-10

1

Ministerial appointments to D/SP

Personal Assistant to Minister

Personal Assistant

1

Approved

06-May-10

1

Ministerial appointments to D/SP

Personal Secretary to Minister

Personal Secretary

1

Approved

06-May-10

1

Ministerial appointments to D/SP

D/AFF

Filling of 2 A/Sec posts

Assistant Secretary

2

Part Approved

19-Mar-10

1

Filling of vacancy in Direct Payment Schemes

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

10-Jul-09

1

Business Critical Post

Senior Management, technical and scientific (45) to address skills deficits and ensure EU directives compliance

Various

45

Part Approved

19-Mar-10

21

Statutory posts

Audit & Senior management

2

Approved

19-Mar-10

2

Acting up allowance

HEO

1

Approved

2/10/09

1

Acting up allowance

AP

1

Part Approved

07-Apr-10

1

Veterinary Inspector carrying out senior insp duties.

D/EH&LG

To replace retiring and promoted Assistant Secretary

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

19/6/09

1

Business Critical Post

Request for 35 posts, 14 via promotion and 21 via recruitment

various Tech and administrative grades

35

Under consideration

Business Critical Posts

Met Éireann — Director

Director

1

Approved

18-Sep-09

1

Business Critical Post

To replace Principal on loan

PO

1

Approved

29/1/10

1

Acting position

National Parks & Wildlife — 8 posts

1xInsp G I, 1x Insp G 2, 4 x Insp G 3, 2 x Conservation Rangers

8

Approved

27-Mar-10

8

Met Éireann — 6 Posts

1xAst Dir, 1x Meteor, 4x Met officers

6

Approved

27-Mar-10

6

1 x Water Quality Inspector

Water Quality Inspector

1

Approved

27-Mar-10

1

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

1 x Principal Adviser (Environment Inspectorate)

Principal Adviser

1

Approved

27-Mar-10

1

1 x Inspector Grade III

Inspector Grade III

1

Approved

27-Mar-10

1

General Service Posts

1 x PO, 2 AP, 1 AO, 1 EO

5

Approved

27-Mar-10

5

Miscellaneous posts in D/EH&LG

Multiple grades

13

Refused

27-Mar-10

0

To replace retired assistant secretary — Heritage Division

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

21-Apr-10

1

Business Critical Post — already deferred for 1 year

Enterprise, Trade and Innovation

ET&I (Labour Relations Commission)

Reappointment of 2 Rights Commissioners

PO equivalent

2

Approved

28/04/2009

2

Non-discretionary volume of LRC cases and need to maintain state IR machinery.

Personal Assistant, Personal Secretary and 2 Civilian Drivers for Minister of State Kelleher

HEO, EO, Civilian Driver

4

Approved

06/05/2009

4

Political staff to assist Min of State.

Personal Assistant, Personal Secretary and 2 Civilian Drivers for Minister of State Lenihan

HEO, EO, Civilian Driver

4

Approved

12/05/2009

4

Political staff to assist Min of State.

ET&I (Labour Relations Commission)

Deputy Director of Conciliation Services

PO

1

Approved

29/5/2009

1

Business Critical Post in LRC necessary to maintain state IR machinery.

Personal Assistant, Personal Secretary and 2 Civilian Drivers for Minister of State Calleary

HEO, EO, Civilian Driver

4

Approved

09/06/2009

4

Ministerial Staff

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

ET&I (Labour Court)

Reappointment of 2 Members of Labour Court

N/A

2

Approved

02/06/2009

2

Statutory posts needed for operation of divisions of Labour Court

ET&I (Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement)

Part-time services of retired High Court Judge

High Court Judge

1

Approved

03/06/2009

1

To adjudicate on legal documents in Anglo Irish Bank investigation

ET&I (Labour Relations Commission)

Reappointment of 2 Rights Commissioners

PO equivalent

2

Approved

13/08/2009

2

Non-discretionary volume of LRC cases and need to maintain state IR machinery.

ET&I (National Employment Rights Authority)

Solicitor

Solicitor

1

Application was refused

10/09/2009

0

ET&I (Patents Office)

Request for higher duties allowances for 2 EOs

HEO

2

Approved

10/09/2009

2

Temporary replacements in Trademarks Division

ET&I

Renew contracts of 2 legal researchers

EO

2

Approved

16/09/2009

2

To provide research for drawing up Companies Consolidation bill. 2 EO posts to be suppressed for duration of temporary contract.

ET&I (Labour Court)

Deputy Chairman of Labour Court

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

31/01/2010

1

Statutory post. Filled by agreement by ICTU nominee.

ET&I

Additional 10 IT posts

HEO and EO

10

Under Consideration

ET&I

Appointment of Legal Advisor on secondment from Office of AG

Legal Advisor

1

Under Consideration

ET&I (Labour Court)

Filling of Ordinary member of Labour Court post

Principal Officer Higher

1

Approved

15/04/2010

1

Statutory post. Filled by retention of member until new nomination is received.

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Enterprise, Trade & Innovation

Minister O’Keeffe’s Special Advisors

Principal Officer

2

Approved

18/05/2010

2

Political Appointment

Minister O’Keeffe’s Personal Assistant

Higher Executive Officer

1

Approved

18/05/2010

1

Political Appointment

Minister O’Keeffe’s Personal Secretary

Executive Officer

1

Approved

18/05/2010

1

Political Appointment

CRAGA

To start up and oversee new Irish SI translation unit.

Director

1

Approved

08/04/2009

1

Response to High Court ruling.

To manage the translation of Statutory Instruments into Irish

Aistritheoir Grád II

1

Approved

08/04/2009

1

Response to High Court ruling.

To manage the translation of Statutory Instruments into Irish

Aistritheoir Grád III

1

Approved

08/04/2009

1

Response to High Court ruling.

Ministerial Staff

Personal Assistant (HEO)

1

Approved

06/05/2009

1

Political Appointment

Ministerial Staff

Personal Secretary

1

Approved

06/05/2009

1

Political Appointment

Ministerial Staff

Civilian Driver

1

Approved

30/04/2009

2

Political Appointment

To translate documents into Irish for EU.

Detached National Expert

1

Approved

05/11/2009

3

Temporary fixed term contracts renewed for 1 year.

To replace 2 Assistant Secretaries, one of whom had retired and the other promoted.

Assistant Secretary

2

Approved

23/04/2010 & 14/05/2010

2

Department was operating with only 1 Assistant Sec. Business critical post

Charitable, Donations and Bequests Office

To renew contract of Secretary to Commissioners.

Solicitor (AP)

1

Under Consideration

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

National Advisory Committee on Drugs

To recruit researcher into drugs.

Researcher (AP)

1

Approved

11-Mar-10

1

Sanction granted to Health Research Board to recruit and second the Researcher to the NACD. Post considered a ‘Business Critical Post’.

Minister Carey’s Special Advisor

Principal Officer

1

Approved

19-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Carey’s Media Advisor

Principal Officer

1

Approved

19-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Carey’s Personal Assistant

Higher Executive Officer

1

Approved

19-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Carey’s Personal Secretary

Executive Officer

1

Approved

19-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister of State White’s Personal Assistant

Higher Executive Officer

1

Approved

19-May-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister of State White’s Personal Secretary

Executive Officer

1

Approved

19-May-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister of State White’s Civilian Drivers

Civilian Driver

2

Approved

19-May-10

2

Political Appointment

Ministerial Staff (Minister of State White)

Special Advisor

1

Under consideration

Finance

Banking specialist (temporary fixed term contract for 3 years)

Banking Specialist (Assistant Secretary level)

1

Approved

21/8/09

1

Urgent need for expertise in banking area.

Package of IT posts.

1 ICT AP, 2 ICT E0s, 1 promotion EO to HEO (ICT)

4

Approved

23/12/09

4

Is in line with the ICT staffing recommendations made by the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes

Assistant Secretary in CMOD

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

Jan 2010

1

Business Critical Post

8 POs

Principal

8

Approved

12-Apr-10

8

Business Critical posts in situation where staffing levels were already below approved revised limits

Director, Language Training Unit; higher duties allowance

Assistant Principal

1

Approved

Oct-09

1

Business Critical post

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Revenue

Promotion of 2 COs to EO

EO

2

Approved

24/6/09

2

Skilled staff. Newly commissioned Cutter to be launched and used in fight against illegal importation of drugs

Package of 200 posts.

17 PO, 44 AP, 64 HEO/AO, 75 CO/EO (Total 200)

200

Approved

22/12/09

200

To fill key management, audit and policy posts to ensure effective tax collection through a mix of redeployment, internal promotion and open competition.

To have internal competition for 2 CO positions in Print Room.

Clerical Officer

2

Under Consideration

To have internal competition for 2 CO positions in Print Room.

Clerical Officer

2

Approved

17/02/2010

2

Open to Service Officers — regrading of 2 Service Officer posts to CO and filled by redeployment — with no overall increase in numbers.

Completion of final 2 phases of 2003 Uplift Agreement i.e. uplift of 20 Tax Officers to EO; 28 Higher Tax Officers to HEO & 5 CO Programmers to EO JSA

Uplift of 20 Tax Officers to EO; 28 Higher Tax Officers to HEO & 5 CO Programmers to EO JSA

53

Approved

30/03/2010

Revenue Integration to General Service grades. This was a legacy of the Revenue Agreement on Integration agreed with the Unions following the integration of Customs staff with Tax staff. End result is more effective casework management following targeted training.

Revenue Solicitor and Asst Secretary post in Investigations and Prosecutions Division

Revenue Solicitor and Asst Secretary

2

Approved

22/04/2010

2

Particular responsibilities to each post.

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Valuation Office

Promotions

Chief Superintendents of Mapping

2

Approved

2

Element of restructuring plan for VO.

Higher Superintendents of Mapping

Higher Superintendents of Mapping

2

Approved

2

Element of restructuring plan for VO.

Appeal Officer

Appeal Officer

1

Approved

1

Internal competition — no backfilling of resulting vacancies — overall numbers not affected.

A minimum of 1 Asst Registrar (HEO) and 3 COs for Valuation Tribunal to deal with ongoing Tribunal Appeals arising from National Revaluation

1 Asst Registrar (HEO) and 3 COs

4

Approved

15/04/2010

4

To ensure that the statutory deadlines for processing of appeals following the Revaluation process be met. Sanctioned on basis that an EO post be suppressed for 1 year, while an EO filled the HEO position on an acting up basis. 1 CO post to be filled on redeployment and the other 2 on temp contract for 11 mths each.

C&AG

Vacancies at various Grades

4 PO, 4.7 AP, 14.5 HEO/EO, 1.7 CO (Total 24.9)

24.9

Approved

15-Mar-10

25

Extra responsibilities e.g. NAMA, new Accounting Standards, extra work on Revenue account

1 Director of Audit

Assistant Sec level

1

Approved

30-Apr-10

1

Scale of operations and complex issues involved.

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

OPW

Upgrade

Architect

1

Refused

29/5/09

0

To fill vacancies

Service Officers

3

Approved

22/6/09

3

No viable alternatives to filling vacancy

Commissioner (Property Management Services)

Commissioner (Assistant Secretary)

1

Approved

26-Aug-09

1

To enable OPW to effectively deliver on the current demands for its services made by Government, other Departments and their agencies and the public.

Recruit 16 graduates at a reduced salary to replace those finishing the Graduate Architect Training Scheme.

Architect training programme

16

Approved

14/08/09

16

Participation in scheme for 5 years, — reduced salaries and fees

To fill vacancy in new section

Quantity Surveyor

1

Approved

08/12/09

1

NPPOU section in Trim

To fill possible vacancy in Director of the Botanic Gardens pending decision on 3 yr career break for incumbent to assume major positions in US

Acting up Director of Botanic Gardens

1

Approved

01/04/2010

1

Provided that the previous post of the new Acting Director remain unfilled for the duration of the Director’s absence on career break

Attorney General

Advisory Counsel Grade 111

Advisory Counsel Grade 111

1

Approved

1

Important legal post

Head of Administration

Head of Administration

1

Approved

01-Jan-00

1

Principal post in charge of the office

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel Grade 11

Assistant Parliamentary Counsel Grade 11

3

Approved

3

Important legal posts

Advisory Counsel Grade 1 (Vacancy)

Assistant Secretary Level

1

Approved (acting-up basis for 3 yrs)

21-Sep-09

1

Business Critical Post

Advisory Counsel Grade 11

Advisory Counsel Grade 11

1

Approved

1

Important legal post because of the workload in the office

Dep Director

Deputy Secretary level

1

Approved

23-Feb-10

1

Business Critical Post (Internal TLAC type competition. Consequentials, if any, also sanctioned within ECF.)

Advisory Counsel Grade 111

Advisory Counsel Grade 111

1

Approved

1

Important legal post because of the workload in the office

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Chief State Solicitor

Solicitor

Solicitor

1

Approved

1

Official appointed on completion of apprenticeship

National Library

Keeper of Manuscripts

Keeper of Manuscripts

1

Approved

1

Specialised post

Assistant Keeper 11/Systems Librarian

Assistant Keeper 11/Systems Librarian

1

Approved

1

Specialised post — vacant for some time

Chester Beatty Library

Director

PO (Higher Level)

1

Approved

22-Jan-10

1

Head of the Library — to be filled by open competition

Central Statistics Office

Assistant Director General

Assistant Director General

1

Approved

22-Oct-09

1

Business Critical Post -approved on the basis any resultant internal vacancy is suppressed

Assistant Director General for Macroeconomic and Environment Divisions

Assistant Director General

1

Approved

Agreed by Minister 14 April 2010

1

Business Critical Post

Senior Statistician

Senior Statistician

1

Under Consideration

Defence

Night watchman

Night Watchman

1

Approved

1

To provide security at the Galway premises

Director of Military Prosecutions

Director of Military Prosecutions

1

Approved

1

Statutory post

Assistant Principal/Senior Systems Analyst

Assistant Principal/Senior Systems Analyst

1

Approved

1

Sanctioned in Galway as a result of the suppression of a PO and the transfer of his duties to Dublin

Head Services Officer

Head Services Officer

1

Approved

1

Needed for the decentralisation of premises to Newbridge

Services Officer

Services Officer

1

Approved

1

Director

Director

1

Approved

1

Principal Officer

Principal Officer

1

Approved

1

Special Adviser

Special Adviser

1

Approved

09/04/2010

1

Ministerial staff

Special Adviser

Special Adviser

1

Approved

16/04/2010

1

Ministerial staff

Personal Assistant

Personal Assistant

1

Approved

09/04/2010

1

Ministerial staff

Personal Secretary

Personal Secretary

1

Approved

09/04/2010

1

Ministerial staff

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

DPP

To fill retirement vacancy

Head of Directing Division (between Asst Sec and Dep Sec)

1

Approved

05-Jun-09

1

Business Critical Post

Chief Prosecution Solicitor

Chief Prosecution Solicitor (between Asst Sec and Dep Sec)

1

Approved

02-Nov-09

1

Business Critical Post

Foreign Affairs

5 Third Secretaries

Third Secretaries

5

Approved

5

From the 2008 competition to provide for succession planning

Assistant Secretary

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

19-Feb-10

1

Business Critical Post

Counsellor and First Secretary

Counsellor and First Secretary

2

Approved

2

Business Critical Post

Taoiseach

Assistant Principal

Assistant Principal

1

Approved

1

Head of the IT Unit to be filled from redeployment

Administrative Officers

Administrative Officers

3

Approved

3

For succession planning

Special Adviser to Minister of State Curran, Chief Whip

Special Adviser

1

Approved

30-Apr-10

1

Transfer of staff to Minister from previous Dept

Staff for Minister of State/Chief Personal Staff

PA & 2 x Worksharing Sec Assistants

2

Approved

06/05/2010

2

Transfer of staff to Minister from previous Dept

Transport

Coastal Sector Unit Managers

Coastal Sector Unit Managers

3

Approved

3

Needed for health and safety reasons

Operations and Training Officer in the coastal service

Operations and Training Officer in the coastal service

1

Approved

1

Needed for health and safety reasons

Assistant Secretary Vacancy from retirement (Public Transport)

Assistant Secretary

1

Approved

22-Oct-09

1

Key management level post

A/Sec vacancy

Assistant Secretary

1

Refused

Principal Officer

Principal Officer

2

Approved

2

To be filled from internal competition.

Principal Officer

Principal Officer

1

Under Consideration

Personal Staff for Minister Dempsey

1 x PA & 1 x Personal Sec

2

Approved

21-Apr-10

2

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Health

DG of OMCYA

Deputy Secretary

1

Approved

23-Dec-09

1

Head of Office of Min for Children etc

Tourism, Culture & Sport

Filling of two posts in Minister’s Constituency Office by transfers from other Departments

Executive Officer

2

Approved

20-May-10

2

Posts vital to the functioning of the Constituency Office

Minister Hanafin’s Special Advisor

Principal Officer

1

Approved

27-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Hanafin’s Press Advisor

Higher Executive Officer

1

Approved

27-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Hanafin’s Personal Assistant

Higher Executive Officer

1

Approved

27-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

Minister Hanafin’s Personal Secretary

Executive Officer

1

Approved

27-Apr-10

1

Political Appointment

National Archives

Filling of vacancies to avoid the closure of the reading room

CO, EO and Service Officers

6

Under consideration

Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

Filling of Assistant Secretary post arising from retirement — Communications and Broadcast brief

Assistant Secretary

1

Pending

1,109

Total

769

Temporary staff approved for Live Register, etc

D/SFA

LEVY of Staff (i.e. temporary transfers) to Dept Social & Family Affairs

Total posts approved (LEVY):

550

Temporary Posts for CENSUS of Population 2011 [CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE]

Civil Service

Exception Sought

Grade

No. of Exceptions Sought Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Decision

Sanction Date

Exceptions Granted Promotion/ Recruitment Redeployment

Basis of Sanction

Central Statistics Office

Staff for the Household Budget Survey i.e. interviewers etc

Staff for the Household Budget Survey i.e. interviewers etc

Approved

85

These staff required for the Household Budget, Business Register and Annual Services Inquiry — 85 Temporary Contracts during 2009 & 2010

ICT Executive Officer

ICT Executive Officer

Approved

2

Required for preparatory work on the Census of Population 2011

Executive Officer

Executive Officer

Approved

4

Required for 18 months to work on the Census. Will be re-assigned to another department on completion of that work

Clerical Officer

Clerical Officer

Approved

24

The CSO was asked to seek staff from other departments for a period of 10 months for Census of Agriculture work. In the event, staff were not available so sanction was later granted to appoint COs on temporary contract

Statistician

Statistician

Approved

1

To work full time on an OECD ‘Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies’

Executive Officer

Executive Officer

Approved

2

Also required for this programme

Grades from Clerical Officer to Assistant Principal

Grades from Clerical Officer to Assistant Principal

Approved

158

These are internal CSO staff required from early 2010 to end 2011 to prepare for and finalise the Census 2011

Census Liaison Officers, Regional Supervisors, Field Supervisors and Clerical Officers

Census Liaison Officers, Regional Supervisors, Field Supervisors and Clerical Officers

Under Consideration

Temporary part-time enumerators

Temporary part-time enumerators

Under Consideration

Total posts approved (temps):

276

Departmental Expenditure

Jim O'Keeffe

Ceist:

140 Deputy Jim O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Finance, further to Parliamentary Questions No. 100 of 31 March and No. 69 of 28 April 2010, if he will now furnish the details required in respect of the amount of expenditure incurred between 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009 by his Department and offices, agencies and any other bodies falling within his remit, on the lease, rental or purchase of car parking spaces for use by civil and public servants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21794/10]

I have by informed by the Office of Public Works that they lease car parking spaces for a number of Departments and Offices falling under the Office of Public Works remit. In the period 1st January 2009 to 31st December 2009, based on the information available to the Office of Public Works for the assignment of space in leased buildings to the Departments/Offices involved, the total expenditure incurred by the Office of Public Works for leased car park spaces was €10,660,628, where the specific cost of leased car parking costs are defined in the lease.

The criteria for compiling the answer comprises of the following:

Leases that are specifically for the provision of car-parking facilities only — involving some 53 leases which include 3 on a repayment basis.

Leases at building level that include car-parking facilities where the annual cost of car-parking is included in the annual rent but is shown as a separate cost in the Property System with the number of spaces involved — involving some 144 leases which include 13 on a repayment basis.

Leases from above generating expenditure in 2009.

The total number of leased car spaces in 2009 was of the order of 5,766 and this is broken down in the following table:

Location

No. of Spaces

Average Cost of Space

Dublin

3,684

2,542

Regional

2,082

445

OPW did not purchase any new car parking spaces in 2009.

Financial Institutions Support Scheme

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

141 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Finance the extent of moneys paid by the banks for the deposit guarantee scheme to date; if he will confirm that this money is ring fenced; the purpose for which it is intended; if he will consider using an element of this fund for the purposes of introducing a loan guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21824/10]

The legal basis for the Deposit Guarantee Scheme in Ireland is set out in the European Communities (Deposit Guarantee Scheme) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 168 of 1995) as amended. These Regulations implement the European Union Directive on Deposit Guarantee Schemes (94/19/EC) as amended. The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Deposit Guarantee Scheme covers 100% of retail deposits with all credit institutions authorised in Ireland (including credit unions) up to a maximum of €100,000 per qualifying depositor per institution and that the Scheme is administered by the Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI).

The level of contribution required from each credit institution is 0.2% of eligible deposits held at all branches of the credit institution in the EEA, including deposits on current accounts and share accounts with a building society, but excluding interbank deposits and deposits represented by negotiable certificates of deposit. While deposits held in credit unions are already covered to the extent set out above, I intend to make regulations to provide for a contribution amount specific to credit unions, in accordance with Section 4(2)(a) of the Financial Services (Deposit Guarantee Scheme) Act 2009.

Each contribution by a credit institution is maintained in a Deposit Protection Account at the CBFSAI. The total amount currently held in Deposit Protection Accounts is approximately €603.5 million. This amount is for use only in relation to the administration of the Deposit Protection Account, including any possible pay-out in the event of an insolvency of a credit institution, as required by the legislation. In that context, I do not propose using an element of this fund for the purposes of introducing a loan guarantee scheme as suggested by the Deputy.

The Deputy may also be aware that work is underway within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on the examination of a possible scheme of loan guarantees and my officials have held a number of discussions with officials of that Department on the subject. Key concerns being addressed include the extent to which such a scheme would increase lending to SMEs (as against enhancing security for the banks) and the extent of taxpayer exposure and I understand that the work is nearing completion.

Tax Code

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

142 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Finance the reason for the Revenue Commissioners’ failure to respond to queries from Inland Revenue in the Six Counties in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and if he will ensure a response issues quickly as Inland Revenue will not pay her the tax credits to which she is entitled until it receives the information it has requested from Revenue. [21825/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that there is no record of any correspondence having been received from either HMRC or the taxpayer in relation to their tax affairs.

Criminal Prosecutions

Mary Upton

Ceist:

143 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Finance the number of prosecutions that have been initiated against unlicensed estate agents or letting agents who do not have the required licence under the Auctioneers and House Agents Act 1974; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21893/10]

I am informed by the Revenue Commissioners that the following table contains the information requested by the Deputy regarding prosecutions and convictions in respect of unlicensed trading contrary to the Auctioneers and House Agents Act 1947. The figures cover the years 2008 to date. It should be noted that there is no direct correlation between the institution of proceedings and the number of convictions in a given year, as the latter often relates to cases initiated in a previous year.

Proceedings Instituted in year

Numbers Convicted in year

Fines Imposed in year

2008

2009

2010

2008

2009

2010

2008

2009

2010

6

5

1

2

4

2

€715

€1,480

€665

Tax Code

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

144 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if his attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied) concerning the interaction of the carbon tax and VAT. [21947/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that in accordance with section 10(1) of the Value-Added Tax 1972 (as amended), the amount on which Value-Added Tax is chargeable is the total consideration receivable by the supplier, "including all taxes, commissions, costs and charges whatsoever" but not including the value-added tax itself. As the Deputy will be aware, VAT is an EU wide tax and Irish VAT law must comply with the EU VAT Directives. Article 78 of EU Council Directive 2006/112/EC provides that the taxable amount to which VAT is applied shall include "taxes, duties levies and charges, excluding the VAT itself". Accordingly, as in the case of excises on other products, it is correct to include any carbon tax element of a gas bill in the amount on which VAT is chargeable.

Tax Collection

Michael Ring

Ceist:

145 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Finance when a one-parent family tax credit will be sorted out in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11. [22001/10]

I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the person in question has been asked to provide documentation in support of the One Parent Family Credit. On receipt of the supporting documentation the claim will be dealt with.

Tribunals of Inquiry

Michael Lowry

Ceist:

146 Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Finance the reason there is a different calculation between his Department and the Department of the Taoiseach regarding the cost (details supplied) of the Moriarty tribunal; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the €2.564 million and to whom it was paid; if he will clarify the precise and accurate details on this issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22089/10]

The reply recently given by the Taoiseach was in response to questions about payments by that Department, and set out the total paid by that Department in relation to the Moriarty Tribunal, up to end-April 2010. The reply which I gave on 1 April 2010 set out the total paid by the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, up to end-February 2010. The Department of the Taoiseach total to end-February 2010 was €38.946 million, made up of €7.752 million in Tribunal administration and €31.194 million in Tribunal legal costs. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources total to end-February was €2.7 million, made up of €0.136 million in administration and €2.564 million in legal costs, discharged from 2002 to end-February 2010 in connection with that Department's involvement with the Moriarty Tribunal. The Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources will be able to provide information regarding the sum of €2.564 million.

No decision in relation to third party legal costs has been made to date by the Moriarty Tribunal and accordingly, no such costs have been paid by either Department. Expenditure by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources in relation to the Moriarty Tribunal will in future replies to Parliamentary Questions be classified and shown separately from that paid by the Department of the Taoiseach.

Tax Collection

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

147 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Finance if he will support the case of a person (details supplied). [22115/10]

I have been advised by the Revenue Commissioners that they have noted the additional material supplied by the parties, but that it does not provide grounds for further mitigation of the interest due. The stamp duty return is a standard process and must be completed in all cases to enable Revenue to stamp an instrument, whether a penalty is charged or not. Given the circumstances of the case, Revenue would like to invite the parties and/or their representatives to meet with officials in Dublin Stamping District to have the stamping process explained and to assist them with the completion of the return. A letter to this effect has been issued to the parties.

Health Services

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

148 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their refund for a eye test carried out in September 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21323/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Grant Payments

Tom Hayes

Ceist:

149 Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Health and Children when the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance will be open for applications for September 2010; if different arrangements have been made for 2010 to process this payment; if additional staff have been allocated to processing this payment for 2010, in view of the increase in applications in 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21361/10]

I understand that the HSE and officials from my Department have sought the agreement of the Department of Finance for a number of temporary posts for the administration of the Back to School Clothing and Footwear allowance this year and that this has been agreed. However, I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the further information requested regarding the administration of the scheme. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Physical Education Facilities

Joan Burton

Ceist:

150 Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Health and Children if there is a grant scheme to aid the purchase of appropriate equipment for such an external play area; the Health Service Executive support services that are in place to ensure that these facilities are in place in time for the transfer of students with these specific special needs into the school. [21552/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department does not fund the provision of play equipment for children. Furthermore, due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the additional information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Jack Wall

Ceist:

151 Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive an appointment for a medical procedure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21801/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Private Rented Accommodation

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

152 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the cause or causes for the delay in processing applications for rent or mortgage support; if her attention has been drawn to the hardship caused to persons who have been waiting for up to three months for a decision; the action she has taken or proposes to take to address these issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22095/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Frank Feighan

Ceist:

153 Deputy Frank Feighan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a bed will be made available in respect of a person (details supplied). [21319/10]

I regret that due to industrial action in the HSE I am not in a position to arrange a substantive response to this Question. Subject to the resources available to it, 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.

Community Care

Fergus O'Dowd

Ceist:

154 Deputy Fergus O’Dowd asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding respite care at the Cottage Hospital, Drogheda, County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21321/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Services

Joe Costello

Ceist:

155 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children if there are plans to close down Baggot Street Community Hospital, Dublin 2, or to reduce the services being provided at present in the hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21330/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Joe Costello

Ceist:

156 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Health and Children if there are plans to close down Sir Patrick Dunn’s Hospital, Dublin, or to reduce the services being provided at present in the hospital; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21331/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

157 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Cork, whose appointment for orthodontic treatment at St. Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork, was cancelled, will now be treated; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21333/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Accommodation

Damien English

Ceist:

158 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of bed days lost at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, County Meath due to delayed discharges for each of the years from 2007 to date in 2010 in tabular form. [21339/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Ciaran Lynch

Ceist:

159 Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will issue on an application for a medical card in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21350/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Social Welfare Benefits

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

160 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if decisions by community welfare officers to refuse payments are recorded by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21359/10]

The information referred to by the Deputy is not recorded by my Department. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Mary Upton

Ceist:

161 Deputy Mary Upton asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason funding has been cut to an organisation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21373/10]

I wish to inform the Deputy that the funding level provided to the organisation in question is a service matter. I regret that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course. However, it may interest the Deputy to know that both the Minister for Health and Children and the Health Service Executive have arranged meetings with the named organisation in the next couple of weeks, at which the question of funding and other matters will be discussed.

Vaccination Programme

Pat Breen

Ceist:

162 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will report on the immunisation programme in schools in County Clare for the past two years; the uptake for DTaP/IPV, MMR and BCG vaccines; the schools involved, in tabular form; if all schools participated in this programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21380/10]

The matters raised by the Deputy are service issues and are the responsibility of the Health Service Executive. I wish to advise the Deputy that, due to industrial action affecting the HSE, it is not possible for the Executive to supply current information in relation to the school immunisation programme. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Care of the Elderly

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

163 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive will define the standardised approach for the allocation of home help hours and specifically the meaning in terms of the client of the impact on the availability of necessary hours; in terms of the HSE home help employees, the way the standardisation will affect their terms and conditions and or contract of employment; in terms of the private providers, if there are limits on hours available to clients through provision of hours delivered by direct HSE home helps; and if these limits will be mirrored by restrictions on funding allocated to private providers who deliver care services on behalf of the HSE. [21384/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

164 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 20 has not been granted a medical card. [21386/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Care of the Elderly

Pat Breen

Ceist:

165 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21415/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Tobacco-Related Diseases

James Reilly

Ceist:

166 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Health and Children the EU countries that have already given effect to Commission Decision No. 2003/641/EC of 5 September 2003 on the use of colour photographs or other illustrations as health warnings on tobacco products; the reason for her delay in bringing forward regulations under the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2009 in order to give effect to the Commission Decision; her plans to introduce the regulations; when it is envisaged that they will take effect; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21426/10]

Section 6 of the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act, 2009 provides for regulations to facilitate the introduction of the combined text and photo warnings on tobacco products and the regulations are currently being drafted. The date for the introduction of the new warnings will be determined following consultation with the relevant stakeholders. To date, Belgium and the United Kingdom have given effect to this non binding Commission Decision.

Health Services

Catherine Byrne

Ceist:

167 Deputy Catherine Byrne asked the Minister for Health and Children the services in place for adolescents under 18 years who are suffering from drug and alcohol addiction; the number of dedicated detox beds available for under 18 year olds; the number of rehabilitation beds available to under 18 year olds around the country and their location; the after-care services available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21443/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

168 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children if a long-term residential placement will be provided in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21480/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Services

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

169 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the provision of cancer care services at a clinic (details supplied) in County Waterford; if all contract negotiations been finalised; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21486/10]

As this is a service matter, the question would in the normal course of events be referred to the Health Service Executive for direct reply. This is not possible due to industrial action. However, I can advise the Deputy that on 30 April 2010 the HSE and the clinic referred to reached an agreement to put in place an interim arrangement for the provision of radiotherapy services in the South East until the end of December next. I welcome this development which will remove any uncertainty for patients about ongoing radiotherapy treatment in this region.

Services for People with Disabilities

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

170 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps to be taken by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare, with significant disabilities, to establish if they are a victim of the Thalidomide drug; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21532/10]

Following a meeting with the Irish Thalidomide Association in 2008, Minister Harney referred five individuals, who were not included in the 1975 Compensation Scheme for thalidomide survivors, to an independent, recognised international expert, Dr. Peter Kohler of Stockholm in Sweden, for a clinical assessment of their condition. Dr. Kohler determined that one of the five individuals was a victim of thalidomide exposure. The Department is not currently considering any further claims in relation to thalidomide. However, it is open to any individual who believes themselves to be a victim of thalidomide, to forward detailed documentary evidence to the German Agency which administers compensation to those determined as victims of the drug, for consideration of their case.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Ceist:

171 Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Health and Children when surgery will be carried out on a person (details supplied) at Tallaght Hospital, Dublin 24; if arrangements will be made for the release of this patient’s file to the National Treatment Purchase Fund, in order that the necessary intervention will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21533/10]

I regret that due to industrial action in the HSE I am not in a position to arrange a substantive response to this Question. Subject to the resources available to it, 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 Services

Joe Carey

Ceist:

172 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of funding that was allocated to the Health Service Executive for County Clare from 2006 to 2009 for the purposes of providing speech therapy; the number of clients that accessed the service in the same period broken down into the different age categories; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21539/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medicinal Products

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

173 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will comment on the assertion that the switching of medications from a branded drug such as fosamax or actonel, for treatment of osteoporosis, to generic alendronate is a false economy as research has shown that persons who were switched to a cheaper version of a generic drug did not show any improvement in their bone density and that patients had side effects with the cheaper generic drug. [21548/10]

Over the past number of weeks I have answered a number of parliamentary questions and representations on this matter. I have made it quite clear on each occasion that with a system of generic substitution, it is important that all decisions about the interchangeability of medicines are evidence-based and take into account best practice elsewhere.

I have received the report of the joint Department of Health and Children/Health Service Executive working group established to set out a proposed model for the implementation of a system of reference pricing combined with generic substitution. The report will be published shortly. The introduction of a system of reference pricing and interchangeable medicines will promote price competition and deliver ongoing savings for both the State and for patients. I expect to see significant progress on this in 2010, including the implementation of legislative and administrative changes required to give it effect in 2011.

Medical Cards

Michael Ring

Ceist:

174 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be approved for a medical card. [21571/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Inter-Country Adoptions

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

175 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the case of persons (details supplied). [21573/10]

It remains my intention to assist 20 named applicants to complete intercountry adoptions in respect of children from Vietnam on an exceptional basis and insofar as it is practicable in law. In communicating the decision to suspend the bilateral negotiations the Irish Government asked the Vietnamese Government whether it will be possible to proceed with these adoptions. The Vietnamese response was not definitive. The Government is attempting to put in place a mechanism in respect of these 20 applicants that safeguards against recent concerns raised in relation to intercountry adoption in Vietnam.

Medical Cards

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

176 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue to persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21709/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

177 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a medical card will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21710/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Service Staff

Damien English

Ceist:

178 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason the Kells branch of the Health Service Executive delayed the return to work by a career break employee (details supplied); the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21720/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Water Fluoridation

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

179 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children the studies that have been carried out on the necessity to continue fluoridation of water here; if studies have been carried out on potential inherent dangers in the extent of fluoridation currently in the system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21721/10]

Enda Kenny

Ceist:

180 Deputy Enda Kenny asked the Minister for Health and Children the extent of fluoridation in the public water system here; the reason for fluoridation of water in 2010; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21722/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 179 and 180 together.

It is estimated that 65% of the population of the State reside in dwellings that are supplied with fluoridated water. A Forum on Fluoridation was established in 2000 to review the fluoridation of public piped water supplies.  The main conclusion of the Forum's Report in 2002 was that the fluoridation of public piped water supplies should continue as a public health measure. Among the studies which support this conclusion was the North South Survey of Children's Oral Health (2002), which showed that tooth decay levels were lower among children who get fluoride in their water supply than among children in Northern Ireland, where there is no water fluoridation.

The European Commission has asked the Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) to review any post-2005 evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and to assess the risks that may be associated with the use of most common drinking water fluoridation agents. It is expected that a preliminary opinion will be published shortly.

The Irish Expert Body on Fluorides and Health, which was established in 2004, monitors new and emerging issues on fluoride and its effects on health and related matters. Its advice, based on a review of all previous and current international and national scientific data, is that the balance of the scientific evidence worldwide confirms that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, is safe and effective for protecting oral health. In May 2007, the World Health Organisation renewed its call for Governments throughout the world to introduce water fluoridation as an efficient public health measure.

Hospital Staff

Joe Carey

Ceist:

181 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of urologists treating prostate cancer in the public hospital system here along with their location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21727/10]

I regret that due to industrial action I am not in a position to provide a substantive response to your Parliamentary Question. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Joe Carey

Ceist:

182 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to increase the number of urologists in line with the 2005 Comhairle na n-Oispidéal report on urology services in Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21728/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Prescriptions

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

183 Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Health and Children her views on doctors writing prescriptions for patients on medical cards month after month, without seeing the patient; her plans to forbid doctors issuing prescriptions without physically seeing the patient; her further views on whether doctors continue to write prescriptions for patients who may be on medication which should be limited to a certain period of time; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21736/10]

Section 18 of the Form of Agreement with registered medical practitioners for the provision of services under section 58 of the Health Act 1970 (General Medical Services Scheme — GMS patients) states “The medical practitioner shall prescribe such drugs and medicines as he considers necessary for any person for whom he is obliged to provide services.”

Following discussions with the Irish Medical Organisation and the Irish Pharmaceutical Union, a repeat prescription facility, whereby prescriptions for certain drugs and medicines require renewal on a three monthly, rather than a monthly, basis, was introduced on 1 March 1991. Under this scheme, patients who are stabilized on their medication no longer need to visit their general practitioner every month in order to have their prescriptions renewed. Changes in GMS prescriptions from monthly to quarterly for suitable patients have created efficiencies for general practitioners and patients, by reducing unnecessary consultations and journeys to the GP and pharmacy.

Under the Medical Practitioners Acts, 1978 and 2007, the Medical Council is responsible for protecting the public by promoting and better ensuring high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training and competence among doctors. Doctors must always be guided by their primary responsibility to act in the best interests of their patients.

Departmental Agencies

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

184 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children the agencies or bodies to which her Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which her Department is responsible in respect of her policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21755/10]

The Agencies funded by my Department in each of the years 2007-2010 as well as those agencies that my Department is administratively responsible for, but who are not directly funded by my Department, are set out in the following tables. The Deputy will also no doubt be aware that the Health Service Executive is accountable to me as Minister for Health & Children. The net amount voted by the Oireachtas in respect of Vote 40 — Health Service Executive is as follows:

2007 — €11,453,895;

2008 — €12,667,159;

2009 — €11,890,719.

In 2010 the Estimate of the HSE is €10,528,581.

Agencies directly funded by Department of Health and Children

Agency

2010

2009

2008

2007

National Council on Ageing***

0

430,000

904,000

1,510,000

National Social Work Qualification Board

538,000

569,000

578,000

573,000

Irish Medicines Board

3,650,000

4,601,922

4,993,000

4,924,000

Post Graduate Medical and Dental Board*

0

0

10,362,000

9,795,000

Board for the Employment of the Blind (Blindcraft)****

0

17,000

10,000

4,717,000

Crisis Pregnancy Agency

0

8,178,000

8,706,000

8,574,000

Food Safety Authority Ireland

17,427,000

18,032,000

18,505,000

18,712,000

Institute of Public Health

1,542,000

1,517,000

1,576,000

1,562,000

Health Information & Quality Authority

14,757,000

11,100,000

14,800,000

6,389,000

Irish Health Safety Accreditation Board.**

0

0

0

843,000

Mental Health Commission

18,190,000

17,950,000

16,600,000

17,380,000

National Cancer Screening Service*

11,000

57,300,000

42,452,000

30,419,000

National Council Professional Development of Nursing & Midwifery

4,162,000

4,285,000

4,473,000

4,200,000

Office of Tobacco Control

1,726,000

1,620,000

1,819,000

2,495,554

Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council

3,161,000

3,281,000

3,438,000

3,414,850

Children’s Acts Advisory Board

1,000

2,199,000

2,314,000

2,232,000

Women’s Health Council***

0

500,000

658,000

654,000

National Treatment Purchase Fund

90,092,000

90,350,000

104,641,000

91,744,000

Food Safety Promotion Board

6,665,000

5,623,000

7,000,000

6,475,000

Health Research Board

34,157,000

35,241,000

36,885,000

36,085,000

Ombudsman for Children

2,223,000

2,310,000

2,409,000

2,080,992

Office of the Disability Appeals Officer

501,000

557,000

0

0

National Cancer Research Board

2,975,000

2,477,000

3,037,000

2,165,000

Health and Social Care Professionals Council

962,000

595,000

315,000

0

2010 figures as per Revised Estimates Volume.

*Transferred to HSE from 1/4/10.

**Subsumed into HIQA in 2007.

***Subsumed into DoHC in 2009.

****Wound Up in 2007.

Other Agencies (Not directly funded by DoHC)

Self-Funded

An Bord Altranais

Self-funded (registration fee)

Dental Council

Self-funded (registration fee)

Medical Council

Self-funded (registration fee)

Irish Blood Transfusion Service

Self-funded through charges for blood and blood products

Health Insurance Authority

Self-funded through industry contribution

Opticians Board

Self-funded (registration fee)

Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland Council

Self-funded (registration fee)

Other

Adoption Board

Part of Department — Vote 39

Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal

DoHC-DoF funding through special accounts

Voluntary Health Insurance Board

Commercial State Body — Income from policy premia

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

185 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Health and Children the amount of unspent money returned by her Department to the Department of Finance each year since 2007; the Departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21784/10]

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the attached tables. In 2007, €55.9m was surrendered to the Department of Finance, €35.7m was surrendered in 2008 and €71.3m in 2009. In areas such as statutory enquiries, legal fees and compensation payments it is very difficult in any year to accurately estimate the level of payments which may fall to be made, therefore, if the allocated amount remains unspent at the end of the year it is surrendered to the Exchequer. Savings on allocations to health agencies have been achieved through efficiency measures and tight financial control. Savings on my Department's Administrative Budget have been achieved through the non-filling of vacant posts and other efficiency measures.

2007 Allocation

2007 Actual

Variance

V39 — Department Of Health And Children (Net)

480,472,000

424,563,643

55,908,357

V39 — Gross

480,852,000

432,999,564

47,852,436

Administration

51,921,000

47,803,254

4,117,746

Health Agencies

264,093,000

258,141,904

5,951,096

Statutory & Non Statutory Inquiries & Legal Fees

19,458,000

11,953,261

7,504,739

Compensation Payments (Inc. Hep C)

75,986,000

64,245,500

11,740,500

Others

8,839,000

7,541,230

1,297,770

State Claims Agency

17,555,000

10,925,393

6,629,607

Capital

43,000,000

32,389,021

10,610,979

V39 — Appropriations In Aid

380,000

8,435,921

-8,055,921

D — Appropriations In Aid

380,000

8,435,921

-8,055,921

2008 Allocation

2008 Actual

Variance

V39 — Department Of Health And Children (Net)

533,382,000

497,675,703

35,706,297

V39 — Gross

533,383,000

501,689,772

31,693,228

Administration

46,880,000

40,116,552

6,763,448

Health Agencies

304,904,000

292,815,962

12,088,038

Statutory & Non Statutory Inquiries & Legal Fees

47,294,000

20,053,807

27,240,193

Compensation Payments (Inc. Hep C)

76,031,000

76,012,949

18,051

Others

9,173,000

7,699,143

1,473,857

State Claims Agency

25,000,000

42,608,076

-17,608,076

Capital

24,100,000

22,383,283

1,716,717

V39 — Appropriations In Aid

1,000

4,014,069

-4,013,069

D — Appropriations In Aid

1,000

4,014,069

-4,013,069

2009 Allocation

2009 Actual

Variance

V39 — Department Of Health And Children (Net)

491,174,000

419,836,114

71,337,886

V39 – Gross

495,490,000

425,436,507

70,053,493

Administration

43,129,000

37,499,828

5,629,172

Health Agencies

290,742,000

269,504,253

21,237,747

Statutory & Non Statutory Inquiries & Legal Fees

32,074,000

13,000,119

19,073,881

Compensation Payments (Inc. Hep C)

76,031,000

54,574,175

21,456,825

Others

8,514,000

7,580,426

933,574

State Claims Agency

30,000,000

29,979,194

20,806

Capital

15,000,000

13,298,512

1,701,489

V39 — Appropriations In Aid

4,316,000

5,600,393

-1,284,393

D — Appropriations In Aid

4,316,000

5,600,393

-1,284,393

Hospital Waiting Lists

Damien English

Ceist:

186 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of public patients waiting for their initial consultation at outpatient clinics; if she will provide a breakdown for each speciality at each public hospital where such consultations occur in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21796/10]

Damien English

Ceist:

187 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the length of time public patients must wait for their initial consultation at outpatient clinics; if she will provide a breakdown for each speciality at each public hospital where such consultations occur in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21797/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 186 and 187 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Ambulance Service

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

188 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children, further to Parliamentary Question No. 125 of 18 May 2010, if she will confirm that the Health Service Executive holds copies of, or has confirmed the existence of Garda vetting forms for all ambulance personnel that are, at the direction of the HSE, involved in the transport and treatment of public and private patients; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21798/10]

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

189 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will confirm that all of the seven private ambulance companies that are carrying out services for the Health Service Executive have been inspected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21800/10]

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

191 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to tier the ambulance sector in order to provide a more efficient and effective service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21803/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 188, 189 and 191 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If the matters raised remain of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise them with the HSE again in due course.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

190 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if the Health Service Executive has target response times for all public, private and voluntary ambulance services; if they are monitored and recorded and available for public inspection; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21802/10]

The HSE target ambulance response times from the National Service Plan for 2010 are outlined in the table below. I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action it is not possible for the Executive to supply current performance data for the ambulance services. However if this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with the HSE again in due course. HIQA in conjunction with the HSE and PHECC is at present working to develop additional time-based performance standards and indicators in relation to pre-hospital emergency response. The HSE has no role in setting performance targets for private or voluntary ambulance services.

Response Times

Reported

Expected Activity/Target 2009

Projected Outturn 2009

Expected Activity/Target 2010

Total number of Ambulance Transfers

Emergency

Monthly

225,000

205,367

205,000

Urgent

Monthly

68,000

61,567

62,000

Non-urgent

Monthly

202,000

251,371

188,000

Community

Monthly

343,763

280,000

Responded to within pre-determined time bands

< 8 minutes

Monthly

32%

30%

32%

< 14 minutes

Monthly

63%

60%

63%

< 19 minutes

Monthly

79%

73%

79%

< 26 minutes

Monthly

86%

84%

86%

Question No. 191 answered with Question No. 188.

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

192 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if ambulances are to be included in regulation of hospitals by the Health and Information Quality Authority; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21804/10]

My Department is currently working on the preparation of legislation for the licensing of health care providers, based on standards to be set by the Health Information and Quality Authority. The licensing of ambulance services will be considered in this context.

Child Care Services

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

193 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that as of 1 January 2010 the 116000 number reserved by the EU for an EU-wide missing children hotline service has been assigned to service providers in 12 countries and is functioning in 11; if she is concerned that Ireland is not amongst these and if she will take the immediate steps necessary including making the necessary funding available to enable the 116000 hotline to be up and running in Ireland on an island wide basis. [21806/10]

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

194 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the steps required to give effect to the new Article 27a relating to 116 numbers in Directive 2002/22/EC which requires member states to make every effort to ensure citizens have access to a service operating a hotline to report cases of missing children and when she intends to stop delaying and deliver on this. [21809/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 194 together.

I have discussed the proposal to put in place a hotline for missing children that is operational in some EU Member States with members of charitable organisations and non-governmental organisations with a view to providing some level of service. I will keep the Deputy informed of developments in this regard.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

195 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of children who went missing from Health Service Executive care and the location they were found at in these circumstances. [21812/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action in the public service by members of IMPACT, the HSE is not in a position to provide a response to this Parliamentary Question within the normal timeframe.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

196 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health and Children if she is concerned that the Health Service Executive is in denial regarding the risk of trafficking to children in its care; and the steps she will take to address this grave matter. [21813/10]

It is a matter of great concern that a number of children go missing after they enter the State. Separated children going missing from care is not a phenomenon unique to Ireland. The issue of separated children who go missing from care is complex. There has been a tendency to equate all missing children with trafficking. However the HSE advise that there is evidence to indicate that some of these individuals may be adults who disappeared before a comprehensive age assessment process could be undertaken by the HSE. It has been acknowledged by the HSE and also by other relevant statutory agencies that there are several factors that may contribute to the disappearance of a child from care and these are the following:

The child's appeal for asylum has been refused and he/she is nearing eighteen and is reacting to the pending threat of repatriation.

The person has been smuggled into the country to join the workforce on a consensual basis and is availing of the child protection service as a fast track route into the State.

The child has been trafficked into the State by traffickers using the child protection service as a route.

The HSE has developed a strong working relationship with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (G.N.I.B.) in relation to missing children. The level of interagency cooperation between the H.S.E. and the G.N.I.B. has been consistently high and has intensified in recent years. A Joint National Protocol on Children who go missing from care has been agreed between the Garda and the H.S.E.. Several meetings have taken place between H.S.E. management, the G.N.I.B., and local Garda to adapt this protocol in terms of application to separated children who go missing. The following measures were agreed:

Collaborative interviewing at the ports between social workers and Gardaí.

Fingerprinting of persons presenting as underage at the ports, for tracking purposes.

Planned Garda surveillance of those at risk of going missing from the point of presentation at ports to the initial placement period in hostels.

Monitoring of the notification system of missing persons to local Gardaí to be closely monitored by Garda Inspectors.

Joint training of H.S.E. staff and Gardaí/ G.N.I.B. staff in relation to children at high risk of going missing.

Sharing of photographic evidence between H.S.E. and Gardaí.

My Office and the H.S.E. have also worked closely with the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform on the development of the National Action Plan on Anti-Human Trafficking and I am committed to ensuring that we play an active part in combating trafficking as outlined in this plan.

In addition the Implementation Plan arising from the Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, 2009 contains a commitment that separated children will be accommodated in mainstream care, instead of hostels by December 2010. This move from hostel accommodation to residential and foster care should help to ensure that fewer children go missing. The HSE is phasing out the hostel arrangements and putting in place appropriate 24 hour care staff arrangements in the remaining hostels until they are closed. A number of hostels have already closed and the remaining ones are to close this year.

I am satisfied that the efforts made by the HSE and GNIB to address concerns regarding separated children are yielding some progress. Both agencies are committed to intensifying their joint work in this area with a view to preventing children from going missing and locating those who do.

Nursing Homes Support Scheme

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

197 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if she has received representations from charitable organisations regarding the rate being offered to them by the National Treatment Purchase Fund for the care of residents under the nursing home scheme; if she will consider the difficulties posed in these circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21816/10]

I can confirm that the Minister for Health and Children has received representations from a small number of voluntary organisations regarding the rate for the cost of care being offered to them by the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF). However, I understand that, of the small number of voluntary organisations currently negotiating with the NTPF, at least two of these have recently concluded agreements.

As the Deputy is aware, the Nursing Homes Support Scheme commenced in October 2009. The commencement of the scheme brought about a fundamental change in the way in which long-term nursing home care is funded and, consequently, the way in which nursing homes and community hospitals, including the voluntary organisations referred to by the Deputy, are funded. In the past, many of these facilities were allocated a lump sum annually. In contrast, the new scheme supports the individuals in need of long-term residential care, not the facilities providing the care. This means that funding follows the patients and ensures that these facilities are not being funded for empty beds.

The legislation underpinning the Nursing Homes Support Scheme requires all nursing homes, including any facility which previously received funding under Section 39 of the Health Act 2004, to negotiate and agree a price for the cost of care with the NTPF should they wish to participate in the scheme. This is a necessary feature of the scheme due to the commitment by the State to meet the full balance of the cost of care over and above a person's contribution. The NTPF has statutory responsibility for the negotiation of prices and is independent in the performance of its function. In carrying out this function, the NTPF has particular responsibility to ensure value for money for both the individual and the State.

Finally, as stated above, the Nursing Homes Support Scheme only applies to long-term nursing home care. Nursing homes and community hospitals can continue to have separate agreements with the HSE for the provision of other services, e.g. day care, respite and convalescence.

Health Services

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

198 Deputy Jan O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Health and Children if changes are proposed to prosthetic and orthotic services, which will require referral to a rehabilitation consultant; the reason this might be proposed and the way in which it will affect current services and service providers; if she will ensure there is full consultation in advance of any change; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21817/10]

I regret that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive, it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course. However, both my Department and the Health Service Executive are concerned to ensure that rehabilitation services and the structure of same are the most efficient and appropriate. This led to the setting up of a working group to develop a National Strategy for the Provision of Rehabilitation Services. The group is expected to report shortly.

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

199 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support a service at a school (details supplied) in Dublin. [21819/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

200 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow. [21830/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Adoption Services

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

201 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Health and Children the interim measures she will put in place in respect of foreign adoption applicants who have submitted applications in advance of the enactment of the Adoption Bill 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21834/10]

The Adoption Bill, 2009, is designed to give force of law to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption. The new legislation, which incorporates the provisions of the Hague Convention, is designed to provide a framework to ensure that appropriate procedures have been followed and that all adoptions are effected in the best interests of the child. Future intercountry adoption arrangements will be governed by the terms of the Adoption Bill 2009 when enacted. I brought forward at Committee stage an amendment to the Adoption Bill 2009 that will enable prospective adoptive parents to proceed with an adoption from a non-Hague or non-bilateral country, if prior to the establishment date, they have been issued with a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability to adopt. The proposed amendment requires that the Adoption Authority (to be set up under the Act) would be satisfied that the particular adoption meets all the standards of the Hague Convention.

Hospital Services

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

202 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans for the former Erinville Maternity Hospital located on Western Road, Cork. [21871/10]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

203 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Health and Children her future plans for the Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital at Western Road, Cork. [21872/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 202 and 203 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medicinal Products

Chris Andrews

Ceist:

204 Deputy Chris Andrews asked the Minister for Health and Children if a person is entitled to refuse a prescription from their general practitioner for a generic drug, when the person would strongly prefer being prescribed the brand name drug they have previously been prescribed. [21873/10]

The prescribing of a proprietary medicine or a generic medicine is a matter for the prescriber in consultation with the patient.

Hospital Services

Sean Sherlock

Ceist:

205 Deputy Seán Sherlock asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will review a decision not to grant financial assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork in respect of hospital visits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21881/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with the HSE again in due course.

Children in Care

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

206 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Health and Children if she will support the right to after-care for young people who leave State care (details supplied). [21890/10]

I am currently giving consideration to the legal position with regard to the provision of aftercare services, having regard to the existing legislative provisions as set out in the Childcare Act 1991. I met recently with Focus Ireland in this regard and had a constructive exchange of views and discussion on these matters.

I have received legal advice which confirms that the obligation contained in Section 45(4) of the Child Care Act 1991 is in substance mandatory. The legal advice is that the Act creates a statutory power and the HSE, as recipient of this power, must put itself in a position where it can exercise the power should the need arise. Section 45(4) of the Child Care Act allows me to write to the HSE and instruct it in this or in any other regard. I intend to do this and will in parallel continue to examine legislative options. In line with the Government commitment as reflected in the Ryan Implementation Plan funding of €1.0m was set aside by the HSE in its 2010 Service Plan, for the development of aftercare services in 2010.

Cancer Screening Programme

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

207 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health and Children if her attention has been drawn to the fact that at least 40,000 letters were returned to the cervical cancer screening programme in March and April 2010 due to fact that they were addressed incorrectly or because the addressees had moved; if the database in question is used for other purposes by the Health Service Executive or other agencies, in which case other important correspondence may be missed by would be recipients; the action she will take; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21892/10]

I am aware of the issue raised by the Deputy. The NCSS has launched an investigation into this matter and it will provide a full statement once the investigation is complete. The NCSS has assured me that the return of these unopened letters has had no adverse overall impact on uptake levels for the CervicalCheck Programme, which aims for an uptake level of 80% in the target population. During 2009 CervicalCheck aimed to screen 240,000 women, but in fact approximately 280,000 women were screened. Uptake levels in 2010 continue to reach projected monthly targets.

The reason for letters not reaching the intended person relate mainly to population mobility. There are over 1.2 million women aged 25 to 60 eligible for a free smear test as part of the CervicalCheck programme. As there is no central population database in Ireland, CervicalCheck has assembled a register from information supplied by the Department of Social Protection and self registration of women. The database used by CervicalCheck is known as the Cervical Screening Register (CSR). The CSR is a confidential, secure electronic database containing demographic details and screening history details of women in the eligible population. The Health (Provision of Information) Act 1997 provides the legislative framework for the compilation of the CSR.

CervicalCheck communicates with every woman whose details are provided and relies upon the accuracy of such information. If communications are not responded to, the NCSS sends a number of subsequent reminder letters to ensure that every effort is made to contact eligible women. CervicalCheck encourages any woman who changes her address to notify the programme of the change in her details. I understand that the information held on the CSR is used only by CervicalCheck and is not shared with any other agency.

Medical Cards

John O'Donoghue

Ceist:

208 Deputy John O’Donoghue asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will receive the result of their application for a medical card. [21897/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Health Services

Joe Carey

Ceist:

209 Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Clare may expect to have an assessment for a hearing aid which they applied for in October 2009; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21925/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Seymour Crawford

Ceist:

210 Deputy Seymour Crawford asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21930/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Services

Damien English

Ceist:

211 Deputy Damien English asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of operations cancelled at Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, County Meath, in 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21942/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Medical Cards

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

212 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children the position regarding an appeal for medical card services in respect of persons (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21958/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Hospital Waiting Lists

Mary O'Rourke

Ceist:

213 Deputy Mary O’Rourke asked the Minister for Health and Children when a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath will be called for an appointment with a child psychologist. [22105/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

General Medical Services Scheme

Michael D'Arcy

Ceist:

214 Deputy Michael D’Arcy asked the Minister for Health and Children if persons who have started dental treatment procedures under the general medical card scheme and are in the middle of a treatment process can be allowed to proceed to finish the treatment with their dentist under the medical card scheme. [22116/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that due to industrial action affecting the Health Service Executive it is not possible for the Executive to supply the information requested. If this matter remains of continuing concern to you, however, I would invite you to raise it with me again in due course.

Air Services

Seán Barrett

Ceist:

215 Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an airline (details supplied) is requiring passengers whose flights were cancelled as a result of the volcanic ash cloud situation to wait 28 days to receive refunds of their flight costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21456/10]

Regulation (EC) 261/2004 established common European rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of cancellation or long delay of flights or in the event of being denied boarding.

The Regulation has direct application in Member States and the Commission for Aviation Regulation has been designated as the National Enforcement Body for the Regulation in the State. The Commission for Aviation Regulation is the competent body to enforce the provisions of the Regulation arising from cancellations due to depart from Ireland; for travellers whose cancelled flights were due to depart from other Member States, the relevant national enforcement body would be the body designated by that Member State. Passengers must apply to their airline in the first instance to claim their entitlements. If airlines do not comply with the law and passengers fail to receive their entitlements, then the Commission for Aviation Regulation can take enforcement action.

Driving Licences

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

216 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Transport the position regarding the issuing of reminder letters to holders of a driving licence (details supplied). [21387/10]

Renewal reminder letters for driving licences about to expire, using data from the National Vehicle Driver File (NVDF), are issued directly by my Department. An external service provider is not involved in the process.

Rail Services

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

217 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport asked the Minister for Transport if he will give details of the discussions (details supplied) he has had regarding the future of the Waterford to Rosslare railway line; the outcome of these discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21414/10]

I have had a number of conversations with Minister of State, Ciarán Cuffe regarding this issue. The matter referred to is an operational matter for C.I.E.

Tuskar Rock Air Crash

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

218 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Transport the names of those who attended the meeting at the Ministry of Defence in Brawdy, Wales on the afternoon of the Tuskar Rock accident (details supplied) 24 March 1968; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21439/10]

The information sought is not readily available in my Department. To be of assistance to the Deputy, I have asked that a comprehensive search be carried out of the relevant files from the period in question. As the number of files is significant, this will take some time. I will communicate further with the Deputy when this search has been completed.

Public Transport

Joe McHugh

Ceist:

219 Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Transport the amount of public service obligation funding that is allocated to Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann for 2010; the percentage funding that is given to private operators north of Letterkenny, north of Dungloe, and on the Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21514/10]

The allocation of the Public Service Obligation (PSO) provision for 2010 has been agreed between the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the CIÉ operating companies as follows:

Iarnród Éireann, €155.43 million;

Bus Átha Cliath, €75.90 million;

Bus Éireann, €44.69 million.

CIÉ has a statutory mandate under various Transport Acts to provide PSO services passenger services. The NTA governs the funding of these PSO services through the Public Service Contracts which are in place between Iarnród Éireann, Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus. These contracts set strict standards for operational performance and customer service and contain penalties for non-performance. Currently no Exchequer funding is provided to private operators but it is expected that the NTA would tender any new routes requiring additional public subsidy over and above that provided for within existing PSO contracts.

Question No. 220 withdrawn.

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

221 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport the agencies or bodies to which his Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which his Department is responsible in respect of his policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21759/10]

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

222 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Transport the amount of unspent money returned by his Department to the Department of Finance each year since 2007; the departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21789/10]

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 221 and 222 together.

Exchequer funding has been allocated under Vote 32 to the following agencies under the remit of my Department since 2007:

State Body

Vote 32 Funding 2007

Vote 32 Funding 2008

Vote 32 Funding 2009

Vote 32 Funding 2010

€000

€000

€000

€000

CIE Group

776,269

911,036

726,808

496,129

Railway Safety Commission

2,090

2,078

2,014

400

Railway Procurement Agency

11,000

10,958

10,598

29,748

National Roads Authority

1,782,874

1,679,461

1,470,009

1,636,324

Dublin Transportation Office / NTA

41,593

59,017

38,472

353,512

Road Safety Authority

31,124

39,704

32,835

28,746

Medical Bureau of Road Safety

5,911

4,448

4,363

4,557

Marine Casualty Investigation Board

300

250

200

250

In addition to the figures shown above, the following funding has been allocated to regional harbours for remedial works in the last four years:

2007 €10.5m;

2008 €3.705m;

2009 €3.699m;

2010 €4.1m.

More detailed information in relation to the total Departmental budget, individual Subheads, the amounts provided and the outturn for each year can be found in the relevant Revised Estimates Volume, published by the Department of Finance and available on its website. Up to 10% of an unspent capital allocation can be carried over into the following year. Where this occurs the relevant information is also published in the Estimates. The reasons for material variations in any Departmental Subheads are set out in the Annual Appropriation Accounts which are available on the website of the Comptroller and Auditor General. In addition, detailed budgetary information in relation to the agencies under the remit of my Department can be found in their annual reports and accounts.

Air Services

Pat Breen

Ceist:

223 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, further to his reply to Parliamentary Question No. 647 of 3 November 2009, which stated that the International Civil Aviation Organisation would conduct a comprehensive audit of Ireland’s system for safety oversight of civil aviation early in 2010, if the ICAO audit in question has been completed and is available for public inspection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21827/10]

The audit referred to by the Deputy is the comprehensive safety oversight audit conducted by ICAO under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP). The USOAP aims to promote global aviation safety through auditing of the Contracting States' capability for safety oversight. The audit consists of three phases, a preparatory phase, an "on-site" phase and a reporting and follow-up stage.

The ICAO Audit Team's on-site visit, from 12th-23rd March 2010, consisted of an audit of the organization, processes, procedures and programmes established and maintained by the State to help it fulfil its safety oversight obligations under the Chicago Convention. I understand that the outcome of the audit reflected positively on the oversight of aviation safety in Ireland. The next step in the process is the reporting and follow-up stage, during which ICAO will forward an interim report for consideration. Subsequently, the State will provide an action plan on the findings of the report to ICAO. ICAO will make the final report available to all Contracting States through the secure website of ICAO in November/December 2010. When the audit process has been completed, I will make the final report available for public inspection.

State Airports

Pat Breen

Ceist:

224 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Transport, further to Parliamentary Question No. 198 of 5 May 2010, to provide the precise distance the Red Zone in question commences from the threshold of the runway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21828/10]

I have been in contact with the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) in relation to this matter. I have been advised by the IAA that the "Red Zone" at the eastern end of runway 10/28 commences 60 metres from the existing runway threshold. The IAA has further advised that all "Red Zones" were established based on the longest length of runway including all future expansion. With regard to the western end of Runway 10/28, there is provision for a 400 metre extension at Dublin Airport, and the "Red Zone" on the Fingal County Development Plan is positioned based on the maximum length this runway can be extended to.

Aviation Safety

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

225 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Transport the tests that were carried out by the Irish Aviation Authority prior to the changing of the guidelines on air travel through volcanic ash conditions this week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21926/10]

The issue raised by the Deputy is an operational matter for the IAA and one in which I have no function. I understand that the Chief Executive of the IAA, Mr. Eamonn Brennan, has recently provided comprehensive information on this issue to the Deputy at his request.

Visa Applications

Dan Neville

Ceist:

226 Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21356/10]

The visa application referred to by the Deputy was approved by the Embassy of Ireland, London on 18 May 2010.

Citizenship Applications

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

227 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason an application for a certificate of naturalisation was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21357/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in October 2007 and I decided in my absolute discretion not to grant a certificate of naturalisation. The person in question was informed of this decision and the reasons for refusal in a letter issued to him on 7 May, 2010. It is open to the person concerned to lodge a new application for a certificate of naturalisation with the Citizenship Division of my Department at any time; however, he should bear in mind the reasons for refusal of his previous application.

Residency Permits

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

228 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will assist a person (details supplied) in obtaining a new unconditional residency stamp on their new passport. [21366/10]

I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of my Department that a person residing in the State on a Without Condition endorsement may have it transferred to a new passport by making an appointment with, or by forwarding their passports by registered post to, the General Immigration Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service. It is open to the person concerned to forward their expired and current passports to the General Immigration Division by registered post or by writing to the Division requesting an appointment. Further information regarding the renewal of a Without Condition endorsement may be found on the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service website, www.inis.gov.ie.

Asylum Applications

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

229 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will issue on an application for subsidiary protection in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21385/10]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 13 December 2005. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 23 November 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Phil Hogan

Ceist:

230 Deputy Phil Hogan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will issue on an application for subsidiary protection in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21388/10]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 20 January 2005. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 27 February 2009, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Prison Building Programme

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

231 Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the development of a new prison at Kilworth, County Cork; and if there are any plans to bring to tender the design stage of the project. [21389/10]

The Irish Prison Service is committed to the replacement of Cork Prison with a modern prison complex at Kilworth, County Cork on a site previously owned by the Department of Defence. While the project has not advanced to detailed design stage, it is anticipated that the capacity of the new prison will be in the region of 450.

A preliminary site suitability report was conducted which included reviewing its archaeology, flora and fauna, road/infrastructure, topography etc. These preliminary surveys confirmed that there are no significant constraints to the development of the site. The next step in the appraisal process is the preparation of a detailed business case in relation to the project. The business case will examine the various procurement options including a public private partnership option. The advice of the National Development Finance Agency will also be sought in relation to the project. It is intended to commence preliminary planning and design work on the project this year and to deliver the project on a phased basis. All aspects of the project, including the design phase and construction will be procured by means of a public tender process.

Asylum Applications

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

232 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will allow a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1 leave to remain in the State due to their medical condition and having been here for five years. [21400/10]

The person concerned applied for asylum on 6 May 2005. In accordance with Section 9 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended), the person concerned was entitled to remain in the State until his application for asylum was decided. His asylum application was refused following consideration of his case by the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner and, on appeal, the Refugee Appeals Tribunal.

Arising from the refusal of his asylum application, and in accordance with the provisions of Section 3 of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended), the person concerned was notified, by letter dated 16 March 2006, that the Minister proposed to make a Deportation Order in respect of him. He was given the options, to be exercised within 15 working days, of leaving the State voluntarily, of consenting to the making of a Deportation Order or of making representations to the Minister setting out the reasons why a Deportation Order should not be made against him. In addition, he was notified, by letter dated 20 February 2008, of his entitlement to apply for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 518 of 2006). The person concerned submitted an application for Subsidiary Protection in the State in accordance with these Regulations and this application is under consideration at present. When consideration of this application has been completed, the person concerned will be notified in writing of the outcome.

In the event that the application for Subsidiary Protection is refused, the position in the State of the person concerned will then be decided by reference to the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Immigration Act 1999 (as amended) and Section 5 of the Refugee Act 1996 (as amended) on the prohibition of refoulement. All representations, including medical information, submitted will be considered before the file is passed to me for decision. Once a decision has been made, this decision and the consequences of the decision will be conveyed in writing to the person concerned.

Citizenship Applications

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

233 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21410/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in March 2007. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 26 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that processing of the application is ongoing and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Prison Building Programme

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

234 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the Thornton Hall prison project, County Dublin; the costs incurred to date both in terms of land purchase and other matters; the estimated final cost; the estimated date of completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21416/10]

The development of the new prison campus at Thornton Hall, County Dublin is proceeding on a phased basis. Phase one comprises essential enabling works required for the prison development. These works include the construction of the dedicated access road, perimeter security wall and various off-site services. Phase two of the project comprises the various prisoner accommodation blocks, workshops, education facilities and administration buildings.

Tenders for the design and construction of the access road to serve the prison development were issued in March this year. The competition is still in progress and it is anticipated that contract award will take place in June with construction work commencing on site in July. It is intended that tender documents for various off-site works will be issued later this month with construction work expected to commence in September this year. The tender documentation for the design and construction of the perimeter wall of the prison is currently at an advanced stage of preparation. It is intended to invite tenders for this phase of the project by the end of September with the construction work commencing immediately following the completion of the access road in January 2011. The construction of the perimeter wall is estimated to take about 12 months to complete.

The National Development Finance Agency acting on behalf of the Irish Prison Service, has initiated an EU wide tender competition for the appointment of multi-disciplinary technical advisors for the project. The technical advisors will develop the output specification and other tender documents which will be the subject of a tender competition later this year. It is anticipated that the prison will be operational by late 2015.

In relation to expenditure on the project, a total of €42.24 million has been expended on the project to end March 2010. This sum includes the site cost of €29.9 million. The cost of the site was offset by the sale of surplus prison lands at Shanganagh, County Dublin. An additional 8.7 acres has also been acquired at a cost of €1.3 million to provide a dedicated access route to the main prison site. This was done following representations from the local community which reflected concern in relation to the potential effect of increased traffic generated by the prison development.

This sum also includes €7.095 million expended on professional fees, €2.919 million on site preparation and various surveys, €0.468 million on landscaping and €0.553 million on security. As is the case with all major infrastructure projects a comprehensive set of geological, engineering and archaeological surveys have been undertaken at the site. These surveys will help to reduce the overall construction programme once a contract for the construction of the prison is awarded. In relation to the overall costs of the prison development, it would not be appropriate, for commercial and procurement reasons, to disclose details of the overall cost of the new prison as the project will be the subject of an EU wide tender competition later this year.

Visa Applications

James Reilly

Ceist:

235 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason the spouse of a person who is an Irish citizen (details supplied) was refused a joint spouse visa; the length of time the appeal will take; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21430/10]

The visa application reference number 2187482 referred to by the Deputy was received in the Visa Office, Cairo on the 12 July 2009. Following consideration by a Visa Officer, the application was refused on the 6 August 2009. The application was refused for the following reasons:

INCO:— Inconsistencies e.g. contradictions in the information supplied — The person referred to made a visa application for a ‘Join-Spouse (Irish National)', however in supporting documentation submitted with the application a ‘visit Visa' is mentioned several times and also a request for a ‘Long Stay Visa'. It is therefore very unclear as to what visa was actually applied for. The person referred to was advised that if applying for a ‘Join Spouse Visa', they must appeal this decision. If however applying for a ‘Visit Visa' they should make a new application. In addition, if applying for a ‘visit Visa' they should visit the following website which sets out the details in regards to application www.embassyofireland.org.

This application was appealed on 24 August 2009 and the decision to refuse the application was upheld by the visa appeal officer on 24 August 2009. The visa application reference number 3123752 referred to by the Deputy was received in the Visa Office, Cairo on the 1 December 2009. Following consideration by a Visa Officer, the application was refused on the 17 December 2009. The application was refused for the following reasons:

F:— Finances:— evidence provided was deemed insufficient or incomplete — has not submitted 6 months bank statements of reference in Ireland; has not submitted 3 pay-slips from reference in Ireland; has not submitted the P60 of reference in Ireland for 2008.

RH:— Relationship History — Has not shown evidence of a relationship being in existence prior to visa application/marriage. Note: For immigration purposes it is not sufficient for a relationship to have developed over the internet or by telephone/sms. A relationship must include a number of face to face meetings (excluding webcam) between the parties. Applicants must satisfy the Visa Officer that the relationship is bona-fide.

The visa application reference number 3696062 referred to by the Deputy was received in the Visa Office, Cairo on the 16 March 2010. Following consideration by a Visa Officer, the application was refused on the 13 April 2010. The application was refused for the following reasons:

F:— Finances:— evidence provided is deemed insufficient or incomplete.

IS:— Immigration status of the reference in Ireland. Evidence of this has not been provided — copy of passport of reference OB:— Obligations to return to home country not shown — e.g., no social, economic or professional ties in home country shown.

OC:— Observe the conditions of the visa — the visa sought is for a specific purpose and duration— the applicant has not satisfied the Visa Officer that such conditions would be observed.

Concerning application 3696062, it is open to the persons concerned to appeal the decision of the Visa Officer within two months of the date of refusal, in this case before the 13 June 2010. Comprehensive information on all aspects of the visa application process and the documents required is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). Each individual visa application is considered on its individual merits, with the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer as to why a visa should be granted.

Garda Communications

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

236 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 13 May 2010, the categories of crime for which the PULSE system generates a reference number and letter that is sent to the person reporting the crime; the categories of crime that are not covered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21433/10]

Leo Varadkar

Ceist:

237 Deputy Leo Varadkar asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 179 of 13 May 2010, if a unique reference number is given to crime reported directly to the Garda station by telephone or in person rather than using the emergency telephone number; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21434/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 236 and 237 together.

In the time available it has not been possible for the Garda authorities to provide the specific information requested by the Deputy on this matter. I will be in contact with the Deputy when the information is to hand.

Garda Recruitment

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

238 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Garda Síochána is affected by the recruitment ban; if the Garda College will run a course to train new gardaí in 2010; the number of recruits such a course will take in 2010; the closing date for applications; when the course will begin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21445/10]

The moratorium on public service recruitment applies to the Garda Síochána. The Garda Commissioner is closely monitoring the levels of Garda strength around the country, taking into account the level of retirements and recent attestations of students. I will continue to consult with my colleague the Minister for Finance on when a resumption of Garda recruitment will be necessary so as to keep Garda numbers up to approved levels. In all this, my priority is to maintain Garda operational strength. A necessary first step will be a competition to establish a panel of approved candidates and, as I recently indicated, I believe that this should take place later this year.

Garda Strength

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

239 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí who have retired, resigned and left the force over the past 12 months; the breakdown by rank of those that have left; the number of recruits that graduated within the same 12 months; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21446/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that, over the period 01 May 2009 to 30 April 2010 there was a total of 641 Departures from the Force. The following tables show the breakdown of those departures. I am further informed by the Garda authorities that, in the same period over 1,000 members graduated.

Rank

Totals

Category

Totals

Commissioner

Deputy Commissioner

Compulsory Retirements

3

Assistant Commissioner

3

Voluntary Retirements

589

Chief Superintendent

12

Resignations

22

Superintendent

22

Medical Discharges

14

Inspector

21

Deaths

11

Sergeant

160

Dismissals

1

Garda

423

Resignations in Lieu of Dismissals

1

Total

641

Totals

641

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

240 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí who have retired, resigned and left the force in County Cork over the past 12 months; the breakdown by rank of those that have left; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21447/10]

I am informed by the Garda Authorities that the number of discharges for all ranks in County Cork, (including the Divisions of Cork City, Cork North and Cork West) from the 01 May 2009 to the 20 May 2010 is as set out in the following table.

Rank

A/Com

C/Supt

Supt

Insp

Sgt

Garda

Total

01.05.09 – 20.05.10

1

3

2

15

34

55

Garda Reserve

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

241 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the membership of the Garda Reserve for the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21448/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of the Garda Reserve in each Garda Division, as at 31 December 2009 and 31 March 2010 was as set out in the tables below. The personnel strength of the Garda Reserve, broken down by Garda Division as at 31 December 2008 is not readily available. However, the personnel strength of the Garda Reserve on that date was 331.

Divisional strength as at 31 December 2009

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

34

Tipperary

17

Sligo/Leitrim

9

DMR North Central

21

Cork City

36

Clare

8

DMR North

50

Cork North

7

Mayo

18

DMR East

15

Cork West

8

Galway

30

DMR South

29

Kerry

4

Roscommon/Longford

7

DMR West

46

Limerick

16

Westmeath

10

Kilkenny/Carlow

11

Donegal

12

Meath

8

Wicklow

10

Cavan/Monaghan

7

Kildare

14

Laois/Offaly

11

Louth

15

Waterford

18

Wexford

7

Divisional strength as at 31 March 2010

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

36

Tipperary

17

Sligo/Leitrim

13

DMR North Central

21

Cork City

39

Clare

10

DMR North

52

Cork North

12

Mayo

22

DMR East

20

Cork West

10

Galway

38

DMR South

38

Kerry

4

Roscommon/Longford

9

DMR West

45

Limerick

21

Westmeath

10

Kilkenny/Carlow

15

Donegal

13

Meath

11

Wicklow

11

Cavan/Monaghan

11

Kildare

17

Laois/Offaly

12

Louth

20

Waterford

21

Wexford

12

Garda Strength

Deirdre Clune

Ceist:

242 Deputy Deirdre Clune asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí for the years 2008, 2009 and to date in 2010 on a county basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21449/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the personnel strength of each Garda Division as at 31 December 2008 and 2009 and 31 March 2010, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was as set out in the following tables. The Garda Síochána's 2008 Policing Plan contained the Commissioner's proposals for re-aligning Garda Divisional boundaries to make them coterminous with local authority boundaries. As a consequence of this work, the geographical areas of Garda Divisions, districts and sub-district stations were realigned while at the same time ensuring that service delivery to the community was maintained to the highest possible standard.

Divisional strength as at 31 December 2008

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

787

Tipperary

384

Sligo/Leitrim

318

DMR North Central

715

Cork City

675

Clare

331

DMR North

783

Cork North

299

Mayo

329

DMR East

471

Cork West

309

Galway

453

DMR South

640

Kerry

341

Longford/Westmeath

341

DMR West

788

Limerick

634

Roscommon/Galway

294

Carlow/Kildare

376

Donegal

488

Meath

301

Wicklow

341

Cavan/Monaghan

418

Wexford

278

Laois/Offaly

336

Louth

296

Waterford/Kilkenny

457

Divisional strength as at 31 December 2009

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

776

Tipperary

395

Sligo/Leitrim

313

DMR North Central

719

Cork City

700

Clare

336

DMR North

832

Cork North

303

Mayo

309

DMR East

483

Cork West

305

Galway

600

DMR South

642

Kerry

339

Roscommon /Longford

292

DMR West

789

Limerick

635

Westmeath

258

Kilkenny/Carlow

314

Donegal

468

Meath

315

Wicklow

360

Cavan/Monaghan

406

Kildare

321

Laois/Offaly

327

Louth

306

Waterford

309

Wexford

286

Divisional strength as at 31 March 2010

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

Division

Strength

DMR South Central

784

Tipperary

400

Sligo/Leitrim

322

DMR North Central

728

Cork City

696

Clare

337

DMR North

832

Cork North

304

Mayo

315

DMR East

480

Cork West

310

Galway

599

DMR South

648

Kerry

342

Roscommon/Longford

293

DMR West

798

Limerick

645

Westmeath

258

Kilkenny/Carlow

318

Donegal

473

Meath

313

Wicklow

361

Cavan/Monaghan

413

Kildare

330

Laois/Offaly

330

Louth

318

Waterford

307

Wexford

287

Vetting of Personnel

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

243 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive their Garda clearance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21457/10]

The Garda Central Vetting Unit provides employment vetting for a large number of organisations in Ireland registered with the Gardaí for this purpose and which employ persons in a full-time, part-time, voluntary or training capacity to positions where they would have substantial, unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults. I am informed by the Garda Authorities that a vetting application in respect of the person referred to was received by the Vetting Unit. However, the application was incomplete and has been returned to the registered organisation for completion. Once a completed application is received by the Vetting Unit it will be processed accordingly.

Commercial Rent Reviews

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

244 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will support a matter (details supplied). [21465/10]

The Deputy will be aware that I have legislated to prohibit upward only rent reviews in leases entered into on or after 28 February of this year (section 132 of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2009). Similar action in relation to existing leases was not possible for legal and constitutional reasons. Nonetheless, I believe that the commencement of that section will have a persuasive effect in relation to those lease arrangements.

In addition, action has been taken to address concerns which have been raised about the ability of tenants to obtain reliable and comprehensive information in the context of the rent review process and a Working Group has been established with the following terms of reference: "To consider the operation of the current system for determining the rent payable on foot of a rent review clause, with particular emphasis on the arbitration process and the adequacy of the information available to all parties and, if necessary, to make such recommendations for change as may seem appropriate." It is envisaged that the Group will report by 30 June, 2010.

Every opportunity is also being taken to stress the need for landlords to take a flexible approach to rent review negotiations which arise in the context of current leases. It has been emphasised repeatedly that there is nothing to stop the parties to existing business leases from varying the terms of their contract and from agreeing to reduce the applicable rent, having regard to their individual circumstances and the realities of the market.

Visa Applications

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

245 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the delay in processing a visa application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21476/10]

I would refer the Deputy to my Reply to Parliamentary Question No. 112 on 20 May 2010.

Garda Recruitment

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

246 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of serving members of the Garda Síochána who have disabilities; the number of gardaí who have been recruited with disabilities; the number of gardaí who have disabilities arising from incidents related to their work; if arrangements are in place to accommodate members who, for whatever reason, have disabilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21487/10]

Recruitment in An Garda Síochána is governed by Statutory Regulation namely, the Garda Síochána (Admission & Appointments) Regulations 1988/2005. Following selection by the Public Appointments Commission each applicant must also undergo a physical competency test, a medical examination and character vetting. Section 46(1)(3) of Part 5 of the Disability Act 2005 provides that that part, which deals with Public Service Employment, does not apply to the Garda Síochána. Arrangements have been put in place, where required, to facilitate members with a disability, so they can continue to work. The information requested in relation to the number of Gardaí who have disabilities is not readily available and is being collated at present. When I have this information to hand I will contact the Deputy directly.

Garda Stations

Joe Costello

Ceist:

247 Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the refurbishment of Fitzgibbon Street Garda station, Dublin 1, is due to start; if he will make available the plans or give a briefing to the local community policing forum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21498/10]

The Garda accommodation programme is based on agreed priorities established by An Garda Síochána and it is brought forward in close cooperation with the Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the provision and maintenance of Garda accommodation. I am informed by the Garda authorities that, due to its condition, it will be necessary to vacate Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station to facilitate refurbishment of the premises. The Office of Public Works is currently making arrangements to refurbish Mountjoy Garda Station to accommodate personnel from Fitzgibbon Street Station during the relevant period and it is expected that this work will commence shortly.

I am further advised that at the Community Policing Forum meeting on 24 February last, local Garda management provided a briefing to the local community regarding the arrangements which will apply when Gardaí attached to Fitzgibbon Street commence operating out of Mountjoy Garda Station. The next meeting of the Community Policing Forum is scheduled for 26 May 2010 and An Garda Síochána will again be present to discuss any issues of concern to the local community.

Civil Proceedings

James Bannon

Ceist:

248 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the recourse that a person (details supplied) has to compensate for being held at an institution in County Tipperary against their will; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21512/10]

I can advise the Deputy that if a person considers that a criminal offence was committed against them, that person is free to make a complaint to the Garda Síochána for investigation. If a person considers that he or she suffered a civil wrong including a breach of their constitutional rights, it is open to him or her to take a civil action against the wrongdoer. As the Deputy will fully appreciate it is not open to me to give legal advice to any individual on their particular individual circumstances.

Visa Applications

Jimmy Deenihan

Ceist:

249 Deputy Jimmy Deenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will review the decision to refuse a visa in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21515/10]

The application referred to by the Deputy was received in the Visa Office, Cairo on 18 December 2009. Following consideration by the Visa Officer the application was refused on 12/01/2010. The refusal decision was appealed on 02/03/2010. The Visa Appeal Officer upheld the original decision on 02/03/2010.

It is the policy of the Visa Section of my Department to permit only one appeal for each visa application. Each individual visa application is considered on its individual merits, the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the Visa Officer as to why a visa should be granted. Comprehensive information with regard to all aspects of the visa application process and the documents required is available on the website of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (www.inis.gov.ie). It is open to the individual to make a fresh application if they so wish.

Citizenship Applications

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

250 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the stage of the naturalisation application in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [21534/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in September 2006 and I decided to defer making any final decision in this case until June 2009. The person concerned was notified of this position and the reasons for it in a letter issued to him on 2 September, 2008. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that further processing of the application is ongoing and the file will be re-submitted to me for a decision in the near future.

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

251 Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21541/10]

Officials in the Citizenship section of my Department inform me that there is no record of an application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question.

Brian O'Shea

Ceist:

252 Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding a naturalisation application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21569/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in May 2008. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 26 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Officials in the Citizenship Division inform me that further processing of the application is ongoing and the file will be submitted to me for a decision in due course.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Pat Breen

Ceist:

253 Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 268 of 30 March 2010, when an application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21703/10]

A valid application for a certificate of naturalisation from the person referred to in the Deputy's Question was received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in February 2010. All valid applications are dealt with in chronological order as this is deemed to be the fairest to all applicants. The average processing time from application to decision is now at 26 months. More complicated cases can at times take more than the current average, while an element of straight forward cases can be dealt with in less than that timescale. Additional resources have been allocated to the Citizenship Division of my Department in order to reduce backlogs and provide a better quality service to all applicants. This has had a positive impact on processing times and has enabled certain categories of applicant to be dealt with more expeditiously. These include refugees, spouses of Irish citizens and minors.

The length of time taken to process each application should not be classified as a delay, as the length of time taken for any application to be decided is purely a function of the time taken to carry out necessary checks. There is a limit to the reduction in the processing time that can be achieved as applications for naturalisation must be processed in a way which preserves the necessary checks and balances to ensure that it is not undervalued and is only given to persons who genuinely satisfy the necessary qualifying criteria.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

254 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding an application for naturalisation in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21711/10]

Applications for certificates of naturalisation from the persons referred to in the Deputy's Question were received in the Citizenship Division of my Department in June 2009. The Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act, 1956, as amended, provides that the Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant an application for a certificate of naturalisation provided certain statutory conditions are fulfilled. The persons concerned did not fulfil all of the statutory conditions, consequently, the Citizenship Division of my Department have deemed both applications ineligible. The persons in question were informed of this decision in letters issued to them on 5 June, 2009. It is open to the persons concerned to lodge new applications for certificates of naturalisation if and when they are in a position to meet the statutory requirements.

Residency Permits

Maureen O'Sullivan

Ceist:

255 Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when a decision will be made on a stamp four application in respect of persons (details supplied) in Dublin 1. [21730/10]

I have been informed by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) that the person in question has lodged an application to remain in the State. This application is currently under consideration and a decision will issue to the person concerned in the near future.

Garda Investigations

James Bannon

Ceist:

256 Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason a serious assault (details supplied) was not fully investigated by the gardaí, nor any action taken against the assailant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21735/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the incident referred to by the Deputy was the subject of a full Garda investigation and an investigation file was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). I am further informed that the case was heard at Cavan District Court on 26 February, 2009, when the summonses against the accused were dismissed.

I have no role in the investigation, prosecution or trial of alleged offences. This is a long standing principle of our system of justice. The role of An Garda Síochána is to investigate alleged offences, to gather whatever evidence may be available and to submit a report to the DPP. The question of whether or not a particular person should be prosecuted and for what criminal offence is the responsibility of the DPP. The DPP, who is independent in the performance of his functions, makes his decision on the basis of the Garda findings viewed against the background of common and/or statute law. Similarly, the courts are, subject only to the Constitution and the law, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions and the conduct of any court case is a matter entirely for the presiding judge.

Departmental Agencies

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

257 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the agencies or bodies to which his Department provides funding or in respect of which it is administratively responsible; the bodies and agencies for which his Department is responsible in respect of his policy; the amount of funding provided in each of the years 2007 to 2010 in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21756/10]

I can inform the Deputy that the main bodies within the remit of my Department include An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service, the Irish Prison Service and the Property Registration Authority in addition to those other bodies listed in the appendices to my Department's most recent Annual Report which is available at www.justice.ie and also in the Oireachtas Library. Full details of estimates associated with all the bodies concerned for the current year are contained in the Revised Estimates for Public Services 2010 while the costs associated with these bodies for earlier years are contained in the Revised Estimates for Public Services for each of the years concerned. Copies of the Revised Estimates for Public Services are available at www.finance.irlgov.ie and in the Oireachtas Library.

Criminal Prosecutions

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

258 Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prosecutions that have been initiated under provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21767/10]

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

Departmental Expenditure

John O'Mahony

Ceist:

259 Deputy John O’Mahony asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of unspent money returned by his Department to the Department of Finance each year since 2007; the departmental budget for each year since 2007; the projects for which this money was originally earmarked in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21785/10]

Details of the Department's budget and various expenditure headings is published annually in the Revised Estimates Volume and subsequently in the Annual Output Statement and the Appropriation Account. All of the publications in question are available in the library of the Houses of the Oireachtas. In line with well established public service financial procedures, as set out by the Department of Finance, a small proportion of the budget is surrendered to the Exchequer each year. The amounts in percentage terms were 2.16% in 2007, 0.8% in 2008 and 1.8% in 2009.

Residency Permits

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

260 Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position regarding the case of a person (details supplied). [21889/10]

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the person referred to in the question has been granted further permission to remain in the State.

Departmental Correspondence

Michael Ring

Ceist:

261 Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason a reply was not issued to correspondence (details supplied). [21914/10]

I wish to advise the Deputy that it has not been possible due to industrial action to process certain types of correspondence sent directly to my Office. While most of the industrial action that was being taken has now been suspended, some action by the Union involved is continuing across the Civil Service. The further details supplied by the Deputy, including the precise destination and method of communication used, enables my office to confirm that the correspondence he refers to falls into this category.

I regret the inconvenience that this action is causing to the public and Members of the Oireachtas and can assure the Deputy that my Department is determined to ensure that full service is restored as soon as possible. In the interim, the person referred to should resubmit the correspondence to the Visa section of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 to allow for any outstanding issues to be addressed.

Departmental Properties

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

262 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 195 of 21 January 2010, his plans for the facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21943/10]

I can advise the Deputy that my Department is still in consultation with the Irish Prison Service to see what potential alternative use might be made of the facility. The outcome of those consultations will inform future decisions.

Irish Prison Service

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

263 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 121 of 26 February 2009, if he will provide the corresponding figure for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21945/10]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

264 Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, further to Parliamentary Question No. 168 of 2 April 2009, if he will provide the corresponding figure for 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21946/10]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 263 and 264 together.

The following table sets out the requested expenditure figures for the Irish Prison Service in 2009. The first column shows expenditure on sports, gym and recreational equipment (including expenditure on balls) and the second column separately shows expenditure on balls.

Prison

Expenditure on all Sports, Gym and Recreation Equipment (including expenditure on balls) in 2009

Expenditure on Balls in 2009

Dublin Prisons

137,516

31,271

Portlaoise

41,535

876

Midlands

7,453

1,548

Cork

13,903

8,224

Limerick

14,279

13,485

Loughan House

410

Nil

Shelton Abbey

186

Nil

Castlerea

2,762

1,249

All expenditure figures provided for 2009 above are subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The figures for the Dublin prisons have been amalgamated as many of these items would have been procured centrally through the Regional Distribution Centre within the Irish Prison Service. In respect of expenditure on balls, the figures provided relate to the purchase of balls for use in a variety of sports including tennis, football, hand-ball, squash, table tennis and basketball.

As the Deputy will appreciate, there are significant benefits to be gained from participating in physical education, be it in a community setting or in the prison environment. In the prison setting, physical education affords prisoners the opportunity to take control of one aspect of their daily life, namely their physical well-being. This has the potential knock-on effect of increasing their motivation and confidence to tackle other identified issues such as substance abuse and to take up educational or workshop opportunities. It is also recognised that physical education, sport and recreation play a significant role in the management of prison life by providing positive outlets for energy.

The level of expenditure in the sports and recreation area, in any particular year, would be affected by the number of prisoners in custody and the requirement to adequately fit-out any new facilities provided during the year. In relation to 2009, the average daily number of prisoners increased by almost 10% on the previous year and there was a requirement to fit-out new accommodation blocks at Castlerea, Portlaoise and Wheatfield.

Road Traffic Offences

Brian Hayes

Ceist:

265 Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if the Garda has the power, through existing legislation, to confiscate scramblers or motorised bikes which use public open spaces and cause considerable annoyance to local communities; his views on updating the existing legislation in order that these vehicles can be confiscated without warning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22113/10]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 provides for a member of An Garda Síochána to detain, remove, store and subsequently release or dispose of a mechanically propelled vehicle in breach of road traffic legislation. I am further informed that An Garda Síochána is aware of ongoing difficulties with the types of vehicles referred to by the Deputy in certain areas and they take a proactive approach in dealing with the matter, including measures taken in consultation with local authorities. When persons are found using such vehicles in breach of legislation, appropriate action is taken. Any change to road traffic legislation is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Transport.

Passport Applications

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

266 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support the case of a person (details supplied). [21528/10]

The Passport Service is facilitating the prioritisation of applications on the basis of demonstrable urgent humanitarian need. The Passport Service has been in contact with the person concerned and the mater is in hand. Further information has been sought from the applicant and I understand this will be forthcoming shortly.

Consular Services

James Reilly

Ceist:

267 Deputy James Reilly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the support he is providing to a group of Irish citizens (details supplied) who invested in a French lease back scheme that has ended up costing them thousands of euro and who are now planning to take the matter to the French courts in view of the fact that they believe the management company has been fraudulent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21344/10]

While my Department is not aware of this particular case, a number of other cases which have occurred in the context of the French leaseback system have been brought to the attention of the Embassy in Paris. The Deputy will be aware that the role of the Department of Foreign Affairs concerning private property transactions by Irish nationals abroad is limited, and that redress in such cases must be sought through the French legal system. I have asked officials in my Department to make contact with the group to explore if there is any assistance which can be provided, for example, the Embassy could provide a list of English-speaking lawyers in the area, if that were considered useful.

Human Rights Issues

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

268 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will raise the issue of civilian deaths in Thailand with the United Nations. [21369/10]

As stated in the House in reply to a Parliamentary Question on 20 May, the Government is extremely concerned about the recent surge in violence in Thailand, including the Army assault on the protesters' encampment in central Bangkok early on the morning of 19 May and the violence which has occurred both in Bangkok and in the provinces following the military intervention. I am deeply concerned by reports that 15 people were killed and hundreds injured during the intervention, in addition to the thirty-six deaths which had already occurred since 13 May.

The protests in Bangkok have been led by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, also known as the "red-shirts", and have been underway since 13 March. The "red-shirts" are supporters of the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted after a military coup in September 2006. They regard the current Government as illegitimate and have called for the dissolution of Parliament and for new elections. Following negotiations between the Government and protesters earlier this month, it appeared that a compromise between the parties had been reached, with Prime Minister Abhisit proposing a "reconciliation plan" and offering to hold elections in November.

However, the Prime Minister's offer was conditional on the protesters ending their occupation of the main shopping district in Bangkok. For their part, the protesters vowed to remain in the encampment until the Prime Minister set a specific date for dissolving Parliament. With neither party prepared to compromise, the Government intervened to close the encampment.

The EU recently expressed grave concern about the situation in Thailand, urging both sides in the conflict to negotiate and to solve the political crisis through peaceful and democratic means. The "red-shirts" had appealed for EU observers to be sent to Thailand but the Thai Government had insisted that it had the situation under control and did not need external assistance.

On the question of raising this matter at the UN, I understand that consideration will be given over the coming weeks to the idea of raising it at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, has also been monitoring the situation carefully. In a statement issued on 14 May, the Secretary-General stated that he was following developments in Thailand with growing concern and that he was saddened by the reports of numerous civilian deaths, including journalists, as a result of clashes between protesters and security forces. He appealed both to the protesters and the Thai authorities to do all within their power to avoid further violence and loss of life. He has encouraged them to return urgently to dialogue in order to de-escalate the situation and resolve matters peacefully.

I share the views of the Secretary-General. Replying to a Parliamentary Question on 30 March, I welcomed talks which had taken place between the Prime Minister and the "red-shirt" protesters and I expressed the hope that these talks would lay the foundation for broader dialogue on the range of issues which divide Thailand. I remain of the view that, if political stability is to be achieved and if Thailand is to successfully address the many challenges it faces, the parties there must engage in dialogue and work with each other in a spirit of peaceful, national reconciliation. The Government believes that the crisis can only be resolved through peaceful and democratic means. Together with our EU partners, we will do all in our power to promote this outcome.

Foreign Conflicts

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

269 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the peace talks in Colombia and the potential for inclusive dialogue with two groups (details supplied). [21370/10]

I understand that there are no peace talks underway between the Government and the FARC and the ELN in Colombia. It is the stated position of the Colombian Government that it will not negotiate with the FARC or the ELN until they lay down arms, inter alia, in accordance with the Justice and Peace Law, 2005, of which the AUC and a number of individual FARC and ELN members have availed. Presidential elections will take place on 30 May in Colombia. I cannot anticipate any change in policy that might occur following these elections.

Passport Applications

Finian McGrath

Ceist:

270 Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will support the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [21574/10]

The person in question lodged his application at the counter in the Molesworth Street Office on 10 May, 2010. As a direct result of the ongoing industrial action by the Civil Public and Services Union (CPSU) it is currently taking up to twenty five working days to process individual applications submitted through the Passport Express Service, the Northern Ireland Passport Express Service and at the counters in the Passport Office. Applications submitted through ordinary post are taking up to eight weeks to process. Applications, other than those that are prioritised on the basis of demonstrable urgent humanitarian need, are being processed on a first come first served basis. No guarantee can be provide that the application in question will be issued in time to allow for travel on 1 June 2010. The applicant should continue to monitor the progress of the application on the Departments' web site at http: //www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=2859

Departmental Investigations

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

271 Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding his investigation into the illegal use of Irish passports by foreign agents; the outcome of his discussions with the Israeli authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21723/10]

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Priority Questions Nos. 1 and 2 on 20 May 2010. Over the past three months there has been frequent contact between Irish officials and the UAE authorities, representatives from other countries whose passports were also used in this incident and representatives of the Israeli Government. On 22 February, I met with Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, in Brussels to outline how seriously we take the misuse of Irish passports. The Irish Ambassador in Tel Aviv also met with the E